Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Chair

Joseph Weinberg

Committee Chair Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 2

Troy Gibson

Committee Member 2 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 3

Marek Steedman

Committee Member 3 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

This study examines the role of terrorist organizations in failed states. In particular, their ability to perform positive state-building activities that result in stability is investigated. Both terrorism and state failure present unique and serious threats to international security. However, there is very little literature concerning the positive effect terrorist organizations can have in failed states. Presented is not only an investigation of the linkages between state failure and terrorism, but also a new classification of terrorist organizations based upon their ability to state-build in failed states. These organizations are classified by their ability to provide goods and services within the state, become a legitimate sovereign, and provide security from both domestic and international threats to the citizens of the state in the process of filling either capacity, legitimacy, and security gaps. From this a tiered classification is built. The FARC, Hezbollah, and LTTE are examined to ascertain their ability to complete these tasks. Results show that the FARC is unable to fill any gaps, Hezbollah all three, and the LTTE only one. Results suggest that there are indeed terrorist organizations that have the capacity to perform positively. The new classification system allows for study of terrorist organizations that evaluates them on their constructive abilities, an often overlooked dimension of their existence. Using this system, new policy to combat the rising terrorist threat and the instability surrounding state failure can be developed and put into place to bring about a more security international system.

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