The jihadist terrorist threat against the West appears to have grown to be a normal part of Western societies daily life. This threat is generally shown in the relation between jihadist groups (such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda), and individual supporters or followers. The project will begin by explaining relevant concepts and terms, such as “Jihadism”, “terrorism”, “home-grown terrorism”, and what makes up the global jihadist movement. In the second part, the project will discuss how the conflict in Syria became one of the catalysts of global jihadism.
The Syrian war and the consequent rise of ISIS had a significant effect on the global jihadist movement. The Syrian war and the rise of ISIS had a major impact on the global jihadi movement. The ease for individual jihadists to travel to a jihadi conflict zone and carry out attacks in their own home countries went down, partially because of the widely spread professional-looking online propaganda of jihadist groups.
Another related issue will be addressed in the third part of the project and that is how ISIS is not ideologically defeated and how Al-Qaeda may still be active. After its military defeat and the death of its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, ISIS transformed itself back into the underground movement it once was (Danish Institute for International Studies, 2019). ISIS will try to look for opportunities beyond Syria and Iraq, despite that it endured some repercussions on its ability to organise, direct and coordinate attacks in the West.
On the other hand, Al-Qaeda’s attempts to re-establish a power base in Syria have been successful, which has placed its international jihadist ambitions on a new level.
Despite the problems between ISIS and al-Qaeda at the leadership level, individual jihadists consider “brand names” to be unimportant, because they have a common ideology as a link (Sageman, 2008). In addition, foreign fighters who left their countries to join the jihad and/or returnees had a great effect on the dynamics within the jihadist movement in the West, especially Europe. This section of the project will discuss how jihadist ideology continues to be appealing and attractive, which constitutes a long-term threat through “home-grown terrorism”. At the end, the project will try to tackle the possible developments, transformation and future of jihadist movement with some possible recommendations or policies.
Explanation of the relevance and significance of the topic. Definition of “Jihadism”, “terrorism” and related terms, such as “home-grown terrorism” and what makes up the global jihadist movement. Overview of the jihadist terrorist threat and catalysts: How does the Syrian conflict play a role of a catalyst for global jihadism? How did the fall of the physical so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq affect the global jihadist movement? Has there been a transfer of considerable Syria/Iraq-based cadres and resources to other theatres? Have they become more global since then? The role of contemporary technology
The challenge of foreign fighters for Europe: What affiliates and geographical concentrations pose the greatest terrorist threat to Europe? What means of infiltration do ISIS and Al- Qaeda seek and who are the people they send (Western foreign fighters returnees, home-grown radicalized Westerners, or citizens from African and Asian states)? ISIS and Al-Qaeda’s transformations How the appeal of jihadist ideology persists? Long-term threat of “home-grown terrorism” Possible Developments The transformation and future of jihadist movement. Conclusions and recommendations