L. Heger in Journal of Peace Research
Good Governance, Political Conflict

Votes and violence: Pursuing terrorism while navigating politics

Author(s): Lindsay Heger
Date: December 5, 2014
Publication Type: Journal Article
Research Topics: Good Governance, Political Conflict

Overview:

Many of the world’s most infamous terrorist organizations demonstrate clear political aptitude, maintaining highly successful political parties while simultaneously carrying out terrorist attacks. Yet the relationship between terrorism and a group’s political fortune is unclear. Groups like Hamas and Hezbollah appear to have gained significant sup- port as a consequence of certain attacks, most notably those against US and Israeli targets. Other organizations fight for their political life after certain attacks. The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its political wing, Sinn Fein, scrambled to restore its public image after bombs in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, killed 11 Protestant civilians. In this article Dr. Heger examines the relationship between violence and political participation. Dr. Heger shows that rebel groups are less likely to attack civilians when they simultaneously participate in democratic elections. She argues that attacking civilians is not good for political business. Not only can it distinguish the group as a terrorist organization and alienate supporters as a result, but attacking civilians also imposes high costs on the group’s own civilian support base. For these reasons, civilians frequently withdraw political support for rebel groups after they target civilians, which can be profoundly harmful to rebels. Dr. Heger analyzes the violent and political behavior of non-state violent organizations from the Middle East and North Africa from 1980 to 2004. She also examines the IRA as a means of describing the causal mechanism advanced here.

Key Findings:

This article examines the relationship between violence and political participation, and analyzes violent and political behavior of certain non-state organizations, in particular, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Among the findings:

  • Many terrorist organizations maintain highly successful political parties while carrying out terrorist attacks.
  • The relationship between terrorism and a group's political fortune has been unclear.
  • When rebel groups participate in democratic elections they are less likely to attack civilians.
  • Attacking civilians is not good for political business.

Related Publications

Global Constitutionalism

Improving global accountability: The ICC and nonviolent crimes against humanity

Written by Eamon Aloyo on October 7, 2013

Scholars have proposed a number of different ways to improve global accountability, but none has adequately addressed how individuals who commit widespread or systematic nonviolent wrongs can be held to account.

Read more
Global Society

Democratising Transitional Justice: Transitional Trade-offs and Constituting the Demos

Written by Eamon Aloyo on October 2, 2013

Aloyo argues that transitional justice should be democratized so that victims and potential victims constitute the transitional justice demos. To realize this goal he proposes a method by which people can be enfranchised to make such choices.

Read more
Non State actors and Governance

The Rise of Non-State Actors in Global Governance: Opportunities and Limitations

Written by Kelsey Coolidge, Conor Seyle, Thomas G. Weiss on August 17, 2013

The success of non-state actors does not mean that intergovernmental organizations have no role — quite the contrary.

Read more
The Cost Of Maritime Piracy

The Human Cost of Maritime Piracy 2012

Written by Conor Seyle, Kaija Hurlburt on June 1, 2013

Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), a project of the One Earth Future Foundation; the International Maritime Bureau (IMB); and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) are pleased to present the Human Cost of Maritime Piracy, 2012.

Read more
Burden Sharing Governance

Burden Sharing Multi-level Governance: A Study of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia

Written by Conor Seyle, Danielle A. Zach, Jens Vestergaard Madsen on May 26, 2013

The world confronts many threats with transnational dimensions that transcend the the capacity of states to address.

Read more
Business Participation in the Responsibility to Protect

Business Participation in the Responsibility to Protect

Written by Conor Seyle on April 26, 2013

Past research on business engagement with human rights, peace, and security has identified specific reasons why national and transnational companies may be interested in participating, as well as how they have contributed to protecting human rights

Read more

Governance, Democracy and Peace: How State Capacity and Regime Type Influence the Prospects for War and Peace

Written by Conor Seyle, David Cortright, Kristen Wall on April 26, 2013

This white paper offers a synthetic review of empirical evidence on the elements of state governance that affect interstate and intrastate armed conflict. In the first part of the paper we examine state capacity and institutional quality.

Read more
Criminal Court and Torture

Does the International Criminal Court Deter Torture?

Written by Eamon Aloyo, Yvonne M. Dutton, Lindsay Heger on March 8, 2013

Despite widespread commitment to the international human rights regime, human rights abuses persist and go unpunished.

Read more

Pages