Monday, March 6, 2017

Negotiating With Terrorists


Types of terrorist

 Contingent terrorists are typically hostage takers and kidnappers. Contingent terrorists seek negotiations in order to exchange their victims for publicity, ransom, and release of comrades, using others’ lives as a bargaining tool.

 Absolute terrorists are mainly involved in strategic/political terrorist situations and are beyond contact and communication. They commit a self-contained act that is not a step to a second action. Absolute terrorism expresses the frustration of the “suicider” with his weak power position and his inability to change it by any other means.His sense of injustice may come from revelation (fundamentalists), revolution (social revolutionaries) or revulsion against a discriminatory or corrupt world he feels owes him something. It is not just the suicidal tactics (means) but the unlimited cause (ends) that makes for truly absolute terrorism.

 But among absolutes there are differences... [read more]

Dealing with absolute terrorists

Key points for negotiators
Recognize that total absolutes are beyond any negotiation and attempts to deal with them directly are pointless. But not all absolutes are totals, beyond negotiation. The point is to identify potential conditionals and encourage them to see the hopelessness of their situation and the potential hopefulness in responding to negotiations.

 Address the issues beyond the terrorism. Terrorism is ultimately related to such structural issues as poverty and inequality that are far beyond any immediate remedy. But steady attention to related issues of importance to potential supporters may eventually reap rewards.

Do not negotiate a belief system. In the course of implementing the outcome of a negotiation it may be possible to instill doubt about the basis of motivating beliefs, but the negotiation itself needs to focus on specific items.

Recognise that unlike many hostage/kidnapping situations, the acts of absolute terrorists are not self-contained events. Hence negotiation is not an autonomous subject or policy but a long process.

Respect is the basic condition of any negotiation. “One-down” approaches that seek to impart a sense of inferiority are unproductive.

Read the full report [here].