Publication:
Social Network Analysis of German Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq

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Authors
Reynolds. Sean C.
Hafez, Mohammed M.
Subjects
European Muslims
foreign fighters
radicalization
social network analysis
Advisors
Date of Issue
2017
Date
Publisher
Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
Language
Abstract
Why do Westerners become foreign fighters in civil conflicts? We explore this question through original data collection on German foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, and test three sets of hypotheses that revolve around socioeconomic integration, online radicalization, and social network mobilization. We conduct link analysis to map the network of German foreign fighters prior to their mobilization, and marshal evidence to assess the validity of competing explanations. We find only modest support for the integration deficit hypothesis, and meager support for the social media radicalization theory. Instead, the preponderance of evidence suggests that interpersonal ties largely drive the German foreign fighter phenomenon. Recruitment featured clustered mobilization and bloc recruitment within interconnected radical milieus, leading us to conclude that peer-to-peer networks are the most important mobilization factor for German foreign fighters.
Type
Article
Description
The article of record as published may be found at https://doi.org/10.1080/09546553.2016.1272456
Series/Report No
Department
National Security Affairs (NSA)
Organization
Naval Postgraduate School (U.S.)
Identifiers
NPS Report Number
Sponsors
Funder
Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) at the Naval Postgraduate School
Format
27 p.
Citation
Sean C. Reynolds & Mohammed M. Hafez (2019) Social Network Analysis of German Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq, Terrorism and Political Violence, 31:4, 661-686
Distribution Statement
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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