What motivates and sustains terrorist movements
Word count: 1086
Gus Martin defines terrorism as ‘the unlawful use of, or threatened use, of force or violence against individual or property to coerce and intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious or ideological objectives’ (2008, P.8). However, there is a great obstacle in allocating a universal definition of terrorism as the motivations differ so broadly from each movement. Similarly, this assertion is further backed up by Alex Alvarez and Ronet Bachman (2013, p.211) as they agree that terrorism ‘defies simple, easy or absolute definition’ as the motivations of terrorist groups range from ‘political, religious, ethnic, racial or ideological’ (2013, p. 211). In this essay, one shall be evaluating the factors that motivate and sustains terrorist movements as well as critically comparing and contrasting the aim and objectives of differing terrorist groups.
According to Frank Foley (2013, p.20), the motivation behind the violence committed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was the ‘constitutional status of Northern Ireland within the UK’. Nevertheless, this motivation conflicts with that of the protestant unionists in Northern Ireland, who supports remaining part of the United Kingdom. However, Matt Treacy (2011 p.661) reports that the IRA suffered an ideological split in 1969 as modernisers were ‘obsessed with parliamentary politics’. As such, The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) took over from the old IRA, which became known as the Official Irish Republic Army (OIRA). This is further supported by Peter Barberis, John McHugh and Mike Tyldesley (2000, p.836) as they state that OIRA were ‘prioritizing the political over the military struggle and seeking to build a mass working-class socialist party’. Whereas, Joseph Grieco, G. John Ikenberry and Michael Mastanduno (2014, p. 373) note that the PIRA favoured violence as they ‘resorted to terrorist violence to seek independence’. Thus, demonstrating that the PIRA were determined to use violence to fight against the British rule and get them out of the whole of Ireland.
Comparably, links can be drawn between the motivations of the IRA and Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA). As reported by Samuel M. Katz (2004), ETA was established in 1959 by student activist whose motivation, according to Kathleen Sweet (2008), was Basque separatism. In this sense, H. James Birx (2010, p.1012) argues that the motivations of ETA and the IRA are inherently linked as ‘the IRA was committed to end British rule in Northern Ireland […] ETA sought independence for the Basque region’. Thereby, their motivation of separatism from centralised power links the dissident terrorist groups together.
A further way in which both groups are linked is by the introduction of revolutionary tax. As defined by John Perdikaris (2014, p. 119), ‘revolutionary taxes are typically extorted from small to medium sized businesses’. As such, William Chapman (1988, p....