Instituto de Estudios Políticos y Derecho Público "Dr. Humberto J. La Roche"
de la Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Políticas de la Universidad del Zulia
Maracaibo, Venezuela
Esta publicación cientíca en formato digital es continuidad de la revista impresa
ISSN-Versión Impresa 0798-1406 / ISSN-Versión on line 2542-3185Depósito legal pp
197402ZU34
ppi 201502ZU4645
Vol.39 N° 69
Julio
Diciembre
2021
Recibido el 10/04/2021 Aceptado el 16/06/2021
ISSN 0798- 1406 ~ De si to le gal pp 198502ZU132
Cues tio nes Po lí ti cas
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de Es tu dios Po lí ti cos y De re cho Pú bli co “Dr. Hum ber to J. La Ro che” (IEPDP) de la Fa-
cul tad de Cien cias Ju rí di cas y Po lí ti cas de la Uni ver si dad del Zu lia.
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ción, dis cu sión y con fron ta ción de las ideas y avan ces cien tí fi cos con com pro mi so so cial.
Cues tio nes Po lí ti cas apa re ce dos ve ces al año y pu bli ca tra ba jos ori gi na les con
avan ces o re sul ta dos de in ves ti ga ción en las áreas de Cien cia Po lí ti ca y De re cho Pú bli-
co, los cua les son so me ti dos a la con si de ra ción de ár bi tros ca li fi ca dos.
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nes Cien tí fi cas y Tec no ló gi cas Ve ne zo la nas del FO NA CIT, La tin dex.
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Vol. 39, Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre) 2021, 581-604
IEPDP-Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Políticas - LUZ
Current Trends in the Development
of International Terrorism: A Current
Understanding of the Problem
DOI: https://doi.org/10.46398/cuestpol.3969.36
Ivo Svoboda *
Tymur O. Loskutov **
Oleksandra B. Severinova ***
Olha M. Peresada ****
Andriy O. Shulha *****
Abstract
The study examines the development of international terrorism
and the problem of its denition. Consequently, the objective of the
study was to generate a systemic view of international terrorism
and to identify current trends in its development. A structural
and functional analysis of international terrorism as a political
phenomenon was used. Based on the analytical model provided,
the development of international terrorism was divided into periods based
on political and geographical zoning. Three consistent principles determine
the key characteristics of international terrorism as a rational strategy of
unconventional political struggle: the transition to asymmetrical actions,
attacks on symbolic objects, and inuencing public opinion as the main
objective. This triality of characteristics linked to a model of the political
process denes the existence of international terrorism as a phenomenon
and provides a key to understanding its dynamics. It is concluded that there
are four periods in the development of international terrorism, divided into
two cycles with breaking points, ascending, and descending phases. The
proposed periodization of the development of international terrorism is
* Associate Professor, Guarantor of Security Management Studies, Ambis - Vysoká škola, Praha, Czech
Republic. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0941-4686. Email: svobodaivo985@gmail.com
** Doctor of Law, Professor, Department of Organization of Pre-trial Investigation of Kryvyi Rih Educational
and Scientic Institute, Donetsk Law Institute of the Ministry of Internal Aairs of Ukraine, Kryvyi Rih,
Ukraine. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2686-9201. Email: Tymloskutov@ukr.net
*** PhD in Law, Associate Professor, Department of State and Legal Disciplines and Public Administration,
Faculty #3, Donetsk Law Institute of the Ministry of Internal Aairs of Ukraine, Mariupol, Ukraine.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3013-9815. Email: alex4sev@gmail.com
**** PhD in Law, Associate Professor, Head of Department of State and Legal Disciplines and Public
Administration, Faculty #3, Donetsk Law Institute of the Ministry of Internal Aairs of Ukraine,
Mariupol, Ukraine. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7199-1938. Email: peresada.olha@
gmail.com
***** PhD in Law, Associate Professor, Department of State and Legal Disciplines and Public Administration,
Faculty #3, Donetsk Law Institute of the Ministry of Internal Aairs of Ukraine, Mariupol, Ukraine.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5524-5433. Email: shulhadon1@ukr.net
582
Ivo Svoboda, Tymur O. Loskutov, Oleksandra B. Severinova, Olha M. Peresada y Andriy O.
Shulha
Current Trends in the Development of International Terrorism: A Current Understanding of the
Problem
based on the identication of the centers as political-geographical areas,
where contradictions are congured and the political struggle that is part of
the logic of the terrorist strategy.
Keywords: international terrorism; political extremism; periodisation;
civil conicts; asymmetric actions
Tendencias actuales en el desarrollo del terrorismo
internacional: una comprensión actual del problema
Resumen
El estudio examina el desarrollo del terrorismo internacional y el
problema de su denición. En consecuencia, el objetivo del estudio fue
generar una visión sistémica del terrorismo internacional e identicar
las tendencias actuales en su desarrollo. Se utilizó un análisis estructural
y funcional del terrorismo internacional como fenómeno político. Sobre
la base del modelo analítico proporcionado, el desarrollo del terrorismo
internacional se dividió en períodos sobre la base de la zonicación política
y geográca. Tres principios consistentes determinan las características
clave del terrorismo internacional como estrategia racional de lucha
política no convencional: la transición a acciones asimétricas, ataques a
objetos simbólicos, e inuir en la opinión pública como objetivo principal.
Esta tríada de características vinculadas a un modelo del proceso político
dene la existencia del terrorismo internacional como un fenómeno y
proporciona una clave para comprender su dinámica. Se concluye que hay
cuatro períodos en el desarrollo del terrorismo internacional, divididos
en dos ciclos con puntos de ruptura, fases ascendentes y descendentes. La
periodización propuesta del desarrollo del terrorismo internacional se basa
en la identicación de los centros como zonas político-geográcas, donde
se conguran las contradicciones y la lucha política que es parte de la lógica
de la estrategia terrorista.
Palabras clave: terrorismo internacional; extremismo político;
periodización; conictos civiles; acciones asimétricas.
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CUESTIONES POLÍTICAS
Vol. 39 Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre 2021): 581-604
Introduction
Topicality
It was believed that a number of reasons contributed to the spread of
international terrorism: the defeat of the Arab countries in the Six-Day War
of 1967, which revealed their military inability to resist Israeli claims to the
Palestinian territory, which encouraged Arab militants to seek asymmetrical
responses to military superiority; the spread of guerrilla movements that
chose the terror tactics in Latin America; spread of anti-government and
radical movements in the United States and Western Europe against the
background of anti-war sentiments (Jenkins, 1978). During the decades of
the 1970’s and 2020’s, international terrorism, as a phenomenon of world
politics, underwent changes and transformations associated with changes
in the international situation and world society as a whole.
These changes took place in several directions. The driving forces of
international terrorism have changed; new conict zones emerged, where
conditions arose for the transition to asymmetric actions characteristic
of terrorism; as world politics changed, so did the policies of countries in
support of international terrorism; there were changes in the organization,
forms and methods of conducting terrorist activity by its actors. International
terrorism is a rapidly changing dynamic phenomenon, remaining one of the
leading factors and threats to world politics.
1. Literature review
In modern academic research on the problem of international terrorism,
one can identify both the waves caused by the growth and decline of
interest in this phenomenon, and the conceptual division into the so-
called traditional and critical studies of terrorism. The root of academic
controversy is in the very denition of terrorism in general, and international
terrorism in particular, which constitutes a “denition dilemma” (Scremin,
2020). According to. Scremin’s apt denition, this dilemma manifests
itself at the academic, political and operational levels, which, accordingly,
hinders the creation of a single conceptual framework for the study of
terrorism; distorts the political discourse on terrorism and delegitimises
the means of combating it; and, ultimately, negatively aects international
cooperation eorts in the ght against terrorism. The inconsistency of the
basic understanding of the denition, which is a reection of the lack of
a stable consensus on the essence of the phenomenon, aects the whole
understanding of the problems of its structure and dynamics.
584
Ivo Svoboda, Tymur O. Loskutov, Oleksandra B. Severinova, Olha M. Peresada y Andriy O.
Shulha
Current Trends in the Development of International Terrorism: A Current Understanding of the
Problem
The modern academic paradigm regarding the phenomenon of
international terrorism began to take shape after the terrorist attack of
September 11, 2001, and the ensuing War on Terror. Despite the extensive
experience of understanding international terrorism in previous decades,
it is characterised by three theoretical forces, which, in fact, create a
denition dilemma. Impressive analysis of current legal framework for the
denition of terrorism in (Margariti, 2017). First, terrorist activity can be
equated with the phenomena of mass political violence with a wide range
of historical and contemporary examples (Monaghan et al., 2011; Sysoev,
2017; Tilly, 2004).
Second, there may be confusion in the phenomena of “insurgency
guerrilla warfare (international) terrorism” (Garrison, 2004), or
“revolution terrorism” (Anderson, 2015). This version of a broad
approach allows discussing the role of even the ISIS movement as an
international terrorist group (Kane, 2018). Third, in the context of so-
called critical research on terrorism, this concept can be “deconstructed”
as a discursive phantom created by states to legitimise their own repressive
policies against certain discriminated sections of the population. This trend
is rightly associated with the approach of the Frankfurt School and the work
of Chomsky (2013), who accuses the US authorities of forming a discourse
on terrorism against the liberation movements.
Critical studies have numerous specic and general theoretical reports,
in particular on the isolation and stigmatisation of the Islamic community
by the British government (Norris, 2015), on the use of terrorism discourse
in international politics as a “weapon of power” (Lorenzana del Villar,
2018), using the concept of combating violent extremism to ensure US
foreign policy (Ambrozik, 2018), etc. Alternative theoretical directions are
represented by the study of the role of gender in international terrorism
(Pearson and Zenn, 2021; White, 2020), or the interpretation of the role of
Islamophobia in the perception of the problem of international terrorism
by Western societies (Karipek, 2020).
More productive are the specic studies of modern international
terrorism as regards its most common movements or tactics. Ibrahim’s
(2020) typical report on such research provides a thorough overview of the
activities of ISIS in Libya, including an analysis of the social and political
aspects of the development of this movement and its political dynamics.
Stenersen (2017) examines the current state of the al-Qaeda movement,
concluding that it is moving towards a state of global franchise, which
embodies the Sala jihadist ideology and relies on the support of local
insurgent movements. An assumption is made about the possibility of
a new intensication of international terror if it is possible to rebuild its
international capacity. Auger (2020) analyses the development, rather
expected than real, of far-right terrorism and extremism. In general, we can
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Vol. 39 Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre 2021): 581-604
note a wide variety of approaches and methods to the study of international
terrorism in the modern literature (Sandler, 2011). Some aspects of the
study of international terrorism are attempts to identify the role of radical
ideology in its genesis and to nd the background for its theoretical analysis.
Holbrook and Hordan (2019) use the model of “cognition, causation and
inuence” pointing to the non-binary nature of ideological conceptualisation
and emphasising the role of social identity in the emergence of ideological
foundations of terrorism. The inuence of social media on the spread of
terrorist movements is a promising area of analysis of the current dynamics
of international terror, as Miller (2019) reected in the study. In the latest
research on the problem, the scholar’s manifest interest in a range of
theoretical areas. The research line on attempts to analyse international
terrorist activity through the interaction of two groups of actors — states
and terrorist groups through game theory is continued, in particular, in the
studies of Hanley (2017), Mumford (2018), Zahedzadeh (2017), etc.
Hawcroft J. Intelligence Ocer and current Head of Anti-Terrorist
Programmes of George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies,
provides an overview of the future development of international terrorism
in three main areas: motivation, tactics, goals and technologies. The
forecast points to the predominant role of social motives in the genesis of
terrorist activity of the future, predicting increased violence, attacks on
“faceless” corporations as a personication of inequality and the possibility
of impulsive, public-driven response of state institutions (Howcroft, 2018).
The reverse trend —the reverse shifts from terrorism to legal political
activity— is considered, for example, in the report of Ashour (2020).
A separate aspect of the problem is the policy of countries on international
terrorism. Murphy’s (2017) study of China’s policy should be noted here,
which is a turning, somewhat new, point. After all, China is moving from
its traditional support for radical left-wing Maoism to ensuring stability
within its borders, where it faces ethno-national and religious challenges. It
should be noted that research on the problem of international terrorism is
widely empirically supported. Bowie (2017) provides an overview of 60 key
databases on international terrorism.
Thus, in view of academic interest and numerous studies on the problem
of international terrorism, the existing drawback is the lack of a stable
consensus on the denition of this phenomenon itself. The vast majority of
research is determined by unclear methodology and the vagueness of their
theoretical provisions (Bakker, 2012), which is true today. Many empirical
studies do not have a systemic generalization that would link understanding
of international terrorism as a phenomenon in the more or less stable
theoretical scheme and provide theoretical grounds for identifying its
current trends.
586
Ivo Svoboda, Tymur O. Loskutov, Oleksandra B. Severinova, Olha M. Peresada y Andriy O.
Shulha
Current Trends in the Development of International Terrorism: A Current Understanding of the
Problem
The objectives of this study are to form a systemic view of international
terrorism, which must overcome a certain diversity of understanding of the
phenomenon in modern academic literature and identify current trends
in its development relying on a stable framework for understanding the
nature of this phenomenon, as well as internal and external factors for its
dynamics.
2. Methods (research design)
The research methodology is reduced to four main ideas. Central to the
study is the provision of an eective denition of international terrorism,
based on a structural and functional approach to the denition of this social
phenomenon. We rely on the organisational concept of terrorism provided
by Comas et al. (2014) as a polymorphic structural form that combines the
features of formal organization, network and social movement. Accordingly,
the main actor in international terrorism, which is connected with the
direct development of terrorist activity, can be dened as “organisation”,
“network” or “movement”.
The objective of identifying current trends involves the analysis of
the dynamics of international terrorism, which is possible through the
periodisation of international terrorism and its consistent transformation
in accordance with changes in society. This aspect is often overlooked by
researchers in constructing generalized concepts of the phenomenon, despite
the availability of special intelligence on the connection of international
terrorism tactics with certain modern technologies (cyberterrorism) or
features of modern society (use of electronic networks by terrorist groups).
Periodisation in the analysis of the dynamics of international terrorism
is associated with the method of concentres. It is obvious that research on
the problem of international terrorism is often based on the materials of
a separate geographical or cultural-geographical centre of the spread of
terrorist activity. For example, these are the Middle East, Northern Ireland
(British), European centres of the spread of terrorism, which have their
own logic of activation and a specic combination of goals and tactics that
guide international terrorist groups.
Such centres have a complex cross-border structure that reects both
the interaction within the terrorist movement and its organisational or
indirect interaction through informational, cultural, political inuences
with countries that are so-called “sponsors of terrorism”. That is, they are
interested in the spread of international terrorist activity as an instrument
of their own foreign policy. Such politico-geographical, or geopolitical, in
the same sense of the term, zones in which international terrorist activity is
formed are dened as “concentres”. By the nature of international terrorism,
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CUESTIONES POLÍTICAS
Vol. 39 Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre 2021): 581-604
the very acts of terrorist activity can take place outside the concentres,
being only inspired by the existing political, ideological, and socio-cultural
conditions.
The existence of political conditions and interests as organisational
structures of international terrorist movements and states — “sponsors
of terrorism” requires consideration of their relationship. That is,
international terrorist activity must be considered in the context of regional
and international policy. The basic assumption of this study is the impact on
world (regional) public opinion as the main goal of international terrorist
activity in its modern forms, which is achieved by means specic to modern
society, and has a political eect set by terrorists.
In general, the hypothesis of current trends in the development of
international terrorism takes the form of successive changes within
the political and geographical concentres considered in the context of
international (regional) policy and general trends in the development of
concentre’s societies. This structure of the study allows avoiding “monism”,
which is inherent in a number of studies in determining the decisive cause
of terrorist activity, such as religious one, in the denition of “international
Islamic terrorism”. International terrorism is seen as something that
involves: the cross-border scale of the spread of terrorist activity, and the
impact on the international (regional) political process.
The data of the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) (n.d.) were used in
order to test the hypothesis regarding the periodisation of the dynamics
of international terrorism. The database includes information on more
than 200,000 terrorist acts (events) since 1970 worldwide. The database
is structured according to 135 variables, which allow classifying terrorist
acts by time, place of events, actor, scale, content, and a number of other
characteristics. The data on the events of the 2000’s are the most complete.
This fact is a limitation on the study.
3. Results
In order to determine the dynamics of global terrorism, the smoothing
of a number of data by a polynomial trend line according to the 6th degree
equation was used, which most fully reects the existing trend (Figure 1).