Global Corporate Intelligence: Opportunities, Technologies, and Threats in the 1990s

By George S. Roukis; Hugh Conway et al. | Go to book overview

12
The Terrorist Threat to Corporations

Joseph E. Goldberg

Despite the numerous incidents of terrorism since the 1960s, terrorism is not a modern phenomenon. In the medieval period, the Assassins, an Ismaili Shiite group believing that the line of Muslim leadership should descend from the line of Ismail, the seventh in line of succession from the Prophet's son-in-law, Ali, used murder and violence against Sunni rulers and officials. The fear of assassination, a word etymologically derived from the Assassins, often led rulers to modify their behavior. As one Islami proponent of assassination wrote, "By one single warrior on foot a king may be stricken with terror, though he own more than a hundred thousand horsemen."1 The English word terrorism owes its origin to the Reign of Terror arising from the French Revolution.

Terrorism in its modern form is far more international in scope, and since the 1960s terrorism has been more commonly used to advance a variety of causes. Modern technological advancements have aided terrorists in carrying out their violent tasks. The existence of modern communications systems, especially television, has enabled terrorists to gain desired publicity for their objectives and increased the fear among the world at large that no individual or population is secure from the terrorist's arm. The uncertainty of terrorism enhances its effectiveness and influence.

But modern terrorism, unlike its ancient and medieval precursors, aims not

____________________
All views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. government.

-177-

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