andrewlb notes

Rules for Rebels

Rules for Rebels

Metadata

  • Author: Max Abrahms
  • Full Title: Rules for Rebels
  • Category: #books

Highlights

  • What nearly all militants have in common is that their grievances exceed their capability to redress them. (Location 110)
  • The history of militant groups is thus a story about failure. (Location 112)
  • Daniel Byman and Ken Pollack have remarked, “Political scientists contend that individuals ultimately do not matter, or at least they count for little in the major events that shape international politics.” (Location 131)
  • “There comes an hour when protest no longer suffices. After philosophy, there must be action. The strong hand finishes what the idea has planned.”17 (Location 156)
  • The Islamic State was bolstered by the largest influx of international jihadis in history. Over 40,000 foreign fighters from 110 countries headed to Syria and Iraq, more than four times the number of mujahedeen who had traveled to Afghanistan to battle the Red Army in the 1980s. (Location 189)
  • The international media was quick to crown Islamic State leaders as terrorist masterminds. The Guardian credited its apparent feats to “highly intelligent leaders calling the shots.”33 In a story entitled “Military Skill and Terrorist Technique Fuel Success of ISIS,” the New York Times gushed that the group’s “battlefield successes” were due to the “pedigree of its leadership.” The story concluded, “These guys know the terrorism business inside and out.”34 The Financial Times claimed that “ISIS is chillingly smart.”35 So, too, did the Washington Post, which described ISIS as “wildly successful” with its “calculated madness.”36 Vox likewise extolled ISIS as a “calculating, strategic organization.”37 The Los Angeles Times went even further, exalting ISIS leaders for having evidently “perfected their operations.”38 The word “sophisticated” was bandied about from The Wall Street Journal to Foreign Policy to characterize the “evil genius” of Baghdadi and his lieutenants.39 If ever there was a smart, strategic militant group, Islamic State was apparently it. (Location 199)
  • In a story called “How the Islamic State’s Massive PR Campaign Secured its Rise,” an anti-Russia think tank known as Bellingcat explained that their “Public relations programs are perhaps singlehandedly responsible for their success in both recruiting foreigners, and even seizing control of sizeable swaths of land in Iraq and Syria.” (Location 269)
  • Smart militant leaders do three simple things for victory: 1. They recognize that not all violence is equal for achieving their stated political goals. In fact, smart leaders grasp that some attacks should be carefully avoided because they hurt the cause. (Location 342)
  • Compared to more selective violence against military and other government targets, indiscriminate violence against civilian targets lowers the likelihood of political success. So, the first thing smart militants do is recognize that civilian attacks are a recipe for political failure. (Location 346)
  • The second rule is to actively restrain lower-level members from committing it. (Location 360)
  • Centralizing the organization is invaluable for educating fighters about which targets to avoid, disciplining wayward operatives for harming civilians, and vetting out members who seem prone to undermining the cause with terrorism. (Location 362)
  • And the third rule for rebels is to distance the organization from terrorism whenever subordinates flout their targeting guidelines by attacking civilians. (Location 364)
  • smart rebels learn that tactical moderation pays, restrain lower-level members so they comply, and mitigate the reputational costs even when they don’t. (Location 367)
  • my research reveals that civilian attacks backfire by lowering the prospects of government concessions—not to mention organizational survival. (Location 410)
  • These three rules for rebels—learning, restraining, and branding to win—are the secrets for victory. (Location 436)
  • Every Palestinian I met seemed depressed; the wall shattered their dreams of a viable independent state. (Location 644)
  • In “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” Robert Pape contends in his now-famous study in the American Political Science Review that terrorism is a “strategic decision by leaders of the terrorist organizations” who “have learned that it works” based on “quite reasonable assessments of the outcomes.”3 (Location 646)
  • My focus has been on what I have dubbed as the outcome goals of militants rather than their process goals. Process goals are intended to sustain the group by securing financial support, attracting media attention, scuttling organization-threatening peace processes, or boosting membership and morale, often by provoking government overreaction. The outcome goals of militants, by contrast, are their stated political ends, such as the realization of a Palestinian homeland, the removal of foreign bases from Greece, or the establishment of Islamism in India. An important difference between process goals and outcome goals is that unlike the former, the latter can only be achieved with the compliance of the target government. (Location 678)
    • Note: This is a useful frame
  • Even jihadists claim to value outcome goals. For all the talk about Islamist nihilism, “Jihadism conceives of jihad in strategic terms.” Jihad expert Nelly Lahoud explains, “Despite the theological framework that governs the rhetoric for some jihadi ideologues … they want Islam to be instrumental to strategic/political change.”20 (Location 700)
  • Disaggregating the FTOs by target selection yields an important insight—terrorism has been the tactic of choice for political losers if you restrict the definition to civilian-centric violence, as most scholars do.2 (Location 955)
  • To assess the effect of terrorism on government concessions, I created a dataset based on the campaigns waged by every group designated before 2010 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. This timeframe is intentional to give the militant groups sufficient time to achieve their outcome goals. My sample consists of the 125 campaigns waged by these fifty-four groups to achieve their political platforms, as specified in RAND’s Terrorism Knowledge Base. (Location 972)
  • For these data, I rely on RAND’s Terrorism Knowledge Base, the Center for Defense Information’s Terrorism Project, and Assaf Moghadam’s suicide mission dataset. (Location 1012)
  • whereas guerrilla campaigns are a productive way for groups to compel at least partial compliance, terrorist campaigns are an almost surefire way to obtain no concessions at all.23 (Location 1080)
  • International Terrorism: Attributes of Terrorist Events (ITERATE) contains fine-grained data on over a thousand international hostage situations between 1968 and 2005 in which militant groups adopted a variety of tactical approaches to pressure governments into accommodating their demands. (Location 1165)
  • these tests strongly suggest that terrorism is not just a strategy for losers, but a losing strategy. That is, civilian attacks aren’t just correlated with political failure; they help to cause it. (Location 1379)
  • I’ve introduced the distinction between what I call terrorism splitters versus terrorism lumpers.1 Splitters define terrorism narrowly, as the use of violence against civilian targets in particular. Lumpers, by contrast, employ an expansive definition of terrorism, brooking no distinction between this tactic and guerrilla attacks against military and other government targets. (Location 1392)
  • Far from illustrating the strategic benefits of terrorism, the “collateral damage” nearly destroyed the Irgun and its Zionist aspirations. (Location 1460)
  • The British responded to the hotel attack with Operation Shark—the largest search-and-seizure exercise against the group. The terrorism specialist, Audrey Cronin, describes the fallout from the hotel bombing, “Public reactions to the bombing were universally critical, including among the Jewish population in Palestine, and the backlash nearly led to the destruction of the Irgun.”25 The Haganah, the principal Jewish group in Palestine, blasted the civilian casualties because they only “facilitate the government’s war on the Zionist enterprise and hinder our crucial struggle.”26 The withdrawal from Mandatory Palestine is thus hardly a strong example of terrorism paying because the Irgun targeted military personnel, tried to spare British civilians, and the accidental carnage only seems to have put Zionist goals at risk. (Location 1461)
  • There’s considerable evidence that terrorists themselves have overrated the political effectiveness of terrorism by drawing false analogies from historically successful guerrilla campaigns. (Location 1508)
  • The claim that 11-M successfully coerced Spain into withdrawing from Iraq is based on the counterfactual argument that Zapatero would have lost the election without the attack, which is unclear from the polling data. (Location 1633)
  • Exceptions are bound to pop up, but rebels would be wise to take it easy on the smoking and terrorism if they want to enjoy the spoils of victory into old age. (Location 1656)
  • In the 1990s, the Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling noted, “Terrorism almost never appears to accomplish anything politically significant.” (Location 1665)
  • In theory, terrorism functions as a political communication strategy. The violence amplifies the demands of the perpetrators and signals the costs of noncompliance. Terrorism supposedly pressures concessions when the expected cost of compliance is lower than the anticipated cost from the violence. In other words, terrorism succeeds when the government determines that it’s better off granting the demands of the perpetrators than incurring their continued wrath.1 In reality, though, terrorism struggles to coerce concessions precisely because it’s a flawed communication strategy. (Location 1812)
  • the 1980s, Michael Kelly and Thomas Mitchell did a content analysis of 158 terrorist incidents covered in the New York Times and the Times of London. The terrorism seemed to “sap … its political content” as “less than 10 percent of the coverage in either newspaper dealt in even the most superficial way with the grievances of the terrorists.”16 (Location 1849)
  • the act of terrorism itself impedes perpetrators from conveying their preferences, undermining the communicative and thus political value. (Location 1871)
  • Terrorism is a faulty political communication strategy because of a newfound cognitive heuristic in international affairs that I’ve coined as the Correspondence of Means and Ends bias.21 (Location 1872)
  • the bias posits that citizens draw a direct correspondence between the extreme means of their adversary and its extreme ends. Notwithstanding the nature of their actual demands, terrorists are thus seen as harboring radical political preferences by dint of their tactics. (Location 1878)
  • This cognitive bias kills off any incentive for target countries to negotiate because terrorists are perceived as unappeasable extremists even when their demands are surprisingly moderate. (Location 1881)
  • This simple experiment elucidates how pain may strengthen the credibility of a threat but weaken the credibility of the promise to remove it, negating the logic of negotiations. This experiment helps to explain my finding of why target countries are so reluctant to compromise with terrorists. (Location 1947)
  • The British journalist, Robert Fisk, likewise observed that Americans fixated on the terrorist carnage, but “not in a single press statement, press conference, or interview did a U.S. leader or diplomat explain why the enemies of America hate America.” (Location 2055)
  • The violence supposedly functions as an effective political communication strategy that broadcasts the demands of the perpetrator, signals the costs of ignoring them, and ultimately induces concessions to stave off future pain. In reality, terrorism is a losing instrument of coercion precisely because it’s an inherently flawed communication strategy. (Location 2149)
  • Civilian attacks jeopardize the existence of organizations by eroding their supporters including both active and prospective members of the group. (Location 2341)
  • “father of international law,” Vitoria reasoned that women and children are illegitimate targets because they abstained from battle. (Location 2357)
  • “audience costs.” What this means is that offenders get punished for unpopular behavior usually in the form of reduced support.23 (Location 2393)
  • As the community organizer, Saul Alinsky, eloquently put it, “Men will act when they are convinced that their cause is 100 percent on the side of the angels and that the opposition are 100 percent on the side of the devil.” (Location 2415)
  • The political scientists, Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, demonstrate that less violent resistance groups have historically attracted many more members because the “the moral, physical … barriers to participation are much lower.”28 (Location 2435)
  • According to Al Qaeda strategist, Abu Musab al-Suri, this backlash was “the greatest failing of the entire jihadist experience without exception.” (Location 2475)
  • One study analyzed a sample of 103 rebel groups around the world from 1989 to 2010; those that eschewed terrorism were about 20 percent more likely to successfully lobby international bodies like the UN to gain official legitimacy. In Burma, for example, the Karenni rebels issued a statement highlighting how they incorporated “all international treaties and Geneva Conventions” into its charter. (Location 2497)
  • There’s no shortage of evidence that safeguarding civilians has historically helped groups to grow their membership rosters by attracting more recruits and allies both locally and internationally. (Location 2502)
  • Belgium joined the air campaign in Iraq after an ISIS fighter shot up the Brussels Jewish museum in May 2015.50 Canada joined the munitions party, dropping 500-pound laser-guided bombs on the group in Fallujah after an ISIS fighter rammed his car into a shopping center in Quebec.51 Prime Minister David Cameron authorized blistering strikes against ISIS the next month after a soldier of the caliphate went on a shooting rampage in a tourist resort outside of Sousse, Tunisia, killing thirty British vacationers.52 When (Location 2514)
  • In sum, terrorism has been such a disaster for militant groups that they’re frequently seen as hapless victims whether their goals are to coerce concessions or just stay alive. (Location 2593)
  • Abu Bakr Naji’s 2004 internet hit, Management of Savagery. Circulated in PDF format online, Savagery offered a political roadmap that the ISIS leadership meticulously followed. (Location 2832)
  • To be fair to Naji, though, ISIS strategy came from other sources as well. In addition to Savagery, Abu Abdullah al-Muhajjer’s Jurisprudence of Jihad and Abdel-Qader Ibn Abdel-Aziz’s Essentials of Making Ready (for Jihad) also inform ISIS strategy, or lack thereof. The key to political success in all these manifestos is a torrent (Location 2871)
  • In his autobiography from inside the Provisional Irish Republican Army, Eamon Collins conceded that whenever members “accidentally killed an innocent man,” it put the movement “in a bad light.” (Location 2922)
  • the GIA’s violent excesses spurred its regional commander, Hassan Hattab, to create an offshoot called the Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le Combat (GSPC) that differed in a critical way—its restraint towards civilians. (Location 2953)
  • Matthew Levitt notes that Al Qaeda’s plight after 9/11 convinced Hezbollah leaders “to roll back its international operations and keep its efforts to strike at Israeli targets as focused and limited as possible.” Although it will continue to threaten Israel for the foreseeable future, Hezbollah made the “strategic decision” after 9/11 to invest more heavily in its standing militia than its cadre of international terrorists who have historically exhibited less targeting restraint.74 (Location 2975)
  • At the American detention facility in Iraq known as Camp Bucca, about 80 percent of the jihadists were assessed as “largely ignorant about Islam.”4 The political Islam expert, Olivier Roy, estimates that around 70 percent of jihadists have “scant knowledge of Islam.” (Location 3224)
  • The sociologist, Sidney Tarrow, noted of nineteenth-century French labor protesters, “As they faced off against hostile troops or national guardsmen, the defenders of a barricade came to know each other as comrades … and formed social networks.” (Location 3287)
  • A study of foreign fighters in Syria finds that they tend to be “thrill seekers,” looking to take “a harrowing adventure” and “engage in action while enjoying a certain level of impunity.”40 (Location 3312)
  • In general, the leaders are more politically motivated than the rank-and-file, which often prioritizes the benefits of participation itself as anticipated in the natural systems model. This divergence in priorities creates an obvious principal–agent problem for leaders intent on wielding violence in a manner that optimizes their political objectives. (Location 3329)
  • For other leaders, though, their erudition extends to the study of political violence. As Pierre Vallières of the FLQ acknowledged: “I studied in particular the writings and deeds of the revolutionaries of our time: Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Mao Tse-tung, Castro, and Che Guevara.”67 The ANC leader, Mac Maharaj, self-consciously “took a leaf out of the copybook of the Vietnamese struggle.”68 Mandela studied the FLN for strategy because “the situation in Algeria was the closest model to our own in that the rebels faced a large white settler community that ruled the indigenous majority.”69 Luis Taruc, the commander-in-chief of the Huks, styled his campaign in the Philippines on the Chinese Communist guerrillas, using Edgar Snow’s Red Star Over China as a textbook.70 In “Problems and Prospects of Revolution in Nepal,” the founder of the Communist Party of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahalm, explicitly draws upon the writings of Chairman Mao and other revolutionaries.71 A leader named Monimambu of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola said: “Our struggle is not an isolated one. We [are] profiting from the experience of others. We must learn from the Chinese, etc. But now the most advanced form of guerrilla struggle is in Vietnam.”72 (Location 3385)
    • Note: Education and permutation of a style
  • IntelCenter is a private contractor based in Alexandria, Virginia, that provides access to thousands of propaganda videos from militant groups around the world. This resource has been used primarily by counterterrorism practitioners, but also some academics.103 (Location 3482)
    • Note: Source

public: true

title: Rules for Rebels longtitle: Rules for Rebels author: Max Abrahms url: , source: kindle last_highlight: 2020-02-03 type: books tags:

Rules for Rebels

rw-book-cover

Metadata

  • Author: Max Abrahms
  • Full Title: Rules for Rebels
  • Category: #books

Highlights

  • What nearly all militants have in common is that their grievances exceed their capability to redress them. (Location 110)
  • The history of militant groups is thus a story about failure. (Location 112)
  • Daniel Byman and Ken Pollack have remarked, “Political scientists contend that individuals ultimately do not matter, or at least they count for little in the major events that shape international politics.” (Location 131)
  • “There comes an hour when protest no longer suffices. After philosophy, there must be action. The strong hand finishes what the idea has planned.”17 (Location 156)
  • The Islamic State was bolstered by the largest influx of international jihadis in history. Over 40,000 foreign fighters from 110 countries headed to Syria and Iraq, more than four times the number of mujahedeen who had traveled to Afghanistan to battle the Red Army in the 1980s. (Location 189)
  • The international media was quick to crown Islamic State leaders as terrorist masterminds. The Guardian credited its apparent feats to “highly intelligent leaders calling the shots.”33 In a story entitled “Military Skill and Terrorist Technique Fuel Success of ISIS,” the New York Times gushed that the group’s “battlefield successes” were due to the “pedigree of its leadership.” The story concluded, “These guys know the terrorism business inside and out.”34 The Financial Times claimed that “ISIS is chillingly smart.”35 So, too, did the Washington Post, which described ISIS as “wildly successful” with its “calculated madness.”36 Vox likewise extolled ISIS as a “calculating, strategic organization.”37 The Los Angeles Times went even further, exalting ISIS leaders for having evidently “perfected their operations.”38 The word “sophisticated” was bandied about from The Wall Street Journal to Foreign Policy to characterize the “evil genius” of Baghdadi and his lieutenants.39 If ever there was a smart, strategic militant group, Islamic State was apparently it. (Location 199)
  • In a story called “How the Islamic State’s Massive PR Campaign Secured its Rise,” an anti-Russia think tank known as Bellingcat explained that their “Public relations programs are perhaps singlehandedly responsible for their success in both recruiting foreigners, and even seizing control of sizeable swaths of land in Iraq and Syria.” (Location 269)
  • Smart militant leaders do three simple things for victory: 1. They recognize that not all violence is equal for achieving their stated political goals. In fact, smart leaders grasp that some attacks should be carefully avoided because they hurt the cause. (Location 342)
  • Compared to more selective violence against military and other government targets, indiscriminate violence against civilian targets lowers the likelihood of political success. So, the first thing smart militants do is recognize that civilian attacks are a recipe for political failure. (Location 346)
  • The second rule is to actively restrain lower-level members from committing it. (Location 360)
  • Centralizing the organization is invaluable for educating fighters about which targets to avoid, disciplining wayward operatives for harming civilians, and vetting out members who seem prone to undermining the cause with terrorism. (Location 362)
  • And the third rule for rebels is to distance the organization from terrorism whenever subordinates flout their targeting guidelines by attacking civilians. (Location 364)
  • smart rebels learn that tactical moderation pays, restrain lower-level members so they comply, and mitigate the reputational costs even when they don’t. (Location 367)
  • my research reveals that civilian attacks backfire by lowering the prospects of government concessions—not to mention organizational survival. (Location 410)
  • These three rules for rebels—learning, restraining, and branding to win—are the secrets for victory. (Location 436)
  • Every Palestinian I met seemed depressed; the wall shattered their dreams of a viable independent state. (Location 644)
  • In “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” Robert Pape contends in his now-famous study in the American Political Science Review that terrorism is a “strategic decision by leaders of the terrorist organizations” who “have learned that it works” based on “quite reasonable assessments of the outcomes.”3 (Location 646)
  • My focus has been on what I have dubbed as the outcome goals of militants rather than their process goals. Process goals are intended to sustain the group by securing financial support, attracting media attention, scuttling organization-threatening peace processes, or boosting membership and morale, often by provoking government overreaction. The outcome goals of militants, by contrast, are their stated political ends, such as the realization of a Palestinian homeland, the removal of foreign bases from Greece, or the establishment of Islamism in India. An important difference between process goals and outcome goals is that unlike the former, the latter can only be achieved with the compliance of the target government. (Location 678)
    • Note: This is a useful frame
  • Even jihadists claim to value outcome goals. For all the talk about Islamist nihilism, “Jihadism conceives of jihad in strategic terms.” Jihad expert Nelly Lahoud explains, “Despite the theological framework that governs the rhetoric for some jihadi ideologues … they want Islam to be instrumental to strategic/political change.”20 (Location 700)
  • Disaggregating the FTOs by target selection yields an important insight—terrorism has been the tactic of choice for political losers if you restrict the definition to civilian-centric violence, as most scholars do.2 (Location 955)
  • To assess the effect of terrorism on government concessions, I created a dataset based on the campaigns waged by every group designated before 2010 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. This timeframe is intentional to give the militant groups sufficient time to achieve their outcome goals. My sample consists of the 125 campaigns waged by these fifty-four groups to achieve their political platforms, as specified in RAND’s Terrorism Knowledge Base. (Location 972)
  • For these data, I rely on RAND’s Terrorism Knowledge Base, the Center for Defense Information’s Terrorism Project, and Assaf Moghadam’s suicide mission dataset. (Location 1012)
  • whereas guerrilla campaigns are a productive way for groups to compel at least partial compliance, terrorist campaigns are an almost surefire way to obtain no concessions at all.23 (Location 1080)
  • International Terrorism: Attributes of Terrorist Events (ITERATE) contains fine-grained data on over a thousand international hostage situations between 1968 and 2005 in which militant groups adopted a variety of tactical approaches to pressure governments into accommodating their demands. (Location 1165)
  • these tests strongly suggest that terrorism is not just a strategy for losers, but a losing strategy. That is, civilian attacks aren’t just correlated with political failure; they help to cause it. (Location 1379)
  • I’ve introduced the distinction between what I call terrorism splitters versus terrorism lumpers.1 Splitters define terrorism narrowly, as the use of violence against civilian targets in particular. Lumpers, by contrast, employ an expansive definition of terrorism, brooking no distinction between this tactic and guerrilla attacks against military and other government targets. (Location 1392)
  • Far from illustrating the strategic benefits of terrorism, the “collateral damage” nearly destroyed the Irgun and its Zionist aspirations. (Location 1460)
  • The British responded to the hotel attack with Operation Shark—the largest search-and-seizure exercise against the group. The terrorism specialist, Audrey Cronin, describes the fallout from the hotel bombing, “Public reactions to the bombing were universally critical, including among the Jewish population in Palestine, and the backlash nearly led to the destruction of the Irgun.”25 The Haganah, the principal Jewish group in Palestine, blasted the civilian casualties because they only “facilitate the government’s war on the Zionist enterprise and hinder our crucial struggle.”26 The withdrawal from Mandatory Palestine is thus hardly a strong example of terrorism paying because the Irgun targeted military personnel, tried to spare British civilians, and the accidental carnage only seems to have put Zionist goals at risk. (Location 1461)
  • There’s considerable evidence that terrorists themselves have overrated the political effectiveness of terrorism by drawing false analogies from historically successful guerrilla campaigns. (Location 1508)
  • The claim that 11-M successfully coerced Spain into withdrawing from Iraq is based on the counterfactual argument that Zapatero would have lost the election without the attack, which is unclear from the polling data. (Location 1633)
  • Exceptions are bound to pop up, but rebels would be wise to take it easy on the smoking and terrorism if they want to enjoy the spoils of victory into old age. (Location 1656)
  • In the 1990s, the Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling noted, “Terrorism almost never appears to accomplish anything politically significant.” (Location 1665)
  • In theory, terrorism functions as a political communication strategy. The violence amplifies the demands of the perpetrators and signals the costs of noncompliance. Terrorism supposedly pressures concessions when the expected cost of compliance is lower than the anticipated cost from the violence. In other words, terrorism succeeds when the government determines that it’s better off granting the demands of the perpetrators than incurring their continued wrath.1 In reality, though, terrorism struggles to coerce concessions precisely because it’s a flawed communication strategy. (Location 1812)
  • the 1980s, Michael Kelly and Thomas Mitchell did a content analysis of 158 terrorist incidents covered in the New York Times and the Times of London. The terrorism seemed to “sap … its political content” as “less than 10 percent of the coverage in either newspaper dealt in even the most superficial way with the grievances of the terrorists.”16 (Location 1849)
  • the act of terrorism itself impedes perpetrators from conveying their preferences, undermining the communicative and thus political value. (Location 1871)
  • Terrorism is a faulty political communication strategy because of a newfound cognitive heuristic in international affairs that I’ve coined as the Correspondence of Means and Ends bias.21 (Location 1872)
  • the bias posits that citizens draw a direct correspondence between the extreme means of their adversary and its extreme ends. Notwithstanding the nature of their actual demands, terrorists are thus seen as harboring radical political preferences by dint of their tactics. (Location 1878)
  • This cognitive bias kills off any incentive for target countries to negotiate because terrorists are perceived as unappeasable extremists even when their demands are surprisingly moderate. (Location 1881)
  • This simple experiment elucidates how pain may strengthen the credibility of a threat but weaken the credibility of the promise to remove it, negating the logic of negotiations. This experiment helps to explain my finding of why target countries are so reluctant to compromise with terrorists. (Location 1947)
  • The British journalist, Robert Fisk, likewise observed that Americans fixated on the terrorist carnage, but “not in a single press statement, press conference, or interview did a U.S. leader or diplomat explain why the enemies of America hate America.” (Location 2055)
  • The violence supposedly functions as an effective political communication strategy that broadcasts the demands of the perpetrator, signals the costs of ignoring them, and ultimately induces concessions to stave off future pain. In reality, terrorism is a losing instrument of coercion precisely because it’s an inherently flawed communication strategy. (Location 2149)
  • Civilian attacks jeopardize the existence of organizations by eroding their supporters including both active and prospective members of the group. (Location 2341)
  • “father of international law,” Vitoria reasoned that women and children are illegitimate targets because they abstained from battle. (Location 2357)
  • “audience costs.” What this means is that offenders get punished for unpopular behavior usually in the form of reduced support.23 (Location 2393)
  • As the community organizer, Saul Alinsky, eloquently put it, “Men will act when they are convinced that their cause is 100 percent on the side of the angels and that the opposition are 100 percent on the side of the devil.” (Location 2415)
  • The political scientists, Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, demonstrate that less violent resistance groups have historically attracted many more members because the “the moral, physical … barriers to participation are much lower.”28 (Location 2435)
  • According to Al Qaeda strategist, Abu Musab al-Suri, this backlash was “the greatest failing of the entire jihadist experience without exception.” (Location 2475)
  • One study analyzed a sample of 103 rebel groups around the world from 1989 to 2010; those that eschewed terrorism were about 20 percent more likely to successfully lobby international bodies like the UN to gain official legitimacy. In Burma, for example, the Karenni rebels issued a statement highlighting how they incorporated “all international treaties and Geneva Conventions” into its charter. (Location 2497)
  • There’s no shortage of evidence that safeguarding civilians has historically helped groups to grow their membership rosters by attracting more recruits and allies both locally and internationally. (Location 2502)
  • Belgium joined the air campaign in Iraq after an ISIS fighter shot up the Brussels Jewish museum in May 2015.50 Canada joined the munitions party, dropping 500-pound laser-guided bombs on the group in Fallujah after an ISIS fighter rammed his car into a shopping center in Quebec.51 Prime Minister David Cameron authorized blistering strikes against ISIS the next month after a soldier of the caliphate went on a shooting rampage in a tourist resort outside of Sousse, Tunisia, killing thirty British vacationers.52 When (Location 2514)
  • In sum, terrorism has been such a disaster for militant groups that they’re frequently seen as hapless victims whether their goals are to coerce concessions or just stay alive. (Location 2593)
  • Abu Bakr Naji’s 2004 internet hit, Management of Savagery. Circulated in PDF format online, Savagery offered a political roadmap that the ISIS leadership meticulously followed. (Location 2832)
  • To be fair to Naji, though, ISIS strategy came from other sources as well. In addition to Savagery, Abu Abdullah al-Muhajjer’s Jurisprudence of Jihad and Abdel-Qader Ibn Abdel-Aziz’s Essentials of Making Ready (for Jihad) also inform ISIS strategy, or lack thereof. The key to political success in all these manifestos is a torrent (Location 2871)
  • In his autobiography from inside the Provisional Irish Republican Army, Eamon Collins conceded that whenever members “accidentally killed an innocent man,” it put the movement “in a bad light.” (Location 2922)
  • the GIA’s violent excesses spurred its regional commander, Hassan Hattab, to create an offshoot called the Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le Combat (GSPC) that differed in a critical way—its restraint towards civilians. (Location 2953)
  • Matthew Levitt notes that Al Qaeda’s plight after 9/11 convinced Hezbollah leaders “to roll back its international operations and keep its efforts to strike at Israeli targets as focused and limited as possible.” Although it will continue to threaten Israel for the foreseeable future, Hezbollah made the “strategic decision” after 9/11 to invest more heavily in its standing militia than its cadre of international terrorists who have historically exhibited less targeting restraint.74 (Location 2975)
  • At the American detention facility in Iraq known as Camp Bucca, about 80 percent of the jihadists were assessed as “largely ignorant about Islam.”4 The political Islam expert, Olivier Roy, estimates that around 70 percent of jihadists have “scant knowledge of Islam.” (Location 3224)
  • The sociologist, Sidney Tarrow, noted of nineteenth-century French labor protesters, “As they faced off against hostile troops or national guardsmen, the defenders of a barricade came to know each other as comrades … and formed social networks.” (Location 3287)
  • A study of foreign fighters in Syria finds that they tend to be “thrill seekers,” looking to take “a harrowing adventure” and “engage in action while enjoying a certain level of impunity.”40 (Location 3312)
  • In general, the leaders are more politically motivated than the rank-and-file, which often prioritizes the benefits of participation itself as anticipated in the natural systems model. This divergence in priorities creates an obvious principal–agent problem for leaders intent on wielding violence in a manner that optimizes their political objectives. (Location 3329)
  • For other leaders, though, their erudition extends to the study of political violence. As Pierre Vallières of the FLQ acknowledged: “I studied in particular the writings and deeds of the revolutionaries of our time: Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Mao Tse-tung, Castro, and Che Guevara.”67 The ANC leader, Mac Maharaj, self-consciously “took a leaf out of the copybook of the Vietnamese struggle.”68 Mandela studied the FLN for strategy because “the situation in Algeria was the closest model to our own in that the rebels faced a large white settler community that ruled the indigenous majority.”69 Luis Taruc, the commander-in-chief of the Huks, styled his campaign in the Philippines on the Chinese Communist guerrillas, using Edgar Snow’s Red Star Over China as a textbook.70 In “Problems and Prospects of Revolution in Nepal,” the founder of the Communist Party of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahalm, explicitly draws upon the writings of Chairman Mao and other revolutionaries.71 A leader named Monimambu of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola said: “Our struggle is not an isolated one. We [are] profiting from the experience of others. We must learn from the Chinese, etc. But now the most advanced form of guerrilla struggle is in Vietnam.”72 (Location 3385)
    • Note: Education and permutation of a style
  • IntelCenter is a private contractor based in Alexandria, Virginia, that provides access to thousands of propaganda videos from militant groups around the world. This resource has been used primarily by counterterrorism practitioners, but also some academics.103 (Location 3482)
    • Note: Source