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Tamilnation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Conflict Resolution - Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka > Norwegian Peace Initiative > Early Beginnings... > How Terrorism Ends - - United States Institute for Peace Special Report
How Terrorism Ends - Excerpts from
United States Institute for Peace - Special Report
- Jon B.Altman, Martha Crenshaw, Teresita Schaffer and Paul Wilkinson
25 May 1999
[Full Text at USIP Publications]
" The nature of the grievance matters. Ethnically based terrorist campaigns can be harder to end decisively than politically based ones, because they often enjoy broader support among a population they seek to represent.
The nature of the organisation putting forth the grievance matters as well. Intelligence is important not only to prevent terrorist attacks but also to understand how the organisation works and how its decision making process can be affected.
Political violence by itself can rarely achieve its aims, but it can sometimes do so in conjunction with less violent political action.
By the same token, deterring terrorism and prosecuting terrorists may be insufficient to end terrorism, especially when a large population supports the terrorists' cause. In such situations, negotiated settlements may provide the only solutions.
In Sri Lanka, the government appears to have concluded from its victory over the Maoist JVP that law enforcement and compulsion can end a terror campaign. However, the LTTE has a much broader base of support than the JVP ever did, and the LTTE is unlikely to go away simply through government-applied force.
One of the most effective strategies at governments' disposal may be to split off pragmatists from radical rejectionists. Such efforts can diminish public support for the terrorists and deny them a strong base from which to operate.
In the cases of the IRA and the PLO, the initiation of political negotiations has not conclusively ended terrorism, but it has swung public support behind a peaceful solution and helped diminish popular support for the terrorists.
Making concessions to causes espoused by terrorists can arouse hostility from those who believe that terrorism is "being rewarded." Weak governments find it difficult to make such concessions.
Peace overtures must be well-timed. Ideally, they should come at a time when the government is strong and the terrorist organization is undergoing a period of introspection. Good intelligence can make a difference in these cases.
..So called 'get tough' measures against terrorist groups can have unintended consequences. Trying to 'decapitate' a movement may radicalise the whole movement or some splinter faction. assassinations and military force can provoke a desire for revenge, and raids and arrests can reinforce martial images, create mythologies of martyrdom, or feed paranoia and secretiveness (which makes the movements even harder to penetrate for reasons of either understanding motivations or foiling actions).."
...In the event that organisations are primarily motivated by a desire for recognition, how should policy makers respond? Should the government recognise the organisations and eliminate their motivation for terrorism? Since terrorist actions most often are considered newsworthy events my media organisations, it is beyond governments' control whether the actions gain attention or not. Governments can play an effective role, however, in influencing how terrorist events are portrayed to the public, and thus influence (but not control) how the public interprets those events.
Money and weapons flow across borders and supporters of terrorism (if not the terrorists themselves) often have established bases in other countries. Increasingly law enforcement efforts aimed at stemming terrorism have an international component, and such a strategy will require more international cooperation. "