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Global AlertThe Rationality of Modern Islamist Terrorism and the Challenge to the Liberal Democratic World$
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Boaz Ganor

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172127

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172127.001.0001

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The Proportionality Dilemma in Countering Terrorism

The Proportionality Dilemma in Countering Terrorism

(p.37) 3 The Proportionality Dilemma in Countering Terrorism
Global Alert

Boaz Ganor

Columbia University Press

This chapter addresses the conundrum of proportionality by first taking up the thread of analysis presented in Chapter 1, this time in light of international humanitarian law. Developed to provide a frame of reference—and liability—for the excesses and atrocities of twentieth-century war, international humanitarian law (IHL) now struggles to define and address the infractions committed against it by terrorists, taking into account that efforts into counter-terrorism might even undermine the values it seeks to uphold. It proposes a solution to this dilemma, however, by beginning with a redefinition of state and non-state actors, combatants and non-combatants. The chapter presents and thoroughly explicates a unique equation for assessing and planning proportional responses to terrorist acts, for use by civilian and military decision makers—even in the field.

Keywords:   international humanitarian law, IHL, proportionality, counter-terrorism, war, terrorists, equation

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