The Role of Negotiation in Countering Terrorism

1. The Challenge of Terrorism

At any given time, the world is grappling with a particular issue, especially those that severe stability and internal relations. One of the challenges that require urgent redress is the issue of terrorism. The increase in terror-related activities that are propagated by different groups across the globe presents a significant challenge to political scientists. Though the motivating factors for the rife in terrorism have been proposed, a limited milestone has been achieved in finding political solutions to the problem. Many countries and the international community depend on the implementation of policies and strategies aimed at countering the efforts of the terror groups rather than look for a real solution to the problem.

2. The Role of Negotiation in Countering Terrorism

The adversities associated with the issue of terrorism whether international or localized necessitates the implementation of robust strategies that would guarantee the cessation of terror activities. One of the approaches that can be useful is negotiation. Arguments that it is illogical to negotiate with terrorists is rife (Sederberg 296; Toros 401). However, the use of conciliation to as counter-terrorism measures cannot be ruled out as one of the effective approaches. The application of conciliation model in addressing the challenge of terrorism acknowledges that the vice emanates from political issues, as the actors justify their inability to access political power by advancing violence and other tendencies that characterize terrorism (Perliger 493). Through the different aspects of a negotiation process, it is possible for the state actors and international communities to address the disgruntled members of a society who tend to exemplify terrorism as a recourse to advance their power.

3. Elements of a Successful Negotiation Process

In the application of a negotiation approach, certain elements must be addressed to ascertain the success of the process. Such is due to the uniqueness of the views and opinions of the terrorists which do not coincide with that of the conventional rational humans. Governments intending to engage terror groups should first withdraw any attacks on such groups as a strategic measure of setting the ground for an active process (Sederberg 306). Due to the need of leaders to save the population from the adversities that accompany terror activities, it is essential to open communication and attain the trust by the leadership of the terror groups (Specter 614). This is critical as the leaders must be privy to the intentions of the state actor in their quest to limit the activities of the terror groups through negotiations. However, Duyvesteyn and Bart (677) argue that in some instances, the peace negotiations may further aggravate situations and cause more violence than intended. This calls for utmost care of engaging the leaders in understanding whether they are interested in genuine discussions to find an eternal solution to the problem.

4. Selecting the Right Participants for Negotiations

Since the commencement of a negotiation process with terror groups amounts to legitimizing their existence, the selection of an inclusion criterion for those to be involved in the process, especially from the terror faction is critical. Whether localized or international, the persons brought to the table are instrumental in influencing the activities if the terrorists even after a successful negotiation process. As noted by Lanz (276), the question on the parties to bring to the table during a negotiation process goes beyond an academic question to consider the political implications in terms of amassing domestic and international influence. They automatically become members of the institutions formed after the negation. Therefore, only those who may be capable of guaranteeing a genuine end to a conflict after a negotiation process should be brought to the negotiating table.

5. The Importance of International Cooperation

In some cases, the acts of terror go beyond the borders of the country of origin or are sponsored by a foreign country. According to Sanders (790), this presents a dilemma as the affected country may face challenges in addressing the problem. For effectiveness in the fight against terror, whether through negotiation or otherwise, the international community should ensure all countries exemplify a shared perspective (Clinton). Terrorists often take advantage of the rifts that may be apparent between the different countries as an opportunity to advance their interests based on the fact that lack of coordination between the various countries is a prerequisite to failure in the advancement of counter-terror strategies.

6. The Importance of Honoring Commitments

Vital to the negotiation process is the laying down of the conditions for the parties to efficiently negotiate and bring to halt violence and other adversities propagated by the terror members. Before a government and the international community commences a negotiation process, they must be genuinely interested (Enders and Todd 224). Such means that the pledge given to the insurgent groups must be real, and it must be ready to fulfil its promises. Instances, where governments have failed to honor their commitments, has ended causing more adversities which is contrary to the motivation to negotiate.

7. Conclusion

Based on the review of the literature on the subject of controlling terrorism, negotiation presents an opportunity for countries to amicably resolve the issues that predispose some segments of a population to resort to terror. However, for successful negotiation, some elements must adhere. Coordination between different countries, careful selection of the negotiators, genuine interest, open communication are prerequisites for a fruitful discussion regarding the solving the problem of terrorism.

Works Cited

Clinton, Hillary Rodham. "Security and Opportunity for the Twenty-first Century." Foreign Affairs (2007): 2-18.

Duyvesteyn, Isabelle, and Bart Schuurman. "The paradoxes of negotiating with terrorist and insurgent organisations." The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 39.4 (2011): 677-692.

Enders, Walter, and Todd Sandler. "Terrorism: Theory and applications." Handbook of defense economics 1 (1995): 213-249.

Lanz, David. "Who gets a seat at the table? A framework for understanding the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in peace negotiations." International Negotiation 16.2 (2011): 275-295.

Perliger, Arie. "How democracies respond to terrorism: Regime characteristics, symbolic power and counterterrorism." Security Studies 21.3 (2012): 490-528.

Sandler, Todd. "Collective action and transnational terrorism." The World Economy 26.6 (2003): 779-802.

Sederberg, Peter C. "Conciliation as counter-terrorist strategy." Journal of Peace Research 32.3 (1995): 295-312.

Spector, Bertram I. "Negotiating with villains revisited: research note." International Negotiation 8.3 (2003): 613-621.

Toros, Harmonie. "We don't negotiate with terrorists!': Legitimacy and complexity in terrorist conflicts." Security Dialogue 39.4 (2008): 407-426.

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