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THE SOCIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY OF TERRORISM: WHO BECOMES A TERRORIST AND WHY? A Report Prepared under an Interagency Agreement by the Federal Research Division, Library of Congress September 1999 Author: Rex A. Hudson Editor: Marilyn Majeska Project Managers: Andrea M. Savada Helen C.

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Metz Federal Research Division Library of Congress Washington, D. C. 20540–4840 Tel: 202–707–3900 Fax: 202–707–3920 E-Mail: [email protected] gov Homepage: http://www. loc. gov/rr/frd/

Dear Reader: This product was prepared by the staff of the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress under an Interagency Agreement with the sponsoring United States Government agency. The Federal Research Division is the Library of Congress’s primary fee-for-service research unit and has served United States Government agencies since 1948. At the request of Executive and Judicial branch agencies, and on a cost-recovery basis, the Division prepares customized studies and reports, chronologies, bibliographies, foreign-language abstracts, databases, and other directed-research products in hardcopy and electronic media.

The research includes a broad spectrum of social sciences, physical sciences, and humanities topics using the collections of the Library of Congress and other information sources world-wide. For additional information on obtaining the research and analytical services of the Federal Research Division, please call 202–707–3909, fax 202–707–3920), via E-mail [email protected] gov, or write to: Marketing Coordinator, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540–4840.

The Division’s World Wide Web Homepage can be viewed at http://www. loc. gov/rr/frd. Robert L. Worden, Ph. D. Chief Federal Research Division Library of Congress 101 Independence Ave SE Washington, DC 20540–4840 E-mail: [email protected] gov PREFACE The purpose of this study is to focus attention on the types of individuals and groups that are prone to terrorism (see Glossary) in an effort to help improve U. S. counterterrorist methods and policies.

The emergence of amorphous and largely unknown terrorist individuals and groups operating independently (freelancers) and the new recruitment patterns of some groups, such as recruiting suicide commandos, female and child terrorists, and scientists capable of developing weapons of mass destruction, provide a measure of urgency to increasing our understanding of the psychological and sociological dynamics of terrorist groups and individuals.

The approach used in this study is twofold. First, the study examines the relevant literature and assesses the current knowledge of the subject. Second, the study seeks to develop psychological and sociological profiles of foreign terrorist individuals and selected groups to use as case studies in assessing trends, motivations, likely behavior, and actions that might deter such behavior, as well as reveal vulnerabilities that would aid in combating terrorist groups and individuals.

Because this survey is concerned not only with assessing the extensive literature on sociopsychological aspects of terrorism but also providing case studies of about a dozen terrorist groups, it is limited by time constraints and data availability in the amount of attention that it can give to the individual groups, let alone individual leaders or other members. Thus, analysis of the groups and leaders will necessarily be incomplete.

A longer study, for example, would allow for the collection and study of the literature produced by each group in the form of autobiographies of former members, group communiques and manifestos, news media interviews, and other resources. Much information about the terrorist mindset (see Glossary) and decision-making process can be gleaned from such sources. Moreover, there is a language barrier to an examination of the untranslated literature of most of the groups included as case studies herein. Terrorism databases that profile groups and leaders quickly become outdated, and this report is no exception to that rule.

In order to remain current, a terrorism database ideally should be updated periodically. New groups or terrorist leaders may suddenly emerge, and if an established group perpetrates a major terrorist incident, new information on the group is likely to be reported in news media. Even if a group appears to be quiescent, new information may become available about the group from scholarly publications. i There are many variations in the transliteration for both Arabic and Persian. The academic versions tend to be more complex than the popular forms used in the news media and by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS).

Thus, the latter usages are used in this study. For example, although Ussamah bin Ladin is the proper transliteration, the more commonly used Osama bin Laden is used in this study. ii TABLE OF CONTENTS PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: MINDSETS OF MASS DESTRUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 New Types of Post-Cold War Terrorists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 New Forms of Terrorist-Threat Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 TERMS OF ANALYSIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Defining Terrorism and Terrorists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Terrorist Group Typologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 APPROACHES TO TERRORISM ANALYSIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Multicausal Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Political Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Organizational Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Physiological Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Psychological Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . GENERAL HYPOTHESES OF TERRORISM Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis Negative Identity Hypothesis . . . . . Narcissistic Rage Hypothesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 15 15 16 17 18 19 19 20 20 22 22 24 26 31 31 32 34 36 37 38 41 THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE TERRORIST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terrorist Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Process of Joining a Terrorist Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Terrorist as Mentally Ill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Terrorist as Suicidal Fanatic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fanatics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Suicide Terrorists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terrorist Group Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pressures to Conform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pressures to Commit Acts of Violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terrorist Rationalization of Violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Terrorist’s Ideological or Religious Perception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TERRORIST PROFILING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 iii

Hazards of Terrorist Profiling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sociological Characteristics of Terrorists in the Cold War Period . . . . . . A Basic Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Educational, Occupational, and Socioeconomic Background General Traits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marital Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Physical Appearance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Origin: Rural or Urban . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gender . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Males . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Females . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Characteristics of Female Terrorists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Practicality, Coolness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dedication, Inner Strength, Ruthlessness . . . . . . . . . . . . . Single-Mindedness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Female Motivation for Terrorism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CONCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terrorist Profiling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terrorist Group Mindset Profiling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Promoting Terrorist Group Schisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . How Guerrilla and Terrorist Groups End . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 46 46 47 48 50 51 51 52 52 52 53 55 55 56 57 58 60 60 64 66 67 APPENDIX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 SOCIOPSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILES: CASE STUDIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Exemplars of International Terrorism in the Early 1970s . . . . . . . . . . . . Renato Curcio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leila Khaled . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kozo Okamoto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Exemplars of International Terrorism in the Early 1990s . . . . . . . . . . . . Mahmud Abouhalima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mohammed A. Salameh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ahmed Ramzi Yousef . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ethnic Separatist Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Irish Terrorists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Abdullah Ocalan . . Group/Leader Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv 72 72 72 73 76 77 77 78 79 80 82 83 84 84 90 Group Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Membership Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LTTE Suicide Commandos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leader Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Velupillai Prabhakaran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social Revolutionary Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Group Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leader Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Abu Nidal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 90 91 94 96 96 97 97 97 99 99 Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Group Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leader Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ahmad Jibril . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) . . . . . . Group Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leader Profiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 105 105 106 106 108 108 109 110 111 112 112 114 114 115 116 116 121 Pedro Antonio Marin/Manuel Marulanda Velez Jorge Briceno Suarez (“Mono Jojoy”) . . . . . . . . German Briceno Suarez (“Grannobles”) . . . . . . . “Eliecer” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N) . . . . . . . Group Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Religious Fundamentalist Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Al-Qaida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Group Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leader Profiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Osama bin Laden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ayman al-Zawahiri . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Subhi Muhammad Abu-Sunnah (“Abu-Hafs alMasri”) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Hizballah (Party of God) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 Group Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Leader Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Imad Fa’iz Mughniyah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Group Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Suicide Bombing Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . Selection of Suicide Bombers . . . . . . . . . . . . . v 121 123 123 123 124 126 126 Leader Profiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sheikh Ahmed Yassin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mohammed Mousa (“Abu Marzook”) . . . . . Emad al-Alami . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mohammed Dief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Al-Jihad Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Group Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New Religious Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aum Shinrikyo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Group/Leader Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Key Leader Profiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yoshinobu Aoyama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Seiichi Endo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kiyohide Hayakawa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. Ikuo Hayashi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yoshihiro Inoue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hisako Ishii . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fumihiro Joyu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Takeshi Matsumoto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hideo Murai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kiyohide Nakada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tomomasa Nakagawa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tomomitsu Niimi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Toshihiro Ouchi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Masami Tsuchiya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 128 129 131 131 131 131 133 133 133 140 140 141 142 142 144 144 145 146 146 147 148 149 149 150 TABLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152 Table 1.

Educational Level and Occupational Background of Right-Wing Terrorists in West Germany, 1980 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152 Table 2. Ideological Profile of Italian Female Terrorists, January 1970-June 1984 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153 Table 3. Prior Occupational Profile of Italian Female Terrorists, January 1970-June 1984 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154 Table 4. Geographical Profile of Italian Female Terrorists, January 1970June 1984 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Table 5. Age and Relationships Profile of Italian Female Terrorists, January 1970-June 1984 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157 Table 6. Patterns of Weapons Use by the Revolutionary Organization 17 November, 1975-97 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159 GLOSSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161 BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165 vi Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: MINDSETS OF MASS DESTRUCTION New Types of Post-Cold War Terrorists In the 1970s and 1980s, it was commonly assumed that terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) would be counterproductive because such an act would be widely condemned. “Terrorists want a lot of people watching, not a lot of people dead,” Brian Jenkins (1975:15) opined. Jenkins’s premise was based on the assumption that terrorist behavior is normative, and that if they exceeded certain constraints and employed WMD they would completely alienate themselves from the public and possibly provoke swift and harsh retaliation.

This assumption does seem to apply to certain secular terrorist groups. If a separatist organization such as the Provisional Irish Republic Army (PIRA) or the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna—ETA), for example, were to use WMD, these groups would likely isolate their constituency and undermine sources of funding and political support. When the assumptions about terrorist groups not using WMD were made in the 1970s and 1980s, most of the terrorist groups making headlines were groups with political or nationalist-separatist agenda.

Those groups, with some exceptions, such as the Japanese Red Army (JRA—Rengo Sekigun), had reason not to sabotage their ethnic bases of popular support or other domestic or foreign sympathizers of their cause by using WMD. Trends in terrorism over the past three decades, however, have contradicted the conventional thinking that terrorists are averse to using WMD. It has become increasingly evident that the assumption does not apply to religious terrorist groups or millenarian cults (see Glossary).

Indeed, since at least the early 1970s analysts, including (somewhat contradictorily) Jenkins, have predicted that the first groups to employ a weapon of mass destruction would be religious sects with a millenarian, messianic, or apocalyptic mindset. When the conventional terrorist groups and individuals of the early 1970s are compared with terrorists of the early 1990s, a trend can be seen: the emergence of religious fundamentalist and new religious groups espousing the rhetoric of mass-destruction terrorism. In the 1990s, groups motivated by religious imperatives, such as Aum Shinrikyo, Hizballah, and al-Qaida, have grown and proliferated.

These groups have a different attitude toward violence—one that is extranormative and seeks to maximize violence against the perceived enemy, 1 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism essentially anyone who is not a fundamentalist Muslim or an Aum Shinrikyo member. Their outlook is one that divides the world simplistically into “them” and “us. ” With its sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system on March 20, 1995, the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo turned the prediction of terrorists using WMD into reality.

Beginning in the early 1990s, Aum Shinrikyo engaged in a systematic program to develop and use WMD. It used chemical or biological WMD in about a dozen largely unreported instances in the first half of the 1990s, although they proved to be no more effective—actually less effective—than conventional weapons because of the terrorists’ ineptitude. Nevertheless, it was Aum Shinrikyo’s sarin attack on the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995, that showed the world how dangerous the mindset of a religious terrorist group could be. The attack provided convincing evidence that Aum Shinrikyo probably would not hesitate to use WMD in a U.

S. city, if it had an opportunity to do so. These religiously motivated groups would have no reason to take “credit” for such an act of mass destruction, just as Aum Shinrikyo did not take credit for its attack on the Tokyo subway, and just as Osama bin Laden did not take credit for various acts of highcasualty terrorism against U. S. targets in the 1990s. Taking credit means asking for retaliation. Instead, it is enough for these groups to simply take private satisfaction in knowing that they have dealt a harsh blow to what they perceive to be the “Great Satan. Groups unlikely to be deterred by fear of public disapproval, such as Aum Shinrikyo, are the ones who seek chaos as an end in itself. The contrast between key members of religious extremist groups such as Hizballah, al-Qaida, and Aum Shinrikyo and conventional terrorists reveals some general trends relating to the personal attributes of terrorists likely to use WMD in coming years. According to psychologist Jerrold M. Post (1997), the most dangerous terrorist is likely to be the religious terrorist.

Post has explained that, unlike the average political or social terrorist, who has a defined mission that is somewhat measurable in terms of media attention or government reaction, the religious terrorist can justify the most heinous acts “in the name of Allah,” for example. One could add, “in the name of Aum Shinrikyo’s Shoko Asahara. ” Psychologist B. J. Berkowitz (1972) describes six psychological types who would be most likely to threaten or try to use WMD: paranoids, paranoid schizophrenics, borderline mental defectives, schizophrenic types, passive-aggressive personality (see Glossary) types, and sociopath (see Glossary) personalities.

He considers sociopaths the most likely actually to use WMD. Nuclear terrorism expert Jessica 2 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism Stern (1999: 77) disagrees. She believes that “Schizophrenics and sociopaths, for example, may want to commit acts of mass destruction, but they are less likely than others to succeed. ” She points out that large-scale dissemination of chemical, biological, or radiological agents requires a group effort, but that “Schizophrenics, in particular, often have difficulty functioning in groups…. Stern’s understanding of the WMD terrorist appears to be much more relevant than Berkowitz’s earlier stereotype of the insane terrorist. It is clear from the appended case study of Shoko Asahara that he is a paranoid. Whether he is schizophrenic or sociopathic is best left to psychologists to determine. The appended case study of Ahmed Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the World Trade Center (WTC) bombing on February 26, 1993, reported here does not suggest that he is schizophrenic or sociopathic. On the contrary, he appears to be a welleducated, highly intelligent Islamic terrorist.

In 1972 Berkowitz could not have been expected to foresee that religiously motivated terrorists would be prone to using WMD as a way of emulating God or for millenarian reasons. This examination of about a dozen groups that have engaged in significant acts of terrorism suggests that the groups most likely to use WMD are indeed religious groups, whether they be wealthy cults like Aum Shinrikyo or well-funded Islamic terrorist groups like al-Qaida or Hizballah. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 fundamentally changed the operating structures of European terrorist groups.

Whereas groups like the Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Faktion—RAF; see Glossary) were able to use East Germany as a refuge and a source of logistical and financial resources during the Cold War decades, terrorist groups in the post Cold War period no longer enjoy the support of communist countries. Moreover, state sponsors of international terrorism (see Glossary) toned down their support of terrorist groups. In this new environment where terrorist groups can no longer depend on state support or any significant popular support, they have been restructuring in order to learn how to operate independently.

New breeds of increasingly dangerous religious terrorists emerged in the 1990s. The most dangerous type is the Islamic fundamentalist. A case in point is Ramzi Yousef, who brought together a loosely organized, ad hoc group, the so-called Liberation Army, apparently for the sole purpose of carrying out the WTC operation on February 26, 1993. Moreover, by acting independently the small self-contained cell led by Yousef prevented authorities from linking it to an established terrorist organization, such as its suspected coordinating group, 3 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division

The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida, or a possible state sponsor. Aum Shinrikyo is representative of the other type of religious terrorist group, in this case a cult. Shoko Asahara adopted a different approach to terrorism by modeling his organization on the structure of the Japanese government rather than an ad hoc terrorist group. Accordingly, Aum Shinrikyo “ministers” undertook a program to develop WMD by bringing together a core group of bright scientists skilled in the modern technologies of the computer, telecommunications equipment, information databases, and financial networks.

They proved themselves capable of developing rudimentary WMD in a relatively short time and demonstrated a willingness to use them in the most lethal ways possible. Aum Shinrikyo’s sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway system in 1995 marked the official debut of terrorism involving WMD. Had a more lethal batch of sarin been used, or had the dissemination procedure been improved slightly, the attack might have killed thousands of people, instead of only a few. Both of these incidents—the WTC bombing and the Tokyo subway sarin attack—had similar casualty totals but could have had massive casualties.

Ramzi Yousef’s plot to blow up the WTC might have killed an estimated 50,000 people had his team not made a minor error in the placement of the bomb. In any case, these two acts in Manhattan and Tokyo seem an ominous foretaste of the WMD terrorism to come in the first decade of the new millennium. Increasingly, terrorist groups are recruiting members with expertise in fields such as communications, computer programming, engineering, finance, and the sciences. Ramzi Yousef graduated from Britain’s (www. GreatBuildings. com/buildings/ Swansea University with a degree in engineering. World_Trade_Center. tml) Aum Shinrikyo’s Shoko Asahara recruited a scientific team with all the expertise needed to develop WMD. Osama bin Laden also recruits highly skilled professionals in the fields of engineering, medicine, chemistry, physics, computer programming, communications, and so forth. Whereas the skills of the elite terrorist commandos of the 1960s and 1970s were often limited to what they learned in training camp, the terrorists of the 1990s who have carried out major operations have included biologists, chemists, computer specialists, engineers, and physicists. 4 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division

The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism New Forms of Terrorist-Threat Scenarios The number of international terrorist incidents has declined in the 1990s, but the potential threat posed by terrorists has increased. The increased threat level, in the form of terrorist actions aimed at achieving a larger scale of destruction than the conventional attacks of the previous three decades of terrorism, was dramatically demonstrated with the bombing of the WTC. The WTC bombing illustrated how terrorists with technological sophistication are increasingly being recruited to carry out lethal terrorist bombing attacks.

The WTC bombing may also have been a harbinger of more destructive attacks of international terrorism in the United States. Although there are not too many examples, if any, of guerrilla (see Glossary) groups dispatching commandos to carry out a terrorist operation in the United States, the mindsets of four groups discussed herein—two guerrilla/terrorist groups, a terrorist group, and a terrorist cult—are such that these groups pose particularly dangerous actual or potential terrorist threats to U. S. security interests.

The two guerrilla/terrorist groups are the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) and Hizballah, the terrorist group is al-Qaida, and the terrorist cult is Aum Shinrikyo. The LTTE is not known to have engaged in anti-U. S. terrorism to date, but its suicide commandos have already assassinated a prime minister of India, a president of Sri Lanka, and a former prime minister of Sri Lanka. In August 1999, the LTTE reportedly deployed a 10-member suicide squad in Colombo to assassinate Prime Minister Chandrika Kumaratunga and others.

It cannot be safely assumed, however, that the LTTE will restrict its terrorism to the South Asian subcontinent. Prabhakaran has repeatedly warned the Western nations providing military support to Sri Lanka that they are exposing their citizens to possible attacks. The LTTE, which has an extensive international network, should not be underestimated in the terrorist threat that it could potentially pose to the United States, should it perceive this country as actively aiding the Sri Lankan government’s counterinsurgency campaign.

Prabhakaran is a megalomaniac whose record of ordering the assassinations of heads of state or former presidents, his meticulous planning of such actions, his compulsion to have the acts photographed and chronicled by LTTE members, and the limitless supply of female suicide commandos at his disposal add a dangerous new dimension to potential assassination threats. His highly trained and disciplined Black Tiger commandos are far more deadly than Aum Shinrikyo’s inept cultists. There is little protection against the LTTE’s trademark weapon: a belt-bomb suicide 5

Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism commando. Hizballah is likewise quite dangerous. Except for its ongoing terrorist war against Israel, however, it appears to be reactive, often carrying out terrorist attacks for what it perceives to be Western military, cultural, or political threats to the establishment of an Iranian-style Islamic republic in Lebanon. The threat to U. S. interests posed by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in particular was underscored by al-Qaida’s bombings of the U.

S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998. With those two devastating bombings, Osama bin Laden resurfaced as a potent terrorist threat to U. S. interests worldwide. Bin Laden is the prototype of a new breed of terrorist—the private entrepreneur who puts modern enterprise at the service of a global terrorist network. With its sarin attack against the Tokyo subway system in March 1995, Aum Shinrikyo has already used WMD, and very likely has not abandoned its quest to use such weapons to greater effect.

The activities of Aum’s large membership in Russia should be of particular concern because Aum Shinrikyo has used its Russian organization to try to obtain WMD, or at least WMD technologies. The leaders of any of these groups—Prabhakaran, bin Laden, and Asahara—could become paranoid, desperate, or simply vengeful enough to order their suicide devotees to employ the belt-bomb technique against the leader of the Western World. Iranian intelligence leaders could order Hizballah to attack the U. S. leadership in retaliation for some future U. S. r Israeli action, although Iran may now be distancing itself from Hizballah. Whether or not a U. S. president would be a logical target of Asahara, Prabhakaran, or bin Laden is not a particularly useful guideline to assess the probability of such an attack. Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was not a logical target for the LTTE, and his assassination had very negative consequences for the LTTE. In Prabhakaran’s “psycho-logic,” to use Post’s term, he may conclude that his cause needs greater international attention, and targeting a country’s top leaders is his way of getting attention.

Nor does bin Laden need a logical reason, for he believes that he has a mandate from Allah to punish the “Great Satan. ” Instead of thinking logically, Asahara thinks in terms of a megalomaniac with an apocalyptic outlook. Aum Shinrikyo is a group whose delusional leader is genuinely paranoid about the United States and is known to have plotted to assassinate Japan’s emperor. Shoko Asahara’s cult is already on record for having made an assassination threat against President Clinton. 6 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division

The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism If Iran’s mullahs or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein decide to use terrorists to attack the continental United States, they would likely turn to bin Laden’s al-Qaida. Al-Qaida is among the Islamic groups recruiting increasingly skilled professionals, such as computer and communications technicians, engineers, pharmacists, and physicists, as well as Ukrainian chemists and biologists, Iraqi chemical weapons experts, and others capable of helping to develop WMD. Al-Qaida poses the most serious terrorist threat to U.

S. security interests, for al-Qaida’s well-trained terrorists are actively engaged in a terrorist jihad against U. S. interests worldwide. These four groups in particular are each capable of perpetrating a horrific act of terrorism in the United States, particularly on the occasion of the new millennium. Aum Shinrikyo has already threatened to use WMD in downtown Manhattan or in Washington, D. C. , where it could attack the Congress, the Pentagon’s Concourse, the White House, or President Clinton.

The cult has threatened New York City with WMD, threatened to assassinate President Clinton, unsuccessfully attacked a U. S. naval base in Japan with biological weapons, and plotted in 1994 to attack the White House and the Pentagon with sarin and VX. If the LTTE’s serial assassin of heads of state were to become angered by President Clinton, Prabhakaran could react by dispatching a Tamil “belt-bomb girl” to detonate a powerful semtex bomb after approaching the President in a crowd with a garland of flowers or after jumping next to his car.

Al-Qaida’s expected retaliation for the U. S. cruise missile attack against alQaida’s training facilities in Afghanistan on August 20, 1998, could take several forms of terrorist attack in the nation’s capital. Al-Qaida could detonate a Chechen-type building-buster bomb at a federal building. Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaida’s Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House.

Ramzi Yousef had planned to do this against the CIA headquarters. In addition, both al-Qaida and Yousef were linked to a plot to assassinate President Clinton during his visit to the Philippines in early 1995. Following the August 1998 cruise missile attack, at least one Islamic religious leader called for Clinton’s assassination, and another stated that “the time is not far off” for when the White House will be destroyed by a nuclear bomb.

A horrendous scenario consonant with al-Qaida’s mindset would be its use of a nuclear suitcase bomb against any number of targets in the nation’s capital. Bin Laden allegedly has already purchased a number of nuclear suitcase bombs from the Chechen Mafia. Al-Qaida’s retaliation, however, is more likely to take the lower-risk form of bombing one or more U. S. airliners with time7 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism bombs. Yousef was planning simultaneous bombings of 11 U. S. airliners prior to his capture.

Whatever form an attack may take, bin Laden will most likely retaliate in a spectacular way for the cruise missile attack against his Afghan camp in August 1998. 8 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism While nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer, nothing is more difficult than to understand him. – Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky INTRODUCTION Why do some individuals decide to break with society and embark on a career in terrorism? Do terrorists share common traits or characteristics?

Is there a terrorist personality or profile? Can a terrorist profile be developed that could reliably help security personnel to identify potential terrorists, whether they be would-be airplane hijackers, assassins, or suicide bombers? Do some terrorists have a psychotic (see Glossary) personality? Psychological factors relating to terrorism are of particular interest to psychologists, political scientists, and government officials, who would like to be able to predict and prevent the emergence of terrorist groups or to thwart the realization of terrorist actions.

This study focuses on individual psychological and sociological characteristics of terrorists of different generations as well as their groups in an effort to determine how the terrorist profile may have changed in recent decades, or whether they share any common sociological attributes. The assumption underlying much of the terrorist-profile research in recent decades has been that most terrorists have some common characteristics that can be determined through psychometric analysis of large quantities of biographical data on terrorists. One of the earliest attempts to single out a terrorist personality was done by Charles A.

Russell and Bowman H. Miller (1977) (see Attributes of Terrorists). Ideally, a researcher attempting to profile terrorists in the 1990s would have access to extensive biographical data on several hundred terrorists arrested in various parts of the world and to data on terrorists operating in a specific country. If such data were at hand, the researcher could prepare a psychometric study analyzing attributes of the terrorist: educational, occupational, and socioeconomic background; general traits; ideology; marital status; method and place of recruitment; physical appearance; and sex.

Researchers have used this approach to study West German and Italian terrorist groups (see Females). Such detailed information would provide more accurate sociological profiles of terrorist groups. Although there appears to be no single terrorist personality, members of a terrorist group(s) may share numerous common sociological traits. 9 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism Practically speaking, however, biographical databases on large numbers of terrorists are not readily available. Indeed, such data would be quite difficult to obtain unless one had special access to police files on errorists around the world. Furthermore, developing an open-source biographical database on enough terrorists to have some scientific validity would require a substantial investment of time. The small number of profiles contained in this study is hardly sufficient to qualify as scientifically representative of terrorists in general, or even of a particular category of terrorists, such as religious fundamentalists or ethnic separatists. Published terrorism databases, such as Edward F. Mickolus’s series of chronologies of incidents of international terrorism and the Rand-St.

Andrews University Chronology of International Terrorism, are highly informative and contain some useful biographical information on terrorists involved in major incidents, but are largely incident-oriented. This study is not about terrorism per se. Rather, it is concerned with the perpetrators of terrorism. Prepared from a social sciences perspective, it attempts to synthesize the results of psychological and sociological findings of studies on terrorists published in recent decades and provide a general assessment of what is presently known about the terrorist mind and mindset.

Because of time constraints and a lack of terrorism-related biographical databases, the methodology, but not the scope, of this research has necessarily been modified. In the absence of a database of terrorist biographies, this study is based on the broader database of knowledge contained in academic studies on the psychology and sociology of terrorism published over the past three decades.

Using this extensive database of open-source literature available in the Library of Congress and other information drawn from Websites, such as the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), this paper assesses the level of current knowledge of the subject and presents case studies that include sociopsychological profiles of about a dozen selected terrorist groups and more than two dozen terrorist leaders or other individuals implicated in acts of terrorism.

Three profiles of noteworthy terrorists of the early 1970s who belonged to other groups are included in order to provide a better basis of contrast with terrorists of the late 1990s. This paper does not presume to have any scientific validity in terms of general sampling representation of terrorists, but it does provide a preliminary theoretical, analytical, and biographical framework for further research on the general subject or on particular groups or individuals. By examining the relatively overlooked behaviorist literature on sociopsychological aspects f terrorism, this study attempts to gain psychological 10 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism and sociological insights into international terrorist groups and individuals. Of particular interest is whether members of at least a dozen terrorist organizations in diverse regions of the world have any psychological or sociological characteristics in common that might be useful in profiling terrorists, if profiling is at all feasible, and in understanding somewhat better the motivations of individuals who become terrorists.

Because this study includes profiles of diverse groups from Western Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, care has been taken when making cross-national, cross-cultural, and cross-ideological comparisons. This paper examines such topics as the age, economic and social background, education and occupation, gender, geographical origin, marital status, motivation, recruitment, and religion or ideology of the members of these designated groups as well as others on which relevant data are available.

It is hoped that an examination of the extensive body of behaviorist literature on political and religious terrorism authored by psychologists and sociologists as well as political scientists and other social scientists will provide some answers to questions such as: Who are terrorists? How do individuals become terrorists? Do political or religious terrorists have anything in common in their sociopsychological development? How are they recruited? Is there a terrorist mindset, or are terrorist groups too diverse to have a single mindset or common psychological traits?

Are there instead different terrorist mindsets? TERMS OF ANALYSIS Defining Terrorism and Terrorists Unable to achieve their unrealistic goals by conventional means, international terrorists attempt to send an ideological or religious message by terrorizing the general public. Through the choice of their targets, which are often symbolic or representative of the targeted nation, terrorists attempt to create a high-profile impact on the public of their targeted enemy or enemies with their act of violence, despite the limited material resources that are usually at their disposal.

In doing so, they hope to demonstrate various points, such as that the targeted government(s) cannot protect its (their) own citizens, or that by assassinating a specific victim they can teach the general public a lesson about espousing viewpoints or policies antithetical to their own. For example, by assassinating Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on October 6, 1981, a year after his historic trip to Jerusalem, the al-Jihad terrorists hoped to convey to the world, and especially 11 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division

The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism to Muslims, the error that he represented. This tactic is not new. Beginning in 48 A. D. , a Jewish sect called the Zealots carried out terrorist campaigns to force insurrection against the Romans in Judea. These campaigns included the use of assassins (sicarii, or dagger-men), who would infiltrate Roman-controlled cities and stab Jewish collaborators or Roman legionnaires with a sica (dagger), kidnap members of the Staff of the Temple Guard to hold for ransom, or use poison on a large scale.

The Zealots’ justification for their killing of other Jews was that these killings demonstrated the consequences of the immorality of collaborating with the Roman invaders, and that the Romans could not protect their Jewish collaborators. Definitions of terrorism vary widely and are usually inadequate. Even terrorism researchers often neglect to define the term other than by citing the basic U. S. Department of State (1998) definition of terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. Although an act of violence that is generally regarded in the United States as an act of terrorism may not be viewed so in another country, the type of violence that distinguishes terrorism from other types of violence, such as ordinary crime or a wartime military action, can still be defined in terms that might qualify as reasonably objective. This social sciences researcher defines a terrorist action as the calculated use of unexpected, shocking, and unlawful violence against noncombatants (including, in addition to civilians, off-duty military and security ersonnel in peaceful situations) and other symbolic targets perpetrated by a clandestine member(s) of a subnational group or a clandestine agent(s) for the psychological purpose of publicizing a political or religious cause and/or intimidating or coercing a government(s) or civilian population into accepting demands on behalf of the cause. In this study, the nouns “terrorist” or “terrorists” do not necessarily refer to everyone within a terrorist organization.

Large organizations, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Irish Republic Army (IRA), or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), have many members—for example, accountants, cooks, fund-raisers, logistics specialists, medical doctors, or recruiters—who may play only a passive support role. We are not particularly concerned here with the passive support membership of terrorist organizations. 12 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism

Rather, we are primarily concerned in this study with the leader(s) of terrorist groups and the activists or operators who personally carry out a group’s terrorism strategy. The top leaders are of particular interest because there may be significant differences between them and terrorist activists or operatives. In contrast to the top leader(s), the individuals who carry out orders to perpetrate an act of political violence (which they would not necessarily regard as a terrorist act) have generally been recruited into the organization. Thus, their motives for joining may be different.

New recruits are often isolated and alienated young people who want to join not only because they identify with the cause and idolize the group’s leader, but also because they want to belong to a group for a sense of self-importance and companionship. The top leaders of several of the groups profiled in this report can be subdivided into contractors or freelancers. The distinction actually highlights an important difference between the old generation of terrorist leaders and the new breed of international terrorists. Contractors are those terrorist leaders whose ervices are hired by rogue states, or a particular government entity of a rogue regime, such as an intelligence agency. Notable examples of terrorist contractors include Abu Nidal, George Habash of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Abu Abbas of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF). Freelancers are terrorist leaders who are completely independent of a state, but who may collude with a rogue regime on a short-term basis. Prominent examples of freelancers include Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, Ahmed Ramzi Yousef, and Osama bin Laden.

Contractors like Abu Nidal, George Habash, and Abu Abbas are representative of the old style of high-risk international terrorism. In the 1990s, rogue states, more mindful of the consequences of Western diplomatic, economic, military, and political retaliation were less inclined to risk contracting terrorist organizations. Instead, freelancers operating independently of any state carried out many of the most significant acts of terrorism in the decade. This study discusses groups that have been officially designated as terrorist groups by the U. S.

Department of State. A few of the groups on the official list, however, are guerrilla organizations. These include the FARC, the LTTE, and the PKK. To be sure, the FARC, the LTTE, and the PKK engage in terrorism as well as guerrilla warfare, but categorizing them as terrorist groups and formulating policies to combat them on that basis would be simplistic and a prescription for failure. The FARC, for example, has the official status in Colombia of a political insurgent movement, as a result of a May 1999 accord between the FARC and the Colombian government.

To dismiss a guerrilla group, especially one like the FARC which has been fighting for four decades, as only a terrorist group is to 13 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism misunderstand its political and sociological context. It is also important to keep in mind that perceptions of what constitutes terrorism will differ from country to country, as well as among various sectors of a country’s population. For example, the Nicaraguan elite regarded the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) as a terrorist group, while much of the rest of the country regarded the FSLN as freedom fighters.

A foreign extremist group labeled as terrorist by the Department of State may be regarded in heroic terms by some sectors of the population in another country. Likewise, an action that would be regarded as indisputably terrorist in the United States might not be regarded as a terrorist act in another country’s law courts. For example, India’s Supreme Court ruled in May 1999 that the assassination of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by a LTTE “belt-bomb girl” was not an act of terrorism because there was no evidence that the four co-conspirators (who received the death penalty) had any desire to strike terror in the country.

In addition, the Department of State’s labeling of a guerrilla group as a terrorist group may be viewed by the particular group as a hostile act. For example, the LTTE has disputed, unsuccessfully, its designation on October 8, 1997, by the Department of State as a terrorist organization. By labeling the LTTE a terrorist group, the United States compromises its potential role as neutral mediator in Sri Lanka’s civil war and waves a red flag at one of the world’s deadliest groups, whose leader appears to be a psychopathic (see Glossary) serial killer of heads of state.

To be sure, some terrorists are so committed to their cause that they freely acknowledge being terrorists. On hearing that he had been sentenced to 240 years in prison, Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the WTC bombing, defiantly proclaimed, “I am a terrorist, and I am proud of it. ” Terrorist Group Typologies This study categorizes foreign terrorist groups under one of the following four designated, somewhat arbitrary typologies: nationalist-separatist, religious fundamentalist, new religious, and social revolutionary.

This group classification is based on the assumption that terrorist groups can be categorized by their political background or ideology. The social revolutionary category has also been labeled “idealist. ” Idealistic terrorists fight for a radical cause, a religious belief, or a political ideology, including anarchism. Although some groups do not fit neatly into any one category, the general typologies are important because all terrorist campaigns are different, and the mindsets of groups within the same general category tend to have more in common than those in different categories.

For example, the Irish Republic Army (IRA), Basque Fatherland and Freedom (Euzkadi 14 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism Ta Askatasuna—ETA), the Palestinian terrorist groups, and the LTTE all have strong nationalistic motivations, whereas the Islamic fundamentalist and the Aum Shinrikyo groups are motivated by religious beliefs. To be at all effective, counterterrorist policies necessarily would vary depending on the typology of the group.

A fifth typology, for right-wing terrorists, is not listed because right-wing terrorists were not specifically designated as being a subject of this study. In any case, there does not appear to be any significant right-wing group on the U. S. Department of State’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. Right-wing terrorists are discussed only briefly in this paper (see Attributes of Terrorists). This is not to minimize the threat of right-wing extremists in the United States, who clearly pose a significant terrorist threat to U. S. ecurity, as demonstrated by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. APPROACHES TO TERRORISM ANALYSIS The Multicausal Approach Terrorism usually results from multiple causal factors—not only psychological but also economic, political, religious, and sociological factors, among others. There is even an hypothesis that it is caused by physiological factors, as discussed below. Because terrorism is a multicausal phenomenon, it would be simplistic and erroneous to explain an act of terrorism by a single cause, such as the psychological need of the terrorist to perpetrate an act of violence.

For Paul Wilkinson (1977), the causes of revolution and political violence in general are also the causes of terrorism. These include ethnic conflicts, religious and ideological conflicts, poverty, modernization stresses, political inequities, lack of peaceful communications channels, traditions of violence, the existence of a revolutionary group, governmental weakness and ineptness, erosions of confidence in a regime, and deep divisions within governing elites and leadership groups.

The Political Approach The alternative to the hypothesis that a terrorist is born with certain personality traits that destine him or her to become a terrorist is that the root causes of terrorism can be found in influences emanating from environmental factors. Environments conducive to the rise of terrorism include international and national 15 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism environments, as well as subnational ones such as universities, where many terrorists first become familiar with Marxist-Leninist ideology or other revolutionary ideas and get involved with radical groups.

Russell and Miller identify universities as the major recruiting ground for terrorists. Having identified one or more of these or other environments, analysts may distinguish between precipitants that started the outbreak of violence, on the one hand, and preconditions that allowed the precipitants to instigate the action, on the other hand. Political scientists Chalmers Johnson (1978) and Martha Crenshaw (1981) have further subdivided preconditions into permissive factors, which engender a terrorist strategy and make it attractive to political dissidents, and direct situational factors, which motivate terrorists.

Permissive causes include urbanization, the transportation system (for example, by allowing a terrorist to quickly escape to another country by taking a flight), communications media, weapons availability, and the absence of security measures. An example of a situational factor for Palestinians would be the loss of their homeland of Palestine. Various examples of international and national or subnational theories of terrorism can be cited. An example of an international environment hypothesis is the view proposed by Brian M. Jenkins (1979) that the failure of rural guerrilla movements in Latin America pushed the rebels into the cities. This hypothesis, however, overlooks the national causes of Latin American terrorism and fails to explain why rural guerrilla movements continue to thrive in Colombia. ) Jenkins also notes that the defeat of Arab armies in the 1967 Six-Day War caused the Palestinians to abandon hope for a conventional military solution to their problem and to turn to terrorist attacks. The Organizational Approach Some analysts, such as Crenshaw (1990: 250), take an organization approach to terrorism and see terrorism as a rational strategic course of action decided on by a group.

In her view, terrorism is not committed by an individual. Rather, she contends that “Acts of terrorism are committed by groups who reach collective decisions based on commonly held beliefs, although the level of individual commitment to the group and its beliefs varies. ” Crenshaw has not actually substantiated her contention with case studies that show how decisions are supposedly reached collectively in terrorist groups. That kind of inside information, to be sure, would be quite difficult to obtain without a 16

Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism former decision-maker within a terrorist group providing it in the form of a published autobiography or an interview, or even as a paid police informer. Crenshaw may be partly right, but her organizational approach would seem to be more relevant to guerrilla organizations that are organized along traditional Marxist-Leninist lines, with a general secretariat headed by a secretary general, than to terrorist groups per se.

The FARC, for example, is a guerrilla organization, albeit one that is not averse to using terrorism as a tactic. The six members of the FARC’s General Secretariat participate in its decision-making under the overall leadership of Secretary General Manuel Marulanda Velez. The hard-line military leaders, however, often exert disproportionate influence over decision-making. Bona fide terrorist groups, like cults, are often totally dominated by a single individual leader, be it Abu Nidal, Ahmed Jibril, Osama bin Laden, or Shoko Asahara.

It seems quite improbable that the terrorist groups of such dominating leaders make their decisions collectively. By most accounts, the established terrorist leaders give instructions to their lieutenants to hijack a jetliner, assassinate a particular person, bomb a U. S. Embassy, and so forth, while leaving operational details to their lieutenants to work out. The top leader may listen to his lieutenants’ advice, but the top leader makes the final decision and gives the orders.

The Physiological Approach The physiological approach to terrorism suggests that the role of the media in promoting the spread of terrorism cannot be ignored in any discussion of the causes of terrorism. Thanks to media coverage, the methods, demands, and goals of terrorists are quickly made known to potential terrorists, who may be inspired to imitate them upon becoming stimulated by media accounts of terrorist acts. The diffusion of terrorism from one place to another received scholarly attention in the early 1980s. David G. Hubbard (1983) takes a physiological approach to analyzing the causes of terrorism.

He discusses three substances produced in the body under stress: norepinephrine, a compound produced by the adrenal gland and sympathetic nerve endings and associated with the “fight or flight” (see Glossary) physiological response of individuals in stressful situations; acetylcholine, which is produced by the parasympathetic nerve endings and acts to dampen the accelerated norepinephrine response; and endorphins, which develop in the brain as a response to stress and “narcotize” the brain, being 100 times more powerful than morphine. Because these substances occur in the 17 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division

The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism terrorist, Hubbard concludes that much terrorist violence is rooted not in the psychology but in the physiology of the terrorist, partly the result of “stereotyped, agitated tissue response” to stress. Hubbard’s conclusion suggests a possible explanation for the spread of terrorism, the so-called contagion effect. Kent Layne Oots and Thomas C. Wiegele (1985) have also proposed a model of terrorist contagion based on physiology. Their model demonstrates that the psychological state of the potential terrorist has important implications for the stability of society.

In their analysis, because potential terrorists become aroused in a violence-accepting way by media presentations of terrorism, “Terrorists must, by the nature of their actions, have an attitude which allows violence. ” One of these attitudes, they suspect, may be Machiavellianism because terrorists are disposed to manipulating their victims as well as the press, the public, and the authorities. They note that the potential terrorist “need only see that terrorism has worked for others in order to become aggressively aroused. According to Oots and Wiegele, an individual moves from being a potential terrorist to being an actual terrorist through a process that is psychological, physiological, and political. “If the neurophysiological model of aggression is realistic,” Oots and Wiegele assert, “there is no basis for the argument that terrorism could be eliminated if its sociopolitical causes were eliminated. ” They characterize the potential terrorist as “a frustrated individual who has become aroused and has repeatedly experienced the fight or flight syndrome.

Moreover, after these repeated arousals, the potential terrorist seeks relief through an aggressive act and also seeks, in part, to remove the initial cause of his frustration by achieving the political goal which he has hitherto been denied. ” D. Guttman (1979) also sees terrorist actions as being aimed more at the audience than at the immediate victims. It is, after all, the audience that may have to meet the terrorist’s demands. Moreover, in Guttman’s analysis, the terrorist requires a liberal rather than a right-wing audience for success.

Liberals make the terrorist respectable by accepting the ideology that the terrorist alleges informs his or her acts. The terrorist also requires liberal control of the media for the transmission of his or her ideology. The Psychological Approach In contrast with political scientists and sociologists, who are interested in the political and social contexts of terrorist groups, the relatively few psychologists who study terrorism are primarily interested in the micro-level of the individual 18 Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism terrorist or terrorist group.

The psychological approach is concerned with the study of terrorists per se, their recruitment and induction into terrorist groups, their personalities, beliefs, attitudes, motivations, and careers as terrorists. GENERAL HYPOTHESES OF TERRORISM If one accepts the proposition that poli

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