v6n3_4_brown - The New Terrorism Debate Cody Brown Abstract...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 6, No.3 &4, Fall & Winter 2007 28 The New Terrorism Debate Cody Brown * Abstract This paper explores whether or not the traits found in the new terrorism paradigm correspond with Hamas’ behavioral and organizational characteristics. By focusing on the core concepts of the new terrorism paradigm this paper discusses how Hamas fits within the parameters laid out by those concepts, and compares these assumptions with the analysis of Hamas’ behavior in some of the recent terrorism literature. Based on this comparison this paper argues Hamas is less ideologically/religiously motivated, as the new terrorism argues, and more politically as well as structurally motivated. This conclusion therefore argues that the weight placed on the relevance of the new terrorism perspective should be reevaluated. INTRODUCTION How governments, leaders, and policymakers perceive the motives of terrorist organizations is paramount to understanding and responding to terrorism. In the nineteen nineties the terrorism literature began referring to a phenomenon known as the new terrorism. The new terrorism is believed to be terrorism that is motivated less by political goals and more by religious fanaticism. The new terrorism is thought to be both deadlier and more destructive
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 6, No. 3 &4, Fall & Winter 2007 29 than the old terrorism. Based on these short descriptions it seems obvious that jihadist groups fit the new terrorism profile; however, the recent electoral participation of Hamas in the Palestinian political process and the group’s subsequent majority in the Palestinian parliament raises some questions concerning the supposed apolitical aspects and religious fanaticism of some groups placed withing the new terrorism profile. The recent events in the Occupied Territories raise the question, How accurate is the new terrorism paradigm? This paper will explore whether or not the traits of the new terrorism correspond with Hamas’ behavioral and organizational characteristics. By focusing on the core concepts of the new terrorism, this paper will discuss how Hamas fits within the parameters laid out by those concepts, and compare these assumptions with the analysis of Hamas’ behavior in some of the recent terrorism literature. In the aftermath of the Palestinian elections the future of the Israeli/Palestinian peace process largely depends on how policymakers understand and perceive Hamas. Perceiving an appropriate way to deal with Hamas is vital to the region’s stability as it can deter or give incentive for more terrorist organizations to participate in the political process. Comparing the relevance of the new terrorism paradigm to the behavior of Hamas can aid in this endeavor.
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