Deterrence of International Terrorism: An Evaluation of Operation El Dorado Canyon

Henry W. Prunckun, Philip B. Mohr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This study addresses the question of whether Operation El Dorado Canyon,pru the April 1986 U.S. air raid on Libya, influenced the pattern of international terrorism in the period that followed. Specifically, the study documents the frequency and severity of acts of international terrorism over a forty-one-month period centered on the date of the raid. Findings indicate that the level of activity of Libyan-associated terrorist groups and, after a brief upsurge, the frequency of attacks against U.S. targets both declined after the raid. Whereas the number of acts of international terrorism worldwide was similar for the periods before and after the operation, the postraid period was characterized by a shift from acts of medium and high severity to acts of low severity in violence. Although findings are inconclusive, they are consistent with the view that the raid had a generalized deterrent effect on international terrorism for the period examined
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-280
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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