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Terrorism, Security, and Human Rights: Harnessing the Rule of Law

Mahmood Monshipouri
Terrorism, Security, and Human Rights: Harnessing the Rule of Law
ISBN: 978-1-58826-826-6
ISBN: 978-1-62637-014-2
2012/308 pages/LC: 2011027646
"Professor Monshipouri boldly demands a new way of thinking that puts human rights and the rule of law in the center of analysis of political affairs. His book should be mandatory reading for scholars and students in international studies, human rights, and security."—Julie Mertus, American University


Scholars and policymakers disagree on the most effective way to counter transnational terrorism, generating debate on a range of questions: Do military interventions increase or decrease the recruitment capability of transnational terrorists? Should we privilege diplomacy over military force in the campaign against terror? Can counterterrorist measures be applied without violating human rights? More fundamentally, is it possible to effectively wage a war against terrorism? Grappling with these questions, Mahmood Monshipouri reviews alternative strategies for combating terrorism and makes the case for the continued relevance of international law and diplomacy as measures for severing its roots in the Middle East and elsewhere.   

Monshipouri underlines the need to redefine security to include the protection of human rights. In that context, he examines the limits of the use of force, torture, and externally imposed democratization and focuses on the conditions under which alternative counterterrorism tools can be viable. While acknowledging that there is no easy remedy to the tensions between security needs and human rights, he makes a compelling argument that the pursuit of a security template that sacrifices civil liberties is not only morally debilitating, but also politically imprudent.


Mahmood Monshipouri is associate professor of international relations at San Francisco State University. His publications include Muslims in Global Politics: Identities, Interests, and Human Rights and Islamism, Secularism, and Human Rights in the Middle East.


  • Introduction.
  • Terrorism, Security, and Human Rights.
  • Military Intervention: Risks and Costs.
  • Democracy Promotion: Failed Efforts in the Middle East.
  • Diplomacy: Seeking Long-Term Solutions.
  • The Critical Importance of Human Rights.
  • Immigration Politics and the Rise of Islamophobia.
  • Toward Reframing the Debate.
No rights in South Asia