Hazard Analysis of Terrorist Groups

Hazard analysis is a process through which the risk from a certain source or event can be assessed. This is done when so that the risks of highest magnitude can be ascertained and effective management strategies can be devised to specifically deal with these risks. This allows resources to be focused on the most important issues, especially when there are a multitude of risks and resources are limited. In this paper I will identify three terrorist organizations that pose the greatest risk to the United States and its people. This is based on information from the period 1999-2003 from the U.

S. Department of State’s website on terrorist incidences (2004). The magnitude of the risk is evaluated through the Hazard Analysis Table. At the top is obviously the Al-Qaeda, an organization formed only a couple of decades ago, which has carried out attacks on numerous civilian and military targets worldwide. Based on an extremist interpretation of ‘jihad’ or holy war, it seeks to end Christian/Jewish leadership in countries to spread Islamic rule. Mostly affiliated with Osama bin Laden’s ideology, the al-Qaeda’s attacks on US targets have been multiple and global in recent years.

Although an attack in Yemen that killed 17 U. S. sailor of the U. S. S. Cole in 2000 was suspected to be by Al-Qaeda, the organization came to light with the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon in the U. S. itself, which led to massive loss of life (3025 individuals). Later, car and truck bombings in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey all directed towards U. S. targets make this huge organization the number one risk to the United States. The group that takes the number two spot is the Columbian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC).

Scoring high in frequency, the FARC repeatedly targeted U. S. nationals in Columbia. Its tactics include taking hostage and then murdering, or using bombs and grenades to cause mass destruction and loss of life. Targeting bars and night clubs which are frequented by Americans in Columbia, FARC, which is the guerilla wing of the Columbian Communist Party, employs hijacking, vehicle bombing, extortion, kidnapping and guerilla and conventional warfare against anyone, whether military or civilian, that it considers a threat.

The oldest and largest insurgent group in the Americas, it derives its funds from illegal trades such as drug trafficking. Designated as a terrorist organization by the U. S. in 2001, (The Office of the Coordinator for Counter-terrorism) it continues to draw sympathy and support from leaders in Cuba and Venezuela. The third group, which, according to the analysis, has considerable potential to do damage to the U. S. and its citizens, is the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT).

This organization, again based on Islamic fundamentalism, has a huge presence in South East Asia, especially Afghanistan, Kashmir and Pakistan. Firing at the U. S. embassy in Calcutta, and a grenade attack on a church in Pakistan which killed Americans have been some of its activities directed at the US, apart from trying to assassinate the pro-American former President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf. Banning of LeT by the Pakistani, American and other governments have only caused this dangerous organization to go underground, forming training centers and offices in Kashmir.

Over here, unrestrained by any checks from authorities, and thriving on funds collected by local mosques, LeT continues to recruit and carry out attacks. The recent Mumbai bombings which targeted foreign nationals has also been linked to LeT. (Swami, 2008) For my future research, I would like to focus on the group known as the Abu Sayyaf. Based in ad around Philippines, members of this organization have been fighting for an independent Islamic state from the largely Catholic Philippines.

They use various tactics, especially kidnapping and extortion, it receives its funding and weapons from other extremist Islamist organizations in Middle and South East Asia. As such, its ideology is similar to other groups in the region working to over-through non-Islamic or secular governments to establish a belt of Islamist states. It has also carried out targeted attacks against U. S. citizens, kidnapping and demanding the release of prominent 9/11 suspects like Ramzi Yousef in return.

It also has links o the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or the Moro National Liberation Front, organizations that have vowed acts against the government of Philippines for atrocities that it committed against people after gaining independence from America. Abu Sayyaf has also been linked to Al-Qaeda. The CIA’s paramilitary wing, the Special Activities Division sends US military advisers to the Philippines to train local soldiers on how to resist and combat Abu Sayyaf. This is a covert operation but its existence point to the fact that spread of radical organizations in this region would be a direct threat to the United States.

References Bureau of Public Affairs U. S. Department of State. (2004 March) Significant Terrorist Incidents, 1961-2003: A Brief Chronology http://www. state. gov/r/pa/ho/pubs/fs/5902. htm Swami, Praveen. (2008, Nov 28) Three Lashkar Fidayeen Captured Hindu Times http://www. hindu. com/2008/11/28/stories/2008112862080100. htm Rufford, Nicholas. (2002, Nov 10). Al-Qaeda stalked by the predator Times Online http://www. timesonline. co. uk/tol/news/world/article826047. ece? token=null&offset=0&page=1