22 Pol. Q. Int'l Aff. 98 (2013)
Preserving the Pied Piper: The Importance of Leadership in Deradicalisation

handle is hein.journals/polqurint22 and id is 98 raw text is: 














AHMAD EL-BUCKLEY


                       Preserving the Pied Piper:
        The Importance of Leadership in Deradicalisation

    The ability to inspire hope, restore confidence, ameliorate frustration,
enforce obedience, stir inspiration and embolden character is what makes
a potent leader. Many a victory in battle was wrested solely by the acumen of
leadership, and many defeats were the direct cause of enemy decapitation and
the disarray that followed. And just like all wars, the study and analysis of the
global War on Terror must address the issue of leadership and its importance
in achieving victory.
    Evidently, works abound on this issue in the context of counter-terrorism,
many of which stress the effects of decapitation on reducing the efficacy of
terrorist organisations. However, few speak of the detrimental effects this tactic
might have on long-term deradicalisation efforts that aim to uproot the very
causes of violent extremism.
    This article argues that while proponents of decapitation and targeted
killings of terrorist leaders advance logically sound arguments, empirical studies
have often shown that these arguments do not take hold in reality. The article
then draws on the Egyptian experience with the deradicalisation of Islamist
militant groups to claim that capturing rather than eliminating certain types of
leaders can have a substantial impact on efforts to reform weakly committed
foot-soldiers of terrorist organisations and non-violent sympathisers, which
should be at the heart of all long-term counter-terrorism strategies. The potential
of leaders to become heralds of disengagement and deradicalisation must be
considered before sending out the order for liquidation.

                    Testing Hypotheses on Decapitation
    One of the simplest definitions of targeted killings is that they are acts that
involve the intentional slaying of a specific individual or group of individuals


The Polish Quarterly of International Affairs, 2013, no. 1

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