Seth Jones and Martin Libikci are the authors of How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al-Qaeda. Their report examines the data on more than 600 terrorist groups over the last forty years and applies the lessons learned to the counterterrorist efforts of the United States and her allies. The Middle East Institute has summarised their event with the authors:
"Jones contended that by examining the historical record of past counterterrorism endeavors, the United States could formulate a more efficient and suitable strategy for combating al-Qaeda."
"Jones detailed the findings of his report. Upon testing various causal factors against historical data, Jones and Libicki concluded that the vast majority of terrorist groups have terminated due to political settlements (43%) or policing and intelligence activities (40%). Military operations, by contrast, accounted for only 7% of successful defeats. Furthermore, the authors discerned no statistical correlation between terrorist groups’ devolutions and economic conditions, political institutions, and breadth of goals.
"What implications do these results have for current US counterterrorism policy? Jones asserted that military force continues to represent a counterproductive strategy for defeating al-Qaeda because it inflicts a high civilian death toll and emboldens terrorists’ “holy war” rhetoric. Instead, Jones posited, by leveraging legitimate local actors and surreptitiously targeting key players, the United States could more credibly and effectively pursue its strategic interests. In practice this means that the US government should support indigenous police forces, target key leaders, and engage in clandestine intelligence gathering and analysis. It should also empower organizations such as the State Department, CIA, and FBI, in conjunction with the Department of Defense, to develop and implement counterterrorism policies in the United States and abroad.
"Thus far, these tactics have accrued auspicious success in places like Ramadi, Iraq where large numbers of Sunni insurgents, with American backing, have joined Iraqi police forces to help rout al-Qaeda in Iraq. Additionally, the use of local Pakistani informants and intelligence agents has led to the capture and arrest of key terrorists like Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (in March 2002 and 2003, respectively). Although Jones admitted the potential failure of these strategies if local populations refuse to cooperate or possess conflicting strategic visions, he reemphasized that the “war on terror” could not be won by military force alone."