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Governments spend billions to protect against terrorism. Might it help to understand what al Qaeda would achieve with each specific attack? This book examines various hypotheses of terrorist targeting: is it (1) to coerce, (2) to damage economies, (3) to rally the faithful, or (4) a decision left to affiliates? This book analyzes past attacks, post hoc justifications, and expert opinion to weigh each hypothesis.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780833039132
  • Publisher: RAND Corporation
  • Publication date: 4/25/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.17 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface     iii
Figures     ix
Tables     xi
Summary     xiii
Acknowledgments     xix
Glossary     xxi
Introduction     1
What Drives al Qaeda's Choice of Targets?     5
The al Qaeda Targeting Process: Four Hypotheses     8
The Coercion Hypothesis     9
The Damage Hypothesis     11
The Rally Hypothesis     12
The Franchise Hypothesis     14
Some Observations on Rationality     18
Alternatives to Rational Action     19
Organization     21
Hypothesis Testing: Quantitative and Qualitative Measures     24
Measuring Intent     24
Quantitative Measures     25
Qualitative Measures     25
Modeling Intent     26
Coercion     26
Damage     29
Rally     30
Franchise     31
Testing Hypotheses Against Past Attacks     32
World Trade Center (WTC), New York, 1993     34
Khobar Towers, Riyadh, 1996     35
East Africa Embassy Bombings, Nairobi and Dar Es Salam, 1998     36
USS Cole, Yemen, 2000     37
WTC, New York, and Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia, 2001     37
Bali, 2002     39
Djerba, 2002     40
MV Limburg, Yemen, 2002     40
Mombasa, 2002     41
Casablanca, 2003     42
Istanbul, 2003     43
Madrid, 2004     43
Riyadh, 2004     44
Hilton Hotel, Taba, Egypt, 2004     45
Hypothesis Testing: Al Qaeda Statements and Expert Observations     49
Al Qaeda's Reading of History Suggests the Leverage of Terrorism     49
The Coercion Hypothesis     52
The Damage Hypothesis     57
The Rally Hypothesis     61
The Franchise Hypothesis     66
Conclusions     71
Ramifications for al Qaeda Attack Planning in the United States     73
Coercion     74
Soft Targets     74
Categorizing Potential Attacks     80
Damage     81
Radiological Releases     82
Biological Attacks on Agriculture     84
Categorizing Potential Attacks     86
Rally     86
Suicide Terrorism     87
Categorizing Potential Attacks     91
Franchise      91
Is the United States Off the Target List for the Time Being?     92
Conclusions     93
Bibliography     95
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