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This is a totally personal interpretation of terrorist organisations based on observations, intelligence inputs leaked and newsreports.
A virus consists of the following components- core, coat around core, envelope,contractile tail sheath, base plate.
All terrorist organisations, like all major companies , have a central leadership whose efforts are vital for their survival- so vital that the CIA or Mossad believes eliminating them makes their organisation toothless-remember the US bombing of afghan pashtun provinces to kill Osama and Al-zawahiri? These men are usually from various fields of public contact and management such as general administration, public finance, demography analysis, ex-army officers, doctors, psychologists even artists or traders. They have excellent knowledge of the public of the target area - knowing the target psychologically, his economic weakpoints,the achilles' heel of their administration renders them deadly- they also engage with the public via videos , and that too very rare ones, to create panic. if the videos were seen more often they would not have the same psychological impact. This group forms the "core" of the virus.
Usually martial strategies decided by the core are executed by a group of second rung leaders- usually techies, special ops commandos, war surgeons, cost analysts, arms experts and trainers. They are the ones who make the tactics- usually hit and run . They have a penchant for speed , surprise and inaccuracy- all the 3 factors having deadly psychological impact on the target population. They also try to make the targets as much unexpected and media covered as possible, the deadly scenes make the administration of the target country go into deathly stupor - allowing the terrorists to escape. Mental conditioning , survival on dry fruits and other low metabolite generating food , and other streetsmart tactics helping them to adapt to the target country and identify susceptible points. This is the "coat around the core".
Now the most important factor for the survival of a terrorist organisations- a "host" organisation or country. The host may or may not be willing or knowing - but without a host country a terrorist organisation has no existence.All terrorist attacks have been executed with the help of a host country.If the host country is willing to co-operate then their financial, martial, diplomatic help is the "envelope" of the terrorist organisation.
The executors of a terrorist attack may have 3 objects in mind regarding execution-1) fast and direct- in this type of terrorist attacks the terrorists reach a target and after executing an attack return quickly- this type of attack is rare. eg-somali pirates. 2) intermediary- terrorists study the target and after thorough ,complete preparation execute an attack- this type of attack is the most common. eg-26/11,9/11 , london bombings ,etc 3) latent acts of terrorism- terrorist organisations lie hidden in the target country for years and years and then strike in an indirect manner without exposing themselves.eg- indian mujahideen. the first two types of attacks are carried out by foreign terrorists, and the third by locals. The executors are the "contractile tail sheath".
Base plate- the training camps of terrorist organisations acting as a launchpad for terrorist organisations .
FACTORS: 1) Funding - from inernational , usually unknown or trivial or personal , sources
2) Arms- from illegal markets, phased out machineries, moles in defence establishments
3) Ideology- usually brainwashing ,especially one sensitive to the potential terrrorist
4) Transportation- usually unexpected ones
5)Intelligence Input from moles- the most vital part of planning an attack
COUNTERATTACK- As such there seems to be no other way to combat terrorists other than complete intelligence inputs on their activities and dispatching antiterror squads , secretly, to eliminate terrorists. Another factor is controlling media telecast of terrorist attacks. Moreover there needs to be a crystalclear identification, analysis and then elimination of terrorists. Intelligence inputs and everalert antiterror squads are a must.