Differences In Terrorist Organizational Views Cultural Studies Essay
Shannon M Carroll
All terrorist organizations have a defined philosophy on what they want to achieve. Yet not all have a nationalist movement to support this philosophy or an end goal to remove a foreign country from their homeland. There is a fine line between a revolution to remove a foreign oppressor and creating a civil war, both sides want to be free but to what means and under who's rule. This paper will focus mainly on the Middle East, the "terrorist" organizations that will reviewed will be divided into two separate groups. The first set of organizations are ideologically based; they are not trying to remove a foreign entity from their home lands. They are wishing to spread a belief throughout the Middle East and the world. Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaeda are all examples of these, their philosophies are.
Looking at the first set organizations it is apparent that they do not wish for freedom of persecution as much as they believe the world should follow their teachings such as Hezbollah. Most experts believe Hezbollah was created around 1982 by a group of Muslim clerics after Israel invaded Lebanon. It was made up of around two thousand Iranian Revolutionary Guards that were sent to Lebanon to aid in the resistance of Israel. Israeli resistance was the original objective of Hezbollah but they also dreamed of turning Lebanon into an Iranian-like country based off of Muslim beliefs. Hezbollah viewed Israel as a Muslim land and believed Israel did not have any claim to it. Hezbollah is rumored to receive financial backing from Iran, as well as, illegal activities from international division that mask themselves as non-profit humanitarian organizations.
Hamas is assumed to have begun in 1987 and is considered to be the largest Palestinian militant organization. "Hamas was formed at the beginning of the first intifada, or Palestinian uprising against Israel’s occupation in the West Bank of Gaza" (bbc.co.uk, 2009). Initially Hamas wants to force the Israelis out of the lands they occupy but their overall goal is to establish an Islamic community inside Israel. Like Hezbollah, Hamas also contains multiple factions in which one group runs non-profit organizations that build hospitals, schools, and religious buildings while another group runs militant operations. Creating false organizations under the cover of humanitarianism allows Hamas to fund itself through illegal activities. Hamas continues to stay true to their long term goal of turning Israel into an Islamic community.
The final group in this category is the infamous Al Qaeda, mostly known for the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001. This group was founded by Osama Bin Laden and Muhammad Atef. The attacks on 9/11 were the high point of Al Qaeda but did not bring the group the Mecca of terrorist organizations. "The attacks made the danger of terrorism clear to leaders around the world, who also knew that they had to work with Washington or risk the wrath of the world's only superpower" (Byman, 2011). Unlike Hezbollah and Hamas, Al Qaeda does not seek to remove, eliminate, or oppress a specific nationality as much as it desires to eradicate the entire western hemisphere with the United States as its primary target.
The second set of "terrorist" organizations are groups that want to remove a foreign government or establish their own county, they are the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), later known as the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy (KADEK), and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The final group in this is outside the Middle East but the removal of a foreign government continues to be the end goal, this group is the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
The PKK/KADEK was formed in southeastern Turkey and was originally established in the late 70s to eliminate a communist revolution taking place within Turkey. Most Turkish leftist organizations shared this goal with the PKK/KADEK and its members. "The main tactics used by the PKK/KADEK, even in the 70s, were terroristic ones used by most militant communist organizations" (FMEBS, 2004). The PKK/KADEK eventually evolved into a full blown terrorist organization by changing its goal the create a separate Kurdish state completely segregated from their western brothers and sisters.
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) was a group that sought freedom for Ireland from the rule of the British. "The IRA fought an insurgency that successfully challenged British rule in the whole of Ireland in the early years of the twentieth century that ultimately lead to the creation of an independent Irish Free State in 1921" (Gregory, 2010). The remaining six counties to the north of Ireland were merged together to form the province of Northern Ireland. Many members of the IRA did not like this and launched a civil war against Northern Ireland. Eventually the IRA split into two faction, the Dublin based "officials" and the Belfast based "provisional's" who seeks the same goal of Irish unification but through very different means. The officials leaned more towards a peaceful union while the provisional's used violence in order to create unity.
Each one of these group wants to spread their specific philosophy around the Middle East and the world, exception again being the IRA. Each one has its base group of people to speak with in a country, but notice that they do not have an oppressor they wish to remove. In its early years Al Qaeda would fit this mold, formed in response to the Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan, but changed to a more ideologically based movement once the Soviets left. This form of ideological terrorism historically has not lasted, since they are not removing a foreign entity. For example the French Revolution, at first ideologically based event, fought for the people to be freed from tyranny so they removed King Louis XVI replaced him Maximillien De Robespierre and his "reign of terror", this too did not last. Another was the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, purely an ideological movement, overthrew King Norodom Sihanouk and his Royal Government of National Union of Kampuchea, with a sadist form of communism, in a short period of time it too did not last and was removed. The Russian Revolution, an ideological view of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin also seeked freedom and they too removed the old monarchy, Czar Nicholas II from power through violence, only it was also removed a short time later. A current example could be Cuba, the Cuban Revolution in 1959, was an ideologically based movement, and as it appears right now, once Fidel Castro dies the revolution will soon go too, since no clear leader is emerging to continue the present form of government. An interesting observation is the fact that each one of these movements removed one oppressive form of government and replaced it with another. One may make the argument that the ideological terrorist movement of the Middle East may, in time, fall to the same fate as it brothers of history.
The other group of Terrorists, ones who have at least one part, a vision of freedom for their people/country is the PPK/KADEK; its main purpose is the establishment of the Kurdish State. Unfortunately the demographics on where this new country would lay are in several other countries at this time. They have a political agenda as well as a violent arm-terrorism. One of which has not been as fruitful as the political side since the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Yet none the less they have for decades now focused there terrorism on the countries that occupy what they consider their lands. Once again they wish to remove an "oppressor." The second example of ideological terrorism for freedom of oppression is the Palestinian Liberation Organization which was established for the liberation of the people of Palestine from the Jewish State of Israel. Unlike Hezbollah or Hamas and now Al Qaeda, it was founded to remove a foreign entity. Once established the PLO has had a violent terrorist philosophy but has moved towards a more political based entity in the last two decades and less reliance on violence.
On a similar note with PLO, the IRA started out to remove the British from Northern Ireland, maintaining a political wing but moving towards violent in 1970's and 80's, but later realizing a political goal would achieve more than all out bombing campaign on civilians. The IRA, like the PLO and the PPK, wanted to remove a foreign entity from their land, which is the opposite of the Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Some more well known American movements are not much different than the ones seen today. Some of movements that were ideologically based for the removal of a foreign entity, like the American Revolution, shows how adaptation for survive will enable the groups who want to reach the end goal of Statehood.
The British would have undoubtedly viewed the colonist as "terrorist" for the Declaration of Independence and especially the opened armed conflict with the British Military. This movement, like many of the other groups, was ideologically based on the removal of the British, similar to the PPK/KADEK, PLO and the IRA, all wanting the removal of the oppressor. On the other end of the spectrum would be the Chinese Revolution, they wanted to remove all foreign nationals from their country, ideologically based, communism or Maoism, they wanted freedom for the Chinese People. It now stands as the old dog if you will of communism since the fall of the Soviet Union, though with a different twist on communism, its basis was again freedom from a foreign entity.
Groups such as these have been documented throughout human history. If God had sent Jesus to earth in this century to save His people Jesus might be viewed very similarly to any other terrorist organization, with the exception of violence used to reach His goal. Jesus, and His predecessors sent by God, all sought for freedom of the Israelites. Each organization wanted to claim lands that they felt were rightfully theirs. In essence many events throughout history could be viewed as terroristic by today's perceived definition, though it is the end result and the means at which a group obtains success that will ultimately grant or relieve them of the terrorist title.