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Global AlertThe Rationality of Modern Islamist Terrorism and the Challenge to the Liberal Democratic World$
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Boaz Ganor

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172127

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172127.001.0001

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Understanding the Rationale behind Different Types of Terrorist Attacks

Understanding the Rationale behind Different Types of Terrorist Attacks

(p.133) 9 Understanding the Rationale behind Different Types of Terrorist Attacks
Global Alert

Boaz Ganor

Columbia University Press

This chapter demonstrates the rationale behind terrorism by explicating why and under what circumstances a terrorist organization may choose to use a given tactic, since terrorist organizations are varied and highly adaptive by nature. As such, it is imperative for counter-terrorism databases to maintain up-to-date information on the principal means of conducting terrorism, in order to stop these before they happen. The chapter discusses the more conventional types of terrorist attacks in detail—most especially suicide attacks, as their frequency has been on the rise in recent years, although they are sometimes indistinguishable from other forms of attack due to their generally violent nature. Aside from distinguishing the conventional forms of terrorism, it is also important to assess the likelihood of the more unconventional methods of attack (such as chemical warfare), by once again returning to the cost-benefit analyses informing the assessments on rationale discussed in previous chapters.

Keywords:   counter-terrorism, suicide attacks, methods of attack, cost-benefit analyses, terrorist attacks

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