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Pre-emptive Defence against International Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Reasoned Critique

Author(s): Yolanda Gamarra Chopo

Journal: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals
ISSN 1133-6595

Issue: 77;
Start page: 227;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: defence | terrorism | weapons of mass destruction | security | sovereignty

The 9-11 terrorist attacks had serious repercussions on the world stage, giving rise, among other effects, to a protracted debate on the conditions in which the use of force to fight against terrorism might be justified or not under international law. In the UnitedStates, there were those who advocated in favour of pre-emptive action against the terrorists, and those who were protecting and harbouring them, within the framework of a large scale ‘war’ against terrorism. This gave rise to the ‘Bush doctrine’ of the ‘pre-emptive attack’ to fight against international terrorism and those who possessed weapons of mass destruction that might be used against opponents or for terrorist purposes. Although some people feltthat this version of ‘pre-emption’ in the unilateral use of force strayed from the traditional parameters of self-defence, others considered it to be an adaptation of these parameters to the new needs arising from the threat posed by terrorist groups and outlaw states.
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