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RAND statistical study on how terrorism stops

by EnumaElish
Tags: rand, statistical, stops, study, terrorism
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EnumaElish
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Jun23-10, 01:56 PM
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Quote Quote by RAND.org
U.S. Should Rethink "War On Terrorism" Strategy to Deal with Resurgent Al Qaida

Current U.S. strategy against the terrorist group al Qaida has not been successful in significantly undermining the group's capabilities, according to a new RAND Corporation study issued [on July 29, 2008].

[...]

In looking at how other terrorist groups have ended, the RAND study found that most terrorist groups end either because they join the political process, or because local police and intelligence efforts arrest or kill key members. Police and intelligence agencies, rather than the military, should be the tip of the spear against al Qaida in most of the world, and the United States should abandon the use of the phrase "war on terrorism," researchers concluded.

[...]

The comprehensive study analyzes 648 terrorist groups that existed between 1968 and 2006, drawing from a terrorism database maintained by RAND and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. The most common way that terrorist groups end -- 43 percent -- was via a transition to the political process. However, the possibility of a political solution is more likely if the group has narrow goals, rather than a broad, sweeping agenda like al Qaida possesses.

The second most common way that terrorist groups end -- 40 percent -- was through police and intelligence services either apprehending or killing the key leaders of these groups. Policing is especially effective in dealing with terrorists because police have a permanent presence in cities that enables them to efficiently gather information, Jones said.

Military force was effective in only 7 percent of the cases examined; in most instances, military force is too blunt an instrument to be successful against terrorist groups, although it can be useful for quelling insurgencies in which the terrorist groups are large, well-armed and well-organized, according to researchers. ...
More on http://www.rand.org/news/press/2008/07/29/

Free e-document: http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG741-1/ (at the bottom of the page). "RAND makes an electronic version of this document available for free as a public service. If you find this information valuable, please consider purchasing a paper copy of the full document to help support RAND research."
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arildno
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Jun23-10, 03:22 PM
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Very interesting, thank you!
russ_watters
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Jun25-10, 08:40 PM
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Long paper so I haven't gotten through it yet, but from the intro:
Our analysis
suggests that there is no battlefield solution to terrorism. Military force
usually has the opposite effect from what is intended: It is often overused,
alienates the local population by its heavy-handed nature, and
provides a window of opportunity for terrorist-group recruitment. This
strategy should also include rebalancing U.S. resources and attention
on police and intelligence work. It also means increasing budgets at the
CIA, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Department of State and
scaling back the U.S. Department of Defense’s focus and resources on
counterterrorism. U.S. special operations forces will remain critical, as
will U.S. military operations to counter terrorist groups involved in
insurgencies.
I see several problems with this analysis:

1. Afghanistan is not stable enough for the miltiary portion of the war to end. Even if the US military ends its counterterrorism mission, it would still need to be active as an occupying force. 6 of one, half dozen of the other.

2. The US military is more sophisticated than Rand gives them credit for and is acting in the way that Rand suggests. It is acting as the intelligence agencies would, as the intelligence agencies simply aren't big enough for this. It is also acting as a police force, which I am against:

3. The military is not a police force and foreign terrorists do not have the rights of criminals. Using the military to kill them is the appropriate action. What is the alternative? Should we send the NYPD into Pakistan to serve arrest warrents?

4. The American people would not accept a vast increase in the size of the CIA to take over the war on terror. Simply put, it trusts the military more. And since many of the tools (such as drones) are military in nature, I think they should be controlled by the military.

apeiron
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Jun25-10, 10:05 PM
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RAND statistical study on how terrorism stops

In looking at how other terrorist groups have ended, the RAND study found that most terrorist groups end either because they join the political process, or because local police and intelligence efforts arrest or kill key members. Police and intelligence agencies, rather than the military, should be the tip of the spear against al Qaida in most of the world, and the United States should abandon the use of the phrase "war on terrorism," researchers concluded.
An intelligent analysis. And note that it stresses local policing - that is policing from within the system, not imposed as an external agency. Policing works where it broadly has the support of those being policed.

Unless of course we are talking about police states. Which could be an approach here - it works for US interests in Saudi after all. Find a strongman in Afghanistan to back, equip him with the training, technology and blessing to run a repressive state. Of course, to avoid offending wider sensibilities, it would be wise to create the appearance that the new regime came about via democratic elections.

The alternative solution should also be considered. If terrorist organisations represent valid political goals, such as ending regional colonialism, then a way ought to be found to assimilate them to a political process. Give them the opportunity to achieve by politics what they have failed to do via violence.


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