Intel - Terrorism

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How To Deal with Kidnappings in Iraq


Achilles Principle in Negotiations

  • Think upon Homer's character Achilles. Specifically what is it that  killed Achilles? His heel? No, in the end, it is his pride that did him in.
  • Do we face the same flaw of pride, when considering counterterrorism? Are we too proud, arrogant, or boastful to even consider negotiation?
  • Ask: Which is more heroic, to continue a fight out of embarrassment and fear, or to talk to our enemies?
  • Is it possible for the goliath in the theatre to pursue wisdom in NOT using maximum violence and force to compel its enemies, especially when other options are known to exist?
  • Lose not sight of Sun Tzu.
  • Suppose a terrorist organization, such as Al Qaeda cannot be imagined to surrender. This does not mean that they could not be backed into a position where they think surrender is a viable option, especially if they think it might better advance their goals and intentions, or address their gripes.
  • One impact of taking an "under no conditions" approach to negotiations with terrorist organizations, is we fashion a self-fulfilling prophecy for the terrorists. It lends credibility to the terrorists' claim "all other options have been tried and failed".
  • The more fragmented a terrorist organization becomes, especially in a decentralized structure, the easier it should become, for negotiations to succeed. For instance, negotiaing with Al Qaeda Central may still prove fruitless, but Al Qaeda Bosnia, Algeria, or Iraq may actually succeed. These splinter organizations bring to the table different immediate political circumstances that are "on the ground." They might feel that they actually represent the vanguard, and ahead of Al Qaeda Central, living in caves, in this, who might be perceived as "out of touch" with what "we" are going through.

Case Studies on Negotiations with Terrorists

  • Achille Lauro Hijacking
  • Aldo Moro Kidnapping and Assassination
  • Beslan School Massacre
  • Branch Davidian Standoff
  • Church of the Nativity
  • French paid off terrorists to release two journalists
  • Grand Mosque Seizure
  • India Flight 814
  • Iran Contra Affair
  • Italians and Hostage Negotiations
  • Japanese Embassy Hostage Crisis
  • King Louis XI of France
  • Lebanon: Kidnapping of Americans in 1980s
  • Libya Paid Big Ransom
  • Moscow Theater Crisis
  • Philippines Pullout After Hostages Released
  • Unabomber
  • US Negotiated with Muslim Brotherhood
  • US Negotiated with Nazi Germany


Papers and Discussions on Negotiations with Terrorists



Politicians on Negotiations with Terrorists