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Negotiating Terrorism: Making the Pen Mightier than the Sword

CollectionsANU Student Research Conference (2nd : 2016 : Canberra, ACT)
Title: Negotiating Terrorism: Making the Pen Mightier than the Sword
Author(s): Kannan, Bhavani
Keywords: student research conference;Terrorism;Diplomacy;Masters;negotiation
Date published: 14-Jul-2016
Publisher: Australian National University
Terrorism poses one of the greatest challenges to international peace and security in the 21st century. Although a universal counter-terrorism strategy is yet to coalesce, States have shown remarkable uniformity in their individual approaches. Not only have States prioritised military responses, but they have rejected negotiations as counter-terrorism measures. Unfortunately, the continued rise and spread of terrorism indicates that the current counter-terrorism orthodoxy is ineffective. Thus, this paper argues that the dominant non-negotiation rhetoric is flawed, and hence, dismissing negotiations as a diplomatic tool is counterproductive. This thesis builds on discourse supporting negotiating with terrorists. Specifically, it aims to address the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. Accordingly, it explores existing literature, practices, and philosophies on negotiating terrorism. Additionally, it undertakes a paired comparison through examining the case studies of the Irish Republican Army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. This paper concludes by proposing a Terrorism Negotiation Map for evaluating the likelihood of a successful negotiated outcome. Understanding the specific context in which negotiated success is likely can considerably reshape diplomatic responses to terrorism, facilitating the maintenance of international peace and security. This paper further advocates re-framing understandings of terrorism and negotiation discourses. Finally, the paper applies these findings to the on-going conflict with Islamic State. Hence, this thesis contends that terrorism negotiations are possible under much wider circumstances and criteria than currently espoused.


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