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A Model For Countering Violent Extremism And
Promoting Disengagement From Terrorism

By Dr. Joshua Sinai

The objective of counterterrorism is to resolve and terminate terrorist insurgencies. This is accomplished through the “hard component” of military, law enforcement, and intelligence measures to defeat the insurgents on the ground, as well as the “soft component” to counter the radicalization of susceptible individuals into the type of violent extremism that sustains terrorist groups and, instead, promotes the disengagement of its members and adherents from terrorism. In this “soft component” it is crucial to identify the factors that would prove effective in persuading such individuals and, if possible, their groups, activists, and sympathizers, as well, to de-radicalize from violent extremism and promote their disengagement from terrorism towards more constructive and non-violent means to achieve their objectives.

Since terrorist groups and their adherents operate in different types of political environments, ranging from authoritarian, failed states, to democratic systems, where the underlying conditions that give rise to terrorism differ (although they may cross over from one specific type of environment to another, for instance, in having a conflict in an authoritarian environment such as the Middle East influence adherents in a democratic country), this approach focuses on countering violent extremism (CVE) in democratic societies, where constructive alternatives to engaging in violence are feasible, for example, through freedom of expression, assembly, and voting.

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