How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns

Princeton University Press
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Amid the fear following 9/11 and other recent terror attacks, it is easy to forget the most important fact about terrorist campaigns: they always come to an end--and often far more quickly than expected. Contrary to what many assume, when it comes to dealing with terrorism it may be more important to understand how it ends than how it begins. Only by understanding the common ways in which terrorist movements have died out or been eradicated in the past can we hope to figure out how to speed the decline of today's terrorist groups, while avoiding unnecessary fears and costly overreactions. In How Terrorism Ends, Audrey Kurth Cronin examines how terrorist campaigns have met their demise over the past two centuries, and applies these enduring lessons to outline a new strategy against al-Qaeda.

This book answers questions such as: How long do terrorist campaigns last? When does targeting the leadership finish a group? When do negotiations lead to the end? Under what conditions do groups transition to other forms of violence, such as insurgency or civil war? How and when do they succeed or fail, and then disappear? Examining a wide range of historical examples--including the anti-tsarist Narodnaya Volya, the Provisional IRA, Peru's Shining Path, Japan's Aum Shinrikyo, and various Palestinian groups--Cronin identifies the ways in which almost all terrorist groups die out, including decapitation (catching or killing the leader), negotiation, repression, and implosion.



How Terrorism Ends is the only comprehensive book on its subject and a rarity among all the books on terrorism--at once practical, optimistic, rigorous, and historical.

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About the author

Audrey Kurth Cronin is professor of strategy at the U.S. National War College in Washington, DC, and senior associate in the Changing Character of War program at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Ending Terrorism: Lessons for Defeating al-Qaeda and the coauthor of Attacking Terrorism: Elements of a Grand Strategy.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Aug 24, 2009
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781400831142
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / International Relations / Diplomacy
Political Science / Terrorism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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There have been numerous attempts to engage the United Nations in a meaningful campaign against state-supported and other terrorist activities. But the inherently political nature of terrorism has made it exceedingly difficult to gain global consensus on who even qualifies as a terrorist, much less agreement on counterterrorism measures to pursue.

The rise of al Qaeda, the events of 9/11, the Madrid train bombing, and the London mass transit bombings provided the international community and United Nations with new impetus to respond to terrorism. Although a series of international conventions were adopted and a short-lived independent monitoring group was established, the strategy that UN secretary general Kofi Annan proposed to the General Assembly in May 2006 contains many proposed measures and objectives that remain unfulfilled, thus rendering the UN virtually impotent against terrorism.

As one of five Security Council–appointed international monitors on the measures being taken against al Qaeda and the Taliban, Comras had the rare opportunity to observe the UN's counterterrorism activities. He delves into the UN's role in dealing with terrorism, explores the international political realities and institutional problems that make it difficult for the UN to successfully implement and monitor counterterrorism measures, and describes both the UN's successes and failures, ultimately laying out a case for creating a stronger, more effective UN response. Flawed Diplomacy is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the war on terrorism and in gaining knowledge about the UN's inner workings.
There is a broad consensus among informed observers both inside and outside the Beltway that American public diplomacy leaves much to be desired. Recent studies describe ineffectiveness, inadequate resources, and a general lack of direction. Further complicating this situation, there is no real consensus among critics on what must be done to fix current problems. Moreover, the ills afflicting public diplomacy are poorly understood. Losing Hearts and Minds? situates these problems within the complex environment of U.S. government bureaucracy, and relates them to other instruments of national power, particularly diplomatic activities and military force. This book prompts debate by analyzing obstacles to effective public diplomacy, and offers a comprehensive vision of this critical dimension of statecraft, which without improvements will ill serve the nation in its ongoing efforts to counter the global threat of terror.

After a systematic exploration of the concepts and terminology used to characterize public diplomacy and the wider domain of strategic influence, Carnes Lord examines the contemporary security environment and sketches an overall strategy that should guide the United States in projecting influence in the war on terror and in pursuing larger global interests. The author then looks at the cultural and institutional problems that have long handicapped the performance of the U.S. government in these areas. The book concludes with a detailed examination of the specific problems facing governmental agencies involved in public diplomacy and kindred disciplines, including the Departments of State and Defense, international broadcasters, and the White House.

Suicide terrorism is rising around the world, but there is great confusion as to why. In this paradigm-shifting analysis, University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape has collected groundbreaking evidence to explain the strategic, social, and individual factors responsible for this growing threat.

One of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject, Professor Pape has created the first comprehensive database of every suicide terrorist attack in the world from 1980 until today. With striking clarity and precision, Professor Pape uses this unprecedented research to debunk widely held misconceptions about the nature of suicide terrorism and provide a new lens that makes sense of the threat we face.

FACT: Suicide terrorism is not primarily a product of Islamic fundamentalism.

FACT: The world’s leading practitioners of suicide terrorism are the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka–a secular, Marxist-Leninist group drawn from Hindu families.

FACT: Ninety-five percent of suicide terrorist attacks occur as part of coherent campaigns organized by large militant organizations with significant public support.

FACT: Every suicide terrorist campaign has had a clear goal that is secular and political: to compel a modern democracy to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.

FACT: Al-Qaeda fits the above pattern. Although Saudi Arabia is not under American military occupation per se, one major objective of al-Qaeda is the expulsion of U.S. troops from the Persian Gulf region, and as a result there have been repeated attacks by terrorists loyal to Osama bin Laden against American troops in Saudi Arabia and the region as a whole.

FACT: Despite their rhetoric, democracies–including the United States–have routinely made concessions to suicide terrorists. Suicide terrorism is on the rise because terrorists have learned that it’s effective.

In this wide-ranging analysis, Professor Pape offers the essential tools to forecast when some groups are likely to resort to suicide terrorism and when they are not. He also provides the first comprehensive demographic profile of modern suicide terrorist attackers. With data from more than 460 such attackers–including the names of 333–we now know that these individuals are not mainly poor, desperate criminals or uneducated religious fanatics but are often well-educated, middle-class political activists.

More than simply advancing new theory and facts, these pages also answer key questions about the war on terror:

• Are we safer now than we were before September 11?
• Was the invasion of Iraq a good counterterrorist move?
• Is al-Qaeda stronger now than it was before September 11?

Professor Pape answers these questions with analysis grounded in fact, not politics, and recommends concrete ways for today’s states to fight and prevent terrorist attacks. Military options may disrupt terrorist operations in the short term, but a lasting solution to suicide terrorism will require a comprehensive, long-term approach–one that abandons visions of empire and relies on a combined strategy of vigorous homeland security, nation building in troubled states, and greater energy independence.

For both policy makers and the general public, Dying to Win transcends speculation with systematic scholarship, making it one of the most important political studies of recent time.
In the post-September 11 world, Al Qaeda is no longer the central organizing force that aids or authorizes terrorist attacks or recruits terrorists. It is now more a source of inspiration for terrorist acts carried out by independent local groups that have branded themselves with the Al Qaeda name. Building on his previous groundbreaking work on the Al Qaeda network, forensic psychiatrist Marc Sageman has greatly expanded his research to explain how Islamic terrorism emerges and operates in the twenty-first century.

In Leaderless Jihad, Sageman rejects the views that place responsibility for terrorism on society or a flawed, predisposed individual. Instead, he argues, the individual, outside influence, and group dynamics come together in a four-step process through which Muslim youth become radicalized. First, traumatic events either experienced personally or learned about indirectly spark moral outrage. Individuals interpret this outrage through a specific ideology, more felt and understood than based on doctrine. Usually in a chat room or other Internet-based venues, adherents share this moral outrage, which resonates with the personal experiences of others. The outrage is acted on by a group, either online or offline.

Leaderless Jihad offers a ray of hope. Drawing on historical analogies, Sageman argues that the zeal of jihadism is self-terminating; eventually its followers will turn away from violence as a means of expressing their discontent. The book concludes with Sageman's recommendations for the application of his research to counterterrorism law enforcement efforts.

The definition and understanding of "terrorism" is in a state of unprecedented evolution. No longer are acts of terrorism rare and far-flung. Following the horrendous attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, U.S. citizens have had their eyes opened to a new world where this nightmare stalks the daily news and is never far from consciousness.

Attacking Terrorism brings together some of the world's finest experts, people who have made the study of this rising menace their life's work, to provide a comprehensive picture of the challenges and opportunities of the campaign against international terrorism. Part one, "The Nature of Terrorism," provides an overview and foundation for the current campaign, placing it within the political and historical context of previous threats and responses. Part two, "The Responses to Terrorism," looks at the range of policy instruments required in an effective strategy against terrorism.

The contributors to this volume bring finely honed analyses and nuanced perspectives to the terrorist realities of the twenty-first century—history, analyses, and perspectives that have been too often oversimplified or myopic. They bring a new depth of understanding and myriad new dimensions to the crisis of terrorism. And they reach into aspects of counterterrorism that broaden our grasp on such important tools as diplomacy, intelligence and counterintelligence, psycho-political means, international law, criminal law enforcement, military force, foreign aid, and homeland security, showing not only how these tools are currently being employed but how often they are being underutilized as well.

Attacking Terrorism demonstrates that there are no easy answers—and that the road toward victory will be long and arduous, frightening and dangerous—but as Audrey Kurth Cronin states in her introduction, "As the campaign against international terrorism unfolds, a crucial forward-looking process of strategic reassessment is under way in the United States, and this book is intended to be a part of it."

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