The effects of failed state status on terrorist targeting: A Lebanese case study
Kirk, Sarah Nicole
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Understanding the targeting decisions of terrorist organizations is a key concept that has been largely overlooked in counter-terrorism research. The success of terrorist organizations in Lebanon motivates the current study to assess how their operational decisions changed as Lebanon transitioned from civil war to state instability. Guided by rational choice theory, I explore the idea that terrorist organizations target entities that are most threatening to their chances of survival using data from the Global Terrorism Database. Specifically, the study uses multinomial logistic regression models to understand terrorist targeting choices in Lebanon from 1975 to 2018. While Lebanon is only a case study, I anticipate that the conclusions drawn here can help us understand similar dynamics in other parts of the world. The primary analysis finds a lack of support in predicted patterns of terrorist targeting. This study also includes a supplemental analysis providing directions for future research.