Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 10:07 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 10:07 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: How terrorist groups die


Sam Roggeveen


5 August 2008 14:23

A reader responds to Anton about how terrorist groups end:

I’m not sure it's helpful for either Anton or RAND to differentiate between the role of military force and policing in defeating these groups. In any CT or COIN campaign, integration of both is vital. One of the reasons why operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have floundered in the past (and in Afghanistan’s case, still floundering) is the state of indigenous police forces in both countries.

In that sense, it’s certainly debatable that military force was the decisive factor in having ended the GIA in Algeria (as cited by RAND and Anton). It would probably be more appropriate to say that ‘security forces’ as a whole had the key role. Unfortunately it’s not entirely clear from a quick initial read of the RAND study how they determined military force (rather than police action or a combination of both) was the decisive factor in ‘ending’ the GIA.

Moreover, it’s even more debatable to say the GIA has ended, when in fact the GIA splintered into the GSPC, which is now AQIM, which is more than around and kicking. That same principle would have you categorising JI as having ‘ended’ as a group, even though ‘bombing factions’ are said to still be active.