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uni'wissen 02-2013_ENG

“There is not more terrorism in poor countries than in rich ones” percent of all terrorist acts are purely domestic affairs. “Most of the victims are not in the West, but in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Paki- stan.” Countries with Fragile Authority Are Suscep- tible So if poverty isn’t what motivates people to join terrorist organizations, what does? Schulze and Kis-Katos have found out that it is above all na- tions with fragile authority that provide a “terror- friendly” environment. “The countries that are most susceptible to terrorism,” explains Kis-Katos, “are those that are weak due to political instability, those that are in a transitional phase like the for- mer member states of the Soviet Union, or those in which there is no state authority, like Afghani- stan or Iraq.” Democratic and semi-democratic states fall victim to terrorism more often than strictly autocratic ones, presumably due to the fact that “the protection of personality rights has greater priority” in the former, explains Kis-Katos. This limits the options available to the state for in- tervening against potential terrorists. Radical au- tocracies like North Korea have the lowest risk of terrorism – when one discounts state terror, as Schulze and Kis-Katos do for the purposes of their project. Schulze warns that the reverse is not necessarily true: More democracy does not automatically lead to an increase in terror. Although the Freiburg researchers do not see a causal relationship between poverty and terror, there are indications that terrorist organizations can profit from economic difficulties. In a case study, Kis-Katos, Schulze, and the latter’s former graduate student Ahmet Turgut discovered that the recruiting rates of the Kurdish workers’ party PKK, classified by the German government as a terrorist organization, rises and falls parallel to the national unemployment rate in Turkey. It is also evident that terrorist strongholds work like mag- nets and attract significantly higher numbers of re- cruits regardless of the economic situation. The “terror periphery,” on the other hand, is much more susceptible to “terrorist economic cycles.” The au- thors analyzed hundreds of obituaries of killed combatants published by the PKK in their case study. They found out that economic circumstanc- es in, for example, the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir have next to no impact on the decision to join the PKK, whereas young men from villages on the edge of the Kurdish territory are more likely to join the organization in times of high unemployment. Their research on the causes of terrorism has also prompted Schulze and Kis-Katos to exam- The economists identified categories of terrorism along ideological lines. The numbers of terrorist attacks in the various categories vary widely. Illustration: qu-int 5119 Total number of attacks by organized terrorist groups with an ideological background (1970–2008) Source: Global Terrorism Database 3054 5592 20101980 1990 20001970 Number 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Islamism Ethnic separatism Right-wing radicalism Left-wing radicalism Other religious extremism 16087 26962 37