In this chapter you may describe terrorism, the phases of the conflict under
low intensity, who were the terrorists, the characteristics of the terrorist
operations, the terrorist organization, the arms used by the terrorists, the
security methods of the terrorist's groups.
QUESTIONS TO BE COVERED IN THIS CHAPTER:
1. What are the phases of the low intensity conflict?
2. How is terrorism defined?
3. Who are the terrorists?
4. What are the characteristics of the terrorist's or rebel's operations?
5. How is the organization of a terrorist's movement?
6. What are the methods to provide security to a terrorist organization?
7. What arms are used by the terrorists?
8. What are some of the targets that are most attacked by terrorists?
9. What are some of the most common terrorist activities ?
10. What is the terrorist's goal?
BASIC DATA ABOUT TERRORISM AND REBELLION
THE REBELLION OR CONFLICT PHASES OF LOW INTENSITY:
1. PHASE I: (Latent or Incipient Insurrection) This phase rotates between
the circumstances of the subversive activities is only a potential, latent or
incipient threat, and situations in which the subversive incidents and activities
occur frequently and in an organized way. This does not include a violent burst of
activity or chaotic activity.
a. EXAMPLES OF ACTIVITIES THAT COULD BE CARRIED OUT IN PHASE I:
1) The rebels starting from a relatively weak position, plan and organize
their campaign and select urban or rural areas of objectivity.
2) The open or clandestine organizations are established. If the
insurrection party is ilegal, the organizations will be clandestine.
3) Psychological operations are carried out WITH the purpose of
exploiting complaints and people's wishes.
4) Then the organization starts WITH a ghost government.
5) Once the party is established, they concentrate in gaining the
influence of the population and infiltrating in the government, economic and
social organizations, and in presenting a threat to the administrative ability of
6) During the last stage of Phase I the importance of recruiting,
organizing and training the armed elements is emphasized.
7) The police forces are attacked, other activities terrorist (groups)
and some other military operations of less importance to try to influence
additionally over the population, or to provide arms for the movement and
confronting the government's ability to keep peace and order.
2. PHASE II: (Guerrilla warfare) This phase is reached once the
subversive movement has gained sufficient local and external support and starts to
conduct an organized guerrilla warfare, or forms of violence against the
a. EXAMPLES OF ACTIVITIES THAT COULD BE CARRIED OUT DURING PHASE
1) Phase I is continued and expanded. The rebel's political and military
control is intensified over the territory and the population.
2) Guerrilla warfare is used in a great scale and in some areas a limited
defense is mounted.
3) According to what the situation allows a rebel's government is
organized in areas they dominate, and in areas that have yet to be under their
4) The most important military goal is the control of the greatest area.
The rebels try to understand the government troops in static defense and
interdiction operations and they try to destroy the communications lines and take
or destroy the government's supplies and resources.
3. PHASE III: (Movement war) The situation advances from Phase II to
Phase III when the insurrection has mainly changed to a movement war between the
organized rebel's forces and the government forces.
a. EXAMPLES OF ACTIVITIES THAT COULD BE CARRIED OUT DURING PHASE
1) The activities that were initiated in Phases I and II, are continued
2) The largest units in size are used to combat the government forces and
gain key geographic and political objectives that will help overthrow the
3) If the rebels try to win the military sector over and the government
is overthrown, immediately they will initiate their consolidation activities. This
includes removing the potential enemies, establishing additional control
mechanisms and the re-structuring of society.
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(4) Additional information and summary of the terrorist's personality: In
general, a terrorist is a determined person who thinks that he or she is
participating in a dynamic political process but that cannot distinguish the
difference between the actions and moral principles; to them the objectives
justify the tactics. The true terrorist is not a crazy fanatic as is commonly
thought. They are hard-working persons that are prepared to give their lives for
the cause. Most terrorists desire to live to see that their goals are fulfilled or
carried out; to attain that objective they use persons WITH mental problems (crazy
people) or common criminals to carry out risky missions such as murders.
b. AGE: In general the age of a terrorist is between twenty and thirty
years of age. For the local groups is even adolescents. The leaders of any type of
organization is commonly older (58, 40, 35).
c. SEX: For the most part in the terrorists' history, they have been
predominantly males. During a period of a decade (1966 to 1976), 80% of the
operations were addressed and executed by men. The role of a woman in those times
was to recount (collect) intelligence, such as messengers, nurses, and the
operation of safe houses. From that era on there was a dramatic change in the
feminine participation in the terrorist acts. At present, the greatest part of the
terrorists are still men, but WITH a great women participation. The participation
of women in terrorist movements is due in part, to social changes, female
liberation and youth's rebelliousness.
d. CIVIL STATUS: The greatest part of the terrorist organizations have a
majority of single members. The accepted general figure is between 75-80% single.
This reflects that marriage is considered as an operational problem for the group.
Frequently the members of a terrorist group that are married break up WITH their
family once they find themselves convinced in their group's beliefs and they
e. ORIGIN: The urban metropolitan areas constitute the source of the
greatest part of the terrorist numbers.
f. SOCIO-ECONOMIC HISTORY: Normally they come from liberal party member
parents. There is a preponderance of professionals, such as lawyers and doctors,
but the other occupations include clergy, business executives, diplomats,
government employees, police and members of the armed forces. The terrorist groups
usually come from middle and high classes.
g. EDUCATION AND OCCUPATION: There is a vast majority of students and
intellectuals within the revolutionary movements and their directors. The majority
of the leaders have received some university education or have taken higher
education courses and then some. The social and humanity degrees seem to attract
many; the students rarely come up as leaders, but the universities are a field for
the revolutionary movements.
h. RECRUITMENT: The universities play an prominent role in the
recruitment of terrorists. They introduce anarchist and marxists doctrines and
many of the student federations are controlled by radicals. The jail adds another
element, although it does not play such an important role as the university's.
i. RELIGION: The terrorist tend to be atheists, devoted to violence. This
does not mean that all terrorist are atheists. In Latin America's case, the
catholic priest's and the nuns have carried out active roles in the terrorist
operations of both sectors.
COMPARISON BETWEEN THE TWO CATEGORIES OF TERRORISTS:
NATIONALIST IDEOLOGICAL [millennium-oriented]
Personality: Educated leader Same, preponderance of
Idealist socially unadjusted youth
Age: From adolescence In their twenties, thirties
to the 30's (leaders
in their 40's)
Sex: Masculine (a few activeDivided almost 50%
ones from the feminine sex)women have very active roles.
Civil Status: Single Single
Origin: Metropolitan area Metropolitan areas
Socio-economic Low and middle class Middle and higher classes
history: (leaders middle to high
Education and Varies greatly University and Professional
Occupation (Leaders are professionals)
Recruitment Varies greatly in cities City, University, Prisons
Religion Varies greatly None
TWO MAIN TERRORIST CATEGORIES: WITH the considerable changes that have taken
place during the last twenty years, there has come into play two main terrorist
a. Nationalist: They take power or cause a national revolution. The
control of specific territory is their common denominator. These groups have as
principal goal to take a territory as a sovereign entity. They have objectives
defined in a short term and frequently make do in a practical manner to attain
b. Ideological: Revolutionaries and anarchists of an indefinite ideology
that try to destroy the existing system. As a general rule they try to avoid to
arouse any definite substitute government because this tends to divide the
organization through dissention.
METHODS OF OPERATION: Terrorist operations are being carried out in a
professional manner and are executed by well-trained specialized clandestine
elements, particularly by international groups. The terrorist organizations are
becoming bureaucratic institutions and their members are specializing in diverse
areas. There is evidence of one transnational affiliation and assistance between
the groups. The terrorist groups generally operate as clandestine organizations.
a. To avoid penetration and information loss about the organization,
operations, techniques and plans, groups practice strict security measures. A
leader is designated and guided about the mission and the support requirements.
b. Procuring even more security, frequently the members of the team do
not meet but until the last rehearsal and shortly before leaving towards the place
where the mission will take place. In such manner, the members of the team and the
support personnel will not know the location of the target until it is necessary
to carry out the mission. The identity of each member of the team will be kept in
secret, even from the member themselves, by using names and false identification.
c. To increase security, a special intelligence team will carry out a
detailed search of the area or the target. To increase the security even more,
many targets that have been recognized will not be attacked by a reason or other,
so the fact that a search has taken place does not mean that the target will be
attacked. Additionally, to make the hamper or prevent the detection, they plan a
greater number of attacks than they will actually carry out.
d. Urban local groups carry out their operations as an initiative of
their local cells or their movement's central command.
e. Terrorists normally look to exploit the vulnerabilities, attacking
targets that have a weak security stand. Terrorist operations are characterized
by: "THE VIOLENCE", "SPEED", AND "SURPRISE". Terrorists reduce their own
vulnerabilities to reduce the risk of the operation. If the original target is
well protected, they take into consideration the degree of risk and vulnerability
of the group, select another target. This does not mean that terrorist groups will
not attack a high security target and risk a suicide mission if they think that
could be the last resource.
TERRORISTS TARGETS: The terrorists targets are generally of two types:
Symbolic or pragmatic. Targets that could serve both purposes are selected if they
are available. Targets are more symbolic when terrorists are weak and vulnerable.
As the movement grows, targets are more pragmatic. The definition of the two types
of targets is as follows:
a. SYMBOLIC TARGETS: Symbolic targets are normally prominent members of a
regime or an institution. The terrorist's acts against the target are committed in
highly visible places to attract the greatest degree of attention possible and
they serve as principal instrument to reduce the trust, inflict fear and provoke
the repression of the latter psychological use by the movement.
b. PRAGMATIC TARGETS: Pragmatic targets include multinational corporation
executives, key members of the opposition, whose selection has the purpose of
coercing the group's objective so as to support the movement; to obtain resources,
such as, money, supplies and arms.
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TERRORIST ACTIVITIES: The activities of the terrorist groups include:
b. Bombs (including the use of letters and explosive packages, and fire
c. Kidnapping and taking hostages
d. Pre-meditated fires
f. Armed attacks
g. Street tactics
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT TERRORISM:
a. Terrorist goals:
1) Guide the masses not to support the government and support their
2) Terrorism will give the urban insurgent a method to develop the
potential for mass uprising and give the rural insurgent a method to oblige them
to reduce the control of the government and to force them into the desired
3) These goals constitute the fundamental terrorist threat for
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