Terrorism, defined as the unlawful use of violence to promote social, political, or religious ideologies by organized groups known as terrorists, has a history dating back to the early 20th century, with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand leading to World War I. In recent decades, terrorism has taken on characteristics resembling a competitive industry, marked by the emergence of numerous terror outfits and their pursuit of strategic goals.

Proliferation of Numerous Terror Outfits:

  • Similar to multiple industries producing similar goods, terrorism has seen the rise of numerous terror groups.
  • Examples in the Indian context include Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Indian Mujahideen.

Control over Factors of Production:

  • Terror outfits control various factors such as land, labor, capital, and leadership to sustain their operations.
  • IS and Taliban controlling significant land in Iraq-Syria and Afghanistan respectively.
  • Recruitment of individuals to serve as operatives, showcasing a labor force for terror activities.
  • State-sponsored funding seen in groups like Hezbollah and Houthis backed by Iran.

Competition and Diversification:

  • Terror groups compete for influence and market share by diversifying attack methods.
  • Evolution from simple attacks to intricate ones like vehicular bombs, suicide bombings, and fidayeen-type assaults.
  • Indian context: Transition from traditional attacks to 26/11 Mumbai attacks involving multiple tactics.

Global Presence and Franchising:

  • Similar to business franchises, terror outfits establish branches across continents.
  • Al Qaeda’s branches in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Africa (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb).
  • Boko Haram pledging allegiance to Islamic State, showcasing interconnectedness.

Social Media Utilization for Recruitment:

  • Like modern marketing strategies, terrorism exploits social media to propagate ideologies and recruit fighters.
  • Professional recruiters identifying potential candidates online.
  • ISIS utilizing platforms to attract global recruits, including from India.

Providing Facilities and Becoming a Lifestyle:

  • Similar to industries offering benefits to employees, terror groups provide facilities and create a new way of life for their members.
  • Providing wages, accommodation, and social belonging.
  • Promoting a sense of identity and purpose among recruits.

Disruptive Innovations and Challenges:

  • Terrorism employs disruptive tactics like brainwashing and lone-wolf attacks.
  • Unpredictable lone-wolf attacks challenging counter-terrorism efforts.
  • Recent instances like the Pulwama attack in India highlight this challenge.

Divergence from Traditional Industries:

  • Contrasting industries that contribute to human progress, terrorism spreads fear and hate.
  • Industries produce goods and services for mankind’s betterment; terrorism brings negativity and uncertainty.

In the current era, terrorism exhibits attribute akin to a competitive industry, with proliferation, diversification, and global presence. It is imperative for nations to collaborate through multilateral endeavours such as endorsing the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) to effectively combat this menace. The world must unite against the adverse effects of terrorism, recognizing its stark differences from industries that aim to uplift humanity.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish June 19, 2024