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This article has been written by Rutuparna Sahu from KIIT School of Law, Odisha. This article talks about the International and State-sponsored terrorism.


The term terrorism is so far reached to have a diverse point of view in the context of the human intellect of an individual. Generally, terrorism comes with a lot of violence involved and extracts an ample amount of human resources. The act does not just affect people at large but the globe’s harmony as well.

Terrorism is never unintentional, its a full-fledged strategy to create a state of terror or fear within the nationals of a particular State. A terrorist attack is more than just a violent act because the perpetrator is mostly induced by some sort of political or religious ideology and to impose the same, they take this path of violence. 

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The word terrorism came from the Latin term “terrorem” which means panic, alarm and great fear. Terrorism got a boost after the famous French Revolution from 5th September 1973 to 27th July 1794 which is well known as Reign of Terror. This took place because the government executed the suspected mass with the motive of intimidating their opponents.


Their main reason to establish that fear within the population comes with a sense of complexity where a weaker group trying to establish their supremacy over a targeted powerful nation by unethical means. Besides that, the perpetrator intentionally tries to provoke the particular state so that it retaliates back with rage and that is how they meet their success.

State-sponsored terrorism


Having said about the adverse effects of terrorism, State-sponsored terrorism in literal terms means any terrorist attack backed by the Government itself, of a particular sovereign State, against another State as a revolt. State-sponsored terrorism can be both domestic and international as well. Any revolt or terrorist attack against any other State comes within the ambit of international terrorism but when the act is against its people, it is domestic. And the sole reason behind coming up with this concept is to satisfy some political extremisms overlapping religious ideologies as well. 

Terrorism is no more a niche concept, almost every corner of the world by now has experienced terrorism in some way or the other. Now that we know much about terrorism it’s evident that the commencement of terrorism in another State requires strong support and funding. So in the case of State-sponsored terrorism, we can commonly derive that: a government plays a major role in assisting the terrorist groups by aiding and funding them deliberately. And the countries assisting the terrorist groups in simple terms are categorized as terrorist States or the State sponsor of terrorism. 

Primarily the US counterterrorism policy focused on State-sponsored terrorism and under Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 the States which mostly support international terrorism are classified as State-sponsored terrorism by the Secretary of State. 

According to the present index, the U.S. government has identified Iran, Syria, Sudan and North Korea as countries with governments that sponsor terrorism in the international market. Whereas it’s the president’s responsibility to designate or to dismiss the terrorist States from the designation whenever it may think fit. 

Countries in the top list among the States sponsoring international terrorism


The famous agreement that took place on the 15th of July 2015, between the United States, Germany, the European Union, the United Nations, France, China, the Russian Federation, and Iran agreed upon a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Basically in the agreement, Iran assured of having a peaceful nuclear program to which if Iran is successful, the negotiating parties including the United Nations have to raise economic sanctions in this Iran’s nuclear context. But after the appointment of the new president, Donald Trump in the U.S., he refused to be a party to the agreement from May 2018 onwards and imposed rules for reestablishing sanctions restricting the trade, transaction, and investments that would anyway profit in Iran’s economy. However, this looks like a strategy of the U.S. so that it can be in the good books of the international market and indirectly showcase Iran’s support in international terrorism.


The government of Sudan was declared as a state sponsor of international terrorism by the Secretary of State of the U.S. under President William Clinton in the year 1993. Even after that, president again declared about the Sudan’s constant support in the international terrorism plus was found making efforts to weaken the neighboring States’ i.e the U.S. government, was constant in its action of violating human rights, had a practice of slavery, no freedom to any religious practices and the list goes on. These factors gave rise to a national emergency within the State, the nation’s security and the economy was at stake. 

But with time the relations between the two States took a new shape after a description made by the State department about Sudan’s cooperation in managing counterterrorism which made the U.S. president Obama to resolve all the disputes in context of which he even issued an outlook about the U.S.- Sudan relations based on Sudan’s efforts in reducing offensive military activities, pledging to cease warfares in the territory of Sudan, constant efforts in creating an atmosphere of humanitarian throughout Sudan and taking measures cooperating with the U.S. government in eradicating regional conflicts and threat of terrorism as well. So this brings about ending all the national emergencies within both the States and lifting most of the sanctions.

North Korea

The government of North Korea was designated as a State sponsoring international terrorism by U.S President Donald Trump in 2017. According to the facts, the designation’s reason was the death of Kim Jung-Un’s half brother by the nerve agents at a Malaysian international airport. In addition to that, North Korea was a hub for nuclear weapons. There was a time in late 2014 when North Korea could see a ray of hope as to regain its designation when the U.S. executed a cyberattack at North Korea in context of Sony Pictures because since 2008 during the period of George W. Bush who removed the terrorism designation misguiding it with multinational negotiations to disable and dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program. Since then it has always existed as a question whether North Korea comes within the criterion of having been designated as a State sponsoring international terrorism or not. But yes it got its designation on 21st November. 


The government of Syria was designated as a State sponsor of terrorism in the year 1979 because the Syrian government had a continual political and military support to various terrorist groups. The Lebanese Hizballah (LH) was evidently supported by the Syrian government in the supply of weapons and political support. The Assad regime had a lot of opponents because of which it grew its relationship with the LH and Iran for help. Iran and the Syrian government showed massive support to each other. The U.S. alleged that the Syrian government was in continuous use of chemical weapons against the Syrians which violets the obligation laid under CWC. The current happening was in the year 2017.

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Sanctions to counter State-sponsored terrorism  

Primarily in the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. counterterrorism policy focused on the State-sponsored international terrorism and designated States as State sponsor of terrorism under section 6 (j) by the Secretary of State. So to counter this issue we have sanctions like:

International terrorism

International is the wider angle to the former concept of State-sponsored terrorism. State-sponsored terrorism is a subset of international terrorism and every violent attack with a motive to impose one State’s religious or political ideology over another comes within the ambit of terrorism. Basically, every terrorist attack has some international presence to it. It is a fact that there’s no such statutory legal definition to act of international terrorism but it’s impossible to not to have a proper plan to counter such violence. So the Secretary-general comes up with a report of A/73/125 in the context of eliminating international terrorism and uplifting the human rights values.

With the growing rate of terrorism with globalization and advanced communicating forms its getting easy for the perpetrators and terrorist groups to spread the terror across the world plus they are being supported by some of the States as well. The terrorist organizations find their way out to reach the population by entering into the territory with the help of the supporting States and are supplied with weapons as well. Generally, the terrorist organizations target the weaker government so that they will be successful in a lesser period. All these funds they acquire either by way of abductions or illegal trades. 

The supreme terrorist group 

The topmost terrorist group responsible for most of the terrorist attacks is the Al-Qaeda which was formed and headed by the leader Osama Bin Laden who was killed by the U.S. in an operation. The group is believed to have directed the attack of 9/11 in 2001 and many more. But the leader’s death did not deviate the group’s command in any way. In fact, they soon are increasing in number and spreading all over the world and are mainly targeting the Middle East and North Africa. So they have a tie-up with different other States such as Libya, Algeria, Mali, Iraq, Egypt and Syria who can easily access the national borders and commence the act of terrorism.

And reports say they have acquired a large number of weapons during the collapse of the Gadhafi regime in Libya.

They’re deliberately inspiring the Islamic groups which were no way connected to the Al-Qaeda group but now are party to it. Which is increasing with time and getting difficult to deal with preventing it.


In layman’s term, hijacking is simply a seizure of an aircraft or vehicle, land and any other transmissions which are in motion.

Hijacking generally happens in an airplane where the perpetrator tries to diversify the way of destination to get their work done. Maybe it is an abduction or seizure of any article. This not only restricted airplanes but also ships, trucks and any other transport carrying loads of valuable articles. And the U.S. even has a definition of hijacking as “any illegal theft occurring in any means of transport in transit”. In the mid-1950s, the term broadened and included the hijacking of ships carrying legitimate cargo. 

As hijacking is no more restricted just to airplanes so the airplane hijacking is now termed as skyjacking. The first case of skyjacking occurred in 1931 in Peru and one more case occurred in 1948 on a flight from Macau to Hong Kong where the plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean and 25 people got killed besides this, there are many more cases like this.

Steps taken to prevent hijacks 

  • In early 1963, the United Nations came up with an idea to sign an international convention in order to eradicate hijackers unlawfully seizing aircraft. But this took a long time and finally 50 countries agreed to comply with the convention.
  • In the year 1973 U.S. in the Federal Aviation Administration tried to put up some magnetometers to keep a check on the luggage of the passengers while they entered the aircraft in order to detect metal weapons if any. 
  • And ever had set up X-ray machines so that there’s no way left for the perpetrator to carry any weapon inside an aircraft.
  • Appointment of commandos to avoid any kind of mishappenings.
  • In the year 1978, a group of 7 summit meetings took place in West Germany where the U.S., Italy, France, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, and West Germany instituted a sanction against countries providing assistance to the hijackers.
  • Plus in the same year, the European Community ( EC ) agreed to boycott the airline or countries that entertained hijackers.


Everything discussed under the topic of terrorism, is not only violent but in some way or the other is abusing the human resources at large. The act itself is so grave that every human’s life, liberty, physical integrity is at risk including the perpetrators unaware of the consequences of their acts. As there are fewer ways to control the action, we are left with just the absolute remedy that is to respect the rule of laws for the world’s fight against terrorism. 


  1. https://www.history.com/topics/france/french-revolution
  2. https://legcounsel.house.gov/Comps/The%20Export%20Administration%20Act%20Of%201979.pdf
  3. https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/JCPOA-at-a-glance
  4. http://www.understandingwar.org/report/assad-regime
  5. https://legcounsel.house.gov/Comps/The%20Export%20Administration%20Act%20Of%201979.pdf
  6. https://legcounsel.house.gov/Comps/Foreign%20Assistance%20Act%20Of%201961.pdf
  7. https://legcounsel.house.gov/Comps/Arms%20Export%20Control%20Act.pdf
  8. https://www.congress.gov/bill/104th-congress/senate-bill/735
  9. https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/factsheets/Trade%20Topics/Trade%20and%20Development/GSP/GSP%20statute%2019%20USC%202461%20et%20seq.pdf
  10. https://legcounsel.house.gov/Comps/International%20Financial%20Institutions%20Act.pdf
  11. https://www.un.org/press/en/2018/gal3566.doc.htm
  12. https://www.faa.gov/
  13. https://www.britannica.com/event/Reign-of-Terror

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  1. Hello Mariya this is Monish from Mumbai I am working for some organisation I have some doubts in my head can u pls send me ur email id so dat I can clear my doubts


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