On the Duration and Sustainability of Transnational Terrorist Organizations
This article aims to improve scholarsâ€™ understanding of how transnational terrorist organizations emerge, survive, thrive, and eventually die.The authors use a data set that catalogues terrorist organizations and their attacks over time (the ITERATE database of thousands of terrorist events from 1968 through 2007) and merge those data with socioeconomic information about the environment in which each attack occurs. They use these data to trace the life cycle pattern of terrorist activity and the organizations that perpetrate them. They identify at least two types of terrorist organizationsâ€” recidivists and one-hit wonders. The authors find that recidivist organizations, those that have repeatedly attacked, are less likely to survive once political and socioeconomic factors have been included. However, they find that sporadic or one-hit wonders are not easily deterred by socioeconomic factors, leaving open a role for counterinsurgency tactics.
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