Significant Steps Terrorist Groups Take To Shift Into Political Parties
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This research study, which examines the question, ‘what are the significant steps terrorist groups take to shift into political parties,’ asserts that every terrorist group transitioning into a political party proceeds through the same five steps: 1. The group must form, gather like-minded people, and have a goal. The group may also have established a political wing and/or politically-tied goals from the onset. 2. The group must be labeled a terrorist organization, accomplished through the proscription of the organization on at least one of the numerous globally-recognized terrorist lists. 3. The group has to meet a ‘mutually hurting stalemate’ with the host country. On its way towards the mutually hurting stalemate, the group may experience changes in leadership, increased utilization of nonviolent strategies, and reputation building amongst the citizens of the host country (and/or globally), all possibly signifying shifts in ideology towards one of peace. Additionally, events may occur that highlight the host country’s inability to defeat the group militarily. 4. Trust and access have to be established between the group and the host country. An example of a significant event that highlights the presence of these traits is a properly-executed ceasefire. 5. Negotiations towards a peace settlement take place and ultimately allow for the transition of the group into a political party. Peace talks may not be initially successful and/or may be given a strengthening factor due to spoiling events. Additionally, hardliners within the group may attempt to restart the conflict and may not adhere to the terms of the final peace agreement. Utilizing foundational scholarly works and case studies on the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the Taliban, these five steps are given detail and examples, highlighting significant events that showcase a terrorist organization’s transition and the transforming relationship it has with its host country.