Weak states, state failure, and terrorism

Edward Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)


It is common to hear the assertion that weak or failed states are fertile ground for terrorism. Yet terrorist groups have emerged from, and operated within, countries which have strong, stable states and a variety of systems of government. Terrorist organizations operate in weak and failed states but it is not necessarily the condition of weak or failed statehood which explains their presence. Moreover, it is not necessarily the weakest states which do host such groups. Therefore, this condition is not a sufficient explanation for their presence. While weak or failed states might provide an enabling environment for certain types of terrorist groups to operate, additional explanatory variables need to be identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-488
Number of pages26
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • terrorist havens
  • terrorism
  • explanatory variables for terrorism
  • weak states


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