Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
“International terrorism” is a contested term. In popular usage, it is typically taken to refer to groups that use “terrorist” tactics, such as targeting civilians, across national borders. A contemporary example of “international terrorism” is the transnational Al Qaeda network. But the term has been used to describe phenomena as diverse as the 19th-century anarchist movement, the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1970s and 1980s, and the various Marxist groups operating in Europe and elsewhere during the 1970s, such as the Italian Red Brigades. Both parts of the term are contested. The term “terrorism” continues to elicit passionate debate, both in terms of how it should be defined (and whether it constitutes a separate category of violence) and how it is used. Definitions range from those encompassing most forms of political violence (rendering it indistinguishable from other forms of warfare) to those encompassing most oppositional activism (rendering it indistinguishable from ...