Transnational terrorist franchising in sub-saharan Africa : the effects of religion and natural resources

Date
2016-08
Advisor
Şatana, Nil Seda
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Bilkent University
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English
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Abstract

In the past decade or so, several major franchises took place between a transnational terrorist organization – such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State – and domestic terrorist organizations. By adopting Al Qaeda’s brand name, Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Fighting was not only able to survive through counterterrorism measures enforced by the Algerian government, but also to reshape itself into a transnational terrorist group extending its influence to other countries. This dissertation argues that terrorist organizations are like business firms. Whatever their proclaimed goal is, their ultimate aim is survival. Terrorist organizations apply diverse strategies, in order to ‘stay in business,’ and franchise being one of them. By applying Zelinsky and Shubik’s (2009) typological framework, this work analyzes the motivations of terrorist organizations, both domestic and transnational, for involvement in the franchise strategy. This framework characterizes franchise as centralized in terms of operations, while being decentralized in terms of resources. This dissertation posits that religion and natural resources play an essential role in this framework: religious motivations are important for the centralization of operations, while the presence of natural resources guarantees that a new affiliate will be able to finance its operations even in cases when the parent organization is unable or unwilling to provide financial support. To explore the relationship between organizational survival strategy, religion and natural resources this work first compiles a dataset on all Sub-Saharan African countries and then conducts both a quantitative descriptive analysis, as well as a qualitative analysis of the case of Nigeria.

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Franchise, Natural Resources, Religion, Sub-Saharan Africa, Transnational Terrorism
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Published Version (Please cite this version)