Terrorists’ Tactics

Terrorists’ Tactics

According to Drake’s Terrorist Target Selection, there is an emphasis on the ideology that is normally carried by the terror groups. This is because their ideologies present important tools in determining their target selection when launching attacks. Typically, it is from different ideological perspectives that such terror groups make decisions regarding any legitimate target for potential attacks (Binet, 2016). For instance, there exist viewpoints of separatism that refers to any groups or members who are seen to be leaning or cooperating with their perceived enemies.

In this case, there will be attacks, aimed at eliminating such members or groups since they perceive them to be representative to their enemies (Law, 2015). Therefore, it is imperative to note that such ideologies not only act as indicators towards the process of target selection but also can be used as an effective tool in the determination of future potential targets. The two most relevant objectives, which I wish to lay focus in this paper, are threat elimination and attrition.

The main reason why I chose to discuss the objective of threat elimination is because it is one of the most common drivers towards violent attacks by terrorist. In the objective of threat elimination, the terrorist groups typically aim to eliminate any organization, individuals or objects, which they perceive to be a form of threat towards their activities or existence. In this objective, these terrorist groups are able to accurately determine the parameters form which these target groups operate before launching an attack (Austin et al, 2013). Their main objective being elimination of threat, they utilize violence means of attack aimed at sending a clear message to their enemies. Normally, they do not take into consideration the magnitude of threat that they perceive from their enemies. They still use the same level of violence to eliminate their enemies even if the threat is a simple political ideology (Law, 2015). The most important fact that they take into consideration is the fact that they have received some form of threat that is dangerous towards their operations, aims and objectives.

The reason why I chose to discuss the objective of attrition is because it is the main driver towards recent attacks in various places around the world by terrorist groups. Typically, attrition involves the emptying out of the willpower of all psychological targets. This is usually achieved through the launch of small-scale attacks on all psychical targets that are perceived to be valuable to the society (Hoffman, 2006). This is the most commonly used attack by the terrorist with the aim of creating psychological fear among people. The most notable attack that can be related to this objective is the September 11, attack of the Twins building in the United States (Hoffman, 2006). Through this attack, one can deduct that terrorists choose to attack more appealing targets such as the Twins towers because of the high public value that it held. Therefore, psychological vulnerability of their targets determine the kind of attack used by terrorists.

In October 2000, terrorists attacked civilians in Colombo own Hall where they killed 24 civilians and injured 3 Americans during the oaths event by new cabinet ministers. The timing of this terror attack in regards to the political event is clear-cut and well pronounced. Therefore, it is plausible to conclude that that the process of searing in new political leaders could be closely linked to the terror attack that happened that day (Hoffman, 2006). In this regard, a government policy or the decision of having new government could have been unpopular with the terror groups. Hence, the terror attack was sending a clear-cut message to the incoming government that it was not satisfied with the political decisions that were happening in the country (Binet, 2016). This terror attack therefore means that unpopular political decisions can be driving forces to towards potential terror attacks.

In addition, July 2001 the air force base of Katunayake as well as Bandaranaike International Airport that is located in the outskirts of Colombo experienced terror attacks. This attack left valuable assets destroyed such as eight military aircrafts, six airbus aircrafts and left two personnel dead and twelve others injured. The objective of this terror attack was mainly attrition because the terror group chose to destroy important military equipments at the air force base (Binet, 2016). Military equipments are important asset in any government setting as it is used for the purposes of ensuring security of its citizens is protected. Further, it was clear that the United States administration under the leadership of Bush aimed at asserting its dominance by flexing its military muscles against all those states that it deemed to be rogue as a response to the September 11, attack (Hoffman, 2006). Moreover, as it was the cultural history of the United States, it was providing interventions in global wars through the set doctrines of public national security as well as Bush’s moral right claim.

In addition, June 2002 was characterized by a terror attack that happened just outside an American Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan that resulted to demise of twelve people. During this time, the United States was relentless in the pursuit of responding to the terror attacks that had claimed the lives of many American citizens. In this context, it had launched many attacks in Asian countries such as Iraq, which was believed to be the main camp where terror groups organized their terror activities in a global context (Hoffman, 2006). Therefore, responding to the American’s decision of sending its troops to these Asian countries, an attack was launched just outside the consulate as a warning signal. Therefore, the main objective that propelled these terrorists to launch this attack was to eliminate any form of threats that the operations of Americans was presenting to their terror operations (Austin et al, 2013).

In October 2002, there was a terror attack that happened in a nightclub in Bali that resulted to the death of about two hundred and two citizens who were mainly Australian. Typically, when these terror groups are faced with difficulties of launching terror attacks at high profile places and people due to high stringent security measures taken by the governments and the security personnel, they ultimately result to other alternative targets where security is assumed loose (Hoffman, 2006). This is because they choose not to give up in their operations as most of these activities are normally guided by religious beliefs (Law, 2015). For instance, this particular attack was assumed a religious fulfillment commonly known as jihad or religious war. Americans and other foreign visitors frequently visited this particular targeted nightclub. However, it was assumed that the terrorists were poorly informed since only few Americans died in the attack.

In March 2004, Madrid was faced with serious terror attacks that happened in four trains that had harbored ten explosive bombs. This resulted to one hundred and ninety one deaths injuring a further one thousand five hundred civilians. Later, a letter that was written letter was delivered to an Arabic newspaper indicated a terror group closely linked to Al Qaeda claimed full responsibility to that attack. This attack was seen be politically instigated by Arabs who were resisting the political transformations that was taking place in Spain. The attacks also happened a few days to national elections where the main popular candidate had made it clear his intentions of fighting terrorism (Hoffman, 2006). Hence, the fight against terrorisms being his central theme throughout his campaigns, Arab resistance was retaliating with the aim of eliminating possible threats (Austin et al, 2013).


Austin T., Das. D., Lowe D. (2013). Examining Political Violence: Studies of Terrorism. Florida. CRC Press.

Binet L. (2016). War Crimes and Politics. Birmingham. FMSF Publishers.

Hoffman B. (2006). Inside Terrorism. Columbia. Columbia University Press.

Law D. R. (2015). The Routledge History of Terrorism. New York. Routledge Publishers.

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