‘Wedo not negotiate with terrorists,’ is a renowned statement by multipledemocracies, yet Pruitt (2006) and Neumann (2007) observed that despite theno-negotiation policy of each democracy, they have often engaged innegotiations regardless. Aimed at settling conflicts between two parties, negotiationshave been a last resort option for governments with only 1 out of 5 terroristgroups choosing to engage in a negotiation. It must be acknowledged thatnegotiations are not the only means by which terrorism can end.
Numerousacademics (Cronin, 2006; Crenshaw, 2007; Jones and Libicki, 2008; Gvineria, 2009;Weinberg, 2012; Marsden, 2015) have studied and provided substantial evidencefor the different ways in which terrorism declines including, substantial orpartial success, repression, decapitation, unsuccessful generationaltransitions, loss of popular support and a shift from terrorism to modusoperandi in sight of legitimate political processes. In order to explicitly engage with thequestion, ‘effective’ must be defined. In this case, negotiations will beeffective in the ending of a terrorist group if (a) an agreement has beenreached from both sides and (b) ifthe peace still lasts today. It is,however, important to note that every conflict resolution is unique and thereare dangers in using a ‘one size fits all’ approach; the effectiveness ofnegotiations depends on the situation and the conditions which are in play.
Chosendue to the disparity between both cases in uniqueness, this essay will focus ontwo case studies, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the PalestinianLiberation Organisation (PLO), where two peace processes were attempted via themeans of negotiating. The effectiveness of a negotiation depends on key factorssuch as the peace deal content, if the conflict is ripe enough to strike anegotiation and the spoiler effect, of which will be analysed in detail inrelation to ending terrorism. This essay will not only assess negotiation as ameans to effectively end terrorism but will also evaluate the capture ofleaders via policing which has led to terrorist decline. It will conclude thatnegotiations are effective in facilitating a process of decline but have rarelybeen the single factor in ending terrorism; terrorism decline owes itself to anumber of factors which act as catalysts to negotiations such as policing or lossof support. Counter-terrorismstudies have been conducted by academics in how terrorism ends. (Jones andLibicki, 2008; Cronin, 2009; Weinberg, 2012) Jones and Libicki conclude thataround 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).Weinberg shares similar parallels whereby he claims that policing andpoliticisation account for 40% respectively in ending terrorism. However, to be effective the strategies haveto “walk a tight line between leading to a successful or weak disengagementprocess” (Clubb, 2016).
In cases where terrorist’s groups demonstratepersistence after policing options are attempted, negotiation may be the onlyviable strategy left to address terrorism. Oneof the most influential theories of conflict resolution which is able to aid indetermining negotiations effectiveness was coined by William Zartman – theRipeness Theory (1986, 1989, 1995, 2000, 2001). Scholars, (Kissinger, 1974;Campbell 1976; Zartman, 2000) deem ripeness to be a necessary condition by bothparties for the initiation of negotiations in the post-Cold War era. The concept of a ripe moment is centered uponZartman’s ‘mutually hurting stalemate’ approach which emerges when both partiesreach the point where they can no longer militarily escalate their way tovictory 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 anegotiated proposition.
The theory is summarised in proposition 2 (2000:228-229).If the(two) parties to a conflict (a) perceive themselves to be in a hurtingstalemate 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 theIRA and the British Government seemed to sense a stalemate. The IRA realisedthey would not militarily be able to beat the British government with GerryAdams in 1987 claiming “there’s no military solution, none whatsoever…there canonly be a political solution…an alternative, unarmed struggle, to attain Irishindependence (Taylor, 1997: 353). Likewise, the British Government were keen toengage in a political solution with the IRA. Major. When both parties were ableto mutually recognise that there was a potential win-win situation (Hauss,2001: 218) an effective negotiation was created which still stands today.
Whatled to the settlement was the acknowledgement of both sides in perceiving ahurting stalemate which led them to look for a way out. Pruittbelieves Zartman’s argument to be contain both methodological and ontologicalissues and instead places forward his readiness theory (1995) which is arevision and elaboration of Zartman’s ripeness theory. The Readiness Theorydiffers to the Ripeness Theory in that it uses the language of variables andfocuses on multiple parties within a conflict rather than the two main parties.Readiness to enter a negotiation depends on the motivation to enter asettlement and the optimism of success. The notions within his theory are asfollows: a motivation to end the conflict followed by a wave of optimism fromboth parties in achieving their political aims. ‘Full readiness’ will exist “whenthe situation is symmetrical, such that both parties are motivated to achievede-escalation and both are optimistic about reaching an agreement” (Pruitt,1997, p. 239). The greater the readiness on both sides, the more likely theyare to negotiate in hope of reaching an agreement which fulfils their aims.
Former Secretary of State GeorgeShultz (1998) believed the “success of negotiations is attributable not to aparticular procedure chosen, but to the readiness of the parties.” In attempt to practice the theorythrough the Olso peace process, both sides had plenty motivation; the PLO had beeneconomically weakened via the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Israelishad attained too high costs to try and maintain control over the West Bank andGaza (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 Israeligovernment who were prepared to make more moderate demands. However, the mainsource of optimism came from the incremental Oslo meetings. The meetings wereheld in secret through well-orchestrated meetings held by Norway. Back channelnegotiations are regarded as more important in creating successful negotiationsrather than public negotiations as it usually catalyses the negotiationeffectiveness process. Through these meetings the Israeli’s and Palestinianswere able to create working trust through valid spokesmen on a perceived commonground. The working trust allowed for both sides to make “concession afterconcession,” (Makovsky, 1996: 65) creating a conciliatory spiral where bothsides were interested in peace and would make substantial concessions in itssearch (Mallie and McKittrick, 1996).
However, post Oslo peace process “publicopposition developed” and the “Palestinian negotiators were criticised for not havingconsulted experts on various issues” (Aggestam, 1996: 27). Secret negotiations,especially when essential, inherently undermine democratic notions ofgovernment transparency. As democracy spreads across the modern world, discord willexacerbate between covert government sponsored discussions and the liberalideology (Aggestam, 1996:27). Likewise, the Israeli government failed toconsult the public during the Oslo negotiations denying them an importantsource of political power (Hermann and Newman, 2000). Sentence about how this links back to q about how negotiations were noteffective in this case = effective meaning long lasting – they had all thecomponents to be effective but they failed due to lack of support which isimportant) Althoughboth the ripeness and readiness theories are renowned in explaining conflictresolutions, academics such as Tonge (2011), Millal et al.
(1999), Clubb (2016)oppose the common assumption that the Northern Ireland peace process arose froma stalemate. Instead they assess the ‘bottom-up’ approach of interplay. For the stalemate to be transformedinto de-escalation of terrorist activities, there needs to be recognition fromactors involved in the conflict of the limited utility of violence to otheractors. (Millal et al.
, 1999). Respected community leaders were vital increating successful and effective negotiations, especially imprisoned IRAmembers. Republican thinking had become more moderate during their sentenceswhere prisoners had time to discuss the ongoing conflict. Prisoner DannyMorrison, Sinn Fein’s former director of publicity wrote to Gerry Adams, “Ithink we can fight on forever and can’t be defeated but of course, that isn’tthe same as winning or showing something for all the sacrifices” (Morrison,1999: 241). Zartman acknowledges that not all ripeness will lead tonegotiations (2000: 238). The shift from stalemate to negotiations requiresactions from the combatants who will use the bottom up approach in order tocreate an effective negotiation. Conversely, neither Palestinians nor Israeli’sengaged with interplay hence the unsuccessful negotiation.
Interplay becameincreasingly important in creating effective negotiations. Guekle(1994) believed the peace process in the middle east Also ripenessdoesn’t work because they had realised time ago x Theopening of negotiations can be a catalyst for the decline or end of terroristgroups, though it is possible that some peace deals can aggravate a group inbecoming more violent and neglecting the peace process. An important element indetermining the effectiveness of negotiations is the peace deal content itself;whether the aims are negotiable as well as the typology and ideology of agroup. In order for negotiations to be successful, both parties must havenegotiable aims.
It is a bilateral process which requires both parties tocommit 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 determiningin what makes a group more or less negotiable which in turn shapes anegotiations effectiveness. It is believed that non-ideologicalethno-nationalist groups such as the IRA, are more compromising andnegotiations with such groups often produce profitable peace settlements.However, for ideologically driven groups such as the PLO and of course, AlQaeda who have “non-negotiable apocalyptic demands,” (Cronin, 2006: 9) negotiationbecomes harder and less effective due to the extremity of demands. Despitethis, Pruitt recognises that “at one time, the PLO looked like an absolute,uncompromising terrorist group; they gradually became more tractable andeventually made enough concessions to reach an agreement with Israel at Oslo”(2006: 384). Critiquing the stereotypical view that ideological terrorists donot negotiate, Pruitt acknowledges that every conflict is unique and whether ornot negotiations will be effective depends on the terrorist group in play. Without both sides being dedicated andcommitted it is likely that peace initiatives will fail to bear substantialfruit as was seen with the signing of the Oslo Accords which according toPerlmutter (1995: 59) “for all intents and purposes is dead.” Perlmutterconsiders 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 thesettlements terms, the negotiations were doomed to fail before they had evenbeen signed. Conversely, it is argued that the content of the Good FridayAgreement, 1994 gave enough incentive for the IRA to enter into negotiation asthe settlement addressed enough of the aspirations and goals of both sides. However, this is criticised as the SunningdaleAgreement of 1973 was by large the same content as that of the Good Friday Agreementbut at the time was not sufficient enough in providing a prosperous andeffective negotiation. If negotiations are to be achieved, the outcome relieson the group in terms of how much they are willing to concede, however, withnegotiable and more moderate aims the IRA was able to create a durable peaceprocess which exists today.
Eventhose groups with the most negotiable aims can struggle in creating aneffective negotiation process due to the uprisings of spoiler groups. Negotiationsmay not be a promising tactical means to end terrorism campaigns but if usedstrategically, are durable tools for managing violence. As aforementioned, eachconflict case is unique and the ‘one size fits all’ approach is questionable whenassessing negotiations effectiveness. The IRA was able to come to a negotiated settlement dueto their cultural ties with the UK whereas Israel and Palestine could not havefurther ideologies.