Terrorist Group Brutality and the Emergence of the Islamic State

Phillips, P.J. 2016. “Terrorist Group Brutality and the Emergence of the Islamic State.” In: Phillips, P.J. 2016. The Economics of Terrorism. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon & New York, NY.

13 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2014 Last revised: 15 Jan 2018

See all articles by Peter J. Phillips

Peter J. Phillips

University of Southern Queensland - Faculty of Business

Date Written: August 12, 2014

Abstract

We assess the certainty with which terrorist groups can repeatedly inflict fatalities in terrorist attacks. A terrorist group is particularly dangerous that can inflict higher levels of fatalities with more certainty than other groups. We develop a fatalities-to-variability (F-V) measurement statistic to shed some light on the risk-adjusted brutality of terrorist groups. A relatively high F-V ratio indicates that a terrorist group demonstrates a capability to inflict fatalities with less variable outcomes across attacks than other groups. An increasing F-V ratio indicates an enhancement of this capability. Terrorist groups observed to be increasing the F-V ratio of their actions may be special cause for concern, especially when F increases concomitant with decreases in V. We compute the F-V statistic for every terrorist group that was active during the period 2000 to 2008. We assess the results and compare the relative brutality of terrorist groups. We examine several prominent cases including Algerian terrorism, Al-Qa`ida, the Taliban, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Islamic State (ISIS). ISIS has been accorded considerable attention recently. However, its emergence as a terrorist group with a relatively high F-V ratio can be traced to as early as 2007.

Keywords: terrorism, terrorist, terrorist group, risk, brutality, capability, transitory, persistent, fatalities, Algeria, Al-Qa`ida, Taliban, Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA, Islamic State, ISIS

JEL Classification: D03, D74, H56, K42

Suggested Citation

Phillips, Peter J., Terrorist Group Brutality and the Emergence of the Islamic State (August 12, 2014). Phillips, P.J. 2016. “Terrorist Group Brutality and the Emergence of the Islamic State.” In: Phillips, P.J. 2016. The Economics of Terrorism. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon & New York, NY.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2479740 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2479740

Peter J. Phillips (Contact Author)

University of Southern Queensland - Faculty of Business ( email )

Toowoomba 4350, Queensland
Australia

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