Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

International Terrorism Has Benefited From Globalization Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 3354 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

Reference this

Terrorism has been present for for several decades . The term itself occurred first during the French revolution in 1795 where it was used to refer to "a policy systemically used to protect fledgling French republic government against counter-revolutionaries" by the revolution leader Robespierre.Terrorism is difficult to define, because the term has changed frequently over the past 200 years, especially concerning international terrorism. It is always used to provoke political change and induce fear. It is a violent, however political tool to force a governments or other audiences reactions. Some argue that the act of terrorism is about the fulfilment of justice, or someone's perception of it. However, the main difference that ought to be pointed out is the non-state character of terrorism. Indeed, some might argue that states can be terrorists too; however this essay aims to characterize international and transnatioal terrorism as a non state actor. Has international terrorism benefited from globalization? If so, to what extend are they linked? By discussing these questions, it may be possible to analyse if globalization increased international terrorism or is even the cause of it.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

As mentioned in the introduction terrorist activities occurred when radical, political change is wanted. Terrorist often targets innocent and random people for their acts, as opposed to state terror, that might hit bystanders that are inadvertently involved in the act. Furthermore, terrorists do not abide by international laws or norms and and to maximize the psychological effect of an attack, their activities have a deliberately unpredictable quality. Croning argues that "Generally speaking, the targets of a terrorist episode are not the victims who are killed or maimed in the attack, but rather the governments, publics, or constituents among whom the terrorists hope to engender a reaction-such as fear, repulsion, intimidation, overreaction, or radicalization." The character of terrorism especially changed during the 1970s and 1980s into a more international oriented terrorism due to the evolution of technology. All these characteristics are mirrored in the past major attacks in September 11 2001, New York, July 7 in London and recent suicide bomber in Sweden on December 11 2010 or the letter bombs in Italy. Arguably, many of the recent international terrorist threats and attacks emerge prevailing from Muslim countries it has often little do to with religious. It is more precise to see it in the whole context of a counter- globalization phenomenon "and the tension between the have and have-not nations, as well as between the elite and underprivileged within those nations". Often, terrorist Networks analyse the frustrations of people and aim to use them as their tool.

In order to go deeper into the relationship between Terrorism and Globalization, this phenomenon needs to be defined first. Globalization can be defined as an integration of economic, social and cultural relations across borders. As Kay states, "globalization is best understood as the creation of a variety of transboundary mechanisms for interaction that affect and reflect the acceleration of economic, political and security interdependence." Rainer Tetzlaff (1998) writes that globalization encompasses many aspects, including increasing international transactions, new communications technologies, an increasing complex division of labour and goods distribution, quick turnover of concepts and consumer patterns, and a significant increase in transnational institutions and political movements. One could draw a correlation between globalization and terrorism when taking into account the current situation and widespread of international terrorism and the knowledge of globalization. Thus, it seems inevitable that the two must be connected to some extend.

There are several components that seem to be linked to international terrorism. Despite cultural differences and political frustration, economical disparity is one of the major aspect that has to be analysed closely. Many claim that globalization enhanced economical inequality in the world. Through the invasion in Iraq the West created an image " as an enlightened but militarized and muscular liberator,"(Barkawi, 2004) and 'With globalization, people tend to compare themselves with bigger and bigger groups, and if you're in a poor village in Egypt what you see in U.S. television sitcoms are people with a lot of money,'" David Byman is quoted. Many terrorist organization analyse the economical and political frustration of society and take those as a breeding ground for recruiting new members. The tension between the profiting and non-profiting countries of globalization and often also between privileged and underprivileged people in society also enhances the dissatisfaction in nations where reforms happen considerably slower than hoped for.

Terrorism and Globalization

Arguments that favour the fact that international terrorism benefited from globalization are as followed. Globalization brought significant amount of new technologies that facilitate and speed up communication and with that the exchange of information around the world. With the expansion of Internet Service Providers, users all over the world take advantages of opportunities to post tracts or messaging throughout the World Wide Web. Technological advantages associated with the ongoing globalization have improved the capabilities of terrorist groups to plan and accomplish operations J.D. Kiras claims that it does not only make it more efficient to communicate, but also "the volume, range and sophistication of propaganda material" has been improved. In addition, these groups can easily save their money in international banks with safe havens and can transfer it all over the world. Once being limited to typed communication, now everyone has the opportunity to set up a website and is able to control the content of the posted material.

This overwhelming information exchange is impossible to stop, as it makes it extremely difficult to monitor and analyse information, which come from different sources. This shows clearly that globalization created a lack of security that challenges sphere of the nation state. Before, security issues were mostly addressed and dealt by sovereign nation states, however through increased globalization, security problems reach much further than national borders. Phil Williams points out that "the rise of global finance, the 24-7 global economy, the ability to hide financial resources in safe havens, the ability to traffic in illicit items, the ability to encode communications with advanced technology, and the growth of transnational ethno-religious communities are key manifestations of the globalized pathways within which terrorists work. Furthermore, through increased mobility by individuals, criminals are able to move faster within states and also between states, which decreases the possibility of tracking them. Especially in regions NAFTA in America and such as the European Union, terrorists take advantage of the European Schengen Agreements.

International Terrorism vs. Transnational Terrorism

It is inevitable that globalization increased the widespread of international terrorism. However one has to distinguish between international terrorism and trans-national terrorist attacks. Reinares has elaborated on the issue of international terrorism while remarking that international terrorism is often confused with transnational terrorism, when, in fact, the latter includes the former but not vice versa (2005). Thus, transnational terrorism for Reinares is " in one way or another crosses state borders, essentially because those who perpetrate it maintain organizational structures or carry out violent activities in more than one country" (2005: 2). More precisely, the actions of transnational terrorism mostly affect two or more territorial units and involve people of several nationalities. Today most organizations that are involved in terrorism have somewhat international influence. It is rather difficult to find and organization that remains strictly territorial. Terrorist often go through training abroad or have their financial resources in international bank accounts and the political background of their activities reaches much further than territorial boundaries and often involves different nationalities. However all these components do not obligatory refer to international terrorism. According to Reinares terrorism has to fulfil two criterions in order to be defined as international terrorism. Firstly, concerning goals and aims of the terrorist attempt, international terrorism strives for changing the structures and distribution of power in entire regions of the world or even on the global level. Secondly, from the perspective of the perpetrators of the violence, those organizations or structures that are involved in international terrorism have spread their activity into a significant number of countries and regions in adherence with their strategic prospects and goals. A significant number of terrorist attacks therefore, can not be defined as international terrorism.

When the IRA attacked a British army base in West Germany in 1987, where several people got injured, one cannot speak about international terrorism, although the attack was conducted on foreign territory, due to the fact that the main purpose was to kill British citizens. Consequently globalization did not foster the development of transnational attacks. However, that does not mean that the technical development did not grant advantages and facilitated communication for any kind of terrorist organization to execute attacks. The same applies to organizations such as the nationalist and separist organization such as ETA in Spain or the RAF in Germany that do not count as international terrorist organization. Thus, it can be concluded that both international and transnational terrorism have benefited from the spread of globalization. However it is wrong to assume that ( transnational) terrorism would not be present without globalization. Arguably, they would still operate in their domestic countries or transnational, without globalization. Globalization created advantages for both, but for international terrorism it is the crucial essence that makes it such an urgent and global problem. Therefore the hypothesis "International Terrorism benefited from Globalization" can only be affirmed.


In order to demonstrate the extent of globalization and international terrorism some examples dealing with the most significant tool of our century will be given: The Internet. The abuse of the internet by terrorist is reasonable, due to the character that it enables. It is easy to access which facilitates the spread of information. Moreover, moving on the internet encompasses little or even no laws, in comparison to real life. There is no censorship in most of the countries, no high costs involved and the anonymity is guaranteed, when it is always changing. Therefore the following steps will demonstrate how terrorist groups use the internet and what for.


The Global information age together with increasing globalization created a new phenomenon that is an important tool for terrorist groups, namely Cyber terrorism. Cyber terrorism is the premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which result in violence against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents"(FBI) These attacks might not kill someone but provide a platform for media attention and international coordination between several cell member. Activities imply administrative task, coordination of attacks, recruiting of new members and simple communication between cell members. Moreover for this purpose, the Internet provides access to detailed maps, schematics and several other sources of data which allows everyone and therefore also terrorist to gather information for potential targets. In addition, once this crucial data has been gathered, it is comprised into "How to" manuals that are distributed among terrorist organisations .

Publicity and Propaganda

The internet made it possible to distribute information fast and in great numbers. . Terrorists do not solely have to rely on the media to transmit their messages. As a substitute terrorist now can spread information of their choice to support their cause. They mainly focus on their grievances to justify their terrorist actions. This is usually done by the writing of several articles together with shocking pictures , and sometimes this is combined will "video and audio files in which the terrorists themselves orally defend their actions". These kind of statements and actions are quite dangerous because on the internet they can reach far and to many people.

Fund Raising

In order to accomplish attacks terrorist organization need to have the financial resources to do this. Once again the internet, that connects people all over the world has facilitated the work to create funds. This is mostly done by several methods such as:

Selling of Goods: Terrorist organisation have merchandising that is directly related to the subject. A good example is the selling of CD's and DVDs and books from the The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam that operate in Sri Lanka.

Setting up of Websites and email based appeals: It is known that terrorist organization send emails to sympathizers and supporters that show interest on a website. Moreover it is a common technique to post messages in forums and their own websites "how and where donations can be made."


Often they use charities or businesses that seem to be legitimate that without the knowledge of the donor, transfer the funds directly to terrorist organisations.

Criminal activity

Terrorist groups often turn to credit card fraud, online brokering together with gambling in order to gain funds.


This part goes hand in hand with Propaganda. Terrorist organisations can see users who go to their websites they capture the profile and information about the user .This process begins when the user starts to take in the propaganda that is published on the website. An example would be the "charismatic"s Perhaps motivated by this video, the user looks for answers to questions and continues to chat-rooms and discussion boards. Often these interestet recruits are detected by lurking recruiters, that try to turn a a gradual religious discussion into more political debates. This intensive care of recruits leads the them to become more and more embroiled in terrorist related discussions. Finally the recruits are are led through a labyrinth of private chat-room's "until personal indoctrination occurs which is often through the use of the secure software Paltalk."

Communication & Networking

Today, that terrorist groups have reformed their hierarchy in their organisations. Before terrorist groups had designated leaders, however now the structure has changed to having multiple, semi-independent cells with no chosen leader. This is mainly done to protect the anonymity of the group has changed.

Messages are sent between cell member via emails using public email systems such as yahoo or Hotmail or chat rooms. In order to avoid any kind of getting tracked public places such as libraries and internet Cafés are used.

Furthermore, steganography might be used in order to hide information enclosed in graphic files on websites. Other methods of hidden instructions and messages may be used through coded language, for example by Mohamed Atta's final email to the other cell members that were responsible for the attacks of 9/11 :

"The semester begins in three more weeks. We've obtained 19 confirmations for studies in the faculty of law, the faculty of urban planning, the faculty of fine arts, and the faculty of engineering"

Analysts believe that this is referred to the four targets where the planes were planned to attack; "'architecture' being the World Trade Center, 'arts': the Pentagon, 'law': the Capitol and 'politics': the White House".

An even more complex and secure method of information exchange is the the use of one-time anonymous public email accounts. This works as follows; two cell members that need to communicate will open several email accounts whose user names and passwords are known on each side. In order to exchange certain information, one person creates an email and instead of sending it, I will be saved as a draft version online. The other side can then log onto this account,can this message and deletes it. For the next message, a new account is used; this makes is really difficult and sometimes even impossible to track this communication.

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services


Terrorists group often refer to false information in order to spread fear and panic. This is mostly done by "sending threats, airing videos of brutal executions, creating psychological attacks through the use of threats of cyber-terrorism". This kind of technique is also often used to distract governments and law enforcers from planned attack. Often, however, it is not entirely effective due to the current security circumstances in countries that increased the level of security to gather information and combat potential attacks.

Own Opinion

As already mentioned several times in this essay I believe the the arguments that favour the fact that globalization enhanced international terrorism are far overweighting in this debate. The counter arguments that might came up, concerning attacks that were executed on foreign territory but aimed at the same nationalities, were the terrorists come from ( IRA attacks in Germany) may imply that they did not benefit from globalization. Arguably, firstly this can not be true, because by now one can certainly say that everyone is affected by globalization and especially terrorists groups have benefited from. Secondly these kind of attacks as Reinares mentions do not count as international terrorism, but rather transnational terrorism.


All the recent terrorist attacks that happened in the world , all show similar characteristics. The terrorist of the 9/11 attacks, member of al-Qaeda mainly communicated through Yahoo or Hotmail e-mail accounts. The main leader of the 9/11 attacks Mohammed Atta even made this air plane reservation online. Furthermore, it as proven that other member of the attacks went online to research the "chemical-dispersing powers of crop dusters". Taking all the recent discussion point into consideration, I believe it can only be affirmed that international terrorism has benefited significantly from globalization. However, as discussed above, when talking about transnational terrorism one has to make a clear distinction. Seeing the threats for global security and the way nation states attempt to respond, it is evidently that law enforcers cannot keep up with the rapid development of globalization and comprised information exchange. Despite the necessary cooperation amongst states, it is still impossible to control the information flow that takes place in the internet. The revolution of telecommunication, getting access to weapons, the opening of international borders, have all contributed to a ''business' environment that is just as helpful to the trans-national criminal as it is to the legal entrepreneurial businessman. Therefore, the spread of globalization far outpaces the ability of states and their political systems to adjust to the changing global security situation. Until they do, national and global security will be fragile and vulnerable.


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: