ოთხშაბათი, ივლისი 24, 2024
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Nodar Pkhaladze: "Concept and Classification of the Terrorist Organizations"

Concept and Classification of the Terrorist OrganizationsTerrorism is considered by many as an unauthorized use of violence in order to instill fear in population. Because of its broad concept, it is mistakenly often classified as only the instrument of political violence, while in reality it is the manifestation of all types of violence. Unfortunately, many journalists and politicians today tend to address every act of violence to terrorism without properly mentioning the right subtype. Not only that but many scholars (especially the representatives of the orthodox terrorism studies) address to terrorism as a new concept which (according to their theory) first took place during the September 11 attacks. This is the clear result received from the lack of information, reliance on the secondly sources as well as failure to undertake primary research. Unbeknownst to them, these actions make goals of many terrorist organisations less difficult, as not merely the false sense of security amongst people is spread, but also the enemy is given the element of surprise attack, that itself is the best way of creating terror. The worst part, however, is the fact that not everyone views them as enemies. Many people (youngsters mostly) even consider them as "freedom fighters" as they are unable to find threats in the enemies' ideology. The root of all the problems is the fact that first of all, locals are not informed about them and eventually are easily susceptible to the fear of unknown.Naturally here arises a question: What do the terrorist organisations represent exactly? Are they merely organisations consisting of several individuals? A fragment of certain movement?Alarge network that has international level?Or an ideology? To answer these questions, first of all one must define and characterise them.

According to the National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals, there are six distinct types of terrorism. All of them share the common traits of being violent acts that destroy property, invoke fear and attempt to harm the lives of civilians.

First is a civil disorder. It might occasionally take violent form of protest if it's held by a group of individuals, usually in opposition to a political policy or action. Their main objective is to 'send the message' to the main political power and demand the change to improve people's living conditions. In theory, these protests are intended to be non-violent, but they do sometimes result in large riots in which private property is destroyed and civilians are injured or killed.

The second type is the most well-known one: terrorism based on political ground (e.g. Red Army Faction in West Germany). Here the actors are those people that oppose government leaders in a non-peaceful way. The main idea is to spread fear and lead the government to collapse by spreading terror and organising violent attacks. Although they are originally intended to attack only government officials they often end up murdering citizens either by an accident or intended if they feel potential threat.

TheNon-politicalterrorism does have the same methods as the previously-mentioned variation, the origins and goals differ. They are usually driven by the extreme forms of self-identity ideologies that usually are based on national, religious or racial values. The notable examples are: al-Qaeda (based on extreme Islamic views), Christian Identity Movement (extreme Christian views), KKK (idea of 'white supremacy' supported by misinterpreted Bible), ISIS(extreme Islamic views); Irish Republican Army, Palestine Liberation Organization (nationality ideas), Kosovo Liberation Army (ethnical background).

Quasi-terrorism is yet another variation, that has is quite similar in form and method to genuine terrorism but \ nevertheless lack its essential ingredient. It is not the main purpose of the quasi-terrorists to induce terror in the immediate victim as in the case of genuine terrorism, but the quasi-terrorist uses the modalities and techniques of the genuine terrorist and produces similar consequences and reaction. For example, the fleeing criminal who takes hostages is a quasi-terrorist. Hismethods are similar to those of the genuine terrorist, but has rather spontaneous and lesser goals.

Limited political terrorism acts are generally one time only plots to make a political or ideological statement. Genuine political terrorism is characterized by a revolutionary approach. It is committed for ideological or political motives but the goal is not to overthrow the government, but to protest a governmental policy or action.

State terrorism is the most controversial sub-type as the main leader of scheme is the state itself. Nevertheless this variation can also be divided into three branches. The first one being the direct state involvement in terror: These are activities where government personnel carry out operations using terror tactics. These activities may be directed against other nations' interests, its own population, or private groups or individuals viewed as dangerous to the state. In many cases, these activities are terrorism under official sanction, although such authorization is rarely acknowledged openly. Historical examples include the Soviet and Iranian assassination campaigns against dissidents who had fled abroad, and Libyan and North Korean intelligence operatives downing airliners on international flights. Another type of these activities is "death squads" or "war veterans": unofficial actions taken by officials or functionaries of a regime (such as members of police or intelligence organizations) against their own population to repress or intimidate. While these officials will not claim such activities, and disguise their participation, it is often made clear that they are acting for the state. Keeping such activities "unofficial" permits the authorities deniability and avoids the necessity of changing legal and judicial processes to justify oppression. And finally, the method that barely involves the state: sponsorship of terrorism. It is also known as "state supported" terrorism, when governments provide supplies, training, and other forms of support to non-state terrorist organizations. One of the most valuable types of this support is the provision of safe haven or physical basing for the terrorists' organization. Another crucial service a state sponsor can provide is false documentation, not only for personal identification, but also for financial transactions and weapons purchases. Finally, the extension of diplomatic protections and services, such as immunity from extradition, diplomatic passports, use of embassies and other protected grounds, and diplomatic pouches to transport weapons or explosives have been significant to some groups.

After being able to differentiate the main types of terrorism, it is important to thoroughly examine the structure of the organizations itself. As mentioned by Brian A. Jackson there are three main criteria used for this purpose: 1. Levels of Authority; 2. Network Structures and 3. Types of Organizational Control and Command. The first section primarily indicates the hierarchy of the organisations. There are three levels of control within each organisation:

  • The first one – strategic control, is the spine of the operation. It includes development of the idea upon which the whole number of operations will be based. Only the leader of the organisation has the ability to define the top-level goals and aims of the group.
  • The following level is the operational influence. Although still needing leader's approval, the certain elements such as the next location of the attack and specific operations in the framework of the strategy can be planned by the organisations' second-in-commands.
  • The lowest level of control is the tactical. The ability to control or influence the specific activities an individual member or component of the organization carries out on a day-to-day basis. An example of tactical control is the authority of a cell leader commanding an operation or managing the logistical or other activitiessupporting cell members should to perform.

Because of this system the need of maintaining control may differ. On one side the ability to give the members of the group some autonomic space for decision making could be beneficialin case of emergency to quickly change the plan. However this could be a serious downside as well. Depending on the authority and legitimacy of the leader there might be more, or rare attempts of the revolt within the organisation. This is why every leader has to make sure every detail is going according to his framework and this is when the communication difficulties might step in. Mostly this problem occurs on the tactical level as it requires, in fact, constant control to be certain that no member would dare to alter the route of the operation. This threat is less seen on the higher levels, as the people in charge of the operational control are the ones the leader trusts most, which is why it does not require such a constant observation. And naturally the strategic control will always remain intact, unless either the leader deliberately changes it, or control is artificially disrupted e.g. the leader dies, or is overthrown.

Another aspect of successful terrorist act is the networking system within, as well as between organisations. The efficiency of units is directly proportionate to the strength of the network. The first one is the chain model. It is the easiest to establish but, at the same time, the most vulnerable as it only requires to 'neutralize' one component of the scheme, for the whole system will stop to function. The second type is far advanced as it features the 'hub' model. It is much convenient for two reasons. Firstly it has the central command option that transports the message from one main spot. This prevents possible misinterpretations of the orders from the control centre. Secondly the only way to destroy the network, is to eliminate the main centre of the hub, which can often be hard considering that the organizations system is not fully researched yet. However the trickiest and the most stabile system is the all-channel network. Not only has it the most sophisticated network type (as the name implies), which immediately helps to fully synchronise commands and avoid errors during the planned terrorist attacks, but also it is the most difficult network to get rid of. Unlike the previous models, the loss of one component, even if it is the central one, does not result to total failure as the other networks are still able to fully operate and exchange information between themselves.

The final component that is required in order for the terrorist act to be executed precisely is the proper connection between the different branches. Alongside with the connection types the two above-mentioned components are also very valuable. Again there are three types of connection establishment each having their own effectiveness as well as downsides.

The first variant —Tightly CoupledGroups are organizations where commanders or opinion leaders within the group have the ability to exert strategic, operational, and tactical control. With effectivecommunications mechanisms connecting them to all appropriate functional parts of the organization, these leaders theoretically can design and implement plans aimed at complex strategies, requiring the coordination and sequencing of many different activities in different components of the organization. The most commonly used form is the hierarchy system where the control is exerted from higher to lower levels within the organization. Although traditional hierarchies are tightly coupled groups, they are not the only types of organizations that fall into the category. Other structures could fall into this category if the control and influence relationships within the organization allowed coupling at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels.

A Coupled Network is the second form of communication. Looser than its predecessor, this variation is considerably flexible.Mainly the control is transferred from the "leader" to the "network"The reduction in tactical control and unity within such groups has advantagesand disadvantages from an organizational perspective.Lack of centralized control and coordination can provide advantages in stimulatingtactical level innovation because more independent actors frequently can experimentwith new approaches more readily. However, the price of this increasedflexibility may be limits on an organizations' ability to achieve goals or carry outactivities that require more exact coordination among the various "moving parts" within the group. Examples include more complex political goals (e.g., putting specific types of pressure on an ongoing political process) or situations where the group must carefully modulate its activities to prevent a strenuous security response.

The Loosely Coupled Movements are the ones that have the most fragile connection. The members of the group have the full autonomy to direct the operational and tactical control. As efficient as it might be in terms of flexibility, it is very unstable as it is very hard for the fundamental core to maintain its influence as not only the connections become weaker, but also the tactical phase becomes nearly unpredictable for "leader" leaving the whole scheme of operations under the great risk.

After finally characterising and 'understanding' structure of terrorist organizations it should be easy to understand why they are not the freedom fighters, but rather people who spread fear. Even though it might seem that they are misunderstood group of individuals who fight against the "corrupted westernized world", the methods always give them away. By using ideology as a shroud, the true intention of every terrorist is based upon the selfish desire to bring change by fear, through violence. Unfortunately though, many people have already dived so deep into the false believes that they blindly follow the dream of their leaders, without being able to see through deceit. The biggest challenge is that many people, most notably youngsters unaware to see through the ideology that has been misinterpreted and used as a cover, fall to their influence and eventually become one of the enemy to extent, where they are no longer able to distinguish between good and bad. These people become living tools that are brainwashed, as well as driven by certain idea they barely understand the meaning of. In this process the victims of the manipulations, join the ranks of the enemy viewing themselves as the 'blessed ones' that were able to see through world's illusion and are tasked to 'free the remaining people from the same illusion'. Eventually, these once-innocent men become the 'freedom fighters': the ones who deliberately target and attack innocent civilians; the ones that are ready to colour the world in red because to them the world is corrupt; the ones that are blindly following their leader, even if they are walking to their imminent doom only because 'the ultimate cause demands it'.

Throughout the paper it became clear thatnot only do the terrorist organizations have different background, motivation and tactics, but also various structures based on the three main components. Additionally through pointing out the methods of the terrorists, it becomes clear that they are not true freedom fighters. As to the research question what the terrorist groups really represent, it is possible to consider all the options. Terrorist groups can be organisations, movements, wide networksand even the ideology, becauseitreally depends on the origins, background, goals and ways to achieve them.

Works Cited:

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  • Brian A. Jackson "Groups, Networks, or Movements: A Command-and-Control-Driven Approach to Classifying Terrorist Organizations and Its Application to Al Qaeda, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism". 2006.
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