Guerrilla Warfare and Terrorism: The Distinctions Between Them and Their Implications in the War on Terror and Beyond
AuthorKleinhans, Tiffany A.
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In the aftermath of the recent San Bernardino shooting in California and other similar events, an interesting question has been raised: are these events acts of terrorism? The ambiguity in meaning regarding terrorism which renders such questions necessary also extends to other types of political violence, such as guerrilla warfare. Building on the work of Weinberg, Pedahzur, and Hirsch-Hoefler (2004), the work done in this study includes an analysis of the the definitions of terrorism and guerrilla warfare found in the academic literature. The analysis conducted here draws on definitions of these terms found in articles in two of the top journals in the field: Terrorism and Political Violence and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. Following the model provided by Weinberg et al. (2004), each definition is analyzed to identify which of the elements identified in an earlier study by Schmid and Jongman (1988) are included. This analysis makes it possible to answer the following questions: How are terrorism and guerrilla warfare defined in the post-9/11 literature? Why do these definitions matter within the academic community and the political realm? What are the implications of these definitions in the war on terror and beyond?