Does Terrorism Work?

From time to time I get papers written by grad students…..and the interesting ones I try to share with the readers IST…..

Just a few short years ago terrorism was all the buzz….today not so much……

Does terrorism work?

That is the question for the ages.

Some will say it does not….while others may disagree…..

This paper takes a look at the question…..

Terrorism is one of the most widely discussed issues in the twenty-first century due to the increasing terrorist occurrences and its destructive impacts, especially since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Terrorist incidences in the world reached its peak in 2014 with about 16,903 attacks leading to 32,658 fatalities (Global Terrorism Index, 2015). However, there was a fifty-two per cent reduction in the number of deaths associated with terrorist incidences in 2018 compared to 2014 (Global Terrorism Index, 2019). While there is a decline in the number of deaths attributed to terrorism, its impact remains prevalent. For instance, there is an upsurge in the number of countries that experienced terrorism in 2018 with at least one causality from seventy-one countries, which is the second highest in the past twenty years (Global Terrorism Index, 2019). The increasing nature of terrorist attacks has led to the intensification of scholarly interest in terrorism and terrorism-related issues. To this end, prior research has examined the definitions, causes, effects and strategies used by terrorist groups (Halliday, 2001; John, 2014; Elu and Gregory, 2015). However, it seems that the few studies that have examined the effectiveness of terrorism as a means of political struggle have been inconclusive.

In order to understand the reason for the continued existence of terrorism and its proliferation, it is crucial to examine if terrorism works, that is, if it achieves its stated objectives. This essay will contribute to the ongoing discussion on the effectiveness of terrorism by arguing that the answer to the question “Does terrorism work?” depends on our definition of “terrorism” and “work”. These concepts are a subject of debate, and as a result, there may not be one formula for measuring whether terrorism is effective. Thus, the success-level of terrorism is determined by various factors, especially by how it is evaluated. For example, while Dershowitz (2002:13) understands success in terms of attracting media attention and securing temporal concessions, Abrahms (2006:51) perceives it as the achievement the organisation’s central strategic objectives. Consequently, this essay will contend that although terrorist organisations rarely achieve their strategic goals, they often succeed in the achievement of other objectives.

Does Terrorism Work?

You tell me…does terrorism work?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


33 thoughts on “Does Terrorism Work?

  1. I think there are historical examples of it working. Cyprus got independence following ‘Terrorist’ activity. So too Israel, and Malaya. I suppose it all comes down to a definition of Terrorism. One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.
    Best wishes, Pete.

      1. Rhetoric operates on the exact opposite opinion. Its key terms: in the New Testament for example, that religious rhetoric employs the term love: but never once makes any attempt to define this term: love. Instead that religious rhetoric depends upon the fuzzy logic of the audience to define the term in how ever warm and fuzzy way each believer so chooses!

      2. Gandhi once said….”Christianity is a great concept too bad it has NEVER been attempted.” (a paraphrase…..chuq

      3. No. The Cohen nation has a unique culture and set of customs. Contrast Jews: who on several occasions suffered total defeat in Wars, and became stateless refugee populations without a country to call home … with black slaves sold across the planet earth. Jews maintained their cultural identity, even after over 2000 years in exile. Blacks lost their culture and customs of their native lands in 1 or two generations!

      4. Maintain a cultural identity compares to a drop of rain water that falls into a large barrel of water. What happens to the drop of water that falls therein? Jews who maintain traditional customs and practices maintain the classic Jewish identity and do not assimilate and embrace the culture and customs of the foreign country they inhabit – even if they live in that foreign country as Jewish refugees for many generations.

  2. What does the mitzva of Tzitzit teach?  The 2nd paragraph of kre’a shma: “ובלכתך בדרך” links the mitzva of tefillin together with the mitzva of tzitzit, as commanded in the 3rd paragraph of the kre’a shama.  All Torah mitzvot command mussar.  What mussar does the language of: “וראיתם אתו וזכרתם את כל מצות” come to teach?  In our ובלכתך בדרך walk as the chosen brit Cohen nation, the Torah commands us to search for the אצבע אלהים/finger of HaShem within our lives.  All mitzvot learn from the mitzva of tzitzit on this score.  Remembering with thanks giving the “finger of God” within and throughout our lives defines the k’vanna of all the תרי”ג Commandments.

      1. Religious … developed by the Reshonim scholars of the Middle Ages when the church limited Jewish expression of learning the Torah strictly and only to religious subjects. The church banned any discussion of the Torah as a Constitutional political subject.

      2. Religious persecution is nothing new….and religious interference with politics is also nothing new….should be banned but the religious think they have all the answers…..a myth at best chuq

      3. Most religions stand upon theology of telling the believers what they should believe. Oral Torah logic, distinctly different than ancient Greek forms of logic, employs a unique system of mussar known as middot whereby the generation interpret the Written Constitution of the Torah Constitutional Republic.

      4. Separation of church and state: a fundamental Enlightenment period of political development. Excellent for Western societies which bought into the American and French revolutions at the tail end of the 18th Century.

      5. The cultures and customs of Western European societies do not determine much less shape the cultures and customs of societies outside of Europe. No communist one political idea fits all.

      6. There will always be those that think the rules do not apply to them for one reason or another…..chuq

      7. Again I do not need a history lesson…illegal aliens are not terrorists…but a military that bullies civilians are. chuq

      8. So is selling organs taken from dead bodies….but that does not make a terrorist….just criminals chuq

      9. Selling organs with or without the donors permission, whether the donor has died or enjoyed good health till the mafia stole a target organ to profit from its sale on the black market. I someone bashed me over my head and stole one of my kidney’s — I would definitely call that action as an act of terrorism.

      10. Now we are giv8ing into semantics…..I think anyone the destroys crops is a terrorists but that is an opinion…chuq

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