Terrorists as rebels: Territorial goals, oil resources, and civil war onset in terrorist campaigns
Foreign Policy Analysis
Recent studies show terrorist organizations that target only civilians almost always fail to achieve their ultimate objectives. On the contrary, groups that target combatants and civilians have better chances of success. Yet, most terrorist organizations do not directly target the state. When terrorist organizations shift their strategy from purely terrorist acts to confrontation against the target state, we may see a transition from terrorism to civil war. A terrorist organization's decision to engage in civil war largely depends on the organization's ability to alleviate the collective action problem. We argue terrorist groups with a territorial goal and groups operating in oil-rich countries are more likely to engage in civil war. The desire to gain a separate homeland is a powerful motivator to overcome the collective action problem. Terrorist organizations that operate in oil-rich countries are more likely to resort to civil war because oil dependence has the potential to increase grievances, which motivate rebellion, and resources provide a means of financing rebellion, while weakening target state institutions. Our findings confirm the existence of a territorial goal and availability of oil resources trigger transition from terrorism to civil war.
Sambuddha Ghatak and Suveyda Karakaya. "Terrorists as rebels: Territorial goals, oil resources, and civil war onset in terrorist campaigns" Foreign Policy Analysis (2021). https://doi.org/10.1093/fpa/oraa012