State-Sponsored Terrorism: A Mode of Diplomacy?

Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 13 (3) 1993

17 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2013

See all articles by Noemi Gal-Or

Noemi Gal-Or

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Date Written: 1993


Paraphrasing Clemenceau's aphorism that war is too important to be left to the generals, one might say that state-sponsored terrorism, a fortiori, is too intangible to be left to the generals. But should it be handed over to the diplomats?

This question summarizes the main concern of this article, which consists primarily in a pre-theoretical discourse on definitions. The purpose of the study is to suggest an alternative understanding of the role and the nature of state-sponsored terrorism in foreign policy and, by extension, in international relations. Unlike the perception prevailing among most students of state-sponsored terrorism, i.e. that it is a form of low-intensity warfare, this paper maintains that this strategy and activity belong to the diplomatic side of the continuum of war and diplomacy. More often than not, state-sponsored terrorism is a form of diplomatic bargaining and not of war. If this contention proves sensible, a revision of the explanation of the nature of diplomacy will be inevitable. At this stage, however, I will contend with the modest effort of raising the issue for discussion and offering some suggestions.

Keywords: Terrorism, State, Diplomacy

Suggested Citation

Gal-Or, Noemi, State-Sponsored Terrorism: A Mode of Diplomacy? (1993). Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 13 (3) 1993 , Available at SSRN:

Noemi Gal-Or (Contact Author)

Kwantlen Polytechnic University ( email )

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Surrey, British Columbia V3W 2M8

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