Would you give a thief $100,000 to get your stolen purse back? If you were to give a thief $100,000, you would make him think that he can make a profit out of stealing purses. The thief would also use the $100,000 to buy a gun or other weapons or vehicles that would help him steal future purses. Now think about the thief as a terrorist and you as a government. Should governments negotiate with terrorists? Terrorism activities have increased these past few years due to faulty decisions made by governments when dealing with terrorists.
Many have made the mistake of compromising with terrorists, which makes them appear weak and targetable, which only sponsors future terrorist acts. The outcomes of past government agreements with terrorists have only worsened and perpetuated this situation. The paying of millions of dollars as ransom to terrorist kidnappers and hostage/takers has also fueled future terrorist attacks and has only made terrorism profitable, making it more attractive to terrorists.
Governments legitimize terrorism by compromising; therefore governments should not negotiate with terrorists, rather marginalize and weaken their organizations by refusing them any concessions and targeting individuals within their groups. The reasoning behind terrorism is that violence can be used to attract the attention of governments and the general public, who as a result, succumb to the terrorist’s ideas and/or desires. Unfortunately, this terrorist tactic is sometimes effective, like in the 2004 Madrid Bombings. On March 11, ETA, a terrorist organization, bombed four commuter trains in Madrid.
Their objective was to cause a political change in Spain; the elections were that same weekend. Before the bombings, the People’s Party was the voter’s favorite, but ETA’s terrorist attack caused a drastic change in the ballot and the Socialist Party won. After winning the election, the Socialist Party decided to remove the Spanish troops in Iraq, which is what ETA wanted. Because of this turn of events, Downing says: “…the terrorists would be able to claim that their bombings had influenced both a European election and the situation in Iraq.
” (Downing 38-39) Since the people and the government reacted to the attack the way ETA wanted it too, the terrorists could have considered the attack successful, and as a consequence may attack again. The message the government sent ETA is that if they want a change, they should just use violence to obtain it. Governments must be careful with terrorist’s interest and their own interests when making controversial decisions, especially those made shortly after terrorist attacks, like the bombings in Madrid. In that case, the decision was whether or not to remove Spanish troops from Iraq.
ETA wanted them removed, and the Socialist Party decided to remove them because of the pressure they were put under. Removing the troops was a mistake because it just pleased the terrorists; it made the terrorists feel they can manipulate the government through pressure induced by brutality. Governments should always include terrorist interests in important decision-making, but not to make the decision in the terrorist’s favor, rather to make the decision in a way that terrorists are not satisfied by it and cannot take any credit from it.
Governments must show that they are strong, and that they are not and will not be influenced by terrorism. (Downing 38-39) Governments make themselves appear weak by succumbing to pressure, and sometimes the pressure does not even come from the terrorists in the situation, but from other governments, leaders or groups. Even if they might want to interfere for the most pacific reasons, peace negotiations with terrorists do not have the best outcomes. First of all, they are terrorists; therefore, their favorite and only way of attempting to achieve their goals is through violence.
This means that if they do not receive what they desire through force, they believe they cannot get it through peace either. Secondly, terrorists are unpredictable; they cannot be trusted. Thirdly, most terrorists do not back down, especially jihadists, because they are willing to lose their life for what they believe in. Lastly, if a government makes peace with terrorists, and the terrorists do not keep their end of the deal, then the government will appear weak and defeated, while the terrorist will appear victorious. These are the reasons for which governments should not attempt to make peace with terrorists.
They should try to end terrorism instead of making a truce with it. A perfect example of why governments should not seek peace from terrorists is an incident the U. S. government had in Fallujah. U. S. Marines attempted to compromise with jihadists in Fallujah after being pressured by European officials and human rights groups. The U. S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, said they wanted peace instead of war in Fallujah, but the jihadists misunderstood and considered the compromise a victory over the Americans. (Rubin 19-20) As a result, the misunderstanding led to 30 car bombings.
Not only did the U. S. appear weak because of this failed compromise; it also encouraged the jihadists to carry on with their terrorist acts because the jihadists believed they defeated them, and that they were capable of defeating them again. Truces with terrorists are very tricky and unpredictable, and should always be avoided because an unfavorable outcome can be catastrophic and can lead to more violence. Just as truces with terrorists can be very tricky, negotiating with terrorist kidnappers and hostage-takers can be very tricky as well.
Recently terrorists use these tactics to create an audience full of suspense. These tactics now create more attention than massacres and bombings because people are getting more accustomed to them as they happen. (Rubin 22) Kidnappings/hostage takings are becoming more and more popular and sadly, governments have been making it even more popular by making it profitable. They make it profitable by negotiating and paying ransoms to terrorists because negotiating with kidnappers legitimizes their act and as a result further proliferates terrorism.
It has spread terrorism because the terrorists have learned that kidnapping/hostage-taking has become very profitable. (Rubin 23) In March 2000, Muammar al-Qadhafi, a Libyan leader, paid Abu Sayyaf, a hostage-taker based in the Philippines, a $25 million ransom for the release of priests, teachers, and children he had kidnaped from a school. (Rubin 23) After receiving the money, Abu Sayyaf expanded his terrorist group from a couple hundred to more than a thousand members and bought speedboats and weapons, which were used for other kidnappings.
By paying the terrorist such a large ransom to keep the captives from getting harmed, Muammar al-Qadhafi funded future kidnappings, putting more people in danger. The paying of the ransom also made kidnapping productive for Sayyaf, because they technically rewarded him for terrorism, encouraging him to carry out more terrorist acts because he will get money or other concession out of them. The same case occurred in Sahel. The “Bin Laden of the Desert”, Ammari Saifi, took 32 European vacationers in the Algerian desert, and held them hostage for 177 days. The German government paid a five million euro
ransom and they were released, but Ammari Saifi used the money to buy weapons and vehicles. (Rubin 24) The German government funded future kidnappings similar to how the Libyan leader did. It is a pattern: terrorists kidnap citizens; they ask for reward in return for the hostages; and then they use the ransom they get paid to repeat this cycle more effectively (with new and more members, weapons and vehicles). Governments should not keep rewarding terrorists with million dollar ransoms because all they have been doing is perpetuating the cycle instead of ending it.
Governments should use force to recover captives and avoid rewarding terrorists with ransoms. It is an actual U. S. government policy “to deny hostage takers the benefit of ransom, prisoner releases, policy changes, or other acts of concession. ” (“Counter-Terrorism: History, Strategy and Tactics” Web) Western governments should also respond to kidnapping by thinking about the safety of the majority of their citizens instead of an individual. Even though it could end in injury or death of the captive, in the long term it prevents further kidnappings.
(Rubin, 24) So governments should try their best to recover captives, but without the use of ransoms because in the long run, a short tragedy is better than the endangerment a larger amount of citizens. Governments should not appease with terrorists, they should use intelligence to take them down instead. “In a war between networks, the side with superior intelligence wins. ” (Garreau 60) The more information and technology is obtained, the better the chances of defeating the terrorists are because more effective strategies can be put into action. Governments should use this knowledge to find the leader and how to target them.
The leader of the group is key because the disruption or terrorist leaderships weaken terrorist organization and causes them to struggle and expose themselves. (Rubin, 27) This has been happening with Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organization: “The loss of bin Laden and these other key operatives puts the network on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse. ” (“Country Reports on Terrorism 2011” Web) Be careful with this strategy: “Better the devil you know. Like [Libyan dictator][Moammar] Gaddafi, keep him alive, because you know him. Who knows what sort of clever mastermind might replace him.
” (Garreau 60) Past concessions to terrorists have proven that government negotiations with them make terrorism productive; therefore governments should marginalize, isolate or eliminate the threat. Doing so would make terrorist acts unprofitable for those who carry them out. In order to avoid the further proliferation of terrorism, governments must take a firm stand against these foes and send a message of zero tolerance against terrorist acts. ? Works Cited “Chapter 1. Strategic Assessment. ” U. S. Department of State. U. S. Department of State, 31 July 2012. Web. 31 Jan. 2013. . “Counter-Terrorism: History, Strategy and Tactics.
” Counter-Terrorism: History, Strategy and Tactics. Web. 31 Jan. 2013. . Downing, David. “Madrid Bombings. ” The War on Terror. Mankato: Arcturus Publishing, 2008. 38-39. Print. Garreau, Joel. “Intelligence Gathering Is the Best Way to Reduce Terrorism. ” At Issue. Are Efforts to Reduce Terrorism Succesful? Ed. Lauri S. Friedman. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press, 2005. 57-63. Rubin, Michael and Suzanne Gershowitz. “Governments Should Never Negotiate with Terrorists. ” At Issue. Should Governments Negotiate with Terrorists? Ed. Amanda Hiber. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press, 2008. 15-29.
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