However, the fact that there was an ongoing military conflict between the North and South Vietnamese, and America is viewed as having take a side of support in that action, and because it was officially deemed a "conflict" militarily by the United States, many analysts do not consider it on the scale of international terrorism. However, the Vietnam Conflict (war), did give rise to certain groups within the United States who perpetuated criminal acts of violence against government and military targets with the goal of impacting public opinion and changing the direction of the government's position on the presence of and use of U.S. military forces in that country.
Perhaps more effective than the groups that grew out of the public's protest over American involvement in Vietnam, were the Vietnam war protesters. The non-violent, but nonetheless forcefully vocal groups of anti-war activists who almost daily marched on Washington, DC were the driving force behind bringing to an end America's military involvement in Vietnam.
However, the Vietnam protests and their use of non-violent protesting, excludes them from being considered terrorists, and especially not international terrorists. Those groups that did grow out of the anti-movement and who resorted to violence, such as the Sybionese Liberation Army (SLA), Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and the offshoot of that group, Weather Underground, or Weathermen; did not perpetuate their violence on an international level since they did not cross an international border.
For this same reason, many analysts exclude the actions that have and continue to occur between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Although one might consider different and exclusive from that the Palestinian-Israeli relationship involving violence of the 1970s throughout the present.
The Cold War Era of the United States and Russia
Like Vietnam, analysts tend not to include the covert Cold War activities between the United States and Russia, or other countries like Great Britain, amongst terrorist related activities or on the scale of international terrorism.
The 1970s are referred to as the decade of international terrorism, hijacks and coups. The most prominent and certainly one of the most memorable acts of terrorism the world has faced as a world community in modern times, was during the 1972 Olympics, in Munich, Germany, when Arab terrorists took Israel's Olympic team hostage. The end result was disastrous, after a failed attempt by the German authorities to rescue the athletes, all of them were killed. The difference in international terrorism during the 1960s and the 1970s, is that the 1960s represented efforts to bring about social change, and the 1970s were acts of international terrorism arising out of political issues.
Where these acts might become ambiguous in defining them as being motivated by social change vs. political ideology, rests in the fact that the Islamic fundamentalists of the 1970s, and into the present, have no separation of church and state as do most other international governments. In other words, groups such as the Irish Republican Army which was focused on bringing about a political change in Northern Ireland, and who probably had religious affiliation with the Catholic Church; were not in fact sponsored by the Catholic Church. The ideology of Catholic doctrine did not dominate the actions of the IRA. For Muslims, however, Islam is inseparable, and this creates for some people an ambiguity in defining Islamic terrorism.
However, since the 1970s, Islamic terrorism has spread to a world-wide level, and as those acts of violence committed in foreign countries and against foreign targets with the intent of drawing attention to the Islamic cause spread, they must be considered international terrorism and the perpetrators of those acts are international terrorists.
The 1970s are the point in modern history when international terrorism became the frequently wielded weapon and tool of any political group seeking to gain world attention and support of their cause. Since the 1970s, acts of international terrorism has been associated with groups such as the Irish Republic Army (IRA), the Palestinian Liberation Organization...
The international terrorism of the 1970s usually involved.".. seizing hostages, hijacking airplanes, car bombs and assassinations."
For the most part, since terrorists are seeking wide-spread public support, it is not in their best interest to kill or mail private citizens and targets. For that reason, terrorists tend to focus on government representatives and targets. However, during the 1970s, especially in South America, businessmen became the focus of terrorism and were frequently kidnapped and held hostage for ransom, which in turn funded their other activities. It was during the 1970s, as a result of the number of kidnappings for ransom and exchange of political prisoners, that many governments around the world, including the United States and Great Britain, adopted policies of not negotiating with terrorists.
Perhaps contributing to the proliferation of terrorism during the 1970s was the fact that the United States had seen the fall of Saigon, and the fact that Britain was experiencing ongoing political change and upheaval. With two of the world's leading super powers preoccupied with their internal affairs of government and public demand on their attention, two of the most assertive voices in the world community were virtually silenced as regards the ideologies and affairs of other nations that were going on at the time.
Early in the 1970s terrorism took on new characteristics, and began employing international initiatives and also began targeting private civilians in its efforts to draw attention to the causes that were waging battles in foreign lands and battling for world attention. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), under the leadership of Yassir Arafat.".. contended that killing civilians was justified because it was part of the armed struggle to free their homeland." Targeting buildings and military targets as symbolic of oppression was no longer the rule, and during the 1970s terrorism took on a more deadly and destructive characteristic. "The increase in the numbers of dead and injured was much greater than the number of incidents."
During the 1970s, the Abu Nidal Organization, a Palestinian terrorist group, was headquartered in Iraq. From their base in Iraq, the Abu Nidal Organization carried out its mission against Israel, and received funding from Iraq. North Korea changed its tactics against South Korea during the 1970s, and went from military conventional warfare to terrorism attacks on the South. It was during the 1970s, too, that problems between the Hindus and Sikhs in India. The problems were not addressed or resolved politically, and while there was little violence between the two groups during the 1970s, by the 1980s there would be wide-spread terrorism occurring between the two groups.
Canada, too, experienced a certain amount of terrorism during the 1970s when the Quebec Liberation Front (FLQ) formed in response to the push to separate French speaking Quebec from the English sector. In training for their terrorist activities, some members of the FLQ trained with Palestinian terrorists in the Middle East. The FLQ turned violent when they kidnapped two high ranking British officials, and killed one of them. The Canadian government responded quickly, but not in the way that many would have expected them to. The Canadian government gave the FLQ safe passage to Cuba, in exchange for the remaining government official. This was probably not the way that other world leaders would have responded, or that they would have encouraged Canada to deal with the terrorists and terrorism.
In Spain, the struggle that had been ongoing since Franco eliminated the specially designated area of that country for Basque autonomy, and even outlawed the spoken language of the Basque people, became more violent during the 1970s. The Euzkadi ta Askatasuna (ETA) emerged as a terrorist group whose mission it was to effectuate the uniting of the Basque people in the creation of an independent Basque state. Where the ETA might have been successful in uniting the Basque people with an agenda of negotiations and by employing a political strategy that worked with the Spanish government, they failed in uniting the Basque people with their agenda of terrorism aimed at coercing the Spanish government into creating a Basque homeland.
During the 1970s, other groups around the world, the Somalis in parts of Kenya and Ethiopia; Armenians in Azerbaijan; Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia have all employed terrorism on an international scale to accomplish agendas of unification with neighboring countries.
International terrorism is distinguished by three distinctive characteristics. First, as with other forms of terrorism, it embodies an act which is essentially criminal. It takes the form of assassination or murder, kidnapping, extortion, arson, maiming, or an assortment of other acts which are all regarded by nations as criminal. Second, international terrorism is politically motivated. An extremist political group, convinced of the rightness of its cause, resorts to violent means to advance that cause - means incorporating one or more of the acts cited above. Often the violence is directed against innocents, persons having no personal connection with the grievance motivating the terrorist…
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