Authored by: Bradley A. Thayer

Routledge Handbook of American Foreign Policy

Print publication date:  August  2011
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415800884
eBook ISBN: 9780203878637
Adobe ISBN: 9781135967352


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Unlike most aspects of foreign and defense policy studies, counterterrorism as an academic discipline and an important component of foreign and defense policy is a relatively new development, and one highly dependent on the terrorist threat confronted and the actions of the terrorists. 1 A reflection on the intellectual development of the discipline of counterterrorism allows the recognition that it has varied considerably by country. As one would suspect, countries confronting a major terrorist group place more focus on the problem than those not facing the danger. Accordingly, counterterrorist studies were particularly well developed in the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Israel. The United Kingdom has confronted the Irish Republican Army (IRA) since the modern “Troubles,” violence between the IRA and British and Unionist forces that began in 1969 (Moloney 2002). Another important U.S. ally, Turkey, has struggled against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since 1984. Thirty thousand people are estimated to have been killed in one of the most vicious terror-counterterror campaigns fought (Barkey 2007: 344). The struggle has implications beyond Turkey’s borders. Syria and Iran are affected by the struggle, which additionally has important implications for the United States’ presence in Iraq and the stability of that country. Israel has confronted numerous Palestinian terrorists groups, the most of important of which in the past were the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and its splinter organization Black September. It currently confronts the challenges imposed by a new generation of terrorist groups, the most formidable of which is the Islamic Resistance Movement, better known as Hamas.

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