Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

How to Understand and Oppose Terrorism: The Case of Iraq

04 February 2008 | 5:00pm | Seminar

Roger Stevens LT 16

A WUN National Responses to Terrorism Virtual Seminar.

Speaker: Dr Eric Herring from the University of Bristol.


In this seminar I will argue that thinking in terms of non-state terrorists versus state non-terrorists is often misleading. In the case of Iraq, for example, terrorism needs to be seen as one of a number of tactics used by the state, insurgents, militias and mafias, with the lines between those actors being blurred. I will argue further that this has fundamental implications for understandings of and policies for opposing terrorism. I will suggest that terrorism usually occurs in the context of insurgency and counter-insurgency, and it is that broader political struggle that gives it meaning and shapes its impact. Drawing on extensive opinion poll data in the Iraq case and relating that to current counter-insurgency doctrine, I will assess the legitimacy and effectiveness of Coalition 'counter-terrorism' in Iraq.

Presenter profile

Dr. Eric Herring is Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Bristol. His most recent book is 'Iraq in Fragments: The Occupation and its Legacy', published in November 2006 by Hurst and Cornell University Press: this was co-authored with Dr. Glen Rangwala (Cambridge) as part of a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and described as 'first-rate ... a compelling account - the clearest yet available of the 'new Iraq' by Professor Charles Tripp (SOAS), author 'A History of Iraq'. He was specialist adviser to the Select Committee on Economic Affairs of the House of Lords for its inquiry into economic sanctions in 2006-07. He has published articles in journals such as 'Review of International Studies', 'Millennium', 'The International Journal of Human Rights', 'Third World Quarterly' and 'The Journal of Strategic Studies'. His current research is on the political economy of peacebuilding in Iraq and on violence in Iraq. He recently addressed a conference at the Royal United Services Institute in London on British counter-insurgency in Iraq.

Location Details

The Roger Stevens Lecture Theatres are located on campus next to the EC Stoner building and adjacent to the 'pond'.

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