ATbar Pre-empting Terror Bombings—A Comparative Approach to Anticipatory Self-Defense
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Pre-empting Terror Bombings—A Comparative Approach to Anticipatory Self-Defense

28/12/2009 | by Guiora, Amos N. (Prof.)  


Terror bombings continue to claim the lives of numerous people world-wide. By example July, 2009 was the bloodiest month for U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan since the war began with casualties expected to remain high for months to come.1 According to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan by mounting sophisticated attacks combining roadside bombs with ambushes.2 Additionally, terror bombings killed three police officers in two separate attacks terror bomb attacks in Spain(August 2009),3 nine people in Indonesia (July 2009),4 and between forty to fifty Iraqi citizens any given week.5 In light of the range, scope and danger of these attacks, terror bombings must be thoroughly analyze from multiple parameters. That is the perquisite to articulating and implementing legal and effective response predicated on anticipatory self-defense. Otherwise, terror bombings will continue unabated.

This article specifically focuses on anticipatory self defense and intelligence gathering in an effort to proactively prevent terror bombings. Terror bombing is defined herein within the broadest possible parameters to include the following: dirty bombs, suicide bombings, remote controlled bombings and nuclear weapons and therefore presents the greatest threat presently posed by terrorists.

The precise definition of terrorism is much debated and discussed; Schmid and Jongman identified 109 different definitions.6 For the purpose of this article, terrorism is defined as any violent (including cyber terrorism) act undertaken for the purpose of advancing political, social, or religious causes by killing or injuring innocent civilians indiscriminately or causing property damage or intimidating the civilian population from conducting its daily life. Although certain acts of terrorism, such as the assassination of a political leader, are focused in nature,7 the overwhelming majority are clearly indiscriminate. This is particularly the case with terror bombings. 

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