Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Anthropology and Ethnic Studies
First Committee Member
Gary B. Palmer
Number of Pages
Terrorism is an ancient human phenomenon. In contemporary societies, however, terrorist attacks affect every country in one form or another. Hardly can any continent, region, or community claim immunity from it. Its causes, characteristics, and controlling mechanisms are as diverse and complex as there are terrorist groups. The impacts of terrorism, on other hand, are lethal and far-reaching as are government responses against it. This study began as an attempt to examine governmental and survivor responses and reactions in regard to the attacks of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on August 7, 1998. Then the horrific attacks against the U.S. World Trade Center and Pentagon occurred on September 11, 2001. Because these attacks were planned, ordered, and financed by Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda infrastructure (a transnational non-governmental enterprise), the focus of this study shifted to examine (i) al-Qaeda's organizational structure, recruitment methods, tactics, and modus operandi, (ii) how the governments of Kenya and America responded to these attacks and the counter-measures they put in place to prevent future terrorist operations, and (iii) the reactions and coping mechanisms of the U.S. embassy bomb survivors in Nairobi. The aim of this study is to provide victimizer-victim perspectives and Kenyan-American viewpoints of terrorism. Various paradigms were employed to examine the problem of terrorism. They included: (i) "clash of civilizations", (ii) "clash of globalization", (iii) "root-causes theory", (iv) Marxist theory, and (v) revitalization movement theory. This study relied heavily on library materials and sources such as recent articles, books, journals, the Internet, and media outlets for information. Supplementary data were acquired by conducting field interviews with the Nairobi bomb survivors and compared them with information acquired from media sources of those affected by the September 11 attacks. This study finds that contrary to the claims by government officials that al-Qaeda has been dismantled because its members have either been killed or arrested, the war on global terrorism is far from over because al-Qaeda's senior leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, are still at large. For this reason, if for no other, it would be premature to write bin Laden's and al-Zawahiri's and their disciples' last obituaries. Because the al-Qaeda network is now believed to have sleeper cells in more than eighty countries around the world which can be activated at any time to conduct terrorist operations and execute suicide-bombings, every country and society is vulnerable. The recent attacks in London, Egypt, and Jordan are stark reminders that terrorism is real and lethal and al-Qaeda's operatives are still a threat. Therefore, government officials need not only the political will and resolve to fight al-Qaeda's ideology of hate and its galaxies of violent groups, but also a multilateral strategy to engage the multidimensional character of violent Islamists. In addition, state authorities need to be prepared to respond to terrorist attacks when they do occur to mitigate disruption of life, security, and economies. State officials also need to assist terrorism victims and survivors to make it easier for them to cope with their plight.
Analysis; Anthropological; Governmental; Kenya; Nongovernmental Terrorism; Response; States; Terrorism; Transnational; Transnational Terrorism; United States
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Ondieki, Kennedy Geoffrey, "Responses to transnational non-governmental terrorism in Kenya and the United States: An anthropological analysis" (2005). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2642.