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Since the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, terrorism has become a catchword, but its origins are much older. The term stems from that bloody phase of the French Revolution known as the Terror. Historically, terror has been a strategy used by the state itself or the dominant class under stress to suppress opposition and gain or regain control by fear. The extreme methods are not only political terrorism but the trademark of totalitarianism -- to politicize every aspect of life. However, terror is also a strategy available to non-state actors who have neither legitimacy nor police. In fact terrorism is probably the only effective strategy available to a weak group or movement against an overwhelmingly stronger adversary.
The vertical axis opposing government to group distinguishes between enforcement (I.E.T.) or state terror, practiced on behalf of the state to shore up the control of the people, and agitational (I.E.T.) or sociopolitical (BGD) terror, an anti-state activity carried out by rebel groups in order to topple the government. As for the horizontal axis, terrorism may be ideologically driven or it may simply be a means employed respectively by the incumbents in order to retain power or by the opposition to wield it.