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Terrorism in the 21st century is very different than terrorism in the 20th century - Research Paper Example

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In the past, acts of terrorism, which can be defined as attacks on civilian targets rather than military targets, were often committed as part of a campaign of independence or to achieve a…
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Terrorism in the 21st century is very different than terrorism in the 20th century
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Download file to see previous pages In the course of this essay I will examine three aspects of terrorism then and now by looking at different groups with different aims. In the course of these examinations or comparisons, many of the salient differences between old terrorism and new terrorism will become evident. In the first case I will examine the Algerian-French conflict in the middle of the 20th century. In this conflict, the French fought an urban guerrilla war against Algerian nationalists who wished to liberate their country from French colonialism. The brutal reprisals of the French were responded to by acts of terrorism such as blowing up mailboxes in Paris. While the conflict elicited a cri du Coeur from other colonial subjects around the world and inspired a great many anti-colonialist thinkers, it did not, for example, draw in foreign fighters or radicalize a generation of extremists. Furthermore, terrorism was to some extent a last resort for Algerians who were consistently refused real political influence or power over their country. Their aim was clear and their methods—while highly objectionable—were coherent and connected to their aim. The Algerian terrorists of the time, while ruthless, could and did negotiate with the French. Indeed, the terrorist/freedom fighters were able to secure the independence of Algeria in 1962.
In the second case I will examine the conflict in Afghanistan from 1979, what many analysts believe is the genesis of the new terrorism. While issues raised by this very long conflict began with the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, which provoked a somewhat traditional form of terrorism in the form of freedom fighters and guerrillas, as in the Algerian in the 1950s, the form of resistance morphed dramatically by the 1990s and into the 2000s. These years saw the rise of a new form of terrorism, funded and inspired in part by Saudi Wahhabism, and an ideology of global jihad (Coll 2004, 87). These new terrorists did not have clear or rational aims but instead ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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