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Perspectives

Publication Date

5-1-2014

Abstract

It is unrealistic to determine what is the most cost-effective counter-terrorist strategy without taking into account efficacy of all available counter-terrorist tactics. Logically the best strategy is that which allows one to construct a variety of tactics that tailors to a given situation. However such a meta-strategy is highly limited by the outright dismissal of a given tactic on the basis of moral arguments or assumptions. A practical analysis of a tactic is required first before asking whether it is worth keeping and what its best for when a terrorist situation is presented. While military and police options have been explored with many successes and failures within the United States and abroad there has been much less of a consideration given to negotiation and diplomatic relations with terrorist groups in the culture at large. In order to best ensure that a potentially vital tactic in dealing with terrorists is not being ignored, this paper will review and address the research pertaining to negotiating with terrorist groups. Specifically the results will answer whether or not governments should negotiate with terrorists and what meaningful distinctions exist between groups like al Qaeda and other terrorists in terms of negotiation. For the purposes of this paper, terrorism is the use of strategic violence or threat to incite disproportional loss of resolve or morale in a population or organization and terrorist groups are those who have been labeled or associated with the term whether self-applied, internationally, or by governments local to the groups. In addition, groups labeled as such employ such tactics as part of their repertoire for political ends as they overwhelmingly tend to act against an organized entity to enact some change.

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