The drastic growth of terrorist-based activities has dramatically impacted the modern world. Terrorism is not a new invention; it has been around for many centuries. However, it has been manipulated in modern decades to promote a particular cause or ideology and is used to justify their actions on both a domestic and international scale. As a result, it has promoted fear and anger globally. As Patrick J. Kennedy states, “Terrorism is psychological warfare. Terrorists try to manipulate us and change our behavior by creating fear, uncertainty, and division in society.” Terrorism has been used to influence national affairs and politics, both historically and contemporarily, and amongst other countries and demonstrates how successful it is in affect world affairs.
The word ‘terrorism’ has become far too familiar in recent decades and centuries, with terrorist organizations, such as the Sicarii- a splinter group of the Hebrew Zealots (Tribe of Judah)- the Narodnaya Volya, or internationally condemned as the Peoples Will, and the Hashshashin (or the Assassins)- a very highly faithful yet dangerous organization that was vastly influenced by politics- the end to terrorism seizes no end in sight, but the likelihood of evolution stands at an all-time high, more specifically related to politics (Spartacus Educational, 2016) (Anon, 2016)
Political terrorism is not a new phenomenon. The Sicarii, or the ‘dagger men, was widely known for their acts of a remorseless, public murder, and the ‘random’ nature of their acts, whilst holding an organized, efficient, and clearly political based agenda between 50-70 CE in Jerusalem. The Sicarii’s main objective was to hit targets that caused a political statement and to instigate as much fear as possible, events such as the Masada Siege displayed the true depth of their ruthlessness when it came to achieving their aims (The Times of Israel, 2016). Throughout history, various political and social groups have used terrorism as a tool to influence national affairs and politics. The Sicarii (also known as the “Dagger Men”) was a Jewish “terror” group who lived in Rome. Sicarii terrorism began as Jewish resistance to Roman rule in 40 BCE, when the Jewish Zealots, an aggressive political party who despised those, including fellow Jews, sought peace and conciliation with the Roman Authorities, attempted to expel the Romans and their partisans from the country through excessive acts of guerrilla and terrorist tactics. Despite living under Roman rule for years previously, it wasn’t until 70 CE that the group took action against them to despise their occupation in power. The Sicarii’s somewhat ‘signature’ move was stabbing roman solider and any Jews who had come in contact with the Romans. The group went as far as hiring a secret sect of the middle ages, called ‘the assassins’ to terminate enemy leaders, then continued to wait beside the lifeless body until captured or caught. Many saw these actions as random, unorganized, and ‘messy’, but their intentions were met perfectly in the long run, that being; they were feared, despite seemingly unorganized attacks, the group had clear aims and used classic terror tactics nor did they adopt important modern characteristic (they didn’t target innocent civilians!). (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016) (Terrorism.about.com, 2016). The Romans retaliated with an all-out war in 67 CE, ultimately leading to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE (Zionism-israel.com, 2016). However, the Sicarii was not the beginning of a new phenomenon- one that introduced terrorism to both politics and ordinary people; various groups used terrorism as a way to achieve their aims, but they did stand as one of the most widely recognized throughout Rome.
After the attacks of 9/11, the international agenda regarding terrorism hit an all-time high as the academic world witnessed a surge of research and academic programs in the field of homeland security and counterterrorism, especially in Australia. Specifically, after the foiled terrorist attacks that were planned for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the arrests of Islamic extremists, the need for counter-terrorism is rising as the terrorist threat only continues to increase and is becoming harder to combat. Former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, addressed the prominent issue in a statement on national security, announcing that,
“A crackdown on organizations that incite religious or racial hatred and new measures to strengthen immigration laws, as well as new options for dealing with Australian citizens who are involved in terrorism [will be implemented] (ABC News, 2015)”
According to the Commonwealth Governments National Terrorism Public Alert System, Australia has raised from a “medium” to “high” level of alert in approximately two years, thus leading to the additional laws attached to Part 5.3 (the laws against terrorism) and Part 5.5 (the laws against foreign and incursions and recruitment) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (ABC News, 2015) (Anon, 2016). The Australian government has since strengthened and implemented counter-terrorism laws to focus on terrorist act offenses, a terrorist organization, preventing the financing of terrorism, urging violence, and advocating terrorism offenses and foreign incursions and recruitment offenses.
Terrorism has been shown to influence both domestic and international politics, for example, by altering the priorities of voters and politicians, especially given that the peak of terrorist-based attacks occurred in Europe at a time when the continent was struggling with its worst refugee crisis after World War II. As evidenced, international affairs were detrimentally affected by terrorism as the fear and unsettlement in civilians through the use of random bombing, shootings, mass suicide, rape outbreaks, and many other methods of attack, ultimately leading to the spur of the rise of nationalist political parties and the consequential growth in popularity regarding the anti-foreigner sentiment. These events combined had dire consequences for regional and global geopolitics by creating wars such as America’s attack on terror after 9/11(Elvis Picardo, 2015)
Following the drastic growth in terrorism, “the Impact of Terrorism on Financial Markets” – a paper published by the International Monetary Fund in 2005 – stated that acts of terrorism were directly linked to both the direct and indirect economic costs that although were shorter-term in nature, it resulted in the destruction of life and property, responses from emergency services providers, restoration of systems and infrastructure, and the provision of temporary living assistance. However, the indirect costs of terrorism were deemed much more significant, as they affected the economy in the medium term by undermining consumer and investor confidence (Elvis Picardo, 2015). Not only did terrorism affect the economy, the lives of those who were personally suffering, and those who are bystanders, but it also played a long-term affect on the level of international security measures that were implemented not long after the terrorism outbreak, but more specifically after the 9/11 attacks. Due to the rigorous security checks developed, the rate of productivity was evidently reduced due to increased security measures, higher insurance premiums, and increased financial and other counterterrorism regulations (Elvis Picardo, 2015). The evidential increase in counterterrorism regulations ultimately lead to the Western governments intensifying the surveillance of such sites, yet their prosecution of site operators is hampered by concerns over civil liberties, the internets’ inherent anonymity, and other factors.
It’s no lie that terrorists are increasingly using the internet as a means of communication to connect with each other and the rest of the world, to promote their ‘work’ –aka they advertise images from propaganda videos published on terrorist sites – and rebroadcast on the worlds news networks, allowing them to recruit new members, coordinate global attacks and better evade surveillance. The internet has become central took for terrorists, largely replacing print and other physical media, especially for terrorist groups such as the Islamic State, Isis, and Isil, who are arguably the first to harness the power of the internet and social media in order to recruit new members (Council on Foreign Relations, 2016). According to Haifa University’s Gabriel Weimann, the last decade has seen an exponential rise in terrorist sites, starting from less than 100 to more than 4,800 just two years ago. However, Bruce Hoffman noted that the increase of terrorists using the internet began as early as 2006, arguing that, “terrorists are now able to bypass traditional print and broadcast media via the internet, through inexpensive but professionally produced and edited videotapes, and even with their own dedicated 24/7 television and radio news stations. The consequences of this development [are] far-reaching as they are still poorly understood, having already transformed the ability of terrorists to communicate without censorship or other hindrance and thereby attract new sources of recruits, funding, and support that governments have found difficult, if not impossible, to counter.” However, there are two viewpoints on the somewhat promotion and publication of terrorism on social media and if it serves an effective system or not. The first posits that terrorists are able to influence policy and public opinion and that terrorism is increasing worldwide simply because it is effective. The second viewpoint argues that terrorists hardly ever achieve the main objectives and that terrorist grounds tend to be unstable and disintegrate over time (Ourworldindata.org, 2016).
Nowadays, it’s evident that Islamic extremism is the primary national security and human rights concern of the world today. Being the primary motivator of acts of terrorism worldwide; with consideration to the many factors involved in terrorism, terrorism itself is undoubtedly one of the primary causes of Western imperialism (Counterpunch.org, 2016). Western imperialism, defined as, “the extension of a nation’s authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political dominance over other nations” or “ a political doctrine or system promoting such extension of authority” is one that secured access to the Middle Eastern oil reserves establishment to a perfect environment in which Islamic fundamentalists could exploit growing anti-Western sentiment throughout the Islamic world with some establishing violent extremist groups, such as the Islamic State which stands as one of the most recent groups that emerged out of the chaos caused by the US invasion of Iraq (Counterpunch.org, 2016) (TheFreeDictionary.com, 2016). Islamic extremist groups are ones that is slowly but surely gaining power and rule against the rest of the world. Through abusing human rights – including oppression of women, homosexuals, and religious minorities as well as governmental tyranny, sectarian warfare, and bigotry inherent in sharia law – the group believes they are obligated to install this form of governance in Muslim-majority countries in an attempt to promote justice and freedom by instituting sharia (the body of Islamic law) (ClarionProject.org, 2016)
It’s evident that recent terrorist attacks, such as those that occurred on September 11th, 2001 and the Bali bombings, and historical wars, such as World War II and the Sicarii vs Romans war, have created disruptions in the global economy. The short-term impact had been felt in global tourism, airline industries, as well as global realities whereas the longer-term impact of heightened security risk across the world can be felt in the form of higher risk premiums in asset markets, as well as a shirt of resources towards dealing with terrorism. The current war against terrorism will affect both the pace and trajectory of technology trends, as efforts are focused on developing technologies to combat terrorism. As evidence, however, the use of technology contributing to terrorism is significant and will only ever continue to grow. So if it seems like terrorist attacks are happening more and more often, it’s because they are.
Source: Modern history