What Ends Terror Groups?

25.02.10

Categorie: David Axe, Extremists |
Tags:

by DAVID AXE

“The current fight against Al Qaeda appears to have no end,” Leonard Weinberg and Arie Perliger wrote in the latest Sentinel counter-terrorism journal. (Not yet online.) “Various tactics have been employed to defeat the terrorist group, including assassinating cell leaders and “re-educating” members. Yet the network persists … ”

But never fear. “By examining the past, it is clear that almost all terrorist groups and all terrorist campaigns that appeared so menacing in previous decades have passed from the scene.” To figure out what usually kills terror groups, the authors examined groups from all over the world, going back several decades. They came up with the handy chart seen above.

No wonder the Pentagon is so adamant on mounting drone strikes against Al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan. The military knows that killing leaders often works. Of course, these days Al Qaeda is more of a terror brand with no single leadership cadre, so perhaps “loss of public support” is a more likely outcome.

|

7 Responses to “What Ends Terror Groups?”

  1. Isaiah Brown says:

    I wonder what the criteria was for this assessment. I would love to see a breakdown by group. I know that Baader Meinhoff was destroyed by destruction of leadership, but that seems like a very small group, with a very specific organizational demographic (young, bored , crazy Germans raised in the 1950′s/1960s). Malayan insurgency was starved out and many of its leaders captured or killed, but it represented and consisted of a tiny easily spotted ethic minority that caused a lot of trouble but had no support from the vast majority of Malayans. Shining Path seemed down for the count because of captured or killed leaders, but from what I understand they are still around and may be back on the rise. PLO, IRA, Hezbollah, Hamas, all seem to have evolved into political organizations that have military and terrorist wings(IRA political wing seems to have helped get rid of its bomb making wing). Did they count groups that decided to fight conventional campaigns or that committed big suicidal operations, like Tupac Amaru. I guess that my point is that the numbers seem really off to me, and without knowing the nature of the groups described the numbers are meaningless. How do you weight Timothy McVie and friends organization compared to a group like FARC.
    I also wonder about future knock-on effects. It appears that many of the methods that we have used in Afghanistan and Iraq are based on targeted killing methods pioneered against the drug cartels in Columbia, which killed Pablo Escobar and forced the Ochoa brothers out of business but didn’t do much to stop the Cocaine industry in the long run. I personally feel that the top leadership of Al Queda must either be killed or captured and paraded around in very silly looking prison uniforms to prove you really can’t get away with something as big and horrific as 9/11, but I hope after we wipe out Al Queda that we don’t find out 5 years down the road that we have accidentally created their smarter, faster, meaner replacement.

  2. JB says:

    I agree Isaiah. I was very interested to read this, but without knowing the metrics used, any conclusion is premature.

  3. [...] cell leaders and “re-educating” members. Yet the network persists … ” Read more …. My Comment: Kudos to War is Boring in reproducing about that chart …. it appears [...]

  4. [...] cell leaders and “re-educating” members. Yet the network persists … ” Read more …. My Comment: Kudos to War is Boring in reproducing about that chart …. it appears [...]

  5. [...] cell leaders and “re-educating” members. Yet the network persists … ” Read more …. My Comment: Kudos to War is Boring in reproducing about that chart …. it appears [...]

Leave a Reply