CHAPTER 1. Defining Terrorism
H.H.A. Cooper investigates the difficulty in defining terrorism within the context
of the many different approaches to identifying the problem. Stathis Kalyvas offers a
definitional analysis of the ethnic war model. In his discussion of legal conventions
which address the problem of terrorism, Zdislaw Galicki investigates legalistic
approaches to defining and dealing with terrorism. The U.S. Department of State and
National Intelligence Council reports are useful reviews of the global terrorist
1) Cooper, H.H.A.. “Terrorism: The Problem of Definition Revisited.” In American
Behavioral Scientist, 44:6 (February 2001).
How can terrorism be defined when the process of defining is wholly frustrated by the
presence of irreconcilable antagonisms? It is certainly not easy to define, much less
comprehend. With respect to terrorism, there is among the many participants to the
discussion no agreement on the basic nature of the fruit under consideration. In any case,
the definition of terrorism has undergone a number of small refinements as experience
has suggested. This article considers how to define terrorism or at least know it when it is
seen in the coming decades.
2) Galicki, Zdzislaw. “International Law and Terrorism.” In American Behavioral
Scientist, 48:6 (February 2005).
What important developments have occurred in multilateral international treaties
between the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism of 1937 and the
Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism of 2002? This article answers this
question as well as whether these laws have been an effective legal response in combating
terrorism. After differentiating between comprehensive and sectoral conventions and
between universal and regional conventions, the article comparatively analyzes them
based on definitions of offenses, the extent of criminalization, exceptions concerning
scope of application, measures to be taken by the states parties, obligatory and optional
jurisdiction, obligations of states in the sphere of legal cooperation and assistance, rights
of the offender, extradition, exceptions from extradition or legal assistance, and issues
not covered by the conventions. Solutions proved to be the most effective against
international terrorism and discrepancies and overlaps between the conventions are
3) Kalyvas, Stathis N. “Ethnic Cleavages and Irregular War: Iraq and Vietnam.” In
Politics & Society, 35:2 (June 2007).
The conflict in Iraq has been portrayed as "ethnic" civil war, a radically different conflict
from "ideological" wars such as Vietnam. We argue that such an assessment is
misleading, as is its theoretical foundation, which we call the "ethnic war model." Neither
Iraq nor Vietnam conforms to the ethnic war model's predictions. The sectarian conflict
between Shia and Sunni militias is not simply the outcome of sectarian cleavages in Iraqi
society, but to an important extent, a legacy of U.S. occupation. On the other hand,
although Vietnam was a society riven by ethnic cleavages, the Vietnam War also fails to
conform to the ethnic war model. We show that there is no necessary overlap between
ethnic conflict and ethnic war. Some ethnic conflicts evolve into ethnic wars, and others
develop dynamics virtually indistinguishable from those of ideological civil wars. We
suggest that the state's role is essential in transforming conflicts into either ethnic or
irregular wars. We conclude with an analysis of the current situation and future
prospects in Iraq.
4) United States Department of State. “Country Reports on Terrorism” and “Patterns of
Global Terrorism.” http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/.
5) United States Department of State. The National Security Strategy of the United
States. March 2006. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/64884.pdf.
6) United States Department of State. “White House Counterterrorism Reports.”
7) United States National Intelligence Council. National Intelligence Estimate: The
Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland. Washington, D.C. (July 2007).