Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why Terrorists Stop

Andrew Sullivan's blog led me to an interesting news release from RAND. Generally it doesn't have any surprises, except perhaps to a few delusional people in the current administration. A few snips.....

Current U.S. strategy against the terrorist group al Qaida has not been successful in significantly undermining the group's capabilities,.....

The comprehensive study analyzes 648 terrorist groups that existed between 1968 and 2006, drawing from a terrorism database maintained by RAND and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. The most common way that terrorist groups end -- 43 percent -- was via a transition to the political process. However, the possibility of a political solution is more likely if the group has narrow goals, rather than a broad, sweeping agenda like al Qaida possesses.

The second most common way that terrorist groups end -- 40 percent -- was through police and intelligence services either apprehending or killing the key leaders of these groups.

I sometimes wonder whatever happened to some of those outfits from the 1970s, such as the Red Brigade, the Symbionese Liberation Army, etc. This next bit isn't a big surprise.

Military force was effective in only 7 percent of the cases examined;in most instances, military force is too blunt an instrument to be successful against terrorist groups, although it can be useful for quelling insurgencies in which the terrorist groups are large, well-armed and well-organized, according to researchers.

Religious terrorist groups take longer to eliminate than other groups.
No religious terrorist group has achieved victory since 1968.


"The United States has the necessary instruments to defeat al Qaida, it just needs to shift its strategy and keep in mind that terrorist groups are not eradicated overnight," Jones said.

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