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The Role of Former Combatants in Preventing Youth Involvement in Terrorism in Northern Ireland: A Framework for Assessing Former Islamic State Combatants


The Role of Former Combatants in Preventing Youth Involvement in Terrorism in Northern Ireland: A Framework for Assessing Former Islamic State Combatants

Abstract: 

The article engages with emerging debates on the potential role returning Islamic State fighters may have in preventing violence and whether nonviolent radical ideology acts as a conveyor-belt or firewall to violence. Rather than focusing on former combatant ideologies, it demonstrates how framing processes—not ideology per se—are more salient indicators of whether former combatants will act as conveyor-belts or firewalls to violence. The analytical framework developed for analyzing framing processes is then applied to the case of Northern Ireland. It argues that ideology shapes and constrains the type of antiviolence framing that may emerge, which provides a middle ground between the two perspectives in the literature. Furthermore, the article highlights the importance of network structures, incentives, and opportunities insofar as these can shape antiviolence framing and improve resonance among audiences. While recognizing the differences between cases, the framework is then used to argue that former Islamic State combatants can play a preventative role depending on whether their antiviolence framing is based on durable structural conditions, de-glamorizes violence, and is supported by networks that incentivize its diffusion—not on whether they have denounced their ideology.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Clubb, Gordon. 2016. "The Role of Former Combatants in Preventing Youth Involvement in Terrorism in Northern Ireland: A Framework for Assessing Former Islamic State Combatants." Studies in Conflict & Terrorism (February): 1-20. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1057610X.2016.1144917

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