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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78236 Find in a Library
Title: Terrorism - International Dimensions - Answering the Challenge
Author(s): P Wilkinson
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 30
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Focusing on terrorist incidents against nations and communities, this British report examines the current international response to terrorism and suggests steps which Western democracies can take against this threat.
Abstract: An assessment of the terrorist threat shows that terrorism is used as a weapon of coercive intimidation of governments. Comprehensive statistics of incidents with international dimensions reveal almost a continuous increase in terrorism between 1968 and 1978. However, improved security has reduced aircraft hijacking and letter bombs. An analysis of the seriousness of the problem notes that the death toll is not the main criterion because of the deadly destructive effects of low-intensity violence. The report observes that terrorists will try to destroy a middle ground for compromise and thus make democratic politics impossible. States such as South Yemen, Ethiopia, and Vietnam are providing bases for terrorism. Moreover, terrorists have been acquiring sophisticated weapons, such as surface-to-air missiles. Four main terrorist 'constituencies' exist: Palestinian extremists, Irish Republican Army terrorists and its supporters, exile terrorist groups, and factions acting on behalf of religious groups (as among Moslems in the Middle East). The inadequacy of an international response to terrorism is demonstrated in United Nations conventions and declarations and its failure to enforce aircraft hijacking deterrent measures. Intelligence and police cooperation has progressed far more rapidly than political and judicial cooperation, although extradition procedures succeed in only a minority of cases. Steps open to Western democracies include increasing efforts to bring about more effective international antiterrorist laws and to persuade States to ratify agreements. Moreover, a central coordinating group of security and intelligence experts could add immeasurably to international responses to terrorism. The report concludes that there must be no deals with terrorist and counterpropaganda should be used to expose barbaric crimes. Finally, a predominant consideration must be to strengthen democracy and human rights. A total of 26 footnotes and 14 references are supplied. Graphs and tables are included.
Index Term(s): Counter-terrorism tactics; International cooperation; Political impact of terrorism; Revolutionary or terrorist groups; Terrorist weapons; Threat assessment
Note: Part of the Institute for the Study of Conflict, Conflict Studies series, no. 113.
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