Apologists for terrorism frequently refer to “root causes” in an attempt to “explain away” despicable atrocities perpetrated by terrorists. Portrayed typically as “understandable acts of desperation”, these acts of terrorism “in the name of addressing alleged injustices” are none other than appalling human rights violations. While countless attempts have been made to pinpoint alleged “root causes” of terrorism, with the supposition being that if its cause is eradicated then terrorism itself will disappear, in reality the facts do not support the allegations. Yet, even if there did exist “root causes” of terrorism, until those issues are adequately addressed and finally resolved in an effective manner, a State which is the target of terrorist attacks is in the meantime permitted to exercise its legitimate, inherent right to employ force in defense of its citizens, and in order to forestall serious injury it is fully justified in engaging in anticipatory measures of self-defense in an abetting State. Actions thus taken in self-defense by the target State may be considered the legitimate direct response to the unwillingness or inability of an abetting State to fulfill its international legal obligations to halt terrorist attacks, or the imminent threat of terrorist attacks, which originate within its borders, and are directed against the target State.
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