The purpose of this book is to focus attention on the types of individuals and groups that are prone to terrorism in an effort to help improve U.S. counter-terrorist methods and policies. The emergence of amorphous and largely unknown terrorist individuals and groups operating independently (freelancers) and the new recruitment patterns of some groups, such as recruiting suicide commandos, female and child terrorists, and scientists capable of developing weapons of mass destruction, provide a measure of urgency to increasing our understanding of the psychological and sociological dynamics of terrorist groups and individuals. The approach used in this study is twofold. First, the study examines the relevant literature and assesses the current knowledge of the subject. Second, the study seeks to develop psychological and sociological profiles of foreign terrorist individuals and selected groups to use as case studies in assessing trends, motivations, likely behaviour, and actions that might deter such behaviour, as well as reveal vulnerabilities that would aid in combating terrorist groups and individuals. This book is not about terrorism per se.
Rather, it is concerned with the perpetrators of terrorism. Prepared from a social sciences perspective, it attempts to synthesise the results of psychological and sociological findings of studies on terrorists published in recent decades and provide a general assessment of what is presently known about the terrorist mind and mindset.