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The Progression of Terrorist Movements

Terrorism can be defined as an act of violence committed by a radical group characterized by the want to inflame fear or cause harm, often by aiming certain individuals or a large mass of people in order to meet its goals or objectives (Rohan 2002). People can enter into or form terrorist organizations for different reasons for instance, due to social and political grievances. Palestinian terrorist groups are mostly formed because of this reason and Palestinians Muslim extremist join these groups because they believe it is only through them that they can be able fight for their rights. For these groups holy war is justified against their enemies. Some can form or join terrorist organization because of humiliation, vengeance and revenge. For instance a study that was carried on Irish republican army, it was found out that personal histories of terrorists are full of accounts of humiliation and injustices. These terrorist witnessed their family members and friends being killed, a reason they say contributed for them to join this terrorist organization (Socybety 2007). Other terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, humiliation and revenge are some of the major reasons that led to the formation of this organization and the reason why many radical Muslims are being recruited into the organization in large numbers. For this group the presence of America in Saudi Arabia (the birth place of Muslim religion) and Middle East is humiliating and injustice to the Muslim world (Rohan 2002).

Researchers have found out that transition of an organization or individual is not a sudden process. This has been effectively explained using the developmental approach. This theory presupposes that, involvement in terrorism activities comes as a result of continuing exposure and socialization towards the extreme behavior. An individual usually follow a general evolution from social separation to boredom then occasional dissidence before eventually resorting to terrorism. In this case terrorism comes out as a dialectical process that pushes an individual or organization to committing violence and other actions related to terrorism. Progression of extreme ideologies which have been responsible for formation of many terrorist organizations usually follows the following steps: individuals being aware of the oppression, acknowledgment that the oppression was social and thus inevitable. The last step is realization that it was possible to act against the oppression (Borum 2004).      

Many terrorist movements and organizations may commence in the name of self-protection or nationalism to defend specific groups of people or countries, and later evolve into feared and dangerous terrorist movements and organizations. For instance Al Qaeda was initially for a good cause of protecting Afghanistan against foreign occupancy by the soviet, after the soviet withdrew from the country; the leader of the group (Osama bin Laden) went back to his homeland Saudi Arabia where he founded an organization that was to help the veterans of the afghan war, many of these veterans went ahead to fight elsewhere for instance in the Bosnia war thus compromising the initial basis for which Al Qaeda founded. The invasion of Iraq in Kuwait during 1990 marked the turning point for this group. Osama was outraged when Saudi Arabia allowed US military to be stationed in the country. Consequently he was expelled from the country for engaging in antigovernment activities. After expulsion from Saudi Arabia, Osama established the head quarters for in Khartoum, Sudan. Here he turned the organization completely went through transformation into a high profile terrorist organization that aimed at hurting the United States and its interests including its allies (Rohan 2002).

Another example is Hamas (Islamist resistance party) which was formed to address oppression and humiliation subjected to the Palestinians living in the Gaza strip. The actions of this organization later transformed to include terrorist such as suicide bombing, missile attacks against the Israel civilians. This organization was even included in the US State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. The main reason for its transformation into a terrorist organization was to compel the Israel state into recognizing the sovereignty of Gaza. 

Another organization in history that transformed from an organization advocating for change into a terrorist group is Irish republic army (IRA). The Irish Republican Army was struggling against the British for political liberty .The Irish Republican Army wanted independence in Ireland from the British, but when the British will not surrender their hold on Ireland  IRA was then forced to resort to terrorist tactics to force the British to talk with them about government control (Socybety 2007).

An organization that is initially formed for a good and justified cause can undergo radical transformation to form a very dangerous terrorist organization for instance as seen in the case Al Qaeda which was never considered as a threat to world peace until the late 90s after going through radical transformation.

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