Sharing the Dragon's Teeth

Sharing the Dragon's Teeth: Terrorist Groups and the Exchange of New Technologies

Kim Cragin
Peter Chalk
Sara A. Daly
Brian A. Jackson
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 136
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  • Book Info
    Sharing the Dragon's Teeth
    Book Description:

    Case studies of 11 terrorist groups in Mindanao, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and southwest Colombia show how these groups have exchanged technologies and knowledge in an effort to innovate (i.e., improve their operational capabilities). The analysis provides national security policymakers with insight into the innovation process and suggests ways that government policies can create barriers to terrorists' adoption of new technologies.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4249-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
    Michael Wermuth
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Terrorists, more often than not, challenge state adversaries that have more resources at their disposal, including soldiers with better training and equipment. Unlike the characters in the above quote from Greek mythology, however, terrorists do not have access to dragon’s teeth that they can plant to “grow” new fighters and weapons. Thus, terrorists attempt to overcome this asymmetry by seizing the initiative from states. They attack unprotected or vulnerable targets at seemingly random intervals. Terrorists also overcome this asymmetry through innovation: Al Qaeda members used box knives to hijack planes and turn them into explosive devices as they attacked the...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Organizational Theory and Terrorism
    (pp. 11-22)

    Militant groups threaten their adversaries in part through the combination of technology and knowledge. By sharing best practices or learning from each other’s mistakes, militant groups can improve their operational capability. These exchanges, therefore, are a key national security issue for the U.S. government in general and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) specifically. This chapter provides an overarching picture of how organizations adopt new technologies in general, so that we can better understand, and account for, exchanges between terrorist groups. To do this, we explore the academic literature on organizational theory, focusing on how technology and knowledge is exchanged...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Mindanao: A Mecca for Transnational Terrorism in Southeast Asia
    (pp. 23-46)

    Mindanao, in the southern Philippines, is emerging as one of the most important theaters in the wider global war on terrorism. Long an area of Muslim unrest¹ and rebellion, U.S. security officials have begun to express their concern that local militant groups have been co-opted into a loosely integrated Islamist network. This Islamist network apparently sees its ultimate objective as the creation of a hard-line, fundamentalist, cross-border Caliphate embracing Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Mindanao, and the southern Malay provinces of Thailand. Intelligence officials both internal and external to Southeast Asia now routinely produce threat assessments that pay particularly close attention to...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR West Bank and Gaza: Israel as the Common Enemy
    (pp. 47-70)

    In May 2000, Israeli military forces withdrew from southern Lebanon after almost 18 years of occupation. Hizballah declared victory. Approximately five months later, the al-Aqsa Intifada—the second Palestinian “uprising”—broke out in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS). Although the causes of the al-Aqsa Intifada are complex and varied, it is clear that many Palestinian militants took heart from Hizballah’s successful campaign against Israel.¹ Indeed, Marwan Barghouti, a key leader of the al-Aqsa Intifada until his arrest in April 2002, stated the following:

    To be candid, I must say that Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon was indeed one contributing...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Southwest Colombia: A Safe Haven for Mutually Beneficial Exchanges
    (pp. 71-92)

    In August 2001, a month before al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon using airplanes as (actively guided) cruise missiles, Colombian authorities arrested three members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) at the airport in Bogotá traveling on false passports. These three men—Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley, and James Monaghan—had just arrived in Bogotá following a fiveweek tour in thedespeje, an area of the country that the Colombian government ceded to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 1998. A Colombian court indicted Connolly, McCauley, and Monaghan in February 2002 for spending their...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Policy Implications
    (pp. 93-100)

    In February 2003, the U.S. government released itsNational Strategy for Combating Terrorism. In the section on “Operationalizing the Strategy,” the national strategy argues that the ultimate objective of the global war on terrorism is to return terrorism to the “criminal domain.” That is, the nature of terrorism should be altered in such a way that it is “unorganized, localized, non-sponsored, and rare.”¹ The national strategy implies that linkages between terrorist groups cause them to shift from being unorganized and localized to being organized and regional or global. More importantly, these interactions provide terrorist groups with the opportunity to improve...

  15. APPENDIX Applying the Framework to Terrorist Groups
    (pp. 101-102)
  16. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 103-114)