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Chapter

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

29. The End of Terrorist Campaigns  

Audrey Kurth Cronin

This chapter examines the end of terrorist campaigns. Thinking about how terrorism ends is the best way to use a group's weaknesses against it. Based on studies of hundreds of cases, it has been shown that terrorist campaigns end following six classic patterns. These are capturing or killing the leader, negotiations, achievement of the objective, failure, state repression, and reorientation to another type of violence. Without long-term thinking, counterterrorism gets caught in the action–reaction dynamic of terrorist campaigns. After all, reactive, tactical counterterrorism prolongs the struggle and extends terrorist campaigns, sweeping up outraged policymakers and public members. The chapter also references Al-Qaeda and ISIS as case studies.