A Eurocentric Study of New Terrorism

Assessing New Terrorism´s validity and applicability in describing European terrorism 2010-2018 using quantitative research

Bachelor Thesis, 2020

57 Pages, Grade: A


Table of Content

1 Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Research Question and Purpose
1.3 Structure

2. Theoretical framework
2.1 Terrorism
2.2 New Terrorism
2.2.1 Type of Movement
2.2.2 Lethality
2.2.3 Structure
2.2.4 CBRN-Weapons
2.3 Hypotheses

3. Methodology
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Data collection
3.3 Data analysis

4. Results
4.1 Type of movement
4.2 Lethality
4.3 Structure
4.4 CBRN-Weapons

5. Discussion
5.1 Type of movement
5.2 Lethality
5.3 Structure
5.4 CBRN-Weapons
5.5 European terrorism and New Terrorism 2.0, Europe edition

6. Conclusion

7. Reference list

Appendix A


New Terrorism has been a highly regarded theory in the field of terrorism since the late 1990s, but how accurate is it in regards to European terrorism in 2010-2018? Are terrorists more lethal, primarily religious, part of transnational and decentralized organizations, and are they using CBRN-weapons? This paper uses a quantitative study, with a descriptive and retroductive approach, of all terror attacks in Europe 2010-2018, to examine New Terrorisms’ validity, and propose possible changes to the theory. I find that New Terrorism is partly correct. Terror groups are primarily transnational and non-hierarchical and lethality is higher than in the early 90s, although less so in Western Europe. Separatist groups are however found to be the most common type of movement, followed by ideological movements – responsible for 4 and 2 times as many terror attacks as religious groups. Likewise, the potential threat of terrorists using CBRN-weapons for mass destruction is found to be incorrect. Based on this, New Terrorism 2.0, Europe edition is proposed. Stating that separatist and ideological groups are the most common, lethality is high (but less so in Western Europe), organizations are primarily transnational and non-hierarchical, and the risk of terrorist using CBRN-weapons is low in contemporary European terrorism.

Key words: New Terrorism, Europe, CBRN-weapons, Religious terrorism, Lethality, Separatist terrorism.

Words: 10 863

Tables and Figures

Table 1 - How Terrorism is Studied (Based on Section 2.1)

Table 2 - How New Terrorism is Studied (Based on Section 2.2)

Table 3– Distribution of Type of movement

Table 4 – Numbers on Lethality (GTD 2020:a, 2020:b, 2020c)

Figure 1 - Distribution of casualties (GTD 2020:a)

Figure 2 – Number of Mass-casualty attacks

Figure 3 – Transnationalism and hierarchy in the 30 most active terror organizations

Figure 4 - Uses of CBRN-Weapons

1 Introduction

This research paper seeks to examine the accuracy and applicability of the theory New Terrorism in regards to European terrorism 2010-2018. To begin with, background, the research question and the purposes for it, and the structure of the paper are outlined.

1.1 Background

Terrorism is generally defined as violence by an individual or subnational group in order to inflict fear in a population beyond the immediate target for political goals (Hoffman 2006:40). The exact form of it has changed throughout history. According to Rapoport (2001: 420), there were 4 major waves of terrorism between 1880 and 2001, “each with its own special character, purposes, and tactics''.

A goal for some has been to accurately describe the ever-changing nature of terrorism. In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, the theory New Terrorism was outlined by Lesser (1999), Hoffman (1998), Laqueur (1999), Neumann (2009) among others to describe what was in their eyes a new form of terrorism emerging as the most common one at the time. Contemporary terrorism was argued to different from “traditional terrorism” in terms of aims, structures, and methods. Religion, higher lethality, transnational network structures, and the potential use of CBRN-weapons (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) was seen as the new defining characteristics of terrorism according to them. After the 9/11 attacks, when jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda, a transnational group working on acquiring CBRN-weapons (Cameron 2002), killed 2 977 by hijacking commercial airplanes and flying them into heavily populated buildings (CNN 2019), many agreed with them. Following 9/11, New Terrorism became a dominant theoretical perspective in the field of terrorism, influencing the perception of contemporary terrorism and the crafting of counter-terrorism measures (Silke 2007).

It´s now been years since New Terrorism was outlined. Still, it's being taught at universities and is heavily influencive in the counter-terrorism industry (Mythen & Walklate 2014: 56). While studies still support transnationalism, non-hierarchical structures (Killberg 2012) and high lethality (GTD 2018: 31) Europol´s (2019) latest research states that separatist terrorists are more active than Islamic ones and terrorists using CBRN-weapons on the continent is almost unheard of. Given this, how terrorism has changed throughout history, and the rapid progress and shifts in technology, demographics, and counter-terrorism in Europe one could argue thorough testing of New Terrorism is needed. That leads the text to the research question and the purpose of it.

1.2 Research Question and Purpose

The aim of this thesis is to examine New Terrorism´s validity and applicability in Europe in the time period 2010-2018 by testing it empirically. There are five primary purposes for this. Firstly, it can be argued to be crucial to understand if and how a central theory on terrorism such as New Terrorism holds up empirically in present time in order to efficiently combat and prevent future terrorism. Testing the theory in a modern setting will allow for this and in addition describe key characteristics of contemporary terrorism in doing so, hopefully adding important insights for academia, law enforcement and legislation to use.

Second and linked to the first purpose, as alluded to in the background, the theory is aging. Most of the influential literature was written in the late 1990s (Laqueur 1999, Hoffman 1998, Lesser 1999) or the early 2000s (Tan & Ramakrishna 2002, Simon & Benjamin 2001). Even more recent pieces (Neuman 2009), are now more than a decade old. Correct theoretical assumptions made then might not be true today considering the changing nature of terrorism.

Third, the concept New Terrorism was created to outline and explain terrorism on a global scale (Lesser 1999: 2). The possibility of regional differences is therefore prevalent. In order to reach conclusions on how accurate the theory is on European terrorism, it needs to be tested there. Fourth, Europe is chosen since much of the empirical research in the above-mentioned sources have focused on the US, the Middle East, and Asia. Given that in the period 2010-2018 2884 terror attacks occurred on the continent, killing 2 477 and injuring 5 406 (GTD 2020:a), Europe should arguably not be overlooked.

The fifth purpose is to add a more quantitative statistical perspective to the theory. When surveying the literature, it becomes apparent that most theoretical inferences are made from qualitative studies, both supportive and critical, making inferences based on a few key groups or events, such as Al-Qaeda and 9/11, or Aum Shinrikyo and the Sarin Gas attack (Crenshaw 2008: 27). Since New Terrorism is supposed to describe the general trends in terrorism it should hold up to a quantitative test.

A secondary aim of the thesis is to test for any inter-continental differences between Eastern and Western Europe. Surveying for variations between the regions can be seen as appropriate due to large differences in regards to wealth, history, political system, and geography. Doing so will hopefully bring more nuance to the study and understanding of the results.

In order to reach the aims and fulfill all five reasons the following research question has been outlined: How does the theory of New Terrorism align with terrorism in Europe 2010-2018? To answer the question a quantitative statistical study is performed, focusing on the key characteristics of New Terrorism.

1.3 Structure

To answer the research question the paper is divided into six main sections. Following the introduction, the theoretical framework on Terrorism and New Terrorism will be presented, highlighting the 4 key characteristics of New Terrorism: type of movement, lethality, structure, and CBRN-weapons. In the third section, the methodology is outlined, including research design, data collection, and data analysis. The results are then presented and analyzed in section four. In the fifth section, the results and inferences made in section 4 are discussed in terms of possible reasons for why the results came about and how the result affects New Terrorism going forward. In the sixth section, the conclusion is presented.

2. Theoretical framework

In this section, the theoretical framework is presented. Starting off by defining terrorism to clarify what we are studying in the thesis. Following that, New Terrorism is described by presenting the 4 key characteristics of the theory: type of movement, lethality, structure, and CBRN-weapons. Based on the description, 4 hypotheses are outlined in the last part of the section, to be studied later on in the paper.

2.1 Terrorism

Terrorism is one of the hardest concepts to define in peace and conflict. As of 2019, there were at least 212 definitions (Nazala 2019: 114). However, there is a decent form of consensus in the academic world on what the key features that define terrorism are. A study concluded that the most common one is the use of violence (represented in 88% of definitions), followed by it being for political reasons (65%), and used to inflict fear (51%) (Hoffman 2006: 34). From these key features, a common pattern is to conceptualize terrorism as a deliberate form of violence performed by an individual, a sub-national or non-state group in order to inflict fear in a population beyond the immediate target and doing so to reach a political goal (Neumann 2009: 8)(Hoffman 2006: 40)(Prunckun 2014: 178-179).

Terrorism is an asymmetrical form of warfare used by the less powerful to overcome a stronger opponent by the doctrine “kill one, frighten thousand” (Ibid). The violent act constitutes a form of propaganda by deed with hopes from the terrorist of influencing a population to behave in a way that suits their political goal. The political goal can in turn be ideological, territorial, or theological (Ramakrishna 2014: 161-162)(Neumann 2009: 95).

2.2 New Terrorism

New Terrorism is a theory in the field of terrorism that was outlined in the late 1990s and early 2000s to manifest, what was proposed, to be a significant on-going shift in the nature of terrorism. The “new” terrorism was argued to be different from the “old” terrorism that dominated the mid 20th century in 4 distinct aspects: type of movement, lethality, structure, and the potential use of CBRN-weapons (Hoffman 2006). Each aspect will now be elaborated on in with the purpose of conceptualizing them and setting up relevant measurements, which is done in section 3.1, and crafting 4 hypotheses to test.

2.2.1 Type of Movement

The first cornerstone of New Terrorism is the argument that religious terrorism has become the most common type of terrorist movement (Neumann 2009: 23-24). It´s put forward since for much of the 20th century the most common terrorist movement was either left-wing extremist, far-right/nationalist or separatists. Nationalistic right-wing groups attacked immigrants, asylum-seekers, and guest workers with the goal of more ethnically homogeneous home countries (Laqueur 1999: 120). On the opposite side Marxist, anarchist, and other left-wing groups fought with the aim of ending capitalism and neo-liberal interference. In addition, separatist groups like ETA and IRA used terror in their pursuit of national liberation (Crenshaw 2008: 29)(Hoffman 2006: 232- 233).

Since then a shift has occurred according to proponents of New Terrorism (Hoffman 1999: 15). The claim is based on the fact that since the 1980s religious terrorism has been on the rise at the same time as left-wing, right-wing, and separatist terror has been on the decline (Neumann 2009: 23-24)(Gurr & Cole, 2000). In 2004 around half of the active terror groups were labeled religious while 28% were considered left-wing and 24% nationalist or separatist (Hoffman 2006: 85-86).

The rise of religious terrorism has partly been attributed to the creation of the Mujahedin in Afghanistan and the Iranian Revolution, spreading political Islam around the globe (Rapaport 2001: 441-442)(Neumann 2009: 106-115). But more importantly to the large societal shifts in the last decades. Increasing globalization, secularism, modernity, and migration are argued to cause feelings of anxiety and existential threat, plus economic and cultural segregation - especially for Muslim diasporas in the west (Ibid 80-101). Subsequently, many who feel left behind turn to religion because of its moral and ethical critique of power, it providing meaning and a blueprint for a new society (Noor 2002: 161). Most religious groups are peaceful, but some outliers are not. When peaceful means fail to bring about change some turn to those outliers, often attracted by the fact that religion can legitimize violence by providing a higher purpose for it (Neumann 2009: 96-101), making religion a strong motivator for terror.

Religious terrorism is recognized by Hoffman (1999: 20) as “a sacramental act or divine duty executed in direct response to some theological demand or imperative”. Islamic terrorism is regarded as the most prominent form of it (Neumann 2009: 105), but it also manifests itself in forms of cultist, Jewish, Sikhist, and Christian extremism (Jurgensmeyer 2017)(Hoffman 2006: 89-127). Religious terrorists are thought to have millenarian or even apocalyptic aims (Laqueur 1999: 83-84), perhaps best exemplified by Al-Qaeda’s pursuit to destroy western society (Simon & Benjamin 2001: 5). Distinctly different from the more “traditional terrorist” who is believed to be driven by ideological or territorial aims. Goals that are perceived as more attainable (Lesser 1999: 101). Religious groups still have territorial and ideological pursuits, but they are secondary to their spiritual and theological goals (Neumann 2009: 94).

Religion's dominance has however been questioned, even among the theory's proponents. Laqueur (1999: 80 & 105) argues that far-right terrorism, separatism, and religion are equally strong types of movements. In similar fashion Neumann (2009: 24) accept the statement that radical nationalism is as common in domestic terrorism and Lesser (1999: 103-104) held it possible that ideological terror movements might increase drastically under the right circumstances. Crenshaw (2008: 36), a critique, argues that scholars overestimate the spiritual part and that the claims being made are not empirically substantiated. However, all things considered, religion is regarded as the most common type of movement in New Terrorism.

2.2.2 Lethality

Increasing lethality constitutes the second characteristic of New Terrorism. Contemporary terrorism is argued to be more lethal than in the past. Both in the sense that a larger percentage of terror attacks result in fatalities and more mass-casualty attacks are taking place. A mass-casualty attack is defined as an attack resulting in 100+ casualties by Falkenrath et.al (1998: 47). The sheer number of mass-casualty attacks since the ‘90s (Hoffman 2006: 270) – including 9/11, the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing and the 2004 Madrid Train Bombing – and the trend of more attacks resulting in fatalities in the ‘90s - from 14% in 1991 to 29% in 1995 and then averaging around 20-25% (Hoffman 1999: 10-12) – have made proponents put forward this claim.

Looking back, terrorists in the mid 20th century are thought to have followed the doctrine “a lot of people watching, not a lot of people dead” because most groups then had ideological or territorial goals and the violence was just a method to reach them (Ramakrishna 2014: 162). Too much violence was seen as counter-productive as a method since it came with a probable risk of losing public support and a group's place at the bargaining table (Simon & Benjamin 2001: 5-6). Harming a group's political pursuit. Instead, strategic symbolic acts or threats of violence were modus operandi for old terror groups to gain attention, often through media, in order to inflict anxiety and pressure on the enemy without losing supporters in the process (Hoffman 2006: 233). Old terror groups were therefore selective in target-choosing - often focusing on military targets - and wary about the number of victims. The mass-casualty attacks that did occur were written off as mistakes or done by rogue elements in the organization (Neumann 2009: 25-26)(Laqueur 1999: 32-33).

The argument that terrorists are more lethal now has however met criticism since highly lethal terrorism is nothing new. The Air India Bombing in 1985 killed 328 (Cameron 2002: 51) and FLN in Algeria were highly lethal in the ‘50s (Duyvesteyn 2004: 31) for example. It has also been argued that the assumption is based on a few outliers (Tucker 2001: 6). Neumann (2009: 26-27) states however that “there exists no data that shows stagnation or decline in mass-casualty attacks over the past decade” and that there exists a consistent and well supported scholarly consensus for an increase in overall lethality.

Considering it to be true several reasons are put forward for why that is. New terrorists are perceived to have let go of their constraints on violence. Recognizing killings to be an end itself instead of just a mean (Simon & Benjamin 2001). At worst, the end is to erase an entire enemy population (Laqueur 1999: 81) - moving towards a doctrine of a lot of people watching and a lot of people dead. A doctrine linked to religious terrorism since terrorists believing they're acting in divine duty have more apocalyptic aims and have an easier time legitimizing the killing of the “other” and disregarding public opinion (Jurgensmeyer 2017). Higher lethality is also linked to information overload and emotional desensitization - forcing larger and larger death tolls to get noticed and outbidding other terror groups in the current crammed media landscape. New, better, and more accessible weaponry and technology also play its part. Especially in conjunction with more states taking an active role in sponsoring terror groups with funds and weapons. A final factor is new organizational structures with less constraint on the terrorist doing the attack (Hoffman 1999: 13-25)(Neumann 2009: 135-140).

2.2.3 Structure

Speaking of new organizational structures. It´s actually the third characteristic of New Terrorism. Unlike contemporary groups, traditional groups are argued to have used top-down hierarchical structures with a clear chain of command while also having a physical center of gravity in a region or state for their operations (Arquilla et.al 1999: 45)(Neumann 2009: 17-18). An example is IRA - an Irish terrorist group operating in Ireland and Great Britain 1969-1994 using a structure similar to most militaries (Ibid: 29-32).

The hierarchical structures did however make terror groups vulnerable to counter-terrorism since a key witness, a wiretap or a mole could expose a large part of the organization (Rapoport 2001: 420)(Neumann 2009: 17). Leading to most new groups adopting network structures with a flatter, decentralized structure with greater autonomy for fractions and individuals according to New Terrorism. In these structures’ terrorists operate in cells consisting of a few terrorists and a team leader, with no knowledge or cooperation with other cells or personal relations with the organization’s leaders (Arquilla et.al 1999: 41)(Hoffman 2006: 271). Cells plan, prepare, and execute attacks on their own while the central command is left to focus on the bigger picture - theology/ideology, recruitment, and macro strategy. It´s favored since it makes groups more flexible, responsive, and harder to fight for governments (Neumann 2009: 52).

In addition, terror groups are argued to have become increasingly transnational due to globalization, cheaper air travel, and large improvements in IT. The Internet is regarded as the most important reason since it allows for fast encrypted communication, transferring money, and availability of information on how to conduct terrorism. Increasing transnationalism manifests itself in groups working across state borders, receiving financial support, and members from abroad (Ibid: 50-70)(Tan 2002: 234-245). Transnationalism also takes the form of central command in large organizations like Al-Qaeda or ISIS setting up their headquarters in war-torn states with little rule of law and run their organizations from there. Assisting their cells wherever they are and leaving them to do the violence (Glenn 2015). The increasing transnationalism can be seen as a new headache for counter-terrorism agencies since most of their tools are based around national institutions (Neumann 2009: 153-156).

2.2.4 CBRN-Weapons

Most proponents of New Terrorism put forward a fourth characteristic, the potential threat of terrorists using CBRN-Weapons (chemical, biological, radiologic, and nuclear) in the near future - what is often referred to as weapons of mass destruction. The risk of terrorists using CBRN-weapons instead of conventional weapons such as firearms and bombs in order to cause mass destruction was stated as high in the late ‘90s and early 2000s (Laqueur 1999)(Simon & Benjamin 2001: 10)(Lesser 1999: 120).

Four reasons were behind this. Firstly, terrorists had started gaining the necessary technical expertise they´d lacked in the past thanks to the internet and state sponsorship, especially in Europe (Laqueur 1999: 228). Secondly, the fall of the Soviet Union unleashed large amounts of nuclear and radioactive material into the black market for wealthy terror organizations to tap into (Laqueur 1999: 74). Third, CBRN-weapons seem to be the perfect weapon for the new lethal and apocalyptic religious terrorists, seeking to annihilate the enemy (Simon & Benjamin 2001: 11). Fourth, major terror groups were actively working to acquire them and put them to use. Most notably Al-Qaeda who for years prioritized to obtain them (Ramakrishna 2014: 166), and after 9/11 were close to succeeding (Cameron 2002: 56) and Aum Shinrikyo who in 1995 infected the Tokyo Subway with sarin gas - killing 12 and injuring 5 500 (Laqueur 1999: 54).

Yet, it was only a prediction for the future. At the time no data intended it was becoming a prevalent feature. Looking at previous data nuclear and radiological terrorism was in sharp decline from 1970 to 2000 while biological and chemical terrorism was slightly increasing (Karmon 2002: 194-195). During the ‘90s 69 CBRN-related attacks took place, 28% of them in Europe. 17 of the ones in Europe were deemed actual terror attacks and 15 of them were chemical. None was used for mass destruction (Ibid).

Despite stating the future threat as high, reasons for why the threat hadn’t and possibly wouldn't materialize was put forward by the same proponents. Hoffman (2006: 272-280) argued that only a few terror groups would have the capabilities to successfully use them. Laqueur (1999: 69-71) stated that nuclear and radiological weapons require immense funding, time, and expertise while the cheap and easy alternative, biological weapons, was unreliable. Making chemical weapons the only viable option at the time. In turn, Cameron (2002: 63-64) argued that several groups had moral constraints about using them, despite better capabilities they were still hard to obtain and use successfully. For example, Aum Shinrikyo failed to launch more than one mass-casualty attack despite numerous attempts. And after 9/11 the support for terrorism declined and state sponsorship regarding CBRN-weapons with it (Ibid: 53) - making future attacks even less likely. In Cameron’s words in 2002: “it appears to be a major disconnect between interest and an immediate threat.”.

Worth noting is that Neumann (2009) does not use the risk of CBRN-weapons as part of his conceptualization of New Terrorism, probably for the above-stated reasons. Making CBRN-weapons the part of New Terrorism with the least theoretical backing.

2.3 Hypotheses

Based on the theoretical framework presented above I propose four hypotheses for the study:

1) In accordance with New Terrorism, I expect religious terrorism to be the most common type of movement. The historic increase of it and the on-going societal shifts that are argued to have caused it indicates it should be. However, based on the mild skepticism of religions’ dominance made by the theory’s proponents a result showing far-right and separatist terrorism being as common as religious terrorism could be somewhat considered in line with New Terrorism.
2) In regards to lethality - based on improvements in weaponry and technology, less constraint on terrorists, information overload, and the apocalyptic goals of religious groups – I expect it to be higher than in the 90s, like New terrorism argues. Meaning fatalities to be present in over 14% of all terror attacks and likely at + 20%, and there to be more mass-casualty attacks in Europe than the 9 that took place in 1991-1999 (GTD 2020: c).
3) A majority of the studied organizations are expected to be non-hierarchical and transnational. Increasing globalism, development in IT plus the fact that these types of structures make the groups harder to combat indicates why the hypothesis should be correct.
4) The number of uses of CBRN-weapons should higher than the 17 that took place in Europe in the ‘90s and a few uses should have resulted in mass-destruction. 2010-2018 should qualify as the near future proponents of the theory talks about, and state sponsorship, better capabilities and access to material, and the more apocalyptic goals of today’s terrorists support the hypothesis. However, many doubts are stated in the theoretical framework and it´s the part with the least theoretical backing, arguing against it.

3. Methodology

In the following section, the methodology for testing the 4 hypotheses is presented by outlining the research design and how the data is collected and analyzed.

3.1 Research Design

Comparative research is chosen to answer the research question since it allows a researcher to empirically examine if a theory´s assumptions are general by testing it in different countries and time periods (Halperin & Heath 2017: 212). In this study, it’s done by comparing the theoretical assumptions of New Terrorism with empirical data on terrorism in Europe 2010-2018.

The study is a Large-N study of all recorded cases of terrorism that fits the stated operationalization of terrorism, see table 1, limited to attacks conducted on European soil during the period 2010/01/01-2018/12/31. The study has a descriptive approach, studying the existence and frequency of the four characteristics of New Terrorism, based on the conceptualizations, operationalizations, and measurements outlined in table 2. All characteristics are studied separately. In the next step, data analysis is done using descriptive statistics with the purpose of showing central tendencies in the data. More on that in section 3.3.

Table 1 - How Terrorism is Studied (Based on Section 2.1)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 2 - How New Terrorism is Studied (Based on Section 2.2)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Considering the quantitative approach of the study, the results will come with high external validity, meaning that the results are good for theory testing and for drawing general inferences about European terrorism. The 9-year period is chosen with that in mind since it allows for a large sample size, limiting the impact of outliers while the cases remain contemporary. The large sample size is preferable since in comparative research large sample sizes are considered crucial for high external validity (Ibid: 174-175). The quantitative approach does however come with less detail and depth which gives my findings lower internal validity (Ibid: 178). Fortunately, that's not a problem for the thesis. The purpose of it is not to give extensive detail on an individual terror group or attack.

3.2 Data collection

The data is primarily gathered from large statistical databases since it's the most time-efficient way of collecting large amounts of data (Ibid: 176-177) Considering the total number of terror acts in the study is 2 884 (GTD 2020:a), collecting the data myself would not be feasible. It is however secondary data, which is considered inferior to primary data because the initial data collection might be containing elements of bias and methodological flaws that are not transparent (Ibid: 180). Every data source has thus been picked with caution.

The primary source is one of two major databases on terrorism: Global Terrorism Database (GTD). The other one, RAND Database stopped measuring in 2009 and can thus not be used. Unfortunate since triangulation, combining several different sources (Dulic 2011: 39), is recommended to ensure valid and reliable information. GTD is, fortunately, a highly regarded source of information on terrorism, referenced by a multitude of scholars, databases, and governmental institutions (LaFree 2011: 44). It´s the world’s most comprehensive database on terrorism, manage by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland (GTD 2020). GTD can be seen as the equivalent of the Uppsala Conflict Database, on terrorism.

The fact that GTD is American based, and thus not directly affected by the terrorism, and not a government source should be considered a strength since government statistics on sensitive topics such as terrorism have a greater risk of containing bias (Halperin and Heath 180-181). Steps have still been taken to further limit threats of bias or measuring errors. Other sources such as Europol’s yearly reports on terrorism, official incident reports, and national statistics are used to control for any uncertainties in GTDs data. Adding elements of triangulation.

Despite GTDs comprehensive database it doesn´t offer necessary information about organizational structures and at times the terrorists´ aims and motivation. To gather data for this, intelligence reports, case studies, and official documents are primarily used. Favoring primary sources and checking for biases by evaluating the sources in regards to its audience, author's agenda, and if the author represents a biased 3rd party. In the cases where those sources can´t fill the gap, newspaper articles are used with the same source criticism. Preferably from News Agencies since they are primary news sources and therefore have not gone through another layer of editing or filtering (Sollenberg & Öberg 2011: 49).

During the study, the conceptualizations and operationalizations outlined in tables 1 and 2 are strictly followed to avoid faulty inferences due to different sources using different definitions of theoretical concepts. A common problem in social science research (Höglund 2011: 118-120). By doing this I increase my internal validity and ensures good reliability (Halperin and Heath 2017: 171). Lastly, Appendix A is transparent and detailed on how and from where data is collected to make sure findings are easy to replicate and verify.


Excerpt out of 57 pages


A Eurocentric Study of New Terrorism
Assessing New Terrorism´s validity and applicability in describing European terrorism 2010-2018 using quantitative research
Lund University  (The Institute of Political Science)
Bachelor's degree course
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
New Terrorism, Europe, CBRN-weapons, Religious terrorism, Lethality, Separatist terrorism.
Quote paper
Henrik Lindholm (Author), 2020, A Eurocentric Study of New Terrorism, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/907861


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