Counter-terrorism and insurgency policies and civil society in Colombia
Saúl M. Rodriguez-Hernandez and Julio- César Cepeda- Ladino
Over more than fifty years Colombian society has undergone one of the most violent and bloodiest internal wars in the contemporary world, involving different actors like left-wing guerrillas, right-wing groups, and institutional forces. This situation, intertwined with the events of 9/11, which added to the strong relationship with the United States, aligned Colombian security policies in the line of counter-terrorist American actions, materialized locally as a counterinsurgency program. Known as “Democratic Security” (DS), this was coined by President Alvaro Uribe, unfolded between 2002 and 2010 and was continued by his successor Juan Manuel Santos (2010–2014), which in its first phase incorporated many American discourses, not only to respond to local threats but also to ask for economic and military support framed under the umbrella of “Plan Colombia.” DS showed its effectiveness against insurgent groups, mainly FARC (Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces), which was useful to pressure this insurgency to begin a peace negotiation afterwards, however it has a dark side in civil society, including extrajudicial killings, the persecution of political opponents, a dirty war against some communities, and diplomatic tension with Venezuela. In this respect, this chapter describes and analyzes main aspects related to DS and its effects on civil society from a midterm historical perspective.
Chapter 2 describes the main international proscription regimes, their
characteristics, commonalities and differences. It delves into the previous
work published on proscription. After describing the possible material and
symbolic effects of proscription, it turns to exploring how the different
actors will be impacted.
Global security architectures and civil society since 9/ 11
Scott N. Romaniuk and Emeka Thaddues Njoku
Since September 11, 2001 (9/11), the so-called “new terrorism” security architecture created immense challenges for community integration, securitizing political dissent, and potentially advancing fundamental social and economic inequalities. The emergence of this new security architecture in the context of terrorism is also intricately linked to what has been referred to as the “age of counter-terrorism.” This chapter examines the development of global security architectures in the context of counter-terrorism (CT) in light of the development of the “new terrorism” security paradigm, and the impact this is having on civil society. It charts the foundation of these cross-national CT security structures – the overt security responses that took form between 2001 and 2006, which have since given way to a greater focus on preventative countermeasures – and explores the supporting discourses that have sprung up around this, before exploring how these bodies and discourses are changing and challenging contemporary politics in new and unexpected ways. This chapter further examines state-level CT as a set of military, discursive, physical, and economic structures.
A logical result of the swift increase in the listing of armed groups as
‘terrorist organisations’ following 9/11 would have been a reduction in the
number of settlements negotiated with these targets of proscription.
Instead, peace negotiations have continued. The introduction explores this
puzzle and argues that there is little understanding of how international
proscription affects negotiations and peace processes, and in particular how
it affects the process by which conflict parties get to the negotiation
table. The chapter draws on conflict and peace literature and critical
terrorism studies to situate the book in on-going debates and clarify the
terminology used. It goes on to lay out the research design and methodology.
The chapter concludes by highlighting the book’s overall argument and giving
an overview of the different chapters.
Chapter 4 explores the processes of vilification and de-vilification by
mapping and analysing the representations each conflict party – the
Colombian government and the FARC – made of the other over a 20-year period.
The chapter examines the language used, the associations made and how that
evolved over time during two pre-negotiation phases leading up to the Caguán
and Havana negotiations. The chapter argues that before proscription, each
conflict party was able to react to opportunities fluidly and shift language
accordingly. Following proscription, de-vilification gets stickier as
altering characterisations becomes harder and takes more time. This is
especially true of the government, which, having vilified its opponent in an
extreme way, cannot simply switch directly to de-vilification. First it has
to normalise its vilification – a concept described as a ‘linguistic
This chapter focuses on one of the fundamental issues in Nigeria since 9/11, as it relates to the role of counter-terrorism (CT) policy in civil society growth, development, and activism. The relationship between the Nigerian state CT policy and civil society is approached from two angles: the nature of the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT) and the ways the Nigerian CT approach has impacted, negatively or otherwise, on the civil society. The event of 9/11, the article notes, ushered the international community into a new realm of collective actions against terrorism. At the national level, many countries have since then developed and introduced CT policies with the goal of confronting and combating the problem head-on. In Nigeria, the government has put in place a number of measures, including the enactment of terrorism prevention and anti-money laundering laws, as well as various other strategies, which have generated serious concerns with respect to how they limit and constrain the activities of civil society groups. However, it is noted that the prospects of a beneficial, mutually reinforcing relationship between civil society and state CT policy cannot be entirely foreclosed, but it would require a redesigning of the current CT structures and a reorientation of the civil society along the new paradigm in security-development thinking.
"Proscribing peace is the first book to take a systematic look at the impact of
proscription on peace negotiations based on deep empirical research. With rare
access to actors during the Colombian negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia People’s Army (FARC for its Spanish acronym), the book argues
that proscription has made pre-negotiations harder and more prolonged. The
book critically revisits and extends central concepts of the pre-negotiation
literature: vilification, symmetry and ripeness. It develops a new concept, the
‘linguistic ceasefire’, to understand how negotiations still take place in an
age of proscription. The ‘linguistic ceasefire’ has three main components: 1)
recognize the conflict, 2) drop the ‘terrorist’ label and 3) uncouple the act
and the actor. It removes the symbolic impact of proscription, even if
de-listing is not possible ahead of negotiations. With relevance for more
than half of the conflicts around the world in which an armed group is listed as
a terrorist organisation, this concept can help explain why certain conflicts
remain stuck in the ‘terrorist’ framing while others emerge from it.
International proscription regimes criminalise both the actor and the act of
terrorism. The book calls for an end to this amalgamation between acts and
actors. By focussing on the acts instead, international policy would be better
able to consider the violent actions both of armed groups and those of the
state. By separating the act and the actor, change -- and thus peace -- become
The chapter takes a perceptive understanding of power and delves into how
each party perceived the shifts in their status and resources. Drawing on
interview data, it explores how proscription affected the nature of the
asymmetry and how this asymmetry was adjusted during the two
pre-negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC. It assesses
how proscription shifted the multiple sources of power at the disposal of
the government and the armed group. The chapter argues that international
proscription sharply heightened the power of the government and shifted the
burden of proof to the proscribed armed group in such a way that they were
effectively asked to surrender.
Chapter 3 sets out an analytical framework to explore how the international
listing of armed groups as ‘terrorists’ might affect the process through
which conflict parties get to the negotiation table. Drawing mainly on the
peace and conflict literature, the chapter then details the three key
dynamics that are needed for conflict parties to start negotiating: 1)
moving from vilification to de-vilification; 2) moving from asymmetry to
establishing a perception of symmetry; 3) perceiving a mutually hurting
stalemate and the need to seek a way out. Revisiting the key concepts in
turn, the chapter assesses how proscription might affect these central
The impact of counter-terrorism policy on civil society in the EU
Scott N. Romaniuk, Ákos Baumgartner, and Glen M. E. Duerr
This chapter examines the role of CSOs pan-Europe in countering terrorist attacks, as well as the implications of counter-terrorism on these organizations. Specifically, it investigates four countries in Central Europe as a means to viewing their actions toward counter-terrorism and briefly explore a fifth case in southeastern Europe. The four primary countries provide a sense of procedures and effects in vulnerable European countries. They include: Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania. Interestingly, three of the four countries joined the EU in 2004 with the EU-25 enlargement; the fourth, Romania, in 2007 with the EU-27 enlargement. This chapter builds upon comparative work linking counter-terrorism and CSOs also examining multiple case studies, across different sections of the world.