The present global interest in terrorism stem from the cataclysmic harm which the phenomenon has proved to inflict on modern society, through the singular event of September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in the United States. The potential impact of contemporary terrorism could reverberate far beyond the immediate theatre of the incident, owing to the increasing destructiveness of the phenomenon in the 21st century. Globalization, increase in advanced information technology, proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and finance has prepared the playing field for contemporary terrorism to thrive and become prodigiously horrific.
Different scenarios of super terrorism have been potentiated in the literature. From the first recorded WMD terrorism using chemical substance to poison bread meant for POWs in 1946, to the well-documented incidence of chemical terrorism in Tokyo using sarin gas in 1995, the risk of catastrophe terrorism has astronomically increased every passing day. Estimates of the worst-case scenario abound in the literature. For instance, a Russian made suitcase nuclear terrorism will put the death toll at over 100,000 people in a populated city, with an almost total decimation of infrastructure. A single rocket containing a warhead of 12.5 kT dropped in a terrorist incident on a moderately populated urban area (3,000 persons/km2) will cause the death of 20–80,000 people and the destruction of an area of 7–8 square kilometres, depending on the weather condition. A 10 kiloton (kT) weapon made from 50 kilograms of bomb grade uranium exploded in Times Square London, would result in a half million deaths from the explosion, total decimation of buildings within a mile, and a million death within a week from radiations. In fact, modern nuclear armament advancement has made it possible to fit neatly a bomb equivalent to the one dropped on Hiroshima into a box about the size of a one gallon water jug, weighting approximately 220 pounds. Theise stark realities haves opened a range of possibilities for a nuclear terrorist strike; indeed, such a bomb canwell be well concealed andcould be transported by an SUV to any populated centre or brought close to a port and detonated in the harbour. On the other hand,
Aa terrorist strike against nuclear waste dumps or and spent core storage facilities could release sufficient cesium-137 into the air to leave a 50-square mile area surrounding the site uninhabitable.
Apart from a nuclear terrorist threat, the matrix of a possible future terrorist attack range from biological, chemical, cyber and ecological terrorism. With specific regards to biological terrorism, the release of a few grams of botulinum toxin A for instance, which is the average lethal dose would be several
tens of milligrams, has been described as the most deadly substance known, could kill 60 million people. Other sources indicate that bacteria of
carbon (carbon foot) would be more deadly.likely scenarios may involve release of small amounts of bio-toxins such as pneumonic plague, or salmonella bacteria against large urban populations by contaminating reservoirs or beverage bottlers, or contaminating the food supply with E. coli or listeria bacteria, particularly through imported food. Additional potentialities of the 21st century terrorist strike may include sabotaging oil refineries and fuel storage tanks, dams and reservoirs, and chemical plants or chlorine tanks; destroying freight trains transporting over 83 million tons each year of hazardous materials such as chlorine; and attacking one or more of 15,000 chemical plants in ways that could release toxic clouds.
Terrorists might weaponise a multidrug-resistant anthrax strain and release airborne spores against a downwind population, or unleash a smallpox epidemic. They could significantly damage the economy by engaging in cyber-warfare against e-infrastructure that controls physical facilities such as transportation or electrical power transmission in ways that could destroy generators or rolling stock, or they could destroy information in banking clearinghouses and stock exchanges. Other acts of destruction that could damage whole industries include targeting civilian airliners with SA-7 Strella or other ground-to-air missiles or lasers; recruiting terrorists to commit martyrdom acts with powerful HMX and RDX explosives at shopping malls; and spraying sarin or other gases in underground subway cars and stations.
Notwithstanding the above, it is observed that the percentage of use of any form of chemical, biological or nuclear substances in a terrorist incident since 1950 has been low compared to other means and methods during the period. However, there is a reasonable and probable forecast of a major terrorist attack using any of these substances, in an apocalyptic scenario. This prediction is possible in present daystimes due to the relative ease with which logistic and technical abilities are available to terrorists to plan and execute such high profile attacks.
Given all that have been said, it is pertinent to reiterate that interest in the subject of terrorism escalated on all levels after the catastrophic events of 9/11. Issues of terrorism containment have since been elevated to the top burner of global and domestic security discourse. Thus, apart from the looming possibility of an apocalyptic terrorism, governments worldwide and multinational organisations have to grapple with the consequences and costs of terrorism. This permeates every sector of the domestic and global society and constitutes additional reasons why interest in the various aspects of terrorism has become so pervasive. According to H. H. Willis et al, terrorism risk evaluation involves three components, two of which we have unswervingly discussed above; which are, the threat to a target, the target’s vulnerability to the threat, and the consequences should the target be successfully attacked.
Understanding the cost of terrorism requires a thorough investigation of the consequences of actual terrorist events. This is not the focus of this sub-section; however, it is still necessary, ,to establish some of the consequences that attend any terrorist attack, in order to explain the current heightening interest in the subject of terrorism at all levels. Consequences can be expressed in terms of fatalities, injuries, economic losses, or other types of damage, including . Other aspects of consequences can also be considered using the approach we outline here and this definition. For example, the damage or destruction of critical infrastructures that cause injury, loss of life, and economic damage outside the area of immediate attack. The consequences of terrorism are multifaceted; Terrorism affects both the micro and macro parameters of socio-economic and political indicators of the society, at domestic and global levels. The aftermath of any particular terrorist attack or any wave of terrorism, impacts negatively on individual and public life. It directly and indirectly affects the quality of livelihood of the people, in terms of enjoyment of public utilities, social life and human rights. Essential activities such as public transportation and tourism are adversely affected, not to mention the actual losses in fatalities, human capital resource, financial and economic disruption and infrastructural destruction.
At the micro level, the magnitude of 9/11 for instance, led to loss of over 3000 lives, (including office workers, aircraft passengers and hundreds of rescue personnel). This excluded the unaccounted number of people who suffered temporary and permanent injury and those who experienced health problems caused by air pollution from the collapse of the buildings; not to mention the severe trauma and psychological impacts on these victims and their families. The actual physical loss of the aftermath of the incident is still debatable. Navarro and Spence estimate that human capital losses alone accounted for US$40 billion while property losses ranged “only” between US$10 and 13 billion. At the micro household level, the impact of terrorism affects for instance, loss of employment and psychological factors such as fear and life satisfaction.
The consequences of terrorism are also dire at the micro private sector level. For instance, according to the US Department of State, US businesses were the direct targets of over 80% of terrorist attacks in 2000 and nearly 90% in 2001. The actual direct losses of terrorist attacks depend on the characteristics of the attacked company, the nature of the attack and its impacts, which may include for example, property damage or ransom payments for hostages. The indirect impact on the private sector is usually more devastating as observed in the literature in the aftermath of 9/11. Terrorism can impact companies by increasing their overall level of market risk, credit risk, operational risk and business volume risk. Further, stock market reactions to a terrorist attack, induced by either fear to lose capital or speculative behaviour on future gains (or losses) of a company, can be detrimental.
At the micro level, the public sector is not left out of the equation. Thus, while an estimate of the costs of the US government arising from 9/11 has been given above, the costs arising from physical destruction from small-scale terror attacks in general are not estimated. However, what is even more significant, in terms of cost to the public sector is the expenditure of that sector to implement policies before and after a terror attack aimed at containment and mitigation of the impacts of the terrorist attack, and restoration of order and confidence in the economy. In the aftermath of the 9/11 for instance, the US fiscal policies responding to the impacts of the incident included the enactment of tax cuts, distribution of rebates, discussion of a tax stimulus package and the approval of US$ 40 billion by Congress for emergency spending measures that included military and security spending as well as reconstruction. The aviation industry was granted support to the amount of US$ 15 billion and about 0.5% point cut in interest rates was adopted to stimulate spending. These measures put a toll on the public sector, though they proved effective in mitigating the impact of the attack in the short run.
Terrorism impacts differently across various socio-economic and political sectors of the society. Impacts differ depending on whether a sector is directly hit or whether its activities are ‘merely’ interrupted by the disruptions that a terrorist attack may cause. The transportation sector for example usually suffers direct attack by terrorists, but it is more adversely affected by the consequent phobia to patronize the sector by the public. Tourism, the financial and capital market and insurance are among the sectors affected indirectly by the disruptions caused by a terrorist attack. The impact of a cataclysmic terrorism on the insurance and re-insurance industries is better imagined, with the benefit of hindsight of the 9/11 phenomenon. The aftermath of the attack left a herculean insurance claims list which exceeded the capital insurance companies’ holdings, in the region of US$50 million to 80 million. This has consequently led to the impossible raising of insurance premiums (between 50-100%) particularly in the shipping and airline industries.
The above discussion of micro economic effects of terrorism, dovetails into a broader macro economic and political consequences of terrorism and sheds light on the overall socio-economic state of an attacked country. At this broader level, most of the literature discusses the impact of terror attacks on economic growth, and trade and capital flow. It is estimated for instance, that 9/11 caused losses in US productivity amounting to US$35 billion, US$47 billion in total output and a rise in unemployment by almost 1% in the following quarter. In the case of Spain and Israel, GDP per capita declined about 12 percent in the late 1970’s and 10 percent during the 1980s and 1990s after the outbreak of the ETA terrorist campaign in 1975 in Spain. In Israel, it is estimated that per capita output could have been 10% higher in 2004, had Israel not suffered from terror in the preceding three years.
Other studies provide empirical investigations of the relationship between terrorism and economic growth for Western Europe from 1971-2004; Turkey; 177 countries in a cross-country observation between 1968 and 2000, and 147 countries between 1968-2002 respectively. All the studies found that terrorist activity reduces economic growth; while transnational terrorism crowds out investment, domestic terrorism tends to increase inefficient government spending. Another study finds that terrorist attacks on civilian and military targets (as opposed to e.g. natural disasters and financial crises) lead to potential decreases in GDP growth of up to 0.25% points.
In the case of trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), terrorism affects trade directly when traded goods and infrastructure become terrorism targets, or when an increased level of insecurity stalls trade between countries, making it more costly. Further negative impacts arise from increased security measures at for example border posts or important transport hubs. The result of research on the impact of terrorism on trade between more than 200 countries for the period 1960 to 1993 reveals that countries targeted by terrorism trade significantly less with each other than countries not affected by terrorism. Moreover, the doubling of terrorist events in a trading partner’s country is estimated to reduce international trade by 4 per cent. As for foreign direct investment, it is argued and empirically shown that terrorism leads to changes in the net foreign direct investment position of countries affected by it. Terrorism increases uncertainty and decreases expected returns on investment, thus causing global capital shifts. It distorts international capital flows and thus, allows for rapid adjustments of investment in the face of terror risks.
For example, in Spain, terrorism is estimated to have reduced annual FDI inflow by 13.5% on average for the period 1975-1991, which translates into a decline in real FDI of almost 500 million dollars. In a similar period of time (1976-1991), Greece was plagued by the 17 November and Revolutionary Popular Struggle terrorist organizations; its FDI reduction was estimated to be, on average, 11.9% annually. This translates into a loss amounting to almost 400 million dollars.
The above paints a dismal picture of not only the potentiality of the occurrence of a super or mega terrorism in the near future, but also the attendant consequences should such an event occur. The proliferation and greater availability of Weapons of Mass Destruction, modern society’s almost total dependence on computer systems, and the emergence of cyber-terrorism increases the likelihood of a large-scale high-impact terrorist attack. However, the horrendous terrorist attack of 9/11, and the subsequent Bali and Madrid, and Beslan, and London bombings, tragically elevated every aspect of terrorism to the front burner of international, regional and national discourse. It also provoked a huge appetite in the academic circles to ponder on the various issues propelled by the phenomenon of terrorism itself, the numerous attempts to prevent and counter its occurrence and the inter-relationship between these counter-terrorism efforts and already established bodies of knowledge. This thesis is one such attempt. However, we cannot proceed without brief analysis of the concept and nature of terrorism and other preliminary and foundational expositions. Thus, under this sub-heading we shall consider the origin and meaning of ‘terrorism’, genealogy of terrorism, types and causes of terrorism, definitions of terrorism, relationship between terrorism and other forms of violence and the international legal framework against terrorism.
3.3.1 Origin and Meaning of Terrorism
From ….to….. there is estimated …….. terrorist attack in the world, out of which ……. Were attacks using some form of chemical, biological or nuclear substances. The percentage of use of these weapons in a terrorist incident is low compared other means and methods during the period. However, there is a reasonable and probable forecast of a major terrorist attack using any of these substances, in a doomsday scenario.
Consequences can be expressed in terms of fatalities, injuries, economic losses, or other types of damage. Other aspects of consequences can also be considered using the approach we outline here and this definition. For example, the damage or destruction of critical infrastructures that cause injury, loss of life, and economic damage outside the area of immediate attack are important. They may in fact dominate the results of an analysis if the impact on society as a whole is considered rather than the impact on the target and its occupants and owners.
Cyber threats pose a danger to our power grids, our air traffic control systems, pipelines, emergency services, and a host of other communications systems.18 Moreover, the incidence of identity theft has been on a spectacular rise. The costs of terrorism throughout the world amount to billions in various currencies, ranging from the loss of income-producing family members and economic losses resulting from joblessness to monumental costs in security requirements, government redeployment of funds and losses to private business enterprises.
The costs in terms of human suffering, loss of life, impact on family and friends, lost opportunities because of shifting priorities, long-term psychological and sociological effects on whole societies, the impact on Government decisions and the burdens placed on public security forces cannot be accurately measured.
A third priority is increasing the security of potential targets. Reports indicate that Al Qaeda has been trying to use commercial vessels to attack U.S. ports since at least 1997.84 A nuclear weapon could arrive in a shipping container, and either be unloaded onto U.S. soil or be detonated before unloading in a port. The Coast Guard estimates that needed improvements in ship and port security will cost in excess of $7.2 billion over the next decade. This contrasts with the relatively meager federal allocation of $46 million spent in 2004, and even the $150 million increase in federal port security grants in 2005.85 Another area demanding greater attention is emergency preparedness to respond to a possible NBC attack. A 2003 study recommended spending an additional $98 billion over 5 years
beyond what had been committed to emergency preparedness at that point.86 More generally, there is a long list of priority needs for improved security against possible terrorist attack. For example, chemical plants and nuclear power plants require more resources for security and closer attention. Consider, too, that less than a quarter of all U.S. border crossings have sufficient radiation devices to check all entering goods.
Cyber-terrorism, and individual terrorism, extremists, eco-terrorists modern pirates, anarchist streets and the internet, all this mosaics can become destructive power of terrorist threats serious for the future.p.4 botulinum toxin A for the average lethal dose would be several tens of milligrams, has been described as the most deadly substance known.terrorism is commonly defined as the deliberate use of violence and intimidation directed at a large audience in order to coerce a community or its government into conceding politically or ideologically motivated demands. The main tactical (short-run) goals of terrorism are (i) gaining publicity and media attention, (ii) destabilizing existing polity and (iii) damaging national economies (e.g., Schelling 1991). Among the long-run goals of terrorism are a redistribution of power, influence and wealth (e.g., Frey and Luechinger 2004). Tactical terrorist behavior (e.g., assassinations, hostagetakings) serves the purpose of achieving such strategic goals. Terrorist organizations must have goals that are not enforceable in the ordinary political process. Violence is thus a means to meet more abstract (strategic) objectives.
According to experts, it would be a thousand times more deadly than nerve agents. A few grams could kill 60 million people. Other sources indicate that bacteria of carbon (carbon foot) would be more deadly. Another advantage is that these weapons are hardly detectable and can be transported easily.p.9.
Closely coupled to the proliferation of biological WMD is the proliferation of modern delivery systems, which could enable a state or non-state actor to attack the U.S., or deployed U.S. forces, with potentially devastating results. While the proliferation of ballistic missiles has drawn much public attention over the last several years, the ongoing proliferation of cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and remotely piloted vehicles (RPV) presents an even greater threat. These delivery systems have enjoyed several successful engagements in the anti-ship mode, notably by Argentine forces against the British during the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, as well as their more recent land attack variant successes in the Gulf War. Their capabilities and ease of acquisition or manufacture make them an ideal attack platform for rogue states, emerging nations, or non-state actors.
Additionally, UAVs and RPVs have several salient characteristics that make them a much better delivery system for biological agents than any other. Although biological agents have not been employed militarily in recent times, there are indications that they may well be the next of the three WMD (nuclear, chemical and biological) to be used. The wide availability of cruise missiles, UAVs and RPVs, along with breakthroughs in navigational and propulsion systems make them an ideal delivery system. Additional factors in the nature of sub-state conflict and emerging non-state actors and transnational terrorists only enhance the possibility that these two systems will be mated and employed against the United States.