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What Terrorists Really Want: Terrorist Motives and Counterterrorism Strategy
Journal Article

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International Security, Vol. 32, page(s): 78-105

Spring 2008

What do terrorists want? No question is more fundamental for devising an effective counterterrorism strategy. The international community cannot expect to make terrorism unprofitable and thus scarce without knowing the incentive structure of its practitioners. The strategic model—the dominant paradigm in terrorism studies—posits that terrorists are political utility maximizers. According to this view, individuals resort to terrorism when the expected political gains minus the expected costs outweigh the net expected benefits of

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