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 International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2007)

Emergent Properties of Terrorism - The Iraqi Insurgency

Phil Fellman
Southern New Hampshire University

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     Last modified: October 22, 2007

In this paper I review a variety of emergent properties in the Iraqi insurgency. To do so, I draw on theoretical work by Angelo Codevilla of the Claremont Institute and empirical work by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, as well as my own theoretical work (“Modeling Terrorist Networks”, “The Complexity of Terrorist Networks”, etc.) In addition, I apply complexity theory, drawing on the work of John Robb, (“Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization), and Kathleen Carley et al. In particular, I apply the mathematical treatment developed by Ahmed et al. to the Sato-Crutchfield replicator dynamics in an attempt to explain Robb's "Bazaar of Violence in Iraq" (the non-linear, self-reinforcing dynamics of the insurgency) by applying Galam's percolation theory of terrorism. The article concludes by noting both the empirical policy recommendations of the Cordesman report as well as illustrating the theoretical dynamics behind the continued growth of the insurgency which suggest that increased military staffing and "surge" tactics may not lead to any decrease in Iraqi terrorism, but may, in fact, by increasing the passive percolation level, facilitate future attacks against American and Western targets.

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