Pre-Empting Terror Bombings – A Comparative Approach to Anticipatory Self-Defense

52 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2009

See all articles by Amos N. Guiora

Amos N. Guiora

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: November 20, 2009


The extreme urgency in discussing terror bombings and anticipatory self-defense cannot be overstated. Terror bombings were responsible for the single bloodiest month for U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan (July, 2009), for the death of nine people in Indonesia (July, 2009) for the death of three policemen in Spain and for the death of countless Iraqi citizens (including August, 2009), just to name a few. 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 presents the greatest contemporary threat presently posed by terrorists. Therefore, it is critical that terror bombings are understood and effective counter-measures developed. The most effective way to understand the threat is through a detailed comparative analysis of terror bombings and the operational, policy, legislative, and judicial responses of the nations affected. In the article, I propose that the key to pre-empt, prevent and respond to the threats posed by terror bombings is stronger intelligence which is crucial in allowing nations to focus on effective anticipatory self-defense.

Keywords: anticipatory self defense, terror bombing, innocent civilians, counterterrorism, intelligence gathering, suicide bombings, international conventions, improvised explosive device (IED), targeted killings, comparative analysis, asymmetric warfare, international law, Article 51 United Nations

Suggested Citation

Guiora, Amos N., Pre-Empting Terror Bombings – A Comparative Approach to Anticipatory Self-Defense (November 20, 2009). Toledo Law Review, Vol. 41, 2010 , Available at SSRN:

Amos N. Guiora (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-581-4295 (Phone)
801-581-6897 (Fax)


Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics