International Terrorism

Trends and Potentialities

by Brian Michael Jenkins

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Abstract

Reviews recent trends in international terrorism. Terrorist tactics will persist as a mode of political expression even though no terrorist group has yet achieved its stated long-range goals. Bombing will probably remain the most common tactic. Public perceptions of the level of terrorism appear to be determined not by the level of violence, but by the quality of the incidents, location, and media coverage. Terrorists actually have little need for exotic weapons of mass murder, and for all their bombings, they have thus far seldom used explosives in ways calculated to kill great numbers of civilians. One effect of this growing terrorist threat is a major diversion of resources to internal security — guarded facilities, patrolled communities, security buildings, alarmed homes. A second effect is a growing body of law to deal with politically motivated crime. A third effect is broadened police powers and the creation of special anti-terrorist units.

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