The counterterrorism escalation game : how leadership targeting affects the behavior of terrorist groups
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] How does the tactic of leadership decapitation - the removal of an organization's leader or leadership by state efforts to arrest or kill - affect the activity of terrorist organizations? Over the past decade, leadership decapitation has become one of the main strategies that states employ in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency campaigns. Despite the increased reliance on leadership decapitation, the strategy has received surprisingly little attention from social scientists studying conflict. To advance this literature, I develop a game-theoretic model to apply to the study of leadership decapitation. The Counterterrorism Escalation Game models the interaction between a terrorist group and a state to examine how the organization responds to offensive counterterrorism tactics, such as leadership decapitation. In subsequent chapters, I use quantitative methods to evaluate hypotheses derived from the game, thus offering new insights into the behavioral dynamics of violent non-state actors in an asymmetric conflict.
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