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Counter‐terrorism policies in the Middle East: Why democracy has failed to reduce terrorism in the Middle East and why protecting human rights might be more successful

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Criminology & Public Policy

Published online on

Abstract

["\n\nAbstract\nMost quantitative research examining predictors of country‐level terrorism have used worldwide samples which potentially obscures regional or country‐specific effects. This may be especially problematic for regions in which common predictors of political violence differ from what is expected based on worldwide patterns. In this paper we explore the possibility that this situation exists for several key predictors of terrorism in the Middle East since the 1980s. For much of the past thirty years US policy has focused on the promotion of democracy and reduction of state‐based human rights violations in the Middle East, yet very few studies have quantitatively examined the effects of these variables on terrorism among Middle Eastern countries. Using Global Terrorism Data for 18 Middle Eastern countries from 1980 to 2016, we find annual increases in state‐based human rights violations and increasing democratization are both related to increases in terrorist attacks.\n\n\nPolicy Implications\nOur results suggest that counter‐terrorism policies that discourage state‐based acts of repression, and foster state‐based legitimacy hold more promise for reducing terrorism than policies that focus on the promotion of democracy in Middle Eastern countries.\n\n", "Criminology & Public Policy, EarlyView. "]