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Saturday, June 17, 2017


(by Prof. Antonio P. Contreras)
Okay, let me play my role as Professor this time and explain to you the three main types of terrorism.
1. There is the main type, the political
2. Then the organized type, which is usually associated with criminals, like the one led by Colombia's Pablo Escobar
3. Then there is the psychological and crazy type done by, yes folks, people like Jessie Carlos of the Resorts World Manila caper. So I am sorry to disappoint those who argued that he is not a terrorist. He is by academic definition still a terrorist.

Now, let us focus on the most well-known type, the political type.
Here, there are four sub-types.
1a. Insurgency-related, where non-state actors launch terror attacks on the state
1b. Vigilantism, which is when non-state actors are used by the state to terrorize other non-state actors
1c. State or regime terrorism where the state through its armed forces or para-military groups inflict terror on its own citizens
1d. Intra-state terrorism, where a state sponsors terrorist attacks on another state. This is hard to define since states like the US or Russia can consider this as ordinary warfare.

Now, of these sub-types, what is relevant right now is the first, insurgency types of terrorism, or terrorist acts done in the context of an insurgency or rebellion. Here, there are five major sub-sub-types.
1a.1. We have the social-revolutionary one, which is basically those acts of terror perpetrated by insurgents that harbor the left-wing ideology.
1a.2. Then we have the right-wing and racist types that is launched by ultra-conservative militias.
1a.3. And then we have the religious and millenarian types.
1a.4. Also included here are the terrorist acts of nationalist and separatists.
1a.5. And lest I forget, there are also the single-issue types, such as those conducted by eco-warriors, labeled as eco-terrorism.

If there is any controversy here it is the use of terrorism to apply even in cases of rebellion, more so if the rebelling force acquires the status of a belligerent, or if the insurgency is now recognized by the State as legitimate enough to have peace talks with. This is why we do not easily use terrorism to apply to the acts of the CPP-NPA and the MILF, even if technically some of their tactics are acts that constitute terrorism if done by any other group.
It is clear that the Maute-BIFF-ASG-ISIS alliance in Marawi is neither a belligerent force, or has acquired a status recognized by the state as a rebel force worthy of having peace talks with.
They remain as rebels, as insurgents, whose acts consist of terrorism under any definition.
Thus, Justices Carpio and Leonen are dead wrong in saying that rebellion, which is technically a term for insurgency, is different from terrorism. They are not. In fact, in the taxonomy of political violence, rebellion is a specific occasion when terrorism could be actualized.
Carpio and Leonen would have been correct if what we are talking about are cases of criminal or psychotic forms of terrorism. What we have right now is a political kind of terrorism that exists in the context of an insurgency that is waged not even by belligerent forces, but by terrorists groups. And here, rebellion becomes terrorism.

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