Terrorism denotes the deeds of violence that are intended to create fear and anxiety among a populace of a specific locality. Terrorism activities are politically or religiously instigated, and without a doubt, they have turned out to be a major concern globally in the recent times. It has affected the largely the way the world is today because, every government is cognizant of the fact that if a country is not safe both internally and externally, no meaningful progress can be made. Terrorism affects how governments conduct their functions and the policies that a particular government puts in place (Yousef, Mosab, and Ron 129-134). In the USA for instance, the government allocates billions of dollars to combat terrorism. One of the most radical group that has been an annoyance to the US government is Hamas. It is from that rationale that this paper will be endeavoring at elucidating the history as well as the profile of the terrorist group. In addition, the paper will be giving further details on how the how United States National Strategy for Combating Terrorism is handling the group.
Profile for the HAMAS Organization
HAMAS, an acronym that stands forHalakat almuqawama al islamiya (islamic resistance movement) is an Islamic militant group that is an outgrowth of the Muslim brotherhood (whose origin is in Egypt) which the US government has designated as a foreign terrorist group. Hamas is an Islamic word, which means “zeal” It was formed in the year 1987, and it operates within the confines of the Palestinian government where it seeks to establish an all-Islamic state in Palestine. Its objective is mainly to counter secularization and westernization of the Arab society. Its strength is manly felt along the Gaza strip and the west bank. It is supported by a robust sociopolitical structure where by it has recruiting, radicalizing, and training structures (Yousef et, al 129-134).
It initially started as a political group. Most of the residents in the Gaza strip were living in the deplorable conditions where most of them were living in abject poverty. The corruption of the Palestinian authority, general failures, and the loss of societal hope has fueled HAMAS’ activities.
Some may ask then why are there frequent attacks if the HAMAS is championing for the welfare of the poor. The answer is that HAMAS is privy to the fact that it cannot survive in any peaceful environment. This has been evidenced by the attacks it carries on when there has been even a glimmer of peace.
The activities of the HAMAS are broken down into three wings. This includes the social welfare wing, political wing and the Military wing. The Social welfare wing and the political wing are the public face of the group whose main mandate is to coordinate the political, administrative activities of the group. It is responsible for jihadist recruitment, training social welfare and funding. These factions are involved in pushing the public agenda of the HAMAS (Yousef et, al 133-137). They coordinate the communication of the ideals of the group, the making of public statements. They are also responsible for staging public demonstrations where they publicly voice their concerns on certain issues and they are involved with sourcing for funding. They use charities with the pretext of funding the activities of data only the money to end up in funding terrorist activities (Drinkwine 61-67).
The al-mujahedeen al-filastinum that is an arms wing or a Military wing, which is majorly responsible for coordinating covert military activities that include execution of perceived enemy collaborators, arms procurement, surveillance of targets and coordinating guerrilla types attacks. The military wing is divided into regional networks that they use to send coded messages to small groups called cells. These messages are mainly carried through couriers (Yousef et, al 129-134). The cells are held to be very independent with minimal knowledge of each other’s existence to the extent that an operation is broken down into small segments and each cell is informed of its role independently. This safeguards that incase one cell is compromised; the other ones will not risk exposure. What will only need to be done is to replace the compromised cell (Yousef et, al 129-134).
Majilis al-shura or a consultative council oversees all the activities of HAMAS, which is the overall decision-making body of the HAMAS that is based in Damascus. According to sheik Hassan Yusef- a senior Palestinian political leader, the shura has representatives. The Gaza strip, the west bank, and representatives from 300 jail members. Under this shura council are committee that are involved in overseeing an allay of activities, from recruitments, media relations trainings to military operations. Under the committees are the grass root HAMAS committees. They have the mandate of carrying the decision-making on the ground. It is believed that it is the grassroots committees that coordinate recruitment and radicalization (Fitzgerald 18-21).
For HAMAS to have been in existence this long, it has to have a well-oiled funding machine. Therefore, one is always tempted to ask, where HAMAS gets its funding. Conferring to the council of foreign relations Hamas has an annual budget of seventy million dollars. It gets financial support from Palestinians working in other countries, private donors in the Middle East, Muslim charities in Europe, Canada, and the US and other Islamic states.
For Hamas to be effective, access and flow of information is also very critical. With the present advancement in technology and the unlimited access to the cyberspace, Militant groups have had it easy to pass information across the globe. Hamas has also utilized this opportunities to advance its agenda (Drinkwine 61-67).
The Hamas has been known to carry out numerous attacks that have led to the demise of so many innocent people most of them women and children. The main forms of attacks that are employed by this terrorist group include suicide and other forms of bombings, mortar fires, shooting attacks abductions and murder. In the year 1994, Hamas carried out its first suicide bombing in which five Israeli soldiers were killed in the city of Hedera (Drinkwine 68-77).
Since its inception in 1987, the scales of HAMAS’ attacks have grown both in number and in sophistication. Although these attacks are construed to target Israelis, the attacks of the HAMAS are of indiscriminate nature. The attacks target westerners, and their sympathizers, but when a suicide bomb goes off, it does not choose only perceived enemies in a bus or a public place (Levitt 127-129).
This group is actually best known for its suicide attacks. Between 1989 and 2000, HAMAS carried out 30 attacks; twenty-three of those were suicide bombings in which three failed. This attacks claimed lives of over 180 people and approximately over 1000 civilians were injured. As from 2000, HAMAS increased its frequency of attacks; by 2004, it had carried out 52 more attacks in which over 200 people had perished leaving about 1600 seriously injured. In addition, the activities of Hamas have not been localized in Israel and Palestine alone. Of recent times, the Palestinian president has been calling for new elections a call that the US government supports. Therefore, Hamas has been threatening that if the US does not stop supporting that idea, it will hit American targets (Drinkwine 61-67).
These internal and external attacks of HAMAS have had a great impact on the operations of the United States department of homeland security. Since Israel is an ally of the United States, many of the US citizens reside and work in Israel and in Palestine. Because of the war that has been waged by Hamas and other militant groups, many US organizations and citizens have volunteered to work in Israel and Palestine as AID workers. It is because of such terrorist groups that the department of homeland security was formed and the activities of Hamas have a significant effect on the operations of the US department of homeland security (Fitzgerald 21-24). The department of homeland security came up with policies whose main goal was to give guidelines on how the agency was to effectively operate and provide security to the American citizens while at the same time ensuring that their civil rights and liberties were protected.
One of the department’s policies is the Federal Information Sharing Environment Privacy and Civil Liberties Policy. This as a policy that is designated to share terrorism, homeland security, and weapons of mass destruction information with relevant security agencies and entities within the US. Under this policy, guidelines are given on how terrorism information is shared while ensuring that privacy and other legal rights of the American citizens are protected (Rosaler 89-93). This policy stipulates who keeps information, how information is accessed, how information is released, and the level of protection that are supposed to be accorded to information regarding both citizens and non-citizens.
Bestowing to Terrorist Financing (pg 6-8), this has been effective in helping the US Department of National Security Combat terrorism acts by Hamas and other terrorism groups by ensuring that information is processed and passed between security agencies in a fast, effective and secure way so that terrorism activities can be averted. This policy also ensures that information regarding citizens and non-citizens alike that may aid the groups like Hamas to conduct terrorism acts does not fall in wrong hands (Rosaler 89-93).
Through participation in multilateral organizations, the Privacy Office promotes dialogue with international partners about the core ideals that underlie the U.S. privacy framework. This policy ensures that both the citizens and the non-citizens alike are protected while meetings its objectives. This policy has enhanced the effectiveness of the US department of homeland security in combating the activities of organizations like Hamas since it is able to collaborate with international partners in information sharing and other cooperation’s in ensuring that the world is a better place devoid of terrorist attacks. Since the policy is clear on international cooperation and when the partners are assured that, their interests are safeguarded; combating the activities of organizations like Hamas becomes more coordinated since every partner knows its role. In addition, through international co-operations, resources have been harnessed and shared and thus the shared effort brings more result in combating terrorism.
Policy on Cyber Security
With the advancement in technology, the cyberspace was developed. Most terrorist organizations including Hamas have used the cyberspace to coordinate most of its activities. They have used the cyberspace to coordinate attacks, get information on targets, and peddle propaganda (Fitzgerald 18-21).
However, this policy may have limitations because millions of megabytes of information is passed through the cyberspace every passing second. This makes it difficult for the department to decipher which information is authentic to act upon and which one is not.
Policies for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants
Illegal immigrants have been a threat to many countries. Because of their undocumented nature, it is easy for them to conduct illegal activities without being detected. This prompted the department of homeland security to develop a policy regarding the apprehension, detention, and removal of undocumented emigrants. This policy stipulates that priority should be given to terrorist threats by such persons, threats to public safety, and threats to border security. Through developing this policy, the department of has been able to avert the terrorist acts since most of the illegal immigrants who could have acted as agents and perpetrators are able to be apprehended before they cause major harm (Levitt 125-128).
This policy was intended to deter harassment of the employees at the department of homeland security. The department recognized the crucial roles its employees play in ensuring the effectiveness of the department. Equally, the nature of their job, they were susceptible to discrimination. This harassment and discrimination will hinder the staff from performing their duties effectively and thus may cause a lapse in national security. Therefore, the department developed policies to safeguard against creating a hostile intimidating or offensive environment. This environment can be created by using unwelcome conduct whether physical or verbal and their main intention is to affect an individual’s work by alienating them based on color race sexual orientation, nationality, disability, marital status and any other basis protected by law (Rosaler 89-93).
In conclusion, Hamas has been a terrorist group that has kept the department of homeland security on its toes for quite some time. Terrorism especially by groups classified by the US as foreign terrorist groups has serious impacted on the government’s policy and decision making. It has also affected in a major way the foreign policy of the US government. The US government is now fully aware that any terrorism act whether in foreign soil or in the US adversely affects it that is why it has gone great lengths to ensure that it does what is humanly possible to ensure that the both citizens and non-citizens that are within and without its boarders
However, much the Hamas may want to mutate the US has also been able to adapt so that it is able to avert most of the terrorist attacks perpetrated by this organization. It can be seen that although not sufficient the US government especially through the department of homeland security has done enough to keep the populace within and without its boarders safe.
Levitt, Matthew. Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. New Haven [u.a.: Yale University Press, 2006. Print.
Rosaler, Maxine. Hamas: Palestinian Terrorists. New York: Rosen, 2003. Print.
Yousef, Mosab H, and Ron Brackin. Son of Hamas. Carol Stream, Ill.: SaltRiver, 2010. Internet resource.
Terrorist Financing: On Deterring Operations in the U.s. New York: Cosimo-on-Demand, 2005. Print.
Fitzgerald, Amy L. Terrorism and National Security. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2007. Print.
Drinkwine, Brian M. The Serpent in Our Garden: Al-qa'ida and the Long War. Carlisle Barracks, Pa: U.S. Army War College, 2008. Print.