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.
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.
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.