The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction

The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction

The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction

The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction

Synopsis

The destruction of the World Trade Towers demonstrates the horrifying consequences of a terrorist strike. But as technological advances make weapons of mass destruction frighteningly easy to acquire, a revolution is occurring in the very nature of terrorism--one that may make these attacks look like child's play. In The New Terrorism Walter Laqueur, one of the foremost experts on terrorism and international strategic affairs, recounts the history of terrorism and, more importantly, examines the future of terrorist activity worldwide. Laqueur traces the chilling trend away from terrorism perpetrated by groups of oppressed nationalists and radicals seeking political change to small clusters of fanatics bent on vengeance and simple destruction. Coinciding with this trend is the alarming availability of weapons of mass destruction. Chemical and biological weapons are cheap and relatively easy to make or buy. Even nuclear devices are increasingly feasible options for terrorists. And with the information age, cyber terrorism is just around the corner. Laqueur argues that as a new quasi-religious extreme right rises, with more personal and less ideological motivations than their left-wing counterparts, it is only a matter of time before the attainability of weapons of mass destruction creates a terrifying and unstable scenario. From militant separatism in Kashmir to state-sponsored extremism in Libya and ecoterrorism in the West, The New Terrorism offers a thorough account of terrorism in all its past and current manifestations. Most importantly, it casts a sober eye to the future, when the inevitable marriage of technology and fanaticism will give us all something new to think about.

Excerpt

Four hundred twelve men, women, and children were hacked to death by terrorists on the night of December 29, 1997, in three isolated villages in Algeria's Elizane region. Four hundred perished when a group of the Shah's opponents burned a cinema in Abadan during the last phase of the monarchy in Iran. There were 328 victims when an Air India aircraft was exploded by Sikh terrorists in 1985, and 278 were killed in the Lockerbie disaster in Scotland in 1988 which was commissioned by Libya's Colonel Khadafi and carried out by terrorists. Two hundred forty-one U.S. marines lost their lives when their barracks were attacked by suicide bombers in Beirut in 1983, 171 were killed when Libyan emissaries put a bomb on a French UTA plane in 1985. The largest toll in human life on American soil was paid when 169 men, women, and children died in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Terrorism has been with us for centuries, and it has always attracted inordinate attention because of its dramatic character and its sudden, often wholly unexpected, occurrence. It has been a tragedy for the victims, but seen in historical perspective it seldom has been more than a nuisance.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.