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State Terror (ST) and Counter-ST [Presentation 10]

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1 State Terror (ST) and Counter-ST [Presentation 10]

2 (2) State Terror (ST) & Counter-ST What are the causes and sustaining conditions for state terror? What ‘correlates’ with state terror in most cases? What do the ‘big cases’ teach us - [i.e. what are the opportunities & the constraints?] How does ST relate to this course? Why and how does the international community decide on ‘humanitarian intervention’?

3 (3) One aside about the lexicon Journalists tend to use these terms interchangeably. However, there are some differences, though not much consensus on some of the boundaries distinguishing them: State terror = harsh, brutal attacks against one’s own population, in which the victims are not ‘legitimate’ targets (as in being participants in a civil war); victims are targeted on the basis of their ethnicity, religion, etc. (e.g.: Sudan - Darfur) Genocide = Convention on the Prevention & Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. (e.g.: Nazi Germany - Jews; Rwanda - Hutu) Mass killing = extra-judicial/no legal framework (civil war, curfew…) to explain state actions that amount to exterminatory attacks against political opponents & their friends/relatives Ethnic cleansing = killing, acts to induce forced mass migration from one place to another of a particular ethnic group (e.g.: breakup of Yugoslavia)

4 (4) Lexicon (contd.) Politicide = (social science) systematic attack on political opponents (e.g.: Cambodia - Pol Pot; Chile - Pinochet; Argentina - military Junta); generally smaller in number of victims affected than for the cases exemplifying above terms Gross violations of human rights (GVHR) = actions by the state (e.g.: arbitrary arrest; detention without communication; torture), but the number of victims can be as low as one (e.g.: Sudan - Darfur, according to UN) Next two terms are relatively imprecise, both referring to the strong-arm rule of the state: Repression = an unpredictable environment where human rights are not respected, by state use of various techniques to undermine opposition (e.g.: Turkmenistan - Niyazov; Cuba - Castro…) Oppression = the state has a legal framework that disregards human rights, i.e. you are a hostage in your own state; or, related to the relationship between the state and a certain segment of the population that is not considered considered part of the citizenry (e.g.: ….)

5 (5) Causes of ST thru GVHR (1) A powerful ideology which includes: Identification of ‘our’ (or ‘the national’) problem as a plague or imminent peril….it begins as a condition for the future justification of state actions, but one which we can trace to the actions of the ‘others’ Their responsibility – in the form of an intentional action; or, one which is consistent with who they are. “Such are the Jews…..” An expression of ‘our’ need or desire (or destiny) to rid our people of this plague which they brought upon ‘us’ A process of identification and recognition that the plague is them

6 (6) Causes of ST (contd.) (2) Aggressive leadership which relies on a certain amount of chaos and mass support. Fiery Leader who can mobilize the ideology and people to support it + Reward System for the implementers e.g.: “bureaucratic authoritarianism” = alliance between military and technocrats (O’Donnell)) (Notes: *the leader doesn’t have to be a dictator. Dictators don’t have the leeway that aggressive leaders do. *the importance of the mythology of the ‘war hero’ - note the parallel with insurgent-type terrorism symbolism: ‘hero of our people’). A core constituency (elite cadre) who is both committed to the ideology and to their own rule; and functions on the principle ‘the end justifies the means’. A group of ‘exemplary us’ who can be mobilized to go after ‘them’

7 (7) Causes of ST (contd.) (3) BENEFITS > COSTS: a decision by leaders that the costs of taking this action are low but the benefits of doing so are high (rational choice analysis: knowing that they will likely get some criticism from the international community, they employ various strategies, such as tokenism - e.g. Sudan-Darfur conflict: government hires in its higher ranks representatives from the groups it is fighting to argue they are not being oppressed/ repressed). Context: real gains of a resource or monetary source; it silences or enlists the state leader’s other foes; it deflects attention from other national or group problems, thus helps bolster the state leader; the activation of the population is seen as a gain/virtue on its own (the power of pro-activity); a gamble that there will be ‘bystander apathy’ internally and externally (see later slides).

8 (8) What ‘sustains’ ST? (1) Command of resources by One group: Control & generation of Myths, Symbols, Slogans Information access and dispersal Dominance of force/arms (e.g.: Yugoslavia-Milosevich: Bosnians didn’t have with what to defend themselves, allowing the Serb forces to dominate the conflict) Ability to manipulate the ‘problem’ in order to gather the commitment/resources of others Ability to set one group against the other Ability to deflect criticism or accountability

9 (9) What sustains ST? (contd.) (2) The state leader(s) and allied groups inter-weave and shape 4 processes: Authorization to violence (‘these are special times - the survival of the state, of us, as a people, is at stake; the protection of our way of life…’) Dehumanization of the ‘other’ (the target)  decreasing the role of conscience Routinization of the process of killing (a psychological process that allows the perpetrators to avoid individual responsibility) Deniability and reversals system (i.e. ‘if something bad happened to them it is because of who and how they are. It’s not our fault’) (3) Support by a powerful foreign government

10 (10) What ‘correlates with’ the rise of ST Past grievances with selective interpretation (e.g.: post-WWI Germany was suffering from the economic penalties imposed through the Treaty of Versailles for having started the war; the Nazis chose instead to blame the Jews for the state of the economy) Watching referent groups achieve goals via force (certain ‘contagion’) Society predisposed to believing myths, esp. regarding their own grandeur (people’s calling to be great) Fractioning economy where goods are seen in zero-sum terms  need to identify the scapegoats Lack of a trans-communal ethic (no national ‘melting pot’ ethos) or leader Manipulation of ‘bystanders’

11 (11) The bystander issue  Internal Reliance on some fear, some on gain, some on deception and denial. Plays out the authorization, routinization, and dehumanization Self-censoring (perception that the risk of challenging state actions for yourself and your family are great)  External Manipulation of information and sentiment: Who are YOU to question US? (distancing - practiced when the criticism comes from an actor that is not important to them internationally) It never happened, and, besides, they deserved it. (blaming the victim) We are within our sovereign rights and (maybe) even responsibilities (inalienability of sovereignty)

12 (12) Bystander apathy Concept originating from social psychology that encapsulates the following mindset: Not my responsibility I don’t have enough proof to go after them I can’t believe they would do such a thing They may be bringing it onto themselves More generally: individual response: problem is too big government response: do we have the resources to do something about it? No  cost-benefit analysis The ‘sacred state’ problem (the issue of sovereignty - have to respect the sovereignty of the state - i.e. ‘this is an internal matter’) Bystander Apathy from: Within – insights from Jacobo Timerman (Argentine journalist who witnessed and experienced the horrors of his country’s military junta) Without – when is the time to act? How to mobilize to act? How to deal with the specter of ‘never again’? Beyond political will and a ‘never again’ theme, what has been lacking is a law and politics based on an imperative to act….thus, the ‘responsibility to protect’ emerges

13 (13) The million-dollar question: In situations of state-terror at time t, do you end up having an insurgency at time t+1? Why? Since as citizens/minority group(s) you may not have the resources to mobilize an army, how else can you respond to state-terror actions? For an interesting and passionate analysis, see: Eqbal Ahmad’s (1998) “Terrorism: Theirs and ours”

14 (14) International responses Criminalization in international law of acts previously ignored (e.g.: following the Rwandan genocide rape became a crime of war) (related), International treaties, conventions, and declarations (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; for a full listing see the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) The setting up of international tribunals to try perpetrators: Nuremberg Trials (Harvard; Yale files), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, International Criminal Court Sanctions Non-state actors - e.g.: transnational advocacy networks (Keck & Sikkink)

15 (15) Case Study: Darfur-Sudan Images courtesy of: and

16 (16) Case: Darfur-Sudan Ethnic Geography: historically complex and subject to changes due to migration, political, administrative, and climatic pressures ethnic identity generally a result of occupation (farmers vs. herders) Darfurian identity formation has often been the result of violence and external pressures; however, current political & military efforts are unique in their simplifying & polarizing effects on formerly diverse Darfurian identities, violently forcing the region’s former checkerboard ethnic geography into two separate and mutually exclusive categories: ‘Arab’ and ‘African’, with deadly consequences for those ‘belonging’ to the latter Images courtesy of: And

17 (17) Darfur-Sudan: Brief Ethnic History Alex de Waal: Darfur (“the land of the Fur”) - diverse people but mostly Muslim; experienced three prior processes of identity formation: (1) Sudanic identities: (17- early 20 th c.) independent “Dar Fur” sultanate (belief in Arab descent; Islam - state religion), centered in the northern part of this region. The rest of Sudan experienced a N th -S th division (further institutionalized during the colonial era), which created the ‘Arab’ vs. ‘African’ identity split. By contrast, “Dar Fur” state formation led to the “the creation of ethnicities that were simultaneously ‘African’ & ‘Arab’”. Most of Dar Fur - shared peacefully between settled and nomad groups, under the inclusive ‘Fur’ identity: coexistence of both cultural & Bedouin Arabs. More southern groups became absorbed in the Fur polity as the sultanate expanded, while others resisted (e.g.: Baggara Arabs, or cattle herders); (2) Islamic identities: resulting from the intersection between West African and Nile Valley Islamic currents; coexisted with the above process. Most Arab tribes (both cultivators & herders) migrated from the west. However, while the older southern Baggara got territorial jurisdiction from the Fur sultan, their northern cousins were ‘subjects’ (i.e. didn’t own land) & remained nomadic. W African Islamic influence characterizing this process had two aspects: eastward migration (i.e. towards Mecca) & militant Mahdism (“religious, messianic Jihad” with great violence & unprecedented population transfers). This process of identity formation sees “all land as belonging to Allah, with right of use & settlement belonging to those that happen upon it”; Image courtesy of:

18 (18) Darfur-Sudan: Brief Ethnic History (contd.) Darfurian identity formation processes: (3) administrative tribalism: resulting from 1916 British-Egyptian colonial expansion, concerned only with security against Mahdist uprisings. ‘Native Administration’: gives both executive & judicial powers to tribal chiefs, and control over migration from West Africa. This period sees an effort to: (a) “tidy-up” the ethnic and tribal allegiances in the region, but with a light hand; and, (b) formalize borders & land allocation (with direct implications to legal jurisdiction - granted to the dominant group in that territory). Many such territories were quite ethnically mixed, but land was enough to allow peaceful coexistence; (4) ‘becoming Sudanese’: (post independence ) generally nonviolent process of identity change in Darfur; focuses on promoting an ‘Arab’ (i.e. ‘true’ Sudanese) vs. ‘African’ identity; greatest transformation takes place in the status of women & the introduction of female circumcision (known also as genital mutilation), while the practice was being abandoned in N en Sudan. Arab Darfurians seen & treated as 2 nd class Arabs by Khartoum’s elites  Arab Darfurians efforts to prove thru militarization & stricter religious behavior their Islamic identity. Introduction of race-based identity distinctions (skin color & facial features). Image courtesy of:

19 (19) Sudan: Context & Conflict  civil war: the Sth (mostly Christian & animist) has been historically, geographically, culturally & economically separate, until a reversal in British colonial policies led to its unification & administration from the N th. Successive Khartoum governments (dominated by Arab Muslims) were involved on & off in one of the longest & bloodiest civil wars ( ) with the S th. The latter rose against government’s (GoS) continued policies of Islamization & denial of promised political autonomy & participation. Militias were used by both sides, with the GoS deliberately attacking the civilian population, esp. in the oilfield areas. Consequences for the S th : famine; slavery; rape; plunder & slaughter; displacement & refugees.  oil wealth:discovered in the 1970s, but only exploitable since 1999; concentrated in the S th & to be exploited under concession by China & France (permanent members of UN Security Council - UNSC), Canada, Sweden, Austria & GoS controlled companies.  Highlights of 2005 peace agreement (CPA): oil revenues are to be split evenly between the N th & S th. The Sth will have autonomy for 6yrs, followed by a referendum on independence (generally expected that the S th will vote for independence). Image courtesy of:

20 (20) Darfur-Sudan: Conflict at a Glance  severe drought (mid-1980s) combined with the spillover of the civil war in Chad & GoS political, social & economic neglect sparked an eventually military conflict between herders & farmers for control over scarce resources. Libyan arms & ideology (Gaddafi’s promotion of ‘Arab supremacy’) fueled the violence of the conflict & fitted well GoS’s ‘divide & conquer’ politics;  Darfur redivision (1994): the region is split into three states, which further weakened the political & economic power of the non-‘Arab’ peoples  In 2003, after many attempts Image courtesy of:

21 (21) Darfur-Sudan: Context & Conflict (contd.) Consequences of civil war in the S th for the Darfur conflict:  mobilization against the S th : part of Darfur’s population were instead used by the GoS to man their militias fighting the civil war in the S th  neglect of Darfur conflict to ensure the N-S peace process  credibility:  Ethnic animosities in Darfur (western Sudan) were on the rise since the 1980s, as a result of a split in Khartoum’s Islamist movement, which attempted to also incorporate Darfur. However, the historical neglect of Darfur continued, while the GoS used parts of its population in its conflicts in the S th & other regions resisting the Islamization process. Image courtesy of:

22 (23) Similarities in State Terror cases: Parallel between Rwanda (1994) & Darfur (Sudan) (John Prendergast*, ICG) A. on the ground: (1) Militias are doing most of the killing (R: Interahamwe; Darfur/S: Janjaweed); (2) Specific ethnic groups are targeted (R: Tutsis; Darfur/S: non-Arabs - Zaghawa, Fur, Massalit…); (3) ‘divide & conquer’ counter-insurgency policy: government uses preexisting conflicts & economic competition betw. local groups to counteract rebellion; (4) Hardliners in the government are threatened by the peace process & undermine it by any means possible. B. in the international community’s (IC) responses: (1) IC deliberately portrays these crises as much more complex to delay action (2) IC practices ‘moral equivalences’ (treats all parties as equal) (3) IC very adept at issuing strong statements & deadlines, passing resolutions, but never acting, except by applying humanitarian ‘band-aids’ (4) IC is very divided on how to act with respect to these cases  paralysis of the UN Security Council. It always helps to “follow the money” to understand the problem of lack of international action (5) IC is becoming increasingly effective at the humanitarian response to atone for its lack of action & respond to their own publics’ pressures *for more details, see file: DarfurCrisis_PrendergastLecture_Feb05.doc Images courtesy of:


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