Untitled Document

Twelve Rules for Preventing and Countering Terrorism

by Alex P. Schmid(Director TRI & former Officer-in-Charge of UN Terrorism Prevention Branch)

  1. Try to address the underlying conflict issues exploited by the terrorists and work towards a peaceful solution while not making substantive concessions to the terrorists themselves;
  2. Prevent radical individuals and groups from becoming terrorist extremists by confronting them with a mix of 'carrot and stick' –tactics and search for effective counter-motivation measures;
  3. Stimulate and encourage defection and conversion of free and imprisoned terrorists and find ways to reduce the support of aggrieved constituencies for terrorist organizations;
  4. Deny terrorists access to arms, explosives, false identification documents, safe communication, safe travel and sanctuaries; disrupt and incapacitate their preparations and operations through infiltration, communication intercept, espionage and by limiting their criminal- and other fund-raising capabilities;
  5. Reduce low-risk/high-gain opportunities for terrorists to strike by enhancing communications-, energy- and transportation-security, by hardening critical infrastructures and potential sites where mass casualties could occur and apply principles of situational crime prevention to the prevention of terrorism;
  6. Keep in mind that terrorists seek publicity and exploit the media and the Internet to propagate their cause, glorify their attacks, win recruits, solicit donations, gather intelligence, disseminate terrorist know-how and communicate with their target audiences. Try to devise communication strategies to counter them in each of these areas.
  7. Prepare for crisis- and consequence-management for both 'regular' and  ‘catastrophic' acts of terrorism in coordinated simulation exercises and educate first responders and the public on how to cope with terrorism.
  8. Establish an Early Detection and Early Warning intelligence system against terrorism and other violent crimes on the interface between organized crime and political conflict;
  9. Strengthen coordination of efforts against terrorism both within and between states; enhance international police and intelligence cooperation, and offer technical assistance to those countries lacking the know-how and means to upgrade their counter-terrorism instruments.
  10. Show solidarity with, and offer support to, victims of terrorism at home and abroad.
  11. Maintain the moral high-ground in the struggle with terrorists by defending and strengthening the rule of law, good governance, democracy and social justice and by matching your deeds with your words;
  12. Last but not least: counter the ideologies, indoctrination and propaganda of secular and non-secular terrorists and try to get the upper hand in the war of ideas – the battle for the hearts and minds of those terrorists claim to speak and fight for.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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