“Terrorism” is the word that everyone, probably, heard in the 21st century.
Many will say that it is an ideology or a policy based on intimidation and intimidation. This is partly true, but this is only partly. In the past, wanting to change foreign or domestic policy, the historical course of events or achieving their goals, terrorists directed their attacks, first of all, against specific individuals, for example, kings ( история Russia is very rich in such examples) or groups of individuals, but today the situation has changed dramatically.
XNUMXst century terrorism is one of many ways (or tools) of warfare. It is no different from the "information war", "guerrilla warfare", "economic warfare" or "tank offensive" (there are many other ways to wage war). The task in any war is to win (regardless of whether it is “cold” or “hot”), and if an army operation (for example, tank offensive) provides for the seizure of new territories, then terrorism ensures the discrediting of power, fear and panic in the ranks of the enemy.
In order to clarify this, we will have to disengage from different types of terrorism - for example, religious, political, social, etc., from different terror organizers - ISIS, People’s Militia, Base and others, from social groups that organize and pretend it life and so on. We need to treat terrorism as a "historical phenomenon", which is characterized by certain features and which has its own historical development.
In any war there are two types of goals: strategic and tactical. Strategic - final goals, for example, victory in war, change of power, change of economic markets, etc. Tactical targets are local or intermediate targets, such as seizing a city, carrying out some kind of operation, or discrediting a government.
Terrorism, in its essence, pursues only tactical goals: to discredit power, to show its inaction, to sow fear and panic, etc.
For these purposes, respectively, the greatest damage may be caused by a terrorist act in the most crowded or “painful” place for any society (hospitals, schools, churches, kindergartens, subways, etc.).
If any terrorist attack succeeds in any society, a period of fear begins. During this period, people are afraid to leave their homes, use public transport, appear at public events, and so on. It is at such moments in society that the thought of the inaction of the authorities appears very slowly and smoothly, and perhaps even worse - of the involvement of the authorities in terrorist acts, and these are already very scary thoughts and ideas, but this is a different matter ...
It should be noted that the tactical and strategic results of terrorist acts may be unexpected for their organizers and perpetrators.
So, for example, after the September 11 2001 terrorist attack (Twin Towers), if we ignore emotions, we can see that the panic that arose as a public reaction developed into a public desire for revenge (partly due to the huge role of the American media, which professionally "The topic and" wound up "the nation, as if preparing it for the upcoming war), and the desire for revenge grew into public support for the war between the United States and Iraq. Regardless of what goals the terrorists were pursuing, the panic and desire of American society to avenge became the tactical outcome of this terrorist act, and the strategic outcome was the invasion of Iraq.
Or the 3 attack of April 2017 of the year in the St. Petersburg metro instantly not only naturally switched the informational agenda of those days from the current “problem of the transport system Plato” to “the problem of terrorism as the current enemy of the country”, but also actively discussed in society “the meaning of war in Syria ”due to the professional work of the competent media just fell away - his decision became obvious. There are a lot of similar examples in history.
But the main thing is that any terrorist attack is a tactical step towards accomplishing a strategic task.
Where do terrorist attacks occur most often? The answer to this question lies in the "dry" statistics.
For example, in 2014, terrorist attacks were the richest (or “fraught”) Iraq (15864 times), Pakistan (9708 times), Afghanistan (7641 times), India (6023 times), the Philippines and Thailand (respectively 2872 and 2848 times ). (For reference: according to official data, an 2014 terrorist attack took place in Russia in 1753).
There are several common elements that unite these countries. The most important is weak central authority. It is because of a weak central government that law enforcement forces are not able to effectively counter terrorist threats, simply because, like power, law enforcement forces are weak. In such regions, the population has lost all hope of any political and social change. Accordingly, "frozen" or missing completely social elevators. But the main thing is that in these countries (read the regions), various political structures, understanding the weakness of the center, begin to fight for power, prepare revolutions, set people off in civil clashes and wars, shaking the already fragile life of society, thereby creating the soil for terrorism (including the emergence of testing grounds for terrorist methods and practices, the selection of people). Terrorism is not only and not so much as a tool to achieve local tactical goals, but also as a method of waging strategic wars by larger players.
In connection with this, the “geo-referencing” of the attack is often determined today by “non-local” factors and causes.
For a particular terrorist, there is no difference in where the terrorist act is committed - in Baghdad or Paris. The attacks in Baghdad occur more often due to their simpler implementation, including due to the reasons mentioned above. But the world community will perceive the terrorist attack in Europe or in America (in the cultural, economic centers of the world) much more painfully.
More painful, not only because everyone is accustomed to the fact that terrorist attacks regularly occur in the Middle East or because there is a constant war in the “hot regions”, and the terrorist attack in Paris is a corresponding shock to the society accustomed to “peace.”
As mentioned above, the task of any terrorist act is to “sow” panic and fear, mistrust of the ability of the authorities to preserve the foundations of society, and panic and fear are best “sown” in the places most covered by the media. The situation is extremely simple: the goal of the attack is not in the number of victims, but in the subsequent reaction of the population, but in the 21st century the subsequent reaction is provided by the media.
And here it is enough to give just one comparative example, which simply shows the big picture:
At the beginning of 2015, there were many terrorist attacks in the world (including a considerable number of victims), but two of them are very revealing. The first occurred on January 7 in Paris, when they attacked the editorial board of “Charlie Hebdo” (I do not condone the editorial office at all, moreover, I believe that they themselves “played out”), that day 12 people died. The scale of the reaction of France and the world community (which is easiest to follow on avatars in social networks and media responses) was enormous. The second example occurred two months later - 18 March, then the Bardo Museum in Tunisia was undermined, more than 20 people died (including children), but the response was much, much less, the main reason for which is the geographical reference of the place (here you can , start a conversation about the European mentality and attitudes towards former colonies, but this is not about it now ...)
It should be understood that the terrorism of the XIX and XXI centuries is completely different phenomena. (Let us put down the twentieth century for “theoretical purity” - the century of world wars and their consequences; the century which, in the sense of the concept we are discussing, has split into three components: the continuation of the too long XIX century, the time of world wars and human lawlessness and too early beginning of the XXI century). In the 19th century, all the attacks were directed at certain people; they were directed towards society as a whole indirectly - by the desire to eliminate this or that person, to change the policy or the course of history. Today, with the same strategic goals, it is not to kill as many people or a specific person as possible, but to scare as much as possible.
The most important feature of terrorism of the 21st century is its inclusion in other political and economic problems. Rather, it is these multidimensional problems that give rise to terrorism. For example, in the Syrian problem of ISIS (forbidden in the Russian Federation), not being able to win the war against a stronger opponent and regular armies, is forced (not even to win, but to survive for ISIL) to resort to the “doctrine of terrorism” so that, sowing fear and creating a sense of danger, to introduce into society the thoughts of futility and the danger of war in Syria. Simply put - to force the countries participating in the anti-IGIL coalition (this is the author’s term, under which all countries somehow fighting ISIS) are united by the hands of their peoples to end the campaign in Syria.
By the way, for this, ISIL has a very “fertile ground”, because very few governments of any countries were able to intelligibly explain to their citizens, “why they climbed there”.
Also, precisely because of ISIS, international terrorism was finally Islamized in the minds of people. And objectively: the majority of terrorists 2014-17. - these are Muslims, for which there is a logical explanation - ISIS declares itself to be an Islamic state.
Another feature of terrorism is the overall scale. No matter how terrible it may sound, you can never feel completely safe from terrorist acts. The "geography of terrorism" is very extensive, ranging from "obvious countries" (Iraq, Libya, Israel) and ending with the "safest" - USA, United Kingdom
In addition, it is worth paying attention to the fact that terrorism has become a “professional” phenomenon in the 21st century. In the XIX century, no one trained terrorists on purpose, just there was no method for preparing them, both psychological and military (in terms of preparing equipment and developing combat skills of fighters). History knows a lot of examples of failed attacks precisely because of poor preparation. Today, terrorism has become the “lot” of professionals, there are already not just “manuals” for creating weapons, but also camps and fighter training centers. Today, any terrorist goes through not only ideological training, but also military training — almost every terrorist knows how to make explosive devices from improvised means.
There is a very simple explanation for this - it is much more difficult to smuggle a “professional” explosive device from a place of manufacture to a place of use, rather than “assemble” yours on the spot.
But as part of the "professionalization" there is another process - simplification. If we compare the 2014-2017 attacks with similar 2001-2004 events, we see that the attacks have become more primitive. That is, it is much more difficult to blow up a house on Dubrovka or “crash” two planes into two skyscrapers than to carry a homemade bomb in the subway.
Just think about how much time and effort, money “spent” on preparing for September 11: to recruit people, train them and prepare them psychologically, teach them to fly planes, think up plans, use weapons, etc. It’s all very, very difficult, it’s a multi-level job requiring many people.
Today, terrorist acts have become "more primitive." This is due to two reasons: firstly, today it is necessary to “make” as many terrorist acts as possible, and secondly, as the complexity increases, the danger of “interception” by special services increases. After all, it is much easier for special services to prevent a “complex” terrorist attack than a “simple” one.
Today, the world, in counteracting terrorism, reacts to what has happened and prevents what is being prepared, and does not deal with the problem together.
The main work being done today is the work of the special services to introduce agents, isolate the most radical elements, control the diasporas and ghettos, strengthen the “external security” (for example, the framework of the metro or tighten the security rules at airports) and so on. But all this only reduces the number of terrorist attacks, and does not reduce them to "no." Of course, this is a necessary work, but this struggle is not with the causes, but with the symptoms - to reduce casualties and damage.
Also, one more point must be added to this struggle, no matter how cynical it may sound - the reaction of the media. As has been said so many times, one of the main tasks of any terrorist act is panic and fear, and in the 21st century, panic and fear are created by the media. By the way, that is why terrorism of the past became terrorism in today's understanding - it appeared with the advent of today's media. Without media reactions, its global essence disappears.
Accordingly, it is necessary to reduce the "response" in the media about the terrorist attacks that have occurred, measuring the size of the terrorist attack with the magnitude of its informational consequences, for which the attack was carried out.
Such steps in order to achieve the most "sonorous" effect will force terrorists to prepare larger and "complex" operations, which will require huge resources and funds. We repeat once again that at the present stage of development of the special services, it is much easier to prevent complex terrorist acts, partly because the “probability of error” and failure in preparation are much higher.
Summarize. In the fight against the "roots" of terrorism, and not with the "germs" of these roots, it is necessary to understand the following:
First, terrorism is the brainchild of problems that have arisen in both the global world and in different regions, and not an independent global problem.
Secondly, terrorism is a means and a tool, not an ideology or a policy.
Thirdly, modern media, in the form in which they exist today and affect the public consciousness, are unconscious (always hopefully!) Accomplices of terrorism in the context of helping to solve its main tasks - fear, panic and paralysis of society.
Awareness of these very simple truths lying on the surface may push experts and those in power to change the strategy of combating terrorism as a phenomenon of modernity. Which, of course, does not reduce the acuteness of the tactical struggle with specific terrorists.