How do terrorist networks operate? How do terrorist acquire the necessary resources to carry out their activities? My recent paper, co-authored with T. Hensgen, examines these issues. We take an information and strategic alliance perspective to the issue of understanding the formation of terrorist ties. In addition, we outline how do terrorist alliances grow and mature over time.

Desouza, K.C., and Hensgen, T. “Connectivity among Terrorist Groups: A Two Models Business Maturity Approach,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 30 (7), 2007, 593 – 613.

The reality of terrorism has become ubiquitous. Terrorist groups continue to garner front-page exposure, which contributes to their agenda, while stories of hostage dilemmas, suicide bombings, assassinations, and a variety of nefarious criminal activities lead the unsuspecting to wonder, “What’s next?” In order to begin to understand terrorism researchers should first understand how these terrorist groups operate and, far more importantly, what motivates others to co-operate with terrorists. No terrorist group operates in isolation. It is assured a priori that terrorist groups have to collaborate with other entities in order to further their agenda. In the conventional sense, terrorists have limited resources, limited capabilities, and limited reach. Without co-operation and support in support of criminal enterprises, they would function in isolation; their impact would be isolated. This article outlines two models that demonstrate how cooperation between terrorists and recognized, albeit criminal, institutions contribute to terrorist successes. The first, a resource model, outlines some of the resources that bind two or more terrorist groups. The second, an alliance model, layers different levels of collaborative engagements between terrorist groups and these institutions. Both models are descriptive in nature and contribute to an understanding of how terrorist groups must engage in the fundamentals of established economic practices in order to succeed.

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