Scenarios of Transnational Islamist Terrorism. Trends and Developments

A Fact-Based Threat Assessment

Published in: EICTP Vienna Research Papers on Transnational Terrorism and Counter-terrorism: Trends and Scenarios of Transnational Terrorism. Volume III: Forecast, Anticipation and Prediction of Defining Trends Against the Backdrop of Uncertainty, pages 43–53 (December 2021)

Posted on RAND.org on February 25, 2022

by Colin P. Clarke

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With the twenty-year anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001 fast approaching, many governments, security services, and intelligence agencies around the world are taking stock of the current threat while attempting to prepare for what could come next. The global terrorism landscape looks radically different than it did two decades ago. Al-Qaeda is larger in terms of overall numbers, but weaker in its ability to plan and execute spectacular attacks in the West. Its progeny, the Islamic State (IS), rose from the Levant in 2014, constructed a proto-state in the heart of the Middle East, and attracted tens of thousands of fighters from over 120 different countries. The self-proclaimed caliphate has been crushed and IS deprived of its physical territory, although its affiliates and franchise groups remain active in various regions of the globe.

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