http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9351/index1.html How Terrorist Groups End A recent RAND research effort sheds light on this issue by investigating how terrorist groups have ended in the past. By analyzing a comprehensive roster of terrorist groups that existed worldwide between 1968 and 2006, the authors found that most groups ended because of operations carried out by local police or intelligence agencies or because they negotiated a settlement with their governments. Military force was rarely the primary reason a terrorist group ended, and few groups within this time frame achieved victory. In 10 percent of cases, terrorist groups ended because they achieved victory. Military force led to the end of terrorist groups in 7 percent of cases. The authors found that militaries tended to be most effective when used against terrorist groups engaged in insurgencies in which the groups were large, well armed, and well organized. But against most terrorist groups, military force was usually too blunt an instrument. The analysis also found that religiously motivated terrorist groups took longer to eliminate than other groups but rarely achieved their objectives; no religiously motivated group achieved victory during the period studied. size significantly determined a group's fate. Groups exceeding 10,000 members were victorious more than 25 percent of the time, while victory was rare for groups below 1,000 members. Its goal of a pan-Islamic caliphate leaves little room for a negotiated political settlement with governments in the Middle East. A more effective U.S. approach would involve a two-front strategy: Make policing and intelligence the backbone of U.S. efforts. Al Qa'ida consists of a network of individuals who need to be tracked and arrested. This requires careful involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as their cooperation with foreign police and intelligence agencies. Minimize the use of U.S. military force. In most operations against al Qa'ida, local military forces frequently have more legitimacy to operate and a better understanding of the operating environment than U.S. forces have. This means a light U.S. military footprint or none at all. Key to this strategy is replacing the war-on-terrorism orientation with the kind of counterterrorism approach that is employed by most governments facing significant terrorist threats today. Calling the efforts a war on terrorism raises public expectations both in the United States and elsewhere that there is a battlefield solution. It also tends to legitimize the terrorists' view that they are conducting a jihad (holy war) against the United States and elevates them to the status of holy warriors. Terrorists should be perceived as criminals, not holy warriors. ======================================== Given that it will be just another massive waste of taxpayer dollars to give in to ISIS demands by putting boots on the ground there is no point in waging the failed "war on terror" any longer. The odds of defeating terrorism via military means are slim and none. Instead let's use what actually worked in the past. Find diplomatic, political and policing solutions to bring an end to terrorism because they are actually just criminals with guns and need to be found, caught and brought to justice in the most effective means possible. Pouring a hundred billion of the massive DoD budget into state and local police departments will effectively reduce terrorism here in the USA and keep them at bay. Use another hundred billion for InterPol specifically to track down and bring terrorists to justice will reduce their numbers elsewhere. When the terrorists figure out that they are just being treated like common criminals and that no one wants them around they will look for other alternatives to guns and bombs.