the global aspect: international terrorism

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Scholars have come up with the term international terrorism in order to denote the type of terrorism that involves actors from different nations. This type of terrorism is further categorized into two modes – interstate and transnational terrorism. Interstate terrorism involves more than one nation, and the government controls the acts of terrorism. On the other hand, transnational terrorism still involves more than one nation, but the acts of terrorism are not controlled by the government.

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Interstate terrorism “involves terrorist activities administered, planned, and sponsored by a government against targets in other countries” (Course Reader: Political Science Y200B, n.d). In effect, interstate terrorism is legitimate as far as government support is concerned. It is orchestrated by a sovereign power against another country and its citizens, and sometimes political enemies or subversives. It is used to “weaken the resistance or diminish the intransigence of states, as the cost of such antagonism is made plain” (Combs, 2003, p. 81). After such acts of terror, weakened states or subversives usually become more willing to bargain with the terrorist group or state.

This mode of terrorism is very much exhibited in Iran’s support of Jihad and Muslim extremists in other countries. government-sanctioned Mossad operatives’ acts of hunting down Palestinian terrorists. Pakistani government’s training of Kashmir rebels (Course Reader: Political Science Y200B, n.d). and Libya’s acts of tracking down and eliminating dissidents (Combs, 2003, p. 83). These acts are government-supported and, in some instances, government-led and orchestrated terrorist activities against their ‘enemy’ or ‘rival’ nations.

By contrast, transnational terrorism “involves terrorist activities conducted by non-state actors (i.e. terrorists not sponsored by a government who operate in other countries or against foreigners in their own countries)” (Course Reader: Political Science Y200B, n.d). Oftentimes, this mode of terrorism involves the collusion of insurgents from different countries.

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