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Int. j. econ. manag. soc. sci., Vol(4), No (2), February, 2015. pp.


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International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences



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A Post Structural Approach to Terrorism Crisis of Meaning

Seyyed Javad Emamjomezadeh
Associate professor of Isfahan University-Faculty of political Science, Iran.

Mohammad Mansour Azimzadeh Ardebili*

PHD Candidate on International Relations, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan (Khorasgan branch), Iran.

Mehdi Habibollahi
PHD Candidate on International Relations, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan (Khorasgan branch), Iran.
*Corresponding author: m_m_azimzadeh@yahoo.com



Crisis of meaning
International law
International Relations

The present article attempts to answer 2 questions: Is there a unanimous definition of terrorism on contemporary
International Relations (IR)? In order to answer the question the author supposed that there has been no
agreement for defining terrorism on contemporary international Relations and its content. The result of studying
various definitions stated in documents, treaties, resolutions and scientific meetings show that there is no silver
lining to this agreement. Secondly, what is the theoretical perspective for the lack of agreement about defining
terrorism unanimously? The logical answer is that the content of social phenomenon is not consistent, but they
depend on the disputes and disagreement on rival discussions in the society. Terrorism is a phenomenon that has
no consistent meaning and it interprets based on the different rival discussions. The governments, institutions
and agent use this concept to distinguish "domestic" vs. "foreign" and "friendly "vs. "alien and provide a stable
identity for them. So, the meaning of terrorism is optional, contrived and political. In order to answer the above
questions, the present article is divided in to three parts; 1 _ the lexical definition of terrorism and international
terrorism and its categorization is presented. 2 _ the researches done on international law about terrorism are
reviewed. 3 _ Theoretical framework based on post-structuralists views as Derrida and his deconstruction
method is studied to reach an analysis about disagreements on the definition of terrorism.



Sep. 11 event is not only a unique event because of its complicatedness but also because it drives movement on international Relations. After the
collapse of Soviet Union and Iraq attack to Kuwait, there has been no event on international system that creates such consequences. So because
of its importance, it has converted to a turning point on twenty first century (Khabiri, 2006, p: 131). This event has changed terrorism to a hot
topic to be discussed in researches of International law and rights and made researches do studies about it.
Nowadays we encounter with the meaning-removing process of most of the behavioral models in globalization era. According to this all
concepts and behavioral models will be changed and they should be redefined during this process and new values and relations are created
among various forces that have multiple meanings. It appears that the time required for institutionalizing the meanings is longer than the Cold
War era (Ghavam, 2003, p: 47). The crisis of meaning and multiplicity of the definitions is true about "terrorism" concept.
Terrorism has been defined formally by most of the states and international agents differently; however various definitions represent that how
the concept of "enemy" is defined differently. Differences appeared on the definitions and lists that are offered by the UN organization, United
States of America and European Union about terrorism, terrorist and terrorist organizations indicates that there are various viewpoints and global
policies about these concepts. For example, Turkey _ that has attempted for 20 years to campaign against terrorism _ limits the definition of
these concepts to internal policies. Of course defining terrorism by the main actors of the global system not only reflects their internal policy, but
it also shows their foreign policy, too.
The techniques of defining terrorism and its related concepts by convergent institutes and organization as European Union represent the way
they interpret the concept threat and what are the strategies that are applied by them to remove it. So the level of definitions proposed by
international states and organizations and degree of legitimizing the agitation against them shows the importance of the issue for them (Simbar,
2006, p: 73).
The purpose of the present study is to check available definitions of terrorism on contemporary International law. It is attempted to answer 2
questions: 1. is there a unanimous definition of terrorism on contemporary International Relations (IR)? In order to answer the question the
author supposed that there has been no agreement for defining terrorism on contemporary international Relations and its content. The result of
studying various definitions stated in documents, treaties, resolutions and scientific meetings show that there is no silver lining to this agreement.
2. What is the theoretical perspective for the lack of agreement about defining terrorism unanimously?
The logical answer is that the content of social phenomenon is not consistent, but they depend on the disputes and disagreement on rival
discussions in the society. Terrorism is a phenomenon that has no consistent meaning and it interprets based on the different rival discussions.
The governments, institutions and agent use this concept to distinguish "domestic" vs. "foreign" and "friendly "vs. "alien and provide a stable
identity for them. So, the meaning of terrorism is optional, contrived and political. In order to answer the above questions, the present article is
divided in to three parts;
1 _The lexical definition of terrorism and international terrorism and its categorization is presented. 2 _The researches done on international law
about terrorism are reviewed. 3 _Theoretical framework based on post-structuralists views as Derrida and his deconstruction method is studied
to reach an analysis about disagreements on the definition of terrorism. Moreover documentary method is applied to gather the required data by
searching the scientific magazines, books and available data in the libraries.
1. Terrorism and International Terrorism:
The word terror is taken from Latin word (Ters) and means to threat. For the first time terror Cimbricus condition was declared in Rome
Emperor on 105 B.C that was a type of urgent threatening situation as a reaction to the Cimbricus tribe. Cimbricus tribes were German that
threatened the Rome at the end of second century B.C by Teutons and Ambros. In September, 1793 the French National Union declared that the
present order, is based on terror". French Extremist Revolutionists or Jacobins, interpreted terror positively to describe the way they contact with

Seyyed Javad Emamjomezadeh, Mohammad Mansour Azimzadeh Ardebili *, Mehdi Habibollahi


International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences Vol(4), No (2), February, 2015.

their enemies. Then, terror or fear period (regime de la terreur) was part of French revolution that involved March, 1793 to June 1794. During
this time, the Public Security Committee murdered thousands of Christian clergies and the proponents of despotic monarchy under the control of
Robespierre authority all over the France. After that, especially after ninth Thermidor, terror interpreted negatively and suggested criminal act
.After wards, "Terrorism" concept was entered into English dictionaries in 1798 which has been defined as "the systematic use of terror as a
policy". Although terrorism definition has been remained as a dilemma on terrorism studies (Poorsaeid, 2009, p: 146).
Terrorism is a political phenomena but it is different from those phenomenon that are interpreted in politics as revolution, coup, robbery, war,
irregular troops and so on. Meanwhile terrorism imposes violence and threat in the society to achieve its goals. Although there has been no
unanimous definition of terrorism yet, one of its features is that terrorism always brings violence or threat. Therefore, the main bases of terrorism
are as follows, 1. Terrorism is a completely political phenomenon. 2. Terrorism always brings violence and threats to violence. 3. Terrorism
includes beneficial logic. 4. Terrorism is a meaningful phenomenon and bears a message. Its message is that when a terrorist find no ways-as
discussion or negotiation- based on the present circumstance to achieve its goals and show its intentions to the other side (state) it resorts terror
as the final solution (Firhi and Zahiri, 2008, p: 148 ).
Now, let's turn into "International terrorism" concept. International terrorism involves the cases where; 1: the victim and perpetrator are from
among different states citizens _ 2 _ the behavior is done completely or party in more than one state _ 3 _ the targets of terror is supported
Internationally, as innocent non army forces, diplomats who got Letter of Credence, or international organizations stuffs that work on their own
field of activity such as international non-army aviation, post or other international communication media, and 4 _ the purpose of terror actions is
to get domineering result . Considering international terrorism, we are going to categorize it as fallows;
According to David Rapoport , the prominent English researcher and specialist on terrorism issues, international terrorism has experienced 4
steps or waves in the post-westphalian age ; first wave that has started since1880s and continued for 4 years, known that as anarchist wave .
Then in 1920s, Anti _ colonization wave or tribal terrorism has started and declined mostly in 1960s. At the end of 1960s a new Left wave or
Marxist wave has started and it continued unbridled and now some groups of it are active in the states as Nepal, Spain, Peru, Britain and
Colombia. Forth wave called "religious wave" appeared in 1997 and based on Rapoprt estimation and if the dominant model of the prior three
waves conforms to the new one, it will have ended in 2025, and there will be a new waves of terrorism then. The dominant terroristic action on
the first movement was homicide and personal terror. The main feature of the second wave was the rush to the military targets that was replaced
by hijacking, kidnapping and hostage in the third wave. There were more than 600 cases of hijacking during first 3 decades of the third wave
.Strategists and western researchers as Ropoport believed that there will be a new movement of terrorism during twenty first century after Cold
War was ended and Marxism collapsed, that its main and special technique will be suicide (Poorsaeid, 2009, p: 151).
As mentioned according to the former versions, terrorism is an interest_ based and political issue and intended to be legitimized among most
societies and states. So the victims should be selective, purpose _ based and political and the terrorist victims statistics were often law.
However, new terrorism does not have the limitations and does not fallow to be legitimized or gain political gain among most parts of the society
or the third party.
Now the attempt is to represent that if contemporary international law is capable to reach an agreement about terrorism definitions. It is
important issue, because it affects the unanimous and comprehensive international reaction when the members of the UN reach an agreement
about campaigning against terrorism , then the states will be able to introduce the terrorists and terrorist organization that are going to be
campaigned (Simbar, 2006, pp: 76 _ 180 ).
2. Challenges about definition of terrorism on Contemporary International law:
Considering states International treatments show that they have achieved a unanimous position about some terrorist punishments so for, but they
have not reached a consensus about issues as the crime itself, because "terrorist agents" are different for every state. So they have different
perspectives about the crime or enemy. The difference is based on various benefits that states enjoy in international system. So far there has been
no possibility to need a consensus about terrorist concepts, terrorist and terrorist organizations through international conventions (Simbar, 2006,
p: 188).
International conventions approve "terrorist measure regardless of the definition of terrorist, terrorism and terrorist organization, and make the
states to collaborate with each other to campaign against it. Article 51 of chapter 7 of the UN charter condemns army attacks but does not cover
terror issue clearly. Based on the convention, terror includes "all criminal measures against a state that is done after creating threatening situation
in the society or among groups of individual or the individual mind". However, the convention has never executed. After wards other different
instruments about terrorism have offered by the UN organization and some other organizations as European Union, European Council, NATO,
ASEAN, Arabic Union, Islamic States Organization and American States Organization.
Yet, it should be considered that the instruments were formed mostly and solely after the end of World War II and the attempts of the states to
gain independence and it were ended by the completion of the process of nation _ states in 1960. Most of the documents cover issues as state
aviation security, hostage, preventing to take a criminal action against internationally supported individuals as diplomats, and financial support
of terrorism. So it could be claimed that the documents mostly focus on the cooperation against terrorism and they do not include the definitions
related to terror. Also they do not fear of signing such conventions since they could get legal excuse to campaign against terrorism, terrorists, and
terrorist organizations based on their interpretation.
A definition of terrorism has presented in the European convention of 1977. According to the article 1 of the convention, terrorism is defined as;
A critical rush that include taking measure against the life, health and freedom of the reserved individuals as diplomats. An attack that include
kidnapping, hostage, and illegal capture; Also it covers measures that are taken to threat the individuals life by the use of bomb and other
explosives as packages or letters. However, article 2 generalizes the issue to the threats against the life, health and freedom of ordinary
individual. According to the convention, terrorism is an action that is taken against individual and especially diplomats and internationally
supported people. According to the convention, terrorism also involves a crucial violent measure that is taken by an individual against other
The plan of European Cooperation Council measure _ Atlantic _ includes a section called " the definition of threats by international terrorism
and the reactions against that" .In this document, NATO has taken global army measures against terrorism without presenting a definition of the
related concept of terror. So NATO organization members agreed that terrorism is a measure that threats human rights, democracy, political and
economic stability and the organization promised to campaign against it. But the measure, individual and the groups that take the measures are
not defined there. The concept of "enemy" is vague. As an example no one could say that whether NATO is able to campaign against terrorist
organizations as P.K.K, E.T.I or Al-Ghaedeh.
According to the UN organization views, terrorist action is equal to the criminal action on peaceful period. The resolution that was approved in
1999, states that:
"1. Taking terrorist measures and actions are criminal and unjustifiable and it is condemned strictly if it is taken by everyone and everywhere.
2. It is emphasized that taking criminal measures to create horrible climate and threat people, groups of people or special individuals to reach the
political purposes regardless of the political , intellectual , racial, religious or any other reason to be justified.


A Post Structural Approach to Terrorism Crisis of Meaning

International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences Vol(4), No (2), February, 2015.

Therefore, illegal actions are mentioned by terrorism definition and a terrorist action includes most affairs. In other words, there is no particular
feature that Separate terrorist action of other violent actions. So it could be said that there has been no definition of terror so far.
After terrorist attacks to America on Sep 11, 2011, it was necessary to describe the gents views and identity. So the Security Council of the UN
organization passed a set of resolutions. The first one was resolution 1989 named "the request for closing the camps where the terrorists were
instructed there that was passed on Sep. 12, 2001. By this resolution the attacks were condemned Sep. 11 attacks; other resolutions were issued
by the Security Council that was not solely condemning the attacks (Simbar, 2006 pp. 176 _ 186).
Security council issued the resolution 1994 on Sep. 28 by which the member states obliged to observe some promises to take measures against
terrorism and transfer the data about terrorist groups. The resolution recognized self-defense right for the states and considered the terrorism as
threatening action of the international peace and security.
According to International law, it is binding resolution because it was issued based on chapter 7 of the UN charter and makes the state to observe
the security council decisions .Moreover if a state does not execute the issued decisions based on the chapter framework, then security council is
able to take measures- as punishing measures- from applying different sanctions to the use of army forces against the wrong doer state. One
interesting note on the above resolution is lack of a definition of terrorism, because in the resolution it is defined as the threatening element of
international peace and security. This definition is general and it can be interpreted individually, as a state can be interpreted it based on its own
benefits as a threatening factor of international peace security and it may be interpreted differently. (Taghizadeh Ansari, 2007, pp: 163 168).
Therefore the resolution 1994 recommends only global measures against terrorism as preparing a new list of terrorists.
The resolutions are important because they limit the domain for campaigning against terrorism, but it does not offer a definition of the concept.
So it makes the decision making difficult about the necessary criteria for providing such lists.
General assembly also defined international terrorism as a general issue in 1972. In the middle of 1980s it sometimes point it out and has
considered it since the time that the elimination ways of international terrorism declarations has passed by the resolution 49/60 in Dec, 1994.
Since then a new wave of resolutions have passed about some issues as "the strategies for preventing terrorism" , human rights and terrorism",
"strategies for removing terrorism". To sum up, international terrorism is divided in to 2 groups by the General Assembly:
1_ creating a formal frame work for defining terrorism as joint issues for the states and 2.encouraging them to take measures to compile internal
and international legal rules against terrorism. Finally it could be said that the General Assembly does not propose a definition of terrorism and it
recognizes some special actions criminal regardless of their purpose by applying indirect strategies. So one of the common aspect of terrorism
issue as a general issue based on general assembly is the lack of an agreement among member states by offering usual definitions of the concepts
terrorism", "terrorist actions" and international terrorism". Even it has considers the declaration on strategies for eliminating terrorism of the
resolution 49/60 of general assembly about punishing actions in 3 fields;
1. the re-concentration of the UN member states on the absolute condemnation of all terrorist actions and methods as a punishing and
unjustifiable issue everywhere by everyone as those that put the friendly relations of the states in danger and threat the uniformity and
security of the states .
2. Approving that the terrorist actions and measures are considered as the notorious violation of the UN principles and purposes. And that
they may be considered as threat to the international peace and security which put the friendly relations of the states into danger and
prevent the international cooperation, and violate human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic basis of the society.
3. Focusing that the punishing actions that are done by groups of people or special individuals in the society to create threatening
situation should be accomplished by political purposes and they are unjustifiable in every cases, despite the fact that they enjoy any
political, ideological, racial and religious considerations to be justified.
Finally it could be said that the concept of terrorism is not defined by the general assembly and the particular measures are considered as
criminal by applying indirect strategies. So the lack of agreement on offering a definition is not a new phenomenon (Mosaffa & Taherkhani,
2011, pp: 290 _ 291).
Despite the fact that there is no agreement on recognizing terrorism as an independent crime, there is no punishing reaction against terrorism
according to the international law and it is the dominant view among researchers. As an example, some provision was passed on Rome
constitution framework -approved in 1998- and by the establishment of International Criminal Court for campaigning against international fines.
In 1994 international law Commission made a note about International Criminal Court draft by which another stage for the fines were presented
through court judicial qualification framework such as treaties fines as terrorism, drug trafficking, apartheid, and notorious violation of the
four Geneva conventions of 1949, but the disagreements resulted which removed the terrorism out of judicial qualification of the court frame
work (Nemamian, 2011, p: 50, 66).
The UN organization and League of Nations are authorized to use international law to campaign against international terrorism effectively.
Although international law is not developed completely about this matter but some steps could be taken to make it developed. There are more
than 20 international conventions about this matter as fallows;
1. Hijacking is considered as criminal act.
2. People who take criminal actions against internationally preserved individual should be arrested and punished as diplomats and the UN
organization staffs.
3. Hostage
4. The ways for maintaining nuclear material physically
5. Campaigning against financial support of terrorism (Simbar, 2006, pp. 176 _ 180)
In spite of lack of a definition for "terrorism" it is appeared that based on contemporary international law, terrorism is the hidden organized
activity that hurt human physically or threat their life violently and it is related to the groups that intends to create horror and fear. As a result, by
taking terrorist actions innocent people are killed, aversion, fear and violence are created in the society and the peace, comfort and democracy
are removed from society. So in order to a terrorist action to be done at least 5 interconnected elements should be observed as fallows;
Doing a special form of violence which results death or intensive physical damage. Some texts of internal right and European Union
rights claim more and consider the damage to the properties as a terrorist action.
Terrorist action individually or collective is an organized action that is done by uniformed plans to achieve a special purpose. As
an example, the act of a killer that shots everyone who presents in front of him is not terrorism.
Terrorism is a kind of mental war and its purpose is to create horror among people, groups and the society. This makes the act of
murdering the particular person as, john F. Kennedy, American president, different from terrorism. So there is difference between
terrorist agents victims and the results that they try to gain them. Terrorism is a way of campaigning by which the victims are not
selected individually but they are attacked or to get symbolic effects of the attack randomly. Their target is not the victims but they
intend to create horror in the society in which the victims live. By this terrorists are going to attract the states and the society.
Violence or the threat which results from it is done because of political reasons which make terrorism different from other forms of
violence to get the properties of others.
Taking violent action or treating should be done at present time and demonstrations taken to create changes in the future of a state are
not considered as terrorism (Jalali, 2005, pp: 61).

Seyyed Javad Emamjomezadeh, Mohammad Mansour Azimzadeh Ardebili *, Mehdi Habibollahi


International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences Vol(4), No (2), February, 2015.

Of course international society has not agreed with the definition of the terrorism that enjoys the above prerequisites. The question is that what
theoretical perspective for the lack of agreement on the definition and meaning of terrorism is.
3. Post-Modernism and terrorism crisis of meaning on international relations (Post _ Structuralism)
As mentioned before, terrorism definition is one of the problematic issues on international law. In other words, terrorism is one of vague
concepts on political studies and we encounter with the crisis of meaning to define it because of its complicatedness (Soleymani, 2013). But
the challenge of defining terrorism concept could be defined by which school of International Relation? The present article justifies that post
modernism (post structuralism) is more practical than other ones. First we describe the effects of post structuralism on International Relations
and then analyze the concept of terrorism by the use of Deconstruction Method- proposed by Derrida and et.al. The advocates of Post
Modernism affect International Relations differently. The most important effect is the social constructivism belief which states that achieving the
reality is meaningless per se and the reality is something that is constructed. So post modernism documents of International Relations criticize
the debate of international relation as academic theoretical debates and dominant debates of IR that focus on their structures.
The effects of post modernism on IR involves using post modernism methods as deconstruction , genealogy and semiology to criticize the
debates subjectivity, drawback of representations, considering the power relations either in debates or in IR and the produced changes based on
the time and space, the new drawback of power and etc. (Moshirzadeh, 2005, pp. 269 _268). Now we clarify the deconstructive method of
Derrida and his proponents on IR to apply it for analyzing terrorism crisis of meaning.
3. 1. The conceptual framework : Deconstruction Method
Derrida is one of the prominent authors of post - structuralism that focus on Deconstruction .He believes that the world is like a text and the way
that we construct the social world is based on the text. (Simth, 2011, p: 543). Shapiro states that the social and political reality of the world is
like a text that is written by us. But it is not an unintentionally- produced text and it is the product of different texts that form reality and are
inherited from our lingual and cultural environment. The world around us is reproduced and interpreted by lingual processes. The significance
and value of the world is imposed to it by us ( it is not invented ) because we are not able to Separate the world from its interpretational and
representative process that reconstruct it (Bozorgi, 2003, p: 252 ) .
According to Derrida, the world is the text and the way by which we interpret the world shows the lingual concepts and structures. He called this
process as textual reciprocal process. Derrida monitors the way that texts are constructed and proposes two methods by which he represents that
the process is the language natural paradoxes (good / bad, men / woman). These two instruments are called deconstruction (smith m 2011, p:
Derrida claims that there is no possibility to have a stable reality because the meaning (significance) is unstable. The meaning is not consistent
and the relationship between cause and effect is inconsistent. Meaning is fluid where there is no definite framework which is so-called
postponed. This property of the language is called DIFFERANCE. The unlimited differences of the language make its final meaning unstable.
He believes that the difference shows that the paradoxes (good / bad) presence / absence, woman / man and etc.) are superficial. This means that
we should not prefer one pole to the other and emphasize on one of it. In fact Derrida opposes any fundamental principle and centrality and
believes in the production of Metaphysics of Presence or Phonocentralism. He claims that a pole is being interpreted based on its opposite pole
and they are not Separable. In other words, one pole is the opposite side of its corresponding pole and it could be represented by
deconstruction that a difference is hidden behind the paradoxes (Bozorgi, 2003, p: 147). Based on the critical political view and by considering
the link between meaning and value via representative and written process, we can challenge the common representative methods. The methods
that made some items to be accepted that deconstruct the political world. According to the post _ structuralism school, reality is reconstructed by
representative methods and representation does not interpreted as description of the reality .Now, we explain Foko discussion that focuses on
pragmatic and value-making process and does not depend on the relation between the words and their evidences. Unlike the common strategies as empirical strategies-they maintain the discourse approach of language obscure. The illusion of language transparency and meaning presence
is something that Derrida contradicts it as Metaphysics of Presence or Phonocentralism. Using critical method of deconstruction, Derrida
intends to show that every social system legitimize some meaning structures and remove others aside by using removal processes.
Based on this view point, the foreign policy of national states are based on the representative process that reconstructs "others" different from
"us" and reproduce "our" dominance on "them" (Bozorgi, 2003, pp. 253).
To sum up, deconstruction implies that lingual relations that appear natural and strong, in fact they are superficial and they ordered sequentially
that some of which are preferred to others. So deconstruction is away to represent that how the theories and discourses depend on the superficial
solidity. The solidities are created by using natural and concrete paradoxes of the language (poor / rich, good / bad, weak / powerful, correct /
incorrect) (Smith, 2011, p: 544).
The view of paradoxes of language is presented in the book: Security Writings: Foreign policy of the UN and the policy of identity (1992)
written by Comble. He made an attempt to show that the American identity is going to be rewritten via foreign policy. Instead of studying the
relationship between foreign policy of America and national interests, he considers that how American foreign policy defined as foreign affair
has contributed to produce and reproduce its political interpretation of the danger. Instead of studying "foreign" dangers that threat the domestic
society _ by which "domestic", foreign", "friendly", "alien" are constructed as one danger. Based on his idea, danger is not an objective
phenomena and it should not be considered as the effect of our interpretation. It is true that there are real " dangers (as epidemic disease, events
and political violence) in the world, but we interpret them as danger. Danger is represented in special format because of our interpretation.
Studying the way of producing and reproducing American Identity by reconstructing " alien " during cold war does not imply that foreign policy
of the Soviet Union is controlled by America. The events happened in Berlin, Korea, commove and matzo Islands, Vietnam, and Czechoslovakia
all were real but they should not be considered as danger. The note is that the feel of danger is not necessarily the effect of an action or an event,
but it should be felt because of the appearance of other life style by representing the excess of identities, removing natural imagination and
reality of a special identity that makes us to feel danger. The nature of danger show that the identity borders of a state are preserved by
presenting and representing a danger .The importance of interpretation shows the necessity of language and discourses. There is no element out
of discourse .The world could exist independent of the language, but being familiar with the world is only possible via using language and
discourse (Bozorgi, 2003, p: 361).
Now, how could we assess terrorism based on linguistics basis and find a reason for its crisis of meaning. This is the question that we are going
to find answer for it in the next chapters.
3.2. Terrorism Deconstruction
The crisis of meaning for terrorism in the issue is studied by post- structuralists as Derrida and his proponents. Terrorism is a phenomenon that
has no stable meaning and it is interpreted by different rival discourses.
States, institutes and agents use this word to distinguish "domestic", "foreign" "friendly" and "alien and make their own identity stable.
Defining the concepts as terrorism by the world main actors reflects their own domestic and foreign policy. The way organizations and


A Post Structural Approach to Terrorism Crisis of Meaning

International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences Vol(4), No (2), February, 2015.

convergent institutes as European Community apply to define terrorism and its related concepts represent the way that they interpret the threat.
They draw a border between "domestic", "foreign" and" friendly, alien. In fact we are going to recognize the dual differences that identify the
border of the concepts friendly "and domestic and alien and foreign. So we interpret the differences based on terrorism optional,
superficial, and political.
This is why there has been no comprehensive definition of terrorism and no hope for it in the near future. States use different definitions of
terrorism based on their interpretation of the concepts self and others and for this reason no agreement has achieved to define terrorism on
international treaties. Researches show that there are 109 cases of formal and academic definition of terrorism. Numerous definitions exist
because the word _ terrorism _ is a controversial concept and it is interpreted diversely. In other words, the reason could be found in the phrases
as "terrorist is the combatant of others freedom or actions that are considered as terrorism by some people they are maintained as heroism by
others. Developing countries insist that the violent actions of the combatant of freedom are not interpreted as terrorism. It is not easy to present
a comprehensive definition that converge the opposite views. So, since there has been no agreement about terrorism, no unanimous definition
has been proposed on international treaties. This does not mean that terrorism has not defined at international level, but the strategy applied is
very weak and instead of accepting a comprehensive treaty against terrorism various forms of terrorism has been considered (Namamiyan, 2011,
p: 62). Which are taken from discoursal and public deconstructions, and they are not conformed to objectivism and approving the duality of the
values/reality. Dardarian claims that in order to enter available discourses of terrorism, we should first do purification" custom that is a
complicated task because it is difficult to mix scientific, political, terrorism and anti-terrorism discourses. So despite the fact that terrorism has
been changed to one of the problems of international policy after the cold war, but no agreement has been achieved related to the reality of the
problem (Soleymabi, 2007, p: 182) .
Consider these questions: what are the best forms of "Sep. 11, 2001" conceptualization? Is it a terrorist, criminal and evil actions or an action to
precede the war or a reprisal measure? Is it good to consider it as case of Islamic Fascisms" or the conflict of civilizations? Or is it logical to
perceive it as a "shock"? And what are the measures that are accomplished or not to intensify the event? Did the event of Sep 11, 2001 start at 8:
45 am when the flight no. 11 of American air line stroked the north watch tower of World Trade or did it happen at 7: 59 when the airplane
departed from Boston? Did the planning and training actions start when the event started? Or if it was happened as a reaction against the US
policy on Middle East?
All these questions show that the Sep 11, 2001 event was a compiled story that is integrated in other events (Dartiak / 2011, p: 240). Therefore, it
could be said that terrorism is interpreted based on stereotypical frameworks and it is represented by the dominant western discourses. It is
sometimes considered as revolutionary movements to be coded by the communist ideologies and somewhere they are maintained as liberal _
democracy gap and democratic strategies in Middle East states as a source for forming terrorist streams in the territory (Soleymani, 2013).
After the event of Sep 11, 2001, Derrida stated that;
We should detect the strategies and relations of the power. The dominant power is the one which is able to impose words and interpretation at
national or international level and legitimized it.
3.3. Terrorism on American foreign policy
The only dominant and hegemonic powers are that enjoy intellectual and standard abilities ,moral authorization and forcible power to determine
terrorism rule and they deconstruct" other/alien" as a threat for themselves and label it as terrorist. Labeling process is facilitated by the
cooperation of international institutes as United Nations and Security Council). So after Sep .11, 2001 event Jenkinz addressed the US that
defined its special enemies as terrorist by resorting irresistible power. He claimed that:
by considering Iraq situation, a question is proposed that if the terrorists reflect on political actions by calling an individual , special group or a
state or is it a political process and media policy for superpowers to use it as a cover for their labeling (Soleymani, 2007, p: 194).
According to this it appears that the west media defines " modern terrorism as concepts that are involved in American dominant discourses and
its features and contents are defined based on secure political trends and the US national interest necessities.
By applying reconstruction method we can study the dualism of self, and "other by the US. So the west always have pioneered itself as the
agent for dividing the world in to two poles of good vs. evil after Cold War and considered itself on the good pole and the enemies on the
evil" one. Therefore, there are three consistent properties about dualism on west discourses as fallows;
1. The west is deserved to detect the limitation of dividing world forces in to two poles " good " and " evil" under the control of the US .
2. The bordering is arbitrary and illegal.
3. The black and white approach asserts that based on dualism every party that does not accompanying with " the west especially the
US, consequently it will be considered as against" it .
So as Combol had predicted, American identity is constructed by representing the danger of "others" (as global communism, European economic
disintegration, the Red China, Northern Vietnam, Cuba, Nicaragua, Libya, terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism, third world, drug trafficking,
Japan economic danger and etc.). He claimed that removing one of the dangerous factors (Soviet Union) does not mean the end of Cold War.
The optimistic view that the world will have fundamental difference after the Cold War is formed because the dangers of the cold war era were
started of "other party" (soviet union). But the war between America and its confederates with Iraq showed that the western view (Americans)
was based on the world after world war II and it has addresses just one state or one Ideology. The Cold War is the war for identities and the
application of the distinguishing and removing trends were not limited to America (Bozorgi, 2003 p: 261).
Combol states that after the terroristic event of Sep 11, the conflicts on the meaning of "Sep 11" will be continued and we should avoid hasty
attempts to fix the meaning of "Sep 11". He claimed that despite the focus of White House on unprecedented nature of Sep 11 attack
campaigning against terrorism means to return to the prior trends of the foreign policy. He internets it as the Cold War; Returning to the past
means that we have different enemies and unities, but there is a unique structure for communicating with the world via foreign policy (Davatiak,
2011, p: 240)
So, the terroristic event of Sep 11, 2001 _ as the greatest terroristic event of the past millennium _ saved the US of crisis of meaning and treat.
Moreover, it introduced "terrorism" instead of "communism" as the global threats. Then the White House strategists defined the evidences of
"terrorist" concept based on their own political interests and motivations. By this step some groups and Islamic states were selected and then
many books were published in the West that presented political Islam as the base for international terrorism (Soleymani, 2013).
The position that is defined by the US of terrorism and international terrorism has optional, superficial and political implication of the meaning
of terrorism. The instrumental use and dual index of the changing deployment of American politician about terrorism is an example of this case.
The modern conservatives _ who proposed military policy on international system for America after destroying the twin towers of trade in New
York city (in order to conflict with so-called rebellious states) believed that the crisis of Sep. 11 was the best chance for the US to govern the
world and regulate international system based on monopoly structure. The proponents of this school-Modern Conservatives _ call the event of
Sep. 11 as the great fate and chance for Washington and believe that Political Islam has been considered as the greatest rival and danger for the
US, liberal school and West democracy (Ikenberry, 2001, p: 266).
This is why the "liberal militants" are labeled as "terrorist" now. While Ronald Reagan called Afghan devotees and Al-Ghaedeh members _ who
were campaigning with occupier force of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan _ as "liberal militants" like American founders, while they were called

Seyyed Javad Emamjomezadeh, Mohammad Mansour Azimzadeh Ardebili *, Mehdi Habibollahi


International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences Vol(4), No (2), February, 2015.

as terrorist groups by American politicians after Sep. 11 attack (Soleymani 2013). In addition, the US supports two terrorist groups of divisive
and Jundallah materially and spiritually. These groups terroristic measures are clear for the world and apparently their terrorist measures are
taken against Iranian people .For example: Jundallah terrorist groups crimes _ who are composed of Baluch fighters _ has been one of the most
violent issues in Iran. The genocide of Iranian citizens in Tasuki event, explosion in the bus of army of the guardians of the Islamic revolution
(where 18 personnel of the army were killed) and later on homage of 16 Iranian controllers of the frontiers were the terrorist measures taken by
these groups.
Moreover the event of Arabic rise" during the recent years is the other terrorist event. For example, while the US assisted Asad defiant in Syria
_ who were members of international terrorists _ by pretexting the democracy, human rights and the right to determine their fate, they intended
to interrupt these measures in Iraq.
The evidence of this issue is the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant and the US dual position against them.



The main purpose of the present article is to study the crisis of meaning of "terrorism" in contemporary International relation. It intends to reach
that if there is an agreement about terrorism on international community measures. It was represented that. Based on contemporary international
law, terrorism is defined as any organized hidden activity that includes applying violent measures as physical hurt or threatening human life or
those that create horror. So the terrorist actions made innocent people to be murdered and create horror and aversion and remove the peace and
comfort and democracy .The international community has not achieved a definition of terrorism. The evidences of academic meetings and main
actors reactions of international system represent that the international community has not succeed to reach a comprehensive definition. The next
chapter intended to study the reasons of this problem?
How can we perceive the crisis of meaning? The solution was searched among IR views on post _ structuralism- and the analysis was directed
towards deconstruction approach proposed by Derrida and his proponents. The results show that the theorists do not consider a stable meaning for
the phenomena; and the phenomenon has various meanings on different discourses. The lingual concepts and relations that are considered natural
and consistent are superficial and regulated sequentially that some of them are preferred to others. The stabilities are created by applying natural
and concrete paradoxes of language (poor / rich, good / bad, weak / powerful, correct / incorrect). Therefore a linguistic ground is provided by the
present article in order to reach an agreement about crisis of meaning and disagreements of the concept "terrorism".
The issue of terrorism crisis of meaning have considered according to international relations (IR) of post- structuralists point of views. It was
debated that terrorism is not a type of phenomena that has a consistent meaning, but it interpreted based on the various rival discourses. The states
and institutes utilize the concept - terrorism- to distinguish the "domestic ", " alien" concepts and define a stable identity for themselves. So its
meaning is optional, superficial and political.
The fluidity of the terrorism concept has studied based on the US foreign policy. The analysis show that the interpretation of the US of terrorism
and international terrorism based on its own interests is optional, superficial and political application of the concept terrorism internationally.

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