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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What Is State-Sponsored Terrorism?

State-Sponsored Terrorism. State-sponsored terrorism is the active involvement of a foreign government in training, arming, and providing other logistical and intelligence assistance as well as sanctuary to an otherwise autonomous terrorist group for the purpose of carrying out violent acts on behalf of that government against its enemies.

State-sponsored terrorism is, therefore, regarded as a form of surrogate warfare and is a critical aspect to be analyzed, since more than 20 countries are suspected of proliferating nuclear, biological, and
chemical (NBC) weapons technology. However, several things work against state sponsorship in  providing WMD to terrorist groups. 

These include the prospect of significant reprisals by the US against the state sponsor, the potential inability of the state sponsor to control its surrogate, and the prospect that the surrogate cannot be trusted; even to the point of using the weapon against its sponsor. It is significant that, to date, there is no evidence that any formal link exists between terrorist groups and state-assisted NBC programs.

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Terrorist Groups. A terrorist group is defined as a collection of individuals belonging to an autonomous nonstate or subnational revolutionary or antigovernment movement who are dedicated to the use of violence to achieve their objectives. The reasons terrorists may perpetrate a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) attack include a desire to kill as many people as possible “to annihilate their enemies,” to instill fear and panic to undermine a governmental regime, to create a means of negotiating from a position of unsurpassed strength, or to cause great social and economic impact.  Such groups are seen as having at least some structure and command and control (C2) apparatus that, no matter how loose or flexible, provides an overall organizational framework and general strategic direction.

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