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The Terrorist's DilemmaManaging Violent Covert Organizations$
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Jacob N. Shapiro

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157214

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157214.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
The Terrorist's Dilemma

Jacob N. Shapiro

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter discusses the importance of having a clear understanding of the organizational side of terrorism. Understanding why the managerial problems of terrorists resemble those of other conventional groups helps make sense of how terrorist groups are organized, and is crucial for efficiently dealing with them. Policy makers who are aware of the dilemmas terrorists face are better equipped to choose counterterror policies that target group-specific vulnerabilities, while taking into account how organizations are likely to adapt to these policies. Seeking to understand the terrorists' dilemmas does not imply sympathy for their goals or an acceptance of their means. Rather, understanding the very banality of terrorist organizations can serve as an important corrective to the natural tendency to view these political organizations as something unique and exceptionally threatening.

Keywords:   terrorism, managerial problems, terrorist groups, counterterror policies, group-specific vulnerabilities, terrorist organizations

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