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With the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union, the fear that scientific and technological advances, combined with increasing availability of chemical, radiological and biological agents, and the revival of religious and political fanaticism in recent times, idea that we could be, once again, facing a new era, this time much more frightening than the previous predictions: the era of hyper terrorism. Discourse on the nature of contemporary terrorism reveals the existence of different points of view among its scholars. Most academics believe that today’s terrorism is essentially different from classic and traditional terrorism, basically due to the substitution of a number of defining elements for others. According to Wilkinson (2000, p. 5), in the late 1970s, terrorist groups had secular goals.
By comparison, in the 1990s, one-third of the terrorist groups were religiously motivated, in most cases, based on Islamist beliefs. Religious fanaticism is seen as a state of risk primarily for suicide attacks and the use of mass destruction technologies. Laqueur (2004) describes hyper terrorism as a form of brutal manifestation that responds to a floating violence, which today focuses on radical Islamism, but which at any moment can be articulated around another ideology or set of motivations. It draws attention to the fact that in hyper terrorism violence can come from anywhere and not necessarily from religious fanatics but from anyone. Laqueur points out that 100 years ago the religious problem had no relevance at all and that fanaticism tends to obey interminable waves and is therefore optimistic about the evolution of the problem of radical Islam (Laqueur, 2004, A 20).
The perceived changes in terrorist methods would be more recent social and technological changes than with a restructuring of terrorism properly speaking. As other groups and sectors have adapted to new means and forms of international relations, terrorist groups have also adapted to take or avoiding aspects of this new conjuncture. This would be more appropriate talk about contemptible terrorism than on new terrorism. With regard to the hypertrophied version, it should be noted that hyper terrorism is still the only hypothesis, even if possible, a hyperbole based on the growing simultaneous hypertrophy of many of the defining characteristics of terrorism of all and not only with regard to the weapons used, the choice of civilian targets.
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