Granting concessions and paying ransoms to terrorists: a policy options analysis of the U.S. policy on hostage recovery
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Nations around the world, including the United States, have been battling terrorist hostage-takings by instituting no-concessions policies. The hope is that denying terrorists their demands will remove all incentives for hostage-taking, thereby eliminating its practice. However, since this policy has been in existence, research has shown that hostage-takings have increased. Considering the recent, highly publicized beheadings of hostages held by the Islamic State, is there a better policy option, such as one that protects U.S. citizens who are being held hostage? To answer this question, this thesis conducted a policy options analysis. Criteria were developed from the literature, and the current U.S. policy was compared to two other policy options. The research found that current U.S. policy does not effectively achieve its goals and, as such, does not offer the best protection to U.S. citizens. As a result, the thesis concluded that the United States would be better served by removing the no-concessions rule and focusing on a policy that punishes terrorists who participate in hostage-taking.
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