Understanding the Implication of Some Counter-Terrorism (CT) Measures: A Mathematical Perspective

Udoh IJ and Oladejo MO


Terrorist propaganda, like contagious diseases are produced and spread by few disgruntled members of the society who misconstrued and distort governments socio-economic ideologies, opinions and policies; with the sole aim of wining political goals through violence. Fear and intimidation, the common strategies of both terrorist and security agencies often influenced the decisions of the whole population. Most government’s measures to prevent the spread of terrorist propaganda involve aggressive military crackdown on suspected propagators. This paper presents a dynamic model of “how the policy of preventing the spread of terrorist propagandas may impact on the ideological evolution of the population and as well as the propensity to advance the spreading of the propaganda”. The construct is a simple differential equation model of the propagandist evolutional dynamics; whose variables are parameters of six sub-populations. Analytical techniques used to study the solution paths of the model yielded three equilibrium points and their respective local stability criteria are discussed. The result shows that government’s sensitization campaigns, arrest, imprisonment and rehabilitation measures may help to depopulate the fanatics and strengthen the conscious and repented populations. However, this may accelerate the fanatic’s persuasion of the virgin population to follow their cause. Also the subsequent future decline in the size of the repented population insinuates that ideal intervention measures must incorporate efforts to identifying and solving the root causes of terrorism. Otherwise, with high rate of illiteracy, poverty, increase stigmatization and rejection of the repented population by their host communities may eventually ensnare them to becoming a cheap target for terrorist recruitment opportunity. High worsening effect of arrest and detention, even though may depopulate the semi-fanatical and the fanatical populations at the long run, will initially rise to a critical level before reaching zero. This has the implication of not only advancing their persuasion of the virgin population to support terrorist cause but could also provoke “blowback” actions in the susceptible population. Even among the unarrested members, this could increase their sympathy for their colleagues, and hence the temerity to be more active in spreading their propaganda. Hence, government must tread with caution, while preventing the propagation of terrorist ideologies.

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