# "We don't negotiate with terrorists!": Legitimacy and complexity in terrorist conflicts

Toros, Harmonie (2008) "We don't negotiate with terrorists!": Legitimacy and complexity in terrorist conflicts. Security Dialogue, 39 (4). pp. 407-426. ISSN 0967-0106. (doi:10.1177/0967010608094035) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:38093)

 The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication) Official URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0967010608094035

## Abstract

A key objection raised by terrorism scholars and policymakers against engaging in negotiations with terrorists is that it legitimizes terrorist groups, their goals and their means. Talking to them would serve only to incite more violence and weaken the fabric of democratic states, they argue. With the emergence of Al-Qaeda and its complex transnational structure, many have added another objection: Who does one talk to? Faced with such a multifaceted, horizontal organization, how does one engage? This article offers an alternative approach to the question of legitimacy and complexity in engaging with terrorism. Drawing from research in peace and conflict studies, it analyses how these two factors may in fact be conducive to a nonviolent resolution of conflicts involving terrorist violence. Using the conflicts in Northern Ireland and the southern Philippine region of Mindanao as illustrations, the article argues that the legitimation of terrorist' groups through talks can be a means to transform a conflict away from violence, while complexity may in fact open up new possibilities for engagement. The article concludes by examining how the naming of a group as terrorist' can and is often designed to forestall nonviolent responses to terrorism.

Item Type: Article 10.1177/0967010608094035 terrorism; conflict resolution; negotiation; legitimacy; complexity; Al-Qaeda J Political Science > JZ International relations Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations Harmonie Toros 29 Jan 2014 12:39 UTC 29 May 2019 11:48 UTC https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/38093 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes) https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9139-5292