'We don't negotiate with terrorists!': Legitimacy and complexity in terrorist conflicts

Toros, Harmonie (2008) 'We don't negotiate with terrorists!': Legitimacy and complexity in terrorist conflicts. Security Dialogue, 39 4: 407-426. doi:10.1177/0967010608094035

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Author Toros, Harmonie
Title 'We don't negotiate with terrorists!': Legitimacy and complexity in terrorist conflicts
Journal name Security Dialogue   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0967-0106
Publication date 2008-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0967010608094035
Volume 39
Issue 4
Start page 407
End page 426
Total pages 20
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Abstract A key objection raised by terrorism scholars and policymakers against engaging in negotiations with terrorists is that it legitimizes terrorist groups, their goals and their means. Talking to them would serve only to incite more violence and weaken the fabric of democratic states, they argue. With the emergence of Al-Qaeda and its complex transnational structure, many have added another objection: Who does one talk to? Faced with such a multifaceted, horizontal organization, how does one engage? This article offers an alternative approach to the question of legitimacy and complexity in engaging with terrorism. Drawing from research in peace and conflict studies, it analyses how these two factors may in fact be conducive to a nonviolent resolution of conflicts involving terrorist violence. Using the conflicts in Northern Ireland and the southern Philippine region of Mindanao as illustrations, the article argues that the legitimation of `terrorist' groups through talks can be a means to transform a conflict away from violence, while complexity may in fact open up new possibilities for engagement. The article concludes by examining how the naming of a group as `terrorist' can and is often designed to forestall nonviolent responses to terrorism.
Keyword Terrorism
Conflict resolution
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: ERA 2012 Admin Only
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 16 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 17 Oct 2011, 10:55:53 EST by Naomi Smith on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies