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Bureaucracy and Jihadism

Jacob Olidort

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Cipher Brief

March 1, 2017


Defeating today’s decentralized jihadi threat means treating the soil in which the weeds grow, not pulling them out one by one.

A number of trends now seem to be accepted truths after nearly 16 years of fighting against jihadi terrorism. We have achieved concrete victories in the last two decades -- killing Osama bin Laden, downgrading core al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and beating back the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria. At the same time, however, we face an ongoing conundrum in that while we may have weakened some of our principal jihadi threats, we have enabled others to metastasize and shape-shift in what ultimately culminated in the rise of ISIS. We seem to be ever distant from declaring victory against jihadi terrorism because our objectives remain vague and our problem sets continue to evolve... 

Read the full article on the Cipher Brief website.

Jacob Olidort is a Washington Institute Soref Fellow currently on assignment at the U.S. Department of Defense. The views expressed here are purely his own and do not represent those of the Defense Department or any other U.S. government agency.