Terrorist Groups Capstone Project

Length: 9 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Terrorism Type: Capstone Project Paper: #71392632 Related Topics: Ethnic Group, Hamas, Nazism, Applied Operations
Excerpt from Capstone Project :

¶ … causes of terrorism have attracted huge concern among policymakers and the public given the increase in terror attacks across the globe in the recent past. The modern society has been characterized by the increased emergence of terrorist groups and organizations in various places in the world. These organizations have continued to use sophisticated methods to accomplish their goals due to rapid technological advancements. Some of the major examples of terrorist groups include Baader-Meinhof, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and the alleged Iranian state-sponsored terrorism. Following my analysis of these groups, I have chosen as my theoretical framework, Margolin's argument that, 'much terrorist behavior is a response to the frustration of various political, economic, and personal needs or objectives' (Joseph Margolin, 1977, 273-4).

My discussion will involve analysis of three terrorist groups across three categories i.e. ideological, nationalist, and religious terrorism. I will use Baader-Meinhof gang, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and the alleged Iranian state-sponsored terrorism for ideological, nationalist, and religious terrorism respectively.


Terrorism has developed to become one of the major threats to global security in recent years as it continues to change because of emergence of new motivations, adversaries, and rationales. However, terrorist groups and acts are carried out for three major reasons i.e. ideological, nationalist, and religious purposes. There are various terror groups that exist across these three categories such as Baader-Meinhof in Germany (ideological terrorism), the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka (nationalist terrorism), and the alleged Iranian state-sponsored terrorism (religious terrorism). The hypothesis chosen for analyzing these groups is the frustration-aggression hypothesis, which implies that when frustrations are dealt with, all terrorist activities will end.

Case Studies

Hoffman (1997), argues that terrorism is rapidly changing and has become more accessible to any individual or group with objective, purpose, grievance or any peculiar combination of these factors (p.50). The increased accessibility of terrorism to any individual and group has contributed to its rise to become a major global security issue and threat. The changing nature of terrorism has also generated serious questions regarding much of the conventional wisdom and assumption on terrorists and terrorism. Nonetheless, ideological factors, nationalist objectives, and religion play a crucial role in terrorism motivation, adversaries and rationales. These three categories can be understood through case studies of Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, and the perceived Iranian state-sponsored terrorism.

Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany is a group that represents ideological terrorism that was founded in 1970 and disbanded in 1998. West Germany was the home base of this gang, which was formulated to protest against alleged fascist, middle-class, and bourgeois values in this region. As part of its initial orientation, Baader-Meinhof carried out specific protests of the Vietnam War while showing their support to communist ideals and opposing the capitalist status quo. In its early stages of operation, the gang explained its goals in its first communique on June 5, 1970 and others in the same year. The main intention of the gang was to worsen the disagreement between the state and its opposition ("Who Were the Baader-Meinhof Gang?" 2007). Some of the most notable attacks of Baader-Meinhof gang include bombing of U.S. barracks in 1971, bombing Munich and Augsburg's police headquarters in 1972, a series of murders in 1977, and killing of Siemens executive in 1986.

The Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam or Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka is a nationalist terrorism group that was formulated in 1976 and commenced violence actions against the country's government in 1983. This group chose to name the northern and eastern part of Sri Lanka as Tamil Eelam since they wanted to claim it as independent. Since its inception, Tamil Tigers has been funding itself and purchasing weapons in Europe through various legal and illegitimate means. Some of these methods include drug trafficking, fake humanitarian reasons, and partnership with Indian organized crime. The declared intention of Tamil Tigers terror group is to establish an independent Tamil entity or state in the northern and eastern part in the country. This objective is based on the fact that the group controls most of the areas in this part in addition to carrying out


In order to fulfill their objectives, Tamil Tigers target political and military leaders as well as civilians, especially those competing with its militant groups. The most notable attacks carried out by the group include the killing of Indian Prime Minister in 1991 and the 1993 murder of Sri Lankan president.

An example of religious terrorism is the perceived Iranian state-sponsored terrorism. According to the United States, Iran is regarded as the foremost state sponsor of terrorism throughout the world. Iran has consistently supported and sponsored terrorist groups for religious reasons such as Hezbollah in Lebanon. While state-sponsored terrorism is a concept that emerged in the mid-1970s, it is unclear when Iran started to sponsor terror activities. However, the country sponsors terrorism in attempts to have indirect influence of politics in other regions or countries. The religious aspect of the alleged Iranian state-sponsored terrorism is evident in the link between the country's government and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The main objective of the group is to promote the objectives of the Islamic revolution through partnerships with other Islamic groups. Even though the extent of the country's involvement with the group is unclear, it is reported that Iran has sponsored the group in training Islamic groups like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. In some cases, IRGC and Iranian Revolutionary Guard have worked together in fighting Israel. Moreover, the country has recently been involved in initiatives to create weapons of mass destruction to sponsor terrorism.

Processes Leading to Each Case

Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany represents ideological terrorism, which focuses on advancing a certain belief system through violence and terror against governments and citizens. Terrorist groups that are fueled by ideological objectives usually engage in violent activities in attempts to enforce their political beliefs on another system. Ideological terrorism emerged from revolutionary terrorism and anti-colonialism and is usually characterized by guerilla warfare (White, 2012). The terror gang in Germany rose as one of the most important leftists in Europe in early 1970s and named after its founders i.e. Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof. This gang is also known as the Red Army Faction since it was formed as a communalist urban guerilla organization that fought against fascism and oppression in the country.

The circumstances leading to the emergence of this terror group was the 1967 demonstration against the elitism of the visiting Iranian Shah or king. The king's visit attracted huge support from Iranians living in Germany and opposition from some of the country's residents. German police killed a young man during the demonstration, an incident that acted as the catalyst for the formation of this leftist organization that decided to respond to the alleged fascism that characterized the country. As an ideological group, the Red Army Faction set to enforce its communist ideals while fighting the perceived actions of a fascist nation. Therefore, the gang was a by-product of certain German political situations as well as wider leftist trends that characterized Europe during this period.

In contrast, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam represents national terrorism, which involved violent act fueled by nationalism. Nationalist terrorism groups emerge in pursuit of self-determination that sometimes includes efforts toward achieving significant independence or the formation of a self-governing and autonomous nation. These groups are fueled by beliefs and feelings that they are being oppressed or denied some privileges by the government and seek to resist the concept of imperialism and illegal powers. Therefore, nationalist terrorist groups or organizations always consider themselves as freedom fighters for the minority or larger population with legal national rights.

Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka is at the front of contemporary nationalist movement that surfaced from state and ethnic prejudice. The nationalism goals of the group are evident in its pursuit of the creation of an independent and sovereign state in the northern and eastern part of the country. This nationalist faction is regarded as the most violent, disciplined, and well organized terrorist group that is most lethal ("Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam," 2001). The main motivation for the formation and actions of this nationalist faction is the long-standing conflict between the Tamils and the Sinhalese who dominate the Sri Lankan government. LTTE rose to oppose ethnic and state discrimination after the Sinhalese decided to establish political and cultural authority through making Sinhalese and Buddhism the official language and religion respectively.

The perceived Iranian state-sponsored terrorism represents religious terrorism, which incorporates more aspects than ideological terrorism. Generally, religious terrorist groups and organizations use religion as an ideology for carrying out violent actions and attacks. Religious terrorism involves using terror acts against governments and citizens who seem to possess another religious influence. Religion is used as an ideology in such instances based on the assumption that it contributes to more power and influence by the individuals or groups that…

Sources Used in Documents:


Brynjar, L. & Katja, S. (2000). Why Terrorism Occurs -- A Survey of Theories and Hypotheses

on the Causes of Terrorism. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://www.ffi.no/no/rapporter/00-02769.pdf

"Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism Overview." (2013, May 30). Office of the Coordinator

for Counterterrorism. Retrieved from U.S. Department of State website: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2012/209985.htm
Hoffman, B. (1997). Viewpoint: Terrorism and WMD: Some Preliminary Hypotheses. The Nonproliferation Review, 45-53. Retrieved from http://cns.miis.edu/npr/pdfs/hoffma43.pdf
Hudson, R.A. (1999, September). The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why? Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://fas.org/irp/threat/frd.html
21, 2014, from http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/shrilanka/terroristoutfits/LTTE.htm
Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6314559.stm

Cite this Document:

"Terrorist Groups" (2014, September 21) Retrieved January 20, 2022, from

"Terrorist Groups" 21 September 2014. Web.20 January. 2022. <

"Terrorist Groups", 21 September 2014, Accessed.20 January. 2022,

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