The vast array of terrorist organizations that exist around the world have varying ideologies, financial assets, command structures and power. Most of the world is aware of very few of these groups and are often only able to identify organizations that have committed very destructive and deadly attacks on citizens of western nations. Nearly everyone knows about Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Hezbollah because their intentions are well publicized and they have successfully struck fear into many groups. While these organizations are important to examine when studying terrorism, it is more important that we look at all the groups that data have been collected for to find out how terrorist groups work, their power and what factors are key to their continuing existence.
The definition of terrorism for this study will remain very broad as the data was pulled together from several different sources to create one large data set.* To account for this, the definition used will be “Terrorism is violence, or the threat of violence, calculated to create an atmosphere of fear and alarm. These acts are designed to coerce others into actions they would not otherwise undertake, or refrain from actions they desired to take.” This may need to be relaxed slightly as it was the definition used for the original dataset and this paper uses data from the newest set that is yet to be published.
The strength of organizations is a topic that is highly contested and discussed among scholars because it is possible that the strength of an organization is a key determinant in the success of a terrorist organization. While this topic is key to understanding the power and reach of an organization, it is not the focus of this study. This is in part because the topic has been exhausted by scholars that wish to know the where a groups power comes from. Instead this will focus on what makes and organization likely to gain territorial control once they have some semblance of strength.
The literature on terrorist organizations always contains a discussion of ideology associated with the focus group. Ideology is of great significance to an organization because it gives its membership a reason to fight and something that connects them under one idea. It creates a bond that is key to the existence of the group and allows the world to know that they have a purpose. Given that many of the major organizations we know about are classified as religious organizations or ethno nationalists organizations, it seems likely that these organizations are also the major groups that control territory around the world.
H1: Terrorist organizations that control territory have a higher probability of identifying as religious organizations or ethno nationalists.
Many articles also factor in how an organization is funded because the ability to pay for the group, recruit, and provide for followers is key to the success of an organization. Funding can come from a variety of sources including charities,...