In This Review

Deadly Connections: States That Sponsor Terrorism
Deadly Connections: States That Sponsor Terrorism
By Daniel Byman
Cambridge University Press, 2005, 370 pp

Byman's is the most authoritative account yet of the link between states and international terrorism. Thoroughly researched and carefully argued, Deadly Connections explores the motivations, limits, and consequences of the state sponsorship of terrorist groups -- and draws lessons about what the world can do about it. Byman argues that states back terrorist groups primarily for strategic reasons: to influence neighbors, topple regimes, counter U.S. hegemony, or advance ideological objectives. Pakistan, for example, backed radical groups to undermine governance in Kashmir, whereas Iran backed Hezbollah to disrupt the Middle East peace process. Byman finds variation in the types of support that states provide, ranging from the active efforts of Iran to the passive neglect of Saudi Arabia. He is equally systematic in identifying the strategies that states have employed in attempts to reduce support for terrorism. The account ends with the successful case of deterring Libya's support for terrorism and soberly concludes that states can be coerced into ending their support for terrorist groups but that the process will be long and arduous. Sound policy must combine coercion with a promise of passage back into the international community -- not an earthshaking judgment, but still a useful message to policymakers.