FIU Characteristics that Make a State Attractive for Jihadists Questionnaire



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Topic: “The Coming Terrorist Diaspora” and J-Terrorist -Network / Future of Islamic
State and AQ (Characteristics of the Places where Jihadists diaspora emerges)
Q1. What characteristics make a state attractive for the jihadists to set up their bases?
Q2. What regions have proven to be the most difficult to establish control for Jihadist terrorists?
Q3. If these states are so easy to invade why aren’t other groups aside from j-terrorist
organizations also invading these areas? Have they already?
Q4. Given the history of instability, violence, and terrorism in the Middle East, what tactics are
legitimately effective for staving off j-terrorist from establishing bases? Is this region destined to
be overrun by violence, or is there some reasonable potential for reviving the region?
Q5. Al-Qaeda is focused on local issues at the moment. What are some of the factors that could
incite AQ to come back to focusing on the West as they did in the early 2000s besides another
outright invasion of the Middle East?
Q6.Which of Islamic State or Al-Qaida has more potential to possess a threat to the security of
their “near” and “far” (i.e. regional and Western) targets?
Q7.Should there be one strategy to fight against both Islamic State and al-Qaida or should we
treat them as two separate problems?
Qs 1-9. Resources
Colin P. Clarke. 2019. After the Caliphate – pp.69-104 (Chapter 3: The Coming Terrorist
• Colin P. Clarke. 2019. After the Caliphate – 105-133 (Chapter 4: From ‘Remain and Expand’
to Survive and Persist)
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Colin P. Clarke. 2019. After the Caliphate – pp.69-104 (Chapter 3: The Coming Terrorist

Defeating terrorism in the battleground does not usually bring about uprooting it because
terrorism primarily grows up in the ideological domain.
Ideology provides justification and strategy for terrorists (Liang 2019). Uprooting
terrorism is related to uprooting or transforming the ideology.
Ideology and network makes them resilient.

Both AQ and IS has “spun off a constellation of franchise groups and affiliates around
the globe each of which has the potential to grow into formidable terrorist organization in
its own right … Those groups have “serious potential to evolve into more dangerous longterm threats” (Clarke 2019, p. 70)
How do grievances and autocratic regimes affect the persistence of terrorism?

Many people joined a rebellion group because of the economic and political grievances,
in the first place. The oppression including torture, disappearances of individuals (i.e.
killing under warrantless detention), lack of due process of law, extreme corruption, lack
of meritocracy and fairness, lack of economic opportunities, etc. …

“… the working and living conditions for Central Asian labor migrants working in Russia
were so miserable that many who radicalized and traveled to Syria and the Levant
“expect that they are on a one way journey…” (Clarke 2019, 90)
How does sectarian conflict affect the persistence of terrorism?

J-terrorists exploit the sectarian divisions by supporting one side while attacking the
In Yemen, “the ongoing proxy war … [between the regional powers], leading to further
instability and various humanitarian crises” which provides opportunities for the jterrorists to get their feet in the door.
How do foreign forces affect the persistence of terrorism?
Presence of foreign military or political dominance in forms of colonization, military occupation,
and foreign country dominance over the local governments.
How does state sponsorship affect the persistence of terrorism?

Autocratic states sponsor the terrorist groups to achieve their nondemocratic ambitions
both in their soil and in other countries.
“Over the past decade, Turkey has slowly developed into a country with dense pockets of
support for … jihadist groups, including IS and al-Qaeda, which have used it as a base to
mobilize support for their operations” (Clarke 2019, p. 82).
Ideological and pragmatic reasons:
Personal profit from the IS oil!
Expanding his power
Use IS for hegemonic ambitions.
Affiliated groups:

The relationship between the IS and the local groups is not monolithic.
In Southeast Asia, the relationship between the local groups and IS has different
variations. “Some militants have declared allegiance to IS and others have been semirecognized by IS central, meaning that IS media will claim credit for their attacks. In
other cases, IS fighters in the region receive some material support.” (Clarke 2019).
In some cases, the pragmatic concerns intervene the relationship between the IS and the
affiliated groups. Such interventions hinder our understanding about the nature of the
“Many experts consider ASG [Abu Sayyaf Group in Philippines] more akin to a network
of gangs rather than an actual organization with an identifiable chain of command.
Fighters might fly the black flag of IS for intimidation purposes or invoke the IS name
when seeking to negotiate higher ransom payments for kidnapping victims” (Clarke
2019, p. 90-91).
State Failure

Institutions and their qualities are important determinants of well-functioning state.
Institutions mandating and enforcing the rule of law, protecting the inhabitants,….
Providing security is important determinant of a healthy state. “Without security, states
are unable to complete other basic tasks, such as, maintaining its physical infrastructure
in the form of roads, schools, and the delivery of fundamental public goods. Thus, the
state’s primary goal and duty to its citizens is to provide the public good of security. A
strong state ensures that its borders are secure and that its citizens are not engaged in
internal conflict.” (Tiffiany, 14).

Failed states are those states that __
cannot provide security to their citizens,
cannot offer adequate social and physical infrastructure,
cannot enforce rules and laws on their own territory.
“living conditions within weak and failed states are so psychologically damaging and
physically threatening that such an unstable climate ultimately drives one to obtain
tangible political and economic resources through the use of violence.” (Tiffiany 3-4).
• Colin P. Clarke. 2019. After the Caliphate – 105-133 (Chapter 4: From ‘Remain and Expand’
to Survive and Persist)
Despite the IS’s defeat in physical battleground, IS is still alive.

“the defining characteristics of IS in the future are those of an organization that is well
prepared, able to adapt and evolve, and poised to take advantage of any missteps by the
governments in Syria and Iraq, as well as continued ineptitude and weak capacity of the
security forces operating throughout the region.” (105)

Defining characteristics: Preparation, adaptation, opportunitism, strategy, tactics,
IS has a dream to re-instigate guerilla warfare, and retake the control of the territories in
N. Iraq and Syria. They have both mental and physical preparation for the next phase of
the conflict.
They believe that their struggle is a generational struggle and they seek opportunities to
regenerate their caliphate dreams. In accordance with such mental preparation, “… IS has
prepared for the long haul in the valleys and gullies along the Euphrates River.” They
buried cash, weapons, ammunition, bomb-making materials, throughout the parts of
northern Iraq. (106)


IS is a learning organization. Its “organizational skills are indispensable to the group’s
ability to survive, serving as “muscle memory” for how to galvanize fighters and marshal
the resources necessary if the caliphate is ever to be restored.” (107).
Virtual existence –able to communicate …and mobilize the lone-wolves.

“The trend of “do it yourself” terrorism carried out by inspired jihadists with no direct
links to any established group is a major concern for the future evolution of terrorism.”
“Even though the IS has changed, the structural factors throughout the Middle East which
facilitated its rise have not. In some instances, they have worsened. Civil wars, jihadist ideology
fueled by sectarianism, a dearth of regime legitimacy, economic weakness, and external
intervention by states still largely define regional politics.”
Three factors in increasing the probability of an insurgency (Seth Jones):
local grievances

weak governance
– all three exist in the region.
The other factors:

Civil wars!
The repair in N. Syrian’s destroyed social and physical organization
Affiliates in other countries.

“Since the movement is far from a monolith, and widely dispersed across the world, it is
difficult to conceptualize an overarching strategy.” (111)
The global jihadist movement’s most prolific strategists believe in the objective of
establishing a caliphate, even while they disagree over the strategy to achieve this goal.
The IS will continue to seek for territorial control.
To fuel the information campaigns of the next three decades … IS and its rivals
(including al-Qaeda) will use the caliphate idea and the understanding of the importance
of local control and governance as proof positive of how to advance this political goal in
the future. No one can ever tell them it is impossible anymore. (112-3)
IS- controlling territory
AQ – gradual grass root strategy
Clarke argues that a troubling scenario is merging of AQ and IS, and building a jihadist
movement which cultivating local support on a global level while aggressively attacking
their enemies.

Both IS and al-Qaeda have tactical abilities such as using 3 D printers to manufacture
weapon, use of drones, etc.
They are also “able to leverage local criminal networks that act as facilitators to help
acquire the logistics and resources for an attack”.
Al-Qaeda’s focus on “winning hearts and minds” to build/cement its legitimacy among

The IS and AQ has similar but not identical ideologies. They are different in defining
enemy, when and how to attack the enemy, when to declare caliphate, etc. They are
fighting each other because of such differences.
IS has used takfirism/excommunication widely and easily. Realizing that takfirism is
counterproductive in terms of recruitment and gaining support, the IS has soften its stance
in this matter in the recent years.
IS – AQ Dispute

They are different.
IS- takfirism, focusing on sectarianism, conquest, barbarity
AQ- learning organization, less violence

To Clarke, AQ, with its ‘winning hearts and minds’ strategy, is a long term threat to
stability in Syria. In the long term, al-Qaeda could resemble Lebanese Hezbollah – a
violent non-state actor that has solidified political legitimacy” (121)
The Future is Past

The future of AQ and IS will be defined by the competition between them. (123)
There are three distinct possibilities for the future of the AQ–IS relationship:
Status quo: “Two groups remain at odds in something of an uneasy co-existence,
operating in similar locales and attempting to recruit new members from the same pool of
people, while also competing for access to weapons, financing, and territory.” (126)
Outbidding: “The two groups ramp up competition by engaging in escalatory attacks
against each other (as well as against security forces)” (127)
Rapprochement: “This seems unlikely given the current state of affairs between the
groups, but it should not be wholly jettisoned as a possibility. It may take a few years, but
a marriage of convenience in which tactical cooperation becomes a necessity is an
entirely realistic scenario.” (127).

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