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The Hinckley Journal of Politics

results—specifically the U.S. and its policies in the Middle East—pose a greater risk of terrorism to countries than even foreign fighters (Schmid, 2016). Foreign fighters may be the underlying cause that engenders any possible link between migrants and terrorism. Foreign fighters in majority-Islamic countries are the result of the rise of populist Islamism and state-sponsored terrorist activity since the 1970s (Hegghammer 2011). The number of foreign fighters to the MENA have increased in recent times. The conflict in Syria also appears to be drawing many foreign fighters from around the world (Hegghammer 2011). Furthermore, one policy study of Turkey’s management of foreign fighters reveals an increase of thousands of individuals on the country’s “No Entry List” suggesting a concomitant rise of foreign fighters, alongside an increasing amount of legitimate petitions for asylum and refugee status (Yalçinkaya, 2015). Thus, foreign fighters and migrants from conflict zones may appear to be similar from an immigration perspective. Despite the limited scholarship that examines linkages between refugees and terrorism, the extant scholarship provides a starting point through research that examines various nuances of terrorism as it relates to refugees. Theory I first argue that conflict and terrorism are similar in that they can both spread, as well as cluster, geographically. However, there are key differences between traditional conflict and terrorism. One difference is that terrorism is inherently easier to spread across borders and clusters regionally as opposed to clustering along borders, i.e., clustering may occur within a region, but state-level distributions appear random. In addition, terrorism spreading—unlike conflict spillover— is not entirely dependent on the movement of people, weapons, or ammunition across borders. Thus, migrant and refugee streams are mostly unrelated to the spread of terrorism. Better determinants of terrorism spreading are certain state capacities and linkages to the West. State capacities can be thought of as characteristics that bolster the state’s primary functions (such as the legitimate monopoly on violence within a territory, or taxation) to more specialized functions (like bureaucratic efficacy). Linkages to the West take the form of states’ adherences to economic, democratic, and diplomatic characteristics that resemble western powers. Ultimately, this theory presupposes no direct correlation between migrants from conflict zones and the threat of terrorism to host countries. Terrorism in neighboring countries should not be confused with conflict spillover, as these two events are different realizations of conflicts—especially of civil war—and present different risks to states and regimes. Terrorism seems to occur more often in states experiencing some type of violent conflict like civil war (Institute for Economics & Peace, 2015). Thus, Syria’s civil war presents an internal risk of terrorism. Yet terrorism does not stop at borders. Terrorists specifically intend to spread across borders in order to create a grander spectacle and more pressing threat. Terrorism also does not require traditional conflict supplies such as combatants or massive artilleries to spread. It is possible groups may choose to resort to this form of violence as opposed to spillover conflict as a result of the relative ease of spreading terrorism.

2017

As previously mentioned, the movement of people has become somewhat unnecessary for terrorist attacks. For instance, many terrorist incidents are caused by individuals who are not connected to any belligerent group in the conflict zone (Hegghammer & Nesser 2015). Furthermore, communication technologies have made selfradicalization and “lone-wolf ” terrorists an internal threat to any country without cross-border movement. A “lone-wolf ” is an individual who, through no prior contact or connections to known terror groups, commits an act of terror that later appears to have occurred in relative isolation. As a result of these isolated actors there is no need for migration between countries. By decoupling the link between the movement of people and terrorism spreading, the inclination shifts to state-level factors as an indicator for the spread of such terrorist incidents. While the causes of terrorism are outlined above, countries respond to the risk of terrorism differently. As a result, the expectation is that countries would experience varying amounts of incidents. I posit that countries with generally stronger state capacities will experience a generally lower risk of terrorism regardless of migrants. Specifically, state capacities that result in or are promoted by strong border management, regime stability, military and security capacity, resilience to home-grown terror groups, and provision of U.S. (or non-domestic sources of) military and non-military aid will experience a lower risk. A state’s regime and economic system also influences the risk of terrorism. Democratic regimes may be a target for terrorist organizations, but democracies may also reinforce other state capacities to limit the pejorative effects of democracy. For example, democracies may have a decision-making schema—like electoral systems—that limit the tenure of poor decision makers who may otherwise inhibit state security or state capacities (Halperin, 2005). Similarly, advanced and globally integrated economies may actually put a state at greater risk of terrorism. I agree with other scholars that this type of economic system is often a target for terrorist activities because it is seen as a transgression against certain communities like third world countries (Drake, 2007). One study found that advanced democracies that expend effort in shaping other countries’ affairs as well as poorer democracies experience more terrorism (Chenoweth, 2013). However, more developed economies may translate their economic strength into generally stronger state capacities that could potentially increase security (such as an efficient police force or military). Thus, a strong economy is also a state capacity that can deter terrorism, but advanced global economies may simultaneously be the target for terrorism. Overall, my argument is more interested in how the state capacities of host states affect the number of terrorism incidents. I define certain aspects of state capacities and how each influences the risk of terrorism as follows: Regime stability refers to the general level of uncertainty within each country’s regime (i.e., leadership change process, predictability, etc.). Strong regime stability may make it easier to coordinate security efforts, control borders, and coordinate with international organizations and countries to keep track of potential threats. Dynamic changes in regime stability undermine various state capacities and limit the potential for receiving foreign aid as well. Aid from the U.S., such as military and non-military aid, may help build certain state capacities and deter the risk of terrorism. The consensus on whether specific types of aid from the U.S. deter or perpetuate terrorism is unclear, and only a handful of serious studies

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Hinckley Journal 2017  

The Hinckley Journal of Politics is the only undergraduate-run journal of politics in the nation and strives to publish scholarly papers of...

Hinckley Journal 2017  

The Hinckley Journal of Politics is the only undergraduate-run journal of politics in the nation and strives to publish scholarly papers of...

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