Terrorist organizations have long threatened the security, infrastructure, and citizens of nations and communities throughout the world. Since the early 1970s, RAND has explored the structure and activities of terrorist organizations—most recently al Qaeda and its offshoots—to understand their motivations, their recruitment and training methods, and why some are more successful than others.
Research conducted by:
RAND National Security Research Division;
RAND Project AIR FORCE
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The United States needs to adopt an increasingly nuanced — but long-term — approach to countering the al Qa'ida movement, says Seth Jones. U.S. policymakers should view the al Qa'ida threat as a decades-long struggle like the Cold War.
Journal Articles (25)
Participating in insurgency is physically risky. Why do people do so?
Understanding how terrorist groups innovate and adapt is key for anticipating future shifts in terrorist threats.
Although the United States can take some steps to support democratization in the long run, it cannot force change.
Counterinsurgents are more successful in campaigns in which they decapitate the insurgent leadership than in those in which they do not, regardless of the group's aims or ideology.
A year after Osama bin Laden's death, the obituaries for his terrorist group are still way too premature.
The relationship between leadership decapitation and campaign success holds across different types of insurgencies.
While the U.S. prepares a strategic shift toward the Far East, evidence mounts that the terrorist organization is resurgent in the Muslim world.
Stabilizing Afghanistan is the only policy option that will secure the full range of our interests in South Asia. There are no practical alternatives.
This chapter discusses terrorism-related deterrence and influence analytically.
Despite an air of Western triumphalism over bin Laden's killing, Pakistan remains a major hub of international terrorism, especially for groups plotting attacks against Western countries.
A Turkish failure to adequately address Kurdish concerns in drafting the new constitution could undercut its ability to act as a successful model for peaceful democratic change in the Middle East.
The overarching Western objective in Afghanistan should be to prevent that country from becoming not just a haven for transnational terrorists, but a terrorist ally as well.
This article reviews and synthesizes social science knowledge on the connections between popular support and terrorist/insurgent sustainment.
The authors examine the threat of subversion after the end of the Cold War.
This article investigates the determinants of armed group organization and the downstream effects of organization on civil wars.
Because Al Qaeda and its affiliates operate much like a global tribe, this paper describes the dynamics of classic tribes: what drives them, how they organize, and how they fight.
Details various models al-Qaida may be using to attract new members.
Offers a perspective on significant trends in terrorism over the past fourdecades.