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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55644
Doc. No:TL25598
Call number:‭NR50068‬
Main Entry:Alexandre S. Wilner
Title & Author:Deterring the undeterrable: The theory and practice of coercing terroristsAlexandre S. Wilner
College:Dalhousie University (Canada)
Date:2009
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2009
Page No:323-n/a
Abstract:Deterrence theory predicts that an attack can be prevented if a defender communicates a clear, costly, and credible retaliatory threat that persuades an opponent that the costs of the attack outweigh possible benefits. While deterrence has received detailed treatment in inter-state relations, research on the application of deterrence to counterterrorism has received little systematic analysis. The impasse stems from the mistaken belief that terrorist groups are irrational, suicidal, religiously fanatical organizations with no hierarchy or territorial base. Conventional wisdom leads to the unsettling conclusion that terrorists remain undeterrable. However, this dissertation develops a more robust understanding of terrorism that, when combined with a broadened appreciation of deterrence logic, leads to a number of strategies to influence terrorist behaviour. Terrorist groups are human organizations with rational leaders that are compelled to recruit, train, arm, and fund followers, while pursuing specific objectives. They use a number of coercive tactics and depend on state and non-state actors for financial, popular, ideological, and diplomatic support. These features provide opportunities for imposing costs within terrorist systems such that some form of punitive action can conceivably influence components of the terrorist threat. One such strategy involves selectively targeting and eliminating terrorist leaders and facilitators. While targeted eliminations are politically, legally, and morally contentious, their use has nonetheless become a well-worn counterterrorism tactic, applied by a number of states in a multitude of conflicts. This dissertation evaluates the deterrent effects of targeted killing in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan with a cross-case comparative analysis of four specific targeted eliminations. Findings suggest that these and other targeted killings have had an impact on the Taliban's overall professionalism and coercive ability, influencing the type, ferocity, and nature of the organization's activities. More broadly, by demonstrating that the cumulative effects of targeted killings have a behavioural impact on terrorist activity, this study informs, tests, and validates deterrence theory in relation to counterterrorism, challenges existing scholarship on the subject, and suggests avenues for further investigation.
Subject:Social sciences; Terrorists; Deterrence; Counterterrorism; Afghanistan; Targeted killing; Political science; International law; Terrorism; Political theory; National security; 0615:Political science; 0616:International law
Added Entry:Dalhousie University (Canada)