Terrorist Evolution - Why You Should Study Terrorism With A Counterterrorism Certificate

The terrorist landscape has changed since the 1990s. During the 1990s it was believed that terrorists would not use Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) because to do so would cause the terrorist group to be widely condemned. Such condemnation would then lead to alienation and the loss of political gains, not to mention strong retaliation.

The premise that terrorists would not use WMD may be appropriate for the group who has a long term interest in legitimizing its political outlook. That premise is not consistent with what is known about religious oriented terrorist groups. Since the 1970s data has accumulated that suggests that fundamentalist religious terrorist groups that hold an apocalyptic mindset would not be averse to using WMD.

The goals of these terrorist groups and the means they perceive necessary to achieve their goals—maximum violence—are considered extra-normative. Rather than coercing and extorting political change like non-secular terrorist groups, the religiously fundamentalist (e.g., Islamic fundamentalist) terrorist group seeks to bring about death and mass destruction consistent with its distorted religious beliefs.

Some of these religiously fundamentalist terrorist groups include al-Qaida, Hezbollah, and Aum Shinrikyo. These groups seek to impart maximum destruction on anyone who is not a fundamentalist like them. Anyone who has watched the news over the last ten years knows of al-Qaida's intention and most likely has heard of the meddling and threats made by Hezbollah. The Aum Shinrikyo group exemplified the derangement of the use of WMD by fundamentalist terrorists in 1995 when they unleashed Sarin gas into a Tokyo subway.

Unlike the politically minded terrorist group, the religiously fundamentalist terrorist group does not always seek to take credit for their destruction. Indeed, Aum Shinrikyo did not take credit for their subway attack and al-Qaida did not even take credit for some of its attacks against U.S. interests during the 1990's. The lack of credit and, by extension, attention, for their attacks stands in contrast to the political or social terrorist group. Rather, great satisfaction is taken in knowing that the group has inflicted damage on their religious enemy or on the infidels. For that reason, the religious terrorist is considered one of the most dangerous terrorists.

Because religiously fundamentalist terrorists are apocalyptic and often suicidal there is a real need to understand their behavior as a group and to identify them as individuals. To do this it is necessary to study terrorism. Intelligence workers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers can study terrorism and thereby benefit their work. Formal and ongoing study of terrorism is necessary because the terrorist is trying to evade detection. For instance, the Secret Service learned that profiling potential assassins is much more complex than merely identifying the "lunatic" or the "loner".

One way to study terrorism is through an online degree or certificate. An interested student can earn a counterterrorism certificate that will provide a useful foundation for the study of this global problem. A counterterrorism certificate is very specific to the area of terrorism and will provide specific information about the history and trends of terrorism and means of addressing the terrorist threat. If a student wishes to go beyond a counterterrorism certificate, he or she may consider a Doctorate in Strategic Security. A Doctorate in Strategic Security has greater scope and depth than a certificate and has more of an interdisciplinary focus. Whichever course of study the student chooses, either a certificate or a Doctorate in Strategic Security, the student will benefit themselves and the larger community through knowledge on how to curb the terrorist threat.

Dan Sommer works for Henley-Putnam University, a leading educational institution in the field of Strategic Security. For more info on Henley-Putnam University, study terrorism, counterterrorism certificate, call 888-852-8746 or visit us online at http://www.Henley-Putnam.edu

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