Discussion Questions on International Terrorism

International Terrorism

Discussion Questions on International Terrorism

Explain the origins and evolution of long-term separatists and ethnic and nationalistic terrorism. Also, provide group names and their respective parts of the world.

Ethno- separatist/nationalist terrorism is not specifically a modern phenomenon. Historically, two Jewish movements in Judaea that desired to provoke the local population to rise against the Roman occupiers used ethno-racial terrorism. However, it was only in 60s and 70s that terrorism came to be associated with ethnic- separatist/nationalist movements (Conser, Paynich & Gingerich, 2013). During that time, terrorism was seen as paying off on the reasons for effective, aggressive campaigns launched and won. The Palestine Liberation Organization’s terrorist movement between 1968 and 1980 confirmed to other nationalist groups that internationalizing their cause could be valuable. The variety of ethnic-national/separatist terrorist movements effective worldwide, therefore, increased from three in 1968 to 30 in 1978 (Cassara, 2006).

Psychologists argue that the formation of a large-group identity is recognized as a standard trend, usually evolving from specific conditions, such as traditional continuity, a myth, geography and other shared activities. Hence, how a particular team conceives of its ethnic identification is almost usually a practiced indifference from other groups. Mostly, one group’s ethnic identification is strengthened by a trauma or the combination of a disaster that once affected the group’s ancestors. As seen from the Serbs’ 1389 victory over Kosovo (Fijnaut & Paoli, 2004) trauma can cause varied reactions to reverse the feelings of loss, humiliations, and revenge introduced such as ethnic rivalry against those considered accountable. More accurately, such an injury or severe dislocation can cause a psychological defense procedure that needs the development of an “enemy. It becomes the base of combined self-loathing, anger, and anxiety, resulting in ethnic assault. If a particular team seems depressed or anxious, it will combine with its ethnic identity, nationality or religion, the latter providing as guards from further problems.

Nowadays, Ethno- separatist/nationalist terrorism predominates over all other types of terrorist action. The number of global active terror groups increased from 1992 to 1995 (Sampson, Blakeman & Carkhuff, 2006). This period had the most serious terror attacks all sharing some connotations. By evaluation, ethnic-nationalist/separatist movements do not cause huge casualties on their targets and are more appropriate in selecting their targets than their modern counterparts. The goal of the former is keeping the level of assault bearable for the local inhabitants in order not to alienate worldwide opinion and create severe government countermeasures. The latter are much less involved with such requirements, their goals obviously being different. Ethnic-Nationalist/separatist movements are more long-term than other movements, which have the possibility of remaining effective as long as ten years. Ethno-nationalist/separatists have apparent objectives and can depend on their rivals for support. This is through appealing to a combined revolutionary tradition to maintain the group’s existence and renew its positions. Neo-nationalist groups are active, but they are not for the most part using threats nor supporting violence in any way.

Question 2

Explain why domestic terrorism is hard to define. List the factors that improve and inhibit our understanding of it. What steps has law enforcement undertaken to understand it, and what factors exist that have impeded our understanding of it?

Historians like Bruce Hoffman suggested that domestic terrorism is difficult to define mainly because the significance of the phrase has modified so regularly over previous times. Furthermore, Jenkins suggested that domestic terrorism should be described “by the nature of the act, not by the identity of the perpetrators or the nature of their cause.” A few more factors make it hard to understand the depth of domestic terrorism in America. First, keeping track of the number of terrorist persecutions has been challenging in the post-9/11 era. Second, there may be some indecisiveness in the investigative procedure regarding precisely when illegal action becomes domestic terrorism. Third, the government seems to use the terms “terrorist” and “extremist” interchangeably when referring to domestic terrorism. It is uncertain why this is the situation. Lastly, and most significantly, which particular groups are and should be regarded domestic terrorist organizations? The federal government does not offer a public response to this question. Rather, it describes the problem in terms of “threats,” not movements (Shanty & Mishra, 2007). In order to understand this, law enforcers have undertaken the following actions:

Counting Terrorism Cases

While legal and practical government descriptions are available for “domestic terrorism,” there is little sense of the scope of the threat of domestic terrorism based on publicly available government information. It has been said that in much of the post-9/11 period, the legal courts can use different factors when organizing, keeping track of, and categorizing all kinds of terrorist prosecutions — let alone domestic terrorism cases. A 2009 research discovered that the U.S. Federal Courts, National Security Department, and state prosecutors should depend on various procedures to figure out whether or not particular cases include terrorism at all.

Extremism vs. Terrorism

Another factor that dominates conversations of domestic terrorism is “extremism.” The latter phrase is widely applied on native players, whether they are domestic terrorists or enthusiasts of ideologists submitted by international movements such as Al Qaeda. Jonathan Masters, a nationwide security professional, has recommended that law enforcers view “extremism” as mostly symbolic of “terrorism.” He has also discovered that there is a “lack of consistency in the way domestic terrorist actions is prosecuted” in America. Using the phrase “extremist” allows prosecutors, investigators and policymakers the versatility to talk about terrorist-like action without branding it as “terrorism” and having to take legal action against it as such (Kessler & Bearden, 2007). This versatility is certainly a resource to prosecutors. They can change subjects of FBI domestic terrorism research under a broader range of laws and, consequently, not explain the subjects openly as terrorists. However, for policymakers this versatility makes it difficult to figure out the magnitude of the domestic terrorist threat. One cannot obtain a clear sense of magnitude if some people are charged and openly described as terrorists. It is even hard when others are mentioned as extremists, and still others get into the criminal record only as criminals implicated on offenses not associated with terrorism like tax fraud, arson, and trespassing.

Official Public List

The government should generate an official public list of domestic terrorists and terrorist organizations. The development of such a record may be precluded by civil rights concerns. However, a lack of formal lists or procedures to assign groups or people as domestic terrorists makes it difficult to assess domestic terrorism patterns and assess government initiatives to counter such risks.

Question 3

Describe the intelligence process.

The intelligence process has five steps. These steps are planning and directing, collecting, processing and exploiting, analysis and production, and lastly dissemination and integration.

Planning and Direction: planning and directing includes managing the whole efforts from identification of the need for information to delivering the intelligence product to consumers. It entails the implementation of plans to fulfill the requirements imposed on the FBI and identifying collection specifications depending on the FBI needs. This phase is responsive to the end of the cycle because finished and current intelligence supporting decision-making produces new specifications.

Collection: this step involves gathering raw information depending on the specifications. Activities like surveillance, interviews, human source operations, liaison relationships, and searches leads to the collection of intelligence.

Processing and Exploitation: in this phase, analysts convert the collected information into usable forms. They achieve this via various methods like language translation, data reduction, and decryption. Processing involves keying in raw data into databases to be exploited in the analysis process.

Analysis and Production: this is where the raw information is converted into intelligence. In involves combining, analyzing and evaluating available data, and preparing intelligence products. The reliability, relevance, and validity of the information is evaluated and weighed. The information is integrate din terms of logic, put into context and used to generate intelligence. The intelligence product connects the dots by putting the collected information into context and generating conclusions regarding its implications.

Dissemination: the raw or finished intelligence is distributed to consumers whose needs led to the intelligence specifications. The FBI disseminates the product in three products: FBI Intelligence Bulletins, FBI Intelligence Information Reports, and FBI Intelligence Assessments (Simon, 2006). The customers make decisions based on the information. These decisions can lead to imposing more specifications; hence, the FBI intelligence cycle might continue.

What is the difference between national security and criminal intelligence? How does this difference relate to the efforts of those who combat terrorism and violent extremism?

National security is the need to maintain the survival of the country by using financial power, diplomacy, political power, and power projection. The idea emerged mostly in America after World War II. Initially concentrating on military power, now it involves a range of elements including the non-military or economic security of the country and the values espoused by the nation. Criminal intelligence has been described as the product of methodical collecting, assessment, and integration of raw information on individuals or actions alleged of being, or known to be, criminal in nature. The objective of the criminal intelligence is to enhance the understanding of the issue under investigation in order that sensible decisions may be achieved (Kelly, Chin & Schatzberg, 2004). From this delineation, weak intellect ability can prevent investigators from acquiring information that may aid them in securing seizures, arrests, and prosecutions in investigations. This is how national security and criminal intelligence relates to the efforts of those combating terrorism and violent extremism.

Question 4

Describe the importance of foreign policy in homeland security operations.

The U.S. Homeland Security Department is based on the founding mission of protecting the U.S. from terrorism. While the United States is stronger and more resilient because of a powerful homeland security entity, risks from terrorism continue to persist and continue to develop. The purpose of U.S. foreign policy over the years has been to sustain stability, to ensure sure access to foreign countries and to contain rival powers. Despite America’s advocating of democracy, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it has regularly reinforced un-democratic regimes in pursuing national interests. U.S. assistance for these regime types has been one of the justifications for terrorists to increase attacks against the United States (Dintino & Martens, 2003).

Explain whether or not our foreign policy relative to ethnic and religious terrorism will determine our homeland security strategies, and how those strategies will influence worldwide opinion of those efforts.

There is no doubt about the engagement of our foreign policy in global affairs. For instance, the 1942 Pearl Harbor attack plunged the country into conflict. After the Second World War, U.S. become a major enemy of the Soviet Union. These values shaped the U.S. homeland security strategies in 20th and 21st centuries (United States, 2008). Programs of the U.S. foreign policy included the Marshall plan that reconstructed Europe, economic and military aid to Greece when it faced communist attacks and intervention in the Vietnam War. As it is well documented, during the cold war, the U.S. foreign policy emphasized on containment, a strategy that led to the coalition of western nations against the Soviet Union and its supporters. Moreover, the U.S. foreign policy promoted a new international economic strategy that concentrated on liberalism and reducing tariff barriers to trade. For the world, the U.S. is among the strong players in international politics. This does not imply that it is universally well liked or that all people have accepted its status. However, a study on foreign opinions towards the U.S. provides intriguing insights. For instance, surveys have revealed that anti-U.S. sentiments are often directed at policies of the U.S. government and not the U.S. society. While America continues to face gigantic challenges regarding the worldwide opinion of its efforts, we must remain optimistic. The U.S. must work extra to make the best out of every difficult situation. This includes correcting misinformation, highlighting elements of U.S. culture, politics, and values, which are more respected across the world.


Conser, J.A., Paynich, R., & Gingerich, T. (2013). Law enforcement in the United States. Burlington, Mass: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Cassara, J.A. (2006). Hide and seek: Intelligence, law enforcement, and the stalled war on terrorist finance. Washington, DC: Potomac Books.

Dintino, J.J., & Martens, F.T. (2003). Police intelligence systems in crime control: Maintaining a delicate balance in a liberal democracy. Springfield, Ill: C.C. Thomas.

Fijnaut, C., & Paoli, L. (2004). Organized crime in Europe: Concepts, patterns, and control policies in the European Union and beyond. The Netherlands: Springer.

Kelly, R.J., Chin, K., & Schatzberg, R. (2004). Handbook of organized crime in the United States. Westport: Greenwood Press.

Kessler, G.M., & Bearden, M. (2007). Law and law enforcement issues. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Sampson, S.J., Blakeman, J.D., & Carkhuff, R.R. (2006). Social intelligence skills for law enforcement officers. Amherst, Mass: HRD Press.

Shanty, F., & Mishra, P.P. (2007). Organized crime: From trafficking to terrorism. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.

Simon, J. (2006). Governing through crime: How the war on crime transformed American democracy and created a culture of fear. New York: Oxford University Press.

United States. (2008). The erosion of law enforcement intelligence and its impact on the public security: Report of the Subcommittee on Criminal Laws and Procedures to the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, second session. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.

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