Article first published on "Perspectives on Terrorism" (www.terrorismanalysts.com)
Terrorist rebellions, in all their configurations, constitute the primary warfare threats facing the international community. This was especially the case following September 2001, when al-Qaeda demonstrated that it had world class ambitions to inflict catastrophic damages on its adversaries. In other conflicts, such as the Palestinian-Israeli arena, terrorist targeting is primarily localized, although as demonstrated by Hizballah’s rocket and guerrilla warfare against Israel in summer 2006, even localized conflicts have regional and international repercussions. Because of the worldwide reach of al-Qaeda and its affiliates, including what are referred to as al-Qaeda-inspired “self-starter” home-grown cells in Western Europe, North America, and elsewhere, many nations have been upgrading their homeland security defenses, and calling on their academic communities to provide analytical understanding of the origins, nature and magnitude of the terrorist threats around the world and how to counteract and resolve them. In response, academic courses and research institutes have been proliferating at colleges and universities worldwide, with graduate certificates and degrees offered in terrorism studies. To meet the great demand for academic and public policy resources on this subject, the publishing industry has been releasing a plethora of books on terrorism in general, the groups that engage in terrorist warfare, the radical religious movements that drive individuals to join terrorist groups and employ terrorist tactics on their behalf, the conflict zones where such warfare is being waged, and the types of counteraction that governments are employing in response.