The Development of Terrorist Movements and Organizations

Currently there is clearly no working definition of terrorism, something that has undermined the world efforts to bring to an end of this severe menace to humanity. Depending on one's point of view Terrorism has been described variously as a tactic and strategy, a crime and a holy duty, a justified reaction to oppression, and an excusable abomination. Generally terrorism can be said to refer to a situation where terror is systematically employed as a means of coercion. By employing terrorism, individuals or organizations try to bring to light to a political cause, end an economic condition or resist to an opposing religious group or ideology. The root causes of terrorism include economic degradation and also as a result of political and social isolation (Lawrence 2006).An example of one of the largest and threatening terrorism group in the world is Al Qaeda which means Arabic for 'the base'. This group was initiated in mid 1980s by Osama bin Laden and Azzam in Afghanistan. During this time thousand of volunteer Muslims from the Middle East were recruited into the group to defend Afghanistan from the soviet soldiers. Its main objective was to fight against the soviet occupation in Afghanistan. This group was founded so as to form 'rapid reaction force' to intercede wherever Muslims were perceived endangered. Later during 1990s when the American soldiers were deployed in Saudi Arabia ,its members were outraged and objectives of this group later magnified to include use of Al Qaeda activists to try to topple secular governments that were perceived to be pro-western for instance Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  The principle goal of Al Qaeda is drive the Americans and American influence from all Muslim dominated states especially Saudi Arabia which is perceived to be key ally to the United States. Another aim of this group is to destroy Israel which they say the United States has been using as their main tool to undermine and oppress Muslims in the Middle East especially Palestine. This group has also been aiming to topple all pro- western governments in the Middle East and replace them with Islamic states. The leader of this group, Osama bin Laden has also said that it is his wish to make sure that all Muslims are united even if it will be by use of force. He also wants to ensure that all Islamic states adhere to the rule of the first caliphs. During 1998 bin Laden released a religious decree (fatwa) in which the urged the Muslims to wage a holy war against the United States, American citizens and the Jews (Laura & Beth 2007).

In realizing their mission this group has employed very aggressive tactics such as suicide bombing and kidnapping under the ideology of 'Jihadism' which means holy war. The members are trained on how to torture their captives to pry away secrets which they can then employ when planning attacks. They mostly recruit women to commit these suicide attacks against their enemies (US and its allies). They have also recruited other radical Muslims who reside in places perceived to be enemy territory to work for them and enhance their activities and thus making it a global network (Rohan 2002). For instance several radical Muslims mostly from the Middle East especially Pakistan and Afghanistan have been arrested in connection to failed bombing attempts in the United States and in Europe. Another tactic that this group has employed to consolidate its activities is forming alliances with other movements who share the same agenda for instance in February 1998, bin Laden announced an alliance of terrorist organizations which was referred to as the "International Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders". This alliance consisted of the Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Harakat ul-Ansar, and other groups (Laura & Beth 2007).  Unlike other terrorist groups, Al Qaeda operates as a franchise and does not depend on sponsorship of a political government or any external financial support and instead it provides financial and logistical support to its allies (other terrorist groups). Its leadership structure is flexible and decentralized and is made up small groups called 'cells' with each group operating independently, a tactic that they have effectively execute most of their missions successfully also making this organization difficult to eradicate (Rohan 2002).

Terrorist groups are currently emerging all over the world at an alarming rate posing a great challenge to world economy and peace. These groups cannot be eradicated through war, for instance the United States has spent trillions of dollars on war against terrorism but these efforts have been unsuccessful. This therefore calls for renewed efforts and tactics that will bring about ideological revolution among these groups. This can be done through engaging in a dialogue with these groups that effectively addresses the root issues that lead to emergence of these groups. 

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