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Terrorist Threats to the United States

Terrorist Threats to the United States


Nowadays, international and domestic terrorist organizations can pose threats to the United States. It has become one of the most urgent questions in domestic and international relations. Terrorist attacks can threaten the USA via online networking sites as well as by military attacks using armed forces. Different types of international terrorist organizations do not only threaten the USA, but also other countries. They use various extremist strategies and ideologies that emerge among domestic terrorist groups and make the issue of national security more complex. The threat of terrorist attacks creates instability and fair among people. The government and law enforcement agencies are not always available to protect people from terrorists in spite of their efforts. It happens because terrorist organizations have become rather sophisticated, and it is difficult to fight with them. The purpose of this paper is to explore different types of threats posed to the United States by domestic and international terrorist organizations.

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Domestic Terrorism

Domestic terrorism is hard to understand and explain because attacks are made by people living in the same country. Different reasons motivate individuals to kill fellow citizens or threaten organizations to prevent them from prosperity and security. Many terrorists can be found at work or in close neighborhood. Their activity is hidden, and it is hard to determine them because they are embedded in society and work anonymously that makes it difficult to predict and prevent their clandestine activity. These factors create difficulties to law enforcement agencies to detect and hinder domestic terrorist attacks. Traditionally, citizens are accustomed to the international threat that aims at striking their security and land. However, a domestic threat is harder to understand and explain. White (2011) assumes that the scope of domestic and international terrorism is different because international violence has a higher level of property destruction and death rates.

The statistics proves that the number of domestic threats outnumbers international terrorist attacks (Ratcliffe, 2012). Since September 11, people become more vulnerable to terrorist attacks from abroad, and this makes them to be more cautious about various types of terrorism. It is hard to estimate threats in accordance with their level of destruction because each of them can be catastrophic to individuals and organizations. Nowadays, people have a lack of trust to the government due to the latest economic decline and the growing activity of jihadist groups inside the country. Domestic terrorists can influence the governmental policy or affect its direction by mass destruction. Moreover, some experts assume that domestic terrorism and measures to prevent it can deprive innocent civilians of their freedoms (Shanty, 2011). Therefore, in order to prevent this type of threat, policy makers and officials should find a balance between security measures and constitutional rights.

The History of Domestic Terrorism

Historians assume that the history of domestic terrorism is rather long (Ratcliffe, 2012). Many believe that it dates back to the past being more than 200 years ago. In 1865, a secret vigilant group Ku Klux Klan is known to have killed African Americans and the whites who struggled for the abolishment of slavery. The group members murdered a lot of people using extreme methods. KKK was the biggest organization in the U.S. history that spread racism in the country. The United States of America experienced one of the bloodiest labor histories because of domestic terrorist groups that killed and injured innocent people at that time. For example, in 1910, two Irish-American brothers bombed the Los Angeles Times that led to dozens of killed and hundreds of injured people. The research asserts that in the 1960s and the 1970s, terrorist attacks were made by far-left anti-establishment groups, which supported the Marxist-oriented ruling elite, bombing the Pentagon and the State Department (White, 2011).

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The Department of Justice is responsible for tracking terrorist groups and organizations, gathering evidence, making arrests, and prosecuting terrorist activities in the United States. Unfortunately, it does not give information about the scope and the number of domestic terrorist groups. The Sothern Poverty Law Center is an organization that is dedicated to seeking justice for the victims of terror. The SPLC tracks radical religious, as well as antigovernment, Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, anti-gay, black separatists, and anti-Muslim groups. Shanty (2011) assumes that the activity of the SPLC is constantly increasing because of the emergence of new domestic extremist groups, which use biological, chemical, and radiological weapons in their attacks.

The research asserts that modern domestic terrorism is the same as international one because terror predators are united by a common ideology (White, 2011). Significantly, these groups are not organized by a strong leader as traditional ones. They get instructions, inspiration, guidelines, and money via the Internet and resort to their terrorist activity independently from any leader. Domestic terrorism includes extremist groups that are categorized into left-wing, right-wing, radical Islamist, and others. These are extremely dangerous because they are blended with international criminal elements and groups. For example, in the 1990s, the most threatening domestic groups were right-wing and left-wing ones that were connected with returning veterans and military personnel in some cases. They recruited the latter individuals because they had tactical knowledge and combat skills. Ratcliffe (2012) argues that right-wing extremist groups are responsible for the greatest number of domestic terrorist attacks in the USA.

Types of Threats Posed by International Terrorism

International terrorism differs from domestic one by its scope. It is the most dangerous type, especially when blended with domestic terrorist groups. International terrorists act with the aim to implement their ideas in order to turn people around to follow their ideas in different countries. Many reports on security in different countries have pointed out that international terrorist groups and organizations are connected with each other online and can conduct their criminal operations very fast throughout the world (Shanty, 2011). Illegal international activities have interfered in every-day life, especially through cyber-attacks. International terrorists use implicit means of terror, such as the intellectual invasion of destructive ideas or media wars, as well as physical means (for example, kidnapping).

International terrorist groups present various types of threat by their operations carrying out bombing, kidnappings, drug trafficking, and assassinations. According to the research by White (2011), five main international groups can pose a threat to the United States of America. They are as follows: Al Qaeda, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), and Hizballah (the Party of God) (White, 2011). These groups have an extremist purpose to establish their ideology throughout the world. Thus, Al Qaeda plans to establish a pan-Islamic caliphate and expel non-Muslims from Islamic countries. The major act committed by this organization on September 11, 2001 demonstrated its extremist intentions and drastic consequences of its operations in the United States that took lives of 2800 innocent American citizens. These attacks shocked the United States as well as the whole Western community. Since then, the USA proclaimed the global war on terrorism.

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Terrorism is a Matter of Global Concern

Many officials suggest that terrorism, both domestic and international, is a matter of common concern of all states because it threatens many countries, organizations, and individuals (Ratcliffe, 2012). It is recognized that terrorism brings with it a threat of radiological and nuclear attacks on the international community. International institutions, such as the United Nations, issued resolutions to prevent international terrorism worldwide and protect the world community from possible terrorist attacks. To combat terrorism, general measures should be taken collectively as modern terrorist organizations are well-equipped with techniques, methods, and weapons, including nuclear and radiological, that can make a profound damage to many states.

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Domestic and international terrorism do not only threaten people and their lives, but also cause great damage to the environment, land, sea, and air. Terrorists do not respect national sovereignty and people’s freedoms. Nowadays, the humankind is struggling against the brutality of terrorism and shows its readiness to join in an “alliance to combat terrorism”. The democratic world needs protection from both domestic and international terrorism. For the last decades, the FBI has enhanced its techniques to investigate and control acts of aggression to the country. According to Ratcliffe (2012), domestic terrorism is mainly perpetrated in Puerto Rico. The government is aware of this fact and keeps under investigation all possible attacks to the lives and property of U.S. citizens. On the other hand, international terrorism is more complex and hard to predict or investigate because members of terrorist groups are connected online and usually do not have one leader. They can operate alone or by groups, members of which may live in different countries.

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Domestic and international terrorism are two urgent issues that worry the American government, law enforcement agencies, and ordinary people who can experience terrorist attacks everywhere, at work, home, and on the streets. Both types of terror are rather devastating and can kill or injure many people, destroy buildings and even the whole cities. The evidence from the American history has proved this statement. The USA government and law enforcement agencies put all efforts to protect their citizens from different types of terrorist attacks, regardless whether they are domestic or international. However, further efforts are needed to develop more effective programs to combat this evil today and in the future.