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New vs. Old Terrorism: A Critical Appraisal


The idea that the world confronts a 'new' terrorism completely unlike the terrorism of the past has taken hold in the minds of American policy makers, journalists, consultants and academics (examples include Hoffman 1998, Benjamin and Simon 2003; Laqueur 1999; Lesser et al. 1999; Bremer 2001; Morgan 2004; Giddens 2004). The government and policy elites have been blamed for not recognizing the danger of the 'new' terrorism in the 1990s and this failing to prevent the disaster of 9/11 (see for example Simon and Benjamin 2003, 381; 9/11 Commission Report, chapter 2). Our knowledge of the 'old' or traditional terrorism is considered irrelevant, obsolete and anachronistic, even harmful; the old paradigms should be discarded and replaced with a new reframed understanding (see Hoffman 1998, 196 and 205; Simon and Benjamin 2003, 221 and 384; Lesser et al. 1999, Laqueur 1999, 7).

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Crenshaw, Martha. 2008. "New vs. Old Terrorism: A Critical Appraisal." In Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge in Europe, ed. Rik Coolsaet. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

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