The effectiveness of leadership decapitation as a counterterrorism strategy against Islamist terrorist groups
Kim, Jongmi E.
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. This thesis evaluates the effectiveness of leadership decapitation as a counterterrorism strategy against Islamist terrorist groups by evaluating attack data and other historical and contextual factors in three case studies: al-Qaeda in Iraq, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria. My main finding is that leadership decapitation is not correlated with the reduction of terrorist activities by these groups. Theories on leadership decapitation did not predict the increase or decrease in a group's attack capabilities in any consistent or reliable manner. In all of these cases, experts heavily attributed the changes in a group's operational capability to factors other than leadership decapitation. The key lesson policy-makers and military planners can draw from this study is that the experiences and outcomes of leadership decapitation against one terrorist group should in no way be directly applied to or expected in another.
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