Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The differences between terrorist gangs and terrorist gangs

Counter-Terrorism: That Old Gang Of Mine: "Now that the suicide bomber terrorists in Iraq have been crushed (but not entirely eliminated), the army and police are able to go after the lifeblood of terrorism; money. While the terrorism gets started by anger at conditions that the terrorists feel are intolerable, the violence is fueled by cash, as well as anger. And cash requires thieving.

Islamic terrorists pay for things by using many of the same techniques employed by organized crime. That, however, has proved to be a major weakness, and is being exploited to hasten the demise of the latest wave of Islamic terrorism. For organized crime, terrorism is just another tool. For example, terrorism is regularly practiced by organized criminal groups. That's how the famous ones, like the mafia, or the Russian or Colombian gangs, make money and maintain discipline. What separates "terrorist organizations" from criminal gangs is ideology and goals. Organized crime groups just want to make money. Islamic terrorists, however, have other goals. In this case, imposing Islam on the entire world. In Iraq, the Sunni Arab terrorists wanted to regain control of the government. In Afghanistan, the Taliban have the same goal.

Making money using criminal methods is a means to an end for them, not an end in itself. Keep in mind that terrorist acts are a constant, and most of these actions are carried out by criminals in pursuit of a payday. Political or religious terrorists are using similar terrorism to either attract attention, as a fund raising tool, or a weapon to win concessions from governments.

Historically, it's quite common for terrorist organization, be they motivated by political or religious goals, to gradually turn into largely criminal gangs. That's where the mafia came from. Once a resistance organization (against foreign rulers in Italy), it evolved into a purely criminal outfit, and migrated to the United States, along with millions of law-abiding Italians. The IRA (Irish Republican Army) is of more recent vintage (late 19th century originally, but revived in the 1970s) that gradually turned into a group of criminal gangs that mainly paid lip service to the IRAs political goals (of a united Ireland). "

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