Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

R. William Ayres (Committee Member), Pramod Kantha (Committee Member), Vaughn Shannon (Committee Chair)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


What role does foreign support play when an insurgent group adopts terrorism? Utilizing both quantitative analysis and in-depth case studies, this thesis examines the effects of foreign support among other commonly cited explanations for an insurgency's adoption of terrorism. In addition to observing the effects of foreign support on the adoption of terrorism, the effects of government regime type, insurgent group goal type, insurgent group strength, and foreign benefactor type are analyzed. After executing a multiple logistic regression analysis of 109 intrastate conflicts occurring from 1972 to 2007 and conducting detailed case studies for the Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Kurds in Iraq, this thesis concludes that specific types of foreign support from non-state actors not only make insurgent groups significantly stronger but also make them more likely to adopt terrorism thus calling into question the weapon of the weak argument.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Political Science

Year Degree Awarded


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.