A note on data sources
I’ve received a few requests for more information on the data that I draw from for some of my comparative analysis - rates of women in terrorist groups, types of financing mechanisms, etc. So here’s a short post summarizing that data and sources of information.
Women in Terrorism
Most of the data that I share here is drawn from work that I did for my book, Women in Modern Terrorism. Over the course of the last fifteen or so years, I’ve been compiling incidents of women’s involvement in terrorist acts. This includes a variety of activities and roles, but the data on women perpetrating suicide attacks is the most robust / reliable, so I often draw on that to make inferences. My database is now well over 500 incidents covering many countries. I usually try to find at least two sources, ideally independent, to confirm the activity. Each incident is assigned a reliability score (to allow for more nuanced analysis for specific incidents / countries), and captures as much detail about the incident as possible: date, age, name, location, number of people killed and injured, the number of attackers involved, etc. This allows me to quickly identify trends and issues that need further analysis, like the number of female suicide attacks over time.
The data the I draw on for this analysis is from my forthcoming book, Illicit Money: Financing Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century (available soon from Lynne Rienner). For this book, I looked at over 50 terrorist groups over time and categorized their financing methods - essentially, how they raise, use, move, store, manage, and obscure money. I break it down into different categories like criminal activities, business models, the use of organizational structures, and of course cryptocurrencies and investment vehicles. I also did the same for another 50 terrorist attacks and plots, all of which reveals interesting patterns in terms of group financing mechanisms, and big differences between operational and organizational financing. I keep this data up to date on a weekly basis, adding new groups and methods as I come across them. This allows me to identify patterns over time, and identify new trends and methods, as well as old methods using new technologies.
Kidnapping for Ransom
In conjunction with my work on terrorist financing (and counter-terrorist financing), I also closely track ransoms paid by terrorist groups. I have a dataset of hundreds of different ransoms paid - however, I’m continually verifying and updating this information, given the secrecy involved in ransom payments both on the part of the terrorist group and the states (or individuals) who pay the ransoms.
Counter-Terrorism Financing: Policies and Practices
Finally, I’m in the process of developing a dataset on counter-terrorist financing policies and practices. This is still in development, so I won't say too much about it yet (but I will update this as the data develops), but it’ll essentially map states’ approaches to counter-terrorist financing, and how they use different tools and practices. It’ll draw on open source data, government reporting, and of course interviews. So stay tuned for more on that front!