Hesbah pundit `Abd al-Rahman al-Faqir has been writing a series of essays he collectively calls “Real War vs. Symbolic War.” The point of the essays is to explain the difference between terrorist attacks (symbolic war) and other types of military violence (real war).
One of his essays, “Cold Terrorism,” examines the decision-making of groups choosing between killing for the sake of eliminating enemies without drawing attention to themselves (cold terrorism) vs. killing to provoke a response against themselves (hot terrorism). The following quotes are from a recent English translation:
* Can we afford not to take the responsibility of the operation?
* Does the safety of the performers take precedence over the attack or otherwise?
* The ease of performing the operation and the available means
* Are we ready to tackle the retaliation of the enemy or not?
If the aim is to get rid of the enemy without looking on to any other goal then it is preferred to use cold terror.
As for if the aim is to terrorize the enemy only, then it is preferred to use hot terror, even though the security situation and the safety of the performers currently calls for the cold terror as it gives the performers the chance to retreat and escape.
Faqir concludes with some aphorisms on where hot and cold terrorism fit into real and symbolic war:
In the actual war, cold terror is used, as it helps us in avoiding the retaliation of the enemy and enables the performers to withdraw safely.
In the symbolic war, hot terror is used because it causes more stir and more terror and is more effective in the media.
In the actual war, the reason behind attacking the enemy is getting rid of it.
In the symbolic war, the reason behind attacking the enemy is to terrorize it.
Document (English): 9-3-08-ekhlaas-real-war-vs-symbolic-war cold vs hot terrorism