American Heritage Dictionary define terrorism as: “The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.” The very word terrorism is capable to fill fear to the mind of common folk. History says that the earliest activities on terrorism were committed by the Siraci Jewish Zealots movement against the Roman occupation of Palestine.
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Before searching for the source of financial and recruitment growth of terrorists since 1980, it will be important to identify the most notorious terrorist groups. They are Al-Qaida and Hezbollah, which acts as threat to the US government. Al-Qaida has the logistical capability to launch an attack on US soil. LTA Wee Wei Sheng points out: “al-Qaeda has effectively harnessed the networked structure in order to remain operational in the post-9/11 security environment.” (Edward).
The leadership of Al-Qaida is in the mountain region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Whereas, Hezbollah is Lebanon based and Iranian backed group of militants, which was created by Iran in 1980s. Iran spends millions of dollars annually to finance the group’s activities.
Terrorists have so many sources for collecting financial aid and to recruit new members to their group. Financial intermediaries and facilitators infuse terrorist groups with money, material, and support. Martin J. Manning points out that, “The United States and its allies have arrested about 2,290 suspected terrorists and terrorist financiers in 99 countries.” (Manning). Terrorist groups like Al-Qaida and Hezbollah raise their funds from financial networks and mechanisms.
There are wide range of sources for financial support, such as construction companies, shops, tanneries, trade, bakeries, restaurants, and bookstores. Al-Qaida in Afghanistan controls the drug mafia and raise fund from opium plantation and trade.
But Ghassan Abdallah points out that: “presently al-Qaida does not have the logistical capability to launch a spectacular attack on American soil.” (Abdallah). In gulf countries like Iran and Iraq, oil wells provide enormous funding to the terrorist groups. Other sources for terrorist financing are Hawalas and other value transfer systems. Hamas, a terrorist group in Palestine, raise fund through the mosques and through charity associations and foundations. Overseas charity associations which are linked to the main terrorist group also raise fund.
For the recruitment of new members to the group, terrorists use the internet. They exploit this source to recruit supporters and raise funds. Another way is to recruit directly from schools and colleges which are under the control of the religion.
In Afghanistan, there are so many training centers which are under the control of Taliban, a powerful terrorist group. When the children are forced to study the religious principles, it is easy to recruit them to terrorist groups. Attracting adventurous youngsters by providing money and arms is another way for the recruitment. The opinion of O’Connor, T is that, “When teenagers get involved, they can hardly be considered professionals.” (Jamison) nobody will suspect the mastermind. This is so easy among poor, illiterate, and unemployed mass.
The formation of Hezbollah in 1980s under the government of Iran to create problem in Lebanon paved the way for the slow but gradual growth of terrorist groups. Douglas Farah points out that: “Iran is the primary sponsor of Hezbollah.” (Farah) the Iranian government is directly involved in the deal. Tough measures must be adopted to control the growth of these terrorist groups. Designating and blocking of the accounts of terrorists and those who are associated with financing terrorist activities, exposing terrorist financing, supporting diplomatic effort to strengthen other countries, protecting charities from terrorist abuse, blocking trade based terrorist financing and Hawalas can be helpful to control the terrorist groups.
It is evident that, before 1980, there were less suicide attacks and blasts related to terrorism. But when a terrorist group, say Hezbollah was formed by the government of Iran to export terrorism to Lebanon, there happened a rebirth for the global terrorist groups. Earlier no other government supported terrorist groups like this. But later the Iranian government lost the control over Hezbollah and it began to overpower the Iranian government. Before concluding, it is to be stated that creating terrorist groups to control other countries or other terrorist groups will result in super power terrorist groups. The story of Hezbollah and the Iranian government teach this lesson to the world.
Abdallah, Ghassan. Terrorism & The Financial Markets. Financial Sense Editorials. 2007. Web.
Edward, LTA Wee Wei Sheng. Globalization and Transnational Terrorism: Ironies, Interactions and Implications. MINDEF. 2008. Web.
Farah, Douglas. The Growing Terrorism Challenges From Latin America. International Assessment And Strategy Center. 2007. Web.
Jamison, Kay Redfield. Suicide Terrorism. 2008. Web.
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Manning, Martin J. Terrorist Organizations, Freezing of Assets: Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. BNET. 2004. Web.