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Forms of Terrorism

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Forms of terrorism threats range from non-state transnational networks with global reach capability such as al-Qaida, terrorist cells affiliated with regional or international aims, or individual self-radicalized and unaffiliated terrorists with single issue agendas. Yet, each type of network or terrorist cell has criminal intentions limited by finite capability. Terrorists exist as a foreign and domestic threat of the United States in the U.S. Homeland and in United States presence throughout the world.

CTS1: The Counterterrorism, WMD & Hybrid Threat SMARTbook

Although the means and ends have evolved throughout history, the central elements of terrorism–fear, panic, violence, and disruption–have changed little through time.

Terrorism is one of the oldest forms of human conflict. Before societies organized to wage war against each other, individuals and small bands engaged in terror tactics to achieve limited goals–to overthrow existing leaders, toward off potential rivals, or to frighten opposing groups from lands they wished to claim for themselves.

Although the means and ends have evolved throughout history, the central elements of terrorism–fear, panic, violence, and disruption–have changed little through time. As the world enters the 21st Century, terrorism remains a vexing problem–an anachronistic fixture of human relations as paradoxically human and inhuman in the third Millennium as it was before the dawn of recorded history.
See CTS1 chap. 3, “Forms of Terrorism” for further discussion.

A. State-Sponsored Terrorism

Some nations and states often resort to violence to influence segments of their population, or rely on coercive aspects of state institutions. National governments can become involved in terrorism or utilize terror to accomplish the objectives of governments or individual rulers. Most often, terrorism is equated with non-state actors or groups that are not responsible to a sovereign government. However, internal security forces can use terror to aid in repressing dissent, and intelligence or military organizations can perform acts of terror designed to further a state’s policy or diplomatic efforts abroad.
See CTS1, pp. 1-25 to 1-30 for further discussion.

B. International Terrorism

International terrorism involves violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any state. These acts appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping. International terrorist acts occur outside the United States or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to coerce or intimidate, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.
See CTS1, pp. 1-31 to 1-74 for further discussion.

C. Domestic Terrorism

Domestic terrorism is the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or Puerto Rico without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.
See CTS1, pp. 1-75 to 1-84 for further discussion.


CTS1: The Counterterrorism, WMD & Hybrid Threat SMARTbookThis article is an extract from “CTS1: The Counterterrorism, WMD & Hybrid Threat SMARTbook (Guide to Terrorism, Hybrid & Emerging Threats)” by The Lightning Press. Download a free PDF sample and learn more at: CTS1: The Counterterrorism, WMD & Hybrid Threat SMARTbook (Guide to Terrorism, Hybrid & Emerging Threats)

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