ICCS2004 Application Submission/Review

Abstract for
"Agent-Based Simulation of the Demand for Islamist Terrorist Organizations"

Agent-Based Simulation of the Demand for Islamist Terrorist Organizations Speaker: Edward P. MacKerrow ABSTRACT: Understanding the social dynamics which provide a support base and public demand for radical Islamist organizations is important in reducing the acceptance of terrorism in the world. Empirical data show that conditions of relative deprivation alone are not sufficient for predicting militant terrorism . Complex political, religious, economic, and ethnic factors are associated with the demand for militant Islamist organizations. In order to gain insights into to these complex socio-dynamics we have developed a large agent-based simulation framework. This simulation examines the sources of grievance in the Middle-East based on input empirical data, surveys, and expert opinion. The simulation is coupled with a GIS system with resolution at the sub-national district level. The framework allows for scenario testing, what-if analyses, and vetting of different social theories behind terrorism. I will present our team's accomplishments of modeling social grievance in Muslim societies and our initial results for modeling the coupling of social grievance with established organizations, including HAMAS, Hizballah, and al Qaida. We have developed the simulation in close collaboration with Muslim social scientists and utilize constructs from Islamic Economic Theory. I will compare and contrast differences in Islamic and Western economic theory applied to terrorism. The end goal of this simulation is to increase anticipatory insight into different scenarios based on a socio-economic, political, military, and intelligence influences.