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View Full Version : The Puzzle of Terrorism: kill soldiers, not civilians



davidbfpo
04-24-2015, 09:25 PM
A short article by Professor Max Abrahams that argues conventional wisdom is wrong and tactics like leader decapitation do not help:
http://politicalviolenceataglance.org/2015/04/22/why-groups-use-terrorism-a-reassessment-of-the-conventional-wisdom/


Increasingly, empirical evidence has revealed that terrorism is a remarkably ineffective tactic for groups to induce government concessions. ...What I found is that groups are far more likely to attain their demands when their violence is directed not against civilian targets, but military ones... the attacks on civilians actually lower the odds of government concessions.

Referring to another article in a journal he explains why this happens:
It turns out that certain kinds of groups are significantly more likely to attack civilians than others those suffering from leadership deficits in which lower level members are calling the shots. Leadership deficits promote terrorism by empowering lower level members of the organization, who have stronger incentives to harm civilians.

The journal article is openly available on:https://www.academia.edu/5365151/Explaining_Terrorism_Leadership_Deficits_and_Milit ant_Group_Tactics_forthcoming_in_International_Org anization_with_Phil_Potter_

blueblood
05-01-2015, 07:35 AM
A short article by Professor Max Abrahams that argues conventional wisdom is wrong and tactics like leader decapitation do not help:
http://politicalviolenceataglance.org/2015/04/22/why-groups-use-terrorism-a-reassessment-of-the-conventional-wisdom/



Referring to another article in a journal he explains why this happens:

The journal article is openly available on:https://www.academia.edu/5365151/Explaining_Terrorism_Leadership_Deficits_and_Milit ant_Group_Tactics_forthcoming_in_International_Org anization_with_Phil_Potter_


Having read the "leader decapitation never works" theory earlier I will respectfully disagree, again. It is quite possible, he is not differentiating between a terrorist group and an insurgent group. A very blurred line in case of middle east.

IMO, most insurgencies and terrorist groups, like most cults are "personality" centric and since these "personalities" eventually turn into paranoid megalomaniacs they keep other "leaders" of the movement at arms length and keep their growth stunted. When these "personalities are decapitated", their successors find themselves with the toughest job for which are they are not trained for i.e. being charismatic. Case and point, Laden and Jawahiri and also Prabhakran.

You will also find also find striking similarities mentioned above in Indian political parties and underworld gangs. Many parties who gave prime ministers to India do not exist any more and gangs who ruled cities like Mumbai are nowhere to be found.