Stanford Professor Martha Crenshaw is a renowned expert in terrorism studies and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. In this video, Professor Crenshaw explores some fundamental issues about terrorism, such as why people resort to terror, the political goals of terrorism, and the importance of understanding the complex web of relationships among terrorist organizations. She also places contemporary terrorist groups (like ISIS and al-Qaeda) into a broader history of terrorism and discusses some of the challenges of confronting and countering such organizations successfully.
A free classroom-friendly discussion guide for this video is available for download below. This video is part of the multimedia series “Introduction to Issues in International Security.”
You can find more information about Crenshaw's research regarding the complex relationships among terrorist organizations via her interactive website – Mapping Militant Organizations. The website contains a series of interactive maps, which show the architecture of terrorist groups in a series of conflicts and how relationships among militant organizations change over time, as well as presenting in-depth profiles of individual groups and comprehensive lists of their activities.