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Counterterrorism

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4293-2
248 pages
February 2009, Polity
Counterterrorism (0745642934) cover image
Terrorism has emerged as one of the most problematic issues facing national governments and the international community in the 21st century. But how is it possible to counter terrorism in a world in which governance is still dominated by the nation-state? Are we seeing new forms of terrorist activity in the wake of 9/11? Are pre-9/11 approaches still valid? How can we combat and control diverse threats of multiple origin? Who should be responsible for countering terrorism and in what circumstances?

In this incisive new book, Ronald Crelinsten seeks to provide answers to these pressing questions, challenging readers to think beyond disciplinary and jurisdictional boundaries. He presents an up-to-date and comprehensive introduction to the difficulties and obstacles related to countering terrorism in democratic societies. The counterterrorism framework that he develops in this book reflects the complex world in which we live. The different approaches to counterterrorism provide the organizing theme of the book and help the reader to understand and to appreciate the full range of options available. The book:



  • includes a host of contemporary examples and further readings;

  • compares and contrasts pre- and post-9/11 approaches;

  • critically evaluates the post-9/11 ‘war on terror';

  • moves beyond a purely state-centric focus to include non-state actors and institutions;

  • combines hard and soft power approaches;

  • considers prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

Counterterrorism will be an indispensible guide for students, researchers, practitioners and general readers wanting to broaden their knowledge of the possibilities and limitations of counterterrorism today.

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Acknowledgments Page vii

Introduction: Terrorism and counterterrorism before and after 9/11 1

1 The context for counterterrorism: a complex security environment 17

2 Coercive counterterrorism 48

3 Proactive counterterrorism 89

4 Persuasive counterterrorism 122

5 Defensive counterterrorism 158

6 Long-term counterterrorism 194

Conclusion: A comprehensive counterterrorism strategy 235

Notes 251

Select bibliography 302

Index 314

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Ronald Crelinsten is Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada.
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  • First book in the exciting new Understanding Terrorism series which looks at counterterrorism in the modern world
  • Written by a leading international scholar in the field of Terrorism Studies

  • Provides a clear and accessible survey of the different approaches to counterterrorism and the advantages and disadvantages of each
  • Includes a host of contemporary examples and further reading
  • Critically evaluates the post-9/11 ‘war on terror’
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    "The broadest and best account yet for understanding how counterterrorism will remain a feature of contemporary government and policing for some time. It is also the best source I have seen for taking stock of what we have in terms of counterterrorism tools some eight years since 19 hijackers took control of passenger aircraft to devastating effect."
    Global Change, Peace and Security

    "A bold and well-researched book, which blends different bodies of literature on international relations, globalization, civil liberties, and radicalization. As a philosophical inquiry into the nature of counterterrorism, it is a tour de force."
    Democracy and Security

    "This highly recommended book enriches the theoretical and practical horizons with clear analysis and conceptual relevance, constructing a much-needed bridge between terrorism and counter-terrorism."
    Political Studies Review

    "Crelinsten's well-measured, original, and humane approach to the theory and practice of counterterrorism is a welcome addition to the academic literature ... what emerges from his fine-grained and astute analysis is a sober and common-sense assessment of ways forward in a complex world."
    Democratiya

    "[A] sober and lucid analysis."
    Diplomat

    "A clear, analytical and conceptually relevant book which offers the full spectrum of counterterrorism efforts in the contemporary international relations environment while constructing a much-needed bridge between terrorism and counterterrorism. This book is highly recommended to academics (researchers and students), policy makers, and the interested public and is a must-read for those who wish to clear away the ambiguities surrounding terrorism and the many engaged to prevent it."
    Central European Journal of International and Security Studies

    "Crelinsten provides a basic framework for understanding counter-terrorism. Solid, well reasoned, insightful, provocative, it will become a classic. Meanwhile, a must read."
    Brian Michael Jenkins, Senior Advisor to the President of RAND and author of "Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?"

    "Crelinsten presents a comprehensive picture of the dilemmas facing decision makers and the public at large in the extremely complex and dangerous arena of coping with terrorism. At a time when emotions often override wisdom, his incisive analysis and balanced approach are a sane voice that should be heard by everyone who despises terrorism and loves democracy and human rights."
    Ariel Merari, Harvard University

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