INR 3003 Lecture 15: Understanding Terrorism

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International Affairs
INR 3003
Whitney Bendeck

Understanding Terrorism 1. Defining Terrorism ○ It is notoriously difficult to define because it depends on who you ask. ○ People see things through different lenses. ○ No Nation State ○ Want a response (serve to delegitimize the western states) ○ Fort Hood Shooter ■ Major Nidal Hasan, shouted Ala Akbar (God is Great) before opening fire, and had contact with Anwar al Awlaki (American born Yamani cleric who was a well-known terrorist and recruiter for Al Qaeda). ■ Actions labeled as “workplace violence” – many felt he was acting as a terrorist. The military was the most upset because they cannot award purple hearts to victims and this decreased their compensation. ○ Umar Farooq Abdulmutallab (2009), the “Underwear Bomber” ■ attempted to deploy a bomb in his underwear over Detroit. Interviewed by 2 FBI agents and mirandized (access to council and US prison system) à put into civilian court system (he wasn’t American) à put in U.S. jail. ■ Grey area: wasn’t clear what to do with him. Also had direct connection to Awlaki (in Yemen) ■ -Ex. Fort Hood Shooter and the “Underwear Bomber” ○ Boston Bomber (Dzhokar Tzarnaev) ■ American citizen --> how does that status work? ■ 30 counts and death sentence 1. Importance for us… 1. Yasser Arafat, previous leader of Palestine. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” 2. There is a logic behind this that, in their viewpoint, is completely justified and not seen as terrorism. 3. Who they are and how they think 1. So, what is terrorism? 1. “The threatened or actual use of illegal force directed against civilian targets by non-state actors in order to attain a political and/or religious goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.” 2. Problems: increasingly difficult to combat terrorism because we aren’t defending ourselves against a state. The targets of terrorism are civilians. 3. War vs. terrorism 1. Terrorism is illegal force: there is a distinction between war and terrorism because there is a legal aspect to warfare and rules of engagement that can be traced back to ancient tim
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