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Policy Analysis

Policy Focus 149

Beyond Syria and Iraq: Examining Islamic State Provinces

Katherine Bauer, editor

Also available in العربية

November 2016


As an idea, the Islamic State has gone global, attracting far more foreign terrorist fighters than all previous jihadist conflicts combined. But as a so-called state or "caliphate," how successful has it really been at expanding its global footprint through the establishment of "provinces" around the world? And what will become of these affiliates once the group's strongholds in Syria and Iraq are dismantled?

In this Policy Focus, Institute fellow Katherine Bauer has compiled essays examining how these questions are playing out in jihadist hotspots such as Libya, Yemen, Sinai, West Africa, the Caucasus, and elsewhere. Written by a wide array of scholars and practitioners, the chapters are informed by a recent workshop in which senior U.S. officials and other participants gave candid, off-the-record assessments of numerous key issues, including governance, fundraising, military recruitment, social media communications, public opinion, and religious ideology.


 

 

Contents

  • Introduction | Matthew Levitt

PROVINCE TIES TO THE ISLAMIC STATE CORE

  • Islamic State in Libya | Mohamed Eljarh
  • IS in the Sinai | Mokhtar Awad
  • The Role of Tunisians | Aaron Y. Zelin
  • IS in Yemen | Katherine Zimmerman

WHAT MAKES THE PROVINCES TICK?

  • Governance | Aymenn al TamimI
  • Ideology | Cole Bunzel
  • Foreign Terrorist Fighters | Jean-Francois Pactet
  • Financing | Katherine Bauer

LOCAL POPULAR SUPPORT FOR THE ISLAMIC STATE

  • Social Media | Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
  • Public Polling | David Pollock
  • Sinai Province | Muhamed Sabry

BEYOND THE MIDDLE EAST

  • Boko Haram | Jack Gaines
  • The Caucasus | Anna Borshchevskaya
     

THE EDITOR

Katherine Bauer is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute. Previously, she served at the U.S. Treasury Department, where her posts included financial attaché in Jerusalem and the Gulf and senior policy advisor for Iran in the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes.