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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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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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.

In the past fifty years, more than $1 trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Has this assistance improved the lives of Africans? No. In fact, across the continent, the recipients of this aid are not better off as a result of it, but worse—much worse.

In Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo describes the state of postwar development policy in Africa today and unflinchingly confronts one of the greatest myths of our time: that billions of dollars in aid sent from wealthy countries to developing African nations has helped to reduce poverty and increase growth. In fact, poverty levels continue to escalate and growth rates have steadily declined—and millions continue to suffer. Provocatively drawing a sharp contrast between African countries that have rejected the aid route and prospered and others that have become aid-dependent and seen poverty increase, Moyo illuminates the way in which overreliance on aid has trapped developing nations in a vicious circle of aid dependency, corruption, market distortion, and further poverty, leaving them with nothing but the "need" for more aid. Debunking the current model of international aid promoted by both Hollywood celebrities and policy makers, Moyo offers a bold new road map for financing development of the world's poorest countries that guarantees economic growth and a significant decline in poverty—without reliance on foreign aid or aid-related assistance.

Dead Aid is an unsettling yet optimistic work, a powerful challenge to the assumptions and arguments that support a profoundly misguided development policy in Africa. And it is a clarion call to a new, more hopeful vision of how to address the desperate poverty that plagues millions.

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."

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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