We expect ISIL leadership to export behaviors, including targeting preferences, to its provinces outside of Iraq and Syria. This hypothesis, as self-evident as it may appear, is not necessarily specific enough to compel a decision-maker to allocate resources to minimize that risk. Where do I start, and how will I know if I am placing resources in the right place over time should I decide to act?
Terrorism analysis has a long tradition focused on understanding the root cause of terrorism, terrorists’ motives, and in explaining terrorist behavior after the fact. Ultimately, the aim is to gain greater understanding of the adversary, allowing us to prevent terrorist events from occurring through a host of informed policies and operational programs. There is a large gap between analysis of motives and intentions, however, and predictive analysis.
Zietz, Douglas I., Joshua M. House, and Rhys A. Young. 2016. "ISIL in Libya: A Bayesian Approach to Mapping At-Risk Regions." START (March). https://www.start.umd.edu/news/isil-libya-bayesian-approach-mapping-risk-regions