Terrorism is a global threat that involves acquiring individuals especially the youth to carry out terrorist and violence attacks for various reasons. Recruitment into terrorist groups is a process met by both successes and failure by the recruitment personnel. The positive side involves the fact that the terrorist groups can attract new members, and consequently the terror groups can acquire approbation to help them carry out their activities. The downside of the terror groups involves high chances of the arrest of the terror suspects and offenders and compromise of intelligence chattels. There are various techniques used by terrorist groups to recruit new members into terror groups.
The media plays a significant role in facilitating the recruitment of terrorism. It has a part to play in releasing videos that encourage terrorism. Besides, many potential terrorism recruits learn about on-going recruitment processes through the media. Therefore, despite the strict measures put in place to fight terrorism, the recruitment of more members into the terror groups is still practised. This paper focuses on the recruitment of terrorism, the various methods and techniques used to attract more members of the terrorist groups, and counterterrorism strategies used to curb terrorism.
The Structure of the Recruitment Process
Recruitment of new members into terror groups involves various aspects such as the cultural background, social structure and the historical context of possible recruits (Reich, 1998). For instance, the move to convince the youths to leave their home and join terror group does not face hardships if various aspects apply. For example, if the family of the child is under struggle or if the family is immigrant then the young people can quickly join terror groups as their last resort since they do not have better alternatives from which to source their livelihood. The recruitment process also involves serious risks. Hence, the process must include tuning to demographic patterns of the possible recruits.
The tuning process is essential for marginal and illicit terror groups during recruitment to enable the terror groups to evade the risk of capture by the government. Hence, the recruitment process requires the experts to be more careful and avoid any instances of error in a move to evade the extreme penalties of failure. Apart from tuning, the terror groups often change their shape and pattern of activities to facilitate change in their recruitment processes and to reduce the chances of government monitoring. For instance, the terror groups alter their names, meeting venues, language, timeframe, and languages to evade government interference and maintain consistency in carrying out their activities.
Models of Recruitment
The specific characteristics that define the recruitment process often known as the shape are a combination of general and definite descriptors. There are different models applicable for the recruitment process. Firstly, the net model is one of the recruitment models used by most terror groups to carry out their recruitment activities. The net recruitment model involves the target individuals directly whereby the terror groups send some materials for example video tapes to possible recruitments. Moreover, the terror groups can invite potential recruits to meetings where they meet them and notify their intentions.
The net model is applicable during instances of possible opposition from the audience. Some of the factors that influence the recruitment process in this model are geographical specifications, demographic factors, and psychographic factors (Frances, 2007). An example of a meeting place for the terror groups' officials and the potential recruits is a mosque. The potential recruits who attend the meetings in radicals are subject to recruitment without any additional preparations.
The funnel model is also a standard model involved in the recruitment process. The recruitment personnel, in this case, utilize the incremental or phased technique when he or she identifies a possible target population. Additionally, the recruitment staffs identify potential target recruitments to the need of change in identity and transformation. The same way the name funnel implies the recruitment process involves starting the recruitment process at one end where the potential recruits undergo the transformation. Finally, after conversion, the recruits become fully pledged members of the terror group. This model consists of various characteristics such as hazing rituals and exercises aimed at building identity groups. Moreover, this type of recruitment involves confirmation of commitment to the principles of the terror groups through demonstrating the use of violence to meet the goals of the group. The techniques used in this model have an impact on the individuals who navigate them and even those who fall out during the recruitment process. For instance, the individuals who fall out can act as intermediaries for future recruitments.
The infection model involves recruiting new members from within since sometimes targeting populations in the external environment proves to be a difficult task. The infection model requires the use of a trustworthy agent from terror group to visit the localities of potential recruits and rally his or her motives through direct connections and interpersonal appeals. This model of recruitment uses the significant strengths of social comparison, credibility, and individual target calls. In its early stage, this model comprises of recruiting potential members a move vehemently opposed by the governments leading to clandestinely and operational safety.
As the number of recruits increase, the ability to recruit more and more recruits tends to rise. Some of the critical factors to consider during the operation of this model are time-related. The time it takes to select a trustworthy agent and the time it takes to complete his or her task is a major factor. The infection model boasts of success in cases that involve recruitment involving organizations such as the police and the military. In the police and military, the infection model draws its success from the fact most of the individuals are not extremists. In the instances involving the police and military forces, an agent who is more or less an infiltrator is capable of converting individuals who do not enjoy their occupations.
The seed crystal model is another type of model employed by the recruitment personnel. The seed crystal model is applicable in situations where possible recruitments are in an accessible location. Consequently, the potential recruits seek to inquire for self-recruitment. After the self-recruited individuals emerge as new members, they then follow the infection model patterns. The seed crystal model is applicable in places where direct recruitment is impossible. The first process involves self-recruits to serve as their agents whereby they commence proselytizing. Secondly, self-recruits effort disseminates across the populations. Some of the targets tend to respond whereas some tend to neglect recruitment.
The recruitment techniques are different depending on the location of operation of the terrorist groups. Similarly, the characteristics that define the recruitment processes tend to be dynamic as they alter over time under different circumstances. Consequently, various recruitment procedures necessitate different counter-recruitment tactics by the government and federal agencies. Some counter-recruitment procedure might favour one locality as opposed to a different location. The intent to recruit new members to any group involves the use of convincing instruments either directly or indirectly in the operation process. For example, the direct approach requires a face-to-face approach that invites new members to undergo paramilitary training.
Moreover, an indirect method involves pronouncements and exhortations displayed on various websites. These instruments comprise of newspaper articles, radio, television, and websites among other instruments (Frances, 2007). Accordingly, interpersonal social interactions also serve as tools used in the recruitment process. These interpersonal social interactions include training, education, rumours among others. Often groups that possess adequate instruments are capable of carrying out operations that are more efficient. For instance, such groups can influence the publication of various articles that favour their recruitment processes and their overall operations.
There are various instruments used in the recruitment process that range from direct instruments to indirect instruments. Firstly, the public and proximate devices involve conducting of recruitment in a face-to-face manner or rather through organizing small groups. The setting of this quadrant is accessible to the public and the higher authorities. Some of the examples of this setting are prisons, immigrant and refugee camps (Hamm, 2007).
Moreover, significant wartime experiences for example life in an occupation are also a possible instance of this setting. Recruiters tend to interact with the population comprised of their target individuals or groups they are targeting for recruitment. In this environment, recruitment occurs despite the danger of interference by opposing authorities. This setting uses the infection approach because the recruiter involves himself or herself in a one on one interaction with the recruits. Despite counter-recruiting efforts by the authorities, recruitment proceeds in prison.
Public mediated quadrant includes a broader approach more keen to propaganda than the sales pitch. This setting involves the use of media, including the personnel within legislation and the government. Various media types are applicable for example the use of television and more illicit instruments such as graffiti. Media channels also comprise of websites that lack password protection to enable access to different potential recruits. This setting suits the targeting of unemployed young men gathered in places such as cafes or a congregation of members of a particular religion (Hamm, 2007).
This quadrant involves the use of indirectness because of limited physical contact between the recruiter and potential recruits. Moreover, this quadrant works well with the net approach or the seed crystal approach because of restricted personal access to potential recruits. However, communication is unrestricted. For example, the al-Qaeda terror group occasionally dispatches jihadist recordings in the social media or various statements through newspapers in Aran countries (Zimbardo & Hartley, 1985).
The private and proximate serve as a quadrant type where communication techniques rely on the public influence and intimate settings. In this quadrant, various individuals are potential targets for recruitment. These potential targets include people undergoing rehabilitations in private hospitals, people in attendance of prayer sessions in a private place, individuals attending training programs for instance al-Qaeda training camps in the Arab countries such as Afghanistan or people under vocational education (Hoffman, 1998). This type of quadrant favours the recruitment of those individuals opposing the rule of the local authorities and the government. The techniques involved rely on specific personal appeals where individuals or groups of people are potential targets. This quadrant utilizes the infection and funnel approaches relating to a one on one communication with recruits.
Characteristics of Potential Recruitment Targets
The identification of the vulnerabilities of potential recruitment targets by terror groups relies on various variables such as demographic and psychographic variables. Empirical work is significant during operations for example in the collection and analysis carried out by intelligence groups (Zimbardo & Hartley, 1985). The empirical work relies on demographic variables, as they are easy to collect and review. The science involving alterations in attitudes and group dynamics show that indeed demographic variables have less significance compared to the psychographic variables. The results of empirical studies reveal that the psychographic and state variables seem to matter more when analysing the success and failure resulting from the recruitment process.
Personal attitudes, reasoning capabilities, and the general experiences of individuals depend on the ability of the potential recruits to resist recruitment. Other factors that affect recruitment are age, level of profession and gender. Some of the state and psychographic variables include high levels of dissatisfaction and distress both emotionally and physically (Ash, 1985). Moreover, other characteristics under the psychographic variables are cultural disillusionment in an exasperated seeker.
Furthermore, other characteristics that define a potential recruit include the lack of intrinsic religious value or belief system. Besides, some problems in the family system such as family disagreements may lead to a member joining terror groups for revenge (Ash, 1985). Also, some personal tendencies such as suggestibility are essential in determining the potential recruitment targets. Experts suggest that there is the need for the recruitment structure to determine the potential targets with more characteristics than just using plain demographics. These features help in identifying the people in population more likely to be victims of recruitment, the people with high chances of joining the terror groups, and the people under more risk of radicalization (Zimbardo & Hartley, 1985).
More often individuals undergoing problems such as broken families and post-imprisonment depression tend to invite target for recruitments in the terror groups. Though the vulnerability of potential targets is not apparent, some general techniques apply to induce state and psychographic variables in boosting various aspects. Some of these aspects include the initial interaction between the recruiter and potential recruits that lead to more subsequent interactions. Following contacts pave the way for recruits' identity transformations such as joining a terror group with self-identification (Moscovici, 1980). These connections create mental distress among the targets, a state that affects their memory and consciousness. Ultimately, the dissociation created influences a new identity and state of mind.
Challenges in Identifying Terror Groups
Identifying terror groups is often difficult owing to the difficulty in defining the terror groups and the kind of people affiliated with it. The difficulty in identifying these terror groups makes it a challenge to understand the patterns involved in the recruitment process. However, having a clear comprehension of what these terror groups are is significant. Moreover, it is cumbersome to identify the adversaries of a particular a terror group in certain localities. Sometimes using counterterrorism strategies and plans does not work (Sprinzak, 2007).
Furthermore, using different models of identifying the terrorist groups and various tools can prove crucial in filling the information gaps about whom these terror groups are and the possible affiliates of these terror groups. Furthermore, it is cumbersome to identify terrorists who operate alone often known as "lone wolf" terrorists (Sprinzak, 2007). Besides, in some countries where the national government is unstable, significant cases of violence are epidemic. Some of the renowned terror groups such as the al-Qaeda take advantage of political instability in certain countries and carry out violence activities in such countries.
Counterterrorism Strategies and Challenges
Counter-terrorism involves utilization of military forces, strategies, and techniques by the government agencies and other law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism (Sprinzak, 2007). The main strategies include preventing potential terrorism involves the incapacitation of the recruitment of potential terrorists by removing their capacity to carry out the action. Besides, the government can play a major role in reducing such recruitments by reducing the excuses for joining terrorist groups. The government should strive on increasing employment opportunities and reducing poverty thus reducing the number of potential terrorist recruits.
Besides, in situations where terrorism involves a wider insurgency situation, counter-terrorism agencies might require counter-insurgency techniques to curb this kind of terrorism (Reich, 1998). For example, the United States Army uses internal defences that help other countries to diminish insurgency, lawlessness or to lessen the situations that can attract security threats. The antiterrorism systems have a broad scope regarding borders, large area coverage, and high traffic in the major cities. Other factors also influence the counterterrorism systems. These additional factors include the type and extent of terrorism, political ramifications, diplomatic implications, and legal matters.
The counterterrorism systems serve the purpose of associating various technologies to carry out intelligence surveillance, missions, and suitable actions. The design of a counterterrorism system is a robust project that comprises of adequate expertise from monitoring and intelligent teams. The counterterrorism systems are dynamic in the sense that they support the changing dimensions of terrorism. However, the systems are prone to uncertainties in the future, a challenge that needs addressing. Another method of counterterrorism is the involvement of law enforcement personnel, for instance, the police, FBI agents, and law enforcement officers to strengthen international security.
Similarly, In the United States, the federal agencies, state security, and law enforcement bodies take the responsibility of protecting the people from terrorism attacks. Firstly, the federal agencies and state security agencies commit themselves to fighting terrorism following goals and objectives of their mission statements (Rapoport, 1980). Secondly, the local agencies follow suit and establish efficient communication lines with the federal agency officials to guard the country against terrorism. Several counterterrorism strategies used to combat terrorism in most countries include stiffening airport securities, enhancing border controls, and profiling immigrants (Sprinzak, 2007).
The federal agents also measure their counterterrorism efforts quantifiable through identifying the effectiveness of every appropriate counterterrorism strategies. The measurements involve comparing the total financial records against the clearance or arrest records. Since terrorism is not common in some countries, then the process of measuring the effectiveness of the policies may be non-generalizable and ineffective (Sprinzak, 2007). Another problem associated with counterterrorism is the process of finding out operational measures of the concepts involved in homeland security. Therefore, despite the fact that counterterrorism efforts are necessary for curbing both local and international terrorism, the government and law enforcement agencies should utilize more defined systems to help them achieve their objectives, which is to foster security.
Terrorism is a global threat that significantly affects both developed and developing countries. Various terror groups carry out terrorism worldwide targeting different locations and some aimed at instilling fear among people. The terror groups carry out recruitment aimed at influencing different young people to join them. The recruitment processes involve various models and approaches used by the terror groups to have potential recruits join them.
The terror group agents accorded the responsibility of recruiting new members of the terror groups to identify potential recruits with various identifiable characteristics. These features help the recruitment personnel to know the particular people suitable for recruitment. Nevertheless, the move to carry out counter-terrorism faces various limitations such as the diversity of different terror groups whereby they alter their locations and characteristics to enable them to adapt to different parts of the world. Finally, to curb this global catastrophe of terrorism, various government, and private agencies utilize counterterrorism strategies to help diminish the threats of terrorism.
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