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date: 26 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The state sponsorship of terrorist groups poses significant risks to international security. Accordingly, a growing body of scholarship focuses on understanding different aspects of the relationship between the patron state, the sponsored terrorist group, and the target state. This chapter first reviews the findings and arguments in this literature, exploring both the theoretical and empirical work over the strategic dynamics of and the effects of state support. Existing research contains numerous insights and provides some counterintuitive advances to our understanding of the different manifestations of sponsorship, the rationale for sponsorship, and the impact of sponsorship on both the terrorist group and the target state. Yet, there is much more work that remains to be done in this field. Specifically, we propose that further study on the connections between sponsorship and other important security issues in world politics is necessary to better understand the broader role that sponsorship plays in international relations. To promote this end, we empirically demonstrate the connection between territorial disputes, the state sponsorship of militant groups, and the onset of interstate conflict. This evidence is preliminary but opens a potentially promising new avenue for research on the effects of state sponsorship of terrorist groups.

Keywords: terrorism, political violence, state sponsorship, territorial disputes, conflict

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