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Terrorism is a bloody means to an end

10.12.2012 10:36

Alexander Novik

One of the bloodiest means to achieve political, economic, ideological, and other purposes since the dawn of human civilization is terrorism. In its scale, unpredictability, and consequences, terrorism has become one of the most pressing social and political problems mankind entered with the XXI century.

The modern society is faced with many kinds of threats. One of them is terrorism. Terrorism implies both explosion of dwelling houses, railways and subways, and cruel methods of warfare and killing of state and public figures on political grounds, and hijacking of aircraft, and purely criminal kidnapping for ransom, blackmail, and other. Currently, there are about 200 concepts of terrorism, but none of them is sufficiently definite and generally accepted. This state of affairs is caused by both the complexity of a phenomenon such as terrorism, and the subjective factors.

Of the entire variety the most common is the definition of terrorism as a means of using violence or threat of its use against individuals, groups or the entire society to achieve political, economic, ideological, and other results favorable for terrorists.

The bloody nature of terrorism as a means to achieve its goals lies in this phenomenon's original name deriving from the Latin word "terror", which means in translation "fear", "horror". Indeed, any terrorists' actions (not even connected with murder) always involve violence, coercion, threats. Any terrorist's main means to an end is intimidation, creating fear, uncertainty, and terror.

In the modern sense the word "terror" began to be used at the end of XVIII century, during the French Revolution. In Russia terrorism began to be talked about since the second half of XIX century, when the terror started to be used in the society as a means of struggle for social justice. "Discoverers" of the era of European "left" political terrorism in Russia were members of the "Narodnaya Volya" ("People's Freedom").

In view of the extreme danger to society and cruelty of acts of terror, their anti-social and inhuman nature, many terrorologists define terrorism as a social phenomenon consisting of abuse of extreme violence or threat of violence for psychological intimidation of opponents in order to achieve specific goals, the main one which is the seizure of power. For example, as early as 1920 experts of one of the key "brain trusts" of the West ? the British Tavistock Institute of Human Relations drew a fundamental conclusion: the use of terror makes people childlike, whose rational-critical function of thinking is off, and the emotional response to different situations is predictable and profitable for the organizers of terrorist acts. Therefore, control of the levels of anxiety of a personality allows to control large social groups.

The founder of the Harvard Psychological Clinic, Kurt Lewin, took a hand in this issue too; in his work "Time Perspective and Morale" he says: "One of the main methods of morale suppression through a strategy of frightening (terror) is to keep the person in a state of uncertainty about its current position and what he can expect in the future."

Kurt Lewin became notorious for developing a plan of "air terror" the U.S. and Britain realized in 1942-1945 in the skies over Germany and Japan. Thus, the main purpose of massed bombings (the climax was the destruction of Dresden in February 1945) was the urban population, and not military infrastructure. The aim was to psychologically terrorize the Germans, to destroy the soldiers' and officers' will to resist through their wives, children, and parents. A crown of this theory or plan was the nuclear destruction in 1945 of the objectives insignificant from a military point of view ? the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Here too the main thing was to undermine the population's morale.

Lewin's expertise was used by the Americans in the postwar period in a number of wars and conflicts (Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc.).

In general, the analysis of terrorist deeds indicates that the bloody nature of terrorism as a means of achieving the goals set by of its organizers, is depreciated human life and human suffering, it is a bloody path of the attacks paymasters and perpetrators over the heads of people to their goal, this is always a challenge to society both by means of psychological pressure on society through the creation of a climate of constant fear, and through the direct destruction of people, part of society.

As a social phenomenon, terrorism has no religion, no nationality (as corruption or drunkenness). But each particular terrorist has a definite nationality or religious (or other) beliefs, and it is these factors that usually become the main motives of his actions. That is just where the risk level of terrorists is - the more they are motivated in their actions, the greater their danger to society.

Modern terrorism is a threat not only to individual states. Taking into account the global scale and scope of terrorism, it is safe to say that it is a mortal danger to all humanity. Today, we too often get a reminder that terrorism continues to fill the lives of people around the world with the pain and suffering, claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Currently in the world there are more than 500 terrorist organizations and groups of various kinds: political, nationalist, religious, criminal and other; in all, terrorologists mark out about 200 kinds of terrorist activities. The most dangerous is technological terrorism, nuclear terrorism is distinctive for its degree of destructiveness, there is growing danger of cyber-terrorism. In the past 10 years, over 6500 acts of terrorism have been committed in the world resulting in death and injuries of tens of thousands people.

The problem of terrorism acquired global dimension and the same urgency after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 in the U.S.. Amidst the current global transformations of the international relations system, this problem constitutes a threat to human security on the national, regional and global level. Currently, almost every week somewhere in the world a terrorist act is committed without regard targeting at innocent people who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Pursuant to the above said, all countries are interested in victory over this evil, including Russia, for which one of the most troubled regions in this context is the North Caucasus, where almost everyday explosions and shootings are heard, acts of sabotage and killing people take place. Despite the measures taken to combat terrorism in the North Caucasus, the bandit underground in this region does not reduce activity.

Meanwhile it should be noted that terrorist groups in the North Caucasus are united by a single separatist and terrorist ideology of radical Islam ? Wahabiism, which makes the battle against it much more difficult to carry out as compared to bandits without any ideology. Practical implementation of the separatist and terrorist ideology of radical Islam is the creation in the North Caucasus of a single entity - an Islamic state under Sharia law whose full name is "Islamic State of the Caucasus Emirate".

By definition of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation the Caucasus Emirate is a terrorist organization, threatening the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, as its strategic goal is the separation of the North Caucasus from Russia and the creation in the region of an independent Shariah state through violent overthrow of the constitutional order and cancel of the Russian legislation existing in its territory. The U.S. State Department has recognized the Caucasus Emirate a terrorist organization too.

Currently, the Caucasus Emirate is a separatist and terrorist underground covering the territory of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachai-Cherkess, North Ossetia-Alania and parts of Stavropol Territory. The Caucasus Emirate's striking power are armed militant groups operating in mountain-woody areas of the region. Different groups (Jamaats) that constitute the Caucasus Emirate are united by a single ideology and methods of armed struggle against the Russian statehood in the North Caucasus, local authorities and Russian law enforcement agencies. Being convinced that they fulfill the will of God, fanatic terrorists from the Caucasus Emirate are devoid of any moral self-restraint. They are limited only by their capabilities.

The main forms of action of bandit groups forming part of the Caucasus Emirate are acts of terrorism, firing and bombings, and other acts of intimidation of the population, authorities and clergy. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the victims of terrorists become the law enforcement officers, the Russian military, undercover officers.

The terrorists led by Doku Umarov, using the bloody methods of destroying people, aim to achieve, above all, psychological effect, to sow fear, confusion in bodies of government, society and among civilians so as to create conditions for the achievement of their main political goals - the destruction of the state foundations of federal government in the North Caucasus. In addition, the Islamist bandit underground in the North Caucasus threatens to turn the region into a place of concealment for international terrorism, which would further destabilize the situation in the North Caucasus.

The Caucasus Emirate constitute a threat to Russia, not only in the form of diversions. Many Russians undergo treatment with ideological terrorism directed against the Russian state: "Brothers and sisters in Islam" are urged "to rally round the Caucasus Emirate" that "after the collapse of Rusnya (i.e. Russia) will become the center of a new state." Jihadists consider the whole of Russia (not just selected areas with a predominantly Muslim population) a land, on which a caliphate is to be built and urge to do it violently. In this regard, Doku Umarov noted that one of the goals of the Caucasus Emirate's jihad is not only separation from Russia, but also association with Muslims in Astrakhan region, Tatarstan, and in the Urals. And this means that jihad exceeds the regional bounds of the North Caucasus, moving to other regions of Russia and the appearance of Mujahideen becomes possible anywhere.

Muslim fundamentalism today is in the offensive stage. The analysis shows that even smoldering guerrilla warfare of terrorists in the country is extremely dangerous because it is directed against its integrity, claiming human lives, undermines economic development, people's faith in the future, in tomorrow. Since, as it is noted in the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, terrorism is the main internal threat to the country; the state's and the entire society's attention to this problem must be paramount. Moreover, as is shown by the experience, the fight against terrorism requires a comprehensive approach that includes not only power methods, but also economic, social, political, ideological and legal measures. The effectiveness of these measures depends on the systemic nature of their implementation, and not from case to case, until the next terrorist attack.