June 18, 2004
No terrorist movement in the past two decades has succeeded in overthrowing the state and seizing power for itself. This is in contrast with the experience of the previous decades that saw several terrorist movements, often disguised as revolutionary guerrilla movements, come to power on a wave of violence.
How did Algeria, Peru and other nations that have defeated terrorism managed to do so in the face of heavy odds?
The question is of interest to the latest victims of terrorism, including Saudi Arabia.
While Algerian, Peruvian and other experiences in fighting terrorism show important differences, they all have several key features in common.
The first of these is a psychological determination on the part of the ruling elites to stay the course. One central aim of the terrorist, of course, is to instill fear in society in general and the elite in particular. By refusing to be frightened, society and its leaders achieve their first victory against the terrorists.
This, of course, is easier said than done.
Indeed. There's also this interesting bit:
In both Algeria and Peru, and to some extent even in Turkey and Egypt, the state decided to actually help the terrorists become fixed targets. In Algeria, for example, the anti-terror units deliberately stayed out of some areas, notably the Mitidja plain and the town of Blida, thus shooing the terrorists there. On some occasions the security forces even refused to intervene to stop terrorist operations that took place under their noses, so to speak. The idea was to convince the terrorists that they had a safe haven. In time this meant that the terrorists became fixed targets while the security forces enjoyed the advantage of mobility and the choice of the time to attack.
I wonder if that's what we're trying to do in Fallujah?