What types of countries are more likely to experience terrorism? This seemingly simple question is crucial when conducting a net assessment of the environment in which terrorist activity occurs. Understanding which countries are terrorism-prone—what might be called "terrorism hotspots"—helps experts understand the conditions that are conducive to terrorist activity.1 In this article, I discuss five factors that appear frequently in empirical research as contributors to terrorist activity both within countries and across borders. These include the socioeconomic status of the country, such as its level of poverty; political qualities such as whether the country's governing regime is a democracy or a dictatorship; the government's respect for human rights and the degree to which it uses repression in response to dissent; the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities; and whether the country has experienced a foreign military intervention. Each of these five factors has figured prominently in the national discussion about terrorism and counterterrorism among US policymakers and scholars since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Empirical research on them reveals patterns that can inform the net assessment of violent non-state actors.
Piazza, James A. 2014. "Characteristics of Terrorism Hotspots." CTX: Combatting Terrorism Exchange 5 (August). https://globalecco.org/characteristics-of-terrorism-hotspots