Error message

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 ISIS 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? Twenty experts from think tanks and universities across the United States explore the world’s deadliest movements, their strategies, the  future scenarios, and policy considerations. This report reflects their analysis and diverse views.

This report is a collaboration by 20 experts on the Middle East, Islamic extremism, and jihadism who held a series of conferences between August and November 2016. “The Jihadi Threat” reflects the broad — and often diverse — views of the coauthors. Not every one agreed on all points, but the variety of findings, trend lines, and scenarios for the future covers the best thinking about the evolution of the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and their affiliates.

The United States Institute of Peace was the primary sponsor of this initiative, with the backing of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Fifteen other think tanks and universities were represented in the Working Group on Extremism. The goal was always to reflect the widest expertise and the full spectrum of views.

The navigation bar along the right side includes links to six sections of the report. The first is an overview examining the future of extremism. The second, third, and fourth sections profile ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, respectively, and lay out future scenarios for each group. Part five is an analysis of key drivers of extremism ― state frailty, ideological upheaval, conflict zones, foreign intervention, socioeconomic factors, and technology. The sixth and final section outlines policy considerations for dealing with jihadi movements.

Related Publications

'U.S.-Light' in Iraq May Open Way for Russia, Iran

'U.S.-Light' in Iraq May Open Way for Russia, Iran

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

By: Fred Strasser

A failure by the international community to help rebuild Iraq will leave a vacuum that Russia, Iran or some new extremist group will seek to fill, warned the co-chairman of a working group in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. In a recent discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Ekkehard Brose agreed with the top U.S. State Department official on Iraq, Joseph Pennington, that Iraq must ultimately solve its own problems. But at this point, it can’t, Brose said.

Democracy & Governance; Violent Extremism; Global Policy

To Stabilize Iraq After ISIS, Try a Method That Worked

To Stabilize Iraq After ISIS, Try a Method That Worked

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

By: Nancy Lindborg

The farming region of Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, is divided by one of Iraq’s most turbulent fault lines of conflict, between the country’s Sunni and Shia tribes. A decade ago, this region of palm groves and irrigation canals was a violent al Qaeda stronghold known as the “Triangle of Death.” Yet for 2016, news reports and the United Nations’ accounting of nearly 7,000 or more civilian deaths across Iraq noted few attacks in this region, a reflection of its relative stability in recent years.

Democracy & Governance; Violent Extremism

View All Publications