Free «Foundations of Terrorism» Essay Sample
  1. What are the six types of state sponsors of terrorism? Provide a detailed description for each type; cite a specific example, and explain how your example typifies that type of sponsor.

Categories of Active Sponsorship

Active state sponsorship is conventionally made up of a premeditated government resolution to offer vital support to a terrorist group, characteristically in the structure of weaponry, funds, misinformation and medium, or a safe haven. This rather uncomplicated explanation, however, masks incredible multiplicity:


Some states directly control the terrorist groups they support: group is in essence a cat’s-paw of the state. A past example of this would be Syria’s creation of al-Sa‘iqa, a Palestinian group that Damascus used in an attempt to undermine Fatah-leader Yasir Arafat. Historically, many states created and actively backed terrorist groups simply as an adjunct of state policy.


Complete control is hard, but most countries try to manage the actions of terrorist groups to eventually serve their country’s interests. For example, Pakistan has for long supported different terror groups to fight against India in the disputed Kashmir area. Pakistan has offered these terror groups with funds, weapons and to some extent intelligence support. Iran has also shown strong support for the Hezbollah this can be seen in the Hezbollah’s decisions in Lebanon and, its overseas activities. These groups and their sponsors have managed to keep their collaborations under the radii.


Nations are frequently in contact with terror groups, at times involving themselves in inconsequential calculated coordination or offering openings and opportunities for future collaborations. Often, a nation’s set of contacts are enormous, even if its intensity of harmonization is restricted. Iran, for instance, is allegedly in contact with the Sunni salafi-jihadist groups, even though definite coordination seems limited.

Categories of Passive Sponsorship 

As terrorism today is often self-funded, and as the global arms market has seen  propagation of small arms, passive sponsorship is an increasingly vital part of the nation aid towards terrorism. Types of passive sponsorship include 

Knowing toleration

Some administrations may make a policy decision not to stop terrorist groups that raise money, recruiting, or abuse its land. In essence, the government wants the group to prosper and hope that by offering this support the terror groups will grow. Syria is an example of a country that has tried this out by allowing jihadists, ex- Ba‘thists after the US attack on Iraq. The terror group trained within the Syrian borders without disrupting government activities. 

Unconcern or ignorance 

In this case countries assume or act unconcerned about the terror groups. These countries assume that the terror groups do not exist or do not pose any threat to the country a perfect example is Canada. Canada assumed the existence of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) also known as the “Snow Tigers”.


Some countries fail to fully control their territories or may be the government is too weak or in other words the country is not able to fight against the groups. The Lebanese Armed Forces fully fits this category; it has failed to put down the Hezbollah’s activities. On the other hand, Pakistan government does not have full controls in some parts of the country.

2. What are the eight motivations for a state to sponsor terrorism? Provide a detailed description of each type; cite an example for each and explain how your example typifies that motivation.

Tactical justifications are still the most vital for state supporters of terrorism, mainly obvious ones. Tactic plays a chief part for Iran and Eritrea, and a significant function for Pakistan and Syria. Strategy has several scopes:

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Making enemies bleed

Supporting terrorists, predominantly terrorists attached to rebellious actions, can tie down large army members and security forces over significant parts of its borders. Pakistan’s backing for a variety of groups fighting in Kashmir exemplify this approach. Even though Pakistan’s ultimate plans for Kashmir are irredentist, in the temporary its leaders are satisfied to keep Indian forces engaged and stop Kashmir’s incorporation into the rest of India.

Subservient neighbors

Some countries are predominantly worried about their neighbors, and support for terrorists presents a type of authority. Pakistan has continued to support the Taliban terror group in order to sustain its influence in Afghanistan. Iran has ties to militants in Iraq as well as many that at times have plainly challenged Tehran, efficiently giving it a prohibition authority over verdicts in the country. Syria has for long used Hezbollah and other actors to threaten the anti-Syrian movement in Lebanon.

Diplomatic strength

States back terrorists as a form of ambassadorial influence in debate. Syria for many years used Hezbollah as such a trade in its talks, in the Golan Heights. Some viewers think Iran sought to deal the leading al-Qaida members in its custody for U.S. allowance on the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian group divergent to the Islamic Republic and, which the U.S. forces have jailed in Iraq.

Power projection

Support for terrorists offers fragile states with worldwide influence outside their neighborhood. An example for this situation is Iran; it has held up to many Palestinian terror groups and Hezbollah helps the Tehran to have influence in the Israeli-Palestinian Theater and Lebanon. In the absence of this Iran would lack the influence if it only depended on its fragile military and financial power.

Local power

Some countries use the terror groups to establish local authority. Some of these terror groups are used as militia groups in some countries and they run the streets. For example Syria has collaborated with Hezbollah against the Lebanese organizations in Beirut and the southern parts of the country. Iran on the other hand maintains its connections with the terror groups to maintain its political and military influence in some parts of Iraq.


This refers to a point where a country maintains or supports a terror group in order to put pressure on a military stronger country. For example Iran has for long used its overseas connections and proxy killing machines to threaten the USA incase they increased pressure about the Tehran’s nuclear plan and other U.S.-Iranian disagreements.

3. What are the six types of support that states provide to terrorist groups? Provide a detailed description of each; cite an example for each and explain how your example typifies that type of support.

Financial support

Some countries offer financial support to terror groups that share the same interest or goal. A good example for this support is Libya or in other words Muammar al-Qaddafi, in his time he financially supported the Irish Republican Army (IRA). This was a long short towards his goal as he intended to hurt the USA in the end. This was a calculated move as the IRA was fighting against the British and the British were in strong terms with the USA this would give him his intended goal.

Weapons and hardware

In the same case the Libyan leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi offered several ships full of weaponry, simply because he knew that the IRA were operating against Britain. His goal was to punish Britain for its collaboration in the US bombing of Tripoli.


Some groups have largely benefited from the free space and facilities offered by different states. This is clear in most countries in Russia the KGB, in Pakistan the Taliban, in Syria the Hezbollah, in Afghanistan the Taliban. All these groups have bases and camps in the named countries and in turn they act towards the goals that benefit the country.

Sworn enemies

In some cases, groups even agree to help from under oath enemies. For instance, the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) allows support from Iran, Iraq, and Syria.


Some countries directly or in directly control the terror groups. These are hard to establish though through the support on intelligence a country clearly engages in the groups control. Syria can fit this class of support as it directly gives directions to the Saiqa Palestinian Group and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PLFP-GC).

4. Provide a 250 word description of a specific State’s active support for a terrorist group.

Trouble in Afghanistan started in the late 1970s after the Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union. This was after the long ruling royal family was deposed by the ministers in 1979. The Soviet Union set up a regime in Kabul that was sympathetic to anticommunist Muslim rebels. This group was called the mujahadeen, or holy warriors. This move was welcome by many world leaders especially the United States and Muslims from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia Ten years later, when the Soviet Union withdrew from country, to a power gap that resulted in a massive civil war by various rival Muslim factions that wanted to control the country.

This was the conception of the Taliban group who ruled the country until 2001 when the United States army invaded the country in 2001. The country thus became a home base for terrorist activities especially the Al-Qaeda, which was run by Osama Bin Laden. This was a save haven for terrorists since the country was chaotic and the Taliban had been deeply corrupted by Bin Laden’s philosophy. This made it easy for Al Qaeda to operate since they had the support of the leaders.

One of the attacks that were orchestrated by the Taliban under the leadership of Mullah Mohammad Omar was a strike in Kabul in 2004, just before the commencement of the presidential elections in October. The attacks were aimed at a private security firm ran by Americans before the Presidential elections of October, 2004. The firm was offering security detail for President Hamid Karzai. This was proof that the al Qaeda was well distributed and would not back down.

The Taliban were also responsible for trying to block foreign aid from getting into Afghanistan when the country was plagued by a great famine. It has also been proven that the Afghanistan security forces have been secretly supporting Al zulfiqar, which is also a terrorist group that has been linked to several bombings and hijackings in Pakistan.

5. Provide a 250 word description of a specific State’s passive support for a terrorist group

The Soviet Union has been the silent kid on the block, but yet it is one of the silent supporters of terrorism. The Soviet Union came up with the formation of the KGB group. This group has for long been linked to many terror attacks in the world. The connection of the Soviet Union to terrorism can be established only if an individual is keen. Some of the renowned leaders in the soviet government can be quoted to support the idea of terror groups. For example, the First Chief Directorate of the KGB said: "In today’s world, when nuclear arms have rendered military force out of date, terrorism should be our main weapon." He also said, “Airplane hijacking is my own innovation". In 1969, 82 planes were hijacked globally by the KGB funded Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). George Habash, working under the KGB's direction, gave details: "Killing a Jew away from battle is more effectual than killing hundreds in battle, as it attracts more attention."

The soviet has been linked with the formation of many resurgent groups in different countries. Some of these groups include the PLO. The PLO guerrillas were trained by the KGB, as well as the arm shipments that were transported through Haddad of the DFLP group, who regularly camped in a KGB dacha BARVIKHA. The Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia, the National Liberation Army of Colombia, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and the National Liberation Army of Bolivia created with the help of Che Guevara.

The most notable soviet involvement in terrorism or support was an event in London 1975. It is claimed that after Oleg Lyalin defected from the KGB in 1971 he exposed the soviets plan to sabotage main European cities and other western capitals. He claimed that there was a plan to flood the London subways and deliver poison capsules to Whitehall. These are just but a few examples that connect the soviet to terror groups and their activities.


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