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The Jihadi Threat: ISIS, Al Qaeda and Beyond

Aaron Y. Zelin

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U.S. Institute of Peace

December 12, 2016


Although the two groups remain rivals, their activities in the Middle East and abroad have complementary effects, whether in the form of recruiting disillusioned youths, undermining the regional state system, normalizing support for violent jihad, or other threatening developments.

The West failed to predict the emergence of Al Qaeda in new forms across the Middle East and North Africa. It was blindsided by the Islamic State's sweep across Syria and Iraq, which at least temporarily changed the map of the Middle East. Both movements have skillfully continued to evolve and proliferate -- and surprise. What's next? In a new report published by the U.S. Institute of Peace, twenty experts from think tanks and universities across the United States -- including Aaron Zelin of The Washington Institute -- explore the world's deadliest movements, their strategies, the future scenarios, and policy considerations.

Download the full report from the USIP website.