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The Role of Discourse in the Social Construction of Security and Terrorism: Deconstructing the War on Terror

UB Number: 08014957

MA Dissertation 2009

Department of Peace Studies University of Bradford No. of words: 14.416

Table of Contents 1.0 Introduction ... .. p. 3 2.0 The Social Construction of Security From Critical Security Studies to Poststructuralism the importance of discourse and identity...p. 10 Securitization/Desecuritization theory ..p. 14 Identity/Difference concept......p. 20 Specifying similarities and differences...p. 25 3.0 The Social Construction of Terrorism Debating the definitional conundrum of terrorism...p. 28 The politics of naming...p. 34 State terrorismp. 40 Terrorism studies...p. 46 4.0 Deconstructing the War on Terror..p. 48 5.0 Russias War on Terror.....p. 57 6.0 Conclusions: towards a reconceptualization of counterterrorism....p. 66 7.0 Bibliography...p. 69

1. 0 Introduction
Several years after the events of September 11, 2001, the effects of the attacks and the subsequent war on terrorism, which former President George W. Bush declared some days later1, can still be traced globally2. Evidently, nowadays, and after two US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the deaths they generated, the repression of civic liberties in a vast number of countries under new anti-terrorist legislations3, the human rights violations in Abu Ghraib and Guantnamo Bay prison camps4, and the gigantic influence which the war on terrorism had in certain other ongoing conflicts around the world (Israel, Russia, China, Philippines, etc)5, no one can disagree with the view that the war on terrorism discourse has been the hegemonic political discourse6, at least, for the greatest part of the 21st century7. As a consequence, in a world where obviously words, rhetoric and discourses are

Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. Bush, G. W. (2001c), Address to a joint Session of Congress and the American People, September 20. 2 While it is often proclaimed that the events of 9/11 changed "everything," it is important to stress that even more than the carnage and impact of that day it has been the response of the Bush administration and its impact on the multiple audiences around the world which have been more important than the Al Qaeda attacks in shaping the post 9/11 world, in Stohl, M. (2008a), The Global War on Terror and State Terrorism, Paper presented at the 49th Annual International Studies Association Convention, San Francisco, 26-29 March 2008, available at http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p252903_index.html, p. 11. 3 Whitaker, B. E. (2007), Exporting the Patriot Act? Democracy and the war on terror in the Third World, Third World Quarterly, vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 1017-1032. 4 Hannah, M. (2006), Torture and the Ticking Bomb: The War on Terrorism as a Geographical Imagination of Power/Knowledge, Annuals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 96, no. 3, pp. 622-640. 5 Chomsky, N. (2003), Commentary: moral truisms, empirical evidence, and foreign policy, Review of International Studies, vol. 29, no. 4, p. 609. 6 A hegemonic political discourse is one where the public debate uses mainly the language, terms, ideas, and knowledge of the dominant discourse, and where alternative words and meanings are rarely found and dissenting voices are almost never heard, in Jackson, R. (2005a), Writing the war on terrorism. Language, politics and counter-terrorism, Manchester, Manchester University Press, p. 19. 7 The year 2006 saw a peak in Western disenchantment with GWOT [Global War on Terror], expressed in public opinion polls and finally symbolized at the government level when Robert Gates became the U. S. Secretary of Defense, effectively ending the BushCheney strategy, in Russell, J. (2009), The Geopolitics of Terrorism: Russias Conflict with Islamic Extremism, Eurasian Geography and Economics, vol. 50, no. 2, p. 185.
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more important than ever before8, a study of their role in the field of security is considered indispensable.

Indeed, having as a starting point the well-known division of Cox between problem-solving and critical theories9, this essay will argue for the social constructed nature of security. In view of this, I will employ two different theories, securitization and identity/difference theory, which can be considered as parts of an inclusive definition of critical security studies10. Therefore, I will first outline securitization/desecuritization framework, especially giving emphasis to the concept of desecuritization, which, in my opinion, may be very useful in the combat of terrorism11, especially owing to its further and profound securitization after 9/1112. Afterwards, through an examination of the role of identity/difference in the formation of USAs, and additionally in Wests, foreign policy and security, I will try to answer, based

Peteet, J. (2005), Words as interventions: naming in the Palestine-Israel conflict, Third World Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1, p. 171. 9 Cox, R. (1981), Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, vol. 10, no. 2, p. 129. 10 Indeed, on the word of Wver, others think of critical in a more inclusive sense where CT [Critical Theory: the theory inspired from Frankfurt School] is only one possible format, and CSS as a broad movement therefore includes also other forms of theory that is critical, even if it is not Critical Theory, i.e. feminism, normative theory and post-structuralism. Wver, O. (2004), Aberystwyth, Paris, Copenhagen: New Schools in Security Theory and their Origins between Core and Periphery, Paper presented at International Studies Association Conference, Montreal, 1720 March, p. 7. However, Wver along with the coauthors of Securitization: A New Framework for Analysis, have denied the categorization of securitization in the framework of CSS. See Buzan, B. Wver, O. - de Wilde, J. (1998), Security: A New Framework for Analysis, London, Lynne Rienner, p. 35 & 205. 11 If the priority is to preserve liberal values, one is pushed towards the option of learning to live with terrorism as an everyday risk while pursuing countermeasures that stop short of creating a garrison state. This choice is not to securitize terrorism, but instead to make it part of normal politics. Taking this route avoids a contradiction between counterterrorist policies and liberal values, in Buzan, B. (2006), Will the global war on terrorism be the new Cold War, International Affairs, vol. 82, no. 6, pp. 1117-1118.
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Kelstrup, M. (2004), Globalisation and societal insecurity: The securitisation of terror ism and competing strategies for global governance, in Guzzini, S. & Jung, D. (eds .), Contemporary security analysis and Copenhagen peace research, London, New York, Routledge, pp. 107-116.
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in the discursive practices approach13, how the war on terror became the dominant discourse globally.

At this point, is considered necessary to provide a definition of discourse, in consideration of its significance to the objectives of this essay. Thus, with reference to Shepherd, discourses are understood here as systems of rather than simply statements or language,

meaning-production

encompassing narratives, texts and images, systems that fix meaning, however temporarily, and enable us to make sense of the world.14 Besides, this essay will be structured on the premises of critical discourse analysis, which aims primarily to illustrate and describe the relationship between textual and social and political processes.15 Indeed, according to Foucault, discourse analysis consists of not of no longer treating discourses as groups of signs (signifying elements referring to contents or representations) but as practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak.16 Particularly, this essay will be based in secondary sources, in order to demonstrate and deconstruct the dominance of the current security narratives.

However, discourse is central also in the understanding of another socially constructed notion, the notion of terrorism17; something that is one of the central arguments of this essay. Therefore, I will first try to depict the debate
A Discursive Practices Approach emphasizes the linguistic construction of reality, in Doty, R. L. (1993), Foreign Policy as Social Construction: A Post -Positivist Analysis of U.S. Counterinsurgency Policy in Philippines, International Studies Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 302, authors emphasis. 14 Shepherd, L. J. (2006), Veiled references: Constructions of gender in the Bush administration on the attacks on Afghanistan post-9/11, International Feminist Journal of Politics, vol. 8, no. 1, p. 20. 15 Jackson, R. (2008), The ghosts of state terror: knowledge, politics and terrorism studies, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 1, no. 3, p. 378. 16 Cited in Shepherd, L. J. (2008a), Gender, Violence and Security: Discourse as Practice , London, Zed Books, p. 19.
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'Terrorism is not a discrete topic that might be conveniently examined apart from the political, social and economic context in which it takes place.... Terrorism is a creature of its own time and place, Cited in Tololyan, K. (1987), Cultural narrative and the motivation of the terrorist, Journal of Strategic Studies, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 217-218.
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over the definition of terrorism, presenting the different approaches to define it through the years, as well as the most crucial obstacles towards a common definition. Actually, as maintained by Toros any article on terrorism must enter the labyrinthian debate on what terrorism means and how it is to be defined.18 Apart from this, the negative connotations that terrorism has acquired through the years, has turned it into, as indicated by Badiou, a term with no neutral readability, but intrinsically propagandistic19. Indeed, since terrorism is a term of condemnation20, is used regularly by states and non-state actors to delegitimize each other. In fact, in the struggle for discourse dominance, the politics of naming21 play a vital role throughout the evolution of the conflict for publics hearts and minds in the modern media-saturated environment22. Moreover, I will explore the notion of state terrorism, one of the most controversial subjects throughout the history of terrorism studies, which has also been one of the most well-trodden issues of contention between most orthodox or mainstream Terrorism Studies and proponents of critical approaches.23 After this, I will portray the framework of critical approaches on terrorism, in order to criticize the traditional terrorism studies24 along with the current counterterrorism paradigm. In
Toros, H. (2008), We Dont Negotiate with Terrorists! : Legitimacy and Complexity in Terrorist Conflicts, Security Dialogue, vol. 39, no. 4, p. 408. 19 Cited in Bowden, B. (2009), "Terror: From Tyrannicide to Terrorism", Paper presented at the 50th Annual International Studies Association Convention, New York, 15 February 2009, available at http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p313434_index.html, p. 8. 20 Weinberg, L. & Eubank, W. (2008), Problems with critical studies approach to the study of terrorism, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 1, no. 2, p. 186. 21 The politics of naming is about this contest, examining how names are made, assigned a nd disputed, and how this contest is affected by a series of global dynamics and events , in Bhatia, M. V. (2005), Fighting words: naming terrorists, bandits, rebels and other violent actors, Third World Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1, p. 6-7. 22 Dauber, C. (2001), Image as Argument: The Impact of Mogadishu on U.S. Military Intervention, Armed Forces &Society, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 205-229.
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Booth, K. (2008), The human faces of terror: reflections in a cracked looking -glass, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 76. 24 The term has been coined by the Critical Terrorism Studies project. See for example. Gunning, J. (2007), A Case for Critical Terrorism Studies?, Government and Opposition, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 363-393, Breen Smyth, M. Gunning, J. Jackson, R. Kassimeris, G. Robinson, P. (2008), Critical Terrorism Studies-an introduction, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-4., Franks, J. (2009), Rethinking the Roots of Terrorism: Beyond Orthodox Terrorism Theory A Critical Research Agenda, Global Society, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 153-176. For a case against see Horgan, J. & Boyle, M. J. (2008), A case against Critical Terrorism
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addition to this, I will argue for a definition of terrorism as a strategy or tactic of political violence that can be, and frequently is, employed by both state and non-state actors and during times of war and peace.25

Besides, I will describe the major events in the American war on terrorism, from its declaration and its reformulation to a long war rhetoric26 till the end of Bush administration, owing to the fact that has been the archetype of the current securitization of terrorism27 and the escalation of identity/difference narrative28. Moreover, I will display the reason behind the construction of the war on terror discourse, which impelled the whole world in a good versus evil binary logic. Thus, I will pose a how possible question, to deconstruct the dominance of the war on terror discourse a nd to show how the subjects, objects, and interpretive dispositions [of the discourse] were socially constructed such that certain practices were made possible. 29 In addition to this, I will illustrate the counter-productivity of the current counterterrorism approach, which was the single agenda [of Bush administration] in its global policy30. In addition to this, I will try to

Studies, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 51-64, Weinberg, L. & Eubank, W. (2008), Problems with critical studies approach to the study of terrorism, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 185-195, Jones, D. M. & Smith, M. L. R. (2009), Were All Terrorists Now: Critical or Hypocritical Studies on Terrorism, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 292-302. 25 Jackson, R. (2007a), The core commitments of critical terrorism studies, European Political Science, vol. 6, no. 3, p. 248. Rogers, P. (2006), Into the Long War, Oxford Research Group International Security Report 2006, London, Ann Arbor, MI, Pluto Press. 27 Buzan, B. (2006), op. cit., p. 1103.
26 28 29

Jackson, R. (2005b), op. cit., p. 19.

In posing such a question, I examine how meanings are produced and attached to various subjects/objects, thus constituting particular interpretive dispositions which create certain possibilities and preclude others, in Doty, R. L. (1993), op. cit., p. 298. Besides, according to Gardinger, by analyzing foreign policy in such a way, the central question for research purposes is how a certain discursive representation becomes dominant in the security discourse which constitutes political power relations, in Gadinger, F. (2009), Practices of U.S. foreign policy: a process-oriented analysis of the war on terror, Paper presented at the at the 50th Annual International Studies Association Convention, New York, 15-18 February 2009, available at http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p313625_index.html. 30 Zulaika, J. & Douglas, W. A. (2008), The terrorist subject: terr orism studies and the absent subjectivity, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 32.

deconstruct the Islamic terrorism discourse, which has negative effects to and has been systematically interconnected with the praxis and the concept of the war on terrorism31.

What is more, I will try to illustrate the significance of the language of the war on terror in the case of Chechnya and Russias conflict. Indeed, through a description of the modern history of the conflict, namely after the demise of the USSR and up to the end of Putins administration, I will try to show the importance of discourse and the exploitation of the Islamic factor32 after 9/11, to what has became known as Russias war on terror33. Thus, with Chechnyas instance as an example I will indicate the failure of the contemporary counterterrorist approach, which is still grounded extensively in the war on terrorism logic, principally in cases of conflict -related terrorism. The latter has defined by Stepanova, as the terrorism [which] is systematically employed as a tactic in assymetrical local or regional armed conflicts [and] is tied to the concrete agenda of a particular armed conflict and terrorists identify themselves with a particular political cause (or causes) the incompatibility over which is fought.34

On the whole, this essay aims first to demonstrate the importance of discourse in the social construction of security and terrorism. Furthermore, it will try to deconstruct the war on terrorism, along with the two major security narratives, those of traditional terrorism studies and Islamic terrorism, which have been very influential and in continuous interaction with the former. Needless to say, these two narratives had not only facilitated the creation and final supremacy of the war on terrorism as a global

Jackson, R. (2007b), Constructing Enemies: Islamic Terrorism in Political and Academic Discourse, Government and Opposition, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 394-426. 32 Russell, J. (2002a), Exploitation of the Islamic Factor in the Russo -Chechen conflict before and after 11 September 2001, European Security, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 96-109. 33 Russell, J. (2007), Chechnya - Russias War on Terror, Abingdon, Routledge. 34 Stepanova, E. (2008), Terrorism in asymmetrical conflict. Ideological and structural aspects , Oxford, SIPRI, Oxford University Press, p. 9.
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phenomenon, but also continue to dictate the international studies on terrorism35. Moreover, I will call for a desecuritization of the terrorist threat, which of course is real but exaggerated, due to itsrandom nature, and is evoking an unrealistic - and costly- quest for perfect immunity from it.36 In this sense, Huysmans deconstructivist strategy of desecuritization may be found very useful37. In addition, I will argue for a paradigm shift in the counterterrorism approach, which will be able to see terrorism as a strategy, [and as] a human choice38 , to facilitate acts of dialogue39 and to reverse [the] naming-isolating-radicalising process, creating in its place a negotiatingincludinglegitimizing one.40Last but not least, this essay will join those voices calling for a critical turn41 in the terrorism studies, which will widen the terrorism studies current agenda and challenge the dominant security discourses42.

Jackson, R. (2009), The Study of Terrorism a fter 11 September 2001: Problems, Challenges and Future Developments, Political Studies Review, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 171-184. 36 Fidas, G. (2007), The Terrorist Threat: Existential or Exaggerated? A Red Team Perspective, Paper presented at the 48th Annual International Studies Association Convention, Chicago, 28 February 2007, available at http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p181269_index.html 37 Huysmans, J. (1995), Migrants as a Security Problem: Dangers of Securitizing Societal Issues, in Miles, R. & Thranhardt, D. (eds.), Migration and European Integration: The Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion, London, Pinter, pp. 66-67. 38 Booth, K. (2008), op. cit., p. 72.
35

Fierke, K. M. (2005), The War on Terrorism: A Critical Perspective, Irish Studies in International Affairs, vol. 16, p. 60. 40 Toros, H. (2008), op. cit, pp. 422-423.
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See for example Herring, E. (2008), Critical terrorism studies: an activist scholar perspective, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 197-211. 42 Mahajan, G. (2007),Multiculturalism in the Age of Terror: Confronting the Challenges, Political Studies Review, vol. 5, no. 3, p. 318.
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2.0 The Social construction of security From critical security studies to poststructuralism the importance of discourse and identity
After the end of the Cold War and the demise of bipolarity, a dynamic framework of approaches, that has already been developed in the margins of security studies43, emerged to challenge political realisms power. This framework, defined as critical security studies, named after a conference at York University in Toronto, entitled as Strategies in Conflict: Critical Approaches to Security Studies44, rejected the principles of the four Enlightment doctrines45 that positivist theories, namely realism and liberalism, still accept. Indeed, central role in the development of these approaches has played Robert Cox s dichotomy of problem solving and critical theory, which can be located back to Horkheimers distinction between traditional and critical theory46. Thus, according to Cox, the first is defined as a theory which takes the world as it finds it, with the prevailing social and power relationships and the institutions into which they are organised as the given framework for action, whereas the second as a theory that calls them into question by concerning itself with their origins and how and whether they

Ashley, R. K. & Walker, R. B. J. (1990), Introduction: Speaking the Language of Exile: Dissident Thought in International Studies, International Studies Quarterly, vol. 34, no. 3, Special Issue: Speaking the Language of Exile: Dissidence in International Studies, pp. 259268.
43

Mutimer, D. (2007), Critical Security Studies: A Schismatic History, in Collins A., Contemporary Security Studies, Oxford, Oxford University Press inc., p. 54.
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These are objectivism, empiricism, naturalism and behaviouralism. Thus, according to Smith, objectivism can be defined as referring to the view that objective knowledge of the world is possible; naturalism as meaning that there is a single scientific method which can analyse both the natural and the social worlds; empiricism as involving the claim that knowledge has finally to be justified by experience; and behaviourism as meaning that we do not need to worry about what actors think they are doing to explain their behaviour, in Smith, S. (1996), Positivism and beyond, in Smith, B. Booth, K. Zalewski, M. (eds.), International Theory: Positivism and Beyond, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 35-36.
45

Hoffman, M. (1987), Critical Theory and the I nter-Paradigm Debate, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, vol. 16, no. , pp. 237238.
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might be in the process of changing.47 In addition to this, the notion that theory is always for someone for some purpose originated as well from Cox48, guided critical security studies to refute traditional security studies as ...not some neutral reflectionbut[as] itself an interpretive mode49, as well as a mechanism for the construction of political community. 50 Indeed, with reference to Krause, critical security studies essentially share, in spite of the other four principles, the recognition of the social construction of reality and security, and the absence of objective knowledge51. Moreover, on the words of Linklater, they centre around understandings of the processes of inclusion and exclusion, which have in a sense always been the central concerns of the discipline of international relations52.

Afterwards, a number of authors, frequently described as poststructuralists53, highlighted the importance of discourse and identity in the social construction of security. Therefore, in a discursive practices approach, as Doty asserted it, the productive nature of language does not depend on nor necessarily coincide with the motivations, perceptions, intentions, or understandings of social actors[but] is seen as a set of signs which are part of a system for

47 48 49

Cox, R. (1981), op. cit., p. 129. Ibid, authors emphasis.

Klein, B. S. (1997), Conclusion: Every Month is Security Awareness Month, in Krause, K. & Williams, M. C. (eds.), Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases, London, UCL Press, p. 362. Clearly as George claimed the positivist-realist image of the world out there has become reality, and the foundationalist approach to knowledge has become the only legitimate way of understanding global human society, in George, J. (1994), Discourses of Global Politics: A Critical (Re)introduction to International Relations, Boulder, Lynne Rienner, p. 223. Klein, B. S. (1997), op. cit., p. 363. Indeed, as stated by Booth, one of the reasons whyrealism accurately described some of the reality of the time was because it had helped to construct some of that reality, in Booth, K. (2005 a), Critical Explorations, in Booth, K. (ed.), Critical Security Studies and World Politics, Boulder, Lynne Rienner, p. 5.
50

Krause, K. (1998), Critical Theory and Security Studies: The Research Programme of Critical Security Studies," Cooperation and Conflict, vol. 33, no. 3, p. 316.
51 52 53

Cited in Stearns, J. (1998), Gender and International Relations, Cambridge, Polity, p. 109.

Hansen, L. (1997), A Case for Seduction? Evaluating the Poststructuralist Conceptualization of Security, Cooperation and Conflict, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 369-397.

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generating subjects, objects, and worlds.54Thus, discourse scholars55, reject the distinction between discursive and non-discursive practices, due to the fact that every object is constituted as an object of discourse. 56Indeed, as Funkenstein stresses, every narrative is, in its way, an exercise in world making.57Besides, as indicated by Jackson, discourse theorizing is established on a number of theoretical commitments, at first about language as constitutive or productive of meaning; and then about discourse as

structures of signification which help to construct social realities, as being productive of subjects authorised to speak and act, as necessarily

exclusionary and silencing of other modes of representation, and as historically and culturally contingent, inter-textual, open-ended and

requiring continuous articulation and re-articulation58. Apart from this, the notion of identity occupies also major importance in the writings of this approach, and actually for the whole critical security studies framework, given that the issue of identity is inseparable from security. 59 In effect, identity is also socially constructed through discourses60 and can be seen as
54 55

Doty, R. L. (1993), op. cit., p. 302.

Milliken, J. (1999a), The Study of Discourse in International Relations: A Critique of Research and Methods, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 5, no. 2, p. 225. Laclau, E. & Mouffe, C. (2001), Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, 2nd edition, London, Verso, p. 107. Besides, according to Campbell, although the world exists independently of languagewe can never know that (beyond the facts of its assertion), because the existence of the world is literally inconceivable outside of language and our traditions of interpretation, in Campbell, D. (1998), Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity, Revised edition, Manchester, Manchester University Press, p. 6, authors emphasis.
56

Funkenstein, A. (1992), History, Counterhistory, and Narrative, in Friedlander, S. (ed.), Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the Final Solution , Cambridge, Harvard University Press, p. 79.
57 58 59

Jackson, R. (2008), op. cit., p. 378.

Booth, K. (1997), Security and Self: Reflections of a Fallen Realist, in Krause, K. & Williams, M. C. (eds.), Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases, London, UCL Press, p. 88. On the question of how knowledge, truth, and meaning are c onstituted, the focus is on language, understood not as an asset employed by a pre-existing subject or as a constraint imposed on the subject, but as a medium through which the social identity of the subject is made possible, in George, J. & Campbell, D. (1990), Patterns of Dissent and the Celebration of Difference: Critical Social Theory and International Relations, International Studies Quarterly, vol. 34, no. 3, Special Issue: Speaking the Language of Exile: Dissidence in International Studies, p. 285.
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either an act or a structure. Thus, according to McSweeney, identity as an act, refers to the capacity of individuals to sustain a story about the self or the collective self, and as a structure, it relates to the story, or narrative,

sustained, from which individuals draw to enact identity.61

At this point, is regarded necessary to suggest a definition of security, which this essay comprehends and examines as a discursive practice rather than as a direct representation of an objective threatening reality, 62 which cannot be separated from the process of identity formation and even the constitution of subjectivity.63 Nonetheless, I do not argue that there are not real threats to the security, but the aim of this essay is to show how these threats are constituted as such, either they are real or not64. Therefore, I draw on the idea of Huysmans to approach security through a thick signifier analysis, which unravels how security is embedded in a formation of rules which defines it in its specificity and explains how it organizes relations to nature, to other human beings and to the self,65 via applying the securitization theory and the identity/difference concept.

McSweeney, B. (1998), Durkheim and the Copenhagen school: a response to Buzan and Wver, Review of International Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, p. 137.
61 62 63

Hansen, L. (1997), op. cit., p. 376.

Stern, M. (2006), We the Subject: The Power and Failure of (In)Security, Security Dialogue, vol. 37, no. 2, p. 192. Thus, security exists either when they are no threats or when there is an ability to neutralize the threats so that basic survival is not affected. Security is relational and relative. It has the character of a social fact, which can be and will be interpreted by observers as well as by the agents themselves, in Kelstrup, M. (2004), op. cit., p. 108.
64

Huysmans, J. (1998a), Security! What Do You Mean? From Concept to Thick Signifier, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 4, no. 2, p. 249.
65

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Securitization/Desecuritization theory
The securitization theory has been one of the three conceptual tools66, along with the security sectors and the regional security complexes, developed by the Copenhagen School of security studies67. This has been the name given to a number of scholars, with Buzan and Wver probably the most prominent among them, based in the Centre for Peace and Conflict Research (COPRI). Indeed, Copenhagen Schools project has been one of the most pioneering68 and innovative69 attempts in the field of security studies to broaden and deepen70 the definition of security71, away from the traditional state-centric and militaristic logic of realism, which once more after 9/11 has dominated but not monopolized the discipline72.

Nevertheless, this essay will focus particularly on the notion of securitization, which has been perhaps the most significant conceptual development t hat has emerged specifically within the security studies,73 and, with reference to
Floyd, R. (2007), Towards a consequentialist evaluation of security: bringing together the Copenhagen and the Welsh Schools of security studies, Review of International Studies, vol. 33, no. 2, p. 329.
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The name Copenhagen School was coined by Bill McSweeney in his review article in 1996. McSweeney, B. (1996), Identity and security: Buzan and the Copenhagen School, Review of International Studies, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 81-94. Apart form this, Iver Neumann has named the project as the Copenhagen coterie of international relations. See Neumann, I. B. (1996), Self and Other in International Relations, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 2, no. 2, p. 162. 68 Sheehan, M. (2005), International Security. An analytical survey , London, Lynne Rienner, p. 3.
67

Smith, S. (2005), The Contested Concept of Security, in Booth, K. (ed.), Critical Security Studies and World Politics, Boulder, Lynne Rienner, p. 37.
69

To be exact, to broaden security means to expand it beyond military issues and to deepen it by to incorporate non-state actors in its study.
70

Moreover, as indicated by Huysmans, they constitute possibly the most thorough and continuous exploration of the significance and the implications of a widening security agenda for security studies, in Huysmans, J. (1998b), Revisiting Copenhagen: or, on the creative development of a security studies agenda in Europe, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 4, no. 4, p. 480.
71

Linklater, A. (2002), Unnecessary Suffering, in Booth, K. & Dunne, T. (eds.), Worlds in Collision: Terrror and the Future of Global Order, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, p. 311.
72 73

Mutimer, D. (2007), op. cit., p. 60.

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Wver, is what defines most distinctly the [Copenhagen] school in a metatheoretical sense.74 Therefore, securitization is defined as the discursive process through which an intersubjective understanding is constructed within political community to treat something as an existential threat to a valued referent object, and to enable a call for urgent and exceptional measures to deal with the threat.75 Owing to that, security is realized as a self-referential practice, because it is in this practise that the issue becomes a security issue not necessarily because a real existential threat exists but because the issue presented as such a threat.
76

Subsequently, for Copenhagen School, security is inevitably socially and discursively constructed77, while the way to study securitization is to study discourse.78

Hence, the process of securitization is what in language theory is called a speech act. It is not interesting as a sign referring to something more real; it is the utterance itself that is the act.79 Stemming from this speech-act approach of securitization, we can recognize three different entities participating in the process, namely the referent object, the securitizing actors and the functional actors80. Besides, securitization can be seen as a two-staged process, according

Wver, O. (2004), op. cit., p. 8. Besides, according to Sheehan, this process of securitization has a metatheroritical function, because it makes clear that what counts as a security issue is always a result of political and social discourse, in Sheehan, M. (2005), op. cit. ,p. 3.
74

Buzan, B. & Wver, O. (2003), Regions and Powers. The Structure of International Security , Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p. 491.
75 76 77

Buzan, B. Wver, O. - de Wilde, J. (1998), op. cit., p. 24.

But security is not just a discursive practice, it is also at the same time a political practice. Or, put differently, poststructuralism does not see a clear division between the discursive and the political, both practices are integral to each other, in Hansen, L. (1997), op. cit., p. 376.
78 79 80

Buzan, B. Wver, O. - de Wilde, J. (1998), op. cit., p. 25. Ibid, p. 26.

Thus Buzan et al define referent objects as the things that are seen to be existentially threatened and that have a legitimate claim to survival, securitizing actors as the actors who securitize issues by declaring something- a referent object- existentially threatened, and functional actors as the actors who affect the dynamics of a sector, Ibid, p. 36.

15

to Emmers81. Thus, the first stage is the identification of the threat, which takes place when an issue is presented [through a speech act] as posing an existential threat to a designated referent object by a securitizing actor82. Afterwards, the second stage is considered complete when the actor of the securitization convinces the audience that the threat is real, that is to say that puts at risk the survival of the referent object83. These two stages compose a successful securitization, which can be differentiated from a securitizing move, due to the latter is only the discourse that takes the form of presenting something as an existential threat to a referent object84. Likewise, every successful securitization is followed by the application of emergency actions, which break away of rules, to tackle the existential threat. In this sense, the Copenhagen School has also defined security as the move that takes politics beyond the established rules of the game and frames the issue either as a special kind of politics or as above politics.85

Though, in spite the fact that, as Williams claims, any issue is capable of securitization if it can be intensified to the point where it is presented and accepted as an existential threat86, every securitizing move has to follow two categories of facilitating conditions87 (or two constitutive rules88): the

Emmers, R. (2007), Securitization, in Collins, A., Contemporary Security Studies, Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 111.
81 82 83

Buzan, B. Wver, O. - de Wilde, J. (1998), op. cit., p. 21.

Thus Sheehan insists that Security means survival in the face of existential threats, but what constitutes an existential threat is not the same across different sectors, nor is it perceived in the same way by different societies at the same time, nor even by the society at different periods in history,in Sheehan, M. (2005), op. cit., p. 62. 84 Buzan, B. Wver, O. - de Wilde, J. (1998), op. cit., p. 25. Thus, according to Roe, what this shows is that although the stage of identification is a fundamental part of the securitization process (rhetorical securitization), the success or failure of security policy (active securitization) rests firmly in the stage of mobilization, in Roe, P. (2008), Actor, Audience(s) and Emergency Measures: Securitization and the UKs Decision To Invade Iraq, Security Dialogue, vol. 39, no. 6, p. 633. 85 Ibid, p. 23. Williams, M. C. (2003), Words, Images, Enemies: Securitization and International Politics, International Studies Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 4, p. 516. 87 Buzan, B. Wver, O. - de Wilde, J. (1998), op. cit., p. 32.
86

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internal, linguistic-grammatical condition, and the external, contextual and social condition89, in order to be successful. These two conditions, with regards to Buzan et al are regarded as: (1) the demand internal to the speech act of following the grammar of security, (2) the social conditions regarding the position of authority for the securitizing actor that is, the relationship between speaker and audience, and (3) features of the alleged threats that either facilitate or impede securitization.90 In this regard, securitization [can be seen as] a kind of call and response process: an actor makes a call that something is a matter of security, and the audience must then respond with their acceptance of it as such [thus] the argument has to be framed in such a way as to achieve the level of reasonance required to legitimize emergency measures.91 Moreover, the Copenhagen School asserts that every object can be placed in a spectrum that extends from non-politicized to politicized and securitized; with regard to this spectrum can be identified four [different] processes known respectively as politicization, depoliticization, securitization and de-securitization.92

Although, in spite the fact that securitization theory has strived for the reconceptualization of security, security itself, according to the Copenhagen School, should be seen as negative, as a failure to deal with issues of normal politics.93 Thus, Wver is extremely critical framing issues in terms of

Balzacq, Th. (2005), The Three Faces of Securitization: Political Agency, Audience a nd Context, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 171-172.
88

A successful speech act is a combination of language and society, of both intrinsic features of speech and the group that authorizes and recognizes the speech, in Buzan, B. Wver, O. - de Wilde, J. (1998), op. cit., p. 33.
89 90 91

Ibid, p. 33.

Roe, P. (2004), Securitization and Minority Rights: Conditions of Desecuritization, Security Dialogue, vol. 35, no. 3, p. 281. Neuman, I. B. (1998), Identity and the Outbreak of War: Or Why the Copenhagen School of Security Studies Should Include the Idea of Violisation in its Framework of Analysis, International Journal of Peace Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, p. 17.
92 93

Buzan, B. Wver, O. - de Wilde, J. (1998), op. cit., p. 29.

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security94, promoting, on the other hand, a strategy of desecuritization. Indeed, desecuritization, defined as the process by which a political community downgrades or ceases to treat something as an existential threat to a valued referent object, and reduces or stops calling for urgent and exceptional measures to deal with the threat95, is - ceteris paribus the ideal of securitization approach96. Clearly, owing to the fact that security, above all, is a powerful political conceptthat energizes opinion and moves material power97 and that still evokes an image of military defense-related threat perception98, dealing with certain issues, such as environment99 and migration100, through its frame is considered counterproductive. In spite of that, Wver offers three different alternatives to reach desecuritization, namely: initially not to talk about issues in terms of security; subsequently, if an issue is already securitized to keep the responses in forms that do not generate security dilemmas; and finally to move security problem back to normal politics101. Other strategies of desecuritization have also developed from a number of scholars in the field of migration studies, in order to

Floyd, R. (2007), op. cit., p. 330. The preference for desecuritization can be additionally demonstrated owing to the fact that where normal politics is marked by what I might call the three Ds discussion, debate and deliberation by contrast emergency politics [and security] is constituted by the three Ss silence, secrecy and suppression, in Roe, P. (2006), Reconstructing Identities or Managing Minorities? Desecuritizing Minority Rights: A Response to Jutila, Security Dialogue, vol. 37, no. 3, p. 426.
94 95 96 97

Buzan, B. and Wver, O. (2003), op. cit., p. 489. Laustsen, C. B. & Wver, O. (2000), op. cit., p. 708.

Booth, K. (2005b), Introduction to Part 1: Focuses on Security, in Booth, K. (ed.), Critical Security Studies and World Politics, Boulder, Lynne Rienner, p. 23.
98 99

Sheehan, M. (2005), op. cit., p. 54.

Deudney, D. (1990), The Case Against Linking Environmental Degradation and National Security, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 461476. Huysmans, J. (2000), The European Union and the Securitization of Migration, Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 751-777.
100

Wver, O. (2000), The EU as a Security Actor: Reflections from a Pessimistic Constructivist on Post-Sovereign Security Orders, in Kelstrup, M & Williams, M. (eds.), International Relations Theory and the Politics of European Integration: Power, Security, and Community, London, Routledge, p. 253 & Roe, P. (2004), op. cit., p. 284.
101

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challenge the current securitization of migration102, with the most prominent among them Huysmanss deconstructivist strategy103. To sum up, as Roe certifies desecuritization is desirablein terms of its potential efficacy, its greater democratic-ness, [due to] the very impossibility of securitization itself in an uncertain world and for the possibilities it offers for reordering the domestic in a perhaps more just way.104

Notwithstanding, securitization theory, in spite of its popularity and success, evidenced by the number and scope of publications working with it105, has also received a lot of criticisms. Thus, several critics have questioned the theory about: the responsibility of the analyst106, the absence of gender107, the exclusive reliance on language108, the under-theorization of desecuritization109, the exclusive form of the securitizing move110, and its conceptualization of identity, which Copenhagen School recognizes as the referent object of societal security111; indeed, this issue has been one of the

Indeed, with reference to Munck, security has increasingly become the dominant prism through which migration is viewed today. See Munck, R. (2008), Globalisation and Migration: an introduction, Third World Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 7, p. 1231.
102

In accordance with this, then, the policy maker is a story-teller who supposes that, by telling a story in a particular way, he/she contributes to the production and reproduction of the social world; telling a story is considered as an action inside the world which helps to structure it. This strategy builds on the principle that to tell a story is to handle the world, in Huysmans, J. (1995), op. cit., p. 67.
103 104 105

Roe, P. (2004), op. cit., p. 284.

McDonald, M. (2008), Securitization and the Construction of Security, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 14, no. 4, p. 565. Eriksson, J. (1999), Observers or Advocates? : On the Political Role of Security Analysts, Cooperation and Conflict, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 311-330.
106

Hansen, L. (2000), The Little Mermaids Silent Security Dilemma and the Abs ence of Gender in the Copenhagen School, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, vol. 29, no. 9, pp. 285-306.
107 108 109 110 111

Williams, M. C. (2003), op. cit. Floyd, R. (2007), op. cit. McDonald, M. (2008), op. cit.

The Copenhagen School understands the concept of identity in an objectivist way, as a fixed entity; while poststructuralists, like McSweeney, understand it as an active process. For the Copenhagen controversy see McSweeney, B. (1996), op. cit., Buzan, B. & Wver, O. (1997), Slippery? contradictory? sociologically untenable? The Copenhagen school replies,

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most debatable in the theory. Yet, in spite the various disagreements, all seem to acknowledge that securitization is an outstanding distinctive feature112 in the security studies, which, on the word of Taureck, should be seen only as a theoretical tool of analysis with which the analyst can trace incidences of securitization and desecuritization.113

Identity/Difference concept
The importance of identity in the field of security and foreign policy has been in the centre of the attention of a number of critical scholars, albeit its absence from the modern concept of security114. Furthermore, they have maintained that identity should be approached from a deconstructionist, sociological angle, which focuses on the processes and practices by which people and groups construct their self image.115 Thus, according to Campbell, deconstructive thought is the concept of the performative constitution of identity, which functions within discourse, but in so doing, it transgresses and erases the discursive/extra discursive distinction.116 Besides, identities

Review of International Studies, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 241-250, McSweeney, B. (1998), op. cit., & Williams, M. C. (1998a), Modernity, identity and security: a comment on the Copenhagen controversy, Review of International Studies, vol. 24, no.3, pp. 435-439. 112 Knudsen, O. (2001), Post-Copenhagen Security Studies: Desecuritizing Securitization, Security Dialogue, vol. 32, no. 3, p. 358. Taureck, R. (2006), Securitization theory and securitization studies, Journal of International Relations and Development, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 55.
113

The apparent absence of a concern with identity in conceptions of security needs to be understood in fact as an historical legacy of a conscious attempt to exclude identity concerns from the political realm, or as what might be called a negative identity practice[which] saw [identity] as perhaps the primary source of violence and insecurity[and tried] to marginalize [it], in Williams, M. C. (1998b), Identity and the Politics of Security, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 4, no. 2, p. 205.
114

McSweeney, B. (1996), op. cit., p. 82. Thus, according to Butler, [t]he deconstruction of identity is not the deconstruction of politics; rather, it establishes as political the very terms through which identity is articulated, in Butler, J. ( 1999), Gender Trouble, revised edition, London, Routledge, p. 189.
115

Campbell, D. (1998b), National Deconstruction: Violence, Identity, and Justice in Bosnia , Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, pp. 24-25. In fact, according to Mendieta, an identity is not a prius, object or substratum, or essential substance. It is a social locus, and a social locus is an imagined and imaginary topos, in Mendieta, E. (2003), Afterword:
116

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are always constituted in relationship with difference, through practices of differentiation that distinguish identity in whose name they operate from counter-identities.117 Indeed, the discursive dependence of identity to difference118, in order to define itself, and the threat that the latter represent, shape the paradox of difference119, which applies also to the formation of the identity of other imaginary entities, such as the state or the nation120. Consequently, owing to the notion that identity is achieved through the inscription of boundaries that serve to demarcate an inside from an outside, a self from an other, a domestic from a foreign,121 states security is bound into a dependent relation with insecurity... [and] must continue to produce images of insecurity in order to retain its meaning.122

This relationship between security and insecurity finds its primary application to the states sovereignty123, opposed to the perceived

Identities Postcolonial and Global, in Martin Alcoff, L. & Mendieta E. (eds .), Identities: Race, Class, Gender, and Nationality, Oxford, Blackwell, p. 408. 117 Rumelili, B. (2004), Constructing identity and relating to difference: u nderstanding the EUs mode of differentiation, Review of International Studies, vol. 30, no. 1, p. 31. 118 Besides, on the word of Jackson, language has a binary structure such that almost every noun, adjective and verb has its direct opposite, in Jackson, R. (2005a), op. cit. p. 21. Indeed, Connolly claims that there is a double relation of interdependence and strife between identity and difference, which constitutes the paradox of difference, in Connolly, W. E. (1991), Identity /Difference: Democratic Negotiations of Political Paradox, Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, pp. 646. 120 Identities connected to ethnic groups, nations and civilizations are neither fixed givens nor are they totally fluid. They are always partially under construction, especially regarding security threats, in Faist, Th. (2002), Extention du domaine de la lutte: International Migration and Security before and after September 11, 2001, International Migration Review, vol. 36, no. 1, p. 11.
119

Campbell, D. (1998a), op. cit., p. 9. Indeed, with reference to Connolly, identity requires difference in order to be, and it converts difference into otherness in order to secure its own self-certainty, in Connolly, W. E. (1991), op. cit., p. 64.
121

Burke, A. (2002), Aporias of Security, Alternatives, vol. 27, no. 1, p. 20. This is, what Stern names the paradox of (in)security; namely the situation that when people attempt to protect themselves and to create a sense of security, they also produce danger, fear and harm, in Stern, M. (2006), op. cit., pp. 187-188.
122

The most important expression of these understandings, indeed the crucial modern political articulation of all spatiotemporal relations, is the principle of state sovereignty, in Walker, R. B. J. (1993), Inside/outside: international relations as political theory, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p. 6. Besides, the principle of state sovereignty has constituted itself historically as a powerful answer to the questions of political identity; it divides the
123

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international anarchy, and also to states foreign and security policies. Thus, states by securing their identities engage in boundary-producing political performances that construct the external realm as different, inferior, and threatening124. Indeed, a state identity is secured through discourses of danger125, namely discourses of politics [which] frame prevailing notions of political community, possible subjects of security, and relations between (sovereign) self and other in times of perceived threat and danger. 126 In this sense, states define everything different from its identity as forms of otherness, not only to its external world, but also to its internal 127. However, states identity, seen as discursive construction, must be in a process of constant reproduction, defined along the lines of insecurity. Thus, states enunciation of threat is integral to its existence, or, as Campbell stated, is its condition of possibility.128 Consequently, both foreign129 and security policies should not be seen only as responses to possible threats to a state, but also in a sense the practice of statecraft itself.130

Therefore, several researches have demonstrated the processes through states, and nations in general, have discursively constructed and generated their
world into a clear inside and a clear outside, and it tells us who we are by pointing out what we are not and what to fear, in Hansen, K. (1997), op. cit., p. 374. 124 Rumelili, B. (2004), op. cit., p. 35.
125 126 127

Campbell, D. (1998a), op. cit., p. 50. Stern, M. (2006), op. cit., p. 188.

This evokes the notion of double exclusion, in relation to which domestic discontinuities from the dominant discourse are managed as external threats and are excluded from the internal realm, so as to the inscription of domestic society to appear unproblematic, in Campbell, D. (1998a), op. cit., p. 63 . Besides, this is correlated with the notion of strangers (the sociologically marginal), who on the words of Neumann, play an important role in collective identity formation inasmuch as their very presence brings the question of who is self and who is other to the fore, in Neumann, I. B. (1996), op. cit., p. 147. 128 Campbell, D. (1998a), op. cit., p. 13. Actually, for a state to end its practices for representation would be to expose its lack o prediscursive foundations; stasis would be death, Ibid, p. 12. The relationship between identity and foreign policy in a mutually constitutive way has been at the centre of the poststructuralist research agenda in IR. Thus, foreign policies rely upon representations of identity, but identities are also produced and reproduced through the formulation of foreign policy, in Gadinger, F. (2009), op. cit., p. 13.
129 130

Sheehan, M. (2005), op. cit., p. 142.

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national identities, whilst they have been designating threatening others. Indeed, Bhatia argues that the key to understand the colonisation period are the discourses used by the Europeans to separate them from the indigenous populations, and thus to legitimize their civilizing intervention131. In the same way, McDougall describes the attitude of Europeans towards Algeria, claiming that one of the ways that they promoted their imperialism has been the delegitimization of the natives to savages132. Furthermore, Neumann demonstrates the historical and cultural circumstances under which Europe created a number of others, such as the Turk133 or the Russian. Actually, on his words, a variety of others have been and are instrumental in the process of forging European identity, up to this day134.

Besides, a number of authors examining the cold war period have shown the use of the Soviet Union as other by the United States135. Indeed, it is rather acknowledged nowadays, that the Cold War was only partly about the superpower confrontation [and] it was also a mode of [American] hegemony [which] constructed a geopolitical order in terms of us and them, friend and foe.136 Thus, Campbell, after the assessment of the strategies and texts of the post-war American foreign policy, concluded that

Bhatia, M. V. (2005), op. cit., p. 12. Besides, according to Fierke, anotherrole of difference [as opposing the identity, is] in constructing hierarchy and the legitimacy of intervention, in Fierke, K. M. (2007), Critical Approaches to International Security, Cambridge, Polity Press, p. 77. 132 McDougall, J. (2005), Savage wars? Codes of violence in Algeria, 1830s - 1990s, Third World Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1, 117-131.
131

In fact, as Neumann asserts the dominant other in the history of the European state system remains the Turk, in Neumann, I. B. (1999), Uses of the Other: The East in European Identity Formation, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, p. 39.
133 134 135

Ibid.

Dalby, S. (1988), Geopolitical Discourse: The Soviet Union As Other, Alternatives, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 415-442, Nathanson, Ch. E. (1988),The Social Construction of the Soviet Threat: A Study in the Politics of Representation, Alternatives, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 443- 483 & Weldes, J. (1996), Constructing National Interests, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 275-318. 136 Dalby, S. (1997), Contesting an Essential Concept: Reading the Dilemmas in Contemporary Security Discourse, in Krause, K. & Williams, M. C. (eds.), Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases, London, UCL Press, p. 19.

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the cold war was an important moment in the (re)production of American identity and a pervasive historical configuration of the discursiv e economy of identity/difference relationship137. Besides, through the inspection of certain instances in the history of the USA, he argued that America constitutes the imagined community par excellence, something that makes it peculiarly dependent on representational practices for its being.138 This dependency has prompted the USA to find a replacement, in the threat deficit139 created, after the demise of the USSR. Thus, several attempts have been made throughout the years to fill this gap in the US narrative of self as constituted in opposition to one major other140 with the war on drugs, Japan, China, Iraq, the clash of civilizations and rogue states141 temporarily occupying it. During the Bush administration, obviously, this gap had been occupied by the war on terror142, which was characterized as a return of the past and was distinguished by a willingness to draw [over again] the

137 138

Campbell, D. (1998a), op. cit., p. 168 & 196.

Ibid, p. 91. However, Neumann claims that Campbell overstates the case by insisting on its uniqueness. Detailed work along the ethnographical path has shown how human collectives are not more or less real for being imagined, and for sustaining themselves by means of narratives of selves which involve the whole gamut of metaphor: they all do. In the light of this, it makes little sense to insist that the United States should be more imagined than other collectives, in Neumann, I. B. (1996), op. cit., p. 158.
139 140 141

Buzan, B. (2006), op. cit., p. 1101. Neumann, I. B. (1996), op. cit., p. 158.

Noam Chomsky has asserted that, in the logic of US governments, rogue states are those that do not obey the rules set by the powerful in the international system - hence their rules - the rules of the US. Rogues are thus those states that the US define as such. The rogue discourse is the discourse of the powerful, Korf, B. (2006), Who is the rogue? Discourse, power and spatial politics in post-war Sri Lanka, Political Geography, vol. 25, no. 3, p. 280. 142 At the end of the Cold War the United States lost the Soviet Empire but did not find a role. It did when the post-Cold War collided with the future on 9/11 and became the war against terrorism, in Booth, K. & Dunne, T. (2002), Worlds in Collision, in Booth, K. & Dunne, T. (eds.), Worlds in Collision: Terror and the Future of Global Order, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, p. 19.

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lines of superiority/inferiority between us and them143, between civilized and savages144.

Consequently, the identity/difference conception has been crucial in the unveiling of the structure of security, defined as a performative discourse constitutive of political order145 and in a dependent and antagonistic relation to insecurity, signified as difference146. Nonetheless, some argue that identity can be defined towards difference not necessarily through the logic of otherness, meaning not in an antagonistic relationship147. All things considered, the concept of identity has been important portraying that the role of discourse of security has been to construct notions of us and them, of inside and outside in ways that have presented as natural148.

Specifying similarities and differences


After the depiction of both these theories it is possible to identify a number of similarities in the way they understand security. Thus, both theories emphasize the performative and discursive nature of security. Actually, identities and securitizationsexist in an interdependent relationship in the

Campbell, D. (2002), Time Is Broken: The Return of the Past in the Response to September 11, Theory and Event, vol. 5, no. 4, available at http://muse.edu.jhu/journals/theory_and_event/v005/5.4campbell.html. 144 After the tragedy of 9/11, however, terrorism was proclaimed the new savagery threatening Americas empire of democracy, in Ivie, R. L. (2005), Savagery in democracys empire, Third World Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1, p. 55. 145 Campbell, D. (1998a), op. cit., p. 199.
143

The unity of the self results from the dynamics of negation. Because objects and other persons are forms of negation, the stuff against which the self establishes coherence, the human subject develops as a result of an "ontological rift," a striving to resist being absorbed by otherness,, in Shapiro, M. J. (1997), Violent cartographies: mapping cultures of war, London, University of Minnesota Press, p. 41. 147Fierke, K. M. (2007), op. cit., pp. 78-79. See also Milliken, J. (1999b), Intervention and Identity: Reconstructing the West in Korea, in Weldes, J. - Laffey, M. - Gusterson, H. Duvall, R. (eds.), Cultures of Insecurity: States, Communities, and the Production of Danger, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, pp. 91-117. 148 Smith, S. (2005), op, cit., p. 49.
146

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security narratives, according to Sheehan149. Furthermore, they display how images of threat and danger whether or not fit realityget inscribed into existing discourses/scripts and hence into patterns of understanding and legitimation.150 In addition, they both think of security as a negative situation, which incorporates the trace of insecurity in the very articulation ofitself.151 As a matter of fact, Wver maintains that insecurity is largely a product of security discourses and security policy.152 Besides, the common denominator of these two theories is that it focuses on identity formation and self/other relations in terms of the clash of different discursive practices.153 As a consequence, several scholars have argued that the securitization in face of identity ends up in an us against them logic, thus equated with the identity/difference relationship154. Therefore, Bigo also claims that by securitizing societal issues, the security discourses insecuritize the audience they address, in a dual process of (in)securitization155. Moreover, in both theories can be traced despite the explicit disavowalsome kind of emancipatory impulse.156 Likewise, a number of authors argue for the idea of fostering an ethos of critique157, which destabilizes the dominant narratives and gives voice to the marginalized ones.

149 150

Sheehan, M. (2005), op. cit., p. 142.

Guzzini, S. (2004), The Cold War is what we make of it: When peace research meets constructivism in International Relations, in Guzzini, S. & Jung, D. (eds.), Contemporary security analysis and Copenhagen peace research, London, New York, Routledge, p. 49. 151 Dillon, M. (1995), Security, Philosophy and Politics, in Featherstone, M. Lash, S. Robertson, R. (eds.), Global Modernities, London, Sage, p. 162.
152 153 154

Wver, O. (2004), op. cit., p. 11. Neumann, I. B. (1996), op. cit., p. 162.

Williams, M. C. (2003), op. cit., p. 5 19. See also Huysmans, J. (1998b), The Question of the Limit: Desecuritization and the Aesthetics of Horror in Political Realism, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, vol. 27, no. 3, p. 570. Bigo, D. (1995), Grands dbats dans un petit monde. Les dbats en relations internationals et leur lien avec le monde de la scurit [Great Debates in a Little World : Debates in International Relations and Their Link with the World of Security], Cultures & Conflits, vol. 1920, pp. 748.
155

Wyn Jones, R. (2005), On Emancipation: Necessity, Capacity, and Concrete Utopias, in Booth, K. (ed.), Critical Security Studies and World Politics, Boulder, Lynne Rienner, p. 218 157 Mutimer, D. (2007), op. cit., p. 70.
156

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Nonetheless, there are certain features that differentiate the two approaches. In fact, the acceptance by the Copenhagen School of certain realist features, such as the greater capability of state elites to securitize158, distinguish it from the non-state focus of the other theories of CSS. Additionally, the specific discursive formation of the securitizing move prevents the widening of security in favour of a state-centric direction. Moreover, the conceptualization of identity - the referent object of societal security - as objectified and sedimented is in great opposition with the fluid and always under construction perception of the poststructuralist viewpoints. On top of, the focus of securitization approach on speech act, according to some, downplays the importance of contextual factors, such as the identity politics159. What is more, the Copenhagen School itself has refuted the associations with the critical security studies, admitting that the state remains the central point of the security concept160. On the other hand, the necessity regarding the state to constantly reaffirm its identity through narratives of security/insecurity indicates that, according to the poststructural

perspectives, desecuritization can never really happen.161

Nevertheless, and despite of the several differentiations, the two theories arrive at similar understandings of the modern form of security as an intricate part of the practises of the sovereign state162 and highlight the

As Wver argues, security is articulated only from a specific place, in an institutional voice, by elites , in Wver, O. (1995), Securitization and Desecuritization, in Lipschutz, R. D. (ed.), On Security, New York, Columbia University Press, p. 54. Besides, on the words of McDonald, the focus only on dominant voices and their designation of security and threat is normatively problematic, contributing to the silencing of marginal voices and ignoring the ways in which such actors have attempted precisely to contest these security constructions, in McDonald, M. (2008), op. cit., p. 574. 159 McDonald, M. (2008), op. cit., p. 571.
158

Wver, O. (1995), Securitization and Desecuritization, in Lipschutz, R. D. (ed.), On Security, New York, Columbia University Press, pp. 46-86.
160

Behnke, A. (2006), No way out: desecuritization, emancipation and the eternal return of the political a reply to Aradau, Journal of International Relations and Development, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 65. 162 Hansen, L. (1997), op. cit., p. 378.
161

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constructed, intersubjective character of the concept . and hence also of the modus operandi of security politics.163

3.0 Social Construction of Terrorism Debating the definitional conundrum of terrorism


Terrorism has been one of the most abstract and controversial phenomenon in the political sciences164, owing, at first, to the profound absence of the necessary consensus to define it. Indeed, the ineffectual quest for a definition, which has been ongoing more than 30 years165, has triggered some to name it as a clich in search of a meaning166 or as a semantic, terminological, and conceptual minefield167. In truth, the opinions of the various scholars are so diverse that terrorism through the years has classified either as a technique168, a tactic169, a weapon-system170, a method to achieve an end171, a strategy of action in a conflict situation172, a form of identitarian conflict173, the

Neumann, I. B. (1998), Identity and the Outbreak of War: Or Why the Copenhagen School of Security Studies Should Include the Idea of Violisation in its Framework of Analysis, International Journal of Peace Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, p. 18.
163

Schmid, A. P. (1983), Political Terror: A Research Guide to Concepts, Theories, Data Bases and Literature, New Brunswick, Transaction Books, p. 110. 165 Weinberg, L. Pedazhur, A. Hirsch-Hoefler, S. (2004), The Challenges of Conceptualizing Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 16, no. 4, p. 778. 166 Cited in Kennedy, R. (1999), Is one persons terrorist anothers freedom fighter? Western and Islamic approaches to just war compared, Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 11, no. 1, p. 4.
164

Duyvesteyn, I. (2004), How New Is The New Terrorism?, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, September 2004, vol. 27, no. 5, p. 440.
167

Chaliand, G. & Blin, A. (2007), Introduction, in Chaliand, G. & Blin, A. (eds.), The history of terrorism: from antiquity to al Qaeda, London, University of California Press, p. 5.
168

Richardson, L. (2006), What terrorists want: Understanding the terrorist threat , New York, Random House, p. xxii. 170 Wilkinson, P. (2006), Terrorism versus democracy: the liberal state response , 2nd edition, London and New York, Routledge, p. 3.
169 171 172 173

Jones, D. M. & Smith, M. L. R. (2009), op. cit., p. 300 Stohl, M. (2008a), op. cit., p. 4.

Deshpande, A. (2003), Modernity, Terrorism and the Masquerade of Conflict, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 38, no. 14, p. 1372.

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peacetime equivalent of war crimes174, or even as a warfare175. Besides, according to some, the term has become so widely used in so many contexts as to become almost meaningless176 or analytically useless177, something that has as a consequence that its now commonly used simply to stigmatize any individual or group one doesnt like, for almost any kind of behaviour involving force.178 Furthermore, terrorism has frequently characterized as an essential contested concept, namely a concept that essentially involves disputes about their proper use on the part of their users.179 In view of that, a number of academics has claimed that the pursuit for a common definition is fruitless and should be abandoned180, since it is possible for research community to remain active indefinitely without ever producing meaningful explanatory results.181 On the other hand, there are several scholars arguing that the definitional problem should not become an obsession, given that the most disciplines are engaged in never-ending debates over their fundamental values and theories182. The major challenge for them is to understand the real nature of terrorism, without necessarily to achieve defining it183. Besides, others are even more disapproving in finding a common definition, which will simplify a considerably complex phenomenon184, putting different kinds
Schmid, A. P. (2004), Frameworks for Conceptualising Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 16, no. 2, p. 203.
174

Silke, A. (1996), Terrorism and the Blind Mens Elephant, Terrorrism and Political Violence, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 12-28. 176 Richardson, L. (1999), Terrorists as transnational actors, Terrorism and Political Violence , vol. 11, no. 4, p. 209. 177 Duyvesteyn, I. (2004), op. cit., p. 440.
175

Blum, W. (2005), Myth & Denial in the War against Terrorism, in Malik, A. A. (ed.), With God on Our Side: Politics & Theology of the War on Terrorism , Bristol, Amal Press, p. 108.
178

Connolly, W. E. (1993), The Terms of Political Discourse, 3rd edition, Princeton, Princeton University Press, p.10. 180 Laqueur, W. (1999), The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction, New York, Oxford University Press. 181 Silke, A. (2001), The Devil You Know: Continuing Problems with Research on Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 13, no. 4, p. 2. 182 Zulaika, J. & Douglas, W. A. (2008), op. cit., p. 28.
179

Stohl, M. (2006), Winners and Losers in the War on Terror, Paper presented at the 47th Annual International Studies Association Convention, San Diego , 22 March 2006 , available at http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p99962_index.html, p. 7. 184 Tololyan, K. (1987), op. cit., p. 217.
183

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of terrorism under an inclusive and problematic label185, or even marginalize alternative points of view186. Likewise, Booth claims that that the big debates taking place in the study of terrorism do not represent a weakness, but rather a sign of life.187

Another reason for the definitional chaos that exists around the term is the absence of an accepted international designation, due to the inadequate consensus between the states. In effect, the United Nations General Assembly debate on terrorism on 1972 undoubtedly demonstrated the lack of cooperation and common will between the states to reach an agreement; these were depicted in the dispute over the notions of freedom fighters and terrorists188. Besides, the disagreement for the status of the liberation struggles still remains vibrant, if someone takes into consideration the recent Kuala Lumpur Declaration on International Terrorism (2002) by the Organisation of Islamic Conference, which restates the right of legitimate struggle for national liberation or self-determination against colonialism and foreign occupation189. Therefore, the existing twelve global conventions and the several regional treaties do not define or refer to the terms terrorism or terrorist, but are sectoral; to be precise, they only define particular crimes as terrorist attacks, such as hostage taking or hijacking 190. Indeed, the absence of an agreed definition and the case-specific current treaties have as a consequence that internationally the term of terrorism has no legal significance.191 In spite of the definition deficit in the international arena,

Grob-Fitzgibbon, B. (2005), What is Terrorism? Redefining a Phenomenon in Time of War, Peace & Change, vol. 30, no. 2, p. 237. 186 Horgan, J. & Boyle, M. J. (2008), op. cit., p. 57.
185 187 188

Booth, K. (2008), op. cit., p. 67.

Sproat, P. A. (1991), Can the state be terrorist?, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, vol. 14, no. 1, p. 20. 189 Bowden, B. (2009), op. cit., p. 5. Saul, R. (2005), Attempts to Define Terrorism in International Law, Netherlands International Law Review, vol. 52, no. 1, p. 58. 191 Whittaker, D. J. (2007), The Terrorism Reader, 3rd edition, London and New York, Routledge, pp. 290-291.
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there are plenty of terrorisms definitions, even in each state, incorporated in the various antiterrorist laws and national legislations, and also in the foundational statements of the different states agencies. However, the occurred diversity of formal definitions, even between the agencies of one state is remarkable. Thus, albeit the common features that the most formal definitions share192, there is a tendency in every agency to employ a definition that reflects its own priorities and parameters.193 Moreover, this thorny situation has been even more complicated by the observed expansion of the definition of terrorism after the 9/11 in USA and EU, which brought a whole array of unrelated issues under a terrorist characterization194.

In addition to that, there are a number of other reasons as well which hinder an agreement on a definition. At first, terrorism is habitually used to describe a range of different forms of violence, from common crimes to other forms of political violence, such as guerrilla warfare and freedom fighting. The differentiation of terrorism from the last two types of political violence has been a major hindrance, given that has been the main point of dissent in the international fora and that terrorism has been integral to many conflicts, where insurgents, freedom fighters or terrorists use to employ sometimes the same tactics195. However, terrorism and freedom fighting refer to disparate things, as terrorism refers to a method of struggle and freedom fighting to a cause; subsequently handling the two terms as mutually exclusive is a logical fallacy, whereas a person or a group can be both196. What is more,
Martin, G. (2006), Understanding terrorism: challenges, perspectives, and issues, 2nd edition, London, Sage, p. 47.
192

Bowden, B. (2009), op. cit., p. 4. See also Dunn, E. W. Moore, M. Nosek, B. A. (2005), The War of the Words: How linguistic Differences in Reporting Shape Perceptions of Terrorism, Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 67-86. 194 Fekete, L. (2004), Anti-Muslim Racism and the European Security State, Race &Class, vol. 46, no. 1, p. 6. 195 Stepanova, E. (2008), op. cit., p. 1.
193

In other words, some insurgent groups are both terrorists and freedom fighters, some are either one or the other, and some are neither, , in Merari, A. (2007), Terrorism as a Strategy of Insurgency, in Chaliand, G. & Blin, A. (eds.), The history of terrorism: from antiquity to al Qaeda, London, University of California Press, p. 27.
196

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nowadays can be noticed a stretching of the term, in order to include disparate phenomena, which may not even involve the use or threat of violence, such as cyber-terrorism197. Moreover, the use of the word in the most of the cases as a disapproving label or as something that ones enemies only commit is another decisive impediment198. Apart from this, if only someone combines also the (ab)use of the term by contemporary mass media and other powerful actors, especially during the period of the war on terrorism, can understand the convoluted nature of the problem. Indeed, in the present era that, on the words of Der Derian, has now been defined by terrorism199, the latter can be realized as the Foucaultian pistm of our times200, a meta-issue201, an influential cultural phenomenon and also as a powerful signifier202.

In fact, its fundamentally and inherently political203 nature along with the discursive construction of reality and security, as I have already contended, determine the social constructed nature of terrorism as well. Besides, as stated by Schmid and Jongman, the nature of terrorism is not inherent in the
Weinberg, L. Pedazhur, A. Hirsch-Hoefler, S. (2004), op. cit., p. 779. Indeed, according to Hoffman, virtually any especially abhorrent act of violence that is perceived as directed against society ... is often labelled terrorism, cited in Grob-Fitzgibbon, B. (2005), op. cit., p. 235.
197

The danger inherent in the normative definition is that it verges on the polemical. If terrorist is what one calls ones opponent (regardless of whether or not ones friend is a freedom fighter), then the word is more of an epithet or a debating stratagem than a label that enables all who read it, whatever their ideological affiliation, to know what terrorism is and what is not, in Crenshaw, M. (1983), Introduction: Reflections on the Effects of Terrorism, in Crenshaw, M. (ed.), Terrorism, Legitimacy, and Power: The consequences of Political Violence, Middletown, Connecticut, Wesleyan University Press, p. 2. 199 Der Derian, J. (2005), Imaging terror: logos, pathos and ethos, Third World Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1, p. 26. 200 Indeed, as Zulaika and Douglas claim, terrori sm has become the epistemological gatekeeper that determines which ideas are allowed currency and what sciences may be constituted, in Zulaika, J. & Douglas, W. A. (2008), op. cit., p. 29. 201 In the sense that is often regarded as a phenomenon that can be the cause of many problems, a symbol of threat and danger in the appliance of meta-politics. See Faist, Th. (2002), op. cit., p. 12.
198

Breen Smyth, M. Gunning, J. Jackson, R. Kassimeris, G. Robinson, P. (2008), op. cit., p. 1. 203 Hoffman, B. (2006), Inside terrorism, Revised and expanded edition, New York, Columbia University Press, p. 2.
202

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violent act itself[thus] one and the same actcan be terrorist or not, depending on intention and circumstance.204 Therefore, terrorism is a social fact decided through symbolic labelling, social agreement

andintersubjective practices205. Likewise, terrorism is produced and reproduced through terrorism discourse, meaning that different discourses formulate different definitions of terrorism206; something that Burke successfully named the radical instability of the unifying master -terms of [the] field: terror and terrorism.207 Actually, that can be clearly demonstrated through a genealogical exploration of the notion over the past two hundred years, during which the notion changed radically from the regime of terror of the French Revolution and the revolutionary movements in the end of the 19th century, to the positive concept of the liberation struggles and the sub-state terrorism of today. That is why, Hoffman maintained that as the meaning and usage of the word have changed over time to accommodate the political vernacular and discourse of each successive era, terrorism has proved increasingly elusive to define. 208 In this sense, terrorism is a creature of its own time and place 209, bound with the social, cultural and political context in which is generated210.

Notwithstanding, after that critical reflection of the debate of the designation of terrorism, I have to propose a working definition, in order to promote further the causes of this essay. Thus, taking into consideration the

Schmid, A. & Jongman, A. (1988), Political Terrorism: A New Guide to Actors, Authors, Concepts, Databases, Theories and Literature, Oxford: North Holland, p. 101. 205 Jackson, R. (2009), op. cit., p. 172.
204

Hlsse, R. & Spencer, A. (2008), The Metaphor of Terror: Terrorism Studies and the Constructivist Turn, Security Dialogue, vol. 39, no. 6, p. 571. 207 Burke, A. (2008), The end of terrorism studies, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 38. 208 Hoffman, B. (2006), op. cit., p. 20.
206

Oliverio, A. & Lauderdale, P. (2005), Terrorism as Deviance or Social Control: Suggestions for Future Research, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, vol. 46, no. 1-2, p. 164. 210 Like all political phenomena, terrorism is defined by the duality between professed ideas and their implementation. And, like all political phenomena, terrorism exists only in a cultural and historical context, in Chaliand, G. & Blin, A. (2007), op. cit., p. 6.
209

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importance of a definition, in view of its political, legal and social value211; the well-known survey of Schmid & Jongman, which after the examination of 109 definitions displayed that violence (83%), political (65%), fear/terror (51%) and victim target differentiation (37.5% - implied also by fear212) are the most recognized features of terrorism213; that terrorism is a method which can be adopted in pursue of a limitless array of purposes and by state and non-state actors equally214, thus dismissing an actor-based definition of terrorism and advocating a definition in terms of the means, and not the ends that are followed215; and that a definition should be human-centered, in order to identify as terrorist the practices who engender casualties, and not those who defined as such by political procedures216; I follow Herrings definition, which articulates terrorism as [the] actual or threatened use of violence against civilians with the aim of creating fear among other civilians as a means of achieving political goals217.

The politics of naming


After presenting the definitional quagmire of terrorism, it is evident that, according to Richardson, the only universally understood connotation of the

211 212 213 214

Sproat, P. A. (1991), op. cit., p. 20. Toros, H. (2008), op. cit., p. 409. Schmid, A. & Jongman, A. (1988), op. cit., pp. 5-6.

Properly understood, terror is a strategy, not a creed. Terrorists range across a wide spectrum of organizations, circumstances and beliefs. Terrorism is not a single causally coherent phenomenon. No social scientist can speak responsibly as though it were, in Tilly, Ch. (2004), Terror, Terrorism, Terrorists, Sociological Theory, vol. 22, no. 1, Theories of Terrorism: A Symposium, p. 5. 215 Jackson, R. (2008), op. cit., p. 383 & Jones, D. M. & Smith, M. L. R. (2009), op. cit., 300. 216 Bar-On, T. & Goldstein, H. (2005), Fighting Violence: A Critique of the War On Terrorism, International Politics, vol. 42, no. 2, p. 238. In fact, the identification of a group by the State Department as terrorist is often driven by arbitrary political influences, with the inclusion of three Basque groups (Batasuna, Euskal Herritarrok and Herri Batasuna) and of a little known separatist group in Xinjiang province apparently traded for Spains support for and Chinas acquiescence in the war in Iraq, respectively, in Bhatia, M. V. (2005), op. cit., p. 16. See also Stohl, M. (2008a), op. cit., p. 8. 217 Herring, E. (2008), op. cit., p. 203.

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term is that it is pejorative.218 Besides, one of the reasons the latter is still elusive, as I have already mentioned, is its indiscriminate use against any politically motivated violence of which we disapprove; in fact, the words terrorism and terrorist are not terms of scientific classification[but] they are imprecise and emotive.219 Thus, in this sense terrorism is recognized, as indicated by Chomsky, as the weapon of those who are against us whoever us happens to be.220 In accordance with that, it is frequently observed that researchers use to define as terrorist only groups that are opposed to Western interests221, as well as states use to acknowledge as terrorist attacks only those committed against them, even if sometimes they do not fall into their own definitions222, or those in which their citizens are between the victims223. Moreover, since terrorism is socially constructed through dominant discourses, has as its ultimate function a general process of

delegitimization.224 Actually, today terrorism, especially after 9/11, has become a negative ideograph of Western identity225, participating in this way in the process of othering226 in which terrorist is identified with the evil other; the wild man of our contemporary era227. As a consequence, terrorism can be seen as a fundamentally delegitimizing concept, exploited to

218 219

Richardson, L. (1999), op. cit., p. 209.

OBrien, C. C. (1983), Terrorism under Democratic Conditions: The Case of IRA, in Crenshaw, M. (ed.), Terrorism, Legitimacy, and Power: The consequences of Political Violence, Middletown, Connecticut, Wesleyan University Press, p. 91, authors emphasis. 220 Chomsky, N. (2001), The New War Against Terror, Transcribed from audio recorded at The Technology & Culture Forum at MIT on October 18, 2001, The Human Nature Review, vol. 1, available at http://human-nature.com/nibbs/01/chomsky.html, p. 43. 221 Jackson, R. (2009), op. cit., p. 173. 222 Dunn, E. W. Moore, M. Nosek, B. A. (2005), op. cit., pp. 68-69. Nacos, B. L. (2007), Mass-mediated Terrorism: The Central Role of the Media in Terrorism and Counterterrorism, New York, Rowman & Littlefield, p. 103. 224 Butko, T. J. (2009), Four Perspectives on Terrorism: Where they Stand Depends on Where you Sit, Political Studies Review, vol. 7, no. , pp. 190-191. 225 Breen Smyth, M. Gunning, J. Jackson, R. Kassimeris, G. Robinson, P. (2008), op. cit., p. 2. 226 At another level, terrorism reinforces stereotypes and justifies negative images of the other, thus undermining the very possibility of nurturing a multicultural polity, in Mahajan, G. (2007), op. cit., p. 321. 227 Mahmood, C. K. (2001), Terrorism, Myth, and the Power of Ethnographic Praxis, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 524-525.
223

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delegitimize too the actor who perpetrates it228. Then again, I don not argue for the non-existence of terrorism or of the people who are taking part to it, but for the manipulation of the term, mainly, from the states, in order to authorize themselves and their actions.

Furthermore, terrorism is commonly performed as a part of a wider political struggle or a strategy integrated into a conflict; without dismissing the existence of groups utilizing it as their single method229. In this sense, it should not be seen as an ideology or a form of politics in itself230, which would assign to the perpetrators a particular identity, as terrorists, and thus relegating them to others. In contrast, the term should be principally acknowledged as a form of violence undertaken to advance or retard any number of causes231. Nevertheless, the label of terrorism has as an initial result to greatly discredit either a group or even a whole struggle for selfdetermination or national liberation, since the deployment of terrorist tactics, by no more than elements of the former or the latter, can be exploited to condemn them232. Thus, through the deployment of a naming strategy states endeavour to prevail over their non-state adversaries, in a dispute over legitimacy and power. In addition, owing to the fact that terrorists through their deeds challenge the monopoly of violence of the state233, they are partaking with the latter in a war of words, in which those accused of

228 229

Herring, E. (2008), op. cit., p. 206.

Terror as a strategy therefore ranges from (1) intermittent actions by members of groups that are engaged in wider political struggles to (2) one segment in the modus operandi of durably organized specialists in coercion, including government-employed and governmentbacked specialists in coercion to (3) the dominant rationale for distinct, committed groups and networks of activists, in Tilly, Ch. (2004), op. cit., p. 6. 230 Jackson, R. (2007a), op. cit., p. 248.
231 232

Weinberg, L. & Eubank, W. (2008), op. cit., p. 186.

Thus, even if certain actors or movements within a conflict do engage in acts of terrorism, the actions of the few are consistently used to characterise the experience, beliefs and intentions of the many, in Bhatia, M. V., op. cit., p. 15. 233 Schmid, A. P. (2004), op. cit., p. 200. Moreover, Martha Crenshaw argues that the power of terrorism is through political legitimacy, winning acceptance in the eyes of a significant population and discrediting the governments legitimacy, Crenshaw, M. (1983), op. cit., p. 23.

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terrorism will respond by labelling their accusers as the real terrorists. 234 In fact, that is noticeable in the self-labelling process of the several groups, where the notion of terrorism is consciously eschewed and several euphemisms are employed, in order to project their aims and image 235. As a consequence, discourse can be seen as a tool for armed movements and a battleground and contested space in contemporary conflicts, when to win means to attain a victory of interpretation and ensure that a particular viewpoint triumphs. 236

Besides, owing to this struggle for discourse dominance there are great effects towards the two enemy sides. First, for a government to achieve tagging its opponents as terrorists verifies its own legitimacy and the illegal nature of the other side, which is constructed as legitimate target of military intervention237. Therefore, denying the legality of a group, because to call ones opponent as a terrorist is regarded as the ultimate condemnation of their political strategy238, has as result to prioritize the need to maintain law and order, to stimulate support for state policy and to rationalize states violence239. Hence, the demonization of the enemy as terrorist dehumanizes him/her as to mitigate responsibility, in the perception of both our forces and our public, of killing them.240 For instance, the characterization of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua as communists during the cold war era, a label that was
234 235 236

Weinberg, L. & Eubank, W. (2008), op. cit., p. 186. Martin, G. (2006), op. cit., pp. 402-403.

Bhatia, M. V. (2005), op. cit., pp. 6-7. In fact , with reference to Richardson, if you pin the label terrorist on your opponent, you have gone a long way toward winning the public relations aspect of any conflict, in Richardson, L. (2006), op. cit., pp. 3-4. Besides, on the word of OBrien, the words imply a judgementabout the political context in which those whom we decide to call terrorists operate, and above all a judgement about the nature of the regime under which and against which they operate. We imply that the regime is legitimate, in OBrien, C. C. (1983), op. cit., p. 91. See also Peteet, J. (2005), op. cit., p. 169. 238 Claridge, D. (1996), State Terrorism? Applying a Definitional Model, Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 8, no. 3, p. 49.
237

Harb, M. & Leenders, R. (2005), Know thy enemy: Hizbullah, terrorism and the politics of perception, Third World Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1, p. 174. 240 Russell, J. (2002b), Mujahedeen, Mafia, Madmen: Russian Perceptions of Chechens During the Wars in Chechnya, 1994-96 and 1999-2001, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, vol. 18, no. 1, p. 76.
239

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associated more than anything with terrorism then241, by the Somoza dictatorship was employed to denounce, delegitimize and destroy organized opposition against its rule242. On the other hand, names have the power to identify certain groups with features, motives and behaviours, either they characterize one group or not243. Thus, a name even though may partly provide truth about an organization; it marginalizes some characteristics, and at the same time highlights those that form the relationship between the two sides as hostile244. For example, simply relegating Hamas and Hezbollah to the status of a terrorist group obstructs the production of real knowledge about them as multifaceted political organizations245. Besides, once an act is categorized as terrorist, predictably the whole group is recognised as terrorist, along with the subsequent acts of the group, either the can classified as such or not246. In this sense, Herring states that the noun terrorist is the most useless word of alldue to its reductionist, essentialising character.247 Furthermore, the description of a group as terrorist can possibly lead to its polarization between moderate and extremist elements, which can provoke in some cases its further radicalisation248. What is more, labelling a group as terrorist may curtail the peace operations between a state and the group, as

In the early 1980s, for example, terrorism came to be regarded as a calculated means to destabilize the West as part of a vast global conspiracy, in Hoffman, B. (2006), op. cit., p. 17. 242 Schroeder, M. J. (2005), Bandits and blanket thi eves, communist and terrorists: the politics of naming Sandinistas in Nicaragua, 1927-36 and 1979-90, Third World Quarterly, vol. 67, no. 1, p. 69.
241 243 244

Bhatia, M. V. (2005), op. cit., p. 8.

In this sense, Mutimer claims that we must recognize that the me taphors with which a security problem is understood will shape the nature of the problem and its solutions, focusing on the aspects that are highlighted and marginalizing or ignoring those that are downplayed or hidden in the metaphors entailment, Mutimer, D. (1997), Reimagining Security: The Metaphors of Proliferation, in Krause, K. & Williams, M. C. (eds.), Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases, London, UCL Press, p. 215. 245 Stohl, M. (2008b). Old myths, new fantasies, and the enduring realities of terrorism, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 10. 246 Toros, H. (2008), op. cit., p. 409.
247 248

Herring, E. (2008), op. cit., pp. 206-207

Russell, J. (2005), Terrorists, bandits, spooks and thieves: Russian demonisation of the Chechens before and since 9/11, Third World Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 106-116.

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the cases of MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front)249 and LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)250 clearly demonstrate; another possible effect is to generate legal and financial problems for the group, on the account of its classification as an FTO (foreign terrorist organization) in the lists of USA and UK, something that can also hinder possible peace negotiations251. All things considered, it is evidently validated that the most of the times the politics of naming instigate the process of naming-isolating-radicalizing, which, with reference to Toros, permanently deteriorates the circumstances of a conflict252.

In order to, understand holistically the situation around the war of discourse between the state and the terrorists, someone has to consider as well the role of contemporary mass media, which by covering [and] transmit[ing] both terrorist and government messages to the audienceare central to terrorism and counter-terrorism as political action.253 Besides, taking into consideration that every act of terrorism is by its very nature an act of communication254, everyone can understand the importance of media in the state-terrorists relationship. Moreover, the evident media-dependent and

objectives255 of terrorists, in conjunction with the soft power256

information warfare257 strategies that both the two sides implement, display the, sometimes referred as, symbiotic relationship of terrorism and the
249 250

Toros, H. (2008), op. cit., p. 420-421.

Nadarajah, S. & Sriskandarajah, D. (2005), Liberation struggle or terrorism? The politics of naming the LTTE, Third World Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1, p. 98. 251 The US Department of State (2005), for example, says that its classification of a group as an FTO stigmatizes and isolates designated terrorist organizations internationally, in Toros, H. (2008), op. cit., p. 411. However, the inability of the UK and US governments to agree on a common list of proscribed terrorist organisations, despite holding very similar definitions of terrorism, speaks to the inherent subjectivity of applying this label in the real world, in Jackson, R. (2007a), p. 248. 252 Toros, H. (2008), op. cit., p. 421.
253 254 255 256

Stohl, M. (2008b). op. cit., p. 7. Cited in Bowden, B. (2009), op. cit., p. 12. Nacos, B. L. (2007), op. cit., p. 20.

Van Ham, P. (2003), War, Lies, and Videotape: Public Diplomacy and the USAs W ar on Terrorism, Security Dialogue, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 427-444. 257 Herd, G. P. (2000), The counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya: Information warfare aspects, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 57-83.

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media258. Furthermore, someone has to appreciate also the media ability to intervene in the social construction of reality, and thus terrorism, through conventional news frames of terrorism259. Indeed, researches have proved that even subtle differences in the language used to describe acts of violence may engender dissimilar understandings of these acts, either as terrorism or patriotism260. In addition, the function of the media after the 9/11 has ominously elevated, in an era described as the Age of Infoterror, in which information became the tool and force-multiplier of anxiety, fear, and hatred261, as well as of dominant discourses of inclusion and exclusion.

State terrorism
At this point, in order to introduce one of the most controversial themes in the area of terrorism studies it is useful to refer to Stohl and his contention of ten myths, which characterize the contemporary knowledge of terrorism and facilitate its state-centric viewpoint. Thus, probably the most important of those, is that political terrorism is exclusively the activity of nongovernmental actors, namely that the state can not commit terrorism262. In fact, the topic of state terrorism is considerably underdeveloped, in
Clearly, terrorism and the media are bound together in an inherently symbiotic relationship, each feeding off and exploiting the other for its own purposeshoweverwhether it actuallyassists terroristsis far more complex and ambiguous than the controversial wisdom on this subject suggests, in Hoffman, B. (2006), op. cit., p. 183.
258

Indeed, conventional news frames of terrorism are important because they furnish consistent, predictable, simple, and powerful narratives that are embedded in the social construction of reality, in Norris, P. Kern, M. Just, M. (2003), Framing Terrorism, in Norris, P. Kern, M. Just, M. (eds.), Framing Terrorism: The News Media, the Government, and the Public, New York, Routledge, p. 5. 260 Dunn, E. W. Moore, M. Nosek, B. A. (2005), op. cit., pp. 82-83.
259

Der Derian, J. (2009), Virtuous War: Mapping the military industrial-media-entertainment network, 2nd edition, London, Routledge, p. 249. 262 Thus, according to Stohl the other nine myths are: all terrorists are madmen, all terrorists are criminals, one persons terrorist is anothers freedom fighter, all insurgent violence is political terrorism, the purpose of terrorism is the production of chaos, governments always oppose non-governmental terrorism, political terrorism is exclusively a problem relating to internal political conditions, the source of contemporary political terrorism may be found in the evil of one or two major actors, and political terrorism is a strategy of futility. Stohl, M. (2008b), op. cit., p. 5.
261

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comparison with that of non-state terrorism263, and despite the general acknowledgements that not only states can terrorize264, but also that historically the use of terror by regimes has been infinitely more lethal than that of non-state groups265. Besides, it seems kind of ironic that although the word terrorism has derived from the French terreur, which was used to describe the Reign of Terror - the revolutionary regime after the French Revolution - , today it is almost identified with sub-state group activity.

As a matter of fact, although it is commonly recognized that states use terror against either their own citizens or abroad266, there is a tendency to differentiate it from the notion of terrorism per se, as legal expression of states privilege to the monopoly of violence or as a distinct phenomenon. Thus, a number of academics claim that the state is determined by the right to use violence267, and that therefore the employment of violence against its citizens should be seen as repression268 or law enforcement269. However, in order a states legal threat or use of violence to be considered as legitimate, the victim must have the opportunity to gain knowledge of the law, that is, [to] have the chance to modify his behaviour in relation to previously publicized legislation.270 As a consequence, not all the states actions qualify as legitimate, precisely when there are strong evidences for breaking the international humanitarian law (torture, genocide), or expand its authority
263 264

Jackson, R. (2008), op. cit., p. 380.

Kurth Cronin, A. (2002), Behind the Curve: Globalization and International Terrorism, International Security, vol. 27, no 3, p. 33. 265 Wilkinson, P. (2006), op. cit., p. 3.
266 267 268

Chaliand, G. & Blin, A. (2007), op. cit., p. 7. Claridge, D. (1996), op. cit., p. 48.

One key for distinguishing terrorism by the state from repression is that with repression individuals in the society have a chance to know the law and thus to avoid violations that would lead to punishment, in Lutz, J. M. and Lutz B. J. (2008), Global Terrorism, 2nd edition, London, Routledge, p. 217. 269 Indeed, according to Sproat, the status of the state is seen as preventing the labelling of its use or threat of violence to deter the breaking of its laws within its area of domestic jurisdiction as terrorism, Sproat, P. A. (1991), op. cit., p. 22.
270

Ibid, p. 24.

41

beyond the limits of its sovereignty. Besides, some scholars maintain that state terror is a totally different phenomenon from the ordinary terrorism and that the actual confusion with it is not only inaccurate, but also problematic. Therefore, most of them prefer using actor-based definitions of terrorism, stating that a means-based definition is not a satisfactory solution271, because it enables the inclusion of state as terrorist. Besides, they argue that the two kinds of violence have to a large extent different aims and means. Therefore, Stepanova claims that terrorism is a tactic of the side that is physically and technically weaker, and also that is deployed in a situation of status asymmetry. Hence, terrorism is always a weapon of the weak (non-state actors) to be employed against the strong (states and groups of states), and not the opposite way around272. On the other hand, Chomsky indicates that terrorism is like other means of violenceprimarily a weapon of the strong273; besides, the history of terrorism would suggest that strong actors use terror far more frequently than weak ones.274 Furthermore, another reason that is perceived to differentiate state terror from terrorism is that the former does not want to publicize its deeds, but conversely wants to suppress their publicity or to keep them under a veil of secrecy 275. On the contrary, it is claimed that although publicity and media are central to the terrorist practice, are not essential276; additionally, even though a state does not publicize its role in the enactment of a practice, it relies on the communication of the threat through word of mouth and rumours for its circulation277. What is more, a number of those that argue for the distinction between the state and non-state terrorism contend that an enclosure of the two under the same term would be problematic. For instance, Silke argues
271 272 273 274 275 276 277

Hoffman, B. (2006), op. cit., p. 25. Stepanova, E. (2008), op. cit., p. 14. Chomsky, N. (2001), op. cit., p. 43. Jackson, R. (2009), op. cit., p. 180. Nacos, B. L. (2007), op. cit., p. 28. Norris, P. Kern, M. Just, M. (2003), op. cit., p. 9. Stohl, M. (2008a), op. cit., p. 5.

42

that it would reject a purely criminal approach to terrorismlocat[ing] [it] in a nebulous area between criminality and politically accepted violence278, while Nacos maintains that to characterize this kind of political violence [state terror]as terrorism would actually minimize the enormity of systematic political violence and mass killings of civilians by those in control of states.279 Additionally, there are a lot of authors that, although they recognize the existence of state terrorism, they avoid to including it in their articles and books; a practice that Sproat entitled as acknowledge but ignore technique280. All things considered, state and non-state terrorism have in difference only that the former is committed by the state and to the benefit of it281, as well as that ironically it is far more lethal than the latter282; as a consequence, the two strategies share more common characteristics than it is regularly perceived.

After examining the theoretical debate around the notion of state terrorism, it would be useful to name its main operational features. Hence, a state can perpetrate or assist terrorist acts both domestically and internationally. Besides, Martin argues that states can have two different kinds of participation in terrorism, which he defines as "state patronage and state assistance. The former, is defined as overtly and directly linked involvement, and the latter as tacitly and indirectly involvement to terrorism283. Hence, domestic state terrorism includes kidnapping

(disappearances)284, torture, extra-judicial killings, and genocide285, by


278 279

Silke, A. (1996), op. cit., p. 22.

Nacos, B. L. (2006), Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Understanding Threats and Responses in the Post-9/11 World, New York, Longman, p. 33. 280 Sproat, P. A. (1996), The Quantitative Results of a Questionnaire on State Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 8, no. 3, p. 72.
281 282 283 284

Claridge, D. (1996), op. cit., p. 52. Herring, E. (2008), op. cit., p. 204. Martin, G. (2006), op. cit., p. 111.

Disappearances have played a decisive and notorious role in the case of Argentina and the final defeat of left-wing terrorist groups, during the military junta, with the death toll ultimately estimated between 10.000 to 30.000 people. See Schiff, F. (1990), Rewriting the

43

either the support of paramilitaries and death squads286 or not. Besides, according to Amnesty International the main forms of state terror are: arbitrary detention, unfair, trial, torture, and political murder or extrajudicial execution287. On the other hand, international state terrorism includes state sponsored terrorism288 or surrogate terrorism289, and in general the overt or covert execution or assistance of the actions that have described above as domestic state terrorism, in the international, though, level. Besides, Richardson has identified a continuum of the relationship between a sponsoring state and a terrorist organization, where in the one end a state determine the murder of dissidents, and at the other end it wholly supports financially an organization, as its interests are identified with those of the latter290. Besides, counterterrorism can potentially fall into the category of state terrorism291, when it fails to distinguish between the innocent and the

dirty war: State terrorism reinterpreted by the press in Argentina during the transition to democracy, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 311-328 & Richardson, L. (2006), op. cit., p. 182. 285 Although genocide is considered the most extreme form of state terrorism precisely because it offers the victim no hope at all of survival ( cited in Sproat, P. A. (1996), op. cit., p. 76), other argue that cannot classified as terrorism because the intention is not to instil fear in others but merely to destroy a target group, in Sproat , P. A. (1991), op. cit., p. 24. For the role of death squads and their employment from the state see Woodworth, P. (2004), The war against terrorism: the Spanish experience from ETA to al -Qaeda, International Journal of Iberian Studies, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 169-182 & Schroeder, M. J. (2005), Bandits and blanket thieves, communist and terrorists: the politics of namin g Sandinistas in Nicaragua, 1927-36 and 1979-90, Third World Quarterly, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 67-86. 287 Cited in Sluka, J. A. (2008), An Anthropological Perspective on State Terrorism, Paper presented at the 49th Annual International Studies Association Convention, San Francisco, 26-29 March 2008, available at http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p252902_index.html, p. 5. 288 An example of state-sponsored terrorism is the American support of the counterinsurgency in Colombia against FARC. In this case, Stokes argues that the USA is explicitly involved in . terrorocracy promotion in Colombia: the use of state terrorism to insulate a prevailing political economy under a democratic faade, in Stokes, D. (2006), Iron Fists in Iron Gloves: The political Economy of US Terrorocracy Promotion in Colombia, British Journal of Politics & International Relations, vol. 8, no. 3, p. 369. 289 On the word of Stohl, surrogate terrorism involves assistance to another state or insurgent organization which makes it possible or improves the capability of that actor to employ terrorism either at home or abroad, in Stohl, M. (2008a), op. cit., pp. 6-7. 290 Richardson, L. (1999), op. cit., pp. 212-214
286

In particular, counter-terrorism campaigns have, almost without exception, involved torture and human rights abuses by the authorities; examples include the British in Northern Ireland, Spain in the Basque region, Italy against the red army factions, and Israel in the Occupied Territoriesto name a few, in Jackson, R. (2005b), op. cit., pp. 7 -8. See also
291

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guilty, it is highly disproportionate, and it aims to terrify or intimidate the wider population or a particular community into submission. 292 Indeed, despite of nomenclature terror or counter-terror,293 low-intensity warfare or self-defense294, if it is characterised by the above features indiscriminate, disproportionate and aiming to terrify or intimidate it should be recognized as state terrorism. In this sense, tactics employed during wartime, such as terror bombing which evidently violates both human rights and the rules of war and is characterised by the designated elements above, should be recognized as forms of state terrorism as well295.

All things considered, states terrorism marginal presence in the terrorism studies, is considered unsustainable and as a conscious politically decision, in order to reify the state-centricity of contemporary international system296. Indeed, having in mind the social construction of security, the current inattention to the terrorism committed by the state invest s nonstate violence with a unique causality and danger, while implicitly endows state violence with special sanctity.297 Besides, the fact that, as stated by Rogers, on any scale of measurement, terrorism is primarily a function of the state 298, along

Crelinsten, R. D. (1998), The Discourse and Practice of Counter -Terrorism in Liberal Democracies, Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 389-413. 292 Jackson, R. (2008), op. cit., p. 384. Der Derian, J. (2009), op. cit., p. 249. Besides, when takes into account how over the last one hundred years the civilian military ratio of war-related fatalities has been reversed, and compares the combatant-to-non-combatant casualty figure of 9/11, the Afghan War, and the Iraq War, the terror/counter-terror distinction begins to fade even further, Ibid.
293

Chomsky, N. (2002), Who Are the Global Terrorists?, in Booth, K. & Dunne, T. (eds.), Worlds in Collision: Terror and the Future of Global Order, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, p. 134. 295 Herring, E. (2008), op. cit., p. 203.
294 296Jackson, 297 298

R. (2008), op. cit., p. 387.

Connolly, W. E. (1991), op. cit., p. 207.

Rogers, P. (2002), Political Violence and Global Order, in Booth, K. & Dunne, T. (eds.), Worlds in Collision: Terror and the Future of Global Order, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, p. 216.

45

with its ruthlessly lethality299, make its recognition as a form of terrorism, as a part of a continuum with the sub-state terror300, indispensable.

Critical Terrorism Studies


Central to the urgency to engage with state terrorism has been a relatively new framework in the terrorism studies, calling for a sceptical attitude towards the current knowledge of terrorism. Indeed, critical terrorism studies share Stolhs understanding about the existence and reproduction of a number of myths, which dominate the traditional or mainstream terrorism studies. Consequently, having as a starting point the social construction of security, this framework tries to deconstruct the prevailing problem-solving approach, associated firmly with traditional security studies, that characterizes the discipline nowadays301. Thus, based upon an understanding of knowledge as a social process constructed through language, discourse and inter-subjective practices302, they raise a number of criticisms aiming at the methodological weaknesses, the traditional security studies origins, the role of the terrorism experts and the problem-solving background of terrorism studies303. Nonetheless, the most important of those, not only because it is essential for the development of a critical stance towards terrorism studies, and its influence to the articulation of all the other criticisms, but also for the needs of this essay, is the marginalisation of state terrorism.

299A

conservative estimate of state-instigated mass murder, forcible starvations and genocide against civilians, for example, suggests that governments were responsible for 170 200 million deaths in the twentieth century alone, in Jackson, R. (2009), op. cit., p. 179. 300 Booth, K. (2008), op. cit., p. 76.
301 302 303

Jackson, R. (2009), op. cit., p. 181. Jackson, R. (2007a), op. cit., p. 246. Ibid, p. 245.

46

Indeed, mainstream terrorism studies seem as a lens through which the state can explain terrorism, particularly in relation to state security304; thus by embracing a state-centric viewpoint, promote a specific agenda which has as its focal point the affirmation of state legitimacy and hegemony in the international sphere. Indeed, the definition of terrorism, articulated in sharp dichotomies between legitimate and illegitimate305, operates as a critical part of the production of hegemony306. Therefore, the discourse of terrorism functions to delegitimize each form and each case of non-state violence307, marginalizing at the same time the existence and significance of state terrorism to only a ghostly outline308, as Jackson framed it, mainly with reference to state-sponsored terrorism. Besides, it justifies the limitless violence of the state, which regularly turns into terrorism itself, in the name of counterterrorism, without the fear of condemnation. Moreover, it disregards the terrorism that the Western countries have committed throughout the years, while constructing terrorist identities, through a binary [logic] of in group/out-group based upon sovereignty and legitimacy.309 Hence, it simplifies complex historical, cultural and political premises to an us versus them perception, where the terrorists are characterised as evil and uncivilized and their grievances are refuted and discounted310. In this sense, the mainstream terrorism studies are recognized as a regime of truth about terrorism, employed as a state government explanation and understanding of terrorism [in order to] to suit hegemonic, liberal or other

304 305

Franks, J. (2009), op. cit., p. 155.

Gunning, J. (2007), op. cit., p. 371. Besides, according to Franks, terrorism theory is thus a state discourse created to enforce this social contract based on the legitimacy/illegitimacy dualism that constructs non-state violence as terrorist while state violence is deemed to be legitimate, in Franks, J. (2009), op. cit., p. 158. 306 Oliverio, A. & Lauderdale, P. (2005), op. cit., p. 154.
307 308 309 310

Herring, E. (2008), op. cit., p. 208. Jackson, R. (2008), op. cit., p. 381. Franks, J. (2009), op. cit., p. 158. Butko, T. J. (2009), op. cit., p. 185.

47

agendas.311Actually, on the word of Silke, terrorism studies theory is largely driven by policy concerns and largely limited to government agendas.312

In contrast, critical terrorism studies argue for the destabilization of this dominant narrative through the study of discourse and the social conditions, which enable the states to exploit the notion of terrorism. In this sense, they refuse to define terrorismin ways that de-legitimize some actors while simultaneously according the mantle of legitimate violence to others 313, and aim to challenge "the moral isolation of nonstate violence"314. Besides, critical terrorism studies remain aware of the politics of naming and the powerful effects that they generate in the terrorism field315, along with the integrated process of inclusion/exclusion that recreates the boundaries between the West and the terrorist others. Likewise, the suggestion of Hlsse and Spencer for a shift in perspective in terrorism studies, from the terrorist to the terrorism discourse is considered valuable, in order to holistically understand the manipulation and reproduction of the notion of terrorism316. All in all, critical terrorism studies should be seen as a research and political orientation, which adopts a sceptical and reflective stance towards the current terrorism knowledge, and moves beyond the positivist and state-centric view of reality, that mainstream terrorism studies constantly reiterate317.

4. 0 Deconstructing the War on Terrorism


At this point is considered necessary to analyse the war on terrorism and its discursive construction through the lens of securitization theory and
311 312 313 314 315

Franks, J. (2009), op. cit., p. 154. Silke, A. (2001), op. cit., p. 2. Jackson, R. (2007a), op. cit., pp. 247-248. Connolly, W. E. (1991), op. cit., p. 207.

Breen Smyth, M. Gunning, J. Jackson, R. Kassimeris, G. Robinson, P. (2008), op. cit., p. 2. 316 Hlsse, R. & Spencer, A. (2008), op. cit., pp. 571-572.
317

Burke, A. (2008), op. cit., p. 44.

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identity/difference concept; especially due to the fact that it was the dominant political narrative in America318, certainly during the Bush administration, and also because some claim that it still is highly influential under the new presidency319. Thus the events of 9/11, which according to the majority of people, and former president Bush as well320, changed drastically the world and redefined the notion of terrorism321, have been interpreted as an act of war against USA, which accordingly declared the war on terrorism. Subsequently, the response of USA is known: the construction of a global campaign against terrorism, two major wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a vast military expansion of the capabilities of the country around the globe, to name just a few. In this sense, it seems understandable when Richardson claims that it was our reaction to September 11 that changed the world.322 Indeed, the massive response of the America to the attacks has engendered various readings ranging from an attempt for hegemonization323 to the single most ambitious reordering of Americas foreign policy objectives since the Second World War.324 Nonetheless, the interpretation which I side with is that Americas reaction was constructed through an intertwined and complex combination of different security narratives, as a response to the inherent necessity of every state to produce and reproduce discourses of threat and danger. Therefore, terrorism has been the last enemy to USAs sovereignty, in a continuum that includes states, like Germany and USSR, groups of states, like the rogue states and the axis of evil, and also notions, like the war on anarchism. Indeed, on the word of

318 319 320 321 322 323

Jackson, R. (2005a), op. cit., p. 2. Gadinger, F. (2009), op. cit., p. 5. Bush, G. W. (2001a), Statement by the President in His Address to the Nation, September 11. Hoffman, B. (2006), op. cit., p. 18. Richardson, L. (2006), op. cit., p. 167.

Passavant, P. A. & Dean, J. (2001), Representation and the Event, Theory & Event, vol. 5, no. 4, available at http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/theory_and_event/v005/5.4passavant.html. Boyle, M. J. (2008), The War on Terror in American Grand Strategy, International Affairs, vol. 84, no. 2, p. 191.
324

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Ivie, terrorism as the legitimizing sign of American empiregrew out of a long tradition of war discourse deeply embedded in the nations political culture.325 In this sense, terrorism now occupies the place and function that fascism held in World War II and that communism held within the discourse of the cold war.326

Indeed, the war on terrorism discourse has been characterized by certain features that clearly demonstrate its interconnection with previous security narratives. At first, it has a significant sense of hybridity and intertexuality, given that encompasses a diverse array of other discourses, such as the clash of civilization, the rogue states and cold war discourses327. Thus, according to Gadinger, the new common threat to the West was successfully stabilized as dominant narrative through the dynamic interplay between practices and discourses328. Besides, it has a profound aspect of continuity. Especially, noteworthy has been its articulation in terms of a struggle between civilization and savagery, which oversimplifies the conflict and generates a stereotyped image of evil religious fanatics329. Indeed, the designation of the war on terrorism, at least in its beginning 330, as a war between good and evil331 and a civilizations fight332, clearly served as an inclusion/exclusion barrier between civilized and uncivilized. Thus, the discourse of savagery, deeply rooted in the American political lexicon, its culture and collective

325 326

Ivie, R. L. (2005), op. cit., p. 61.

Singh, N. (2003), Cold war redux: on the new totalitarianism, Radical History Review, no. 85. p. 173. Emerging from the shadowy playbooks of nuclear mass destruction in the Cold War, and re-surfacing from the political unconscious after the trauma of 9/11, terrors grammar and syntax began to shift, and its frequency of usage went into overdrive, in Der Derian, J. (2009), op. cit., p. 248. 328 Gadinger, F. (2009), op. cit., p. 8.
327

Richmond, O. P. (2003), Realizing Hegemony? Symbolic Terrorism and the Roots of Conflict, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, vol. 26, no. 4, p. 298. 330 Fierke, K. M. (2005), op. cit., pp. 54-55. 331 Bush, G. W. (2001d), President directs humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, remarks by the President to State Department employees, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, October 4. 332 Bush, G. W. (2001c).
329

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psyche333, was deployed framing terrorists, or simply those who are against USA, as evil and inhuman334. Fortified during the cold war, this discourse declared that the frontlines [of the fight against terrorism] are everywhere335, and was expanded all over the world as a process of othering336, forcing in consequence many to verbally negotiate and assert who they are, who they allied with, and who they are against.337 Indeed, the language of war on terror, enunciated in a Manichean us versus them rhetoric338, seemed analogous to the language of Al Qaida and Bin Laden, in a somewhat mutual pathology in operation339 and a mimetic war of faundamentalisms.340 Besides, the designation of the terrorist as the different other, had as an effect the elevation of the American self, signified by a patriotic and heroic attitude so as to defend freedom and all that is good in the world.341 Apart form this, another characteristic of this dominant discourse has been its reflexivity, namely its capability to continuously reconstruct and reinvent earlier discursive formations in order to maintain coherence in the face of internal and external contradictions and challenges.342 Thus, its capability to remake the first interpretation of the attacks on September 11 as an act of war, into a new kind of comb at against a new kind of foes - thus creating the new category of enemy combatant,

333 334 335

Ivie, R. L. (2005), op. cit., p. 56. Jackson, R. (2005a), op. cit., pp. 66-73.

US State Department (2002), Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. 336 According to Jackson, the process of othering, namely the discursive construction of an external other who reinforces the identity of the self- was so apparent in the discourse of the war on terrorism, in Jackson, R. (2005a), op. cit., p. 59.
337 338

Bhatia, M. V. (2005), op. cit., p. 7.

Kellner, D. (2002), September 11, the Media, and War Fever, Television & New Media, vol. 3, no. 2, p. 145. 339 Der Derian, J. (2005), op. cit., p. 32. 340 Der Derian, J. (2009), op. cit., p. xxii. According to Der Derian, a mimetic war is a battle of imitation and representation, in which the relationship of who we are and who they are is played out along a wide spectrum of familiarity and friendliness, indifference and tolerance, estrangement and hostility, Ibid, p. 238. 341 Bush, G. W. (2001a).
342

Jackson, R. (2005a), op. cit., p. 156.

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to disengage the terrorists from the Geneva conventions authority - proves its highly reflective nature343. Afterwards, it has been distinguished by opacity, as the main notions of the discourse, along with the very idea of a war against terrorism itself, has remained nebulous up to nowadays. Hence, it is obvious that from the beginning the war on terror has been a vague generic term, something that has made it extremely adaptable, due to its ability to loosely relating to different ideological aspects and former security narratives344.

On the other hand, it has also been interpreted as a major securitization move from the USA, in order to legitimize its global supremacy345. Thus, terrorism was delineated as an existential threat to the identity of the county346, aiming to endanger its fundamental values, its civil society and its way of life347. Besides, the former was framed also as a threat to the global democracy, freedom and civilization, at the same time as terrorists have been seen as enemies of human freedom348, and the counterterrorist campaign as a fight to save the civilized world349. Accordingly, the American presidents speech acts, with USA playing the role of the most important securitizing actor, were followed by a vast number of other state leaders, and also the NATOs decision to invoke the article 5 of the Treaty, for the first time in its history350. As a consequence, the War on Terrorism has securitized the problem of terrorism, elevating it above normal politics.351 In this sense, the campaign against al-Qaeda and the war in Afghanistan can be seen as legitimate

343 344 345 346 347 348

Ibid, p. 39. Gadinger, F. (2009), op. cit., p. 4. Kelstrup, M. (2004), op. cit., p. 114. Van Ham, P. (2003), op. cit., p. 427. Bush, G. W. (2001c).

Bush, G. W. (2001b), Presidents Remarks at National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, the National Cathedral, Washington, DC, September 14.
349 350 351

Bush, G. W. (2001c). Buzan, B. (2006), op. cit., p. 1103. Fierke, K. M. (2005), op. cit., p. 57.

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emergency actions approved by the acceptance of the securitization, at least to a large extent, from the global audience352. Besides, the success of the securitizing move, along with a narrative of legitimacy for the American response to terrorism, were additionally facilitated by several visual representations, such as the TV images or photographs of the attacks of 9/11353. Thus, albeit the securitization theory focuses only in the security as a speech act, the various forms of non-verbal communication354 play an important role in the construction of security and the securitization process, as several authors have underlined355. In contrast, to the previous securitization, the attempt from the USA and the UK to securitize as well the threat of Iraq and Saddam Husseins regime, before the invasion on 2003, had been successful only in the American soil356; indeed, the unwillingness, of the global audience, to accept this securitization move provoke a substantial opposition to the invasion357. At the end of the day though the war on terrorism has been recognized as a successful securitization in the global system358 or, as Buzan asserts, a world-organizing macro-securitization359. Obviously, the fact that terrorism still remains the defining and existential threat against United States and globally360 displays the salience of the theory361.

At this instant is essential to highlight the existence of another security narrative, that of Islamic terrorism, which although has been lately
352 353

Kelstrup, M. (2004), op. cit., p. 113.

Shepherd, L. J. (2008b), Visualising violence: legitimacy and authority in the war on terror, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 1, no. 2, p. 213.
354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361

Hansen, L. (2000), op. cit., p. 300. McDonald, M. (2008), op. cit., p. 569. See also Williams, M. C. (2003), op. cit., 512. Buzan, B. (2006), op. cit., p. 1113. Emmers, R. (2007), op. cit., pp. 122-123. Kelstrup, M. (2004), op. cit., p. 114. Buzan, B. (2006), op. cit., p. 1102. Fidas, G. (2007), op. cit., p. 3. Smith, S. (2005), op. cit., p. 34.

53

reappeared, in relation to the notions of new terrorism, has a long history and is already deeply embedded in the broader cultural, institutional and discursive structures of Western society.362Indeed, based in a stereotypical understanding of Islam, as an inherently violent religion, and in the premises of orientalism, understood as the use of the orient as the other in identity formation363, has greatly facilitated the construction of the war on terror discourse. Therefore, the existence of the orient has been central to the identity formation of the West, which through hundreds years of prejudice has turned [Islam] into the great external realityand the most common object of its metaphysics of representation.364 Moreover, this discourse has various functions in both the literal and figurative world, as numerous constructed labels and notions are used to delegitimize and marginalize the Muslim other365. Thus, the perceived identification of Islamic terrorism with religious terrorism - as Rapaport first coined it366 engenders deceptive assumptions about the motives and the attitudes of Islamic terrorists, who are usually dismissed as nihilists and inhuman367. Besides, the recurrent

practice of Western media reporting on Muslim terrorists, but no Christian terrorists is evident for the discrimination towards Islam368. Another example of the embedded bias against Islam in the West is the case of the Oklahoma City Federal Building explosion, in which the US state imminently blamed the attack on Muslim terrorists, without even having the necessary evidences369. As a consequence, on the word of Oliverio and
362 363 364

Jackson, R. (2007b), op. cit., p. 397. Neumann, I. B. (1999), op. cit., p. 207.

Ghanoushi, S. (2005), The Origins of Extremism: Theory or Reality?, in Malik, A. A. (ed.), With God on Our Side: Politics & Theology of the War on Terrorism , Bristol, Amal Press, p. 292. Jackson, R. (2007b), op. cit., p. 401. See also Euben, R. L. (1999), Enemy in the mirror: Islamic fundamentalism and the limits of modern rationalism , Princeton, N. J., Princeton University Press, pp. 16-19.
365

Rapoport, D. (1984), Fear and Trembling: Terrorism in Three Religious Traditions, American Political Science Review, vol. 78, no. 3, pp. 65877. 367 Hlsse, R. & Spencer, A. (2008), op. cit., p. 574.
366 368 369

Nacos, B. L. (2007), op. cit., p. 106. Martin, G. (2006), op. cit., pp. 21-21.

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Lauderdale, today terrorism [in the USA] has become virtually synonymous with Middle Eastern religious fanaticism370. In fact this has been a universal trend, since the 80 per cent of the list of the groups identified as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) on 2003 constituted groups with Islamic affiliations371. The same year, the per cent of Islamic groups in the US list of terrorist organizations was close to 95372. On the whole, the several functions of the Islamic terrorism discourse have major effects in the social, cultural, and political level, as well as in the counterterrorism practice, through which they reify the strategic interests of the West and further empower the war on terror discourse373. Consequently, the securitization of terrorism through the war on terror discourse, intertwined with the Islamic terrorism discourse that I have just outlined, has as first result the elevation of terrorism, as an existential threat, all over the world. Besides, as I have already argued, any issues seen through the lens of securitization process, gets further militarized and activates a vicious circle of insecurity. In this context, war on terror affected drastically a number of regional and local conflicts, which although involve previously considered indigenous terrorist groups are now often perceived to be linked to the worldwide but nebulous al-Qaeda organisation.374In the same line, it promotes a definition of terrorism, which merges and marginalizes notions such as insurgency and guerrilla warfare in one pejorative and evil idea375. Furthermore, framed partly in a clash of civilization logic, deteriorates the already negative relationship between Islam and the West, as it

370 371

Oliverio, A. & Lauderdale, P. (2005), op. cit., p. 158.

Bankoff, G. (2003), Regions of Risk: Western Discourses on Terrorism and the Significance of Islam, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, vol. 26, no. 6, p. 422. 372 Dedeoglu, B. (2003), Bermuda Triangle: Comparing Official Definitions of Terrorist Activity, Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 15, no. 3, p. 93. 373 Jackson, R. (2009), op. cit., p. 178.
374 375

Franks, J. (2009), op. cit., p. 153. Zulaika, J. & Douglas, W. A. (2008), op. cit., p. 28.

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sometimes seems as a war against Islam, and not against terrorism376. Apart from that, it simplifies terrorism and enables a perception of it as a monolithic phenomenon377; something that has significant causes itself to the counterterrorism praxis. Indeed, by relegating every non-state actor in a conflict to a terrorist other, who has as his only aim to annihilate the western civilization, leaves no place for any other policy except from its eradication378. Besides, this demonization of the enemy, in conjunction with a feeling of impunity, created the conditions for the abuse and torture of the detainees in the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prison camps 379. From this point of view it is clear that the current counterterrorism framework, on the word of Fierke, has contributed to the further construction of conflict.380 Actually, the Bushs doctrine of pre-emption was recognized as a source of further instability and served as a convenient pretext for American imperialist ambitions.381 Likewise, the current counterterrorism discourse has been evidently associated with vast human rights violations and increases in state repression to the states of the Global Coalition against terrorism382, and to a number of other states as well, especially in the Third World, which have introduced new anti-terrorism legislations383. Furthermore, the human rights abuses and the unwillingness of the USA to conform to the international laws and institutions384 had as a result the alienation of its allies,

376 377

Burke, A. (2008), op. cit., p. 46.

Miller, G. (2007), Confronting Terrorisms: Group Motivation and Successful State Policies, Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 19, no. 3, p. 331. 378 Indeed, according to Bhatia, the relationship between the names applied and the decision to practice restricted or unrestricted warfare is immediately apparent, in Bhatia, M. V. (2005), op. cit., p. 14.
379 380 381

Hannah, M. (2006), op. cit., p. 622.

Fierke, K. M. (2005), op. cit., p. 54. Rockmore, T. (2004), On the so-called war on terrorism, Metaphilosophy, vol. 35, no. 3, p. 386.
382 383 384

Stohl, M. (2008a), op. cit., p. 10. Whitaker, B. E. (2007), op. cit., p. 1028. Wilkinson, P. (2006), op. cit., pp. 62-64.

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and at the same time a moral justification of the views of its adversaries385. Corresponding to those facts, the war on terrorism can been a seen as a great failure, with reference to several statistic overviews; according to them, it had not only failed to decrease terrorism globally, but also deteriorated the situation, as an upsurge on its levels after 2001 has been noticed386. Despite though the recent increase in numbers of terrorism, the terrorist threat in general has been overtly exaggerated in many case to fulfil political aspirations387, and as a mean to promote a state-centric agenda of rule and law and to enhance states support. Altogether, even the most ardent supporters of the war against terrorism would find it difficult to claim that has been a success.388 Subsequently, I think that a rather sincere conclusion for the war on terrorism and its effects should be, with reference to Der Derian, that facing the multiple pathologies of the global war on terror [with no] doubtthe cure has proven worse than the disease.389

5. 0 Russias War on Terror


In the same line and in order to demonstrate the influence of the war on terror discourse globally, is considered valuable to examine the case of Chechnya and Russias conflict. Indeed, this particular case is worth mentioning due to the way the Russian administration during the Putin presidency instrumentally exploited the dominant counterterrorism discourse and the politics of naming, in order to simplify a rather complex conflict and marginalize the Chechen insurgency. Besides, Russia has been one of the first states that adopted the Islamic terrorism rhetoric, which the USA evoked after the 9/11. Nonetheless, Russia had been already struggling her own fight against terror and banditry, as president Putin named it, two years
385 386 387 388

Richardson, L. (2006), op. cit., p. 179. Stepanova, E. (2008), op. cit., p. 4. See also Rockmore, T. (2004), op. cit., p. 387. Weinberg, L. & Eubank, W. (2008), op. cit., p. 193.

Ryan, M. & Switzel, L. (2009), Propaganda and the subversion of objectivity: media coverage of the war on terrorism in Iraq, Critical Studies on Terrorism, vol. 2, no. 1, p. 45. 389 Der Derian, J. (2009), op. cit., p. 294.

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before the attacks in America390. In fact, it was the bombing of the apartment blocks in Moscow, Volgodonsk and Buinaksk in September 1999, which triggered the Second Chechen War, or as was officially entitled the counterterrorist operation in Chechnya. Likewise, the widely held perception that Chechnya was the Russias frontline in the global war on terror after 9/11391, is possibly the best testimony of the successful manipulation of the Islamic factor by the Putin administration to dehistorize the conflict. Indeed the recent wars, those of 1991-1994 and 1999-2006392, have been the last two acts in a vicious sequence, which its beginning can be traced 200 years ago in the first attempts of the Russian empire to conquer the region. A great instance of the bloody conflict has been the extensive deportation of the indigenous population by Stalin in 1944 to Kazakhstan, owing to their collaboration with the German troops during the World War II393. Furthermore, except of this great historical legacy, there are also a number of other issues that coexist and complicate the conflict, in such extent that to assume that Islamis the key conflict-generating factor in Chechnya is, at least, inaccurate394. Actually, according to Russell there is a series of overlapping conflicts, such as the ongoing struggle for Chechen self determination against the Russian willing to preserve their territorial integrity; or the one against the vast corruption and lawlessness who penetrates both the two adversaries395. In effect, the role of the entrepreneurs
390 391

Putin, V. V. (2000b), Interview with German TV Channels ARD and ZDF, June 9, 2000.

Russell, J. (2008), Ramzan Kadyrov: The Indigenous Key to Success in Putins Chechenization, Nationalities Papers, vol. 36, no. 4, p. 663. 392 Since 2001 the Russian government has argued that large -scale fighting has ceased in this region, and it has begun its policy of normalisation in Chechnya, aiming to transfer administrative control to the Chechens. However, hostilities have continued since then, although some debate has emerged in the last few years as to whether or not this can still be called a war, because organised fighting has decreased to a significant degree since 2005/06, in Snetkov, A. (2007), The image of the terrorist threat in the official Russian press: the Moscow theatre crisis (2002) and the Beslan hostage crisis, Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 59, no. 8, p. 1351. 393 Cornell, S. E. (2003), The War Against Terrorism and the Conflict in Chechnya: A Case for Distinction, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, vol. 27, no. 2, p. 169. 394 Wilhelmsen, J. (2005), Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Islamisation of the Chechen Separatist Movement, Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 57, no. 1, p. 35. 395 Russell, J. (2007), op. cit., p. 67.

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of violence, namely those Chechens and Russians that have great economic benefits for the continuation of the war as they are taking part in several illegal practices, like smuggling and illicit trade, has been more than significant; indeed, as a retired Russian General stated, the conflict should be seen as a mafia squabble at state level.396 Another dimension of the conflict is the one at the cultural side, between a Russian modern society and the traditional Chechen one, as it can be demonstrated by the role of teip (traditional clan) structure of the Chechen culture397. Besides, this conflict has been quite deep-rooted, based in the relationships between civilized/savage and identity/difference, which can be clearly displayed through the importance of the Eastern other (Caucasian) in the identity formation of the Russian nation398. In point of fact, historically, the Russians have consistently portrayed their relationship with the Chechens [and generally towards the whole area of Caucasus] as a force of good,as a mission civilatrice.399 Likewise, on the word of Johnson, the Chechen identity, culture and national struggle are closely connected with the rejection of Russian rule.400 All in all, obviously the Chechen conflict is only partly a conflict against Islamic terrorism, which role has been overstated, albeit without dismissing the contribution of this kind of elements in the prolongation of the confrontation.

Another prominent and enduring feature of the conflict has been the demonization of the other side; part of this process has been the connection of Chechen separatism with fundamentalism and Islamic terrorism. Besides, this propaganda war among the two adversaries can be seen as a continuation of a policy of othering, as old as the conflict itself401. Indeed, given that naming
396 397 398 399 400

Russell, J. (2002a), op. cit., p. 101. Stepanova, E. (2008), op. cit., p. 118. Neumann, I. B. (1999), op. cit., pp. 161-182. Russell, J. (2007), op. cit., p. 30, authors emphasis.

Cited in Souleimanov, E. (2007), An Endless War: The Russian Chechen Conflict in Perspective, Frankfurt, Peter Lang, p. 120. Duncan, P. J. S. (2005), Contemporary Russian Identity Between East and West, The Historical Journal, vol. 48, no. 1, p. 291.
401

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functions principally as a mean to recruit adherents, by propagating a discourse of belonging and opposition, and as a method of justifying future actions, are unambiguous the reasons behind its deployment by the two sides402. Similarly, there has been a recurrent tendency of labelling Chechens, as well as all who have a Caucasian origin, in Russian society as cherniye (blacks) or chernezophy (black arses)403. Indeed, this characterization has been one of the most employed to differentiate the two communities in the identity formation of Russians against the Chechen other404. Furthermore, throughout the years several tags have been given to both Russians and Chechens, like barany (sheep), svinya (pigs) or sobaki (dogs) to the former405, and arbek (robber), dukhi (spooks), or chichi (monkey) to the latter406. Besides, the case of the Chechen wars demonstrates the significance that both enemies have given to the language of war and publicity407. Thus, in the First Chechen War president Yeltsin attempted to depict the Chechens as bandits and criminals408, and Chechnya as a place of corruption and crime409. Indeed, this focus of the governments discourse to the aspect of illegality of Chechen resistance is obvious also in the name of the operation itself, as restoration of constitutional order. However, this attempt has mainly failed, owing to the large opposition of the Russian population against the war 410,along with the popular perception that Chechens were fighting a war of national

402 403 404

Bhatia, M. V. (2005), op. cit., p. 12. Russell, J. (2005), op. cit., p. 106.

Eichler, M. (2006), Russias Post-Communist Transformation, International Feminist Journal of Politics, vol. 8, no. 4, p. 502. 405 Russell, J. (2007), op. cit., p. 53.
406 407

Russell, J. (2005), op. cit., p. 103.

Radnitz, S. (2006), Look whos talking! Islamic discourse in the Chechen wars, Nationalities Papers, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 237-256. 408 An occupations or empires designation of an internal resistance as bandits serves to demonstrate their control over territory and deny their opponent legitimacy, indicating that economic interests and desires (greed and plunder) are the dominant purpose for armed action, in Bhatia, M. V. (2005), op. cit., p. 14. 409 Eichler, M. (2006), op. cit., p. 489.
410

Souleimanov, E. (2007), op. cit., pp. 106-107.

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liberation411. Besides, crucial has been the role of media in the failure of the Yeltsins strategy. Thus, the absence of a coherent media policy in conjunction with the capacity of the Russian media to freely present the operations in the field of the battle, deteriorated even more the situation in the propaganda war for the government412. Indeed, the role of the media, and the impact they had on the public opinion of the state, was, on the word of Richards, one of the main reasons why the first Chechen war ended413. At the same time, the inability of the Russian army to effectively control the country due to the unremitting Chechen guerrilla attacks led to a dead end the Russian campaign. As a consequence, Chechnya won both the propaganda and military war, as Khasavyurt peace accords in August 1996, followed by the formal peace treaty of May 1997, granted de facto independence in Chechnya414.

After the end of the First War, Chechnya experienced three years of de facto independence, which have utterly changed the international profile of the insurgency. Indeed, from the international empathy of the First War, in view of the great cruelties that the Russian army committed, global public opinion significantly alienated, due to a number of terrorist actions, such as kidnappings, murders and public executions. In fact, the obvious move towards radicalization of the Chechen side between those three years, owing to the war415, the infiltration of radical elements (Wahhabites)416, and the inability of the leadership to control the various tendencies inside the insurgency417, had been the corner stone in which the Second Chechen War was structured. Besides, it was the invasion in Dagestan in August 1999,
411 412 413

Russell, J. (2002b), op. cit., p. 80. Herd, G. P. (2000), op. cit., p. 58.

Richards, S. (2003), Chechnya and Iraq: imperial echoes, militant warnings, open Democracy, available at http://www.opendemocracy.net/conflict-caucasus/article_1380.jsp. 414 Cornell, S. E. (2003), op. cit., p. 170.
415 416 417

Wilhelmsen, J. (2005), op. cit., p. 52. Radnitz, S. (2006), op. cit., p. 237. Russell, J. (2005), op. cit., p. 107.

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which according to some has been prompted by Russia itself418 that greatly open the way to the war. In this context, Putin played the Chechen card, as a mobilizing method towards the elections of 2000, following also Yeltsins example six years ago419. Moreover, the great effect of the terrorist bombings in three major Russian cities in September 1999, which again has been attributed to Chechens, despite that evidences were showing a possible interference from FSB420, had signified the commence of the Second Chechen War. At this instant, Putin chose to frame the operation, as a counter-terrorist campaign which had as an aim to free Chechnya from international terrorists and extremists.421 His idea to connect Chechens with international terrorism and Islam, has been not only prophetic, but also rather successful as the threat of Chechen terrorism was more convincing than the threat of Chechen criminality422, as the public support during the initial stages of the war was over 70 per cent423. Indeed, Putin has been the first that had talked, one year approximately before the attacks on 9/11 (July 2000), about the formation of a fundamentalist internationale and an international Islamic front, headed by the number one terrorist Osama Bin Laden, [which] has set before itself the task of establishing an Islamic Caliphate 424. Besides, the events of 9/11 occurred in a very fortunate juncture for the president Putin, as the majority of the Russian public opinion, for the first time since the beginning of the war, had been opposing the policy towards Chechnya425. Besides, Putin was one of the first leaders who offered his support to America, while he was trying to draw similarities between the terrorist
418 419 420

Richards, S. (2003).

Russell, J. (2002b), op. cit., p. 73. Putley, J. (2003), Crime without punishment: Russian policy in Chechnya, open Democracy, available at http://www.opendemocracy.net/conflict-caucasus/article_1388.jsp. 421 Putin, V. V. (2000a), News Conference Following Russian - British Talks, London, April 17, 2000. 422 Eichler, M. (2006), op. cit., p. 501. Levinson, A. G. (2004), The Role of Gender in Russians Attitudes Toward the Second Chechen Campaign, Sociological Research, vol. 43, no. 2, p. 88.
423 424 425

Cited in Herd, G. P. (2000), op. cit., p. 76. Russell, J. (2005), op. cit., p. 110.

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attacks that the two countries had suffered. Thus, just few hours after the attack, Putin stated that not only Russia knows at first hand what terrorism is, but also that entirely and fully share[s] and experience[s] [Americas] pain, and even described the event as a brazen challenge to the whole humanity, at least to civilized humanity.426 In this speech, the willingness of the Russian president to shape a global civilized identity, against the terrorist other, was more than obvious, while he aimed for a realignment of the country towards the West427 and for an increase of Russias international status as Wests ally428. In the same line, Foreign Minister Ivanov argued that Chechnya and Afghanistan are branches of one tree, whose roots are in Afghanistan, adding that we have our own bin Ladens in Chechnya.429 Nonetheless, according to Radnitz, Russian public discourse changed slightly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as it had already involved the main elements of the war on terror discourse430. Besides, the main goals of the deployment of the Russian discourse was the international isolation of Chechnya from both the West and the Islamic countries, the delegitimization and division of the resistance, and the enduring support of the Russian public to the operation431. Furthermore, despite that the official Russian discourse on Chechnya has been greatly identified with the war on terror, this perception gives only a static image, as it was relatively modified to promote a policy of normalization, like Chechenization432. Indeed, after 2004, the references to the Chechen issue in the official discourse have been diminished and a new focus towards the North Caucasus took its place, in an
Putin, V. V. (2001), Statement by President Putin of Russia on the Terrorist Acts in the US, Moscow, September 11, 2001. 427 OLoughlin, J. Tuathail, G. Kolossov, V. (2004), Russian geopolitical storylines and public opinion in the wake of 9-11: a critical geopolitical analysis and national survey, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, vol. 37, no. 3, p. 285. 428 Baev, P. K. (2004), Instrumentalizing Counterterrorism for Regime Consolidation in Putins Russia, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, vol. 27, no. 4, p. 344. 429 Ivanov says Chechnya, Afghanistan are branches of one tree, Moscow Interfax, September 24, 2001. 430 Radnitz, S. (2006), op. cit., p. 250.
426

Herd, G. P. (2002), The Russo-Chechen information warfare and 9/11: Al-Qaeda through the South Caucasus looking glass?, European Security, vol. 11, no. 4, p. 125. 432 Snetkov, A. (2007), op. cit., p. 1350.
431

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attempt to retain legitimacy in the face of ingoing terrorist attacks, and to explain the states failure to resolve the Chechen crisis. 433 Besides, the promotion of the policy of Chechenization, understood[as] the delegation of power (including separatist insurgents) from the federal centre in Moscow to approved officials in Chechnya who support Kremlin policies434, had been Putins chosen strategy to resolve the Chechen issue peacefully, while maintaining Russias dominance and integration. Thus, based in a three step process, accumulated by a referendum, a presidential election, and parliamentary elections, can be considered as the only way, not involving Russian armed forces, that Putin could achieve the basic Russian objective of keeping Chechnya as part of Russia; alas though far from being a genuinely political solution435. Indeed, the power that Russia has invested in the hands of Ramzan Kadyrov, who is the elected president of the country and Putins personal preference, along with the absolutist way, by which he governs, have made some to claim that Chechenization has turned into Kadyrovisation436.

At this point is necessary to point out that both adversaries have deployed terrorist tactics, especially during the two major conflicts. Indeed, according to Wilkinson, the Chechen wars are typical examples of a new kind of wars, the terror wars, which they are characterised by: the absence of clear front lines, the regular attacks on civilians, the deployment of savage violence such as in ethnic cleansing operations, and the recurrent employment of tactic such as massacres, mass hostagetakings, mass rapes, as well as the destruction of civilian homes437. Thus, although both Russians and Chechens are responsible for practices that fall into the above classification, the human violations by the

433 434 435 436 437

Ibid, p. 1362. Russell, J. (2008), op. cit., p. 678. Russell, J. (2007), op. cit., p. 53. Souleimanov, E. (2006), Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, May 31, 2006. Wilkinson, P. (2006), op. cit., p. 92.

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side of Russians are disproportionate, taking into consideration the several resolutions of UN Commission on Human Rights or the 200.000 lives of Chechen civilians lost in the two wars438. In fact, Russia has launched an anti-terror operation that took the form of an all-out war439, in view of the repeated use of tactics such as the zachistkas (sweeping operations), disappearances, rapes, extrajudicial executions and torture440. Besides, the use of concentrations camps, the indiscriminate bombing of Chechen villages, and the use of non-conventional weapons, have proved the genocidal nature of the war441. As a consequence, the use of this counterterrorist approach has been highly ineffective, owing to the reproduction of the conflict through the measures that it has adopted. Indeed, on the word of Uzzell, Russia does face a genuine threat from radical Islamic terrorism, no less genuine for the fact that it is a threat created largely by the Kremlin itself as a result of its brutal tactics in Chechnya.442 Therefore, another effect of the current approach that Russia has implemented in Chechnya is the further radicalisation of the insurgents, as a reaction to the policies pursued443. Indeed, as Glinski asserts, Chechens discover their religious identity as a weapon and as an ideology of protest against exclusion, that instigates an increasing tendency to religionize politics instead of the more commonly assumed pattern of politicizing religion.444 Moreover, despite the relevant normalization that now appears to exist in Chechnya under the rule of Ramzan Kadyrov445, the terrorists practices that his men (kadyrovtsi) are using to maintain law446, along with the fact that he has a number of powerful

438 439 440 441 442

Russell, J. (2005), op. cit., p. 101. Wilhelmsen, J. (2005), op. cit., p. 53. Souleimanov, E. (2007), op. cit., pp. 173-180.

Cornell, S. E. (2003), op. cit., p. 182. Uzzell, L. (2005), Bringing Muslims in from the cold , International Religious Freedom Watch, September 20, 2005. 443 Wilhelmsen, J. (2005), op. cit., p. 53. 444 Glinski, D. (2002), Russia and its Muslims: The Politics of Identity at the International Domestic Frontier, East European Constitutional Review, vol. 11, no. 1/2, p. 77. 445 Snetkov, A. (2007), op. cit., pp. 1362-1363.
446

Souleimanov, E. (2007), op. cit., pp. 208-209.

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enemies, both in Grozny and Moscow, make the current stability of Chechenization policy to seem susceptible in the long-term. All things considered, the Chechen case, as I have already argued, is a rather complicated conflict, in which other conflicts overlap and coexist in a constant interrelation, and in which the fight for self-determination of the Chechen people remains the most crucial element. In this sense, I claim that the terrorism in Chechnya should be seen through the lens of conflict-related terrorism, namely as just one specific tactic of violence, secondary to the broader phenomenon of armed conflict itself.447

6. 0 Conclusions: Towards a reconceptualization of counterterrorism


At this point, after the examination of the role of discourse in the social construction of security and terrorism, through the analytical lens of securitization and identity/difference theory, I have demonstrated the problematic nature of the current counterterrorism approach. Actually, affected by the states exploitation of the politics of naming, a state-centric approach of terrorism that acknowledges state as always the victim of it, and the dominant narrative of war on terror, the current counterterrorism praxis seems not only ineffective, but also as a source of further conflict. Besides, the significant influence that both securitization of terrorism and the functioning of a binary logic, as a process of inclusion/exclusion, through their inherent violent nature have on counterterrorism, have induced it to the utilization of constantly more brutal practices. In this sense, it is vital to reconceptualize the current counterterrorism approach. A first step towards reconceptualization would be the recognition that terrorism is primarily a tactic pursued from different actors and for different goals; thus it can be never eliminated, but only contained. Besides, a successful counterterrorism

447

Stepanova, E. (2008), op. cit., p. 23.

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almost invariably requires a combination of coercive and conciliatory policies.448 In fact, the only countries, such as Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, that had exterminate terrorism solely by military means, have engaged in state terrorism practices449. Thus, to handle terrorism means the

implementation of both counterterrorist and antiterrorist practices, the first of which are specified only in security issues, while the second promote the use of political, economic and legal instruments450. Another step would be the desecuritization of terrorism and terrorist identity451. Indeed, the

desecuritization of terrorism relocates it from a securitized and militaristic stance back to normal politics, in which it is dealt not as an existential threat anymore, but as another issue of everyday politics; therefore promoting a more holistic and less violent approach against it, given that what is sure is that violence invariably breeds counterviolence.452 Besides, the

deconstructivist strategy of desecuritization, introduced by Huysmans, in which the other is presented as a person with multiple identities, and not as a threatening individual, can be prominent in the deconstruction of terrorist as the evil other453. Indeed, this strategy deconstructs the perception of terrorist as fanatic and inhuman, while promotes the idea of terrorism as a human option and a tactic. What is more, counterterrorism needs to disengage from the use of an us versus them language, which dehumanizes the enemy, endorses military intervention, and downgrades any non-violent solution. Moreover, a counterterrorist approach should promote dialogue and engage with the grievances of terrorists. Actually, according

448 449 450 451

Richardson, L. (2006), op. cit., p. 205. Ibid, p. 184. Russell, J. (2007), op. cit., p. 176.

Any strategy for erasing the threat of terrorism and therefore any attempt to securitise terrorism as a totally unacceptable risk which leaves us in mortal and intolerable danger until removed is deemed to drive us all into a vicious circle of increased insecurity and counterproductive security strategies. Terror can only be dealt with if not totalised as a threat, and thus ultimately any promising strategy has to have an element of learning to tame ones own worries, in Wver, O. (2004), op. cit., p. 11. 452 Booth, K. (2005a), op. cit., p. 3.
453

Huysmans, J. (19950, op. cit., p. 67.

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to Toros, negotiations can be very useful into offering alternative paths to violence for the terrorists, by reversing the naming-isolating-radicalizing process, which dominates nowadays, to another characterized as

negotiating-including-legitimizing454. Furthermore, a conscious attempt to move beyond the use of terrorism, owing to the negative connotations that the term has acquired through the years, is considered requisite. Thus, the term should be used by great caution, as terrorism is a concept that mystifies rather than illuminates455. Indeed, the powerful associations that the term carries can possibly obstruct the understanding of a certain case, and dehistorize it from its cultural and political environment. All things considered, there is an urgent need for a reflective and sceptical orientation towards both counterterrorism and current terrorism knowledge. Therefore, this essay endorses a critical turn in terrorism studies, although without discrediting the whole body of the traditional terrorism studies, in order to unveil the processes behind the constant reproduction of the terrorism discourse456. A discourse which delegitimizes and marginalizes the voices of the powerless, and authorizes and empowers the predominant state-centric structure of international system.

454 455 456

Toros, H. (2008), op. cit, pp. 422-423. Mahmood, C. K. (2001), op. cit., pp. 526-527. Gunning, J. (2007), op. cit., pp. 376-377.

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