Brokers of Fear: The Enigma of Modern Terrorism

Article excerpt

As the summer of 1998 drew to a close, images of twisted metal, shattered glass, and broken bodies riveted the public--images that remain difficult to banish from memory. The blood of innocents triggered a pervasive atmosphere of fear that spread to all regions of the world. For those of us who watched the mounting death toll with horror, the incidents in East Africa and Northern Ireland were tragic evidence that terrorism is alive and well in the modern world.

The struggle against terrorism has been long and painful. Despite attempts to combat this insidious global phenomenon, it has only become more prevalent in recent years. Perhaps part of the problem stems from the fact that terrorism is an extremely difficult concept to handle, and can never be completely understood. Fear is undoubtedly an objective of terrorism; beyond this, however, many questions remain.

This issue of the Harvard International Review attempts to unravel the enigma of modern terrorism. Adrian Guelke introduces the symposium with an analysis of the definitional problems and biases surrounding the term "terrorism." The next two articles, by Walter Laqueur and Louise Richardson, examine the anatomy of terrorism: its evolution over time and its trans-national properties. …