The Under-focused Dimension
Chapter 2: 9/11, reaction and a wave of global terrorism
In reaction to the attacks on the morning of 9/11, the United Nations responded with vigour against both terrorism and financing of terrorism. Emergency sessions were convened and the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1373 which declared that the acts perpetrated constituted a threat to international peace and security. No international standardised definition of terrorism was established. Terrorism has two universally agreed aspects, namely that it is distinct, firstly, from a national liberation struggle and, secondly, from a criminal act or ongoing criminality. However, any attempt at international definition is constantly frustrated. One reason for this is that terrorism and counter-terrorism are the same in that they involve violence and intimidation, impact upon a broad spectrum of populaces and affect noncombatants. There is agreement in international law upon certain terrorist acts for specific purposes (such as financing of terrorism, terrorist recruitment), but there is no overall agreed definition. In the immediate reaction to 9/11, there was an opportunity to promulgate a unified definition as a basis of understanding when international governments, law enforcement and regulatory agencies were focused against a threat that had apparently assumed proportions hitherto unknown and unforeseen. However, paradoxically, the 9/11 crisis necessitating such focus and such a frenzy of international interface was the very reason why no such legal definition was forthcoming.
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