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The ‘War On Terrorism’

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Chapter Summary

The expression war on terrorism is merely a metaphor. Sometimes the war on terrorism does get integrated into a real inter-State war. The multipartite attack against the US on 9/11 was launched by non-State actors: Al-Qaeda terrorists acting on their own initiative. Terrorism must not be confused with guerrilla warfare. Whereas terrorists habitually employ hit-and-run tactics of guerrilla warfare, it is important to bear in mind that guerrilla warfare can be conducted without indulging in terrorism, and in that case it need not be tainted with any particular odium. Terrorism is by no means a new phenomenon. The word itself probably goes back to the Jacobean Reign of Terror in the course of the French Revolution. Terrorism, by its very nature and purpose, is inconsistent with the principle of distinction.

Keywords: Al-Qaeda; guerrilla warfare; war on terrorism

10.1163/ej.9789004170537.i-514.71
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