Drawing on a collection of open source data, the article uses network analysis to represent alliances and conflicts among 179 organizations involved in violence in North and Western Africa between 1997 and 2014. Owing to the fundamentally relational nature of internecine violence, this article investigates the way the structural positions of conflicting parties affect their ability to resort to political violence. To this end, we combine two spectral embedding techniques that have previously been considered separately: one for directed graphs that takes into account the direction of relationships between belligerents, and one for signed graphs that takes into consideration whether relationships between groups are positive or negative. We hypothesize that groups with similar allies and foes have similar patterns of aggression. In a region where alliances are fluid and actors often change sides, the propensity to use political violence corresponds to a group’s position in the social network.
Walther, O., Leuprecht, C., & Skillicorn, D. B. (2017). Political Fragmentation and Alliances among Armed Non-state Actors in North and Western Africa (1997–2014). Terrorism and Political Violence, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/09546553.2017.1364635