The new secretary of defense's attempt to open negotiations with the Somalia-based al-Qaeda affiliate raises the question: Does the United States have conditions for negotiating with terrorist groups?
Tricia Bacon is an associate professor at American University’s School of Public Affairs and a former foreign affairs officer at the U.S. State Department.
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Editor’s Note: Since 9/11, the United States has sought to prevent terrorists from enjoying safe havens from which they can build their organizations and plot attacks. Yet the term “safe haven” means different things to different people, muddling analysis and policy. Elizabeth Arsenault and Tricia Bacon, professors at Georgetown University and American University respectively, unpack the notion of a safe haven, assessing the many variants and their policy implications.
Editor’s Note: Cooperation among terrorist groups is dangerous, making them far more flexible and lethal in their operations. Yet such cooperation is rare, and when it occurs it can be fraught with problems. Such difficulties are apparent to all now that the senior leadership of Al Qaeda Core has officially severed ties with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a prominent jihadi group in Syria.