Grozny after a Russian bombardment: Vladimir Putin vowed to "flush the Chechens down the toilet" - the type of approach, Cronin writes, that "succeeds in destroying terrorism because it destroys everything".
Grozny after a Russian bombardment: Vladimir Putin vowed to "flush the Chechens down the toilet" - the type of approach, Cronin writes, that "succeeds in destroying terrorism because it destroys every

Appetite for destruction



How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns

Audrey Kurth Cronin

Princeton University Press

Dh128

In August, Barack Obama dispatched one of his national-security advisers, John Brennan, to deliver the first detailed public explanation of his administration's approach to counterterrorism. In his speech, Brennan explained why Obama had retired the term "Global War on Terrorism", which during the Bush years had come to define an all-encompassing, near-mystical national narrative of conflict without end. Terrorism is but a tactic, Brennan said, and "you can never fully defeat a tactic". Obama, Brennan continued, hoped to restore counterterrorism "to its right and proper place: no longer defining - indeed, distorting - our entire national security and foreign policy".

During the past decade, that distortion fed - and was in turn fed by - the rise of an influential group of experts on Islamist extremism. Liberated from the obscurity in which they had toiled prior to the attacks of September 11, these analysts and commentators now wield considerable influence on national-security discourse in the United States and elsewhere. A well-funded flood of their expert testimony gushes through every imaginable medium: magazine writers churn out feverish exegeses of early Islamist writings; blogosphere pundits limn the distinctions between salafi-jihadis and radical Wahhabis; academic journals host bitter disputes between experts on the radicalisation process; non-profit foundations devote themselves to exhaustive daily analyses of jihadist chat-room discussions. Some of this work is done by dedicated academics and journalists engaging in valuable, intellectually rigorous research. Much of it, however, is produced by charlatans with barely concealed anti-Muslim agendas - and in the mass media, at least, these less reputable voices inevitably speak the loudest.

There is no doubt that a robust understanding of Islamist extremism and those who stoke it is vital to combating terrorism. And no one can blame policymakers for paying close attention to the details of national-security threats. But the transformation of terrorism expertise into a growth industry has abetted a counterproductive fetishisation of the enemy. Just as young children fixate on fairy-tale monsters, states struggling with terrorism can develop an almost perverse focus on the peculiarities of current threats. Rather than demystifying terrorists, a steady diet of punditry about groups like al Qa'eda has imbued them with a wholly undeserved aura of power and menace.

The announcement earlier this month that the Obama administration intends to try the men who planned the September 11 attacks in a New York City courtroom produced an explosion of this hysteria, with critics insisting that al Qa'eda would visit its terrible wrath on the city in retaliation. After New York's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, signalled his approval, one Republican congressman posed an ominous question for the mayor: "How are you going to feel when it's your daughter that's kidnapped at school by a terrorist?"

Far-fetched fantasies of this kind are intended to prop up the conceit that al Qae'da and its ilk are unlike any past threat. But terrorist campaigns - including a few even more deadly than al Qa'eda's - have been launched countless times before. And yet they always end. Why? And how? Those questions have gone almost entirely unaddressed by the experts on Islamist extremism whose opinions shape conventional wisdom about terrorism, creating what Audrey Kurth Cronin calls a "yawning intellectual gap". In a new book with the blunt title How Terrorism Ends, Cronin, a professor of strategy at the US National War College, has filled that gap by collecting and analysing as much information as possible about the demise of past terrorist campaigns and organisations. Eschewing sociological or psychological speculation about why groups opt to use terrorism, she focuses instead on the strategic consequences of their actions. The result is a refreshingly sober treatment of the subject.

Cronin is no Pollyanna, but among her key findings are that only about five per cent of terrorist groups ever achieve their goals, and that the average lifespan of a modern terrorist organisation is only about eight years. Bare facts like these don't mesh with the apocalyptic visions that dominate contemporary debates about terrorism, but they should hardly come as a surprise. After all, as Cronin writes, "killing civilians in terrorist attacks is not a promising means of achieving political ends".

To better understand how terrorist campaigns and groups end, Cronin analysed the histories of 457 organisations active since 1968; among other things, she measured the lifespan of each group, whether and to what degree they engaged in negotiations with the states they targeted, and to what extent they achieved their own aims. This statistical analysis is complemented by case studies of a diverse group of now-defunct terrorist organisations - the nationalist Provisional Irish Republican Army, the quasi-Maoist Shining Path in Peru, the Marxist-Leninist Red Brigades in Italy, the apocalyptic Aum Shinrikyo in Japan, and the Zionist Irgun in Palestine, to name a few.

Cronin outlines six scenarios that typically characterise the end of a terrorist group: its leaders are captured or killed; it enters into a legitimate political process; it implodes due to internal conflicts or a loss of public support; it is eliminated via the brute force of military repression; it transitions away from terrorism into other forms of violence; or it succeeds in achieving its aims. It is impossible, of course, to trace the downfall of any organisation to just one of these factors. But focusing on the historical experience of terrorism allows us to treat it as a political phenomenon with observable (even predictable) characteristics, rather than a philosophical, psychological, or moral dilemma requiring us to refashion all our basic assumptions about security. And by demonstrating how similar patterns of terrorism repeat themselves in starkly different regional and cultural contexts, Cronin subtly undermines the myth of sui generis threats - highlighting, too, the ways in which counterterrorism can become a force even more volatile and dangerous than terrorism itself.

That kind of reversal generally takes place when states respond to terrorism with military repression. Overwhelming force can defeat terrorism - especially when wielded by non-democratic regimes - but the costs are staggering. Peru eliminated the Shining Path organisation, but only after devolving from a democracy into an autocracy, carrying out more than 7,300 extrajudicial killings, and engaging in what Cronin terms "unimaginable abuses". In Russia, Vladimir Putin vowed to "flush the Chechens down the toilet" - and made all too good on that promise. By levelling the city of Grozny with a near-total disregard for civilian life, the Russians largely stamped out the Chechen mujahidin - an approach, Cronin writes, that "succeeds in destroying terrorism because it destroys everything".

These repressive responses sometimes result from a fundamental misunderstanding of terrorism's strategic logic. Governments often regard terrorist groups as if they were states - and assume they use violence the way states do. Especially in the postwar West, governments have come to see terrorism as akin to the "strategic bombing" of civilian targets they conducted in the Second World War: an attempt to compel or coerce the state. But this misses the fact that terrorist campaigns, which typically deploy spectacular violence as a means of advancing or publicising a political cause, involve three actors: the state, the terrorist group, and - crucially - the "audience" the group hopes to influence. Frequently, terrorists do not intend to compel states to do anything in particular except respond, ideally with the use of force. Their aim is to provoke, to polarise society, and to mobilise specific segments of the public - but they rely on the state's response to complete the circuit, with countermeasures likely to cause more pain to the public than to the terrorists.

Indeed, terrorists are more likely to defeat themselves than they are to be stopped by the application of overwhelming force. A huge array of vulnerabilities make it difficult to manage a secretive group whose members are motivated by extreme views and willing to use violence: infighting and fractionalisation, a leader's loss of operational control over members, and the constant spectre of betrayal. Perhaps most damaging of all are targeting errors that provoke a popular backlash. A particularly salient example is the 1997 killing of 62 tourists visiting ancient ruins in Luxor, Egypt, carried out by Gamaa Islamiya. In the five years prior to the attack, the group had killed 1,200 people in attacks meant to destabilise the Mubarak regime - but the widespread public disgust with the grisly massacre at Luxor stunned the group and its leaders, and their attacks ceased completely once they realised they had lost the support of their intended audience.

Of course, states cannot simply bide their time and wait for terrorist groups to implode. The trick, Cronin argues, is to figure out how to capitalise on a terrorist organisation's inherent weaknesses, and nudge the group towards failure. Concluding her book by considering how al Qa'eda's demise might be hastened, Cronin argues that the group has no hope of succeeding in its long-term goals, but that repression via military force - or through the "decapitation" of its leadership - is not likely to destroy it. Instead, she advocates an attempt to drive a wedge between the core al Qa'eda organisation and the various affiliates that give it a global reach, partly through negotiations with the peripheral groups - a process reminiscent of the US-backed "Awakening" movement, which enlisted former Sunni insurgents in the fight against al Qa'eda in Iraq. She also suggests that states begin offering an exit to al Qa'eda operatives, similar to the way law-enforcement agencies "turn" Mafia captains by promising leniency: just the prospect of other members taking such an exit can stir crippling distrust.

These proposals lack the seductive appeal of the singular, coherent vision of righteous struggle against evil embodied in the "Global War on Terror." And that is precisely the point. The demise of terrorist groups has time and again proven to be a complex process, driven by a mix of heterogeneous factors that frustrate attempts at grand philosophical abstraction. The fate of efforts to combat terrorism rests to a large degree on the ability of leaders to resist the temptation to mythologise and aggrandise threats and countermeasures, and to instead be guided by a clear-eyed, realistic, even banal form of pragmatism that offers the best hope of stopping the violence.

Justin Vogt, a regular contributor to The Review, is a writer living in New Orleans.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Is it worth it? We put cheesecake frap to the test.

The verdict from the nutritionists is damning. But does a cheesecake frappuccino taste good enough to merit the indulgence?

My advice is to only go there if you have unusually sweet tooth. I like my puddings, but this was a bit much even for me. The first hit is a winner, but it's downhill, slowly, from there. Each sip is a little less satisfying than the last, and maybe it was just all that sugar, but it isn't long before the rush is replaced by a creeping remorse. And half of the thing is still left.

The caramel version is far superior to the blueberry, too. If someone put a full caramel cheesecake through a liquidiser and scooped out the contents, it would probably taste something like this. Blueberry, on the other hand, has more of an artificial taste. It's like someone has tried to invent this drink in a lab, and while early results were promising, they're still in the testing phase. It isn't terrible, but something isn't quite right either.

So if you want an experience, go for a small, and opt for the caramel. But if you want a cheesecake, it's probably more satisfying, and not quite as unhealthy, to just order the real thing.

 

 

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

Museum of the Future in numbers
  • 78 metres is the height of the museum
  • 30,000 square metres is its total area
  • 17,000 square metres is the length of the stainless steel facade
  • 14 kilometres is the length of LED lights used on the facade
  • 1,024 individual pieces make up the exterior 
  • 7 floors in all, with one for administrative offices
  • 2,400 diagonally intersecting steel members frame the torus shape
  • 100 species of trees and plants dot the gardens
  • Dh145 is the price of a ticket
Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

What drives subscription retailing?

Once the domain of newspaper home deliveries, subscription model retailing has combined with e-commerce to permeate myriad products and services.

The concept has grown tremendously around the world and is forecast to thrive further, according to UnivDatos Market Insights’ report on recent and predicted trends in the sector.

The global subscription e-commerce market was valued at $13.2 billion (Dh48.5bn) in 2018. It is forecast to touch $478.2bn in 2025, and include the entertainment, fitness, food, cosmetics, baby care and fashion sectors.

The report says subscription-based services currently constitute “a small trend within e-commerce”. The US hosts almost 70 per cent of recurring plan firms, including leaders Dollar Shave Club, Hello Fresh and Netflix. Walmart and Sephora are among longer established retailers entering the space.

UnivDatos cites younger and affluent urbanites as prime subscription targets, with women currently the largest share of end-users.

That’s expected to remain unchanged until 2025, when women will represent a $246.6bn market share, owing to increasing numbers of start-ups targeting women.

Personal care and beauty occupy the largest chunk of the worldwide subscription e-commerce market, with changing lifestyles, work schedules, customisation and convenience among the chief future drivers.

SECRET INVASION

Director: Ali Selim
Stars: Samuel L Jackson, Olivia Coleman, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Emilia Clarke
Rating: 3/5

The Iron Claw

Director: Sean Durkin 

Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, Lily James

Rating: 4/5

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

TOP 10 MOST POLLUTED CITIES

1. Bhiwadi, India
2. Ghaziabad, India
3. Hotan, China
4. Delhi, India
5. Jaunpur, India
6. Faisalabad, Pakistan
7. Noida, India
8. Bahawalpur, Pakistan
9. Peshawar, Pakistan
10. Bagpat, India

Source: IQAir

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Ejari
Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Founders: Yazeed Al Shamsi, Fahad Albedah, Mohammed Alkhelewy and Khalid Almunif
Sector: PropTech
Total funding: $1 million
Investors: Sanabil 500 Mena, Hambro Perks' Oryx Fund and angel investors
Number of employees: 8

RESULTS

Light Flyweight (48kg): Alua Balkibekova (KAZ) beat Gulasal Sultonalieva (UZB) by points 4-1.

Flyweight (51kg): Nazym Kyzaibay (KAZ) beat Mary Kom (IND) 3-2.

Bantamweight (54kg): Dina Zholaman (KAZ) beat Sitora Shogdarova (UZB) 3-2.

Featherweight (57kg): Sitora Turdibekova (UZB) beat Vladislava Kukhta (KAZ) 5-0.

Lightweight (60kg): Rimma Volossenko (KAZ) beat Huswatun Hasanah (INA) KO round-1.

Light Welterweight (64kg): Milana Safronova (KAZ) beat Lalbuatsaihi (IND) 3-2.

Welterweight (69kg): Valentina Khalzova (KAZ) beat Navbakhor Khamidova (UZB) 5-0

Middleweight (75kg): Pooja Rani (IND) beat Mavluda Movlonova (UZB) 5-0.

Light Heavyweight (81kg): Farida Sholtay (KAZ) beat Ruzmetova Sokhiba (UZB) 5-0.

Heavyweight (81+kg): Lazzat Kungeibayeva (KAZ) beat Anupama (IND) 3-2.

Traits of Chinese zodiac animals

Tiger:independent, successful, volatile
Rat:witty, creative, charming
Ox:diligent, perseverent, conservative
Rabbit:gracious, considerate, sensitive
Dragon:prosperous, brave, rash
Snake:calm, thoughtful, stubborn
Horse:faithful, energetic, carefree
Sheep:easy-going, peacemaker, curious
Monkey:family-orientated, clever, playful
Rooster:honest, confident, pompous
Dog:loyal, kind, perfectionist
Boar:loving, tolerant, indulgent  

WHAT IS A BLACK HOLE?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

THE HOLDOVERS

Director: Alexander Payne

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Dominic Sessa

Rating: 4.5/5

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

SPEC SHEET: NOTHING PHONE (2)

Display: 6.7” LPTO Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, HDR10+, Corning Gorilla Glass

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: Android 13, Nothing OS 2

Main camera: Dual 50MP wide, f/1.9 + 50MP ultrawide, f/2.2; OIS, auto-focus

Main camera video: 4K @ 30/60fps, 1080p @ 30/60fps; live HDR, OIS

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.5, HDR

Front camera video: Full-HD @ 30fps

Battery: 4700mAh; full charge in 55m w/ 45w charger; Qi wireless, dual charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Dark grey, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2), USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price (UAE): Dh2,499 (12GB/256GB) / Dh2,799 (12GB/512GB)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Frida

Director: Carla Gutierrez

Starring: Frida Kahlo

Rating: 4/5

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

SPEC SHEET: APPLE IPHONE 15 PRO MAX

Display: 6.7" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2796 x 1290, 460ppi, 120Hz, 2000 nits max, HDR, True Tone, P3, always-on

Processor: A17 Pro, 6-core CPU, 6-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Memory: 8GB

Capacity: 256/512GB / 1TB

Platform: iOS 17

Main camera: Triple: 48MP main (f/1.78) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP 5x telephoto (f/2.8); 5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 10x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 25x; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 60fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting; Animoji, Memoji

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 30fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 4441mAh, up to 29h video, 25h streaming video, 95h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30min (with at least 20W adaptor); MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay), second-generation Ultra Wideband chip

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP68, water-resistant up to 6m up to 30min; dust/splash-resistant

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + eSIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Black titanium, blue titanium, natural titanium, white titanium

In the box: iPhone 15 Pro Max, USB-C-to-USB-C woven cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh5,099 / Dh5,949 / Dh6,799

Law 41.9.4 of men’s T20I playing conditions

The fielding side shall be ready to start each over within 60 seconds of the previous over being completed.
An electronic clock will be displayed at the ground that counts down seconds from 60 to zero.
The clock is not required or, if already started, can be cancelled if:
• A new batter comes to the wicket between overs.
• An official drinks interval has been called.
• The umpires have approved the on field treatment of an injury to a batter or fielder.
• The time lost is for any circumstances beyond the control of the fielding side.
• The third umpire starts the clock either when the ball has become dead at the end of the previous over, or a review has been completed.
• The team gets two warnings if they are not ready to start overs after the clock reaches zero.
• On the third and any subsequent occasion in an innings, the bowler’s end umpire awards five runs.

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.


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