What actually is terrorism? Part 2

As we discovered in part one of a definition of terrorism, the violence inherent in an act of terrorism is a means to an end – the result of the violence is the primary concern of the terrorist. Arthur H. Garrison in ‘Terrorism: The nature of its history’ details 7 components of terrorism and I think his guide is rather brilliant. He states that terrorism is a tool and the seven components are as follows; Terrorism is

a) an intentional

b) rational

c) act of violence

d) to achieve a political goal

e) by causing fear

f) in the target audience/society

g) in order to change behaviour in that audience/society

The terrorist hopes that the panic and fear that comes after an attack will influence decision making. For example, a terrorist might be highlighting the plight and disadvantage of a region overseas due to the power of other more wealthy states have. If a wealthy state goes to war against a state/s which do not have the military might to succeed in a traditional war and propels the state/s into more disadvantage and poverty, this may actually work in favour of the terrorists propaganda. This is just one example of many. The terrorist may also have more than one political goal or agenda. It is a very multifaceted tool.

I hope that this adds another dimension to your understanding of terrorism 🙂




Until next time! Miss S. 


What actually is terrorism?

Terrorism has got to be one of the most misconstrued terms out there. Both in the media and in our heads – after all, how many times have you read or  heard a proper definition? And yet it’s pasted next to conflicts and acts of violence all the time… Like with almost every definition in academia, there is no one definition accepted by all. BUT there definitely are  attributes that can be agreed on. Terrorism is a tactic used in asymmetric warfare (as in – not a war that is ‘equal’ – where both sides are representing a a state and are part of official armed forces). Regardless of the reason behind the action, terrorism is a method used for changing behaviour through intimidation and fear. This fear and intimidation is often a result of violence or the threat of violence. Intimidation and fear is used to facilitate change in the wider audience and/or state. The victims of the violent acts are not the focal point for the terrorist- and hence why the victims are picked by random or chance – the violence is less important than the result of violence. As it is a tactic used in asymmetrical warfare, states as well as other groups can use and be charged with using terrorism, hence the term state sponsored terrorism

I hope this clears some things up. I will probably go into further detail about this soon. Until then! Miss S. https://www.facebook.com/missworldsec


Definitions: What’s the difference between Intrastate, Interstate & Extrastate???

These terms are often used in articles which explore conflicts and war. They are confusing terms, so I thought I should write up some more definitions as they are worth knowing! The terms listsed here have been ‘inspired by’ articles by Sambanis, and Alan Collins book on Contemporary Security Studies.

Intrastate: Intrastate violence is the most common form of conflict today. It describes sustained political violence that takes place between armed groups representing the state, and one or more non-state groups. Violence of this sort usually is confined within the borders of a single state, but usually has significant international dimensions and holds the risk of spilling over into bordering states (the current conflict in Syria would be described as a Intrastate conflict).

Interstate: Interstate violence is a conflict between two or more states (both members of the international system), who use their respective national forces in the conflict.

Extrastate: Extrastate conflict is between a state (member of the international system) and a political entity which does not come in the form of a recognized state. This type of conflict can take place outside the boundaries of the state recognized by the international community.

Hope this helps! 🙂

Miss S.

Definitions: Genocide and Politicide

I used the term ‘politicide’ in the post ‘Is Syria in a state of Civil War? Part 2’. I have not explained what these terms mean. For clarification, I thought I should post these definitions. Definitions are taken from Harff and Gurr, and both definitions refer to actions (violence) perpetrated by the state. The difference lies between how the state identifies its victims.

  • Genocides: victims are identified based on their ethnic, racial, national or religious identities. Victims may not necessarily think of themselves in these terms. However, as a matter of identifying targets for murder, the state does.
  • Politicides: victims are identified primarily in terms of their political opposition to the regime and dominant groups or in terms of their position within the society (for example, peasants, intellectuals, etc).

It is most likely that in both genocide and politicide, the state goes out of its way to target victims, hence usually the consequences of such violent state behaviour is on a massive scale and widespread.

Remember, as I mentioned in my posts on Syria, different forms of violence can change and morph. So if a state is responsible for genocide, it may in the future change its focus and transpire into politicide. Many forms of violence can also be practised/utilized during one period of time and continuously change. This is one of the difficulties in studying conflicts and political violence. The U.N. Genocide Convention does not state in its definition of genocide that the perpetrator must be a state. This is a valid point, as other powerful groups may also be the perpetrators of genocide. The U.N. genocide Convention does not name politicide, and does not mention the targeted killings based on political identification. It does mention that genocide is also constituted through serious bodily or mental harm to member of a group.

Hopefully these definitions help and will be useful later on! 🙂 Don’t forget to like me on Facebook (I post lots of quirky and funny bits and pieces, as well as more useful international information of course) https://www.facebook.com/missworldsec. Also, please let me know what you think of the blog and blog posts so far!

Until next time,

Miss S.