Teaching Terrorism

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Terrorism Bibliog 2003

CitationZimmermann, Tim. "Coercive Diplomacy and Libya," in The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy (2nd Edition), edited by Alexander L. George and William E. Simons. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1994), 201-228.
Topic 1Counterterrorism Instruments
Topic 2Case Studies
Topic 3State Terrorism
CountryUnited States, Libya
AbstractDuring the early 1980s, Libya was implicated as a sponsor of terrorist attacks against Western interests. In 1985, simultaneous attacks in Rome and Vienna by the Abu Nidal group, which Qaddafi called "heroic acts", killed twenty people, five of them Americans, including a 9-year old girl. The Reagan administration responded with a policy that would utilize coherent and escalating political, economic, and military pressures in an attempt to end Qaddafi's sponsorship of international terrorism. There were three phases to this strategy, involving peaceful pressure (including economic sanctions), a show of force (in January 1986, Reagan ordered the Navy to begin a week of extensive flight operations in the vicinity of Libya), and finally, the use of force (a bombing raid on April 14, 1986, in response to a series of terrorist attacks directly linked to Qaddafi). However, the author notes that this attempt at coercive diplomacy did not significantly change Qaddafi's support for international terrorism. The case demonstrates that there are significant indigenous structural limitations on the use of military force as an instrument of coercion.

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