Document Type

Book Chapter


Final Published Version

Publication Title

Handbook of Terrorism Prevention and Preparedness

Publication Date



This chapter reviews and extends the analysis of mass political murder advanced by Chirot and McCauley, then applies this analysis to understanding and countering terrorism. The justification for this application is that both politicide and terrorism target civilians in the context of asymmetric conflict. Three generalizations emerge. Politicide and terrorism cannot be understood or countered without (i) studying both sides in the conflict, (ii) separate studies of leaders, perpetrators, and mass sympathizers, and (iii) acknowledgment of the threats and grievances perceived by both sides. The chapter concludes with implications for fighting the war of ideas against jihadist and right-wing terrorists.