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Why Terrorism does not work

2 Pages
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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLC38H3
Professor
Ingrid L.Stefanovic

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Why Terrorism Does Not Work-ABRAHMS
(1) terrorist groups rarely achieve their policy objectives, and (2) the poor success
rate is inherent to the tactic of terrorism itself
Terrorist campaigns come in two varieties: strategic terrorism aims to coerce a
government into changing its policies; redemptive terrorism is intended solely to
attain specific human or material resources such as prisoners or money.
Because my focus is on terrorisms ability to compel policy change, terrorism in this
study refers only to strategic terrorism campaigns.
Terrorisms effectiveness can be measured along two dimensions: combat
effectiveness describes the level of damage inflicted by the coercing power; strategic
effectiveness refers to the extent to which the coercing power achieves its policy
objectives
A potential objection to this approach is that terrorists possess extreme policy goals
relative to those of their supporters, and thus terrorist campaigns may be judged
unsuccessful even when they compel policy changes of significance to their broader
community.
In the international mediation literature, limited objectives typically refer to
demands over territory (and other natural resources); maximalist objectives, on the
other hand, refer to demands over beliefs, values, and ideology, which are more
difficult to divide and relinquish
Civil wars were found to defy political resolution because they are frequently fought
over competing ideologies where the costs of retreating are comparatively high
The group is fighting to either (1) evict a foreign military from occupying another
country, or (2) win control over a piece of territory for the purpose of national self-
determination
By contrast, a terrorist group has maximalist objectives when its demands are over
ideology. In this scenario, the group is attacking a country to either (1) transform its
political system (usually to either Marxist or Islamist), or (2) annihilate it because of
its values.
Target selection is a superior explanatory variable for predicting the outcomes of
terrorist campaigns. The Department of State defines foreign terrorist
organizations as groups that engage in premeditated, politically motivated violence
perpetrated against non-combatant targets.
Like other lists of terrorist groups, the Department of States does not distinguish
between (1) groups that focus their attacks primarily on civilian targets and (2)
those that mostly attack military targets, but occasionally attack civilians.
Terrorism is a coercive instrument intended to communicate to target countries the
costs of noncompliance with their policy demands.
This notion has important implications for explaining the poor track record of
terrorist groups. The following analysis develops a theory for why terrorist groups—
especially ones that primarily target civilians—do not achieve their policy objectives.
September 11 attacks and Israel to Palestinian terrorism in the first intifada.
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Description
Why Terrorism Does Not Work-ABRAHMS (1) terrorist groups rarely achieve their policy objectives, and (2) the poor success rate is inherent to the tactic of terrorism itself Terrorist campaigns come in two varieties: strategic terrorism aims to coerce a government into changing its policies; redemptive terrorism is intended solely to attain specific human or material resources such as prisoners or money. Because my focus is on terrorisms ability to compel policy change, terrorism in this study refers only to strategic terrorism campaigns. Terrorisms effectiveness can be measured along two dimensions: combat effectiveness describes the level of damage inflicted by the coercing power; strategic effectiveness refers to the extent to which the coercing power achieves its policy objectives A potential objection to this approach is that terrorists possess extreme policy goals relative to those of their supporters, and thus terrorist campaigns may be judged unsuccessful even when they compel policy changes of significance to their broader community. In the international mediation literature, limited objectives typically refer to demands over territory (and other natural resources); maximalist objectives, on the other hand, refer to demands over beliefs, values, and ideology, which are more difficult to divide and relinquish Civil wars were found to defy political resolution because they are frequently fought over competing ideologies where the costs of retreating are comparatively high
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