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Abstract

Building on earlier RAND research that reviewed and integrated social science relevant to understanding terrorism and counterterrorism, this volume focuses on public support for both insurgency and terrorism and incorporates insights stimulated by social movement theory. The authors examine four case studies: al-Qa'ida's transnational jihadist movement, the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey, and the Maoist insurgency in Nepal. The authors first developed a model, based on previous work, identifying the factors that influence public support for insurgency and terrorism and how these factors relate to each other. They then drew on extensive primary- and secondary-source material from each of the four case studies to evaluate and refine the model. Comparing the four case studies, the authors discuss which factors were most salient across cases and how their importance varied in each case. Finally, they offer a model of "persuasive communications" that connects the study's research to issues of strategy and policy.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    A Conceptual Model

  • Chapter Three

    The Case of al-Qa'ida

  • Chapter Four

    Public Support for the Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan

  • Chapter Five

    Public Support for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey

  • Chapter Six

    Public Support for the Maoists in Nepal

  • Chapter Seven

    Comparisons and Implications for Analysis of Strategy

  • Appendix

    Polling on Public Support for Terrorism in the Islamic World

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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