Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Winter 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


International Affairs

First Advisor

Vicki Hunter

Second Advisor

Gregory Young

Third Advisor

Aysegul Aydin


Though originally ascertaining that both blowback and interest sharing were the primary causal factors giving rise to Salafist terrorism from 1991-2010, the project found evidence supporting the idea that the two concepts are related instead. Blowback, specifically from “direct interventions,” increases interest sharing by providing Salafist terrorist groups with the means to expand their objectives to make their fight seem like that of ordinary citizens thereby swelling their numbers. It can also lead to the unification of various groups who previously may have had no common goals. In turn these intertwining phenomenon lead to more attacks and damage done by Salafist terror groups. Blowback can particularly rear itself if the intervening state utilizes a level of force that is neither light nor heavy and falls within a middle ground of troop numbers. The intervening states in the Middle East pursued that avenue, which ultimately led to the increase in Salafist terrorism.