Dictionary of Terrorism

By John Richard Thackrah | Go to book overview

Introduction

This dictionary has been prepared with the following issues in mind. The general public have to be made aware of the main issues surrounding one of the most intractable global problems at the start of the twenty-first century. Currently courses are organised for the police and the military as part of a postgraduate programme in politics and international relations. Since September 11, however, an increase in interest in the subject has been shown and bookshelves in high street book outlets contain considerably more titles on terrorism. People want to be made aware why terrorists so misunderstand society and why this uncertainty is reciprocated by democracies all over the globe. In other words, terrorists face just as many problems as the democratic society which they are hoping to destroy. Uncertain conflicts litter the world terrorist thought, with the terrorists' vision of the future appearing more and more bizarre and incoherent as each year progresses. When one analyses the nature of the impact and the problems, the history of terrorism can be written in a more meaningful way, and primarily an insight can be gained in organisational behaviour and operational postures.

Courses in terrorism can have several educational goals - to define and distinguish between the state as a terror agent and acts of non-state terrorist groups. Particular conceptual frameworks for analysing terror can be applied to each terror group studied. One can distinguish the controversies surrounding the use of terror and the role of the media in world society, the development of international law, the safety of hostages and the preservation of civil liberties in a democratic society. One can articulate and define a personal value position on how to reconcile values such as freedom and justice or the preservation of life and security in the world including terror and political violence.

Exercises on the problem can aim at finding, organising and presenting information based on sources likely to be consulted in the future if they are to become informed global citizens. Simulation and gaming can teach problem-solving skills, conflict theory, bargaining and negotiation. Conflict management is a crucial area - covering concepts, conflict sources and dynamics, thought traditions, coping with conflicts, assumptions of conflict settlement and conflict resolution.

Events over the past three years have shown the importance of understanding proposals for government and international responses to terror. A national level response would include anti-terror measures, police as intelligence agents, the army's role, mobilising the public and special powers of detention. International levels of response would examine the 'political' offences loophole, intelligence and police co-operation, bilateral cooperation, extradition problems, guidelines for responses by democracies, and the avoidance of over-reaction.

Topics on a course can cover democracy and coping with terrorism; an analytical framework of study and control of agitational terror; a typology of terror; international terror weapons; conceptualising terror; a general strategy for analysis; quantitive research; models of terror as an ongoing process; profiles and terrorism and the role of the police and the military.

Educational objectives and terrorism have to be clearly ascertained. Students have to be provided

-viii-

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