Cronin Presentation

Cronin Presentation - Decapitation Killing terrorist...

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Decapitation Killing terrorist leaders can either end campaigns, keep campaigns unchanged, or give strength to campaigns Immediate effects of decapitation depend on o Organization’s structure o Degree to which it fosters a cult of personality o Availability of successor o Nature of ideology o Political context o Killing vs. imprisonment (imprisonment can be more damaging b/c of humiliation factor) o Most important: reaction due to effects of removal on potential supporters of both the terrorist campaign and the counterterrorist operation “Propagandist in chief” is important even if he is not directing group’s operations because he provides the rationale for terrorism Terrorist groups lack the strength to use more legitimate forms of violence, so the “PIC” must develop a mobilizing narrative/argument with consistent elements of attraction and repulsion o Overshadows moral qualms about targeting civilians- need articulated sense of political purpose o They must believe there is no alternative to killing; they need good a story and urgency. Grievances are necessary but not sufficient. o They must believe that civilians are not innocent, but are part of “the Enemy” o Compelling leader thrusts followers beyond the threshold of personal doubt and tells them that they are innocent of any harm they do Not all leaders are magnetic ideologues and not all groups require a narrative b/c some have grievances that are enough (ethno-nationalist grievance groups with diffuse leadership). But, when a leader is identifiable, states have trouble resisting targeting him impulse, but not necessarily for right reasons Counterterrorism policy often involves “mirror imaging” that views the enemy in the same hierarchical terms as the counterterrorism state (a group that is directed towards a leader) Some leaders are mere figureheads, some carry out attacks themselves
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Decapitation means “the removal by arrest or assassination of the top leaders or operational leaders of a group” o Capturing gives the idea of justice, and that he deserves a fail trial o Killing treats his as a combatant—fair game for attack Arrest and prosecution of top leaders is optimal in an ideal world o Profiles leaders as criminals and emphasizes justice and rule of law o His fate is demonstrated to the public o Shows illegality and immorality of the act o Even if the people believe in the legitimacy of the cause, they can see the illegitimacy of the violence used in its name b/c of legal mechanisms o Changes them from “combatants” to “criminals” o Arrest can cause succession struggle in group b/c the leader is alive o Interrogating leaders can provide intelligence on rest of group There are practical disadvantages to arrest and incarceration o Legal system may free them on technicalities o They may be able to communicate w/ group from prison o They may be released and cause more damage o They may become more radicalized o Liability for citizens of state holding them—kidnapping and blackmailing to encourage
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Cronin Presentation - Decapitation Killing terrorist...

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