Creeds of Death: The Impact of Ideology on Terrorist Organization Lethality
Few empirical studies examine the relationship between ideology and lethality among terrorist organizations. In this paper, I test how ideological affiliation may affect a terrorist organization’s overall lethality. I theorize that jihadist groups are relatively more lethal than other groups because jihadist ideologies promote more abstract goals, stronger intragroup cohesion, and higher intergroup affinity. In particular, I hypothesize to find jihadist groups are, on average, more lethal than non-jihadist groups, and that among jihadist groups, apocalyptic groups are most lethal. Using data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) and Revolutionary and Militant Organizations dataset (REVMOD) on two samples of terrorist organizations, I find evidence supporting my theoretical claims. Jihadist groups are more lethal than non-jihadist groups. Further, my findings indicate that use of suicide terrorism largely accounts for higher jihadist lethality. From a policy perspective, my findings suggest counterterrorism efforts should continue focusing on combating jihadist groups and increase attention to countering suicide attacks. Terrorist group ideology requires more scrutiny in assessing attack outcomes.
Embargo Lift Date
MetadataShow full item record
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Why not use women? : an examination of the conditions under which an Islamic terrorist organization will employ female suicide terrorism Reuter, Krislyn Paige. (Georgetown University, 2011)