Taking on terrorists
Aug 16th 2008
Is military force the best means to defeat terrorist groups?
MANY studies have asked how terrorist groups are born; relatively few have described how such groups are best put out of business.
RAND concludes that police sleuthing and more intelligence work are often more useful methods when tackling smaller groups and organisations—perhaps including al-Qaeda—that operate in the shadows. Of the 268 terrorist organisations that folded, the most common reason was a change of method in favour of a political process. This happened in 43% of cases and was mainly possible where groups had specific goals that might be accommodated. A similar number of groups—some 40%—were dismantled with the help of police and intelligence work.