Implicit Terrorist Networks: A Two-Mode Social Network Analysis of Terrorism in India

Abstract Several recent studies examine factors that lead to the emergence of terrorism and why some locations are more frequently targeted than others. However, much of the current research assumes that terrorist incidents and groups are independent. We show that the assumption of independence is not always valid. Instead, we identify the conditions under which terrorist groups share choices over target locations, forming Implicit Terrorist Networks. We demonstrate the utility of this approach by examining Islamic terrorism in India between 1990 and 2015. Using a two-mode network analytics approach, we find that violent target locations are not independent of each other, but instead have a tendency to occur in clusters. The results also highlight the patterns by which India has been targeted by a number of active, Islamic terrorist organizations over a 25-year period. More generally, our approach: 1) demonstrates the utility of employing an Implicit Terrorist Network approach to understanding terrorism, 2) shows that cluster analysis can assist in identifying terror group aliases, 3) identifies unexpected locations for violence that may indicate the involvement of external factors, providing leads for counter terrorism efforts, and 4) provides a tool for identifying the structures underlying patterns of global terrorism.
  • Rithvik Yarlagadda (PSU)
  • Diane Felmlee (PSU)
  • Dinesh Verma (IBM US)
  • Scott Sigmund Gartner (PSU)
Date Jul-2018
Venue SBP-BRiMS 2018: Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Modeling pp 340-347