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"Fear is apparently a formidable ally"


Terrorism is 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.


Terrorism is not new ,it has a history that is at least 2000 years old. Although targets, victims, causes and justifications for the use of terror have changed, the methods of terrorism have remained the same throughout history. The only major change is the technology of terrorism. 

Terrorism today is a worldwide problem.


The FBI describes terrorism as either domestic or international, depending on the origin, base, and objectives of the terrorists: 


• Domestic terrorism is the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or its territories without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. 


• International terrorism involves violent acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any state. These acts appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping. International terrorist acts occur outside the United States or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to coerce or intimidate, or the locale in which the perpetrations operate or seek asylum.

Terrorists often use threats to:

  • Create fear among the public.
  • Try to convince citizens that their government is powerless to prevent terrorism.
  • Get immediate publicity for their causes.

Acts of terrorism include threats of terrorism; assassinations; kidnappings; hijackings; bomb scares and bombings; cyber attacks (computer-based); and the use of chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological weapons.

High-risk targets for acts of terrorism include military and civilian government facilities, international airports, large cities, and high-profile landmarks. Terrorists might also target large public gatherings, water and food supplies, utilities, and corporate centers. Further, terrorists are capable of spreading fear by sending explosives or chemical and biological agents through the mail.

Terrorism should not be confused with traditional warfare. In war, a target is selected because it has military value and will achieve a specific military objective. The terrorist chooses targets that have symbolic or economic value or targets that have public value in order to get the society’s attention and cause governments to change policies.



Types of Terrorism


  • weapons of mass destruction-A weapon of mass destruction causes damage to the infrastructure of a society. Targets for mass destruction can include bridges, dams, water treatment plants, computer systems and any other structure.

  •  weapons of mass casualty-A weapon of mass casualty causes massive sickness and/or death. Biological and chemical weapons are weapons of mass casualty.

  •   weapons of mass disruption-Weapons of mass disruption cause social, political and/or economic disruption to society.

Throughout human history, there have been many threats to the security of nations. These threats have brought about large-scale losses of life, the destruction of property, widespread illness and injury, the displacement of large numbers of people, and devastating economic loss.

Recent technological advances and ongoing international political unrest are components of the increased risk to national security.

Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. FTO designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.

Current List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations

  1. Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
  2. Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
  3. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMS)
  4. Al-Shabaab
  5. Ansar al-Islam (AAI)
  6. Asbat al-Ansar
  7. Aum Shinrikyo (AUM)
  8. Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
  9. Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army (CPP/NPA)
  10. Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)
  11. Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group)
  12. HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
  13. Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B)
  14. Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)
  15. Hizballah (Party of God)
  16. Islamic Jihad Union (IJU)
  17. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
  18. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) (Army of Mohammed)
  19. Jemaah Islamiya organization (JI)
  20. Kahane Chai (Kach)
  21. Kata'ib Hizballah (KH)
  22. Kongra-Gel (KGK, formerly Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK, KADEK)
  23. Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LT) (Army of the Righteous)
  24. Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ)
  25. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
  26. Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)
  27. Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM)
  28. Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK)
  29. National Liberation Army (ELN)
  30. Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
  31. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
  32. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
  33. PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC)
  34. al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI)
  35. al-Qa’ida (AQ)
  36. al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  37. al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (formerly GSPC)
  38. Real IRA (RIRA)
  39. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
  40. Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N)
  41. Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)
  42. Revolutionary Struggle (RS)
  43. Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL)
  44. United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)
  45. Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI)
  46. Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
  47. Jundallah
  48. Army of Islam (AOI)
  49. Indian Mujahideen (IM)
State sponsors of terrorism provide critical support to many non-state terrorist groups. Without state sponsors, these groups would have greater difficulty obtaining the funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they require to plan and conduct operations. The United States will continue to insist that these countries end the support they give to terrorist groups.
Country Date of Designation
Cuba 1 March 1982
Iran 19 January 1984
Sudan 12 August 1993
Syria 29 December 1979
The designation of countries that repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism as state sponsors of terrorism carries with it four main sets of US Government sanctions:
  1. A ban on arms-related exports and sales.
  2. Controls over exports of dual-use items, requiring 30-day Congressional notification for goods or services that could significantly enhance the terrorist-list country’s military capability or ability to support terrorism.
  3. Prohibitions on economic assistance.
  4. Imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions, including:
  • Requiring the United States to oppose loans by the World Bank and other international financial institutions;
  • Exception from the jurisdictional immunity in US courts of state sponsor countries, and all former state sponsor countries (with the exception of Iraq), with respect to claims for money damages for personal injury or death caused by certain acts of terrorism, torture, or extrajudicial killing, or the provision of material support or resources for such acts;
  • Denying companies and individuals tax credits for income earned in terrorist-list countries;
  • Denial of duty-free treatment of goods exported to the United States;
  • Authority to prohibit any US citizen from engaging in a financial transaction with a terrorist-list government without a Treasury Department license; and
  • Prohibition of Defense Department contracts above $100,000 with companies in which a state sponsor government owns or controls a significant interest.


Wanted Terrorists


Credit: The FBI