Strategy Not Sacrilege: State Terrorism as an Element of Foreign Policy

Formerly a relatively minor sub-section of security research, terrorism studies has developed almost exponentially since the events of September 11, 2001 (Jackson, 2008, p. 377). It now possesses its own academic courses, journals and research centres and features prominently in the media. It is the predominant security concern of our age, an influence on the citizen, scholar and statesman alike. The origin of the term terrorism is traced to the violence, for the purposes of intimidation, by the Jacobin government of France 1789-1794 (Teichman, 1989, p. 507). Since then, the etymology of the term has seen it take on connotations of barbarism, decried as the most immoral and heinous form of violence and intimidation. Despite its original association with the state and because of its connotations, terrorism is contemporarily associated almost exclusively with non-state actors such as Al-Qaeda. Consequently and in addition to numerous other factors, terrorism committed by the state receives comparatively scant coverage.

The objective of this dissertation is to advocate for the integration of the research and analysis of the state’s use of terrorism beyond its national borders with that of its foreign policy, to treat terrorism as a tactic or component of it. It finds that contemporary state terrorism research is exercised in a politico-military vacuum in which terrorism is an “other”; separate from the policies of the state. Qualitative research undertaken by this paper has revealed however that terrorism is a consistent tactic utilised by the state, for explicit foreign policy objectives and the perception of terrorism by senior politicians and intelligence officials, as well as the location of terrorism within the policy matrix of the state, supports this view.

To appreciate and approach terrorism in this way it is necessary to engage in a challenge to the pejorative conception of terrorism. This paper argues that current approaches to state terrorism research fail to adequately, accurately and objectively define terrorism. As chapter one displays, definitions of terrorism are often intertwined with, among other things, morality and the breach thereof and the exclusion of certain actors from the definition. This paper finds the inadequacies of these definitions have hindered analysis and research of the use of terrorism by the state, precluding its discussion in anything other than Manichean terms.

In substantiating its view, this paper undertook two illustrative case studies of the use of terrorism by the state looking at the United States and Pakistan. It found not only did both countries have a long and consistent history of using terrorism in international affairs but that in both cases, terrorism was very much an official component of these policies rather than entirely separate. The perception of the states use of terrorism by senior political and intelligence officials is a major factor in judging the latter, as are both classified and declassified government documents detailing the use of terrorism. The rationale for undertaking these two cases studies in particular was that by analysing Pakistan’s terrorism, this paper would be able to strongly assert that terrorism is an element of foreign policy even when undertaken by a state that opposes Western and hegemonic interests and one considered as leading user of terrorism in furthering their national interests (Riedel, 2008, p. 31). With reference to America’s use of terrorism, this paper sought to both highlight the strength of its argument via the world’s premier superpower and to protect itself from the criticism that states such as Pakistan, in an unstable region and with a disproportionately powerful military are more prone to terroristic policies than democracies.

This dissertation does not profess to possess the finished product; it seeks to contribute to existing and underrepresented state terrorism research, highlight a niche and spark debate and further investigation into the use of terrorism by the state as a policy component. It finds the prominent use of terrorism by the state in international affairs is not due to a breakdown in supposedly conventional international relations, nor any political, societal or technological development; rather it is because terrorism is a political and military tactic. By integrating the study of the states use of terrorism with its policies, academia can more accurately reflect the fact that “the strategies and tactics of terrorism have become integral components of the foreign policy instruments of the state” (Stohl, 1984, p. 55).

Literature Review

Much academic debate surrounding terrorism’s definition, whether states can commit terrorism and its general ontological and epistemological characteristics can broadly be centred on the conflict between ‘orthodox’ and ‘critical terrorism studies (CTS)’. This paper’s research findings are a contribution to and a modification of the latter. Both Contemporary State Terrorism 2010 and Terrorism: A Critical Introduction 2011, edited by prominent CTS scholar Richard Jackson with the likes of Ruth Blakeley and Lee Jarvis, are seminal works within CTS and a kernel from which this paper is born. CTS, emerging in the late 20th century, expands previous work on terrorism, widening it beyond boundaries concerned with non-state actors, arguing the state is the major perpetrator of terrorism and there is no deontological reason that precludes state use of terrorism (Jackson, et al., 2011, p. 175). CTS essentially presents ‘orthodox’ terrorism studies as deferential to the state and narrow minded in its conception of the act. Michael Stohl and George Lopez’s 1984 The State as Terrorist is a precursor to the emergence of CTS and also a key text. They assert terrorism is a fundamental feature of the international relations system and that the state utilises terrorism in similar ways to supposedly conventional policies like nuclear deterrence. They define terrorism in the behavioural mould of CTS as “the purposeful act or the threat of the act of violence to create fear and/or compliant behaviour in a victim and/or audience of the act or threat” (Stohl, 1984, p. 46). They also make mention of “surrogate terrorism” remarking that if states aid other states or groups in carrying out terrorism, they are as culpable as the perpetrators (Ibid, p. 54). This general CTS approach provides the theoretical underpinnings to address the state as a user of terrorism in international affairs.

Juxtaposed to this concept of terrorism are a variety of scholars such as Wight, Hoffman, and Laqueur promoting the aforementioned ‘orthodox’ terrorism studies. Although there are nuances within this ‘orthodoxy’ there are a number of factors which unite the opposition to CTS. Wight (2009, p. 47) argues there is no such thing as state terrorism, a common position, holding that it is always an illegitimate form of violence, and as the state holds the Weberian monopoly on legitimate violence, it cannot be terroristic. This is an example of the actor based definitional model. Laqueur and Hoffman (1998, p. 32) differ slightly, arguing although the state can commit terrorism, it is qualitatively different from its use by non-state actors and as such they should not be studied in conjunction. To Laqueur (2003) the inclusion of state terrorism within terrorism studies renders the field unmanageable, becoming too broad. This ‘orthodox’ school of thought would stridently oppose this paper’s research findings and advocacy of integrating terrorism studies more fully with foreign policy.

This paper takes inspiration from CTS, utilising its behaviourist approach to defining terrorism and building upon its critiques of the ‘orthodox’ exclusion of the state. This dissertation is more a modification of CTS rather than a cheerleading of it, as both CTS and orthodox approaches still largely conceive of terrorism as an immoral pejorative. This project finds that this characterization does not accurately reflect how decision makers of the state conceive of terrorism nor does it reflect its usage. Instead it finds much agreement with Tarak Barkawi’s 2004 On the Pedagogy of Small Wars. Focusing on terrorism as a military strategy, he presents it as a stratagem that is used like any other. To Barkawi (2004, p. 23) and this paper, there is no Manicheanism in war, there is simply adversaries making the most of available resources. The “specious moralising” that informs terrorism research hampers academic debate for Barkawi (Ibid, p. 30) and has a detrimental effect on policy planning. This paper endeavours to expand Barkawi’s work away from the battlefield and to bring it more fully into the study of foreign policy.

This paper contributes to this vast domain by sparking debate and serving as a meeting point for the theoretical underpinnings of CTS, critiques espoused by the ‘orthodox’ school, and the amoral, tactical strategic conception of terrorism by Barkawi. The work of CTS has proved conclusively that terrorism is an indispensable factor in foreign affairs, whilst intellectually undermining the perception that the state cannot commit terrorism. However there still remains the perception of terrorism as a violation of morality, which this paper repudiates and, in conjunction with the integration proposed, serves as a modified wing of CTS aiming to better reflect reality.

The State’s Use of Terrorism

Alexander George’s 1991 Western State Terrorism is a ground-breaking work in state terrorism research and one this paper heavily utilises. George (1991, p. 1) and his colleagues assert that Western liberal democracies are the pre-dominant supporters and users of terrorism in the international system. McClintock’s chapter on American counterinsurgency warfare highlights what CTS and this paper previously stated, terrorism is a recurring element of foreign policies. In his extensive coverage of classified US military manuals and departmental communications, he illustrates that terrorism was official US policy even if masked by politically palatable labels. His work provides unfettered access into the perceptions and understandings of terrorism of senior decision makers via classified documents, free from public opinion concerns. Doug Stokes’ (2005) coverage of the use of terrorism as a tool of US foreign policy across the Americas compliments such work. He highlights the fact that terrorism has been utilised in by the United States for the defence or promotion of various national interests, economic, strategic or otherwise in states such as Guatemala and Nicaragua to name but a few. This paper contributes to such work, and other similar works in its advocacy of treating terrorism as an element of state policy rather than something distinctly separate.

With reference to Pakistan, one of the foremost texts covering its methods of and reasons for terrorism is Daniel Byman’s 2007 States that Sponsor Terrorism. He establishes that Pakistan supports terrorism broadly for strategic reasons, utilising proxies like the Taliban to carryout foreign policies against India and Afghanistan. He presents their sponsorship of these groups as a tactic used on a cost/benefit basis, something this papers research augments. He emphasises that proxy terrorism is a central tenet of Pakistan’s foreign policy, enhancing rather than replacing it. As with work related to the US, Byman (2007, p. 32) maintains that there is no singular reason for Pakistan’s foreign policy terrorism even if strategic motivations are at the fore. Additionally, works by renowned journalists Carlotta Gall (2007, 2014) and Ahmed Rashid (2009) are also indispensable. Their works cover in detail, the murky world of Pakistan’s intelligence and military establishment and their use of terrorism abroad as a political and strategic tool. This paper builds upon and agrees with much of the research surrounding Pakistan’s foreign policy terrorism finding there is acknowledgement of its use a policy tool more readily than research pertaining to America.

Coverage of both case studies largely maintains however, the moralism and pejorative undertones of terrorism and thus this paper seeks to inject the aforementioned amoral objective notion of terrorism and its integrated approach to terrorism research, into the academia on Pakistani and American terrorism, culminating in a more accurate portrayal of reality.

 CHAPTER ONE

From Sacrilege to Strategy

Stohl (1984, p. 55) stated “there is much evidence of the regular use of terrorism in international affairs”. To begin to comprehend the use of terrorism, and to do so in an objective, value free manner, this paper starts, like all research concerned with terrorism must according to Laqueur (2003, p. 235), with a definition. As Weinberg (2004, p. 778) highlights, terrorism is the essence of an essentially contested concept. A landmark study found over 260 academic and governmental definitions in use (Schmid, 2011, p. 99). Thus it is apparent that definitions of terrorism range from the succinct to the lengthy, from simple to complex. As alluded to previously, within the majority of these definitions terrorism is treated as the personification of malevolent and depraved action, indeed Judith Butler (2002, pp. 57-59) remarked that moralism has inhibited our ability to think critically about terrorism so much that thinking of it as anything but degenerate is “impermissible”. This paper concurs finding that the bedrock of terrorism research, the understandings of the term terrorism, need fundamentally reorienting if research is to accurately portray its usage, particularly by the state. As such, accompanying its repudiation of the current conception of terrorism as distinct from foreign policies, this paper finds it proper and necessary to convincingly rebut the negative connotations of terrorism. In place of subjective, moralistic, and pejorative definitions this paper advocates the shedding of such influences in favour of a value free, all-purpose definition accurately reflecting its use by the nation state. This paper acknowledges that in keeping with the disputed nature of terrorism definitions this will not be unquestionably accepted by all, but as with this paper overall, it merely seeks to authoritatively open debate and contribute to further research.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu elucidated the aforementioned moralism, remarking terrorists are devoid of “moral sense, moral principles and moral controls” (Goodin, 2006, p. 32). Likewise the former head of the UK’s National Counter-Terrorism Security Office referred to terrorists as the “mad and bad” of humanity (Ryan, 2016). This colouring is also present in academia, Wilkinson (1992, p. 229) stating that terrorism “breaches the social norms of a society” and Blakeley positing that it always involves a set of moral wrongs (Jackson, et al., 2010, p. 5). Such notions are in keeping with Neumann & Smith’s (2008, p. 13) astute observation that “the objective appreciation of terrorism as a strategic phenomenon has been undermined largely by mixing up terrorism as a coherent description of a particular tactic… with a moral judgement of the actor’s methods and objectives”. This morality is supposedly a universal and independent standard that all hold equal, thus terrorism offends both collectively and individually (Flint & Falah, 2004, p. 1390). It has been imbued with moralism so much so that it is beyond the pale of other acts (Goodin, Ibid, p. 10). As a result terrorism is a pejorative, carrying notions of evil, savagery and barbarism (Jackson, et al., 2011, p. 101). These negative associations have caused terrorism to become the victim of “stretching and traveling problems”, applied erroneously and only to a rival opposing the interests of the defining actor (Sartori, 1984, p. 28). When utilised by opponents of the defining actor, terrorism is the aforementioned embodiment of immorality, a psychopathy, or evil ideology in its perpetrators (Coady, 2008, p. 170). Thus the concept of terrorism as iniquitous and perpetrated by nihilistic actors becomes fetishized. The result is that the debate surrounding any form of terrorism and its usage has been reduced to a simple binary. To be perceived, rightly or wrongly to be rationalising, explaining, or engaging with actions that have been labelled terrorism is to be seen as ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ whilst to be seen as opposing terrorism in any form is seen as “good”. President Bush’s (2001) remarks “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists” embody this. Terrorism is thus reduced to nothing more than “an aberrant form of violent activity… attempting to understand its logic would be futile” (Neumann & Smith, 2005, p. 572). Even the famous maxim “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” falls into this trap (Laqueur, 1977, p. 5). Despite being cited as a statement that displays the subjective nature of the terrorist label, within it there is the assumption of terrorism as the negative. This representation of terrorism as innately immoral is problematic on a number of levels for state terrorism research.

By presenting terrorism as above, scholars and statesmen alike are allowing it to be co-opted, utilised only to describe the actions of others (Rapoport & Alexander, 1982, p. 129). In the power relations matrix of the international system, where the labels of terrorism and its meanings are fashioned, moral connotations grant undue deference to the defining actor, the state (Bryan, 2012, p. 22). This paper finds the presence of morality in the ontology of terrorism is critical to the state as it is through the portrayal of terrorism as an affront to morality that it is able to justify its own counter-terror (Flint & Falah, 2004, p. 1384). Within the aforementioned matrix, the basis for law and order is the absolutizing of the territorial state and thus its “interests in the word have been given unrestricted geopolitical and even philosophical blessing” (Falk, 1991, pp. 103-104). In its role as definer-in-chief, the state is able to propagate the appearance of independent, fixed, and absolute standards of morality and is able to position itself as its defender rather than its violator.

On the contrary however, morality responds to power. Morality is as Winston Churchill claimed “simply a question of fashion changing, as she does between long and short skirts” (Coady, 2008, p. 109). Thus, the state uses its position to reinvent moral standards. Consequently the moral components of terrorism are rarely applied to the state, and instead state violence becomes morally justified by its utilitarianism. Because terrorism is represented in terms of those who have, by virtue of being terrorists, “rejected basic human values”, any actions taken against them are vindicated as being in defence of universal morals and norms (Flint & Falah, 2004, p. 1392). State terrorism becomes “morally justified by efficacy” in defending these moral standards (Coady, 1985, p. 56). Crelinsten (1987, p. 8) agrees arguing when applied to the state, terrorism undergoes a wholesale ontological alteration. The nuclear attack on Nagasaki demonstrates this response of morality to power. It is described as a “classic case” of terrorism by multiple sources for aiming to intimidate the USSR and psychologically wound Japan (Werth, 1964, p. Unknown). However because it was utilised by the state in search of a subjectively just cause, and the state controls the framing and enforcement of moral standards, it is exonerated from terrorism, Newman (2004, p. xiv) terming it “justified terror”. Evidently then the label of terrorist or terrorism and its connotations carry moral and ethical baggage, which owing to the role of the state in defining who is and is not a terrorist and what constitutes terrorism, often precludes the state from inclusion within the definition due to it ascribing itself a morally superior and virtuous position.

Casting aside subjective biases, political machinations or actor-based limitations, this essay utilises a definition of terrorism that is laconic, easily understood, and applicable to a wide variety of actions. Henceforth terrorism is understood as simply: any action designed intentionally to spread terror/fear.

The rationale for this is multifaceted. In light of the aforementioned definitions of terrorism, Laqueur (1977, p. 5) derided any manifestation of consensus as “impossible”. However the fundamental factor that unites all acts that could potentially be classified as terrorism under these definitions, committed by any actor, for an extremely wide variety of reasons, and the definitions themselves, is that they all seek to spread some degree of terror. This definition thus goes some way to promoting a degree of consensus around which research can unify. More significantly however is the reality of terrorism’s use by the state in international affairs. Wight (2012, pp. 51-52) posits that as terrorism is a social science, academic research must consider the perceptions and understandings of the term held by the actors shaping its use. He suggests that as the popular use of terrorism is to describe non-state activity, this is its meaning. This paper agrees with Wight’s general premise, but adapts it to better reflect reality. Terrorism is a social science; however, the state is able to shape its popular usage thus is bias in designing its own exclusion. Additionally, more important than the popular use of the term are the understandings, perceptions, and motivations of those directing and implementing the state’s use of terrorism, something Wight does not address. As implied by the prevalence of terrorism in the state’s foreign policy extolled by Stohl (Ibid) and others, terrorism is understood by those employing it on the state’s behalf as tactic like any other. General Jacques Massu, a commander of French forces in Algeria in 1957, advocated terrorism when he believed it to be necessary or efficient, echoing such a view (Blakeley, 2007, p. 231). From the perspective of those deploying terrorism on the state’s behalf “a weapon or tactic is acceptable, and generally beyond scrutiny, if it works in the sense of bringing the goals of the state more closely towards realisation” (Falk, 2003, p. 104). This will be explored in depth in subsequent chapters. Finally, as Bryan (2012, p. 23) states, “by defining terrorism we must take it literally” and to intentionally spread terror is arguably the literal meaning of terrorism. In using such a literal definition this paper also avoids representing the states use of terrorism as idiosyncratic. Shunning an actor based approach circumvents tacit agreement with Hoffman’s (1984, p. 34) claims that there are “fundamental qualitative differences” between terrorism employed by state and non-state actors, or Laqueur’s (2003, p. 140) remark that the behaviourist approach taken by this paper ignores “basic differences in motives, function and effect” between state and non-state terrorism.

For Wight (2009, p. 102), somewhat of a kindred spirit to Laqueur and Hoffman, the minimum requirements for an act to be considered terrorism are “a form of violent political communication, always illegitimate violence, involving the deliberate targeting of non-state actors and institutions, the victims are not the intended recipients of the political message”. This approach is shared by the US Government. Title 22, Chapter 38, subchapter 2656f of the United States Code defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience” (House of Representatives, Unknown). These are examples of actor based definitions, also promoted by Laqueur, Hoffman and general ‘orthodox’ adherents, this approach is however, as Jackson (2008, p. 383) describes, “Illogical and analytically unworkable” which this paper illustrates via analysis of an example of terrorism by the state in pursuit of foreign policy objectives.

The 1983 Beirut barracks bombings which killed 241 US marines is described as the most deadly terrorist attack on American’s prior to 9/11 by the US government and Secretary of Defence James Mattis (Perry, 2016). This attack was carried out by Hezbollah, on the orders of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp’s (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan; the primary motivation for the attack was to influence the US government and others to withdraw their troops so as not to threaten Iranian interest in Lebanon (Wherey, et al., 2008, p. 59). This act meets the threshold for terrorism in many behavioural definitions such as Stohl’s (2012, p. 46) and Mitchell’s (1968, p. 5) and the definition offered by this paper. However, one implication of the definition employed by Wight and the US government, which dictates that an act of terror cannot be committed against combatants, is that this event does not fit within their own parameters of terrorism. The actor based limitations, present in many governmental definitions “clearly is intended to limit the act of terrorism to actors who oppose the state” (Stohl, Ibid). Moreover, these actor-based models seek to claim there is no state terrorism “simply by defining it out of existence” (Ibid). The notion this event or similar events, such as the Rainbow Warrior bombing by French intelligence, cease to be terrorism by virtue of the actors involved or targeted, is the very essence of Jackson’s previous condemnation of the models as illogical.

As has been emphasised throughout this chapter, terrorism is not a synonym for non-state actor actions nor one ethno-religious group or organisation such as Daesh. It “is a violent tactic in the same way that ambushes are a tactic” (Jackson, Ibid). It is a strategy that has been employed since the beginning of time in both war and peace. When deploying terrorism in foreign policy, the state is driven by numerous interests, strategic, economic or otherwise (Byman, 2007, p. 32). The state takes the approach that this is a war of sorts and “war is an act of force, there is no logical limit to the application of that force”; reliance on terrorism is a routine of modern strategic warfare comparable with trench warfare of a bygone era (Barkawi, 2004, p. 37). Terrorism is a tool of efficacy not principle or morality as commonly presented, having been an effective foreign policy tool in places such as El Salvador and Argentina (Jackson, et al., 2011, p. 191). It must be analysed as a tool or tactic and “not by norms derived from law, morality, religion or cultural values” (Falk, 1991, p. 110). As aforesaid this paper argues the study of the use of terrorism by the state needs to reach an acceptance that when an actor deploys terrorism “this does not make them evil; rather it is a sign of strategic sophistication” (Barkawi, 2004, p. 29). The analysis and understanding of terrorism must migrate from a position of misunderstanding to reflect the reality of its use by the state, from sacrilege to strategy. Subsequent chapters engage with specific instances of the states use of terrorism, showing them to be components of policy rather than markedly divergent acts (Byman, 2007, p. 22).

CHAPTER TWO

The Rawalpindi Rationale

In strengthening the hitherto largely theoretical argument there is no better case study than “the world’s most active sponsor of terrorism” (Byman, 2007, p. 155). This chapter analyses instances of the use of terrorism by Pakistan finding that it supports the approach of integration outlined previously. Research displays that Pakistan’s use of terrorism is a vital element of its foreign policy and not party to considerations of norms or morality. In assessing Pakistan’s foreign policy terrorism this paper holds central Wight’s (2012, p. 51) amended statement outlined in chapter one that the perceptions of those enacting the states use of terrorism are what shape its meaning and thus its analysis. Furthermore, this chapter highlights flaws when analysing Pakistan’s terrorism using existing research approaches.

Terrorisms not Terrorism

In chapter one this paper argued terrorism is a tactic deployed by all actors, state and non-state. As a result of such a notion, terrorism varies. Thus this paper concurs with Laqueur (2000, p. 6) that there is not one type of terrorism but multiple terrorisms. The previous chapter mentioned the nuclear attacks of 1945 alongside the utilisation of proxy forces in the Beirut Barracks Bombing. Pakistan’s use of terrorism is almost exclusively concerned with the latter, the use of non-state proxy forces as a delivery mechanism for the terrorist elements of its policy. Such a tactic is often referred to as ‘state sponsored terrorism’ roughly surmised as the deliberate support of violent non-state actors engaged in terrorism (Maogoto, 2005, p. 59). Whilst recognising this is the method utilised by Pakistan, this paper rejects the term state sponsored terrorism in favour of the term terrorism. By using the former of these terms, as scholars such as Riedel (2008) and Stohl (1984) do, this paper would imply, as Hoffman argued in chapter one, a qualitative difference between acts of state and non-state terrorism, once again raising the spectre of morality and legitimacy previously critiqued. Furthermore, its use would also imply a distinction between acts carried out directly by the state, an intelligence operative for instance, and that of a proxy. This implication suggests that there is more culpability on the part of the state in the former case, and in the latter there is a distance from the state and its policies. Research has shown such notions to be entirely inaccurate with reference to Pakistan.

The Foundation of Foreign Relations

The centrality of terrorism to Pakistani policies is such that its “reliance on militant proxies is as old as its very existence as a nation state” (Fair & Ganguly, 2015, p. 160). Thus there is no shortage of examples of the use of terrorism within Pakistani foreign policy. This is most clearly displayed in policies in Kashmir and Afghanistan. This paper will focus on these two geographic areas explicitly for a variety of reasons. With reference to Kashmir, due to its role as a historically disputed territory between Pakistan and India, it serves as a microcosm of not only India-Pakistan relations but also of Pakistan’s wider approach to the use of terrorism abroad. In the case of Afghanistan, Pakistan has long sought to play a decisive role in internal Afghan politics and Afghanistan also brings Pakistan into indirect confrontation with the anti-Taliban US led coalition. As a contemporary issue, Afghanistan is an area in which research of the state’s use of terrorism is able to have a profound and immediate effect.

As aforementioned, Kashmir has long served as a flashpoint of conflict between India and Pakistan. The countries have fought two wars over its control since Pakistan’s creation in 1947 and it remains today, an area prone to frequent skirmishes propagated by both sides (BBC, 2016). Although control is split between India, Pakistan, and China, this paper will not cover China’s limited role. The centrality of Kashmir for Pakistani foreign policy is such that Meher (2012, p. 350) labels it a “raison d’etre” for the nation. To get a sense of the role of terrorism in Pakistan’s most important foreign policy area it is prudent to cover examples of its usage. Former Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) and dictator Zia-ul-Haq began the first documented policy in recent history of the use of terrorism in Kashmir, when directing the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) to implant the seeds of terrorism, directing a “system of killings, violence and intimidation” via proxy groups (Meher, 2012, pp. 345-51). This policy endured beyond Zia however with another former COAS and President, Pervez Musharraf stating he also created, sustained and used terrorist organisations in Kashmir against India (Greater Kashmir, 2015). A Human Rights Watch report found that numerous non-state groups, directed by ISI officers, had carried out hundreds of murders between 2000-2002 of both Muslims and Hindus for supporting the Indian administration in Kashmir, and Pakistani forces have been documented as recruiting and even providing covering fire for these organisations (Byman, 2007, pp. 167-170). In short, Pakistani policy in Kashmir is inexorably tied to terrorism.

Terrorism as a central component of Pakistan’s foreign policy also extends to its neighbour to the West, a country with which it has history of skirmishes and interference in to achieve its own foreign policy objectives. The politics of Afghanistan have long been a central Pakistani foreign policy concern. It tutelage of the Mujahedeen in conjunction with the CIA and MI6 during the Cold War is well known, however this paper focuses on post-Cold War policies for reasons covered in the introduction. Much as in Kashmir, the terrorist components of Pakistani foreign policy in Afghanistan are again deployed by non-state actors. Created under the Pakistani Interior Ministry and ISI in 1994, the Afghan Taliban (Taliban hereafter) has been the most prominent of these groups carrying out the Pakistani policy of terrorism (Peimani, 2003, p. 14). The closeness between Pakistan and the Taliban is such that Afghan citizens have stated, “all Taliban are ISI Taliban” (Gall, 2007). Human Rights Watch (2000) supported these claims, finding on an insurmountable number of occasions, ISI officers “help plan and execute major military operations” undertaken by the Taliban. One particular instance of such use of the Taliban, documented by classified US intelligence leaks, came in March 2003 whereby militants, in receipt of training in “bombing-making and assassination techniques from three Pakistani military officers” murdered Red Cross worker Ricardo Muniga in an orchestrated campaign against westerners (Burke, 2011). Further evidence of the Taliban’s terrorism being a proxy for Pakistan is evident from various intelligence reports of a 2006 meeting between the ISI, Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba (L.e.T) at which the ISI decided “to increase terrorist operations… including suicide bombings, mines and assassinations” across Afghanistan (Ibid). The relationship between the Taliban and Pakistan is best displayed however, by the infamous November 2001 Kunduz Airlift, in which Pakistan evacuated ISI officers alongside senior Taliban commanders, preventing their capture or elimination by US led forces (Karlekar, 2012, p. 206). The Taliban are the government in waiting for Pakistan (Rashid, 2009, p. 25). Much Afghan terrorism then is harnessed if not created by forces in Rawalpindi, headquarters of Pakistan’s military.

What is the Rawalpindi Rationale?

Although unable to exhaustively document Pakistan’s use of terrorism abroad due to its secrecy and sheer volume, the above instances highlight the fact that Pakistan does indeed utilise terrorism as a component of its foreign policy. To justify the integration promoted by this paper, Pakistan’s motivations and objectives must be examined.

Pakistan’s use of proxy groups is not an instantaneous battlefield decision; it is a calculated policy tactic serving broad objectives. The various groups that conducted the terrorist attacks above, such as L.e.T and Jaish-e-Mohammed (J.e.M) were specific creations of the ISI to carry out terrorism in aid of Pakistani foreign policy (Rashid, 2009, p. 114). Former COAS Aslam Beg confirmed the use of terrorism as a “component” of Pakistani policy in Kashmir stating these groups were created and nurtured to engage India in a war of attrition whilst Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal protected them from retaliation (Byman, 2007, p. 174). This is a clear admission by a former senior official that terrorism is an element of foreign policy in Kashmir, tied with the aforementioned comments by Pervez Musharraf about both Kashmir and Afghanistan this makes for authoritative placement of terrorism within the Pakistani policy matrix. The actuality of the use of terrorism supports these assertions. Terrorist attacks such as those detailed above by Human Rights Watch have been used to force India to deploy over 250,000 security personnel into Kashmir (Ibid). This has increased repression of the pro-Pakistani, largely Muslim population in the area, pair this with the fact that the second objective of Pakistani terrorism is to purge Hindus, creating an “Islamic space” filled with more Muslims and there emerges a clear, multifaceted foreign policy strategy utilising terrorism as a core component (Meher, 2012, p. 351).

In Afghanistan terrorism is also a constituent of foreign policy. During its rise to prominence, the Taliban was coordinated via the Pakistani Foreign Office by the ISI, indicating its policy position to Pakistani officials (Ibid). Moreover the Taliban were envisioned as a future Afghan government which could be friendly to Pakistan and enemies of India (Rashid, 2009, p. 25). The ISI also utilised Afghanistan as a training base for Kashmiri militants showing the broad role in which terrorism was employed, with a 1998 US missile strike on an Al-Qaeda training camp killing numerous ISI instructors (Ibid, p. 16). Differing types of state violence have been studied within the fields of law, history, criminology, and sociology, and if the deployment of terrorism by Pakistan comes under the banner of its foreign policy, by its own admission, why not integrate it as such? (Jackson, et al., 2011, p. 175) In light of this research, it would be prudent to treat terrorism as an element of the state’s foreign policy to more closely reflect reality. As aforesaid, this paper argues that a major determinant of how the states use of terrorism should be studied is the perception of it by those implementing it on behalf of the state as this will allow academia to more accurately reflect reality. In an e-mail interview, for this dissertation conducted 13 January 2017, former ISI and Military Intelligence Director, General Asad Durrani stated that terrorism is used on the basis a state believes it can “get away with it, not in a court of law… but in realpolitik terms”. He also remarked that terrorism is justified due to the “high stakes game” of politics, statecraft and foreign policy and that the use of terrorism as a foreign policy is not a blight on Pakistan. General Durani’s remarks reflect a wider view in Pakistani policy making circles with Pervez Musharraf stating the utilisation of Taliban terrorism was necessary for advancing Pakistani interest, “this force would remain important for maintaining Pakistani influence in Afghanistan and keep the low intensity war in Kashmir going” (Meher, 2012, p. 351). Such perspectives on terrorism from the most powerful decision makers who controlled both the Pakistani state, and its terrorism, combined with information from intelligence reports and respected sources strengthens this paper argument that terrorism is a consistent, amoral tactic for Pakistan.

The Problem of Agency

Throughout the above overview of Pakistan’s use of terrorism, Pakistan as an entity has been identified as the actor making the decision for the use of terrorism in its foreign policy. In the US, the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Ted Poe introduced the “Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act” in 2016 alleging just such a notion (Dawn, 2016). Ruth Blakeley (2010, p. 20) states however that use of the term state terrorism, or indeed the study of state terrorism, brings with it “the problem of agency” and this paper concurs with her observation. How can it be determined that the state as a whole entity, all of its necessary and legally mandated offices for foreign or military policies sanctioned an act of terrorism? Such questions could of course be asked of many political decisions but with aforementioned connotations and implications of labelling something as terrorism it is judicious to address this issue.

The political structure of Pakistan itself brings into question the value of the term state terrorism and the current connotations of the label of terrorism covered in chapter one. Although a nominal parliamentary republic, the military and particularly the ISI exercises a central role effectively controlling foreign policy towards India and Afghanistan so much so that the governmental system has been described as “military rule by stealth” (Bennet-Jones, 2015). Whilst it has been displayed that the consistent position of the senior military command and the ISI has been to utilise terrorism in foreign policy, officials are not always united behind such policies. In October 2016, a top secret meeting between the cabinet and the ISI took place in which the former demanded the ISI cease its utilisation of militant groups for its policies against India and Afghanistan and stop preventing civilian authorities arresting senior militant figures (Almeida, 2016). It is not just a civil-military divide that exists, however. Ahmed Rashid (2009, p. 277) finds evidence of an intra-military divide. Frontier Corp soldiers were ordered to eliminate an L.e.T camp, a camp controlled by the ISI with its officers being instructors there, however no cooperation was forthcoming, leading to mission failure and over 200 casualties. The ISI was also running its own war against America in Afghanistan “without Musharraf’s knowledge” (Ibid, p. 90). More telling is Gall’s (2014) coverage, supported by both Schwarz (2006) and Hersh (2015) that the ISI itself is divided with one element fighting the very terrorists controlled by their colleagues. If terrorism was to be presented, in line with this papers’ approach, a one without inherent moral qualities and a component of policy, then in addition to opening up the debate beyond the bounds of Manicheanism, academics would avoid conflating those elements within the ISI, military, and broader state apparatus who are fighting terrorism, with those who are utilising it. Despite this infighting, this research has conclusively associated Pakistan foreign policy with terrorism. Perhaps then when Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs labelled the extremist Haqqani Network “a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency” he would have been better suited referring to terrorism as the veritable core of Pakistani foreign policy in Kashmir and Afghanistan (Reuters, 2011).

CHAPTER THREE 

Stars and Stripes… and Terrorism

Crenshaw (1981, p. 383) remarked “the observation that terrorism is a weapon of the weak is hackneyed but apt”, the United States and its use of terrorism contradict this statement, however. It is the most militarily powerful nation in history and the pre-eminent cultural, economic, and political power in the world. Despite this it has consistently and systematically used terrorism on a global scale to achieve policy objectives, as George (1991, p. 1) stated: “on any reasonable definition of terrorism, taken literally, the United States and its friends are the major supporters, sponsors and perpetrators of terrorist incidents in the world”. As state previously, this paper does define terrorism literally and likewise finds terrorism present within the policies of the United States. Qualitative research for this paper has found America has officially employed terrorism as both a political and military tactic in times of war and peace. It further finds that as covered in chapter one, the utilisation of existing approaches to terrorism research fail to portray the reality of its use and obfuscate its role and regularity.

A Long Term Relationship

Terrorism and US policy have a long-term relationship. The use of terrorism in US foreign and military policy stretches farther back than is covered in this paper but for reasons of depth and relevance this paper’s research deals only with the post-1945 period. This use of this terrorism by the US is such It that it led Noam Chomsky (1991, p. 15) to remark that America is “officially committed to international terrorism”.

If as Collins (2014, p. 132) states, the Cold War is the golden age of the state’s use of terrorism, then Operation Condor (Condor herein) is its El Dorado. Condor was a campaign of assassination, torture, and terrorism carried out by states across South America targeting “persons on the basis of their political ideas rather than illegal acts” (McSherry, 2002, p. 38). It is responsible for around 60,000 deaths including that of Chilean Army chief Carlos Pratts in an effort to silence left-wing activism threatening the right-wing government (Rohter, 2014). Condor, however, “must be understood in the context of the hemispheric anti-communist alliance led by the United States” (McSherry, 2002, p. 40). Established in 1975 by DINA chief and CIA asset Manuel Contreras, the CIA approved providing intelligence and operational support (Ibid, p. 48). The State Department commented “US security officials clearly acted as the link in the Condor chain” in response to the murder of left-wing American activists in the 1970 by DINA (Ibid, p. 53). Condor was not the only such terrorism with the notorious ORBAN death squads in Brazil and Uruguayan and Paraguayan forces trained and directed by the CIA in assassination and explosives (Herman, 1982, p. 130). In these instances, America used a foreign government proxy to deliver the terroristic element of its foreign policy in defence of its own interests. The proxy was supported and trained to carryout terrorism against its own people at America’s behest. The actions of the US were designed specifically to enable the spreading of terror and thus under the definition of this paper and that of Stohl (1948, p. 48), constitute terrorism.

Much like Pakistan, America has also utilised non-state actors to implement its terrorism. In Nicaragua the Contras were deployed against the left-wing Sandinista government, clearly exposed during the Iran-Contra scandal, further legitimating this papers approach. FDN leader Adolfo Calero was described as a “loyal CIA soldier since 1963” with his intelligence chief Horacio Acre stating he was trained by the CIA and they directed FDN actions to “attack lots of schools, health centres and those sorts of things” (Chomsky, 1989a, p. 204). The State Department further directed Contras to attack “soft targets…specifically authorizing attacks on agricultural cooperatives” (Chomsky, 1991, p. 15). Furthermore an Amnesty International report found US backed paramilitaries across South and Central America engaged in “killing and mutilating victims in a most macabre way… to intimidate or coerce a civilian population” (Ibid, p. 21). In short the proxies were “used as instruments of foreign policy by the CIA and Reagan administration” (Chomsky, 1989a, p. 123).

America also directly implemented terrorism in its policies. During Operation Blackeye in Vietnam, US forces formed “terror squads”, killing suspected Viet Cong (VC), adorning the corpses with an all seeing eye as a warning to others (McClintock, 1991, p. 134). The infamous Phoenix Program also embraced terrorism, with “hunter-killer” teams ordered to commit “atrocious abuses of human rights… and leave no survivors in one particular village” (McSherry, 2002, p. 43). Lest it be thought that the use of terrorism in American policies is a relic of bygone era as Collins (2014) would suggest though. The Global War on Terror (GWOT) has continued these actions. The aforementioned policies during the Cold War were the inspiration for the Omega Program and Operation Matchbox (Mazzetti, et al., 2015). Under these operations personnel from the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) were to abduct, torture and assassinate suspected terrorists, with JSOC instructed to “terrorise the Taliban until they’d surrender” (Cole, 2017). JSOC’s actions at Camp NAMA embraced this, consisting of behaviour that led to the CIA withdrawing personnel in August 2003 stating conduct there “bordered on terrorism” (Scahill, 2014, p. 151). The GWOT has also seen a revival of the proxies of the Cold War with the CIA and JSOC contracting Somali warlords like Muhammed Qanyare to “eliminate Al-Qaeda representatives” (Ibid, p. 120). That this action is terrorism is confirmed by a 2005 CIA report maintaining a wave of anti-Arab terrorism across Somalia was carried out on its behalf (Ibid, pp. 121-128). Clearly, that the US used terrorism in numerous countries, via varying methods and does so presently cannot be denied. In justifying advocacy of terrorism and policy integration it is necessary to display the above terrorism was both official and that it occupied the realm of foreign policy, not an ‘otherness’ implied by current research approaches. This paper finds much evidence to substantiate its stance on these grounds.

Officially Committed to International Terrorism

During the Cold War, and as officially enshrined in the US Foreign Assistance Act 1961, US foreign and security policy largely centred on exporting and implementing counterinsurgency warfare doctrine (COIN) (Stokes, 2005, p. 58). It can be summarised as political warfare embracing all forms of violence “in an effort to seize power against an ideological enemy by all means” (McClintock, 1991, pp. 131-132). The State Department describes it as a political struggle in which armed force creates a space in which political and economic influence is exerted (Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, 2009, p. 2). McClintock (1991, p. 121) labelled it “the legitimation of state terror” and Stokes (Ibid, p. 59) adds it’s “directly responsible for the ideological legitimation of state terror”. Classified COIN manuals refer to the use of terrorism as “legitimate” with sections entitled “Terror Operations” (McClintock, 1991, p. 133). A 1976 Army manual states actions undertaken within the Blackeye and Phoenix Programs were “legitimate” (Ibid, p. 134). Additionally a 1962 US SOF report directed US and proxy forces to “as necessary execute sabotage and/or terrorist activities against known communist proponents” adding in 1965 they should “commit acts of terrorism against known VC personnel” (Ibid, pp. 137-139). Much like its Cold War counterparts, the terrorist elements of GWOT policies are unquestionably official and central to wider foreign and security policies. The aforesaid actions at Camp NAMA, terrorism according to the CIA, were “standard operating procedure” and also used at Abu Ghraib (Scahill, 2014, p. 147). Any uncertainty that GWOT terrorism was purely military is dispelled by the “Al-Qaeda Network Execute Order”. Issued by Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld, this still classified order directs JSOC to conduct terrorism via rendition and assassination globally, even in friendly countries, a clear meeting of foreign and security policies if ever there was one (Ibid, p. 170). The sheer prevalence of terrorism within US foreign policy within this chapter’s coverage speaks strongly to this papers championing of the integration of terrorism with foreign policy analysis.

Cumulative Evidence to this point shows terrorism to be a central and recurring policy of the United States. That it is officially and explicitly located within warfare manuals and State Department guidelines is testament to the stance of this paper that the integration advocated would better reflect the reality of terrorisms usage.

Subjective Perspectives and US Terrorism

This paper has maintained that the perceptions of terrorism of those implementing it on behalf of the state are a key determinant of the way in which terrorism should be analysed and researched. As with Pakistan, research has revealed that US decision makers view terrorism as an amoral component of policy.

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger embraced the utilitarian nature of terrorism remarking to Argentina “if there are things to be done, you should do them quickly” and blocked diplomatic attempts to halt Condor terrorism (National Security Archive, 1976). Likewise the objective of CIA directed Contra terrorism in Nicaragua was to prompt a “clamp down on civil liberties within Nicaragua… demonstrating its inherent totalitarian nature and thus increase domestic dissent” according to a CIA analyst (Chomsky, 1991, p. 19). Similarly General Robert Porter USSOUTHCOM commander, claimed terrorism was “a very modest insurance policy protecting our vast private investments… aimed less at military expertise than… the cultivation of internal political attitudes favourable to the United States” (Herman, 1982, p. 124). Furthermore the State Department maintained that the 1954 Guatemalan coup and subsequent dictatorships were necessary because Guatemala “provided a potential workable model of development for neighbouring countries not wholly open to US capital” (Stokes, 2005, p. 26). Clearly terrorism was viewed by decision makers as a “rational and creative response” to political movements threatening US interests (Barkawi, 2004, p. 25). By targeting fledgling movements, American policy terrorism was able to attempt to undermine an entire socioeconomic and political threat to these interests. Thus rather than distinctly separate way in which the terrorism of the state is currently studied, the combination of official manuals and individual statements highlight how terrorism was very much a resident of US foreign and security policy with morality and norms not a primary concern.

My Cause is Greater than Yours

The Joint Chiefs of Staff indicated that in Vietnam, violations of laws and use of terrorism was justified by its efficacy and the consequences of a US defeat (McClintock, 1991, p. 126). The use of Qanyare in Somalia similarly was judged as effective and necessary given the Al-Qaeda threat (Scahill, 2014, p. 128). These remarks again raise the issue of morality and subjectivity covered in chapter one. In the above coverage of US terrorism, there is the declaration or implication of employing terrorism to overcome “the greater terror of the enemy” (McClintock, 1991, p. 132). During both the Cold War and the GWOT, US decision makers felt that the threats they faced justified their actions. By attributing terrorism inherent moral characteristics, many current definitions of terrorism and research approaches are enabling this shaping of morality by the state covered in chapter one, encouraging the state to deny terrorism and allowing the masking of the state’s terrorism behind palatable labels.

As displayed above, the term terrorism and allusions to it are used frequently within classified US government documents. The phrase is never uttered publically, however. Instead, as has been illustrated, terms such as COIN, counter-terror or low intensity warfare obscure the tactics of terrorism. These labels are “hardly more than euphemisms for state-directed international terrorism” as illustrated by the actions carried out under these banners (Chomsky, 1991, p. 14). Owing to America’s predominance in the international system, which as chapter one showed, greatly impacts the labelling of terrorism It is able to promote the view that “no one has the right of self-defence against US terrorist attack” as US violence is in defence of supposedly universal morality and just causes (Chomsky, 1991, p. 17). This combination of the connotations of terrorism and power of labelling allowed the State Department to deride the Sandinistas as the most egregious human rights violators, whilst simultaneously directing the aforesaid Contra attacks (Chomsky, 1989b, p. 130). Contemporarily it allows Secretary of Defence Mattis to label Iran “the world’s biggest sponsor of state terrorism” whilst SEAL Team Six have been ordered to “bloody the hatchet”, mutilating corpses and attempting beheadings (Revesz, 2017; Cole, 2017). To deprive terrorism of inherent moralism would be to render its use against a rival in the way displayed above, moot. By enabling a discussion of the states use of terrorism beyond the bounds of the good/bad binary there is the possibility of creating space for the discussion of the actions of the nation state on a par with that of the non-state actor or at the very least, to remove the negative connotations from a policy strategy consistently employed, often overlooked, and regarded like any other. To continue to research and analyses the use of terrorism by the state as separate from its foreign and security policies would be to ignore the wealth of evidence of its perception and use by the leaders of the free world and most powerful nation on earth.

Conclusion

This paper acknowledges limitations on both its research and its central argument. Terrorism, due to its very nature is an emotive issue. The term has been applied to some of the worst acts of barbarity committed by man, its association with grotesque imagery such as Daesh executions means it is difficult to shed from the term, as this paper has sought to, emotions and a history of pejorative usage. It would be unrealistic for the definition and approach promoted by this paper to be adopted, despite the wealth of supporting evidence, instantaneously and without intense debate. Furthermore there are drastic implications of being labelled a user or sponsor of terrorism. The prohibitions on arm sales and economic assistance imposed by the United States on Sudan and Iran which it designates as terrorism sponsors are testament to this (US State Department, 2010). Thus apart from the popular condemnation for admittance of the use of terrorism, countries and individuals face legal punishment and as such, despite this paper being able to quote a number of figures such as Henry Kissinger and General Durrani, attaining admittance of the perpetration of terrorism by the state is challenging. It relies on the honesty of a select few powerful individuals or as with the documents examined within, intelligence leaks, or post-event declassification.

Despite these and other limitations, present in all research concerning terrorism, this paper has unquestionably disproven Wight’s (2009, p. 101) assertion that “there can be no such thing as state terrorism”. Coverage of Pakistan and America highlighted it as a central component of their foreign policies. With reference to America it is apparent that terrorism has been systematically utilised as a tactic or component of policy for the protection of US interests economic, strategic or otherwise from the subjectively grave or existential threats of communism, socially progressive political movements or Islamist extremism. Regardless of self or external justifications of defending universal morality, freedom or other just causes via counter-terror, that it is terrorism is undeniable. This terrorism was pursued for clear foreign policy objectives. It was not the doings of rogue operatives, it was a set of coherent policies flowing from the White House, through official channels in the State Department, CIA and military and enacted just as trade deals and climate change agreements are. Terrorism is a component of US policy, akin to other benign actions. In Pakistan this paper displayed that despite geographic, governmental, cultural and contextual differences, little changes in regards to the use of terrorism. Pakistan would have no foreign policy in Afghanistan and Kashmir if it were to draw a distinction between it and terrorism. Research has shown that the perceptions of those deploying this terrorism are opposed to the current academic or popular conception of terrorism as external to policy. Decision makers see it not as a stain on their or the nations moral character, but as a tactic based on cost-benefit analysis, mandated by the perceived existential threat they face from India but more importantly, perceived as being able to achieve foreign policy goals better or faster than other foreign policy tactics.

The state’s use of terrorism is evidently not exercised in a politico-military vacuum as current approaches imply and, occasionally, overtly state. Evidence presented in this paper displays that the US and Pakistan make decisions regarding the use of terrorism in a moral vacuum more than a policy one. In light of these findings, the approach of integrating the research and analysis of the states use of terrorism abroad with its foreign and security policies takes a decidedly authoritative step in asserting itself as an alternative the orthodox or CTS bipolarity in terrorism research concerning the state.

By reflecting the reality of the use of terrorism by the state, the approach advocated within this paper can be applied to all other nations and their acts of terrorism abroad whether it is Libyan support for the IRA or the Military Reaction Force terrorism in Northern Ireland for, according to an ex-member of the unit a “political game” (Bell, 1997, p. 556) (Cursey, 2013). Embracing the approach of this paper, future research concerning the use of terrorism by the state can avoid or mitigate the aforementioned pitfalls that arise when approaching it from the position of morality and otherness. If terrorism is seen as it is exercised, not as an idiosyncrasy but a constituent of foreign policies, reasoned discussion remains a possibility. No longer will it be the preserve of the definer to label and mislabel their adversary, because as stated in this paper’s introduction, espoused throughout, and reinforced by research presented, “the strategies and tactics of terrorism have become integral components of the foreign policy instruments of the state” (Stohl, 1984, p. 55).

 

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Written by: Paul Butchard
Written at: University Of East Anglia
Written for: Andrew Patmore
Date written: May 2017

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