do not negotiate with terrorists,’ is a renowned statement by multiple
democracies, yet Pruitt (2006) and Neumann (2007) observed that despite the
no-negotiation policy of each democracy, they have often engaged in
negotiations regardless. Aimed at settling conflicts between two parties, negotiations
have been a last resort option for governments with only 1 out of 5 terrorist
groups choosing to engage in a negotiation. It must be acknowledged that
negotiations are not the only means by which terrorism can end. Numerous
academics (Cronin, 2006; Crenshaw, 2007; Jones and Libicki, 2008; Gvineria, 2009;
Weinberg, 2012; Marsden, 2015) have studied and provided substantial evidence
for the different ways in which terrorism declines including, substantial or
partial success, repression, decapitation, unsuccessful generational
transitions, loss of popular support and a shift from terrorism to modus
operandi in sight of legitimate political processes.  In order to explicitly engage with the
question, ‘effective’ must be defined. In this case, negotiations will be
effective in the ending of a terrorist group if (a) an agreement has been
reached from both sides and (b) if
the peace still lasts today. It is,
however, important to note that every conflict resolution is unique and there
are dangers in using a ‘one size fits all’ approach; the effectiveness of
negotiations depends on the situation and the conditions which are in play. Chosen
due to the disparity between both cases in uniqueness, this essay will focus on
two case studies, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Palestinian
Liberation Organisation (PLO), where two peace processes were attempted via the
means of negotiating. The effectiveness of a negotiation depends on key factors
such as the peace deal content, if the conflict is ripe enough to strike a
negotiation and the spoiler effect, of which will be analysed in detail in
relation to ending terrorism. This essay will not only assess negotiation as a
means to effectively end terrorism but will also evaluate the capture of
leaders via policing which has led to terrorist decline. It will conclude that
negotiations are effective in facilitating a process of decline but have rarely
been the single factor in ending terrorism; terrorism decline owes itself to a
number of factors which act as catalysts to negotiations such as policing or loss
of support. 


studies have been conducted by academics in how terrorism ends. (Jones and
Libicki, 2008; Cronin, 2009; Weinberg, 2012) Jones and Libicki conclude that
around 43% of terrorist groups end due to politicisation, 40% due to policing,
10% is down to victory and a mere 7% down to military force (2008: 19).

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Weinberg shares similar parallels whereby he claims that policing and
politicisation account for 40% respectively in ending terrorism.  However, to be effective the strategies have
to “walk a tight line between leading to a successful or weak disengagement
process” (Clubb, 2016). In cases where terrorist’s groups demonstrate
persistence after policing options are attempted, negotiation may be the only
viable strategy left to address terrorism.


of the most influential theories of conflict resolution which is able to aid in
determining negotiations effectiveness was coined by William Zartman – the
Ripeness Theory (1986, 1989, 1995, 2000, 2001). Scholars, (Kissinger, 1974;
Campbell 1976; Zartman, 2000) deem ripeness to be a necessary condition by both
parties for the initiation of negotiations in the post-Cold War era.  The concept of a ripe moment is centered upon
Zartman’s ‘mutually hurting stalemate’ approach which emerges when both parties
reach the point where they can no longer militarily escalate their way to
victory due to the counterproductive, harmful and costly deadlock (Zartman,
1996: 276). The second notion of the ripeness theory is a perceived ‘way out’
where both sides show willingness in exiting from the violence in sight of a
negotiated proposition. The theory is summarised in proposition 2 (2000:

If the
(two) parties to a conflict (a) perceive themselves to be in a hurting
stalemate and (b) perceive the possibility of a negotiated solution 

Adrian Guelke,
Michael Cox and Fiona Stephen (2006) posit that by the early 1990’s both the
IRA and the British Government seemed to sense a stalemate. The IRA realised
they would not militarily be able to beat the British government with Gerry
Adams in 1987 claiming “there’s no military solution, none whatsoever…there can
only be a political solution…an alternative, unarmed struggle, to attain Irish
independence (Taylor, 1997: 353). Likewise, the British Government were keen to
engage in a political solution with the IRA. Major. When both parties were able
to mutually recognise that there was a potential win-win situation (Hauss,
2001: 218) an effective negotiation was created which still stands today. What
led to the settlement was the acknowledgement of both sides in perceiving a
hurting stalemate which led them to look for a way out. 


believes Zartman’s argument to be contain both methodological and ontological
issues and instead places forward his readiness theory (1995) which is a
revision and elaboration of Zartman’s ripeness theory. The Readiness Theory
differs to the Ripeness Theory in that it uses the language of variables and
focuses on multiple parties within a conflict rather than the two main parties.

Readiness to enter a negotiation depends on the motivation to enter a
settlement and the optimism of success. The notions within his theory are as
follows: a motivation to end the conflict followed by a wave of optimism from
both parties in achieving their political aims. ‘Full readiness’ will exist “when
the situation is symmetrical, such that both parties are motivated to achieve
de-escalation and both are optimistic about reaching an agreement” (Pruitt,
1997, p. 239). The greater the readiness on both sides, the more likely they
are to negotiate in hope of reaching an agreement which fulfils their aims. Former Secretary of State George
Shultz (1998) believed the “success of negotiations is attributable not to a
particular procedure chosen, but to the readiness of the parties.” In attempt to practice the theory
through the Olso peace process, both sides had plenty motivation; the PLO had been
economically weakened via the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Israelis
had attained too high costs to try and maintain control over the West Bank and
Gaza (Lunderg, 1996: 4). There was no shortage of optimism between both sides.

Israeli optimism augmented from the PLO’s economic and political weaknesses (Bruck,
1996: 62) whilst Palestinian optimism grew from a more dovish Israeli
government who were prepared to make more moderate demands. However, the main
source of optimism came from the incremental Oslo meetings. The meetings were
held in secret through well-orchestrated meetings held by Norway. Back channel
negotiations are regarded as more important in creating successful negotiations
rather than public negotiations as it usually catalyses the negotiation
effectiveness process. Through these meetings the Israeli’s and Palestinians
were able to create working trust through valid spokesmen on a perceived common
ground. The working trust allowed for both sides to make “concession after
concession,” (Makovsky, 1996: 65) creating a conciliatory spiral where both
sides were interested in peace and would make substantial concessions in its
search (Mallie and McKittrick, 1996). However, post Oslo peace process “public
opposition developed” and the “Palestinian negotiators were criticised for not having
consulted experts on various issues” (Aggestam, 1996: 27). Secret negotiations,
especially when essential, inherently undermine democratic notions of
government transparency. As democracy spreads across the modern world, discord will
exacerbate between covert government sponsored discussions and the liberal
ideology (Aggestam, 1996:27). Likewise, the Israeli government failed to
consult the public during the Oslo negotiations denying them an important
source of political power (Hermann and Newman, 2000). Sentence about how this links back to q about how negotiations were not
effective in this case = effective meaning long lasting – they had all the
components to be effective but they failed due to lack of support which is



both the ripeness and readiness theories are renowned in explaining conflict
resolutions, academics such as Tonge (2011), Millal et al. (1999), Clubb (2016)
oppose the common assumption that the Northern Ireland peace process arose from
a stalemate. Instead they assess the ‘bottom-up’ approach of interplay. For the stalemate to be transformed
into de-escalation of terrorist activities, there needs to be recognition from
actors involved in the conflict of the limited utility of violence to other
actors. (Millal et al., 1999). Respected community leaders were vital in
creating successful and effective negotiations, especially imprisoned IRA
members. Republican thinking had become more moderate during their sentences
where prisoners had time to discuss the ongoing conflict. Prisoner Danny
Morrison, Sinn Fein’s former director of publicity wrote to Gerry Adams, “I
think we can fight on forever and can’t be defeated but of course, that isn’t
the same as winning or showing something for all the sacrifices” (Morrison,
1999: 241). Zartman acknowledges that not all ripeness will lead to
negotiations (2000: 238). The shift from stalemate to negotiations requires
actions from the combatants who will use the bottom up approach in order to
create an effective negotiation. Conversely, neither Palestinians nor Israeli’s
engaged with interplay hence the unsuccessful negotiation. Interplay became
increasingly important in creating effective negotiations.



(1994) believed the peace process in the middle east

Also ripeness
doesn’t work because they had realised time ago x


opening of negotiations can be a catalyst for the decline or end of terrorist
groups, though it is possible that some peace deals can aggravate a group in
becoming more violent and neglecting the peace process. An important element in
determining the effectiveness of negotiations is the peace deal content itself;
whether the aims are negotiable as well as the typology and ideology of a
group. In order for negotiations to be successful, both parties must have
negotiable aims. It is a bilateral process which requires both parties to
commit to negotiation as their preferred method of dispute resolution (De Dreu,
Giacomantoniom Shalvi and Sligte, 2009). Hoffman (1998) and Zartman (2006)
contend that the typology and ideology of a group is important in determining
in what makes a group more or less negotiable which in turn shapes a
negotiations effectiveness. It is believed that non-ideological
ethno-nationalist groups such as the IRA, are more compromising and
negotiations with such groups often produce profitable peace settlements.

However, for ideologically driven groups such as the PLO and of course, Al
Qaeda who have “non-negotiable apocalyptic demands,” (Cronin, 2006: 9) negotiation
becomes harder and less effective due to the extremity of demands. Despite
this, Pruitt recognises that “at one time, the PLO looked like an absolute,
uncompromising terrorist group; they gradually became more tractable and
eventually made enough concessions to reach an agreement with Israel at Oslo”
(2006: 384). Critiquing the stereotypical view that ideological terrorists do
not negotiate, Pruitt acknowledges that every conflict is unique and whether or
not negotiations will be effective depends on the terrorist group in play.  Without both sides being dedicated and
committed it is likely that peace initiatives will fail to bear substantial
fruit as was seen with the signing of the Oslo Accords which according to
Perlmutter (1995: 59) “for all intents and purposes is dead.” Perlmutter
considers the Oslo accord to have “never yielded its desired fruit (1995: 61)
because both parties involved approached the negotiations from different angles,
and with different aims in mind. Without a unilateral understanding of the
settlements terms, the negotiations were doomed to fail before they had even
been signed. Conversely, it is argued that the content of the Good Friday
Agreement, 1994 gave enough incentive for the IRA to enter into negotiation as
the settlement addressed enough of the aspirations and goals of both sides.  However, this is criticised as the Sunningdale
Agreement of 1973 was by large the same content as that of the Good Friday Agreement
but at the time was not sufficient enough in providing a prosperous and
effective negotiation. If negotiations are to be achieved, the outcome relies
on the group in terms of how much they are willing to concede, however, with
negotiable and more moderate aims the IRA was able to create a durable peace
process which exists today.


those groups with the most negotiable aims can struggle in creating an
effective negotiation process due to the uprisings of spoiler groups.



may not be a promising tactical means to end terrorism campaigns but if used
strategically, are durable tools for managing violence. As aforementioned, each
conflict case is unique and the ‘one size fits all’ approach is questionable when
assessing negotiations effectiveness. The IRA was able to come to a negotiated settlement due
to their cultural ties with the UK whereas Israel and Palestine could not have
further ideologies.

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