Understanding the costing decisions behind terror attacks – an analytical study

Author:V. Balasubramaniyan
Position:Department of Defence and Strategic Studies & Research Centre, Gurunanak College of Arts and Science, Chennai, India
Pages:475-487
SUMMARY

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to study the various theories related to low cost terrorist attacks and factors which act as the key determinants to the costing decision. This research is an endeavour to bring about the factors influencing costing decisions of low cost and high cost terror attacks. Design/methodology/approach -... (see full summary)

 
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Understanding the costing
decisions behind terror
attacks – an analytical study
V. Balasubramaniyan
Department of Defence and Strategic Studies and Research Centre,
Gurunanak College of Arts and Science, Chennai, India
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study the various theories related to low cost terrorist
attacks and factors which act as the key determinants to the costing decision. This research is an
endeavour to bring about the factors inuencing costing decisions of low cost and high cost terror
attacks.
Design/methodology/approach Methodology adopted is a descriptive one which conducts a
content analysis on existing theories, based on materials derived from primary as well secondary source
data.
Findings – This paper argues that the terminology of “low cost terrorism” is ambiguous. This paper
states that the nature of attack and the type of attack play an important part in determining the funding
levels of terror operations. The decision to taper or increase the cost is more of a “choice” in larger groups
but a matter of “compulsion” in smaller groups.
Practical implications – In the process, it attempts to enlighten the counter terrorism community on
the need to target the criminal fund raising mechanisms of homegrown groups which act as the main
funding resource for low cost terror attacks. It also attempts to enlighten the concerned institutions, to
increase physical security measures instead of attempting to sever the funding for this low cost terror
attacks which is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.
Originality/value – The key ndings of this research lies in its originality of presentation of facts in
a systematic fashion.
Keywords High cost terrorism, Low cost terrorism, Terrorism nancing
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
The recent brand of terrorism referred to as “new terrorism” built on virtual networks
and self-sufcient funding with indigenous membership have taken the counter
terrorism community by surprise. This form is an evolutionary remnant of traditional
terror groups, most of which were obliterated during the war on terror. Most of these
new manifestations like homegrown groups like Indian Mujahideen and East Turkistan
Islamic Movement (ETIM) have resorted to new tactical measures such as low cost, high
impact terror attacks orchestrated mostly from funds acquired locally.
The recent low tech attack by suspected “Uighur” terrorists on train commuters
using machetes and the bomb attack by ETIM in China are ideal examples for such low
cost operations. For instance, the ETIM attack is estimated to have an operational cost
of approx 40,000 Yuan (approx USD 6,500) (Krishnan, 2013)[1]. Other similar attacks by
other groups elsewhere, point to increased reliance on low cost terror operations. Law
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/1368-5201.htm
Understanding
the costing
decisions
475
Journalof Money Laundering
Control
Vol.18 No. 4, 2015
pp.475-487
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
1368-5201
DOI 10.1108/JMLC-03-2014-0009

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