Global (Un)Civil Society. Terrorism. The Puzzle. Peter Benenson, Founder, Amnesty International. Osama bin Laden, Founder, al-Qaeda. Why do some transnational groups -- commonly known as terrorists -- resort to violence to achieve their aims?
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Peter Benenson, Founder, Amnesty International
Osama bin Laden, Founder, al-Qaeda
“Extremists” are weak relative to the goals they seek. That is, they lack significant popular support.
Target is uncertain about group’s capabilities or resolve (purple arrow).
Group attacks to make its demands credible (red arrow). Attack is a form of costly signaling.Strategies of Terrorism: Coercion
Ex.: Sunni attacks on U.S. and Shiites in Iraq.
Is Target imperialist?
Terrorist attacks Target to provoke a response.
Since Target cannot identify Terrorist precisely, collateral damage to Home.
Home “updates” its beliefs about Target’s preferences.
It really is imperialist.Strategies of Terrorism: Provocation
Ex: Al-Qaeda attacks on 9/11; Palestinian attacks on Israel.
Target is uncertain about Home’s ability or desire to honor agreement and restrain extremists.
Terrorists attack Target, and Target updates its beliefs that Home cannot control Terrorists.
Target more likely to reject agreement as not credible.Strategies of Terrorism: Spoiling
Ex.: Hamas attacks prior to Israeli elections in 1996 and 2001.
Home is uncertain about Terrorist’s preferences honor agreement and restrain extremists.
Which group is more committed?
Terrorists attack Target to demonstrate capabilities and commitment to Home.Strategies of Terrorism: Outbidding
Ex.: Fatah v. Hamas in West Bank.