The quantitative terrorism literature has largely overlooked interstate relations when evaluating predictors of transnational terrorist attacks, opting to focus on state, group, or individual-level factors to explain patterns of terrorism using analytical methods that are limited to either the origin or target of the attack. In this piece we argue that this is both incongruous with the larger conflict literature and limiting in terms of theoretical impact. Transnational terrorism in many cases is more accurately considered a component of conflicting relations between two states generally hostile towards each other, which necessitates an examination of both states. We demonstrate, by conducting a series of statistical analyses using politically relevant directed dyads, that interstate rivalries are reliable positive predictors of transnational terrorism. We find that interstate rivalries explain a great deal of variation in cross-national patterns of terrorism, a result that is robust to different rivalry measures. Application to Pakistani-Indian terrorism further illustrates the cross-national results.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science