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Evolution of the global terrorist organizational cooperation network

Terrorism has shown a trend of organizational cooperation in a large number of terrorist attacks around the world, posting a great challenge to counter-terrorism efforts. To investigate the trend and pattern of global terrorist organizational cooperations and to propose ...

Published onJan 28, 2024
Evolution of the global terrorist organizational cooperation network
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Abstract

Terrorism has shown a trend of organizational cooperation in a large number of terrorist attacks around the world, posting a great challenge to counter-terrorism efforts. To investigate the trend and pattern of global terrorist organizational cooperations and to propose effective measures for effectively enforcing and restricting terrorist attacks, based on the Global Terrorism Database and the UN sanctions list of terrorist groups, this study constructs a cooperative evolutionary network of terrorist organizations from 119,803 terrorist attacks that occurred globally between 2001 and 2018. The evolution of worldwide terrorist cooperation is evaluated in terms of network characteristics, including key nodes, cohesion, and motifs. The network keeps expanding, with a large number of new nodes emerging each year. On average, there are 13 additional organizations entering in the collaboration network each year, with a yearly survival rate of about 34.66%, and the rank of node importance iterate and update frequently. Through k-core decomposition, for which the breakdown of the network has increased from three to five partitions, we find that the core of the terrorist organization’s cooperation network changes much less frequently than the edges. The dominating modal structure of the network is the "star" motif (90%), and "triadic closed" motif (9%). We conclude that, over time, the cooperative network of terrorist groups has gradually evolved into a cluster of star-shaped networks, with various organizations serving as the centers of the networks and showing core-periphery structure in their individual communities. The core organizations are highly connected and stable, whereas the periphery organizations are loosely connected and highly variable.

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