State Terrorism

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Critically examine the concept of ‘State terrorism’. Why has the concept of State terrorism been notably absent from Terrorism Studies?

*(Originally submitted to the University of Leicester, Politics and International Relations Dept. on 13th June 2018)

Introduction:            

This essay presents a conceptual framework for understanding State terrorism by analysing the discursive practices used in the politics of labelling to socially construct political violence that is transposed into an instrument of legitimation for the exercise of State violence. It is argued that an approach that dichotomizes violence relying on an actor based rather than an action based model of terrorism without subjecting it to the same analytical scrutiny required of all manifestations of political violence is ethically and intellectually indefensible.

Part 1 of this essay explores the State’s use of the discursive processes involved in the social construction of violence and its potential as a political tool for the instrumentalization of such violence against others. Part 2 explores the notable absence of the concept of State terrorism from terrorism studies and the reasons for the traditional focus by orthodox terrorism studies on terrorism committed against the State rather than by it. This paper argues that the politicization of the term ‘terrorism’ by governments in a way that avoids a self-referential use of the term by the State has contributed to a concept of terrorism as a form of political violence that is distinguishable from State violence. Such a bifurcated concept of violence is refuted by arguing that the ‘core characteristics of terrorism are the same whether the perpetrator is a state or non- state actor.’ (Blakeley 2009, p.26).

Analysis

Part 1 The Concept of State Terrorism

Discursive practices in the social construction of political violence by the state

This paper argues that scholarly research into the concept of state terrorism is enhanced by an analysis of discursive practices such as ‘the widespread articulation of threat and victimhood narratives, the demonization and dehumanisation of an enemy other, the renegotiation of norms of violence’ (Jackson and Dexter 2014, p.1) that contribute to the social construction and legitimization of political violence perpetrated by the State against its victims. Discourses engaged upon by agents such as politicians, influential cultural and social figures, and media personalities that promote the condemnation, exclusion and oppression of certain political, ethnical or racial groups may feature in the construction of narratives woven into and embedded in the cultural life of a State. Narratives, for instance, found in political speeches, literature, popular media, tabloids, and comics that portray a particular racial, ethnic or religious group as a threat to the State may contribute, phenomenologically, to world views, ideologies and perceptions of ‘reality’ of those outside the ‘demonised’ group. For instance , in the recent killings by Israeli snipers of over 100 Palestinians near the border fence separating Gaza from Israel, the Israeli government’s instrumentalization of violence was construed and rationalised as legitimate to ‘protect its sovereignty and the security of its citizens,’ (The Times of Israel, 2018) despite the fact that non-lethal methods such as the firing of rubber bullets might have been used by the military.  Such a selective discourse that gives greater normative importance to the securitization of the State of Israel over the protection of human lives of the Palestinians is argued to be indefensible, since Israel’s ‘mistake’ is that of ‘treating all the protesters as agents of Hamas and then using lethal force against them, in the absence of an imminent threat to life.’(Human Rights Watch, 2018) . A selectively crafted political discourse that arguably ‘demonised’ the Palestinians before the global community was exemplified in a speech given by the Israeli PM to the UN General Assembly in 2016 . In this speech Netanyahu portrays Palestinian children as threats to the security of the Jewish people by alluding to a hypothetical 13-year-old Palestinian boy named Ali, who is told by his mother that ‘the more Jews he would kill, the more money he’d get (from the Palestinian Authority).’ (The Times of Israel, 2016). Netanyahu then goes on to extrapolate from this hypothetical a hyperbole, claiming that:

‘All this is real’. ‘It happens every day, all the time. Ali represents hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are indoctrinated with hate every moment, every hour. We in Israel don’t do this. We educate our children for peace.’ (The Times of Israel, 2016).

It is argued that in weaving such a narrative before the international community, Netanyahu constructs a victimhood narrative by juxtapositioning the perceived ideologies of Palestinian children with those of the Israeli children. He does this in a way that portrays the Israeli Jews as victims of the violence perpetrated by the Palestinians. In this regard, the phenomena of political agents waging a battle for the minds and hearts of the citizens of a society involve a dialectical sharing and exchange of perceptions that are linguistically constructed to portray the ‘other’ as an existential threat to the state. Discursive practices ‘involve not just speeches by politicians, or their pamphlets and writings, but also … the myths and histories they refer to, the laws they pass, the organisational structures they create. (Jackson and Dexter 2014, p.10). The recent approval of the Nation State Bill by the Israeli Parliament exemplifies laws ‘that would define Israel exclusively as ‘the nation-state of the Jewish people’. (Al Jazeera News, 2018). Aida Touma-Suleiman, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Parliament argues that the bill “institutionalises an apartheid regime in the most blatant way”. (Al Jazeera News, 2018). It is submitted that the Nation State Bill if enacted may strengthen the existing narrative of the political, racial and cultural superiority and distinctiveness of the Jewish race over others , possibly fostering further discrimination by Jewish members of the State against the Palestinians in a way that may provide the conditions for the exercise of political violence against them . Further, it is argued that ‘for the audience,  language, narrative and discourse is employed instrumentally by elites to construct the violence as inherently legitimate and necessary.’ (Jackson and Dexter 2014, p.10). This is not to suggest that such discourses have ‘a linear cause and effect’ with the consequence of large groups within society embracing and internalizing values, beliefs and convictions that support the use of state violence. (Jackson and Dexter 2014, p.8). Although such  discourses ‘have multiple interpretations and can produce multiple actions’ ( Jackson and Dexter 2014, p.8), they arguably act as an enabling variable that makes possible the mediation of the idea that the state is justified in its use of political violence against those it considers a threat.

The narratives of victimhood`

Dexter notes that ‘one unifying theme amongst the many definitions of terrorism is that terroristic violence is directed against civilians, non-combatant or the innocent’. (Dexter 2012, p.124). For instance, Laqueur defines terrorism as ‘the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective by targeting innocent people’ (Dexter 2012, p.124). Narratives adopted by agents of a State define terroristic violence by presupposing that the ‘civilian’ is ‘a fixed, unproblematic moral identity’, (Dexter 2012, pp.125-126), whereas the heavily contested semantic battles fought in the domestic and international arenas suggest that binary oppositions such as the terrorist/victim set are constructed through narratives that draw from a complex interaction of religious, political, ideological and ethical  discourses that may be used to justify the selective use of victim/perpetrator labels. How do categorises of victimhood find their way into the construction of narratives? This essay argues that discourses promoting a ‘sense of collective victimhood’ may become ‘a fundamental part of the shared societal beliefs of ethos and collective memory’ of a society (Bar-Tal 2009, p. 240). Moral boundaries are discursively drawn in narratives woven by political agents by ‘focusing on the injustice, harm, evil and atrocities associated with the adversary, while emphasizing one’s own society as being just, moral and human.’ (Bar-Tal 2009, p. 241). For instance, a study involving a national sample of Israeli Jews in 2008 found correlations to exist between the perceptions concerning the Israeli-Arab conflict and the society’s views on being a victim in it. The study indicated that about 40.6% of respondents ‘highly agreed’ with the statement that, ‘throughout all the years of the conflict, Israel has been the victim and the Arabs and the Palestinians are the side causing harm.’ (Bar-Tal 2009, p. 250). The findings of the study suggested that  ‘the more a respondent believed that Israel is the victim in the conflict, the more he/she expressed dehumanizing views of the Arabs and Palestinians.’(Bar-Tal 2009, p. 250). It is submitted that the belief that one is a victim of oppression by others is not a naturally occurring phenomena, but a perceived ‘reality’, constructed through the use of a myriad of discursive practises promoted by and embedded within a State. These perceptions of injustice and victimhood arguably contribute to the conditions that make state violence against individuals a possibility.

Constructing a moral hierarchy of violence that legitimises state violence  

This paper argues that discursive practices employed by political agents that socially construct certain forms of violence perpetrated by the State against victims as legitimate, while condemning violence committed by others against the State as ‘terrorism’, contributes to a concept of terrorism that produces a ‘moral hierarchy of violence’.(Dexter 2012, p.123)  Such gradations of violence are morally assessed and judged by political agents to be qualitatively different from other forms of violence. As Dexter argues, ‘by condemning some violence, the category of terrorism also serves to legitimise violence by suggesting that an alternative violence is possible, violence that only targets the guilty… and that serves a progressive purpose.’(Dexter 2012, p.123). The question to be asked is whether such a dichotomy of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ forms of violence exists, or whether such categorisations of violence are merely ideological abstractions socially constructed, promoted and legitimized by State agents to further their policies of oppression of those who are perceived to be threats to the state. As Arendt cautions, ‘the practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is to a more violent world.’ (Dexter 2012, pp 133). The assumption that the State machinery including its military, police and secret services will be able to employ forms of State sanctioned violence to achieve only benevolent goals beneficial to its people, untainted by violations of human rights and the rule of law lacks a theoretical and empirical basis. The apology given by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, in the UK Parliament for the complicity of MI6 in the rendition of Mr Belhaj who was subsequently tortured in Libya (The Independent, 2018) exemplifies the seemingly insurmountable hurdles the State faces in instrumentalising violence for the purposes of achieving objectives such as state securitization. Arendt, for instance, doubts the instrumentality of violence in achieving goals that go beyond the short term, ‘since when we act we never know with any certainty the eventual consequences of what we are doing’. (Finlay 2009, p.28). In this respect, it is arguable that ‘the restrained, precise, progressive violence that the concept of terrorism suggests is possible, the violence that terrorism is defined in relation to, does not exist.’ (Dexter 2012, pp 134). The difficulty in calibrating the degree of violence necessary to counter perceived threats to the State is further highlighted by the findings of the US Senate Intelligence Committee. The Committee found that the ‘CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation  techniques, which included waterboarding and sleep deprivation, rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness that they thwarted terrorist plots and were necessary to acquire otherwise unavailable actionable intelligence that saved lives.’ (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence 2014, p.2). Far from being a desirable form of violence invoked by the CIA as necessary for the saving of innocent lives from future terrorist attacks, the State’s use of violence was constitutive of further uncontrollable violence which was proven to be ineffective in achieving its counterterrorism objectives. While the ambivalence of Gina Haspel on whether torture works was palpable in the Senate hearings, Donald Trump remains adamant in claiming that ‘water boarding absolutely works.’ (BBC, 2017).

The politics of labelling state violence as a ‘just war’

This essay argues that the state’s invocation of the ‘Just War theory’ features as part of the discursive practices that legitimize state violence through socially constructed narratives . For instance, the politics of labelling the use of State violence as a ‘war on terror’ was evident in the Bush administration’s response to the 11 September 2001 attacks of the US. Since then, the ‘war on terror’ ‘has been portrayed as a crusade for freedom, a war fought in defence of liberty, a quest for justice’. (Dexter 2008, p.66). Such principles underpinning the concept of ‘just war’ can be traced to the theologian, St Augustine, who wrote, ‘when war is undertaken in obedience to God, who would rebuke , or humble or crush the pride of man, it must be allowed to be a righteous war.’ (Langan 1984, p.22). Just as the Church convinced the medieval crusaders of their divine mission to liberate the ‘Holy land’ from the ‘enemy’ , political agents of the State invoke the ‘sacred’ when weaving narratives that justify the instrumentalization of violence against an ‘enemy’ that is perceived as a threat to society.  

The failure to distinguish jus ad bellum from jus in bello

It is arguable that political agents of the State tend to invoke narratives of the ‘Just War theory’ to legitimize the use of state violence in a way ‘which subordinates jus in bello to jus ad bellum considerations’ instead of applying a separation of both these concepts of law to comply with international humanitarian law. (Moussa 2008, p.964). As Dexter observes:

‘making the distinction between jus ad bellum (just motivations for war) and jus in bello (just methods of warfare), for a war to be considered just it must meet three conditions: first, that it be properly declared by a sovereign authority; secondly, there must be a just cause; and thirdly that it must employ just means.’ (Dexter 2008, p.65).

It is argued that a state’s invocation of the ‘just war’ paradigm ‘to defend their violations of jus in bello’ (Moussa 2008, p.988) lacks plausibility when such as state fails to employ ‘just means’ which are proportionate and necessary to counter a threat. For instance the US invocation of the need for self-defence in waging the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could not be justified by its disproportionate use of force in places of torture such as Abu Ghraib. Such violations in jus in bello were however countered by narratives provided by political agents such as Rumsfield, who asserted that, ‘what has been charged so far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture.’ ( Zimbardo 2007, p.327). The deflection of blame by such ‘conflict entrepreneurs’ evinces an attempt to deconstruct or discredit alternative discourses that oppose their own violent aims – anti-war and anti-violence discourses’ ( Jackson and Dexter 2014, p.10). The conceptual dissociation between jus ad bellum and jus in bello is further evidenced in the way the state deprives certain categories of individuals of their fundamental human rights to protection from torture and other forms of political violence by labelling them as ‘terrorists’ or ‘enemy combatants’. The detainees of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and the Black prisons run by the CIA in countries such as Thailand serve as examples. What accounted for the state’s failure to provide protection under international humanitarian law in a way that recognized jus in bello considerations in the treatment of these detainees? It is arguable that one plausible factor includes Bush’s use of the term ‘enemy combatant’ after the September 11, 2001 attacks to deprive such detainees of legal protection under International law including the Geneva Convention. (Reuters 2009). It is argued that the linguistic use of the term, ‘enemy combatant’, however, goes beyond the ascription of meanings found ordinarily within the legal realm to conjure the idea that ‘every act that they commit is criminal and subversive’ and therefore to be ‘judged according to different moral and legal standards’.(Moussa 2008, p.987).

Part 2: The noticeable absence of the concept of state terrorism from terrorism studies

A curious definitional omission

Scholars of Critical Terrorism argue that ‘state terrorism is  largely missing as a subject from the broader terrorism literature’. (Jackson 2008, pp.379-380). This observation is set against the historical backdrop to the use of the term, ‘terror’, which can be traced to the description of the state’s use of  violence against its people as seen in the ‘revolutionary counter violence of the French State’. (Jackson 2008, p. 380). Yet the concept of terrorism in traditional terrorism studies has largely focused on an actor based definition of terrorism, which highlights the use of violence committed against the State rather than by it. Traditional terrorism studies’ definitional omission of the state from the concept of ‘terrorism’ is curious since it is arguable ‘that the ‘fear (terror) of state violence has a central place in the emergence and dominance of the modern state and Western political theory’. (Jackson 2008, p.380). Despite this, orthodox terrorism scholars argue that the term ‘state terrorism’ should only be reserved for a description of totalitarian states such as ‘Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany, and Mao’s Peoples Republic of China’, since ‘one criterion among others that was applied was the use of terror as a means of social control, especially through secret police agencies’. (Lutz 2010, p.33). Such an analysis fails to take into account the fact that political violence is also wielded by liberal democracies such as the United States for reasons that include not only the need for social control of citizens of a state , but also the exercise of hegemonic control over notions of state and global security. For instance, Amnesty International’s criticism of  the US, British and French coalition’s execution of  ‘thousands of air strikes’ in the  Syrian city of Raqqa without carrying out adequate surveillance that would have detected and saved ‘thousands of civilians cowering in basements’ (The Guardian 2018) was met with the response that Amnesty international had ‘no understanding of the brutality of warfare’. (The Guardian 2018). The coalition’s justification for their action is underpinned by an underlying assumption that their knowledge of the means of liberating and securing Raqqa through military violence is infallible.  Further, it is evident that that state repression is not the sole domain of totalitarian states. For instance , ‘US involvement in state terrorism included the use of torture as part of its CI strategy during the war with Vietnam…primarily through the Phoenix Program ‘ which involved numerous  killings by the US of not just the Vietcong, but also their families and friends, (Blakeley 2007,  p..232). The following analysis further explores the reasons and justifications for the noticeable absence of the concept of state terrorism from traditional terrorism studies.  

The reliance on an actor based model that precludes the Sovereign state

Jackson argues that to a large extent, ‘the silence on state terrorism in the discourse is due to the frequent practice by terrorism scholars of defining terrorism exclusively as a form of non-state violence, thereby excluding states a priori from being able to employ terrorism at all.’ (Jackson 2008, p.382), For instance, Hoffman defines terrorism as ‘violence ‘perpetrated by a subnational group or non-state entity’ (Jackson 2008, p.382) . A definition of terrorism based on the identity of the actor rather than the nature of the violence used is arguably indefensible. Such an actor based rather than an action based definition is also used by the orthodox terrorism scholar, Laqueur, who defines terrorism as ‘the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective by targeting innocent people’ (Dexter 2012, p.124). It is arguable that the supposition underpinning such definitions is that violence exercised by the State is legitimate a priori, since such violence is deemed to be used by the State in compliance with its legislative codes, and therefore falls outside the parameters of terroristic violence carried out by non-state actors. Laqueur further argues that ‘the very existence of state is based on its monopoly of power’ and goes on to assert that ‘if it were different, states would not have the right, nor be in  position, to maintain that minimum of order on which all civilised life rests.’( Blakeley 2009, p.28).This essay argues that it would be presumptuous to assume that just because the state wields a monopoly over the use of political violence, such violence will always exercised by its political agents in a legitimate or even justifiable way in accordance with international law and international human rights. For instance, the use of snipers by Israel to kill unarmed Palestinians approaching the Gaza border fence is argued to be neither legitimate nor justifiable since such use of violence against civilians is a violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights  and may not be legitimated by Israel’s invocation of its right to defend itself by virtue of its status as a sovereign state. Article 3 of Geneva Convention 1949, for instance, prohibits ‘in the case of armed conflict not of an international character’ ‘violence to life and person, in particular murder of all  kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture…of persons taking no active part in hostilities.’ (ICRC 1949, pp.91-92) . It is submitted that the claim by Sovereign states that their exercise of a monopoly of power is necessary to ensure the securitization of their state should not be equated with the idea that the state should not be held accountable for violence perpetrated against their own citizens. It is morally and ethically indefensible for states to be held unaccountable for acts of terror while non-state actors of terroristic violence remain responsible. This is especially the case if one contemplates the relationship between the state and the underlying themes of domination underpinning various aspects of social life manifested in the form of violence. For instance, in the arena of freedom of speech, a 2018 Polish law criminalizing speech suggestive of Poland’s involvement in the holocaust imposes up to 3 years imprisonment for a violation of the law. (Amnesty International 2018). As Dexter argues, ‘Violence is deeply embedded in the very idea of the state and is constantly reproduced through those practices that constitute the sovereign state.’ (Jackson and Dexter 2014, p.6).  Arguably, state violence should feature in any scholarly analysis of the concept of state terrorism, since the very notion of the political entity which one terms the ‘sovereign’ state conjures images of power and violence.

Is state violence qualitatively different from non-state violence?

Orthodox terrorism scholars such as Lacqueur argue that the ‘motivations, effect, and function of oppression by the State’ differ from that of political terrorism (Blakeley 2009, p.26). It is submitted , however, that ‘the core characteristics of terrorism are the same whether the perpetrator is a state or non- state actor’. (Blakeley 2009, p.26). It is argued that the qualitative effects of state violence as compared to that of violence perpetrated by non-state actors are at times much worse when one considers the severity of the harm suffered by victims of state intimidation, oppressions  and killings. The deleterious effects of state violence is exemplified, for instance, by Israel’s decade long military blockade of Gaza, and the oppression of nearly 1.9 million Palestinians who have been held in what is described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison…where the prison guard is Israel.’ (Norwegian Refugee Council 2018). It is ironic that the conditions under which Israel exercises violence, mediated through its creation of terroristic conditions of intimidation and fear used in oppressing the Palestinians in Gaza, ostensibly satisfy Wilkinson’s characterisation of terrorism as one that ‘is premeditated and aims to create a climate of extreme fear or terror’ and which ‘inherently involves attacks on random and symbolic targets, including civilians.’ (Blakeley 2007, p.229). This irony is highlighted by the randomness of the Israeli military’s violence against the Palestinians, suggesting that every protestor at the Gaza border symbolically represents Hamas. Such an indiscriminate use of violence is further supported by Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman views aired on Israeli radio that  there were “no naive people” in Gaza as “everyone’s connected to Hamas, everyone gets a salary from Hamas, and all the activists trying to challenge us and breach the border are Hamas military wing activists,”(RFI 2018). Hoffman, an orthodox terrorist scholar, argues that there is:

‘a fundamental qualitative difference’ between state and non-state violence ‘on the basis of the historical emergence of ‘rules and accepted norms of behaviour that prohibit the use of certain types of weapons’ and ‘proscribe various tactics and outlaw attacks on specific categories of targets’. (Blakeley 2012, p.2)

To Hoffman, ‘terrorists’ in contrast to the state have ‘violated all these rules’. (Blakeley 2012, p.2). It is argued that just because there exists positive laws or policies of a state defining the circumstances in which certain types of violence may be legally used (jus ad bellum) by the military of a particular  state against certain threats posed to the state, ‘it is not always the case that their conduct (jus in bello) is itself legitimate.’ (Blakeley 2012, p.3). Whether it is the destruction of Palestinian  homes in the West Bank by Israel for the construction of Jewish settlements,  the extra-judicial killings of drug suspects and their families in the streets of Manila by the state police, or the rape and massacres of hundreds of Rohingya people by the Myanmar military, the governments of these respective States evince a conviction that their actions are justified by the policies and laws of their states. It is submitted that ‘this kind of logic is similar to the argument that could be used by the very armed groups the state is attempting to subvert,’ ( Moussa 2008, p.987), since such ‘terrorist’ groups may, similarly, invoke the justness of their cause, which to them may be perceived as transcending the laws of the state. It is argued that such a blurring of distinction between the convictions, beliefs and quality of violence adopted by both ‘terrorist’ groups and states makes it untenable for orthodox scholars to distinguish between non-state terrorism and state terrorism.

An inextricable link between traditional terrorism studies and the state

It is argued that the close ties between studies carried out by traditional terrorism scholars and state institutions contribute to the sharing of common ideological perspectives on terrorism ‘in ways that make it difficult to distinguish between the state and academic spheres.’ (Jackson 2007, p.8-9).This essay argues that an analysis of state terrorism that is free from the interference of propagandistic influences and vested interests of political agents is imperative for an impartial study of state violence. That an intellectual bias evinced by orthodox terrorism scholars in favour of the state exists arguably contributes to ‘the core terrorism studies scholars function as organic intellectuals, intimately connected – institutionally, financially, politically and ideologically – with a state hegemonic project’ (Jackson 2007, p.8-9) . For instance, the collaboration between the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St Andrew’s and the RAND Corporation ‘defines international terrorism as incidents in which the perpetrators go abroad to strike their targets’ and  ‘select domestic targets associated with a foreign state’. (Blakeley 2007, p.230).The definitional terms used in such assessments of terroristic violence presuppose the state as the object of such violence and in need of protection from individuals or groups that threaten the state’s interest. Lutz, for instance, argues that the rise in government grants for research commissioned by the Homeland Security Studies is due to the idea that ‘terrorist attacks can be a major threat to the security of states and the safety of their citizens.’ (Lutz 2010, pp.32-33). Be that as it may, it is arguable that the state through its counterterrorism policies and military interventions in other states continues, at times, to inflict untold violence on others that is largely unaccounted for in both political and academic circles. Although scholars of Critical Terrorism Studies such as Jackson question state policies on the use of violence and call attention to the disproportionate harm suffered by victims at the hands of a state’s military and their secret services, state terrorism has been largely ignored by nation states and been given little importance in orthodox terrorism studies. Such a state of affairs is not entirely surprising since ‘the counterterrorism and security industry is worth billions of dollars and involves the careers and power of millions of people and thousands of agencies, private firms and government departments.’ (Security Praxis, 2017). The research on terroristic violence by state funded scholars and organisations is invariably influenced by populist policies of the state which play a significant part in constructing a concept of terrorism which is accepted, at times, unquestioningly by the media. This is supported by Jackson’s claim that ‘CTS scholars are rarely invited to address or advise governments on their policies or programmes – unlike many mainstream security ‘experts’ who appear regularly in the media.’ (Security Praxis, 2017).

Conclusion

This essay has set out to argue that the concept of state terrorism has no ontological reality of its own but is imbued with meaning through discursive practices that socially construct and legitimise political violence. In Part 1, it was argued that discursive practices employed by political agents are used to construct narratives on victimhood, moral hierarchies on violence and the ‘just war theory’ so as to legitimise violence in a way that potentializes its use as an instrument by the state against an ‘enemy’ or a ‘demonised’ other. Part 2 of this essay argues that the noticeable absence of the concept of the state terrorism from orthodox terrorism studies is unsupportable since the actor based model fails to give credence to the argument that the political violence manifested by the state at times is qualitatively far worse than violence perpetrated by non-state actors. This essay concludes with a critique on what is perceived to be an inextricable link between studies by traditional terrorism scholars and the state by arguing, as the CTS scholars do, for a more impartial approach to the study of state terrorism that dissociates itself from the political ideologies of the state.

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