Contemporary Debates on Terrorism [2 ed.] 1138931357, 9781138931350

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Table of contents :
Contents
Acknowledgements
The editors
Notes on contributors
Introduction: contemporary debates on terrorism • Daniela Pisoiu and Richard Jackson
Part I: The definition and study of terrorism
1 Is terrorism still a useful analytical term, or should it be abandoned?
YES: an agreed concept is possible and useful • Anthony Richards
NO: a landscape of meaning: constructing understandings of political violence from the broken paradigm of ‘terrorism’ • Dominic Bryan
Discussion questions
Further readings
2 Is Critical Terrorism Studies a useful approach to the study of terrorism?
YES: the necessity of a critical approach • Christopher Baker-Beall
NO: don’t give it the oxygen of publicity • Roger Mac Ginty
Discussion questions
Further readings
Part II: Categories of terrorism
3 Is there a ‘new terrorism’ in existence today?
YES: the relevance of the ‘new terrorism’ concept • Ersun N. Kurtulus¸
NO: the fallacy of the new terrorism thesis • Isabelle Duyvesteyn and Leena Malkki
Discussion questions
Further readings
4 Can states be terrorists?
YES: terrorism is an equal opportunity tactic • Scott Englund and Michael Stohl
NO: state terrorism: who needs it? • Colin Wight
Discussion questions
Further readings
Part III: The terrorism threat
5 Is terrorism a serious threat to international and national security?
YES: the continuing threat to state security • James Lutz and Brenda Lutz
NO: the myth of terrorism as an existential threat • Jessica Wolfendale
Discussion questions
Further readings
6 Is WMD terrorism a likely prospect in the future?
YES: the impact of CBRN terrorism – a general perspective • Natividad Carpintero-Santamaría
NO: WMD terrorism: the prospects • John Mueller
Discussion questions
Further readings
7 Is cyberterrorism a real threat?
YES: why we should start from this assumption • Maura Conway
NO: a narrated catastrophe, not a real threat • Myriam Dunn Cavelty
Discussion questions
Further readings
8 Does al-Qaeda still pose the more significant threat?
YES: the enduring al-Qaeda threat: a network perspective • Jeffrey B. Cozzens and Magnus Ranstorp
NO: al-Qaeda: a diminishing threat • Lee Jarvis
Discussion questions
Further readings
9 Are returning foreign fighters future terrorists?
YES: returning foreign fighters are future terrorists • Edwin Bakker and Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn
NO: terrorists returning home were not radicalised abroad • Richard Bach Jensen and Felix Lippe
Discussion questions
Notes
Further readings
Part IV: The causes of terrorism
10 Is terrorism the result of root causes such as poverty and exclusion?
YES: how structural factors explain terrorism • Dipak K. Gupta
NO: poverty and exclusion are not the root causes of terrorism • Graham R. Huesmann and L. Rowell Huesmann
Discussion questions
Further readings
11 Is religious extremism a major cause of terrorism?
YES: religious extremism as a major cause of terrorism • Amanda Munroe and Fathali M. Moghaddam
NO: ‘religious terrorism’ as ideology • Jeff Goodwin
Discussion questions
Further readings
Part VDealing with terrorism
12 Are counterterrorism frameworks based on suppression and military force effective in responding to terrorism?
YES: the use of force to combat terrorism • Boaz Ganor
NO: wars on terror – learning the lessons of failure • Paul Rogers
Discussion questions
Further readings
13 Are drones a useful counterterrorism tool?
YES: but the means must justify the ends • Christine Sixta Rinehart
NO: drones create a perpetual war for perpetual peace • Rory Finegan
Discussion questions
Further readings
14 Are counter-radicalisation approaches an effective counterterrorist tool?
YES: an effective counterterrorism tool • Daniel Koehler
NO: a suspect counterterrorism ‘science’ that ignores economic marginalisation, foreign policy and ethics • Charlotte Heath-Kelly
Discussion questions
Further readings
15 Is mass surveillance a useful tool in the fight against terrorism?
YES: keeping us safe now and helping us improve for the future • Jesse P. Lehrke
NO: a high-cost, low-reward approach • Ivan Greenberg
Discussion questions
Further readings
16 Have global efforts to reduce terrorism and political violence since 9/11 been effective?
YES: ‘looking for a needle in a stack of needles’ • Mark Cochrane and Gabrielle Nugent
NO: ‘using a sledgehammer to crack a nut’ • Rachel Monaghan
Discussion questions
Further readings
References
Index
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‘A sophisticated contribution to the understanding of terrorism. Theoretically serious-minded, and genuinely multi-disciplinary, it adds very powerfully to existing debates on a globally significant phenomenon.’ —Richard English, Queen’s University Belfast, UK

Praise for the first edition ‘Few topics have stimulated as much public debate as contemporary terrorism. What, if anything, does the word itself mean? Where did it come from? How serious a threat does it pose, and to whom? What are the best means for stopping it or at least mitigating its effects? [The editors] have assembled an outstanding group of scholars who debate the answers to these and other questions in a way that provides readers with clear understandings of both the complexity of the problems involved and alternative ways of solving them.’ —Leonard Weinberg, University of Nevada, USA ‘This is a comprehensive, thought-provoking and fascinating volume. It provides the reader with conflicting views on terrorism and terrorism related phenomena. The authors are prominent scholars who offer fascinating arguments in a lucid style. This is the kind of scholarship that every individual who has an interest in terrorism should follow.’ —Ami Pedahzur, University of Texas at Austin, USA ‘This is an impressive collection of essays on a number of critically important debates on terrorism and political violence by an outstanding group of scholars. Incredibly rich, sober and mature in analysis Contemporary Debates on Terrorism is an excellent addition to the currently available literature and deserves to be read not only by academic specialists but also by security analysts, policy makers and general readers concerned about international security issues.’ —George Kassimeris, University of Wolverhampton, UK ‘Contemporary Debates on Terrorism presents a lively and informative selection of central debates which exemplify the modern terrorist environment. [The editors] have assembled an exceptionally qualified panel of experts who articulately address critical issues defining the nature of present-day terrorism. Questions posed by the authors, and the robust positions taken by experts in this field, are guaranteed to stimulate critical thinking and quality discussions among readers.’ —Gus Martin, California State University, USA ‘An innovative pedagogic approach to studying terrorism and counterterrorism through a debate format, with scholars representing different perspectives debating one another over controversial issues.’ —Joshua Sinai, ‘Terrorism Bookshelf: Top 150 Books on Terrorism and Counterterrorism’, Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2012) ‘A terrific contribution to any library, personal or academic, and should there be a follow up work to this venture from Jackson and Sinclair, it will be sought after.’ —Devon Simons, Aberystwyth University, UK

Contemporary Debates on Terrorism

Contemporary Debates on Terrorism is an innovative textbook, addressing a number of key issues in terrorism studies from both traditional and ‘critical’ perspectives. This second edition has been revised and updated to cover contemporary issues such as the rise of ISIL and cyberterrorism. In recent years, the terrorism studies field has grown in quantity and quality, with a growing number of scholars rooted in various professional disciplines beginning to debate the complex dynamics underlying this category of violence. Within the broader field, there are a number of identifiable controversies and questions which divide scholarly opinion and generate opposing arguments. These relate to theoretical issues, such as the definition of terrorism and state terrorism, substantive issues like the threat posed by al-Qaeda/ISIL and the utility of different responses to terrorism, different pathways leading people to engage in terrorist tactics and ethical issues such as the use of drones. This new edition brings together in one place many of the field’s leading scholars to debate the key issues relating to a set of 16 important controversies and questions. The format of the volume involves a leading scholar taking a particular position on the controversy, followed by an opposing or alternative viewpoint written by another scholar. In addition to the pedagogic value of allowing students to read opposing arguments in one place, the volume will also be important for providing an overview of the state of the field and its key lines of debate. This book will be essential reading for students of terrorism studies and political violence, critical terrorism studies, security studies and IR in general. Richard Jackson is Professor of Peace Studies and Director of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the founding editor and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Critical Studies on Terrorism and editor of the Routledge Critical Terrorism Studies book series. His most recent publications include the Routledge Handbook of Critical Terrorism Studies (Routledge, 2016) and Confessions of a Terrorist (2014). Daniela Pisoiu is Senior Researcher at the Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP), Vienna, Austria. She is the author of Islamist Radicalisation in Europe: An Occupational Change Process (Routledge, 2011), co-author of Theories of Terrorism: An Introduction (Routledge, 2017) and editor of Arguing Counterterrorism: New Perspectives (Routledge, 2014).

Contemporary Debates on Terrorism Second Edition

Edited by Richard Jackson and Daniela Pisoiu

First published 2012 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN This edition published 2018 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2012; 2018 selection and editorial material, Richard Jackson and Daniela Pisoiu; individual chapters, the contributors The right of the editor to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Jackson, Richard, 1966– editor. | Pisoiu, Daniela, editor. Title: Contemporary debates on terrorism / edited by Richard Jackson and Daniela Pisoiu. Description: Second edition. | Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2018. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2017048539| ISBN 9781138931350 (hardback) | ISBN 9781138931367 (pbk.) | ISBN 9781315679785 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Terrorism. | Terrorism—Prevention. Classification: LCC HV6431 .C6528 2018 | DDC 363.325—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017048539 ISBN: 978-1-138-93135-0 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-138-93136-7 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-67978-5 (ebk) Typeset in Baskerville by Apex CoVantage, LLC

Contents

Acknowledgementsxiii The editorsxv Notes on contributorsxvii Introduction: contemporary debates on terrorism Daniela Pisoiu and Richard Jackson

1

PART I

The definition and study of terrorism

11

  1 Is terrorism still a useful analytical term, or should it be abandoned?

13

YES: an agreed concept is possible and useful Anthony Richards

13

NO: a landscape of meaning: constructing understandings of political violence from the broken paradigm of ‘terrorism’ Dominic Bryan

19

Discussion questions Further readings

26 27

  2 Is Critical Terrorism Studies a useful approach to the study of terrorism?

28

YES: the necessity of a critical approach Christopher Baker-Beall

28

NO: don’t give it the oxygen of publicity Roger Mac Ginty

33

Discussion questions Further readings

40 40

viii  Contents PART II

Categories of terrorism

41

  3 Is there a ‘new terrorism’ in existence today?

43

YES: the relevance of the ‘new terrorism’ concept Ersun N. Kurtulus¸

43

NO: the fallacy of the new terrorism thesis Isabelle Duyvesteyn and Leena Malkki

50

Discussion questions Further readings

57 57

  4 Can states be terrorists?

58

YES: terrorism is an equal opportunity tactic Scott Englund and Michael Stohl

58

NO: state terrorism: who needs it? Colin Wight

65

Discussion questions Further readings

72 72

PART III

The terrorism threat

73

  5 Is terrorism a serious threat to international and national security?

75

YES: the continuing threat to state security James Lutz and Brenda Lutz

75

NO: the myth of terrorism as an existential threat Jessica Wolfendale

80

Discussion questions Further readings

87 87

  6 Is WMD terrorism a likely prospect in the future?

88

YES: the impact of CBRN terrorism – a general perspective Natividad Carpintero-Santamaría

88

NO: WMD terrorism: the prospects John Mueller

95

Discussion questions Further readings

101 101

Contents  ix

  7 Is cyberterrorism a real threat?

102

YES: why we should start from this assumption Maura Conway

102

NO: a narrated catastrophe, not a real threat Myriam Dunn Cavelty

108

Discussion questions Further readings

114 115

  8 Does al-Qaeda still pose the more significant threat?

116

YES: the enduring al-Qaeda threat: a network perspective Jeffrey B. Cozzens and Magnus Ranstorp

116

NO: al-Qaeda: a diminishing threat Lee Jarvis

122

Discussion questions Further readings

129 129

  9 Are returning foreign fighters future terrorists?

131

YES: returning foreign fighters are future terrorists Edwin Bakker and Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn

131

NO: terrorists returning home were not radicalised abroad138 Richard Bach Jensen and Felix Lippe Discussion questions Further readings

144 145

PART IV

The causes of terrorism

147

10 Is terrorism the result of root causes such as poverty and exclusion?

149

YES: how structural factors explain terrorism Dipak K. Gupta

149

NO: poverty and exclusion are not the root causes of terrorism Graham R. Huesmann and L. Rowell Huesmann

155

Discussion questions Further readings

162 163

x  Contents

11 Is religious extremism a major cause of terrorism?

164

YES: religious extremism as a major cause of terrorism Amanda Munroe and Fathali M. Moghaddam

164

NO: ‘religious terrorism’ as ideology Jeff Goodwin

171

Discussion questions Further readings

178 179

PART V

Dealing with terrorism

181

12 Are counterterrorism frameworks based on suppression and military force effective in responding to terrorism?

183

YES: the use of force to combat terrorism Boaz Ganor

183

NO: wars on terror – learning the lessons of failure Paul Rogers

189

Discussion questions Further readings

196 196

13 Are drones a useful counterterrorism tool?

198

YES: but the means must justify the ends Christine Sixta Rinehart

198

NO: drones create a perpetual war for perpetual peace Rory Finegan

204

Discussion questions Further readings

210 210

14 Are counter-radicalisation approaches an effective counterterrorist tool? YES: an effective counterterrorism tool Daniel Koehler

211 211

NO: a suspect counterterrorism ‘science’ that ignores economic marginalisation, foreign policy and ethics Charlotte Heath-Kelly

217

Discussion questions Further readings

224 225

Contents  xi

15 Is mass surveillance a useful tool in the fight against terrorism?

226

YES: keeping us safe now and helping us improve for the future Jesse P. Lehrke

226

NO: a high-cost, low-reward approach Ivan Greenberg

233

Discussion questions Further readings

239 240

16 Have global efforts to reduce terrorism and political violence since 9/11 been effective?

241

YES: ‘looking for a needle in a stack of needles’ Mark Cochrane and Gabrielle Nugent

241

NO: ‘using a sledgehammer to crack a nut’ Rachel Monaghan

247

Discussion questions Further readings

253 253

References255 Index289

Acknowledgements

A collected works like this would not be possible without the generous goodwill and hard work of the 40 or so eminent scholars who have contributed chapters. We are grateful to them all for their patience and hard work while we wrestled our way to a new edition, and for their time and care in helping us to assemble what we consider to be a useful and important evaluation of the current state of terrorism research. We are particularly grateful to those contributors who came in at the last moment to write chapters under great pressure, and to those who agreed to write chapters which might not have necessarily suited their own perspective or viewpoint. You know who you are and so do we. Such intellectual generosity is one of the things that makes it a genuine privilege to work in academia. We are also grateful to all the lecturers and teachers who used the first edition of Contemporary Debates on Terrorism, and recommended it to their students and colleagues, and who made helpful suggestions about what should be included in the second edition. It is only through its widespread adoption and use by colleagues that we have had this opportunity to revisit the volume and produce another edition. We hope it will continue to be used and valued as a tool for teaching about this important subject. We would also like to acknowledge Samuel Justin Sinclair, the erstwhile co-editor of the first edition of the volume, who did such a good job and gave his permission for a second edition. We are also grateful to Andrew Humphrys at Routledge who was extremely patient and supportive as we missed deadline after deadline. His encouragement was crucial in getting the book published. In fact, all the staff at Routledge have been models of professionalism and skill, and we consider ourselves fortunate to have such a wonderful publication team. We both are grateful to our respective academic institutions for the encouragement and support they have shown us during this project. Specifically, Daniela Pisoiu would like to thank the Austrian Institute for International Affairs. Richard Jackson would like to thank the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago, New Zealand. In particular, he is grateful to the students of his Masters class, Critical Terrorism Studies, who used the first edition and provided useful feedback. He also acknowledges the University of Otago who provided a generous period of research leave during which a great deal of the work was completed. We both feel very lucky to have such a strong and supportive group of colleagues. Lastly, we want to express our gratitude to our families. Daniela Pisoiu would like to thank Stefan Meingast for his uninterrupted support and love, and Aron for waiting so many times patiently for mommy to finally finish the ‘Arbeit’ and come play. Richard Jackson is especially grateful to Michelle Jackson for her unwavering love, support and editing over a long academic career. Michelle is Richard’s rock and refuge, and he wouldn’t have been nearly so successful as an academic without her. Daniela Pisoiu Richard Jackson University of Otago, New Zealand Austrian Institute for International Affairs

The editors

Richard Jackson is Professor of Peace Studies and Director of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the founding editor and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Critical Studies on Terrorism, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. He was one of the founding scholars of the sub-field of critical terrorism studies (CTS), and his most recent publications include the Routledge Handbook of Critical Terrorism Studies (Routledge, 2016) and Confessions of a Terrorist (2014), a research-based novel. His current research is focused on pacifism and non-violence and the development of non-violent approaches to counterterrorism. Daniela Pisoiu is Senior Researcher at the Austrian Institute for International Affairs, Vienna, Austria. She obtained her PhD in International Relations at the University of St  Andrews, Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence. She is the author of Islamist Radicalisation in Europe: An Occupational Change Process (Routledge, 2011), ­co-author of Theories of Terrorism: An Introduction (Routledge, 2017) and editor of Arguing Counterterrorism: New Perspectives (Routledge, 2014) and has authored numerous articles and chapters on terrorism and radicalisation.

Notes on contributors

Christopher Baker-Beall is Lecturer in International Relations at Nottingham Trent University, UK. He completed his PhD on European Union counterterrorism policy at Loughborough University, UK, in 2011. His research focuses on critical approaches to security, terrorism and ‘radicalisation’. His publications include The European Union’s Fight against Terrorism: Discourse, Policies, Identity (2016) Counter-­Radicalisation: Critical Perspectives (Routledge, 2015 with Charlotte Heath-Kelly and Lee Jarvis) and Neoliberalism and Terror: Critical Engagements (Routledge, 2015 with Charlotte Heath-Kelly and Lee Jarvis). Edwin Bakker  is Professor in Terrorism and Counterterrorism at Leiden University and Director of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs The Netherlands. His field of research includes jihadi terrorism and profiles of ( jihadi) terrorists. In addition, his research focuses on preventing and countering terrorism and extremism as well as dealing with the impact of terrorism. He has published in numerous journals and wrote several books, including Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice (2015). Bakker is also a Research Fellow of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague (ICCT) and lead instructor of the MOOC, ‘Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory & Practice’, on Coursera. Dominic Bryan is Director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queens University, Belfast, UK, the Chair of Diversity Challenges and the former Chair of Democratic Dialogue, Ireland’s first think tank. He is an anthropologist researching political rituals, commemoration, public space and identity in Northern Ireland. In 2001–2002, he was a part of the Clio Group that evaluated government funding to victims’ groups in Northern Ireland. He is a member of the Living Memorial subgroup of Healing Through Remembering and is part of a number of research projects examining processes of commemoration. He has also worked with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council. Natividad Carpintero-Santamaría is Full Professor at the Department of Energy Engineering of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain, General Secretary of the Institute of Nuclear Fusion and Member of the Presidium of the European Academy of Sciences. She holds a Diploma in High Studies of Defence and a Diploma as University Expert in Transnational Organized Crime and Security. She has been a member of the Consulting Board of the International Working Group of the G8 Global Partnership and a collaborator in CBRN threats research field at the Air Force Warfare Center. She is a

xviii  Notes on contributors permanent collaborator at the Spanish Centre for National Defence Studies and has published several papers on energy security, asymmetric threats, WMD terrorism and illicit trafficking of radioactive materials. She is the author of The Atom Bomb: The Human Factor during Second World War (2007). She has been granted the Cross of Aeronautical Merit (white distinctive) and the Cross of Military Merit (white distinctive). Mark Cochrane is a former Police Officer with over 28  years of service in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross (RUC GC). He has extensive experience of policing in a hostile environment and dealing with divided communities. He has taught and lectured at a diverse range of venues including the Swedish Defense College, Stockholm; the Irregular Warfare Course at the US Marine Corps University; West Point Military Academy; Combating Terrorism Centre, West Point; the National Executive Institute (NEI) and the National Academy (NA) at Quantico; FBI JTTF Regional training, New York; Bush School of Government at Texas A&M; Georgetown University; the Woodrow Wilson Centre Washington, DC; and the RAND Corporation. In the summer of 2008, he completed a Fulbright Police Fellowship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York. He holds an MA in Violence, Terrorism and Security from Queen’s University Belfast; a BSc (Hons) in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Ulster and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Canterbury Christ Church University. He is a self-employed consultant engaged in work with a number of agencies and is an Associate Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Ulster in addition to lecturing at US academic and law enforcement institutions. His publications include ‘Countering Terrorism through the Use of Informants: The Northern Ireland Experience’, Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism & Political Aggression; ‘Security Force Collusion in Northern Ireland 1969-1999, Substance or Symbolism?’, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism; ‘Counter-Terrorism: The Challenges of Intelligence and Effective Inter-Agency Cooperation in the “Game Without Frontiers” ’ in Radicalization, Terrorism, and Conflict, Tali K. Walters, Rachel Monaghan and J. Martín Ramírez (editors), (2013). Maura Conway is Professor of International Security in the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University (DCU) in Dublin, Ireland, and Coordinator of VOX-Pol, an EU-funded project on violent online political extremism (voxpol.eu). Professor Conway’s principal research interests are in the area of terrorism and the Internet, including academic and media discourses on cyberterrorism, the functioning and effectiveness of violent political extremist online content and violent online radicalisation. She is the author of over 40 articles and chapters in her specialist area(s). Her research has appeared in, among others, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Media, War & Conflict, Parliamentary Affairs, and Social Science Computer Review. Professor Conway has presented her findings before the United Nations in New York, the Commission of the European Union in Brussels, the Club de Madrid and elsewhere. Jeffrey B. Cozzens is President of White Mountain Research, an international affairs firm specialising in counterterrorism research and advising. He served previously as Religious Extremism Advisor at the Army Directed Studies Office and has researched Islamist movements and terrorism since 1995. Myriam Dunn Cavelty is Senior Lecturer for Security Studies and Deputy for Research and Teaching at the Center for Security Studies (CSS), Switzerland. Her research focuses

Notes on contributors  xix on the politics of risk and uncertainty in security politics and changing conceptions of (inter-)national security due to cyber issues (cyber-security, cyber-war, critical infrastructure protection). In addition to her teaching, research and publishing activities, she advises governments, international institutions and companies in the areas of cyber-security, cyber warfare, critical infrastructure protection, risk analysis and strategic foresight. Isabelle Duyvesteyn is Professor of International Studies/Global History at the Institute of History at Leiden University in the Netherlands. She completed a PhD in War Studies at King’s College London and has worked at Utrecht University, the Netherlands Institute of International Affairs and the Netherlands Defence Academy. Her research interests include the problems of war and peace, strategy and the history of terrorism and insurgency. Scott Englund is the TRENDS Research and Advisory Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Prior to his academic career, Dr Englund was a political and counterterrorism analyst for the Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Rory Finegan is a serving Officer in the Irish Defence Forces with 33 years of experience that has included three separate United Nations overseas deployments in the Middle East and a fourth in Kosovo. He has served in a number and diverse range of appointments at home, most notably as Chief Instructor at the United Nations Training School Ireland (UNTSI), where he was intimately involved in the development and delivery of Civil-­ Military (CIMIC) training and has been Course Director for four iterations of the bespoke International Human Rights Course conducted annually at UNTSI. He has lectured widely in IR and Peacekeeping Studies and in 2014 was awarded a PhD by Dublin City University (DCU) for research on the impact of Targeted Killings (TKs) in Northern Ireland and an analysis of their effectiveness and implications for counterterrorism policies. Boaz Ganor is the Deputy Dean of the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, and the Founder and Executive Director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), Israel. He is the founder and President of the International Academic Counter-Terrorism Community (ICTAC). In 2008–2010, Dr Ganor served as a Koret Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is also a member of the International Advisory Council of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research and the co-founder of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), and he was a Senior Fellow at The Memorial Institute for Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), Oklahoma City, US. Dr Ganor is a member of the International Advisory Team of the Manhattan Institute (CTCT) to the New York Police Department (NYPD). In addition, he has served as an advisor on counterterrorism to several Israeli ministries and the Israeli National Security Council. Jeff Goodwin is Professor of Sociology at New York University, USA, where he has taught since 1991. His writings have focused on social movements, revolutions and political violence. He is currently finishing a book titled A Theory of Terrorism. His book No Other Way Out: States and Revolutionary Movements, 1945–1991 (2001) won the Outstanding Book Prize

xx  Notes on contributors of the Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA). He is the co-editor, with James M. Jasper, of Contention in Context: Political Opportunities and the Emergence of Protest  (2012),  The Social Movements Reader: Cases and Concepts second edition (2009), Rethinking Social Movements: Structure, Meaning, and Emotion (2004), and Passionate Politics: Emotions and Social Movements (2001), co-edited with Francesca Polletta. Ivan Greenberg is the author of the two books,  Surveillance in America: Critical Analysis of the FBI, 1920 to the Present (2012) and The Dangers of Dissent: The FBI and Civil Liberties since 1965 (2010). His article, ‘From Surveillance to Torture: The Evolution of US Interrogation Practices during the War on Terror’, was published in the  Security  Journal (April 2015). His graphic novel on surveillance, Eyes on You: The Machine Never Sleeps, is forthcoming from Fantagraphics Books. Ivan earned a PhD in History from the CUNY Graduate Center. Dipak K. Gupta is Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Professor in Political Science at San Diego State University, USA. He is the author of, among many other books, Understanding Terrorism and Political Violence: The Life Cycle of Birth, Growth, Transformation and Demise (Routledge, 2008). Charlotte Heath-Kelly is Associate Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, UK. Her research interests include counter-radicalisation practices, the UK Prevent Strategy and the memorialisation of post-terrorist space. She has published articles on these topics in Security Dialogue, International Political Sociology, British Journal of Politics and International Relations and Critical Studies on Terrorism. She has also published two monographs: Death and Security: Memory and Mortality at the Bombsite (2016) and Politics of Violence: Militancy, International Politics, Killing in the Name (Routledge, 2013). Currently, her research is supported by the Wellcome Trust and the ESRC. Graham R. Huesmann is a Clinical Fellow in Epilepsy and a Research Fellow in Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, USA. He received his BSc at the University of Oregon in 1993 and his MD and PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Illinois in 2007. Since 2007, he has been on the staff of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, where he completed his neurology residency in 2011. His prior research has focused on the role of caspase-3 in memory trace capture, the regulation of this enzyme in normal brains and the role of genetic and functional mutations in Alzheimer’s and autism. His work has been funded by an NRSA and an R25 grant from NINDS. L. Rowell Huesmann is the Amos N. Tversky Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Communication Studies and Director of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, USA. He is also editor of the journal Aggressive Behavior and past-president of the International Society for Research on Aggression. He was the recipient in 2005 of the American Psychological Association’s award for Distinguished Lifetime Contributions to Media Psychology. Currently, he is a member of the National Academy’s Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention. His research and writing over the past 40 years has focused on the psychological foundations of aggressive and violent behaviour.

Notes on contributors  xxi Lee Jarvis is Professor of International Politics at the University of East Anglia, UK. He is (co-) author or editor of 11 books on the politics of terror and security, including Antiterrorism, Citizenship and Security (with Michael Lister, 2015) and Security: A Critical Introduction (with Jack Holland, 2015). Richard Bach Jensen is Professor of History, Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University, USA. He is the author of  The Battle against Anarchist Terrorism. An International History, 1878–1934 (2014), ‘Nineteenth Century Anarchist Terrorism: How Comparable to the Terrorism of  al-Qaeda?’ in  Terrorism and Political Violence  journal (2008) and ‘Anarchist Terrorism and Counter-terrorism in Europe and the World, 1878– 1934’, in The Routledge History of Terrorism, edited by Randall D. Law (2015). Daniel Koehler is one of the leading experts on CVE and de-radicalisation worldwide. He is a researcher at the Competence Center for the Coordination of the Prevention Network against (Islamic) Extremism in Baden-Württemberg (KPEBW), Germany, the Director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies (GIRDS), Fellow at the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal for Deradicalization. After his studies in religion, politics, economics and security studies, he specialised in terrorism and radicalisation. He worked as a family counsellor and de-radicalisation counsellor in multiple programmes and studied the methods of a wide variety of de-radicalisation programmes in the world and authored quality standards for de-radicalisation programmes. Ersun N. Kurtulus¸ is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations, TED University, Ankara, Turkey. Prior to his appointment at TEDU, he held academic positions at the University of Kent, Imperial College London, Open University and Stockholm University. He has published extensively in  Review of International Studies, The Middle East Journal, Global Society, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Third World Quarterly and Critical Studies on Terrorism. He is also the author of State Sovereignty – Concept, Phenomenon and Ramifications (Palgrave/ Macmillan, 2005). His research interests include contemporary trends in terrorism and counterterrorism, Lebanese politics, state sovereignty, politics of the Middle East and collapsed states. He has been an Associate Editor of the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (BJMES ) since 2007. Jesse P. Lehrke, PhD, is a Research Fellow at the German Research Institute for Public Administration in Speyer, Germany. He is author of Open Participatory Security: Unifying Technology, Citizens, and the State (2017) and The Transition to National Armies in the Former Soviet Republics, 1988–2005 (Routledge, 2013) as well as co-editor of Public Administration and the Modern State: Assessing Trends and Impact (2014). His research has appeared in international journals, such as Security Studies, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, European Security and Armed Forces & Society. From 1996 to 2003, he served in the US Army and Army National Guard. Felix Lippe is a Researcher at the Austrian Institute for International Affairs. He obtained a master’s degree in Peace and Security Studies (MA) at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy in Hamburg, Germany. For his master’s thesis, he researched the psychological aspects of the radicalisation process of Austrian Foreign Fighters. Before this, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Psychology

xxii  Notes on contributors and Law (MSc) at Maastricht University, where he stayed for one year to work as a research and teaching assistant. He is currently continuing to work on Austrian homegrown radicalisation in a project funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports. Brenda Lutz received her PhD from the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom and is an independent scholar. They have collaborated on three editions of Global Terrorism (Routledge, 2004, 2008, 2013) and Terrorism: Origins and Evolution (2005), Terrorism in America (2007), Terrorism: The Basics (Routledge, 2011), and Globalization and the Economic Consequences of Terrorism (2017). They have also compiled a four-volume collection of articles and chapters, Global Terrorism (2008), and co-authored more than 30 articles and chapters dealing with terrorism and political violence. James Lutz received his PhD from the University of Texas and is Professor of Political Science at Indiana UniversityPurdue University, USA. Roger Mac Ginty is Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, and the Department of Politics, at the University of Manchester, UK. He edits the journal Peacebuilding (with Oliver Richmond) and edits the book series, Rethinking Political Violence. Leena Malkki has specialised in the study of political violence and terrorism in Western countries. She currently works as a University Lecturer at the Network for European Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland and is a Visiting Researcher at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University, Campus the Hague, the Netherlands. Her research interests include the dynamics of terrorist campaigns, transnational dimensions of terrorism waves and lone actor violence, among others. Fathali M. Moghaddam is Professor, Department of Psychology, and Director, Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science, Georgetown University, USA. He is Editor-inChief of the APA journal Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. His research interests include intergroup conflict, political plasticity and the psychology of dictatorship and terrorism. His most recent books include The Psychology of Dictatorship (2013), The Psychology of Democracy (2016), Questioning Causality (2016, with Rom Harré) and The SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Behavior (2017, 2 vols.). More about his research can be found at fathali moghaddam.com. Rachel Monaghan is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Ulster University, Northern Ireland UK. Her PhD is from the University of Reading, UK, and examined the phenomenon of single-issue terrorism. She has been researching terrorism and political violence for over 20 years. She has published articles on informal justice, paramilitary violence, single-issue terrorism, animal rights extremism and countering terrorism in The Journal of Conflict Studies, Terrorism and Political Violence and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. She is the current President of the Society for Terrorism Research. John Mueller is the Woody Hayes Senior Research Scientist at the Mershon Center at Ohio State University and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in the United States. He is the author of over a dozen books, including Retreat from Doomsday (1989), Capitalism, Democracy,

Notes on contributors  xxiii and Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery (1999), The Remnants of War (2004), Overblown (2006), Atomic Obsession (2010), War and Ideas (Routledge, 2011), and (with Mark Stewart), Terror, Security, and Money  (2011),  Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism  (2016), and  Are We Safe Enough? Measuring and Assessing Aviation Security (2018). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has been a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and has received grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2009, he received the International Studies Association’s Susan Strange Award recognising ‘a person whose singular intellect, assertiveness, and insight most challenge conventional wisdom and intellectual and organisational complacency in the international studies community’. Amanda Munroe serves as Assistant Director, Social Justice Curriculum and Pedagogy, at Georgetown University’s Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching, and Service, USA. She has over 10  years of experience working with young people in community-based organisations and non-traditional education settings. Her teaching and research centres on creative peace education approaches, especially countering violent extremism through sports and the arts, holistic activism and critical literacies. She holds an MA in Conflict Resolution (2012) from Georgetown University and a BA in French and Global Studies from North Park University (2008). Gabrielle Nugent is a PhD Candidate at Ulster University, Northern Ireland UK. Her PhD research examines the outsourcing of state security in historical conflicts. She obtained her master’s degree in Violence, Terrorism and Security from Queen’s University Belfast. Magnus Ranstorp is Research Director of the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College and a Member of EU Expert Groups on (Violent) Radicalisation Sweden. He has 20 years of experience in research on counterterrorism issues and testified at the 9/11 Commission hearing. Anthony Richards has studied the phenomenon of terrorism for 20 years. His research focus in recent years has been on conceptualising terrorism, UK counterterrorism strategy, radicalisation and extremism. He is author of Conceptualizing Terrorism (2015) and has recently published a number of articles on radicalisation, extremism and the parameters of UK counterterrorism. He has also published on a wide range of other terroristrelated themes, including British public and Muslim attitudes towards both terrorism and counter­terrorism, homeland security, terrorism in Northern Ireland and terrorism and sport (he was the lead editor for the volume Terrorism and the Olympics: Major Event Security and Lessons for the Future, Routledge, 2011). He teaches on the MSc in Terrorism and Counter­ Terrorism Studies at the University of East London, has presented to a wide range of academic and policymaking audiences and has contributed to briefings on terrorism and radicalisation at the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Christine Sixta Rinehart is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of South Carolina Palmetto College and the Director of Academic Affairs at the Laurens Location, USA. Her first book,  Volatile Social Movements and the Origins of Terrorism: The Radicalization of Change,  was published in paperback in 2014 by Lexington Books. Her

xxiv  Notes on contributors second book, Drones and Targeted Killing in the Middle East and Africa: An Appraisal of American Counterterrorism Policies, also was published by Lexington Books in December 2016. Paul Rogers is Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University, UK, and is a consultant to the Oxford Research Group, a London-based independent think tank. The most recent of his 27 books are the third edition of Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century (2010) and Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threats from the Margins (I. B. Tauris, 2016). Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn is a Researcher at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs of Leiden University and Research Fellow of the International Centre for CounterTerrorism in The Hague (ICCT) The Netherlands. She has conducted research on the foreign fighter phenomenon during the last 4 years, publishing her findings in, among others, Perspectives on Terrorism. She is now pursuing a PhD degree, examining how Western societies react to terrorist attacks. She is also the coordinator of the Dutch-Flemish PhD-Network of the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI), Board Member of the European Expert Network on Terrorism (EENeT) and co-instructor of the MOOC ‘Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory & Practice’ on Coursera. Michael Stohl is Director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies and Professor of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara USA, where he is also an affiliate faculty member of the Departments of Political Science and Global and International Studies. He is the author, editor or co-editor of 19 books and the author or co-author of more than one hundred scholarly journal articles and book chapters. His article (co-authored with Cynthia Stohl) ‘Networks of Terror: Theoretical Assumptions and Pragmatic Consequences’, published in Communication Theory in 2007, won both the International Communication Association best published article of the year and the National Communication Association best published article in Organizational Communication awards. In 2010, he was awarded the International Communication Association Public Policy Research Award for his work on Human Rights and State Terrorism. Colin Wight  is Professor of International Relations and Chair of the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, Australia. He has previously taught at Aberystwyth University, the University of Sheffield and the University of Exeter in the UK. His research focuses on the philosophy of social science, social theory and international relations theory. Selected publications include Rethinking Terrorism: Terrorism, Violence and the State (2015), Scientific Realism and International Relations (edited with Jonathan Joseph, Routledge, 2010), Agents, Structures and International Relations: Politics as Ontology (2006) and Realism, Philosophy and Social Science (co-authored with Kathryn Dean, John Roberts and Jonathan Joseph, Palgrave, 2006). He has published in International Studies Quarterly, Political Studies, Millennium and the European Journal of International Relations. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Relations from 2008 to 2013. Jessica Wolfendale is Associate Professor of Philosophy at West Virginia University, USA. She is the author of Torture and the Military Profession (2007) and the co-editor of New Wars and New Soldiers: Military Ethics in the Contemporary  World  (2011), and she has

Notes on contributors  xxv published numerous articles and book chapters on topics including security, torture, terrorism, bioethics and military ethics. Her work has appeared in Ethics and International Affairs, Journal of Political Philosophy, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, The American Journal of Bioethics and the Journal of Military Ethics. Her current research project is a book entitled War Crimes: Causes, Excuses, and Blame (co-authored with Matthew Talbert).

Introduction Contemporary debates on terrorism Daniela Pisoiu and Richard Jackson

Introduction The context in which the first edition of Contemporary Debates on Terrorism (2012) was published was characterised by extraordinary levels of public, political and academic concern about both the ongoing threat of terrorism and a growing list of human rights concerns related to the burgeoning security and counterterrorism programmes which many governments had launched in response to the perceived threat. As noted at the time, terrorism saturated the news media, dominated political discourse and had generated a huge academic and grey literature. In addition, the War on Terror continued unabated and governments around the world were spending vast sums in counterterrorism measures and programmes, including billions spent on mass surveillance, drone technology and counter-radicalisation. Terrorism and counterterrorism, it seemed, was everywhere. This context remains little changed as we write this introduction to the second edition. Not only have there been a number of high-profile terrorist attacks across Europe, the United States, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the years since 2012, but also the rise (and fall) of Daesh – the so-called Islamic State (IS) – in particular has sent shockwaves throughout the globe, especially in relation to the veritable flood of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria, the growth of self-radicalised home-grown terrorists, the sophisticated social media campaigns by IS and its supporters and the huge number of refugees flooding into Europe as a consequence of the violence in the Middle East. At the same time, many governments have continued to engage in intensive and costly military campaigns in regions perceived to pose a threat to the security of the West, and to invest heavily in counterterrorism measures and programmes, many of which appear to be more and more intrusive and draconian in relation to individual civil liberties. The political and legal ramifications of the public revelations of massive state surveillance, drone killings and extraordinary rendition by WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden continue today. However, despite the continuing salience of terrorism as a subject of political, media and academic concern, and despite the unrelenting growth in academic and policy-relevant publications, there is still a great deal we do not fully understand about terrorism (and counterterrorism), and many things which terrorism researchers disagree on. Similar to the first edition, therefore, one of the primary purposes of this new volume is to provide an accessible discussion of what we believe are 16 key questions which characterise the central debates and controversies within the Terrorism Studies field as it stands today. The questions we have identified touch on all the important subjects of terrorism research – how it should be defined and understood as a term, its main types or categories, the nature of the threat it poses, its origins and causes and how it should be dealt with and managed over time. The

2  Daniela Pisoiu and Richard Jackson chapters in this volume represent the latest thinking about these core questions, and as such, they provide a kind of snapshot or distillation of what we know about terrorism today, what we are still unsure of and where the key lines of debate – and thus future research – lie. The 16 key questions debated in this volume are important for both analytical and normative reasons. Analytically, they reveal what we don’t yet know for sure, or what the limits of our current understanding are, and suggest important perspectives and frameworks for better investigating and understanding the issues. Normatively, they alert us to some of the intrinsic ethical and moral dilemmas and challenges posed by terrorism and its response and force us to think about what we value as a society and what the ultimate aims of counterterrorism are beyond mere enhanced security. The fact that there are opposing viewpoints on all the questions alerts us to the tentative nature of our current understandings of terrorism and the need for much more systematic and evidence-based research and reasoning.

A new edition In order to take account of events and developments since the first edition, we have asked the contributing authors to revise and update their chapters. Unsurprisingly, we felt compelled to include a number of new questions which have become prominent in the meantime. First, given the rise of the Critical Terrorism Studies (CTS) scholarship in the last decade, and the sometimes controversial discussions which have emerged alongside the arguments they make, it seemed important to engage the question of whether Critical Terrorism Studies is a necessary and useful approach for the study of terrorism. Second, a topic that for better or for worse cannot be ignored anymore is that of ‘radicalisation’. Controversial here, however, is not radicalisation itself; after all, there is an established scholarship on why and how people radicalise into terrorism and other types of political violence, even though it was not necessarily described in such terms. Also relatively uncontroversial is the fact that radicalisation at the cognitive level, and radical ideologies that want to change things fundamentally yet do not resort to violence to achieve that, are generally unproblematic from a legal point of view, at least. Rather, what is controversial is the concept of ‘counter-radicalisation’, and whether and how it should be pursued – especially given its ambiguous normative nature and question marks over whether it actually reduces rates of terrorism. It should be said here that in some opinions, combating radicalisation or ‘extremism’ should also be an aim in itself and that this often occurs in a blanket judgement of what extremism is. This is a potentially dangerous path and its developments should be monitored carefully. Be that as it may, there is another reason the counter-radicalisation as a tool to counter terrorism debate cannot be ignored, namely, the enormous Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) industry which is currently growing across the world. Another important topic is, of course, mass surveillance. After each terror attack, the response of the authorities invariably involves ‘increased surveillance’. In an era of decentralised networks, able sympathisers and so-called lone wolves, this solution might seem appealing, or in another reading – desperate. Currently, online accounts are being surveilled and profiles erased with the cooperation of the commercial providers. Beyond the ethical and legal aspects of these practices, the question is: do such measures even work? Does mass surveillance help us in preventing terrorism? A fourth new topic of debate which has been building up in recent years is that of the cyberterrorism threat. On the one hand, it would be fair to say that most governments take this threat seriously and look at possible scenarios following the expected twilight of Islamist terrorism. In other opinions, cyberterrorism is nothing but an imagined threat which can be

Contemporary debates on terrorism  3 at most instrumentalised for political purposes. Either way, the growth of technology combined with increased social reliance on computer-based systems means that it will continue to be a hotly debated issue. Finally, and going back to one of the points of departure of this introduction, there is the question of foreign fighters and the kinds of threats that they might pose. Perhaps more so in Europe than in the United States, given the geographical distance to the location of Daesh, the issue of the returnees is a particularly salient security concern. In fact, the issue has resulted in a slew of new security legislation, despite some arguing that the threat is entirely exaggerated, and despite the new legislation pushing the limits of what should be constitutionally possible. This is, of course, not the only existing approach; there are a series of ‘soft’ measures which some countries have employed with an apparently high rate of success. Clearly, this reflects the different estimations with regard to the danger these individuals might pose. But this is not the whole story. Most of the debates of the previous edition have maintained their relevance and many have been enhanced by new aspects and new developments, all reflected in the revised chapters in this book. At the same time, being confronted again with arguments advanced previously is invaluable in a field that looks perhaps too much to future scenarios and not enough towards the lessons of the past. To give one example, the terms in which Daesh is discussed today – as a fanatical rather than rational actor – are reminiscent of the terms of the debate during the heyday of al-Qaeda.

Aims and approach Following the first edition, the new volume has three important aims. First, it aims to provide an overview of the key questions and debates of the terrorism field as we see them at this particular moment in history. We do not claim that these are the only debates currently taking place among terrorism researchers, simply that they seem to be the most important and pressing at this particular time. As such, the volume provides something of an overview of the broader field and the kinds of research currently taking place in it. A second aim is to bring together in one place a group of leading terrorism scholars to debate these key questions with each other. In other words, the volume provides a central forum in which terrorism and counterterrorism experts can present their views on questions of great importance to their subject. Finally, the volume aims to provide a useful tool for teaching students and interested readers about the nature, threat, causes and solutions to terrorism. Using counterposed arguments can, we believe, be a powerful way of encouraging critical thinking and argumentation skills, and we remain convinced that such skills are crucial for making real progress in our attempt to better understand the complexities of modern terrorism. The format and approach we have adopted is very straightforward: for each question or controversy, a leading scholar takes a particular position on the question, followed by an opposing or alternative viewpoint written by another leading scholar. With a clear and forceful articulation of each side of the argument, readers are then able to weigh up and evaluate the relative merits of each set of arguments and make up their own mind as to which they find most compelling. Supplementing the arguments on each side of the controversy, we have provided a follow-up set of discussion questions and recommended further readings. Obviously, none of the contributors is as one-sided in their views in ‘real life’ as their chapters here might lead readers to believe. It is, however, for the argumentative and pedagogical purpose of the book that we have asked them to provide the strongest argument for their thesis that they could. Such an approach has, as we have argued, a number of strengths and advantages.

4  Daniela Pisoiu and Richard Jackson

Overview of the volume The volume is organised into five sections, namely: (1) The Definition and Study of Terrorism, (2) Categories of Terrorism, (3) The Terrorism Threat, (4) The Causes of Terrorism, and (5) Dealing with Terrorism. Within each section, we have identified a number of specific questions for our experts to answer either in the affirmative or the negative. Ahead, we provide a brief overview of each section and question, and the main arguments made in the debate. In Part I, The Definition and Study of Terrorism, the first question posed is: Is terrorism still a useful analytical term, or should it be abandoned? Anthony Richards answers in the affirmative. He distinguishes between different levels of analytical accomplishment: defining terrorism, and conceptualising terrorism – which would involve a temporally contingent agreement of what terrorism might mean, and terrorism as an analytically distinctive concept. He then argues for a third option by pointing out the benefits and costs of not achieving a consensus, as well as our capacity to reach such an understanding. Dominic Bryan takes the negative argument, explaining how the labelling of particular acts of political violence – as terrorism, war or crime, for example – occurs in complex fields of meaning, culture, conflict and power. He argues that there is no consensus on the definition of terrorism, and as a concept, it is too simplistic and compromised to be of any real use in the academic study of political violence. A second question in this section is: Is Critical Terrorism Studies a useful approach to the study of terrorism? Christopher Baker-Beall argues that, as the field of terrorism studies grew in quantity and importance, its quality, direction and focus created the necessity for a critical orientation to terrorism research. After clarifying the paradigmatic distinctiveness of this approach, he shows how CTS both broadens and deepens our understanding of terrorism, by bringing in new topics, theories and methods, and by unravelling the institutional, ideological and material interests involved in terrorism research, while at the same time including marginalised voices. Roger Mac Ginty takes the opposite argument to criticise the contribution of CTS to the study of terrorism. He does so by referring to the assumptions and aims critical scholars have themselves set out, such as the aim of emancipation. Mac Ginty argues that despite the efforts of CTS scholars, the establishment and the structures of power have remained the same, while state violence continues to remain unchecked. Rather than creating a real debate and opening the field to a multitude of approaches and methods, he argues that CTS remains largely contained to its own productions and spaces of dissemination. Part II of the book, Categories of Terrorism, begins with the third question: Is there a ‘new terrorism’ in existence today? This question is answered in the affirmative by Ersun N. Kurtulus¸, and in the negative by Isabelle Duyvesteyn and Leena Malkki. Both sets of authors make strong cases for and against several related statements, namely: the religious and/or mystical goals of the terrorist organisations, the type of internal organisation (hierarchical vs. networked), the indiscriminate nature of attacks, and the potential use of weapons of mass destruction. Kurtulus¸ observes, among others, a historical trend of liberation movements and violent separatist organisations to adopt religious programmes and goals and an increase in the number of religious terrorist organisations in relation to secular ones. He also notes that large-scale terror attacks have become the norm and that there is a change in the ideological justification of types of organisations from a vanguard leadership towards ‘individual terrorism’. Duyvesteyn and Malkki, on the other hand, point out that network structures and leaderless resistance have existed historically for some time, and that the objectives of religious

Contemporary debates on terrorism  5 terrorist organisation are ultimately also political and that apocalyptic or utopian thinking was not foreign to previous, secular organisations either. The increase in the number of victims should be furthermore seen as a general trend over history to reach the desired effect, rather than something specifically differentiating these two so-called waves of terrorism. A second key question relating to how we understand types of terrorism is: Can states be terrorists? Scott Englund and Michael Stohl take the affirmative position and begin their contribution by noting the very limited attention state terrorism receives at the moment, in spite of the well-researched use of state terror by totalitarian states, and the etymological and historical sources of the word ‘terrorism’. They propose an actor-neutral definition of terrorism and argue that it can be distinguished from other forms of violence. They problematise, among others, the issue of the state’s monopoly on violence and show that it can also be abused, which de facto delegitimises state actions. Colin Wight disputes the utility of the state terrorism concept, primarily by arguing that expanding the definition of terrorism to include states would technically include most forms of states’ violence; therefore, such a move is too inflationary and not very helpful. Perhaps counter-intuitively, Wight also finds that the inclusion of state violence in the concept of terrorism would downplay its superior destructiveness. Furthermore, he suggests that flattening out differences between forms of violence would play into the hands of those who use an assumed prevalence of terrorism to restrict civil liberties. Part III looks at The Terrorism Threat and begins with the following question: Is terrorism a serious threat to international and national security? James Lutz and Brenda Lutz argue in the affirmative. They demonstrate how a number of states have been seriously affected by terrorism in the past in addition to the potential future impact of terrorism in cases where it is ignored. Some of the empirical examples they cite include changes in the structure of the states caused by fascist groups after World War I, and the fact that the Chechen conflict or the ideological violence in Turkey have led to the destabilisation of entire regions. They also point out that in recent years the side effects of terrorism have been an increase in costs and negative effects on democracy and human rights. By contrast, Jessica Wolfendale argues that there is little empirical evidence that terrorism poses an existential threat, especially to Western states, and that other threats such as state terrorism or climate change, are much more serious. Instead, she suggests that the idea that terrorism poses an existential security threat is a narrative promoted by states based on an extreme form of risk management and which allows them to restrict civil liberties. She argues that the response to the narrated threat of terrorism has been over-exaggerated, extremely costly and mostly ineffective. A second related question about the terrorism threat is: Is WMD terrorism a likely prospect in the future? Natividad Carpintero-Santamaría argues that it is, starting with the premise that non-state actor incidents with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents have, in fact, already occurred. In her assessment, such weapons can be easily procured by terrorist organisations given the loose state grip on facilities in some countries and the smuggling and theft of such materials in addition to the nexus with organised crime. While not yet on a large scale, such weapons can be relatively easily manipulated by non-state agents and could be used in tactical attacks which would have devastating social consequences. John Mueller, on the other hand, finds that there is little likelihood of WMD terrorism in the future, in spite of states continuing to fear it. One of the arguments he advances is that states, no matter how extremist they themselves might be, would never decide to hand over nuclear material to terrorists, for fear of becoming potential victims themselves. Moreover, manufacturing nuclear devices would constitute too complex an endeavour for a non-state

6  Daniela Pisoiu and Richard Jackson actor to undertake. Similarly, he suggests that making and disseminating chemical or biological weapons would involve a series of technological and organisational hurdles which would prevent their effective use by any terrorist group. A new question posed in a consideration of the terrorist threat is: Is cyberterrorism a real threat? Maura Conway takes the affirmative position, arguing that depending upon whose definition one uses, cyberterrorist attacks have already occurred and are occurring in the activities of groups like ISIS, for example. Moreover, technological advancements, terrorist intentions and the vulnerabilities of current computer-based systems means that cyberterrorism is a real threat in the coming years. Myriam Dunn Cavelty argues in contrast that cyberterrorism is a ‘narrated catastrophe’, a type of disaster that does not really exist beyond popular stories and narratives. She argues that terrorist groups thus far have not managed to orchestrate cyber-attacks with lethal consequences or significant economic damage, while the likelihood of such events happening in the future is, in fact, impossible to estimate. Moreover, it can be argued that terrorists lack both the capabilities and the motivations to use cyber-attacks, not least because of their limited ‘media-effect’ even if they were successful. A fourth question in this section is: Does al-Qaeda still pose the more significant threat? With respect to the continuing relevance of al-Qaeda, Jeffrey B. Cozzens and Magnus Ranstorp answer in the affirmative, arguing that al-Qaeda (AQ) remains a functional network with real capabilities, adaptability, structures of continuity, the ability to reproduce itself in the face of external pressure and a list of tangible achievements. They show how the Internet has been crucial for giving the AQ network global reach and enhanced its ability to facilitate activities. Consequently, they suggest that AQ remains a potent threat to the West, not least because of its ability to attack in unexpected ways. Lee Jarvis makes the opposing argument, showing how al-Qaeda’s threat is limited at three levels: the inner circle, sympathisers sharing AQ’s ideology and groups loosely affiliated with al-Qaeda. Jarvis points out, among other things, the significant losses incurred by al-Qaeda as a consequence of the US-led counterterrorism campaign, the loss of its Afghan sanctuary and the death of its leader and a number of other leaders killed by targeted assassinations. He further shows the effectiveness of initiatives taken locally by other states, its decrease in popularity and the inability to recruit new members and its internal fractures. A final new question about the terrorism threat is: Are returning foreign fighters future terrorists? Edwin Bakker and Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn answer in the affirmative. While acknowledging that not all foreign fighters throughout history have been involved in terrorism, they argue that the link between the war in Afghanistan and the attacks on 9/11 connected foreign fighting with terrorism. They furthermore show empirical examples of foreign fighters in Afghanistan, Bosnia or Somalia returning home and being involved in terrorist activities, and point out ideological references for the connection between the two. Lastly, they suggest that in the eyes of the law and the perspectives of governments, today’s foreign fighters are considered a serious terrorist threat. Richard Bach Jensen and Felix Lippe, on the other hand, formulate the opposite view by drawing on rich historical material on the Italian anarchists as well as contemporary jihadis. They show that the radicalisation of foreign fighters majorly occurs at home, and not all foreign fighters become terrorists; that it is home-grown conditions that lead to terrorism abroad and not the presence of foreign fighters, and that most contemporary foreign fighters return disillusioned. They also caution against an exaggerated focus of counterterrorism policy on foreign fighters.

Contemporary debates on terrorism  7 Part IV on The Causes of Terrorism begins with the question: Is terrorism the result of root causes such as poverty and exclusion? Dipak K. Gupta argues that social structural imbalance is a cause of terrorism; however, it is mediated by the agents who frame issues and take strategic actions. He further notes that even if terrorists themselves are not deprived, they cite these factors as reasons for their engagement, and proposes the insertion of the leadership variable to counteract the weak correlation between poverty or exclusion and terrorism. Terrorism, therefore, is deeply affected by and related to issues such as poverty and exclusion, even if the relationship is not a simple linear one. Graham R. Huesmann and L. Rowell Huesmann argue that poverty and exclusion are not causes of terrorism. They show that absolute poverty does not correlate with violence, and that terrorists do not come from particularly impoverished environments. They suggest that a more promising avenue would be to consider the convergence of situational precipitating factors (such as provocations and aversive situations) and predisposing psychological factors which develop over time. While biology might play a role, it is more likely that scripts get learned in time through repeated exposure to violence. A second key question about the causes of terrorism is: Is religious extremism a major cause of terrorism? Amanda Munroe and Fathali M. Moghaddam argue that religious extremism is a major cause of terrorism. However, it is not as an efficient predictor, but rather in the framework of a more complex causation process, starting with initial conditions of grievance. Starting with the assumption that particular situations can lead normal individuals to engage in violence, they emphasise that ideologies can help to normalise offensive violence; in other words, while the causes might be outside of religion, the latter helps rationalise and, in this sense, justify terrorism. Jeff Goodwin argues the negative, suggesting that the notion of religious terrorism rests on a series of conceptual errors and a lack of empirical evidence. While accepting that religion can contribute to the formulation of political aims, it is, however, not the cause of their using violence to these ends. A central point in his argument is the longevity of ideology versus the punctuality of terrorist attacks, so that one cannot, in fact, explain a variable with a constant. Goodwin also finds that an exaggerated focus on religion deflects attention away from the material causes of conflict. In the final section of the book, Part V, Dealing with Terrorism, we first pose the question: Are counterterrorism frameworks based on suppression and military force effective in responding to terrorism? Boaz Ganor responds with an affirmative argument. He argues that the proactive use of force is both a legitimate and effective response to terrorism because it can severely disrupt and degrade the capabilities of terrorist organisations, thereby preventing further attacks. He suggests that democratic states have a responsibility to respond forcefully to the threat of terrorism against their citizens, and the serious threat posed by suicide terrorism, in particular, makes proactive force a necessity. Nonetheless, states must carefully calculate the costs and benefits of force-based counterterrorism operations and always conduct them within the limits imposed by humanitarian law. Paul Rogers argues against the recent effectiveness of military force in responding to terrorism by first illustrating the negative effects of military campaigns against terrorist organisations during the War on Terror, and in particular, how the initial plans of Western states could not be fulfilled. Rogers points out the protracted nature of the resulting conflicts, especially in the Middle East, and their metamorphoses and expansion, and he emphasises the role of franchising and the export of ideology to other areas and groups. A second key question in this section is: Are drones a useful counterterrorism tool? Christine Sixta Rinehart suggests a series of arguments and evidence to support the use of drones in

8  Daniela Pisoiu and Richard Jackson counterterrorism. She argues, for example, that drones are more economical than troops, they allow a rapid and spread-out presence of countries around the worlds and they cause minimum collateral damage and backlash. Against one of the objections to the use of drones, she argues that the human element is not absent as often assumed. At the same time, she notes that the means must justify the ends and that there must be oversight to drone strikes. Rory Finegan takes the opposing view by addressing the issues of backlash and collateral damage, and by pointing out the occurrence of technological failings. Additional arguments against widening the use of drones include the increasing use of drones by non-state actors as well as the danger of having non-humans decide on the value of human lives during operations. A third new question about responding to terrorism is: Are counter-radicalisation approaches an effective counterterrorism tool? Daniel Koehler argues for the effectiveness of counter-­radicalisation in countering terrorism by first addressing its opposing arguments. He puts forward evidence for the connection between radicalisation and terrorism and argues that failing to address the ideological aspect of involvement in terrorism would increase the risk of recidivism and re-radicalisation. He then discusses specific counterterrorism effects from such programmes, such as the reduction of manpower of terrorist organisations, effects on the groups’ structure and psychology, knowledge about how radicalisation works and ­counter-narratives to address the threat. Charlotte Heath-Kelly delivers a three-pronged critique of the effectiveness of counter-­ radicalisation as a counterterrorist tool: an immanent critique, a second-order critique and the ethical consequences of counter-radicalisation programmes. She contests the assumed link between radicalisation and terrorism and points out the political rather than ­evidencebased context of how these policies emerged. Some of the ethical implications of current counter-radicalisation programmes include the creation of suspect communities, excessive policing and community surveillance. Another important new question here is: Is mass surveillance a useful tool in the fight against terrorism? Jesse P. Lehrke makes the affirmative argument by highlighting the deterrence and denial effects of mass surveillance and how it raises the risks and costs that terrorists face. In particular, mass surveillance disrupts their operational capability by increasing uncertainty and the amount of time and resources they need to protect themselves. Furthermore, Lehrke argues that the value of mass surveillance is not immediate, but emerges over time, thus helping to increase the broader knowledge necessary to combat the ongoing terrorist threat. Ivan Greenberg argues that mass surveillance is not a useful tool in the fight against terrorism, but is rather a high-cost, low reward approach. He shows that, in spite of the large amount of money invested in mass surveillance, it has contributed only to the prevention of a few plots; in particular, so-called lone wolves have not shown up in the data. Furthermore, he suggests that data mining is likely to produce false positives, too much data can lead to ‘data drowning’ and all the while, personal rights and civil liberties are severely affected by these measures. The final question debated in the book is: Have global efforts to reduce terrorism and political violence since 9/11 been effective? Mark Cochrane and Gabrielle Nugent support the argument that global efforts have been effective, in part by citing the evidence of terrorist groups being dismantled and the prevention of any new terrorist attacks on the scale of 9/11. The authors further point out the successful campaign of the coalition against ISIS and interpret the targeting of transportation infrastructure as a symptom of successful protection of other targets.

Contemporary debates on terrorism  9 Rachel Monaghan formulates her overall argument with regard to the failure of global efforts to reduce terrorism by referring to two counterterrorism approaches: hard-line and soft measures. Monaghan indicates the high numbers of casualties (including civilians) involved in the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq and the ongoing political violence in Iraq and Syria today. She further points out the fact that terrorist attacks in the West have continued in spite of these campaigns, and that the conflicts and their implications for security and the rule of law have, in fact, intensified.

Conclusion As we conclude this introduction to the new edition, it is important to reiterate that the arguments presented in each chapter have been deliberately made in unambiguous terms in order to draw out their most salient aspects. It is crucial, however, that readers understand that this is purely an analytical and pedagogic approach designed to help draw clear lines of debate and set up opposing viewpoints which readers can then individually evaluate. It is not necessarily an indication of the authors’ views and should not be automatically interpreted as such. In reality, very few scholars hold such black-and-white viewpoints. Most often, they can appreciate a variety of sides to a controversial issue or debate, and they consequently hold to a much more nuanced personal position than the arguments presented here. Related to this, we think it is also important to note the presence and interaction among critical and orthodox terrorism scholars in an atmosphere of mutual respect and openness to new ideas and views. We hope that this trend which has emerged in the last few years will continue to grow and develop, as each perspective has a contribution to make. The presence of critical and orthodox scholars, as well as scholars from multiple disciplines, along with the kinds of debates we have outlined in this volume, also speaks to the maturing, pluralising and dynamism of this important field. The presence of different approaches, methodologies, perspectives and voices adds nuance, sophistication and dynamism to the research priorities of the field. Finally, we hope that this volume will help to confirm some of the reasons why the question of terrorism and how to respond to it is both an important and a challenging issue. In trying to answer the important questions around terrorism and counterterrorism, we need to remain cognizant of both the uncertainty of our current state of knowledge and the ethical and political consequences of our choices. In other words, we must remain cautious about categorical claims to knowledge about the nature of terrorism in any particular context or claims that particular counterterrorism measures will be successful in controlling it. The lives lost to both terrorism and counterterrorism in the years since 9/11 are a testament to such an imperative.

Part I

The definition and study of terrorism

1 Is terrorism still a useful analytical term, or should it be abandoned?

YES: an agreed concept is possible and useful Anthony Richards

Introduction The implication in the question for this chapter is that terrorism was once a useful analytical term but that this may now no longer be the case – that in the post-9/11 world and the burgeoning of various terrorism discourses, the term has become so widely used and has come to mean so many different things to so many different people, that any usefulness it might have had as an analytical concept might now have dissipated. I think it is fair to suggest, however, that the extent that ‘terrorism’ is valuable as an analytical concept has always been subject to debate and certainly has been within the academic, public and policy discourses of the past five decades. One could argue that the past 15 years have presented ever greater challenges for those who have tried to pin down what an agreed definition or conceptualisation of terrorism might look like in the contemporary world. But I would suggest that these are not new challenges but that, rather, the severe and enduring nature of the international terrorist threat (see Part III) and the increased policy focus on terrorism since 9/11 have simply magnified and brought greater exposure to the obstacles that have traditionally confronted endeavours to achieve an agreed conceptualisation, or at least some analytical progress, on the issue. It would be useful to frame at the outset what potential level of analytical accomplishment is worth striving for and what is realistically achievable. The academic and policymaking emphasis of the past five decades has been on achieving the ultimate in analytical endeavour – that is, to agree on a definition of terrorism. A second level, and arguably less onerous than striving for a concrete definition, is to agree upon a conceptualisation of terrorism. Thus, rather than speaking ‘truth’ that being definitive implies, one can potentially generate an agreed conception of terrorism at a given time in a contemporary context. A third level of analytical endeavour does not necessarily entail compiling a definition or a conceptualisation of the term. It is the least ambitious level (though still challenging, nevertheless), and is the focus of this chapter: the extent that we can at least view terrorism as a useful and analytically distinctive concept. The contention here is that terrorism can be a useful analytical concept and that it should, therefore, be retained. There are two broad strands of argument to sustain this. The first

14  Anthony Richards includes the conventionally understood benefits and desirability of an agreed understanding as to what terrorism is and, conversely, the negative consequences of failing to achieve such a consensus. The second, regardless of the perceived need for such an understanding, relates to the possibility of, and our actual capacity for, determining what it is that is analytically distinctive about terrorism.

Abandoning the term ‘terrorism’? If one argues that ‘terrorism’ should be abandoned, then who is going to abandon it? Would they be academics, policymakers or the media? A further assumption in the chapter’s title is that someone (whoever that someone may be) has the ability to regulate the use of language and, in this particular case, control or restrain the use of the word ‘terrorism’ in public, policy and academic discourse. This is, of course, impossible. As such, it is not a question as to whether ‘terrorism’ should be abandoned but whether in any case it can be, particularly in the context of an enduring terrorist threat. Indeed, it would be ironic if, when terrorism has reached such global prominence and has become a central focus of domestic and international attention, that one should now contemplate abandoning the term. ‘Terrorism’ has become so deeply embedded in contemporary life that the idea that there can be some sort of wholesale agreement (and compliance) with the dispensing of the term seems unrealistic. As English has noted, The fact is that this word is simply not going to disappear from the political vocabulary (it is far too useful to too many people for this to occur), and so we should probably retain our commitment to establishing precise, coherent definitions of the word, rather than merely jettisoning it. (English 2009: 21) Crenshaw, one of the most respected of terrorism scholars, also made the point that, It is well to remember . . . that the users of political language are not entirely free to shape it; once concepts are constructed and endowed with meaning, they take on a certain autonomy, especially when they are adopted by the news media, disseminated to the public, and integrated into a general context of norms and values. (in Whittaker 2001: 11) The concept of ‘terrorism’, then, whether we wish it or not, is with us for the foreseeable future. Finally, any academic resolve to abandon ‘terrorism’ would not lead to its diminished use but would simply leave the field devoid of the very domain that might best inform understandings of this controversial and often emotively used term, and of the academic input and scrutiny that is required in order to explore the prospects for analytical clarity. It would give even freer rein to those who readily employ the term as a subjective and polemical device and, as we know, meanings attributed to such concepts often have major ‘real-life’ consequences. How the ‘terrorist’ threat is characterised and ‘constructed’ can have dangerous implications for the remits of ‘counter-terrorism’. As the Policy Working Group on the United Nations and Terrorism cautioned: The rubric of counter-terrorism can be used to justify acts in support of political agendas, such as the consolidation of political power, elimination of political opponents,

Is terrorism a useful analytical term?  15 inhibition of legitimate dissent and/or suppression of resistance to military occupation. Labelling opponents or adversaries as terrorists offers a time-tested technique to de-legitimize and demonize them. (Quoted in Schmid 2011: 56) As Schmid has argued, ‘Giving up on the scholarly debate would leave the field to those who simply hold that “[t]errorism is what the bad guys do” (B. M. Jenkins), or “one man’s terrorist is the other man’s freedom fighter” ’ (Schmid 2011: 42). And without ‘a set of theoretical frameworks to guide the field’, Wight has cautioned that terrorism research ‘will always tend to drift into a form of journalistic speculation’ (Wight 2009: 105).

Reasons for exploring the analytical potential of ‘terrorism’ The reasons for attempting to define terrorism have been outlined in the literature from both an academic and a policymaking perspective (see in particular, Schmid 2011, 2004, 1992). From the policymaking perspective, a powerful reason is that, if one accepts that terrorism is more international than it has ever been, and that international cooperation is, therefore, essential in countering it, then surely there needs to be agreement as to what it is that is being responded to. Conversely, the failure to achieve this is perceived to have serious costs. Given its pejorative use in practice, the term is readily employed as a superficial and derogatory label to describe the activities of one’s adversaries (whether or not they have committed acts of ‘terrorism’). There can be no better example than in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where either side has committed acts of terrorism, depending upon which side one sits. It is in the context of such polarised conflict environments where, for as long as there is analytical paucity on the meaning of terrorism, the facile freedom fighter/terrorist dichotomy will continue to endure. It is facile because, as Leonard Weinberg has argued, it confuses the goal with the activity (Weinberg 2005: 2). But, if we cannot adequately determine what is analytically distinctive about the activity, then the unfortunate tendency will always be to use ‘terrorism’ according to who the perpetrator of that activity is, or what their cause is. ‘Terrorism’, then, can be readily used to discredit opposition movements and draconian measures can be invoked accordingly. Saul draws our attention to the following examples: Some States have deployed the international legitimacy conferred by [the UN Security] Council authorization to define terrorism to repress or de-legitimise political opponents, and to conflate them with al-Qaeda.  .  .  . Thus China bluntly characterizes Uighur separatists in Xingjiang as terrorists; . . . and India seldom distinguishes militants from terrorists in Kashmir. In Indonesia, insurgencies in Aceh and West Papua have been described and combated as terrorism, as have a Maoist insurgency in Nepal and an Islamist movement in Morocco. Israel has compared Palestinians with al-Qaeda, with Ariel Sharon calling Arafat ‘our Bin Laden’. . . . In the Maldives, an opposition politician was convicted of terrorism offences and sentenced to ten years imprisonment for peacefully protesting against rights violations by the government. . . . Similarly, in Uzbekistan 15 men were convicted of vague terrorism offences for organizing public demonstrations, at which the government indiscriminately fired upon the crowd. (Saul 2007: 201–2) Saul has thus argued that ‘the more confused a concept, the more it lends itself to opportunistic appropriation’ (Saul 2006: 3).

16  Anthony Richards From an academic perspective, arguments for pursuing this analytical quest are also compelling. If one is to research the activity of ‘terrorism’, then there is a need to try and determine what your subject matter is and what its parameters are. One must acknowledge, of course, that all social science concepts are essentially contested and that their conceptual parameters are often subject to intense debate. But ‘terrorism studies’ in particular has been accused of lacking theoretical development – that the subject is still in its ‘pre-theory stage’ and has not moved on from being ‘widely recognized as theoretically impoverished’ (Crenshaw 1992: 1), even in the contemporary context of what is otherwise a burgeoning literature on terrorism since 9/11. There is a real need to objectively measure an act of violence (or the threat of violence) against a carefully considered set of criteria to determine whether acts of violence or the threat of violence constitute terrorism. After all, all other terrorism theories are contingent upon what one means by terrorism in the first place. How can we, for example, theorise about the causes of terrorism, the motivations for terrorism, countering terrorism and disengagement from terrorism without an understanding as to what constitutes terrorism in the first place?

‘Terrorism’ – the search for analytical value While there may be many good reasons why ‘terrorism’ cannot or should not be abandoned, this does not, of course, make it any easier to determine what it is that is analytically distinctive about the phenomenon. As noted earlier, in policymaking and academia, the most commonly pursued analytical level, and the most ambitious, has been to generate a universally agreed definition of terrorism. There is, however, something of a paradox in trying to be definitive or to ‘speak truth’ about the meaning of something that is, after all, a social construction. Yet what we call ‘terrorism studies’, and its enormous growth since 9/11, implies that there is something distinctive about terrorism that we can theorise about – and, arguably, most terrorism studies scholars (though certainly not all) see themselves as studying something that is analytically distinctive; that it is a specific form of political violence that is different to others. Given the disputed meaning of terrorism and the failure to achieve a consensus on the issue, what, then, is the potential for ‘terrorism’ as an analytical concept as opposed to its use as a polemical or rhetorical label or, as Conor Gearty put it, as a ‘useful insult’ (Gearty 1991: 6), and where do we look for guidance on the issue? Perhaps a helpful starting point would be to review the academic literature on the definitional issue of the past 50 years. One core theme emerges around which a general consensus does appear to exist – that terrorism entails the intent to generate a wider psychological impact beyond the immediate victims. The idea that the intent or the purpose behind the act lies at the heart of what we mean by terrorism is captured in Schmid and Jongman’s observation: There is, in our view, a solid conceptual core to terrorism, differentiating from ordinary violence. It consists in the calculated production of a state of extreme fear of injury and death and, secondarily, the exploitation of this emotional reaction to manipulate behaviour. (Schmid and Jongman 2008: 20–1) Central to terrorism, therefore, is the ‘ “organized and systematic attempt to create fear” . . . that aims at attaining specific political ends (motivation) through the creation of fear, and not through the mere act of violence’ (European Commission Sixth Framework Programme

Is terrorism a useful analytical term?  17 Project 2008: 57). As Jenkins also argued: ‘[f]ear is the intended effect, not the byproduct, of terrorism’ (in Schmid and Jongman 2008: 36). Terrorism is, therefore, primarily concerned with generating a psychological impact over and above any tangible or military gain.1 It is this intent behind the act of violence that determines whether it is an act of terrorism. According to Gearty, ‘A pure terrorist act results in everyone recoiling in horror, with the words “it could have been me” etched on their mind’ (Gearty 1991: 9). It is the ‘shock value’ of terrorism that is used to transmit a message to the wider intended recipients. Yet surely all acts of political violence are intended to have some degree of psychological impact, to send a message of sorts. What is so different about terrorism? While warfare in general or state terror may at times have a similar purpose, this is the sine qua non of terrorism. Primoratz makes the distinction clear: ‘all uses of political violence effect some degree of fear’, but in ‘terrorism proper, the causing of fear and coercion through fear is the objective’ (in English 2009: 5). With terrorism, the targets or victims are not the intended recipients of the ‘terrorist message’. The contention here, then, is that any attempt to view terrorism analytically must appreciate this core psychological dimension in keeping with the academic literature of the past 50 years.

Terrorism as a method A further perspective that would arguably allow us to view the concept of terrorism more analytically is to understand it as a particular method of political violence,2 rather than as something that is only intrinsically linked to particular types of belief system. When I refer to the ‘method’ of terrorism, I am not alluding to the various types of violence used (i.e. the physical manifestations of terrorism), but to the intent behind the act of violence. Whatever the mode of violence used or threatened,3 it is the purpose behind it that qualifies it as terrorism, namely, to generate a psychological impact beyond the immediate victims. There are, of course, belief systems that explicitly justify and endorse the use of violence and terrorism – examples of this include ISIS and al-Qaeda, and the notion of terrorism and political violence as a religious duty. But such ideologies cannot claim ownership of terrorism. There are, for example, many nationalist and single-issue (anti-abortion, animal rights, environmental) ideologies that are not inherently violent, although terrorism has often been employed as a method in their name. There is, therefore, no one doctrine, violent or otherwise, that can claim ownership of terrorism; it is a method of violence that has at some time or other been carried out in the cause of a wide variety of ideologies – whether religious, left-wing, right-wing, nationalist or single issue. It has been the case, however, that ‘terrorism’ has all too often been applied according to who the perpetrator is or what the cause is. This clouds attempts to view the activity of terrorism objectively and analytically. Terrorism, then, should be understood as a method of political violence and conceptualised without reference to the perpetrator other than that the broader motive has to be a political one. As Crenshaw remarked: The method, not the identity or ideology of the user, determines whether or not an action can be defined as terrorism. Terrorism involves the use or threat of physical harm in order to achieve a disproportionately large psychological effect. (Crenshaw 2011: 207) Once one is satisfied with one’s criteria as to what constitutes the method of terrorism, then one should measure an act of violence (or the threat of violence) against these, whether or

18  Anthony Richards note one has sympathy with the perpetrators or the cause. Such an approach lends itself to a more neutral and analytical consideration of the phenomenon. Conversely, the more one refrains from using the word ‘terrorism’ because of sympathy with the cause, or the more one is inclined to use it because of antipathy towards the goals, then the further away we are from enhancing terrorism as an analytical concept. Yasser Arafat was, therefore, wrong when he proclaimed that: The difference between the revolutionary and the terrorist  .  .  . lies in the reason for which each fights. For whoever stands by a just cause and fights for the freedom and liberation of his land from the invaders, the settlers and the colonialists, cannot possibly be called a terrorist. (In Hoffman 1998: 26) So too are those who pose such questions as ‘where to draw the line between the quest for nationalist identity and an act of terrorism . . .?’ (Acharya 2008–9: 656). It is the activity of terrorism that we are seeking to determine the meaning of here, not the goal, and, as noted earlier, the terrorist/freedom fighter mantra confuses the two.

Terrorism as superficial label versus analytical concept One of the challenges facing any endeavour to be more analytical about the meaning of terrorism is that the word is seen as an inherently pejorative one – that the use of the term itself implies condemnation and reprehension. As such, ‘terrorism’ can readily be employed superficially as a term of derision or as a ‘useful insult’ which tends to hinder prospects for a more objective and analytical approach, whereas a more dispassionate perspective would provide greater scope for analytical illumination. Yet such superficial labelling thrives on ‘terrorism’ as an inherently derogatory term. As Herbst argued: Carrying enormous emotional freight, terrorism is often used to define reality in order to place one’s own group on a high moral plane, condemn the enemy, rally members around a cause . . . Conveying criminality, illegitimacy, and even madness, the application of terrorist shuts the door to discussion about the stigmatized group or with them, while reinforcing the righteousness of the labellers, justifying their agendas and mobilizing their responses. (In Schmid 2004: 397) The challenge, then, is to extricate ‘terrorism’ from its use as an emotive term. Of course, if one defines or conceptualises terrorism as attacks on civilians and/or non-combatants, one can easily understand why terrorism can be seen as an innately negative concept, and this inherent negativity can then be exploited for wider rhetorical, polemical and propagandist purposes (whether or not civilians or non-combatants have been targeted or an act of terrorism has been committed). But, as I have observed elsewhere (Richards 2014: 226), a brief survey of Easson and Schmid’s 250 definitions of terrorism appears to endorse the view that terrorism is not just carried out against civilians or non-combatants. In fact, most of the definitions in their compilation do not make explicit reference to civilians or non-combatants as being victims (approximately 70 of the 250 make reference to ‘civilian’, ‘non-combatant’ or ‘innocent’ victims, with about half of these appearing in post-9/11 definitions) (Schmid 2011: 99–148).4 In other words, if we accept that anyone5 can be a target of terrorism, including combatants and the army or police forces of oppressive and suppressive authoritarian regimes, then,

Is terrorism a useful analytical term?  19 if we are being analytical, are there not terrorisms that we might sympathise with or even endorse? As I have again noted in a previous work (Richards 2014: 229), whilst we might abhor the terrorism of al-Qaeda and ISIS, we might simultaneously endorse the terrorism of the Kosovan Liberation Army against the Miloševic regime. The Kosovan Liberation Army targeted Serbian military and police, often in its early days relying on hit-and-run attacks that were designed to have a wider psychological impact by ‘[denting] the self-confidence and prestige of the Serbian Military’, and ‘[breaking] the myth of their invincibility’ (Mulaj 2008: 1111). Would the United Kingdom and the United States, for example, have objected if acts of terrorism were carried out against troops loyal to the Assad regime in Syria, or against pro-regime militias such as the notorious Shabiha? And, it makes no analytical sense to seek out alternative and more ‘positive’ labels than ‘terrorism’ for the same activity, just because we might agree with the cause. The notion that anyone can be a victim of terrorism, and that therefore there may be terrorisms that one sympathises with, as with viewing terrorism as a method, also lends itself to a more neutral approach that might enhance the prospects for ‘terrorism’ as an analytical concept.

Conclusion This chapter has argued that ‘terrorism’ as an analytical concept cannot and should not be abandoned. Its distinctiveness from other forms of political violence lies in its primary purpose of generating a wider psychological impact beyond the immediate victims or object of attack.6 The above has emphasised two avenues that might help us to enhance the prospects of ‘terrorism’ as an analytical concept. The first is that terrorism should be understood as a particular method of violence rather than conceptualised according to who the perpetrators are or what the cause is. Hence, whatever the cause is, it is the method and activity of terrorism that we should be seeking to determine the meaning of. The second avenue is to consider that anyone can be a victim of terrorism, including non-civilians and combatants, providing the intent behind the act of violence is to generate a psychological impact beyond the direct victims, and to, therefore, suggest that, if we are being analytical, there might be some terrorisms that one sympathises with. Thus, rather than viewing terrorism as ineluctably pejorative and that only the ‘bad guys’ do (along with all the emotional exploitation that comes with employing what is seen as a term ‘that resonates with moral opprobrium’ (Gearty 1991: 6), whether or not acts of ‘terrorism’ have been committed), the door to a more neutral and analytical approach to this controversial phenomenon might be pushed a little further ajar.

NO: a landscape of meaning: constructing understandings of political violence from the broken paradigm of ‘terrorism’ Dominic Bryan

Introduction Few acts of political violence have been more meaning-full than those of the pilots of the planes that flew into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Pennsylvanian earth on 11 September  2001. It was meaningful for those who committed the acts, and then for the thousands of victims’ families and friends and  billions of witnesses. But it also

20  Dominic Bryan provided millions of images communicated as the terrible day progressed (in almost slow motion) and the  billions of images communicated and re-used in the months and years that followed as political consequences unfolded. The events of 9/11 were to be cited in countless political contexts, driving governments’ policies and legislation around the world, sometimes leading to further acts of violence and wars with many more victims than on that terrible day (see Chapter 16). And, of course, millions of dollars of funding have been provided for terrorism studies because of 9/11. It certainly ranks with the dropping of the first atomic bomb or the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, sparking World War I, as an act of violence with multiple consequences and interpretive resonances. Indeed, because of the spectacular and public natures of what took place, more than the significant number of people who died, it is difficult to keep the 9/11 events in perspective. How then should we approach an analysis of this event? Surprisingly, we do not have to. It was done almost immediately. Once the second plane hit the South Tower, any possibility that it could be a freak accident could be dismissed: this was an act of ‘terrorism’. The event was labelled with a highly pejorative term and thrown into a category of violent acts or threats so broad and multifaceted that it is shared with the French republican revolutionaries of 1793, the Lehi group (or Stern gang) in Palestine in 1940, Nelson Mandela, communist insurgents in Nepal, the anarchists demonstrating in Chicago in 1886, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Gavrilo Princip, killer of Archduke Ferdinand, June 1914. The pejorative use of ‘terrorism’ can be seen everywhere. Even the much-used phrase, ‘one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter’, accepts that the term ‘terrorism’ is negative, not value-free. Sitting in Hanoi airport, I read in the VietNam News ‘Bahrain charges protestors as terrorists’ (9 May 2011: p. 12), the label attached to so many people the state does not like. And that is right at the heart of the problem with the use of this category. As Jackson (2005: 59–91) has argued, the terrorists are always depicted as ‘the others’, the bad guys, and that ‘other’ is dehumanised: ‘Hun’, ‘japs’, gooks’, ‘rag-heads’ and ‘skinnies’ are the means by which fellow human beings – who are also husbands, sons, brothers, friends – are discursively transformed into a hateful and loathsome ‘other’ who can be killed and abused without remorse or regret. The term ‘terrorist’ is simply the latest manifestation of this discursive process – today’s ‘terrorists’ are the new ‘gooks’. ( Jackson 2005: 60) Can we use such a problematic term as a category in academic research? I want to argue that we need to stop using the category of ‘terrorism’ when we analyse political violence. Instead, I want to place at the heart of academic research on violence the need to understand the meanings, motivations and relationships of power in which acts of violence take place. It is my contention that in using the label ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorism’, we immediately make assumptions about the acts of violence, as well as their reception by victims, witnesses and the wider society. And, of course, we differentiate those acts of violence labelled terrorism from those acts of violence that are not given that label, thus sometimes excluding reasonable comparisons.

Anthropology and studying violence in Northern Ireland My own personal background has a bearing on the argument I wish to make. As a social anthropologist, I have spent 20 years studying the transformation of conflict in Northern

Is terrorism a useful analytical term?  21 Ireland. My research on public space, particularly around parades and the use of flags, has led me to explore threats of violence and displays by groups identified as ‘terrorist’ in United Kingdom legislation. In that work, I have not only spoken to and interviewed people commonly labelled ‘terrorists’, but also I have worked with some of them in conflict transformation projects. Central to the task of social anthropology is to comprehend the human condition by attempting to understand the cultural context within which people act. Put simply, we are interested in the worldviews of the people with whom we are conducting research. For most anthropologists, having attempted an understanding of particular social actions from the perspective of those taking part, we might then make a second-order analysis of that activity, an analysis that can be in contradiction to those who took part in the social action, but nevertheless should account for their views. We do not need to accept the views of the people we study, but we do need to understand them. Let me look very briefly at the range of violent acts in Northern Ireland to see how useful the category of ‘terrorism’ is. In what was termed ‘the Troubles’, from 1969 to 1998, paramilitary groups, particularly the Irish Republican Army (IRA), used strategies incorporating violence. Strategies included a ‘suicidal’ hunger strike to resist the policies of prison officers and the state, defending ‘their communities’ through punishment beatings of children involved in activities seen as socially unacceptable, killing police officers and British soldiers, assassinating judges and politicians, and planting car bombs in public areas likely to kill members of the public and members of the security forces and economically impair Northern Ireland (see English 2003). At the same time, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Ulster Defence Association (UDA), pro-state, but illegal, loyalist paramilitary groups used strategies of violence to attack republicans, nationalists and Catholics, sometimes with the tacit or specific support of the forces of the British state (Taylor 1999). Meanwhile, the British state utilised its armed forces, often with substantial force, to suppress these groups with strategies including illegal forms of interrogation, shoot-to-kill policies and stop-and-search tactics using emergency legislation (Ní Aoláin 2000). There are also symbolic displays of violence through parades, demonstrations, murals and flags which carry images of weapons, soldiers and historical battles as well as the colours of contemporary paramilitary groups ( Jarman 1997). Undoubtedly, some of these acts and threats of violence by state and non-state actors engendered fear that on occasion could be described as terror, but some of those same acts could also engender a sense of safety. To say the least, to place some of these activities under the rubric of ‘terrorism’ is unhelpful in terms of developing an understanding of what is taking place. The violence existed in a complex political and historical context, in a landscape of meaning. Anton Blok, in an insightful essay, has identified the tendency to understand violence in terms of a utilitarian ‘rational’ means and ends relationship, but conversely that violence is also frequently seen as ‘senseless’ and devoid of meaning (Blok 2000: 24). This, he argued, avoids the difficult job of understanding the meanings attached to violence: The pacification of society and its acceptance as ‘natural’ lie at the basis of both scholarly and popular accounts of violence: if focused on the actual use of violence at all, the emphasis falls on the instrumental, most obvious act of violence. The cultural dimensions of violence – its idiom, discourse and meaning – receive less attention. (Blok 2000: 23) The complex layers of meaning that surround 9/11 or the violence that erupted in parts of Northern Ireland need to be explored without making assumptions. For example, in 1971,

22  Dominic Bryan groups of men in Protestant working class areas gathered to defend their residential areas from the perceived threat from the IRA and under the impression that the police and British Army were not doing enough. These ‘defence associations’ eventually formed themselves into a populist movement known as the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). This organisation, under the name Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), then carried out a range of types of violence, including some of the most indiscriminate mass killings of the Troubles (Crawford 2003). The UDA, however, produced some of the more enlightened political documents in the 1970s and 1980s. Although the UFF was proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK government, the UDA did not come under terrorism legislation until 1992. How do we, therefore, understand this organisation, let alone the range of violent acts it perpetrated?

Labelling the terrorist Social scientists have long understood the practice of labelling. Howard Becker, in his landmark work on the sociology of deviance, provided the basis for what is now known as labelling theory: Social groups create deviance by making rules whose infraction constitutes deviance, and by applying those rules to particular people and labelling them as an outsider. From this point of view, deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender. (Becker 1963: 9) In our case, the act of violence is defined as terrorist not because of an analysis of the act, but because a particular group is labelled as terrorist. Put simply, almost any act that al-Qaeda commits is defined as a terrorist act because the group is now defined as terrorist. Conversely, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, an act calculated to terrify, is not an act of terrorism because we choose to define the US Air Force as engaged in an act of war. Crucially, this defining process takes place within a web of power relationships whereby those with more power are able to define the acts of those with less power. Labelling becomes more pernicious in times of social unrest, or in what Stanley Cohen has described as ‘a moral panic’. This is a period of time when the fundamental values of society appear to be under attack: ‘a condition, episode, person or group of persons [who] become defined as a threat to societal values and interests’ (Cohen 1972/1987: 9). Once there is broad acceptance in society that there is a threat, there tends to be hostility towards the out-group and a disproportionate reaction to the problem. The events of 9/11 provided just such a moral panic. George W. Bush, the leader of the most powerful state in the world, declared a ‘war against terrorism’ and in that context, repressive policies came thick and fast, and wars were declared that had little or no relationship to the original act (Mueller 2006). Academic inquiry was not going to be oblivious to the new environment. Millions of dollars were directed through US military and State agencies to combat the new threat. Gupta observed that the ‘number of books with “terrorism” in their title published in the 6.5 years since 2001 was more than ten times the total number of publications for the past six decades’ (Gupta 2008: 2). Although, as I will show, there is not even a minimal consensus on how to define terrorism, the number of academics working on political violence, very often driven by public funding, increased exponentially. Across the globe, over many years, political violence from non-state actors had offered a potential threat. The 1970s were punctuated with the activity of the Red Brigade, the

Is terrorism a useful analytical term?  23 Palestinian Liberation Organisation, the Baader-Meinhof gang or Red Army Faction, the IRA and the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), to name a few. Given that the Soviet Union could have had a potential interest in funding such groups, the threat was not insignificant. But whilst US citizens overseas were frequently targets, the US homeland was not. The post-9/11 era, however, created a period of panic that, for example, led directly to war in Afghanistan and has seen US spending on defence maintained, despite the end of the Cold War. In the new context, ‘terrorism’ replaced the Soviet Union or ‘the reds’, as the politically stated significant external threat, even though any cursory risk assessment would suggest that levels of threat to the United States compared with the Cold War are low. In this context, the way terrorism becomes defined by academics, as well as official institutions, is important.

Definitions of terrorism There is an enormous range of attempts to define terrorism, reflecting just how difficult such a definition is (see, for example, Townsend 2002; Hoffman 1998/2006; Wilkinson 2001/2006/2011; Gupta 2008; English 2009; Jackson 2011). Richard Jackson has made a case for retaining the category of ‘terrorism’ for particular types of political violence. Under the rubric of ‘Critical Terrorism Studies’, he puts forward a succinct and informed ‘strategy for advancing a “persuasive definition” of terrorism’, in order to find a ‘convergence around a clearly defined concept’ ( Jackson 2011: 118–19). Whilst agreeing with much of his analysis, I am not persuaded that the paradigm of ‘terrorism’ can be usefully rescued. I am, as he puts it, a rejectionist ( Jackson 2011: 117). To explain why, let me now look at what seem to me to be the five basic elements of a definition of terrorism so that I can show why the multiple attempts at creating a workable category, in my view, fail. First, a key element of an act of violence defined as terrorist is that it is politically motivated. This in itself, of course, is not very distinguishing. If we take the broadest definition of politics as being activities relating to relationships of power, then even acts of violence that relate simply to the person, such as armed robbery, assault or rape have, in the broadest sense, a political dimension. If we narrow our definition of politics to what might be called big ‘P’ politics, the regulation of power between groups, then we can exclude some acts of violence, although feminists might reasonably argue that this should still include rape. But even within this narrowed category, we still have all violence contained within war. Even if we exclude legally constituted wars, many types of violent acts create problems for a definition. Violence connected with football matches is not normally described as terrorism, yet it is highly symbolic, has non-combatants as potential targets, and is non-state. To take another example, robberies of white-owned farms by poor black people in Zimbabwe and South Africa have often had levels of violence that are clearly political, and a level of organisation. Yet these also have not normally been described as acts of terrorism. Closely related to the political nature of the violent act is the second element of a definition of terrorism, namely, that the act has a highly symbolic or communicative component. Jackson stresses that ‘it is communication to an audience which is the important element of terrorist violence, not necessarily publicity’ ( Jackson 2011b: 121). In other words, the objective of the act is not limited to achieving a narrow strategic outcome as one might find in war when armed forces are attempting to take control of territory or destroy the enemy’s ability to inflict damage. Yet nearly all acts of violence have communicative aspects to them: the dropping of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima was designed to be communicative. Capital punishment is designed as a highly symbolic act. On the other hand, organisations defined

24  Dominic Bryan as terrorist may well undertake acts that have the limited strategic objectives that a national army (which some would argue they are) might have in a legally constituted war. The third and possibly more popularly understood aspect of terrorism is that it targets civilians, non-combatants or those who are innocent. This, of course, is part of the symbolic message and the communication of terror. However, it does not appear in some of the academic attempts at definition (see, for example, English 2009: 24; Hoffman 1998/2006: 40; Jackson 2011). The reasons for this quickly become obvious. Defining what is a military target and what is not is highly problematic. For example, the Pentagon, a target on 9/11, could be described as the most powerful military institution in the world. It is interesting that a few years later the US State Department, clearly struggling with this element of a definition, suggested the following aspect of a definition of terrorism: For purposes of this definition the term non combatant is interpreted to include, in addition to civilians, military personnel who at the time of the incident are unarmed and/or not on duty . . . We also consider as acts of terrorism attacks on military installations or on armed military personnel when a state of hostilities does not exist at the site. (United States Department of State 2004: xii) In other words, under this definition, terrorism is any violent political act where the United States has not defined a state of war. And yet, of course, civilians and noncombatants are routinely killed in attacks defined as war or as acts of defence. In recent years, these victims have come to be known as ‘collateral damage’. This produces the strangest of outcomes. The tens of thousands of Cambodian civilians who died when the United States bombed that country during Operation Menu in 1969 are, therefore, not deemed victims of terrorism, whereas the military personnel in the Pentagon, or the police officers and soldiers in Northern Ireland, are deemed victims of terrorism. The defining of the status of military and civilian personnel is closely connected to the fourth element of a definition: is a legal designated war taking place? Townsend suggests that, ‘the essence of terrorism . . . is surely the negation of combat’ (Townsend 2002: 7). Under international law, there is a right to conduct war. This, of course, is one of the reasons that the use of force in the 2003 Iraq war was so hotly debated at the United Nations. But there are a number of major problems with this part of a definition. It tends to assume that those groups who are powerful enough to influence international bodies become arbiters of what is and is not the legitimate use of violence. Israel, frequently with US backing, stridently defends the right to use force to defend itself. In a high-profile example in 2010, Israeli forces boarded a ship, in international waters, bound for the Gaza Strip, an area of land that under international law does not belong to Israel, and killed nine people on the boat, apparently in self-defense (United Nations Human Rights Council 2010). There are arguments for and against the legal legitimacy of what took place, but my point is that it is difficult to define. And, of course, states are also involved in countless acts of violence in attempts to subvert political processes in other countries – and all of this occurs before you define acts of violence within a civil war or acts of nationalist resistance. In other words, the status of armed conflicts are always highly problematic. The IRA, ANC and the PLO all believed they were fighting legitimate wars for freedom. The classic question of legitimacy remains: were they terrorists or freedom fighters? The struggle for a legal definition of terrorism (see Saul 2008) is, of course, a different practice than that to find a definition that works for academic research. The fifth element of a definition is, I think, the most important. What the vast majority of those involved in the study of terrorism are interested in are the acts of political violence

Is terrorism a useful analytical term?  25 perpetrated by non-state actors. They are interested in the strategies and techniques which non-state groups utilise in order to make political gains in a given sphere. Groups which have relatively few resources available to them often need to resort to methods that give them a sense of presence out of proportion to their numbers and asserts them to increase their political leverage. Specific and comparative studies into this are, of course, quite legitimate, and, indeed, important. But here lies the fundamental problem. If we label these acts with the pejorative term ‘terrorism’, we are making an immediate judgement about the legitimacy and meaning of the violence or threat of violence. The model is thus pro-state, whatever the nature of the state. And if that were not problematic enough, it, by definition, means that the state does not use the same strategies, or if they do, then we will not label them in the same way. As such, some writers on terrorism include state and non-state violence in their definitions (English 2009: 24), thus creating an enormous category which makes comparative studies very difficult, whilst others are determined to maintain the focus on non-state actors and, in doing so, reproduce a labelling of the violence that essentially legitimises the state (see Hoffman 2006: 40). Why do the range of violent strategies used by these non-state actors need to be labelled in such a way? Lastly, in defining terrorism we can take the word literally. It is violence which is about terror. But, of course, a vast range of violence can induce terror. The US-led attack on Iraq in 2003 was entitled ‘shock and awe’. It was designed to induce such a level of power that the enemy would surrender. Townsend argues that this psychological outcome of violence has been part of strategic bombing since World War II (Townsend 2002: 6–7). And, yet, at the other end of the spectrum, whilst many of the acts of violence defined as terrorism are undoubtedly terrifying for those caught up in it, can we really argue that the wider population are terrified? Worried, horrified, even scared . . . but terrified? Any possibility of collapsing the meaning of the word ‘terrorism’ to a definition based on the intended psychological outcome of the act is clearly not plausible.

Conclusion As for identifying objective criteria for identifying terrorism activity, common sense indicates that the general public in most countries in the world can recognise terrorism when they see campaigns of bombing, suicide bombings, shooting attacks, hostage-takings, hijackings and threats of such action, especially when so many of these are deliberately aimed at civilians. (Wilkinson 2001/2006/2011: 1) As academic researchers, we are absolutely interested in what Wilkinson describes as ‘common sense’. But the idea that some global general public shares that common-sense understanding of a variety of acts of violence is surely wrong. Such a ‘common’ understanding does not even exist among the general public in Northern Ireland. And we cannot base comparative academic research, let alone empirical and quantitative research, on such a general understanding. The problems with finding a useable definition of terrorism are overwhelming. When you read what many academics have to say on the issue, I think you can tell that they know this. The better works invariably struggle in the first chapter to come up with a definition. Many of those chapters point out all of the problems I have discussed earlier. Then, to my mind, they inexplicably carry on using the term. Why might that be? Possibly the most understandable reason is that put forward by Jackson, who argues that academia needs to critically engage with policymakers, politicians and the general public, and to do this we

26  Dominic Bryan need to utilise the terms that are dominant in the public arena (2005, 2011b). Thus, Jackson has called for ‘Critical Terrorism Studies’ and hopes that there will be ‘convergence around a clearly defined concept’ ( Jackson 2011b). Such a strategy of engagement is required, but the costs of conforming to the terrorism paradigm are great. We are sustaining a paradigm that has no academic validity and is highly pejorative. To put it another way, once we know that the world is round, there is no point pretending that it is flat just for the sake of academic engagement. There is a further problem with maintaining the term ‘terrorism’, and it is one that many of those who use it would find ironic. There can be no doubt that the use of the term contains a moral valuation; that is part of the term’s power and why it is used as a labelling device. So a vast range of acts of violence are reduced to one moral category, and no matter what the justification of the violence, it gains a pejorative label. Even more damaging, it thus provides that state with justifications for introducing often significant mechanisms to restrict freedom (Bryan et al. 2011). The ‘War on Terror’ has proved an environment that has legitimised torture, imprisonment without legal justification, significant restrictions on freedom of assembly and immense force delivered to those people and places accused of harbouring terrorists. Many times, as in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, these types of policies proved to be massively counterproductive and surely delayed political solutions. A vast amount of money and resources has been directed at the problem of terrorism, out of all proportion to the problem (Mueller 2006). In the academy, where resources are at a premium, the temptation to conform to a particularly well-funded paradigm is great. If my argument is correct, not only has much money been wasted on empirical work of little worth, but that work, in sustaining a broken paradigm, makes difficult solutions to political problems even harder to find. We simply sustain the ‘flat earth’ policies. Responsible academic engagement must involve a critique of the paradigm and the development of new models with which to understand the use of violence by non-state actors (Bryan et al. 2011). So what should a dynamic critical research strategy exploring the use of political violence by non-state actors look like? As I outlined at the start, the key is that such work seeks to understand the worldview and motivations of those conducting and threatening violence, and this must be done within the context of power relationships predominantly provided by the State. As part of this, there is already much useful work understanding how the discourse of terrorism is sustained as well as how and why the labelling process takes place (see Jackson 2005). Examining networks, relationships and ideologies is part of this strategy. An engagement with policymakers and politicians is critical, but it cannot be at the cost of the research rigour provided by a clearly designed and defined research process. Careful comparative analysis is important, but it must be culturally sensitive. Research should include an analysis of risk which provides a more balanced and proportional response to political violence. Ultimately, research must take into account the local context, the landscape of meaning and the diversity of power within this landscape.

Discussion questions 1 What elements do you believe are sufficient to define an act of violence as ‘terrorism’? 2 Is it possible to identify the key features which distinguish terrorism from other forms of political violence? 3 Terrorism is a crime according to both international law and the national laws of many nation states. Is this a sensible and legitimate application of the concept of terrorism? 4 Has the definition of ‘terrorism’ changed over time?

Is terrorism a useful analytical term?  27 5 What are the prospects for ‘terrorism’ as an analytical concept? 6 Why are certain acts of violence labelled as ‘terrorist’ whilst others are not? 7 Does the fact that the concept of terrorism is frequently misused or employed as a propaganda weapon mean that it should be abandoned? 8 If the concept of ‘terrorism’ were to be abolished, what alternative should replace it? 9 In what ways might the analytical potential of ‘terrorism’ be enhanced? 10 How can we research what any particular act of violence means?

Notes 1

2

3 4

5

6

A distinction should be made, however, between the purpose of a specific act and the broader political goal or motive. The former may be successfully achieved but the latter may not (in fact, very rarely is). The notion of terrorism as a method is not new; in fact, Schmid and Jongman observed that it was ‘formulated’ as a ‘method of combat’ as early as in the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences of 1936 (Schmid and Jongman 2008: 13). The author has argued elsewhere that there is no such thing as an act of violence that is in and of itself inherently an act of terrorism (Richards 2015: Chapter 5). There are others that use more general terms, such as ‘targeting a population’ or a ‘group’, and there are a few that emphasise the arbitrariness and/or indiscriminate nature of terrorist acts. Acknowledging that anyone can be a victim of terrorism means that one does not then have to grapple with the contentious issue as to who or what constitutes a ‘civilian’ or ‘non-combatant’ target in order to determine whether an act of violence is terrorism (see Richards 2015: 134–8; Schmid 2011: 46–8). Schmid asserts that the ‘very core of terrorism’ is that ‘[t]he direct victim of violence (or threat thereof ) is different from the ultimate target (audience)’, and that ‘[f]or this reason anyone can, in principle, become a victim of terrorism’ (italics added) (Schmid 2011: 80). Two of the challenges in conceiving of terrorism in this way are, however, (and for which space limitations does not allow for discussion here) first, how does one empirically prove the intent behind an act of violence and, second, what is the difference, if any, between terrorism as understood here and ‘psychological warfare’? For a discussion on these issues, see Richards 2015.

Further readings Bryan, D., Kelly, L., and Templer, S., 2011. ‘The Failed Paradigm of “Terrorism” ’, Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 3(2): 80–96. Crenshaw, M., ed., 1995. Terrorism in Context, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. Jackson, R., 2011. ‘In Defence of “Terrorism”: Finding a Way Through a Forest of Misconceptions’, Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 3(2): 116–30. Mueller, J., 2006. Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them, New York: Free Press. Richards, A., 2015. Conceptualizing Terrorism, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Schmid, A., ed., 2011. The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research, London: Routledge. Tiefenbrun, S., 2003. ‘A Semiotic Approach to a Legal Definition of Terrorism’, ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law, 9(2): 358–88. Townsend, C., 2002. Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2 Is Critical Terrorism Studies a useful approach to the study of terrorism?

YES: the necessity of a critical approach Christopher Baker-Beall

Introduction The growth of terrorism as a distinct field of study can be traced back to the late 1960s and early 1970s when terrorism studies first began to emerge as a separate sub-field of counterinsurgency and orthodox security studies. Developed primarily through contributions from a small group of ‘terrorism experts’, such as Martha Crenshaw, Bruce Hoffman, Brian Jenkins and Walter Laqueur (to name but a few), these scholars played a key role in establishing the boundaries of the field through the development of various concepts, theories and methods (Ranstorp 2009). Yet, whilst terrorism studies has undoubtedly done much for our understanding of terrorism, it is also fair to say that research on terrorism has ‘a deeply troubled past’ (Silke 2004: 1). For many years, terrorism research was consigned to the margins of the social sciences and conducted by just a few dozen experienced researchers. This meant that the study of terrorism was frequently neglected and conducted in the gaps that exist between the major academic disciplines. Outside of the small group of dedicated terrorism researchers mentioned above, much of the literature has been the work of one-time authors (Silke 2003a). This is positive in the sense that it has helped to promote intellectual diversity. However, it is also problematic in that many of the individuals involved in pushing our understanding of terrorism forward have lacked either the knowledge or the qualifications to make informed contributions to the field (Ranstorp 2009). Concerns over the quality, direction and focus of research on terrorism provided a basis for the growth of a small body of research within terrorism studies that was critical in orientation (see, for example, George 1991; Herman and O’Sullivan 1991; Zulaika and Douglass 1996). Taking inspiration from this literature, as well as the ‘critical turn’ in the cognate fields of International Relations and Security Studies, in the period after the terrorist attacks in New York on 11 September 2001, a group of scholars put forward the case for the creation of a new field of Critical Terrorism Studies (CTS). With the aim of fostering what they viewed as an inherently critical, self-reflexive approach to the study of terrorism, Richard Jackson (2007a) identified two main developments in traditional terrorism studies that necessitated such a move. First, the unparalleled growth in

Is Critical Terrorism Studies useful?  29 terrorism research after 9/11 that had seen terrorism studies transform from a minor subfield of security studies to a standalone field. Second, increased concerns over the quality of the research, much of which has been argued to lack rigorous theoretical and conceptual grounding, as well as thought to display a bias towards Western and state-centric perspectives. These developments, alongside a more general dissatisfaction with the direction and effectiveness of Western counterterrorism policies  – in the context of the United States’ ‘War on Terror’ – have played an essential role in the emergence and growth of CTS. In this chapter, I will explain why CTS is both a necessary and useful approach to the study of terrorism.

Critical Terrorism Studies: what is it, and why is it useful? It is important to recognise that Critical Terrorism Studies does not purport to offer a unified approach to the study of terrorism, but should rather be thought of as a field of study that adopts a critical orientation towards terrorism-related research. From this perspective, CTS has sought to draw in a wide range of critically-minded scholars who encourage a multiplicity of theoretical approaches to the study of terrorism. In this way, we can draw parallels between CTS and Critical Security Studies (CSS) in that both areas of study provide an arena for scholars who wish to situate their work either within a broad understanding of what is meant by the use of the term critical (Krause and Williams 1997), or those who wish to adopt a narrower understanding of the term ‘critical’ inline with the emancipatory agenda of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory (Booth 2007). Some scholars of a more traditional leaning have misunderstood this commitment within CTS (see Jones and Smith 2009), mistakenly assuming CTS research is solely derived from the narrow understanding of the term. However, as Jacob Stump and Priya Dixit (2013) explain, when thinking about the type of research conducted within CTS, it is analytically useful to conceptualise the meaning of ‘critical’ as part of a continuum, with Frankfurt School approaches at one end and a broader array of approaches that challenge common-sense understandings and assumptions about terrorism at the other. Adopting a fluid approach to the meaning of the term ‘critical’ is useful in that it provides a space where a body of critically-oriented research can emerge, which is at once theoretically grounded and highly eclectic in terms of the terrorism-related issues it covers. Whilst there is a great deal of diversity within the field of CTS, especially in terms of the theoretical and methodological commitments of researchers working in this area, it is important to recognise that CTS scholars are united by a set of key concerns that I would argue make the development of a critical approach to terrorism a necessity. First, they share a general dissatisfaction with certain aspects of orthodox terrorism studies. There is a concern with the research methods adopted by some terrorism studies scholars, including the dominance of problem-solving theories as the idealised type of knowledge within the field, as well as a perceived over-reliance on secondary information and a general failure to undertake primary research. Second, they agree that terrorism, like security, can be understood as a derivative concept. This means, quite simply, that when researchers adopt different theoretical positions for analysing terrorism, different understandings and explanations of terrorism will invariably occur (see, for example, Booth 2005: 13). In this way, critical approaches to terrorism are sensitive to the fact that all knowledge is contested and that research will always carry an element of bias inline with a researcher’s own preferences and predilections. Third, they share a concern that a substantial amount of research on terrorism retains a state-centric perspective,

30  Christopher Baker-Beall one which tends to reproduce a limited set of assumptions – that is, a ‘conventional wisdom’ or ‘accepted knowledge’ – about the origins, nature and causes of terrorism. Fourth, they are concerned by the tendency within contemporary terrorism research towards treating terrorism as a ‘new’ phenomenon that started with the events of 11 September 2001 (Breen Smyth 2007). Alongside these criticisms of the traditional terrorism studies literature, CTS is based upon a set of important ontological, epistemological, methodological and ethical or normative commitments that, collectively speaking, much of the critical research on terrorism adheres to. From an ontological perspective, CTS scholars view terrorism as a social fact rather than a material fact. CTS scholars recognise that labelling an act of political violence as terrorism is an inherently subjective process, one where deciding upon whether an act of violence constitutes an ‘act of terrorism’ depends upon a series of judgements about the context, nature and intent of the violence rather than ‘any objective characteristic inherent to it’ ( Jackson et al. 2011: 35). In terms of epistemology, CTS is sceptical of the possibility that wholly objective or neutral knowledge about terrorism can ever be realised. It views the study of terrorism – and the knowledge about terrorism that is derived from those processes of study – as something that is rooted within the social and/or cultural context within which it emerges ( Jackson 2007b). Methodologically speaking, CTS scholars are committed to transparency about their own values and standpoint when conducting terrorism-related research. CTS is dedicated to methodological and disciplinary pluralism as well as embracing the insights and perspectives of several different approaches that include discourse analysis, post-structuralism, constructivism, Critical Theory, historical materialism, history and (auto)ethnography ( Jackson et al. 2011). Significantly, CTS is useful in that it has begun to establish a body of methodologically oriented texts that demonstrates exactly how to conduct this type of research (Stump and Dixit 2013; Dixit and Stump 2016). Importantly, whilst CTS accepts that orthodox or problem-solving approaches to the study of terrorism are certainly valuable, it refuses to privilege this type of knowledge. Jackson (2009: 70–1) has demonstrated how much of the terrorism studies research tends to adopt and employ positivist and empiricist research methodologies that involve the collection of observable quantitative, case study and historical data, as well as drawing upon ‘secondary information gathered from news media, government sources, or intelligence agencies’. As such, terrorism studies has not really caught up with the impact of social theory in helping to explain the emergence and actions of terrorist groups (see, for example, della Porta 2008; della Porta and Diani 1999). Indeed, traditional terrorism studies tends to treat terrorism in an ahistorical manner, as though terrorism exists in a vacuum detached from the broader social context within which it emerges. A major strength of CTS, therefore, is the way it recognises developments in broader social theory (such as social movement theory) and has consequently pluralised its methodology. Indeed, CTS is important because it recognises that research produced through rationalist, empiricist or positivist research methods is no more valuable than research produced using interpretive or reflectivist methods of social inquiry. Finally, CTS is underpinned by a series of ethical and normative commitments that are thought to guide research in this area. The least controversial of these are the commitment to a responsible set of research ethics that seek to avoid harming the actors that make up the focus of terrorism research, the commitment to place the security of the individual rather than the security of the state at the heart of terrorism research and the commitment to influence counterterrorism policy through equal engagement with both policymakers (the state)

Is Critical Terrorism Studies useful?  31 and the targets of counterterrorism policy (individuals or groups labelled as ‘terrorist’). More controversially, scholars such as Jackson et al. (2009) have argued that CTS should embody a set of normative commitments drawn directly from the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. This can be seen in the commitment to engage in an ‘immanent critique’ of society’s oppressive power structures and the need for positive action to transform or reconstruct those structures through the embrace of the normative ideal of emancipation ( Jackson et al. 2011). For CTS scholars who adopt this specific commitment, the aim is to expose the perceived fallacies that exist within contemporary (counter)terrorism research and practice, thereby easing the path towards the creation of a more just society. These shared commitments distinguish CTS from other types of terrorism research. Importantly, in adopting these commitments, CTS provides an alternative framework through which to look at, understand and study terrorism. By encouraging scholarly contributions from a plurality of theoretical perspectives, we arrive at what is potentially one of CTS’s most important and useful contributions in this area. CTS has helped to provide a new arena for researchers from outside terrorism studies who wish to conduct research on terrorism, who might otherwise have felt ‘uncomfortable associating with the field as it is currently constituted, yet whose research speaks precisely to the concerns raised by the debates surrounding critical terrorism studies’ (Breen Smyth et al. 2008: 2). Significantly, in adopting the ontological, epistemological, methodological and normative commitments outlined previously, CTS can be viewed as a useful approach to the study of terrorism for five main reasons (see, for example, Jackson et al. 2011). First, ontologically, by adopting a critical orientation towards terrorism, CTS provides a framework for scholars to study the social and cultural processes by which acts of political violence come to be defined as terrorism. Second, epistemologically, the emergence of CTS allows for a variety of perspectives that recognise the socially-constructed nature of ‘accepted knowledge’ about terrorism and open up possibilities for alternative understandings to emerge. Third, methodologically, by adopting interpretive or reflectivist approaches, CTS moves away from cause and effect explanations of terrorism to explanations that seek to understand the contextual, societal and historical factors that make terrorism possible. Fourth, CTS entails a commitment to placing the individual and communities at the heart of terrorism research, what is referred to as ‘human security’, rather than narrowly basing the study of terrorism around the interests of the state. This involves working not just with policymakers to define the terms of the research but also the policytakers (i.e. the targets of the state and its counterterrorism apparatus). Finally, some scholars within the CTS research community have argued for terrorism research to contain an explicit commitment to the concept of ‘emancipation’, understood here as freedom from oppressive structures and the realisation of a more just social, political and economic order. Regardless of whether you agree with this commitment, it undoubtedly allows for a deeper analysis of the effects of the US-led ‘War on Terror’ by drawing out the ideological basis of much of Western counterterrorism policy in the early twenty-first century.

A case for the critical study of terrorism Having considered the main commitments of CTS, I  want to briefly reflect on why the critical study of terrorism is an essential scholarly endeavour. Adopting a similar approach to that articulated within CSS, the emergence of CTS has helped to stimulate an alternative body of research that is broadening and widening our understanding of terrorism. CTS

32  Christopher Baker-Beall is important in terms of broadening our understanding of terrorism by bringing previously neglected subjects and issues into the realm of terrorism studies, including, for example, a greater focus on the ramifications of terrorism as a political and/or cultural discourse (Croft 2006; Jarvis 2009; Baker-Beall 2016), critical reflections on the notion of ‘radicalisation’ and counter-radicalisation (Baker-Beall et al. 2014), the implications of state terrorism (Blakeley 2009), the use of non-violent and peaceful methods of conflict resolution (Toros 2012) and the gendered aspects of terrorism and counterterrorism (Shepherd 2008; Sjoberg and Gentry 2015). CTS also offers potential for deepening our understanding of terrorism by making the institutional, ideological and material interests of those engaged in terrorism research more transparent as well as opening up a space for a multiplicity of marginalised or neglected voices – such as those of feminist or non-Western scholars – to emerge ( Jackson et al. 2009). CTS is a useful approach to the study of terrorism in that it offers a multiplicity of alternative agendas for scholars interested in conducting research in this area. As noted earlier, to date there have been a whole range of studies that have engaged in areas of research that have traditionally been neglected by traditional approaches to the study of terrorism. Although there are many new areas of research that have emerged with the advent of CTS, in making the case for the critical study of terrorism I want to finish by focusing on two areas of research that further demonstrate the potential of CTS. First, notwithstanding the work of Mia Bloom (2007, 2012) and Anne Speckhard (2008), a small body of literature has begun to emerge that uses feminist perspectives to shed new light on issues involving terrorism and counterterrorism (see, for example, Shepherd 2008; Sylvester and Parashar 2009; Gentry 2015; and Sjoberg 2015). Christine Sylvester and Swati Parashar (2009) have suggested that there is a pressing need to take the issue of gender seriously when analysing terrorism. As they explain, women are ‘everywhere in the terror moment in international relations’: they are the soldiers on the front line, they are the perpetrators and victims of terrorist atrocities, they are the ‘collaborators, informers, human shields, recruiters [and] sexual bait’ in the ‘War on Terror’. In essence, they occupy gender roles that both solidify and challenge social norms (Sylvester and Parashar 2009: 181). Yet, regardless of their centrality to forms of political violence, women’s voices have rarely featured in the contemporary study of terrorism. This is an issue that has been taken forward by feminist scholars such as Laura Shepherd (2008), who has demonstrated the gendered nature of representations of sexual violence at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Carol Gentry (2015), who has drawn our attention to the ‘everyday terrorism’ of domestic violence against women in numerous societies across the globe. Second, CTS has encouraged contributions from scholars conducting research on terrorism in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and other parts of the Global South (see Göl 2010) to promote a range of non-Western viewpoints that offer alternative perspectives to the Western and Eurocentric focus of orthodox terrorism research. Ayla Göl (2010) has argued that CTS is attractive for scholars who wish to conduct such research in that it offers the potential to challenge ahistorical and apolitical state-centric views of terrorism as well as orthodox definitions and assumptions. For Göl (2010: 2), CTS represents a useful and valuable approach in that it engages with the multiple causes and complexity of terrorism ‘from a broad historical and sociological perspective’ which calls into question the asymmetrical power structures that characterise the relationship between Western and non-Western countries, and which impact upon our understanding of terrorism in the era of the global ‘War on Terror’. To offer just one example of the utility of CTS in this regard, Santos Santos’s (2010) research on political violence in the Philippines has highlighted the significant

Is Critical Terrorism Studies useful?  33 damage of the US-led ‘War on Terror’ on the Philippine government’s peace negotiations with the two major rebel groups in the country. These important contributions from alternative voices – feminist, non-Western and many others – allow for a reconceptualisation of the limits of what we label or define as an act of terrorism and help to facilitate new lines of debate in the field of terrorism studies. CTS is a useful and necessary approach to the study of terrorism because it provides another space where this type of research is both accepted and can flourish.

Conclusion This chapter has argued that CTS offers scholars interested in the study of terrorism a variety of critical theoretical perspectives through which to conduct such research. I have argued that this critical orientation towards terrorism research is extremely useful in the sense that it provides researchers with a framework through which to ask different questions about terrorism that orthodox approaches have tended to silence or ignore. In the 10 years since CTS emerged, a growing number of publications that include books, journal articles, conference papers and doctoral dissertations have engaged with and moved forward the CTS research agenda, helping to overcome some of the limitations that were identified at the early stage of the CTS project (see Horgan and Boyle 2008). Indeed, it is worth noting that although CTS began with a critique of terrorism studies – in part as a way of positioning CTS within the field and in part as a reflection of the research interests of the scholars involved in starting the project – it has moved well beyond this initial focus to consider a multiplicity of areas where critical thinking can advance the study of terrorism. For example, a cursory analysis of the Critical Studies on Terrorism journal shows engagement with a wide variety of issues from critical perspectives on radicalisation and ‘violent extremism’, through to non-Western and feminist approaches to the study of terrorism – to name but a few topics. However, although there has been much progress, certain challenges noted by the original architects of the CTS project remain ( Jackson et al. 2009). There needs to be continued engagement between CTS scholars and those scholars working within more traditional paradigms of terrorism research. It is essential that traditional and CTS scholars alike remain open to rigorous empirical research on terrorism, regardless of whether it has been produced using either problem-solving or critical methods of social inquiry. Likewise, the field of CTS itself needs to retain its commitment to providing an inclusive environment for an eclectic, diverse and broad array of approaches to the study of terrorism, which I would argue is one of the greatest strengths of CTS as it currently stands. As well as providing a platform for a multiplicity of different voices to contribute to contemporary debates on terrorism, I would also suggest that CTS is extremely useful in the sense that it has the potential to offer alternative solutions for governments and policymakers, to help increase the effectiveness of counterterrorism policy and to address the complex social issues that lead people to engage in political violence. It is for these reasons that I suggest that CTS is a useful approach to the study of terrorism and will remain so in the coming years.

NO: don’t give it the oxygen of publicity Roger Mac Ginty

34  Roger Mac Ginty

Introduction Many mainstream ‘terrorism’ studies scholars live in a binary world of good and bad, and legitimate and illegitimate. They live in a world that simply does not exist. Much of orthodox terrorism studies is stuffed with extraordinarily shoddy scholarship. Remarkably little original research occurs in this field. There is much ‘recycling’, with relatively ancient research being endlessly cited despite often being based on shockingly small samples (Michel and Richards 2009: 399). Careless extrapolations are made from one context to another as though political violence is held together by a set of immutable universal laws. Finally, terrorism studies are part of a political project that is anxious to find ways of justifying state excesses and the subjugation of popular liberty in the name of ‘security’. The absence of serious consideration of state violence is revealing and, without any serious methodological explanations for case selection, one can only point to politics as the underlying reason (Blakeley 2008; Jackson 2008). Enter, stage left, critical terrorism studies (CTS). The promise of CTS was that it would act as a virtuous counter to orthodox terrorism studies. As the name implies, critical terrorism studies would be inspired by Critical Theory and, therefore, bring incisive questioning to the assumptions on which terrorism studies rests. More than this, CTS promised to confront directly ‘terrorism’ studies. So rather than staying in an obscure intellectual reservation (a criticism often made of peace studies), CTS was intent on taking its arguments to orthodox ‘terrorism’ studies. This would open up new space for debate, reveal the intellectually threadbare nature of terrorism studies and possibly lead to more reflective policymaking. This chapter is an argument against that endeavour. This is not because CTS does not have good arguments, methodologies, scholarship and scholars. The argument instead is that orthodox ‘terrorism’ studies is so far committed to its own self-fulfilling prophesies of doom that there is little point in engaging with it. It wields immense material power and has self-reinforcing political economies that make it relatively immune to reason, evidence and common sense. It lives in the happy seclusion of epistemic closure and shows little willingness to engage in any meaningful sense with those who wish to think seriously about the structural causes of political violence. The danger is that the intellectual powers of CTS give legitimacy to the Jeremiads and Eeyores of orthodox terrorism studies. While this chapter uses the terms ‘orthodox terrorism studies’ and ‘critical terrorism studies’, it understands that these are not discrete, hermetically sealed paradigms. There are degrees of orthodoxy and critique, and what constitutes critique and orthodoxy is open to interpretation.

Terrorism does not exist: why study it? Terrorism does not exist. It is a wholly political label and serves no useful purpose as an analytical category (see Chapter 1 of this volume). It does not describe a particular type of violence. It does not describe violence by particular types of groups. It is used without consistency. It brings no useful methodological purchase to the study of political violence that is not provided by already existing modes of study (e.g. of social movements or of the dynamics of conflict). So if it has no worth, why use it? Why bother giving it the oxygen of publicity? Why legitimise a mode of study that is built on so many politically motivated assumptions that it has no place in the serious study of violence. The answer to these questions is that serious scholars should not waste their time with a genre of study that is best left to the Walter Mittys, securocrats, and worst-case scenario

Is Critical Terrorism Studies useful?  35 merchants. ‘Critical terrorism studies’, despite its excellent intentions, is in danger of legitimising the study of a phenomenon that does not exist. The orthodox study of terrorism was on its last legs before 9/11. Very few academic institutions focused on it. It was very much a minority interest, and few publications from serious publishing houses used the word ‘terrorism’ in their title. For example, a search of the Palgrave Macmillan online catalogue shows that they published six works with the word ‘terrorism’ in the title in the January 1980 to August 2001 period. In the September 2001 to August 2004 period, the figure was 31. Arguments that we needed more sophisticated ways to understand and describe violence had more or less been won. The post-Cold War violence of the 1990s had sparked a boom in the study of conflict as scholars and policymakers sought explanatory models for violence (Guelke 2008: 18). These more sophisticated explanations drew, variously, on anthropology, development studies, economics, sociology and other disciplines to present conflict as a complex and often long-term dynamic rooted in structural causes (influential works included Moynihan 1994; Kymlicka 1995; Collier and Hoeffler 1998). Policy responses, particularly in relation to the evolution of peacebuilding, grew more sophisticated, especially in their recognition that the developmental and identity needs of populations had to be addressed if peace was to be sustained (see, for example, UNSG 1992 and Panel of UN Peace Operations 2000). The events of 9/11 interrupted this move towards more complex and multidisciplinary explanations for conflict (Guelke 2008: 18–19; Breen Smyth et al. 2008: 1). Political leaders in many states painted a picture of a binary world: good versus evil, with us or against us. Policymakers were forced to follow suit. In turn, many academics and hangers-on followed. It is worth taking stock of the sheer size of the national and international political economies that have developed around the study of ‘terrorism’. It is not a disservice to liken some within the academy to ambulance chasers who jumped on the bandwagon (in this case, an ambulance) and followed the money. It is remarkable that many ‘terrorism’ research institutes were founded after 9/11. The Terrorism Research Center at the University of Arkansas was founded in 2003 (http://trc.uark.edu/). The website of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, lists no activity or publication before 2005 (www.rsis.edu.sg/research/icpvtr/). The Center for the Study of Terrorism at the Foreign Policy Institute, a US-based think tank, lists no publication before 2002 (www.fpri.org/). The online archive of the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism at the University of Leiden goes back to 2010 (www.campusdenhaag.nl/ctc/). The Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy, West Point, cites 9/11 as the pivotal factor in its foundation (https://ctc.usma.edu/). The Global Terrorism Research Unit at Monash University was formed in 2002 (http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/gtrec/about/). The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, headquartered at the University of Maryland, was founded in 2005 (www.start.umd.edu/about/ about-start). The list could go on. Clearly, there was public and political concern on ‘terrorism’, and it is legitimate for academic institutions to respond to such concerns. Doubtless many of the previously named institutions employ staff who were working on ‘terrorism’ before 9/11. A tremendous political economy has sprung up around ‘terrorism’ ‘research’. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget request for the financial year 2016 was $41.2  billion (DHS 2016). To put this into perspective, the 2016 USAID budget request was $22.3 billion (USAID 2016). The multi-billion dollar security budget funds significant research activity, some of it through the Department’s ‘Advanced Research Projects Agency’

36  Roger Mac Ginty (DHS 2014a). The DHS even has an Office for University Programs that aims to ‘maximize DHS return on investment in university-based research and education’ (DHS 2014b) and has established Centers of Excellence. A simple web search yields the names of multiple universities (some outside of the United States) that have benefited from Homeland Security funding for research. Much of this research is technical – for example, designing new ways to detect explosives – but much of it is also in the social sciences and humanities. To further illustrate the political economy of ‘terrorism’ ‘research’, it is worth taking a look at the corporate language used by some research institutes. The Institute for Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), for example, is an Israeli-US venture that sees its mission to ‘help organizations succeed and prosper in a world threatened by terrorism’ (ITRR 2014: 2). Its services are marketised and productised into training programmes and corporate threat security responses and delivered by ‘battle-tested operatives, analysts and researchers’ (ITRR 2014: 3). Their ‘experts’ believe in ‘the ideals of academic rigor and critical thinking, the very qualities that terrorists fear most’ (ITRR 2014: 3). The key point is that ‘terrorism’ ‘research’ has become popularised in the aftermath of 9/11. Thornton (2011) notes how there has been synergy between the ‘terrorism’ studies industry and the neo-liberal university. The result of concentrations of funding and political support has been the creation and maintenance of a very significant material culture. Yet all of this is built on the myth that there is such a thing as ‘terrorism’ (as discrete from other forms of political violence). Some scholars have asserted that the concerns of critical terrorism studies are shared by ‘traditional terrorism scholars’ (Horgan and Boyle 2008: 51). Under this reading, orthodox ‘terrorism’ studies has a breadth and heterogeneity that means that it includes critical scholars and those ready to escape from the Coxian problem-solving paradigm (Horgan and Boyle 2008: 55; Cox 1981). There is no doubting that scholars have approached ‘terrorism’ from many different perspectives, and that many have raised ethical issues that critique, implicitly or explicitly, the conceptualisation of ‘terrorism’ and the practice of counterinsurgency. But orthodox ‘terrorism’ cannot escape from the tremendous material power and political economies described earlier and how they funnel much ‘research’ into very clear ideological and political silos. The vast majority of ‘terrorism’ research believes that ‘terrorism’ exists (an apparent statement of the obvious but one worth making). In doing so, it immediately buys into an ideologically patterned set of assumptions and norms. Much of the research is explicitly funded by or supportive of national security agendas. This author has yet to find the ‘terrorism is good’ or ‘terrorism can be justified’ literature that would indicate a true breadth and heterogeneity in a research agenda. The acceptance of ‘terrorism’ as a necessarily pejorative term and activity tells us, very clearly, that Horgan and Boyle’s (2008: 62) assertion that there is ‘no orthodoxy’ and ‘no single portrayal of terrorism studies’ is nonsense. The enterprise is bound together by a central organising narrative: ‘terrorism’ is bad.

The failure of critical terrorism studies This chapter welcomes debate but is unconvinced that orthodox ‘terrorism’ studies is able to do so. In a classic case of epistemic closure, it has constructed a one-stop-shop of question and answer. It luxuriates in an epistemic loop that means it has no incentive to engage with difficult questions posed by those outside of its fantasy world. Critiques of ‘terrorism’ studies and the use of the t-word have a long tradition and did not begin as a backlash against the post-9/11 rediscovery of ‘terrorism’. Definitional debates and disagreements have been a staple of academic inquiry into ‘terrorism’ and political

Is Critical Terrorism Studies useful?  37 violence (Gibbs 1989; LeVine 1995). Many of the arguments on the selective use of the word ‘terrorism’ were context specific and related to the political framing of one group or another. The events of 9/11, of course, prompted much serious examination into the closeness of many ‘terrorism’ ‘scholars’ to projects of state reinforcement and state repression. Jason Franks (2006) can be credited as one of the first scholars to propound the notion of ‘critical terrorism studies’. Drawing on critical theory, he distinguished between ‘orthodox terrorism discourse’ and ‘terrorism’ as viewed through critical lenses that can help strip away the political labelling of violence (Franks 2006: 5–6). This approach was swiftly followed by other scholars who consciously used the term ‘critical terrorism studies’. The critical approach to the study of ‘terrorism’ has had a number of successes, not least in carving out an academic niche that has become a site of debate. This is no small feat. Academic disciplines are often rigidly policed with gatekeepers intent on maintaining the ‘integrity’ of their chosen discipline (Felt and Stöckelová 2009; Huutoniemi 2012). A number of scholars, most notably Richard Jackson, are to be commended for their intellectual prescience and indefatigable work rate in seeing and fulfilling the opportunity to create a forum for critical studies of ‘terrorism’. This is evidenced through the journal Critical Studies on Terrorism, an annual conference, a working group within the British International Studies Association and a Routledge book series dedicated to critical approaches to the study of ‘terrorism’. The journal Critical Studies on Terrorism, in particular, proved to be a fascinating site for debate on the need for a critical focus on the phenomenon labelled as ‘terrorism’. In only 6 years (2008–2014) the journal has published almost 20 articles on the epistemology and pedagogy of examining ‘terrorism’ from a critical perspective. If nothing else, this demonstrates a significant academic interest in critical approaches to ‘terrorism’. Perhaps the best way to gauge the success or otherwise of critical terrorism studies is to examine the extent to which the intellectual and policy ambitions of its originators have been met. Unusually, there was a very conscious development of a critical approach to ‘terrorism’. Often critiques, turns, schools and debates emerge in an evolutionary and haphazard way. Scholars benefit from interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation, fortuitous discoveries, institutional encouragement and opportunity and a host of other factors that make it possible for new approaches to gain traction. In the case of CTS, however, there was a conscious, planned and determined effort by a small group of scholars to create a new ‘school’ or approach. Such a deliberate approach is entirely legitimate, but it did have the effect of encouraging these scholarly innovators to set out a list of ambitions that can be loosely termed a ‘manifesto’. Eric Herring, among others, called for scholar-activism as part of the academic insurgency that constituted the emergent critical terrorism studies school. In particular, he advocated a critical approach to the study of ‘terrorism’ as a form of ‘emancipation’ (Herring 2008: 197). There is no doubting the industry, invention and activism of those involved in the critical project. Much of this went beyond the usual academic formats. But despite this activism, can we really say that there has been ‘emancipation’ and that the vanguard of this emancipation has been the critical terrorism field? Powerholders (states, international organisations and international financial institutions) remain firmly entrenched. State violence continues largely unchecked in a variety of contexts: Israel and its occupied or colonised territories, Bahrain, India, China and others. Of course, the forces ranged against CTS are many, and it is a young insurgency. But given that it sets itself the goal of emancipation, it is fair to measure it against that. Any emancipation that has been achieved has been intellectual (the aforementioned, and laudable, creation of a niche for critical approaches to the study of ‘terrorism’).

38  Roger Mac Ginty One of the imagineers of CTS even suggested that the emergent critical school could spell the death knell for the unreflective and uncritical orthodox study of terrorism (Burke 2008: 42): Critical terrorism studies may signal the end of a particular kind of traditionally state-focused and directed ‘problem-solving’ terrorism studies – at least in terms of its ability to assume that its categories and commitments are immune from challenge and correspond to a stable picture of reality. A quick perusal of the programmes of the International Studies Association, of journal contents pages and of the grey material produced by multiple ‘think tanks’ shows that very many scholars and practitioners are blithely unaware of critical approaches. There has been no remaking of the mainstream (Herring 2008: 210). The mainstream is alive and well and is continually being remade by powerholders. The United States, for example, continues to use apocalyptic language about the Islamic State movement; according to Defense Secretary, it was the ‘biggest threat’ to face the United States and ‘beyond anything that we have seen’ (cited in BBC 2014). World leaders, and presumably the policy machinery that they direct, have been resistant to emancipation from the existential discourse that traditional views of ‘terrorism’ propagates. One of the key aims of the CTS project has been to take ‘the argument onto the home ground of mainstream scholarship’ (Herring 2008: 210). This aim is difficult to measure, as what constitutes the ‘home ground’ of the orthodox ‘terrorism’ studies is open to debate. Moreover, no academic field is static, even an essentially conservative field like ‘terrorism’ studies. Even this has not been completely immune from the critical turn in the social sciences and methodological and conceptual innovation and experimentation. Yet, at the same time, it is possible to point to swathes of scholarship focused on ‘terrorism’ that has been unreflexive and unconcerned by critique. When looking at these conference panels, tables of contents and training certificate programmes, it is difficult to see how the ‘home ground’ has been substantially changed by the away team. Generously, the CTS school has given space to defenders of orthodox studies of ‘terrorism’ (Weinberg and Eubank 2008; Horgan and Boyle 2008). But, to a large extent, critical scholars of ‘terrorism’ have had a debate among themselves. This criticism is by no means unique to critical terrorologists; much of academia is a series of cantonments defined by epistemic closure whereby the proponents hold rather insular debates. Contributions to the debate by Porpora (2011), Toros (2012) and Michel and Richards (2009), for example, contain well-woven and sophisticated arguments that draw on Foucault, the Frankfurt School and other sources of critical theory. There is little evidence, however, that the orthodox school of ‘terrorism’ studies has been much interested in this. It is worth pointing out that Critical Studies on Terrorism has published much material from scholars beyond the mainly European hinterland of critical studies. Of full articles published in the journal between 2008 and 2013, 25 were authored (either singly or jointly) by US scholars. This is significant given that the political economy and discipline of the US tenure system is often prescriptive with regards to which journals are ‘acceptable’ targets for scholars (e.g. rational choice, mainstream political science and US based). Yet the European orientation of the journal is clear: 84 articles were authored by scholars based at European institutions, and 15 were authored by scholars from the rest of the world. In only one case was an article jointly authored by US and European scholars. We should be careful to avoid broad brush categorisations that equate European-based scholars as critical and US-based scholars as problem solving. There are critics aplenty in the United States and a good deal of

Is Critical Terrorism Studies useful?  39 problem-solving orthodox academia in Europe. But it is worth noting that the critical study of ‘terrorism’ has found it more difficult to gain traction in the United States than in Europe. To their credit, scholars of critical approaches to ‘terrorism’ have been reflexive on their own practice and have been aware of the limitations of their epistemology (Heath-Kelly et al. 2014: 4–5; Toros 2012). They are aware of the restrictions placed upon them by language and concepts and dominant uses of them. That does not explain, however, the choice of walking into the lobster pot of ‘terrorism’ studies. It is entirely legitimate to decry the limitations of the language and concepts that we are forced to use (Mac Ginty 2011: 21–2, 208). But no one has forced critical scholars of ‘terrorism’ to so willingly adopt the t-word. Critiques of state violence and the pejorative use of the word ‘terrorism’ have a decades-old pedigree. These critiques took place without a group of scholars feeling the need to consciously style themselves as an intellectual project (Critical Terrorism Studies).

Conclusion Unicorns, zombies and Darth Vader do not exist. That has not stopped the  millions of words being churned out about them, along with film franchises, toys and an associated material culture. ‘Terrorism’ does not exist either. This is not to deny that violent acts by state and non-state actors occur and cause terror. But to selectively label these acts as ‘terrorism’ has zero conceptual theoretical or analytical merit. To critique this study is a good thing, but this author believes that this is a major error to call this endeavour critical ‘terrorism’ studies. Use of the t-word risks reinforcing the legitimacy of the very endeavour that the critical scholars seek to debunk. This is no mere dance on a terminological pinhead. It is a point of immense importance. One does not need to be signed up to the cults of Bourdieu or Foucault to realise that words matter. The use and non-use of words is often part of a political project, and given that the project of critiquing the study of ‘terrorism’ is political, then using the t-word seems to be an error. The prefix ‘critical’ leavens the error somewhat, but it remains an error nonetheless. It actually reinforces the political project that organises the world according to terrorists and non-terrorists, good and bad, and rational and non-­ rational. The orthodox study of ‘terrorism’ and allied policy responses rely on a carefully created and maintained ontological ecology and political economy. The danger is that the critical endeavour of unpacking the study of ‘terrorism’ reinforces the very phenomenon it wishes to expose as shallow. One final issue is worth noting in relation to critical studies of ‘terrorism’. Despite the critical intentions of its advocates, it egregiously contravenes one of the basic tenets of ­conflict-sensitive research methodologies. The CTS project risks causing offence to research ‘subjects’ by its use of the word ‘terrorism’. It is inconceivable that any serious researcher who has thought, even at the most superficial level, about issues of positionality, reflexivity and epistemology could use the label ‘critical terrorism researcher’ and conduct field research in a society in which the word is used as a label. Can one seriously contemplate conducting interviews among Catholic-nationalists in Belfast or Shia in Beirut and announcing ‘I’m interviewing you as part of a research project on critical terrorism’? The t-word, however modified with the prefix ‘critical’, is an obstacle to research. We already have the tools (from peace studies, sociology, anthropology and from many other sources including common sense) to critique the use of the word ‘terrorism’ and the use of policies in its name. Using the t-word, even with the ‘critical’ prefix, does not help. Designating state violence as ‘state terrorism’ does not magically open any conceptual or analytical doors. It points to a hypocrisy or double standard, but beyond that, it is unclear

40  Roger Mac Ginty what it does. The principal target in this chapter is the orthodox study of ‘terrorism’ and the ways that it is woven into a political economy of conservatism, the defence of state excesses and the securitisation of many aspects of life. The critical study of ‘terrorism’ is a legitimate intellectual exercise, but the risk is that it feeds the bonfire.

Discussion questions 1 Who or what are the real beneficiaries of the ‘terrorism’ studies industry: governments, consulting firms and grant-hungry universities, citizens in conflict-affected countries or intellectual inquiry? 2 If – as this chapter suggests – we walk away from orthodox studies of ‘terrorism’ – does this mean we are letting the terrorologists off the hook? 3 Why is the orthodox study of terrorism so dominated by males? 4 What are the main differences between a critical approach to terrorism research and a traditional approach to terrorism research? 5 What are the key commitments shared by scholars who adopt a critical approach to terrorism research? 6 What does it mean to deepen and widen the study of terrorism? 7 What does the term ‘terrorism’ really add to our understanding of political violence? 8 What, if anything, have critical approaches to the study of ‘terrorism’ really achieved? 9 What type of terrorism-related issues does Critical Terrorism Studies introduce as relevant to the study of terrorism? 10 To what extent are critical research methods necessary for a more complete understanding of terrorism?

Further readings Cox, R. W., 1981. ‘Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 10(2): 126–55. Dixit, P., and Stump, J. L., 2016. Critical Methods in Terrorism Studies, London: Routledge. Franks, J., 2006. Rethinking the Roots of Terrorism, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Jackson, R. et al., 2007. ‘Symposium: The Case for Critical Terrorism Studies’, European Political Science, 6(3): 225–67. Jackson, R., Breen Smyth, M., and Gunning, J., eds., 2009. Critical Terrorism Studies: A  New Research Agenda, London and New York: Routledge. Jackson, R., Jarvis, L., Breen Smyth, M., and Gunning, J., eds., 2011 Terrorism: A Critical Introduction, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Schmid, H., 1968. ‘Peace Research and Politics’, Journal of Peace Research, 5(3): 217–32. Stump, J., and Dixit, P., 2013. Critical Terrorism Studies: An Introduction to Research Methods, London: Routledge.

Part II

Categories of terrorism

3 Is there a ‘new terrorism’ in existence today?

YES: the relevance of the ‘new terrorism’ concept Ersun N. Kurtulus¸

Introduction Over the last two decades, the world has witnessed the emergence of a new form of terrorism that is indiscriminate in its tactics, religious in its ideological outlook and horizontal in its organisational structures. This qualitative change in the nature of contemporary terrorism is so profound that it requires a new concept to depict this novel phenomenon: the concept of ‘new terrorism’. In order to support this argument, I will first identify the core claims of the ‘new terrorism’ argument. I will then shift the focus of attention to the arguments of the critics and attempt to counter these arguments. In the process, I will also respond to the relativistic and scientific sociological claims presented by the critics of the concept of ‘new terrorism’.

Identifying the ‘new terrorism’ argument At the very outset, the core claims and contours of the ‘new terrorism’ argument should be identified. This task is hindered by the fact that while the proponents of the concept tend to use the term sporadically, and while its critics are many, there are few studies which attempt to expose this concept to rigorous analysis (Neumann 2009; Kurtulus¸ 2011). More often than not, the ‘new terrorism’ argument is mentioned in passing, sometimes in dramatic language, but almost never in a systematic manner (Laqueur 1999: 4, 7; Laqueur 1996: 36; Laqueur 2003: 8–10; Hoffman 1998: 200, 2013: 205; Arquilla et al. 1999: 40–1; Simon and Benjamin 2000). However, with reference to these studies, it is possible to claim that, in general terms, the ‘new terrorism’ argument consists of a set of descriptive claims about the characteristic features of contemporary terrorism. These descriptive claims, which constitute the core of the ‘new terrorism’ argument, are sometimes complemented with one or another causal claim about the links between them. Thus, new terrorism has four main features. First, differently from ‘old’ terrorism, which had secular and political goals, whether ethno-nationalistic, anarchist or new left, new terrorism is characterised by religious and/or mystical goals (Hoffman 1998: 87). This feature

44  Ersun N. Kurtulus¸ is particularly salient in jihadist terrorist groups which adhere to a puritan, belligerent and extremely violent interpretation of Islam. However, such tendencies have also been discerned within Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism (Laqueur 1999: 80–1) and also within Sikhism and Buddhism ( Juergensmeyer 2000: 7, 84–119). The tendency of terrorist organisations to adopt religious programmes and goals is particularly visible in the historical development of liberation movements and violent separatist organisations that emerged in the wake of decolonisation processes. Religious terrorist organisations have replaced secular terrorist organisations and acquired positions of leadership and dominance in Palestine, among the Shia population in Lebanon, within the Israeli far-right and among the separatist groups in Kashmir and the Philippines. In countries where there is no such long historical record of terrorist activity, such as Iraq and Chechnya, the insurgencies have acquired a religious character from the very start. Even the appearance of mystical, quasi-religious terrorist movements such as Aum Shinrikyo in Japan and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda would fit the pattern of ‘new terrorism’ which is characterised, among other things, by religious goals and mystical motivations (Kurtulus¸ 2011: 481–2). Second, while old terrorism almost always had hierarchical organisational structures where ‘central committees’ or ‘army councils’ more often than not exercised tight control over terrorist activity, new terrorism is based on horizontal networks which are ‘non-group groups’ with ‘little hierarchy’ (Simon and Benjamin 2000: 69). In new terrorist organisations, according to one adherent of the concept, ‘[i]deally there is no single, central leadership, command or headquarters’ and ‘[t]he network as a whole (but not necessarily each node) has little or no hierarchy, and there may be multiple leaders’ (Arquilla et al. 1999:51). This ‘multi-directional nature of power and influence’ (Kurtulus¸ 2011: 490) is particularly evident in the modus operandi of what has become the prototype of new terrorism and new terrorist networks: al-Qaeda (Hoffman 2002: 308–9). Moreover, the tendency to act through horizontal networks, self-starter cells or self-radicalised individuals has increased after the 9/11 attacks (Brams et al. 2006). Such an organisational approach is explicitly promoted by influential al-Qaeda thinkers, such as Abu Musab al-Suri, who developed in his writings ‘a new strategic concept’ that aims to substitute hierarchical structures with the ‘individual terrorism’ of locally recruited militants (Cruickshank and Ali 2007: 8). Third, differently from old terrorism, which was often selective in its choice of targets and mounted surgical attacks against state representatives, police and military personnel, new terrorism has a tendency to launch indiscriminate attacks with the declared intention of causing mass casualties. Since the emergence of new terrorism, there is a gradual increase in the number of casualties  per terrorist attack. Scholars, regardless of whether they are proponents or critics of the concept or neutral in relation to it, have variously explained this development with reference to the desensitisation of the public and the emergence of a higher mass medial threshold to make headlines (Wilkinson 2000: 50; Neumann 2009: 135–40; Hoffman 1993: 14–19), religious motivation (Hoffman 1993: 16–18), absence of state sponsorship (Lesser 1999: 131), the incompetence of terrorists (Hoffman 1997: 5) and increased efficiency of the weapons used in terrorist attacks (Spencer 2006: 16–17). However, these explanations neglect what is perhaps the most potent reason behind this trend of increased lethality: the intention on the part of new terrorist organisations to kill civilians indiscriminately and in large numbers wherever possible – an intention which is often expressed unequivocally. The ‘Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders’ signed by Osama bin Laden and five jihadist organisations, and published in 1998, is perhaps the best known example of a document which clearly designates US civilians as legitimate targets (Lewis 1998: 14–19). Other terrorist ideologues, in



Is there a ‘new terrorism’ in existence?  45

turn, have gone to great lengths to justify the legitimacy of this brutal approach by referring to what has been called ‘the doctrine of proportional response’, that is, the opinion that ‘when the infidel kills Muslim civilians it becomes permissible to attack their civilians in kind’ or, paradoxically, by a secular argument about ‘personal and individual culpability in a democracy’ (Wictorowitcz 2005: 86–92). The logic behind such a collective responsibility in a democracy is expressed cogently by one of the 7/7 London bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan, in his final statement before the attacks: ‘Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my [Muslim] people all over the world and your support of them makes you directly responsible’ (quoted in Kurtulus¸ 2011: 498). Fourth, as a consequence of the aim of causing mass casualties, new terrorist organisations have the intention, and possibly, the potential to acquire Weapons of Mass ­Destruction – that is, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons (see Chapter 6). In the words of an observer, ‘WMD are perfectly tailored to a group that has maximal objectives and an eschatological worldview, and seeks the humiliation and annihilation of its enemies’ (Simon and Benjamin 2001: 11). In this context, it is also claimed that both the restraints and technical obstacles in the use of such weapons by terrorists are gradually disappearing (Hoffman 1998: 197). These four claims constitute the gist of the ‘new terrorism’ argument. It is true that some observers may broaden the concept to cover one or more features, such as ‘increasing technological and operational competence of terrorists’ (Simon and Benjamin 2000: 66), resort to ‘asymmetric warfare’ (Ramakrishna and Tan 2002: 9; Masters 2008: 398), or ‘greatly enhanced striking power’ (Ramakrishna and Tan 2002: 7). It is also true that sometimes these descriptive claims about the characteristic features of ‘new terrorism’ is complemented with a further step that allegedly finds causal links between them, such as the claim that the increased lethality of new terrorism can be traced back to ‘the emergence of obscure, idiosyncratic, millenarian movements’ and ‘nationalist religious groups’ (Hoffman 1993: 16–18; Simon and Benjamin 2001: 6). However, these descriptive and/or causal claims do not seem to enjoy wide support among the adherents of the ‘new terrorism’ argument.

Countering the criticism In the context of new terrorism (or, for that matter, terrorism as such) it is possible to study a long range of social phenomena: the current use of the word ‘new terrorism’; the historical background and the development of the word; its use by academics as an analytical term; its use by politicians as a rhetorical device; possible linkages and spillover effects between the two; the validity of each empirical claim that taken together constitute the argument; whether, if valid, these empirical claims add up to a new phenomenon that requires a neologism; and so on. Each of these elements or dimensions of the concept can become a legitimate object of social scientific inquiry and none, as such, can be regarded as being of less or more importance seen from the perspective of ‘intra-scientific values’ in the Weberian sense of this term. However, one pivotal dimension of the debate about new terrorism is that critics may reject these premises, explicitly or implicitly, on the basis of relativistic and/or ideological arguments that have become fashionable over the last three decades. Consequently, it does not come as a surprise that critics would like to conduct a discussion about the general and inherent instability of categories, such as that of ‘new terrorism’. They would also like to reveal the fallacy of ‘positivist authors’ who believe that ‘words simply reflect reality’ (Spencer 2011: 461, 463–4), and to dismiss the question of whether a certain, clearly demarcated,

46  Ersun N. Kurtulus¸ category or class of phenomena has any analytical utility in a specific context, that is, the context of social scientific inquiry. Everything being equal, such an approach could have been regarded as a legitimate attempt to push a disciplinary debate into the epistemological or philosophical domain. However, in a manner that is rather characteristic of this genre of writing, a modus operandi which I analysed elsewhere in detail (see Kurtulus¸ 2005), critics complete such relativistic statements with further statements that can be supported or invalidated only on the basis of scientific inquiry – that is, by employing clearly demarcated, specific categories that have analytical utility. In other words, they fall back on an epistemological position which they have rejected initially by making statements along the lines that there is nothing ‘new’ about new terrorism as religious terrorism, indiscriminate targeting or networked organisational structures existed before, and secular goals, selective targeting and hierarchies exists today (see, for instance, Spencer 2006). These types of claims require something more than epistemological arguments about linguistic relativity. They require empirical arguments and a methodology that justifies them. They require social scientific inquiry. Thus, setting aside the relativistic argument, which starts with a rejection of empiricism but inevitably ends up making empirical statements about language, words or discourses – a modus operandi which brings us back to making a choice between the set of questions formulated at the beginning of this section – what is left is a range of empirical claims put forward by the critics against the notion of ‘new terrorism’. Consequently, it is argued that this neologism, and the claims that go with it, do not reflect the reality of contemporary terrorism. In other words, what is left is a set of empirical claims that can be contrasted with the claims that constitute the core of the new terrorism argument. At a more general level, critics maintain that what is regarded as new is nothing more than a reflection of ‘older trends in terrorism’ which have been ‘ignored and submerged’ so far, and that there are ‘logical and empirical reasons’ for questioning the alleged shift to a ‘new paradigm’ (Copeland 2001: 8, 19). Other critics have disapproved of the application of the ‘new’ label to what they allege to be minimal change in the nature of terrorism (Tucker 2001: 1; Duyvesteyn 2004: 440). Yet others have claimed that the concept of new terrorism is ‘artificial’ and ‘dangerous’ (Spencer 2006: 5) and ‘potentially distorted . . . tautological and quite probably otiose’ (Zimmerman 2004: 19–20). At least one critic has based his rejection on a more explicitly empirical basis by questioning the ‘overall accuracy and analytical value’ of the concept and by claiming that the argument that there is a radical change in the characteristic traits of terrorism is ‘exaggerated’ and ‘misleading’ (Field 2009: 195). This categorical rejection of the concept of ‘new terrorism’ is based on four main claims about the history of terrorism and the features of contemporary terrorism. First, a recurrent theme in the critical literature is that there is nothing new about religiously inspired violence and that there have been religiously motivated terrorist organisations in the history of terrorism. This argument is complemented with the assertion that what appears as religious programmes of contemporary terrorist organisations are actually secular programmes tied to territorial and nationalistic goals (Spencer 2006: 14; Duyvesteyn 2004: 443, 445; Masters 2008: 400–6). At the most basic level, this argument ignores the aforementioned dramatic change from secular to religious outlook experienced by various liberation movements that resort to terrorist tactics. At a minimum, such a development indicates a qualitative change away from secular programmes to religious ones. Moreover, that new terrorists may have territorial goals (a favourite argument of critics) does not exclude, per se, the goal of establishing theocracies once these territories are liberated. Similarly, the statistical evidence that indicates



Is there a ‘new terrorism’ in existence?  47

an increase in the number of religious terrorist organisations in relation to secular ones in the 1990s (Hoffman 1998) – a tendency which we can safely presume to have intensified over the last 20 years with the religiously motivated insurgencies which resort to terrorist tactics in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, The Caucasus, Somalia and Libya, in addition to the emergence of self-starter jihadist terrorist activists elsewhere – is ignored. As regards to historical cases of Zealot-Sicariis, Assassins and Thuggies (and, for the sake of the argument, accepting these as terrorist organisations on a par with modern terrorist organisations), the question of the representativeness of these three organisations in a period of almost two millennia that involved hundreds, if not thousands of terrorist organisations and activists, is never raised. Second, the critics argue that the claim about increased lethality of terrorist attacks due to indiscriminate targeting by contemporary terrorists is not tenable empirically and the targets are ‘still largely symbolic’ (Duyvesteyn 2004: 448). In this context, it is also maintained that even ‘old’ or traditional terrorist organisations were willing and capable of launching indiscriminate, mass casualty attacks (Tucker 2001: 5). Once again, the evidence that shows that there is a trend of increased lethality and indiscriminateness in contemporary terrorist attacks is ignored. Nor are we informed why wanton killing and maiming cannot be ‘symbolic’ at the same time. As regards to the argument about the willingness and the capacity of ‘old’ terrorism to launch mass casualty attacks, the cases quoted by critics (Crenshaw 2003: 49–51; Field 2009: 203–4; Duyvesteyn 2004: 447–9; Spencer 2006: 15) are so few and so complete that they can easily be reiterated here: Japanese Red Army’s attack on civilians at Lod Airport in Israel, OAS and FLN’s killing of civilians during the Algerian Independence War, bombing of Bologna train station by far-right Armed Revolutionary Nuclei in Italy, targeting of civilians by French and Spanish anarchists during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, pub bombings by Provisional IRA in 1974 and ETA’s bomb attack at a supermarket in 1987. However, what is important from the point of view of the new terrorism argument is that while such large-scale mass casualty attacks were aberrant during the periods in which they happened, they have become the norm of terrorism over the last two decades. More importantly, the argument ignores the trends that occurred over time. After the aforementioned indiscriminate attacks by the Provisional IRA and ETA, both organisations moved in the direction of opting for surgical attacks on state and political party representatives, police and military personnel and early warnings of bomb attacks on public places. In contrast, the trajectory of the new terrorist organisation of al-Qaeda started with selective attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and selective targeting of USS Cole in Aden in 2000, then proceeded to mass killing of civilians wherever they could be found in a concentrated form, whether the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York or public transport networks in London or Madrid. Thus, while lamenting that adherents of the new terrorism thesis lack historical perspective and historical knowledge of terrorism, the critics not only ironically ignore historical trends but also adopt what may be called ‘a cherry-picking methodology’ that does not distinguish between what is atypical and what is representative. Third, critics argue that there is nothing new about horizontal terrorist networks and that such networks have existed historically (Spencer 2006: 23; Duyvesteyn 2004: 443–4; Copeland 2001: 17; Tucker 2001: 3; Masters 2008: 400). Similar to the other arguments of the critics, this claim about ‘there is nothing new’ is complemented with the claim that ‘the new is actually old’ – in this particular case, the claim that even the so-called new terrorist organisations have hierarchical elements (Spencer 2006: 23–4; Crenshaw 2008: 34). Thus, we are told, old terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah, the Palestine Liberation Organization

48  Ersun N. Kurtulus¸ (PLO), Black September, the Red Army Faction (RAF) in Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy, Action Direct in France, Active Service Units of the IRA and the anarchists of the nineteenth century were actually networks (Tucker 2001: 3). Once again, we are dealing with arbitrary interpretation of history by the critics, whereby examples are selected at random as they suit the argument and those aspects of these examples that are not compatible with the argument at hand are ignored. Some of the cases mentioned earlier are anything but clear-cut cases. For instance, the anarchist terrorists active during the late nineteenth century consisted of hierarchical organisations such as Norodnaya Volya as well as individuals who did not have any organisational or network affiliations at all. Moreover, the critics ignore the impact of ideological outlook and strategic thinking of old terrorist organisations on their organisational structures. Both ‘New Left’ terrorism of the 1960s and 1970s and ethno-nationalist terrorism of the whole twentieth century had strong imperatives to have hierarchical organisational structures. In the case of the former, this imperative was associated with the vanguard role of the proletarian party which, in accordance with Marxist-Leninist tenets, had to display ideological and organisational leadership in the class struggle. In the case of the latter, the imperative was a more practical one in the sense that to be a state-bearing organisation, the ethno-nationalist terrorist organisation had to appear as being the representative of the ethnic group for which secession was sought – something that would require both a hierarchical organisation and the elimination of potential competitors. Given this background of ideological and practical imperatives, terrorist horizontal networks, to the extent that they did exist in the past, would appear as aberrant rather than representative cases. Furthermore, the reasoning of the critics is also blurred by some conceptual confusion. They do not distinguish between networks of hierarchical terrorist organisations on the one hand, and horizontal networks as such, on the other. The PLO was nothing but a network of hierarchical organisations to the extent that three strongest organisations within this organisation in the 1970s (al-Fatah, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) had central committees and clear command structures. Furthermore, the harsh manner in which some of the aforementioned organisations dealt with dissent within the organisation (such as Sabri al-Banna in al-Fatah, Wadi Haddad in PFLP, Suphi al-Tufayli in Hezbullah and Ingeborg Barz in RAF) is indicative of strong central control in hierarchical organisations, rather than the uncontrolled inclusiveness of horizontal networks. Finally, the critics attribute a range of easily refutable arguments, as well as personal and/ or institutional agendas and material and/or ideological motivations, to the proponents of the concept of new terrorism. Thus, it is claimed that, according to the adherents of new terrorism, distinguishing characteristics of new terrorism are ‘unlimited, non-negotiable and incomprehensible goals’ (Crenshaw 2008: 27–8), its ‘transnational’ nature (Duyvesteyn 2004: 443) and that its practitioners are ‘amateurs’ (Tucker 2001:4). Moreover, one critic claims that ‘the use of weapons of mass destruction certainly does not constitute a trend as some experts have tried to make everyone believe’, and that ‘two cases [Tokyo subway attack and anthrax letters in the United States] do not form a trend’ (Duyvesteyn 2004: 448). Interestingly, there are no quotations or references to support these attributes to proponents, because to the best of my knowledge, no proponent has ever made these claims. It is also the case that all these claims are easily refutable: we all know that modern terrorism had a transnational dimension at least since the anarchist terrorists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, that al-Qaeda (the prototype new terrorist organisation) sporadically displayed willingness to negotiate and enter into a truce with the United States, that



Is there a ‘new terrorism’ in existence?  49

the operators of the same organisation were well trained and very effective in the field and, finally, that new terrorists are not using one WMD after another. Once the validity of the concept of new terrorism is allegedly refuted, critics move on to explain the reasons behind its popularity among academics. For instance, one critic claims that the concept of new terrorism ‘supports the case for major policy change – a justification for a war on terrorism, a strategy of military preemption, and homeland security that restrict civil liberties’ (Crenshaw 2008: 35; see also, Spencer 2006: 2). Another critic finds ‘institutional incentives’ behind the popularity of the concept, on the basis that the budgetary share of security agencies is dependent on the popularity of the concept of new terrorism among policymakers (Copeland 2001: 20–1). Indolence is another incentive as, in the words of a critic, ‘terrorism “experts,” especially newcomers to the field, might find it convenient not to have to take the time to study complicated history of the phenomenon’ (Crenshaw 2008: 35). Some incentives are opportunistic, according to the critics: the proponents of the concept of new terrorism may ‘see an opportunity to establish their reputation’ and ‘regard the use of the label new as a way of originality’ (Duyvesteyn 2004: 443) or ‘the debate [on the ‘New Terrorism’] boils down to money . . . the threat of superterrorism is likely to make a few defense contractors very rich and a large number of specialists moderately rich as well as famous’ (Ehud Sprinzak quoted in Zimmermann 2004: 27). These are serious accusations, and the proponents of the concept of new terrorism are within their right to ask on what basis their intellectual and academic integrity is questioned in such an aggressive manner. The critics provide no evidence to support these allegations.

Conclusion Sometime in the 1990s, the world has witnessed the emergence of a new form of terrorism which is qualitatively different from the old. This new terrorism has religious, not secular goals. It launches indiscriminate attacks against civilians that results in mass casualties, not selective attacks against state representatives, security personnel and other types of state symbols. This specific feature brings to the fore the possibility of the use of biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear weapons (WMDs) to achieve the highest possible number of casualties. The new terrorism is also organised in the form of horizontal networks with broad inclusiveness, rather than through hierarchical, vertical command structures which exercise strict control over terrorist activities and recruitment. These radical changes in terrorist activity are also a reflection of a radical change in the thinking of terrorist ideologues and strategists, who explicitly propagate for the use of horizontal networks rather than command structures and urge their proponents to kill in the largest possible numbers. Given this radical change in the nature, the structure and the tactics of contemporary terrorism, the arguments put forward by the critics of the new terrorism thesis is not convincing. First, the critics disregard empirical evidence which indicates that the proportion of religious terrorist organisations and the number of casualties per terrorist attack has increased. This change is significant. Equally significant is the change in the explicitly declared intention of new terrorists to kill civilians indiscriminately and to organise horizontally through networks. Second, although the critics assert that the new terrorism argument is based on an ahistorical understanding of terrorism, they ignore the difference between representative and atypical cases, both in contemporary terrorism and, ironically, in the history of terrorism. Finally, as shown in this chapter and elsewhere (Kurtulus¸ 2011), the critics suffer from conceptual confusion, especially when it comes to concepts such as networks and hierarchies that are crucial for distinguishing between the old and the new terrorism.

50  Ersun N. Kurtulus¸

NO: the fallacy of the new terrorism thesis Isabelle Duyvesteyn and Leena Malkki

Introduction There is something about terrorism that makes it appear ‘new’ time and again. Virtually every major attack has been described in the public debate as somehow unprecedented or as a manifestation of a new trend in terrorism. This may be partly because terrorism is inherently unpredictable and, therefore, easily appears novel. Highlighting the new qualities of an attack is also politically tempting because it provides an excuse for why attacks could not be predicted and helps justify the need for new countermeasures. The term ‘new terrorism’ emerged in the debate about terrorism in the mid-1990s. Since then, it has been popular to view terrorism as substantially different from everything that went on before. The Oklahoma City bombing and the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1995 had proven, according to several notable experts, that terrorism had crossed a new boundary (see Simon and Benjamin 2000). This was again confirmed by the 9/11 attacks (Laqueur 2001, 2003; Tucker 2001). The new terrorism thesis has its origins in the US political debates of the Clinton era. It was an integral part of the way that the terrorist threat in the post-Cold War world was constructed during his administration (Tsui 2015). Not only in the policy world but also in academics, the new terrorism claim has been actively debated since the late 1990s. There have been debates in adjacent academic fields such as war studies and counter-insurgency, where similar claims about newness have also surfaced, many of them having their roots or branches in the political debates too (van Creveld 1991; Kaldor 1999; Duyvesteyn and Angstrom 2005; Kilcullen 2010; MacKinlay 2009). The debate about the changing nature of terrorism within the terrorism studies field has declined over the past few years, but it still appears now and then in publications (see Kurtulus¸ 2011). The same applies to the policy debate. Counterterrorism policymaking continues to be grounded in the assumption that today’s terrorism presents a more severe and challenging threat than ever before. The discussion about whether and how terrorism is new is complicated by the description and delimitation of the concept of terrorism (see Chapter 1). Without wanting to regurgitate the definitional debate, many studies into terrorism have started to incorporate what analytically needs to be distinguished as ‘insurgency’. What has occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan should not be seen as terrorism  per se. Within the context of these two civil wars, militant groups have applied terrorist tactics while pursuing a subversion and insurgent strategy against foreign occupying forces (Duyvesteyn and Fumerton 2009). Neither does ISIS really resemble an actor that uses terrorism as its primary modus operandi (Cronin 2015; Whiteside 2016). As a matter of fact, many scholars have overlooked the fact that during most of the twentieth century, terrorism has been used within the context of insurgency struggles in the non-Western world, which has traditionally witnessed the most armed conflict. A campaign in which terrorism is a strategy in its own right hardly occurs in the non-Western world. Factors that explain this phenomenon include, for example, the firm control most Western states manage to exert over their territory which precludes the safe havens or liberated zones



Is there a ‘new terrorism’ in existence?  51

that are the lifelines of many insurgency organisations. Other distinguishing criteria are targets (non-military versus military), organisational features (political front organisations and shadow states) or number of victims (see Duyvesteyn and Fumerton 2009). Instead, the control of Western states makes the strategy of terrorism, relying on an avant-garde of activists living underground and committing acts of violence, more feasible as a way of advancing political agendas. This chapter  is intended to reflect on the arguments the new terrorism thinkers have brought forward in the debate. It aims to provide evidence to substantiate the argument that there is, indeed, nothing new under the sun. To be sure, the purpose of this chapter is not to argue that nothing has changed; quite the contrary. The main ideas on which this contribution rests are, first, as outlined, the idea that terrorism should be seen as a strategy; and, second, that terrorism is a social phenomenon. Social phenomena are dependent upon, and products of, their social environment. It would have been highly surprising if terrorists had not adapted to and started using the products of modern society and the fruits of globalisation – the freely accessible ideas about alternative visions on life, action and effect made available through increased information technology. An entirely different question, however, is whether these changes warrant the term ‘new terrorism’ as a category and do, indeed, ‘render much previous analysis of terrorism based on established groups obsolete’ (Lesser et al. 1999: 2). The definition of ‘new’ that we use is as follows: [‘New’] can signify that a phenomenon has not been witnessed before, such as the discovery of a new star in a far-away galaxy. Alternatively, the label ‘new’ can rightly be applied when it concerns seen before phenomena but an unknown perspective or interpretation is developed, such as the theory of relativity or the idea that the earth is round. (Duyvesteyn 2004: 439)

Terrorism: old and new Contemporary terrorism, it is claimed, is new due to five main characteristics. These characteristics are organisational features, their scope, aims, methods and means. They will be elaborated and dissected in turn. Organisation First, it is argued that the organisational structure of terrorist groups has developed from hierarchical organisations to fluid network organisations. That is, while traditional terrorist organisations such as the IRA and the RAF operated largely as hierarchical organisations with a top leadership directing cadres below, the new terrorists are said to operate in a loose network structure. More recently, it has been argued that the current operating mechanism is a ‘leaderless jihad’ (Sageman 2008). Furthermore, lone actor terrorism perpetrated by individuals who have self-radicalised has been added as a supposedly new feature of the practice of terrorism. These ideas, however, are too simplistic to describe a complex and variegated reality. First, the traditional terrorists also used network structures. Anarchism, one of the most important sources of terrorist violence in the nineteenth century, was by definition organised as a loose network (Bach Jensen 2004). In more recent history, the PLO and Hezbollah have operated fundamentally as networks with only rudimentary central control (Tucker 2001: 3–4).

52  Isabelle Duyvesteyn and Leena Malkki The organisational format that terrorist groups adopt is often a function of the environment, and importantly, the countermeasures the state enacts against it. For example, the IRA, as its name implies, used to be organised according to an army model, with regiments and brigades. This structure allowed the British to relatively easily infiltrate the organisation. As a consequence of the countermeasures, the IRA adapted its structure to become more immune to infiltration. This could also be argued for the case of Israeli countermeasures against the PLO and Hezbollah, such as the decapitation strategy which robbed these organisations of their leadership. This necessitated organisational changes which were a result of state action rather than the deliberate or conscious choice of these groups. Similar developments have inspired the idea of leaderless resistance among the US far-right (Beam 1992; Kaplan 1997). We can also witness this development in how al-Qaeda changed after 2001 from a relatively coherent organisation towards something that could better be described as an ideology or (social) movement. This view has undoubtedly also informed the way the ISIS operates in and towards the Western countries. It may also be that there is a tendency to assume that groups in the past have been more tightly and rigidly organised than they actually were because of the way the groups described themselves. Terrorist groups have often presented themselves as small armies, consisting of different units, having their own rules and military ranks for their members. While this corresponded with the way the groups would have liked to be, it did not necessarily reflect reality. The Symbionese Liberation Army, a radical leftist group which was active in California in 1973–1974, is an extreme example. It had the entire blueprint drafted for an armed revolutionary federation, complete with codes of war and military ranks. In reality, this ‘army’ consisted of a dozen members who lived together (Malkki 2010). The individuals participating in today’s networks are argued to constitute a virtual community which is supposed not to have existed before. The experts claiming this overlook the fact that ‘imagined communities’ were a crucial factor in the rise of nationalism in the nineteenth century. It is not a new phenomenon in the realm of terrorist movements either. Such imagined communities existed within the European and US leftist groups of the 1970s. While some of them were more internationally oriented than others, their worldview and strategy was strongly based on the idea that they were part of a revolutionary movement against capitalism and imperialism, with national liberation struggles in the third world presenting the front line of this struggle (Malkki 2011). Another related claim is that the role of the media has changed substantially and that this has changed the organisational parameters of terrorist activity considerably (Norris et al. 2003). Today, the terrorist movements are no longer dependent on the conventional media, but instead the Internet serves as the main conduit for terrorist messages and recruitment. Furthermore, the Internet has allegedly opened whole new avenues for interaction across boundaries and with minimal risk of getting caught. The presence of ISIS-related material on the Internet is the strongest manifestation of these possibilities at this moment. It is true that the medium has changed; the Internet is an important channel for communication and distribution of information in many fields of life, and again, terrorism is a product of society. However, one has to be careful not to overestimate the benefits that the recent changes have brought to terrorist movements. While the possibilities for virtual communication may have been extended, the real-life communication and building of underground movements seems to have become exceedingly difficult, at least in the West. Online communication is not without its difficulties; it does leave traces and building trust and alliances through the sole means of digital communication is risky (Innes 2007).



Is there a ‘new terrorism’ in existence?  53

Lone actor terrorism cannot be seen as a fundamentally new organisational aspect of terrorism either (Kaplan et al. 2014). There are many examples historically where individuals without any clear organisational structures behind them were responsible for terrorist acts (Spaaij 2010). The nineteenth-century anarchists are again an important example, as is the decade-long struggle of the FBI to try to find the Unabomber, Ted Kaczyski (Chase 2004). The idea of individuals radicalising ‘alone’ is partly misleading because it seems to ignore the social nature of the social media where these ‘self-radicalised’ individuals supposedly get their ideas. Being alone in the physical world does not mean that there is no social context to the radicalisation process. Scope A second argument is that terrorist actors have shifted from a purely national and territorial focus to a transnational and non-territorial focus in their operations. The central claim here is that traditional terrorist organisations have operated largely within one national territory with a national focus and agenda. New terrorist organisations, on the contrary, no longer limit themselves to addressing a national audience and a national agenda; instead, they operate on a worldwide scale and pursue an international agenda. This argument overlooks important features of traditional terrorist organisations. First, the national and territorial focus does apply mainly to those terrorist organisations focusing on decolonisation and nationalism, such as the campaign by the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) in Algeria and the IRA in Northern Ireland. However, even these organisations operated internationally with significant support bases in France and the United States, respectively. Terrorist groups pursuing left-wing agendas had, of course, a variety of Marxist ideals which shared a common vision that was not limited to national states or to territory, but instead focused on a worldwide revolutionary struggle. Second, these older terrorist groups possessed important transnational links themselves. Traditional terrorists practiced international exchange and cooperation, within the limits of what was feasible at the time. In the nineteenth century, there was an international anarchist movement whereby individuals would travel to different countries and circulate among anarchist groups. In more recent times, there were strong links between Marxist-inspired groups around the world, including those involved in terrorism. To give some examples of the transnational contacts in the 1970s, several European activists travelled to China where they met other like-minded activists from other countries. The Weather Underground key members, for example, met with representatives of the Vietnamese people. While these contacts involved primarily information exchange, there were also more substantial contacts. It is well known that many German and Dutch left-wing radicals received guerrilla training organised by Palestinian groups in Jordan and South Yemen. There were allegedly also logistical support networks between the German Red Army Faction and the Dutch radicals (Malkki 2010). Joint operations by people of different citizenship is not a novelty: the group that executed the OPEC attack in Vienna in 1975 serves as an example, as does the so-called Euro-terrorism of the mid-1980s, which was an attempt by the left-wing terrorist movements to join forces. In other words, not only were the traditional terrorist organisations more transnational and non-territorial than has often been allowed for, but the so-called new organisations are, in fact, more focused on national and territorial aspects than is frequently acknowledged. First, the al-Qaeda ideology explicitly strives for the unification of all states with a majority

54  Isabelle Duyvesteyn and Leena Malkki of Muslims, stretching from North Africa to South-East Asia, realising the partly territorial ideal of a caliphate. Second, an important agenda point is the removal of Western influence from the land of the three holy places and the ridding of the Middle East of regimes that are corrupted by the West. Third, the state is still seen as the most important vehicle for realising these theocratic ideals, as exemplified by ISIS. This can also be witnessed in the co-opting of Sudan and Afghanistan as staging bases for the al-Qaeda struggle. Recently, the tribal regions of Pakistan and Yemen seem to have taken over this function. Aims A third argument about the new terrorism is that the aims of the actors have moved from political agendas to a religious focus. Traditional terrorist movements are considered to have espoused nationalist or left-wing ideologies. This has recently shifted to religious inspiration and, therefore, the label ‘new’ has been applied (Ranstorp 1996; Juergensmeyer 2001). These arguments are in themselves highly contentious because they imply mono-causality, which is, of course, a fallacy. Detailed case study analysis reveals that most terrorist organisations have multiple, overlapping and highly changeable goals. Notwithstanding the serious fault in this reasoning, two questions are in order here: to what extent can the traditional terrorist organisations be considered non-religious or secular, and to what extent are the new terrorist organisations inspired by religion? First, traditional terrorist movements were hardly non-religious or purely secular. Some examples include the IRA with an almost exclusive Catholic following, Irgun which was exclusively Jewish and EOKA in Cyprus with a Greek Orthodox membership. In premodern times, as argued by David Rapoport (1984: 658), the most prevalent justification for terrorism was, in fact, religion. Second, the so-called new terrorist organisations are also influenced by secular and more mundane considerations. We have already argued that national and territorial issues play a key role for new terrorist organisations; having a long-term religiously inspired goal does not exclude the possibility of having short-term political objectives (Sedgwick 2004). Important examples are the nationalist agendas of Hamas and Hezbollah (see Gunning 2007), as is ISIS which has clear political objectives as well. An entirely different question is what kind of sociological/socio-psychological significance this alleged shift in objectives has. It has often been claimed that the religious motive makes the terrorist movement behave and think along different lines. The religious terrorists are arguably engaged in a ‘cosmic war’ ( Juergensmeyer 2001). However, it should be noted that religious movements do not have a monopoly on apocalyptic or utopian thinking. Jeremy Varon, for example, argues that the RAF and the Weather Underground had an apocalyptic dimension, including the idea that existing society is corrupt and must be destroyed and that this would make the emergence of something new and better possible. This thought, in its turn, made it possible for these groups to ‘take their violence out of the realm of political calculation’ and see it as a struggle between good and evil (Varon 2008: 35–7). Ideological motivation is a highly unstable factor by which to identify terrorist groups. Aims are flexible and, depending on time and context, one might be stressed over another. There is a large debate to what extent Islam as a religion is the motivating factor today for many groups and individuals taking up arms (see Chapter 11). In particular, political debates in many Western states show a polarisation between those parties on the right, many among which designate Islam as the main culprit for the terrorist problem, and others on the political spectrum stressing culture and context as more important than the core of the religion.



Is there a ‘new terrorism’ in existence?  55

Also, scholarly debate has been engaged in exchanges about the validity of these explanations. The majority of the academic investigations paint a nuanced picture, underlining the conclusion that aims are multilayered, highly contingent and context dependent rather than immutable (Schuurman et al. 2016). Methods A fourth argument regarding new terrorism is that the means with which terrorist attacks are carried out are shifting from conventional explosives to weapons of mass destruction (see Chapter 6). The most important instrument used to carry out a terrorist attack remains the bomb; in particular, the car bomb is experiencing unprecedented popularity (Hoffman 2001). Paradoxically, the most important instrument before the advent of dynamite, the nitroglycerine bomb, has been experiencing a small renaissance. The substance was used mostly because of a lack of alternatives but is notorious because of its instability. Weapons of mass destruction or, to be more precise, so-called NBCR (nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological) weapons, and the risks of them falling into the hands of terrorist organisations, have received a lot of attention from academics, think tanks and the popular press. According to one estimation, almost 20 per cent of the literature on terrorism focuses on weapons of mass destruction (Lum et al. 2006a: 493). The fear of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists has been discussed for a very long time: ‘warnings about the possibility that small groups, terrorists and errant states could fabricate nuclear weapons have been repeatedly uttered at least since 1947’ (Mueller 2005: 489; Jenkins 1975, 1982). However, there are only two confirmed examples of the use of such weapons with potential for mass destruction: the sarin gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyo sect in the Tokyo underground in 1995, and the anthrax letters sent in the aftermath of 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States. Although they were highly threatening, two examples hardly constitute a trend. Furthermore, the second example lacks a clearly identified sender and could, therefore, be excluded from the terrorist frame; we still do not know who aimed to benefit with what motive. Even if the terrorists were looking at causing more destruction than before, it does not mean that the use of weapons of mass destruction would be imminent. Noteworthy is the observation of John V. Parachini, that those who wish to inflict mass casualties, especially those with some level of professionalism, have tended to opt for conventional means, presumably because of the unpredictability that unavoidably comes with using the so-called NBCR material (Parachini 2001). The discussion also suffers from terminological imprecision. The term ‘weapons of mass destruction’ seems to increasingly relate more to the effect of mass casualties rather than the composition of the specific weapon used. To talk about NBCR weapons (and even less NBCR material, as such) as weapons of mass destruction is hardly more precise, because they are not always weapons of mass destruction by their effect. The influence of the nonproliferation think tanks, so prominent during the Cold War period and still in existence today, can be felt in this area. Means Finally, it is argued that the means used by terrorists have changed in the effect they seek, from small-scale bomb attacks and airplane hijacking to mass casualty attacks. This contention is based on two false premises. First, small arms can have large-scale effects. Even

56  Isabelle Duyvesteyn and Leena Malkki small explosives can produce large numbers of victims. Carried out with a truckload of conventional explosives, the 1983 attack on a US marine barracks in Lebanon, which cost the lives of over 200 US marines, was at the time described as beyond all boundaries (Fisk 1990). Anders Behring Breivik managed to kill 69 people in Utøya Island in July 2011 with a semiautomatic rifle and a pistol, and Omar Mateen killed 49 people in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June 2016, similarly with a semiautomatic rifle and a pistol. Second, mass casualties are not a recent phenomenon. It is a consistent feature of discussions about terrorism to describe the effect as boundless and inhuman. This applies to the nineteenth century as much as today (Miller 1995: 31). Scholars have found time and again that the number of victims per terrorist attack is on the increase since the start of the 1980s (Hoffman 1998: 94, 201). This trend does not coincide with the supposed development of the new terrorism since the mid-1990s. Furthermore, it has been argued that the choice of targets of the new terrorists is increasingly indiscriminate. We tend to forget here that the last decade of the nineteenth century has been described as the decade of political murder, with attacks focusing on individuals, in particular heads of state, which crossed many existing boundaries at the time. Both the old and the new terrorists seek highly specific and individual targets as well as more symbolic and general targets. The plots to kill President George W. Bush and the detonation of bombs on the Madrid and London public transport systems could purportedly have had the same effect. What seems to be overlooked in many of these claims is the so-called law of diminishing returns, whereby every subsequent attack has to strike harder in order to attain the same effect (Laqueur 2001: 108). The shift from highly specific to more indiscriminate targeting may also occur because security arrangements have made it increasingly difficult to target high-level politicians and public figures. This is called the substitution effect, which plays a major role in terrorism (Arce and Sandler 2005; Enders and Sandler 2005). Statistical studies have indicated that the ‘War on Terror’ has already given rise to shifts in types of attacks, namely, less sophisticated bombings and shifts from US targets to Western allies, as seen in the London, Madrid and Bali bombings (Enders and Sandler 2005; Rosendorf and Sandler 2004). The decapitations and other shocking violent attacks by ISIS can also be placed in this continuum.

Observations and conclusions What is truly new in the field of terrorism is the increased political attention it attracts and the huge impetus scholarship has received since 2001 (see Chapter 2). The key question is whether the combination of the developments examined previously deserves the label ‘new’? The trends brought up by new terrorism thinkers may exist in some form, but they do not form such dramatic developments as is suggested, and, therefore, do not add up to a phenomenon we might call ‘new terrorism’. The trends are not as intertwined as the argument tends to portray. While Aum Shinrikyo was fascinated with weapons of mass destruction, the organisational form it adopted was decidedly hierarchical and did not take the flat, diffuse network shape. Furthermore, Hamas, an example of an allegedly religiously motivated movement active today does not share the main characteristics and aspirations ascribed to the new terrorism thesis (Gunning 2007). Instead, we are dealing with a series of developments that have not affected the phenomenon of terrorism as a concept and as a strategy in any uniform or universal manner (see, for example, Neumann 2009). These developments reinforce the need to refine our understanding of terrorism. This contribution has attempted to show that when taking a much needed



Is there a ‘new terrorism’ in existence?  57

and closer look at the history of terrorism, there is nothing that suggests that we are dealing with an entirely new phenomenon that makes all previous research on terrorism redundant. The realities of terrorism remain more complex than the policymakers would like to have it, but refusing to pay attention to historical parallels and diversity in terrorist movements may lead to grave misjudgements and wasted resources.

Discussion questions 1 What are the main claims of the ‘new terrorism’ argument? 2 Is religion a new and dominant feature of terrorism? 3 If the motivations and choices of the ‘new terrorist’ groups are based on religious belief and appear broad and diffuse, does this mean that they are irrational? 4 What are the strengths and weaknesses of the ‘new terrorism’ argument? 5 Do critics of the ‘new terrorism’ thesis apply a cherry-picking approach? 6 What are some of the academic and political implications of arguing that there is a ‘new terrorism’ in existence? 7 Do the detractors and proponents of the ‘new terrorism’ thesis agree on anything? Why or why not? 8 What are some of the intrinsic or extrinsic factors that can cause transformations among terrorist organisations and the way they operate? 9 What are some of the current trends and elements of terrorism that can lead to future challenges for nation states and for the international community? 10 What can history teach us about the evolution and nature of terrorism?

Further readings Duyvesteyn, I., 2004. ‘How New Is the New Terrorism’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 27(5): 439–54. Kaplan, J., Lööw, H., and Malkki, L., 2014. ‘Introduction to the Special Issue on Lone Wolf and Autonomous Cell Terrorism’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 26(1): 1–12. Kurtulus¸, E., 2011. ‘The “New Terrorism” and Its Critics’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 34(6): 476–500. Lesser, I., Arquilla, J., Ronfeldt, D., Hoffman, B., Zanini, M., and Jenkins, B., 1999. Countering the New Terrorism, Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Neumann, P., 2009. Old and New Terrorism: Late Modernity, Globalization and the Transformation of Political Violence, Cambridge: Polity Press. Rapoport, D., 2004. ‘The Four Waves of Modern Terrorism’, in Cronin, A. and Ludes, J., eds., Attacking Terrorism: Elements of a Grand Strategy, Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. Sedgwick, M., 2007. ‘Inspiration and the Origins of Global Waves of Terrorism’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 30: 97–112. Simon, S., and Benjamin, D., 2000. ‘America and the New Terrorism’, Survival, 42(1): 59–75.

4 Can states be terrorists?

YES: terrorism is an equal opportunity tactic Scott Englund and Michael Stohl

Introduction Terrorism as a topic of current interest is tragically continually reinforced. Since the publication of the first edition of this volume, a reinvigorated spectre of terrorism has risen in Syria and Iraq. In that conflict, one is witness to acts of violence perpetrated by both a state, the Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad, and a non-state (or perhaps proto-state) actor which calls itself the Islamic State. This violence, while condemnable, is not senseless – the perpetrators have a political objective. The conflict that consumes Syria and parts of Iraq stands as a case study in the diverse forms terrorism can take. In this chapter, we will argue that states can be terrorists. First, we will exposit the etymology of the term terrorism, pointing out that the word came to the English language in reference to state terrorism. Second, we will advance a definition of terrorism that focuses on the act of violence itself, rather than on the perpetrators or victims of violence. Then we will turn to arguments that reject the concept of state terrorism, finishing with a critique of Wight’s argument presented in the first edition of this volume.

The etymology of terrorism The term ‘terrorism’ entered the English language in the aftermath of La Terreur (The Reign of Terror) to refer to the revolutionary state’s systematic use of violence against French citizens. The term ‘terrorist’ was applied to Robespierre, Saint Just and others of the committee of Public Safety (Kropotkin 1927; Bienvenu 1970: 228–30). The French word for terror itself had ancient roots. It was derived from the Latin verb terrere, which meant ‘to frighten’. The term was applied to the terror cimbricus, as a panic and state of emergency in Rome in response to the approach of warriors of the Cimbri tribe in 105 bc. The Romans employed the spectre of terror themselves as a core component of their power in the aftermath of conquest, as a response to slave uprisings and rebellion and towards criminals through the use of crucifixion, which was intended not only as a punishment of the victim but as a message to the audience that bore witness.

Can states be terrorists?  59 The questions of whether the state can be a terrorist, or if the concept of state terror is a useful concept, are relatively new. In fact, discussions of the state as terrorist and the implications of state terror have been the subject of many of the twentieth century’s most significant scholars of political violence and the state. These studies of state terror provided some of the finest analytic work on terrorism and how and why it works within the political process. These works included Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism (1968), Robert Conquest’s The Great Terror (1968), Barrington Moore’s Terror and Progress – USSR (1966), E. V. Walter’s Terror and Resistance (1969), and Alexander Dallin and George Breslauer’s Political Terror in Communist Systems (1970). Much of this work came in response to the historical reality of the rise of what were called the totalitarian states – the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the People’s Republic of China. Scholars observed, for example, three phases in the Bolshevik regime’s terror. First, terror was employed against counterrevolutionaries in the immediate aftermath of the Revolution and the end of World War I. Second, the terror was directed against the wealthy peasants (kulaks) during the 1920s and 1930s. Finally, as had been the case in the French Revolution, state terror was used increasingly against party members and state administrators who became victims of the very regime that they had helped create. In the end, as Khrushchev’s 1956 denunciation of Stalin indicated (Khrushchev 1956), within the Soviet Union no one would ever be above suspicion and thus every Soviet citizen perceived themselves a potential victim of state terror. The result, as Duvall and Stohl (1983: 242) have argued, was that fear lingered long after the violent periods and the extremes of state terror. However, despite this long history and knowledge of the utility of the act and threat of violence to coerce and intimidate, as well as the etymological roots of the word ‘terrorism’ and its original association in English as a concept with the ‘reign of terror’ of the French revolutionary regime of Robespierre, many contemporary scholars who consider themselves experts on ‘terrorism’ refuse to consider the violence perpetrated by the state against its own population or those of states beyond their borders as ‘terrorism’, reserving the term instead for use only for those challenging the state. Some have even argued that the two are so dissimilar as to be two different concepts: ‘I cannot help but feel that state terrorism is actually a rhinoceros which has strayed close to our terrorism elephant. So while there are similarities between the two, they are ultimately two different creatures’ (Silke 1996: 22). This transition in scholarly attention can be traced primarily to the dramatic rise of Palestinian terrorism in the latter part of the 1960s which, taking part in the aftermath of the colonial uprisings in places such as Kenya, Algeria and Vietnam in the 1940s–1960s, focused new attention on the problem of state security. In the beginning of this transition, as insurgent terrorism re-emerged as an international problem and attracted greater public attention, scholars such as Thornton (1966) saw no need to discard the concept of state terrorism, but rather distinguished between agitational terrorism and enforcement terrorism, reserving the former for terrorism against the state and the latter for terrorism by the state. Thus, as Teichman (1989: 508) argues, there are clear etymological and historical arguments for the concept of state terror.

Conceptualising terrorism Before engaging the argument of contemporary scholars who deny that there is such a thing as state terror and that the state cannot be referred to as terrorist, it is useful to discuss the political choices that are involved in developing a useful social science definition of terrorism (see Chapter 1), as well as the implications of these choices for discussing state terrorism.

60  Scott Englund and Michael Stohl As we shall see, one can declare that there is no state terrorism by simply defining it out of existence, as has often been the case when the defining actor represents the state within international fora or the legislative branch. Such an approach is political rather than conceptual. The same process is employed to label the terrorist of which one approves as ‘freedom fighters’ and those that one does not as ‘terrorists’. There is no firm conceptual ground to do so, however. Terrorism, as a social science concept, is an act that describes a particular relationship among perpetrator(s), victim(s) and audience(s). While there is much disagreement within the scholarly community as to the exact definition of terrorism – see, among many others, Schmid (2009/2011) who has catalogued more than 200 definitions of terrorism used in the social science and policy literature – many of these definitions attempt to ‘refine’ the concept so that it applies only to certain actors and circumstances. When one reviews the definitions that Schmid identifies, it is clear that there is significant agreement that a definition of terrorism should include the following components: ‘There is an act in which the perpetrator intentionally employs violence (or its threat) to instill fear (terror) in a victim and the audience of the act or threat.’ You will notice that these core items in bold do not include terms which limit the perpetrators or the victims to particular ‘classes’ of persons, either ‘sub-national agents’ or ‘noncombatants’, as does the definition found in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d): The term ‘terrorism’ means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. Much of the same limitations are built into the argument by Wight (2009: 102). The limit on perpetrators clearly is intended to limit the act of terrorism to actors who oppose the state. This is sensible for a state’s definition of something it wishes to outlaw. The limit on targets has had the unintended effect of preventing the single most deadly act of terrorism against the United States before 9/11, the first major suicide bombing in which Hezbollah targeted United States and French Marines in Lebanon and killed 299 servicemen in their barracks, as being listed as terrorism – unless the marines are redefined as non-combatants because they were sleeping in their barracks and not in the ‘ready’ position. Terrorism blurs the distinction between combatants and non-combatants, whether they are the perpetrators or victims of violence. Breaking down traditional categories does not preclude the state from engaging in terrorism. Thomas Schelling (1966: 27) addressed this trend in terms of twentieth-century warfare: In fact, noncombatants appeared to be primary targets at both ends of the scale of warfare; thermonuclear war threatened to be a contest in the destruction of cities and populations; and, at the other end of the scale, insurgency is almost entirely terroristic. We live in an era of dirty war. This ‘dirty’ era of war makes the definition of a legitimate target, combatant, and means of fighting less distinct. We would propose an actor-neutral definition of terrorism: Terrorism is the purposeful act or the threat of the act of violence to create fear and/or compliant behaviour in a victim and/or audience of the act or threat. This definition works in both a non-political and political context. In the non-political context, such as that of threats issued by a criminal organisation like the Mafia,

Can states be terrorists?  61 it is ‘making an offer that one cannot refuse’. In the political context, terrorism is a political act, using violence instrumentally to achieve a political purpose. This definition focuses upon the act or threat of the act of violence and the victim and audience to whom it is directed (see Stohl 1988 for further discussion of the implications). It is crucial to understand that the victims of the violent act must be distinguished from the multiple targets of the act, that is, the audience(s) of that violence. Further, this definition focuses on behaviour, is neutral as to the perpetrator(s) of the act and does not differentiate among perpetrators who are in-groups or out-groups, state or non-state actors or legitimate or illegitimate governments who are wielders of the violence. Terrorism as a political strategy frees the term from any particular ideology or actor and the legitimacy of the political objective. As Jackson (2011: 121, original emphasis) wrote, It is clear terrorism is a term for describing a particular act or strategy of political violence . . . it is a violent strategy or tactic of political struggle which actors can employ to try to achieve their specific goals; it is a means to some kind of political end. In addition, this definition also helps to distinguish terrorism from other forms of political violence (whether by state or non-state actors). Not all acts of state violence are terrorism. It is important to emphasise that in terrorism the violence, threatened or perpetrated, has purposes broader than simply physical harm to a victim. In the most extreme form of mass killing, when the state engages in a policy of genocide by attempting to eliminate an entire identity group (such as the Tutsis in Rwanda, Jews and the Roma across Europe by the Nazis), the murder of the victims is the end in itself. The perpetrators do not pursue their killing to influence a wider audience; likewise when a state engages in ‘ethnic cleansing’, as occurred during the wars that followed the breakup of the Yugoslav state. However, in terrorism, the audience of the act or threat of violence is more important than the immediate victim; hence, the oft-cited Chinese maxim, ‘Kill one, frighten 10,000’, attributed to Sun Tzu. Describing a modern application of this theory, Thomas Schelling (1966: 17) explained, These weapons [the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan] were weapons of terror and shock. They hurt, and promised more hurt, and that was their purpose . . . The bomb that hit Hiroshima was a threat aimed at all of Japan. The political target of the bomb was not the dead of Hiroshima, or the factories they worked in, but the survivors in Tokyo. When terrorists secure media coverage of their acts, they reach a far wider audience than solely through their violence and their victims are the means of communicating a political message to others. This is not to say that terrorists are always open about their activity or that they seek mediated publicity. They are not. Campaigns of murder, both covert and overt, are all too well known. From the victims of Stalin’s terror, to ‘los desaparecidos’ (the disappeared) of the authoritarian regimes of the 1970s and 1980s in Latin America, the state employed fear to achieve compliance from its political opponents (Duvall and Stohl 1983). When we consider acts of terrorism, we need to recognise that the actions are denoted by three key elements which correspond quite directly to those enumerated by Walter (1969). First, threatened or perpetrated violence is directed at some victim. Second, the violent actor intends for violence to induce terror in witnesses (mediated or unmediated) who are

62  Scott Englund and Michael Stohl generally distinct from the victim – the victim is instrumental. Third, the violent actor intends or expects that the terrorised witnesses will effectuate a desired outcome, either directly (in which case the witness is the target) or indirectly (in which case the witnesses and the target are distinct – the witness is also instrumental). The process of terrorism may thus be characterised as consisting of three component parts: the act or threat of violence, the emotional reaction to such an act or threat and the social effects resultant from the acts and reaction. States as political actors have committed such acts of terror and often with far greater effect than insurgents (see Stohl 1979; Blakeley 2009; Jackson et al. 2011).

Objections to the notion of state terrorism As indicated earlier, there are those who argue that the State cannot be a terrorist and that state terrorism is not a meaningful concept. Wight (2009: 101) for example, argued that the state is, the organisation that (successfully) claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory  .  .  . If part of any definition of terrorism includes the notion of ‘illegitimate force’ then the concept of ‘state terrorism’ is a contradiction in terms. . . . the Weberian dictum is an essential part of the modern state and that terrorism always involves illegitimate violence carried out by non-state actors. So there can be no such thing as state terrorism. Observant readers will note that Wight (as indicated previously) has slipped into what we have argued earlier are two non-essential components for a definition of terrorism – legitimacy and non-state actors. In Weber’s formulation, he argues that ‘the state is a relation of men dominating men, a relation supported by means of legitimate (i.e. considered to be legitimate) violence’ (Weber 1958: 78). For many, the meaning of ‘legitimate’ in this context is subject to controversy. To some, it has normative meaning – that the state should monopolise force; to others, it has positive meaning – that the people accept the ‘legitimacy’ of the state monopoly. Even though some violence by legitimate states tends to be considered well within the legitimate practices of the state (and hence not terrorist in nature), as Crelinsten (1987: 440) has argued, the legitimacy and power of the state tend to cloak any overt forms of its violence in different guises, such as arrests instead of abduction, imprisonment instead of hostagetaking, execution instead of murder and coercive diplomacy instead of blackmail. However, these language substitutions constitute the power of framing, not the legitimacy of actions. Not all actions by a legitimate government and state are in themselves legitimate simply because the state (or its officials) commits them. Rather, as Claridge (1996: 48, original emphasis) argues: ‘when a state uses violence as a means of coercing society, rather than defending it, it initiates an abuse of the “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force” ’. State actors do, in fact, violate the laws of the state and are frequently held accountable by the judicial system for those acts. Judges, administrative officials and legislators are impeached or prosecuted in democratic systems when they are found guilty of such violations of the law. Their actions are not considered legitimate (or legal) simply because they hold a state office. In the specific example of the use of violence, officers of the law can be prosecuted for their excessive or unauthorised use of force. There are also numerous examples of members of

Can states be terrorists?  63 the police and security forces employing violent ‘extrajudicial’ means, either as ‘private’ citizens, and/or with the full connivance of the authorities of the state to accomplish political ends for which ‘normal’ mechanisms are conceived of as either too slow or cumbersome. For example, in the 1980s, Prime Minister Gonzalez of Spain employed various extrajudicial means against the Basques, including the GAL (Anti-Terrorist Liberation Groups), with the justification that ‘democracy is defended in the sewers as well as the salons’ (Woodworth 2001: 235). Many additional examples may be found in Stohl (1979). Wight (2009: 102) further argued that the special status of the state as the holder of the monopoly of violence imposes other obligations on those who proffer a concept of state terrorism: Moreover, it is incumbent on those keen to defend the notion of ‘state terrorism’ to provide an account of why a particular form of state activity is terrorism and not another form of violence, and they do not seem to have fared too well in this respect so far. We agree that it is important to delimit the concept of state terrorism and not to confuse it with any violence committed by the state or other misuses of state power. However, we should first confront the misuse of power by the state. As Gurr (1986: 49) argued: State terror should be judged not in the absolute but against some standard. Normatively, the standard might be that of international law (which at present condemns genocide but not state terrorism), or the domestic laws of the state in question, or the laws of culturally similar states, or some not-yet-codified conception of global human rights. Next, we should distinguish different means by which the power of the state may be employed to manipulate and coerce a population. A  starting point is the introduction of the concept of oppression to describe the situation where social and economic privileges are denied to whole classes of people, regardless of whether they oppose the authorities, and repression as the use of coercion or the threat of coercion against opponents or potential opponents in order to prevent or weaken their capability to oppose the authorities and their policies (Bissell et al. 1978: 9). Whereas the manipulation of violence is the core mechanism of terrorism, oppression and repression, while relying on the power of the state, are not defined by violence. They rely instead on the structures of power to enforce obedience to rule (regardless of the ‘legitimacy’ of rule). Oppression, repression and terrorism may thus be concurrent and coordinated policies and actions, but they are nonetheless different phenomena and should be distinguished. In the case of state activities, it is useful to see terrorism as the most delimited of the phenomena reliant on the manipulation of violence to influence the wider audience, whereas oppression determines the political arena within which repression and terrorism often transpire. It is also important to recognise, as the justifications provided by Robespierre and Trotsky remind us, that ‘in reality, most terrorism occurs in the context of wider political and social struggles in which the use of terrorism is one strategy among other more routine forms of contentious action’ (Tilly 2004: 6), and we should not be surprised, therefore, that its use is not reserved for only one class of political actor, those that challenge the state, to employ. Thus, not surprisingly, we agree with Jackson (2009: 13): As such, there is no deontological reason which precludes an actor – state or non-state – from engaging in acts of terrorism as part of a broader political strategy. . . . to suggest

64  Scott Englund and Michael Stohl that when agents representing a state engage in the very same actions as non-state actors . . . it automatically ceases to be terrorism is illogical and analytically unworkable. There is a further reason for not concluding, as did Silke, that state terrorism and non-state terrorism are a rhinoceros and an elephant. As indicated earlier, much of the finest analytic work by scholars on the problem of terrorism and the decisions of terrorists were directed at state terrorism and state terrorists. Contemporary scholars of terrorism who ignore this work deny themselves a wealth of insight. Further, as Maxwell Taylor (1988: 40) wrote: A consideration of state terrorism allows us to examine the problem [of insurgency terrorism] from a different and rather less familiar perspective. . . . By ‘peeling’ away the complications arising out of our everyday view of terrorism as the activity of a secret or underground society, we can better come to look at terrorism as a process, and attempt to identify the particular kind of acts that characterise it.

Addressing Wight’s argument In the first edition of this volume, Wight (2009) attacked the utility of the term ‘state terror’ by asking, ‘who needs it?’ Indeed, Wight condemns the concept of state terror as providing no analytical insight. However, there are two problems with his argument. First, Wight offers no definition of terrorism, not his own, or a borrowed one for use. Instead, Wight (2009: 52) argues that ‘the consensus of public discourse treats the issue [terrorism] as related primarily to non-state actors’. Then he asserts that social scientists cannot simply dismiss this definition as flawed and (Wight 2009) lays out what needs to be done to correct a potentially flawed public consensus: ‘in short, the social scientist has to demonstrate why the lay actors’ accounts are wrong’. Wight believes this daunting task requires ‘sustained engagement with the problematic concepts of the state and terrorism’, and concludes that ‘thus far, terrorism studies have not satisfactorily resolved the definitional issue of terrorism, let alone the issue of state terrorism.’ We argue here that claiming that a theoretical concept is difficult to define, and all attempts as yet have been unsuccessful, does not lead to the conclusion that the contested concept cannot exist, and has no meaning. In fact, we have argued here that the concept of state terrorism has experienced ‘sustained engagement’ for decades, if not centuries. The state as terrorist was, in fact, the origin of the concept of terrorism itself. Second, Wight has selectively engaged the concept of state terrorism, limiting his critique to the work of Richard Jackson (2008) and Ruth Blakeley (2009). Wight’s (2009: 56) main argument is that their concept of state terror is so expansive as to be meaningless. Wight argues that Jackson and Blakeley, ‘conflate terror with terrorism’. This analytical confusion, borne of a flawed definition of terrorism (of Walter’s (1969), endorsed by Blakeley), could lead one to call all sorts of things ‘terrorism’ which are not commonly understood to be so. This definition, Wight (2009: 54) complains, could equally well apply to criminal gangs or many other aspects of social practice; a father perhaps, who controls his family by the selective use of violence and threats of violence. Likewise a director of horror movies instrumentally uses their actors to install terror and fear into their audience. One of Wight’s criticisms with Jackson and Blakeley’s definition is that ‘it makes no mention of terrorism as a distinctly political practice’ (Wight 2009: 53, original emphasis). As

Can states be terrorists?  65 we have indicated earlier, there are non-political as well as political contexts for terrorism. However, setting up, then knocking down, the definitions of two scholars and then claiming that these definitions represent an entire theoretical concept is not the same as refuting the broader theoretical concept entirely. Were one to agree that Jackson and Blakeley have made an argument based on some claims that are contestable, it would not mean that a more limited construction of state terrorism is impossible, or that no one else has ever engaged in advancing such a theoretical construction. Indeed, we have advanced such an argument here.

Conclusion In the preceding, we have answered the question ‘can states be terrorists?’ in the affirmative and have established the etymological, historical and contemporary existence of state terrorism. We have argued that the questions of whether the state can be terrorist or if the concept of state terror is a useful concept are relatively new and that the state as terrorist and the implications of state terror were the subject of many of the twentieth century’s most significant scholars of political violence and the state. We have addressed the main arguments put forth by those who argue the negative and in addition to explaining why and how states can be terrorists, we have explored how only certain forms of state violence should be defined as terrorism and separated from the many other means by which the state can invoke its power. In short, we have established that states as actors commit acts of terrorism. To deny the existence of state terrorism as a concept ignores significant scholarship and creates further impediment to understanding the context, conditions and implications of the decision calculus of all political actors who engage in the instrumental use of violence and the manipulation of audiences and the political process. In an era of barrel bombs used by the Syrian government against its own people, the concept of state terrorism is front page news on nearly a daily basis. Indeed, the conflict that now embroils Syria and large sections of Iraq is a case study in how terrorism is a practice freely used by state and non-state actors alike. Both the Syrian government and the ‘Islamic State’ are both frequently charged with terrorising the people under their control. It would be difficult to make a convincing argument to the contrary. Both the Syrian government and the Islamic State have political objectives and in pursuing those they have employed a mixture of coercive methods, conventional warfare, terrorist violence, psychological warfare and even strategic communication to achieve them. Terrorism is but one facet of their divergent political strategies.

NO: state terrorism: who needs it? Colin Wight

Introduction In this chapter, I focus attention on one important area of dispute concerning the definition of terrorism. Does, or should, the study of terrorism include the concept of state terrorism? My argument runs counter to that of Scott Englund and Michael Stohl, who argue that some forms of state violence can be considered to be terrorism. To understand my argument, it is

66  Colin Wight necessary to grasp the difference between what I call an inflationary definition of terrorism and a deflationary definition. An inflationary definition inflates the number of acts that can be considered to be terrorism under its terms of reference. A deflationary account limits the number of acts that can legitimately fall under the definition. Both approaches have political consequences. My approach is strongly deflationary. Those who advocate for state terrorism are strongly inflationary. In the spirit of academic exchange, I will first engage directly with Englund and Stohl’s critique of my argument and then demonstrate why we have no need for the concept of state terrorism (for a more detailed development of this argument, see Wight 2015).

Straw man or not? Assessing Englund and Stohl’s argument for state terrorism In the previous edition of this chapter, I focused on the emerging work in this area coming from that branch of terrorism research known as critical terrorism studies (CTS) (see Chapter 2). I made my reasons for this choice clear and acknowledged that the issue of state terrorism had been comprehensively covered in the literature before the emergence of CTS (Wight 2009). Thus, it is strange that Englund and Stohl should accuse me of dealing with the issue as a ‘straw man’ fallacy, or perhaps reductio ad absurdum by selectively engaging two particular discussions of state terrorism in order to claim that no definition of state terrorism is possible and the entire concept is without intellectual merit. Now, Englund and Stohl do not argue that my assessment of CTS is incorrect. Their argument seems to be that I am guilty of using the work of Jackson and Blakeley to claim ‘that these definitions represent an entire theoretical concept’ and that even if one were ‘to agree that Jackson and Blakeley have made an argument based on some claims that are contestable, [it would] not mean that a more limited construction of state terrorism is impossible, or that no one else has ever engaged in advancing such a theoretical construction’. There is a straightforward way to deal with this critique. That is to demonstrate that the account of state terrorism advanced by Englund and Stohl suffers from the same problems as that of Jackson and Blakeley. And, if one examines the definition of terrorism advanced by Englund and Stohl, one can see how the inflationary definition of terrorism they employ is both consistent with that developed by Jackson and Blakeley and does effectively make the concept analytically and politically meaningless. According to Englund and Stohl, ‘Terrorism is the purposeful act or the threat of the act of violence to create fear and/or compliant behaviour in a victim and/or audience of the act or threat’. All of the problems I identified with Jackson and Blakeley’s inflationary definition apply to this definition. Any form of violence, or the threat of violence, is covered under this definition, apart from perhaps acts of sadomasochism, which are intended to produce pleasure, albeit through the use of pain and fear. Englund and Stohl’s definition would include all criminal acts involving violence. It would include acts such as parental smacking aimed at altering the behaviour of a child. It would include acts of domestic violence intended to exercise control over members of the family. It would make all police violence aimed at restoring social order to be forms of terrorism. In short, it is difficult to see what acts of violence would not come under this definition. Hence, as a definition of terrorism, it is meaningless. What Englund and Stohl have provided is an account of the fear that follows from violence, not terrorism. If all violence is terrorism, then the term ‘terrorism’ is redundant. Why claim that this kind of violence or the threat of violence is terrorism if the introduction of

Can states be terrorists?  67 the label terrorism adds nothing to the definition. It is just violence. Or to rephrase it, ‘Violence is the purposeful act or the threat of physical force to create fear and/or compliant behaviour in a victim and/or audience of the act or threat’. So the charge that I have intentionally engaged in a straw man fallacy is incorrect. Englund and Stohl’s definition, like that of Jackson and Blakeley, is too expansive to be of use in a social science context. Much the same can be said of the other issue that they raise concerning an alleged political motive to exclude state violence from the definition of terrorism. Here, I’ll simply issue a defiant mea culpa. Exactly, I want to exclude state violence from considerations of terrorism. Why? Because we do not need it. It is not an innocent neglect on my behalf. It is not an unforeseen or unintended consequence that I had missed. It is a deliberate and explicit strategy to limit the scope of what can be considered terrorism. But the fact that it is intentional does not make the argument invalid. Indeed, Englund and Stohl’s definition can be criticised on precisely the same grounds. That is, that they want an inflationary definition so as to include state violence under the concept of terrorism. Why? Because like many working in this field that consider terrorism to be the worst form of violence, they wish to include state violence in that critique. I disagree. State violence is far worse, far more destructive, and far more consequential for the international political system than terrorism.

The problem with the concept of state terrorism There are three strong arguments against the concept of state terrorism. First, is an argument based on the relationship between theory and practice that is unique to the social sciences and the nature of social objects. All academic subjects need to define their objects of enquiry. Without such a definition, researchers cannot be sure they are researching the same object domain. When natural scientists define their objects of enquiry, they do not need to take into account how the objects understand their own situations. In the social sciences, on the other hand, the practices of the actors we study are embedded within selfunderstandings that draw on concepts that the social sciences are trying to explain. Thus, when analysing terrorism, for example, part of the specification of that object are the beliefs and concepts of the actors involved in the practice. Hence, the social scientists’ account of the phenomena under study have to, in some ways, map onto the understandings of the actors involved in the study. Or, as Conor Gearty has put it, the meaning of terrorism ‘is moulded by government, the media and in popular usage, not by academic departments’ (Gearty 1991: 6). The social sciences cannot just attach any name and/or meaning to the objects they study in the same manner as the natural sciences, because social objects are already named and infused with meaning. We do not have to give these lay accounts precedence, and it may well be that a social scientific account corrects the lay accounts of terrorism in fundamental ways. After all, we have no reason to assume that the actors involved in a given practice will always understand the totality of that practice, and politicians and the media cannot be given sole authority to use a term in any way they desire. However, even when a correction of a given actors’ set of beliefs around a phenomenon is required, it can take place only through an engagement with those concepts. In terms of terrorism, the consensus of public discourse treats the issue as related primarily to nonstate actors. Now, assuming for a moment that these public understandings of terrorism are flawed, then any academic account that attempts to correct them has to be able to demonstrate why these accounts are so prevalent, as well as explaining how more expansive

68  Colin Wight views are relevant. In short, the social scientist has to explain why the lay actors’ accounts are wrong and defend the benefit of any expanded definition. Thus far, terrorism studies have not satisfactorily resolved the definitional issue of terrorism, let alone the subject of state terrorism. Hence, it is difficult to see how the concept of state violence can have much purchase in the public domain. Whatever the moral merits of criticising state drone attacks on terrorist leaders, the vast majority of people would not describe this as terrorism. The second argument concerns the flattening out of all distinctions between different forms of violence that occurs when all state violence is treated as terrorism. Both Richard Jackson and Ruth Blakeley argue that a sustained analysis of ‘state terrorism’ has been missing from terrorism studies ( Jackson 2008; Blakeley 2009). Thus, according to them, any definition of terrorism has to be broad enough to encompass state terrorism. It is easy enough to see the problem here. Both Jackson and Blakeley begin with a set of state practices they find problematic and then adjust the definition of terrorism in such a way that those state practices can fall under the new definition of terrorism; in effect, they begin from the assumption that there is such a thing as state terrorism and adjust the definition of terrorism to accommodate it. Now all of the state practices that Jackson and Blakeley want to bring under the label of state terrorism are, in fact, dealt with comprehensively in the literature; they are simply not referred to as forms of terrorism. Blakeley accepts this, arguing that work on repression, ethnic cleansing, genocide and authoritarianism is prevalent in the discipline and cognate areas (see, for example, Gareau 2004; Marchak 1999). Indeed, if such literature is widely available, what do we gain by encompassing it under the already confused rubric of terrorism? Following Robert E. Goodin (2006), Jackson and Blakeley are effectively asking: why is it that similar acts of violence (such as a bomb on a plane) are treated as terrorism when planted by non-state agents but something else when planted by state agents? Now this implies that the act itself and not (also) the intentions and aims of the actors are the sole determinant of how the act is understood. This is a very behaviourist account of social action. Consider the following counter argument. Consider two humans having limbs removed. Are both being tortured, or is one being tortured and the other subject to a lifesaving amputation? The act (the removal of the limb) is the same, but does the same description fit both acts? The same can be said about the bomb example; it makes sense to compare the two acts as one and the same only if we already assume some significant details are the same in both instances, details we do not have. So were the state agents acting with, or without, the authority of the state? Were the people on the plane civilians, military personnel or perhaps even fanatics of some kind or other intent on flying the plane into a shopping centre, or some other public space? To say that there is a similarity between two acts is not the same as saying they are identical. The ethical and political motives of Jackson and Blakeley are admirable: it is just the tactic that is confused. Both are intending to demonstrate how the violence perpetrated by states is worse than that committed by non-state actors. On this, I agree, but argue that nothing is gained, apart from analytical confusion, through discussing such violence as terrorism. So just what is state terrorism for Jackson and Blakeley? Both conflate terror with terrorism. Jackson, for example, argues that there is within the literature on terrorism virtually no mention or discussion of ‘Western state terrorism, the terror of strategic bombing, the terror of democratic state torture’ and so on ( Jackson 2008: 382). Likewise, Blakeley approvingly cites Eugene Victor Walter’s (1969) problematic definition of terrorism, which is centrally concerned with the use of violence to spread terror. Now, it is clear that terror is not the same thing as terrorism, and Walter’s definition of terrorism demonstrates why the two need to be

Can states be terrorists?  69 distinguished. According to Walter, terrorism involves three key features: first is threatened or perpetrated violence directed at a victim, second is a violent actor that intends the use of violence to induce terror in some witness who is distinct from the victim (in other words, the victim is a means not an end), and third, the violent actor intends or expects that the terrorised witnesses to the violence will alter their behaviour (Walter 1969). The problems with this definition are clear. First, it makes no mention of terrorism as a distinctly political practice. Walter’s definition could equally well apply to criminal gangs or many other aspects of social practice; a father perhaps, who controls his family by the selective use of violence and threats of violence. Likewise, a director of horror movies instrumentally uses their actors to instil terror and fear into their audience. We would not usually call horror movies examples of terrorism, and rightly so. Nor would we typically describe the violence enacted by criminal gangs to control either their own members or populations they interact with as terrorism. In this respect, the ‘ism’ matters, and not all social practices that involve terror are terrorism. This point can be illustrated if one looks at the historical development and practice of the nation state. The history of the development of the modern state can be understood as a long process of appropriation and accumulation (of territory, peoples and resources) achieved through the use of violence, fear and terror, a process that had winners and losers. Noting the place of violence in the development of the modern state allows us to situate what many consider to be the defining element of the state – the Weberian idea that it is that organisation that (successfully) claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. Understood this way, terrorism and other forms of non-state violence can be interpreted as reactions to this process and rejections of the claim to state legitimacy. Contemporary state theory has tended to focus attention on the consensual aspect of state power. While broadly acceptable, particularly in the context of highly developed modern states, we should never forget that ultimately state control rests on the potential use of violence. And this potentiality rests on the terror of the possibility of violence. A classic example here would be the justice system, which exists not only to punish offenders, but also to send a signal to the population as a whole that offenders will be punished. Thus, states can legitimately be considered as terror machines (Goodin 2006; Perdue 1989) and everything states do ultimately rests on the potentiality of force – a potentiality that is demonstrated through the daily exercises of state power. Most developed states now have their populations so under control that state violence against them is an aberration, not the norm. Nonetheless, it is the potentiality of state violence that underpins this control, and where such control breaks down, state violence will follow. To say that the state exercises a claim on the monopoly of the use of legitimate violence does not mean that all uses of that violence are legitimate or morally acceptable. Equally, to say that terrorist violence (as I define it) is by definition illegitimate does not mean that other forms of non-state violence are necessarily illegitimate. The state’s theoretical claim on the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence is precisely that – a claim. And in terms of particular states, the right of those to exercise this claim has been historically constituted through violence. Some groups objecting to that state may have legitimate claims against it, which if not resolvable through non-violent means, might have a legitimate resort to violence. So the state not only uses violence and terror, but also it is constituted by it. How does this help illuminate the problems with the concept of state terrorism? The problem with the conflation of terror and terrorism is that just about every aspect of state practice would be an act of terrorism on this account. And, indeed, this is how Jackson and Blakeley seem to treat it. Thus, according to Jackson, ‘if we define terrorism as the threat or

70  Colin Wight use of violence against one group of people in order to terrify or intimidate another group of people as a means of preventing or changing their political practice’, then all sorts of state practices come under the rubric of terrorism ( Jackson 2008: 8). Jackson is quite explicit about this, arguing that: state doctrines and practices of ‘nuclear deterrence’, ‘coercive diplomacy’, ‘constructive engagement’, sanctions and certain peace settlements involving making pacts with groups who have engaged in widespread use of terror, can also constitute state terrorism. ( Jackson 2008: 384) I fail to see what we gain here apart from analytical confusion. If all of these state practices can be considered terrorism, then it is difficult to see what cannot. Blakeley’s definition of state terrorism suffers from the same problems (Blakeley 2009: 30) and seems to imply that everything the state does is state terrorism, or at least is potentially so. Blakeley also argues that state violence (state terrorism in her terms) is best examined in relation to international norms and laws, specifically those concerned with human rights (Blakeley 2009: 31). This seems to me wholly correct, but I fail to see why a violation of human rights or international norms needs to be described as state terrorism, particularly since state terrorism has not been codified in international law, whereas the violation of human rights has. Hence, Blakeley argues that ‘it is deemed illegal and inhuman when nonstate actors commit those that [acts Blakeley considers to be terrorism] and it is no more humane if the perpetrator is a state’ (Blakeley 2009: 33). Well, of course, it is no more humane to say that the state has committed a heinous act, but it adds nothing to the moral judgement of such acts to call them terrorism. In fact, when Blakeley discusses the forms of state terrorism, it is difficult to see what activity would not come under this definition and, indeed, her list is quite exhaustive. To name but a few: disappearances, illegal detention, torture, assassinations, intelligence gathering, kidnap, interrogation, torture, bombing campaigns, the killing of enemy combatants who had been disarmed, the legal targeting of civilians, other humiliating and degrading treatment, extraordinary rendition and so on. Blakeley goes further, arguing that even if the intention were not the explicit intimidation of a target audience beyond the victim, states could still be accused of state terrorism if fear emerges in some audience (although not a target audience, for a target implies intention); terrorism by accident, presumably. So, for example, if a state is testing new airborne weapons and some audience observes the testing and decides that aliens are about to invade, and that audience spreads such fear among the general population then the state, having spread fear, however inadvertently, is, for Blakeley, guilty of state terrorism. The problems with all of this should again be apparent. Blakeley extends the definition of terrorism to all forms of political activity, even those that do not involve intentional violence. This is the main problem with the use of the term ‘state terrorism’; it begins to look like every state activity is, or potentially can be, a form of state terrorism. I do not doubt, or deny, that states engage in activities intended to spread fear and terror among populations. Often the target audience of such state activity will be the citizens of that state themselves, and often they are citizens of another state. Yes, such state actions are morally reprehensible and should be challenged and rejected whenever possible. What I  do not accept is that we need to call this terrorism, and nor do I understand what we gain in doing so. And here is the crucial political, ethical and strategic motive for denying the concept of state terrorism.

Can states be terrorists?  71 The third argument is perhaps the most telling and the most urgent. I take it as given that any critical theory worthy of the name has to take seriously the Marxist dictum that the point is not just to describe the world but also to change it. Here we have a strategic political/ethical decision to make. What do we wish to achieve with our accounts of the object domain we study? I do not doubt the admirable critical imperatives that drive discussions of state terrorism, but I argue that these are not best served through an expansion of the concept of terrorism to include ‘state terrorism’. If we adopt an inflationary account of terrorism that flattens the distinctions between differing forms of violence, then we suggest that instances of terrorism are more prevalent than they are. This plays straight into the hands of those who would wish to use the fear of terrorism for increasing restrictions on civil liberties. Also, we fail the public by adding to the fear they rightly feel about the possibility of terrorism. A failure to distinguish state violence from that the public understands to be terrorism serves no purpose other than to introduce further confusion into what is already a confused political landscape.

Conclusion Since 9/11, the international system has been wracked by a so-called War on Terror. In the name of this War on Terror, major wars have been instigated, nations illegally invaded and countless humans killed (see Chapter 16). These include both state actors and non-state actors. Alongside this, civil and human rights have been abused and wide-ranging legislation introduced at the global and domestic level to control more and more aspects of human behaviour. Those involved in the more radical edge of terrorism studies have decided that the best way to deal with these abuses of state power is to point to some moral equivalence and to claim that state violence is simply state terrorism. The net effect of this, however, is to produce an ‘inflationary’ account of terrorism and to blur the distinctions between different forms of violence. Yet the irony of this is that it seems to suggest that terrorism is more prevalent in the international system than it actually is. Terrorism, when equated with terror, or treated as simply violence, is everywhere. This simply plays into the hands of states who can legitimately claim that since terrorism is everywhere, then we need more and more action against it, and thus the spiral continues. Terrorism, whilst terrible in its effects on those individuals who come into contact with it, is not a major security threat to individual states or the international system. On a restrictive (deflationary) definition of terrorism, actual deaths by such acts are few and far between. Certainly, they are horrific, but on a relative scale they do not come close to enacting destruction on the scale of poverty, child malnutrition, state neglect or disease or the unacceptable use of state power, to name but a few. On a ‘deflationary’ account of terrorism, the resources wasted on a War on Terror are both obscene and meaningless. Nothing highlights just how ridiculous the inflated understanding of terrorism has become so much as the recent attempt by members of the US government to label Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, a terrorist. Perhaps, in the face of such insanity, we should just stop using the term altogether (see Chapter 1). Yet this is not possible. Why? As already argued, the concepts and understandings held by actors engaged in the practices we examine are an integral aspect of what any good social science should study. We cannot possibly understand these practices without taking these concepts into account. What most people mean when they refer to terrorism are forms of non-state violence, and those that confuse the issue of ‘state terror’ with terrorism need to defend their accounts by providing more theoretically nuanced versions of both the state and terrorism.

72  Colin Wight In the final analysis, this chapter takes a negative position on a subject that divides scholars of terrorism. Englund and Stohl complain that I fail to go beyond this negative position and provide an alternative definition of terrorism. That is correct, but then it was not part of my brief. However, I do provide an account of terrorism elsewhere (Wight 2015). Irrespective of that, however, what I hope to have demonstrated is how equating all forms of violence with terrorism is a category error of the most damaging kind.

Discussion questions 1 Why is there such great reluctance within the contemporary scholarly community to recognise and study state terrorism? Are the roots of this reluctance conceptual or political? 2 What difference might there be between the victim’s and the audience’s perspectives on the debate about the existence of state terrorism? 3 Is the concept of ‘state terrorism’ theoretically coherent? 4 How can the concept of state terrorism be reconciled with the state’s monopoly on violence? 5 Does referring to the use of state terror as ‘terrorism’ add anything useful to the moral judgement of the act? 6 Can the study of state terrorism tell us anything about the use of terrorism by non-state actors? 7 What are the key differences in the means by which states and insurgents employ terrorism? 8 Should terrorism be known only as a ‘weapon of the weak’? 9 Are there any situations in which state terrorism could be justified? 10 Can the use of state terror be adequately dealt with under international law relating to human rights and other international norms?

Further readings Becker, T., 2006. Terrorism and the State: Rethinking the Rules of State Responsibility, Oxford: Hart Publishing. Blakeley, R., 2009. State Terrorism and NeoLiberalism, New York: Routledge. Jackson, R., 2011. ‘In Defence of “Terrorism”: Finding a Way Through a Forest of Misconceptions’, Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 3(2): 116–30. Jarvis, L., and Lister M., 2014. ‘State Terrorism Research and Critical Terrorism Studies: An Assessment’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 7(1): 43–61. Primoratz, I., ed., 2004. Terrorism: The Philosophical Issues, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Stohl, M., 2006. ‘The State as Terrorist: Insights and Implications’, Democracy and Security, 2: 1–25. Stohl, M., and Lopez, G., eds., 1984. The State as Terrorist: The Dynamics of Governmental Violence and Repression, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Wight, C., 2015. Rethinking Terrorism: Terrorism, Violence and the State, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Part III

The terrorism threat

5 Is terrorism a serious threat to international and national security?

YES: the continuing threat to state security James Lutz and Brenda Lutz

Introduction Governments have frequently argued that terrorism constitutes a grave threat to national security. The events of 9/11 demonstrated the damage that a terrorist attack could inflict, although it did not ultimately threaten the security of the United States. Others have suggested that terrorist actions that threaten the national security of a specific country or, even more broadly, international security, have been exaggerated (Mueller 2006). While governments and/or some political leaders may have had domestic political reasons to emphasise such threats, terrorists do constitute a very real danger for many states. The level of danger can be seen in the fact that the security of countries has been undermined in the past, and that changes have occurred because of the level of threat that has existed. Even if dangers to state security in the past were limited, it is possible that threats from terrorism can become greater in the future. Finally, it is important to recognise that if terrorism were to be ignored, it could become a much greater threat or problem than it currently is. Thus, while terrorism may be a major threat only in a few countries, the failure to deal with the potential threat of terrorism could result in more significant dangers in the future.

Terrorist challenges that worked The suggestion that terrorist activities cannot threaten state security ignores at least some cases where it has led to changes in the structure of states. Fascist groups in Europe after World War I were able to use terror and violence, combined with other political methods, to undermine governments. The Fascists in Italy and the Nazis in Germany were among the political movements that were able to combine terrorism and other tactics to assume power in their states (Wilkinson 1977: 22). Fascist or conservative movements in other countries that relied on similar tactics contributed to changes in governments and policies in a number of nations. Anti-colonial campaigns relying on terrorism (and other forms of protest and political violence) have resulted in independence. Property attacks by the Sons of Liberty and similar groups in colonial America set the stage for the successful revolution against British

76  James Lutz and Brenda Lutz rule (Lutz and Lutz 2013: 112–14; Rapoport 2008). The French left Algeria, and the British left Cyprus and Palestine. In the case of Cyprus and Algeria, terrorism was combined with guerrilla attacks, but the campaign by Jewish settlers in Palestine relied solely on terrorism to convince the British to evacuate the territory. While the British and the French could have persisted in maintaining control, the cost of continuing to rule the colonies outweighed any benefits. The nature of colonial situations is one reason why these successful challenges have been considered special cases (Cronin 2009: 82–5; Hoffman 2006). The shift in control of the territory from a colonial power to indigenous elites would clearly constitute a successful challenge to state security. More recently, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka came close to victory in their quarter of a century struggle that would have challenged the territorial integrity of the country. While the Tamil insurgency has been defeated (at least for the moment), the struggle was a long and costly one for all the inhabitants of the islands. The initial attacks by the Tamil insurgents relied heavily on terrorism, but the violence escalated to guerrilla attacks and then to what amounted to full-scale civil war. Afghanistan has faced a similar campaign which illustrates that terrorism can destabilise a country. The future of Afghanistan and its government is quite uncertain. The problems that the Russian government has faced in Chechnya and the northern Caucasus in general have clearly threatened the security of the entire region, and the continued violence could pose problems in the future. Violence from right-wing and left-wing groups in Turkey led to the deaths of tens of thousands and threatened the stability of the country and its economic and social progress (Sayari and Hoffman 1994). Terrorism combined with insurgencies has threatened the stability and even the very existence of African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Congo (Zaire). These countries are still trying to re-establish functioning governments for the citizens of their countries. Mali survived a rebel takeover by insurgents using terrorism only after the intervention of French troops. Nigeria is another country whose basic security is threatened. Boko Haram is the most immediate threat, but the state was weakened by the prior terrorism of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta that disrupted oil production (Fafowora 2013; Giroux 2008). While Nigeria may yet survive these challenges, it is under severe threat. It can be argued that the Tamil Tigers, the nationalists in Algeria and Cyprus, the Chechens in Russia, groups in African countries and the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan were successful in threatening the security of the state only when the violent techniques extended beyond the use of terrorist tactics (Cronin 2009: 81; Lutz and Lutz 2011: 136–8). While the increase in the threat level resulted from the escalation of violence, the initial use of terrorism was an important early step in the process of challenging governments in power. The fact that terrorism was only a first step to set the stage for greater threats does not mitigate the danger that terrorism represented to state security. Fascist groups did not escalate to guerrilla warfare but relied on other techniques to supplement the violence in the streets. The situation in Palestine during the period of the British Mandate, however, did not escalate to different types of violence. Similarly, the situation in Yemen has not yet reached the stage of guerrilla attacks or civil war (by groups involved in terrorism). Thus, escalation to more violent techniques has not been essential for threats to state security. The Middle East has seen recent threats to state security. In Yemen, insurgencies and terrorism involving Shia tribes at odds with the government, other political opponents, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has substantially weakened the government, leading to civil war and the threatened secession of the south (the former Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Yemen). Iraq and Syria are two other countries under severe threat. In the aftermath

Is terrorism a serious threat to security?  77 of the US-led invasion in 2003 terrorist attacks by Sunni militants, Shia groups, global jihadists, and a variety of Iraqi nationalist groups made the establishment of an effective and stable government difficult. The resulting weak state was then unable to deal with the incursion of the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ISIS arose to its position as a result of opposition to the Syrian state by elements of the Sunni Arab population. Terrorist attacks against the government of Bashir al-Assad progressively increased until a bloody civil war ensued. ISIS was initially just one of the dissident groups, but it was one that grew in power to become a major threat to the security of Syria and then Iraq. Whatever the outcome of the Syrian civil war, it is unlikely that the Assad regime will survive the threat indefinitely. The threatening effects of terrorism for state security can also be seen in India and Pakistan. India has faced a serious challenge to its control of Kashmir due to Muslim insurgents and terrorists. The problems in this province have had implications for the rest of India, as indicated by the 2008 Christmas attack in Mumbai which was launched by groups involved in the struggle for Kashmir, and continuing tensions between Muslims and Hindus in India. Attacks by terrorists have not yet destabilised the Indian state, but they have been costly for the country, as the government has been forced to expend significant military and security resources in order to maintain a semblance of control in the disputed province. The concentration of military and security resources in Kashmir has had other consequences. Because of the focus on Kashmir, the Indian government has had difficulties in controlling other dissident groups. Leftist rebels (the Naxalites) have become increasingly active in West Bengal and surrounding provinces (Lutz and Lutz 2011: 128–30). Indigenous groups in the Assam region have been able to operate against migrant groups and government officials in the northeast of the country. There was also the major uprising in the past in the Punjab province by the Sikhs, which led to the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There have also been outbreaks of communal violence in which Hindus have targeted Muslims, or less frequently, Muslims have targeted Hindus, which have become more difficult to control (Oommen 2005). Terrorism from a variety of sources has affected India, and the multi-ethnic and multilingual nature of the state makes secession or breakup a possibility. The terrorism in Kashmir, combined with terrorism and political violence by other groups, has increased the possibility that the Indian state may not survive. If India should collapse or separate into a number of states in the future, terrorism will have played a role. In the twenty-first century, there has obviously been a clear and present danger that threatens Pakistan from a combination of terrorism and insurgency. The attacks by the Taliban and groups allied with the Taliban against the national government threaten Pakistan’s stability. Conflicts among Sunni and Shia populations in Pakistan also present significant dangers to the relatively weak central government. Between 2003 and 2017, there were more than 21,000 civilian casualties in addition to more than 6,400 fatalities among security personnel, and more than 33,000 terrorists/insurgents killed (South Asia Terrorism Portal). It is apparent that government control of the areas bordering on Afghanistan (the Federally Administered Tribal Areas) remains tenuous. Future dissident challenges to the national government are likely. The threat of instability in Pakistan is of even greater concern, of course, because Pakistan is a nuclear power (as is India). Should the central government collapse, it is possible that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorist groups. However unlikely this possibility might be, it would represent a major increase in threat levels to the national security of a number of countries. The unrest in Pakistan has meant that the Pakistani government has been unable to effectively control some regions of its own territory  – the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, among others  – and it appears that

78  James Lutz and Brenda Lutz the government cannot afford to crack down on militants active in Kashmir or groups that support dissidents in Afghanistan, since such policies would be unpopular with portions of its own population. A government already weakened by terrorism and insurgency cannot afford the risk of increased public discontent.

Limited terrorist success Even in cases where outright terrorism has not succeeded, the presence of terrorist activities has changed the nature of states. Changes in policies and programmes could then result in situations in which the security of the state may be compromised in the future. Terrorists in Colombia or Lebanon were not successful in taking control of the government or dismantling the state, but they did significantly undermine state security. The weakened security situation in Lebanon, in turn, provided opportunities for a variety of organisations to threaten the security of neighbouring states. The IRA in Northern Ireland was threatening enough to convince the British government to enter into discussions about the future of Northern Ireland (Alonso 2001: 142). Similarly, the campaign by the Basque nationalists of ETA led to the Spanish government granting much greater autonomy for the region (Shabad and Ramo 1995: 468). After many years of violence, the Palestinians were finally able to enter into a dialogue with Israel that resulted in the negotiation of the Oslo Accords and the creation of the Palestinian Authority. While the future of any Palestinian state still remains uncertain, the threat to continued, unchallenged Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was sufficient to bring about negotiations between the two sides and that has at least created the potential for a change of status. There is one other situation in which governments may fear for national security. Some states have not acted against terrorist groups that use their territory for activities out of fear that their country may become targets (Lutz and Lutz 2011: 85). Although this threat does not directly change the security of the state that follows such a permissive attitude, it does indirectly contribute to insecurity in other countries, and it suggests that some governments themselves see that a major threat to their security is present in the form of terrorist organisations.

Future threats One of the major threats facing any number of countries is the fear that terrorists will acquire and use weapons of mass destruction (see Chapter 6 in this volume). Even attacks with conventional weapons such as occurred in Paris in 2015 can cause many casualties. Although the potential threat of the use of such weapons may be unlikely, at least by terrorists, it still remains a possibility. The attempt by Aum Shinrikyo in Japan to use sarin nerve gas indicates the potentially destabilising nature of such weapons. The attacks were at a busy time and concentrated in subway stations that government workers used to get to their offices (Tucker 1996: 167). If the attacks had been more deadly, as intended, the government would have been seriously disrupted, although the Japanese government probably would have survived such an attack with mass casualties. Technological changes many affect the likelihood that weapons designed to cause mass casualties will be used in the future. Even though it is possible that technological change may make it easier to detect and defeat terrorist groups, it is also possible that new technologies may provide new opportunities for terrorist groups willing to use such weapons, such as car bombs, sophisticated explosives on airliners and other devices to inflict major casualties.

Is terrorism a serious threat to security?  79 Access to biological, chemical or radiological materials and the knowledge about how to use them could and will likely expand. Increasingly technological societies also face the danger of increased vulnerability from these weapons or other types of sophisticated attacks (see Chapter 7). Disruptions of transport infrastructures, communication networks or utility systems could cause serious harm. Power blackouts could paralyse more modern societies or even less modern ones. Terrorism can threaten the security of state in other ways. There have been significant increases in costs for governments and the private sector as they have attempted to provide the necessary security for buildings, personnel and the general public. Much of the resources that have been diverted towards security are less productive than are many other types of investments by governments or the private sector. Money spent on physical security, counterterrorism policies and agencies and efforts to deal with foreign sources of terror, cannot be spent on education, infrastructure or healthcare or an increased investment in factories and jobs by the private sector. Developing countries facing terrorist threats are forced to divert scarce resources from these types of activities towards defence measures leaving them vulnerable to other problems. More advanced countries, such as the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom and West European states, have expended funds for military and police activities to combat terrorism that has drawn resources away from other types of investments and expenditures. This diversion of resources will inevitably have an adverse effect on national economies and could thereby weaken state security in the future. Terrorism can also affect state security over the longer term by changing the nature of the political systems that are in place. Many democratic states have become less concerned with civil liberties as they have attempted to face the challenges of terrorist organisations. In dealing with violence in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom practiced longer period of interrogation, preventative detention, and the use of Diplock Courts. The United States has begun to use wiretaps and searches more frequently than in the past, with decreased supervision by the courts (Lutz and Lutz 2011: 112–13; Nacos 2011: 214–17). States that had been moving towards more open, democratic systems have reversed course when faced with the prospect of terrorist violence. For example, Russia may not have made the transition to a mature democracy after the breakup of the Soviet Union, but the problems in Chechnya made the reversion to a more authoritarian government seem necessary and easier to accept by many politicians and citizens. The movement away from greater participation and more popular input in countries that face such threats could ultimately affect state security in the future by stimulating unrest or leading to more dissidents. Even if the original groups that organised the attacks have disappeared from the scene, the earlier violence and the response to it could have a long-term impact on the security of a state. Although the political system survives, the movement away from more participation could be considered a change for the worse that slows down the eventual adoption of more equitable and participatory political systems. There is one final threat, which in a way is more of a theoretical one in most cases, but which can occur with states that are under greater pressure from terrorist groups. Terrorism is not likely to be a threat to the survival of a large number of states when governments take the necessary steps to defeat it. Despite the fact that some terrorist groups are ultimately successful, most terrorist groups are quickly defeated by governments (Cronin 2009: 10–11). Those that last longer may mount a major challenge, but, like the Tamil Tigers, most will still be defeated in the end. If states do nothing to deal with terrorism, however, then the threat becomes much more real, and ultimately state security might be significantly undermined, just as public health would be threatened if governments chose not to provide medical

80  James Lutz and Brenda Lutz vaccines for the public. The Shining Path movement in Peru became as dangerous as it did because the government of Peru was oblivious to the danger it represented in the countryside and let it gain support (Barnhurst 1991: 82). Had the authorities acted more quickly, the eventual threat to the state would have been much less, and it would not have taken as long for the government to deal with the violence that resulted. The fact that governments find it necessary to deal with terrorist groups indicates that such violent activities can be a threat to the security of a country.

Conclusion There is little doubt that terrorism can challenge the security of a state under the right circumstances. While there may not be a large number of modern examples of terrorism successfully taking over a state or leading to its dissolution, they do exist. In other cases, terrorism played an important role in setting the stage for successful insurgencies that have led to governmental changes or to other types of important events such as occurred with the fascist movements in the 1920s. At the very least, all countries that are threatened by terrorism have had to divert resources to deal with the resulting problems, which can lead to greater economic difficulties. In addition, a reduction in civil liberties may indirectly result in situations in which the public eventually reacts negatively to government activities and the state is weakened as a consequence. Of course, if terrorist activity is ignored by a state, it can eventually become a major threat that can undermine the security of a state. As a consequence, terrorist groups have to be treated as if they are dangerous since they cannot be ignored indefinitely. What used to be Yugoslavia can serve as an example of how terrorism, often combined with other factors, can threaten state security. After the formation of Yugoslavia at the end of World War I, the new state faced internal dissent from Croats, Albanians and Macedonians unhappy with the domination of the state by the Serb elite. There were a variety of terrorist attacks by different groups against the state and retaliation by the government in some cases. The end result was a weakened state torn by dissension. When German and Italian troops invaded in 1941, the Yugoslav resistance collapsed, in part, because of inadequate preparation and, in part, because many elements of the multi-ethnic state were unwilling to fight for the new state. Yugoslavia was re-established after World War II but faced continuing dissent from Croats who launched occasional terrorist attacks. Albanians in Kosovo were unhappy with domination by Serbs in the autonomous region. When Yugoslavia was in the midst of a transition from the old system to a more open political regime, the previous strains in the country erupted. Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia broke away. Bosnia and Herzegovina was finally able to separate. Montenegro and then Kosovo became independent. Yugoslavia is gone, and the pressures from terrorism and unrest in general that began in the 1920s and which continued in later years helped to set the stage for the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Bosnia and Macedonia have also experienced terrorist attacks and violence that threatened their security after they became independent. Clearly, terrorism can threaten, and has threatened, the security of Yugoslavia and its successors.

NO: the myth of terrorism as an existential threat Jessica Wolfendale

Is terrorism a serious threat to security?  81

Introduction Terrorism is frequently depicted in the media and by political leaders as an existential threat, the overcoming of which requires the use of extraordinary counterterrorism measures, including war and torture. For example, in the years after 9/11, leaders in Australia and the United States described the fight against terrorism as a ‘version of total war’ (Michaelsen 2012: 431) and claimed that ‘no civilized nation can be secure in a world threatened by terror’ (De Castella and McGarty 2011: 185). Academics have made similar claims, arguing that terrorists could ‘destroy our society’ (Goldstein 2004: 179). A  2009 report from the US think tank Partnership for a Secure America claimed that ‘a nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon in the hands of terrorists remains the single greatest threat to our nation’ (quoted in Enemark 2011: 384). How realistic is this narrative of terrorism as an existential threat? Does modern terrorism really pose such a serious threat to national and international security that combating terrorism requires the use of war, torture, expanded security powers and the expenditure of billions of dollars on homeland security? In this chapter, I argue that the narrative of terrorism as an existential threat does not reflect the reality of terrorism, and furthermore, it plays a significant role in legitimising political, legal and military responses to terrorism that have serious negative long-term consequences on the lives and well-being of thousands of individuals and communities. In some cases, these counterterrorism strategies cause more harm and pose a greater threat to security than terrorism itself.

The existential threat narrative of terrorism The existential threat narrative of terrorism depicts modern terrorism as an unprecedented and existential threat to international and national security (Neumann 2009). ‘Unprecedented’ because, according to Jackson et al. (2011), modern terrorism is claimed to be characterised by international networks, driven by ‘a fanatical and absolutist interpretation of religion, characterized by a blind hatred and a disregard for concrete political aims’ (2011: 165), and terrorist attacks are more indiscriminate and deadly than ever before ( Jackson et al. 2011). According to this narrative, modern terrorist groups aim for the destruction of Western society rather than the achievement of specific political goals, and so they are motivated to adopt ever more inventive ways of causing mass casualties, such as the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) (Michaelsen 2012: 439). It is this aspect of modern terrorism that supposedly makes today’s terrorists far more dangerous than earlier terrorist groups such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which had specific political aims and did not seek to cause maximum civilian casualties in their use of terrorism. In addition, the causes of terrorism are claimed to arise from ‘a pathological outcome of religiosity’ (Mustapha 2011: 495), rather than from factors such as poverty, disenfranchisement, political oppression and cultural and social conflicts. For example, the 2006 American National Security Strategy report states categorically that terrorism is not caused by poverty, hostility towards US policies or the Israel-Palestine conflict. Instead, the report claims that terrorism is caused by ‘keeping old wounds fresh and raw and religious ideologies that justify murder’ (Mustapha 2011: 494). Likewise, the Australian Government’s 2010 Counterterrorism White Paper claimed that ‘the main source of international terrorism today comes from people who follow a distorted and military interpretation of Islam that calls for violence as the answer to perceived grievances’ (quoted in Michaelsen 2010: 250).

82  Jessica Wolfendale So the existential threat narrative of terrorism is based on the belief that modern terrorists are part of a global network, are motivated by extremist religious (typically Islamic) beliefs that call for the destruction of Western civilisation, and will attempt to use WMDs to inflict maximum casualties. Because modern terrorists pose a far more dangerous threat to Western states than previous terrorist movements, the argument goes, unprecedented and drastic counterterrorism measures will be required to combat terrorism. The need for extreme counterterrorism measures is justified in two ways. First, because the terrorist threat is existential, the mere possibility (however statistically remote) of a terrorist attack with WMDs might be sufficient to warrant the use of extreme preventive measures – a view sustained by the adoption of an ‘extreme precautionary dogmatism in which the “unknown” is reflexively governed through preemptive action’ ( Jackson 2015: 35). Second, if terrorists are barbarian extremists, then strategies such as negotiation and compromise will be ineffective ( Jackson 2005: 139) – one cannot reason with religious fanatics. Additionally, given that terrorists are supposedly dedicated to destroying Western civilisation, it is unlikely that they will be deterred by the threat of ordinary criminal prosecution (Luban 2002: 12). Thus, it follows that to stop terrorism, modern terrorists must be eradicated, a process that might require extreme measures. So the claim that modern terrorism poses an unprecedented and existential threat plays an important role in justifying not only the resort to war, but also exceptions to long-standing prohibitions in international law, such as the prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (Ip 2009: 39).

Criticising the existential threat narrative The claim that terrorism is a new and deadly threat seems persuasive; the devastation wrought on 9/11 and in attacks such as the 2015 bombings in Paris that killed 130 people seems to provide compelling evidence that terrorism poses an extremely serious and growing threat to our safety. However, once we analyse the claims made in the existential threat narrative of terrorism described earlier, it becomes apparent that this depiction of terrorism is not only false, but also harmful. Is terrorism really an existential threat? Several scholars have argued that the depiction of terrorism described previously is based on a false portrayal of the risks posed by modern terrorism ( Jackson et  al. 2011: Chapter 6; Michaelsen 2012; Mueller 2006; Mueller and Stewart 2012, 2016; Wolfendale 2007). This false portrayal involves several different elements. First, the existential threat narrative portrays terrorism as one of the most serious threats to states and individual security today. But, simply put, there is no compelling evidence that non-state terrorism has seriously undermined or threatened the political or economic survival of democratic states – a fact that holds true even for states such as Israel that have been the target of long-standing and ongoing terrorist attacks. In fact, state terrorism and other forms of state violence pose a far greater threat to individuals and communities than non-state terrorism ( Jackson et al. 2011: 193–4; Primoratz 2013: Chapter 2; see also Chapter 4). Second, the existential threat narrative greatly exaggerates the threat posed by terrorism to people’s lives. In the United States in 2001, when nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, ‘three times as many [US citizens] died from malnutrition and almost 40 times as many people died in car accidents’ (Michaelsen 2012: 436). Since 9/11, ‘Six Americans have died per year at the hands, guns, and bombs of Islamic terrorists’ (Mosher and Gould

Is terrorism a serious threat to security?  83 2017). In comparison, in 2015 alone, ‘13,286 people were killed in the US by firearms’ (BBC 2016). Globally, the deaths caused by non-state terrorism pale in comparison to the deaths caused by disease, poverty, climate change and state violence ( Jackson et al. 2011: 132). According to one study, in 2015 there were 28,352 deaths caused by terrorism worldwide ( Jones 2016). In comparison, climate change has been linked to 400,000 deaths each year (Leber 2015), armed violence kills around 535,000 people annually (Small Arms Survey 2017) and over 22,000 children die from poverty each day (Shah 2013). Yet the depiction of terrorism as the most serious threat to states means that these and other serious threats to state and individual security are neglected or ignored. So, for example, the threat posed by climate change has not received anything like the attention given by politicians, academics and the media to the threat of terrorism. Yet the predicted effects of climate change (such as the effect of even a 2° F increase in global temperature) include: 5–15% reductions in the yields of crops grown  .  .  . 3–10% increases in the amount of rain falling during the heaviest precipitation events, which can increase flooding risks . . . 200%-400% increases in the area burned by wildfire in parts of the western United States. (EPA 2014) The ongoing impact of climate change is likely to have a devastating impact not only on millions of people’s lives, but also on many states’ economies, environments and infrastructure. Yet despite the extremely serious and growing nature of this threat (Mooney 2014), the funding, research and political capital spent on meeting this threat is insignificant in comparison with that devoted to fighting terrorism – a trend that is only likely to continue with the Trump administration’s censoring of climate change research (Hand 2017). Finally, in addition to misrepresenting the scale and seriousness of the terrorist threat, the existential threat narrative also misrepresents the motivations and capacities of terrorists. As we saw earlier, in the existential threat narrative, terrorists are depicted as evil masterminds who are plotting to use WMDs to inflict massive casualties (Mueller and Stewart 2016: Chapter 4). But the image of terrorists as evil geniuses does not reflect what we know about actual terrorists and would-be terrorists. Most terrorists in Europe, like those in the United States, ‘are operationally unsophisticated, short on know-how, prone to make mistakes, poor at planning, and limited in their capacity to learn’ (Mueller and Stewart 2016: 117). In fact, the large majority of terrorist campaigns ‘fail within one year and are mostly ineffectual’ ( Jackson et al. 2011: 132). This is in part because the resources, skills and funding to which terrorists typically have access is nothing compared with the financial, military, police and intelligence resources that states, such as the United States, bring to bear in fighting terrorism ( Jackson et al. 2011). Even the terrorists who committed the attacks on 9/11 – the highest casualty terrorist attacks in history – were lucky rather than diabolically clever: several of the terrorists committed ‘basic errors in tradecraft that nearly sabotaged their plans’ (Mueller and Stewart 2016: 119). Many terrorists arrested in the United States since 9/11 were acting alone or with a small group of followers, rather than being part of a sophisticated global network (Mueller and Stewart 2016: 92–3), and many were not radical Islamic terrorists at all, but right-wing extremists (Gidda 2017). There is also little evidence that terrorists are plotting to use WMDs or are aiming to inflict more and more high-casualty attacks. Research on the

84  Jessica Wolfendale motivations behind terrorist attacks found that most terrorists aim to hit symbolic targets rather than targets that would cause mass casualties, and that many terrorist groups try to avoid mass civilian casualties because of the effect such attacks have on public opinion ( Jackson et al. 2011: 131). None of this is intended to deny that terrorism is a threat or to claim that states should not take terrorism seriously. Rather, the point is that the existential threat narrative of terrorism grossly exaggerates the scale of the terrorist threat and misrepresents the motivations, abilities and international reach of terrorists. This is problematic not only because it is based on a false assessment of the scale and nature of the terrorist threat. The problem is that this narrative, and the policies and practices it is used to justify, has damaging and even dangerous consequences. Ahead, I explain how the existential threat narrative is used to justify political and military policies that have an extremely destructive impact on communities, individuals and states – in some cases, a more destructive impact than terrorism itself.

The harm of the existential threat narrative The erosion of civil liberties In many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, the immediate consequence of the adoption of the existential threat narrative of terrorism is the creation of new counterterrorism legislation that drastically broadens the powers of police and intelligence services to detain individuals suspected of terrorist activity or of having information relevant to terrorism investigations ( Jackson et al. 2011: 229–31; Kostakopoulou 2008: 5–6; Wolfendale 2007: 75). For example, in September 2014, in response to a threat from the militant group Islamic State (ISIS), Australia passed legislation that expanded police powers to detain terrorism suspects without charge and execute search warrants (Farrell 2014). These new forms of legislation have, not surprisingly, led to the arrest, investigation and detention without charge of many individuals who had no information about terrorism (Friedersdorf 2013). For example, a former senior State Department Official in the Bush administration claimed that the majority of prisoners detained at Guantánamo Bay were innocent of any involvement in terrorism (Friedersdorf 2013). In addition, this legislation has led to the violation of privacy of thousands of individuals whose phone records and email correspondence are monitored and collected by intelligence agencies (see Chapter 15). The death toll of counterterrorism Loss of privacy and the risk of some wrongful arrests might seem a small price to pay to protect society from terrorism. However, the following two examples illustrate just how destructive counterterrorism strategies can be. First, the toll of the numerous military operations initiated by the United States and its allies in the so-called War on Terror far exceeds the death toll of terrorism (Rogers 2016b). For example, as of May 2017, the civilian death toll of the conflict in Iraq exceeds 174,000. If combatants are included, the death toll is approximately 268,000 (Iraq Body Count 2017). The case of Israel and Palestine provides another example of how a state’s counterterrorism polices can threaten a community to a greater extent than the terrorism to which the policies are responding. Israeli counterterrorism strategies have included the use of torture (PCATI 2014) and the construction of illegal housing settlements in Palestinian territory

Is terrorism a serious threat to security?  85 (Human Rights Watch 2014). Counterterrorism attacks on Palestinian communities have killed and wounded hundreds of civilians (Human Rights Watch 2014; United Nations 2007). According to a 2007 report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Reports, in every year since 2000, the numbers of Palestinians killed has exceeded (sometimes by several hundreds) the number of Israelis killed, and over half the deaths have been civilians. To be clear, I am not claiming that such tactics rise to the level of an existential threat to the Palestinian community. Nor am I defending Palestinian terrorism. Instead, the point is to illustrate that counterterrorism tactics can, in some cases, cause greater harm to a community than the non-state terrorism to which the counterterrorism is responding. The financial cost of counterterrorism The existential threat narrative of terrorism has also been used to justify massive funding increases for military operations and for security agencies such as the CIA and the NSA (Mueller and Stewart 2011). In 2016, President Obama requested a budget allocation for $50.4 billion for homeland security agencies, most notably the Department of Homeland Security. Of that amount, $36.6 billion is earmarked for ‘Preventing and disrupting terrorist attacks’ (Boyd 2016). In total, the expenditure of US domestic homeland security in the first 10 years after 9/11 exceeded $1 trillion (Mueller and Stewart 2012: 1). One consequence of such massive spending is that government money is not being spent on other crucial areas such as health, education and climate change research. A further consequence of this spending on security has been the acquisition by US police forces of military equipment, including tanks, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) and military-grade weapons on the grounds that such equipment might be necessary to prevent a terrorist attack (ACLU 2014: 3). One of the effects of this militarisation of the police has been the increasing use of SWAT teams for minor police operations such as executing search warrants, which, in turn, has led to the injury and death of several innocent individuals, including a 19-month-old baby (Pow 2014). The destabilising effects of counterterrorism The adoption of the existential threat narrative of terrorism has other, harder to quantify, negative impacts, include the continuing damage to the environment, economy and basic infrastructure of countries targeted by the war against terrorism, such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The destabilisation of political power and social stability in those countries has led to continuing turmoil and unrest and contributed to the rise of militant groups such as ISIS (Collins 2014). This regional, political and social destabilisation is compounded by the portrayal of terrorists as religiously motivated fanatics that are part of a ‘global network’ governed by al-Qaeda (Bergen et al. 2011). This has led to different non-state groups (such as Jema’ah Islamiyah in Indonesia and Kumpulan Mujahideen, Malaysia) being ‘lumped together’ because of their identification with Islam, even though their origins, structure, aims and uses of violence are different from each other and from al-Qaeda. Ironically, the depiction of these groups as part of an international al-Qaeda network has ‘granted such groups more currency in their ability to evoke fear’ (Mustapha 2011: 493), arguably increasing the threat posed by these groups. This portrayal of Islamic groups has also resulted in legitimate political groups and nonviolent movements being demonised as ‘terrorist’ merely because of their identification with

86  Jessica Wolfendale Islam (Mustapha 2011: 495). For example, the Indonesian Islamist organisation Nadhatul Ulama (which has 30 million followers) has actively supported the Indonesian government’s anti-terrorism efforts, yet has been portrayed as a terrorist organisation purely because it is a Muslim organisation (Mustapha 2011; Gershman 2002: 64). Once groups are labelled ‘terrorist’, this not only undermines the ability of those groups to fight terrorism in their own countries; but also makes it harder for such organisations and the governments who support them to counteract the radical versions of Islam utilised by more extreme groups (Mustapha 2011: 495). The ineffectiveness of counterterrorism Since the existential threat narrative of terrorism drastically restricts the range of possible counterterrorism strategies, non-violent counterterrorism methods, such as the infiltration of dangerous organisations and negotiation with the leaders of non-state groups, are ‘off the table’ from the beginning. Yet historically such methods have consistently proven to be more effective in preventing terrorism than military force and tactics such as torture ( Jackson et al. 2011: Chapter 10). A 2006 study of evaluations of the effectiveness of post-9/11 counterterrorism strategies (such as increased airport security, military interventions, and political regime change) found that most of these strategies were not only ineffective in reducing incidents of terrorism, some were linked to an increase in terrorism (Lum et al. 2006). Yet this should not be surprising; the inefficacy of methods such as torture and ‘no concessions or negotiation’ policies on terrorism was known well before 9/11. The author of a 1998 article on terrorism criticised the US’s ‘no concessions’ policy because it proved ineffective in deterring several high-profile terrorist attacks (Tucker 1998: 104–5).

Conclusion States have a duty to protect their citizens against violence, including terrorist violence. But the existential threat narrative of terrorism drastically inflates the severity of the terrorist threat and misrepresents the capacities and motivations of terrorists. As I have argued, contemporary non-state terrorism does not seriously threaten (and never has threatened) the political and territorial integrity of the United States and other liberal democracies (Michaelsen 2012: 438; Mueller and Stewart 2012: 103). Nor does terrorism pose a serious threat to the lives of citizens of those states. Yet the existential threat narrative continues to dominate political, media and academic debates about terrorism. What defenders of the existential threat narrative have failed to see is that counterterrorism policies enacted on the basis of the existential threat narrative have not only been ineffective in minimising terrorism, but also they have arguably increased the threat of non-state terrorism. In addition, these policies have caused serious harm to the lives and well-being of thousands of individuals, and to the economic, political and social stability of many countries. If we are really concerned with the safety and security of the international community, we should, therefore, challenge and confront the harm caused by the existential threat narrative of terrorism.

Acknowledgements This chapter is a modified version of ‘The Narrative of Terrorism as an Existential Threat’, previously published in Richard Jackson, ed. Routledge Handbook of Critical Terrorism Studies (Routledge, 2016). Reproduced by permission of Routledge.

Is terrorism a serious threat to security?  87

Discussion questions 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

What is the existential threat narrative of terrorism? How does the existential threat narrative portray terrorists? What are the causes of terrorism, according to the existential threat narrative? The threat of terrorism for state security is likely to increase in the future. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not? What are some of the dangers that states could face if terrorism is not dealt with? Why are some terrorist organisations successful in challenging the security of the state, whereas other groups are not? Is the security of India and Pakistan threatened by the existence of terrorist organisations that have targeted them? How great is the threat to these states? Why does the existential threat narrative seem to justify the use of extraordinary counterterrorism responses? If terrorism is not an existential threat, what should states do about terrorism? What are the greatest threats to national and international security today, and how do they compare to the terrorist threat?

Further readings Abrams, M., 2006. ‘Why Terrorism Does Not Work’, International Security, 31(2): 42–78. Bergen, P., Hoffman, B., and Tiedemann, K., 2011. ‘Assessing the Jihadist Threat to America and American Interests’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 34(2): 65–101. Cronin, A., 2009. How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Lutz, J., and Lutz, B., 2009. ‘How Successful Is Terrorism?’ Forum on Public Policy, September, pp. 1–22. Available online at: http://forumonpublicpolicy.com/spring09papers/papers09spring.html. Mueller, J., 2006. Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them, New York: Simon & Schuster. Mueller, J., and Stewart, M., 2011. Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security, New York: Oxford University Press. Mueller, J., and Stewart, M., 2016. Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism, New York: Oxford University Press. Obafemi, O., and Galadima, H., eds., 2013. Complex Insurgencies in Nigeria: Proceedings of the NIPSS 2012 Eminent Persons & Experts Meeting, Kuru, Nigeria: National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies.

6 Is WMD terrorism a likely prospect in the future?

YES: the impact of CBRN terrorism – a general perspective Natividad Carpintero-Santamaría

Introduction The threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) terrorism has become a concern for governments and international organisations following the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2011, an attack which demonstrated the ability of strategic terrorist aggression to produce graphic destruction and a high number of victims. The attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were a turning point in terrorist practice, with its focus on producing both strategic and quantitative damage. United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, stated: But, at the same time, developments in various fields of weaponry remind us of the potential devastation from the use of weapons of mass destruction and the very real threat they pose to all of humanity. Many such weapons remain, amid persisting risks that they may be acquired by additional States or non-State actors. (Statements and Messages 2007) Security Council Resolutions 1504 (2004), 1673 (2006) and 1810 (2008) substantiate international concern with respect to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) terrorist attack. International Law Enforcement Agencies such as INTERPOL have organised Operation Fail Safe, Operation Chase and Operation S3OMMET to fight CBRN terrorism. Non-state actor incidents with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents are not new. In the Database of Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Terrorist Incidents (Gurr and Cole 2002/2005), 192 such incidents are reported. Seventy-six of these cases involve the threat or use of pathogens and/or toxins (1910 to 1999), 97 involve the threat or use of chemical weapons (1946 to 2000) and 20 involve the threat of using nuclear weapons and nuclear material (1974 to the 1990s). The perpetrators included individuals and organisations with the most diverse motivations, including fanatic vindication, personal revenge, left- and right-wing terrorists, extremist cult groups and others. By way of contrast, since 2001 a significant amount of information related to al-Qaeda’s activities with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has been published. The most recent

Is WMD terrorism a likely future prospect?  89 compilation includes 83 incidents (1998–2007) from sources of varying reliability (McNermey and Rhodes 2009). This information, along with empirical evidence of varying scope about the deliberate intention of terrorists using WMD, has led to the perception that a terrorist attack with CBRN agents is plausible. The severity of WMD terrorism, its complexity and potentially devastating effects, leads us to formulate the following question: would terrorists go beyond the bounds of perpetrating conventional attacks and actually carry out the distressing possibility of an attack with CBRN agents? This matter has been assessed by experts from different perspectives and by divergent approaches. Some think that the threat is significant – ‘Authorities have also argued that it is likely that terrorists will attempt to get their hands on and use chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons (also referred to as weapons of mass destruction)’ (Sinclair and Antonius 2012: 125) – whereas others do not share this opinion – ‘In assessing this claim, [risk of WMD terrorism] a number of scholars have argued that, although it cannot be categorically ruled out, terrorists are highly unlikely to use weapons of mass destruction because the risks are simply too great’ ( Jackson et al. 2011: 136). In this chapter, I assess the threat of WMD terrorism and argue for caution and a balanced threat assessment.

Terrorist motivations to perpetrate a WMD attack The evolution of terrorist practice demonstrates that an indiscriminate number of victims, higher degrees of lethality and graphic impact are intrinsic features of twenty-first century attacks, along with the invariable intentions to exert coercion to reach political goals and cause social destabilisation. The motivations for terrorists to perpetrate a WMD attack have been analysed in several studies, and most of them share the opinion that extremist fundamentalist groups match up with the profile of those that might seek mass casualties. Organisations or sects based on apocalyptic mysticism are also plausible WMD perpetrators. Research by Ackerman explains the survey carried out by a Delphi survey ‘that was conducted to address the question of the likelihood of jihadists using WMD’ (2009: 366). In ‘Appendix 3, Ranking of the most likely perpetrator (in terms of actors) of a WMD attack within the next 10 years [=15]’, the following groups were studied from Rank 1 to 13: ‘Sunni jihadists, apocalyptic cult, Shi´i jihadists, idiosyncratic/mentally ill individuals, non-Islamic religious extremists, right-wing, left-wing, single-issue actor, ethno-nationalistic group, state (covert), state (overt as warfare) criminal group and other’ (2009: 382). Alexander (2010: 7) indicates that ‘it is conceivable that a highly motivated and desperate terrorist group with technological and financial assets will attempt to improve its bargaining leverage by resorting to mass destructive violence.’

Fear perception factors and the main psychological effects of WMD terrorism Taking into account that the perception of fear is produced through a complex process of cognitive, behavioural, emotional and psychological factors, in the case of a CBRN terrorist attack, these factors would be greatly increased due to the psychosis produced by a magnified impression of the risk that would result in the dozens of individuals traumatised for each physically injured person. As Martin Ramirez (2003: 402) points out: Fear becomes anxiety when it generalizes beyond the specific danger situation to become a more pervasive feeling of personal vulnerability to things that are not intrinsically dangerous, but are linked symbolically or historically to danger.

90  Natividad Carpintero-Santamaría This statement can be applied to Radiological Dispersion Devices (RDD). The memory of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings have major historical influence on how people perceive nuclear or radiological issues. One of the consequences of a potential CBRN attack is the high psychological perturbation in the population affected. The following pathologies can be associated with this perturbation: (1) Psychosomatic symptoms – related to a disorder having physical symptoms originated from mental emotional causes; (2) Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – mental health condition triggered by a terror event, either experiencing it or witnessing it; (3) Mass psychogenic illness – real symptoms causing harmful effects on individuals, which can be triggered by misunderstood or false information; and (4) Worried well  – people who do not actually need medical treatment but go to the doctor with emotional problems. Some may have been exposed to the attack but are not physically affected. Others may have heard about the attack and are concerned about their welfare.

Chemical terrorism – from Tokyo’s paradigm to a non-negligible contingency It is well known by terrorists that the impact on public opinion depends on the characteristics of their attacks and the nature of the weapons used. The activities of the Japanese cult, Aum Shinrikyo, were virtually unknown outside Japan until they gained international attention after their attack with sarin nerve gas on the Tokyo subway in 1995 (Velarde and Carpintero-Santamaría 2010). Although the attack revealed the technical incapability of Aum Shinrikyo in their purpose of inflicting mass casualties, the unprecedented aggression of their attack was nevertheless a blow to the logistics of an overwhelmed Japanese emergency response. Twenty-three per cent of the personnel at St Luke International Hospital that assisted the victims, and about 10 per cent of the fire department members involved in the emergency response, suffered secondary exposure (Saito 2010). The 1995 sarin gas terrorist attack in Tokyo can be considered paradigmatic of a terrorist attack against a population with chemical warfare agents. After the attack, a great number of the approximately 5,500 persons who went to 280 medical centres in Tokyo were citizens that either did not suffer gas exposure harm or were not genuinely affected but were afraid of becoming ill (Pangi 2008). As Smithson and Levy point out (2000: 95), ‘Doctors and nurses faced the multiple challenges of distinguishing truly injured from worried well, diagnosing what was causing the mass illness, and deciding upon the appropriate treatment’. Sarin (or GB) is the most efficient chemical agent for weapons due to its extreme lethality and rapid action. Sarin is a highly volatile gas that can evaporate from liquid to vapour state. It is also a non-persistent gas that dissipates quickly and can kill either by inhalation or by skin/eye contact. If inhaled, six-tenths of a milligram to a milligram can be lethal within one to ten minutes. In 2013, the Final Report of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic concluded ‘that chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic’. The attacks were perpetrated in the following areas: the Ghouta area of Damascus; Khan Al Asal; Jobar, Saraqueb and Ashrafiah Sahnaya (2013: 21–3, 85). These attacks, plus several others still under investigation, highlight the accessibility of warfare chemical agents such as organophosphorous compounds and Sarin. Although chemical agents do not require sophisticated delivery systems (crop duster airplanes, commercial spray devices or improvised explosive devices [IEDs] might be

Is WMD terrorism a likely future prospect?  91 sufficient), the acquisition of war chemical agents for a large-scale attack by terrorists would be technically very difficult, if not impossible. Terrorist intentions and terrorist capabilities do not always coincide. However, it is plausible that, as in the case of Aum Shinrikyo, a resolute terrorist group with powerful resources could carry out an attack using toxic industrial chemicals (TICs). TICs are highly toxic chemical substances used for industrial applications throughout the world. Ammonia, hydrogen cyanide and chlorine are included in the official list of such substances that can be found in chemical plants or transport. The fraudulent acquisition of chemical agents to perpetrate a terrorist attack could also come from transnational crime organisations that might, in turn, steal or divert the chemical agents from state reservoirs. The confluence of crime organisations with terrorist groups in areas such as drug trafficking and weapons supply has been recognised by the United Nations. Resolution 1373 adopted by the Security Council on 28 September 2001 points out: [Acting under Chapter  VII of the Charter of the United Nations]. 4. Notes with concern the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money-laundering, illegal arms trafficking, and illegal movement of nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials. Similarly, Shelley et al. (2005: 76) argues that ‘efforts to analyze the phenomenon of terrorism without considering the crime component undermine all counter-terrorist activities, including those aimed at protecting sites containing weapons of mass destruction’.

Bioterrorism: an insidious outlook Biological threats are a more complex matter, due to the nature of the agents used in this kind of weaponry. These agents include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) pathogen viruses such as smallpox and viruses grouped under the name of viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs), such as Ebola and Marburg, that have varying modes of transmission (airborne inhalation, direct contact with the infected individuals, urine and saliva); and (2) pathogen bacteria such as anthrax, cholera, botulism and plague. Viruses are more complicated to manipulate than bacteria, and some of them, such as the VHFs, which appear two to 21 days after exposure, are not easy to diagnose rapidly due to the varied symptoms that infected persons present. Viruses can also infect a large number of individuals with a small number of particles. Some pathogens can cause tens to hundreds of thousands of victims (Alibek 1999). The VHF viruses are especially threatening. The efficiency of a bio-weapon lies basically in its potential morbidity rate. Although the illicit acquisition of highly lethal germs is a difficult operation, its potentiality should not be misjudged. One of the biggest concerns comes from the lack of security at Soviet WMD facilities after the dissolution of the country in 1991. The instability of these facilities triggered international alarm. At that time, the theft, diversion, abandonment or loss of a chemical, biological or even tactical nuclear weapon was feared possible in the numerous CBRN installations in former Soviet closed cities. Currently, political stabilisation in the Russian Federation has distanced the spectrum of those incidents, but Russian scientists have acknowledged the need to improve their particular situation with respect to medical, biological and pharmaceutical facilities. As Morenkov (2002: 110) noted, ‘Many of them are in a difficult financial position and sit half empty, rented out to private firms. The laboratory facilities of such institutes and plants could potentially be used by bioterrorist groups to cultivate pathogenic viruses and microorganisms.’

92  Natividad Carpintero-Santamaría Vulnerabilities might also be present in other countries. For example, it is argued that ‘multiple specimens of anthrax spores, Ebola virus and other pathogens have over the past decade been reported missing from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)’ (Pilch 2006: 276). The RMR-1029 anthrax spores used in the mail attacks in the United States in 2001 were diverted from this institution (United States Department of Justice 2010). Although there are multiple methods, military and non-military, of aerosolising biological agents for delivery, weaponising biological agents is a complex task requiring different levels of technical skills and specialised equipment. For a tactical attack, however, a low-technology delivery system would suffice – such as mail letters or packages. Between September and October 2001, in the United States, a series of letters containing anthrax spores were sent. This postal attack produced 22 clinical cases, five of whom (two of them workers of postal services) died by inhaling the spores. The terrorist attack was followed by the actions of individuals who chose to simulate attacks by sending postal envelopes with powdery substances. This caused an overflow of work in health centres and laboratories of hazardous materials to collect reports of suspicious packages and letters in 911 centres (Ryan and Glarum 2008). According to research conducted by the FBI, the letters contaminated 35 offices and more than 1,800,000 letters, parcels, magazines, and the like were kept in quarantine. They also investigated a thousand people as possible suspects, and finally discovered, after extensive forensic analysis, that the RMR-1029 spores used in the postal attacks came from the Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases of the United States Army (USAMRIID) Fort Detrick (Amerithrax or Anthrax Investigation, FBI). Biotechnological advances are one of the leading resources in the prevention and mitigation of bioterrorist threats. Advances in biochip research and in microbial forensics research (such as DNA-based methods) are being carried out for the analysis of bio-crime evidence. Also, new discoveries in bio-nanoscience are being applied to the development of devices for the detection of airborne pathogens.

Nuclear terrorism: a challenge for terrorists Nuclear terrorism could be perpetrated using any of the following means. First, it could involve the use of crude or improvised nuclear devices (INDs), taking into consideration that once the terrorist group obtained the needed highly enriched uranium (HEU), a uranium IND would require a low technological capacity. A plutonium IND, however, would require a high technological capacity, even though the terrorist group had the needed highly enriched plutonium (HEP). Second, it could involve radiological dispersion devices (RDDs), also known as dirty or radioactive bombs. Third, it could involve an attack on a nuclear power plant (Velarde and Carpintero-Santamaría 2010). Concerns about nuclear terrorism have led several organisations at the global level to establish different programmes to combat it. In 2002, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) launched the Action Plan to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, aimed at improving the control of radioactive sources and providing assistance to member states in securing orphan sources – a radioactive source which is not under regulatory control. The Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Safeguards and Additional Protocols are other substantial steps by the IAEA to prevent nuclear terrorism. The IAEA ­Secretary-General (2015) has also acknowledged the threat: Mr Amano [IAEA Secretary-General] said the fact that there has never been a major terrorist attack involving nuclear or other radioactive material ‘should not blind us

Is WMD terrorism a likely future prospect?  93 to the severity of the threat’. He said: ‘There is evidence that terrorist groups have tried to acquire the material needed to construct a crude nuclear explosive device, or a dirty bomb.’ Similarly, in 2005, the United Nations organisation established the International Convention for the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism. In 2006, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism was launched with widespread international cooperation. INTERPOL established the Geiger Program, which focused on collating and analysing information on illicit trafficking and other unauthorised activities. The United States launched its Second Line of Defense programme, and in 2008, the European Union Council established the New Lines for Action in Combating the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems. Rumours about lost nuclear tactical devices have circulated, but there is little reliable information. These rumours appeared following the demise of the Soviet Union in December  1991. The dissolution of the USSR triggered international concern about the safety and security of the country’s nuclear weapons facilities. Rumours began surfacing about the possibility that tactical nuclear weapons had been diverted outside Soviet government control. Especially controversial was the assertion by General Lebed in 1997 to the CBS News programme, 60 Minutes, that ‘more than 100 weapons [suitcase-sized nuclear bombs] out of the supposed number of 250 are not under the control of the armed forces in Russia’ (Allison 2004: 44–5). Officials of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation have stated several times that its nuclear arsenal, including these suitcase-sized nuclear bombs, did not suffer alteration (Arms Control Association 1997). With respect to the transfer of a nuclear weapon to terrorist groups, thus far no state actor has been proven to have taken such a hazardous step. It is a generally accepted opinion that any country that supplied terrorist groups with fissile material or even a nuclear bomb would suffer a potentially devastating response from other countries.

Radiological terrorism or ‘dirty bombs’: a major threat, a major risk The potential use by a terrorist group of a Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD), or ‘dirty bomb’, is a contemplated contingency in the twenty-first century. It is a real threat that a terrorist group, either acting independently or acting as part of a bigger organisation, could detonate a radiological dispersion device. Dirty bombs are easily made, with a combination of chemical explosives (such as gunpowder, dynamite, Semtex, or C-4) and the kind of radioactive material (ampoule, vial or depot) that is commonly found in some hospitals, industries, food sterilisation facilities and biochemical research centres. Both the efficiency of the dirty bomb and its radioactive contamination level depend on the chemical explosive used and the radiological toxicity of the material. The greater the amount of chemical explosives, the more effective the dispersion of radioactive material will be. The health effects of an RDD explosion may vary significantly according to particle energy, and whether alpha, beta and gamma particles are inhaled, ingested or skin-­ absorbed. The activity of the radioactive source is another variable as well as the shape of the terrain, population density, local wind conditions and the like. The explosion of an RDD could contaminate the water supply, food and other consumer articles. The physiological and psychological damage caused by the explosion of an RDD would most likely be greater than the effects produced by the radioactive contamination (Carpintero-­ Santamaría 2015).

94  Natividad Carpintero-Santamaría The toxicity of radioisotopes has been divided by the IAEA into five different categories, from most to least toxic effects. Category 1 includes radioisotopes used in food sterilisation, hospital materials, teletherapy (e.g.  Co60 and Cs137) and thermoelectric generators (e.g. Sr90 and Pu238). Category 2 includes radioisotopes used for industrial gammagraphy and brachytherapy (e.g. Co60 and Ir192). Categories 3 to 5 include radioisotopes used in nuclear and biology laboratories, radioisotopes used in positron emission tomography (PET) and radioisotopes used as tracing molecules (e.g. C11, F18). Since the 1990s, the smuggling of radioactive materials has occurred in several countries involving sufficient amounts to make a dirty bomb. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) established an Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB) with information provided by state members about the illegal acquisition, use, possession and trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials. This database reports incidents involving illegal trade and trafficking across borders and incidents involving losses and the discovery of uncontrolled radioactive sources. During the period 1993–2015, a total of 2,889 confirmed incidents were reported to the IAEA (IAEA 2015) by participating and some non-participating states. However, the ITDB does not contain the total number of actual incidents. This discrepancy results from various factors, including the fact that several countries are not IAEA party members and that some governments are reluctant to give a complete account of the cases, either because of national security concerns or because they do not like to reveal vulnerabilities in their security programmes. An incident involving radioactive agents happened in London when Alexander V. Litvinenko, a former Russian FSB officer, died in the intensive care unit of the University College Hospital in London on 23 November 2006, reportedly from radioactive Polonium-210 poisoning. Following his death, the Health Public Agency (HPA) organised 24 monitoring teams from the Division of Radiological Protection to measure the level of exposure to Po-210 by people who may have been in places where the incident supposedly occurred and other places. According to Bailey et al. (2008: i): The alleged poisoning of Mr Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210 was an extraordinary event that presented some unique public health challenges. Environmental ­polonium-210 contamination was found at a number of locations in London, including parts of two hospitals, several hotels, restaurants, and office buildings. [. . .] Urine samples from 753 people were processed: about 500 during the first month, another 250 up to the end of May 2007, and a further three up to August 2007. The main purpose of a dirty bomb is to cause chaos, panic and traumatic and post-­ traumatic psychological-psychogenic effects in the population. In addition to these effects, terrorists might consider the economic losses and the costs of decontamination that would follow from this type of attack.

Conclusion The possibility that a terrorist group may use CBRN agents to perpetrate a tactical terrorist attack is a contemplated contingency in present counterterrorism programmes at the global level and by national law enforcement agencies. Research carried out in laboratories in the United States, the European Union, Israel and other countries to develop codes to simulate RDDs effects substantiate this threat that has been officially acknowledged at highlevel international institutions such as the United Nations, NATO and international law

Is WMD terrorism a likely future prospect?  95 enforcement organisations such as INTERPOL. The acquisition, production and dissemination of pathogen agents are not simple tasks, but they could be done if a resolute terrorist group with substantial resources had an adequate level of technical skills and equipment. The same could be applied to chemical agents. The biological harm associated with the explosion of an IND would be very high, but the probability of an IND terrorist attack is small. The probability that a terrorist group could explode a dirty bomb is high, due to the accessibility of its components. However, the biological harm associated with such an event can be reduced by means of an adequate emergency response. Decontamination costs would, however, be very high. It is somewhat worrying that such bombs could be used by splinter terrorist cells acting on their own. Although it would be very difficult for a terrorist group to carry out a large-scale chemical, biological or radiological agents attack, it would not be difficult for such a group to perpetrate a tactical act of aggression in order to produce casualties, horror, panic and chaos. Individuals perceive CBRN agents as an intangible threat which increases their degree of anxiety. The widespread psychological impact of such weapons makes them an attractive option for certain types of groups seeking to make a powerful media impact. In short, the development of preparedness, training and resilience programmes (R&D, new technologies, interdisciplinary programmes, etc.) is very necessary to counteract the risk of CBRN terrorism. The key to efficient prevention, early detection and response to such terrorism, lies in a multidisciplinary countering strategy.

NO: WMD terrorism: the prospects John Mueller

Introduction The experience of 11 September 2001, ought, it would seem, to have been taken to suggest that the scenario most to be feared is one in which terrorists might once again become able, through skill, careful planning, suicidal dedication and great luck, to use ordinary, extant devices to massively destroy. Instead, what particularly escalated after 9/11 was concern that terrorists might attain weapons specifically designated for committing mass destruction – this, even though the al-Qaeda terrorists of 2001 used weapons no more sophisticated than box cutters. However, terrorists are likely to continue to find that obtaining and using such weapons is exceedingly difficult.

Atomic terrorism Scariest, of course, is the thought of terrorists with an atomic device. In the United States, Defense Secretary Robert Gates disclosed in 2008 that what kept every senior government leader awake at night was ‘the thought of a terrorist ending up with a weapon of mass destruction, especially nuclear’ (Mueller 2010: xi). And, in a major speech on 11 April 2010, President Obama held the atomic terrorist to be ‘the single biggest threat to U.S. security’. Alarm about the possibility that small groups could set off nuclear weapons have been repeatedly raised over the decades. In 1974, nuclear physicist Theodore Taylor proclaimed

96  John Mueller the problem to be ‘immediate’ and explained that it was ‘simple’ to build a bomb. At the time, he thought it was already too late to ‘prevent the making of a few bombs, here and there, now and then’, and that ‘in another ten or fifteen years, it will be too late’ (McPhee 1974: 7, 225). It was in 1995 that Graham Allison (1995) warned that ‘in the absence of a determined program of action, we have every reason to anticipate acts of nuclear terrorism against American targets before this decade is out.’ Then, unabashed, he maintained in an influential 2004 book that ‘on the current path, a nuclear terrorist attack on America in the decade ahead is more likely than not’ (2004: 15). In 2007, the distinguished physicist Richard Garwin put the likelihood of a nuclear explosion on a US or European city by terrorist or other means at 20 per cent per year (Allison 2007). That would work out to 89 per cent over a 10-year period. Allison’s time is up, and so, pretty much, is Garwin’s. And, it is important to point out that not only have terrorists failed to go nuclear, but also in the words of William Langewiesche who has assessed the process in detail, ‘The best information is that no one has gotten anywhere near this. I mean, if you look carefully and practically at this process, you see that it is an enormous undertaking full of risks for the would-be terrorists’ (Morning Edition, National Public Radio, 15 May  2007; see also Frost 2005; Langewiesche 2007; Mueller 2010, Chs. 12–15; Jenkins 2008; Diab 2015). As this suggests, terrorist groups thus far seem to have exhibited only limited desire and even less progress in going atomic. This may be because, after brief exploration of the possible routes, they, unlike generations of alarmists, have discovered that the tremendous effort required is scarcely likely to be successful. A common concern envisions a nuclear country (of which there are very few) palming off a bomb or two to friendly terrorists for delivery abroad. However, there would be too much risk, even for a country led by extremists, that the ultimate source of the weapon would be discovered before or after detonation – the likelihood that the weapon’s source would remain anonymous is very low (Lieber and Press 2013). Moreover, there is a danger that it would be exploded in a manner and on a target the donor would not approve – including, potentially, on the donor itself. In addition, al‑Qaeda is unlikely to be trusted by just about anyone: its explicit enemies list includes all Middle Eastern regimes as well as the governments of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia. And the Islamic State, or ISIS, that burst onto the international scene in 2014, apparently has, as a central policy, the dedicated alienation of just about every state in the world (Mardini 2014). Nor is it likely that a working nuclear device could be stolen and detonated. ‘A theft’, point out physicists Christoph Wirz and Emmanuel Egger, ‘would involve many risks and great efforts in terms of personnel, finances, and organization’, while safety and security systems on the weapons ‘ensure that the successful use of a stolen weapon would be very unlikely’ (2005: 502). Bombs can be kept dissembled with the component parts stored in separate high‑security vaults (a common practice in Pakistan), and things can be organised so that two people and multiple codes are required not only to use the bomb but also to store, maintain and deploy it. Moreover, stresses Stephen Younger, former research director at Los Alamos, few people know how to cause an unauthorised detonation of a nuclear weapon. Weapons designers know how a weapon works, he explains, but not the multiple signals necessary to set it off, and maintenance personnel are trained only in a limited set of functions (Younger 2009: 153–4; see also Levi 2007: 125; Diab 2015). Most analysts consider a terrorist group’s most promising route would be to attempt to make a bomb using purloined fissile material – plutonium or highly enriched uranium. However, as the Gilmore Commission stresses, building and deploying a nuclear device presents ‘Herculean challenges’. The process requires a lengthy sequence of steps, and if each is not

Is WMD terrorism a likely future prospect?  97 fully met, the result is not simply a less powerful weapon, but one that can’t produce any significant nuclear yield at all or can’t be delivered (Gilmore 1999: 31). First, the terrorists would need to steal or illicitly purchase the crucial plutonium or highly enriched uranium. This most likely would require the corruption of a host of greedy confederates including brokers and money transmitters, any one of whom could turn on them or, either out of guile or incompetence, furnish them with material that is useless (see also Levi 2007: 29, 32–3). Any theft would also likely trigger an intense international policing effort. Then, to manufacture a bomb, the terrorists would need to set up a large and well‑equipped machine shop somewhere and populate it with a team of highly skilled scientists, technicians, machinists and managers. These people would have to be assembled and retained for the monumental task while no consequential suspicions are generated among friends, family and police about their sudden and lengthy absence from normal pursuits back home. Wirz and Egger stress that fabricating a nuclear weapon ‘could hardly be accomplished by a subnational group’ because of ‘the difficulty of acquiring the necessary expertise, the technical requirements (which in several fields verge on the unfeasible), the lack of available materials and the lack of experience in working with these’ (2005: 501). Younger has made a similar argument, stressing the ‘daunting problems associated with material purity, machining, and a host of other issues’, and he concludes that the notion that a terrorist group could fabricate an atomic bomb or device ‘is far‑fetched at best’ (2009: 146). The process of fabricating a nuclear weapon requires, then, the effective recruitment of people who at once have great technical skills and will remain completely devoted to the cause. In addition, a host of corrupted co‑conspirators, many of them foreign, must remain utterly reliable, international and local security services must be kept perpetually in the dark, and no curious locals, including criminal gangs, must get consequential wind of the project as they observe the constant coming and going of outside technicians over the months or even years it takes to pull off. Finally, the resulting weapon, likely weighing a ton or more, would have to be moved to a target site in a manner that did not arouse suspicion. And then a skilled crew, presumably suicidal, would have to set off its improvised and untested nuclear device, hoping that the machine shop work has been perfect, that there were no significant shakeups in the treacherous process of transportation and that the thing, after all this effort, doesn’t prove to be a dud. The financial costs of the extended operation in its cumulating entirety could easily become monumental. There would be expensive equipment to buy, smuggle and set up, and people to pay – or pay off. Any criminals competent and capable enough to be an effective ally in the project are likely as well to be not only smart enough to see boundless opportunities for extortion, but also psychologically equipped by their profession to exploit them.

Terrorists with other ‘weapons of mass destruction’ Chemical, biological and radiological weapons have commonly been bracketed with nuclear ones, particularly over the last two decades, into a category known as ‘weapons of mass destruction’, but the identification is highly questionable (Carus 2006; Mueller 2010: 11–15). Although they can inflict damage, most can scarcely do so on a large scale. Chemical arms accounted for less than 1 per cent of the battle deaths in World War I, where they were used extensively (Mueller 2010: 24). And they cannot kill masses of people except when used in large numbers in a concentrated area. Matthew Meselson calculates that it would take fully a ton of nerve gas or five tons of mustard gas to produce heavy casualties among unprotected people in an open area one kilometre square, something that

98  John Mueller would require the concentrated delivery into a rather small area of about 300 heavy artillery shells or seven 500‑pound bombs (1991: 13). The potential for biological weapons to kill masses of people is higher, but for the most destructive results, they need to be dispersed in very low‑altitude aerosol clouds. Moreover, 90 per cent of the micro-organisms are likely to die during the process of aerosolisation, while their effectiveness could be reduced still further by sunlight, smog, humidity and temperature changes. Explosive methods of dispersion may destroy the organisms and, except for anthrax spores, long‑term storage of lethal organisms in bombs or warheads is difficult. In the summary judgement of two careful analysts, delivering microbes and toxins over a wide area in the form most suitable for inflicting mass casualties – as an aerosol that could be inhaled – requires a delivery system of enormous sophistication, and even then effective dispersal could easily be disrupted, as in the case of chemical weapons, by unfavourable environmental and meteorological conditions (Gilmore 1999, 25; Leitenberg 2005). As the Gilmore Commission has concluded, ‘the effective dissemination or dispersal of these viruses and poisons still presents serious technological hurdles that greatly inhibit their effective use’ (1999: 38). Developing such weapons, moreover, requires overcoming several major organisational hurdles. Among them: gaining access to specialised ingredients, acquiring equipment and know‑how to produce and disperse the agents and creating an operation that can resist infiltration or early detection by law enforcement. Radiological weapons or ‘dirty bombs’, in which radioactive materials are sprayed over an area by a conventional explosion, are incapable of inflicting much immediate damage at all. In fact, it would be almost impossible to disperse radioactive material from a dirty bomb explosion so that victims would absorb a lethal dose before being able to leave the area, and it is likely that few, if any, in the target area would be killed directly, become ill or even have a measurably increased risk of cancer, although the costs of disruption and cleanup could be considerable (Zimmerman and Loeb 2004: 11; Allison 2004: 8).

Terrorist progress, if any Presumably in part because of such difficulties, the degree to which al‑Qaeda or other notable terrorist groups have pursued, or even had much interest in, any sort of WMD may have been exaggerated. Analyst Anne Stenersen concludes after an exhaustive study of available materials that, although ‘it is likely that al‑Qaeda central has considered the option of using non-conventional weapons’, there ‘is little evidence that such ideas ever developed into actual plans, or that they were given any kind of priority at the expense of more traditional types of terrorist attacks’ (2008: 39; see also, Mueller 2010: Ch. 14; Bergen 2010). Moreover, the use of unconventional weapons can be counterproductive by turning off financial supporters, dividing the movement and eliciting major crackdowns. Osama bin Laden pronounced on the nuclear weapons issue a few times, talking about an Islamic ‘duty’ or ‘right’ to obtain the weapons for defence. Some of these oft‑quoted assertions can be seen as threatening, but as Louise Richardson concludes, ‘statements claiming a right to possess nuclear weapons have been misinterpreted as expressing a determination to use them’, feeding ‘the exaggeration of the threat we face’ (2006: 162). Indeed, evidence from an al-Qaeda computer left behind in Afghanistan in 2001 when the group beat a hasty retreat indicates that only some $2,000–$4,000 was earmarked for WMD research and that mainly for very crude work on chemical weapons (Stenersen 2008: 35–6). In the wake of the killing of bin Laden in 2011, we now have more al-Qaeda computers. Taken away with bin Laden’s bullet-shattered body, which was soon to be ceremoniously

Is WMD terrorism a likely future prospect?  99 dumped at sea, were written documents and masses of information stored on five computers, ten hard drives, and 100 or more thumb drives, DVDs and CD-ROMs. This, it was promised, was a ‘treasure trove’ of information about al-Qaeda – ‘the mother lode’, said one US official eagerly (Gendar and Kennedy 2011). Poring through the material with great dispatch, however, a task force soon discovered that al-Qaeda’s members were primarily occupied with dodging drone missile attacks, complaining about the lack of funds and watching a lot of pornography (Miller 2011; Shane 2011). There appears to have been nothing about weapons of mass destruction. Although some members of al-Qaeda may have dreamed from time to time about getting such weapons, the only terrorist group to indulge in such dreams has been the Japanese millennial group, Aum Shinrikyo. However, that group’s experience can scarcely be much of an inspiration to other terrorist groups that might like to pursue WMD. Aum Shinrikyo was not under siege and had some 300 scientists in its employ, an estimated budget of $1 billion and a remote and secluded haven in which to set up shop. It also leased the mineral rights to an Australian sheep ranch that sat on uranium deposits and (fruitlessly) tried to buy a finished bomb from the Russians. After making dozens of mistakes in judgement, planning and execution in a quest for nuclear weapons, it turned to biological ones and reportedly tried at least nine times over 5 years to set them off by spraying pathogens from trucks and wafting them from rooftops, hoping fancifully to ignite an apocalyptic war. These efforts failed to create a single fatality. In fact, nobody even noticed that the attacks had taken place (Frost 2005: 38–40; Gilmore 1999: 40–51; Rapoport 1999). This complete failure inspired its leader to suggest that fears expressed in the United States of a biological attack were actually a ruse to tempt terrorist groups into pursuing the weapons (Danzig et al. 2011: 26). It then turned to chemical weapons and appears to have invested $30 million in its sarin gas manufacturing programme (Stenersen 2008: 35–6). The group did finally manage to release some sarin in 1995 in a Tokyo subway, killing 13 – terrible, but not anything that could credibly be called ‘mass destruction’.

The future Aum Shinrikyo’s act led to its terminal shut-down and also to decades of unfulfilled pronouncements that WMD terrorism is the wave of the future (see Laqueur 1996: 34). However, the terrorists’ WMD problem lingers. The basic knowledge about the destructive potential of biological and chemical weapons goes back decades, even centuries in some respects, and governments have spent a great deal of money in an effort to make the weapons more effective. Yet the difficulties of controlling and dispersing chemical and biological substances seem to have persisted. The rise in 2014 of the ISIS group in Syria and Iraq does not really alter these conclusions. The vicious group is certainly a danger to the people under its control, and mainly devoted to killing and terrorising fellow Muslims and neighbouring Christians whom it doesn’t like. Middle East specialist Ramzy Mardini (2014) notes that ‘the Islamic State’s fundamentals are weak’; that ‘it does not have a sustainable endgame’; that its ‘extreme ideology, spirit of subjugation, and acts of barbarism prevent it from becoming a political venue for the masses’; that its foolhardy efforts to instill fear in everyone limits ‘its opportunities for alliances’ and makes it ‘vulnerable to popular backlash’; that ‘its potential support across the region ranges from limited to nonexistent’; and that the group ‘is completely isolated, encircled by enemies’. The group is actually more visible – that is, easier to find – than al-Qaeda in that it seeks to hold and govern physical territory. It is likely to find this task increasingly difficult under

100  John Mueller bombardment in a world that is devotedly hostile to it, and it is unlikely to be able to amass the finances, the skills, and the serenity to go atomic. Actually, most terrorism specialists (and alarmists) now contend that any terrorism problem principally derives from rather small numbers of home-grown people, often isolated from each other, who fantasise about performing dire deeds and sometimes receive a bit of training and inspiration overseas. Going even further, public officials have also publicly concluded that the ‘greatest concern’ has now become the ‘lone wolf ’ terrorist. However, as Max Abrahms (2011) has pointed out, ‘lone wolves have carried out just two of the 1,900 most deadly terrorist incidents over the last four decades’. In general, the capacities of terrorists or would-be terrorists in the United States have been remarkably limited (Brooks 2011; Mueller 2017; Mueller and Stewart 2012, 2016). And that condition seems scarcely different in Europe and other Western locations. Michael Kenney (2010b) finds that Islamic militants there are operationally unsophisticated, short on know‑how, prone to make mistakes, poor at planning and limited in their capacity to learn. More than a decade separated terrorist attacks in Europe that killed 25 or more: London in 2005 and Paris in 2015. In addition, the popular notion that the Internet can be effective in providing operational information seems to be severely flawed. Kenney (2010a) notes that it is filled with misinformation and error and that it is no substitute for direct, on-the-ground training and experience. Suggestive of the problem is the rather impressive inability of terrorists in the West to create and set off any sort of bomb. In many terrorism cases in the United States, the only explosive on the scene has been a fake one supplied by the FBI, and it is clear that many would-be terrorists generally lacked the capacity to create or acquire one on their own. Indeed, with one exception, the only method by which Islamist terrorists managed to kill anyone in the United States in the decade after 9/11 was through the firing of guns. The exception was the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013 in which terrorists did manage to set off a pair of crude homemade bombs, killing a total of three in a crowded area. The record is similar in the United Kingdom: except for four bombs in London in 2005, no terrorist bomb has been detonated there. Because terrorism of a considerably destructive nature can be perpetrated by a very small number of people, or even by a single individual, the fact that terrorists are few in number and limited in competence does not mean there is no problem. However, the notion that such people could come up with effective weapons of mass destruction seems remote. There may be reason for concern, or at least for interest and watchfulness. But alarm and hysteria (not to mention sleeplessness) over the terrorist WMD threat are hardly called for.

Expansively redefining WMD In the meantime, the discussion of WMD terrorism will be cluttered by a bizarre legal expansion of the concept. The weapons were explicitly rendered into US law in 1992, and chemical, biological, and radiological weapons were grouped with nuclear ones. However, in the process, the definition was extended far further to include any bomb, grenade or mine; any rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces; any missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce; and any projectile-spewing weapon that has a barrel with a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter (Carus 2006; Mueller and Mueller 2009; Mueller and Stewart 2016: 30–1). In result, many of those arrested for terrorism in the United States have been charged with planning to use ‘weapons of mass destruction’, even though they were working, at

Is WMD terrorism a likely future prospect?  101 most, on small explosives or contemplating planting a hand grenade or two in a trash bin. It turns out then, that by the creatively expanded definition, Francis Scott Key was exultantly, if innocently, witnessing a WMD attack in 1814; that the ‘shot heard round the world’ by revolutionary war muskets was the firing of WMDs; and that Iraq was chock-full of WMDs when the United States invaded in 2003 – and still is, just like virtually every other country in the world.

Discussion questions 1 What are weapons of mass destruction? 2 Is it sensible to include in the category weapons that are incapable of inflicting massive destruction? 3 Why have they been used so infrequently? 4 Are the fears they inspire justified? 5 Why are weapons of mass destruction capable of producing much greater psychological effects than conventional weapons? 6 Taking into account the confluence in drug trafficking and weapons supply between transnational crime organisations and terrorist groups, would crime organisations help terrorists to acquire WMD agents or materials? 7 What are the main risks to terrorists of using WMD? Why would they choose to use them over conventional weapons? 8 Is there a real risk of a state actor supplying a terrorist group with fissile material or even a nuclear bomb? 9 How and what should states do to deal with the threat of WMD terrorism?

Further readings Howard, D., and Forest, J., eds., 2008. Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism, New York: McGraw Hill. Jenkins, B. M., 2008. Will Terrorists Go Nuclear? Amherst, NY: Prometheus. Leitenberg, M., 2005. Assessing the Biological Weapons and Bioterrorism Threat, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College. Levi, M., 2007. On Nuclear Terrorism, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Lieber, K., and Press, D., 2013. ‘Why States Won’t Give Nuclear Weapons to Terrorists’, International Security, 38(1): 80–104. Mueller, J., 2010. Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al Qaeda, New York: Oxford University Press. Ryan, J., and Glarum J., 2008. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, Burlington, MA: BH Elsevier. Stenersen, A., 2008. Al-Qaida’s Quest for Weapons of Mass Destruction: The History Behind the Hype, Saarbrücken, Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller.

7 Is cyberterrorism a real threat?

YES: why we should start from this assumption Maura Conway

Introduction It was estimated in 2012 that some 31,300 press, magazine and academic journal articles had already been written on cyberterrorism (Singer 2012). Albeit the term ‘cyberterrorism’ was coined in the 1980s (Collin 1997) and has thus been in existence for more than 30 years now, there is still considerable disagreement about what particular types of activity it describes. In 1991, the US National Academy of Sciences made the now-famous prediction that ‘tomorrow’s terrorist may be able to do more damage with a keyboard than with a bomb’ (National Research Council 1991: 7). So is cyberterrorism now a regular occurrence? Or has it not yet occurred, but nevertheless poses a real threat? It’s actually possible to answer ‘yes’ to both questions; let me explain further.

Cyberterrorism is not a future threat; it’s happening now In her highly cited testimony before the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism of the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Armed Service in 2000, Dorothy Denning described cyberterrorism as ‘the convergence of terrorism and cyberspace’ and went on to say: ‘It is generally understood to mean unlawful attacks and threats of attack against computers, networks, and the information stored therein when done to intimidate or coerce a government or its people in furtherance of political or social objectives.’ This conception of cyberterrorism, which is commonplace among academics, is very narrow and renders the target or consequences of an attack a determining feature alongside the required socio-political aim. This is in stark contrast to the conclusions drawn by Sarah Gordon and Richard Ford (2003: 4) in a Symantec White Paper discussing Denning’s testimony: We believe that the true impact of her opening statement (‘the convergence of terrorism and cyberspace’) is realized not only when the attack is launched against computers, but when many of the other factors and abilities of the virtual world are leveraged by the terrorist in order to complete his mission, whatever that may be.

Is cyberterrorism a real threat?  103 On this analysis, Gordon and Ford are willing to countenance understandings of cyberterrorism that are as wide as to include, for example, the online purchase of airline tickets by the 9/11 attackers ( Jarvis et al. 2014: 28). They’re not alone; other academics too subscribe to the idea that any use of the Internet by terrorists constitutes cyberterrorism (see Desouza and Hensgen 2003: 388). In fact, adopting this approach, probably one of the first cyberterrorist attacks was initiated more than 20 years ago when over a 2-week period in August 1997 the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) swamped Sri Lankan embassies worldwide with email traffic. An LTTE offshoot calling itself the Internet Black Tigers claimed responsibility for the ‘suicide e-mail bombings’ (Tribune News Service 1998). Others have taken things a step further. George Kostopoulos (2008: 165) differentiates in his work between three types of cyberterrorists: (1) professionals who ‘aim at inflicting physical or cyber damage’ on their victims, (2) amateurs who ‘find pleasure in applying cyber graffiti’, and (3) thieves who ‘have immediate personal illicit economic benefit from their actions’. Kostopoulos’s conception of cyberterrorism thus incorporates everything from virtual nuisance activity to a massive cyber-attack causing ‘real-world’ damage. Essentially, anything ‘bad’ undertaken via cyber-means may be termed cyberterrorism on this analysis. Such an approach has been widely taken up in the media and by some policymakers. In summer 2017, for example, a Qatari newspaper headlined a piece on the alleged hacking of the Qatari government’s news agency’s website with a ‘Shameful Act of Cyber Terrorism’ (Qatar News Agency 2017), whilst in India a police complaint was filed under Section 66F of the IT Act (Committing the Offence of Cyber Terrorism) against a butcher for posting a 12-second video clip on his Facebook account depicting the slaughter of a cow on the basis that it was offensive to the ‘cow-worshiping tradition’ of Hindus (Srividya 2017). To sum up, on some definitions it is not a question of ‘if ’ or ‘when’ cyberterrorism will take place, it’s already a daily occurrence globally. An argument based on whose definition of cyberterrorism is the most cogent is unsatisfying to some, however, so let’s take things a step further: reverting to Denning’s ‘convergence of terrorism and cyberspace’ thence ‘cyberterrorism’ and having due recourse to Denning’s own approach to the issue, but also that of Gordon and Ford and others sharing a similar outlook, let’s consider the cyber activity of the so-called Islamic State (IS) and whether it can convincingly be described as cyberterrorism. A focus on IS is appropriate for two reasons: (1) it’s widely agreed to be a terrorist organisation, and (2) it has made wide use of the Internet. Dispensing then with what many would consider far too expansive definitions, such as that of Kostopoulos, has IS engaged in cyberterrorism on either Denning or Gordon and Ford’s definitions?

IS terrorists’ cyber activity IS’s online activity has two major components: its social media campaign and its hacking activity. IS’s social media campaign is routinely described in the press as ‘slick’ and ‘professional’. At the peak of their social media activity in 2015, IS were producing upwards of 1,100 items of propaganda monthly (Winter 2015: 5). At one point, IS-supportive Twitter accounts numbered somewhere between 50,000 and 90,000 (Berger and Morgan 2015: 7). In terms of formats, IS’s official online content has included text (books, magazines), images (photo montages, infographics) and videos. In addition to their Twitter presence, which has now been significantly disrupted, IS are also active on a wide range of other social media platforms and content upload sites, including YouTube, Google Drive, JustPaste.It, Google Photos, SendVid and the Internet Archive (Conway et al. 2017).

104  Maura Conway The purpose of this IS activity is to influence as many Internet users as possible to identify with their violent jihadi ideology and to radicalise sufficient numbers to, in the early part of their online campaign, travel to their self-declared ‘caliphate’ as so-called foreign fighters or, more recently, to carry out terrorist attacks in their countries of origin in IS’s name. IS thus represents a straightforward case of a terrorist group using the Internet to solicit others to engage in terrorism and thence falls squarely into Gordon and Ford’s definition of cyberterrorism on the basis of the previously described activity alone. In addition to its online propaganda campaign, IS and their supporters have also engaged in hacking activity. This appears much less formal, resourced, and organised than IS’s social media campaign but bears description and analysis in the cyberterrorism context nonetheless, particularly as it’s this type of activity that comes closer for many to approximating cyberterrorism than the online influence activity just described. IS’s hacking capabilities entered the public consciousness in early 2015 when they and/or their supporters hacked the Twitter accounts of the US Department of Defense’s Central Command (CENTCOM) and Newsweek. While these and other IS-associated hacks lacked sophistication in both their technological know-how and targeting, they nevertheless displayed IS’s desire to cause virtual damage. IS’s hacking activity appears to have been launched and spearheaded by Briton Junaid Hussain (aka. Abu Hussain Al Britani). Hussain, formerly ‘TriCk’ of hacking outfit TeaMp0isoN, quit Britain in 2013 upon completion of a 6-month prison sentence for hacking activity that resulted in former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s personal contact details being posted online (Murphy 2015). Killed by a targeted drone strike in Raqqa, Syria, in August 2015, Hussain was succeeded in his leadership role by British-educated Siful Haque Sujan until he too was killed, also in a drone strike in Raqqa, in December 2015. The biographies of Hussain and Sujan are illustrative of two important points in the cyberterrorism debate: (1) that it’s possible for IS – and, therefore, probably also other terrorist groups – to get on board relatively skilled hackers; and (2) the targeted killing of both may be an indicator of them and their hacking activity progressing to be viewed as a significant risk by authorities. Both types of IS online activity described previously  – social media campaigning and hacking – fit easily into Gordon and Ford’s definition of cyberterrorism, given that both are clear-cut examples of the convergence of terrorism and cyberspace. Both types of activity are also routinely referred to in the media as being instances of cyberterrorism. Most scholars agree that everyday terrorist use of the Internet to influence operations and other purposes doesn’t fulfil Denning’s criteria, however. Nor does the IS hacking activity just-­ described. Argued below, however, is that it can only be a short time before IS or some other terrorist group or their supporters engage in an attack that fulfils even the very narrowest definitions of cyberterrorism.

No major cyberterrorist attack has ever yet occurred, but it’s more likely now than ever As Dunn-Cavelty (2011: 2) has pointed out, Careful threat assessments  .  .  . necessarily demand more than just navel-gazing and vulnerability spotting. Rather than simply assuming the worst, the question that must be asked is: Who has the interest and the capability to attack us and why? On Denning’s widely accepted definition, no act of cyberterrorism has ever yet occurred. Although a diverse range of terrorist groups, including particularly al-Qaeda and IS,

Is cyberterrorism a real threat?  105 has demonstrated an interest in and some capability to develop and deploy rudimentary cyber-attack capabilities, there have been no successful terrorist attacks involving them. The reason for this is generally held to be a disconnection between terrorists’ intent and their insufficient technological capabilities. This section challenges the continued veracity of such an approach by underlining terrorists’ intent with respect to carrying out an act of cyberterrorism and, more importantly, following up with a discussion of the way in which the workings of the social web, especially crowdsourcing, and developments in the so-called Internet of Things may herald a break with the past as regards technological capabilities. Who has the interest to attack us and why? In an oft-quoted 2012 speech in New York, the former Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and then US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, laid out the cyberterrorism threat as he saw it: A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states [or] violent extremists groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack on 9/11. Such a destructive cyber-terrorist attack could virtually paralyze the nation . . . [W]e know that foreign cyber actors are probing America’s critical infrastructure networks. They are targeting the computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants and those that guide transportation throughout this country. We know of specific instances where intruders have successfully gained access to these control systems. We also know that they are seeking to create advanced tools to attack these systems and cause panic and destruction and even the loss of life. (Panetta 2012) Interesting to note here is that the ex-CIA chief doesn’t conceive of cyberterrorism as restricted to cyber destruction carried out by terrorist groups, but that any actor, including states, with the requisite political motive, tools, targeting and violent impact could be conceived of – indeed, probably would be – as engaging in cyberterrorism. Panetta went on to paint a word picture of the types of cyberterrorist attack that could unfold: They could, for example, derail passenger trains or even more dangerous, derail trains loaded with lethal chemicals. They could contaminate the water supply in major cities or shutdown the power grid across large parts of the country. The most destructive scenarios involve cyber actors launching several attacks on our critical infrastructure at one time, in combination with a physical attack on our country. Attackers could also seek to disable or degrade critical military systems and communication networks. The collective result of these kinds of attacks could be a cyber Pearl Harbor; an attack that would cause physical destruction and the loss of life. In fact, it would paralyze and shock the nation and create a new, profound sense of vulnerability. (Panetta 2012) This description of cyberterrorism is much closer to Denning’s conceptualisation than any other discussed herein thus far. Finally, Panetta warned sceptics that: [C]yber attacks are every bit as real as the more well-known threats like terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation and the turmoil that we see in the Middle East . . . Before

106  Maura Conway September 11, 2001, the warning signs were there. We weren’t organized. We weren’t ready and we suffered terribly for that lack of attention. We cannot let that happen again. This is a pre-9/11 moment. (Panetta 2012) The US Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General for National Security, John Carlin, said something very similar in a speech delivered at Harvard University in December 2015: Terrorists seek to exploit our reliance on weak or outdated network security to harm our way of life. To date, terrorist groups are largely only experimenting with destructive hacking, but they are developing more advanced capabilities. We’ve also seen calls to action through Internet jihad by both Al Qaeda and ISIL, and our international partners have experienced attacks conducted by purported online jihadists. We are concerned that those groups will not hesitate to deploy offensive capabilities if they are able to acquire them. (Carlin 2015) What the previous quotes from well-informed US government insiders point to is that terrorists definitely have the intention to engage in cyberterrorism but perhaps not yet the capability to pull off a really major cyberterrorism attack. How might transformations in the online landscape cause this to change? The Darknet, the IoT, and the transformation of capability Eugene Kaspersky, a Russian engineer and founder and CEO of anti-virus vendor Kaspersky Lab, is well known for his pronouncements on the threat of cyberterrorism. He had this to say at the 2011 London Cyber Summit: I don’t want to speak about it. I don’t even want to think about it. But we are close, very close, to cyberterrorism. Perhaps already the criminals have sold their skills to the terrorists . . . There is already cyber espionage, cyber crime, hacktivism, soon we will be facing cyber terrorism. Kaspersky’s prose may be overwrought, but he’s not alone in fearing future combinations of cyber with terrorism. In August 2017, the European Union’s (EU) Counterterrorism Coordinator Giles De Kerchove remarked to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo regarding IS’s cyber capabilities that ‘on the Darknet you can find system vulnerabilities for sale . . . Or they can buy the services of Russian hackers, because [IS] have money’ (Suanzes 2017). The EU police agency EUROPOL’s IOCTA 2016: Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment contains a section on ‘The Convergence of Cyber and Terrorism’ (Europol 2016: 49–51) in which the currently thriving Darknet-based cybercrime-as-a-service industry is depicted as providing easy access to criminal products and services that ‘can be used by anyone, from technically savvy individuals to non-technically skilled terrorists’, explicitly stating that this allows for the launch of cyber-attacks ‘of a scale and scope disproportionate to the technical capability of the actors involved’ (Europol 2016: 49). Such suggested outsourcing has been subject to critique, however, on the basis, among other things, that it would not only force the terrorists to operate outside their own trusted circles and thus leave them ripe for infiltration, but even if contact with ‘real’ hackers was

Is cyberterrorism a real threat?  107 successful, the terrorist group would be in no position to gauge their competency accurately; they would simply have to rely on trust, which it has been argued would be very personally and operationally risky (Conway 2003: 10–12). What if it were possible to overcome these challenges by relying on online crowdsourcing, however? ‘Crowdsourcing’, a combination of the words ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’, refers to the practice of outreach to large numbers of people and enlisting some of them, often unpaid, to obtain information or input into or, indeed, completion of a task or project, typically via the Internet. This approach has already been shown to work in terms of instigating low-level ‘real-world’ terrorist attacks. Basically, a raft of recent attacks, including a growing number of vehicle attacks, have been shown to have been inspired rather than directed by IS. The perpetrators were neither, in other words, ‘members’ of IS nor were they told directly by IS to carry out attacks, but were influenced to do so on the basis of consuming IS propaganda instructing their followers to do just that. What these relatively unsophisticated lone actor terrorist attacks have shown is the possibility for small numbers of people carrying out ‘small’ attacks to have big impacts, in terms of generating widespread fear. So what type of cyber-attacks would likely generate the ‘real world’ casualties necessary for arriving at the same level of fear as generated by the spate of gun, knife and vehicle attacks? In June 2016, Robert Hannigan, then Director of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters, more commonly known as GCHQ , and ‘the Centre for Her Majesty’s Government’s Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) activities’ (gchq.gov.uk), warned that terrorists ‘are gaining the capability to bring a major city to a standstill with the click of a button’. Whilst cautioning that states are currently developing offensive cyber capabilities that could pose a risk to the United Kingdom, the GCHQ boss said that terrorist groups are also seeking to weaponise cyber technologies: There are certainly states and groups with the intent to do it, terrorist groups, for example, who have no threshold when it comes to the loss of life. We’re not quite there yet, but as the world becomes ever more connected that will become a greater risk. At some stage they will get the capability. (Bodkin 2016) It’s generally agreed that critical (cyber) infrastructures globally are insufficiently secured and thus highly vulnerable to attack. The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) presents a particularly target-rich environment. According to Intel (2016): The ‘Internet of Things’ is exploding. It is made up of billions of “smart” devices – from miniscule chips to mammoth machines – that use wireless technology to talk to each other (and to us). Our IoT world is growing at a breath-taking pace, from 2 billion objects in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 2020. That will be around 26 smart objects for every human being on Earth! And it will include, on a conservative estimation, about 1 in every 5 private vehicles (Tucker 2016). GCHQ’s Hannigan drew attention to the increasing risks to cities like London as more objects, like cars and household appliances, are connected to the Internet in this manner. The use by IS-inspired attackers of vehicles for terrorism purposes illustrates the attractiveness of these types of attacks. How much more attractive might the possibility of a large-scale, coordinated, automated, hijacking of Internet-connected vehicles be? Even more concerning, however, should be the possibilities afforded by IoT-enabled healthcare, which may present terrorists with the easiest route to causing physical harm.

108  Maura Conway Of the 15 billion devices found within the IoT in 2015, 30.3 per cent were in healthcare (Intel 2016). Medical devices such as pacemakers, neuro-stimulators and drug delivery pumps are increasingly used to manage medical conditions, and because they generally communicate via wireless technology, they have high cyber threat exposure. In 2007, it was revealed that former United States Vice President Dick Cheney had his heart implant modified for fear of a terrorist attack. The possibility of exploiting the device was confirmed by multiple ­university-based research groups who suggested a software radio-based attack was possible (BBC News 2013). As far back as 2011, a security researcher, himself a diabetic, demonstrated how insulin pumps could be remotely turned off and the device configurations changed without the patient’s knowledge (DarkReading 2011). Balogun et al. (2017: 52) hypothesise in a similar fashion: Suppose a smart health system that returns drug prescriptions to a patient were to be threatened by a man-in-the-middle attack. A remote attacker could intercept data and return a health-threatening prescription and thousands of patients’ lives could be endangered due to intentional medication errors. The nature of the previously described medical systems, particularly their reliance on wireless technology to operate, means that they could be compromised by highly malicious attackers with relatively low technical skills.

Conclusion IS’s online influence operations cannot, most scholars and many others agree, be legitimately described as cyberterrorism. Terrorist groups are known, on the other hand, to have been actively seeking cyber capabilities for some time and insiders from within government and industry across a range of countries share concerns regarding their developing capabilities in this domain. IS have, to a limited extent, already engaged in cyber-attacks, for example, and have successfully retained personnel with technical experience capable of expanding their activity in this domain. Having said this, IS clearly faces many challenges and logistical issues, including the targeted assassination of at least two of their top cyber operatives, which have tempered their cyberterrorism ambitions. This means they’re not yet capable of undertaking a major cyberterrorism attack, though it cannot be ruled out in the longer term. In the meantime, unsophisticated vehicle attacks by IS-inspired lone actors, effectively crowdsourced via the Internet, have proven highly effective. There’s no reason that lowlevel cyber-attacks could not be similarly outsourced via the Internet, either for payment or by ideological fellow travellers with the requisite skills. Herman Kahn’s observation in his famous Cold War text On Thermonuclear War (1960/2007: 535) that ‘the aggressor has to find only one crucial weakness; the defender has to find all of them, and in advance’ appears more apt now than ever. The IoT appears riddled with just such crucial weaknesses and, therefore, to present an unmatched and mounting array of possibilities for attacks. So, yes, cyberterrorism poses a real and growing threat in our increasingly cyber-dependent world.

NO: a narrated catastrophe, not a real threat Myriam Dunn Cavelty

Is cyberterrorism a real threat?  109

Introduction A link between terrorism and computer technology was already firmly established in the early days of the networked computer age. Symptomatically, a 1991 National Academy of Sciences report on computer security stated: ‘We are at risk. Increasingly, America depends on computers. [. . .] Tomorrow’s terrorist may be able to do more damage with a keyboard than with a bomb’ (National Academy of Sciences 1991: 7). Ever since, the notion that terrorists might use cyber-means for a devastating attack has been a part of the international cyber-security discourse. Before it is possible to make a statement about the reality of cyberterrorism, it is necessary to ascertain how one wants to use the term. The popular use of the concept signifies any kind of conflictual online exchange with a political touch. In contrast, scholarly definitions aim to clearly distinguish cyberterrorism from other forms of cyber-aggression (such as cybercrime or cyber-war), mainly to curtail the ‘hype’ about the issue. Definitions and the context of their emergence will be the focus of the first subsection. Using a ‘narrow’ definition of cyberterrorism – as terrorist attack that uses cyber-means and results in violence beyond the virtual domain – the chapter will argue in the second subsection that cyberterrorism is not real. Rather, it is a ‘narrated catastrophe’, a form of disaster that exists solely in the form of stories or narratives (Viehöver 2003). And, yet, even if it can easily be argued that cyberterrorism has not manifested as a real threat until now, an additional question needs to be asked: what about the future? Due to uncertain technological developments, as well as dynamic changes in the capabilities or motivations of terrorism groups themselves, cyberterrorism may already be apparent as a real future threat. The chapter argues in the third subsection that it is impossible to know with any certainty how high the risk of a cyberterrorist attack is. This demands prudent and pragmatic countermeasures. In the end, whether cyberterrorism is real or will become real is not the most important question for policymakers. Rather, they need to ask themselves how society can be sufficiently prepared to live with, and overcome, disruptions of crucial services caused by any kind of cyber-incident, terrorist or not.

Definitions of cyberterrorism in context In the latter 1990s, literature on the link between national security and cyberspace began to multiply. This mirrored the attention the issue got in the policy domain, spearheaded by the Presidential Commission of Critical Infrastructure Protection (Presidential Commission of Critical Infrastructure Protection 1997). In a seminal report, a group of experts convincingly described the link between critical infrastructures and cyberspace as a new threat for national security. Whether state actors or non-state actors were the most dangerous threat continued to be discussed throughout the years (Bendrath et al. 2007; Dunn Cavelty 2008), and the first attempts to define cyberterrorism as a specific threat form emerged. A prominent definition from 1997 combines the computer/cyberspace element with a definition of terrorism that the US government, mainly the State Department, has employed for statistical and analytical purposes since 1983 (Title 22 of the US Code, Section 2656f(d)). From this, one of the first scholarly definitions of cyberterrorism was developed: Cyberterrorism refers to premeditated, politically motivated attacks by sub-national groups or clandestine agents against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data that result in violence against non-combatant targets. (Pollitt 1998)

110  Myriam Dunn Cavelty The author introduced a target (information, computer systems, computer programmes and data), named a specific type of attacker with a clear intent (premeditated, politically motivated) and additionally stressed the violent nature of such attacks. These are important elements that we find in later definitions as well, whereby the definition of what a ‘terrorist group’ is (non-state, for example) or the exact nature of the target (non-combatant vs. any type of target), varies. In 1999, the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Irregular Warfare in Monterey published an extensive white paper on the issue of cyberterror and defined it as the ‘calculated use of unlawful violence against digital property to intimidate or coerce governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are political, religious or ideological’ (Center for the Study of Terrorism and Irregular Warfare 1999: 9). Furthermore, the authors stressed that cyberterror involved using information as a weapon, method or target to achieve terrorist goals. Cyberterror, therefore, exists in and beyond cyberspace and includes the physical destruction of any device, system of devices or process with an information component (Center for the Study of Terrorism and Irregular Warfare 1999: 9–10). A notable difference to other definitions is the special attention given to property and that it does not define the nature of a terrorist group any further. The authors were influenced by the FBI’s definition of terrorism, which explicitly includes violence against property and focuses on terrorist intent rather than the question of its form. The authors of the white paper believed that the reference to the destruction of digital property is necessary to acquire a meaningful definition of cyberterror, since attacks against the information infrastructure often only had a limited ability to produce the violent effects usually associated with traditional terrorist acts (Center for the Study of Terrorism and Irregular Warfare 1999: 7–10). This reflects the fact that by that time, cyberterrorism had begun to be used in a very loose fashion in the media and among some policymakers. Another influential and much-cited attempt to clearly differentiate between politically motivated online activities was made by Denning (2001), who introduced three classes of politically motivated activity involving the Internet: activism, hacktivism and cyberterrorism. The distinction between the latter two is especially important because it differentiates legitimate (though not always legal) social dissent and protest (hacktivism) from terrorist activities. Importantly, Denning stated that ‘an attack should result in violence against persons or property, or at least cause enough harm to generate fear’ (Denning 2000). Under this ‘severity of effects’ view, a computer attack may only be defined as cyberterrorism only if the effects are sufficiently destructive or disruptive to generate damage comparable to that of a physical act of terrorism. Attacks that disrupt non-essential services or that are mainly a costly nuisance do not qualify as cyberterrorism. Importantly, however, effect in isolation is not enough: the tools and tactics used by armies, terrorists, criminals and even hacktivists can be very similar, but the ultimate goals of these groups are different. If a recreational hacker shuts down the power grid by mistake, it is not an act of cyberterrorism, even if grave consequences result. The classification of an act of cyberterrorism, therefore, also depends on ‘the motivations of the attacker and the circumstances surrounding the attack’ (Schneier 2005). In sum, in the early and decisive attempts to define cyberterrorism as a specific and distinguishable threat form, ‘terrorist intent’ and ‘grave effect’ were the two crucial elements. Furthermore, cyberterror needs to target parts of the information infrastructure – such as information, computer systems, computer programmes, data or digital property. This type of definition is what scholars call a ‘narrow definition’ (cf. Jarvis et al. 2014: 28). If we consider the context of their emergence, the value of such definitions becomes easily apparent:

Is cyberterrorism a real threat?  111 the more frequently and indiscriminately the term ‘cyberterror’ was used in the media and in policy-circles for mobilising purposes (cf. Dunn Cavelty 2007), the greater the need to establish clear baselines to ensure the right threat-estimate and subsequent political action. In fact, the ‘hype’ around cyberterrorism that many experts have pointed to over the years (cf. Embar-Seddon 2002; Weimann 2006) calls for the narrowest definition possible. A definition that is as narrow as possible has recently been drawn from a comparison of existing legal texts and will be used as the benchmark in this chapter (Hardy and Williams 2014: 21): ‘Cyberterrorism’ means conduct involving computer or Internet technology that (1) is carried out for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause; (2) is intended to intimidate a section of the public, or compel a government to do or abstain from doing any act; and (3) intentionally causes serious interference with an essential service, facility or system, if such interference is likely to endanger life or cause significant economic or environmental damage. According to this definition, none of the larger and smaller disruptive cyber-incidents that the world has experienced in the last couple of years, even those instigated by terrorist organisations, have been examples of cyberterrorism, even though most terrorist groups use cyberspace for things like propaganda, recruitment and fundraising (Thomas 2003; Carlile and Macdonald 2014) or to gain media attention. Even incidents such as the disruption of TV5Monde in April 2015 allegedly by ISIS do not fulfil the previous definition, because such actions do in no way ‘endanger life or cause significant economic or environmental damage’. Therefore, at least until now, cyberterror remains fiction.

A narrated catastrophe Stopping at this statement is not enough, however. If cyberterrorism is not real, what is it then? It is undeniably ‘there’ in some form: a 2012 study found that over 30,000 magazine and journal articles have been written on the subject (Singer 2012). Also, other forms of cyber-aggression are rampant; criminal and espionage activities with the help of computers happen every day. Cyber-incidents are continually causing minor and occasionally major inconveniences in the form of service disruptions, lost intellectual property or other proprietary data, maintenance and repair, lost revenue, and increased security costs. Beyond the direct impact, cyber-attacks have also damaged corporate (and government) reputations (especially if they were badly handled). Nobody can, therefore, deny that cyber-attacks are real. Not real are very grave cyber-attacks, however. And yet, in the policy realm, the danger discourse is full of ‘multi-dimensional cyber disaster scenarios’ (Hansen and Nissenbaum 2009: 1164). These disaster scenarios show a very specific characteristic: they are disasters that exist solely in the form of stories or narratives and, therefore, are so-called narrated catastrophes (Viehöver 2003: 249). The difference between these and other anticipated events or disasters that also exhibit a strong narrative component – such as the next pandemic – is the lack of precedents. Menacing scenarios of major disruptive occurrences in the cyber-domain triggered by malicious terrorist actors have remained just and only that – scenarios. Because of this trait, narrated catastrophes unfold their institutional impact in the mode of narration, or in their myth (Viehöver 2003: 248). Their rationality is embedded and plays itself out in the story. Similarly, the societal response is strongly determined by the

112  Myriam Dunn Cavelty narrative form. Thus, while so-called cyber-panics may have imaginary origins, they very often have very ‘real’ consequences (Sandywell 2006: 46) because they serve as the basis for policy decisions. There are various explanations for why gloom and doom scenarios develop such prevalence and impact. First, psychological research has shown that risk perception is highly dependent on intuition and emotions (Gregory and Mendelsohn 1993). Cyber-risks, especially in their more extreme form, fit the risk profile of so-called dread risks, which appear uncontrollable, catastrophic, fatal, unknown and basically uncontrollable. There is a propensity to be disproportionally afraid of these risks, despite their low probability, which translates into pressure for regulatory action of all sorts and willingness to bear high costs of uncertain benefit. Second, combating cyber-threats has become a highly politicised issue. Therefore, official statements about the threat must also be seen in the context of different bureaucratic entities that compete against each other for resources and influence, or of politicians taking up this new and politically ‘hot’ issue. This is usually done by stating an urgent need for action and describing the overall threat as big and rising. Furthermore, the cyber-security market is growing rapidly: it is very lucrative to portray the problem as grave and getting worse (Simonite 2013). Third, the media loves the idea of cyber in connection with disaster and routinely features sensationalist headlines that cannot serve as a measure of the problem’s scope. By reporting only on a certain type of cyber-issue – the newsworthy ones – they distort the threat perception.

The threat in the future Even if cyberterrorism is existing as ‘narrated catastrophe’ at the moment, we still need to ask an additional question: what is the likelihood of a cyberterrorist attack in the future? Theoretically, if something has not manifested as real in the present but is seen as a (mediumto-high) risk in the future, it could still be called ‘a real threat’ in the here and now because it compels us to act against it in some form. The logic of the narrated catastrophe has an impact on these future threat estimations. Since the effects of grave cyber-attacks are potentially devastating, the temptation to not only think about worst-case scenarios, but also give them a lot of weight despite their low probability, is high. This problem is aggravated by a broader tendency in security politics. The handling of issues is directly linked to level of knowledge, but more importantly non-­ knowledge about threats. Cyber-threats develop dynamically. There is no reliable data for loss or damage estimation within our current pattern of cyber-usage (Sommer and Brown 2011: 12). In addition, statistical data of this sort would not be any help for the calculation of a low-probability, high-impact risk. Missing knowledge of this sort has led to the increasing use of vulnerability-based analysis, based solely on the identification of weaknesses ( Jenkins 2006: 120). When looking at vulnerabilities, the follow-up question is: ‘what could go wrong?’ and the natural answer is: ‘everything’. This almost automatically leads to worst-case scenarios. These scenarios have a habit of becoming reified in the political process. When this happens, they are turned into real threats, not potentials, based not on knowledge about the intentions and capabilities of potential adversaries but mainly on fears (Furedi 2008: 652). Such thinking distracts attention from the highly relevant questions of ‘what can’ and ‘what is likely’ to happen (Furedi 2008: 653). The policy world is compelled by its own rules not only to try and predict the future, but also to prepare for possible contingencies in the present. Thinking about (and planning

Is cyberterrorism a real threat?  113 for) worst-case scenarios is a legitimate and necessary task of the national security apparatus. However, when catastrophic incidents receive too much attention at the expense of more plausible problems, then too many resources are used for high-impact, low-­probability events, which means there are fewer resources for the low- to middle-impact and high-­ probability events. This shows that narrow and precise definitions of cyberterrorism are more than academic exercises; they are highly important tools to serve as a ‘reality check’. One approach to get a better estimate of the risk is to pay attention to all three sides of the classic ‘threat’-triangle: actors and their capabilities and motivations, plus one’s own vulnerabilities, which are a measure of both exposure and existing countermeasures. Knowing any of these parameters with any certainty is impossible – and, yet, they make an evidence-based and systematic discussion and the identification of existing knowledge and existing non-knowledge possible. It also helps to unearth expert assumptions and beliefs. Motivations: It has been suggested by some experts that there are several reasons why cyber-attacks might prove attractive to terrorist groups, including comparatively lower financial costs, the prospect of anonymity, a wider selection of available targets and the ability to conduct attacks remotely (Weimann 2004). By contrast, others have suggested that cyber-­ attacks are considerably more expensive than conventional, physical attacks (Conway 2014) and have attributed the fact that no major cyberterrorism attack has occurred to date to an unfavourable cost-benefit trade-off (Giacomello 2004). In addition, cyberterrorism lacks the theatricality or ‘media-effect’ of more conventional attacks (Conway 2014), unless it generates visible destruction, which is not easily guaranteed or controlled with ‘cyberweapons’. There are some experts who have pointed out that the costs for sophisticated and destructive malware may drop significantly in the future because they would become more prevalent and mainstream (Langner 2013). So far, there are no indications of this; however, the pricing and availability of sophisticated malware remains a crucial element for future risk assessments. Capabilities: Closely related to the motivation question is whether terrorist organisations possess the necessary capabilities to launch cyberterrorist attacks (or at what stage of knowledge acquisition they are), whether there are indications that they are outsourcing the necessary skills or whether they are attempting to buy sophisticated malware. At the moment, many experts assume that programming malware that could deliver grave effect is the dominion of nation states with a well-functioning intelligence apparatus and considerable resources. While there are low barriers to entry for patriotic and activist hackers, the barriers to entry are substantially higher when it comes to cyber-tools used to achieve controlled effect. For that, it is necessary to have the capacity to know and then exploit the right vulnerabilities (parts of the code that can be exploited) in specific systems around the world. Once knowledge of such unpatched vulnerabilities has been gained, malware to exploit them can be written. At a minimum, this requires technical brainpower of multiple persons, labs that duplicate the target environment for testing, and time. In addition, advanced (and, ergo, targeted malware) would have to be inserted into the target systems by on-site personnel (or insiders), rather than just be released remotely. In sum, creating malware that would generate severe effect is not simple, fast and easy – which does not mean terrorist organisations could never do it, but means that the cost of creating them is high or at least higher than commonly assumed (which brings us back to the cost-benefit question). Of course, there might be countries that have the capabilities to develop highly sophisticated malware and could potentially give it to terrorist organisations. However, it seems questionable that there is much strategic benefit in such action for state actors. Vulnerabilities: Undeniably, large segments of critical infrastructure are (potentially) vulnerable to cyber-attack because the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)

114  Myriam Dunn Cavelty systems which exist to monitor, control and alarm operating systems are insecure (Nicholson et al. 2012; Wilson 2014). When looking into the future, vulnerabilities are likely to increase due to the ‘Industry 4.0’ or ‘The Industrial Internet of Things’. Industry 4.0 stands for the integration of physical machinery (some of which is part of critical infrastructure objects and services) with embedded digital systems. The aim of this ‘smartification’ is to enable real-time optimisation of production processes and services (World Economic Forum 2015). At the current state of development, optimism about the huge benefits of this ‘revolution’ dominates the discussion. But there is growing awareness of the security dimension as well, which is already leading to attempts to define security standards and better countermeasures. Despite this, getting rid of all vulnerabilities in the information infrastructure is impossible, primarily because of the absurdly high costs such an undertaking would cause (with no guarantee for success). Because of this, future acts of cyberterrorism cannot be ruled out. But when considering capability and motivation questions as well, the risk of severe cyber-attacks at the hands of terrorists can be estimated to be low in the foreseeable future.

Conclusion In this chapter, it has been shown that terrorists have not used cyberspace as a weapon or target to conduct a terrorist attack with severe effects so far, though they routinely make use of computers for a variety of purposes (including ‘hacking’). Cyberterrorism, therefore, exists only as ‘narrated catastrophe’, a form of disaster that is imaginary. Narrated catastrophes have real-world effects, however, as they bind brainpower and resources to think about and plan for ‘worst-case scenarios’. Using too many resources for high-impact, low-probability events – and, therefore, having fewer resources for the low- to middle-impact and high-probability events – does not make sense, either politically or strategically, and certainly not when applying a cost-benefit logic. In terms of conducting a risk assessment of cyberterrorist attacks, when considering capabilities, motivation and vulnerabilities (instead of just focusing on vulnerabilities), there currently are no indications for a significant risk. In fact, it can be considered low. And yet, the risk is not zero. A cyberterrorist attack of very grave consequences remains a possibility, even if cyberterrorism cannot be considered a real threat today. How are we to deal with such knowledge? Disruptions of crucial services should be expected – be it because of malicious intent or because of failures or accidents. This shifts the focus of attention away from the preventative towards response and recovery and disaster management. If security does not refer to the elusive absence of danger but rather the ability of a system to quickly and efficiently reorganise and to rebound from a potentially catastrophic event, the concept of resilience takes centre stage (Dunn Cavelty et al. 2016). Because it is focused on the phase after the shock, resilience accepts that disruptions are inevitable and also fully embraces non-knowledge. Conveniently, this also means that the question of whether cyberterrorism is real becomes secondary.

Discussion questions 1 What, precisely, is cyberterrorism? Is it useful to include in the category ‘attacks’ that cause no physical harm? 2 What different functions do definitions of cyberterrorism serve? 3 What are the pros and cons of a narrow definition of cyberterrorism? 4 What are some plausible reasons for terrorists to use cyberweapons instead of conventional weapons?

Is cyberterrorism a real threat?  115 5 Are the fears that terrorists could engage in cyberterrorism resulting in ‘real-world’ harm, including the death of targets, justified? 6 Having regard to the increasing prevalence of cyber-crime, what’s the likelihood of forprofit cybercriminals knowingly assisting terrorists? 7 What other IoT-enabled objects, besides medical devices and vehicles, might be vectors for cyberterrorism? 8 What are some plausible reasons for terrorists not to use cyberweapons instead of conventional weapons? 9 Why is there a tendency to hype the threat of cyberterrorism? 10 What would have to change to make the risk of a grave cyberterror attack go up significantly in the near future?

Further readings Alkhouri, L., Kassirer, A., and Nixon, A., 2016. Hacking for ISIS: The Emergent Cyber Threat Landscape, Flashpoint. Available online at: https://fortunascorner.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ Flashpoint_HackingForISIS_April2016-1.pdf. Balogun, M., Bahs¸i, H., and Karabacak, B., 2017. ‘Preliminary Analysis of Cyberterrorism Threats to Internet of Things (IoT) Applications’, in Conway, M., et al., eds., Terrorists’ Use of the Internet: Assessment and Response, Amsterdam: IOS Press. Chen, T., Jarvis, L., and Macdonald, S., eds., 2014. Cyberterrorism: Understanding, Assessment and Response, New York: Springer. Debrix, F., 2001. ‘Cyberterror and Media-Induced Fears: The Production of Emergency Culture’, Strategies: Journal of Theory, Culture & Politics, 14(1): 149–68. EUROPOL, 2016. IOCTA 2016: Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment, The Hague: EUROPOL. Available online at: www.europol.europa.eu/activities-services/main-reports/internet-organisedcrime-threat-assessment-iocta-2016. Giacomello, G., 2004. ‘Bangs for the Buck: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Cyberterrorism’, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 27(5): 387–408. Jarvis, L., and Macdonald, S., 2014. ‘Locating Cyberterrorism: How Terrorism Researchers Use and View the Cyber Lexicon’, Perspectives on Terrorism, 8(2): 52–65. Weimann, G., 2006. Terror on the Internet: The New Arena, the New Challenges. Washington, DC: United Institute of Peace Press.

8 Does al-Qaeda still pose the more significant threat?

YES: the enduring al-Qaeda threat: a network perspective Jeffrey B. Cozzens and Magnus Ranstorp

Introduction Any doubts concerning al-Qaeda’s (AQ) strategic intent to threaten international security are shattered upon reading the US Senate Select Committee on Foreign Relations’ (2009) report, ‘Tora Bora Revisited: How We Failed To Get Bin Laden And Why It Matters Today’. The document recounts a rendezvous on the outskirts of Kandahar in August 2001 when Usama bin Laden (UBL) and Ayman al-Zawahiri met two Pakistani nuclear scientists to discuss AQ’s interest in acquiring nuclear weapons. Similarly, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) emir, Nasir al-Wahishi, told the organisation’s publication, Inspire, in July 2010, ‘America’s actions require us to wipe them out of the map completely. America is a cancer that needs to be removed along with the West.’ However, words alone do not a viable threat network make. A serious question remains in the minds of some concerning whether the AQ network – for our purposes, the Pakistan-based senior leadership of AQ and its fighters, AQAP and its activists, al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) – remains a threat to international security. Marc Sageman, a prominent analyst of militant Islamist networks, termed AQ ‘a mythical entity’ (Sageman, in Blitz 2010). Sageman’s view strongly contrasts with that of Georgetown’s, Bruce Hoffman, who describes at great length AQ’s ‘new grand strategy’, ‘newfound vitality’ and ‘networking strengths’ in a 2010 Washington Post editorial (Hoffman 2010). This chapter explores whether the AQ network remains a threat to international security. While it does not wrestle with all facets of the Sageman-Hoffmann debate, it uses a framework grounded in network theory to focus on the question of whether AQ is advancing as a network, as Hoffman has argued (Hoffman 2010). This method seems logical given the constant reference to AQ as a network in the terrorism literature and because much of the publicly available evidence suggests that this depiction is accurate. In the end, we argue that AQ is hitting the necessary benchmarks to sustain itself as a network and, therefore, remains a threat.

Does al-Qaeda pose the larger threat?  117

What do we mean by ‘network’? As described ad nauseum in the literature, the AQ core and its regional affiliates possesses the hallmarks of a networked organisation resting atop a broader violent movement (Ronfeldt 2007). While depicting AQ’s precise network form is not our central focus, our portrayal of AQ and its affiliates as an atomised network that still retains a modicum of formal structure is based on several key premises. First, leadership and hierarchy matter within AQ organisations. Barbara Sude, a former CIA al-Qaeda specialist now with RAND, writes: ‘al-Qaeda’s hierarchical structure has allowed the group to systematically acquire and disburse its human and material resources for operational needs  – and for rapid regrouping if necessary’ (Sude 2010). Usama bin Laden was widely viewed as both the leader of the AQ organisation and archetypal jihadi warrior. Directions and guidance flow from the central UBL faction to the various affiliates, if in different ways at different times, and some guidance appears to be operational in nature (Sude 2010). Further, as senior AQ militant Abdullah Muhammad Fazul observed, the ‘mother al-Qaeda’ appoints experienced or extraordinary militants to specific roles and functional committees, and replacements are found when required (Fazul 2009: 310). Second, a modicum of bureaucracy exists within the AQ network and between affiliates. The regional AQ affiliates have their own leadership cadres that have sworn bayat (an oath of loyalty pledged to an emir) to UBL, yet exercise authority within their respective organisations. The Harmony database maintained by the United States Military Academy at West Point contains evidence highlighting such systemisation, even if information concerning the conduct of relations between AQ Core and peripheral factions remains opaque (see Felter and Fishman 2007). Third, individuals are often cognizant of ‘joining’ these more organised factions. Pledging an oath of fealty, receiving a salary, submitting to a specific course of training or designated role, committing often significant financial resources upon entry and so on indicate in toto that the individual chooses to identify with an organisational schema, authority and objectives (Bergen 2006: 424). Undoubtedly, the AQ network has been forced to adapt and fragment in often significant and sometimes unknowable ways in response to the barrage of pressure brought to bear by intelligence, law enforcement and militaries around the world. However, there is scant evidence that the AQ core group and its geographic affiliates have lost or abandoned these network functions and principles internally or between their constituent parts (Fazul 2009: 310).

Metrics of formal network success and applicability Summarising and condensing a broad spectrum of the social science literature, a recent Iowa State University publication on business networks (Korsching et al. 2004) argues that the following characteristics must be at least maintained in networked organisations to generate forward momentum: strength in numbers and scope to leverage mobilisation; organisational identity, prestige and image; mutual assistance and reciprocity within the network; accomplishments; and continuity in operations. Indeed, the very characteristics that bolster network effectiveness provide a grounded analytical framework for assessing the continued threat from the AQ network to the international community. Indications of the AQ network’s ability to hit these metrics are synonymous with its continued threat.

118  Jeffrey B. Cozzens and Magnus Ranstorp Using this framework, we ask: does the AQ network leverage its manpower and geographic scope to mobilise? Does it possess an organisational identity that enhances internal commitment? Do the constituent components of AQ work together to assist the network as a whole to combat common enemies? Has the AQ network accomplished anything for its rank-and-file? And does the AQ network tackle the problems of continuity of operations and member retention?

Mobilisation patterns of AQ core and affiliates In 2001, Arquilla and Ronfeldt advanced the so-called SPIN model, an adaptation of Luther Gerlach’s earlier model of social movements, as a way to capture the complexity of AQ and to conceptualise its multilayered, interlocking components. In this model, AQ is a ‘segmented, polycentric, ideologically integrated network (SPIN)’ (Arquilla and Ronfeldt 2001). The SPIN model captures the multilayered relationships between the core leadership of AQ and its multiple peripheries and the mobilisation of the broader jihadi movement a decade later. Accordingly, Gerlach’s model advanced that: [I]t is segmentary in that it is composed of many diverse groups which grow and die, divide and fuse, proliferate and contract. It is polycentric in that it has multiple, often temporary, and sometimes competing leaders and centers of influence. It is networked, forming a loose, reticulate, integrated network with multiple linkages through travelers, overlapping membership, joint activities, common reading matter, and shared ideals and opponents. (Gerlach 2001) Ronfeldt would later argue that AQ resembles ‘a global tribe waging segmented warfare’, where the tribal principles of respect, dignity, pride and honour are core components, consistently projected globally as an integral part of their ideology. As such, AQ and its affiliates revolve around ‘a gripping sense of shared belonging, principles of fusion against an outside enemy, and a jihadist narrative so compelling that it amounts to both an ideology and a doctrine’ (Ronfeldt 2007: 43). It is evident that AQ’s tribal characteristics have materialised in its global mobilisation strategies, especially in its tripartite narrative. First, as Roger Hardy notes, it is a narrative of humiliation painted in primary colours: the West is at war with Islam, as evidenced by conflicts from Chechnya to Somalia. This dimension is further reinforced by metaphorical wars (e.g.  the Danish Muhammad drawings). Second, the narrative offers to transform humiliation into inevitable victory and shame into honour  – the core tenets of the mujahideen’s heroic tale. Third, it provides a compelling moral shock designed to spur collective action through graphic evidence of atrocities against Muslims (Hardy 2006). Collectively, AQ’s narrative represents an ever-expanding global ‘quilt’ of Muslim grievances and conflicts that it skillfully adapts to tap into the hearts and minds of sympathisers and activists – a powerful mobilising device. The polymorphous SPIN structure of AQ and its affiliates and the durability of its narrative are buoyed by the Internet. It allows AQ to project strength, to share doctrinal strategies and tactical advice, to survive pressures and fissures and to adapt to circumstances. The al-Qaeda core and its regional affiliates, with the exception of AQIM, have gradually adapted its online strategies to changing political circumstances and to appeal to an expanded recruitment base in the West. For example, AQ Core has finally called on the

Does al-Qaeda pose the larger threat?  119 popular revolutionaries to rise up in the post-Mubarak period and establish an Islamic state when it was initially sidelined by popular protests in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere. As argued by Snow and Byrd, ‘the success of al-Qaeda on the global scale may be partly attributable to the ability of its leaders to adapt the diagnostic and prognostic components of its master frame to local contexts’ (Snow and Byrd 2007: 132). Cyberspace has been the engine driving AQ’s collective action frames, constituting its ever-innovating central nervous system (Ranstorp 2007). Nowhere is this more evident than the translation of various online magazines into languages other than Arabic. AQAP’s Inspire is an ultra-slick, readily digestible ‘how-to-guide’ designed for Western recruits – increasingly the target audience, both in terms of travel to join the global jihad and as a means to instigate attacks from within the West.

AQ’s organisational identity Does the AQ network possess an organisational identity that enhances internal commitment? One way to address this query is to sample a cross-section of literature and statements from varied AQ militants (see, for example, al-Banna 2010; and ‘Hanif ’ in Yousafzai and Moreau 2010). In so doing, the contours and critical themes of a consistent group culture and identity – a common in-group set of attitudes, values and beliefs that offer a mechanism for both action and contrast against an out-group – crystallise. Abu Ubayd al-Qirshi, a popular AQ-linked online commentator and UBL associate, advanced a particularly forceful articulation of the core dimensions of AQ’s organisation identity in ‘The Impossible Becomes Possible’: With the New York and Washington raids, al-Qa’ida established a model of a proud Islamic mentality. This outlook does not view anything as impossible. Al-Qa’ida embodies Islamic unity. Blood from all the countries of the Islamic community has mixed together in the jihad that al-Qa’ida leads with no distinction between Arab and nonArab  .  .  . This is a step on the road to Islamic unity and the destruction of the  .  .  . colonialist treaties that have torn the body of the Islamic community apart . . . [W]ith absolute trust in God, a willingness to die in God’s path, patience, and generosity of spirit . . . these qualities . . . undoubtedly lead to victory. (al-Qirshi 2002) Statements like al-Qirshi’s point to a distinct, even catalytic, organisational identity and corresponding network culture. Prior research has outlined the key components of this ‘culture of global jihad’, which is constantly reinforced online and framed by sources of perceived social and religious authority to bolster morale and win recruits (Cozzens 2009b). But does this identity positively impact the commitment of those within the network? Notwithstanding often discussed ‘cracks’ within this identity, perhaps thousands of individuals remain motivated to act, or are prepared to act, on its perceived merits (Moghaddam and Fishman 2010). One quantitative example is the 2007 West Point study of foreign fighters in Iraq. When immigrating to Iraq to fight, these were queried by AQI as to why they came to the country, or what duty they hoped to perform: 217 of the 389 who responded (56.3 per cent) indicated a desire for martyrdom, whereas 166 projected their roles as ‘fighter’ (or something similar) (Felter and Fishman 2007). Granted, not all of these qualify as AQ ‘members’, but these figures nevertheless testify to the magnetism of jihadi culture. Paul Cruickshank quantified yet another dimension of this identity in his 2010 report, ‘The Militant Pipeline’, which discusses the 21 ‘serious’ post-9/11 plots in the West (Cruikshank 2010).

120  Jeffrey B. Cozzens and Magnus Ranstorp

Al-Qaeda’s network components: working synergistically Al-Qaeda is the ultimate expression of what Mary Kaldor calls the dark underside of globalisation (Kaldor 1999). Since its 1988 origin, AQ managed to grow in sheer numbers and gravitational pull, attracting thousands of dedicated cadres from the Middle East, South Asia and South-East Asia who trained in camps in Afghanistan before deploying around the world. Despite the subsequent fall of the Taliban and near-fragmentation of AQ’s core, it is remarkable that it has managed to maintain a polymorphous structure and affiliation with over 30 terrorist groups in different parts of the world (Reinares 2009). However, perhaps its greatest achievement has been to holistically utilise the Internet as an instrument of not only propaganda and communication, but also to ‘spread tactics, technical know-how, and strategy’ (Benjamin and Simon 2005: 75). The Internet has functioned as a platform for multilayered, global collaboration for AQ from which it has maintained secure communications, broadcast clarion calls to action and spread propaganda, acquired targets and collaboratively brainstormed tactics. The latter point is evidenced in the proliferation of IED knowledge, migrating initially from Chechnya to Iraq, and then to the Salafist Group of Combat and Preaching (GSPC) in Algeria. Often, advice to circumvent counter-IED techniques was shared and operationally implemented within 48 hours by AQI. As recounted by an AQ recruit in 2010, around 50–60 Arab trainers left Waziristan to travel to Afghanistan ‘to make IEDs, suicide vests, and other bombs, and to train the local Taliban in bomb making techniques’ (Yousafzai and Moreau 2010). The fact that Inspire magazine provides encryption keys and encourages activists to communicate with AQAP is also indicative of the global reach the organisation commands. Moreover, the case of the British Airways software engineer, Rajib Karim, illustrates AQ’s remote orchestration of terrorist plots from afar (Dodd 2011).

Al-Qaeda’s collective accomplishments Al-Qaeda has provided its rank-and-file with both tangible and intangible boons. While many of the perceived personal ‘benefits’ of jihad and martyrdom for jihadi activists are described elsewhere (Wiktorowicz and Kaltenthaler 2006), there are multiple profits that extend to the collective level that should be considered in an assessment of network viability. These accomplishments function as a bonding agent, essential to safeguard the network’s internal commitment, persistence and attractiveness. Collectively, AQ has provided its activists with a number of tangible accomplishments. However, perhaps none resonate as profoundly as the 9/11 attacks. As polling data indicated in 2003, the attacks catalysed deep admiration for AQ in corners of the majority Muslim world, even if this has since dwindled (Pew Center for the People and the Press 2003). As al-Qirshi (2002) argues, the attacks demonstrated that the ‘martyrdom operations’ of a few were sufficient to accomplish what the Soviet Union had been unable to achieve during the Cold War. Moreover, they exposed the ‘hypocrisy and the tawagheet’ (‘false gods’) in the majority Muslim world, sparked a conflict that exposed ‘Jewish and Crusader’ ambitions in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq and revived the ‘neglected obligation’ of defending Muslims and their lands (al-Qirshi 2002). We see evidence of these perceived benefits in the testimonies of individuals who became jihadi activists following 9/11 and subsequent coalition actions and, in fact, in direct video testimony from AQ itself in the weeks following the attack (Michael and Wahba 2001). Further, history tells us that we should not overlook AQ’s ability to withstand a full frontal assault from coalition forces for a decade in the same area where the storied mujahideen

Does al-Qaeda pose the larger threat?  121 confronted the Soviets. If the Arab Afghans’ fight against the Soviets became the stuff of legends in jihadi circles, how could AQ’s resiliency and survival in the face of a determined international coalition be seen as anything but an omen of divine favour and confirmation of their cause (Cozzens 2009b)? Periodic operational highlights, from the 2005 London attacks to Humam al-Bawlawi’s 30 December attack against US intelligence personnel at Camp Chapman  – even if not on the scale of the 9/11 attacks  – are thus conceived as mile markers on the road to inevitable victory (Brinkbäumer and Goetz 2010). Moreover, it should be remembered that even failed plots such as the foiled bombing of air cargo flights originating from Yemen are spun as strategic and propaganda victories by AQ media outlets (Ibrahim 2010). Finally, AQ ideologues such as the late Yusuf al-Uyayree spare no effort to highlight the network’s alternative metrics of victory (al-Uyayree n.d.). These are designed to strengthen resolve for AQ’s activists when progress on strategic objectives may appear stalled and cement unity of purpose in combatting AQ’s enemies (Cozzens 2009a).

Continuity and retention Many of the primary reasons why AQ has been able to maintain continuity of its operations and retain many of its members have been addressed. However, there are several key components of this argument that remain unexplored: the systematic replacement of its strategic commanders, and the impact of jihadi veterans on member retention. First, it is evident that AQ’s branches place a premium on replacing commanders and ideologues who are arrested or killed. This systematic replacement is well noted in Pakistan, where coalition attacks have heavily targeted militants within AQ Core’s ‘Directorate of Operations’ (Bergen and Tiedemann 2010). However, in a testament to the organisation’s apparent succession plan, these individuals have often been quickly replaced – sometimes with militants entirely off the radar screen of Western intelligence agencies (Sude 2010). In fact, as Sude notes, individuals have been observed to pick up where their predecessors left off and, in some cases, execute attacks or advance plots that were in the planning stages before their tenure. The 2005 London transit bombings and 2006 UK-based plot to bomb airliners are cases in point. Planned by Abu Faraj al-Libi and Hamza Rabia, respectively, they were then organised and carried out (or attempted) by other senior planners (Sude 2010). Regardless, it is clear that AQ has a succession plan in place – a logical step for an organisation that has institutionalised martyrdom. Finally, the inspirational impact and promotion of AQ’s jihadi combat veterans (sometimes called ghazis in the English-language jihadi literature, meaning ‘warrior’ or ‘raider’) on retaining and attracting other militants cannot be overlooked. The British AQ militant behind the infamous ‘Gas Limos’ plot, Dhiren Barot, wrote: ‘Simply interacting with ghazis . . . can help to alter one’s outlook and influence oneself to procure a taste for this noble path in their blood, making it akin to their nature’ (al-Hindi 1999). The authors developed this point further in a 2010 publication on jihadist foreign fighters (Cilluffo et al. 2010: 32). It is difficult to overlook the ghazi paradigm as a critical component of AQ’s retention and mobilisation strategy (Yousafzai and Moreau 2010).

Conclusion: the contours of the enduring al-Qaeda threat We have argued that AQ possesses all of the characteristics of a network built for survival. It leverages its manpower and geographic scope to mobilise and fosters an organisational identity and culture that yields committed operatives. Its network components also work

122  Jeffrey B. Cozzens and Magnus Ranstorp synergistically towards common goals. Further, beyond the personal benefits of martyrdom and jihad, AQ can claim collective tangible and intangible accomplishments. It also appears to maintain a systematic plan for key leader replacement and promotes jihadi archetypes like the ghazi as a means to build depth in numbers. Based on the social science research concerned with network advancement, our brief assessment suggests that the AQ network is, indeed, viable. And if the AQ network is viable, it is logically a threat to the international community. But what form will the threat take? First, let us be clear: most Western analysis struggles to accurately conceptualise other cultures, high-context societies or the nature of the threat from AQ. When speaking of AQ’s future threat, different concepts of time and space are involved between the network and its enemies (us), and alternative perceptions reign concerning how war is made and how winning is understood (Ranstorp 2008). These differences are compounded by the countless definitions of ‘threat’ that litter the security studies lexicon, and multiple, even competing, strategic visions within AQ itself. Critical differences exist in societal, tactical and strategic thinking across cultures  – and often between our understanding of AQ and the network’s own self-conceptions. This paradigmatic contrast between the West and AQ has been described as ‘functionalism’ pitted against ‘culturalism’ (Cozzens 2006). Second, while difficult to pinpoint, the AQ threat will continue to shock and surprise, given the complexity of its internal dynamics, history of scalable wildcard operations and the tremendous difficulties inherent in predicting precise forms of such sudden, violent and often game-changing eruptions. Indeed, there are limits to inductive reasoning when considering the possibilities of large, sudden and unexpected shocks to the international system, what have been described variously as ‘Black Swans’ or ‘Wild Cards’ (Ranstorp 2008; Taleb 2007). US Army Major Nidal Hasan’s shooting rampage is indicative of the sudden and unexpected nature of this threat, as are the often-surprising provocations that fuel it, such as the Danish Muhammad cartoons controversy. Finally, despite the inherent difficulty of conceptualising the holistic AQ threat, the international community can be assured that the future will consist not only of kinetic attacks, but also strikes designed to fray social and economic cohesion along pre-existing lines within targeted societies – especially during a time when Western intelligence and military resource are stretched thin. This AQ strategy already targets the United States and European Union countries, as is discussed at great length in the jihadi literature, and is being violently played out in ‘fault-line’ conflicts in places like Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia. Hoffman’s erudite 2010 assessment in the Washington Post poignantly highlights this theme: Al-Qaeda’s newfound vitality is the product of a fresh strategy that plays to its networking strength . . . In contrast to its plan on Sept. 11, which was to deliver a knock-out blow to the United States, al-Qaeda’s leadership has now adopted a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ approach. (Hoffman 2010)

NO: al-Qaeda: a diminishing threat Lee Jarvis

Does al-Qaeda pose the larger threat?  123

Introduction The emergence of al-Qaeda can be traced to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The brutal war that followed this invasion lasted for 10 years and saw tens of thousands of individuals from across the Muslim world arrive to assist the Afghan population (Bergen 2002: 58). These ‘Afghan Arabs’, as they were known, played only a limited role in bringing about the superpower’s eventual withdrawal (Burke 2003: 58) – their religious zeal and lack of military experience leaving them unpopular with other fighters. At the same time, this experience of conflict laid the foundations for the creation of what was to become the most infamous of modern terrorist groups. Specifically, the war provided training and combat experience, a sense of camaraderie and solidarity between those fighting, an opportunity for sustained contact among individuals and groups inspired by similar jihadist ideals, and  – perhaps most important of all  – a belief in the potential of violence to resist and combat injustices (see Gerges 2005/2009). Prominent among the beneficiaries of this experience were those who would later inspire and lead al-Qaeda. These included Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi who had initially travelled to offer logistical and financial support; Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Tanzim al-Jihad who sought a base from which to continue his efforts to overthrow Hosnik Mubarak’s regime in Egypt (Gerges 2005/2009: 94) and Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden’s spiritual teacher until his assassination in 1989. Although August 1988 saw bin Laden’s first attempt to found al-Qaeda as a distinctive Arab military force (Bergen and Cruickshank 2012: 3–7), the conflict’s conclusion witnessed the Afghan Arabs’ dispersal, with bin Laden moving to Saudi Arabia and then Sudan. Indeed, it is only after his return to Taliban-led Afghanistan in 1996 that we begin to see al-Qaeda emerging as a concrete organisation. Although the organisation’s precise date of birth is debated (see Burke 2003: 5; Gerges 2005/2009: 55; Bergen and Cruickshank 2012), bin Laden’s ‘Declaration of Jihad on the Americans Occupying the Country of the Two Sacred Places’ in 1996 called explicitly for attacks on Americans and their allies (Bergen 2002: 96–7). Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of Jihad and his subsequent establishment of a World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders highlight the feature of al-Qaeda that most clearly distinguished this organisation from other ‘Islamist’ groups active from the late twentieth century onwards. Specifically, this was an ambition to target acts of violence against the ‘far enemy’ of the United States and its allies (Gerges 2005/2009). This ambition is traceable to two factors. The first is a long list of grievances (shared by many outside al-Qaeda) against the United States, including the stationing of US troops in Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War, continuing US support for Israel, and its close ties with regimes deemed apostate or ‘un-Islamic’, such as Saudi Arabia. The second factor is a very particular understanding of jihad (or struggle) inspired by the writings of ideologues such as the radical Egyptian, Syed Qutb (Burke 2003: 49–53). For al-Qaeda, jihad represents a core tenet of Islam, an individual rather than a collective commitment for Muslims, a permanent rather than temporary condition and an offensive rather than purely defensive duty (Gerges 2005/2009). This marriage of religious interpretation and perceived political injustices was thus used to legitimise violence against US and other Western targets, including  – controversially  – civilians. The result was a spate of attacks which included the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed over 200 people; a suicide attack in 2000 on the USS Cole  – a US naval warship stationed in Yemen – that killed 17 sailors; and the downing of four aircraft in Washington, New York

124  Lee Jarvis and Pennsylvania on 11 September 2001 which killed almost 3,000 people. In the years since 9/11, further attacks either attributed to, or claimed by, the organisation have occurred in a wide range of countries, including India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Yemen. In this chapter, I will point to a number of significant strategic, political and social developments that have greatly reduced the threat posed by al-Qaeda to international security. In doing this, however, my task is complicated a little by two factors. The first relates to the difficulties of calculating threat or risk, an inherently subjective process that involves predicting future events ( Jackson et al. 2011: 128) and extrapolating patterns of continuity or change from the past and present. The second factor relates to the multi-tiered nature of al-Qaeda, and the questions this raises over the organisation’s boundaries (see Hellmich 2011). To deal with these challenges – and to take account of recent developments, including the killing of bin Laden, the rise of Daesh (also known as ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State), and the intensification of the US’s drone attacks programme – I will argue that al-Qaeda’s threat is limited at each of three levels. These are (1) al-Qaeda Central – a ‘hardcore’ inner circle of bin Laden’s former associates under the leadership of Ayman al-Zawahiri, (2) a dispersed collection of individuals self-identifying as al-Qaeda and sharing little more than a common ideology, and (3) groups affiliated to al-Qaeda Central in Syria, Yemen and beyond. In the conclusion, I  suggest that post-9/11 efforts to counter the threat of al-Qaeda have often proved as harmful as the organisation itself.

Al-Qaeda central and affiliates The emergence of al-Qaeda as a political force, as I have noted, took place in the aftermath of the 1979–1989 conflict in Afghanistan. The attacks that followed this war leading up to, and including, 9/11 can all be linked directly to the inner circle of this organisation led by bin Laden and his then deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Yet the events of 11 September 2001 represented the climax and the beginning of the end for this core, described by Marc Sageman (2008: 31) as ‘al-Qaeda Central’. As a coherent organisation active in plotting, training and financing attacks, al-Qaeda and the threat that it poses has been severely weakened (Burke 2003: 12–23; Sageman 2008) by at least five developments in the years since. In the first instance, the attacks of 11 September  2001 were met by a US-led global counterterrorism campaign of comparable scope and expenditure to the Cold War ( Jackson et al. 2011: 249–56). In contrast to earlier limited responses, such as President Clinton’s 1998 cruise missile strikes on Sudan and Afghanistan (Bergen 2002: 122–9), this global ‘War on Terror’ mobilised a vast range of military, diplomatic, legal and intelligence resources to confront what was widely viewed as a new, exceptional threat to the security of the United States and its allies ( Jackson 2005; Jarvis 2009). Central to this confrontation was a military assault on Afghanistan – al-Qaeda’s then base – which commenced in October 2001. Successes in that initial military conflict ended the Taliban’s control of much of Afghanistan and proved even more destructive to their client, al-Qaeda (Byman 2005: 215–18). A substantial number of the organisation’s most experienced and active individuals were captured or killed, either in the initial invasion or in subsequent hostilities (Hoffman 2003: 433; Sageman 2008: 137). By one count (Gerges 2011: 189), al-Qaeda’s core of senior leaders was reduced to around a dozen by 2011, at which point the organisation’s total size was now ‘perhaps 200 operatives who count’ (Gerges 2011: 190). Although some question the impact of these military losses (see, for example, Bergen et al. 2011), al-Qaeda’s expertise and experience was clearly depleted in these military campaigns,

Does al-Qaeda pose the larger threat?  125 providing a major setback for an organisation that, ‘numbered fewer than 5,000 fighters at its zenith in 2001’ (Gerges 2005/2009: 294). More important, however, for assessing the threat of al-Qaeda was the accompanying loss of Afghanistan as a sanctuary from which to recruit and train militants. This loss of state support – and in particular, a space from which to operate – has greatly reduced the group’s organisational and logistical capabilities (Byman 2003: 159; Byman 2005: 217; Sageman 2008: 126), and it has found itself pushed back to the border region with Pakistan, along with the remnants of the Taliban regime (see Gerges 2005/2009: 307; Sageman 2008: 128–38). Two recent developments of special importance in the military weakening of al-Qaeda merit mention. The first is the events of 4 May 2011 in which a US Navy SEAL operation killed Osama bin Laden in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. This killing stripped al-Qaeda of a charismatic figurehead who appears to have retained some level of operational control over the group, despite his isolation (Hoffman 2013: 639). It also spawned an internal power struggle culminating in Zawahiri’s appointment, and a re-prioritisation of efforts – at least in the short term – upon the ‘near enemy’ in Egypt and elsewhere (Burke 2015: 105–8). The second development is the dramatic escalation of drone strikes under the Obama administration. Although the effectiveness – let alone the legitimacy – of drone strikes is contested (compare Byman 2013 with Cronin 2013, and see Chapter 13), Obama’s programme of ‘targeted assassinations’ had, by 2013 alone, ‘killed at least 34 key al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, as well as some 235 fighters’ (Hoffman 2013: 636). Beyond these military activities, other initiatives associated with what was previously termed the ‘War on Terror’ have also drastically reduced the threat posed by al-Qaeda. Notably, a number of states beyond the United States have worked actively to counter the organisation’s reach and appeal, with the pursuit and capture of thousands of alleged al-Qaeda operatives and sympathisers by intelligence agencies in countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and even Iran (Gerges 2005/2009: 232; also Bergen et al. 2011: 83). Pakistan alone, for example, had apprehended over 600 individuals believed to be members of al-Qaeda by 2006 (Mueller 2006: 183). Importantly, these states and their leaderships have a genuine interest in reducing the capacities of al-Qaeda and related organisations, either because they are themselves potential targets of attacks, or because of a desire to ally with the United States for financial or political reasons (Byman 2005: 216; Mueller 2005: 501–2). After the 9/11 attacks, therefore, al-Qaeda central suffered a resounding lack of political support, including, importantly, among regimes in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa. A third factor limiting al-Qaeda’s threat has been its inability to recruit new members to replace those killed or captured after 9/11. Where the 1979 Soviet campaign in Afghanistan prompted an influx of foreign Muslims seeking to fight alongside the Afghan population, no such swelling of numbers occurred in the aftermath of the 2001 invasion. This lack of global assistance was likely a product of the Taliban’s unpopularity, including in ‘the Muslim world’ (Sageman 2008: 136). The regime was tainted by a notoriously poor human rights record and lacked international credibility: only three states ever recognised it as Afghanistan’s legitimate government. It also reflected a broader opposition to al-Qaeda among potential recruits from other jihadist groups. Indeed, many organisations sharing a broadly ‘Islamist’ ideology publicly criticised bin Laden and his war against the ‘far enemy’, either on pragmatic grounds as a strategic error, or on moral and religious grounds, especially in relation to the killing of civilians and co-religionists (Gerges 2011: 94–103). The lack of volunteers to assist al-Qaeda and the Taliban in their struggle points to a fourth important constraint on the group’s activities. This is a widespread lack of support

126  Lee Jarvis among Muslims worldwide for its strategies, and perhaps even its ambitions. This rejection of al-Qaeda is pervasive among individuals living in states most directly – and d ­ evastatingly – affected by the aftermath of 9/11, with a 2007 poll in Iraq revealing 100 per cent opposition to al-Qaeda attacks on civilians there, and 98 per cent opposition to the group’s efforts to recruit foreign fighters (Gerges 2005/2009: 301). Elsewhere, in other predominantly Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Jordan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, a similar backlash has occurred (Gerges 2005/2009: 289–90; see also, Cronin 2006: 45; Sageman 2008: 161). Whilst al-Qaeda’s popularity has, therefore, been affected by critics of its violence, it may also – paradoxically – suffer from not being violent enough for those individuals still keen to wage violence in the name of Islamic extremism. As Jason Burke (2015: 242) argues in relation to Daesh/Islamic State: ‘with its newer, fresher, more immediate message and with its more accessible, less austere tone, IS [Islamic State] holds an appeal for a new generation of extremists in a way that al-Qaeda increasingly appears to lack’. This lack of support for al-Qaeda among potential constituents is crucial given that organisations engaging in terrorism rely heavily upon public support, whether active (e.g. in the raising of finances), or passive (e.g. by refusing to cooperate with police and other authorities) (Cronin 2006: 27). Significant here, too, has been the number of individuals with credible religious standing who have repeatedly criticised not only al-Qaeda’s targeting of civilians, but also al-Qaeda’s theological credentials and capacity to speak for the world’s Muslim populations (Bergen et al. 2011: 83; English 2009: 142; Gerges 2011). A final factor concerns a series of internal fractures and weaknesses within al-Qaeda itself. As with most human organisations, al-Qaeda has never been immune from disagreement and rivalries, with endogenous tensions having dogged the organisation from its establishment. These have included, inter alia: arguments over finances and pay (Gerges 2005/2009: 103–7); internal tensions, such as continuing complaints over the perceived over-­representation of Egyptians in bin Laden’s inner circle (Gerges 2005/2009: 102–4; Byman 2003: 159); and considerable strategic disagreement such as the admonishing of Abu Masab al-Zarqawi for the brutalities of his affiliated group’s violence against Muslims in Iraq (Neumann 2009: 57). Much of this infighting continued and even increased amid the international pressure heaped on al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks. One response to these challenges – and one that has become increasingly pronounced under Zawahiri’s leadership – has been for al-Qaeda to affiliate itself with other organisations with similar ideological or strategic ambitions. al-Qaeda has four prominent affiliates: al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (in Yemen), al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (in North Africa), al-Shabaab (in Somalia) and Jabhat al-Nusra (in Syria) (Burke 2015: 18). Although these organisations expand al-Qaeda’s geographical influence, each remains overwhelmingly focused on local dynamics and conflicts. Thus, while al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has demonstrated an interest in international attacks (Burke 2015: 127), the others have, to date, lacked the will or capability to do so. Each has also, importantly, been confronted by militarily more powerful enemies, including – in the case of Jabhat al-Nusra – the former al-Qaeda affiliate, Daesh, formed from the remnants of Abu Masab al-Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Al-Qaeda 2.0 As we have seen, the attacks of 11 September 2001 were followed by a sustained strategic, political, public and religious backlash that coincided with considerable internal tensions within al-Qaeda. As a coherent and functioning terrorist organisation, al-Qaeda has been drastically weakened. Its capabilities to plan and organise attacks have been dramatically

Does al-Qaeda pose the larger threat?  127 reduced, and its founder and figurehead now lies buried at sea. Although a series of affiliates have increased their global presence, the determination and ability of such groups to conduct acts of international terrorism – especially in the West – remains questionable, as does al-Qaeda Central’s ability to maintain control over its subordinates: witness, for instance, bin Laden’s 2007 apology for mistakes made by al-Qaeda in Iraq (Gerges 2011: 120). For many scholars, however, these weaknesses do not necessarily mean al-Qaeda has ceased to exist as a potent force in global politics. Rather, they argue it has evolved into something quite different from the 1996–2001 period, with the threat it poses having similarly changed. Martin Rudner (2013), for instance, suggests that al-Qaeda has been pursuing a 20-year plan organised around seven discrete stages expected to culminate in definitive victory in the year 2020. For Bruce Hoffman (2013), similarly, the repeated writing of al-Qaeda’s obituary since 2001 pays insufficient attention to this organisation’s resilience and dexterity. A  common thread of such arguments is that al-Qaeda Version 2.0 today functions more as an ideology (Post 2007: 221), a social movement (Sageman 2008: 31), a decentralised network (Hoffman 2013) or even a ‘brand’ (Gerges 2005/2009: 40), than it does as a specific, formal organisation. In this understanding, al-Qaeda is, at least in part, a nebulous phenomenon, many of whose attacks are conducted by individuals with very limited connection to any inner circle. This is the case with the 7/7 bombings in London of 2005, for example, and those simply inspired by their ideas and wishing to associate with al-Qaeda, such as the Madrid bombings of March 2004. Driving this shift is both a sophisticated propaganda machine used to motivate sympathisers (Bergen et al. 2011: 81) and a bottom-up recruitment process whereby groups of individuals ‘buy in’ to the brand within online and offline communities (Sageman 2008). Although proponents of this argument frequently view this dispersed network as a continuing and serious security threat, there are three important reasons to, again, maintain some perspective here. First, a large number of the plots associated with al-Qaeda in recent years have actually been the conduct of amateur ‘wannabe’ terrorists lacking the training, knowledge and resources required to carry out violence successfully ( Jackson et al. 2011: 135). Despite occasional, limited successes, many attempted attacks are intercepted either before or during their initiation because of their protagonists’ ineptitude. These attempts range from semi-credible efforts to the frankly ludicrous, even pitiful. Prominent examples include Colleen LaRose – the self-proclaimed ‘Jihad Jane’ – a middle-age American woman arrested after allegedly meeting plotters planning to kill cartoonist Lars Vilks, the 2010 bombings in Stockholm that succeeded in killing only the attempted attacker, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s effort to blow up an airplane over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 which left him severely burned and the aircraft intact (Bergen et al. 2011: 92), and an earlier plot to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch in March 2003. These best efforts of such ‘wannabes’ clearly demonstrate the chasm that frequently exists between intent and capabilities. The amateurism within al-Qaeda 2.0 poses another, broader set of challenges to the long-term threat it poses. For individuals to remain attracted to a movement such as this, a number of conditions must continue to be met (see Sageman 2008). These include, first, the continuing resonance of al-Qaeda’s struggle and ambitions, both in their own terms and relative to other sources of interest or distraction among potential recruits. Second, a continuation of the political grievances noted in this chapter’s introduction. Third, the continued appeal of broader interpretive frameworks which give meaning to al-Qaeda’s activities, such as the ‘War against Islam’ discourse that has achieved currency in recent years. And, fourth, a continuing belief in the viability and efficacy of violence as a tool for social, political and cultural change. Many, if not all, of these conditions are likely to change

128  Lee Jarvis over time for reasons described earlier and, as the public opinion figures suggest, this may already be happening. What is more, this is also likely to have a greater impact upon individuals inspired by, although not yet integrated within, an organisation conducting terrorism. The history of terrorism is replete with examples of even well-organised, active organisations later renouncing the use of violence, such as the Irish Republican Army and al-Jama’a al-Islamiya (the Egyptian Islamic Group) (see Gerges 2005/2009: 200–10). Taking this history seriously, therefore, suggests the appeal of al-Qaeda, and global Islamist terrorism more generally, will continue to fade from its heyday in 2001. Finally, and extending a point made earlier, the vastly enhanced range of counterterrorism powers introduced across the world after 11 September 2001 have made it increasingly difficult for amateur ‘wannabes’ to engage in attacks inspired by al-Qaeda. States such as the United Kingdom and United States have invested huge amounts of money and resources in confronting the apparent threat of terrorism both at home and abroad (see Jackson et al. 2011), with international cooperation over intelligence, policing and border control having also increased significantly. Indeed, by one count, total spending on the War on Terror had eclipsed $5 trillion by June 2011 alone (Thompson 2011). Although many of these measures have been accompanied by deleterious side effects (see ahead), and although recent non-al Qaeda linked attacks in Paris and beyond demonstrate the continuing challenge posed by terrorism, the chances of ‘wannabe terrorists’ evading suspicion and capture are now slimmer than ever (although see Mueller 2006: 176–7). As such, while the pull factors attracting individuals to al-Qaeda have declined, the push factors prompting potential recruits away from this particular organisation may have also increased.

Conclusion This chapter has identified a number of strategic, political and public developments that have severely reduced the international threat posed by al-Qaeda, both as a coherent organisation and as a broader social movement. In absolute terms – and certainly relative to other causes of harm – the threat posed by this entity (and terrorism more generally) is minimal; certainly, it is far short of existential. al-Qaeda and its affiliates were responsible for 84 attacks worldwide between 1998 and 2008, leading to a total of 4,299 deaths and 6,300 injuries (Rudner 2013: 969). Yet, as John Mueller (2005: 488) notes, even if we include the outlier that was 9/11, the number of Americans killed by international terrorism since the 1960s is about the same as those killed by allergic reactions to peanuts. Indeed, the most hysterical and hyperbolic of fears around al-Qaeda – such as the existence of US-based sleeper cells or its likely deployment of weapons of mass destruction in mass casualty attacks – have manifestly failed to materialise (see Chapter 6 in this volume; Mueller 2006: 180; Bergen et al. 2011: 67). According to one report, only 2.6 per cent of the world’s deaths from terrorism have occurred in the West since 2000, with the majority of deaths since 2006 caused by ‘lone wolf ’ terrorists inspired by right-wing or nationalist ideas (Institute for Economics and Peace 2015). Continuing fears relating to groups like al-Qaeda, then, may be little more than a product of our ‘contemporary cultural proclivity to speculate wildly as to the likelihood of adverse events and to demand high-profile responses and capabilities based on worst-case scenarios’ (Durodié 2007: 444). Despite this, it is possible, perhaps even likely, that future years will witness further attacks or attempts by individuals inspired by al-Qaeda. Many commentators here point to Muslim diasporas in Europe as a potential demographic source of further recruitment to the movement (Greenberg 2005; Sageman 2008) or its equivalents. Yet, while all destruction

Does al-Qaeda pose the larger threat?  129 of human life is to be regretted and condemned, these attacks will not constitute anything akin to a serious international threat  – individually, or even collectively. The retreat and disintegration of other radical Islamist groups since the 1980s indicates the difficulties of sustaining a campaign of terrorist violence indefinitely (Gerges 2005/2009; Mueller 2006: 175), an experience paralleled by the collapse of numerous earlier terrorist organisations (Cronin 2009). Finally, let us not forget that efforts to counter the perceived threat of al-Qaeda and related terrorist movements have themselves been extremely costly, in human and economic terms, and in their impacts on civil liberties (Cole 2003; Mueller 2006: 181). At their most destructive, these efforts have resulted in the forms of harm (death and serious injury) associated with the threat itself. In one report by the human rights group, Reprieve, for instance, US efforts to kill 41 individuals through drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen had resulted in the deaths of 1,147 people (Ackerman 2014). Aggressive counterterrorist policies of this sort may even exacerbate the threat posed by al-Qaeda (English 2009: 130) by spreading further resentment among those potentially drawn to the movement. Earlier precedents include the aftermath of President Clinton’s 1998 cruise missile attacks which both strengthened the Taliban/al-Qaeda relationship (Byman 2005: 202–3) and greatly enhanced the status of Osama bin Laden and his movement (Bergen 2002: 122–9). The rise of Daesh out of dynamics that followed the 2003 invasion of Iraq stands as a similarly counterproductive development, with the violence in Syria and Iraq continuing to offer a rallying point for individuals attracted by ideas of jihad against the far enemy (see also, Sageman 2008; Gerges 2005/2009). With these historical and contemporary examples in mind, it would be prudent – and far less costly – to recognise that the threat posed by al-Qaeda is actually extremely limited, even minimal, and to respond to the movement accordingly.

Discussion questions 1 How should we conceptualise al-Qaeda and its multilayered structure? Is it an organisation, an ideology, a social movement or something else? 2 In what ways is al-Qaeda a ‘unique’ terrorist entity, if any? 3 What were the origins, aims and grievances of al-Qaeda? 4 What are some alternative ways to measure progress for non-state activists? 5 How might Western conceptions of al-Qaeda’s ‘success’ differ from their own? 6 What are the important distinctions separating grass-roots militants inspired by al-Qaeda and those linked to its formal networks? 7 How have strategic and political developments after 11 September 2001 reduced the threat posed by al-Qaeda? 8 What internal factors have contributed to the demise of al-Qaeda’s central leadership? 9 What effect will the death of bin Laden have on the long-term survival of the group? 10 How significant is the threat posed by those inspired by the ideas and ideology of al-Qaeda today?

Further readings Atwan, A., 2006. The Secret History of Al-Qa’ida, London: Saqi Books. Burke, J., 2015. The New Threat from Islamic Militancy, London: The Bodley Head. Byman, D., 2008. The Five Front War, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Gerges, F. 2011. The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

130  Lee Jarvis Hellmich, C., 2011. Al-Qaeda: From Global Network to Local Franchise, London: Zed. Riedel, B., 2010. The Search for Al Qaeda, Revised ed., Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Sageman, M., 2008. Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century, Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Press. Stout, M., Huckabey, J., and Schindler, J., Lacey, J., 2008. The Terrorist Perspectives Project: Strategic and Operational Views of Al Qaida and Associated Movements, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press.

9 Are returning foreign fighters future terrorists?

YES: returning foreign fighters are future terrorists Edwin Bakker and Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn

Introduction One of the most fundamental questions in terrorism studies is how to define terrorism (see Chapter 1). This typical opening remark of many publications on the subject is often followed by the phrase, ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’. The definitional issue in relation to the phenomenon of foreign fighters is confronted with similar fundamental questions and extreme differences in points of view. It is, however, a question that has become increasingly relevant against the backdrop of today’s foreign fighter phenomenon in Syria and Iraq. It has been estimated that there are more than 30,000 foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq of which about 4,000 originate from Western countries (Bakker and Singleton 2016). In recent years, most of them have joined groups that are on the lists of the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) or national lists of designated terrorist organisations. The so-called Islamic State (IS) and the organisation Jabhat Fateh al-Sham ( JFaS) – formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra – are the two most important ones. The question ‘are returning foreign fighters future terrorists’ is also highly topical, as an increasing number of foreign fighters are now returning to their home countries and more are likely to do so in the near future. Some have described these returnees as ‘ticking time bombs’ (Busse 2013), and the phenomenon of returning foreign fighters has contributed to higher terrorism threat levels in many Western countries (see, for instance, NCTV 2013). Terrorist attacks like the ones in Paris and Brussels with the alleged involvement of returned fighters have made this question even more pressing. In light of these developments, authorities and societies have to take a stand on their status: are they to be regarded as (future) terrorists or not? Obviously, the answer to that question has important legal implications for any returning foreign fighter as well as for the way societies look at the phenomenon of (returning) foreign fighters in general. In this chapter, we will answer this question affirmatively when looking at today’s (returning) jihadist foreign fighters. We arrive at this answer by studying returning foreign fighters from a historical and empirical perspective, from a legal perspective and from an ideological perspective. First, we will focus on the empirical evidence available about the involvement

132  Edwin Bakker and Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn of returned foreign fighters in terrorism in the past and the present. Second, we will look at what the ideology of jihadist foreign fighters tells us about the link between foreign fighting and terrorism. Third, we will address the question from a legal perspective by comparing the organisations that foreign fighters have joined with the UN and EU lists of designated terrorist organisations. These lists express the dominant political and legal position of UN and EU Member States vis-à-vis groups such as IS and JFaS, which has direct consequences for those who have joined these organisations after their return to these Member States. In the final part of the chapter, we will reflect upon these findings and their policy implications.

Foreign fighters: historical and empirical evidence A first way to approach the question of whether returned foreign fighters are future terrorists is by looking at what has happened in past cases of foreign fighters returning from the battlefields. Have they been involved in terrorism after coming home, and have they been regarded as a (terrorist) threat? In order to answer this question, we first have to define the term ‘foreign fighter’ and explore a number of historical cases before looking into the current case of jihadist foreign fighters travelling to and from Syria and Iraq. According to David Malet, whose study is seen as one of the most thorough and useful studies into the foreign fighter phenomenon, foreign fighters can be defined as ‘non-citizens of conflict states who join insurgencies during civil conflicts’ (Malet 2013: 9). By stressing the idea that their primary goal is to fight in an insurgency and civil conflict, this would technically exclude persons who merely travel abroad to join a terrorist training camp. In his book, Malet studies some historical examples of foreign fighting, such as the Texas Revolution (1835–1836) and the Israeli War of Independence (1947–1949). He also investigates a textbook example of a conflict that attracted many foreign fighters: the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). That conflict saw an influx of thousands of foreign fighters, most of whom – more than 40,000 – joined the International Brigades or like-minded Communist groups on the ‘Republican’ side fighting against the ‘Nationalist’ side led by General Francisco Franco (Malet 2013). What this conflict and other ones have in common is that they call upon foreign fighters to protect a certain transnational identity that is perceived as being under attack. In these historical cases, a link between foreign fighting and terrorism was not often made. Until the late 1980s, returning foreign fighters were not regarded as a future terrorist threat. This does not mean, however, that they have always received a warm welcome upon return. Many countries had legislation in place that criminalised the act of joining a force not fighting under their own national flag. As shown by David Malet, the United States was the first country which, by passing the Neutrality Act in 1794, made it illegal for citizens or inhabitants to be commissioned in other countries’ military forces or work to recruit or enlist others (Malet 2013). Practices like this continued in later centuries. For instance, Dutchmen who joined the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War lost their citizenship (Vossen 2006). While these and other foreign fighters were often treated with suspicion, they were rarely explicitly linked to a potential terrorist threat. The Soviet-Afghan War (1979–1988) was, in retrospect, perhaps the beginning of a new era in foreign fighting where the link with terrorism became more visible and frequently debated. Thousands of foreign fighters came to join the local Afghan warriors in their struggle against the Soviet Union. Many of these mujahideen – those who engage in jihad, also known as holy warriors – who travelled to the country were inspired by the words of Palestinian Sheikh Abdullah Azzam. Azzam argued that it was an individual obligation – fard

Are returning foreign fighters terrorists?  133 ayn – for all Muslims to join the struggle or jihad when the Islamic community – ummah – was threatened (Azzam 1987). This call upon a transnational identity was not new. What was different this time was that a group of foreign fighters was not only interested in the conflict itself, but also in violence elsewhere. A  number of these mujahideen set up a transnational organisation which later became known as al-Qaeda: the group behind the largest terrorist attack seen to date, the attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001 (see Chapter 8). This link between the war in Afghanistan and the attacks on 9/11 inextricably connected the issue of foreign fighting to that of terrorism. And al-Qaeda was not the only group of veteran foreign fighters who turned to terrorism. There are, in fact, several other examples of links between foreign fighters who joined jihadist groups and terrorism. Studies on foreign fighters in Afghanistan and places such as Bosnia and Somalia show how some returning foreign fighters became involved in terrorist activities upon return (Roy van Zuijdewijn and Bakker 2014). However, faced with a lack of reliable empirical data, it is hard to assess the scale of involvement of returned fighters in terrorist activity. We do not know the percentage of future terrorists among the total amount of returning foreign fighters, partly because we do not know the total number of foreign fighters who joined a conflict (see, for instance, Hegghammer 2013). Despite this shortcoming, most studies seem to agree on one thing: in the past, only a very small minority of returning foreign fighters was involved in terrorist activities in their country of origin (Hegghammer 2013; Roy van Zuijdewijn 2014). However, it should be stressed that almost all exceptions to this general rule are linked to jihadist foreign fighting. Moreover, the returning jihadist veterans also played an important role in the development of home-grown terrorism in Europe. They used Europe as a home base to support the violent jihad abroad but increasingly also in the countries in which they had settled. The so-called Roubaix Gang is a telling example. This was a French jihadist network active in the 1990s that included a number of returned fighters from the Bosnian War (1992–1995). Christophe Caze and Lionel Dumont were among the leaders of this network, both French converts who had fought in that war. In 1996, they were arrested after a car filled with explosives was found in the proximity of a G-7 meeting in Lille (Nesser 2008). And there are many instances of returning foreign fighters who supported terrorist groups from their home country by spreading propaganda or recruiting people. Well known are the networks that were established in London, Milan and Madrid that were linked to al-Qaeda (Vidino 2006). Another example of future terrorist activities by former foreign fighters is that of persons who did not return to their country of origin but to another country from which they supported terrorist groups. Think of Abu Hamza al-Masri who travelled from his country of residence, the United Kingdom, to the battlefields in Afghanistan and Bosnia, and upon return became one of the key figures of the Finsbury mosque in London in the late 1990s (Egerton 2011). He has played a very important role in motivating young people to become jihadist foreign fighters. In 2015, he was convicted on many terrorism charges, including that of setting up a terrorist training camp in the United States (BBC 2015). While these are just a few examples, they show that returning foreign fighters can, indeed, become future terrorists.

Foreign fighting and terrorism today Although the historical cases include some examples of returnees who became involved in terrorism, this was rather exceptional. Today, the question of a potential link between foreign fighting and terrorism seems to attract much more attention than it did in the past. Since late

134  Edwin Bakker and Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn 2012, many authorities have publicly warned of the possible threat posed by returnees from Syria and Iraq. In April 2013, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that [n]ot all of them are radical when they leave, but most likely many of them will be radicalised there, will be trained (. . .) And as we’ve seen this might lead to a serious threat when they get back. (McElroy 2013) In several countries, threat levels were raised (see, for instance, NCTV 2013). Unfortunately, the threat turned out to be real. Three years later, we have witnessed several jihadist attacks in the West of which the most lethal one, the November 2015 Paris attacks, was ­perpetrated – among others – by returned foreign fighters.

List of recent attacks in the West that involved at least one returned foreign fighter among the perpetrators: • • • •

Brussels, May 2014, Jewish Museum attack – death toll: 4 Paris, January 2015, Charlie Hebdo – death toll: 12 Paris, November 2015, Paris attacks – death toll: 130 Brussels, March 2016, attack on airport and metro – death toll: 32

While the foreign fighter issue today is clearly dominated by what is happening in Syria and Iraq, there are other ongoing conflicts of a non-jihadist nature that attract foreign fighters as well. One interesting example is the conflict in Ukraine and its border zone with the Russian Federation. This has attracted a few hundred foreign fighters, not taking into account all the Russian military personnel who volunteered to join armed units (Rekawek 2015). Whereas non-jihadist foreign fighters might also pose a potential threat to security, the jihadist foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq are without doubt regarded as such. In a poll by the Pew Research Center in June 2016, surveying what European citizens think is the most important threat to their country, IS ranked number one in no less than nine out of the ten surveyed countries (Stokes et al. 2016). While the threat posed by IS is certainly not fully determined by returned foreign fighters, the latter do form a critical part of it as can be derived from both an increasing number of terrorist-related activities and some very lethal attacks involving returning foreign fighters. In addition to that, more than in the past, these activities and attacks are accompanied by (1) the organisation of a network of sleeper cells, (2) threats to send foreign fighters back home using asylum seeker routes to attack the West, and (3) calls upon jihadists worldwide to strike at home. These developments bring us to the ideological side of jihadist foreign fighting.

Ideological perspective A second way to approach the question of whether returned foreign fighters are future terrorists is by looking into their ideology. The ideologies that foreign fighters adhere to are very diverse. They range from left-wing and right-wing ideologies, to political-religious and ethno-nationalist ones. These ideologies provide a collection of beliefs that determine the

Are returning foreign fighters terrorists?  135 goals, expectations and motivations of groups and individuals. These ideas also determine the strategies and tactics that are used by extremist groups and decide who is friend and who is foe, as well as the boundaries of the battlefield. In most past cases, the battlefield and the home country were seen as two separate places, which meant that the battle did not continue in or was spread to the home countries. This holds in particular for foreign fighters fighting for an ethno-nationalist cause. But many non-ethno-nationalist foreign fighters also restricted their fight to a local or regional battlefield, even if their ideology is of a transnational nature. Think of the historical cases of Western European foreign fighters who took part in the Winter War in Finland (1939–1940) and left-wing revolutionary foreign fighters in Colombia (1960s-2016). In other words, they did make a distinction between the country or region in which the war took place and the rest of the world, including their country of origin. This is different for jihadist groups who see foreign battlefields also as an opportunity to prepare for attacks elsewhere, including their countries of origin. Fawaz Gerges shows that the Arabs and other foreigners who fought the Soviet army in Afghanistan in the 1980s also used this as an opportunity to train and organise themselves to confront enemy regimes back home (the ‘near enemy’) (Gerges 2005). Moreover, some groups within the jihadist movement that emerged in Afghanistan developed a more global agenda. According to Gerges, in the mid-1990s, the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, launched his globalist strategy of giving priority to attacking the ‘far enemy’ in the West. His second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, stated that ‘battle today cannot be fought on just a regional level without taking into account global hostility’ (quoted in Gerges 2005: 6). Hence, the West and the ‘near enemy’ – the perceived apostate regimes in the Islamic world – became part of the same global battlefield. This ideological development has made jihadists a potential threat beyond the conflict in which they fight. Hence, on the basis of their ideology, jihadist foreign fighters should be regarded as persons who might continue their fight after returning to their home country. Moreover, if they fought with a group that used terrorist tactics, they should be regarded as terrorists. This holds in particular for those who joined the so-called Islamic State. IS adheres to a global jihadist ideology and, more so than al-Qaeda and other jihadist organisations, has put the global aspect into practice. Its leaders have repeatedly called for IS sympathisers to attack their home countries by any means possible. For instance, the late spokesman of IS, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, gave the following advice to Muslims living in the West: The best thing you can do is to make an effort to kill an infidel, French, American, or any other of their allies. . . . Smash his head with a rock, slaughter him with a knife, run him over with a car, throw him from a high place, choke him or poison him. (quoted from Schmid and Tinnes 2015: 8) They also have threatened to send foreign fighters back to their countries of origin. Moreover, IS has set up a branch called Amn al-Kharji which is ‘responsible for selecting and training external operatives and for planning terrorist attacks in areas outside of IS’s core territory, including those within European borders’ (Gartenstein-Ross and Barr 2016). There are some indications that IS uses the refugee stream for the infiltration of (returning) foreign fighters into Europe (Schmid 2016). This brings us to the most worrisome part of the ideology of jihadist groups in general and IS in particular: it is not just talk and empty threats, but also a deadly reality. IS has openly and actively turned the jihadist battlefield into a global one, in which the home

136  Edwin Bakker and Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn country is explicitly seen as one of the front lines. The organisation is sending people to the trenches at this front, explicitly selecting returning foreign fighters. In other words, to groups such as IS – harbouring the majority of today’s foreign fighters – returning foreign fighters are supposed to remain fighters. And, as groups such as IS are generally regarded as terrorist groups and their fighters as terrorists, the returning fighters must be regarded as terrorists as well. The labelling of Islamic State as a terrorist organisation brings us to the legal approach to determine whether returning foreign fighters are future terrorists.

Legal perspective When looking at the legal side of the question whether foreign fighters are future terrorists, we have to make a distinction between those who are fighting on the side of a group that is on a list of designated terrorist organisations and those who joined other groups. Such lists have many consequences for those on it and are not without controversy, as the criteria and procedures for putting organisations on such lists are not always transparent. However, they are widely used by many national governments, as well as by the European Union and the United Nations, in order to take legal action against terrorist groups: to establish sanctions against them – such as the freezing of their funds and the prevention of entry of their members to a country – or to deter others to support these groups financially, militarily or otherwise. The European Union has two lists of designated terrorist organisations that provide for different sanctions for the two groups. The first is an autonomous list of groups and individuals involved in terrorist acts and subject to restrictive measures. The second list is the EU regime implementing UN Security Council resolution 1989 (2011) on the freezing of funds of persons and entities associated with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, including IS. The UN has more than one list as well. On these UN lists are a number of groups that have attracted foreign fighters, some of which are also mentioned on the UNSC Resolution 1989 list. The most noticeable ones on the list are IS (listed as al-Qaeda in Iraq), al-Shabaab, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (listed as Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant) and other associates of al-Qaeda. In many countries, foreign fighters who have joined one of the groups that are on the UN, the EU or national lists of designated terrorist organisations are automatically regarded as terrorists upon return. In these cases, from a legal perspective, their intentions for their return, as well as their future plans, do not matter much. If there is convincing evidence they joined a terrorist group, these countries will prosecute and convict them for membership of a terrorist organisation. This is different for foreign fighters who did not join a designated terrorist organisation. Today, this holds for instance for those who joined Kurdish militias in Syria and Iraq, or a Ukrainian or Russian separatist group in Ukraine. This is not to say that there are no legal implications for these returning foreign fighters. In some cases, they are arrested upon return if there are indications they were involved in war crimes. In the past, many returning foreign fighters had to face legal consequences. A  classic example is that of those who joined the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. As described in the earlier section on the historical perspective, many of them lost their passport and even their nationality. And although many countries raised questions about their loyalty, they were, in general, not expected to turn to violence against the government or the public in their home country and were not regarded future terrorists. Today, this is very different for those who joined jihadist groups that are on lists of designated terrorist organisations, inspired by an ideology dictating that the home country is part of the battlefield, and that they have used returning foreign fighters to stage attacks back

Are returning foreign fighters terrorists?  137 home and have threatened to continue to do so in the future. Hence, with national laws and the lists of designated terrorist organisations in hand, many governments of the country of origin of foreign fighters, regard and treat these persons as future terrorists.

Concluding remarks In this chapter, we have argued that returning foreign fighters are future terrorists. We approached this question from three different perspectives: a historical/empirical perspective, an ideological perspective and a legal perspective. We have shown that there are examples of foreign fighters who became terrorists in the past, that certain groups that foreign fighters join adhere to ideologies that permit or even advocate for terrorist attacks by returnees and that today’s foreign fighters often already are terrorists as they have joined designated terrorist organisations. Looking at the same three perspectives, it must be noted that the situation is quite complex and that a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ does not suffice to fully answer the question whether returning foreign fighters are future terrorists. Pointing at these nuances is typical for academics. However, the answer to the question whether returning foreign fighters are future terrorists allows much less nuance to those that are responsible for the security of others. Think of national political leaders, public prosecutors or analysts at intelligence services. In all these positions, the person who has to answer the question is confronted with incomplete information about the individual who has just returned. To them, the question of whether this person should be seen as a future terrorist is not only a difficult question, but also one with serious implications. A wrong answer to this question can have serious consequences regarding the safety of others. The current situation in Syria and Iraq indicates that most foreign fighters have joined terrorist organisations such as Islamic State. In the past years, attacks in Brussels and Paris have shown that some returning foreign fighters have, indeed, become implicated in terrorist attacks, including the most deadly one in recent years. In that particular context, and given the pressure to keep societies safe from terrorism, there is probably only one sensible answer: yes, returning foreign fighters should primarily be regarded as future terrorists. In practice, this means that authorities in many countries are now starting up investigations when a fighter returns to see if he or she had been involved in terrorist activities in Syria and Iraq. If there are sufficient indications, this will lead to prosecution. In these cases, the returning foreign fighter is, in fact, not thought to be a future terrorist, but an actual terrorist. If there are no indications, there is still reason to see him or her as a potential terrorist threat. The leadership of the Islamic State and the foreign fighters themselves have made it very clear – both in their actions (attacks) and words (calls to attack) – that terrorist attacks by returnees are seen as legitimate and desirable. If grounds for prosecution are too thin, the returned foreign fighter should be closely monitored by intelligence and security services in order to see if he or she might get involved in terrorist activities. Against the backdrop of recent attacks and threats, ‘better safe than sorry’ has become the leading adage. Just waiting to see what happens is not an option, which leaves regarding returning foreign fighters as potential terrorists as the only policy option. This, however, should not result in a deterministic view that all returnees will become terrorists. On the contrary, it is important to keep in mind that future terrorists will probably constitute a small minority of all of today’s returnees. That is why it is essential to try to establish a reliable picture of returnees as quickly as possible to determine who should also be treated as a terrorist or a potential terrorist and who should be regarded as a penitent who needs to be helped to resume his or her normal life after returning home.

138  Edwin Bakker and Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn

NO: terrorists returning home were not radicalised abroad Richard Bach Jensen and Felix Lippe

Introduction Politicians and the media, as well as some voices from academia, argue that the next great security threat to Western countries will be from people who have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight for jihadist groups who then return home and pose a threat to their societies. There are, indeed, more than 10,000 foreign fighters from the OSCE area (ICSR 2017). What is the danger that these individuals pose for Western societies, if any? Importantly, our point is not to argue that foreign fighters will never be involved in terrorist plots in the West or elsewhere. The intention of this chapter is rather to summarize the arguments that speak against this claim. Concretely, we argue that: • • • •

the radicalisation of foreign fighters starts at home, and not abroad; not all foreign fighters become terrorists; it is home-grown conditions that lead to terrorism abroad and not the presence of foreign fighters; most contemporary foreign fighters return disillusioned.

Jihadists have often been compared to the anarchist terrorists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Even if the differences between the two groups outweigh the similarities, as we would argue, anarchists and Islamist extremists do have some things in common: both have denounced the modern nation state and both have often travelled great distances before carrying out their violent deeds (see, for example, Bach Jensen 2008). Distinct parallels also exist between the imagined community of Islamists and the social networks binding together Islamist fighters throughout the world and the informal networks and internationalism that functioned so effectively for nineteenth-century anarchists. By the turn of the nineteenth century, Italian anarchists had become the world’s most famous international terrorists. Domenico Farini, the president of the Italian senate, noted that Italy had acquired an ‘infamous primacy’ in exporting ‘political assassination’, so much so that the prominent Parisian newspaper Le Temps had written that these ‘numerous political assassinations’ have ‘defined Italians’ (Farini 1961, 2: 1198). Italian anarchists assaulted the prime minister of Italy in 1894 and assassinated the president of France in the same year, assaulted the king of Italy in 1897 and assassinated the prime minister of Spain during the same year, murdered the empress of Austria in 1898, and finally succeeded in killing the Italian king in 1900. Likewise, contemporary jihadism is currently perceived as one of the most serious, if not the most serious threat to European security. In the last few years, a series of European countries have experienced multiple terror attacks. On 13 November 2015, a coordinated series of suicide bombings was executed at different locations in Paris; 130 people died and hundreds were wounded during the attack (BBC 2015). A few months later, on 22 March 2016, a series of three suicide bombings hit Brussels, leaving 32 civilians killed and more than 300 injured, making it the deadliest terror attack in Belgium’s history (McDonald-Gibson 2017). Again, a few months later, on 19 December, Anis Amri, a 24-year-old asylum seeker from

Are returning foreign fighters terrorists?  139 Tunisia, drove a stolen truck into a large crowd in a Christmas market. Twelve people died, 55 were hospitalised (Anis Amri 2016). Even though individuals who had spent time in the conflict area in Syria and Iraq were involved in most of these attacks, we argue that the high number of foreign fighters from the OSCE area is not a good index for the likelihood of a terror attack in the West. Our point is that while certain (groups of ) individuals are specifically trained and sent to commit terror attacks in the West (see ahead), the majority of the people who fall under the category ‘returning foreign fighter’ most likely will not be future terrorists.

The radicalisation of foreign fighters occurs at home, and not abroad Many commentators have alleged that both jihadists and anarchists became radicalised abroad before returning home to carry out terrorist deeds. In both cases, this frequently made charge was almost entirely false. In the past and now, blaming radicalisation on foreign influences has served as a scapegoat to exonerate home countries from having to face their own social, economic and political failings. These failings were at the heart of the discontent that impelled a few individuals, who identified themselves as anarchists, to carry out terrorist deeds. Contemporary opinion attributed these violent deeds to the radicalisation of naïve Italian emigrants when they travelled abroad. Shortly after the assassination of King Umberto in 1900, Italy’s most influential newspaper cited approvingly a Berlin newspaper’s assertion that ‘poverty there [in Italy] is great and widespread, and emigration is unlimited, and the poor emigrants fall easily into the temptation of anarchism, which has its schools abroad and then launches its blows everywhere’ (Corriere della Sera 1900). In November  1902, the prominent Rome newspaper La Tribuna provided another example of how deeply ingrained was the stereotype of the migrant as incipient anarchist terrorist. La Tribuna declared that the ‘greatest part of the active anarchists’ were ‘Italians’ but that ‘their anarchist formation’ was carried out ‘under other skies’. The famous assassins ‘Angiolillo, Sepido [sic; Sipido], Lucheni, Caserio, and Bresci were born in Italy’ but their ‘spirit and their consciousness became disordered in Switzerland, England, Spain and above all in the United States, everywhere, except among us [here in Italy]’. This proved, La Tribuna asserted, that ‘the secret meetings, the schools of anarchism can flourish more easily elsewhere than among us, which is not a small reason for satisfaction’ (La Tribuna 1902). Among the 27 Italian anarchist terrorists, only three or four became anarchists after departing from Italy. The vast majority of Italian anarchists radicalised at home before departing abroad. Even in cases where conversion to anarchism occurred abroad, the underlying causes for this radicalisation were, in fact, at home. A partial exception can perhaps be found in Luigi Lucheni, who spent little time in Switzerland prior to his assassination attempt. Lucheni left the peninsula about 3.5 months before murdering the Austrian Empress Elisabeth in September 1898 while she was on a visit to Geneva. Lucheni journeyed to prosperous Switzerland looking for work after being fired from his job as a servant in Italy. For a brief spell, he frequented the meetings of the Salvation Army, but then fell in with the anarchists of Lausanne and apparently underwent a sudden conversion of faith to anarchism and propaganda by the deed, that is violent assaults on bourgeois society. Previously, he had been a staunch supporter of authority, including the Italian monarchy, and had worked for a time as the servant of an Italian duke who had formerly been his commanding officer in the army (Cappon 1998: 22).

140  Richard Bach Jensen and Felix Lippe The situation of Italians in Switzerland, marked by discrimination and abuse, being called ‘macaronis’ and other disparaging names, and hired for the lowest paying and most menial jobs, led to a good number becoming involved in strikes and other labour disputes (Cappon 1998: 23–4). All this helps to account for Lucheni’s radicalisation, although his personal background was also a key factor. As a baby, his mother had abandoned him to an orphanage, and this primal hurt seems to have been an even greater source of unhappiness than his poverty and hard times in Switzerland (which the Swiss authorities denied). At his trial, Lucheni said he wanted to ‘revenge my life’ (Cappon 1998: 52–3, 60). The loss of his job, which was mostly his own fault, was also important in unmooring him from Italian society and forcing him into emigration and new life choices. The vast majority of cases show radicalisation to have occurred at home, before leaving abroad. For example, three other Italian anarchist terrorists  – who eventually all became infamous assassins – had been radicalised to a significant degree before leaving Italy and their extremism was only accentuated by or during their residence abroad. Two (Sante Caserio and Michele Angiolillo) of the three assassins of heads of state and government had been forced to leave Italy by conflicts with the authorities; the third (Gaetano Bresci) had also suffered from government persecution, although that was not the only reason he left Italy. Caserio fled to Switzerland and then France after being sentenced to 8 months in prison for distributing anti-militarist pamphlets to soldiers. In Switzerland and in the small town of Cette, France, where he worked for 8 months, Caserio interacted with local anarchists, although we know little about his dealings with them. He may also have had some brief connections with anarchists in Vienne and nearby Lyon. Caserio, however, denied any anarchist conspiracy to kill the president of France, and no substantive evidence of such a conspiracy was ever uncovered. At his trial, Caserio complained about the life of those ‘in the most wretched misery’ who were forced to leave their countries to find work elsewhere – as he himself had been forced to do (Dbai n.d.; Truche 1994: 124–5; 163). But more crucial than his hardships in France and the influence of local anarchists seems to have been his strong pre-existing devotion to the anarchist ideal and his anger at the news that President Carnot had refused to commute the anarchist Vaillant’s death sentence. In December 1893, Vaillant had bombed the French parliament, but this deed had been largely symbolic, causing relatively little injury and killing no one. In the case of Angiolillo and Bresci, radicalisation had also begun earlier. Angiolillo had been disciplined in the army for spreading subversive propaganda and later was sentenced, once again for subversive propaganda, to 18 months in prison. The latter sentence convinced Angiolillo to flee Italy in 1895. Before Gaetano Bresci immigrated to the United States, he had been even more radicalised than Angiolillo by his harsh experiences in Italy. Bresci had gotten into trouble with the Italian police, had been listed as a dangerous anarchist and spent a long period of forced exile on a remote island under police supervision. At his trial, Bresci declared that one of the reasons he had carried out the assassination of King Umberto was ‘to revenge myself, forced, after a very difficult life, to emigrate’ (Petacco 1969: 91). But, according to one historian, the proximate cause of Bresci’s emigration may not have been because of political persecution, but rather to get away from a romantic entanglement (Bresci was very much the ladies’ man) or because of the welcoming letters of friends who had already left Italy (Petacco 1969: 21–2). His most recent biographer emphasises his general alienation, due not only to his reputation as a radical but also to quarrels with his brothers and his lack of work (Galzerano 2001: 117). The notion that the radicalisation of foreign fighters starts at home rather than abroad is also true for the Islamist foreign fighters who left their home country to join the IS, as the

Are returning foreign fighters terrorists?  141 following two examples of known European foreign fighters, who represent two key figures in the pro-IS German-speaking jihadi scene, illustrate. Denis Cuspert aka Deso Dogg aka Abu Talha al-Almani had a very problematic childhood in Berlin Kreuzberg: his Ghanaian father is said to have left the family, and, apparently, Cuspert had a difficult relationship with his stepfather (Riedel 2015). As with many of the peers in his neighbourhood, Cuspert joined a street gang. However, this lifestyle did not bring the status he had hoped for, but rather several prison sentences (Riedel 2015). The rap career he opted for afterwards seems not to have worked too well either; before releasing his last album, he announced he would quit his music career because he was not satisfied with his success. He came into contact with the local Salafist scene, and in the Al-Nur mosque in Berlin, he met Pierre Vogel (a successful German Salafi preacher), a meeting that would leave a lasting impression on Cuspert (Riedel 2015). In 2010, he announced he would become a preacher. Two years later, after ‘Millatu Ibrahim’ (Abraham’s Religion), a Salafist group founded by him and Mohamed Mahmoud from Austria, was shut down by the authorities, he managed to fly to Egypt and later to Libya, even though he was already under surveillance by the German security services (Vogel 2016). He went on to become one of the highest ranking Germans in the IS, responsible for German-speaking propaganda, but also involved in war crimes (Riedel 2015). Before the two became partners in crime, Mohmed Mahmoud’s (aka Abu Usama al-Gharib) journey to become a ‘second Bin Laden’ started in Vienna (IS Kämpfer Mohamed Mahmoud 2015). His father, an Imam and allegedly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, sent him to a Saudi Arabian private school (Schreiber 2017). As a consequence, he learned German only when he was 12  years old, which might be one of the reasons he felt like a stranger during his youth (his battle name means ‘the stranger’; Schreiber 2017). One of the preachers who regularly gave sermons at his father’s mosque was later arrested for ­terrorism-related charges. One could thus make the point that Mahmoud was born into a radical milieu (Schreiber 2017). When he came of age, he made a trip to Syria and Iraq, where he claims to have undergone an al-Qaeda training camp. Back in Austria, he founded the ‘Islamische Jugend Österreich’ (Islamic Youth Austria) and the ‘Globale Islamische Medienfront’ (GIMF; Global Islamic Media Front). After he drew the authorities’ attention to his person and his activities, he was arrested and sentenced to 5  years in prison for membership in a terrorist organisation. While serving his prison sentence, he contacted Dennis Cuspert, with whom he would later found the Salafist group, Millatu Ibrahim, in Germany (Schreiber 2017). In order to avoid his deportation from Germany, he went to Egypt and later to Turkey, where he was arrested when he tried to enter Syria using forged documents. After spending a year in a Turkish prison, he joined IS in Syria. Like Denis Cuspert, Mohamed Mahmoud would become one of the most prominent European IS terrorists, involved both in propaganda and war crimes (IS Kämpfer Mohamed Mahmoud 2015). These two short examples of the radicalisation process of two quite prominent European jihadis illustrate that the root causes of terrorist engagement lie within the environment in which the terrorists grow up. However, what these trips to the Middle East undoubtedly do provide is a professionalisation of the terrorist occupation, something that can be observed in the biographies of many jihadis from Europe.

Foreign fighting is not necessary for terrorism In the case of the anarchists, according to available but far from complete information, over half of the Italian anarchists involved in terrorist acts from 1881–1914 (15 out of 27

142  Richard Bach Jensen and Felix Lippe total), had previously travelled outside of their native land prior to their violent deeds. The duration of their residence abroad had ranged from a few months to 9 years, with an average of about 3⅓ years per person. If the cases – apart from that of Lucheni – that we have discussed so far show that the immigrant experience formed at most a secondary cause of a subsequent terrorist act, other examples of anarchist violence show no linkage at all. Most significantly, one of the greatest of all Italian diasporas, the Italian emigration to Argentina, produced only one clear instance of a pre-war terrorist. Of the individuals actively involved in carrying out the IS terror plots in Europe, 18 of the attackers had spent time in the conflict area under IS control. This is a remarkable number. However, it illustrates that foreign fighting is not a necessary precondition for the involvement in terrorist plots in the West: the majority of terrorists involved in plots in the West had not been foreign fighters. Most of the individuals were, however, specifically selected and trained to commit terrorist attacks in the West. There is evidence of a division under the command of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani (who was reportedly killed in August 2016), within the organisational structures of Daesh, responsible for the orchestration of terror attacks in the West (Callimachi 2016). The main target of this division was Europe, where attackers were specifically trained to commit suicide attacks. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of the Paris attackers, was a high-ranking operative of this group, and he selected and trained several individuals for different plots in Europe. Additionally, there are indications of further similar groups. As such, especially concerning their motivation, these (groups of ) individuals differ from the majority of returnees, who were disillusioned by the life in or the fight for the caliphate and had to risk their lives to flee from IS (see ahead).

It is home-grown conditions that lead to terrorism abroad and not the presence of foreign fighters In the anarchists’ case, as the experiences of Polti and Schicchi earlier would suggest, London and Paris  – but especially Paris  – were important centres for radicals, and possible radicalisation, from the end of the 1880s onwards.1 Political exiles flocked to the two cities, since France and Britain, as well as Switzerland, allowed greater freedom of expression than most other European countries and had long traditions of providing asylum. In Paris, however, the French police sometimes resorted to brutal measures to repress the anarchists. This abuse, together with the economic depression of the 1890s and the discredit into which the French government, tarnished by repeated corruption scandals, had fallen, embittered both native and foreign anarchists. These factors ultimately led to bombings and Paris’s great 1892–1894 anarchist reign of terror. In December 1885, Francesco Momo, born in Livorno, moved to Argentina at the age of 22. Despite this relative moderation and integration into Argentine society, which would seem to make him an unlikely candidate for becoming a terrorist, he travelled to Barcelona in April 1892, and about a year later accidentally blew himself up. This was in March 1893, while he was trying to construct an Orsini bomb, a weapon often used by the anarchists if they could not obtain dynamite. Paulino Pallás, a more successful terrorist who, in September 1893, threw a bomb at the Captain General of Catalonia killing and injuring several bystanders – and thus initiating the Spanish wave of anarchist terror – claimed that Momo had constructed the bomb that Pallás had used. This may, however, have been a ruse to protect the real suppliers (Bayer 1983; Núñez Florencio 1983). Clearly then, Spain, with all its poverty, myriad social problems and corrupt politics, had been decisive in making Momo into a terrorist.

Are returning foreign fighters terrorists?  143 In the case of Syria and Iraq, it has been pointed out that foreign fighters have joined a conflict which was already in existence. Bakker and Singleton (2016: 19), for example, show that the phenomenon of foreign fighters is a consequence of rather than vice versa: ‘the foreign fighter phenomenon is essentially a symptom of the profoundly broken politics that afflict the Middle East today and are rooted in history’; furthermore they name the civil wars in Syria and Iraq as the two contemporary contributory factors to this phenomenon.

Most contemporary foreign fighters return disillusioned A final point is that most of the foreign fighters who left from Europe or other parts of the world to Syria and Iraq to join IS returned disillusioned. One reason IS was so much more successful than their predecessors in recruiting fighters from all over the world is that they were able to offer a physical space, an actual caliphate, for internationals who wanted to join. On various social media platforms, Daesh disseminators have been promoting the good life under their command: kindergartens and schools for children (in which they learned doing math with the help of little Kalashnikov symbols; Molloy 2017), nice cars, good food and a house for every fighter (including a pool for the lucky ones; Roussinos 2013). This is corroborated by the observation that Daesh’s foreign fighter recruitment reached its peak after the official proclamation of the caliphate in Syria and Iraq by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the summer of 2014. So, while earlier Islamist terrorist groups like al-Qaeda had to rely on a theoretical narrative, Daesh has a concretisation of the utopian narrative to offer, which has also attracted individuals who fall prey to the idea of living in a state created by Muslims for Muslims, in which discrimination would not be an issue and where living conditions would even be better than in their home country (Moos 2016). Now the ones who decided to follow the call and joined Daesh in the conflict area soon found out that life under Daesh rule was not as utopian as they thought: the men realised that the conflict was not as much ‘everyone against Assad’ as they thought, but consisted of a series of factions which were also fighting one another;2 that Daesh, which in its online propaganda warned its sympathisers not to smoke tobacco,3 used drugs to keep their soldiers’ spirits up (Radden Keefe 2016) and that if anyone committed war crimes against Muslims, it was Daesh themselves. The women, on the other hand, were confronted with very bad hygiene conditions, especially in women’s houses, the constraint of wearing niqab at a temperature of 45 degrees, dead bodies on their children’s way from school and, in some cases, forced marriages (Bloom 2015). The majority of these people, who were not attracted by the idea of a global jihad against all infidels, but a better life in the caliphate or helping the civilians of Syria (by fighting Assad’s troops), came back disillusioned by the actions of Daesh, and importantly, since global jihad was not their main motivation to leave, it will most likely not be something they will continue back in their home country, especially not in the name of Daesh (RAN 2016; Reed and Pohl 2017). One might even argue that for those who were fascinated by the idea of ‘playing war’ in the lawless wild west situation in the area of conflict in Syria and Iraq, it is quite unlikely that they would continue terrorist activities in their not-so-wild-west home countries.

Conclusion Radicalised dissidents emigrated, but emigration did not produce anarchist radicals, or at least, anarchist terrorists. At most, the emigrant experience may have heightened a pre-­ existing radicalism or given a more precise configuration to its violent expression. The

144  Richard Bach Jensen and Felix Lippe claim by La Tribuna and other newspapers that life ‘under other skies’ created terrorists was wrong. It was also self-serving since it scapegoated foreign countries for anarchist violence rather than asking whether its sources might be found within a country’s own myriad socio-­ economic and political problems. In the jihadi case as well, it was (personal) experiences at home that, if at all, can account for the radicalisation of the individuals who left for Syria and Iraq. Their travel there was only the consequence thereof. Another point worth emphasising is that, in the pre-World War I era, travelling anarchists and revolutionaries almost always spread terrorism to countries and territories where local conditions already favoured its outbreak. Before 1914, in places where economic malaise and social repression exacerbated discontent and where government authoritarianism and brutality made peaceful protest and labour action ineffectual or impossible, revolutionaries and anarchists found an eager audience and fertile ground for extreme actions. These were the crucial factors in fomenting anarchist terrorism, not travelling or fighting abroad. Similarly, the conflict in Syria did not emerge because of foreign fighting, but had deeper and especially, local, roots, as we have shown. Finally, foreign fighters, who return disillusioned and are unlikely to pose a security threat in the future. What we can, therefore, conclude from this account is that the exclusive attention of authorities on foreign fighters is not only exaggerated, but also dangerous, given that the sources of terrorism are clearly home grown.

Discussion questions 1 Are foreign fighters who adhere to a transnational ideology more dangerous than foreign fighters who fight for a national cause? 2 Which factors determine why the situation today regarding jihadist foreign fighters is so much different from historical cases of foreign fighting? 3 Should returning foreign fighters who have been prosecuted and convicted for terrorist offences still be regarded and treated as future terrorists after their release from prison? 4 How can we improve research into the question of who might pose a terrorist threat and who might not? 5 Which legal actions have been taken by European governments in response to the rise of the phenomenon of (returning) foreign fighters? 6 Does joining a fighting force that is on the UN or other lists of designated terrorist organisations automatically make someone a terrorist? 7 What caused the Italian anarchists to carry out their violent deeds? 8 To what extent, if any, did residence abroad turn peaceful Italians into anarchist terrorists? 9 What is more important concerning the treatment of returnees: repression or reintegration? 10 Should a woman, who is lured to Syria to marry a fighter and live in the caliphate, be sentenced as a member of a terrorist organisation when she returns? What if she brings her children to the warzone?

Notes 1 2 3

The London Evening News (17 December 1897) estimated that the total number of anarchists of all nationalities in the British capital amounted to 8,000. According to information collected by the second author during the observation of court trials involving IS returnees. According to information collected by the second author in IS-related Telegram channels.

Are returning foreign fighters terrorists?  145

Further readings Bakker, E., and Roy van Zuijdewijn, J. de., ‘Jihadist Foreign Fighter Phenomenon in Western Europe: A Low-Probability, High-Impact Threat’, ICCT Research Paper, The Hague: International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. Byman, D., 2015. ‘The Homecomings: What Happens When Arab Foreign Fighters in Iraq and Syria Return?’ Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 38(8): 581–602. De Guttry, A., Capone, F., and Paulussen, C., eds., 2016. Foreign Fighters Under International Law and Beyond, The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press. Hegghammer, T., 2011. ‘The Rise of Muslim Foreign Fighters: Islam and the Globalization of Jihad’, International Security, 35(3): 53–94. Jenkins, B., 2014. When Jihadis Come Marching Home: The Terrorist Threat Posed by Westerners Returning From Syria and Iraq, Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, Perspective. Jensen, R., 2014. The Battle Against Anarchist Terrorism: An International History, 1878–1934, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Reed, A., Roy van Zuijdewijn, J. de., and Bakker, E., 2015. ‘Pathways of Foreign Fighters: Policy Options and Their (Un) Intended Consequences’, ICCT Policy Brief, The Hague: International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. Vidino, L., 2006. Al Qaeda in Europe: The New Battleground of International Jihad, New York: Prometheus Books.

Part IV

The causes of terrorism

10 Is terrorism the result of root causes such as poverty and exclusion?

YES: how structural factors explain terrorism Dipak K. Gupta

Introduction The fundamental assumption of scientific inquiry is that every event that takes place (or does not happen) is caused by a set of factors. In other words, there is no true random event in the universe. The only problem is that, by quantum theory, there is no absolute certainty of outcomes since each outcome is also probabilistic. What is true of the physical world applies equally to social and political events, including terrorism. To a casual observer, attacks by suicide bombers may seem random, senseless or utterly irrational; however, a closer inquiry would reveal its deliberate nature (see, for example, Gupta and Mundra 2005; Horowitz 2015). In the context of the social sciences, it is a widely accepted assumption of human behaviour that aggression is the result of frustration. When we do not obtain something to which we feel entitled, we feel anger and frustration, which, in turn, leads to violent actions aimed at removing the obstacle to our achievement. When we are horrified by acts of terrorism, by drawing this simple chain of causality, we attempt to explain the motivations of those who carry these acts out. It is no wonder that millennia before psychologist John Dollard (1939) and his research team published their influential book linking frustration and anger resulting from social structural strains to aggressive behaviour, Aristotle famously pronounced, ‘poverty is the parent of revolution and crime’. From the earliest days of recorded scholarship, most of us have taken for granted the link between the gaps in the socio-economic fabric and political violence. In fact, looking at the numbing loss of non-combatant lives from attacks by sub-national groups, one can reach one of two conclusions: these are the work of insane minds, or that those who perpetrated the attacks have little to live for. These associations are reinforced when we come to the most puzzling of the attacks where the perpetrators willingly sacrifice their own lives to kill others. Confusion about the motives of these actors was pervasive at the sight of the horrific attacks of 9/11. Reflecting the widespread view of the ‘mad men of history’, Senator John Warner (Atran 2003a: 1), the then Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee commented: ‘those who would commit suicide in their assault on the free world are not rational’. A significant source of confusion, particularly in Western scholarship, stems from

150  Dipak K. Gupta our near universal assumption of human rationality (Gupta 2001). Starting with the Age of Enlightenment which places human ability to reason independent of externally imposed premises, Western social science, especially economics, came to accept the unquestioned assumption of fundamental human rationality as being synonymous with being motivated by selfish interests (Sen 1977). When we assume that a ‘rational’ human being would be motivated only by selfish pursuits, then sacrificing one’s life for a political cause seems irrational indeed. Reflecting this mindset, economist Gordon Tullock (1971), boldly proclaimed that given the fact that human beings are motivated by selfish utility alone, those so-called revolutionaries must either be criminals or insane. The accusation of insanity, however, obviates the need for causal explanations of the violent actions. The argument that the terrorists suffer from psychological problems or some personality disorder has been put to rest by trained psychiatrists and psychologists from diverse parts of the world for nearly three decades (see McCauley 2007; Horgan 2005a, 2005b; Merari 2005; Merari and Friedland 1985; Post 1984, 1990; Post et al. 2003; Silke 2003b; Taylor 1988; Taylor and Quayle 1994). None of the credible observations of terrorist personalities and behaviour yields any reason to believe that the common foot soldiers fighting organised societies are psychologically different from the rest of the population. In fact, while there may be doubts about some of the leaders’ states of mind, the followers, by and large, seem to be free of diagnosable maladies of the mind (Post 2004; Horgan 2014). With insanity eliminated as an explanation, the other often-cited reasons for terrorism and political violence are the various manifestations of social structural imbalance. The reasoning for this line of argument is simple. These structural imbalances, such as poverty, lack of education, blocked economic opportunities, income inequality or lack of political freedom, prevent people from achieving their full potential. Inability to achieve what people believed to be their rightful entitlement creates frustration and anger, which leads to violent acts of political protest. Echoing this view, after the 9/11 attacks, a number of prominent politicians and political decision makers almost reflexively pointed towards social structural imbalances of all sorts as generators of violence. Thus, Laura Tyson (2001), the former Chief of Presidential Council of the Economic Advisors under the Clinton administration, called for a Marshall Plan as part of a frontal assault on terrorism. The former South Korean President and the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kim Dae-Jung, in his acceptance speech, clearly stated (cited in Malecˇ ková 2005): ‘at the bottom of terrorism is poverty’. While some sought the end of economic underdevelopment as a solution to the problems of socio-political violence, others pointed towards a ‘freedom deficit’. President George W. Bush emphatically told the United States: ‘they (the terrorists) hate us for our freedom’ and proclaimed democracy as the antidote for terrorism. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the theoretical basis of these claims against actual evidence.

Theories linking social structure to terrorism and political violence The long, circuitous path of scholarship that links Aristotle to Karl Marx to the sociologists of the 1960s had uniformly looked at the wrinkles in the social structure as the primary generators of political malevolence. Karl Marx saw a binary world divided between the rapacious bourgeoisie and the hapless proletariat who are alienated by the lack of control over the fruits of their own labour. The rise of Communist- and Socialist-led revolts around the world reinforced a belief in the direct causal connection between a shared feeling of deprivation resulting from structural imbalances and rebellion.

What are terrorism’s root causes?  151 The social structural theory received a boost in the 1950s and early 1960s with contributions from a number of prominent sociologists, such as Coser (1956), Dahrendorf (1958) and Smelser (1963). Among these authors, Smelser perhaps offered the most comprehensive theory of mass movements. He argued, inter alia, that structural strains felt within a society add to the ‘generalised belief ’ of protest, which brings about social upheavals. As examples, Smelser cited cases from prerevolutionary Russia, China, Cuba, Vietnam and many other third world countries. In this theoretical framework, political violence, however, was seen as an outcome of institutional and social structural imperfections found only in so-called third world nations. In the democratic West, citizens were thought to be empowered by their ability to voluntarily form lobbying groups and to change the offending social order, thereby eliminating the need for violent revolutions. Yet in the 1960s and 1970s, reality stood in the way of this rosy requiem of social conflict in the West. Observing the absence of a systematic analysis of social conflict, the prominent political scientist Harry Eckstein lamented (1964: 1): When today’s social science has become intellectual history, one question will certainly be asked about it: why did social science, which had produced so many studies on so many subjects, produce so few on violent political disorder? The conundrum for social scientists arguing for structural factors as root causes of conflict in the 1960s and 1970s was that the fires of protest were burning brightly in the cities of North America and Western Europe, where the gradually rising tide of economic prosperity had made life easier for most. To solve this riddle, a group of political scientists offered the ‘relative deprivation’ theory. The proponents of this theory argued that violence was taking place in the affluent nations because aggressive behaviour is not generated by the presence of absolute poverty but of its relative perception (Gurr 1968, 1970). It is interesting to note that the concern for social science during this period involved mass movements. Social scientists, at this time in history, had precious little to say about terrorism.

Studying terrorism: the moral dilemma In its early stages, terrorism studies had to overcome a deep ideological obstacle. At the end of the twentieth century, while social scientists were exploring the root causes of social movements, there was one area within the broad range of conflict studies where the literature was conspicuous in its near absence: terrorism. With the exception of a few noteworthy early efforts (Laqueur 1977; Crenshaw 1981; Rapoport 1988), few noted scholars in the field of social sciences had contributed anything on terrorism. This conscious aversion can perhaps be traced directly to the ideological implication of the term: it is impossible to separate the political implications of the term ‘terrorism’ (see Chapter 1). Therefore, not surprisingly, most of the early contributors to the field were associated with think tanks, intelligence communities or policy institutes than more ideologically sensitive educational institutions (Wilkinson 1977; Jenkins 1982; Freedman and Alexander 1983; Hoffman 1998/2006; Post 1984). However, this moral compunction disappeared after the devastating 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and then, of course, the 9/11 attacks. Facing the increasing menace, the ideological inhibitions quickly evaporated. The number of books published with ‘terrorism’ in the title in the decade that follows was many multiples of the total number of similar books in the previous half a century (Gupta 2016). Inevitably, the authors, reflecting the demands of the general public, policymakers and the members of the intelligence community, attempted

152  Dipak K. Gupta to explore the root causes of terrorism. Their inquiry turned them towards the question of social and economic structural factors.

The structural factors The accumulated macro and micro data on terrorism offered a new challenge to the social science theory builders. The possibility of a link between terrorism and factors of structural imbalances can be sought at the individual level (micro) or at the aggregate level (macro). The macro-level analyses hypothesise that those individuals who would be drawn to participate in acts of terrorism are personally deprived individuals with low levels of educational and economic achievements. The macro-level aggregate analyses, in contrast, would show a correlation between macro-economic and political data with observed acts of terrorism. It was, however, quickly realised that the link between frustration and demonstration of anger felt at an either individual or societal level is a complex one (Krueger and Malecˇ ková 2003). By casting a cursory look, we can clearly see that none of the 9/11 attackers came from an impoverished background. In fact, some came from the wealthiest segments of their countries of origin. Several, including the supposed leader of the group, Mohammed Atta, were highly educated individuals. Similarly, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called Underwear bomber, came from a highly privileged Nigerian family, as did Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistan-born US citizen, who attempted to plant a bomb in the middle of Times Square. Those who examined the question of the individual participants’ socio-­economic background in a systematic way have generally found that the participants tend to be better educated and from a higher economic class than the rest of the population (Hassan 2001; Bueno de Mesquita 2003). These findings may reflect two different arguments. First, despite the fact that Marx saw history as an eternal struggle between the proletariats and the bourgeoisie, he believed that in reality, it would be extremely difficult to recruit the poor proletariats for revolution (Fernbach 1974: 77). He saw the leadership for a violent overthrow of the system coming from the disaffected members of the upper class of society. Lenin similarly had a dim view of the proletariat participating in the revolution, particularly at leadership positions (Lenin 1969: 40). This reluctance for the poor to be recruited in a revolutionary force can be accounted for by the high opportunity cost of their participation, because they are busy eking out an existence which may be threatened if they take time off for revolutionary activities (Popkin 1979; Gupta 1990). In more recent days, some scholars have argued that the relative absence of participants in terrorism from the poorest segments of society might reflect a selection bias, particularly when a large pool of motivated volunteers is available for the group to choose from (Krueger and Laitin 2008). In such cases, it is likely that the best educated and the best trained ones, who can fit in with the target population, will be chosen. In contrast, when the pool of volunteers comprises the poor and uneducated and the target population is demographically similar to the groups’, it is likely that the attackers are not going to be different from the rest of the population. Thus, in areas where there is domestic insurgency, such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan, the terrorists may be drawn from the poor and uneducated. If the micro-level evidence points to a confusing pattern, so does the macro-level evidence. Krueger and Malecˇ ková (2003) and Piazza (2003) did not find any direct correlation between terrorism and structural factors, such as per capita GDP, education or poverty. By using scatter plots and obtaining simple regression equations, Gupta (2008) corroborated the results of the previous studies. Even democracy and political freedom produced but a weak correlation with violent rebellion (Krueger and Laitin 2008). Only the index of state

What are terrorism’s root causes?  153 failure showed a strong correlation with incidents of terrorism (Gupta 2008). Thus, after an exhaustive examination, Krueger and Laitin (2008: 178) concluded: ‘to sum up, our data analysis up until now confirms . . . that the economic foundations of terrorism are at best only indirect’. While in search for the root causes of terrorism, there is another factor that is worth remembering. When we consider cross-national terrorism data, we see that while many countries across the spectrum experience terrorism, it is the poorer ones that experience prolonged and widespread violence. Sambanis (2004) defines civil war as one that causes more than 1,000 deaths over a specific period. If we broaden our definition of terrorism to include a wider spread of violence, there are convincing results of statistically significant correlation between terrorism and per capita income and unequal distribution of income (Collier and Hoeffler 2004; Fearon and Laitin 2003; Nafziger and Auvinen 2002; Sambanis 2008).

Conclusion I began my discussion by arguing that there are two possible explanations of terrorism: insanity or factors of social structural imbalances, which create a widespread feeling of frustration and anger. We saw that there is no evidence that the followers in a violent dissident movement suffer from any mental illness or exhibit any specific personality type. From all the disparate observations it seems clear that in their psychological makeup they are indistinguishable from the rest of the community. Hence, it must be the economic and political grievances. Unfortunately, as we have seen in the previous discussion, the data analyses paint a muddled picture. If the most potent generators of grievances, such as poverty, unemployment, income inequality and even lack of political freedom have but weak correlation with cross-national variations of terrorism, then how do we explain it? There are two sets of explanations: the first is methodological, the second conceptual. In order to discern the effects of structural factors, researchers by and large use cross-­ national studies. This is because most of the structural factors are extremely slow-moving variables. For instance, factors such as measures of income inequality, poverty, literacy and educational attainments of nations do not change perceptively within a short period of time. Therefore, in order to detect their impact on violent political dissent, we are forced to use cross-national data. Yet the comparability of such datasets is often in question. Hence, it is possible that these measurement errors are casting some shadows on the accuracy of estimation. Second, I have argued (Gupta 2008) that in these analyses we are missing one important factor. When terrorists are interviewed, they all talk about their resentment towards the extant political system; they complain about factors of poverty and income inequality. They talk about the lack of economic opportunities, injustice, discrimination, repression and intolerance facing their communities. Even when they themselves are from a well-off background, they tell researchers that they have been moved by the plight of their fellow community members. Why then do these factors not show up in our empirical analyses? I posit that without grievances there can be no political movement. However, these grievances serve only as the necessary conditions. This is because none of these movements reflect spontaneous explosions of anger and frustration. The reason for this is that they come up against the irrefutable logic of the collective action problem, first demonstrated by Mancur Olson (1968). That is, all political movements, in the end, aim to attain public goods that are to be distributed within the community, regardless of participation by others. In a dissident movement, until it gains a certain amount of momentum or

154  Dipak K. Gupta public support, the costs imposed by the organised society fall primarily on those who are the first to openly express their disaffection with the established system. Therefore, every ‘rational’ member of the community would wait for some people to stick their necks out. With everyone behaving rationally, no movement would ever start. This collective action problem cannot be solved within the strict framework of economics. Olson (1968: 161–2) was clear in arguing that the reason someone would assume the risk of being a dissident is a matter of social psychology and not of economics. Therefore, I argue that in order to fully understand the motivations behind mass movements in general, and terrorism in particular, we must expand the fundamental assumption of economic rationality to include the group. That is, as social beings, we all strive to maximise not just the utility of our own selves, but also that of the group in which we claim our membership. Hoffman (1998/2006: 43) is, therefore, correct in stating that ‘the terrorist is fundamentally an altruist: he believes in serving a “good” cause designed to achieve a greater good for a wider constituency’ (emphasis added). Because economics and ‘rational choice’ models cannot fully explain altruism (Rose-Ackerman 1996), for an explanation of such behaviour, we must look outside the disciplines that equate rationality with selfishness. Although evolutionary logic has imbued us with the inescapable need to belong to groups, our choice of groups is not automatic; it depends on the work of leaders we may call ‘political entrepreneurs’. The economist Joseph Schumpeter pointed out in 1912 that market interactions alone do not explain long-term movements in the economy. He emphasised the work of entrepreneurs, who through their innovations cause economic evolution. Similarly, some scholars have emphasised the need to have ‘political entrepreneurs’ to provide a shape of collective identity for a movement to start and sustain. These are the leaders, the Mohandas Gandhis, the V. I. Lenins, the Maos, the Martin Luther King Jrs and the bin Ladens of the world, who are able to channel the collective anger felt within their community to create a full-fledged political movement. Hence, the presence of grievances is only the necessary cause for political violence. For sufficient cause, we must look for leadership. Because of this intervening factor of leadership, when we examine the data, we can find only a weak correlation between the structural factors and political violence. Schumpeter (1912/1939) introduced the concept of entrepreneurs – those rare individuals who can take the existing innovations and advances in technologies and create large enterprises that can move an economy (or the global economy) along. However, what he did not address was the question of why these entrepreneurs arrive on the global stage from certain countries in specific periods of time? The noted economist William Baumol (1990) attempted to answer this by arguing that it is the incentive structure within the structure of an economy that creates what he calls ‘productive’, ‘unproductive’ or even ‘destructive’ entrepreneurs. Baumol, of course, does not examine the case of radical political leaders, but he argues (1990: 893) that: while the total supply of entrepreneurs varies among societies, the productive contribution of the society’s entrepreneurial activities varies much more because of their allocation between productive activities such as innovation and largely unproductive activities such as rent seeking or organized crime. He establishes his hypotheses by drawing historical examples from Ancient Rome and China, the Middle Ages in Europe and the Renaissance. Baumol points out that societies that provide incentives for creative activities, which may go against the accepted norms, practices and ideologies, help supply crops of creative entrepreneurs, whereas societies that

What are terrorism’s root causes?  155 develop institutional restrictions on free ideas tend to produce unproductive or destructive entrepreneurs. We can extend his logic to see that the Arab/Islamic nations have largely been non-­ democratic, where the only expression of even moderate dissent or expression of frustration can take place within the confines of religious discourse. As a result, these societies have channelled their frustration, anger and a perception of humiliation through religious fundamentalism. Even in the democratic societies in the West, the hysteria created by 9/11 and other attacks and a prolonged involvement in warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan have isolated Muslim youths, particularly in the Western European nations, such as France, the United Kingdom, Spain and even in the United States (Sageman 2008). This has created conditions where the radicalisation of youth can take place. It is, therefore, of little surprise that these countries have produced the leaders of the next generation of al-Qaeda and its various standard bearers, such as al-Nusra, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), among others. Finally, I should mention that terrorism is not a separate form of political violence. If we define it as attacks on a non-combatant population, then we must view it as a strategy employed by the group leadership. The most obvious manifestation of this strategic use of violence can be seen in the orchestration of suicide attacks. Despite the apparent implication of extreme emotion, a number of studies have found that suicide attacks are exquisitely timed to achieve certain political goals for the dissident group (Kydd and Walter 2002; Berrebi and Klor 2003; Pape 2003; Gupta and Mundra 2005; Hafez 2007). Hence, we can conclude that factors of structural imbalances do cause terrorism and political violence. However, such movements require the rise of leaders, who can frame the economic and political issues, give a widespread feeling of deprivation the concrete shape of a movement and take appropriate strategic actions.

NO: poverty and exclusion are not the root causes of terrorism Graham R. Huesmann and L. Rowell Huesmann

Introduction Since we wrote the first version of this chapter, ISIS has emerged to be one of the principal terrorist organisations in the world. An examination of the many youth who have been recruited by ISIS or follow its teachings from a distance might suggest that poverty and exclusion are important motivators for terrorism. However, a closer examination of ISIS adherents simply reinforces our belief that poverty and exclusion are not the root causes of terrorism, though they may make some contributions. The question of whether poverty and exclusion are ‘root causes’ of terrorism depends, of course, on the meaning of the words ‘terrorism’, ‘root cause’, ‘exclusion’ and ‘poverty’. Poverty, for example, clearly means ‘depressed’ economic circumstances, but depressed relative to whom? A long history of research about the effects of poverty on anti-social and criminal behaviour has led most researchers to conclude that ‘perceived relative deprivation’ is more important than one’s absolute level of wealth as a motivator for anti-social and criminal behaviour, though each may have some independent effects (Eron et al. 1997; Williams and

156  Graham R. Huesmann and L. Rowell Huesmann Flewelling 1988). Deprivation relative to other members of society is clearly an aversive stimulus that breeds anger and aggression. However, that does not mean it is the root cause of terrorism. ‘Social exclusion’ can also mean different things to different people. Perceived exclusion has been shown to be aversive and breeds resentment and anger towards the excluder as studied with games such as ‘cyberball’ (Williams and Jarvis 2006) in social psychological laboratories. Thus, when humans feel excluded, they are more likely to behave aggressively. But, again, that does not mean that exclusion is the root cause of terrorism. What qualifies as terrorism has been discussed in other parts of this volume (see Chapter 1) and in many other publications (Marsella 2004; Miller and File 2001; Whittaker 2001); we don’t need to repeat the discussion here. For the purposes of this chapter, we simply define a ‘terroristic act’ as violent behaviour intended to harm or kill innocent persons who are not directly threatening the perpetrator in order to help achieve a political end for a group with whom the perpetrator identifies. For psychologists and neuroscientists, the general puzzle is to understand what convergence of predisposing personal characteristics and precipitating situational characteristics causes an individual to deliberately, intentionally and without significant remorse, commit such acts. However, in this chapter, we address the narrower question of whether poverty and exclusion are root causes of this kind of behaviour. By ‘are they root causes’, we mean: Are poverty and exclusion necessary for terrorism? We say no, and probably so does everyone else, so we won’t dwell on this question. 2 Is poverty or exclusion sufficient to cause terrorism? We say no, but probably some would say yes, so we explicitly address this question and explain why we say no. 3 Can poverty and exclusion contribute partially to causing terrorism? We say yes, but we believe this would not qualify them to be called ‘root causes’ because of the complex psychological process through which we believe they operate. 1

Before we address these questions further, we need to provide a synopsis of what the psychological and neurological research on aggression and violence has told us about the causes of aggression and violence. While scholars have ruminated on the causes of terrorism for centuries, only recently has much empirical work been done in interviewing or surveying terrorists (see Atran 2010; Merari and Friedland 1985). This is not surprising. Terrorists are hard to find, don’t want to be studied and are likely to deceive when studied. Additionally, there are the imagined or real ethical issues that lead misguided Institutional Review Boards to ban various empirical approaches (Atran 2007).

The root causes of violence The first lesson that almost a century of psychological and neurological research has taught us about aggressive and violent behaviour is that every violent act is the product of the impact on the perpetrator of situational factors proximal in time to the act and within-­person factors that are innate or have developed over time within that individual. These within-­ person factors, in turn, are the products of innate predispositions and socialisation experiences dependent on the environmental context in which the person grew up. Consequently, environmental factors such as poverty or perceptions of exclusion could play two quite different roles in stimulating violence or terrorism – one role as a precipitator of the moment, and another as a long-term socialising agent.

What are terrorism’s root causes?  157

Cognitive/neurological perspectives on social behaviour In order to understand the perspective on terrorism that we are offering in this chapter, readers must be aware of the perspective on social behaviours that has evolved in psychology and neurology in recent years. Briefly, the human mind is a neural network in which certain programmes for social behaviour become encoded through a combination of individual differences in biology and individual differences in experience. These programmes are typically called social scripts (Huesmann 1988, 1998). The activation of particular scripts is influenced by situational factors as they are interpreted through encoded cognitive schemas about the world. Emotional states influence these attributions about the meaning of what is perceived in the world and, in turn, emotional states are changed by the attributions. While scripts are acquired through a learning process, once acquired, they are often invoked automatically. Whether the scripts are followed, however, also depends on the normative/ moral filters that have been encoded in the neural network of the mind. The activation of scripts, schemas about the world and moral beliefs and their interaction are, in turn, controlled by higher-level centres (typically in the frontal lobe), denoted as executive functioning regions. These regions co-ordinate the interpretation of situations, the activation of scripts for behaviour, the ‘look ahead’ at expected outcomes and the filtering of scripts by normative and moral beliefs. How do differences across individuals in these cognitive/neurological elements develop? Individuals differ in genetic and biological elements that influence executive functioning and emotional responses. These predispositions interact with early experiences to cause differential expression of certain genetic tendencies, including tendencies towards anti-social behaviour (Caspi et  al. 2002). However, relatively independently of these predispositions, scripts for social behaviour can be acquired and encoded in the neural network of the brain through learning processes as the child develops. Although conditioning by parents, peers and society plays an important role in every child’s development, learning by observation (imitation) is undoubtedly a more important process in the acquisition of most of these cognitions that control social behaviour (Bandura 1977; Huesmann 1998). Given this model, let us discuss what kinds of environmental variables both precipitate violent behaviour in the short run, and mould individuals in the long run to be prone to violent behaviour.

Situational precipitators of violence and terrorism Much of the work on situational factors precipitating violent behaviour can be summarised in the statement, ‘when we feel bad, we act bad’ (Berkowitz 1993). It does not matter much what makes us feel bad, and the bad feeling does not have to start out as anger. Any negative emotion – sadness, fear, anger – can increase the chances that we will behave aggressively. Of course, frustration is a classic cause of aggression and violence for this reason (Dollard et al. 1939); however, even a vague sense of unhappiness with no obvious cause will suffice. Spreading activation in the neural network of the mind causes even remotely related concepts to be ‘primed’ (partially activated) by bad feelings. It follows that aversive situations, regardless of whether they are frustrating, depressing, or angering, make violent acts more likely. Why? Because the bad feelings ‘prime’ violent scripts and hostile world schemas. This increase in risk for violent behaviour can coincide with increases in anxiety and dysphoria that are also activated by the aversive stimulation. What the behavioural outcome is depends on each individual’s repertoire of encoded scripts and the strength of the associations. For

158  Graham R. Huesmann and L. Rowell Huesmann example, the daily environments of many young terrorists in which violent scripts can be easily observed and encoded and aversive stimulation is constant, are ideal situations for increasing the risk of violent behaviour. A second well-known fact about human aggression is that we ‘enjoy’ hurting others when we are sufficiently enraged at them (Baron 1977). While people who are not angry will halt actions that they learn are hurting others, the very angry person will just increase the hurting when they learn that they are really hurting others. Thus, if one is sufficiently angry at an enemy group, hurting innocents that the group cares about becomes a way to hurt the enemy group. The terrorist whose ‘mean world schema’ is primed and who attributes hostile intent to innocent others can ‘enjoy’ hurting the innocent others. Another important situational factor involved in gang violence applies well to terrorism. Associations with other like-minded in-group peers and segregation from out-group peers promote subgroup cohesion and a desire to act for the subgroup and the larger in-group. For example, the leaders can make participation appear to be highly selective and honorific, cement in-group cohesion, demand public commitment to act in front of the group which will make disengagement difficult, enhance self-beliefs in the cause and place the individual on a track with no choice points (Merari and Friedland 1985).

Poverty and exclusion What about poverty and exclusion acts as situational causes of violence or terrorism? Crime rates are significantly higher in poorer neighbourhoods (Williams and Flewelling 1988), and being poorer is clearly an aversive stimulus that theoretically should instigate violence (Berkowitz 1993). However, an absolute level of poverty across countries and within countries is not strongly related to levels of violence or crime. Instead, what seems to be important is perceived inequality, including perceived economic inequality (Blau and Blau 1982). The highest crime rates in the United States are not in the poorest states, but in the states with the most income inequality. The highest homicide rates in the world in recent years have not been in the most impoverished countries in Africa or Asia, but rather in countries that are experiencing social upheavals with large income inequality (such as Russia and South Africa). Individuals who ascribe their own relative economic deprivation as ‘unjust’ are more likely to feel angry about it and behave more aggressively (Berkowitz 1993). Of course, such a perception of ‘relative deprivation’ (Huntington 1968) is a type of ‘economic exclusion’ as well. In terms of the cognitive/neurological model, if one perceives economic deprivation and views the deprivation as unjust, negative affect will be activated, which, in turn, primes aggressive scripts which can overcome any moral beliefs against the violent behaviour. Thus, the violent behaviour is due to perceptions of inequality and not due to poverty per se. Also, consistent with this conclusion is research by Atran (2003b, 2008) and others which has shown that terrorists do not come from particularly impoverished backgrounds. So there is little support for the idea that absolute poverty is either a necessary or sufficient immediate cause of terrorism. The same psychological research on aggression does suggest that perceived exclusion that is unrelated to economic deprivation (i.e. ostracised from a group) could also be a contributing cause to terrorism (Williams 2007). A simple theoretical extension is that individuals who perceive that the in-group with whom they identify is being excluded – such as in cases of the political exclusion of a minority  – would feel negative affect which would prime aggressive scripts. However, whether the script would be executed would again depend on

What are terrorism’s root causes?  159 within-person characteristics. Exclusion could neither be called a sufficient nor a necessary immediate cause of terrorism.

Longer-term predispositions towards violence and terrorism In examining the within-person longer-term characteristics that increase or decrease a person’s risk of engaging in terrorism, we need to consider neurological and psychological factors that result both from biological differences and from differences in experiences. Decades of research have revealed a large number of factors that predispose youth to be more at risk for behaving violently (see Berkowitz 1993; Bushman and Huesmann 2010; Huesmann 1998). For example, youth who experience stronger rage when bad things happen to them, who have a bias towards perceiving more hostility in the world, who experience less negative affect when they see or think about violence, who have encoded in their minds a greater number of social scripts emphasising violence and who are more accepting of violence as normative and moral are more at risk for behaving violently. In addition, research has shown that youth in gangs who are more susceptible to being led by others and succumbing to peer pressure are more at risk for participating in gang violence. Lastly, research has shown that youth who identify more with an in-group and feel a stronger sense of prosocial responsibility for the group are more at risk to responding violently to attacks on the group.

Environmental conditions So what are the environmental and biological conditions that create these individual differences in youth? We believe that the most important condition is childhoods that include overwhelming exposure to blood, gore and violence in the youths’ communities, among their friends and family and in the mass media they see. Through observing this violence and sometimes being victimised by it, four important changes are likely to occur. First, during such childhoods, youth become emotionally habituated to violence through repeated exposures, and these stimuli no longer produce the negative emotional reactions they once did. Consequently thinking about the unthinkable – the outcome of a bomb exploding among innocent women and children, for example – is not unpleasant anymore, and such scripts are more likely to be evaluated positively. At the same time, particularly, if they are victimised, emotional dysregulation is likely to occur, resulting in the type of internalising problems typically called post-traumatic stress symptoms. Repeated exposure to violence around them has three other important cognitive consequences for the potential terrorist youth (Huesmann and Kirwil 2007). First, it teaches them violent scripts. Second, repeated observations of the violence and aggression around them reinforce their views that the world is a mean place. Their schemas about the world and others emphasise hostility and conflict. Such hostile world schemas make hostile attributions about others’ intentions more likely (Dodge et al. 1990). Third, exposure to violence and aggression all around them makes violence seem normative and acceptable (Guerra et al. 2003; Huesmann and Guerra 1997). The normative beliefs they encode and later use to evaluate scripts are more likely to be accepting of violence and aggression. If we want our budding terrorist to be even more likely to carry out a violent act against a specific population, another kind of exposure would also be valuable, according to our model. Constant exposure to derogatory stereotyping of the target population and derogatory nicknames for them (‘gooks’, ‘huns’, ‘dinks’) by those with whom the young terrorist identifies – his family, teachers, peers, media personalities and heroes – would lead to the

160  Graham R. Huesmann and L. Rowell Huesmann encoding of negative-valenced attitudes towards the target population. This makes dehumanisation of the target population easier. Dehumanisation of the target prevents identification with the target and reduces empathy, so the value of the violent outcome is not reduced by the experience of vicarious pain. Additionally, normative beliefs about actions towards sub-humans can be employed in filtering potential scripts, rather than normative beliefs about humans. This process has a very social aspect too. When a set of peers, in response to growing up in a violent world, all develop the same hostile world schemas, beliefs that violence is acceptable and scripts for carrying out violence, the common beliefs are likely to become a set of ‘sacred values’ (Atran 2010) that bind the group and promote actions congruent with the values.

Biological factors Just as differences in peoples’ experiences influence differences in their behaviour, so do differences in people’s neurobiology. Some of the biological differences may be innate, and some may also be the product of different experiences. In both cases, there has been some very interesting research we will touch on here that hints at what some of the differences in the neurobiology of terrorists might be, how the differences occur and what their consequences might be. In a simplistic view of the brain, behaviours can be localised to lobes and systems: frontal lobes for executive decisions, right parietal lobe for attention and motivation and the limbic system for emotions and memory formation. Scientists have learned about the function of these lobes and systems in large part by studying what has changed in patients after focal brain injury (e.g. stroke, trauma). For example, patients with damage to one or both frontal lobes tend to become very impulsive, acting on their feelings (Harlow 1868). From these studies, the inferred function of the frontal lobe has become generally one of an executive function able to bring together many aspects of a situation (such as make attributions), compare to past information (such as moral beliefs or normative beliefs), look forward and play out scenarios (activate scripts for behaviour and evaluate impact of action) and incorporate the emotional context that is presumed to be at least partly supplied by connections into the frontal lobe from the underlying cingulate cortex (part of the limbic system). While a bilateral frontal lobe injury would make someone impulsive enough to carry out a terrorist attack, they would not be disciplined enough to learn the skills needed or even likely to have the focus to carry out such an attack. So while lobar damage is too gross an injury to explain the neurobiological changes in the mind of a terrorist, the change in personality from frontal lobe damage does suggest that the environmental influences that make impulsive terrorist actions more likely may change the synaptic structures in the frontal lobe. Additionally, the research suggests that more subtle innate differences in frontal lobe neurobiology might predispose some people more than others towards violent behaviour, including terrorism. If the executive decision making was intact but not as heavily influenced by, say, the emotional context of a situation, then a person might carry out complex actions that, in a normal brain, would send up red flags and be inhibited. Similarly, on the basis of prior research, it seems clear that serotonin is a primary neurotransmitter for behavioural inhibition, and those lower in central nervous system (CNS) serotonin will be more prone to responding to situational provocation or emotional distress by acting impulsively and violently towards others or themselves (suicide). In animal studies, lesion of the raphe nucleus in the brain stem (that produces serotonin) resulted in behaviours similar to administration of anxiolytics (proposed to reduce serotonin effect chemically) in

What are terrorism’s root causes?  161 intact animals under pain avoidance trials, with less avoidance response when serotonin was reduced (Gray 1982; Thiebot et al. 1982). When serotonin was reduced, some behaviours were maintained such as exploratory behaviours. So it was proposed by Soubrie (1986) that the role of serotonin is to augment underlying activity rather than to control it. Thus, a reduction in serotonin could be viewed as a chemical lesion that reduces emotional valence from experiences and actions. At least some empirical research has seemed to confirm this theory (Linnoila and Virkunnen 1992), and it is easy to see how the natural occurrence of such a chemical lesion could promote the kinds of cold, cruel behaviours that terrorists commit. Because of the ubiquitous projection of serotonergic neuron projections into the brain, and the relatively low concentration of the neurotransmitter, focal effects and concentration measurements have been difficult. So this theorising remains somewhat speculative for now. However, new PET imaging techniques to look at the distribution of the neurotransmitter in intact brains may shed more light on the localised role of serotonin on behaviours such as aggression (Zurcher et al. 2015). The literature on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) provides some additional clues that exposure to stress and violence produce neurological changes that can make violence more likely. While the connection between PTSD and an increase in violent behaviour has not been shown conclusively, there is a trend towards more impulsive and aggressive behaviour in those with PTSD compared with those without. For example, Huesmann et al. (2011) have reported that in Palestinian and Israeli children exposed to war violence, the amount of PTSD symptoms correlates significantly with how aggressive they are towards their peers. There are some very interesting clues about why this happens that can be drawn from animal models and human studies. The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is part of the limbic system. The ACC underlies the frontal lobes and sends projections into the medialorbito-frontal lobes (Posner and DiGirolamo 1998), thus forming a strong point of communication between emotional content and rational analysis. In rat models, this area is known to undergo significant change under chronic stress (restraint). Dendrites of the neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex, an area that connects to the anterior cingulate cortex, retract during stress (Goldwater et al. 2009). Behavioural (fear conditioning) studies that require a functioning prefrontal cortex show a reduction in extinction recall after this retraction (Garcia et  al. 2008). While recovery from stress did allow for a functional recovery, the distal dendrites did not recover completely. Thus, while not evident in rat behavioural studies, there is evidence for lasting changes in the anatomy and connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex as a result of chronic stress. There is also evidence from human studies that these same areas are affected in patients with PTSD. Magnetic resonance imagery analyses of the anterior cingulate cortex volume shows that there is decreased grey matter in patients with PTSD (Yamasue et al. 2003). This is true even in twin studies, where one twin had combat exposure and the other did not (Kasai et al. 2008). Such changes could promote lasting effects from exposure to violence on either anxiety or anger reactions. One aspect that is not addressed by these data is differences in outcome. Some people can have severe post-traumatic stress reactions from a relatively non-traumatic event by an outsider’s perspective, whereas others can survive incredible trauma without suffering from PTSD. Some people react to severe trauma with anger and aggression, whereas others do not. Many things can explain the differences in response from the genetics governing synapse resistance to stress and regrowth, to neurotransmitter (serotonin) concentration, to coping skills that are learned to deal with stress.

162  Graham R. Huesmann and L. Rowell Huesmann What is clearly suggested by this brief look at stress and brain anatomy is that there are anatomical changes that occur, and that these changes occur in areas at the interface between executive control and emotional impulse. The animal models suggest that repeated traumatic stress, such as exposure to violence, has a more pronounced impact on the connections resulting in permanent changes to the neuroanatomy. Such a structural change could be evolutionarily adaptive, to decrease the stress response over time. However, the consequences of such changes in a brain in modern society might have the outcome of fostering a personality that can separate emotion from action, and thus be capable of carrying out acts of violence and trauma. In particular, this analysis suggests that the likelihood of terrorism should be much greater in those societies which have had protracted violent conflict over a long period – such as Israel, Chechnya, Kashmir, Northern Ireland and elsewhere – and that it is not root causes like poverty but situations of violent conflict which are conducive to the emergence of terrorism.

Conclusion In this chapter, we have argued that poverty and exclusion should not be called root causes of terrorism. They are neither necessary nor sufficient conditions for a person to commit a terroristic act. A person commits such an act when there is a convergence of situational precipitating factors (such as provocations and aversive situations) and predisposing psychological factors that have developed over time. These predisposing factors may result from innate individual differences in biology, but more likely they are due to biological and psychological changes produced by growing up in a violent environment (i.e. at the cultural, community, family, or peer level). Youth in such environments become emotionally desensitised to violence, more accepting of violence and more easily directed into terroristic acts by those for whom such an act is instrumental. The neural structure of the frontal lobes and limbic system may change. While absolute poverty by itself seems to play no role in this process, and most terrorists have not come from impoverished backgrounds, the perception of economic deprivation and political exclusion are clearly aversive stimuli that may have long-term and short-term effects in making terrorism more likely. However, the root causes are not the poverty and exclusion, but the psychological and neurological changes that are engendered through the complex processes we have described and that make some individuals embrace violence and others not.

Discussion questions 1 What are the key social structural factors associated with political violence, and why have scholars and policymakers always suspected them as being the primary causes of terrorism? 2 What does the evidence show about the correlation between terrorism and the structural causes of terrorism? 3 Why is it difficult to directly test the correlation between the two? 4 Explain why structural factors may be the necessary conditions but not sufficient cause for generating terrorism? 5 How does leadership and wider social grievance at structural inequality interact in the causation of political violence? 6 From what kind of socio-economic background do most terrorists seem to have come? What does this suggest about the role of poverty in terrorism?

What are terrorism’s root causes?  163 7 Which do you think is more important in socialising youth about what are appropriate social behaviours – what they are told, or what they see around them? Can you cite evidence to back up your answer? 8 Evidence suggests that youth who see a lot of political violence committed against their in-group behave more violently themselves against peers within their in-group. Can you explain this seemingly paradoxical finding? What psychological processes are involved? 9 Which areas of the brain seem to be most involved in inhibiting violent behaviour? What does constant exposure to stress and violence seem to do to those areas?

Further readings Atran, S., 2010. Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists, New York: Harper Collins. Bjørgo, T., 2005. Root Causes of Terrorism: Myths, Reality and Ways Forward, London: Routledge. Eron, L. D., Guerra, N. G., and Huesmann, L. R., 1997. ‘Poverty and Violence’, in Feshbach, S. and Zagrodzka, J., eds., Aggression: Biological, Developmental, and Social Perspectives, New York: Plenum, pp. 139–54. Guerra, N., Huesmann, L., and Spindler, A., 2003. ‘Community Violence Exposure, Social Cognition, and Aggression Among Urban Elementary-School Children’, Child Development, 74: 1507–1522. Gupta, D. K., 2008. Understanding Terrorism and Political Violence: The Life Cycle of Birth, Growth, Transformation, and Demise, London: Routledge. Gupta, D. K., 2016. “Terrorism in the 21st Century: Challenges and Policy Conundrum”, in Noonan, N. and Nadkarni, V., eds., Change and Challenge: Global Threats and the State in 21st Century International Politics, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 195–224. Hafez, M., 2007. Suicide Bombers in Iraq: The Strategy and Ideology of Martyrdom, Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace. Horgan, J., 2014. The Psychology of Terrorism, 2nd ed., London: Routledge. Krueger, A., 2008. What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

11 Is religious extremism a major cause of terrorism?

YES: religious extremism as a major cause of terrorism Amanda Munroe and Fathali M. Moghaddam

Introduction ‘Female shooter got “so religious” ’ read the front page of The Washington Post. The subtitle: ‘Investigation in California rampage examines path to terrorism’. The article described what emerging details were surfacing from the detective inquiry just 5 days after the December 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people and injured 21 (Craig, Phillip and Achenbach 2015). At the date the article was published, there was no conclusive evidence to explicitly link how the perpetrators’ religion influenced the motivation for, or execution of, the killings. Yet news media and public opinion had already made the jump from religious affiliation to terrorist violence. Why does this jump happen and how? In this chapter, we will explain that religious extremism cannot be labelled an efficient  cause of terrorism (see Harré and Moghaddam 2016, for more in-depth discussions of types of causation): not all extremely religious people commit terrorist acts, neither are all terrorist acts committed by extremely religious people. It is also clear that media accounts of ‘religious terrorism’ are often both premature and biased. Yet there are historical accounts throughout time and across the world in which religiously affiliated groups and individuals have committed violent atrocities and explicitly attributed their perpetration to religious motivators or purposes. We will investigate the conditions under which religiously extreme narratives and communities might justify terrorist violence or, how religious extremism can become ‘a major cause of terrorism’.

Definitions Any such investigation inevitably begins with a definition of terms. In order to understand religious extremism as a major cause of terrorism, let us begin with the concept of cause. Aristotle presented four distinct forms of causation. The concept of efficient causation is often assumed when we read the word ‘cause’. In efficient causation, a cause linearly precedes the effect it produces; it is the primary and direct reason for the effect. The logic of efficient causation is insufficient for explaining the relationship between religious extremism and terrorism.

Does religious extremism cause terrorism?  165 For example, there is no question that the effort to satisfy basic human needs is a major motivator of human action, and specifically, that the effort to satisfy these needs is a major cause of terrorism (Fazli et al. 2015). Yet terrorism is unknown in some of the poorest communities of the world and wealthy individuals have perpetrated terrorist acts. Perpetrators are rarely uniquely motivated by material needs, and they often publicly attribute their actions to additional motivators. Despite the fact that material needs such as poverty are a motivator for terrorist acts, they cannot be said to be an efficient predictor of terrorism. Similarly, religious affiliation is not an efficient predictor of terrorism: not all radical believers are violent, and not all terrorist attacks are committed in the name of a religion. Indeed, this precise oversimplification has resulted in numerous instances of stereotyping and violence towards innocent individuals. Examples of such discriminatory behaviour based on oversimplification are observable in Northern Ireland’s historic conflict, where religious segregation played a major stake in exacerbating division and prolonging conflict. It is well documented in the context of the European Union and the United States, where a growing current of anti-Muslim discrimination has arisen from an efficient causation assumption about the relationship between affiliation with Islam and the perpetration of terrorist acts (Burns 2008; Esposito 2015). The authors of this chapter  have found no empirical evidence to support the idea that religious extremism, independent of other factors, will efficiently result in terrorism. In this chapter, we adopt a more complex logic of causation, considering a web of interconnected factors (such as identity and socialisation) that motivate social processes rather than imagining isolated, singular causes of terror. We explain how religion can and does function as a uniquely powerful ideology and hospitable organisational structure to generate and justify acts of terrorism. Religious extremism can be considered a major cause of terrorism through Aristotelian logic of formal and final causation. Whereas efficient causation relies on direct relationships, in formal causation, an effect results from the structure of a process. In final causation, cause and resulting effects are rooted in the purpose of a process (Charlton 1992). Formal causation and final causation include multiple, non-linear relationships, allowing us to understand meaning and purpose in social life. We will utilise formal and final causation logic to demonstrate how religious conviction in relationship to environmental factors could be a determinant in terrorist violence. Terrorism we define as violence that is perpetrated by individuals, groups or state-­sponsored agents and is intended to instil feelings of fear and helplessness in a target population in order to influence decision making and to change behaviour. Violence we define using Galtung’s (1969) three-pronged explanation of cultural, structural and direct violence. Cultural violence comprehends the traditions, rituals, language and mores of a particular culture that promulgate hurt and oppression. Structural violence manifests in the institutions such as laws and policies that systematically cause suffering or stifle flourishing. Together, cultural and structural violence enable direct violence, which is physical harm. Terrorist violence may, therefore, be cultural, structural and/or direct. Religious extremism we define as a composite of three key elements: fundamentalist interpretations of religious doctrine (e.g. a rigid attachment to what are interpreted as unchanging values and beliefs), strict adherence to religious practices and hostility towards those who do not share in-group religious beliefs and practices (Moghaddam 2006). Within the logic of formal and final causation, certainly in concert with material factors, the process by which religious extremism contributes to terrorism does merit exploration. In the disciplines of psychology and education, substantial research has been conducted on determinants of violence that may shed more light on the factors that cause terrorism, including religious extremism.

166  Amanda Munroe and Fathali M. Moghaddam

Psychosocial conditions and terrorism Psychological studies have attempted to pinpoint factors that predispose certain types of individuals towards terrorism, but there are rarely extraordinary characteristics singling out violent individuals. On the contrary, more studies make the case that extraordinary circumstance can result in radical and sometimes violent action. It has been shown that neither socio-economic status (Krueger and Malecˇ ková 2003), high levels of psychopathology (Crenshaw 1981; Ruby 2002) nor level of education (Winthrop and Graff 2010; Altran 2003) are efficiently linked to terrorist activity. Essentially, it is conditioning that encourages violence. A  robust body of psychological evidence supports the view that people with ‘normal’ psychological profiles can become extremely destructive and aggressive in certain conditions. In his famous studies on obedience to authority, Milgram (1974) demonstrated how psychologically normal individuals can be influenced by an authority figure to inflict (apparently) lethal levels of electric shock on innocent others. Zimbardo (2006) demonstrated how healthy individuals randomly assigned to play the role of prison guard seriously mistreated others who were randomly assigned to the role of prisoner. Testifying in a court case regarding the behaviour of US guards at Abu Ghraib prison, Zimbardo argued persuasively that the context created at Abu Ghraib, and not individual guards (so-called rotten apples), determined behaviour in the prison (Zimbardo 2006: 274). This case also illustrated how ideology can be manipulated to justify participating in-group versus out-group violence. ‘Ideology’, a system of ideas and ideals that rationalise behaviour, can manifest on the small scale (as in social psychology experiments, where a ‘cover story’ is used to encourage participants not to question certain orders) or on the large scale (as in the case of national or international cause-movements, and, for example, in order to justify war). Behaviour is determined and rationalised in the pursuit of ideals. Conditioning could teach individuals to feel a strong sense of deprivation, grievance and injustice and to react violently to such strong feelings. Terrorism is one tactic in which severe, direct violence is justified by and used to bring attention to an issue of importance to the terrorist, in line with the terrorist’s ideology. Though ideology is not an efficient cause of terrorism  – it is not always the reason for which individuals commit terrorist violence (see Simi et al. 2016) – religious extremism has been cited in many cases as a justifying ideology. Because religious extremism is by definition exclusive and absolute, varied forms of extreme action will result from following fundamentalist arguments to their full conclusion. Extreme violence in the form of terrorism is one of these results.

Ideological justification for displacement of aggression Psychologists postulate that humans, universally, need to achieve a positive and distinct identity. Threats to this achievement trigger behavioural reactions. In some cases, these reactions are violent (Tajfel 1978, Tajfel and Turner 1986; Postmes and Jetten 2006; Taylor 2002; Moghaddam 2008). Certain circumstances, such as the experience of trauma and neglect in childhood or a lack of a sense of belonging, may exacerbate the sense of threat. Moghaddam, one of the authors of this chapter, has developed a psychological intergroup relations theory of catastrophic evolution (2010) based on theories of biological evolution: Research with animals and plants shows that sudden contact – contact between species with little or no history of contact or pre-adaptation – can result in the rapid decline or even extinction of one or both groups in contact. Following this reasoning to its full conclusion, Moghaddam argues that the global impact of industrial social constructions and European colonisation

Does religious extremism cause terrorism?  167 might be interpreted as reflecting a trend of sudden contact, with the result of declining diversity. This perceived threat to a positive and distinct identity is concerned not only with material resources, but also with cultural characteristics. As global forces of commercialisation promote similarity, psychological defence mechanisms act to protect individuality  – one’s positive and distinct identity (McGregor and Jordan 2007; Ruthven 2004; Barber 1995). When individuals and groups under intense pressures experience sudden contact with competing groups, they feel seriously threatened. When their positive and distinct identities are not valued by the majority population, these individuals and groups are pushed to the margins, where extremism becomes a defence  – a form of resistance against the oppressive mainstream, justified by the exclusionary threat perpetuated by the majority. Moghaddam’s concept of ‘catastrophic evolution’ refers to this phenomenon, in which particular affinity groups, including religious groups, experience abrupt exposure to out-groups at faster rates and more often than ever before. At the same time and in response to the massive threat to a distinct group identity, small and radical groups resurge in defiance, what Moghaddam calls ‘fractured globalisation’. Regional and religious identities serve as a form of differentiation by which a positive, unique identity is distinguished from the seemingly oppressive and/or foreign forces of globalisation and mainstream culture. The incompatibility of these simultaneous occurrences results in internal conflict between those who wish to protect a certain distinguishable identity and those who are willing to adapt that identity. The concepts of sudden contact, catastrophic evolution and fractured globalisation (Moghaddam 2010) help explain a salient link between religion and terrorism: ‘terrorism . . . is not a plague upon the world-system but something produced by the world-system’ (Bergsen and Lizardo 2004: 51). As the analysis of a 2015 case study of radicalised religious groups in France showed: What these groups did not find in the Republic, they seek in their faith. In other words, religious revivalism is a social indicator, that the state, through its key institutions, is failing to generate sufficient hope and connectedness; thus leaving a social gap that is being increasingly occupied by alternative, often radical [in this case] Islamic ideologies. (Virginie et al. 2015: 299) The authors are quick to note that such radical groups do not overwhelmingly support religious violence. However, such groups do utilise ‘a more normative religious discourse defined by binary codes of good and evil’ (Virginie et al. 2015: 299). Not all who subscribe to a more binary religious ideology are likely to condone violence, but some will be more predisposed to it when aggression is normalised towards an out-group. On an individual level, psychological progression from a binary worldview to in-group and out-group segregation and finally to violence towards the out-group is understood through the theory of displacement of aggression (originated by Freud 1955; tested by Miller et al. 2003) and by emerging research on the process of radicalisation. When individuals are confronted with oppressive factors that they cannot control (catastrophic evolution) an emotional ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered with an urge to direct aggression to the threat. Thus, from the social-psychological standpoint, particular situations can lead ordinary individuals to do extraordinary things, including taking highly destructive actions. Sometimes the combination of fear and ideology are so strong that these destructive actions are shared, normalised and supported by political units such as religious sects and even by entire nation states. It is important to emphasise that conditions – guiding systems and dominant

168  Amanda Munroe and Fathali M. Moghaddam ideologies  – are determinate in the process of normalising offensive violence, especially under the guise of defence, that is of a way of life or of a universal truth. Interestingly, recent research on radicalisation (Doosje et  al. 2016; Moghaddam et  al. 2016), as well as case studies of terrorist actions, demonstrate that associating with extremist religious narratives may happen at various point in the radicalisation process. In some cases, it is adopted late in the radicalisation process. Case studies include the Nice attack on 14 July 2016 and the Boston marathon bombings on 15 April 2013 (Carrier et al. 2016). During the Nice attack, a Tunisian resident of France drove a 19-ton truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day, killing 86 people and seriously injuring hundreds more. In the Boston Marathon terrorist attack, two Chechen brothers residing in the United States set off pressure cooker bombs that killed three people and seriously injured hundreds. Strikingly, the attackers in both instances did not begin as religious fundamentalists, or even as religious at all. They first developed the strong sense of relative deprivation and some advanced psychological disturbances (see Moghaddam 2005), adopting religious rhetoric as a justification for their actions later. In this sense, we can interpret terrorism as a form of violence that comes to be justified, sometimes after the event, through ideologies, including religions (Carrier et al. 2016). It is worth drawing attention to the fact that in these cases, like the San Bernadino case mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, media outlets were more likely to label violent atrocities as ‘terrorism’ if the perpetrator appears to ascribe to a religion, especially Islam, even before the motive was identified (Bridge Initiative, ‘Mental Illness’, 2016; Loadenthal 2011). Therefore, to determine if religious extremism is a major cause of terrorism, it is more revealing to ask what qualities of religious extremism might justify deadly action than to investigate particular religious practices or one particular religion. Researchers ask what factors might aggravate a sense of loneliness or misrepresentation, what rhetoric might morally justify extreme violence and, because groups can normalise extreme behaviour (Stern 2003; Moghaddam 2005), what group structures normalise violence.

Psychology, religious extremism and terrorism Mark Juergensmeyer (2000, 2003) describes terrorism as theologically consistent for the perpetrators he interviewed, and not exclusive to one religion: Religion is crucial for these acts, since it gives moral justifications for killing and provides images of cosmic war that allow activists to believe that they are waging spiritual scenarios . . . [T]he fact that religion . . . is behind so many different perpetrators of public violence, indicates that all religions are inherently revolutionary. They are capable of providing the ideological resource of an alternative view of public order. (2003: xii) Jessica Stern’s (2003) interviews with terrorists corroborated this view: individual, deeply seated ‘grievances’ – fear, loneliness, greed, or humiliation – are assuaged by the rhetoric of and membership in a community that is certain it is on the right side of this ‘cosmic war’. Stern’s research found that within Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, ‘religious extremists see themselves as under attack by the global spread of post-Enlightenment Western values such as secular humanism and the focus on individual liberties’ (2003: xviii). It is probable that the forces of globalisation, convergence and reaction dramatically influence the progression from ordinary to extraordinary.

Does religious extremism cause terrorism?  169 Fundamentalist religious communities by definition thrive on hierarchical systems of governance rooted in a rejection of ambiguity and a celebration of rigid definitions of right and wrong. A  bifurcated mentality might easily move towards violent action when concepts of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are fused with the psychological divisions between an ‘in-group’ (accepted, protected, safe, right) and ‘out-group’ (rejected, attacked, dangerous, wrong). As noted earlier, on an individual level, psychological progression from grievance to a binary worldview, to in-group and out-group segregation and finally to violence towards the outgroup, is understood through the theory of displacement of aggression and by emerging research on radicalisation. Extremist or exclusionary narratives could increase the attractiveness of fundamentalist ideologies at this point because these ideologies reduce overwhelming ambiguity and provide comfort and separation from the seemingly oppressive cultural forces threatening a positive and distinct identity.

Educational conditions and terrorism Does religious education foster a predisposition to violence? Educational philosophers and researchers consider how religion functions as a socialisation device that can discourage tolerance as well as foster absolutism, resulting in the easily manipulated ‘bifurcated mentality’ mentioned earlier. On the individual scale, educational practices that primarily reduce, rather than confront, ambiguity might increase the likelihood of recruitment into extremist groups whose justifications for violence match a bifurcated ‘true vs. false’, ‘right vs. wrong’, ‘in vs. out’ mentality. Absolutist narratives can be manipulated to justify exception from democratic negotiation or social compromise, normalising an in-group versus out-group mentality and non-negotiable political affiliation. Governors in power can manipulate political and religious narratives to socialise the population towards a certain perspective. Preliminary research on the relationship between education and terrorism supports the concept that causation is complex, rather than efficient. In an empirical survey of 133 countries conducted from 1984 to 2007, Brockhoff et al. (2015) found that both level of education and the quality of socio-economic and political conditions were correlated to acts of domestic terrorism, meaning that the correlation between education and terrorism is moderated by country-specific conditions, including the material conditions impacting education. Krueger and Malecˇková’s (2003) study of suicide bombers returns more specifically to the causation argument by exploring the potential linkages between poverty and terrorism in Middle Eastern countries. They found that ideology and political or religious convictions have a greater effect on participation or support for terrorism than economic prosperity, concluding that ‘on the whole, there is little reason for optimism that [an] . . . increase in educational attainment will lead to a meaningful reduction in . . . terrorism’ (2003: 142), critically linking the quality (the way of doing) more explicitly to the growth of terrorism rather than quantity (the amount) of education. A 2010 paper about education and militancy worldwide confirmed this finding by demonstrating that education has been ‘subverted’ to discriminate and oppress (Winthrop and Graff 2010: 31) and to legitimise extremist authoritarian and intolerant political systems (2010: 32). The educational research, like the psychological research, concludes that conditioning, including religious conditioning, is a determinant in the path to terrorism.

Education, religious extremism and terrorism As Lynn Davies observes in her book Educating Against Extremism: ‘even if religion is not the root cause, it has to be identified often for the maintenance and amplification of conflict, both in

170  Amanda Munroe and Fathali M. Moghaddam its symbolism and in potential justifications for extremism’ (2008: 17), and ‘the absolutism of some types of religious faith and the very fact that there is no evidence that unquestioning belief is, therefore, necessary means that it is almost untouchable’ (2008: 16). Whitaker (2007: 9 in Davies 2008: 6) contends that terrorism is by definition contingent upon an altruistic narrative: terrorist violence is by definition perpetrated in order to illustrate and bring attention to a greater goal it supports. A gunman attacks a clinic performing abortions in order to bring righteous judgement to bear on the sin of abortion. Attacking a theatre in the midst of a rock concert symbolises intolerance of freedom of expression, a liberty associated with rock and roll. A suicide bomber justifies her own death in light of the greater glory she anticipates upon her entrance into the afterlife. As Stern’s and Juergensmeyer’s research demonstrated, apocalyptic, religious imagery lends itself to this violent form of altruism because it is rooted in a very particular and unquestioning theological hermeneutic. This hermeneutic is learned. Davies (2008) and Lederach (2011) speculate that societal systems that tend towards the isolation (rather than engagement) of at-risk individuals and extremist groups are more likely to increase polarisation and violence than to alter its course, as the displacement of aggression towards the out-group reduces empathy and dehumanises the members of the out-group, which increases a perpetrator’s willingness to inflict violence. Critical theorists and education scholars (see, for example, Montessori 1949; Habermas 1994; Reardon 2002) substantiate correlations between the quality of education and predisposition towards violence and seek to prevent ‘othering’ through inclusive educational practices that encourage critical inquiry and require empathetic relationships for success. They have experimented (Wisler et  al. 2015) with innovative peace and civic education approaches to counter the pattern of violent displacement of aggression. One example is critical pedagogy (originated by Freire 1970), a teaching and learning approach intended to develop critical thinking skills and thereby promote democratic participation and as well as complexify concepts of deprivation. The ideologies of religious extremist groups and the often hierarchical, no-criticismwelcome organisational structures upon which they rely can be manipulated to normalise violence. Cultural, structural and direct violence is enabled by narratives, including religious narratives, which dehumanise ‘the Other’, the out-group. In this way, a religious narrative can serve to reduce one’s tolerance of ambiguity while consolidating negative feelings towards the out-group. Dehumanising the out-group ‘Other’ may be seen as a way to defend one’s positive, distinct identity. Of course, in the same way that ‘religious imagination’ holds the power of ‘a cure for violence instead of a cause’ ( Juergensmeyer 2003: xii), inherent to the conclusion that violent extremism is learned through extremist education lies the implication that violent extremism can be counteracted through education, including religious education.

Conclusion Terrorist acts are not an inevitable result of strict ideology but rather a reaction to the perception of a threat. Psychologically speaking, it is the displacement of aggression, a violent expression of a universal human need to protect a positive and distinct identity. In this chapter, we have explained that religious extremism cannot be said to be the efficient cause of terrorism: it neither negates the impact of concomitant (such as material) causes, nor is it the unique cause of terrorism. Rather, religious extremism should be considered as one major contributor to terrorism, since there is documentation that religious extremism

Does religious extremism cause terrorism?  171 provides an ideological purpose, hermeneutical justification and support structure for the perpetration of terrorist violence. Research demonstrates that religiously extreme beliefs can enable recruitment to terrorist groups and justify the perpetration of terrorist acts within and across most of the world’s religions, throughout history and across borders. Religious extremism functions as a socialisation process and an altruistic narrative strong enough to formally and finally cause terrorism.

NO: ‘religious terrorism’ as ideology Jeff Goodwin

Introduction Scholars generally assume that violent, life-and-death conflicts arise over struggles for control of people, territory, political power and valued resources like oil and water. We assume, that is, a materialist basis to violent conflicts. Yet the idea that religious beliefs are a principal cause of contemporary as well as past campaigns of terrorist violence is, of course, also widespread. Textbooks and pundits tell us that ‘religious terrorism’ is one of the main types of political violence, alongside ‘nationalist’ and ‘revolutionary’ terrorism. The main evidence for this claim seems to be the undeniable fact that a number of groups that have employed terrorism as a strategy have spoken in highly religious terms, emphasised their religious identities and even invoked a religious duty to kill their enemies. In recent years, certain Islamic discourses in particular (e.g. Salafism) are widely cited as a principal cause of terrorism – hence, the widespread notion of ‘Islamic terrorism’ – although just as many argue that these discourses are a perversion or distortion of ‘true’ Islam, which they portray as inherently non-violent. A better conclusion would be that religious discourse is a rather malleable tool that can be used to justify a wide range of behaviours, both violent and non-violent.

The case against ‘religious terrorism’ Strong causal claims about ‘Islamic’ (or ‘Islamist’) terrorism and ‘religious terrorism’ more generally rest upon a series of conceptual errors as well as empirical claims for which there is remarkably little evidence. The conceptual errors arise from a misunderstanding of what an explanation of terrorism requires, namely, an account of why certain states, political groups or individuals would decide to employ a particular strategy  – killing ordinary people or ‘non-combatants’ in order to frighten or intimidate a wider population. But I will argue here that religion may be central to the goals and self-understanding of particular states, organisations and individuals without in any way causing them to employ this or any other strategy. Both states and non-state groups have, of course, articulated a wide range of discourses and ideologies  – religious and secular, civic and ethnic, revolutionary and conservative  – while contending in violent ways with others. But it cannot be inferred from this that such discourses and ideologies automatically account for the use of violence by such states or groups  – let alone specifically terrorist attacks against non-combatants. Instead, such discourses may be used for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with the strategic

172  Jeff Goodwin decision to kill ordinary people in order to frighten others. For example, states and political movements may employ ideologies (including religion) to win popular support or members, to build solidarity and commitment among these supporters or to signal the general righteousness and legitimacy of their political goals. A mix of nationalism, populism and religion has often been expressed by states and oppositional movements alike as they engage with one another, whether violently or non-violently. But these ideas do not necessarily account for the strategies and tactics of states and movements, which, after all, can change dramatically over time in response to changing circumstances. Indeed, ideas and ideologies – including religious beliefs  – tend to change very slowly, whereas the strategies and tactics of states and political groups can change quite rapidly. As the old saying goes, you cannot explain a variable with a constant. Religious ideas are often simply assumed to explain terrorism when those who utilise terrorist tactics speak in highly religious terms. But this assumption is problematic. First, it is, of course, always possible that religion is being used purposively to mask the real motivations for terrorism. Moreover, as Stephen Holmes (2007: 17) has suggested: [O]ne and the same decision could have been taken for either religious or secular reasons. In that case, it is often impossible to tell which motive played a preponderant role. For instance, emotions with a religious tinge, such as dread of contamination, might conceivably induce some individuals to face death without blinking; but so can nonreligious emotions, such as the craving for blood revenge. Duty to God can desensitize a believer to ordinary costs and benefits; but so can boiling rage. One could take this argument a step further. Even if it could be demonstrated conclusively that in a particular instance ‘emotions with a religious tinge’, for example, helped encourage individuals to kill or be killed, those emotions do not necessarily explain the decision to kill non-combatants in particular. Most terrorism, moreover, is organised violence that requires tools like guns and bombs as well as considerable planning. It is rarely the result of an emotional outburst, religiously tinged or otherwise. Again, there is no simple mechanism that connects general religious beliefs and feelings with particular strategies and tactics. Sometimes, analysts infer that terrorism is motivated by religion without even examining the statements or claims of the states or groups that have employed terrorist tactics. It is apparently enough to note that the two sides to a conflict (or at least some people on each side) practice different religions. For example, in his analysis of the ‘deliberately exaggerated violence’ allegedly perpetrated by religiously inspired organisations, Mark Juergensmeyer (2003: 123) cites the August  1998 bombing in the town of Omagh in Northern Ireland which killed 29 people and injured over 200. The bombing was carried out by a small group that calls itself the ‘Real’ Irish Republican Army (IRA), which consists in part of former members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, who oppose the political accords that were reached in Northern Ireland a few months prior to the bombing. The clear implication of Juergensmeyer’s discussion is that the Real IRA is first and foremost a religiously motivated group, presumably because the larger Republican movement in Northern Ireland of which the Real IRA is a part is overwhelmingly Catholic. Alas, there is no strong evidence for this inference. The motives and goals of the Real IRA  – above all, the separation of Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom  – are articulated and justified by the Real IRA in a completely secular, nationalist language. Indeed, members of the Real IRA are no more religious (and probably less so) than Catholics who eschew violence.

Does religious extremism cause terrorism?  173 The fact that the Real IRA is not religiously motivated, furthermore, does not mean that the carnage at Omagh was unusual in its viciousness. Research demonstrates that secular ethno-nationalist groups like the Real IRA are just as likely as groups that define themselves as religious to carry out so-called mass casualty terrorism (e.g. Asal and Blum 2005). Robert Pape (2005) has also shown the fallacy of attempts to explain suicide bombing as a product of religion. To begin with, much suicide bombing has been carried out by secular groups like the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. And virtually all suicide bombing, Pape shows, has been part of broader campaigns to end military occupations or to topple foreign-supported dictatorships. When British intelligence officials in 2008 looked into why certain British citizens were joining ‘Islamist’ terrorist groups, they found most were neither Islamist ‘fundamentalists’ nor people brought up in strongly religious households but rather religious novices. These officials found that a long-established religious identity actually works to deter individuals from supporting ‘Islamist’ terrorist groups. Rather infamously, two British men who travelled to Syria in 2013 to join the ‘jihad’ against the Assad dictatorship were discovered to have purchased the books Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies before their departure. Some who attribute terrorist acts to religion – especially suicide terrorism – emphasise the importance of belief in an afterlife. But even if religious promises of a glorious and eternal afterlife may make it easier for some individuals to become suicide bombers or to kill more generally, these promises do not explain why such individuals would seek to kill ordinary people in particular in order to frighten others. Belief in an afterlife tells people neither who their enemies are nor why such enemies are deserving of death or intimidation. None of this is to deny that ‘Islamist’ groups that have employed terrorist tactics – like Hamas, al-Qaeda, and ISIS – do not include a great many people who consider themselves devout Muslims. But there are, of course, a great many more devout Muslims by far (including most Salafists) who do not belong to such groups and, in fact, abhor terrorism (Kurzman 2011). And such religious devotion as one finds in these groups is clearly neither necessary nor sufficient to explain the changing tactics of these organisations. If it is so badly mistaken, what might account for the popularity of the idea that a great deal of terrorism is caused by religious beliefs? I would argue that the idea serves an important ideological function for political elites. That is, it fits remarkably well with the interests of powerful groups in the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, France and other ‘Western’ countries. More specifically, the idea that a great deal of terrorism is fundamentally religiously motivated – and ‘Islamic’ in particular – deflects attention from those material circumstances that might help explain the conflicts that have generated so much violence in recent decades. The idea of ‘religious terrorism’, that is, obscures the often violent struggles over the control of people, territory, political power and resources out of which so much terrorism has arisen. And this is, of course, quite useful for elites who would wish to obfuscate the nature of these conflicts and their own role in them. For example, if Hamas’s suicide bombings against Israeli civilians are not part of an effort to end the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories, but are essentially the result of religious beliefs, then why should Israelis, or anyone, question the justice of the occupation or consider the consequences of ending it? Similarly, if al-Qaeda’s attacks on US citizens are not part of an effort to change US government policies towards Muslim countries, but are fundamentally the result of religious beliefs, then why should Americans, or anyone, question the justice of these policies or consider the consequences of changing them? In sum, ‘religious terrorism’ is a useful ideological concept for Western political elites (and their allies in the Middle East) – one that mystifies and deflects attention from the actual grievances behind, and the goals of, terrorist tactics and violence generally.

174  Jeff Goodwin

A relational account of terrorism How strong are the claims I am making here? Am I suggesting that those who argue that religion is a primary cause of terrorism in certain instances are always and necessarily wrong? Or have they simply exaggerated the importance of religion or failed to make their case as convincingly as they might? To answer these questions clearly requires an account of how terrorism should be explained. Explaining terrorism requires a determination of why and under what conditions armed actors (state or non-state) regard the killing of ordinary people or non-combatants as a reasonable (although not necessarily exclusive) means to advance their political agenda. I will outline briefly here a ‘relational’ account of terrorism in which social relations and interactions among key actors – states, armed rebels and civilians – carry the primary explanatory burden, as opposed to ideas and ideologies, including religion, of the ‘terrorists’. According to this view, the nature of the social ties (whether conflictual or cooperative) between armed actors (states or rebels), on the one hand, and different kinds of civilians, on the other, provide the main incentives or disincentives for terrorism. Consider the kinds of civilians or non-combatants which states and rebels (sometimes) target for violence. Clearly, states and rebels do not indiscriminately attack just any civilians or non-combatants. Indeed, both states and rebels are also usually interested in winning the active support or allegiance of civilians. So which are the ‘bad’ or enemy civilians whom they attack or otherwise seek to harm? When they employ a strategy of terrorism, states and rebels generally attack or seek to harm civilians whose support or at least acquiescence is valuable to their enemies. These are civilians who directly or indirectly provide some kind of aid or assistance to enemy armed actors; they thereby have some capacity to influence the actions of those enemies, whether they are a state or rebel movement. Attacking such civilians is, therefore, a way to attack indirectly one’s armed opponents. Indeed, the usual strategic objective – and the primary incentive – of terrorism is to induce civilians to stop supporting, or to proactively demand changes in, certain government or rebel policies – or to cease supporting the government or rebels altogether. The religious views – or other cultural or ideological beliefs – of the perpetrators or victims of terrorism are, at best, secondary to the decision to employ terrorism, and they generally matter not at all. As we have seen, the perpetrators or victims of terrorism may, of course, emphasise these religious views for ulterior purposes, but they should not be confused with the causes of terrorism. States’ and rebels’ calculations about whether they should employ terrorism as a strategy are strongly shaped by social and political contexts. An adequate account of terrorism needs to specify the key contextual factors that create incentives or disincentives for states or rebels to choose terrorism as a strategy. Clearly, states and rebels have a strong incentive to attack those civilians who support violence by their own states or rebels. By contrast, terrorism is discouraged when violence by armed enemies is opposed by significant numbers of civilians (or is limited or non-existent). Rebel movements, for example, that have employed a strategy of terrorism have typically emerged from populations that have suffered extensive and often indiscriminate state repression (e.g. in French Algeria, the West Bank and Gaza, Sri Lanka and Chechnya). In these contexts, moreover, there was also substantial civilian support for or acquiescence to that repression ‘on the other side’ – by European settlers, Jewish Israelis, Sinhalese and Russians, respectively. When extensive and indiscriminate state violence is supported by civilians and/or orchestrated by democratically elected governments, it is hardly surprising that rebel movements

Does religious extremism cause terrorism?  175 would tend to view both repressive states and the civilians who support them as legitimate targets of counter-violence, which is typically justified as ‘self-defense’. Nor is it surprising that retribution for such violence would be directed at civilians as well as at the enemy state’s armed forces. For it would also be reasonable under these circumstances for rebels to conclude that attacking civilians might cause the latter to put substantial pressure on ‘their’ states to change their ways. Extensive state terrorism seems to beget extensive oppositional terrorism, in other words, in contexts where there is a citizenry with significant democratic rights. The latter would appear to be a common if not necessary precondition for extensive terrorism by rebel movements. This also helps us to understand why rebels who are fighting an authoritarian or autocratic regime often carry out very little terrorism. Terrorism is much more likely when an entire ethnic group or nationality is supportive of a government as compared, for example, with a small economic elite or the cronies of a dictator. In fact, all major cases of terrorism seem to have entailed the use of violence against, or infliction of harm upon, a large ethnic or national group. For example, the Sandinista Front in Nicaragua carried out virtually no terrorism during its armed conflict with the personalistic Somoza dictatorship, an otherwise bloody insurgency during which some 30,000 people were killed. Civilians who supported the dictatorship consisted of a tiny number of Somoza cronies and a loyal elite opposition, both of which were drawn mainly from Nicaragua’s small bourgeoisie. Virtually all other civilians in Nicaragua, from the poorest peasant to Somoza’s bourgeois opponents, were viewed by the Sandinistas as potential allies, and, indeed, many would become such. Had the Somoza dictatorship been supported by more people – by a larger social stratum, say, or by a substantial ethnic group – then the Sandinistas might very well have employed terrorism more frequently than they did, and precisely against that stratum or ethnic group as opposed to Nicaraguans more generally. Civilians may support the violence of their states and rebels, and thereby incentivise terrorism, in three main ways – politically, economically and militarily. First, terrorism is likely to be employed against non-combatants who politically support – or at least do not actively oppose  – one’s armed enemies. In this context, terrorism is a reasonable strategy (other things being equal) to weaken civilian political (or ‘moral’) support or tolerance for violence. By contrast, terrorism is much less likely to be employed against civilians who do not politically support – or are substantially divided in their support for – one’s armed enemies (e.g. the subjects of kings or autocrats). Second, terrorism is likely to be employed against non-combatants who economically support armed enemies by, for example, supplying them with weapons, ammunition, transportation, food and other supplies needed (directly or indirectly) to employ violence. In this context, terrorism is a reasonable strategy (other things being equal) to weaken civilian economic support for violence. (This accounts for the widespread ‘terror bombing’ of civilian populations in World War II.) By contrast, terrorism is much less likely when soldiers are supplied by foreign states or non-state allies or through covert, black markets. Third, terrorism is likely to be employed, preemptively, against non-combatants who may militarily support armed enemies by, for example, being required to serve an obligatory tour of duty in a state or rebel movement’s armed forces or by serving voluntarily in a state or rebel reserve force, militia, or paramilitary force. In this context, terrorism is a reasonable strategy (other things being equal) to pre-empt or weaken civilian participation in the armed forces of a state or rebel movement. It is for this reason that wars of counter-­ insurgency (e.g. in Vietnam, Kenya, El Salvador, Guatemala) often involve so much violence against civilians, especially against young men suspected of supporting the rebels, if only

176  Jeff Goodwin prospectively. By contrast, terrorism is much less likely when civilians are not required to serve as warriors for states or rebels or show little interest in doing so – and may be actively resisting such service. It is important to note that terrorism is less likely to occur in contexts in which civilians have a history of politically supporting or cooperating with opposing states or rebels – which is another way of saying that some significant fraction of civilians has defected from ‘their’ state or rebel movement to the other side. Such civilians are not simply opposing the violence of their state or rebels – which, as noted earlier, would itself make terrorism against them less likely – but are also actively supporting the warriors who are fighting their state or rebels. In this context, terrorism would clearly not be a reasonable strategy (other things being equal) for the warriors who are supported by the dissident fraction of such civilians. Such terrorism would not only put at risk the support that these warriors are receiving from the dissidents, but would also make it much less likely that additional civilians would defect from their state or rebels. By contrast, terrorism is much more likely (other things being equal) when civilians have not and do not support or cooperate with opposing states or rebels. The existence of a significant fraction of dissident civilians explains why the African National Congress (ANC)  – the leading anti-apartheid organisation in South Africa  – rejected a strategy of terrorism against white South Africans. The ANC eschewed this strategy even though the apartheid regime that it sought to topple employed very extensive state violence against its opponents and even after the ANC itself adopted a strategy of armed struggle. State violence in South Africa, moreover, was clearly supported (or tolerated) by large segments of the white, especially Afrikaner, population. The Nationalist Party governments that unleashed the security forces against the regime’s enemies were elected by the white population. So why did the ANC adhere to an ideology of multiracialism and refuse to view whites as such as enemies? The answer lies in the ANC’s long history of collaborating with white South Africans – as well as with South Asian and ‘coloured’ (mixed race) South Africans – in the anti-apartheid struggle. Especially important in this respect was the ANC’s long collaboration with whites in the multiracial South African Communist Party. Tellingly, an important, long-time leader of the ANC’s armed wing was a white Communist named Joe Slovo. For the ANC to have indiscriminately attacked South African whites would have soured this strategic relationship, which, among other things, was essential for securing substantial Soviet aid for the ANC. In sum, given the long-standing multiracial  – including international – support for the anti-apartheid movement, a strategy of terrorism against white civilians made little strategic sense to ANC leaders.

The case of al-Qaeda: ‘religious terrorism’? Let me now try to demonstrate how the relational account of terrorism outlined here helps to explain why al-Qaeda and similar ‘Islamist’ or ‘jihadist’ groups have carried out extensive terrorism in recent years against ordinary Americans and Europeans, including the attacks of 11 September 2001. Although the violence of al-Qaeda is typically depicted as an exemplary case of ‘religious terrorism’, a closer look reveals that religion is not the primary cause of al-Qaeda’s terrorist tactics. To be sure, al-Qaeda’s larger political project may certainly be described as religious. Al-Qaeda views itself as a defender of the transnational umma or Muslim community. In al-Qaeda’s view, this multi-ethnic, transnational community is currently balkanised and violently oppressed by ‘apostate’ secular and ‘hypocritical’ pseudo-Islamic regimes, from

Does religious extremism cause terrorism?  177 Morocco to Mindanao, as well as by the ‘Zionist entity’ in Palestine. And standing behind these regimes – and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan – is the powerful US government (and, to a lesser extent, other Western governments, especially Britain). This understanding that the United States is the ultimate power which is propping up repressive, un-Islamic regimes in the Muslim world is the fundamental source of al-Qaeda and other ‘jihadist’ groups’ conflict with the United States. The problem as al-Qaeda sees it is not that the United States is a Christian nation, but that it is oppressing Muslims. Al-Qaeda believes that until the US government (the ‘far enemy’) can be compelled to end its support for these regimes (the ‘near enemy’) and withdraw its troops and other agents from Muslim countries, local struggles against these regimes cannot succeed. But why does al-Qaeda kill ordinary, ‘innocent’ Americans in addition to US armed forces? Why would al-Qaeda target the World Trade Center, for example, in addition to US political and military installations? Not, clearly, because most Americans are Christians. Shortly after 9/11, Osama bin Laden described the rationale for the 9/11 attacks in an interview that first appeared in the Pakistani newspaper Ausaf on 7 November 2001: The United States and their allies are killing us in Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine and Iraq. That’s why Muslims have the right to carry out revenge attacks on the U.S. . . . The American people should remember that they pay taxes to their government and that they voted for their president. Their government makes weapons and provides them to Israel, which they use to kill Palestinian Muslims. Given that the American Congress is a committee that represents the people, the fact that it agrees with the actions of the American government proves that America in its entirety is responsible for the atrocities that it is committing against Muslims. I demand the American people to take note of their government’s policy against Muslims. They described their government’s policy against Vietnam as wrong. They should now take the same stand that they did previously. The onus is on Americans to prevent Muslims from being killed at the hands of their government. (Quoted in Lawrence 2005: 140–1) Bin Laden believed that it is reasonable to kill ordinary US citizens, then, not because they are Christian (or Jewish), but because they pay taxes to and otherwise support an elected government, which makes Americans responsible for the violent actions of this government in Muslim countries. Al-Qaeda views ordinary US citizens, in other words, not as ‘innocents’, but as morally responsible for US-sponsored ‘massacres’ and oppression of Muslims in a number of countries. This idea has also been articulated by Mohammad Sidique Khan, one of the four suicide bombers who killed more than 50 people in London on 7 July 2005. In a videotape broadcast on al-Jazeera television in September 2005, Khan said: Your democratically-elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters. Until we feel security, you will be our targets. (Quoted in Rai 2006: 131) Again, civilian support for oppressive governments – not the religion of those civilians – is the factor that renders those civilians the targets of violence for Khan and his comrades.

178  Jeff Goodwin If religion, and anti-Christian hatred in particular, were really driving al-Qaeda’s violence, why would it go to the trouble of organising attacks against the United States when it could attack Christians who live in or close to the Middle East – in Palestine, for example, or in Cyprus or Greece? We also know that al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups have not hesitated to kill ordinary Muslims by the score – Muslims they deem their political enemies. They can simply deny that such Muslims are good or ‘true’ Muslims. Given the carnage jihadist groups have perpetrated in the Middle East, there, in fact, seems little reason to doubt that al-Qaeda would hesitate to attack the United States – given its policies in that region – even if it were a Muslim-majority country.

Conclusion We have seen that religion may matter in a number of ways for those states and political groups that employ terrorism, but that religious beliefs – and other cultural or ideological understandings – are not the primary cause of terrorism, understood as the killing of ordinary people in order to intimidate others. Rather, the principal cause of (and inducement to undertake) terrorism is civilian support for enemy armed actors. And the principal goal of terrorism is to induce those civilians to stop supporting (politically, economically or militarily) those armed actors. The idea that a great deal of terrorism today as well as in the past is fundamentally religious is an ideological one. That is, the conceptual framework of ‘religious terrorism’ deflects attention from the material circumstances and powerful interests which lie at the heart of the conflicts that have generated violence in general and terror tactics in particular. By obscuring the actual reasons for the use of violence and terrorism, this framework serves the narrow interests of key elites in these conflicts, whether intentionally or unintentionally. I have proposed instead a ‘relational’ view of terrorism, one which suggests that the causes of terrorism are to be found in the nature of the social relations among key actors – states, armed rebels and civilians – as opposed to the ideas or ideologies, including the religious beliefs, of those who employ terror tactics.

Discussion questions 1 Research shows that media outlets label violent incidents as terrorism (rather than another term) if the violence is perpetrated by a person who identifies as religious, particularly as Muslim. How important is the use of the word ‘terrorism’, and should the media draw more or less attention to the religious connections to violence? Why or why not? 2 How might religion matter for terrorism without actually causing it? 3 What aspects of religious belief make it prone to violent exploitation? 4 In what sense is the idea of religious terrorism ideological? 5 Why might one assume that the ‘Real’ IRA in Northern Ireland practices religious terrorism? Why is this assumption mistaken? 6 What aspects of globalisation threaten the continued existence of religious and cultural groups? 7 Given the thesis that fractured globalisation and catastrophic evolution have resulted in terrorism arising out of communities threatened with extinction, from what sources should we expect terrorism to arise in the future? 8 In your view, might fostering empathy with individuals committing terrorist acts help society to better understand and prevent terror? If so, what steps would you take?

Does religious extremism cause terrorism?  179 9 Do you agree with Virginie et al.’s conclusion (2015) that it is the state’s responsibility to provide a sense of belonging, hope and connectedness, even if only to prevent violence? Why or why not? 10 If you were an educator, what forms of religious or public education would you develop to promote intergroup cohesion and prevent terrorism?

Further readings Burns, C., 2008. More Moral Than God, New York: Rowman and Littlefield. Gerges, F., 2009. The Far Enemy: Why jihad went Global, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Goodwin, J., 2006. ‘A Theory of Categorical Terrorism’, Social Forces, 84(4): 2027–46. Juergensmeyer, M., 2003. Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence, 3rd ed., Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Kurzman, C., 2011. The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Moghaddam, F., 2006. From the Terrorists’ Point of View, Westport, CT: Praeger. Moghaddam, F., 2010. The New Global Insecurity, Oxford: Praeger. Stern, J., 2004. Terror in the Name of God, New York: Harper Perennial. Zimbardo, P., 2007. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, New York: Random House.

Part V

Dealing with terrorism

12 Are counterterrorism frameworks based on suppression and military force effective in responding to terrorism?

YES: the use of force to combat terrorism Boaz Ganor

Introduction The severity of modern terrorism and the casualties and damages it causes require the state to do all within its power to defend its citizens, including the use of military measures. The aim of this chapter is to demonstrate that offensive proactive military activities – the targeting of terrorist leaders and activists, striking military bases, weaponry, facilities and the like – can be an effective and legitimate response to terrorism. For the purpose of this chapter, modern terrorism is defined as a type of campaign in which a sub-national organisation makes use of deliberate violence targeted at civilians to achieve its political goals, nationalist, socio-economic, religious or ideological.

The terror equation: motivation and operational capabilities Modern terrorism is the product of two variables: motivation and operational capabilities. When a group of people share similar political aspirations and when they calculate that the most effective path to fulfilling them is through acts of terrorism, they attempt to gain the operational capabilities necessary for attacks: armaments, operational knowledge and experience, special equipment and the like. An active terrorist organisation is, therefore, a product of a motivated group with the means to perpetrate acts of terrorism. The terror equation  is thus a function of two variables: motivation multiplied by capability (Ganor 2005). The same equation can be used to understand the goals of counterterrorism. Terrorist attacks can be prevented by either reducing the organisation’s capabilities or by reducing the perpetrators’ motivation. Reducing one of the variables to nil can seemingly prevent terrorist attacks from taking place altogether. Thus, even if a group is motivated, but lacks operational capabilities, terrorist attacks will not occur. The opposite is also true: when a terrorist organisation has the capability but its members and leaders are unmotivated, an attack will not take place. In this chapter, we will examine the question of whether counterterrorism frameworks based on proactive activity and military force, such as targeted killings, military strikes on

184  Boaz Ganor the terrorist’s bases, facilities weaponry and the like, are effective in responding to terrorism (Shultz and Vogt 2003). This question deals with one of the two variables in the terror equation, namely, counterterrorism operations intended to reduce the terrorist organisation’s operational capabilities. The nature of such activities dictates they are operational and offensive activities (proactive or reactive operations of the state’s military forces, security services and police) against terrorists, aimed to disrupt the organisation, attack its leaders and commanders, its members, facilities, resources and its general ability to continue perpetrating attacks. Offensive operations of this kind are one of several components in the strategy of counterterrorism (Ganor 2005). They should not be regarded as the single means of the state to confront terrorism, and in many cases, not even the primary tool of counterterrorism policy. A well-designed strategy to combat terrorism includes as its primary focus the intelligence effort – collecting and processing basic and tactical information on the terrorist organisation (Charters 1991). This information is used both defensively (through knowledge of the intentions and modus operandi of the terrorist organisation) and offensively (knowledge of its bases and resources as well as its various organisational functions). Another component of the state’s counterterrorism strategy is deterrence – the body of actions and signals the state communicates to the terrorist organisation in order to change its cost-benefit calculations and cause it to refrain from attacks for fear of harsh reprisals. The third component involves operational offensive activities against the terrorist organisation. These activities are designed to undermine the terrorist organisation’s ability to perpetrate attacks (Kilcullen 2005). Together with these three components of combating terrorism, there is another component to countering terrorism, namely, the attempt to reduce the motivation to perpetrate attacks and the instrumental motives for terrorism while systematically dealing with the root causes behind the activities of terrorists and terrorist organisations.

Proactive and reactive action Operational offensive activity can be divided into two types: proactive and reactive action. Reactive action is an offensive operational action usually taken after brutal and deadly terrorist attacks in the state and constitutes an immediate or late response to terrorist attacks (Guiora 2007). Proactive offensive activities are meant to disrupt future attacks through offensive operational means, usually based on prior intelligence or an educated estimation of a terrorist organisation’s intent. At times, it is difficult to tell these two types of operations apart due to lack of accurate information on the considerations facing decision makers prior to executing the operational activities, their tendency to claim their actions are preventative and proactive and their reluctance to present it as a retaliatory act of reprisal. Decision makers avoid referring to their offensive actions as reactive action because of the negative connotations this type of activity raises and due to the perception that retaliatory action leads to a ‘cycle of violence’ in which a violent action by one side is then followed by a violent counter-action from the other, making both sides equally responsible for any escalation (Wilkinson 2001/2006/2011). The reasons for proactive, pre-emptive offensive action are more easily accepted by global public opinion and the connotations it entails are naturally more positive. In other words, it is difficult for a casual observer to determine whether an offensive operation is a reactive-retaliatory action or a preventative pre-emptive action. As for offensive reprisal actions, despite criticism against it, it is a necessity borne of the characteristics and balance of power within modern democratic states. Paradoxically, democracies are more likely to be deterministically forced to take offensive retaliatory action

Are suppression and force effective?  185 in response to terrorist attacks on their territory than non-democratic countries. This process is part of the ‘democratic dilemma’ and is rooted in the democratic regime’s dependence on the public will, its authority drawn from the ‘social contract’ with the people and its commitment to defend the life and limb of its citizens. The democratic government is, therefore, more sensitive to public opinion and strives to satisfy the people’s expectations. For this reason, democratic governments find it difficult to turn the other cheek following severe terrorist attacks. The elected leadership is pushed to make retaliatory reprisals to prove to the public and constituency that it takes all possible measures to defend the population. Facing severe terrorist attacks with restraint might be viewed as a weakness. When accompanied by criticism from political opposition who present the lack of response as hesitation or as a failing policy, the government can do little but commit itself to reactive offensive actions. In a sense, the results of the offensive action are secondary (so long as it does not cause escalation) and its primary objective is to respond to public demand and, if possible, to deter the enemy. The government takes reactive offensive action following popular demand and sometimes following decision makers’ perception of what the public expects of them, a perception not necessarily grounded in reality. However, offensive actions taken by the state are often not reactive and not meant to be a reprisal for attacks, but proactive pre-emptive activities meant to foil terrorist attacks before they come to fruition. A country under the threat of terrorism (any country and certainly democratic countries) can ill afford to passively rest on its laurels when confronting this phenomenon. As the severity of terrorism rises, with increasing numbers of potential victims, so does the need to foil attacks prior to their execution. The escalation of terrorist attacks requires a greater disruptive effort. When a series of attacks, such as 9/11, can cause the death of thousands and billions of dollars in financial damages, states can no longer afford the risk of suffering these attacks, and where the intelligence and operational capabilities are available they will strive to take proactive and disruptive action as early as possible. Therefore, the question of whether counterterrorism frameworks based on proactive activity and military force are effective in responding to terrorism should be divided into two secondary questions: is there a need for proactive actions in combating terrorism? And is such action effective or does it constitute a false economy? Proactive offensive activity takes place at one of the stages preceding the attack, from the initiative stage, through planning, recruiting, training, preparing and finally transporting to the intended destination. The offensive action in this case may be directed at the perpetrators of the planned attack or against any link in the chain of planning, preparing and executing the attack – intelligence gatherers, recruiters, leaders, commanders, operators who prepare the weapons and explosives and the like. Targeted disruptive operations intended to kill or apprehend one of these elements may prevent the execution of the attack. Disruptive proactive action is, therefore, vital to thwarting concrete terrorist attacks when based on tactical intelligence, but the importance of proactive disruptive action is multiplied when confronting suicide attacks. The success of a suicide attack is ensured once the suicide bomber leaves their base towards the target. Unlike other terrorist modus operandi which can be thwarted by increasing security measures, erecting checkpoints, increasing police and defensive activities, in the case of a suicide attack, even if security forces have detailed intelligence enabling the attacker’s location and even if security personnel manages to reach them before they arrive at their intended target, once the suicide bomber realises they have been compromised, they will detonate their explosive charge and harm innocent bystanders. It is very uncommon that a terrorist determined to commit suicide as part of the attack will turn themselves over

186  Boaz Ganor to authorities or surrender. The only way to stop a suicide bomber and foil the attack is by arresting them or attacking them or another vital part of the terrorist network prior to their embarkation on the mission. Therefore, in cases of confronting suicide attacks, a proactive offensive activity is not only a vital or important tool in the arsenal of counterterrorism, but the exclusive means to thwart such attacks and save innocent lives.

The cost-benefit calculations of employing force For offensive proactive operations to be effective and to benefit the state, it is important to pay attention to the following repercussions that one can expect while taking these measures. Foiling the planned attack The offensive operation should seriously damage a main link in the attack’s chain of execution, such as by eliminating an operative with unique know-how on setting explosives, in possession of technological skills critical to the organisation or having other unique operational capabilities or by causing sufficient damage to the organisation’s bases or specialty armaments and equipment. The offensive operation aims to foil, disrupt or postpone the terrorist attack. Disrupting the routine and operational activities of the organisation The offensive operation ought to deter the organisation’s members and leaders from continuing to commit acts of terrorism due to its boldness, modus operandi or by illustrating the state’s intelligence, operational or technological superiority. The operation should not increase the organisation members’ motivation to avenge and should not motivate others to join a terrorist organisation or to volunteer to take part in terrorist attacks. The boomerang effect The operation might create a boomerang effect leading to new terrorist initiatives, to escalation in the type and modus operandi of attacks or to rushing the planned attack to its execution. An example of a ‘boomerang attack’ is Hezbollah’s bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires a few weeks after Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, Abass Musawi, was killed by Israel in 1992. The planners of the operation should take into consideration in their cost-benefit calculation the boomerang effect, but this possible effect is not a sufficient reason by itself to avoid proactive offensive actions, since reprisal attacks are not necessarily more severe in scope or cause greater mortality than the original foiled attack. It also should be noted that the boomerang effect will not take place if the limiting factor of the number of the terrorist attacks conducted by the organisation is their operational capability. In that case, the raising of the motivation will not bring about a higher number of terrorist attacks (Ganor 2008). Entanglement with other terrorist organisations and with foreign military forces In calculating the effectiveness of a proactive offensive attack, one should take into account at the planning stage the possibility that the operation will go awry and the military force in

Are suppression and force effective?  187 the field will find itself under fire, pinned down or captured. In addition, there is a possibility of the operation being uncovered at a certain stage which would lead to the armed intervention of other terrorist organisations, militias or paramilitary forces, as well as supportive states. An asymmetric conflict under these circumstances can quickly escalate into a fullscale war between armies and sovereign nations. Repercussions of the operation in the local and international arena It should be noted that even if the offensive proactive operation was successful and its execution flawless, exposing the state’s involvement in the operation (especially if it trespassed on foreign territory), may bring about a deterioration of the state’s international status and undermine its relations with its neighbours or with other nations. On the other hand, bold and successful offensive operations may whet the international public’s imagination and strengthen the country’s image. Effect on the morale of the organisation’s members, their supporters and the state’s own citizens Modern terrorism is a form of psychological warfare in which a terrorist organisation attempts to terrorise the country’s population (Schmid 2005). Proactive offensive action is meant, among other things, to demoralise the organisation’s operatives and supporters, while at the same time to strengthen the morale of the state’s citizens and strengthen solidarity and psychological stamina against further attacks. However, if the offensive operation leads to boomerang attacks, it might deteriorate the public’s morale. Intelligence dilemmas In the overall calculation of the cost of the operation, the possibility that the operation may expose the source of the information necessary for the planning and execution of the operation should be taken into account. Proactive offensive operations rely heavily on sensitive, specific and up-to-date intelligence. Such accurate information is available only through a small number of sensitive and closely guarded intelligence assets. In many cases following an effective offensive operation, terrorist organisations engage in an extensive attempt to expose informants and spies in their ranks. Sometimes this activity results in the death of alleged collaborators who, in hindsight, are revealed to have had no relation to the operation or to the state’s intelligence services. These are some of the main calculations to be made when examining the effectiveness of proactive offensive activity. However, it should be noted that operations that seem effective in the short term may prove to be ineffective or even damaging in the medium and long term. Effectiveness should always be evaluated in reference to the goals of the operation, both tactical and strategic. Put simply, the planned military operation should bring the attacking side closer to achieving its goals. Effectiveness is thus calculated on a scale which measures the achievement of the military goals of the perpetrator. It is, therefore, based on the rationality of the attacking side who calculate the costs and benefits of different alternatives and choose the alternative which maximises the benefits whilst minimising the costs. Moreover, the attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of a proactive offensive operation before its implementation is difficult and problematic, since such an evaluation relies on incomplete intelligence, suffering from many unknown variables and of uncertain credibility.

188  Boaz Ganor

Legality and morality Another issue relating to the undertaking of proactive offensive operations is the legality and morality of these operations. The issue of morality is the very heart of the definition of modern terrorism: does the modern terrorist battlefield fall within the legal or the military realm? Should the operational treatment of the terrorist phenomenon be attempted with military means or police measures? Treating terrorism as a criminal activity, requiring the use of policing measures, casts doubt on the legality and morality of using deadly force during an offensive operation, even when such action is pre-emptive in nature. In addition, as Brian Jenkins explains: If we look at terrorism as a crime, we will need to gather evidence, arrest the criminals, and put them on trial. This approach provokes problems of international cooperation and is not a suitable response for acts of terrorism perpetrated by a distant organization or a country involved in terrorism. In contrast, if we approach terrorism as warfare, we can be less concerned with the aspect of individual guilt, and an approximate assessment of guilt and intelligence is sufficient. The focus is not on a single perpetrator, but rather on proper identification of the enemy. (Quoted in Ganor 2005) However, treating the terrorist phenomenon as a military campaign legitimises pre-emptive operations as a legitimate disruptive measure constituting an act of self-defence. The limitations and obligations which apply to the initiators of a military proactive offensive operation are markedly different from the limitations imposed on crime fighting. Even if the use of deadly force during a military counterterrorism campaign is sometimes legitimate, it is still not without limitations and obligations. A state making use of offensive operations (especially if the operation involves the use of deadly force such as in the case of targeted killings – the use of selective offensive strikes aimed against a leader or an activist of a terrorist organisation) must observe the following principles: the target must be legitimate, that is to say, a terrorist involved in the execution of attacks (and not a political operative uninvolved in attacks) or an installation used by the terrorist organisation in its military-terrorist activities. The offensive action should be aimed at thwarting concrete and future attacks or disrupting the organisation’s activities, making it difficult for it to organise attacks. The offensive operation must also be carried out using legal weapons and tactics within the framework of Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions and while attempting to reduce collateral damage to a minimum. Finally, when performing specific offensive activity (such as targeted killings), the use of deadly force must be considered only as a last resort when lacking the alternative of capture. Despite this, it must be noted that a state facing the threat of terrorism has an inherent and legitimate right to self-defence when confronting terrorism and the right to take all necessary measures, including proactive offensive operations, in defending the lives, well-being and safety of its citizens. It should also be noted that the issue of the morality of the proactive offensive operation is dependent on the issue of effectiveness, since the more an offensive action is seen as illegitimate or illegal and generates international criticism, the more its effectiveness will be undermined by the cost the state will incur by it.

Conclusion In conclusion, in answering the question of whether counterterrorism frameworks based on proactive activity and military force are effective in responding to terrorism, it can be

Are suppression and force effective?  189 determined that offensive military measures are an important part of the War on Terror, and in some cases, such as the case of suicide attacks, the proactive offensive operation is a vital if not an exclusive component in thwarting these attacks. This becomes a duty, a moral obligation based on the right to self-defence of a society assaulted by terrorism. However, the right and duty to make use of proactive offensive measures in order to foil terrorist attacks does not exempt the state confronting terrorism from its obligation to deploy offensive military measures only as a last resort, in proportion with the threat and in accordance with humanitarian law. To ensure the effectiveness of the offensive operation it must be proactive and preemptive, rather than reactive and retaliatory. The action must be based on accurate, credible and up-to-date intelligence. Concrete goals must be set and targets must be carefully chosen. The most appropriate modus operandi must be adapted to the goals set and decision-making processes and rules of engagement must adhere to international humanitarian law. Above all, one should remember that despite the need and sometimes the urgency to make use of proactive offensive military measures to foil concrete terrorist attacks, when the offensive operation achieves its goals and reduces the scale of attacks, it only buys the state necessary time to attend to the motivation behind terrorism.

NO: wars on terror – learning the lessons of failure Paul Rogers

Introduction This chapter examines the assertion that the primary means for countering terrorism are by suppression of the threat, especially using military force. In this context, the chapter places emphasis on sub-state terrorism. It does so while recognising that the great majority of terrorist actions have been perpetrated by states against their own populations or against populations that they control (see Jackson et al. 2011). Such actions may include prisoner abuse, torture, the use of death squads, direct military assaults on unarmed populations and many other forms of terror. The responsibility to protect may, in some circumstances, involve transnational action to prevent such state terrorism. This may involve the suppression of the state authorities responsible for such terror and bringing to trial those held responsible for state terrorism. It may involve the use of military force in the pursuit of such aims. The analysis of such processes may be singularly important but is beyond the scope of this chapter. The aim here is initially to examine the impact of the most significant recent example of the use of suppression and military force as a counterterrorism framework against a sub-state actor – the response to the 9/11 atrocities and the subsequent ‘War on Terror’. This critical perspective will then be extended to the more general argument against responding to terrorism with vigorous military force. Finally, some general conclusions will then be drawn in relation to the security issues that are likely to prove dominant in the coming decades.

Responding to 9/11 The destruction of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon were visceral in their impact on the United States. This was especially so under the Bush administration

190  Paul Rogers because it had embraced the concept of the New American Century in which the United States’ values and its political and economic systems would serve as worldwide models for a peaceful twenty-first century. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, there were some analysts who warned against a large-scale military response to the atrocities, especially in the form of intended regime termination in Afghanistan and Iraq (Elworthy and Rogers 2001). Such views contended that elevating the response to a ‘War on Terror’ would prove to be of lasting value to the al-Qaeda movement, because such action would suggest that al-Qaeda had the status of a major transnational terrorist endeavour that could be controlled only through robust and extensive military action. An alternative approach would see the movement as a transnational criminal endeavour intent on mass murder. Given that those directly involved in the attacks had killed themselves, the aim would, therefore, have been to bring the leadership of the movement to justice, preferably through an internationally established court. Thus, al-Qaeda would not be seen as an enemy worth fighting by traditional military means but as a common criminal entity. This was in direct contrast to the al-Qaeda self-­ perception, with its origins in the 1980s war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (Burke 2007) and which embraced the narrative that the Soviet Union had been crippled by that endeavour. Thus, antecedents of al-Qaeda had brought down a superpower and could seek to do the same by attracting US and other Western military forces into the region where, in due course, they would be worn down by guerrilla warfare. ‘In due course’ could mean a matter of decades, since al-Qaeda is an unusual transnational revolutionary movement in that it has an eschatological dimension – its leadership sees its ambitions to create a new kind of Islamist caliphate as stretching beyond this life – over many decades, if not a century (Lawrence 2005). Nevertheless, the Bush administration and some close allies – especially Britain, Italy and Spain – were intent on pursuing a military campaign with great vigor, first, with the termination of the Taliban regime and the destruction of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan towards the end of 2001, and then the termination of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq in March/ April 2003. Whether such a military response proved effective can be measured against the individual war aims in Afghanistan and Iraq and comparing them with the outcomes in both countries, as well as the wider impact on the al-Qaeda movement.

War aims The aims for the first phase of the war were the termination of the Taliban regime and destruction of the centre of the al-Qaeda movement in its training camps and other centres in southern and eastern Afghanistan. The United States avoided an immediate and large-scale occupation. It embarked instead on a short and intense military campaign that combined heavy use of air power and the deployment of Special Forces against the Taliban, combined with the rapid re-arming and re-supplying of the Northern Alliance of warlords that had previously been in retreat from the Taliban in the Afghan civil war. By December 2001, the Taliban regime had melted away, albeit with most of its military forces and their weapons intact, and the al-Qaeda paramilitaries had largely dispersed from their camps, many of them crossing over into north-west Pakistan (Rashid 2010). By the time of the 2002 State of the Union Address to both Houses of Congress, President George W. Bush could point to a highly successful operation in Afghanistan, while extending the War on Terror to an ‘axis of evil’ of which the main components were the rogue states of Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

Are suppression and force effective?  191 By the early months of 2002, there was confidence within the administration that the Taliban problem was over and that the al-Qaeda movement had suffered a serious and potentially fatal blow. There was an expectation that as the United States moved towards regime termination in Iraq, the burden of supporting post-war peacebuilding in Afghanistan would be borne mainly by the Europeans. In due course, Afghanistan was confidently expected to make the transition to a pro-Western peaceful society. Furthermore, there would be two additional and valuable outcomes. One was that the United States and its coalition partners would maintain a valuable military presence in a geopolitically important state. The other is related to this, namely, the basing agreements concluded with Central Asian republics at the start of the war. Some of these could be maintained and would substantially increase US influence in Central Asia. Given the oil and gas reserves of the region, and the influence of Russia and China, this was an extraordinarily useful bonus to the war. In short, US political and military influence in a singularly important part of the world had been enhanced in a manner that was thoroughly useful in the pursuit of the New American Century, and it was in this context that the termination of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq was implemented in early 2003. Less than a month after that, President George W. Bush made his ‘mission accomplished’ speech on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. While not claiming that the war was over, he was confident that Iraq would make a successful transition away from the status of a rogue state. The insurgency and complex set of intercommunal conflicts that subsequently developed have been put down to a serious lack of post-war expectations by the US Department of Defense, but this narrative does not fit with expectations at the time. As the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) developed its work in 2003, the extensive apparatus of state-run industries was to be privatised and opened up to substantial foreign investment. The economy would rapidly evolve along true free market lines, with a flat-rate tax system and a minimum of financial regulation, and Iraq would evolve into a pro-Western free market democracy serving as a political beacon for a new Middle East. Moreover, the United States would develop several major bases in the country, this being seen in the context of long-term US security concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thus, a key outcome of the regime terminations in Afghanistan and Iraq would be the impact on the regime in Tehran. The post-war region would include a pro-Western Afghanistan to the east with an enduring US military presence and Iraq to the north-west similarly organised. Furthermore, an expanded US Navy Fifth Fleet would be dominant in the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea and the improved US relations with Central Asian republics would not just impact on China and Russia but would also limit any future attempt by Iran to increase its influence. As to al-Qaeda, with the loss of its sponsor and protector, the Taliban regime in Kabul, the movement would lose much of its impetus, if, indeed, its leadership survived. The 9/11 atrocities had been appalling and had required an extremely forceful response, and by mid2003, that response had proved to be singularly successful. Two deeply antagonistic regimes had been eliminated, a third was thoroughly constrained and there was every prospect that out of the trauma of 9/11, a better world might emerge. Thus, the response to a specific catastrophic attack by a transnational political movement went far beyond the requirement to counter that movement and formed part of a much wider security posture for the United States. Responding to terrorism with extreme force may have been exceptional, but it has implications for a much wider analysis of the means used to control terrorism and political violence. This is especially marked when the

192  Paul Rogers outcomes of the Afghan and Iraqi actions, as well as later developments in Libya and Syria, are examined.

Outcomes – Afghanistan By the end of 2001, the Bush administration had as its main international security concern the issue of regime termination in Iraq. Afghanistan was far less significant, and it was expected that much of the support for post-war stabilisation and reconstruction would come from European partners. Within Afghanistan, and in some circles in the United Nations, there were concerns that a security vacuum might develop unless a very substantial stabilisation force was established. However, no more than 5,000 personnel were deployed by late 2002, and over the period to early 2006, Taliban and other armed opposition groups (AOGs) successfully re-established a presence in many parts of Afghanistan. They were aided by four factors: endemic corruption and maladministration of the government in Kabul, substantial illicit revenues from opium and its refined products, an innate and deeply embedded opposition to the presence of foreign troops and the informal support from Pakistan which saw links with the Taliban as a means of maintaining influence in Afghanistan. Towards the end of his second term, in 2008, President George W. Bush was exploring a further surge in troop numbers in Afghanistan, and after almost a year of reflection, the new Obama administration elected to follow a similar policy, ordering in additional force of some 30,000 troops into Afghanistan during the course of 2010. Taking into account an expansion of other NATO forces, this brought the total number of foreign troops in the country to about 140,000, not far short of the total in Iraq at the height of that war. Obama saw the troop surge not as a means of victory but as a basis for negotiating withdrawal from a position of strength, while tacitly acknowledging a role for Taliban elements in future Afghan governance. The Obama administration intended that there would be a declared timetable for withdrawal and handover to Afghan security forces, with this substantially in progress by early 2012. Although most Western troops were evacuated by the end of 2016, 13,000 remained, yet the Taliban and other AOGs continued to gain territory. Thus, a military operation that formed the initial basis of the overall War on Terror and looked likely to be over in weeks now had the prospect of lasting 15 years or more.

Outcomes – Iraq In Iraq, armed opposition to coalition forces started almost immediately after the Western occupation commenced and by the end of 2003, the United States, which was providing the great majority of the combat forces, was facing a full-scale urban insurgency in circumstances for which it was simply not prepared. Over the following 2 years, the war evolved into a complex set of overlapping conflicts that included major elements of intercommunal violence between Sunni and Shi’a communities. There also developed an element of violent opposition stemming from paramilitary groups linked to the al-Qaeda movement. This so-called al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia (AQIM) operated partly against foreign troops, but also worked persistently to promote violence against the Shi’a majority. In trying to control the insurgency, the United States experienced three major problems, the first being that it became almost entirely an American war, as states such as India declined to provide military aid. Second, US troops were imbued with a narrative of an insurgency that was directly linked to the 9/11 atrocities, seeing their opponents as terrorists and making it fully legitimate to use firepower on a massive scale, even in dense urban environments,

Are suppression and force effective?  193 greatly increasing the level of and civilian casualties and consequent opposition to occupation. Finally, the US military turned substantially to their associates in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) with its extensive experience of urban counter-insurgency (Opall-Rome 2004), inadvertently providing Islamist propagandists with a singularly powerful narrative of a ­Crusader-Zionist force taking control of one of the major states of the Islamic world. The termination of the Saddam Hussein regime led on to a war that lasted 7 years and, even 8 years later, left a country with deep instability. The direct consequences included over 169,000 Iraqis killed, several hundred thousand seriously injured, (Iraq Body Count 2016) at least 120,000 detained without trial, some for years, and four million people displaced from their homes. For the United States, over 4,400 military personnel were killed and well over 20,000 seriously injured, many of them maimed for life, and the final cost of the war, including lifetime support of those injured was estimated as high as $3 trillion (Stiglitz and Bilmes 2008). Two further factors should be recognised. The first is that the state that benefited most from the 7-year  Iraq War was Iran, which, in the original war aims, was expected to be thoroughly constrained in the post-war environment. The second is that during the conflict, some thousands of young foreign paramilitaries spent periods with insurgent forces in Iraq. The long-term impact of the existence of this cohort is not easy to predict (see Chapter 9), but may turn out to be one of the most grievous eventual consequences of the war.

Outcomes – al-Qaeda In spite of the termination of the Taliban regime and dispersal of the al-Qaeda movement, over the following 6 years, the movement and its various loose associates proved to be far more active than in the previous 6  years. In addition to many attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, there were frequent attacks across the world, including Casablanca, Amman, Istanbul, Bali, Djakarta, Mombasa, Sinai, Madrid and London, and numerous failed attempts. The extent and frequency diminished after 2008, but numerous interceptions were made, especially in Western Europe, following massive increases in funding and resources for counterterrorism operations. By mid-2011, there was little confidence that the al-Qaeda movement had been properly constrained. Even the extensive use of armed drones in Pakistan, which appeared to be responsible for the deaths of many middle-ranking leaders in the movement, also had the effect of bringing younger and more radical jihadists to the fore (Rogers 2016a). While the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 was hugely welcomed as evidence of possible closure, there were clear signs that the movement had already evolved into a thoroughly dispersed entity, with initiatives evolving in Yemen, Somalia and parts of North Africa (Burke 2015).

Outcomes – ISIS From 2004 to 2008, the US Joint Special Operations Command ( JSOC) fought a bitter shadow war in Iraq against AQIM which was seen as the heart of the insurgency. This war was centred on what was most commonly called Task Force 145, a quartet of regionally organised task groups drawn from US and UK Special Forces that had very high levels of resourcing and freedom of action. Many thousands of insurgents were killed or detained, with the AQIM leader, Zarqawi, killed in Operation Arcadia at the peak of JSOC’s work in June 2006. By 2008, TF 145 was credited with doing more than any other group to bring

194  Paul Rogers the war to an end, thereby enabling President Obama to fulfil a 2008 election pledge of withdrawal from the country by the end of 2011 (Rogers 2016b). In practice, though, AQIM survived as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and by 2012, survivors of the JTAC operation and others in Iraq had begun to join with Islamist paramilitaries responding to the chaos of the Syrian Civil War and take control of territory, principally in NE Syria. In a series of remarkable prison raids known as Operation Breaking the Walls in 2012–2013, more than 2,300 experienced paramilitary fighters were freed from Iraqi prisons to join what was becoming a rapidly spreading movement (Lister 2014). Variously known as Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL from early 2014, Iraqi cities such as Fallujah, Ramadi and Mosul were taken over during 2014–2015, and a caliphate was declared in June 2014 controlling a population of over six million people from Raqqa in northern Syria through to Mosul in northern Iraq. By mid-2014, ISIS was seen as a threat to regional and Western interests, not least because it combined an eschatologically-driven leadership with skilled paramilitary forces and technocratic managers capable of controlling and administering territory. Moreover, ISIS was already making links with Islamist paramilitary movements in North, East and West Africa, Afghanistan and southern Russia. In Libya, ISIS affiliates were able to use the chaos that followed the termination of the Gaddafi regime as a result of NATO action in 2011 to create a mini-caliphate centred on the coastal city of Sirte, and by the end of 2015, this was threatening to gain control of some of the Libya oil and gas fields. Meanwhile, in Iraq and Syria, a broad coalition led by the United States commenced intensive air attacks against ISIS in August 2015 which reportedly killed 20,000 ISIS supporters in the first 15 months, yet over that same period, the estimate for the number of supporters joining ISIS from abroad was increased from 1,000 to 30,000. By the end of 2016, more than 15 years after the start of the ‘War on Terror’, there was little prospect of any end to the war; indeed, it was once more intensifying. ISIS was under pressure in Iraq and had lost territory but had developed an ability to facilitate and encourage attacks in a number of Western countries, not least France, Belgium and Germany. Its caliphate might ultimately be suppressed but would still serve as a singularly powerful long-term symbol for successor movements. Meanwhile, the al-Qaeda-linked Jabat Fatah Al-Sham ( JFS) was expanding its influence in Syria.

The use of force The strongest argument in favour of the use of military force in responding to the 9/11 attacks is the requirement of a state to protect its own people. This can be said to apply to any state, with the US response being no more than a particularly tough one, albeit from the world’s strongest military power and involving military actions that went well beyond suppressing the movement responsible for the attacks. As has been argued, much of this was concerned with regaining the impetus for the New American Century, including restricting Iran and effecting a transformation across the Middle East. The results have been radically different and will have consequences, especially for Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria and elsewhere that may be measured in decades. A more general consequence, in spite of these outcomes, is the presumption that methods of counterterrorism that became acceptable for the United States risk becoming more generally acceptable. These include forms of torture, long-term detention without trial, rendition, targeted assassination (see Chapter 13), remote warfare entailing collateral damage and the more ready targeting of civil infrastructure. If the United States can engage in such

Are suppression and force effective?  195 actions, which may become more likely under the Trump administration, then it is less easy to argue against some or all of them in other contexts, whether these are NATO’s military campaign in Libya, Israeli actions in the occupied territories and Lebanon, Indian suppression of the Naxalite rebellion or responses to civil unrest in Russia or China. Moreover, such developments run counter to a core trend towards greater cooperation over responding to transnational criminality, including the use of terror. This trend, demonstrated by the establishment of the International Criminal Court and a series of tribunals, and also by increasing cooperation between policing agencies, is damaged by major unilateral actions by a state either acting on its own or leading a limited coalition. Furthermore, in addition to the value of sustained efforts to bring terror movements to justice, recent experience in a number of sub-state conflicts involving political violence indicates that responding to the deep-seated circumstances that give rise to paramilitary movements is essential to restoring stability. A  30-year conflict in Northern Ireland involved a wide range of military actions as well as political processes such as internment. It was eventually eased in large measure by the progressive social and economic emancipation of the nationalist minority. Spain has responded to ETA by many policing and paramilitary actions but has also embraced a range of political developments that have substantially limited support for the movement (Powell 2014). Elsewhere, though, the experience is different. Russia has not responded to the Chechen issue in this manner, and there are strong indications that conflict in the Caucasus is intensifying. The Thai government’s tough actions against the Islamist separatists in the south has failed to curtail the conflict, and while the Sri Lankan government believes that it has defeated the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam – the Tamil Tigers), there are strong arguments that the absence of serious post-conflict emancipation for the minority Tamils will lead to further violence. Of all the countries that have found it appropriate to respond to paramilitary actions, and what they see as terrorism, with persistent force, Israel is one of the most determined. After 63  years of independence, however, the state remains in a condition of near-permanent war – impregnable in its insecurity – and facing new military problems from missile proliferation and political challenges from the consequences of the failed Arab Spring.

The global context As it approaches its second decade, the War on Terror has produced outcomes that are radically different from those expected. Rapid regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq has been followed by protracted wars involving heavy civilian and military casualties, and the al-Qaeda threat has been largely superseded by the even more brutal ISIS. There is little sign that Iraq will prove to be a stable and peaceful state, and the consequences of the conflicts, whenever they end, will take decades to heal. The worst excesses of the Afghan war may be over, but the Taliban persists as a major threat to national security and the overall costs of the past decade have been continuing violence in Pakistan. The use of high levels of military force to respond to paramilitary movements has substantial implications for the future. There are now very strong arguments that the key global security problems of the mid-twenty-first century will be determined by three trends (Abbott et al. 2006). One is the increasing transnational socio-economic divide between about onefifth of the global population that has benefited hugely from a neo-liberal economic environment and the majority of the world’s people who are relatively marginalised. Well over 80 per cent of income accrues to barely 20 per cent of the world’s population; there has

196  Paul Rogers been economic growth without economic justice. This is compounded by the second factor, the hugely welcome improvements in education, literacy and communications that also have the pronounced effect of increasing the awareness of the marginalised majorities of their predicament. There are numerous examples of ‘revolts from the margins’ (Rogers 2016b), especially in Latin America and South Asia, but the entrenched and radical Naxalite movement in India and sustained social unrest in China are two of the leading instances. The third trend is the development of severe environmental constraints on human development, especially the likely effect of climate change. This is expected to have a particular impact on the tropical and subtropical regions, with a combination of extreme weather events and sustained changes of rainfall patterns expected to have a profound effect on the sustainability of the agro-ecosystems on which the majority of the world’s population depends. In the context of this combination of a divided and constrained world, there is a strong probability that the richer and more powerful states, especially in Western Europe and North America, will deem it necessary to maintain control of an unstable global system by methods which include the ready use of military force – what might be termed a ‘control paradigm’ or a more crudely termed ‘liddism’ – keeping the lid on problems rather than addressing underlying causes of conflict (Rogers 2016b). This is where the specific experience of the past decades, and the more general experience of forceful counterterrorism policies, is so relevant. Given the capacity for asymmetric and irregular warfare, and the likely evolution of transnational paramilitary groups, this may prove to be a thoroughly inappropriate approach. The notable failure of the current counterterrorism framework based on suppression and military force may prove to be an encouragement in the search for a new security paradigm that focuses on sustainable security rooted in emancipation and justice, not the maintenance of the status quo.

Discussion questions 1 What are the main aims of using military force against terrorists? 2 How should victory or effectiveness in counterterrorism be measured? 3 Can terrorism be eliminated through the use of military force? Is it possible to defeat ISIS through the use of military force, for example? 4 Are democratic states bound to respond forcefully to acts of terror against their citizens? 5 Does the ‘boomerang effect’ exist? Can it be avoided? 6 How can security officials find a balance between the need to foil terrorist attacks and deter terrorists and the likelihood of ‘collateral damage’? 7 Has the War on Terror been an effective response to terrorism? 8 Why did the Bush administration extend the War on Terror to include the termination of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq? 9 What was the relationship between the Taliban movement and al-Qaeda? 10 What are the implications of the conduct of the War on Terror for future responses to radical paramilitary movements?

Further readings Burke, J., 2007. Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam, London: Penguin Books. Dershowitz, A., 2006. Preemption, New York: W. W. Norton. Ganor, B., 2005. The Counter-Terrorism Puzzle, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. Ganor, B., 2008. ‘Terrorist Organization Typologies and the Probability of a Boomerang Effect’, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 31(4): 269–83.

Are suppression and force effective?  197 Henriksen, T., 2007. ‘Security Lessons From the Israeli Trenches’, Policy Review, No.  141, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Available online at: www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/ article/5859. Lawrence, B., ed., 2005. Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden, London and New York: Verso. Rashid, A., 2010. Taliban, London: I.B. Tauris. Rogers, P., 2010. Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century, London: Pluto Press. Rogers, P., 2016. Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threats From the Margins, London: I.B. Tauris.

13 Are drones a useful counterterrorism tool?

YES: but the means must justify the ends Christine Sixta Rinehart

Introduction Drone technology is not a revolutionary concept. Also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), in addition to many other terms, by the US Air Force, drone technology has been around since 22 August 1849 (if we are referring to a physical vessel that does not need a staff to fly it). The Austrians were the first to use a balloon filled with 200 pounds of explosives to attack the Venetians in their quest for independence from Austria. This event was the first use of a weapon that was not physically manned by a person. Drone technology continued to develop throughout history and was used in one form or another in both World Wars. In the 1980s, the Israelis started using unmanned vehicles for surveillance and electronic warfare. Surveillance drones like the Mastiff and Scout were initially used in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Israeli citizen Abraham Karem developed the Gnat, which he later sold to General Atomics, a US company. The Predator came out of the Gnat technology and was used in Bosnia and Kosovo by the Americans during the early 1990s (Kaag and Kreps 2014; Kreps 2016). The Israelis were the first to take drone technology one step further. If drones could be used to spy on people, why could they not be used to assassinate people? Not much more technological innovation was needed to strap a bomb on the side of a drone. The Israelis were the first to use drone technology for the purpose of killing suspected Palestinian terrorists in 2004 (Cook 2013), and the term ‘targeted killing’ was later created to classify the use of drones to assassinate people. The term ‘extrajudicial executions’ has become the commonly used term for suspected terrorists who are assassinated by a government with a UAV without any legal consideration or recourse. In the case of Israel, these targeted terrorists are first tried by a judicial court system in absentia. In the United States, no such judicial court system exists and the human targets are chosen by the president and top military and intelligence officials (Brand and Guiora 2015). The central question of this chapter is whether drones are an effective counterterrorism tool in the War on Terror to assassinate terrorists and other dangerous people throughout the world? It is doubtful that anyone would protest the use of drones as a counterterrorism

Are drones a useful counterterrorism tool?  199 surveillance tool on the battlefield or a tool that brings supplies to soldiers in danger. This chapter argues that drones are, indeed, an effective response to terrorism, but the ends must justify the means. What this signifies is that the use of targeted killing must be used in proportionate and justified force to be an effective means of counterterrorism. This perspective will be explored in the conclusion. This chapter contends that drones are an effective response to terrorism for the following reasons: (1) Drones are much more economical than boots on the ground, (2) Drone technology is more exact and awe-inspiring than human military forces, (3) Drones allow countries to easily be present anywhere in the world at any time, (4) The terrorist death toll is impressive, (5) Drones, if used correctly, can cause minimal collateral damage and backlash, and (6) Military men and women are not playing video games. This chapter will proceed with an explanation of these six reasons why drones are an effective response to terrorism and will end with recommendations to ensure that targeted killing as a means of assassination, justifies its own ends.

Drones are more economical than boots on the ground In the concluding chapter  of my book (Rinehart 2016), I  examine the preliminary fiscal costs of drone warfare that I could find and/or compute. The length of this chapter does not permit the republication of that chapter, so the data must be summarised. I found that the approximate costs of all drone technology so far is estimated to be at least $22 billion until the end of 2017 for the United States. The costs of Hellfire Missiles in US drone strikes, using two missiles per strike, are approximately $4 billion until the end of 2015. Most strikes include on average two Hellfire Missiles, and it was relatively rare in my research that fewer than two Missiles were used. The expenditures for flying time and maintenance for known US drones came to around $20 billion. In addition, the costs of training pilots was a little over $1 billion, not including veteran healthcare. The expenses of US drone crashes came to around $3 billion for all known US drone crashes until the end of 2016. The research and development costs could not be calculated due to the lack of data. The total cost of US drone warfare up until the end of 2016 came to the grand total $50 billion, as can be seen in Table 13.1. Although there are some factors that are missing in these figures, such as the costs of research and development, which are most likely the highest costs, this is the most complete picture we have of the costs of drone technology so far. In comparison, the ongoing war in Afghanistan has cost over a trillion dollars, not including unknown future costs associated with benefits over the long term (Dyer and Sorvino

Table 13.1  The Total Costs of Drone Warfare Costs of Drone Warfare

Total Cost

American Military Drones Purchase Costs Projected 2017 The Costs of Hellfire Missiles in American Drone Strikes 2002–2015 The Costs of Drone Flight until 2013 The Costs of Drone Pilot Training The Costs of American Drone Crashes Total:

21,509,547,000 4,063,220,000 19,486,025,000 1,065,250,000 2,674,100,000 48,798,142,000

Source: Rinehart, C., 2016. Drones and Targeted Killing in the Middle East and Africa: An Appraisal of American Counterterrorism Policies, 130, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Reproduced with permission.

200  Christine Sixta Rinehart 2014). The United States spent over $1.7 trillion, with an additional $490 billion in benefits that will be paid to war veterans over the next several decades. The total cost of the recent Iraq War came to around $2.19 trillion, including estimated veteran benefits (Trotta 2013). If readers are interested, The Costs of War Project at Brown University provides a more elaborate and detailed look at the expenses for the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. In the long term, the use of drone technology is still much more inexpensive than traditional ‘boots on the ground’ operations. The Afghanistan war will last approximately 14 years if all troops are removed by the end of 2017, which now appears unlikely under the Trump administration. The war in Iraq will have lasted approximately 6 years. The drone war has been occurring since 2002 and will likely continue much longer than the Iraq war or the Afghanistan war. The current drone war is costing somewhere around $4 billion a year (if we divide 50 billion by 13 years), which is relatively economical compared with traditional warfare or at least recent traditional warfare. At this rate of $4 billion per year, it will take approximately 238 years to reach the spending of the Afghanistan war and approximately 413 years to reach the same spending as the Iraq War. With that being said, the author can safely say, regardless of the data that have not been collected, the costs of drone warfare are less expensive than the costs of traditional warfare. In addition, drone warfare has produced very little, if any, deaths of US military personnel. In contrast, the Afghanistan war has resulted in the deaths of almost 2,400 people (iCasualties.org 2017) since its inception in 2001. The war in Iraq has produced around 4,500 deaths since it began in 2003 (iCasualties.org 2017). These numbers do not include the number of civilian deaths including Americans, Iraqis, Afghanis and other people, which would make the death toll much higher. It is evident that drones allow military personnel to remain safer while drones are used to do the dirty work, thus protecting human beings. Drones reduce the number of US military personnel casualties as they can replace soldiers on the battlefield, be used for surveillance and spying and warn troops of impending attacks. Some drones are also able to deliver supplies to troops, thus saving lives and also reducing the risk of human injury in war-torn situations.

Drone technology is more exact and awe-inspiring than human military forces Drone technology is more precise and exact than human beings could ever be. The MQ-9 Reaper is the primary and preeminent targeted killing UAV for the US Air Force. The Predator, its predecessor, has been phased out in the last few years for the US military, although the United States still sells these drones to other countries with Congress’s approval (Rinehart 2017). The Reaper has a ‘Multi-Spectral Targeting System, which includes an infrared sensor, color/monochrome daylight TV camera, image-intensified TV camera, laser range finder/designator, and laser illuminator’ (Air Combat Command 2015). The Reaper also ‘has a laser range finder/designator for laser-guided munitions and also carries 4 laserguided, Air-to-Ground Missile (AGM)-114 Hellfire missiles, which provide highly accurate, low-collateral damage, anti-armor and anti-personnel engagement capabilities’ (Air Combat Command 2015). In layman’s terms, the Reaper is an amazing piece of equipment that can view any object within 10 feet and has lethal sensory capacities, including heat and light. The best part is that it does not need to contain a human being to operate it, as UAV are remotely operated. When fully loaded with ammunition, the Reaper can stay in the air for over 14 hours (Rinehart 2016; Whittle 2014). The newest Predator B Extended Range made by General

Are drones a useful counterterrorism tool?  201 Atomics in 2016 can stay in the air over 40 hours lightly loaded (General Atomics 2017). This ability to stay in the air for long periods of time allows drones to follow human beings constantly, while remaining relatively undetected in the sky. In addition, drones are able to make precision strikes, taking out targets without destroying huge swaths of land or property like traditional jets are often known for. Drones can also enhance intelligence gathering or police work, having the ability to go places where human beings literally cannot go. Unlike humans, drones rarely need breaks or rest. There are literally hundreds of drones that the US military uses, and each branch has its own particular drones. This equipment is truly awe-inspiring and extraordinary.

Drones allow countries to easily be present anywhere in the world at any time The execution of strikes, flights and maintenance of UAVs are literally an international cooperative effort. The planning of the drone strikes involves several military and intelligence officials and departments. The CIA is usually responsible for the ‘personality strikes’, which are typically determined by intelligence collection and surveillance. CIA analysts and agents collect data across the world and determine who is of interest. The Special Operations Command’s (SOCOM) purpose is to prepare and acquaint Special Forces with a particular area. SOCOM was active in over 100 countries in 2013. The Defense Department’s Joint Special Operations Command ( JSOC) is a secret operation; SOCOM is the parent organisation of JSOC, and JSOC plans the drone strikes. The Air Force is responsible for carrying out drone attacks and operating the drones. Typically, the pilots and sensor operators who work as a team are located at the Southwest United States Air Force Bases such as Holloman Air Force Base or Creech Air Force Base. They fly drones located at bases in Afghanistan, Djibouti or elsewhere to target terrorists in Middle Eastern and African countries. Sensor Operators help pilots to fly the drones and operate the equipment. The US military bases that house and care for the drones are located literally all over the world, as are the maintenance crews that care for the UAV. The locations of these drones and drone bases allow the United States to be present at anytime, anywhere in the world. Drones fly 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and can be anywhere in the world within hours, considering that they are launched from bases all over the world. Information can then be collected and targets can be viewed almost immediately. In contrast, human personnel and traditional machinery like naval battleships take weeks to move and prepare and are quite visible to the enemy. Troops or intelligence personnel following terrorist groups have problems locating terrorists in remote regions like the Turkestan Mountains of Afghanistan. In addition, many states like Iran are not easy to travel to, and drones are able to fly in and out of rogue and failed states with less risk of being detected.

The terrorist death toll is impressive Several high-profile terrorist group leaders and founders have been assassinated using drone technology, and the values of those targets are impressive. Terrorists from al-Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, the Islamic State, al-Shabaab and Boko Haram have been killed by drone strikes in countries such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Nigeria. In Yemen, drones strikes were responsible for assassinating Abu Ali al-Harithi, an al-Qaeda planner in the terrorist attack on the USS Cole. Anwar al-Awlaki, who was suspected of being a recruiter for al-Qaeda, was killed by a drone strike in Yemen. Sheikh

202  Christine Sixta Rinehart Abu Zubeir, known as al-Qaeda’s fourth most important leader, was also assassinated by a drone strike in Yemen. In August 2016, Hafiz Saeed Khan, a regional ISIS leader, was assassinated in Afghanistan as part of the US campaign to stop the spread of ISIS in Afghanistan. Pakistan alone has been the final resting place for several leaders in the Haqqani Network, the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Between Iraq and Syria, a few key ISIS figures have been assassinated mostly with some cooperation between drones and jets. In Iraq, Ayman al-Zarqawi, the founder of al-Qaeda in Iraq was found by drones and immediately assassinated by an F-16 with two 500-lb precision bombs. On 18 August 2015, Fadl Ahmed Abdullah al-Hiyali, the second in command of ISIS in Iraq, was killed in a drone strike near Mosul. Several thousand people have been killed by drones, including many high-profile terrorists. Drone strikes are, therefore, effective in killing terrorist group leadership and thus reducing the terrorist threat (Rinehart 2016). Since drone strikes have been extremely effective in killing suspected terrorist elements, terrorist organisations are constantly struggling to find new recruits to fill the ranks of their dead comrades. Often, leaders who are chosen in moments of desperation are not the best people to fill the position. After Ayman al-Zarqawi’s (al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq) death by an airstrike, Abu Ayyub al-Masri was chosen by Zarqawi’s men as Zarqawi’s successor. Al-Masri was responsible for declaring the existence of the Islamic State in Iraq, much to the surprise of Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden did not sanction the creation of the Islamic State in Iraq or Syria. Al-Masri immediately began to kill many dissenters of ISIS in Iraq and massacred Shia Muslims on a regular basis. Believing in the apocalypse, al-Masri ordered ISIS followers to build pulpits for the Mahdi (end of the world redeemer of Islam) when he returns. Al-Masri also spread his troops too thinly across Iraq and was forced to recall them one week after he sent them (Rinehart 2016: Chapter 6). In retrospect, Osama bin Laden was not pleased with what transpired in Iraq due to the death of Zarqawi, and ISIS in Iraq was literally created by an insane sycophant of Osama bin Laden. In addition, besides the constant fear of death, drone surveillance has caused hyperparanoia among terrorist groups. Many terrorist leaders are continuously on the move, never resting for more than one night in any location. Cell phones are constantly switched around, as cell phones technology is used as a tracking mechanism. Lights are rarely used in the houses, and people must not be too close to a window, as they bring attention to the location of an individual. People rarely venture outside of a house for fear of discovery. They are seldom able to see their families and children. It is extremely difficult for a terrorist group to operate when their leaders are in hiding and unable to communicate. Terrorist leaders live as wanted and hounded men who are never able to rest until their demise.

Drones, if used correctly, can cause minimal collateral damage and backlash One of the chief complaints concerning drone strikes is their propensity for collateral damage and the loss of human life that can occur when mistakes are made. Drones have been blamed for the backlash and the radicalisation of the local populations where they are being used, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. When innocent people are killed and property is destroyed, radicalisation in the local population can occur. The prospect of a job with a terrorist organisation in a bad economy, and sympathy for the group, can incentivise any person who has lost loved ones or property from a drone strike. This is added to the fact the reimbursement and apologies rarely, if ever, are

Are drones a useful counterterrorism tool?  203 rendered for the destruction of life and property. Nor does the country who attacked usually admit blame for the drone strike. Recently, Russia has been accused of being apathetic to the collateral damage and death that their drone strikes have been causing in Syria when they killed more people than ISIS and Bashir al-Assad in January 2016 alone (Sharkov 2016). Collateral damage does not have to occur. Drones are surgical weaponry. It is usually human error that causes mistakes. Drone strikes should be used as a last resort and should not be used at will in the way that the United States is currently conducting drone strikes in the War on Terror. Drone strikes are appropriate only for high-value targets such as leadership, recruiters, planners, other high-ranking members and those involved in imminent attacks. The first US drone strike occurred on 3 November 2002. Since this first US drone strike, US drone usage has increased tremendously in the Middle East and Africa. President George W. Bush ordered about two drone strikes per day in the Middle East while he was in office. President Obama ordered nearly ten drone strikes per day in the Middle East and Africa up until the end of 2015. President George W. Bush ordered around 5,000 drone strikes during his presidency and President Obama has ordered around 25,000 drone strikes until the end of 2015 (Rinehart 2016: Introduction). These numbers are astronomical and are indicative of the overusage of drone warfare throughout time and the world. President Trump gave the CIA authority to conduct targeted killing strikes in January 2017, shortly after he entered office (Shinkman 2017). It is highly doubtful that there will be any change in policy in the War on Terror under Trump’s administration.

Military men and women are not playing video games The common misconception that has been spread concerning drone technology is the similarity of drone technology to video games. On 10 September  2015, I  visited Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico, for a Media Day. I watched pilots and sensor operators flying drones all over the world, and I was even able to use the simulation technology. It is true that the pilot does use a joystick and that the technology does appear like a video game. However, pilots, sensor operators and personnel are able to see within 10 feet of targets. This means that a pilot can see a person die in a drone strike, and the visual picture is very graphic. For some pilots and sensor operators, this experience has been very traumatic to the point that the Air Force is experiencing high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in its pilots and sensor operators. In recent years, the Air Force has been offering signing bonuses to personnel as pilot and sensor operator numbers have been decreasing (Dao 2013). Drone pilots are actually found to have as much PTSD as military personnel engaged in combat, according to a study completed by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. Drone pilots and sensor operators witness the carnage up close, unlike traditional pilots who are several thousand feet in the air and never see the fruits of their labours. Long hours and graphic human bloodshed have caused personnel to quit in record numbers (Chatterjee 2015). So although the imagery is correct in that drone technology does appear much like a video game, the real world is much more complicated. Drones function like video games but the consequences and responsibility of their use is deadly and serious. Video games originally came from real-life scenarios, and these US military personnel are living in the real world with real-life scenarios. To state that drone warfare is equivalent to a video game

204  Christine Sixta Rinehart is disrespectful to both the professionalism of Air Force personnel and the people who are killed by drones. Drone warfare is not a video game, and to imply this is ignorant and derisive.

The means must justify the ends and concluding thoughts In conclusion, drones are an effective response to terrorism because they are more cost effective than using military human forces, they are less prone to human error, they allow countries to be ever-present, they have killed numerous leaders in various terrorist groups, they are able to incur minimal collateral damage and backlash and they are a serious responsibility for military men and women. However, the ends must justify the means in the use of targeted killing. Only leaders of terrorist groups, recruiters, logisticians and imminent threats should be drone targets. The United States has not been as careful selecting its targets as it should have been, and a lot of unnecessary collateral damage and loss of human life has occurred throughout the Middle East and Africa (Rinehart 2016). An al-Qaeda truck driver, the 16-year-old American Abdurahman Anwar al-Awlaki (son of Anwar al-Awlaki), several Americans and thousands of non-combatant men, women and children are not targets. The United States should be doing it better and should also be doing it better than the other guys. Effective counterterrorism has a collateral damage rate of less than 10 per cent. That means that for every terrorist who is killed, only one non-combatant should be killed or that only one non-combatant can be killed for every ten terrorists who are killed. Anything else is unacceptable. In addition, there must be oversight to drone strikes. The president, high-ranking officials in the military and intelligence communities are currently the judge, jury and executioner for drone strikes. The United States needs to adopt something similar to the Israeli policies in that potential suspects should be tried in absentia in a court of law before they are targeted. This judicial process should be expedient and thorough. Evidence should be presented and the most conscientious legal minds should be involved in the decision making. Although there are still some flaws, Brand and Guiora (2015) have taken an initial step towards outlining a drone court. The court would be independent from the executive branch and would consist of 24 Article III justices (approved by the Senate), 12 from the district court and 122 from the court of appeals chosen at random. The authors provide a rationale and blueprint for the drone court that is a creative prescription to solve the problem of the unitary executive and ensure due process.

NO: drones create a perpetual war for perpetual peace Rory Finegan

Introduction The technology of drone warfare is portrayed as a wonder weapon in the ‘War on Terror’. Whether circling over the Afghan Pakistan border, Syria, Iraq or Gaza, these pilotless drones, having identified a target, can launch their own missiles purportedly ‘surgically’ removing high-value targets from the leadership ‘nodes’ of the terrorist foe (O’Loughlin 2015). But

Are drones a useful counterterrorism tool?  205 drones do not and have never had a monopoly as a Targeting Killing (TK) platform. As Joshi and Stein (2013) have noted, they are but one tool in the range of measures utilised to initiate the kinetic effect of a TK; manned aircraft, cruise missiles and Special Forces most notably with respect to the latter in the TK of Osama bin Laden (Bowden 2012) continue to be used in striking high-value targets in conflict zones. The TK of terrorists is and remains a contentious issue; the problem with the decision to carry out these operations is part and parcel of the ‘democratic dilemma’ regarding counterterrorism (Stahl 2010: 114). There is, therefore, good reason to approach any examination of the legitimacy or suitability of a policy of TK, and specifically of terrorist targeting, with healthy scepticism. Stemming from this, a key issue is how to analyse the utility of drones as an effective TK implement within the tool box of counterterrorism measures; or what part does the use of lethal force through drone strikes against specific individuals by State security forces play in the pattern of events within a terrorist campaign? TKs by drones do not lessen rates of violence, but rather they intensify anger and increase motivations among terrorists/insurgents to attack with more deadly force. Despite the range of arguments that both vaunts and supports the usage of drones, a growing body of evidence suggests that their usage does not deter terrorism but is a fundamental cause of backlash and increased anger, particularly among the populations where they are deployed, that, in turn, act as a veritable Recruiting Sergeant for insurgent and terrorist organisations  – in turn, causing them to strike back with increased motivation. Additionally, there remains a fundamental lacuna in the way the supposed effectiveness of TKs carried out by drones is measured and analysed. As an adjunct to this, drones, like any other method of TKs, are only as effective as the accuracy of the intelligence upon which such operations are predicated.

The unblinking eye? The seductiveness of drone and screen-based warfare in this era of computer gaming are both intriguing and disturbingly familiar themes to emerge, where drones and their surveillance assets are portrayed in the media and by many commentators as having an uncanny ‘unblinking eye’. Cockburn (2015) takes issue with this concept of an all-seeing intelligence machine, predicated on multiple agencies with a vast array of technological equipment; the evidence suggests that between this perception and reality exist grave technological failings. Joshi and Stein (2013) note that the intelligence requirements and analysis of operating such platforms [whether drones or other platforms such as Cruise Missiles] are immense, and that drones are just the ‘tip of the spear’. In other words, it remains the case that drones are simply an asset; they are the means of destroying the target that has been conflated with a capability, namely, targeting individuals, the latter requiring a massive and sophisticated targeting cycle, that is, in turn, underpinned by a heavily resourced intelligence gathering capability. So, while these demands are not created by drones per se, nonetheless drones do not negate this fundamental principle of the need for TKs to be based on accurate intelligence. This key point was noted and expanded upon by a veteran intelligence analyst at the CIA: The kinetic [TK] part of any counter terror strike is the last 20 seconds of an enormously long chain of collection and analysis. Traditional elements of espionage and analysis have not been lost at the agency [CIA]. On the contrary, the CT effort is largely an intelligence game. It’s about finding the target . . . the finish is the easy part. (Fuller 2015: 788)

206  Rory Finegan Drone strikes irrespective of the modus are, therefore, only as accurate as the intelligence that goes into them; additionally, the targets of the strikes cannot provide further intelligence through interrogation had they been captured.

Measuring effectiveness and collateral damage Duyvesteyn (2008) has noted that states that use TKs enter a moral slippery slope that plays into the hands of their opponents. Byman (2005) posits the question: how can states that condemn terrorism because it kills innocents justify counterterrorism tactics that also kill them through collateral damage? Actions resulting in the deaths of numerous civilians highlights the grim reality of collateral damage. Amnesty International, in conjunction with Human Rights Watch, has demanded that US officials be held responsible for ‘illegal killings’ carried out by drones and calls for greater transparency over its [US] secret programme. Amnesty specifically rejects a ‘global war doctrine’ that allows the United States to attack al-Qaeda anywhere in the world (Boone 2013). Intricately entwined within both the moral issue and the intelligence analysis upon which drone strikes are predicated is the controversial method of targeting within the drone TK debate, namely, that of Signature Strikes; this, in turn, brings into focus how to both measure and quantify the success or otherwise of TKs based on a drone implemented programme utilising these strike criteria. Additionally, this ethical argument relates directly to the morality of TKs by drones and is a recurring theme by those who oppose drone strikes because of the associated collateral damage. Several authors have sought to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the methodologies used to collect statistics and determine the accuracy of same pertaining to drone strikes. Bachman (2015: 911) has noted that when TKs are conducted by drones, the United States employs two types of attacks – ‘personality strikes and signature strikes’ – both of which differ fundamentally. Personality Strikes target individuals whose identities are known, whereas Signature Strikes target individuals or groups of individuals based on a set of signature behaviours and pattern of life analysis to determine who to target. While the promise of the armed drone has always been precision, Williams (2010) highlights that not all the victims have, however, been terrorists. Hundreds of Pakistani civilians have been killed as ‘collateral damage’ in the aerial strikes, and this has led to a backlash of anti-Americanism in Pakistan. Alston (2010: 7) has noted that reports of civilian casualties in Pakistan ‘range from approximately twenty . . . to many hundreds’. Currently, there remains insufficiently robust empirical evidence to rigorously interrogate how successful or unsuccessful TKs carried out by drones are; Klaidman (2012) notes that both the US military and CIA utilise different methodologies in selecting targets. Joshi and Stein (2013) believe that the framework used by the United States to determine targeting an individual for a TK is opaque and rudimentary. This also for Walsh (2013) remains a core issue, whereby while drones have attracted such considerable attention, we know little about how effective they are as tools of punishment and deterrence, and it remains the case that a major barrier to assessing the effectiveness of drone strikes has been the lack of adequate data and appropriate techniques for analysis. This argument is reinforced by the Obama administration’s release of statistics on drone counterterrorism strikes in June 2016, in turn underscoring that even inside the US government, there is little real certainty about whom it has killed. This also highlights the increasing scepticism with which official claims on TKs are viewed by Human Rights groups and independent experts, including those who also believe that the strikes have eliminated some very dangerous people (Shane 2016). Apart

Are drones a useful counterterrorism tool?  207 from the dispute over the number of civilian deaths, the notion that TKs by drones are an adequate answer to the terrorist threat appears increasingly threadbare.

Backlash and diminishing capacity There can be no doubt that the killings of terrorists/insurgents and the associated collateral damage of innocent civilians has caused deep anger and resentment. In Waziristan, the effect of hundreds of strikes in an area the size of the state of Maryland has had devastating effects societally (Cockburn 2015). Another tactic associated with drone strikes that has caused huge outrage is the ‘double-tap’ of reserving a second missile at either funerals or immediately post a drone strike to target suspected militants. Kilcullen (2009) has noted how every one of these dead non-combatants represents an alienated family, a new desire for revenge and more recruits for a militant movement that has grown exponentially even as drone strikes have increased. It remains the contrasting case that the method of using drone strikes in the United States are presented as efficient, precise and costless, while conversely in the Middle East and Pakistan they are perceived as cruel and cowardly. Mayer (2009) supports this view of a consistent evidence of the backlash effect, whereby perpetrators of terrorist bombings have consistently presented their acts as ‘revenge’ for drone attacks. Consequently, drone attacks produce both a surge in violence and produce an atmosphere conducive to further recruitment for terrorist cadres, allowing them to mobilise through retaliatory backlash attacks. In a similar vein, Cockburn (2015) believes that each TK carried out by drones did not reduce attacks and save American lives, but rather it increased them; in effect, each killing has prompted ‘mayhem’. Intricately interwoven within this debate is that TKs by drones not only enrage the local populations, but also that the drone strikes are not necessarily diminishing the capacity of terrorist organisations and there remains a large body of evidence to suggest that the contrary is, in fact, the case. While drone strikes have undoubtedly killed many senior militants, these organisations have proved remarkably adaptive and resilient. Cockburn (2015) believes they are ‘self-organising’, meaning they were independent and ‘self-healing’; that is, when they were damaged by the loss of a member, they adjusted by new recruitment and promotions. Additionally, it has often been the case that the replacement has proven to be smarter, often more aggressive, and consciously bent on revenge. From a realist perspective, killing the adversary’s leader is counterproductive when it results in the elimination of a future negotiating partner. Militants have consistently proven to be adaptive, utilising both substitution (for the means or modus of attack) and displacement (moving the geographical locations of attacks). Equally, from a propaganda point of view, militants have portrayed drone strikes as ‘remote control repression’ – the direct application of brute force by a state, rather than an attempt to deal a pivotal blow to a movement (Cronin 2013: 47). One analyst deeply involved in these debates likened the drone strikes to ‘going after a beehive, one bee at a time . . . [but inevitably] . . . the hive will always produce more bees’ (Mayer 2009). Therefore, ultimately, prolonged drone strikes is a recruitment tool for terrorist groups because of the resentment it is generating (Schei 2014). Duyvesteyn (2008) believes that concerning the use of force, there are few indications that it contributes to lessening violence; rather, the opposite is the case, and furthermore, it makes matters worse. The use of TKs ‘complies’ with the aim of terrorist’s organisations to provoke the state into overreacting. Ultimately, harsh, aggressive policies in response to terrorism fail so often in their stated objectives because they so badly misunderstand and ignore the basis psychology of the enemy.

208  Rory Finegan

Perception and ‘PlayStation’ war Drones are subtly but fundamentally different to other ‘kinetic’ enablers of TKs in that they remove military personnel from the battlefield, thereby avoiding ‘boots on the ground’. For Cockburn (2015), this is the very reason that drone warfare is so popular and makes little adverse impression on domestic opinion – why no one is campaigning to ‘bring our drones home’. Walsh (2013) supports this view, noting how research consistently concluded that the deaths of US military personnel led to an unwillingness of the US public to support prolonged engagement in conflict. This has increased the freedom of both political and military commanders to use drones in combat operations; consequently, decision makers with the buffer of avoiding direct risks to service members are now much more likely to use lethal force against a range of perceived threats than in the past. Hafez and Hatfield (2006) suggest that the utility of TKs as an instrument to reduce terrorism is open to question, as while it may be a useful political tool to signal a state’s determination to punish terrorists and placate an angry public, there remains little evidence that the tactic impacts on the course of an insurgency. In a sense, the use of drones as a TK modus are almost a self-fulfilling prophesy which start leading a life of their own and are difficult if not impossible to halt. In a sense, they have created the chimera among the public that the ‘war’ on terrorism is being won. Yet, the drone pilots, even though removed from the actual battlefield, are suffering from a degree of combat stress that equals or exceeds that of pilots on the battlefield. The remote detached nature of the operator has been criticised as contributing to ‘video-game warfare’ and a ‘PlayStation mentality’ among drone Operators (Fuller 2015: 772), representing a somewhat macabre and voyeuristic element to their usage. Specifically regarding the use of drones, a UN report alluded to the risk of developing this very ‘PlayStation’ mentality to killing (Alston 2010). Similarly, Mayer (2009) has notably described this remove between operator and weapon platform as akin to a ‘push-button’ approach to warfare that has heralded an era of ‘a radically new and unbounded use of state sanctioned lethal force’. Sir Brian Burridge, a former British Air Vice Marshall in Iraq, echoes this theme that drone warfare is a ‘virtueless war’ requiring neither courage nor heroism (Mayer 2009). Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who was Chief of Staff to Colin Powell as Secretary of State, also argues that taking a soldier [the drone pilots] so far out of harm’s way makes him or her not a ‘warrior’ but a ‘murderer’ (Schei 2014). Williams (2010) in relation to the use of drones in Pakistan and its tribal borderlands with Afghanistan, hypothesises that to sit at a console 7,000 miles away with life and death control over people whose land you’ve never walked on is too much power for any human being: ‘it makes killing virtual and is a virtual licence to kill’ (2010: 881). This suggests that ‘virtual killing’, for all its sterile trappings, is a discomforting form of war. One former drone pilot, Brandon Bryant, who features in a documentary on the subject and who has also testified before the UN, portrayed a ‘workplace’ that trivialises the taking of human life and takes an immense toll on those that push the button (Schei 2014).

Killer robots Cronin (2013) highlights that the problem for Washington is that its drone programme has taken on a life of its own, to the point where ‘tactics are driving strategy’, rather than the other way around. Interestingly, this debate is most keenly focused on those spearheading the US TK programme, whereby the military is increasingly acknowledging the limits of lethal

Are drones a useful counterterrorism tool?  209 operations in the War on Terror, and increasingly the emphasis is on non-lethal approaches to achieving the military’s strategic goals. It is the ‘mestasasising’ nature of the threat which provides the most rational argument for tempering TKs and their associated drone strikes, or as one military planner noted: ‘how long can we continue to chase offshoots of offshoots around the world’ (Klaidman 2012). While the debate within academia has not abated on this controversial issue, advances in technology present a new era in drone warfare that heralds proliferation issues, which are allied to developing autonomous technology that will witness less direct human involvement in the targeting cycle that, in turn, has even greater cause for concern. These potentially far-reaching technological developments place drone usage on the cusp of a fundamental evolution in their operational deployment and will have arguably a tectonic shift in the debate of their usage within a TK arena. This is the world of Autonomous Weapon Systems (AWS) or Lethal Autonomous Robotics (Bernard 2012; Heyns 2013). These, in their broadest sense, are systems which are essentially robots which integrate weapon systems, and which can operate, at some level, without human supervision (Human Rights Watch 2012: 6). This will represent a paradigm shift and a major qualitative change in the conduct of hostilities, giving rise to a range of fundamental legal, ethical and societal issues. Krishnan (2013) has referred to such systems as ‘Killer Robots’, while Tyrrell (2014: 17) posits that these systems are ‘relinquishing the decision to kill a human to a non-human’. The importance of controlling their ethical development is even more significant than arguing over their lethality; only then can we chart a safe passage for their inevitable arrival, one that respects law, ethics and humanity. Drones present a very particular proliferation challenge. Zenko (2013) notes that at least half a dozen other states and non-state actors could possess armed drones within the next 10 years and leverage the technology in harmful ways. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson also notes that there never has been any technology of warfare ‘that isn’t ultimately adapted by your enemy or enemies’ with the inherent undertones of non-state actors developing a weaponised drone capability (Schei 2014). Drone use by militants and insurgent groups has steadily risen as cheap off-the-shelf models have become easily acquired and prove relatively simple to fly. Their usage in an armed role was dramatically heralded when a drone operated by ISIS in Northern Iraq killed two Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and wounded two French Special Operations troops in October 2016 (Gibbons-Neff 2016).

Conclusion Military claims that drone technology offers a major step change that delivers reduced casualties, enhanced control of the battlefield and greater operational flexibility cannot be taken at face value or in isolation when considering the effectiveness of drones in a TK environment. Such advantages are marginalised when accompanied by strategic incoherence and a fundamental failure to grapple with underlying grievances. Equally, the continuing tally of civilian non-combatants caused by drone strikes cannot ad infinitum be explained or justified as regrettable but unavoidable collateral damage. Bowden (2013) starkly states that while drone strikes are a far cry from the atomic vaporising of entire cities, ‘the horror of war does not diminish when it is reduced in scale’. Drone warfare appears to be here to stay, and it is likely to expand in the years to come as other countries’ capabilities catch up with those of the United States. In that very real sense, Pandora’s Box has been opened as it pertains to the proliferation of drones, beyond the United States even as they are becoming increasingly autonomous. The implementation

210  Rory Finegan of a policy of TKs, whether carried out by Special Forces operatives on the ground or via drones from the air, should not be undertaken lightly in any conflict. What this highlights, however, is that it may be a particularly redundant undertaking absent the imposition of a wide range of other measures.

Discussion questions 1 Are drones an effective platform for conducting TKs? 2 Do drones have an inherently escalatory effect leading to an ever-expanding strike list? 3 Is a US drone strike in another country a violation of the sovereignty of that country? Why or why not? 4 What are the inherent dangers of taking the human ‘out-of-the-loop’ as it pertains to the development of Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS)? 5 What are the ethical and moral implications of an ongoing drone TK campaign? 6 Will drones eventually replace soldiers in the military? Why or why not? 7 Will the United States be forced by domestic or international pressure to scale back its drone strike policies? 8 What are the implications of the proliferation of drone technology into the hands of non-state actors? 9 What role is the UN playing in trying to create a legal regime for the deployment of drones in accordance with IHL regulations for adequate category (international or non-international) of armed conflict? 10 Given its obvious limitations, why do states continue to implement a policy of TKs?

Further readings Center for the Study of Targeted Killing, 2016. Available online at: www.targetedkilling.org/. Cockburn, A., 2015. Kill Chain: Drones and the Rise of High-Tech Assassins, London: Verso. Cronin, A., 2013. ‘Why Drones Fail: When Tactics Drive Strategy’, Foreign Affairs, 92(4): 44–51. Krishnan, A., 2013. Killer Robots. London: Ashgate. Plaw, A., 2008. Targeting Terrorists: A Licence to Kill? Aldershot, UK: Ashgate. Scahill, J., 2013. Dirty Wars, The World Is a Battlefield, New York: Nation Books. Singer, P., 2009. Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-first Century, New York: Penguin Press. Williams, B., 2013. Predators, The CIA’s Drone War on al Qaeda, Dulles, VA: Potomac Books. Wittes, B., and Blum, G., 2015. The Future of Violence, New York: Basic Books.

14 Are counter-radicalisation approaches an effective counterterrorist tool?

YES: an effective counterterrorism tool Daniel Koehler

Introduction This chapter  will argue that counter-radicalisation or, more broadly, countering violent extremism (CVE) programmes, belong to some of the most effective counterterrorism tools currently available to governments around the world. If designed properly and conducted under structural integrity standards known to be essential for functional and sustainable CVE programmes (Koehler 2017), counter-radicalisation initiatives contribute to combating terrorism through several mechanisms, among which are structural impacts on violent extremist and terrorist groups, empowering communities and families to disrupt processes leading to violence and terrorism and re-establishing trust between affected communities and government authorities. The following sections will outline these main arguments in more detail. Before that, however, it is important to delineate what we mean by CVE and counter-radicalisation measures and address some of the critiques voiced in the literature. CVE and counter-radicalisation measures are usually categorised into primary, secondary and tertiary prevention (see Harris-Hogan et  al. 2015), using a classification system from epidemiology (Caplan 1964). While primary prevention includes preventative measures designed to create a general resilience against violent extremist ideologies (such as, for example, basic educational, social or psychological programmes), secondary prevention addresses individuals and groups designated to be ‘at risk’ of radicalisation or in the early stages of becoming involved in violent extremist groups. Typically, in this field, family counselling and referral programmes attempt to access at-risk individuals, while the definition of ‘at-risk’ and the approaches to measure this risk are contested. Tertiary prevention, finally, includes de-radicalisation programmes for full members of violent extremist or terrorist groups. This chapter will deal primarily with tertiary, but also, to some extent, secondary prevention.

The critique of CVE and counter-radicalisation programmes One critical argument voiced against CVE and counter-radicalisation programmes casts doubt on the relationship between radicalisation and violence, pointing out that not every

212  Daniel Koehler form of radicalisation leads to violence or even socially deviant or illegal behaviour. In fact, the differentiation between violent and non-violent radicalisation is a widely accepted standard (Bartlett and Miller 2012). However, as John Horgan has pointed out while describing radicalisation as ‘the social and psychological process of incrementally experienced commitment to extremist political or religious ideology’, radicalisation ‘may not necessarily lead to violence, but is one of several risk factors required for this’ (Horgan 2009: 152). A second related argument contests the relevance of addressing ideology in combating terrorism from both an ethical (not all radicals are terrorists) and a pragmatic point of view (disengagement as the more viable option). While the specific notion of what exact form of ideology or group involvement might be seen as illegal or problematic might change with political and cultural context, the common feature of counter-radicalisation programmes is the assumption that the adoption of an ideology that in any form supports the use of violence to advance political or religious goals increases the chance for an individual involvement in criminal and violent activities. Being radical as such, therefore, does not qualify for being included in a counter-radicalisation programme in most countries; rather, the specific content of that radicalism oriented towards violence is the key aspect. Regarding the second point, it has been convincingly argued that not addressing a person’s reasons for being attracted to a specific violent extremist group (including the psychological factors), as well as the internalised thought system and ideology, might increase the risk of recidivism and re-radicalisation (see Koehler 2016; Rabasa et al. 2010). These positions were described by Gordon Clubb (2015) as narrow (focusing on violent behaviour only) versus wide (focusing on attitudes and beliefs). Having mentioned all these arguments, it is, of course, clear that the various kinds of implementation of counter-radicalisation programmes around the world is not always and not equally adequate, and this has often something to do with the political climate surrounding these particular events. For example, much critique has been raised with regard to the British Prevent and Channel programmes created as part of the revised Counterterrorism Strategy (CONTEST) after the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005. Being designed in that specific political context, Prevent especially was intensively criticised by Muslim communities as a governmental tool to criminalise them (Qureshi 2015; Verkeik 2015; Weeks 2017). Stigmatisation is, indeed, a potential side effect of ill-designed counter-radicalisation programmes. Essentially, this criticism and side effect are the result of the wrong assumption that only one type of counter-radicalisation programme (i.e. a governmentally driven one) exists, which is used by police and intelligence to reach into the realm of communities with a security agenda. On the contrary, multiple different types of counter-radicalisation programmes exist with a variety of different methods, approaches and actors (Koehler 2016). While specific counterradicalisation programmes for governmental actors working with high-risk individuals on the one side of the spectrum are typically equated with ‘the’ CVE programme, other, in particular community and civil society-based programme types, avoid these pitfalls and can be counted as very successful. An example are programmes designed to empower communities and families to take preventative measures before law enforcement and intelligence agencies have to step in. In this sense, a widely underestimated type of counter-radicalisation programme, in fact, protects communities and families from government involvement and helps them to develop their own strong ‘voice’ at the table of counterterrorism policies. The perception of counter-radicalisation programmes as tools to stigmatise communities and suppress free speech is, therefore, not an inherent effect of this field as such, but rather the consequence of certain programme types being wrongly applied to inadequate contexts,

What are effective counterterrorism tools?  213 target groups and goals on the one hand, and the lack of used counter-radicalisation programme types from the non-governmental spectrum, on the other. That said, government involvement in de-radicalisation programmes is often necessary. The case-by-case cooperation between non-governmental and governmental programmes on issues such as education, psychotherapy, drug therapy or witness protection, is still a powerful tool.

Specific counterterrorism effects Reduction of manpower One of the first and foremost counterterrorism effects from counter-radicalisation programmes is the manpower reduction in terrorist or violent extremist organisations. Every successful de-radicalisation or early intervention process means one less potential member of an extremist group in the future. Even with those programmes focusing on early intervention, the effect is still the reduction of the extremist group’s main pool of recruits in the long run. Disrupting recruitment mechanisms is of key importance not only targeting those at-risk individuals or the general population (e.g. through specific education or counter-narrative projects), but also with those convicted and imprisoned members of violent extremist groups or returnees from the battlefield. Pluchinsky (2008) estimated that (excluding Afghanistan and Iraq) about 5,000 individuals were incarcerated and in one way or another involved in Islamic extremist groups. This (very rough) estimation from the year 2008 can be expected to be much higher today, since groups like ISIS have set new standards in terrorist propaganda and recruitment as well as the outbreak of the Syrian civil war and the strong increase of international foreign fighter travel. Susan (2012: 66), for example, estimated 14,000 to 24,000 captured individuals identifying one way or another with al-Qaeda’s ideology between 2002 and 2012, and EUROPOL estimated that between 3,000 to 5,000 returnees with combat experience and high levels of indoctrination have returned to Europe from Syria/Iraq until early 2016 (Holden 2016). Considering that the majority of the imprisoned individuals will eventually be released, and that returned foreign fighters might pose a severe security risk, it is indispensable to provide these persons with specialised reintegration and rehabilitation programmes to prevent future offending. It is naturally very difficult to assess the actual impact on the manpower of a terrorist or extremist organisation by removing one or more members. Numerous internal and external variables with a high degree of overlap are relevant. Starting with the position of the defector in the extremist group, medium- to high-ranking members presumably create a much bigger impact through leaving than ‘foot soldiers’. By depriving the organisation of skills, experiences or personal networks, the effect is amplified through the rank and standing of the person. In consequence, the exit of a high-ranking group member might cause doubts, potentially leading other members to quit as well. Charismatic group leaders or commanders might also be strong recruiters for the group, which – in case of their defection – could cause a significant decrease in the group’s future attractiveness for new members. Other internal aspects to be considered are the group structure, hierarchy, ideology and regularity of exits. It is more likely that a group experiencing defections and turnover on a regular basis has adapted and developed measures to quickly mitigate the negative impacts. External variables are the circumstances of the individual exit, time frame and follow-up behaviour of the former member. If de-radicalisation processes happen more or less quietly over a long period of time and the defector does not engage in active counter-radicalisation

214  Daniel Koehler work, the effects on the manpower of that extremist group might be minimal. In addition, many extremist groups have a natural turnover rate of members shifting from active to passive or supportive roles, as the extremist and terrorist lifestyle can be highly exhausting and risky. However, in the end, that one person less can significantly disrupt group hierarchies and sometimes even eradicate small and isolated extremist groups or networks, if the whole group is treated with concerted efforts. Effects on the internal group structure and psychology Beyond the immediate impact on extremist or terrorist groups through reducing their manpower, counter-radicalisation and de-radicalisation programmes have additional far-reaching effects on these organisations. One field of study providing some valuable insights here is the literature on the consequences of turnover for private corporations. Kaplan and Roman (1961) have shown that turnover can have severely negative effects for any organisation, due to potentially high structural costs. Corporations affected by turnover need to socialise new members and re-socialise marginal members to new positions within the organisation. This process can be costly and slow down group development. Resources and time need to be devoted to recruiting, training and socialisation, which – according to Kaplan and Roman  – are activities impeding other organisational functions. Although a minimum of these need to be executed for organisational survival, the loss of highly trained and experienced members bears extraordinary and, therefore, development-retarding consequences. However, it was also noted by these authors that the scope of this negative impact depends on how easily the group can assimilate new members. A more detailed account of these turnover costs was provided by Staw (1980). In addition to a disruption to regular organisation activities through replacing the ex-member, selection and recruitment needs to be conducted as well as training and development. Turnover also has demoralising effects on remaining members, as the event in itself raises individual questions of how much involvement still satisfies one’s own needs. Translated to terrorist or extremist groups, these effects can be expected to be more severe. Recruitment into terrorist groups or violent extremism happens, for the most part, in illegal or clandestine ways or has a strong social stigma attached to it. In consequence, many terrorist or radical groups can be expected to have more substantial problems to recruit technically and intellectually sophisticated and capable members. In addition, risk of external influences (e.g. death, imprisonment, surveillance) might make it more difficult and, therefore, costly to reach a certain stage of experience and expertise. Most terrorist organisations do not have the luxury of being able to spend adequate resources on training facilities and well-structured and staffed education programmes. Only a few groups were able to do so for a limited amount of time and without external interference, such as al-Qaeda before the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 or ISIS after the declaration of the ‘caliphate’ in June 2014. Nevertheless, with the increasing size of the organisation, the negative effects of defection might be balanced out through organisational capacities and the normal influx of new members. Loss of high-level members and leaders will still have the same organisational costs. Another effect not discussed in turnover literature is the disruption of group hierarchies and prevention of ideological stability. While targeted assassinations have the same effect in causing gaps in leadership or lower level hierarchies, terrorist or radical groups expect this kind of loss and prepare their members ideologically for this. In contrast, every voluntary exit forces the group to replace the former member and internally explain or contextualise the event to other active members. Even if the group is successful in replacing the former

What are effective counterterrorism tools?  215 member with the same quality, the defection might still cause problematic demoralisation and ideological uncertainty among the remaining members. Hence, one typical reaction of radical groups is to dismiss the former member as corrupt, untrustworthy and psychologically unstable, as working for the enemy, being a traitor or being a psychopath. While this strategy might solve the most urgent ideological questions, there still remains a conflict with the fact that the defectors were previously an accepted and sometimes idolised part of the group. Neither the ideology nor the group itself was capable of detecting the deficiencies of that particular individual and/or turning the person into a loyal member. Every exit, therefore, reveals the possible failures of the ideology and internal group coherence to all remaining members and demands significant efforts as well as resources to counter the deteriorating effect. In short, the defection of group members keeps radical groups in a constant state of explanatory drift and instability. This dynamic prevents the ideological and collective stabilisation necessary to reach a critical mass and reproduce based on an established organisation tradition. Psychologically, defection can increase a number of factors cited by other former terrorists as push factors, such as internal paranoia, mistrust and disloyalty. Knowledge In addition to reducing the manpower of extremist or terrorist organisations, de-radicalisation programmes also provide unique insights into social processes usually inaccessible for researchers and practitioners. By being very close to individuals and groups associated with violent extremism or even terrorism, case managers and researchers are able to study pathways into and out of these milieus through the biographies of defectors. Numerous valuable studies are based on primary accounts of former terrorists, for example, regarding their own radicalisation processes (e.g. Harris et al. 2017; Horgan 2009; Horgan et al. 2016), group reactions towards defectors (Koehler 2015), the role of the Internet in recruiting and radicalisation (Koehler 2014) or reasons for disengagement and underlying processes of staying away from radicalism and violence (Hwang 2015; Speckhard and Yayla 2015). Of course, not all of the accounts are accessed through de-radicalisation programmes’ clients, but it stands to reason that many more individual cases of defectors could be interviewed in order to understand the process of joining and leaving extremist groups better with widespread and well-established counter-radicalisation programmes. These possible insights into radicalisation processes, behaviour, recruitment strategies and escalation of violence yield substantial and highly valuable knowledge for policymakers and practitioners, in order to formulate more effective counter-radicalisation, counterterrorism and counter-narrative programmes. Specific intelligence Only very few experts have so far directly looked at the relationship between de-radicalisation and terrorist rehabilitation programmes and intelligence gathering for counterterrorism usage. It was noted that ‘all government run programs obviously have as an immediate priority, the collection of intelligence to neutralize threats and build up a knowledge base of the nature of the threat’ (Susan 2012: 69) and that knowledge is the prime resource with which to win wars. Human intelligence (HUMINT) has always been a major factor, next to intercepting or decoding transmitted messages (SIGINT). Extraction of critical information in a detention setting (i.e. interrogation) has consequently been an equally traditional feature of warfare and counterterrorism. In addition, modern police and prosecution work is, in large part, based on accounts and statements given by suspects or witnesses who are subjected to

216  Daniel Koehler legally regulated procedures of interrogation. Terrorist rehabilitation or de-radicalisation programmes can be compared to witness protection programmes, in which offenders can expect a lower or forgone sentence, as well as protection, in exchange for providing critical information necessary to reach a verdict for other defendants. Indeed, many government-run de-radicalisation programmes – especially when located in prisons  – have traditionally included a very strong intelligence gathering component, although it would be wrong to claim this goal for each and every governmental programme. Consequently, a number of examples exist where high-level government bodies relied on information provided by former terrorists or detainees in their situation assessments, such as, for example, the Singapore White Paper on Jemaah Islamiyah from 2003, the 9/11 Commission Report from 2004 or the NATO report on the state of the Taliban from 2012 (Susan 2012). While Middle Eastern and South-East Asian programmes have oftentimes openly included intelligence services, counterterrorism police components or case managers tasked with intelligence extraction (e.g. in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia or Malaysia), Western programmes have relied mostly on voluntary sharing of information, even though some (e.g. the Danish Aarhus or German BIGREX programmes) have been located within, and have been run by, the police. Still, information sharing and provision of specific intelligence mostly has not been a mandatory feature of Western de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programmes, which are based on a different philosophy of the goals of incarceration, rule of law and the right of a defendant to remain silent regarding the charges. In general, the value for intelligence gathering needs to be balanced against a potential undermining of other programme objectives. Credibility and high legal standards might in the end yield more benefits for intelligence gathering as well. If participants feel free to share information on a voluntary basis, the details provided could be more relevant and current. However, any de-radicalisation programme tasked with intelligence gathering even in a lesser priority must plan for provision of personal security measures, as it is to be expected that the former group will retaliate against the ‘traitor’. In the end, every effective de-radicalisation or rehabilitation programme will face the question of if, or how, to harness specific intelligence related to counterterrorism against the former groups of their clients, as it is very likely to come across information during the case management eventually that will have intense consequences if not shared (e.g. about specific attack plans or ISIS recruiters). This information might even be provided against the programmes’ initial design and from the participants’ own will. Programmes need to incorporate the aspect of intelligence gathering, the relationship to authorities and handling of personal (and potentially incriminating) data as well as the expectations placed on each participant, whether information has to be provided. Again, one of the most important aspects is the establishment of transparent standards and legally sound guidelines regarding the data processing. Mandatory information sharing, as well as compulsory participation in de-radicalisation programmes, offers the least effective way of maintaining the programmes’ credibility and benefits from the counterterrorism potential of these initiatives. However, it is noteworthy that regardless of the intelligence value, it might be widely expected from the receiving community that the returning former extremist has fully cooperated with the authorities and provided help to fight his or her former group in order to ‘forgive’. Counter-narrative projects and re-established trust In recent years, one highly important field of initiatives countering violent extremism and radicalisation has been counter-narrative projects designed to reduce the appeal of extremist

What are effective counterterrorism tools?  217 and terrorist messages and recruitment campaigns. Although so far only very limited theoretical insights into the mechanisms behind successful counter-narrative campaigns exist (e.g.  Braddock and Horgan 2015), many large scale and high-level initiatives have been started by Western and non-Western governments as well as civil society actors. Typically, modern counter-narrative campaigns involve attractive audio-visual material spread on social media channels with content directly challenging terrorist narratives. As important as the form, content and delivery of the counter-narrative is the carrier or voice behind it. Credibility of the conveyor is critical for the counter-narrative to reach its target audience. Former extremists and terrorists have been recognised as one potential group of highly credible spokespersons for these initiatives: ‘these individuals are able to talk to the futility and flaws of violence and extremism, describe the grim day-to-day reality of such networks, and delegitimise violence-promoting narratives’ (Briggs and Feve 2013: 17). Hence, the role of former extremists speaking out against violence and radicalism has an enormous potential for countering violent extremism, especially in the preventative field. Credibility derived from the formers’ biographies and personal experiences strongly outweighs most alternative sources’ credibility. Finally, if many different counter-radicalisation programmes engage in public-private partnerships on a case-by-case basis, with the shared goal of risk reduction or successful rehabilitation of former offenders, different actors might re-establish trust between each other, especially since it is clear that civil society-based programmes have specific strengths in counter-radicalisation, which governmental programmes usually cannot substitute (e.g. credibility with families, access to other community actors).

Conclusion This chapter  has argued that counter-radicalisation programmes can, indeed, be very important and valuable counterterrorism tools. Depending on the structural design and integrity of these programmes, as well as the diversity and level of cooperation in the form of public-private partnerships, the field of counter-radicalisation, with all its different facets, may be able to achieve a sustained disruption of terrorist recruitment and a reduction of violent extremist groups’ appeal to individuals at risk. These programmes are also perfectly placed to empower families and communities by providing them with specifically designed tools to intervene early and prevent potentially destructive actions by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Through that empowerment, trust between the communities and governmental agencies might be re-built, as both sides can cooperate as equal partners on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, counter-radicalisation programmes offer insight and knowledge about recruitment processes of terrorist groups, which in the long run might even be the most valuable counterterrorism effect: understanding why and how individuals end up in terrorist groups provides the basis for moving beyond kinetic counterterrorism of ‘kill and arrest’ and to create true political and social solutions to extremist and terrorist violence.

NO: a suspect counterterrorism ‘science’ that ignores economic marginalisation, foreign policy and ethics Charlotte Heath-Kelly

218  Charlotte Heath-Kelly

Introduction To argue that counter-radicalisation does not result in effective counterterrorism, this chapter is divided into three main sections. The first section delivers a first-order or ‘imminent’ critique. It argues that counter-radicalisation is ineffective on its own terms by exploring literature within terrorism studies and political science, which is deeply sceptical of the presumed link between radicalisation pathways and violence  – pointing to transitions to terrorism which demonstrate no causal link between ideological and behavioural change. The following section delivers a ‘second-order critique’, one which broadens the consideration of radicalisation to include its emergence as a form of knowledge. Radicalisation discourse emerged in specific political circumstances and replaced decades of terrorism research into social and structural root causes. It first came to prominence in the United Kingdom after the London bombings of 2005, functioning to divert attention from recent British foreign policy in Iraq and away from root causes of violence (such as frustration and marginalisation). Counter-radicalisation can never be considered an effective counterterrorism strategy if it emerged for political – rather than evidence-based – reasons. Finally, the third section of the chapter  explores the ethical consequences of counterradicalisation programmes. It argues that the stigmatisation of communities by radicalisation policies is not acceptable and may produce counterproductive results, generating hostility rather than cooperation.

First-order critique: faulty explanations of transitions and processes As Richard Jackson explains, a first-order critique uses a discourse’s internal contradictions, mistakes and misconceptions to criticise it on its own terms ( Jackson 2008). To argue that counter-radicalisation is ineffective on its own terms, we must first know what these policies attempt to do before exploring their confusions and failures. So what is counter-radicalisation? The core principle of counter-radicalisation resides in its assertion of an individualised pathway that leads towards the acceptance of political violence. Radicalisation, it is suggested, occurs when individuals come into contact with extremist ideology and some combination of social factors (such as alienation, exclusion and even migration) causes them to internalise, rather than reject, the militant worldview. This idea of radicalisation represents a major departure from decades of preceding terrorism research, which instead emphasised structural causes for terrorism – such as the repression of protest by the state, a political opportunity structure which promised gains for clandestine action, organisational psychology and oppression by a foreign state (Crenshaw 1995; Della Porta and Tarrow 1986; Della Porta 1992, 1995; Pape 2005; Tarrow 1989). Twentieth-century terrorism research emphasised the social and political causes of political violence, locating factors in the macro and meso levels of analysis, but the contemporary radicalisation discourse focuses on the journey of the individual. As such, policies of radicalisation diverge from traditional social science frameworks and instead reframe participation in terrorism as a kind of contemporary brainwashing. For example, the 2011 Prevent Strategy of the United Kingdom states: We judge that radicalisation is driven by an ideology which sanctions the use of violence; by propagandists for that ideology here and overseas; and by personal vulnerabilities and specific local factors which, for a range of reasons, make that ideology seem both attractive and compelling [. . .] All terrorist groups have an ideology. Promoting that

What are effective counterterrorism tools?  219 ideology, frequently on the internet, facilitates radicalisation and recruitment. Challenging ideology and disrupting the ability of terrorists to promote it is a fundamental part of Prevent. (Home Office 2011: 5–7) So what can first-order critique tell us about the effectiveness of counter-radicalisation? Terrorism scholars have responded to the sudden centralisation of ideology and ‘vulnerability’ in the radicalisation discourse by challenging the supposed connection between extremist ideas and violence. They argue that it is perfectly possible to hold extreme ideas without engaging in violence, and also that disengagement from terrorist organisations often involves behavioural change (i.e. the rejection of violence), but does not involve a concurrent process of ideological change; beliefs remain extreme. Both theses run directly against the grain of radicalisation policy and show that it is mistaken to assume a direct causal connection between ideological belief and violence. And if this discourse is mistaken, then all policies built upon it will be ineffective – or even counterproductive. The first proposition, namely, that the holding of extreme views does not necessarily lead to violence, is clearly demonstrated in the work of Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Robert Lambert (2010). They argue that by searching for an easy explanation for home-grown terrorism, policymakers and the media have come to rely on ‘conventional wisdom’ about Islamic otherness as dangerous  – rather than basing policies on scientific research. They demonstrate the inadequacy of the radicalisation discourse by exploring the case of the three Adams brothers, who were born in Algeria but grew up in London. Of the three brothers, only one was convicted for terrorist offences. Rahman, Lamine and Ibrahim Adams all attended a Salafi-inspired youth group in Ilford – before Rahman and Lamine moved on to the Finsbury Park mosque, where notorious preacher Abu Hamza was based. Lamine quickly adopted the rhetoric of Abu Hamza, withdrew from more conventional Islamic groups, and become proficient in espousing the radical ideology. Rahman, however, did not engage in lengthy discussions about Islamic practice and belief. Instead, he seemed assimilated within Western secular values – having changed his name to Anthony Garcia to pursue a career in male modelling, and also regularly smoking and drinking. But it was Rahman Adam, as Anthony Garcia, who was convicted for conspiracy to cause explosions during Operation Crevice (Githens-Mazer and Lambert 2010). The argument made by the authors is that the narrative of radicalisation has no predictive power. Rahman (the eventual offender) was exposed to extremist ideas by Abu Hamza, but so was his brother Lamine. Lamine adopted the ideology he heard in the Finsbury Park mosque and vociferously espoused it. He also had exactly the same background as his brother, but only Rahman made the transition towards using violence. From this comparison, the causal role of ideology and vulnerability become unclear in transitions to terrorism, rendering the radicalisation discourse unstable. If Githens-Mazer and Lambert show that ideas do not necessarily lead to violence, then the debates in Terrorism Studies about ‘disengagement’ also undermine the radicalisation discourse – but from a different angle. The ‘disengagement’ argument is led by John Horgan and Tore Bjørgo and explores the withdrawal of militants from violent organisations. Horgan and Bjørgo show (Bjørgo and Horgan 2009; Horgan and Braddock 2010), across multiple contexts, that the cessation of terrorism does not often involve a change in ideological beliefs: rather, the individual continues to hold the same radical beliefs as previously, during their clandestine career. As such, Horgan and Bjørgo provide strong evidence that ideology and terrorism are not causally linked.

220  Charlotte Heath-Kelly In a robust critique of the discourse of radicalisation and de-radicalisation, Horgan and Bjørgo argue that across their careers in Terrorism Studies they have witnessed multiple cases whereby: • • •

Individuals do not join extremist groups because they hold extremist views; rather, they acquire those views after joining the groups; Individuals often leave extremist groups and only later relinquish their radical beliefs, as a strategy of social readjustment (therefore, ideas and violent behaviour are not causally connected); And other individuals leave extremist groups and never relinquish their radical beliefs. (Bjørgo and Horgan 2009: 1–13)

Given these empirically based observations, they argue against the discourse of radicalisation and instead favour a more rounded social scientific approach to both ideological and behavioural factors. By focusing their studies on disengagement processes, rather than de-radicalisation, these scholars point to case studies where large numbers of terrorists have been released from prison into reintegration programmes focused on practical matters, rather than ideological change. For example, under the Good Friday Agreement, 450 violent political prisoners were released early into the care of reintegration associations. Only 20 were later returned to jail, 16 for violent offences. This, as Horgan and Braddock point out, is one-fifteenth of the normal recidivism rate for ‘ordinary offenders’ in Northern Ireland (2010: 271). Why were the releases so successful? What led those convicted of political violence to change their behaviour? The focus of the reintegration activities for the released offenders was on training, employment and skills development. There was no programme of ‘­de-radicalisation’ for former combatants in Northern Ireland; their political ideology was not addressed by the peace process. Rather, the social and economic integration of offenders, alongside the slow-but-steady progress towards a political solution to the conflict, is responsible for the reduction in violence. When one considers empirical examples of transitions both towards, and away from, political violence, the radicalisation discourse appears unreliable. The connection between ideas and violent behaviour is stripped of any causal significance in this research and ideology becomes, as was asserted in the original Terrorism Studies literature, a way that individuals explain and legitimate their already existing behaviour. The ‘conventional wisdom’ of ‘radicalisation’ fails to account for transitions to militancy. In a contemporary example, ‘radicalisation’ discourse cannot explain why European citizens on their way to join Daesh/ ISIS purchase copies of Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies prior to departure, or why the British Secret Services describe those involved in terrorism as ‘religious novices’ (Hasan 2014). The choice to participate in militancy has been made prior to the acceptance of ideological narratives; these narratives actually function to frame and legitimate already existing behaviour. The search for easy explanations of home-grown terrorism has mistaken correlation for causation, and policymakers have organised counterterrorism strategy around the mistaken premise that ideology leads to political violence. This section shows, however, that ideology more often accompanies violence as a retrospective legitimation than a cause. If radicalisation were a convincing model for participation in terrorism, then both Adams brothers would have been convicted for conspiracy, disengagement from violence would run in tandem with ideological change and new recruits to Daesh/ISIS would not need to purchase explanatory guides to Islam.

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Second-order critique: don’t mention the war! (or poverty and marginalisation!) If radicalisation discourse is so hopeless in modelling transitions to and from terrorism, why has it become so universally accepted across media, national strategy and international agendas? This section steps away from first-order critique to explore the functionality of radicalisation discourse. Radicalisation discourse built upon pre-existing stigmatisation of Muslim communities enabled policymakers to stop talking about the root causes of political violence (such as frustration and marginalisation) and enabled the Blair government to silence the argument that foreign policy (the invasion of Iraq) had contributed to the London bombings of 2005. ‘Radicalisation’ became a meaningful term after the London bombings of 2005 by British citizens. Before 2005, it was a rarely printed word in the British press and wasn’t associated with pathways to violence (Sedgwick 2010). Since then, it has become a hegemonic explanation of terrorism featured in thousands of research articles per year. Despite European familiarity with campaigns of political violence across history (such as the militant campaigns of EOKA, ETA, the IRA, the Red Brigades, the RAF and historical anarchist terrorism), the post-London bombing era was the only time frame which produced the idea of radicalisation. Why? Was this discovery of ‘radicalisation’ the result of scientific advances? As I have shown earlier, it most certainly is not an accepted scientific fact that processes of ideological brainwashing and social vulnerability lead to political violence. Rather, ‘radicalisation’ discourse is a useful tool in the silencing of knowledge that marginalisation, frustration and British foreign policy contributed to the causation of the bombings. The London bombings were undertaken by four British citizens who, according to multiple figures in the British security services, were enraged by the dubious legality of the Iraq invasion of 2003. Baroness ­Manningham-Buller was the head of MI5 (the British security service) between 2002 and 2007. In her testimony to the Iraq Inquiry, she unambiguously affirmed that the dubious legality of the invasion had increased the threat of terrorism to the United Kingdom by giving the impression of a war against Islam (BBC 2010). Similarly, another MI5 chief, Stella Rimmington, made similar remarks about the effect of British foreign policy on the production of terrorism: Look at what those people who’ve been arrested or have left suicide videos say about their motivation. And most of them, as far as I’m aware, say that the war in Iraq played a significant part in persuading them that this is the right course of action to take. So I think you can’t write the war in Iraq out of history. If what we’re looking at is groups of disaffected young men born in this country who turn to terrorism, then I think to ignore the effect of the war in Iraq is misleading. (Rimmington quoted in Norton-Taylor 2008, emphasis in original) The British political establishment was already rocking after the invasion of Iraq, once it became public knowledge that no weapons of mass destruction (the pretext for invasion) had been found (Kettell 2011). And, it was in these specific conditions of political turmoil when the government needed to silence the significance of the Iraq invasion, rather than in the context of previous counterterrorism campaigns against the IRA and EOKA, that radicalisation became a prominent discourse. It served a purpose, namely, silencing the effects of British foreign policy upon the causation of terrorism (as well as economic marginalisation and frustration) by deploying a new discourse of ideologically inspired violence. If the government could argue that ideology caused terrorism, rather than political and economic grievances, then it could silence criticisms of the invasion of Iraq 2 years earlier and excuse its failure to remedy social and economic exclusion.

222  Charlotte Heath-Kelly Of course, the radicalisation discourse wasn’t invented overnight at the behest of the government. It built upon pre-existing trajectories within discourse which problematised Muslim communities as prone to disorder and violence. The integration (or supposed lack thereof ) of British Muslim communities became associated with violence in a slow process, beginning with the 1989 book burnings of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. These protests were interpreted as conflicting with the liberal values of the United Kingdom and multiple political commentators began othering British Muslim communities as sources of disorder and intolerance. This discourse of ‘othering’ British Muslims continued throughout the 1990s in the guise of the ‘Muslim schools debate’ and in media reaction to rioting in ­British-Pakistani communities in 1995 after heavy-handed policing. But the watershed moment in the framing of British Muslim communities as dangerous and separatist, prior to the War on Terror, came in Summer 2001 when racist attacks on Pakistani and Bangladeshi neighbourhoods resulted in riots in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham. The political and media reaction chastised the rioters as thugs and blamed a lack of integration into ‘British’ community and values for the disorder. In response, the UK government declared multiculturalism to have failed and turned instead towards the assimilatory practices of ‘community cohesion’ – a policy declaration that non-white communities would be associated with ‘otherness’, non-integration and the potential for disorder unless they demonstrated otherwise (Kundnani 2009: 23). The Prevent strategy directly appropriated the assimilatory discourse of the community cohesion policies, while also borrowing the recommended techniques for increasing cohesion (cross community sporting endeavours and training session) – putting them to work in the service of counterterrorism (Heath-Kelly 2013). Radicalisation discourse thus explicitly drew from decades of ‘othering’ in British society, but it functioned to offload the blame for the London bombings onto ‘Muslim separatism’ and illiberalness, rather than British foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the continued economic marginalisation of working class and immigrant communities. The second-order critique of counter-radicalisation shows, then, that the discourse was politically functional, rather than an accurate representation of the causes of terrorism. And if radicalisation policies emerged as a way to deflect blame for terrorism onto the racialised ‘other’, then their strategies can never effectively counter terrorism. Counter-radicalisation may even be counterproductive, as the following section demonstrates.

The dubious ethics of counter-radicalisation There are several major ethical problems with counter-radicalisation policy, which are briefly analysed in this section. The first is the creation of a pre-crime agenda, whereby those who hold ‘extreme’ views but do not commit terrorist acts are still liable to prosecution. This criminalisation of views marks a transition away from the values of free speech and ­freedom from unjust prosecution originally embedded in liberal democracy. Second, counterradicalisation policies have been roundly criticised for creating ‘suspect communities’ in popular discourse and policing and, consequently, exposing minorities to excessive surveillance and even harassment and discrimination. And, finally, the most recent developments in British counter-radicalisation (its country of origin) suggest that surveillance is now being conducted on the entire population through the sectors of health and education. In a demonstrable transition away from liberal values, the United Kingdom now uses doctors, nurses and teachers to monitor the ideological beliefs of the citizenry and report ‘extremists’ to the police. How far has counter-radicalisation brought us away from the liberal discourse embedded within our national constitutions and conventions? The liberal philosophical canon is replete

What are effective counterterrorism tools?  223 with robust defences of freedom of speech and thought. Consider the proclamations of John Stuart Mill, Voltaire and Erasmus on the ethical and political necessity of free speech: There ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered [. . .] If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. (Mill 1978: 15–16) I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. (The views of Voltaire on free speech, as described in Tallentyre 1907) In a free state, tongues too should be free. (Erasmus 1997) These philosophers emphasised that unpopular and unpalatable views, such as those now labelled ‘extremist’, were not outside these provisions; rather, it was essential that illiberal, radical views be heard in public. Ideas and ideology, no matter how offensive, were not considered dangerous contaminants which could brainwash vulnerable citizens; instead, classical liberalism recommended that they be heard and debated. The suppression of extreme, unpalatable views was considered unhealthy for society. Counter-radicalisation, however, has extended the designation of terrorist criminality from acts (such as conspiracy and violent attacks) to the voicing of radical opinions. The entire mandate of counter-radicalisation involves the intervention of police and social services upon speech that is classified as ‘dangerous’. For example, Asim Qureshi describes the court case of Umm Ahmed where the presiding judge declared that the defendant had not been involved in illegality and posed no threat to the United Kingdom – and yet still sentenced her to a 12-month prison term and compulsory participation in a de-radicalisation programme for possessing downloaded articles from the online magazine Inspire (Qureshi 2015). Her exposure to radical ideology constituted her as dangerous, even though her actions were deemed safe and legal. The criminalisation of speech within counter-radicalisation discourse and policies marks a significant departure from the ethical standards of liberalism. It occurs because the radicalisation discourse has constructed a false trajectory between radical ideas and radical violence – which was disputed in section one. By establishing this (false) connection, policymakers are able to argue that ideas and speech are dangerous and should be criminalised. This runs against the heritage of Western states in liberal political philosophy and is deeply unethical. Second, the application of counter-radicalisation policy has resulted in the discriminatory treatment of Muslim minorities in Western Europe, North America and Australasia because it treats them as suspicious and potentially dangerous. For example, the early iterations of the UK Prevent strategy explicitly allocated funding from central government to local authorities on the basis of their demographics. Any authority comprising 5 per cent Muslim residents, or more than 2,000 Muslims, received counterterrorism funding (DCLG 2007: 6; Kundnani 2009) in this demonstrably racist association of race and/or religion with propensity for violence. Once criticism of this dynamic became prominent, the Prevent strategy was reworked using more palatable language – although many scholars argue that it continues to propagate racialised suspicions by associating ‘vulnerability’ to extremism with issues of ‘integration’ while targeting non-white communities under the rubric of ‘care’ (Baker-Beall et al. 2014; Heath-Kelly 2012, 2013; Ragazzi 2016).

224  Charlotte Heath-Kelly The discourse of radicalisation constructs an image of Muslim communities as ‘un-integrated’ and thus prone to disorder (as we saw in section two) which then results in the deployment of excessive surveillance against them. Research in Criminology has identified the increased rates of stop-and-search experienced by British Asian communities (Pantazis and Pemberton 2009), and the different legal systems applied to ‘suspect communities’ during the War on Terror which reduce the protections afforded to non-white suspects (Hickman et al. 2011; Spalek and McDonald 2010). Such discriminatory treatment is unethical and potentially generates disengagement from society – showing that the counter-radicalisation agenda is counterproductive rather than effective. Finally, the most recent review of UK counter-radicalisation policy in 2011 shows us how far states have drifted away from their original liberal principles. In 2011, the UK coalition government announced that counter-radicalisation duties would be extended to all doctors, nurses, teachers and lecturers (Home Office 2011). The National Health Service, and all UK schools and universities, are now required by law to report to police all patients and students who they suspect of holding ‘extremist views’. The policies are vague regarding the constitution of ‘extremism’, but frame these supposedly dangerous political opinions as those which are either illiberal or anti-government. As such, the United Kingdom has explicitly rolled out a populationwide programme of ideological surveillance under the umbrella of counter-radicalisation  – making it mandatory for teachers, nurses and doctors to report dissenting citizens to the police (Heath-Kelly 2017). This is more akin to the totalitarian surveillance undertaken by the Stasi, or the Nazi Party, than to liberal values of free speech and tolerance. It reflects the deeply unethical consequences of the counter-radicalisation agenda, which from the outset has established a false connection between ideology and violence. Such an agenda leads societies away from the principles of tolerance and freedom of expression, and thus must be condemned as unethical. Rather than continuing with policies of counter-radicalisation which are based on false premises and which result in deeply unethical and illiberal consequences, we should demand a return to a criminal justice model of counterterrorism where criminal acts – rather than pre-crime expressions of ideas – are the subjects of policing.

Discussion questions 1 Are ideas dangerous, or should Western states return to liberal values and protect free speech? 2 Why has counter-radicalisation emerged as a new body of terrorism knowledge after 2005, but not in previous eras of political violence? 3 When a person is on the path towards violent extremism and terrorism, should the society (including communities, families, schools and authorities) be empowered to intervene with specialised programmes available, even if nothing illegal has happened yet? 4 As it is not possible to ‘kill and arrest’ our way out of terrorism, could counter-­ radicalisation be the main tool to defeat recruitment into terrorist groups in the long run? 5 What is a ‘suspect community’? 6 Can the lack of counter-radicalisation programmes in the community cause the development of ‘suspect communities’? 7 Where are the strengths of civil society-based counter-radicalisation programmes compared with governmental programmes? 8 What specific empowerment tools are provided to the communities by counter-radicalisation programmes? 9 What is the potential effect of rehabilitated former terrorists in prevention work? 10 How can studies of ‘disengagement’ from terrorism help us to reflect upon structural, behavioural and ideological factors in political violence?

What are effective counterterrorism tools?  225

Further readings Baker-Beall, C., Heath-Kelly, C., and Jarvis, L., eds., 2014. Counter-Radicalisation: Critical Perspectives, Abingdon, UK: Routledge. BBC, 2010. ‘Iraq Inquiry: Ex-MI5 Boss Says War Raised Terror Threat’, available at http://www.bbc. co.uk/news/uk-politics-10693001 (last accessed 15 January 2018). Bjørgo, T., and Horgan, J., 2009. Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and Collective Disengagement, London and New York: Routledge. Clubb, G., 2017. Social Movement De-Radicalisation and the Decline of Terrorism: The Morphogenesis of the Irish Republicanism Movement, New York: Routledge. Crenshaw, M., 1995 (ed). Terrorism in Context, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press. DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government), 2007. ‘Preventing Violent Extremism Pathfinder Fund: Guidance Note for Government Offices and Local Authorities in England’, London: HM Government. Della Porta, D., 1992. ‘Political Socialization in Left-Wing Underground Organizations: Biographies of Italian and German Militants’ in Social Movements and Violence: Participation in Underground Organizations, London: JAI: 259–90. Della Porta, D., 1995. Social Movements, Political Violence and the State: A Comparative Analysis of Italy and Germany, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Della Porta, D., and Tarrow, S., 1986. ‘Unwanted Children. Political Violence and the Cycle of Protest in Italy. 1966–1973’, European Journal of Political Research, 14: 607–32. Erasmus, D., 1997. The Education of a Christian Prince. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Githens-Mazer, J., and Lambert, R., 2010. ‘Why Conventional Wisdom on Radicalization Fails: The Persistence of a Failed Discourse’, International Affairs, 86(4): 889–901. Hasan, M., 2014. ‘What the Jihadists who bought ‘Islam for Dummies’ on Amazon Tell Us about Radicalisation’, The Huffington Post, available from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mehdi-hasan/ jihadist-radicalisation-islam-for-dummies_b_5697160.html (last accessed 15 January 2018). Heath-Kelly, C., 2012. ‘Reinventing Prevention or Exposing the Gap? False Positives in UK Terrorism Governance and the Quest for Pre-Emption’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 5(1): 67–85. Heath-Kelly, C., 2013. ‘Counter-Terrorism and the Counterfactual: Producing the Radicalisation Discourse and the UK PREVENT Strategy’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 15(3): 394–415. Heath-Kelly, C., 2017. ‘Algorithmic Autoimmunity in the NHS: Radicalisation and the Clinic’, Security Dialogue, 48(1): 29–45 (published first online 2016). Hickman, M., Thomas, L., Silvestri, S., and Nickels, H., 2011. Suspect Communities? Counter-­Terrorism Policy, the Press, and the Impact on Irish and Muslim Communities in Britain, London: London Metropolitan University. Home Office, 2011. Prevent Strategy, London: HM Government. Horgan, J., 2009. Walking Away From Terrorism: Accounts of Disengagement From Radical and Extremist Movements, London: Routledge. Horgan, J., and Braddock, K., 2010. ‘Rehabilitating the Terrorists? Challenges in Assessing the Effectiveness of De-Radicalization Programs’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 22(2): 267–91. Jackson, R., 2008. ‘The Ghosts of State Terror: Knowledge, Politics and Terrorism Studies’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 1(3): 377–392. Kettell, S., 2011. New Labour and the New World Order: Britain’s Role in the War on Terror, Manchester: Manchester University Press. Koehler, D., 2016. Understanding Deradicalization. Methods, Tools and Programs for Countering Violent Extremism, Oxon and New York: Routledge. Kundnani, A., 2009. Spooked: How Not to Prevent Violent Extremism, London: Institute of Race Relations. Thomas, P., 2010. ‘Failed and Friendless: The UK’s ‘Preventing Violent Extremism’ Programme’, The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 12(3): 442–58.

15 Is mass surveillance a useful tool in the fight against terrorism?

YES: keeping us safe now and helping us improve for the future Jesse P. Lehrke

Introduction Following the failed assassination attempt against Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the Brighton bombing of 1984, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement saying, ‘Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always’ (cited in Gearson 2012: 183). This communiqué highlighted a core difficulty in fighting terrorism: even if we win every battle and prevent numerous attacks, in the end, perfect security is impossible. Moreover, the IRA statement actually undersold their success: even in failure terrorists gain some benefits, while the government sees only costs. A foiled attack or plot still gets the terrorists the media attention they seek and raises the fear of the society they target; the state must correspondingly undertake security measures, sometimes at great expense. Because of this asymmetry in costs and benefits, effective counterterrorism policy needs to prevent not only terrorist acts (attacks), but also terrorism; that is, it needs to keep people from becoming terrorists in the first place and make terrorism so ineffective and costly that groups with political grievances find other ways to advance their agendas. Among our counterterrorism tools, mass surveillance is the most effective at such early stage prevention. Yet it does not get the credit it deserves because it is unobservable and long term, and its success can be judged only by what did not happen – and no terrorist attack does not make the headlines. Psychologically, people feel safer with visible security measures: airport checkpoints and drones strikes. Yet such measures are among the least effective, mere ‘security theatre’ (Schneier 2003; see also de Mesquita 2007; Mueller and Stewart 2015). Ironically, they demonstrate their ‘success’ when we have already failed by providing immediate visual evidence of doing something: of limiting the deaths and disruption and getting back at the terrorists. They do not prevent terrorism, but rather they respond to terrorists and try to pre-empt the next attack. While such measures can have functional and emotional benefits (on the former, see Lehrke and Schomaker 2016; on the latter, see David 2002), they also fulfil the needs of terrorists – giving them media attention, legitimacy, and recruiting material. Mass surveillance, on the other hand, is the quiet and patient tool most

Is mass surveillance a useful tool?  227 able to prevent terrorism before it ever becomes a threat by denying terrorists the resources and tools they need to function.

Effectiveness and why we know so little about it Trying to determine whether something is useful for countering terrorism relies a lot on definitions. What exactly is effectiveness, and how is it proven or disproven? Effectiveness for counterterrorism is typically equated with prevention, which, in turn, raises the question: what is prevention? When most people speak of prevention, they mean stopping a terrorist attack in its planning phase by detecting the terrorists’ preparations and countering them by active measures such as investigations, arrests or targeted killings. Yet such prevention through detection and intervention is more accurately called ‘pre-emption’: attacking them before they attack us (Freedman 2004; Gearson 2012). In this model, mass surveillance is – according to its critics – for the detection of targets. Based on this definition and this assumed purpose, the critics then proceed to apply the traditional tools used to assess policy effectiveness. Yet these tools of policy analysis are simply not useful when examining counterterrorism policy and especially the role surveillance plays in it. Such analyses rely heavily on statistics, with effectiveness as an outcome defined with quantitative measurements – such as the number of terrorist attacks. When the opponents of mass surveillance argue that it is ineffective, they are largely referring to its ineffectiveness at prevention based on such numbers. Yet as we pointed out: mass surveillance is largely unobservable, as are its successes. This means that the numbers are wrong because the data available are incomplete, regarding: (1) what we are doing, (2) how much of it we are doing, and (3) on actual terrorist plots stopped (on data problems, see Sageman 2014). Once we see why the data are incomplete, we can then see the true purpose of mass surveillance. The first reason we lack the data we need is that many counterterrorism programmes require secrecy to be effective. If a specific tactic we use for counterterrorism is publically known, then terrorists could and, indeed, are likely to adapt – for instance, avoiding using the specific communication technology being monitored (Enders and Sandler 2012; Lehrke 2016). Thus, while we can assume that the government is engaging in mass surveillance, we know little about exactly what this means: that is the purpose of the ‘mass’ aspect, to create uncertainty in the minds of terrorists as to what we are watching, to raise the fear that we may be watching everything. This raises problems for terrorists, but it also raises problems for analysis: we too cannot be certain what we are doing. Mass surveillance is more effective than we think, precisely because we (and our enemies) know so little about it. Moreover, even if we can make an educated guess of all the policies being used, we usually do not have specific data on their intensity. This information is essential if we are going to prove that a relationship exists between a policy and an outcome: we need the number of drone strikes or gigabytes of data collected to see if it correlates with the number of terrorist attacks. This need for secrecy applies even to outcomes: to the number of terrorists arrested and attacks foiled. While the government would very much like to advertise and get credit for any attacks their policies stop, outcomes can be used by terrorists to back engineer what tactics were used to reach that outcome. If terrorists notice every time they use WhatsApp they are arrested, they will switch to another communication mode. If they always get followed when they take the train, they will switch to buses. Therefore, data on outcomes are also incomplete; we cannot judge whether mass surveillance is successful if we are unaware of our successes.

228  Jesse P. Lehrke Yet sometimes information on outcomes is not available because there was no visible, newsworthy, outcome; that is, nothing happened. The problem is that we cannot know why nothing happened. This is called the ‘counterfactual’ problem. We only can know the outcome we got, as we only get one run through history. Thus, we cannot know what would have happened in the absence of a programme – such as mass surveillance – that we are evaluating for effectiveness. Opponents of surveillance point to the low number of terrorist attacks as an argument against mass surveillance, saying the costs and sacrifices are not justified. Yet the counterfactual problem means we cannot know what would have happened in the absence of our mass surveillance programmes. Perhaps there are few attacks because of the surveillance; perhaps we even have fewer terrorists to investigate and arrest because of mass surveillance. The very success of mass surveillance at cutting off terrorism before it begins contributes to our inability to use data to establish its ineffectiveness. Moreover, the infrequency of attacks and low body counts does not imply terrorism is not a serious, even existential, threat (see Chapter 5 of this volume). The most rare events are often those that are most threatening, and because they are rare, they are also the ones we have the fewest data about (Taleb 2013: 240). Threat assessments are based on probability – which itself is only loosely connected to past frequency – but also on severity – the consequences of an event. Terrorist incidents may be rare, but the severity of their implications swamps threat assessment. That is, there may not be many, but the impact they have on policy, politics, society and economy means we have to find the few there are before the terrorists ‘get lucky’. The lack of terrorist events due to our own success create another problem for analysis: there may not be enough observations to obtain statistical significance; that is, terrorist events are rare, and to obtain valid outcomes in statistical analysis we need more, what is called the small-n problem. Having a low number (n) of observations is complicated further by the fact that our counterterrorism strategy is multi-pronged. If we want to determine if mass surveillance is effective, we have to know of and include all our other counterterrorism tactics in our analysis, to see which one gets credit for our success or blame for our failure – the so-called attribution problem. Yet a low number of observations (terror plots foiled and attacks) with a high number of possible causes (different policies) further invalidates statistical findings (the degree of freedom problem). You cannot isolate the cause of something when there are more possible causes than actual outcomes. Thus, claims that mass surveillance is ineffective are based on incomplete data because for mass surveillance to work the data about it must be secret, while claims mass surveillance is not necessary are based on mass surveillances’ very effectiveness at reducing terrorism before we can even measure it. Yet the lack of data is nonetheless a problem: we do after all need to understand more about how terrorism works, including its causes, in order even to ensure our mass surveillance is looking at the right things. A key question then is where can we get more information so we know more about terrorism and can thus better design all our counterterrorism policies? To answer this, we first need to look back at how we got where we are and in the process discover the true purpose of mass surveillance and the mechanism behind its effectiveness.

Security yesterday: the hardware of mass surveillance and the ideas behind it The attacks of 9/11 on the United States required an immediate response to reduce the threat and repair the political and psychological damage. Fortunately, we already had a system

Is mass surveillance a useful tool?  229 capable of mass surveillance in place, one which had for decades been directed at the Soviet Union, a secretive and distant adversary that was hard to penetrate (with spies) and that itself excelled at subversion. Thus, at a time of great need, we had hardware capabilities able to help; we did not have to invent and pay for something new but could immediately get to work countering terrorism. Spy satellites, listening stations and data centres simply had to be turned in new directions and tuned to look for different things. Yet the effectiveness of these mass surveillance tools is not in the hardware: mere sensors telling us about the environment. Their effectiveness, and use, is rooted in ideas, ideas that helped win the Cold War and which would allow us to update the hardware of that era with software appropriate for today’s ‘Long War’. Effectiveness was not detection of and intervention against data points (targets), but about stopping a data point from even appearing by reacting less and instead proactively shaping the environment.

Effectiveness today: prevention through denial and disruption (deterrence) Shaping the environment meant we had to get to the terrorists earlier, well before an attack, and to do so, we drew on the same ideas that stopped the Soviets from attacking us. Rather than pre-emption, our governments sought, and seeks again now, prevention through denial and disruption, which falls under the policy of deterrence. Pre-emption tactics may be necessary for political purposes and public reassurance, but security professionals know that no major Islamist insurgency has been beaten through such tactics (without resort to war crimes; see Schindler 2016). Neither was the USSR beaten with interventions, and US security professionals saw in al-Qaeda many similarities: distant, secretive, subversive and hard to penetrate. Thus, al-Qaeda would be beaten the same way. The primary purpose of mass surveillance is not to detect terrorist plots and thus enable other tactics (arrests, drone strikes, etc.) to stop them; rather, it is to disrupt the plotting and deter terrorists before they can even become a threat (on deterrence applied to terrorism, see Gearson 2012; Taquechel et  al. 2012; Wilner 2013). Such an approach is preferred over pre-emption, since preventing an attack through interventions still entails costs and risks for society and security agents. Deterrence, on the other hand, shifts the costs and risks onto would-be terrorists, disrupting their operations. Mass surveillance is part of a strategy to create a passive environment inconducive to terrorism rather than having to engage in active interventions  – war and drone/airstrikes  – with all their downsides (civilian deaths) and unforeseeable consequences (backlash). Thus, mass surveillance is not primarily to discover information that leads to investigations and interventions; rather, it seeks to makes these unnecessary through denial and disruption. This environment seeks to deny terrorists the freedom to use a key technology and freely roam the common public spaces of the Internet: mass surveillance is to the Internet what the navy is to the sea. By passively being there, it prevents non-structured (non-state) threats from acting or even emerging (terrorists, or pirates for the navy). Mass surveillance of a common space prevents that space and the people in it from being exploited by criminal elements. This does not mean these elements will disappear, but mass surveillance will drive them to more secure areas, where ironically their own security makes them operationally less capable. First, the ways in which the terrorist must take cover puts them into direct competition with the state. It moves them from facing the state asymmetrically, often by targeting their people, to facing the modern state where it is strongest: in technology. Mass surveillance allows us to move the battle to the place and time of our choosing, and in ‘cryptowars’

230  Jesse P. Lehrke (as in cryptography) against government intelligence agencies (e.g. the NSA), terrorists who retreat into darknet enclaves will lose because these are easier to attack and de-anonymise than larger networks (Moore and Rid 2016: 32). Even before their systems have been penetrated, though, by simply communicating, terrorists leave traces that allow us, provided we are watching, to map their network’s structures and processes, which once understood can be disrupted or subverted even if we do not see the content of their communications. Second, when terrorists are forced to conduct much of their operations on the darknet or in encrypted spaces, it reduces their visibility and thus opportunities for subversion, recruiting and conversion. The problem in retreating behind firewalls and encryption is that walls work both ways. While the NSA will have to go through a bit more trouble to locate them, the average potential recruit will face almost insurmountable technical hurdles, and the harder they try to find a terrorist contact/recruiter, the more red flags they raise in their browser history. Herein mass surveillance also allows for early identification of would be recruits who begin exploring radical views, researching dangerous technologies or reaching out for like-minded ‘travellers’ (how to intervene in these early cases is another debate – with social workers or sting operations?). Yet there are relatively few such persons who actively seek out violent external jihad. A more important way of recruiting is gradual radicalisation through online engagement. By participating in online chat groups (for example), terrorists can activate group polarisation dynamics that lead to extremist positions and risky behaviour (see Breakwell 2014). However, if these spaces are under mass surveillance, actions/comments to activate these dynamics are easily detectable, and the mere possibility limits terrorist ability to even try. In this way, mass surveillance cuts terrorists off from the larger self-identified community (e.g. strong believers in Islam) that forms the pool of potential recruits, preventing the radicalisation of any vulnerable persons in this pool or the mainstreaming of radical views in the whole pool. Moreover, by understanding what the aggrieved community is talking about, we can also craft counter-narratives or even shift policy. Mass surveillance is about not only gathering information for military solutions, but also getting broad information so we know where the fracture lines are in a group. Hereby we learn what we can say or which concessions we can offer that will split the group, leading the majority into peaceful channels for expressing and resolving their grievances (de Mesquita 2005; Goerzig 2010). The end result is to deny terrorist groups what they most need: terrorists (i.e. members). The act of denying terrorists the use of critical technologies and access to public spaces not only cuts off key resources, but also constrains their ability to act by raising risks and costs. When terrorists are aware that they are being monitored, it raises the risk that they will be detected. Increased risk then increases their costs – organisational and financial – of operating. The more time and effort terrorists have to spend avoiding detection (so-called operations security or OPSEC), the less time and other resources they can devote to planning and executing actual attacks. To illustrate: mass surveillance in the form of CCTV makes it more difficult to conduct physical in-person reconnaissance of targets, especially high-value targets. This forces terrorists to use alternatives, such as electronic reconnaissance, for example, Google Earth and Street View, which (while better than nothing) limits how well they can prepare their attacks. Moreover, because the surveillance is ‘mass’ also in the tools it uses and not just who it watches, shifting to Google to view the US embassy, search for ‘pressure cooker bomb’, and book a three-legged flight, raises flags from other surveillance systems. Because of the risks that their online research will be monitored, terrorists have to set up different accounts and access different information via different computers with different IP addresses and/or use IP blockers that reduce Internet connection speeds.

Is mass surveillance a useful tool?  231 The same applies to the other forms of communication: while there are many communications options available that terrorists can switch between, such hopping from one channel to another, this slows and hinders effective communication. Mass electronic surveillance can also prevent terrorists from using the Internet to source materials, again because ‘mass’ means the government is watching not just the buyers – who will try to hide themselves – but the suppliers and the shippers. Given this, terrorists may instead seek to acquire their resources in person, but this requires also a lot of travel to different shops so as to not raise a salesperson’s suspicion. In their travels, though, there are other eyes watching: the CCTV systems with which this example opened. Moreover, all these adaptation are not only costly, but also increase the risk they will make mistakes (Lehrke 2016). All of this is most effective at preventing the amateur terrorist, especially the lone wolves who have to do and pay for all this themselves, from succeeding, as they are easily detected: which is also why so many terrorists seem like they are not very clever (Kenney 2010b). These are the few attacks, the small-n, that we detect and thus stop – which, of course, is important. However, we must not judge the terrorist threats on the basis of those we easily detect and stop (a form of availability bias); the seriously threatening terrorist groups have enough resources to engage in many adaptations. Established jihadist terrorists have done so along two lines: adapting their operational planning while also adopting an overall strategy that avoids key areas. First, they are outsourcing attacks against the far enemy – the West – to self-radicalised, low-skilled persons using simple attack modes such as vehicle rampages. Such persons and methods can largely avoid leaving an electronic footprint, and while the attacks often fail, at least they keep the terrorist group’s name in the media. Nonetheless, some will succeed, and while every death from such events is tragic, they have less geopolitical and existential implications as 9/11-class events. For their own activities, as restrictive legislation including surveillance in the West has risen, established terrorist groups have focused strategically on the ‘close enemy’, the local governments and people in Middle and Near Eastern countries (Lehrke and Schomaker 2016). Spectacular attacks on the West still happen – 9/11, 7/7, Madrid, Paris – but these are costly, risky investments and so are increasingly few and far between. Deterrence has tragically meant a redirection of terrorist threats (see Lehrke and Schomaker 2016). Nonetheless, our mass surveillance, combined with other tools, has reduced their effectiveness, forcing them into small cells unable to plan big complex attacks (Lehrke and Schomaker 2016). Moreover, mass surveillance also holds the key to preventing these terrorists from attacking anybody – near and far – in the future.

Effectiveness tomorrow: information now for knowledge later Perfect security may be impossible, but we can always do better. Further preventing terrorism not only at home, but also in those countries most vulnerable to it, is essential going forward. Aside from our moral imperative to help our fellow (wo)man with dangers we played a role in creating, even from a hard-noised realpolitik perspective, chaos in those countries falling outside our deterrence umbrella creates a larger terrorist pool. This pool will eventually spill over into areas from which terrorists are currently denied; indeed, this may already be happening (e.g. Syria to Europe – see Chapter 9). Moreover, terrorists are persistent and, as pointed out, adaptive: they very well could learn in time how to get around our mass surveillance and thus our ‘area denial’. Luckily, with mass surveillance, we can learn too. As we outlined, a major problem in counterterrorism is our lack of data, resulting in a lack of being able to know much about the underlying patterns behind terrorism and any

232  Jesse P. Lehrke relation to our counterterrorism policies. Yet, in mass surveillance is the very solution to its weaknesses. While many demand that the data collected via mass surveillance have immediate value and, indeed, sometimes it does, the true value of much information increases over time. As we collect more information, it can be used to learn and build knowledge so that we can have better foresight in the future. Google saves all your data so it can better predict what you want; mass surveillance is collecting and then storing the data that will help us one day know more about terrorism and thus design better counterterrorism policies. Let us call this function of mass surveillance ‘preparation’, specifically for the future, in that information is essential to build knowledge and knowledge is what allows for better analysis, which then allows for better policy. Data over time help us combat the ‘rare but significant phenomena’ problem. As information is gathered, it can be analysed ex post, after a foiled plot or successful attack, to find patterns – to see what the suspects/perpetrators did, where they went, what they used, who they met. These patterns become the algorithms that are then used to search future data. Moreover, the normal law-abiding citizen’s data are needed here to serve as the base-line from which to judge deviance, so that we have an actual basis to judge how ‘terrorism-related activities’ differs from actual routine activities, including those which we may find ‘different’ or even unethical, but which are not illegal or flags for illegal activity. In this way, your data will help find terrorists and prevent discrimination. When it comes to learning from this data, though, the opponents of mass surveillance may refer us to another one of their main critiques: that it is simply too much data and mostly useless to be of value. In technical terms, there is too much ‘noise’ in the data, and we cannot separate the valuable information out from this noise. Even now, terrorists, and many others, use noise to confuse our mass surveillance or other intelligence/information gathering efforts (Arquilla 2007: 8–9: Lehrke 2016; Singer 2009: 277). Humans cannot filter out the noise, but our machines also cannot yet handle the problem; indeed, more noise can actually make computers see what they are looking for even if it is not there ( just as people do) (Mordvintsev et al. 2015). So we cannot leave it to the computers, but we cannot leave it to people either; luckily, we have both. While design trends in the past decades have leaned towards automation and replacement of the human, recent trends are looking at better human-machine integration to harness rapid human pattern recognition to computer algorithms via neural interfaces (electroencephalograms [EEGs]) (Wang et al. 2009). We are already learning from our failures and addressing the shortcomings of our mass surveillance system.

Conclusion Mass surveillance has been the quiet, unobservable counterterrorism policy most effective at preventing terrorism in a way which counts: before we have to intervene in ways which are visually and emotionally satisfying but that are largely ineffective and can even make terrorism worse in the medium-term. Specifically, mass surveillance uses its very existence and ability to collect data – not just the data itself – to raise the risks and costs that terrorists face. It denies them access to tools, recruits, attention and outcomes. It disrupts their operational capabilities by increasing their anxiety and uncertainty, and thus their errors, while forcing them to spend even more time and resources just protecting themselves. We, in turn, can use this period to learn more about them and how to beat them. The value of the information mass surveillance gathers increases over time, eventually allowing us to develop knowledge on how to prepare better preventive policies in the future. Mass surveillance is a tool of deterrence and preparedness, keeping us safer from attack in the present so that we can continue to learn until we have enough knowledge to win the war tomorrow.

Is mass surveillance a useful tool?  233

NO: a high-cost, low-reward approach Ivan Greenberg

Introduction Surveillance by government refers to the watching and tracking of the public to gather information for intelligence purposes. As scholars of surveillance note, it ‘usually involves relations of power in which the watchers are privileged’ (Lyon 2007: 15). When surveillance is conducted on a mass basis, it involves the monitoring of the general population as a whole, as opposed to individual subjects. In the past, most government spying was subject based, tracking individuals and groups deemed dangerous for criminal or political reasons. However, after 9/11, the imperative to boost spying and the development of new surveillance technologies prompted tracking the behavioural patterns of millions of people. The new mass surveillance consists of both computer analysis and human observation. In the first instance, the data mining of Internet and phone records to identify allegedly ‘suspicious’ patterns sorts through billions of personal records. This dragnet-style, bulk collection of data greatly expands the scope of undercover intelligence operations. While increasingly relying on new methods of data mining, government also incorporates human watching in its surveillance systems through ‘behavioural detection’ programmes, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and the establishment of official ‘listening posts’ in local life. Observational mass surveillance looks (and sometimes listens) to identify people officials believe may pose a threat to society. This chapter addresses the US experience with mass surveillance as a terrorism prevention tool. As I argue, despite the vast resources devoted to mass surveillance, these programmes have proven ineffective since few plots have been uncovered. Mass monitoring has not led to major breakthroughs in finding terrorists, even while casting a very broad net over communication systems. In June 2013, the Obama administration tried to justify mass surveillance after exposure by whistleblower Edward Snowden, by asserting that the collection of phone record data was essential to national security and had helped to foil dozens of terrorist plots. The president defended National Security Agency (NSA) spying during a visit to Berlin by saying, ‘We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany. So lives have been saved.’ General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, echoed this view, testifying before Congress: ‘The information gathered from these programs provided the U.S. government with critical leads to help prevent over 50 potential terrorist events in more than 20 countries around the world’ (Bergen et al. 2014: 1). However, these official claims proved to be greatly exaggerated. After US Congressional inquiry, the agency acknowledged that mass surveillance was the primary tool in preventing only a single terrorist plot. Traditional investigative techniques, such as the use of undercover human sources, initiated the vast majority of terrorism investigations. Moreover, intelligence developed from mass surveillance only marginally prevented associational activity related to terrorism, such as fundraising (Bergen et al. 2014: 4–6). Mass surveillance does not prevent terrorist attacks. In 2013, US federal district judge Richard J. Leon found that the NSA’s mass phone data collecting on Americans was unconstitutional and the government failed to cite ‘a single instance in which analysis of the

234  Ivan Greenberg N.S.A.’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive’. The surveillance functioned as an ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary’ invasion of personal data without prior judicial approval (Savage 2013). Mass surveillance also has proven ineffective in preventing ‘lone wolf ’ political violence. Individuals acting on their own, apart from organised groups, usually evade government detection. Recent examples include the Fort Hood shooting near Killeen, Texas (2009), the attack on a military recruiting centre in Chattanooga, Tennessee (2015) and the killing of nine black churchgoers by Dylann Roof in Charleston, South Carolina (2015). The Roof case highlights that terrorism by right-wing white supremacists in the United States has killed more people since 9/11 than attacks by Muslim jihadists (Sterman and Bergen 2015). Mass surveillance of right-wing extremism has not contained this type of violence. Its utility in warfare overseas, such as drone strikes, is another matter. As General Michael Hayden, former director of both the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), asserts, ‘We kill people based on metadata’ (Cole 2014). By 2014, approximately 2,800 people had died in about 430 drone strikes. In one operation, known as VICTORYDANCE, the NSA and the CIA flew drones about 4 miles above ground to search communications devices in Yemen associated with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The mission lasted 6 months and consisted of 43 surveillance flights to map ‘the Wi-Fi fingerprint’ of nearly every major town. Targeted killings in Yemen, as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, often occur without substantial human intelligence on the ground and, as a result, innocent bystanders and people only indirectly related to terrorism have been victimised. For example, on 17 May 2011, a drone strike in Datta Khel in north-west Pakistan killed more than 40 people assembled to settle a local mining dispute. While some Taliban fighters were present, the majority of people were unconnected to extremist activity (Bureau of Investigative Journalism 2014; International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic 2012; Scahill and Greenwald 2014).

The surveillance society The practice of mass surveillance should be situated within the context of the new ‘surveillance society’, where monitoring and spying is pervasive and woven into everyday life. This surveillance may have low visibility, but advanced technology allows surveillance to take place in comprehensive and intensive ways. The roots of the surveillance society date to the late twentieth century, with new forms developed and implemented after the millennium. In 2002, Gary Marx (2002: 9) noted in the debut issue of the journal, Surveillance and Society: The last half of the 20th century has seen a significant increase in the use of technology for the discovery of personal information. Examples include video and audio surveillance, heat, light, motion, sound and olfactory sensors, night vision goggles, electronic tagging, biometric access devices, drug testing, DNA analysis, computer monitoring including email and web usage and the use of computer techniques such as expert systems, matching and profiling, data mining, mapping, network analysis and simulation. Control technologies have become available that previously existed only in the dystopic imaginations of science fiction writers. In 2004, the American Civil Liberties Union (2004: 1) highlighted the emergence of a new ‘Surveillance-Industrial Complex’, which not only consists of direct government

Is mass surveillance a useful tool?  235 monitoring, but also conscripts private business and the public to spy on the activities of ordinary people: The ongoing revolution in communications, computers, databases, cameras and sensors means that the technological obstacles to the creation of a truly nightmarish ‘surveillance society’ have now been overcome . . . There will always be limits to the number of personnel that the U.S. security state can directly hire, and to the ‘ratio of watchers to watched.’ This is the obstacle that the U.S. security establishment seeks to overcome by enlisting individuals and corporations as auxiliary members of its surveillance networks. The new mass surveillance, rather than being based on individualised suspicion, expansively assumes nearly everyone may be a suspect. This perspective has been used to crack down on controversial free speech and peaceful political activity, as governments mislabel and investigate protest as terrorism. Human Rights Watch (2012: 21–2) reports that in the decade after 9/11, more than 140 nations passed anti-terrorism laws greatly expanding police surveillance and detention powers. Many counter-terror laws place restrictions on speech by criminalising expression that encourages terrorism absent any charge of incitement to violence: [T]he tendency of these laws is to cover a wide range of conduct far beyond what is generally understood as terrorist . . . acts of political dissent that result in property damage, such as demonstrations, may be prosecuted as terrorism where the element of terrorist intent is broadly defined (for example, to ‘disrupt the public order’ or ‘endanger public safety’). In some cases, this stigmatization of protest has the opposite result of what authorities want and may lead to the radicalization of previously passive populations. Only in recent years has information surfaced about the inner workings of mass surveillance systems developed by intelligence agencies. For example, the secret documents leaked to the media by Snowden reveal the NSA’s self-described mission to ‘collect it all’. The agency gathers much more information on both Americans and foreigners than it can possibly analyse. It targets the heads of foreign states, including allies such as Germany and France, with the same technology used for terrorism prevention. It is the view of the NSA that few communications should exist outside surveillance (Greenwald 2014). The goal of collecting it all can result in a process whereby analysts ‘drown in data’, thereby impeding effective intelligence analysis. Terrorism in the United States Since 9/11, the United States has spent more than $4 trillion to fight the war on terrorism (Risen 2014: xiv). On the basis of such spending, one might conclude that terrorism poses a serious and imminent threat to human life and safety (see Chapter 5). Yet the likelihood of dying in a terrorist attack is in the range of 1 in 80,000, and many other things are statistically much more dangerous to health (Mueller and Stewart 2011). Despite the fact that the level of political violence remains historically very low, the number of official terrorist suspects has grown dramatically. According to the FBI, in 2013 about 875,000 people worldwide were considered known terrorist suspects, compared with about 540,000 in 2005. The number of Americans on this list has not been disclosed. The FBI (2010: 4) defines a ‘suspected terrorist’ as ‘an individual who is reasonably suspected to be, or has been, engaged in

236  Ivan Greenberg conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism and terrorist activities based on an articulable and reasonable suspicion’. The farther we get from 9/11, one might expect the official US list would dwindle. But rather than receding, the government views the threat as being as potent as ever and secretly builds suspect lists without public accountability. At home, the FBI, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and city police identify suspicious patterns and people, using the threat of terrorism to gather intelligence on a wide range of political activity. Just how much mass surveillance is devoted to terrorism prevention versus the control of dissent is hard to determine with precision. These two different functions of surveillance systems coexist and can become blurred, depending on how government defines enemies and frames threats. What has been called the ‘criminalization of dissent’ may result in the use of the most advanced surveillance methods against nonviolent critics of society. For example, responding to the rise of social movements, DHS and the FBI are known to track the Twitter, Tumblr, Meetup and Facebook accounts of protestors. In the case of Occupied Wall Street (OWS), the government devoted full-time analysts to read the movement’s numerous online platforms, despite OWS’s peaceful, non-violent nature (Greenberg 2015). Many of the terrorist plots against the United States were directed by government agencies as ‘sting’ operations and posed no threat to public safety. In these cases, surveillance is linked to prosecution in order to advance official ‘scare’ politics. Sting operations help to magnify the threat of terrorism in misleading ways and can be used to help justify in public discourse repressive governmental policies and practices. Of the approximately 50 cases of Islamic terrorism targeting the United States. since 9/11, including plots overseas and at home, undercover FBI or other police operatives were active in planning about half of them. Not one case involved the actual detonation of a bomb or explosive, and most of these alleged terrorists were inept, vulnerable amateurs prodded into planning violent activity by government operatives. As David Shipler (2012) notes, Typically, the stings initially target suspects for pure speech – comments to an informer outside a mosque, angry postings on Web sites, e-mails with radicals overseas – then woo them into relationships with informers, who are often convicted felons working in exchange for leniency, or with F.B.I. agents posing as members of Al Qaeda or other groups. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have embraced this preventative ‘law enforcement’ approach, disproportionately targeting American Muslims in nearly 500 sting cases. What amounts to an entrapment process has led to criminal convictions for fabricated crimes (Project SALAM 2014; Aaronson 2013). In the case of the Newburgh Four, the FBI announced on 21 May 2009, the indictment of Onta Williams, James Cromitie, David Williams and Laguerre Payen, for plans to blow up a synagogue and fire a Stinger missile at military airplanes at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York. While the government claimed the men were violent, radicalised Muslims who hated the United States, it turned out that they were marginally involved with Islam and went along with the scheme in the preoperational stage in order to con a large sum of money out of an undercover government agent. Judge Colleen McMahon, who put the four impoverished men behind bars, nonetheless expressed criticism of the FBI’s methods: ‘I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would have been no crime here except the government instigated it, planned it and brought it to fruition’ (Harris 2011).

Is mass surveillance a useful tool?  237

Mass data mining After 9/11, the US intelligence community developed data-mining methods to process ‘big data’ for terrorism prevention. The popular spread of electronic communications aids data-mining efforts and the problem of ‘drowning in data but starving for knowledge’ may be solved with the development of effective analytical software. Data mining uses ‘link analysis’ and ‘pattern analysis’. According to the FBI, link analysis draws upon ‘datasets to find links between subjects, suspects, and addresses or other pieces of relevant information, and other persons, places, and things’. Pattern analysis make ‘queries [that] take a predictive model or pattern of behavior and search for that pattern in datasets’ (quoted in Electronic Frontier Foundation 2009). Access to data may be imposed. The FBI compels Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and Google, as well as other firms, to provide access to all forms of its customer communications. Mass monitoring of online social networking (popular websites, blogs and message boards unrelated to specific groups and individuals) is carried out in a DHS programme called ‘Social Networking/Media Capability’ to assess popular opinion about news events that reflect adversely on the US government. The NSA’s XKeyscore programme for the Internet sweeps up  billions of records worldwide and also can target particular users collecting nearly everything a subject does online (Marquis-Boire, Greenwald and Lee 2015). Yet combing large datasets has proved ineffective in preventing terrorism. Terrorist acts and their precursors are too uncommon for meaningful patterns to be discernable. The automated identification of terrorists is likely to produce false positives and harmless anomalies. The government argues that defining predictive models and patterns of behaviour can be used to identify terrorist ‘sleeper cells’ and that the 9/1l attacks could have been prevented if mass data mining had been in use. But mass bulk collection has not discovered a single sleeper cell within the United States, and preventing the 9/11 attack was not due to a lack of data, but the need to ‘connect the dots’ with better analysis and sharing of existing data. As analyst Peter Bergen and his colleagues (Bergen et al. 2014: 14) note: The overall problem for U.S. counterterrorism officials is not that they need the information from the bulk collection of phone data, but that they don’t sufficiently understand or widely share the information they already possess that is derived from conventional law enforcement and intelligence techniques. Individual privacy is a casualty, undermining personal autonomy. For example, while the United States asserts that data mining collects and processes only ‘metadata’ (or patterns of communications), not the content of individual communications, such metadata, in fact, can identify large amounts of information about subjects – their friends and peers, religious practices, and civil and political affiliations. A top NSA official notes: ‘metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. It you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content’ (Cole 2014). The idea of metadata in this context needs to be reconceptualised to recognise that it is a form of ‘content’ and should be subject to privacy protections. As Kenneth Roth (2013), director of Human Rights Watch, argues, ‘recognizing a privacy interest in our metadata would not undermine efforts to fight terrorism’.

Mass observational surveillance Mass surveillance based on human observation has yielded little evidence of plans for terrorism. Since 9/11, federal agents, city police and government employees as well as the

238  Ivan Greenberg general public are urged to serve as the eyes and ears of government to report suspicious and anomalous activity to authorities. Observational surveillance is popularly projected with the DHS slogan, ‘See Something Say Something.’ Moreover, enhanced surveillance responsibility, including specialised training, is directed at employees in certain occupations that deal with the public, such as store clerks, building doormen, real estate agents, fishermen, utility workers, cable technicians, package delivery people, truck drivers and emergency medical personnel (ACLU 2004). The nation’s approximately 800,000 city police officers are also instructed by DHS to file ‘suspicious activity reports’ (SAR) with intelligence Fusion Centres covering any observed behaviour indicative of intelligence gathering or preoperational planning related to terrorism. As a result, police officers now function as first preventers of terrorism, which represents a paradigm shift both for the federal government and local and state agencies (Congressional Research Service 2011; German and Stanley 2008). The US army promotes behavioural detection, without substantial results, to neutralise violent threats within its ranks. Soldiers are told to inform superiors if they notice peers’ change ‘choices in entertainment’, ‘complain about bias’, or ‘take suspicious or unreported travel (inside or outside the United States)’. In a related way, on 7 October  2011, President Obama issued Executive Order 13587 establishing the ‘Insider Threat’ programme directed at federal employees, who are instructed to report the activity of co-workers who are ‘high-risk’ for anti-government activity indicated by lifestyles and language expression as well odd working hours or unexplained travel. Mass behavioural spying also focuses on airline travel. Since 2003, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) deployed more than 3,000 special agents at airports with their official gazes focused on travellers who may have ‘mal-intent’ by exhibiting behaviours associated with ‘stress’, ‘fear’ and ‘deception’ (US Government Accountability Office 2010: 8–9). Despite spending nearly $900 million, the TSA programmes have been judged to be a failure since they have not exposed any terrorist plots. The US Government Accountability Office (2012: 13) reports: ‘the human ability to accurately identify deceptive behavior based on behavioral indicators is the same as or slightly better than chance’. Several studies question the effectiveness of behavioural detection since assessing political motivations based on bodily appearance, especially for biochemical reactions, is extremely untrustworthy. The National Research Council (2008: 251) notes: A person exhibiting nervousness may be excited about meeting someone at the airport or about being late. A person lying about his or her travel plans may be concealing an extramarital affair. A person fidgeting may be experiencing back pain. None of those persons would be the targets of counterterrorist efforts, nor should they be – and the possibility that their true motivations and intents may be revealed has definite privacy implications. Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in US cites, following the example of London, greatly expanded during the war on terrorism. For example, thousands of cameras have been installed in Washington, DC, and New York City. But, CCTV rarely, if ever, results in the prevention of terrorist attacks. At best, authorities use the live video record after crimes occur to identify suspects. But at what price? CCTV criminalises the general public as deviant subjects. The continuous watching of public space recalls the dystopian world of Big Brother control depicted in George Orwell’s iconic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. While it is not entirely clear how the behaviour and thinking of individuals change as they adjust to living

Is mass surveillance a useful tool?  239 under CCTV surveillance, scholars argue that CCTV disempowers the public and may result in behaviour modification as people try to show the watchers what they want to see. Rather than feeling more secure as a result of public surveillance, people may develop feelings of mistrust towards unaccountable authorities (see generally, Doyle et al. 2012). During the late 1960s, the FBI developed the human ‘listening post’ method to collect intelligence in African American communities. Popular protest and urban riots prompted the FBI to plant operatives as employees in local commercial establishments and institutions to gather intelligence on customers and patrons unrelated to subject-based investigations. At its height in 1972, about 7,200 people served in this listening capacity, reporting to authorities about conversations linked to political activity and civil disobedience. Today, listening posts are still used in local life, although most information about them remains classified. Media reports suggest the FBI operates them in Arab Muslim communities as part of ethno-religious monitoring. Civil liberty critics raise concerns that listening posts may exist on a much wider basis, as part of a national surveillance network (Greenberg 2010).

Conclusion Mass surveillance, whether by data mining or human observation, has played only a marginal role in terrorism prevention. The NSA has uncovered few, if any, terrorist plots. The DHS and FBI have not prevented domestic lone wolf violence. Surveillance systems gather vast amounts of information on both Americans and foreigners without significant accountability. For example, once a person gets on an airline ‘no-fly list’, there is no effective way to challenge this designation. Moreover, the wall that traditionally separated domestic and foreign counterintelligence increasingly has been removed as agencies share information from their huge databases, sometimes circumventing restrictions on authorised spying. A major problem is that the powers of the state have dramatically increased in relation to the general public. In the United States, policymakers claim they are careful to strike the right balance between protecting civil liberties versus security. At the present moment the balance is tilted towards security because of the high level of danger facing the nation. However, as many writers note, the war on terrorism has become a permanent conflict without an end in view. Under such circumstances, mass surveillance systems are likely to expand in the future despite their minimal benefit for counterterrorism. Government has institutionalised a large homeland Surveillance-Industrial Complex, whose utility and purpose should be subject to critical reassessment. It is expensive and ineffective and does not reduce violence, while undermining individual privacy and civil liberties.

Discussion questions 1 What are the different forms of mass surveillance? 2 Why do we have such a hard time identifying concrete cases of terrorism that mass surveillance has prevented? What concrete examples are there? 3 Is data mining an effective tool for terrorism prevention? 4 What tasks become more difficult for terrorists when they think they are under surveillance? 5 What are the differences between pre-emptive intervention and prevention? 6 How does deterrence work? What does it deny terrorists? How does it disrupt them? 7 How can we deal with noise in data gathered via mass surveillance?

240  Ivan Greenberg 8 In what ways does mass surveillance pose a threat to civil liberties? What are the real costs of mass surveillance? 9 What alternatives may exist to mass surveillance other than simply no surveillance? 10 How can we improve our intelligence-led counterterrorism policy in the future?

Further readings Ball, K., and Snider, L., eds., 2013. The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: A Political Economy of Surveillance, New York: Routledge. Boghosian, H., 2013. Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance, San Francisco: City Lights Books. Chesterman, S., 2011. One Nation under Surveillance: A New Social Contract to Defend Freedom Without Sacrificing Liberty, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Flammini, F., Setola, R., and Franceschetti, G., eds., 2013. Effective Surveillance for Homeland Security: Balancing Technology and Social Issues, Boca Raton: CRC Press. Greenwald, G., 2014. No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, New York: Metropolitan Books. Hier, S., and Greenberg, J., 2007. The Surveillance Studies Reader, Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press. Monahan, T., 2006. Surveillance and Security: Technological Politics and Power in Everyday Life, New York: Routledge. Schneier, B., 2015. Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World, New York: W.W. Norton. Staples, W., 2014. Everyday Surveillance: Vigilance and Visibility in Postmodern Life, 2nd ed., Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

16 Have global efforts to reduce terrorism and political violence since 9/11 been effective?

YES: ‘looking for a needle in a stack of needles’ Mark Cochrane and Gabrielle Nugent

Introduction Success in reducing terrorism and political violence is problematic to measure. However, in order to articulate this argument, success will be understood in this chapter in terms of dismantling terrorist groups (domestic and international), preventing deaths of civilians at the hands of terrorists, and preventing a large-scale attack such as 9/11 through the use of preventative strategies and partnerships, both public and private. ‘Today we were unlucky, but remember, we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always’ (quoted in Bishop and Mallie 1988: 426). These are the words of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) claiming responsibility following its attempt to murder British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government in a bombing at the Grand Hotel, Brighton in 1984. The post-9/11 declaration by President George W. Bush of the United States’ intent to wage a ‘War on Terror’ was not only an unfortunate choice of language, it was as unhelpful as it was inaccurate – a point acknowledged by Richardson (2006), who considers the futility of such a statement and comments that such a war can never be won. Despite the merit of such criticism, it is a perspective that does little to accept that governments must react immediately to terrorist attacks or incidents in order to mitigate fear and the feeling of citizen vulnerability. The ‘War on Terrorism’ did not occur in a vacuum and those environmental factors prevalent at the time largely determined the reaction. It was understandable that the response, which Walt (2001–2002) deemed to be the most rapid and dramatic change in United States’ foreign policy, would attempt to make those considered responsible accountable for their acts. In the aftermath of 9/11, the immediate kinetic response was directed towards the al-Qaeda powerbase in Afghanistan with the implementation of Operation Enduring Freedom. This strategy appears successful, having the desired effect of dismantling the organisation in their previously secure base in Afghanistan and the resultant defeat of the Taliban. Successful kill and capture operations, such as that of Osama bin Laden on 1 May 2011, have further weakened the capabilities of terrorist organisations to mount large scale attacks overseas. The success of the War on Terror is further depicted by Goldstone (2008: 11)

242  Mark Cochrane and Gabrielle Nugent explaining, ‘a year after Operation Enduring Freedom began, President George W. Bush announced that many of the objectives had been met, including the loss of al-Qaeda’s power in Afghanistan’. This suggests that there has been an increasing of the national security of the United States, therefore amounting to success in terms of counter terrorism strategies. Britain, unlike the United States, had a bitter learning experience in dealing with Irish terrorism in terms of intelligence gathering infrastructure, internal security measures and terrorist legislation; but the threat both now face from international terrorism poses a different problem. The implementation of any response is difficult due to the nature of a threat that is international in nature, from a variety of groups, networks and individuals, and intended to cause mass casualties (Mottram 2007). Responses since 9/11 have forced our adversaries to change, and they have proven themselves to be capable and able to do so (Hoffman 2005). Despite the ongoing and complex nature of the threat, much of the media and academia take every available opportunity to critique and highlight supposed intelligence failures, but do little to acknowledge the numerous successes and progress made. Claims of such shortcomings and ineptitude following incidents such as the Madrid bombing in 2004, the London attacks in 2005, the attempted bombing on 21/7 of the same year, and subsequent attempts to attack the United States and the United Kingdom, are events that, viewed with hindsight, could have been handled more effectively. Therein lies the problem: hindsight is always 20/20 and errors made are easy to spot after the fact. For those charged with the challenge of countering terrorism, it is not a case of looking for a needle in a haystack; it is a case of looking for a needle in a stack of needles, which accurately depicts the complexities involved in successfully reducing terrorism and political violence. However, despite the difficulties in reducing the threat, due to the professionalism of the response, terrorists have not achieved anything comparable to the 9/11 attacks.

A new level of threat Considering the ability of terrorist groups to mount attacks on a global scale, Beake (2015) highlights the effectiveness of countermeasures in thwarting fifty terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom since the 7/7 bombings. Viewing this in the diversified context of these plots from the ‘grand, complex plans that are organised often from overseas down to the lone actor’, the task of countering these plots has become gargantuan, but not impossible according to Rowley, the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner (2015, cited in Beake 2015). This is in part due to the attention given to intelligence gathering – a technique key to dismantling terrorist groups during The Troubles in Northern Ireland (Haberfeld et al. 2009). According to the then Director General of MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, in 2006 the Security Service and Police in the United Kingdom were working to contend with over 1,600 identified individuals who at that time were actively engaged in plotting, or facilitating terrorist acts in the United Kingdom and overseas (cited in Hennessy 2007). Considering these figures, it is remarkable that there have been very few successful attacks, which highlights the value of the countermeasures. However, despite the robust nature of the counter strategies, today’s terrorists have the prior planning, networking structure, necessary weapons and ultimately, the ability to succeed. The murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale on 22nd May 2013 was the first successful terror attack in the United Kingdom since the 7/7 bombings (Dodd and Halliday 2013). These men followed the ideology of al-Qaeda and with that, sought to achieve the highest media coverage for their crime, thus furthering the reach of Islamic extremism (Fisogni 2013). Criticisms following the

Are efforts to reduce terrorism effective?  243 murder focused on the ability of the state to have prevented the attack, subsequently calling into question the ‘Prevent strategy’ employed by the British government (Thomas 2014). However, Sir Mark Waller, the Intelligence Services Commissioner believed ‘MI5 and SIS’s response . . . was generally good’, despite the criticism, outlining that with the information available to the agencies, the murder could not have been prevented (cited in May 2016).

Global threat Evidently, the threat presented is no longer the distant al-Qaeda fighters in the theatre of war, but ‘individual manifestations’ of similar entities in the West (Cronin 2010). The evolution of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) has, in turn, impacted on the global counterterrorism response (Cronin 2015). York (2015: 78) explains the issues in countering ISIS, in that their military personnel numbers over two hundred thousand – which highlights the potential to directly confront military forces, unlike al-Qaeda. This is evidenced in the invasions of the city of Ramadi and Mosul where the Iraqi Army faced defeat at the hands of ISIS (Ackerman et al. 2014). Despite the increasing strength of ISIS, Bradley and Kesling (2015) highlight an effective counter measure enabled by foreign cooperation, Operation Inherent Resolve, which, incorporating a combination of coalition airstrikes and direct Iraqi military combat, the city of Ramadi was successfully retaken from ISIS. A key source of revenue for ISIS, in terms of state-building and coordinating attacks, is territorial control of oil supplies, which accounts for half of ISIS’s funding (Dearden 2015). This Operation depicts an approach utilised to cut off economic support to ISIS; with the use of intelligence, coalition airstrikes and drone strikes target oilfields within ISIS territory, thereby depriving the terrorist group of revenue, thus reducing the potentiality for attacks (Weaver and Borger 2015). At the time of writing, Operation Inherent Resolve is also playing a part in bringing to an end 2 years of ISIS occupation in Mosul whereby ‘a coalition of Iraqi security personnel, Kurdish fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen, and Shia paramilitary forces . . . and the support of the United States led airstrikes’ began an offensive against the group with the objective of regaining control of the ‘last major ISIS stronghold’ in Iraq (Beale 2016; Dehghanpisheh and Rasheed 2016).

Terrorism and technology Levels of airport screening, the increased use of closed circuit television (CCTV) monitoring and improvements in structural protection and design, are representative of physical security measures utilised with increasing regularity in an attempt to reassure and protect the public at large. However, physical protective measures in themselves cannot and will not prevent a would-be attacker with sufficient commitment, intent and capability. Therefore, mass transit attacks remain popular among terrorist groups; we have seen an attack in Brussels targeting Zaventem Airport and the Maelbeek Metro station where ‘more than 30 people were killed and about 300 were injured in blasts’ (Staufenberg 2016). Transportation remains a prime target, despite the increase in security since 9/11. Critics level the charge that such attacks demonstrate the incompetence and the amateurish calibre of today’s terrorists, but seldom make reference to the fact that successful counter-terror strategies, initiatives and target hardening have pushed them down the road of desperation. Continued abuses of the Internet by terrorist groups inspire new tactics towards counterradicalisation, recruitment and spreading of propaganda online. This is evidenced in the

244  Mark Cochrane and Gabrielle Nugent implementation of the United Kingdom Terrorism Act 2000 and 2006, whereby online ‘attack-planning, fundraising, radicalisation and propaganda’ are subject to prosecution through the United Kingdom criminal justice system (Chen et al. 2015: 7). Hannigan (2014) correctly identifies that ISIS are the ‘first terrorist group whose members have grown up on the Internet’, which enables ease of use and tactics to reach the widest audience possible in order to ‘promote itself, intimidate people, and radicalise new recruits’. In order to debilitate ISIS’s online capabilities, Hannigan (2014) believes cooperation must exist between governments and technology companies. Cooperation with law enforcement from Internet companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has been integral in hindering the spread of propaganda, thus reducing the terrorist threat through increasing opportunities to report extremist rhetoric online (Flynn 2016).

Creation of an appropriate counterterrorism strategy The inaugural United States’ National Strategy for Combating Terrorism 2003 articulated an inclusive vision of partnership to protect the United States and sought to instil public confidence and acquire public support. The strands of this policy sought to ‘Defeat, Deny, Diminish and Defend’ the United States against the terrorist threat with an acknowledgement that success will come only through the sustained, steadfast and systematic application of national power: diplomatic, economic, information, financial, law enforcement, intelligence and military simultaneously across four fronts. Many criticisms have been made of the legislation and how a balancing act needs to take place between separate but important issues of freedom and security (Donohue 2002). The counterterrorism strategy for the United States appears largely effective in relation to combating the funding and territorial advantages of ISIS. Drone strikes, used by the Americans through Operation Inherent Resolve, have a number of advantages in that they are unmanned; therefore, there is no immediate risk to United States military personnel (Hall 2014). The success of the United States drone programme has seen the targeting of ISIS strongholds in Operation Inherent Resolve, debilitating their funding and training mechanisms. However, criticism has been drawn as a result of unintended civilian casualties, while Byman (2013b) explains: ‘critics of drone strikes often fail to take into account the fact that the alternatives are either too risky or unrealistic’. The rationale behind drone warfare is highlighted in the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence report, Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre Report 2012, whereby governments, in the interest of preserving public opinion, limit the number of troops in combat (MoD 2011; Emma 2015). While it is difficult to present how many attacks have been thwarted by drone strikes, the main targets include key figures of ISIS involved in coordinating attacks, such as Boubaker El Hakim, killed in a drone strike in Raqqa following his involvement in the Charlie Hebdo attacks (Ackerman 2016; Reuters 2016).

Public-private partnership in counterterrorism strategy Steps taken to protect various elements critical to national infrastructure are seen in nearly all of the major counterterrorism initiatives introduced, as evidenced by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Infraguard initiative, the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Operation Nexus (Cochrane 2008), and the United Kingdom’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure. Infraguard is a collaborative effort between federal law enforcement and private sector volunteers who represent critical infrastructure bodies, and the initiative has spread across each of the FBI’s 56 field offices. Infraguard has grown significantly since

Are efforts to reduce terrorism effective?  245 the events of 9/11, and has seen an expansion, not only between the private sector and the FBI, but also the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Small Business Administration. The NYPD’s Operation Nexus sees members committed to reporting suspicious business encounters that they believe may be linked to terrorism through the utilisation of their business and industry knowledge. New members to the initiative are supplied with a list of indicators specifically relevant to their business area as a reference point, and liaison visits by detectives to business premises are conducted on a frequent basis and not confined to the New York area. This strategy expands public knowledge of terrorist strategies with the implementation of a public-private partnership. As a direct result, activities indicative of terrorism easily recognisable are flagged to the appropriate agencies.

Professionalisation of counterterrorism structures On 1 October 2002, George Tenet, the then Director of Intelligence and the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), sought to explain the CIA’s apparent failure to anticipate the events of 9/11 by reminding a congressional committee that the previous decade had seen the CIA budget cut by 18 per cent, leading to a 16 per cent reduction of employees across the board (Kessler 2004: 261). This comment is indicative of both how the United States had failed to appreciate the nature and scope of the threat that it faced, and to properly prepare itself for such an event (Gill and Phythian 2006). This has largely been addressed by the overhaul of intelligence agencies, and greater global cooperation, such as the aforementioned Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was established in December  2002 to fulfil three objectives: (1) prevent terrorist attacks in the United States; (2) reduce the United States’ vulnerability to terrorism; and (3) respond to any terrorist attacks and natural disasters that occur. Organisationally, the FBI made the greatest internal changes, moving a significant number of personnel from criminal investigations to counterterrorism duties. In addition, an increase in the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces and the creation of Field Intelligence Groups seek to enhance the function of each field office in counterterrorism work. The FBI has some way to go to become a fully-fledged intelligence organisation, but has stated its willingness to do so and acquire the human intelligence expertise of its European counterparts.

Effective use of legislation Within days of the 9/11 attack, the Bush administration presented proposals to expand prosecutorial and police powers, and Congress introduced 323 bills and resolutions and 21 laws and resolutions relating to the attacks and the War on Terror. Six weeks later, an overwhelming majority in Congress voted for the United and Strengthening America by Providing the Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, better known by its acronym, the PATRIOT Act (Nacos 2008). The Act permits wide-ranging powers that critics have said challenge balancing security, liberty and human rights. In terms of the Contest strategy implemented in the United Kingdom, despite the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre recorded threat level remaining severe, six terror plots were uncovered in 2015. This ‘Pursue, Prevent, Protect, Prepare’ strategy appears broadly successful in that, despite the escalation of the terrorist threat and the evolution of ISIS, there has not been a successfully coordinated mass casualty terror attack on the United Kingdom since the 7/7 bombings.

246  Mark Cochrane and Gabrielle Nugent A direct focus is consistently held on the interception of communications, often online, due to the exploitation of the dark web when recruiting and planning terror attacks. According to Khan (2016) a terrorist attack was uncovered ‘in its final hours’ thanks to cooperation between GCHQ , MI5 and their European counterparts intercepting and analysing over 1600 emails and phone calls successfully identifying a terrorist cell. This highlights the importance of new legislation, such as the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, which assists intelligence services in obtaining crucial information necessary to counter terrorism. In Britain, the Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2015, the use of Temporary Exclusion Orders (whereby a person, including British citizens, can be refused entry into the United Kingdom if suspected of terrorist offences) and the enforcement of the Immigration Act 2014 have all played a part in strengthening areas of security weakness and improving border security with minimal disruption to law-abiding citizens (Norris 2016). Experience has taught us that military and physical force interventions are on their own largely ineffective, and this is the reason that many post-9/11 initiatives have seen significant progress made towards a ‘hearts and minds’ based approach, which was evident in the National Solidarity Programme in Afghanistan (Breen Smyth 2007). Therein can lie the problem: there is a temptation to reinvent the wheel and a refusal to learn from the past. Thankfully, this is not always the case and an impressive example of harnessing lessons learned from the past exists in the Legacy programme in Afghanistan. A United States-funded initiative, whose budget is listed at $45 million for 2010–2011, and administered by the British company, New Century, it seeks to use the experiences of the Royal Ulster Constabulary’s Special Branch in order to train personnel and provide the foundations for a more effective response to terrorism in Afghanistan, while building capacity and sustainability for the Afghan police and military (Intelligence Online 2011).

Conclusion Through the creation and publication of counterterrorism strategies and initiatives, the state has moved from the shadows into the public arena and acknowledgement of the danger we all face and must learn to live with. Such an announcement is designed to share responsibility in countering terrorism and charges society with a duty to assist in this regard. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies alone cannot and will not succeed in this battle. Military might has been erroneously used in the past and using a sledgehammer to crack a nut is counterproductive and plays into the hands of those who seek to provoke repressive acts or kinetic actions by the state. Recognition of the importance of intelligence in this struggle, particularly of human sources, must be developed and pursued as a matter of urgency. Human sources are the strongest and most adaptable weapon in the armoury of the state in its efforts to counter the threat of terrorism, and a heavy investment in their continued use should be encouraged. The protean capability of terrorism to morph and adapt as a living entity will undoubtedly continue to frustrate attempts to thwart and reduce activity, but the use of human intelligence has the potential to tip the balance in our favour. Counterterrorism efforts should continue to be directed not on attempting to defeat the terrorists, but attempting to have the terrorists defeat themselves (Geltzer and Forest 2009). It is important to recognise that the response to the threat we face is complex, multifaceted and a living entity. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, no silver bullet to aid us in what lies ahead. As Gouré (2004: 272) aptly notes: Victory cannot be defined in terms of eradicating terrorism or eliminating risk. This war must be defined in more limited terms. It will consist of reducing the threat of

Are efforts to reduce terrorism effective?  247 terrorism to acceptable levels – levels that allow us to go on with our lives in spite of the fact that new attacks are possible and that we may well see further and more serious tragedies.

NO: ‘using a sledgehammer to crack a nut’ Rachel Monaghan

Introduction There is little doubt that since the events of 9/11 and subsequent terror attacks in Madrid (2004), London (2005) and Paris (2015), the threat posed initially by al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda affiliates, and more recently by Islamic State (IS), remains a considerable one. The current threat level (December 2016) in the United Kingdom in terms of international terrorism is severe, indicating that the Home Office considers the possibility of an attack as highly likely. In the United States, whilst the Homeland Security National Terrorism Advisory System has no alerts, the US Department of State issued a 3-month Europe travel alert on 21 November 2016 alerting its citizens to ‘heightened risks of terrorist attacks throughout Europe’. This chapter  considers the question of whether global efforts to reduce terrorism and political violence have been effective in the post-9/11 era. To this end, it will provide an examination of some of the policies and strategies that have been utilised and consider whether they have resulted in a reduction in terrorist activity.

Counterterrorism approaches Within the literature, efforts to reduce terrorism and political violence have been divided into two broad categories: counterterrorism and anti-terrorism. Counterterrorism involves proactive policies designed to remove either the terrorist environment and/or the groups willing to utilise political violence to achieve their goal(s). Within counterterrorism, we can further identify two approaches in dealing with terrorism. First, hard-line responses bereft of compromise or negotiation. Such responses often involve the use of the military and other repressive measures to eliminate the threat of terrorism (see Chapter 12). Second, soft-line responses involving measures aimed at reducing the terrorist environment through the use of diplomacy or negotiation, the addressing of grievances through social reform and other concessions. In contrast, anti-terrorism refers to defensive measures designed to prevent terrorist attacks and would include enhanced security and target hardening.

Hard-line counterterrorism Following the events of 9/11, a range of hard-line options have been pursued by the United States and its allies, the most obvious of which is the ‘War on Terror’ initiated by the Bush administration. Nine days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush stated in a joint session of Congress: Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated . . . Every

248  Rachel Monaghan nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. (Bush 2001) In early October 2001, Operation Enduring Freedom began with the invasion of Afghanistan and a military campaign against the Taliban regime which had provided a safe haven to al-Qaeda. Whilst in the short term, the operation succeeded in removing the Taliban from power and dispersing al-Qaeda and its leadership, the reality is that the combat mission lasted some 13 years and saw at its peak 140,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan. Coalition military fatalities for the operation numbered 3,485, with US deaths accounting for 68 per cent (icasualities.org, 2015). Over 13,000 troops remain, including nearly 7,000 US personnel under the banner of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, which commenced in 2015 and involves working with allies and partners on the NATO-led Resolute Support mission providing training, advice and assistance to Afghan security personnel/institutions (NATO 2016). Despite the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan, United Nation’s (UN) data for the first 6 months of 2016 saw 1,601 civilians killed and more than 3,000 injured as a result of continued armed conflict. The UN attributed 60  per cent of all civilian casualties to anti-government elements, including the Taliban and IS (UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan 2016). In addition to the operation in Afghanistan, the United States and its allies launched Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003, which was designed ‘to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people’ (Bush 2003). Although Saddam Hussein was removed from power and the Iraqi Armed Forces and Republican Guard defeated in 2003, the allies were met with an insurgency from Iraqis opposed to the occupation of their country and a campaign of terrorism waged by ‘foreign fighters’, including al-Qaeda affiliates (Robben 2010). Political violence in Iraq continues today and estimates of the number of civilians killed vary from 66,000 to over 600,000 (Burnham et al. 2006; Leigh 2010). The emergence of the self-proclaimed IS in 2013 and its rapid capture of territory in both Iraq and Syria in 2014 has led to a global response by a US-led coalition. Operation Inherent Resolve involves some 66 countries and aims to ‘degrade and ultimately defeat’ IS. Some 27 nations contribute militarily, including airstrikes and the training and equipping of local forces (McInnis 2016). Airstrikes against IS in Iraq began in August 2014 and in Syria a month later. The United Kingdom and France have participated in airstrikes against targets in Iraq, and France has joined the likes of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in targeting IS in Syria. Other countries have provided non-military counter-IS assistance; for example, Switzerland donated $9 million of aid to Iraq (McInnis 2016). In tangent with the military operations noted previously, other repressive measures were employed to eliminate terrorism. The core leadership of al-Qaeda was targeted, and in the first 2 years after 9/11, the United States had killed or captured some 20 core members. By 2007, the US government was able to claim to have removed 75 per cent of al-Qaeda’s old leadership, although this did not include bin Laden at the time (Gregg 2009). Since 2002, the United States has employed unmanned aerial vehicles or drones to target suspected terrorist members (see Chapter 13). While such attacks have succeeded in killing al-Qaeda militants, they are also credited with causing civilian casualties and deaths. In 2015, the United Kingdom used drones against British members of IS fighting in Syria. A hard-line approach can also be observed in relation to the treatment of suspected insurgents and terrorists. The use of extraordinary rendition, whereby suspects are abducted and

Are efforts to reduce terrorism effective?  249 held in secret jails or ‘ghost prisons’ located in third countries such as Syria and Egypt, has been used by the United States in its ‘War on Terror’ (Amnesty International 2010). Some 54 countries reportedly participated in the CIA’s rendition programme (Open Society Foundation’s Justice Initiative 2013), and in the post-9/11 era, some ‘100,000 people have been detained for varying lengths of time’ (Rogers 2008: 199). The initial decision by President George W. Bush in 2002 to not recognise Taliban detainees and suspected al-Qaeda members as prisoners of war, and also to deny them the legal provisions of the Third Geneva Convention, meant that ‘the decision to replace well established military doctrine, i.e., legal compliance with the Geneva Conventions, with a policy subject to interpretation, impacted the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody’ (Senate Armed Services Committee 2008: xiii). The Fay Report found abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib jail but concluded that the behaviour was confined to ‘a small number of soldiers’ (BBC News 2004). However, detainees in US military custody in Afghanistan, Iraq and at Guantánamo Bay have been subject not only to mistreatment, but also to the use of aggressive interrogation techniques such as enforced nudity, stress positions and water-boarding (Robben 2010; Senate Armed Services Committee 2008). A Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (2014: 3) report into the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme concluded that ‘the interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others’, and in addition to those techniques already outlined, included rectal hydration and feeding, sleep deprivation of up to 180 hours and the use of confinement boxes.

The legislative approach to counterterrorism In addition to these hard-line approaches involving the military overseas, the domestic arena in both the United States and the United Kingdom has experienced changes in terms of terrorism legislation. In the United States, the PATRIOT Act was passed in October 2001. This enabled greater surveillance by the state (see Chapter 15), including the use of roving wiretaps on telephones and enhanced electronic surveillance such as tapping into email, electronic address books and computers. Additionally, the Act allowed for the deportation of immigrants who engaged in fundraising activities on behalf of terrorist groups and their detention without charge for 7 days on suspicion of supporting terrorism (Martin 2011). In the United Kingdom, amendments to the Terrorism Act 2000 have expanded both the police’s powers and the definition of terrorism. Thus, the government has increased the length of time that suspected terrorists could be held without charge (currently 14 days) and curtailed the movement of people deemed to be a threat to national security, through the use of control orders, and since 2012, by the application of Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation 2015). It is now an offence to incite and/or glorify terrorism, provide assistance to terrorists or provide training in the use of explosives and/or firearms (Klausen 2009). Furthermore, the Counter-terrorism and Security Act 2015 includes provisions aimed at stopping individuals leaving the United Kingdom and travelling to Syria or Iraq, namely, powers to seize passports at the border and temporary exclusion orders designed to stop the return of British citizens to the United Kingdom where they are suspected of terrorist activity abroad (Home Office 2014).

Combining hard-line and soft-line approaches The United Kingdom’s counterterrorism strategy, known as Contest, embodies elements of both hard-line and soft-line approaches aimed at reducing terrorism. Contest stresses a

250  Rachel Monaghan four-pronged response for dealing with terrorism, namely, Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare (HM Government 2006, 2010). The Prevent strand aims to dissuade individuals from becoming involved in terrorism through ‘addressing “structural problems” such as inequality and discrimination, changing “the environment” to deter radicalization (see Chapter  14) and “engaging in the battle of ideas” ’ (Klausen 2009: 406). The second broad category of efforts to reduce terrorism and political violence involves anti-terrorism measures designed to prevent or deter terrorist attacks. For example, key political locations such as the White House (Washington, DC) and Downing Street (London) have restricted vehicular access. As Martin (2011: 275) notes, ‘these measures are not longterm solutions for ending terrorist environments but do serve to provide short-term protection for specific sites’.

Terrorism continues despite counterterrorism efforts Despite the combination of hard-line and soft-line approaches to terrorism and the continued use and development of anti-terrorism measures, terrorism has not gone away over the past 10 years. Indeed, the world has witnessed a number of high-profile attacks in Bali (2002), Madrid (2004), London (2005), Mumbai (2008) and Paris (2015). The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) of global trends and patterns in terrorism utilising data from the Global Terrorism Database attributes 29,376 deaths to terrorism in 2015, up from 3,329 in 2000. Moreover, terrorism remains highly concentrated within just five countries, namely, Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. These countries accounted for 72 per cent of all deaths from terrorism in 2015 (Institute for Economics and Peace 2016). Whilst the hard-line approaches adopted by the United States have resulted in no more 9/11s, some argue that the invasion of Iraq actually saved the organisation from imploding (Bergen 2006). Subsequently, al-Qaeda continues to exist and has morphed to cope with the hostile environment created by the United States and its allies’ ‘War on Terror’ (Hoffman 2009a; Keen 2006). For example, we have seen a proliferation of al-Qaeda affiliates or franchises in Iraq (AQI), in north Africa (AQIM), in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP) and groups such as al-Shabaab in Somalia and the Nusra Front in Syria have pledged their (temporary) allegiance (Humud 2016). IS can trace its roots to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) with the alignment of Jama’at al-Tawhidw’al-Jihad by its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, with al-Qaeda. Following Zarqawi’s death in 2006, the group experienced a decline and rebranded itself in 2013 as IS and is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was a US detainee (Turner 2015). The United States’ kinetic approach to counterterrorism has been criticised by many because it has failed to learn from previous counterterrorism and counter-insurgency operations. For such measures to work, the support and trust of the civilian population must be won, restraint must be exercised with regard to the use of military force directed at the enemy and care taken not to injure and kill civilians (Benjamin 2008). Indeed, there are strong arguments that the use of the military in counterterrorism does not result in a reduction in terrorism, but rather has the opposite effect in that it encourages it. For example, the use of targeted killings results ‘always [in] an upsurge in terrorist or other violent activity. There is a cycle of violence and counter-violence’ (Duyvesteyn 2008: 338). Additionally, the use of the military in counterterrorism fulfils the terrorist aims of ensuring an overreaction by the state to their violence. Gregg (2009) further believes that the ongoing hard-line strategy involving the military has played into the hands of al-Qaeda’s ideology, especially in relation to its claims that Islam is under attack and, therefore, requires

Are efforts to reduce terrorism effective?  251 Muslims to wage jihad in defence of their faith. Thus, Operation Iraqi Freedom ‘has become to some extent a magnet and a cause célèbre for these militants’ (Keen 2006: 88). A similar pattern is emerging with respect to the conflict in Syria. It has become a magnet for foreign fighters; research suggests that up to 10,000 foreign fighters drawn from 74 countries have made their way to both Iraq and Syria (Mapping Militant Organizations 2016). According to McInnis (2016), over 13,000 airstrikes have been launched at IS, yet the group was able to control considerable territory in western Iraq and northern Syria. IS has recognised affiliates in nine countries outside of its base in Iraq and Syria whereby it accepts a pledge of allegiance from a terrorist group and then accepts them as one of its own. For example, Boko Haram in Nigeria pledged its allegiance to IS in March 2015. In addition, the treatment of detainees held in US custody at Abu Ghraib and at Guantánamo Bay has also ‘generated considerable opprobrium throughout the Muslim world and has become a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment and incitement of further anti U.S. violence’ (Hoffman 2009a: 361). In 2003, young British Muslims started to become involved in Islamist terrorism, for example, the unsuccessful ‘Shoe-bomber’ Richard Reid, and Omar Sharif and Asif Hanif who launched a suicide attack in Tel Aviv, Israel. It is estimated that more than 850 people have left the United Kingdom and travelled to either support or fight for jihadist organisations in Syria and Iraq (BBC News 2016). It is argued that the treatment of Muslims in Britain has resulted in the ‘cultivation [of] frustration and resentment that can translate into tacit support for acts of violence, despite the moderate and tolerant nature of the much larger majority’ (Kirby 2007: 422). Their experience of racism, domestic social inequalities, suspicion following 9/11, the generational gap between parents and their children together with radical preachers and the external events in Afghanistan, Iraq and more recently Syria, have all contributed to disaffected and detached Muslims being drawn into the global Islamist cause (Kirby 2007; Maher 2015). The events of 7/7 in London were the result of the radicalisation of four young British Muslims: Hasib Hussain, Mohammad Sidique Khan, Germaine Lindsay and Shehzad Tanweer (Hewitt 2008). In his martyrdom video, Khan explains the reason behind his decision to become a suicide bomber: Our driving motivation doesn’t come from tangible commodities that this world has to offer . . . Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible . . . Until we feel security, you will be our targets. And until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight. (Quoted in Hoffman 2009b: 1103) Echoing Khan, Martin (2011) argues that growing anti-American and Western sentiment is linked to the foreign policies (the actions) of the West, rather than Western values or culture. The United States has also experienced domestic radicalisation cases. According to the Homeland Security Committee (2016), since 9/11, there have been 171 US terrorist cases involving home-grown violent jihadists. Of these cases, which include plotted attacks and attempts to join foreign terrorist organisations, more than 86 per cent have occurred or been disrupted since 2009. Jenkins has noted that ‘overt expressions of [American] Muslim militancy are muted and rare’, but that ‘recruitment and self-recruitment to jihadist terrorism are, however, likely to continue’ ( Jenkins 2010: 12). Speaking in November  2016, the Director General of MI5 (the British intelligence agency tasked with protecting the UK’s national security against threats such as terrorism

252  Rachel Monaghan and espionage), Andrew Parker, said the United Kingdom is facing a significant threat from terrorism and attacks in Britain were to be expected. He acknowledged that 12 terror attacks were thwarted at home in the past 3 years and, much of the agency’s workload is concerned with Islamic terrorism: Currently, the flavour of it is Daesh, or Isil [Islamic State], and we still have the al-Qaida brand. This is something we have to understand: it’s here to stay. It is an enduring threat and it’s at least a generational challenge for us to deal with Syria and Islamic State. (Quoted in Johnson and MacAskill 2016) Reports also suggest that British police are investigating some 600 terrorist plots with 3,000 Islamists being monitored by the state (O’Neill 2015). In the United States, there have been 109 individuals charged in relation to IS since 2014, and in 2016, 29 people were arrested in 16 states (Homeland Security Committee 2016). This suggests that counterterrorism efforts since 9/11 have largely failed to reduce the amount of terrorism and may have actually resulted in more terrorism. The hard-line and soft-line approaches discussed have also resulted in additional costs far beyond their initial targets. The Report of the Eminent Jurists Panel (REJP) on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights (2009) argues that there has been both an ‘erosion’ of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The treatment of suspected insurgents and terrorists, including secret detentions, detention without charge or trial, extraordinary rendition and their mistreatment by their captors, they argue, is not a legitimate counterterrorism response. Indeed, they state that: Such practices are not only inconsistent with established principles of international law, and undermine the values on which free and democratic societies are based, but as the lessons of history show, they put the possibility of short term gains from illegal actions, above the more enduring long term harm that they cause. (REJP 2009: 160) At a national level, research has suggested that some legislation enacted in the aftermath of 9/11 has been used against ‘ordinary’ criminals, political opponents, dissenters and members of minority communities (REJP 2009; Whitaker 2007). Indeed, newspaper reports in the United Kingdom found that local councils were using anti-terror laws to ‘spy’ on local residents, tackle dog fouling, prevent the unlawful selling of pizza and deal with noisy children. Such behaviour undermines the criminal justice system in that the legislation is used arbitrarily and not for its intended purposes, namely, countering terrorism. In some cases, it has resulted in greater state oppression. For example, Mertus and Sajjad (2008) note that the Indian government’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) of 2001 led to human rights violations and politically motivated detentions, whereas China justified a crackdown on Uighur separatists in its ‘war on terror’.

Conclusion Much of the global effort to reduce terrorism and political violence in the past decade has not been effective in either removing the terrorist environment or the groups willing to utilise political violence to achieve their goals. In some instances, the counterterrorism strategy employed has been akin to ‘using a sledgehammer to crack a nut’ and the hard-line

Are efforts to reduce terrorism effective?  253 approaches utilised, especially those measures involving the military and treatment of detainees, have inadvertently provided Islamist terrorists such as al-Qaeda and IS with propaganda coups, boosted their recruitment and inspired others to undertake terrorism. Anti-terrorism measures in themselves cannot and will not prevent a would-be attacker with sufficient commitment, intent and capability, and may lead to the displacement of terrorist attacks on softer, less secure targets such as nightclubs. Perhaps the example of the peace process in Northern Ireland offers us an alternative to the counterterrorism approaches discussed in this chapter whereby soft-line responses aimed at reducing the terrorist environment through the use of negotiation, the addressing of grievances and other concessions has resulted in the ending of the Troubles.

Discussion questions 1 Has 9/11 provoked a securitisation of terrorism? 2 Is the nature of the terrorist threat faced since 9/11 significantly different from the past? Does it require a new approach? 3 How should we measure effectiveness in reducing terrorism and political violence? 4 How should we evaluate the success or failure of counterterrorism since 9/11? What measures or standards should we use in that evaluation? 5 Which should take priority when attempting to counter terrorism  – human rights or national security? 6 Do you consider hard-line or soft-line options to be the most appropriate for countering terrorism today? 7 Are counterterror measures significantly enhanced by establishing partnerships with the private sector? 8 Does public fear of terrorism dictate the response by the state? 9 Can anti-terrorism measures alone prevent terrorism?

Further readings Art, R., and Richardson, L., eds., 2007. Democracy and Counter-Terrorism: Lessons From the Past, Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press. Cochrane, M., 2008. Countering Terrorism Through Intelligence-Led Policing, London: Fulbright Commission. Crelinsten, R., 2009. Counterterrorism, Cambridge: Polity Press. English, R., 2009. Terrorism: How to Respond, Oxford: Oxford University Press. English, R., ed., 2015. Illusions of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gomis, B., 2015, Counterterrorism: Reassessing the Policy Response, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. Hewitt, S., 2008. The British War on Terror, London: Continuum. Nacos, B., 2008. Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: Understanding Threats and Responses in the Post-9/11 World, 2nd ed., New York: Penguin Academics. Wilkinson, P., 2011. Terrorism Versus Democracy, Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

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