Negotiating hostage crises with the new terrorists



Publication Details

A. Dolnik & K. M. Fitzgerald, 'Negotiating hostage crises with the new terrorists' (2011) 34 (4) Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 267-294.


Jihadi hostage-taking manuals as well as recent attacks such as the Moscow theater and the Beslan school are an alarming indication of the likely characteristics of future barricade hostage sieges. While there are many trained crisis negotiators around the world, the vast majority lacks any experience whatsoever in dealing with issues such as ideology, religion, or the differing set of objectives and mindsets of terrorist hostage- takers. This is especially true in relation to dealing with terrorists of the “new” breed, who possess much greater willingness to execute hostages, are likely to employ large teams of willing-to-die hostage-takers who will have the capability to effectively repel a rescue operation, and who will also have detailed knowledge of the hostage negotiation and rescue teams’ “playbook.” This article presents the findings of a detailed evaluation of recent case studies to highlight the adjustments that need to be made to the contem- porary crisis negotiation protocols, in order to improve the capacity of negotiators to deal with such incidents more effectively.

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