Crossing the Line between Political and Terrorist Groups


Author/Creator ORCID




Hood College Middle Eastern Studies


Hood College Departmental Honors

Citation of Original Publication



Terrorism is politically driven, making the division between “political” and “terror” nonexistent. Throughout history, human social and political structure has developed in a way that has made an unclear divide between political and terrorist organizations. The first terrorist groups emerged in what today is identified as the Middle East. Lebanon and Israel transitioned through multiple power changes starting in antiquity and continuing to present day that has contributed to the development of complex terrorist organizations. Large powers saw the rise of international support and funding, conflict development between ethnic groups, and the transition toward terror acts. Modern terrorist groups originate from poverty and lack of acknowledgement from governments to provide resources in order to survive. Terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas have developed to represent, protect, and provide for the oppressed and poor communities. They hold positions in the government, making them political in nature; however, they also carry out acts of terror. United States Foreign Policy has previously failed to recognize the humanitarian aspects of terrorist groups, and therefore has been unsuccessful in the multiple attempts to eliminate them. Instead of trying to find the defining moment when westerners separated the “terror” from “political,” it is necessary to understand they work in tandem.