Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Major Professor

Krista Wiegand

Committee Members

Brandon Prins, Gary Uzonyi, Russell Crook


Scholars examining conflict studies have explored multiple explanations for causes of terrorism. The Horn of Africa shares the devastating effects of domestic and international terrorist attacks. Remarkably little is known about sub-regional factors and conditions which results in terror attacks within this region. What scholars have overlooked is how grievance and opportunity relate to terrorism. In addition, despite numerous counterterrorism funding why do we still observe a rise of terrorism in the Horn of Africa? Motivated by the Horn of Africa, this study posits that three factors when combined increase the likelihood of a terrorist attack: heavy-handed counterterrorism policies, irredentist claims and the marginalization of groups. I utilize a qualitative approach to test these hypotheses. The findings should assist existing scholarship adopting a broader view of causes of terrorism including sub-regional factors in the analysis and study of terrorism in Africa.

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