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Portal:Terrorism

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Terrorism is the main systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. At present, there is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a "lone wolf" attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence and war. The history of terrorist organizations suggests that they do not select terrorism for its political effectiveness. Individual terrorists tend to be motivated more by a desire for social solidarity with other members of their organization than by political platforms or strategic objectives, which are often murky and undefined. The word "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged, and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition. Studies have found over 100 definitions of “terrorism”. The concept of terrorism is itself controversial because it is often used by states to delegitimize political or foreign opponents, and potentially legitimize the state's own use of terror against them. A less politically and emotionally charged, and better defined, term (used not only for terrorists, and not including all those who have been described as terrorists) is violent non-state actor. Terrorism has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations for furthering their objectives. It has been practiced by both right-wing and left-wing political parties, nationalistic groups, religious groups, revolutionaries, and ruling governments. One form is the use of violence against noncombatants for the purpose of gaining publicity for a group, cause, or individual.

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Hezbollah posters in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanon War
Hezbollah literally "party of God") is a Shi'a Islamist political and paramilitary organisation based in Lebanon. Hezbollah is now also a major provider of social services, which operate schools, hospitals, and agricultural services for thousands of Lebanese Shiites, and plays a significant force in Lebanese politics. It is regarded as a resistance movement throughout much of the Arab and Muslim world. Many governments, including Arab ones, have condemned actions by Hezbollah while others have praised the party. Several western countries regard it in whole or in part as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah first emerged as a militia in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, also known as Operation Peace for Galilee, in 1982, set on resisting the Israeli occupation of Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war. Hezbollah's 1985 manifesto listed its three main goals as "putting an end to any colonialist entity" in Lebanon, bringing the Phalangists to justice for "the crimes they [had] perpetrated," and the establishment of an Islamic regime in Lebanon. Hezbollah leaders have also made numerous statements calling for the destruction of Israel, which they refer to as a "Zionist entity... built on lands wrested from their owners." Hezbollah, which started with only a small militia, has grown to an organization with seats in the Lebanese government, a radio and a satellite television-station, and programs for social development. Hezbollah maintains strong support among Lebanon's Shi'a population, and gained a surge of support from Lebanon's broader population (Sunni, Christian, Druze) immediately following the 2006 Lebanon War, and is able to mobilize demonstrations of hundreds of thousands. Hezbollah and some other groups began the 2006–2008 Lebanese political protests in opposition to the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. Finally, on the basis of Doha Agreement, Hezbollah was granted veto power in Lebanon's parliament. In addition, National unity government was formed which Hezbollah has one minister and controls eleven of thirty seats in it. Hezbollah receives its financial support from Iran, Syria, and the donations of Lebanese and other Shi'a. It has also gained significantly in military strength in the 2000s. Despite a June 2008 certification by the United Nations that Israel had withdrawn from all Lebanese territory, in August of that year, Lebanon's new Cabinet unanimously approved a draft policy statement which secures Hezbollah's existence as an armed organization and guarantees its right to "liberate or recover occupied lands." Since 1992, the organization has been headed by Hassan Nasrallah, its Secretary-General.

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The Imam Ali Mosque
Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson

The Imam Ali Mosque bombing was the detonation of two car bombs outside of the Shiite Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf on August 29, 2003. The attack killed 83 people crowded around the mosque for Friday prayers, including Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, spiritual leader of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

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Twin towers of the World Trade Center burning.

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George W. Bush
George Walker Bush (; born July 6, 1946) was the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009 and the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000. Bush is the eldest son of George H. W. Bush (the 41st President) and Barbara Bush, making him one of only two American presidents to be the son of a preceding president. After graduating from Yale University in 1968, and Harvard Business School in 1975, Bush worked in his family's oil businesses. He married Laura Welch in 1977 and unsuccessfully ran for the House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He later co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team before defeating Ann Richards in the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. In a close and controversial election, Bush was elected President in 2000 as the Republican candidate, receiving a majority of the electoral votes while losing the popular vote to then-Vice President Al Gore. Eight months into Bush's first term as president, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred. In response, Bush announced a global War on Terrorism, ordered an invasion of Afghanistan that same year and an invasion of Iraq in 2003. Bush successfully ran for re-election against Democratic Senator John Kerry in 2004. After his re-election, Bush received increasingly heated criticism from conservatives. In 2005, the Bush Administration dealt with widespread criticism over its handling of Hurricane Katrina. In December 2007, the United States entered the longest post-World War II recession. That prompted the Bush Administration to take more direct control of the economy, enacting multiple economic programs intended to preserve the country's financial structure. Though Bush was a popular president for much of his first term, his popularity declined sharply during his second term. After leaving office, Bush returned to Texas. He is currently a public speaker and is writing a book about his presidency.

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Laurie Garrett
"By the 1990s the U.S. government was fixated on terrorism, recognizing not only foreign but also domestic forces capable and willing to resort to the use of deadly force against innocent civilians. Deadliest of all options - frightening beyond words - was the specter of deliberate release of supergerms that would sweep around the world claiming tens of thousands of lives in man-made epidemics. The U.S. government once again turned to technology for answers, hoping some device could be invented that would sense such weapons of bioterrorism before their release. Once again public health - the only viable protection against epidemics, whether natural or man-made - was given short shrift."
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