The purpose of this thesis is to determine how different variables can affect a terrorist group's reaction to a targeted leadership strike, known as a decapitation strike. Decapitation strikes often produce unwanted results, such as a splintering of the terrorist group, or a failure to destroy the group. It is important that we understand which variables can lead to a group's destruction after a decapitation strike, to maximize the decapitation's effectiveness. In my research I have determined that group size, group ideological extremism, and the role of the leader targeted all have a substantial impact on the success of the decapitation strike. Using these three variables, I will examine three groups which have varying size, extremism, and leadership, and determine whether the decapitation strikes were successful and how these variables affected the results.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
International Relations; Comparative Politics
Pierres, Renzo, "When to Strike: Exploring the Variables That Lead To Successful Decapitation Strikes" (2019). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 488.