HAMAS Similarities and Difference to Ordinary Criminal Groups

Although crime and terrorism both have no universally accepted definition, many scholars and even governments around the world believe that organized crime groups aim for economic gains and benefits while terrorist organizations aspire to accumulate political power and political influence in a given society. However, their main tactic is deemed similar in such a way that they utilize force and inflict violence and coercion upon achieving their goals and wants.

The main thrust of this essay is to examine a famed terrorist group in the Middle East known as HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement) and determine their motivations and how can this knowledge help in curbing this type of dangerous organization. Furthermore, this essay will tackle the differences and similarities of this organization to other criminal groups and how can political, economic and socio-cultural factors motivate people to become a member of this type of organizations.

HAMAS and its Objectives
HAMAS or Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, pertains to an Arabic word, meaning enthusiasm, fire, ardor, fervor, zeal, fanaticism. They generally comprise of Palestinian extremists and revolutionaries whose main motive is to overthrow Israeli government. The acronym first appeared in 1987 in a leaflet that accused the Israeli intelligence services of jeopardizing the moral character of the Palestinian youth. HAMAS believes and operates through Islamic fundamentalism and Palestinian patriotism. The groups primary goal is the destruction of Israel since they claimed that Israel is historically their territory which was primarily stolen from them decades ago. Their use of violence was primarily seen in the punishment of people working for the Israeli government, attacking Israeli soldiers and making them their primary targets and later on, causing harm to civilians in general causing death and anger among the international community.

The group generally receives financial support form wealthy Palestinians and Iranian expatriates, private donors from Saudi Arabia and other neighboring Arab countries and private organizations who believe in their ultimate agenda. This aid is used to fund their arms struggle.

Counter-terrorism Measures
As a response to this ongoing strife against Israel and Palestine, the United States of America, along with other allied countries like United Kingdom, stepped into the scene to put a stop to this seemingly unending ideological, military and political battle. Led by former President George W. Bush , the War of Terrorism was launched. It aimed to eliminate those organizations like HAMAS which are deemed operating through terroristic means, causing extensive harm to the people, to the society and disturbing peace among the international community. However, in status quo, this measure of all out war was already ceased to continue by the Obama Administration.

Furthermore, the United Nations also supported this campaign of waging war against Islamic terrorism. This international body wanted an efficient tactic of counter-attacking these terrorist organizations hence they provided sanctions to those countries that would provide or smuggle weapons of mass destructions to these extremists. They also called for the cooperation among the Middle East region to extend help through cross-country intelligence upon tracking down and curbing this types of organization, including HAMAS.
According to the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, this is a viable means of cutting off and also disrupting funds for the terrorist organizations to deter them from operating.

Difference and Similarities to Other Criminal Groups
As pointed by Kostakos in his article, both terrorist organization and organized criminal groups operate outside the realm of law. As was stated earlier, both utilize force, violence and coercion upon meeting their goals and wants in the society. An interesting hypothesis was also presented in such a way that these organizations are also led by rational actors who want the group to survive given the changes that the society may experience. Indeed, as observed in our modern times, these terroristic organizations and criminal groups also aimed for survivability in such a way that their beliefs and gains may still be achievable despite societal evolution.

Examining closely, the terrorist organization and organized crime groups differ in the goals that they want to achieve. Criminal groups primary objective is economic profitability and just wants minor changes in the society. Others just solely wanted to create disturbance among a particular community or inflict havoc to get peoples attention. However, for terrorist organizations like HAMAS, their main purpose of their existence is to gain political control and political influence within specific territories or boundaries. Their scope is broader compared to that of criminal groups since they aspire in creating a major change in the society like overthrowing a current Chief-of-State or a President. Generally, what they want is a drastic change thats why they make use of force and violence to get everyones attention, especially the government, and eventually give in to their wants. Importantly, these types of organizations have their own ideologies and beliefs which are handed down from generation to generation.

Importance of Economical, Political and Socio-Cultural Orientations
For most terrorist organizations, they recruit and convince people to join the organization through indoctrinating and brainwashing them to get enlisted and fight for the same cause. Magstadt argues that these terrorist organizations generally operate in Third World countries wherein poverty and inequality is predominant in the society. Generally, the leaders target the families along with its members who mostly feel left behind the government since no ample support and care was given to them. Accordingly, they want people to abhor the government for forsaking them thats why they need to be recognized for their sentiments to be heard and be given solution. Upon promoting such agenda, people are then encouraged to join since they would feel that they found an ally in the guise of these organizations.

As for HAMAS, or any other Islamic Movements, socio-cultural, political and economic factors are the major reason while many teenagers, may it be boys or girls, want to join the organization. Again, indoctrination played great role for honing these young adults mind and decisions. As for them, they primarily grew up and was raised in war-torn communities where poverty and social injustice is common everywhere. Terrorist organizations primarily target the vulnerability of teenagers to aim for a better society and better future ahead of them. Indeed, this tactic has been proven convenient for most terrorist organizations since in status quo, we frequently observe and see teenagers prematurely becoming soldiers or even suicide bombers.


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