A Coalition of Coalitions

International Cooperation Against Terrorism

Published in: Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, v. 29, no. 1, 2006, p. 35-49

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Nora Bensahel

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The term coalition against terror is commonly used, but is fundamentally misleading. Multiple coalitions against terror exist in different issue areas--including military, financial, law enforcement, intelligence, and reconstruction. These coalitions are independent of each other, and yet inextricably linked, both enabling and constraining each other's actions. Actions taken by the military coalition can undermine the intelligence coalition, for example, by destroying documents and other information during attacks. Overlapping membership may also cause challenges, for countries who disagree with the approach of one coalition many restrict their cooperation with the others. A successful counterterror strategy must account for the interactions of the various coalitions, understanding how actions taken in one area may cause tradeoffs and unintended consequences in others.

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