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

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

by Audrey Kurth Cronin
Pub. Date:
Princeton University Press
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How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691152394
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 08/28/2011
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 476,236
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Abbreviations xv

Introduction 1
The Evolution of Terrorism as a Strategic Threat 3
A Word about Scope and Terms 6
The Conceptual Framework 7
Case Selection 8
Overview of Chapters 9

Chapter One: Decapitation: Catching or Killing the Leader 14
What Decapitation Means 16
The Arrest of Top Leaders 17
Abimael Guzmán and Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) 18
Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party 20
Mickey McKevitt and the Real Irish Republican Army 22
Shoko Asahara and Aum Shinrikyo 23
Assassination or "Targeted Killing" 24
The Philippines’ Abu Sayyaf 27
Russia and Chechen Leaders 28
Israel's "Targeted Killings" 29
How Decapitation Ends Terrorism 31

Chapter Two: Negotiations: Transition toward a Legitimate Political Process 35
Why Governments Negotiate 36
Why Groups Negotiate 39
Case Studies of Negotiations 42
The Northern Ireland Peace Process 42
Analysis of the Agreement 47
The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process 48
Terrorism and the Talks 55
The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers) 57
Analysis of the Failure 61
Promising and Unpromising Circumstances for Negotiations 62
Stalemate 63
Strong Leadership 64
Sponsors 65
Suicide Campaigns 66
Splintering 67
Spoilers 69
Setting and Story 70
How Negotiations End Terrorism 71

Chapter Three: Success: Achieving the Objective 73
What Does "Success" Mean? 74
Survival 75
Achievement of Objectives 77
Perpetuating Terrorism: Tactical or "Process" Goals 77
Ending Terrorism: Strategic or "Outcome" Goals 80
Cases of Success 82
Irgun Zvai Le'umi (Irgun or IZL) 82
The African National Congress and Umkhonto 85
Other Notable Cases 89
How Success Ends Terrorism 91
Conclusions 92

Chapter Four: Failure: Imploding, Provoking a Backlash, or Becoming Marginalized 94
Implosion: Mistakes, Burnout, and Collapse 95
Failure to Pass the Cause to the Next Generation 95
Generational Patterns: Left-Wing Groups in the 1970s 97
Generational Patterns: Right-Wing Groups in the 1990s 98
Infighting and Fractionalization 100
Loss of Operational Control 102
Accepting an Exit 103
Marginalization: Diminishing Popular Support 104
The Ideology Becomes Irrelevant 105
Loss of Contact with "the People" 107
Targeting Errors and Backlash 108
How Failure Ends Terrorism 110

Chapter Five: Repression: Crushing Terrorism with Force 115
Analyzing the Strategies of Terrorism 117
Case Studies of Repression 122
Russia and Narodnaya Volya 123
Peru and Sendero Luminoso 125
Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party 128
Uruguay and the Tupamaros 129
Russia and Chechnya 131
Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, 1928-1966 137
How Repression Ends Terrorism 141

Chapter Six: Reorientation: Transitioning to Another Modus Operandi 146
Criminality and Terrorism 148
Colombia and the FARC 149
The Philippines and Abu Sayyaf 152
Insurgency and Terrorism 153
Algeria and the GIA 155
Terrorism as a Catalyst for Major War 157
India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiri Separatist Groups 159
Outdated Paradigms, Practical Implications 162
How War Ends Terrorism 166

Chapter Seven: How Al-Qaeda Ends: The Relevance and Irrelevance of History 167
Is Al-Qaeda Unique? 168
Resilient Structure 169
Methods of Radicalization and Recruitment 171
Means of Support 174
Means of Communication 175
The Relevance and Irrelevance of History for Al-Qaeda:
Applying the Framework 177
Decapitation: Capturing or Killing the Leaders 177
Negotiations: Talking to Al-Qaeda or Its Associates 179
Success: Achieving Al-Qaeda's Objectives 182
Failure through Implosion 183
Failure through Diminishment of Popular Support 187
Repression: Crushing Al-Qaeda with Force 190
Reorientation: Transitioning to Other Means 191
Al-Qaeda's Decline and Demise 193

Conclusion 197
Understanding How Terrorism Ends 201
Appendix: Statistical Analysis of Terrorist Campaigns 207
Notes 223
Selected Bibliography 283
Index 297

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