Distribution Of Transnational Terrorism Among Countries
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Distribution Of Transnational Terrorism Among Countries By Income Classes And Geography After 9/11 Reducing the Risks and Consequences of Terrorism CREATE Conference November 18, 2004 Walter Enders and Todd Sandler University of Southern California. Research Objectives.

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Distribution Of Transnational Terrorism Among CountriesBy Income Classes And Geography After 9/11Reducing the Risks and Consequences of TerrorismCREATE ConferenceNovember 18, 2004Walter Enders and Todd SandlerUniversity of Southern California


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Research Objectives

  • Does Homeland Security have an unintended consequence of transferring terrorist attacks against Americans to foreign venues?

  • Is America safer because of homeland security, while Americans are less safe?

  • Transference of attacks

    • When income based, then transference is anticipated to be displaced from high-income countries (HICs) to low-income countries (LICs) as HICs deploy enhanced security measures.

    • When geographically based, the displacement may be from a rich region to a poorer region (e.g., the Middle East or Eurasia). Terrorists may blend in better in some regions and have more support.

  • * After 9/11, casual empiricism suggests a transference from high- to low- income countries.


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Purpose

  • Empirically evaluate with time-series methods (i.e., autoregressive intervention analysis) whether terrorists have shifted their venue based on target countries’ income or location, given security upgrades in rich countries following 9/11.

    • Partition countries by income classes over time

    • Partition countries by geography

    • Analyze four different time series of transnational terrorism events: all incidents; incidents with casualties; incidents with a US target; and casualty incidents with a US target.

  • Draw policy conclusions


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Some Results

  • Contrary to expectations, there is no evidence of an income-based post-9/11 transfer of attacks to low-income countries, but there is a significant transference to the Middle East and Asia where US interests are, at times, attacked.

  • The rise of fundamentalist terrorism has most impacted those regions – the Middle East and Asia – with the largest Islamic population.

  • The end to the Cold War brought a “terrorism peace dividend” that varies by income and geography among countries.

  • Before 9/11, LICs had been experiencing the lion’s share of transnational terrorism with relatively few incidents in HICS. After 9/11, there has been a gradual escalation of attacks with some increases in incidents involving a US target in all three income classes.


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Preliminaries

  • Terrorism is the premeditated use or threat of use of violence by individuals or subnational groups to obtain a political or social objective through intimidation of a large audience beyond that of the immediate victims.

  • Domestic terrorism involves only the host country so that the perpetrators, victims, financing, and logistical support are all homegrown. Implications for just the venue country.

  • Terrorist attacks that include perpetrators, victims, targets, or interests from two or more countries constitute transnational terrorism. Ramifications that transcend the host country (e.g., 3/11 and 9/11).


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More Preliminaries

  • We are interested in transnational terrorism before and after 9/11, insofar as this type of terrorism poses the greatest concern for the global community.

  • If two potential targets offer the same expected benefits for the terrorists, then they will pick the one with the smaller expected costs. When the attack venues imply the same expected costs (adjusted for risks), the terrorists will choose the location with the greater expected benefits.

  • Action by a country to secure homeland targets may fail to displace the attack abroad if the terrorists sufficiently value the benefits to offset the greater expected costs.


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Pre 9/11 Developments

  • Rise of fundamentalist-based terrorism and increased casualties.

  • Prior to 9/11, LICs experienced most attacks and HICs experienced few attacks.

  • Post Cold War period and less state-sponsored terrorism. Also a demise of many left-wing groups.


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Data

  • ITERATE Event data

  • For income classes, we first use the World Bank’s classification of countries into LICs, MICs, and HICs. (Per-capita income classes).

  • Account for switches in income classes over time.

  • Geographical classification uses US Department of State’s Patterns of Global Terrorism into six regions.



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Observations

  • Panels show an increase in incidents following 9/11, with LICs and MICs showing a more marked increase.

  • A decline around 1992.



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Observations

  • For LICs, casualty incidents rose since the start of fundamentalist terrorism in 1979:4 until 1992 when it started to decline.

  • Upward trend in LICs



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Observations

  • LICs generally suffered the largest number of such attacks. There is also a somewhat more pronounced increase in these incidents in LICs after 9/11 compared with other income groups.



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Observations

  • Proportion of attacks staged in LICs

  • Panels 1-3 a clear upward trend; not true of panel 4

  • All four proportion series experienced a sharp decline around 1999 and a sharp rise following.


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Income Analysis Results

  • For all incidents, fundamentalism caused a significant increase in transnational terrorism of 27.56 incidents per quarter for LICs, a significant decrease of 4.75 incidents in MICs, and no significant change for HICs. All three income classes experienced a significant decline in transnational terrorism in the post-Cold War period.

  • No evidence of a substitution in overall transnational terrorism from HICs to LICs following 9/11. Any long-run decline is concentrated in LICs.

  • Some substitutions of US-directed attack with casualties to LICs following 9/11.

  • Alternative Scheme based on 31 richest countries. Similar results.



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Observations

  • Panel 1 and 2 show a sustained decrease in transnational terrorism beginning in the early 1990s for the West Hemisphere and Europe.

  • Middle East displays an increase in transnational terrorism for the start of the 1990s followed by a fall around 1993 and then an increase around 9/11. A similar pattern for Asia.

  • In panel 5 and 6, there is a jump in transnational terrorism in Africa and Eurasia at the start of the 1990s, followed by decreases and increases over the ensuing years.



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Results

  • Upward trend of casualties in the Middle East

  • Rise of fundamentalist terrorism was associated with a significant increase in terrorism in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, but not in other three regions.

  • Post-Cold War period is associated with less transnational terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

  • Africa, the Middle East and Asia experienced a significant immediate decline in terrorism following 9/11.

  • There is a significant positive increase in the US-target attacks in the Middle East after 9/11. This result is suggestive of a transfer of US-targeted events from North America and neighbor-country venues to targets in the Middle East, in keeping with the terrorists responding to augmentations in US homeland security.


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Conclusions

  • While Americans are safer at home owing to enhanced homeland security, the vulnerability of US people and property has increased following 9/11 not only in HICs but also in the Middle East and Asia.

  • US actions to shore up soft targets must also be directed at those HICs where American interests are now at heightened risk.

  • US policy to assist LICs that request help does not go far enough given the changing post-9/11 pattern of terrorism.

  • Moreover, alterations in the geographical distribution of terrorist events following 9/11 must be taken into account when allocating assistance.


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