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Terrorism is a form of antisocial behavior, the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.[1]There is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism.[2][3] Most common definitions of terrorism include only those acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants.

Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence and war. The history of terrorist organizations suggests that they do not select terrorism for its political effectiveness.[4] Individual terrorists tend to be motivated more by a desire for social solidarity with other members of their organization than by political platforms or strategic objectives, which are often murky and undefined.[4] The word "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged,[5] and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition. One 1988 study by the US Army found that over 100 definitions of the word "terrorism" have been used.[6] A person who practices terrorism is a terrorist. The concept of terrorism is itself controversial because it is often used by states to delegitimize political opponents, and thus legitimize the state's own use of terror against those opponents.

Terrorism has been used by a broad array of political organizations in furthering their objectives; both right-wing and left-wing political parties, nationalistic, and religious groups, revolutionaries and ruling governments.[7] The presence of non-state actors in widespread armed conflict has created controversy regarding the application of the laws of war.

While acts of terrorism are criminal acts as per the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 and domestic jurisprudence of almost all countries in the world, terrorism refers to a phenomenon including the actual acts, the perpetrators of acts of terrorism themselves and their motives. There is disagreement on definitions of terrorism.

Origin of term

Main article: Definition of terrorism
See also: State terrorism

"Terror" comes a Latin word meaning "to frighten." The terror cimbricus was a panic and state of emergency in Rome in response to the approach of warriors of the Cimbri tribe in 105BC. The Jacobins cited this precedent when imposing a Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. After the Jacobins lost power, "terrorist" became a term of abuse. Although the Reign of Terror was imposed by a government, in modern times "terrorism" usually refers to the killing of innocent people by a private group in such a way as to create a media spectacle. This meaning can be traced back to Sergey Nechayev, who described himself as a "terrorist."[8] Nechayev founded the Russian terrorist group People's Retribution (Народная расправа) in 1869.

In November 2004, a United Nations Security Council report described terrorism as any act "intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act." (Note that this report does not constitute international law.)[9]

In many countries, acts of terrorism are legally distinguished from criminal acts done for other purposes, and "terrorism" is defined by statute; see definition of terrorism for particular definitions. Common principles among legal definitions of terrorism provide an emerging consensus as to meaning and also foster cooperation between law enforcement personnel in different countries. Among these definitions there are several that do not recognize the possibility of legitimate use of violence by civilians against an invader in an occupied country and would, thus label all resistance movements as terrorist groups. Others make a distinction between lawful and unlawful use of violence. Ultimately, the distinction is a political judgment.[10]

Key criteria

Official definitions determine counter-terrorism policy and are often developed to serve it. Most government definitions outline the following key criteria: target, objective, motive, perpetrator, and legitimacy or legality of the act. Terrorism is also often recognizable by a following statement from the perpetrators.

Violence – According to Walter Laqueur of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, "the only general characteristic of terrorism generally agreed upon is that terrorism involves violence and the threat of violence." However, the criterion of violence alone does not produce a useful definition, as it includes many acts not usually considered terrorism: war, riot, organized crime, or even a simple assault. Property destruction that does not endanger life is not usually considered a violent crime, but some have described property destruction by the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front as violence and terrorism; see eco-terrorism.

Psychological impact and fear – The attack was carried out in such a way as to maximize the severity and length of the psychological impact. Each act of terrorism is a “performance,” devised to have an impact on many large audiences. Terrorists also attack national symbols to show power and to attempt to shake the foundation of the country or society they are opposed to. This may negatively affect a government, while increasing the prestige of the given terrorist organization and/or ideology behind a terrorist act.[11]

Perpetrated for a political goal – Something many terrorist attacks have in common is their perpetration for a political purpose. Terrorism is a political tactic, not unlike letter writing or protesting, that is used by activists when they believe no other means will effect the kind of change they desire. The change is desired so badly that failure is seen as a worse outcome than the deaths of civilians. This is often where the interrelationship between terrorism and religion occurs. When a political struggle is integrated into the framework of a religious or "cosmic"[12] struggle, such as over the control of an ancestral homeland or holy site such as Israel and Jerusalem, failing in the political goal (nationalism) becomes equated with spiritual failure, which, for the highly committed, is worse than their own death or the deaths of innocent civilians.

Deliberate targeting of non-combatants – It is commonly held that the distinctive nature of terrorism lies in its intentional and specific selection of civilians as direct targets. Specifically, the criminal intent is shown when babies, children, mothers, and the elderly are murdered, or injured, and put in harm's way. Much of the time, the victims of terrorism are targeted not because they are threats, but because they are specific "symbols, tools, animals or corrupt beings" that tie into a specific view of the world that the terrorist possess. Their suffering accomplishes the terrorists' goals of instilling fear, getting a message out to an audience, or otherwise accomplishing their often radical religious and political ends.[13]

Disguise – Terrorists almost invariably pretend to be non-combatants, hide among non-combatants, fight from in the midst of non-combatants, and when they can, strive to mislead and provoke the government soldiers into attacking the wrong people, that the government may be blamed for it. When an enemy is identifiable as a combatant, the word terrorism is rarely used. [How to reference and link to summary or text]

Unlawfulness or illegitimacy – Some official (notably government) definitions of terrorism add a criterion of illegitimacy or unlawfulness[14] to distinguish between actions authorized by a government (and thus "lawful") and those of other actors, including individuals and small groups. Using this criterion, actions that would otherwise qualify as terrorism would not be considered terrorism if they were government sanctioned. For example, firebombing a city, which is designed to affect civilian support for a cause, would not be considered terrorism if it were authorized by a government. This criterion is inherently problematic and is not universally accepted, because: it denies the existence of state terrorism; the same act may or may not be classed as terrorism depending on whether its sponsorship is traced to a "legitimate" government; "legitimacy" and "lawfulness" are subjective, depending on the perspective of one government or another; and it diverges from the historically accepted meaning and origin of the term.[15][16][17][18] For these reasons this criterion is not universally accepted. Most dictionary definitions of the term do not include this criterion.

Pejorative use

The terms "terrorism" and "terrorist" (someone who engages in terrorism) carry strong negative connotations. These terms are often used as political labels to condemn violence or threat of violence by certain actors as immoral, indiscriminate, unjustified or to condemn an entire segment of a population.[19] Those labeled "terrorists" rarely identify themselves as such, and typically use other euphemistic terms or terms specific to their situation, such as: separatist, freedom fighter, liberator, revolutionary, vigilante, militant, paramilitary, guerrilla, rebel, or any similar-meaning word in other languages and cultures. Jihadi, mujaheddin, and fedayeen are similar Arabic words that have entered the English lexicon.

On the question of whether particular terrorist acts, such as murder, can be justified as the lesser evil in a particular circumstance, philosophers have expressed different views: While, according to David Rodin, utilitarian philosophers can in theory conceive of cases in which evil of terrorism is outweighed by goods that can be achieved in no morally less costly way, in practice utilitarians often universally reject terrorism because it is very dubious that acts of terrorism achieve important goods in a utility efficient manner, or that the "harmful effects of undermining the convention of non-combatant immunity is thought to outweigh the goods that may be achieved by particular acts of terrorism."[20] Among the non-utilitarian philosophers, Michael Walzer argued that terrorism is always morally wrong but at the same time those who engaged in terrorism can be morally justified in one specific case: when "a nation or community faces the extreme threat of complete destruction and the only way it can preserve itself is by intentionally targeting non-combatants, then it is morally entitled to do so."[20]

In his book "Inside Terrorism" Bruce Hoffman wrote in Chapter One: Defining Terrorism that

"On one point, at least, everyone agrees: terrorism is a pejorative term. It is a word with intrinsically negative connotations that is generally applied to one's enemies and opponents, or to those with whom one disagrees and would otherwise prefer to ignore. 'What is called terrorism,' Brian Jenkins has written, `'thus seems to depend on one's point of view. Use of the term implies a moral judgment; and if one party can successfully attach the label terrorist to its opponent, then it has indirectly persuaded others to adopt its moral viewpoint.' Hence the decision to call someone or label some organization `terrorist' becomes almost unavoidably subjective, depending largely on whether one sympathizes with or opposes the person/group/cause concerned. If one identifies with the victim of the violence, for example, then the act is terrorism. If, however, one identifies with the perpetrator, the violent act is regarded in a more sympathetic, if not positive (or, at the worst, an ambivalent) light; and it is not terrorism."[5]

The pejorative connotations of the word can be summed up in the aphorism, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." This is exemplified when a group that uses irregular military methods is an ally of a State against a mutual enemy, but later falls out with the State and starts to use the same methods against its former ally. During World War II, the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army was allied with the British, but during the Malayan Emergency, members of its successor, the Malayan Races Liberation Army, were branded terrorists by the British.[21][22] More recently, Ronald Reagan and others in the American administration frequently called the Afghan Mujahideen freedom fighters during their war against the Soviet Union,[23] yet twenty years later when a new generation of Afghan men are fighting against what they perceive to be a regime installed by foreign powers, their attacks are labelled terrorism by George W. Bush.[24][25] Groups accused of terrorism usually prefer terms that reflect legitimate military or ideological action.[26][27][28] Leading terrorism researcher Professor Martin Rudner, director of the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies at Ottawa's Carleton University, defines "terrorist acts" as attacks against civilians for political or other ideological goals, and goes on to say:

"There is the famous statement: 'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.' But that is grossly misleading. It assesses the validity of the cause when terrorism is an act. One can have a perfectly beautiful cause and yet if one commits terrorist acts, it is terrorism regardless."[29]

Some groups, when involved in a "liberation" struggle, have been called terrorists by the Western governments or media. Later, these same persons, as leaders of the liberated nations, are called statesmen by similar organizations. Two examples of this phenomenon are the Nobel Peace Prize laureates Menachem Begin and Nelson Mandela.[30][31][32][33][34][35][36]

Sometimes states that are close allies, for reasons of history, culture and politics, can disagree over whether members of a certain organization are terrorists. For example for many years some branches of the United States government refused to label members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as terrorists, while it was using methods against one of the United States' closest allies (Britain) that Britain branded as terrorist attacks. This was highlighted by the Quinn v. Robinson case.[37][38]

Many times the term "terrorism" and "extremism" are interchangeably used. However, there is a significant difference between the two. Terrorism essentially threat or act of physical violence. Extremism involves using non-physical instruments to mobilise minds to achieve political or ideological ends. For instance, Al Qaeda is involved in terrorism. The Iranian revolution of 1979 is a case of extremism[How to reference and link to summary or text]. A global research report An Inclusive World (2007) asserts that extremism poses a more serious threat than terrorism in the decades to come.

For these and other reasons, media outlets wishing to preserve a reputation for impartiality are extremely careful in their use of the term.[39][40]

Definition in international law

There are several International conventions on terrorism with somewhat different definitions.[41] The United Nations sees this lack of agreement as a serious problem.[41]


In the spring of 1975, the Law Enforcement Assistant Administration in the United States formed the National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals. One of the five volumes that the committee was entitled Disorders and Terrorism, produced by the Task Force on Disorders and Terrorism under the direction H.H.A. Cooper, Director of the Task Force staff.[42] The Task Force classified terrorism into six categories.

  • Civil Disorders – A form of collective violence interfering with the peace, security, and normal functioning of the community.
  • Political TerrorismViolent criminal behaviour designed primarily to generate fear in the community, or substantial segment of it, for political purposes.
  • Non-Political Terrorism – Terrorism that is not aimed at political purposes but which exhibits “conscious design to create and maintain high degree of fear for coercive purposes, but the end is individual or collective gain rather than the achievement of a political objective.”
  • Quasi-Terrorism – The activities incidental to the commission of crimes of violence that are similar in form and method to genuine terrorism but which nevertheless lack its essential ingredient. It is not the main purpose of the quasi-terrorists to induce terror in the immediate victim as in the case of genuine terrorism, but the quasi-terrorist uses the modalities and techniques of the genuine terrorist and produces similar consequences and reaction. For example, the fleeing felon who takes hostages is a quasi-terrorist, whose methods are similar to those of the genuine terrorist but whose purposes are quite different.
  • Limited Political Terrorism – Genuine political terrorism is characterized by a revolutionary approach; limited political terrorism refers to “acts of terrorism which are committed for ideological or political motives but which are not part of a concerted campaign to capture control of the State.
  • Official or State Terrorism –"referring to nations whose rule is based upon fear and oppression that reach similar to terrorism or such proportions.” It may also be referred to as Structural Terrorism defined broadly as terrorist acts carried out by governments in pursuit of political objectives, often as part of their foreign policy.

In an analysis prepared for U.S. Intelligence[43] four typologies are mentioned.

  • Nationalist-Separatist
  • Religious Fundamentalist
  • New Religious
  • Social Revolutionary

Democracy and domestic terrorism

The relationship between domestic terrorism and democracy is complex. Such terrorism is most common in nations with intermediate political freedom and that the nations with the least terrorism are the most democratic nations.[44][45][46][47] However, one study suggests that suicide terrorism may be an exception to this general rule. Evidence regarding this particular method of terrorism reveals that every modern suicide campaign has targeted a democracy- a state with a considerable degree of political freedom. The study suggests that concessions awarded to terrorists during the 1980s and 1990s for suicide attacks increased their frequency.[48]

Some examples of "terrorism" in non-democracies include ETA in Spain under Francisco Franco, the Shining Path in Peru under Alberto Fujimori, the Kurdistan Workers Party when Turkey was ruled by military leaders and the ANC in South Africa. Democracies, such as the United States, Israel, and the Philippines, also have experienced domestic terrorism.

While a democratic nation espousing civil liberties may claim a sense of higher moral ground than other regimes, an act of terrorism within such a state may cause a perceived dilemma: whether to maintain its civil liberties and thus risk being perceived as ineffective in dealing with the problem; or alternatively to restrict its civil liberties and thus risk delegitimizing its claim of supporting civil liberties. This dilemma, some social theorists would conclude, may very well play into the initial plans of the acting terrorist(s); namely, to delegitimize the state.[49]


Acts of terrorism can be carried out by individuals, groups, or states. According to some definitions, clandestine or semi-clandestine state actors may also carry out terrorist acts outside the framework of a state of war. However, the most common image of terrorism is that it is carried out by small and secretive cells, highly motivated to serve a particular cause and many of the most deadly operations in recent times, such as 9/11, the London underground bombing, and the 2002 Bali bombing were planned and carried out by a close clique, composed of close friends, family members and other strong social networks. These groups benefited from the free flow of information and efficient Telecommunications to succeed where others had failed.[50] Over the years, many people have attempted to come up with a terrorist profile to attempt to explain these individuals' actions through their psychology and social circumstances. Others, like Roderick Hindery, have sought to discern profiles in the propaganda tactics used by terrorists.

It has been found that a "terrorist" will look, dress, and behave like a normal person, such as a university student, until he or she executes the assigned mission. Terrorist profiling based on personality, physical, or sociological traits would not appear to be particularly useful. The physical and behavioral description of the terrorist could describe almost any normal young person.[51]

Terrorist groups

Main article: List of designated terrorist organizations

State sponsors

Main article: State-sponsored terrorism

A state can sponsor terrorism by funding or harboring a terrorist organization. Opinions as to which acts of violence by states consist of state-sponsored terrorism or not vary widely. When states provide funding for groups considered by some to be terrorist, they rarely acknowledge them as such.

State terrorism

Main article: State terrorism
Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.
Derrick Jensen [52]

The concept of state terrorism is controversial. [53] Military actions by states during war are usually not considered terrorism, even when they involve significant civilian casualties.[How to reference and link to summary or text] The Chairman of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee has stated that the Committee was conscious of the 12 international Conventions on the subject, and none of them referred to State terrorism, which was not an international legal concept. If States abused their power, they should be judged against international conventions dealing with war crimes, international human rights and international humanitarian law.[4] Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that it is "time to set aside debates on so-called 'state terrorism'. The use of force by states is already thoroughly regulated under international law"[54] However, he also made clear that, "...regardless of the differences between governments on the question of definition of terrorism, what is clear and what we can all agree on is any deliberate attack on innocent civilians, regardless of one's cause, is unacceptable and fits into the definition of terrorism."[55]

State terrorism has been used to refer to terrorist acts by governmental agents or forces. This involve the use of state resources employed by a state's foreign policies, such as the using its military to directly perform acts of considered to be state terrorism. Professor of Political Science, Michael Stohl cites the examples that include Germany’s bombing of London and the U.S. atomic destruction of Hiroshima during World War II. He argues that “the use of terror tactics is common in international relations and the state has been and remains a more likely employer of terrorism within the international system than insurgents." They also cite the First strike option as an example of the "terror of coercive dipolomacy" as a form of this, which holds the world "hostage,' with the implied threat of using nuclear weapons in "crisis management." They argue that the institutionalized form of terrorism has occurred as a result of changes that took place following World War ll. In this analysis, state terrorism exhibited as a form of foreign policy was shaped by the presence and use of weapons of mass destruction, and that the legitimizing of such violent behavior led to an increasingly accepted form of this state behavior. (Michael Stohl, “The Superpowers and International Terror” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, Atlanta, March 27-April 1, 1984;"Terrible beyond Endurance? The Foreign Policy of State Terrorism." 1988;The State as Terrorist: The Dynamics of Governmental Violence and Repression, 1984 P49).

State terrorism is has also been used to describe peace time actions by governmental agents or forces, such as the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 flight. Charles Stewart Parnell described William Gladstones Irish Coercion Act as Terrorism in his "no-Rent manifesto" in 1881, during the Irish Land War.[5] The concept is also used to describe political repressions by governments against their own civilian population with the purpose to incite fear. For example, taking and executing civilian hostages or extrjuducial elimination campaigns are commonly considered "terror" or terrorism, for example during Red Terror or Great Terror. [56] Such actions are often also described as democide which has been argued to be equivalent to state terrorism.[57] Empirical studies on this have found that democracies have little democide.[58][59]


Main article: Tactics of terrorism

Terrorism is a form of asymmetric warfare, and is more common when direct conventional warfare either cannot be (due to differentials in available forces) or is not being used to resolve the underlying conflict.

The context in which terrorist tactics are used is often a large-scale, unresolved political conflict. The type of conflict varies widely; historical examples include:

  • Secession of a territory to form a new sovereign state
  • Dominance of territory or resources by various ethnic groups
  • Imposition of a particular form of government
  • Economic deprivation of a population
  • Opposition to a domestic government or occupying army

Terrorist attacks are often targeted to maximize fear and publicity. They usually use explosives or poison, but there is also concern about terrorist attacks using weapons of mass destruction. Terrorist organizations usually methodically plan attacks in advance, and may train participants, plant "undercover" agents, and raise money from supporters or through organized crime. Communication may occur through modern telecommunications, or through old-fashioned methods such as couriers.


Main article: Responses to terrorism

Responses to terrorism are broad in scope. They can include re-alignments of the political spectrum and reassessments of fundamental values. The term counter-terrorism has a narrower connotation, implying that it is directed at terrorist actors.

Specific types of responses include:

  • Targeted laws, criminal procedures, deportations, and enhanced police powers
  • Target hardening, such as locking doors or adding traffic barriers
  • Pre-emptive or reactive military action
  • Increased intelligence and surveillance activities
  • Pre-emptive humanitarian activities
  • More permissive interrogation and detention policies
  • Official acceptance of torture as a valid tool

Mass media

Media exposure may be a primary goal of those carrying out terrorism, to expose issues that would otherwise be ignored by the media. Some consider this to be manipulation and exploitation of the media.[60] Others consider terrorism itself to be a symptom of a highly controlled mass media, which does not otherwise give voice to alternative viewpoints, a view expressed by Paul Watson who has stated that controlled media is responsible for terrorism, because "you cannot get your information across any other way". Paul Watson's organization Sea Shepherd has itself been branded "eco-terrorist", although it claims to have not caused any casualties.

The mass media will often censor organizations involved in terrorism (through self-restraint or regulation) to discourage further terrorism. However, this may encourage organisations to perform more extreme acts of terrorism to be shown in the mass media.



Main article: History of terrorism

The term "terrorism" was originally used to describe the actions of the Jacobin Club during the "Reign of Terror" in the French Revolution. "Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible," said Jacobin leader Maximilien Robespierre. In 1795, Edmund Burke denounced the Jacobins for letting "thousands of those hell hounds called terrorists" loose upon the people of France.

In January 1858, Italian patriot Felice Orsini threw three bombs in an attempt to assassinate French Emperor Napolean III.[61] Eight bystanders were killed and 142 injured.[61] The incident played a crucial role as an inspiration for the development of the early Russian terrorist groups.[61] Russian Sergey Nechayev, who founded People's Retribution in 1869, described himself as a "terrorist", an early example of the term being employed in its modern meaning.[8] Nechayev's story is told in fictionalized form by Fyodor Dostoevsky in the novel The Possessed. German anarchist writer Johann Most dispensed "advice for terrorists" in the 1880s.[62]

See also

Further reading

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
  • Köchler, Hans (ed.), Terrorism and National Liberation. Proceedings of the International Conference on the Question of Terrorism. Frankfurt a. M./Bern/New York: Peter Lang, 1988, ISBN 3-8204-1217-4
  • Köchler, Hans. Manila Lectures 2002. Terrorism and the Quest for a Just World Order. Quezon City (Manila): FSJ Book World, 2002, ISBN 0-9710791-2-9
  • Laqueur, Walter. No End to War - Terrorism in the 21st century, New York, 2003, ISBN 0-8264-1435-4
  • Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth & K. Lee Lerner, eds. Terrorism : essential primary sources. Thomson Gale, 2006. ISBN 9781414406213 Library of Congress. Jefferson or Adams Bldg General or Area Studies Reading Rms LC Control Number: 2005024002.
  • Lewis, Jeff, Language Wars: The Role of Media and Culture in Global Terror and Political Violence, Pluto Books, London, 2005.
  • Lieberman, David M. Sorting the revolutionary from the terrorist: The delicate application of the "Political Offense" exception in U.S. extradition case, Stanford Law Review, Volume 59, Issue 1, 2006, pp. 181-211
  • Sunga, Lyal S., US Anti-Terrorism Policy and Asia’s Options, in Johannen, Smith and Gomez, (eds.) September 11 & Political Freedoms: Asian Perspectives (Select) (2002) 242-264.
  • Charles Tilly, Terror, Terrorism, Terrorists in Sociological Theory (2004) 22, 5-13 online
  • Christian Buder, "Die Todesstrafe, Tabu und Terror", VDM-Verlag, Saarbrücken, 2008, ISBN 978-3-8364-5163-5
  • Arno Tausch 'Against Islamophobia. Quantitative analyses of global terrorism, world political cycles and center periphery structures' Hauppauge, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers (for info:, 2007

UN conventions

  • United Nations: Conventions on Terrorism
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: Conventions against terrorism. "There are 12 major multilateral conventions and protocols related to states' responsibilities for combating terrorism. But many states are not yet party to these legal instruments, or are not yet implementing them."

News monitoring websites specializing on articles on terrorism

Papers and articles on global terrorism

The Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center-

  • Quantitative World System Studies Contradict Current Islamophobia: World Political Cycles, Global Terrorism, and World Development. Arno Tausch, Innsbruck University - Faculty of Political Science and Sociology - Department of Political Science, Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 6, No. 1 & 2, Spring-Summer 2007, available at:

Papers and articles on terrorism and the United States

Papers and articles on terrorism and Israel

Muslim public opinion from the World Values Survey


  • Psychological profile of terrorist
  • Video: Dr Adam Dolnik: What makes a terrorist? A Lowy Institute lecture on SlowTV, August 2008
  • About the Qassam-sderot media center
  • Paradise Poisoned: Learning About Conflict, Development and Terrorism from Sri Lanka's Civil Wars by John Richardson
  • Ontologies of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism
  • The Supreme Court of India adopted Alex P. Schmid's definition of terrorism in a 2003 ruling (Madan Singh vs. State of Bihar), "defin[ing] acts of terrorism veritably as 'peacetime equivalents of war crimes."[66]
  • Jack Goody What is a terrorist? Published in: journal History and Anthropology, Volume 13, Issue 2 2002 , pages 139 - 142 DOI: 10.1080/0275720022000001219
  • Schmid and Jongman (1988): "Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-)clandestine individual, group, or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal, or political reasons, whereby — in contrast to assassination — the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperiled) victims, and main targets are use to manipulate the main target (audience(s), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought".[67]
  • Staff. U.S. Terrorism in the Americas an Encyclopedia "on violence promoted, supported and carried out by both the U.S. government and its servants in Latin America

See also


  1. (1795). Terrorism. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary.
  2. Angus Martyn, The Right of Self-Defence under International Law-the Response to the Terrorist Attacks of 11 September, Australian Law and Bills Digest Group, Parliament of Australia Web Site, 12 February 2002
  3. Thalif Deen. POLITICS: U.N. Member States Struggle to Define Terrorism, Inter Press Service, 25 July 2005
  4. 4.0 4.1 Abrahms, Max (March 2008). What Terrorists Really Want: Terrorist Motives and Couterterrorism Strategy. International Security 32 (4): 86–89.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hoffman, Bruce "Inside Terrorism" Columbia University Press 1998 ISBN 0-231-11468-0. Page 32. See review in The New York TimesInside Terrorism Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Hoffman-1998-p31" defined multiple times with different content
  6. Dr. Jeffrey Record, Bounding the Global War on Terrorism(PDF)
  7. Terrorism. Encyclopædia Britannica. URL accessed on 2006-08-11.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Crenshaw, Martha, Terrorism in Context, p. 77.
  9. UN Reform. United Nations. URL accessed on 2008-07-11.
  10. Khan, Ali (1987). A Theory of International Terrorism. (PDF) Social Science Research Network. URL accessed on 2008-07-11.
  11. Juergensmeyer, Mark (2000). Terror in the Mind of God, 125–135, University of California Press.
  12. Juergensmeyer, Mark (2000). Terror in the Mind of God, University of California Press.
  13. Juergensmeyer, Mark (2000). Terror in the Mind of God, 127–128, University of California Press.
  14. Terrorism in the United States 1999. (PDF) Federal Bureau of Investigation. URL accessed on 2008-07-11.
  15. "AskOxford Search Results - terrorist". AskOxford. AskOxford. Retrieved on 2008-07-11. 
  16. Cambridge International Dictionary of English
  18. Online Etymology Dictionary
  19. B'Tselem Head of ISA defines a terrorist as any Palestinian killed by Israel
  20. 20.0 20.1 Rodin, David (2006). Terrorism. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge
  21. Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army Britannica Concise
  22. Dr Chris Clark Malayan Emergency, 16 June 1948., 16 June 2003
  23. Ronald Reagan, speech to National Conservative Political Action Conference 8 March, 1985. On the Spartacus Educational web site
  24. President Meets with Afghan Interim Authority Chairman
  25. President Discusses Progress in War on Terrorism to National Guard White House web site February 9, 2006
  26. Sudha Ramachandran Death behind the wheel in Iraq Asian Times, November 12, 2004, "Insurgent groups that use suicide attacks therefore do not like their attacks to be described as suicide terrorism. They prefer to use terms like "martyrdom ..."
  27. Alex Perry How Much to Tip the Terrorist? Time Magazine, September 26, 2005. "The Tamil Tigers would dispute that tag, of course. Like other guerrillas and suicide bombers, they prefer the term “freedom fighters.”
  28. TERRORISM: CONCEPTS, CAUSES, AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION George Mason University Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Printed by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, January 2003
  29. Humphreys, Adrian. "One official's 'refugee' is another's 'terrorist'", National Post, January 17, 2006.
  30. Theodore P. Seto The Morality of Terrorism Includes a list in the Times published on July 23, 1946 which were described as Jewish terrorist actions, including those launched by Irgun which Begin was a leading member
  31. BBC News: PROFILES: Menachem Begin BBC website "Under Begin's command, the underground terrorist group Irgun carried out numerous acts of violence."
  32. Eqbal Ahmad "Straight talk on terrorism" Monthly Review, January, 2002. "including Menachem Begin, appearing in "Wanted" posters saying, "Terrorists, reward this much." The highest reward I have seen offered was 100,000 British pounds for the head of Menachem Begin"
  33. NEWS: World: Middle East: Sharon's legacy does not include peace[dead link] BBC website "Ariel Sharon will be compared to Menachem Begin, another warrior turned statesman, who gave up the Sinai and made peace with Egypt."
  34. Lord Desai Hansard, House of Lords 3 September 1998 : Column 72, "However, Jomo Kenyatta, Nelson Mandela and Menachem Begin — to give just three examples — were all denounced as terrorists but all proved to be successful political leaders of their countries and good friends of the United Kingdom."
  35. BBC NEWS:World: Americas: UN reforms receive mixed response BBC website "Of all groups active in recent times, the ANC perhaps represents best the traditional dichotomous view of armed struggle. Once regarded by western governments as a terrorist group, it now forms the legitimate, elected government of South Africa, with Nelson Mandela one of the world's genuinely iconic figures."
  36. BBC NEWS: World: Africa: Profile: Nelson Mandela BBC website "Nelson Mandela remains one of the world's most revered statesman"
  37. Quinn v. Robinson (pdf), 783 F2d. 776 (9th Cir. 1986)(PDF), web site of the Syracuse University College of Law
  38. Page 17, NORTHERN IRELAND: TP , T , S 11 (PDF) Queen's University Belfast School of Law
  39. Guardian Unlimited style guide.
  40. BBC editorial guidelines on the use of language when reporting terrorism. (DOC)
  41. 41.0 41.1 Definitions of Terrorism. United Nations. URL accessed on 2008-07-11.
  42. Disorders and Terrorism, National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals (Washington D.C.:1976)
  43. Hudson, Rex A. Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why: The 1999 Government Report on Profiling Terrorists, Federal Research Division, The Lyons Press,2002
  44. Freedom squelches terrorist violence: Harvard Gazette Archives.
  45. Freedom squelches terrorist violence: Harvard Gazette Archives. (PDF)
  46. (2004). Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism. (PDF)
  47. (2005). Unemployment, Inequality and Terrorism: Another Look at the Relationship between Economics and Terrorism. (PDF)
  48. Pape, Robert A. "The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism," American Political Science Review, 2003. 97 (3): pp. 1-19.
  49. shabad, goldie and francisco jose llera ramo. "Political Violence in a Democratic State," Terrorism in Context. Ed. Martha Crenshaw. University Park: Pennsylvania State University, 1995. pp467.
  50. Sageman, Mark. 2004. "Social Networks and the Jihad". Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Ch. 5 pp. 166-167
  51. Library of Congress – Federal Research Division The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism
  52. Endgame: Resistance, by Derrick Jensen, Seven Stories Press, 2006, ISBN 158322730X, pg IX
  53. Pds Sso
  54. The Legal Debate is Over: Terrorism is a War Crime | The New America Foundation
  55. Press conference with Kofi Annan & FM Kamal Kharrazi
  56. Nicolas Werth, Karel Bartošek, Jean-Louis Panné, Jean-Louis Margolin, Andrzej Paczkowski, Stéphane Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, 1999, hardcover, 858 pages, ISBN 0-674-07608-7
  57. Kisangani, E. (2007). The Political Economy Of State Terror. Defence and Peace Economics 18 (5): 405–414.
  58. DEATH BY GOVERNMENT By R.J. Rummel New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1994. Online links: [1][2][3]
  59. No Lessons Learned from the Holocaust?[dead link] , Barbara Harff, 2003.
  60. The Media and Terrorism: A Reassessment Paul Wilkinson. Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol.9, No.2 (Summer 1997), pp.51-64 Published by Frank Cass, London.
  61. 61.0 61.1 61.2 Crenshaw, Martha, Terrorism in Context, p. 38
  62. Crenshaw, p. 44.
  63. frontline: al qaeda's new front | PBS
  64. frontline: al qaeda's new front: al qaeda today | PBS
  65. FRONTLINE: the enemy within: new reality: the man turned away | PBS
  67. Academic Consensus Definition of "Terrorism," Schmid 1988, United Nations website.. For more detailed information, see: Schmid, Jongman et al. Political terrorism: a new guide to actors, authors, concepts, data bases, theories, and literature. Amsterdam: North Holland, Transaction Books, 1988. ISBN 1412804698

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