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Principles of Terrorism

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Principles of Terrorism

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  • November 2009
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State-sponsored terrorism is a term loosely used to describe terrorism sponsored by nation-states. As with terrorism, the precise definitions, and the identification of particular examples, are subjects of heated political dispute. In general state-sponsored terrorism is associated with Para-militaries. It is also frequently used in conjunction with state terrorism, which is terrorism committed by nation-states. Terrorism, as defined by Title 22 of the United States code, section 2656f (d), is the "pre-meditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence and audience." Islamic terrorism is a serious problem for the United States because of the threat to national security, innocent civilians, and the foundations of democratic societies throughout the world. State sponsored terrorism has changed in structure and design over the centuries. Jewish zealots conducted campaigns against the Romans in the first century AD, and the Hashshashin, a Shi'ah Muslim group who gave us the word assassin, systematically murdered those in positions and leadership during the 19th century. (White, p131) The modern age of terrorism began in the 1960's. State sponsored terrorism in its current form began in 1968. As the 1970's passed by, the explosion of extremist groups and related incidents sparked a new awareness of the dangers of terrorism. In the 1980's, Canada was the victim of several terrorist attacks carried out by Armenian and Sikh extremists, including a bombing of an Air India flight originating in Toronto, which exploded off the coast of Ireland, killing 329 people (White, p123) The 1995 Sarin gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyo Cult in a Tokyo subway marked a new threshold in international terrorism. For the first time, people began to realize that similar groups could use weapons of mass destruction or plan attacks to inflict maximum casualties. The long-term effects...