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On Terrorism: An Analysis of Terrorism as a Form of Warfare

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Master's thesis

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This thesis examines the proposition that terrorism is a form of war. To do this, this paper first analyzes warfare in terms of what it is and how it functions. This is done by surveying classical military thinkers such as Thucydides, Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, von Clausewitz, and Liddell Hart, to name just a few. This provides an understanding not only of the nature and purpose of war, but of the basic immutable principles under which it operates. These offer a means to construct a paradigm with which terrorism can be tested to determine whether or not it is a form of war. Once the constant elements of war are analyzed and understood, the variable factors are then examined. Here, the study focuses upon the evolution of war, highlighting what changes and why. From this, it is possible to understand not only why terrorism came into being but the environment in which it operates as well. The second part of this study begins with an analysis of the terroristic method of force employment, followed by an examination of seven major types of terrorism to determine which, if any, qualify as a form of war. These include psychotic, criminal, mystical, revolutionary, repression, military and state sponsored terrorism. Of these, three are found to qualify as a form of war -- military, revolutionary, and state sponsored. These three types of terrorism are then analyzed as forms of warfare in terms of how they employ force, as well as to what end that force is used.

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  • Sociology and Law
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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