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Terroristic Organizations’ Longevity Factors Essay

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Updated: Sep 2nd, 2020

The antiterrorism effort is one of those themes that is widely distributed both by the mass media and the scientific community. In other words, it is the point of concern of the entire global society. In the meantime, the question arises regarding the value of the active social discussion in terms of problem resolution.

Thus, the articles under analysis are devoted to the examination of the factors that determine the longevity of the terrorist groups. Hence, Phillips and Jordan offer their theories aimed at raising the effectiveness of the common anti-terrorist effort. On the face of it, the articles might elucidate different problems, and no parallels can be possibly drawn between them. However, a closer analysis shows that they have more common traits than it may seem at first sight.

The first article under discussion is devoted to the problem of the interconnections that exist between terroristic groups and the impact they have on the longevity of the latter. Thus, Brian Philips tries to fill in the gaps that the relevant scientific knowledge has in terms of analyzing the role of the interconnection between terroristic groups. The author offers a series of critical insights into the framework of this theme.

First and foremost, it should be noted that the author is probably the first to apply the social network theory to the examination of the collaboration between terrorists. Besides, he puts a particular focus on group collaboration rather than the individual support that terrorists might provide one to another. Hence, according to the author, this collaboration contributes to prolonging the longevity of terroristic groups by facilitating access to the resources essential for their survival (Philips 337).

Generally speaking, Philips’s speculations rely on the four main hypotheses. Thus, his research is designed to check the correlation between the size of the network and the longevity as well as the interconnection between the type of the state’s regime and the longevity.

As a result, the two principal conclusions are drawn relying on the research findings. First of all, Philips finds empirical proof for the beneficial role of the collaboration between terrorists in assuring a longer existence (343). Secondly, the author points out that active cooperation and support between terroristic groups are more significant in authoritarian regimes where terrorists experience more powerful pressure on the part of the government.

It should be necessarily noted that the core value of Philips’s article resides in his complex and scientific approach in addressing the analyzed problem. Hence, the article has a consistent structure, and all the author’s assumptions are accompanied by relevant statistical data or case studies.

The second article is devoted to the analysis of the same problem that Philips discusses – the factors that determine the resilience of terroristic groups. In the meantime, Jenna Jordan addresses this problem from a different perspective. Thus, the author tries to elucidate the impact that the elimination of a group leader has on the longevity of a terroristic community.

As well as Philips’s analysis, Jordan’s article has several logical parts. First of all, she provides a detailed overview of the relevant research and studies. The core idea that might be retrieved from this part resides in the fact that the leadership does not have such significant importance for the resilience of terrorism as the USA counterterrorism strategy implies (Jordan 11). The clear and concise structure is the first common point that might be noted in terms of comparison. Thus, both authors stick to a well-structured format that ensures better perception of the ideas in the readers.

In the second part of the article, the author develops her theory regarding the groups’ resilience to the leaders’ elimination. As well as Phillips, Jordan is an innovator, to a certain extent – thus, she does not summarize the existing knowledge but prefers to formulate some fresh presumptions. According to Jordan, a leader’s decapitation does not have such a significant impact on the group’s activity as it might be presumed (11). The author believes that other factors determine the group’s ability to survive: a consistent bureaucratized structure and reliable social collaboration. These factors, according to Jordan, allow terrorists to recover successfully in case their leader is decapitated.

At this point, it is critical to note that social networks are the central point that draws the parallel between the two articles. Thus, Phillips’s assumption about the meaningfulness of the social networks for terrorist group’s resilience finds support in Jordan’s article where she insists that the importance of the networks dominates over that of the leadership.

One of the pivots of Jordan’s analysis is the examination of the Al-Qaeda case in the framework of the advanced theory. The author employs this example to support her arguments. It should be admitted that this reference proves to be an excellent illustration of the theory’s concepts: both the Al-Qaeda’s bureaucratized structure and its social connections allow the group to survive despite the elimination of its leaders. A detailed case study is what differentiates Jordon’s article from Phillip’s analysis. Whereas the latter is a more general synthesis of various case studies, Jordan’s paper is, on the contrary, a focused examination of a single case.

On the face of it, the reader might think that the authors target different objectives. Unlike Philip’s article, which is mainly aimed at providing some guidelines for working out an effective anti-terrorist strategy, Jordan’s paper focuses on proving the counter-productiveness of the existing one. As a result, Philips’s analysis is naturally more general. It seems that the principal objective that the author targets is to offer some hints on how the longevity of terroristic groups can be reduced.

Jordan, in her turn, points out the drawbacks of the USA strategy by rebutting its core principle – the terrorists’ resilience can be reduced by the elimination of their leaders. However, a closer analysis of the two articles essentially shows that the authors share a common aim – contributing the anti-terrorist effort, each in their manner.

In terms of style, some distinguishing features might be pointed out. Thus, it seems that Jordan’s general style is more descriptive – the author provides some evaluative remarks while analyzing the current anti-terrorism effort that the USA makes. Phillips’s language is more restrained and concise. The author does not criticize any existing approaches; instead, he concentrates on pointing out some new perspectives within the relevant frameworks.

The contrast in the styles might be determined by one of the key differences between the two articles – their structure. Thus, Phillips offers a classic research paper that includes all the relevant elements: the background, the advancement of the hypothesis, the research design, the findings’ analysis, and the conclusions. Jordan’s paper is more descriptive – the author examines the problem from different perspectives, gradually narrowing the analysis to the particular case study.

The most significant similarity that should be pointed out is the social value of the elucidated data in the context of the common anti-terrorist effort. In other words, it is the novelty of the authors’ findings that is the principal advantage of the papers. Thus, both Phillips and Jordan try to contribute to raising the efficiency of counterterrorism by developing their theories. Also, it is evident that their ideas are not unjustified assumptions but the well-grounded theories that rely on the relevant scientific evidence base. The authors’ analyses help to identify the most crucial flaws in the existing strategies and provide consistent guidelines for their improvement.

In conclusion, it should be noted that there is a large scope of scientific literature devoted to the analysis of counterterrorism. Meanwhile, few articles perform a considerable contribution to the problem resolution. In other words, most of the papers elucidate the already existing findings and summarize the relevant data. The articles under discussion, on the contrary, offer some new approaches to the problem of counterterrorism.

Both authors have carried out a complex work and managed to develop the innovative theories aimed at raising the efficacy of counterterrorism. Thus, these articles show that the contribution to the common antiterrorist effort might be performed not only at the governmental level but the local one as well. Otherwise stated, they emphasize the meaningfulness of scientific research in the context of global problems.

Works Cited

Jordan, Jenna. “Attacking the Leader, Missing the Mark.” International Security 38.4 (2014): 7-38. Print.

Phillips, Brian. “Terrorist Group Cooperation and Longevity.” International Journal of International Studies Quarterly 58.1 (2014): 336-347. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Terroristic Organizations' Longevity Factors." September 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/terroristic-organizations-longevity-factors/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Terroristic Organizations' Longevity Factors'. 2 September.

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