The tactic of Terrorism is available to insurgents and governments. Not all insurgents use terror as a tactic, and some choose not to use it because other tactics work better for them in a particular context. Individuals, such as Timothy McVeigh, may also engage in terrorist acts such as the Oklahoma City bombing. If the terrorism is part of a broader insurgency, counter-terrorism may also form a part of a counter-insurgency doctrine, but political, economic, and other measures may focus more on the insurgency than the specific acts of terror. Foreign internal defense (FID) is a term used by several countries for programs either to suppress insurgency, or reduce the conditions under which insurgency could develop.
Counter-terrorism includes both the detection of potential acts and the response to related events.
Counter-terrorism refers to offensive strategies intended to prevent a belligerent, in a broader conflict, from successfully using the tactic of terrorism. The U.S. military definition, compatible with the definitions used by NATO and many other militaries, is "Operations that include the offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, preempt, and respond to terrorism." In other words, counter-terrorism is a set of techniques for denying an opponent the use terrorism-based tactics, just as counter-air is a set of techniques for denying the opponent the use of attack aircraft.
Anti-terrorism is defensive, intended to reduce the chance of an attack using terrorist tactics at specific points, or to reduce the vulnerability of possible targets to such tactics. "Defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to terrorist acts, to include limited response and containment by local military and civilian forces." To continue the analogy between air and terrorist capability, offensive counter-air missions attack the airfields of the opponent, while defensive counter-air uses antiaircraft missiles to protect a point on one's own territory. The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sri Lankan Civil War, and Colombian Civil War are examples of conflicts where terrorism is present, along with other tactics, so that a participant uses counter- and anti-terrorism to limit the opponent's use of terror tactics.
Most counter-terrorism strategies involve an increase in standard police and domestic intelligence. The central activities are traditional: interception of communications, and the tracing of persons. New technology has, however, expanded the range of military and law enforcement operations. Domestic intelligence is often directed at specific groups, defined on the basis of origin or religion, which is a source of political controversy. Mass surveillance of an entire population raises objections on civil liberties grounds.
To select the effective action when terrorism appears to be more of an isolated event, the appropriate government organizations need to understand the source, motivation, methods of preparation, and tactics of terrorist groups. Good intelligence is at the heart of such preparation, as well as political and social understanding of any grievances that might be solved. Ideally, one gets information from inside the group, a very difficult challenge for HUMINT because operational terrorist cells are often small, with all members known to one another, perhaps even related. Counterintelligence is a great challenge with the security of cell-based systems, since the ideal, but nearly impossible, goal is to obtain a clandestine source within the cell. Financial tracking can play a role, as can communications intercept, but both of these approaches need to be balanced against legitimate expectations of privacy.
Examples of these problems can include prolonged, incommunicado detention without judicial review; risk of subjecting to torture during the transfer, return and extradition of people between or within countries; and the adoption of security measures that restrain the rights or freedoms of citizens and breach principles of non-discrimination. Examples include:
Many would argue that such violations exacerbate rather than counter the terrorist threat. Human rights advocates argue for the crucial role of human rights protection as an intrinsic part to fight against terrorism. This suggests, as proponents of human security have long argued, that respecting human rights may indeed help us to incur security. Amnesty International included a section on confronting terrorism in the recommendations in the Madrid Agenda arising from the Madrid Summit on Democracy and Terrorism (Madrid 8-11 March 2005):
While international efforts to combat terrorism have focused on the need to enhance cooperation between states, proponents of human rights (as well as human security) have suggested that more effort needs to be given to the effective inclusion of human rights protection as a crucial element in that cooperation. They argue that international human rights obligations do not stop at borders and a failure to respect human rights in one state may undermine its effectiveness in the international effort to cooperate to combat terrorism.
Another major method of pre-emptive neutralization is interrogation of known or suspected terrorists to obtain information about specific plots, targets, the identity of other terrorists, and whether the interrogation subjects himself as guilty of terrorist involvement. Sometimes more extreme methods are used to increase suggestibility, such as sleep deprivation or drugs. Such methods may lead captives to offer false information in an attempt to stop the treatment, or due to the confusion brought on by it. These methods are not available to European powers because in 1978 the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the Ireland v. United Kingdom case that such methods amounted to a practice of inhuman and degrading treatment, and that such practices were in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights Article 3 (art. 3).
Foreign internal defense programs provide outside expert assistance to a threatened government. FID can involve both non-military and military aspects of counter-terrorism.
History has shown that military intervention has rarely been successful in stopping or preventing terrorism. Although military action can disrupt a terrorist group's operations temporarily, it rarely ends the threat. Provoking repression is actually a key goal of terrorism, as most of the time it increases the popularity of the terrorist cause as well as furthers the motivation for continuing terrorism. Most probably such a strategy against terrorism is not successful and cannot be as the structural causes of terrorism are not addressed: Relative deprivation that leads to frustration, aggressive foreign policy that leads to 'hate', and psychosocial effects of globalization (as well as other causes) are not solved. Thus repression by the military in itself (particularly if it is not accompanied by other measures) usually leads to short term victories, but tend to be unsuccessful in the long run (e.g. the French's doctrine described in Roger Trinquier's book Modern War used in Indochina and Algeria). However, new methods (see the new Counterinsurgency Field Manual) such as those taken in Iraq have yet to be seen as beneficial or ineffectual.
A more sophisticated target-hardening approach must consider industrial and other critical industrial infrastructure that could be attacked. Terrorists need not import chemical weapons if they can cause a major industrial accident such as the Bhopal disaster or the Halifax explosion. Industrial chemicals in manufacturing, shipping, and storage need greater protection, and some efforts are in progress. To put this risk into perspective, the first major lethal chemical attack in WWI used 160 tons of chlorine. Industrial shipments of chlorine, widely used in water purification and the chemical industry, travel in 90 or 55 ton tank cars.
To give one more example, the North American electrical grid has already demonstrated, in the Northeast Blackout of 2003, its vulnerability to natural disasters coupled with inadequate, possibly insecure, SCADA (system control and data acquisition) networks. Part of the vulnerability is due to deregulation leading to much more interconnection in a grid designed for only occasional power-selling between utilities. A very few terrorists, attacking key power facilities when one or more engineers have infiltrated the power control centers, could wreak havoc.
Equipping likely targets with containers (i.e., bags) of pig lard has been utilized to discourage attacks by Islamist suicide bombers. The technique was apparently used on a limited scale by British authorities in the 1940s. The approach stems from the idea that Muslims perpetrating the attack would not want to be "soiled" by the lard in the moment prior to dying. The idea has been suggested more recently as a deterrent to suicide bombings in Israel. However, the actual effectiveness of this tactic is probably limited as it is possible that a sympathetic Islamic scholar could issue a fatwa proclaiming that a suicide bomber would not be polluted by the swine products.
Public health agencies, from local to national level, may be designated to deal with identification, and sometimes mitigation, of possible biological attacks, and sometimes chemical or radiologic contamination.
Most of these measures deal with terrorist attacks that affect an area, or threaten to do so. It is far harder to deal with assassination, or even reprisals on individuals, due to the short (if any) warning time and the quick exfiltration of the assassins. Of course, if the assassination is done by a suicide bomber, exfiltration becomes moot.
These units are specially trained in tactics and are very well equipped for CQB with emphasis on stealth and performing the mission with minimal casualties. The units include take-over force (assault teams), snipers, EOD experts, dog handlers and intelligence officers. See Counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism organizations for national command, intelligence, and incident mitigation.
The majority of counter-terrorism operations at the tactical level, are conducted by state, federal and national law enforcement agencies or intelligence agencies. In some countries, the military may be called in as a last resort. Obviously, for countries whose military are legally permitted to conduct police operations, this is a non-issue, and such counter-terrorism operations are conducted by their military.
See Counter-intelligence for command, intelligence and warning, and incident mitigation aspects of counter-terror.
|Incident||Main locale||Hostage nationality||Terrorists||Counter-terrorist force||Results|
|1972||Munich Massacre||Munich Olympics, Germany||Israeli||Black September||German police||11 hostages, 1 rescuer, 5 terrorists killed. 3 terrorists captured.|
|1975||AIA Hostage Incident||AIA building, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||US, Swedish Embassies. Mixed||Japanese Red Army||Malaysian police||All hostages rescuer, all terrorists flew up to Libya.|
|1976||Entebbe raid||Entebbe, Uganda||Mixed. Israelis and Jews separated.||PFLP||Israeli mixed force||all 6 hijackers, 45 Ugandan troops, 3 hostages and 1 Israeli soldier dead. 100 hostages rescued|
|1977||Hijacking of Lufthansa Flight 181||Spanish airspace and Mogadishu, Somalia||Mixed||PFLP||GSG 9, Special Air Service mixed forces||1 hostage, 3 hijackers dead, 1 captured. 90 hostages rescued.|
|1980||Iranian Embassy Siege||London, UK||Iranian||Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan||Special Air Service||1 hostage, 5 terrorists dead, 1 captured, 1 SAS operative received minor burns.|
|1981||Hijacking of "Woyla" Garuda Indonesia||Don Muang International Airport, Thailand||Indonesian||Jihad Commandos||Kopassus, Thailand military mixed forces||1 hijacker kill himself, 4 hijackers and 1 Kopassus operative dead, 1 pilot wounded, all hostages rescued.|
|1985||Capture of Achille Lauro hijackers||International airspace and Italy||Mixed||PLO||US military, turned over to Italy||1 dead in hijacking, 4 terrorists convicted in Italy|
|1996||Japanese embassy hostage crisis||Lima, Peru||Japanese and guests (800+)||Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement||Peruvian military & police mixed forces||1 hostage, 2 rescuers, all 14 terrorists dead.|
|2000||Sauk Arms Heist||Perak, Malaysia||2 policemen, 1 army and 1 civilian||Al-Ma'unah||Malaysian military & police CT Pasukan Gerakan Khas mixed forces||2 hostages dead, 2 rescuers, 1 terrorist dead and all 28 terrorists captured.|
|2002||Moscow theater hostage crisis||Moscow||Mixed, mostly Russian (900+)||Chechen||Russian OZNAZ||129-204 hostages dead, all 39 terrorists dead. 600-700 rescued|
|2004||Beslan school hostage crisis||Beslan, North Ossetia-Alania, (an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation).||Russian||Chechen||Mixed Russian||334 hostages dead and hundreds wounded. 10-21 rescuers dead. 31 hostage takers killed, 1 captured|
|2007||Lal Masjid siege||Islamabad, Pakistan||Pakistani students||Lal Masjid students and militants||Pakistani Army and Rangers SSG commandos||61 militants killed, 50 militants captured 23 students killed, 11 SSG killed,1 Ranger killed,33 SSG wounded,8 soldiers wounded,3 Rangers wounded, 14 civilians killed|
|2008||Operation Jaque||Colombia||Mixed||Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia||15 hostages released. 2 hostage takers captured|
|2008||Hijacking of MISC Bunga Melati Dua and Lima ships||Gulf of Aden, Somalia||Mixed||Somaliaan piracy and militants||Royal Malaysian Navy PASKAL and international mixed forces||Negotiation finished. 80 hostages released. RMN including PASKAL navy commandos with international mixed forces patrolling the Gulf of Aden during this festive period.|
Given the nature of operational counter-terrorism tasks national military organisations do not generally have dedicated units whose sole responsibility is the prosecution of these tasks. Instead the counter-terrorism function is an element of the role, allowing flexibility in their employment, with operations being undertaken in the domestic or international context. In some cases the legal framework within which they operate prohibits military units conducting operations in the domestic arena; United States Department of Defense policy, based on the Posse Comitatus Act, forbids domestic counter-terrorism operations by the US military. Units allocated some operational counter-terrorism task are frequently Special Forces or similar assets.
In cases where military organisations do operate in the domestic context some form of formal handover from the law enforcement community is regularly required, to ensure adherence to the legislative framework and limitations. such as the Iranian Embassy Siege, the British police formally turned responsibility over to the Special Air Service when the situation went beyond police capabilities.
UK Statutory Instruments on The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (Foreign Travel Notification Requirements) Regulations 2009
Sep 29, 2009; LONDON, Sept. 29 -- UK office of Public Sector information issues Statutory Instruments (2009 No. 2493) on "The Counter-Terrorism...
United Kingdom Statutory Instruments on The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (Designation of a Gas Transporter) Order 2009
Oct 05, 2009; LONDON, Oct. 5 -- United Kingdom office of Public Sector information issues Statutory Instruments (2009 No. 2195) on "The...