Terrorism and World Politics: Beyond Armed Response

The first anniversary of the Madrid train bombing has passed with ceremonies to commemorate the killing of over 190 people.

The World Today
Published 1 May 2005 Updated 15 October 2020 5 minute READ

Fred Halliday

The fourth anniversary of the attack by Al Qaeda on the United States is approaching. The question of when, and why, these attacks began is important to understand the challenge, but it is also time to ask questions about how the struggle with terrorism is going and what the prospects are.

It was the first time in five hundred years a third World force hit massively at a city in the metropolitan north, and more than ten years since the wave of strikes on western targets, with the 1993 attempt on the World Trade Centre, and subsequent attacks in Saudi Arabia in 1995 and east Africa three years later.

While it is never possible to judge with confidence, let alone certainty, any military conflict, conventional or not, during hostilities, states and independent observers need to form some provisional judgement on the kind of warfare being waged and the consequences.

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