News | June 22, 2022

Leadership Targeting and Militant Alliance Breakdown

By Christopher W. Blair, Michael C. Horowitz, and Philip B. K. Potter

Minerva-funded researcher’s recent publication in the University of Chicago’s Journal of Politics show that leadership targeting can lead to the breakdown of alliances among militant groups.

Militant leaders are critical for cultivating capabilities, controlling behavior, and sustaining the trust that undergirds alliances. Unplanned turnover in leadership degrades cooperation and causes alliances to crumble.

Using data from the Minerva sponsored Militant Group Alliances and Rivalries (MGAR) database, they found that loss of a leader, especially a founder, incapacitates groups, stokes fear among allies, and induces disagreement over strategy between groups and allies.

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