Why Terrorism does not work

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
Ingrid L.Stefanovic

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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