What if you had to assess the validity of the claims made by the nationalist and ethnic separatist movements discussed in this chapter? How would you rank them?
Would you say there is a similarity between the ETA and the LTTE Tamil Tigers? Explain the similarity or difference. 350 word
The Basque Nation and Liberty (ETA), an organization that waged a campaign of terrorism against Spain for (Burns, 2011), the ETA stated that it was ending its campaign of violence. A number of factors, including counterterrorism efforts, activism in civil society, and collaboration with other countries all contributed to the end of this violence (Winfield, 2015). It had accepted a cease-fire a few years earlier, and except for a few flare-ups, the fragile peace remained intact. This new declaration went further. It was not simply an agreement to stop fighting in the short term. It was a call for a complete cessation of all violence. The long war appeared to be finally over.
The statement was important both for the items it addressed and for the things it did not say. Acknowledging the suffering and the nature of terrorism, the ETA recognized the need to abandon violence. It was not working. In addi-tion, Spanish security forces had become increasingly effective. They had also formed close working relationships with French law enforcement in the Basque region of France, denying an important refuge for the separatists. Finally, the Spanish government had been making political progress in the Basque homeland in Spain. Authorities recognized that separatist issues could not be handled by force alone. As expressed in counterinsurgency doctrine, the government recognized that it had to win a political consensus with the Basque people. The Spanish government was dedicated to this effort, and its actions were paying off.
There were also unspoken issues in the statement. The ETA did not say that it was surrendering, and there was no indication that the group was funever disbanded. The statement also gave no hint that it had dropped its demands for Basque independence or that piste agree to any of Spain's long-term demands. It simply called for direct talks with the Spanish government. The pother issues surrounding the decades-long conflict had not been settled.
The first decade of the twenty-first century brought seemingly peaceful political solutions to three violent separatist movements: the renewed troubles in Ireland resulting from civil disturbances in 1969, the ETA's campaign for Basque autonomy, and a long campaign of savage guerrilla warfare and terrorism among two ethnic groups on the island nation of Sri Lanka. All of the conflicts appeared to end. Yet, terrorism involves extremist positions, and extremists are seldom satisfied with compromise. The central question for the next two decades is: Will the political solutions in Ireland, Spain, and Sri Lanka mollify the extremists who call for no compromise? The answer will be determined by the actions of governments as separatists are reintegrated into mainstream politics. Not all of the signs are promising.
The focus on international terrorism has diverted attention from some of the world's separatist movements; yet, these struggles have shaped modern terrorism. Such wars are asymmetrical, pitting small groups of separatists against larger government forces.
Such groups feel threatened and mistreated by the government in various ways, including limited access to jobs, educational opportunities, and land ownership. The groups rally around socio-political grievances of injustice, repression, discrimination, and marginalization and make demands to be heard and advocate for change. When nonviolent efforts fail to produce meaningful change, the group transitions to the most common tactic in asymmetrical warfare, terrorism (Hanzich, 2003). Since ethnic separatists use the same tactics as ideological terrorists, most analysts and policymakers have approached the two forms of terrorism in the same manner. However, by the end of the twentieth century, some American diplomats began to question this approach, saying that because the structure of ethnic violence had changed, the old models were no longer applicable. The earlier approach obscured the nature of separatist violence (Trundle,
1996; Porath, 2010).
Characteristics of Ethnic and Nationalist Terrorism
Peter Neumann (2007), then director of the Centre for Defence Studies at King's College London, applauds this shift because it presents an opportunity for understanding and approaching separatists. Unlike religious terrorists, separatists usually have a clear-cut, achievable goal, and they are usually not imbued with the nihilism of ideological groups with pure “absolute” goals. This point presents an opportunity for political pragmatism and negotiation, Neumann argues. Indeed, much of the violence described in this chapter might have been settled much earlier had the governments opposing the separatists moved to the negotiating table. Political accommodation is the most effective method for ending a terrorist campaign, according to a recent study by the RAND Corporation (Jones and Libicki, 2008).
In an earlier RAND study, Daniel Byman (1998) voncudes that ethnic terrorism differs from terrorism carried out in the name of ideology, religion, or economic gain.
He acknowledges the growing influence of religion on terrorism, but he believes ethnic terrorism is a unique entity, though the line between ethnic and religious violence is blurred. Ethnic terrorists are usually more nationalistic than their religious counter-parts. He uses evidence from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), and the ETA as evidence for his thesis.
Ethnic terrorists try to forge a national identity. Their primary purpose is to mobilize a community, and they do so by appealing to the nationalistic background of a particular ethnic group. Byman says that terrorist activity is used to make a statement about the group's identity. When the inevitable governmental persecution follows terrorist actions,
it draws attention to the group and allows the terrorists to present themselves as victims.
This process may increase public awareness of ethnic or nationalistic grievances, and it may lead to new sources of support. Terrorism also polarizes other ethnic groups and forces them to either ally with the terrorists or oppose them.
By the turn of the millennium, jihadist networks had come to play a significant role in European terrorism. North African groups operate in Spain and Italy. Middle Eastern networks are active in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom.
France also has ties with groups from Algeria (Kohlman, 2004). Yet, analysis of European law enforcement data suggests that separatist violence is the most dangerous threat to Europe. Measured by the sheer number of attacks, separatists present more of a threat to Europe than any other form of terrorism (Renard, 2009). Separatist violence differs from ideological and religious terrorism, and it needs to be examined to unveil its unique qualities.
Violence plays a special role in ethnic terrorism. Whereas political terrorists mostly use violence in a symbolic manner and religious extremists use it to make a theological statement, violence is the raison d'être of ethnic terrorism. It keeps an idea alive and the hope is that it will provoke a response by the government that could radicalize others and fuel dissent. Some data even suggest that separatist terrorism is the most violent form of terrorism in the modern world (Masters, 2008). As long as a bomb goes off or a police officer is murdered, the identity and existence of ethnic differences cannot be denied. Violence sustains the conflict, even when political objectives are far out of reach. The fear created by violence serves ethnic interests. Violence also serves to undermine moderates who seek peaceful solutions; yet, peaceful negotiated settlements have proved to be the most effective method for ending ethnic and nationalistic terrorism.
Three Cases of Ethnic and Nationalist
Nationalistic and ethnic separatist groupe studied the tactios of the People's Will (see Chapter 1) and began to copy them in the eary part of the awendeth century. Three of these campaigns lasted for many years, and the one in Spain recently ended although tensions remain high. The longest campaign took place in a series of waves in Ireland beginning in 1916 and slowly diminishing in the early twenty-first century. Modern Irish terrorism is associated with the 1916 Easter Rising, the Black and Tan War of 1919 to 1921, and the resurgent Irish Republican Army of 1956 and 1969. Irish nationalists, long angered by the colonial rule of England, incorporated terrorist techniques into their revolt against British rule, and their experiences evolved as weapons technology improved. The Irish Republican Army set the stage for modern separatist terrorism, and terrorism in Ireland is the product of a long, long story.
Another lengthy struggle grew in the Basque region of Spain. During a savage civil war in the 1930s, two ethnic Basque provinces sided against the fascist forces. When the fascists were successful, the government introduced repressive measures, angering the Basques and causing them to create a government in exile. In the midst of a turbulent
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