Religion and NGOs

Terrorism and Development: Using Social and Economic Development to Inhibit a Resurgence of Terrorism

The International Journal
of Not-for-Profit Law

Volume 6, Issue 1, September 2003

By Kim Cragin and Peter Chalk.
Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2003.
42 pp. $18 paper.

Can development diminish terrorism? Kim Cragin and Peter Chalk examine the experience of Israel, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom. They conclude that development policies, when properly conceived and implemented, hold the potential for reducing local support for terrorism and hindering terrorist recruiting.

“The most successful social and economic policies,” they write, “are those that are (1) developed in consultation with community leaders, (2) based on needs assessments that address the specific requirements of targeted communities, and (3) accompanied by disbursement mechanisms that ensure proper fiscal management and non-partisanship.” A successful policy also must be adequately funded–otherwise the terrorism problem may actually worsen: “If development initiatives lack sufficient financial support, they are likely to act as a double-edged sword, erroneously inflating the hopes and aspirations of local communities. When these expectations are not met, there is a high chance that social and economic policies will backfire, triggering resentment and renewed support for terrorist violence.”