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The Terrorist's Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations [Kindle Edition]

Jacob N. Shapiro

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"In a unique study, Shapiro explores the management of such groups with considerable rigor, beginning with the nineteenth-century Russian progenitors of contemporary terrorist groups and ending with al Qaeda."--Foreign Affairs "Shapiro's book offers theoretical insight into the working of covert organizations that removes many cobwebs that cloud our understanding of the phenomenon."--Gayatri Chandrasekaran, Mint "Shapiro's topical historical overview, biographical profiles and case studies make for interesting reading... Shapiro's advice is penetrating."--Survival "Ultimately, the terrorist's dilemma that Shapiro is exploring is the divergence between the need for control and order and the equal need for opacity and security within a terrorist organisation. It is unlikely that any such organisation will ever be able to completely resolve this predicament, as by their very nature political movements seek to create parallel governance structures and therefore exactly the sort of managerial bureaucracy that Shapiro sees as their Achilles' heel. By laying out in such detail how this weakness can be exploited, Shapiro is undertaking a task that will likely stand the test of time."--Raffaello Pantucci, RUSI Journal


How do terrorist groups control their members? Do the tools groups use to monitor their operatives and enforce discipline create security vulnerabilities that governments can exploit? The Terrorist's Dilemma is the first book to systematically examine the great variation in how terrorist groups are structured. Employing a broad range of agency theory, historical case studies, and terrorists' own internal documents, Jacob Shapiro provocatively discusses the core managerial challenges that terrorists face and illustrates how their political goals interact with the operational environment to push them to organize in particular ways.

Shapiro provides a historically informed explanation for why some groups have little hierarchy, while others resemble miniature firms, complete with line charts and written disciplinary codes. Looking at groups in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, he highlights how consistent and widespread the terrorist's dilemma--balancing the desire to maintain control with the need for secrecy--has been since the 1880s. Through an analysis of more than a hundred terrorist autobiographies he shows how prevalent bureaucracy has been, and he utilizes a cache of internal documents from al-Qa'ida in Iraq to outline why this deadly group used so much paperwork to handle its people. Tracing the strategic interaction between terrorist leaders and their operatives, Shapiro closes with a series of comparative case studies, indicating that the differences in how groups in the same conflict approach their dilemmas are consistent with an agency theory perspective.

The Terrorist's Dilemma demonstrates the management constraints inherent to terrorist groups and sheds light on specific organizational details that can be exploited to more efficiently combat terrorist activity.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1538 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 345 Seiten
  • Verlag: Princeton University Press (4. August 2013)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00E3PNQZ4
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #282.881 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.8 von 5 Sternen  5 Rezensionen
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellence in Scholarly Research 12. November 2013
Von James Forest - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This book by Dr. Jacob Shapiro represents excellent scholarly research on terrorist groups. The author builds upon his earlier work, published in the groundbreaking report Harmony and Disharmony: Exploiting al-Qaida's Organizational Vulnerabilities (Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 2007), to showcase the myriad challenges that virtually all established terrorist groups face in managing their operations, internal morale and public perceptions. Governments throughout the world should give serious consideration to Shapiro's analysis and recommendations when formulating their security and counterterrorism strategies. Highly recommended.
4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen superb 24. August 2013
Von reader - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Terrorist organizations are organizations, so agency theory which applies to other groups should also apply to the structure and function of terrorist groups as well. In particular, Shapiro identifies the "terrorist's dilemma" of security versus control which bedevils terrorist groups. He lays out the argument, develops the theory (including a nice aside on nonzero sum multiple round game theory, which a non-expert can follow), looks at a number of cases from prerevolutionary Russia to Ireland to Palestine to Iraq, and finishes with a bunch of really insightful recommendations for counterterrorism efforts. Like Bruce Schneier, he works to frame terrorism as just another annoyance to society, rather than a big scary Existential Threat. Read this one.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great insight into the inner workings of a terrorist cell 13. Dezember 2014
Von James A. Rees - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Great insight into the inner workings of a terrorist cell. An excellent resource for an intelligence analyst trying to make sense of a pile of traffic. Really good resource, a must have, and a must read.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Five Stars 8. Februar 2015
Von James Lewis - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Shapiro tears down the 'invincible' facade of terrorist organizations by exposing their bureaucratic challenges.
0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting look at Terrorist organizations 24. Mai 2014
Von Stephen Hirasuna - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
For me, a different way of looking at violent terrorist organizations. Shapiro asks the question, how to terrorists maintain control of an organization and use violence in a way that furthers their political goals, but minimizes the negative effects of uncontrolled violence, while employing the kind of people for whom violence is a way of life. He gets repetitious in making his points, but his ideas are worth hearing about.
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