Motivations For Terrorism – Term Paper Example

In the last few decades, terror attacks have increased tremendously in both developed and developing economies. Currently, terrorism is a matter of global concern and understanding the motives that drive people to commit the offense is of critical importance in order to prevent destruction and carnage associated with the attacks. Terrorists and terror organizations are driven by ideological convictions and various motivations to execute an attack. Reich (1998) classified motivations into four categories, namely revolutionary, nationalistic, ethnocentric and separatists.
Ethnocentric motivations are based on race superiority, where group members endorse and propagate the attitude that a particular group is superior because of its race or tribal orientation. Groups motivated by separatist ideals seek to secede from the existing socio-political structure, with an objective of creating their own political and economic autonomy, religious domination and independence (Reich, 1998). Nationalistic motivations are founded on loyalty and dedication to one’s nation. Terror groups motivated by nationalistic ideals place their nation’s interests above the interests of other groups or nations. Such groups usually intend to form a new nation of their own by conquering other groups or states, or splitting from an existing state and merging with another that possess similar national identity. Groups motivated by revolutionary motivations seek to oust a recognized order, and substituting it with a new political structure such as communism (Reich 1998). All these four categories are usually driven by political, religious and social ideologies.
Dirk (2005) argues that the target of terror attacks reflect the inherent motivation of the responsible terror group or organization. Hence, groups motivated by political or social ideals aim at striking targets of high symbolic power, such as government offices, banks, airline of particular country, multinational companies among others (Hoffman, 1998). Example of such attack is September 11 that targeted World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in the United States. Most terror groups are driven by multiple motives. Currently, several terror groups are driven by multiple ideologies, mainly religion with separatist and nationalistic motives (Dirk, 2005). Examples include Kashmir separatists group, which is motivated by religion and desire to separate from India.
Dirk, H. (2005). Differing motivations for terrorism. Defense and Peace Economics, 16(1), 19-27.
Hoffman, B. (1998). Inside terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press.
Reich, W. (1998). Origins of terrorism: Psychologies, ideologies theologies states of mind. Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center Press.