While the consequences of terrorism are unfortunately all too well-known and palpable, its causes very often evade us due to their politicization. Thus, one person’s “terrorist” may be another person’s “freedom fighter.” Equally, different governments may simultaneously qualify one and the same militant organization in either way. To make the things even more perplexing, at different times one and the same government may qualify one and the same militant group as “freedom fighters” and then as “a terrorist group.”
As much as its causes, the approaches to terrorism, i.e. the proposed manners as to how to deal with it and even more importantly how to prevent it have varied across the globe and time. Should a government ever negotiate with terrorists? Why some governments do so while others vehemently refuse any negotiations with terrorists? Is there such a thing as “state terrorism?” When was the term “terrorism” used for the first time and in which context? Is “War on Terror” possible at all? These and many other related questions will be addressed in this class using an interdisciplinary approach comprised of history, politics, economy, sociology, social psychology, and human rights.
Thus, we shall be looking at the European experiences with terrorist organizations such as IRA and ETA, U.S. and Israeli experiences with HAMAS and Hezbollah, as well as at the experiences of several human rights agencies which have worked on the rehabilitation of Islamic militants all in an attempt to develop recommendations for the U.S. and other world governments in their dealings with militant organizations. Among others, these recommendations will consider the effectiveness of the youth radicalization prevention programs in the West and in the Middle East.