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Terrorism and State Terrorism

Terrorism and State Terrorism. Key questions. What is terrorism? What are the social and political effects of terrorism? Why do non-state groups choose terrorism as a form of political action? Why do states use terrorism?. Plan of Today’s Lecture. Definitions: What is terrorism?

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Terrorism and State Terrorism

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  1. Terrorism and State Terrorism

  2. Key questions What is terrorism? What are the social and political effects of terrorism? Why do non-state groups choose terrorism as a form of political action? Why do states use terrorism?

  3. Plan of Today’s Lecture Definitions: What is terrorism? Non-state terrorist groups and their aims Who gets labelled a terrorist? Who doesn’t? The efficacy of terrorism State-sponsored terrorism

  4. I. Definitions

  5. The State • “The state is an entity which claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.” (Max Weber)

  6. Terrorism • Rejects the notion that only states can legitimately use violence. • Is the use of violence to achieve political objectives • Different from other forms of violence because it’s never aimed just at the people it harms • Designed to have far-reaching psychological effects

  7. How did the WTC bombings meet these criteria?

  8. Media as Force Multiplier • Terrorist attacks are designed to gain maximum publicity. • Media coverage amplifies psychological effect.

  9. Media as a Force Multiplier • Targets are often symbolic or iconic: the goal is to gain attention for a cause and destroy what the target stands for, not to eliminate the object itself. • Example: The Pentagon

  10. A tool of non-state actors Terrorism is often a tool of non-state groups who do not control armies or vast armories. It is cost-effective violence for small groups. SendoroLuminoso

  11. The Dolphinarium Bombing

  12. II. Terrorist groups and their aims FARC: Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia

  13. Non-state groups that use terrorism: Islamic Non-Islamic ETA Red Brigades FARC Shining Path KKK Weather Underground • Al-Qaeda • Hamas • Hezbollah

  14. How are they formed? • Often formed in refugee camps • Can be organized around religion or political ideology (eg Marxism, nationalism) Soldier in a FARC poppy field

  15. Funding • Narcotics • Remittances • Natural resources • Covert State Funding Soldier in a FARC poppy field

  16. III. Labelling Terrorists Terrorism is a technique, not a property intrinsic to groups. The label “terrorist” is meant to label some people’s use of violence illegitimate (while others’ use of violence is made legitimate.) States often label non-state groups terrorists, while claiming their own violent action is an acceptable use of force. The label itself is a political tool.

  17. Labelling Terrorists Hamas Controversy • US has put Hamas on official list of terrorist groups. • Hamas is now the democratically elected government of the Gaza Strip. • Should the US be willing to have diplomatic relations?

  18. III. The Efficacy of Terrorism British soldiers in Afghanistan

  19. What do terrorists gain? • Can create chaos and discord in society • Can weaken political institutions • Can force the state to incur huge costs to prevent terrorism • Police • Intelligence • Disaster preparedness • US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq=$4 trillion

  20. But…. • Often creates citizen support for the state • Can strengthen the resolve of target governments • Fosters a powerful backlash against the non-state group • Arab Spring and the irrelevance of al-Qaeda.

  21. IV. State Terrorism

  22. What is state terrorism? The attempt by a state to use violence against civilians to win political conflict with non-state groups. Practiced byauthoritarian states and in breakaway regions. Can be state-sponsored terrorism against third countries Example: Libya and the Lockerbie bombing

  23. State terrorism in Chechnya

  24. Chechen Conflict 1700s—absorbed into Russian empire 1930s—Stalinist purges kill many 1944—entire Chechen population deported 1957—allowed to return 1992—Chechen declaration of independence 1994 and 1999—Chechen wars Today—ongoing kidnappings and shootings

  25. Natalya Estimirova

  26. Take-Home Points Terrorism is a political tool It can be used by both state and non-state actors The monopoly of legitimate violence is being challenged in the post Cold War World.

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