HOW TERRORISM ENDS: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns

Article excerpt

HOW TERRORISM ENDS: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns, Audrey Kurth Cronin, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2009, 206 pages, $29.95.

How Terrorism Ends lays out the intellectual framework and crucial points that lead to the demise of many terrorists organizations, focusing on how terrorist organizations end and how nations might develop strategies and goals that could help lead to that end. One of Cronin's major points is that fewer than five percent of terrorist campaigns succeed. Killing civilians does not seem to be a promising way to achieve political aims.

Cronin addresses six ways in which terrorist organizations can end-capturing or killing the group's leader, entering a legitimate political process, achieving the group's aims, implosion, or loss of the group's public support, defeat by brute force, and transition from terrorism to another form of violence.

Some of Cronin's findings are quite interesting. For example, most terrorist organizations last less than eight years; killing a terrorist leader may not damage the group as much as arresting him, especially if he is humiliated before the public and sentenced to prison; states negotiate with terrorists because they want the conflict to end, while the terrorist organization often does not; and finally, terrorist organizations often fail because their violence against the civilian populace ends up provoking popular revulsion against them. …