The causes of terrorism

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Abstract

Terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 and after intensified concerns about a global Jihad and other forms of terrorism, and renewed calls to better understand its causes or roots. There have been divergent views on this question, and terrorism has been argued to be caused by increased poverty, rapid urbanization, declining traditional authority, globalization, and so forth. These differences, reflecting philosophical, religious, political and other differences, are not merely academic; they can affect our understanding of both the threat and of responses to terrorism. This article provides an analytic framework for understanding the limits to understanding the causes of terrorism, identifying what can be known about causation and assessing counterterrorism implications.

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