Terrorism and the prevention of terrorism is the focus of most nations in the world today. A vast amount of time and resources are allocated to efforts to thwart terroristic acts before they occur. A primary aspect of being able to get in front of terroristic attacks and prevent them before they happen is the ability to understand the different kinds of terrorism that exists and the way that these types of terrorism are defined. Of focus in this analysis is communal dissident terrorism. Reviewed is the 2009 article entitled “Liberation Movements and Rising Violence in the Niger Delta: The New Contentious Site of Oil and Environment Politics” by J. Shola Omotola.
Dissident terrorism is a kind of terrorism that is committed by non-state movements and groups that are against the government. These groups may also be against ethno-national groups, religious groups, or perceived other perceived enemies. The goal is typically to overthrow a perceived unjust government. This definition fits with the information provided in the article of focus. The escalation of ethnic militias has increased the power of efforts to threaten oil production in the Nigeria Delta. It is now debated whether liberation struggles of the Delta have resulted in violence. For now the violence is being met with retaliatory violence by oil majors. This is in contrast to the approach that the state wishes to take. There is currently no consensus among the oil-producing community in the area regarding what the violence in the area really means. What is known is that it must be ended and this requires a far more strategic approach than what has been employed in the past. The focus now must be on the root cause. Understanding the cause of the rising violence in the Delta can help in efforts to determine the best way of addressing the violence that is plaguing the area. The article of focus presents possible theoretical perspectives on the violence in this area.
The article of focus describes two specific theories in understanding this kind of terroristic behavior. The first theory is the theory of relative deprivation. It posits that frustration is the result of a discernible discrepancy between value capabilities and value expectations. When this frustration is not addressed, it can manifest into aggressive behavior which is used to protest and challenge the existing structure. The second theory is the theory of rising expectations. This theory posits that people resort to violence as a response to frustration that is suffered because of unfulfilled socioeconomic and political promises and expectations. It is these unfulfilled promises and expectations that serve as justification for the recourse to violence because it is believed that violent acts draw attention to the issue a hand.
It can be consented by this learner that either of these two theories can explain the violence that is occurring in the Delta. It can also be consented that these theories afford a sense of understanding of why violence of this nature occurs. It, however, does not justify such violence. With regard to each theory presented, violence is still an inappropriate reaction to the hardship faced. It seems that both theories posit that violence is used as a resource to draw attention to the perceived injustices that have impacted the groups that are engaging in the violent acts. The reality is that violence of this nature only really draws attention to the violence itself. The result is retaliation to some degree (such as what occurred in the Delta) and a changed environment, racked with oppositional aggression. This serves as quite a barrier for improvement and resolution to travel through which, in turn, prolongs the violence itself. This article and the theories presented within have strengthened the belief of this learner that an understanding of violence does not equate to justification of violence. In all situations the costs of actions must be weighed. With regard to the issues faced in the Nigeria Delta, the violence that has occurred has likely stifled progress toward resolution as opposed to pushing toward surrender as intended.