6
The Modern Terrorist Mindset:
Tactics,Targets and Technologies

The wrath of the terrorist is rarely uncontrolled. Contrary to both popular belief and media depiction, most terrorism is neither crazed nor capricious. Rather, terrorist attacks are generally both premeditated and carefully planned. As we saw in the previous chapter, the terrorist act is specifically designed to communicate a message. But, equally important, it is also conceived and executed in a manner that simultaneously reflects the terrorist group's particular aims and motivations, fits its resources and capabilities and takes into account the 'target audience' at which the act is directed. The tactics and targets of various terrorist movements, as well as the weapons they favour, are therefore ineluctably shaped by a group's ideology, its internal organizational dynamics and the personalities of its key members, as well as a variety of internal and external stimuli.


The Nexus of Ideological and Operational Imperatives

All terrorist groups seek targets that are rewarding from their point of view, and employ tactics that are consonant with their overriding political aims. Whereas left-wing terrorists like the German RAF and Italian RB have selectively kidnapped and assassinated persons whom they blamed for economic exploitation or political repression in order to attract publicity and promote a Marxist-Leninist revolution, terrorists motivated by a religious imperative have engaged in more indiscriminate

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