Understanding the Irregularities of Global Terrorism Incidents


This study seeks to explain underlying causes of the persistence of terrorism incidents worldwide. A dataset (1970-2013) from the Global Terrorism Database of the University of Maryland was used through new methodologies embedded in a fractal analysis. Fractal analysis enables one to discover essential differences between the most frequently occurring values and the least occurring values, in effect, describing the emergent ruggedness of the data. Such ruggedness is summarized in terms of a quantity called fractal dimension.  The fractality of the terrorist incidents was determined for the decades 1970-1979, 19801989, 1990-1999, 2000-2009 and 2010-2013.  When the datasets of countries with the most significant events were compared per decade, a pattern showed that the common cause for the occurrence of the terrorist incident can be attributed to the marginalization of people/groups and economic discrimination. Further analysis also showed that other causes are associated with the marginalization issues that may be a result of interweaving factors relating to or encompassing economic, political, religious, cultural/historical, and ideological causes.   Also, terrorism incidents can be explained utilizing the concept of détente as an alternative to the concept of balance of power.Keywords and phrases:  Fractal analysis, detente, balance of power, terrorism, marginalization