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The Strength of Weak Terrorist Ties

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The current age of technology, mass communication, and globalization makes networks analysis an especially useful tool for understanding cell-based terrorism. Some concepts from traditional networks analysis may be especially relevant. The Strength of Weak Ties hypothesis (SWT) is particularly promising and will be used here to demonstrate the usability of traditional networks analysis for studying modern terrorism. The findings suggest that the strength of weak terrorist ties may improve Al Qaeda's operational capabilities despite the group's decentralization following the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan beginning in 2001.
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Keywords: Al Qaeda; Facebook; Internet; social networks; terrorism; terrorist communication; weak ties

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of International Service (SIS), American University, Washington, DC, USA 2: School of International Service (SIS), American University, Washington, DC, USA,Department of Communication, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel

Publication date: 01 April 2011

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