Counter-Terrorism: March 4, 2005


While the war on terror concentrates on Islamic terrorists, it is often forgotten that there are other terrorist groups out there. For example, the U.S. government announced that there had been 13 arrests of terrorists world wide recently. What was left out of that statement was that four of them were IRA (Irish Republican Army) and three were ETA (Basque separatists). These two groups are still active, and still dangerous. But both of them are local, not international, groups. While the majority of active terrorists are Moslem, there are still some pretty lethal ones who are not. These include the LTTE (Hindu Tamils in Sri Lanka, who pioneered the use of suicide bombers), Maoists (radical communists) in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, white supremacists (in North America and Europe) and anti-Abortion groups (in North America). All of these are lethal, active, but not international. There are also the radical environmentalists (including the animal rights groups), who have been increasingly violent, but not yet lethal. And then there is the most numerous source of terrorism, criminal groups. These guys regularly use lethal terror, including bombs and assassinations, to promote, or protect, their illegal activities. In many countries, the gangsters overlap with political organizations that use terror to push their agendas, or, more commonly, to suppress their opponents. Many governments also use terrorist tactics, indistinguishable from what al Qaeda practices, to keep their populations in line. What makes al Qaeda so fearsome is their global reach and willingness to kill just about anyone, and in large numbers. But there are plenty of other terrorists right at home.


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