Deradicalization: Using Triggers for the Development of a US Program
Keywords:deradicalization, deradicalization program, Complex Interdependence, Containment, jihadi, defector, terrorism, amnesty
Although the United States (US) is leading the fight against transnational terrorism, and the United Nations (UN) has strongly encouraged an interdependent approach, the US still lacks guidance for a coherent US Deradicalization Program. This is of critical concern given that the US recently received its first publicly known US Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant defector, but currently lacks a policy or program to handle this population, outside of standard incarceration. Moreover, this population, along with homegrown extremists and returning fighters from Syria pose the most likely continued jihadi presence in the US. The purpose of this paper is to review successful program options, and establish a basis on which to develop an effective US program. This paper outlines the known triggers for deradicalization, the known characteristics of the US jihadi population and analyzes the most useful deradicalization program components based on successful international models. Using a qualitative, cross-national content analysis of former jihadi personal narratives, international deradicalization program structure evaluations and major research findings, this paper concludes that a standardized UN sponsored program, with comprehensive services which include credible ideological and psychological support, and amnesty incentives tailored to the US jihadi population, would be the most effective way to address former jihadi population needs while enhancing US national security objectives. Key Middle Eastern stakeholders and Western states must cooperatively develop best methodologies for target populations, by leveraging each other’s competencies and capabilities.
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