Terrorist Group Cooperation and Longevity

International Studies Quarterly, Forthcoming

12 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2013

See all articles by Brian J. Phillips

Brian J. Phillips

University of Essex - Department of Government

Date Written: July 9, 2013


Why do some terrorist groups survive considerably longer than others? The literature is just beginning to address this important question in a systematic manner. Additionally, and as with most studies of terrorism, longevity studies have ignored the possibility of interactions between terrorist groups. This article attempts to address these two gaps in the literature: the incomplete understanding of terrorist group survival and the tendency to assume that terrorist groups act independently. In spite of risks associated with cooperation, I argue that it should help involved terrorist groups mitigate mobilization concerns. More importantly, the impact of cooperation is conditioned by attributes of the country in which a terrorist group operates. Using new global data on terrorist groups between 1987 and 2005, I show that cooperation has the strongest effect on longevity in states where groups should have a harder time operating — more capable states and less democratic states. Interestingly, a group’s number of relationships is more important than to whom the group is connected.

Keywords: terrorism, terrorist groups, social networks

Suggested Citation

Phillips, Brian J., Terrorist Group Cooperation and Longevity (July 9, 2013). International Studies Quarterly, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2291793

Brian J. Phillips (Contact Author)

University of Essex - Department of Government ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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