Terrorist Profile Yassir Arafat Essay Research Paper

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Terrorist Profile: Yassir Arafat Essay, Research Paper The Development and Defining of Arafat: A Terrorist Personality Because a rather large number of individuals fall into the category of terrorist, classifying them as a single personality type is an impossibility. The definition of a terrorist is ambiguous enough to include individuals ranging from the Abu Nidal to the Baader-Meinhoff group. By definition, terrorists do not accept societal standards of what is right and what is wrong. They are not confined to what other individuals, nations, and the international community has deemed acceptable behavior. They do not adhere to the same laws and rules with which the average citizen complies. Terrorists appear to be a different breed than the rest. Although there are many

different types of terrorists and limiting them to a single personality would be unfeasible, the vast majority do maintain certain similar basic characteristics. First and foremost, is their ability to sacrifice others for the furthering of their own agenda. Terrorists by definition commit acts of violence in order to achieve a goal. Their goal is rarely the act of violence itself, but instead the impact of the act. As long as the violent act has a devastating affect on the intended audience, the initial target is often arbitrarily chosen. Terrorists intend to frighten the audience, whether it be the public, a particular government, or an organization, into considering its platform (if indeed it has one). This brings about the second characteristic common to terrorists and

terrorist groups, commitment to an ideology . Although ideologies vary from genocide to national liberation, terrorists usually have formulated an ideology which they attempt to further through their acts of violence. Amoral behavior and commitment to an ideology are traits which define a terrorist, but what characteristics lead to the development of an individual into a terrorist? Some factors have been presented as commonalties among terrorist individuals. Among these are the role of childhood in the development of the terrorist, the role of intellect and education on personality development, and the development of a terrorist image. In order to fully understand the phenomenon, it is necessary to focus on an individual terrorist and apply the characteristics that both developed

the terrorist and define him. This paper intends to focus on Yassir Arafat as a terrorist personality and trace the theme of the development of a terrorist. In defining Arafat as a terrorist personality, it is important to first note his complying to certain characteristics essential to terrorists. The first being his willingness to sacrifice others in order to achieve his goals. Both as leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and before his delegation as chairman in 1969, Arafat has been linked to terrorist activities. Beginning in 1964, Fatah, headed by Arafat, began its attacks on Israeli targets. Under the name of Assifa, these initial terrorist activities were usually unsuccessful but did manage to gain the attention of governments within the region.1 Fatah did not

effectively become a prominent terrorist organization until the Munich Olympics. Under the name Black September, Fatah operatives captured nine Israeli athletes and held them ransom for the release of Palestinian prisoners. Although the incident was a failure in that the demands of the group to release their cohorts were never met, and all nine of the hostages were killed, and five of the eight terrorists had been killed, the world media focused on the incident.2 A commentary in Al-Sayyad newspaper stated, “A bomb in the White House, a mine in the Vatican, the death of Mao Tse-tung, an earthquake in Paris; none of these could have produced the far-reaching echo to every man in the world like the operation of Black September in Munich.”3 The incident in Munich brought Fatah to