The art of affiliation : al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the politics of terrorist alliances
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Al-Qaeda today is one of the most important contemporary examples of a transnational, networked threat to nations throughout the world. This thesis questions whether the relationships between individual groups in the al-Qaeda network resemble traditional alliances and if so, what are the implications for group behavior? Are terrorist organizations bound by the same constraints as states in formal alliances? Do they face similar risks and receive comparable benefits? Based on classical International Relations theory and traditional terrorism literature, an analytical framework for alliances between terrorist organizations is created. The framework is then tested on a case study of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an al-Qaeda franchise currently active in North Africa. Based on the analysis, the thesis concludes that the relationship between AQIM and al-Qaeda's senior leadership can be classified as a traditional alliance, but that terrorist organizations are faced with a unique system of constraints, risks and benefits when allied.
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