What role do you think these incidents had in precipitating the IRA’s and PLO’s cycles of violence?

Bloody Sunday

In the late 1960s, Irish Catholic activists calling themselves the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association attempted to emulate the African American civil rights movement as a strategy to agitate for equality in Northern Ireland. They thought that the same force of moral conviction would sway British policy to improve the plight of the Catholics. Their demands were similar to those of the American civil rights movement: equal opportunity, better employment, access to housing, and access to education. This ended when mostly peaceful demonstrations gradually became more violent, leading to rioting in the summer of 1969, an environment of generalized unrest, and the deployment of British troops. After 1969, the demonstrations continued, but rioting, fire bombings, and gun battles gradually became a regular feature of strife in Northern Ireland.

On January 30, 1972, elite British paratroopers fired on demonstrators in Londonderry. Thirteen demonstrators were killed. After this incident, many Catholics became radicalized and actively worked to drive out the British. The Irish Republican Army received recruits and widespread support from the Catholic community. In July 1972, the Provos launched a massive bombing spree in central Belfast.

Black September

When Leila Khaled and her comrades attempted to hijack five airliners on September 6 and 9, 1970, their plan was to fly all of the planes to an abandoned British Royal Air Force (RAF) airfield in Jordan, hold hostages, broker the release of Palestinian prisoners, release the hostages, blow up the planes, and thereby force the world to focus on the plight of the Palestinian people. On September 12, 255 hostages were released from the three planes that landed at Dawson’s Field (the RAF base), and 56 were kept to bargain for the release of seven Palestinian prisoners, including Leila Khaled. The group then blew up the airliners.

Unfortunately for the hijackers, their actions greatly alarmed King Hussein of Jordan. Martial law was declared on September 16, and the incident led to civil war between Palestinian forces and the Jordanian army. Although the Jordanians’ operation was precipitated by the destruction of the airliners on Jordanian soil, tensions had been building between the army and Palestinian forces for some time. King Hussein and the Jordanian leadership interpreted this operation as confirmation that radical Palestinian groups had become too powerful and were a threat to Jordanian sovereignty.

On September 19, Hussein asked for diplomatic intervention from Great Britain and the United States when a Syrian column entered Jordan in support of the Palestinians. On September 27, a truce ended the fighting. The outcome of the fighting was a relocation of much of the Palestinian leadership and fighters to its Lebanese bases. The entire incident became known among Palestinians as Black September and was not forgotten by radicals in the Palestinian nationalist movement. One of the most notorious terrorist groups took the name Black September, and the name was also used by Abu Nidal.

Discussion Question:

Pick one of the following to answer.  Remember all of the required aspects to forums.

  1. What role do you think these incidents had in precipitating the IRA’s and PLO’s cycles of violence?
  2. Were the IRA’s and PLO’s tactics and targets justifiable responses to these incidents?
  3. What in your opinion, would have been the outcome in Northern Ireland if the British government had responded to the Irish Catholics’ emulation of the American civil rights movement?
  4. What, in your opinion, would have been the outcome if the Jordanian government had not responded militarily to the Palestinian presence in Jordan?
  5. How should the world community have responded to Bloody Sunday and Black September?

Resources for week 2

Article on the psychological profile of terrorist:  http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/11/terrorism.aspx Article casting doubts about any particular profile: http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20150512-terrorists-personality-traits-indistinguishable-from-traits-of-the-general-population-experts




Chapter 2

The Nature of the Beast

Defining Terrorism

Understanding Extremism

Defining Extremism

    • Intolerance in what someone believes.
    • Intolerance in how someone expresses their beliefs.
    • Violent expression is not a universal characteristic.
    • Understanding Extremism

Common Characteristics of Violent Extremists

    • Intolerance.
    • Moral absolutes.
    • Broad conclusions.
    • New language and conspiratorial beliefs.
  • The World of the Extremist
    • Different, often fantastic, worldview compared to non-extremists.
    • Basic belief that unjust forces are arrayed against true believers.
    • Clear sense of mission, purpose, and righteousness.

Defining Terrorism an Ongoing Debate

  • Guerrilla Warfare
    • Terrorism is not synonymous with guerilla warfare
    • Guerilla translates to “little war”
    • Guerilla warfare exists today
  • A Sampling of Formal Definitions
    • The use of illegal force.
    • Subnational actors.
    • Unconventional methods.
    • Political motives.
    • Attacks on “soft” civilian and passive military targets.
    • Acts aimed at purposefully affecting an audience.
  • The American Context: Defining Terrorism in the United States
    • No single definition has been adopted.
    • Definitions have been developed from time to time by government agencies.
    • For example, by the Department of Defense, the U.S. Code, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of State.
  • The American Context: Defining Terrorism in the United States (continued)
    • Composite American definition: “Premeditated and unlawful act in which groups or agents of some principal engage in a threatened or actual use of force or violence against human or property targets. These groups or agents engage in this behavior intending the purposeful intimidation of governments or people to affect policy or behavior with an underlying political objective.”
  • Types of Terrorism
    • A general consensus among experts about the types of terrorism.
    • State terrorism.
    • Dissident terrorism.
    • Religious terrorism.
    • Criminal terrorism.
    • International terrorism.

Perspectives on Terrorism

  • Perspective 1: Four Quotations
    • “One Person’s Terrorist is Another Person’s Freedom Fighter”
    • “One Man Willing to Throw Away His Life is Enough to Terrorize a Thousand”
    • “Extremism in Defense of Liberty is No Vice”
    • “It Became Necessary to Destroy the Town to Save It”
  • Perspective 2: Participants in a Terrorist Environment
    • The terrorist.
    • The supporter.
    • The victim.
    • The target.
    • The onlooker.
    • The analyst.
  • Perspective 3: Terrorism or Freedom Fighting?
    • Debate: Whether the use of political violence is justifiable.
    • Governments and dissidents always cite noble aspirations to justify violence.
  • Perspective 4: Extremism or “Mainstreamism”?
    • Debate: Whether political violence is always manifested from a political fringe.
    • Do some political environments make extremism justifiable within the mainstream?

The Political Violence Matrix

The Political Violence Matrix

    • Combatant and Noncombatant Targets
    • Indiscriminate and Discriminate Force
  • Case in Point: The Orlando Mass Shooting
    • The Terrorism Hate Crime Nexus
    • Recall the opening viewpoint
    • Religion-inspired mass shooting directed against a demographic group.

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