Portal:Terrorism

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Terrorism Portal

Terrorism is the main systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. At present, there is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a "lone wolf" attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence and war. The history of terrorist organizations suggests that they do not select terrorism for its political effectiveness. Individual terrorists tend to be motivated more by a desire for social solidarity with other members of their organization than by political platforms or strategic objectives, which are often murky and undefined. The word "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged, and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition. Studies have found over 100 definitions of “terrorism”. The concept of terrorism is itself controversial because it is often used by states to delegitimize political or foreign opponents, and potentially legitimize the state's own use of terror against them. A less politically and emotionally charged, and better defined, term (used not only for terrorists, and not including all those who have been described as terrorists) is violent non-state actor. Terrorism has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations for furthering their objectives. It has been practiced by both right-wing and left-wing political parties, nationalistic groups, religious groups, revolutionaries, and ruling governments. One form is the use of violence against noncombatants for the purpose of gaining publicity for a group, cause, or individual.

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Flag of the Communist Party of Peru
The Communist Party of Peru (Spanish: Partido Comunista del Perú), more commonly known as the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso), is a Maoist guerrilla organization in Peru. When it first launched the internal conflict in Peru in 1980, its stated goal was to replace what it saw as bourgeois democracy with "New Democracy." The Shining Path believed that by imposing a dictatorship of the proletariat, inducing cultural revolution, and eventually sparking world revolution, they could arrive at pure communism. The Shining Path also believed that all existing socialist countries were revisionist, and that the Shining Path itself was the vanguard of the world communist movement. The Shining Path's ideology and tactics have been influential on other Maoist insurgent groups, notably the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and other Revolutionary Internationalist Movement-affiliated organizations. Widely condemned for its brutality, including violence deployed against peasants, trade union organizers, popularly elected officials and the general civilian population, the Shining Path is regarded by Peru as a terrorist organization. The group is on the U.S. Department of State's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and the European Union and Canada likewise regard them as a terrorist organization and prohibit providing funding or other financial support. Since the capture of its leader Abimael Guzmán in 1992, the Shining Path has only been sporadically active. Certain factions of the Shining Path now claim to fight in order to force the government to reach a peace treaty with the rebels. Similar to the larger FARC in Colombia, some factions of Shining Path have reinvented themselves as a highly efficient cocaine smuggling operation, with an ostensibly paternalistic relationship to villagers.

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A plaque at the Antelope post office commemorates local resistance to the Rajneeshee "invasion".
Credit: TravisL

The 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack was the first bioterrorism attack in the United States, and the single largest bioterrorist attack in United States history. The attack is one of only two confirmed terrorist uses of biological weapons to harm humans.

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1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack

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Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Zarqawi took responsibility, on several audiotapes, for numerous acts of terrorism in Iraq and Jordan. These acts include suicide bombings, and the killing of soldiers, police officers, and civilians. As an Islamist identified with the Salafi movement, Zarqawi opposed the presence of United States and Western military forces in the Islamic world and opposed the West's support for and the existence of Israel. In September 2005, he reportedly declared "all-out war" on Shia Muslims in Iraq and is believed responsible for dispatching numerous Al-Qaeda suicide bombers throughout Iraq, especially to areas with large concentrations of Shia civilians. As the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq he is suspected of responsibility for thousands of deaths. Zarqawi was killed in a US airstrike in June 2006.

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There is an alternative to terrorism. It's called justice.
Arundhati Roy, Public Power in the Age of Empire (2004)

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