Terrorism as war by other means: national security and state support for terrorism

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Ekmekci F.

REVISTA BRASILEIRA DE POLITICA INTERNACIONAL, vol.54, no.1, pp.125-141, 2011 (SSCI) identifier identifier


The conventional approach in the discipline of International Relations is to treat terrorist organizations as "non-state" actors of international relations. However, this approach is problematic due to the fact that most terrorist organizations are backed or exploited by some states. In this article, I take issue with the non-stateness of terrorist organizations and seek to answer the question of why so many states, at times, support terrorist organizations. I argue that in the face of rising threats to national security in an age of devastating wars, modern nation states tend to provide support to foreign terrorist organizations that work against their present and imminent enemies. I elaborate on my argument studying three cases of state support for terrorism: Iranian support for Hamas, Syrian support for the PKK, and American support for the MEK. The analyses suggest that, for many states, terror is nothing but war by other means.