№ 3, 2024. International Terrorism: Threats Has Not Gone Away, Threat Has Lurked

March 23, 2024

Hot Topic

The terrorism threat remains one of the key challenges to global security. Radical organizations, despite the attempts of the international community to cut the ground from under their feet, still have sufficient resources and influence on the minds of young people. In addition, the high level of adaptability of jihadists to new conditions of struggle makes radical organizations virtually immortal, which is why the defeat of one center of power does not guarantee victory over the Islamists as a whole.

Has the jihadist movement truly entered a stage of protracted crisis? Where is the terrorist threat ephemeral, and where, on the contrary, is it growing? How else can radicals respond to the destruction of their structures?

However, before getting to the point, it is necessary to note that a specific feature of the topic under consideration is the high level of its politicization: in public discourse, the concept of terrorist activity often includes separatist groups (Sikh movements in India[1]Ansar Allah Houthi movement in Yemen[2], etc.), as well as government institutions and entities (for example, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran[3]) and even private companies[4]. In this regard, within the framework of the chapter, it is proposed to focus on the activities of international terrorist organizations (ITOs), which are recognized as such at the global level – Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)[5]  and Al-Qaeda[6] – as well as their allied groups in other regions of the world. Such a judgment of the terrorism concept[7] will allow us to focus on the activities of the largest actors of the radical underground, as well as avoid distorting the overall picture of the situation for the sake of political expediency.

TOP 10 Deadliest Terrorist Groups in the World.
Compiled by Valdai Discussion Club 
Source: https://valdaiclub.com/multimedia/infographics/global-terrorism-in-2022/

“Caliphate” [8] for an hour

The main goal declared by the ideologists of both radical groups is the construction of a “caliphate” – a theocratic state living according to the precepts of Islam and headed by the custodian of Muslim traditions (caliph). However, the interpretation of the concept of “caliphate” that jihadists adhere to differs significantly from the generally accepted one. Thus, radicals consider it acceptable to pursue a policy of aggressiveness towards neighbors (including fellow believers) even in the absence of a threat from them, and the authority of individuals (in this case, senior commanders) is invariably elevated above the interests of the Muslim community – which, as a rule, is justified by special mission of the ITOs’ leaders[9]. In addition, the mandatory annual tax (zakat), which according to the canons cannot exceed 2.5 percent, is set arbitrarily by the radicals and can be up to 30 percent, and also levied several times a year under the pretext of extreme necessity[10]. Moreover, in the territories controlled by terrorists, drug trafficking, groundless murders (including the murder of fellow believers) and other acts condemned by Islam traditionally flourish[11].

The growing scale of jihadist activity led to the fact that the leading spiritual authorities of the world (and, first of all, al-Azhar University) condemned the behavior of the radicals in their fatwas (a formal ruling or interpretation on a point of Islamic law given by a qualified legal scholar), and the project of “caliphate” was branded as barbaric and having nothing to do with tenets of Islam[12]. However, despite criticism from spiritual authorities, the idea of ​​building a pan-Islamic state with a radical bias still finds a significant response among young people not only in Arab countries, but also in other regions, since this concept is associated with strength, wealth and power. In addition, radicals, trying to whitewash their own reputation, invariably blame external forces – crusaders (a collective propaganda name for representatives of the non-Islamic world) or apostates from among Muslims (meaning, first of all, Shiites)[13]. In addition, each new failure is positioned as a test of faith, designed to weed out fighters who are not sufficiently faithful to radical ideas and form the backbone of the righteous army before the coming Qiyamah (Judgment Day) and a triumphant return to the abandoned lands[14].

At the same time, the disunity and competition for the right to play a leading role, characteristic of the global Islamist underground, makes the concepts of terrorist “caliphates” clearly unstable. Since, according to Islamic tradition, there can only be one True Caliphate, propagandists of each of the groups claiming this honorable status seek to denigrate the concept of their competitors as much as possible and accuse them themselves of heresy[15].

Rivalry for the highest ideals, however, also has practical grounds: the status of the True Caliphate significantly extends ITO’s legitimacy in the eyes of potential supporters, which greatly increases its mobilization resource, influence on local political and spiritual elites, general welfare, etc. This, in turn, explains why key radical groups that declare their readiness to build a “caliphate” tend to conflict with each other rather than fight government forces in the country where they are both presented.

The strategic interests of Al-Qaeda and ISIS today collide in at least two dozen countries – in most of which the rivalry is intense. At the same time, the most violent clashes between two ITOs are taking place in African countries (Mali, Nigeria, Chad, Somalia), as well as in Afghanistan.

Country Presence and Competition between ISIS and Al-Qaeda, 2023.
Compiled by author based on Global Terrorism Index  
Source: https://www.visionofhumanity.org/maps/global-terrorism-index/#/

Jihadists often resort to subterfuge and form tactical alliances with other local forces that are not terrorist but pursue similar political goals. For example, in Mali, the group Jamaat Nusrat Al-Islam Wal-Muslimeen[16], which is part of the orbit of influence of Al-Qaeda, is increasingly operating in conjunction with the Arab-Tuareg alliance (Coordination of Azawad Movements) and conducting joint operations both against government forces and against agents of influence of ISIS[17].

The dynamics of the development of the situation indicate the desire of ITOs’ leaders to achieve two goals at once. Firstly, to ensure the presence of their cells in the maximum number of countries in the world (and thereby confirm the propaganda thesis about waging global jihad), and, secondly, to balance the influence of a competitor. In addition, such radical bipolarity is intended to somewhat smooth out the conflict between the key ITOs and to maximally outline the conquered zones of influence – propagandists of both groups periodically speak out in support of the idea of ​​forming an appropriate balance of power, albeit in half-hints.

Is the old school crisis deepening?

After the fall of the radical “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, the global terrorist underground, which had previously experienced an unprecedented rise, plunged into a stage of internal crisis, from which the jihadists still cannot fully recover.

For ISIS, the main problem was the inability to protect its own high-ranking officials. As statistics from recent years show, the average term of reign of ISIS leaders has noticeably decreased – from 5 years (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) to 4.5 months (Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurayshi)[18]. In addition, the international community has intensified the hunt for the so-called governors (heads of ITOs’ branches in other countries), which led to a series of high-profile losses in the ranks of the Islamists. As a result, authoritative jihadists (primarily representatives of the so-called old school of jihad, who positioned themselves as continuers of Osama bin Laden’s traditions) were knocked out one after another, and the new generation of radicals had not yet managed to gain sufficient authority among their comrades. Moreover, the generation of young jihadi often fell out of favor with the militants who survived but had lost influence, and they tried to challenge the legitimacy of the new radical manager at any opportunity[19]. For this reason, each time the election of a new ITO’s leader was accompanied by an increasing number of internal conflicts and clinches.

Al-Qaeda faced similar problems. Since the liquidation of Ayman al-Zawahiri in 2022, the group has not decided on an official successor to the deceased “emir”[20]. Moreover, in light of the prolonged electoral pause, unrest began in the regional branches of the ITO – in the Indian subcontinent and in Sub-Saharan Africa[21]. And, although the Al-Qaeda leadership was ultimately able to rein in its supporters, keeping them from separating, the general level of dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in the ranks of the jihadists continues to grow.

On the other hand, the lack of personification of the jihadist movement by Al-Qaeda is not entirely identical to its collapse. On the contrary, the gradual going into the shadows of key figures of the radical underground may indicate an intention to gradually weaken the managerial role of the individual and thereby keep the group from fragmentation in the event of the liquidation of its media face. The radicals probably considered the mistakes of ISIS, which over the past few years has successively lost four of its “caliphs” (the last one ruled for less than six months), as well as, according to various estimates, from 40 to 60 percent of media field commanders[22].

In this regard, it can be expected that jihadists in the foreseeable future will increasingly rely on strengthening the positions of the Shura (Council), which includes the most respected and authoritative jihadists and make decisions collectively. As for the figure of the leader (“emir”, “caliph”, etc.), he will perform, first of all, a propaganda function and will be used to legitimize the decisions taken by the Shura, becoming their confessor.

Overthinking and pretending

In addition to ISIS and Al-Qaeda, which are strongly associated with global terrorism, special attention of the international community is focused on the Salafist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)[23]. The group managed to both cooperate and fight with both poles of global terrorism, and today it has taken a middle position. Despite the fact that HTS’s zone of influence is limited only to the Idlib province in Syria – given the fact that the group constantly has to fight for control over this zone with other small factions and movements – its weight is quite comparable to other regional forces.

Recently, there has been more talk in the expert community about the prospects for the Talibanization[24] of this radical group – especially in light of its attempts to push out emissaries of terrorist organizations from Idlib and conduct behind-the-scenes negotiations with regional anti-terrorist forces (Türkiye and the United States)[25].The rooting of this idea was partly facilitated by the recent palace coup within HTS, as a result of which one of the organization’s ideologists, Abu Maria Al-Qahtani[26], was removed from power. HTS leader Al-Julani, having thus concentrated all power in his hands, is quite capable of turning the group into an alternative force, equidistant from both the centers of global jihad and from non-radical participants in the Syrian conflict (USA, Türkiye, Iran and etc.), and use this semi-neutral position in larger geopolitical combinations.

It should be noted that the gradual rebirth of HTS is being watched with equal interest not only in Ankara and Washington, but also on the Arabian Peninsula. In particular, Saudi Arabia may well use the transformed group led by Al-Julani to implement its own long-term plans in Syria – as a counterweight to Iran’s growing influence in the public sphere[27]. In the future, other groups that are distinguished by a high level of independence in decision-making may follow the path of HTS, for example, the Somali Al-Shabab[28] – however, without the support of external actors, their confrontation with the ITO will be obviously losing.

Where to look for a new center of jihad?

The defeat of a terrorist quasi-state in the Middle East and the gradual squeezing out of jihadist cells from Syria, Iraq and Yemen, coupled with a series of high-profile liquidations of key figures in the international Islamist movement, formed among a certain part of the world community the conviction of an imminent victory over global terrorism. This is partly true, and the position of the ITOs has been shaken in the Middle East, which has long been positioned as the heart of the jihadist movement. However, there are still several areas in which radical Islamists can prove themselves. Thus, the current level of ITOs’ activity in various countries around the world indicates that the focus of jihadists has shifted to Sub-Saharan Africa. Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Central African Republic, Kenya and a number of other countries in the region were under attack.

The tensest situation on the African continent is observed in Somalia, where government troops, despite active external support, are still unable to stop the threat from the Islamist group Al-Shabab, which is part of the orbit of influence of Al-Qaeda[29]. Among other things, Al-Shabab militants take advantage of the fact that ordinary Somalis are increasingly dissatisfied with the socio-economic situation in the country and generously finance the basic needs of local communities, thereby expanding and strengthening their own zone of control[30].

Unlike the conductors of the interests of ISIS, whose positions in Africa, in most cases, are characterized by precariousness (with the exception of Mozambique), emissaries of Al-Qaeda consistently strengthen the managerial vertical in the region and strive to unite the warring cells into a united front – both through military force of their field commanders and using financial and propaganda tools. In this context, a new “caliphate” can be possibly built in Africa – with an eye on the peculiarities of Al-Qaeda’s interpretation of its image.

Terrorist Threat Level by Country. 
Compiled by the author based on Global Terrorism Index,corrected by the Author as of September 2023
Source: https://www.visionofhumanity.org/maps/global-terrorism-index/

Increased tension remains in Afghanistan, where the density of terrorist attacks has increased several times over the past year and a half – both ISIS and Al-Qaeda have intensified their efforts to regain control over these territories[31].

The situation in Afghanistan is further complicated by the transition of the conflict to an all against all state: in addition to terrorist groups, ethnic militias, armed opposition alliances and proxy groups of other states are also involved in the struggle. This situation, on the one hand, does not give any of the ITOs the opportunity to achieve strategic superiority in Afghanistan, and, on the other hand, greatly increases the level of instability in the region. In turn, all Central Asian powers (and, first of all, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), where emissaries of terrorist organizations regularly visit with the aim of recruiting neophytes and creating sleeper cells, including from militants who already have experience in underground struggle in Afghanistan[32].

Areas of Significant Activity by the Main Opposing Forces in Afghanistan (as for August 2023). 
Compiled by the author based on open sources

Certain concerns also remain regarding the situation in Southe-East Asia. After the defeat of the “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, militants from Asian countries (the third largest group in the ranks of ISIS) returned to their homeland, where they concentrated their efforts on expanding the branches of the ITO[33]. Emissaries of Al-Qaeda also rushed there – and, although neither side was able to build a “caliphate 2.0”, the positions of both groups strengthened many times after the fall of the democratic government in Afghanistan in 2021[34].

At the same time, Indonesia (the country with the largest Muslim population in the world)[35] and the Philippines (the country with a large number of unresolved internal contradictions)[36], as well as Malaysia (a transit point for radicals)[37], remain the most vulnerable to the terrorist threat. In addition, Pakistan was targeted by both of ITOs[38].

The European direction of radical activity should not be overlooked. Despite the fact that the EU countries are mostly in the green zone, the threat of sleeper cells in the region has grown in recent months. Thus, high-profile events with the burning of the Quran in Sweden and Denmark led to a natural surge of negativity in the Muslim environment[39]. ITO propagandists, in turn, hastened to take advantage of such unrest, calling on supporters to take actions of retaliation in Europe[40]. Of course, unlike the countries of Africa or Afghanistan, the scope of jihadist activity in the eurozone will not be of such a large-scale nature – and is unlikely to reach the same scale as the actions of radicals in 2015-2017. However, the fear factor accompanying the threat can seriously affect public sentiment in the EU countries and provoke a surge in Islamophobia, which again will give additional trump cards to radical recruiters and propagandists.

Digital frontier of global terrorism: the threat is growing?

Increased attention should be paid to cyberspace as a potential zone of activity for radical Islamists. The digital component of ITOs activities has long been treated with skepticism, in light of the low level of qualifications of jihadist hackers and the sharp rejection of radical ideas by the vast majority of the world’s hacktivists. In addition, the ambiguous attitude towards cyberspace on the part of the movement’s leadership was often cited as a braking factor. In particular, high-ranking jihadists tended until recently to adhere to the position that the Internet is a platform for propaganda, and to consider other possible areas of activity only as auxiliary[41]

Dynamics of Terrorist Attacks in Cyberspace (2001-2022).
Compiled by the author based on open sources 

After the defeat of the digital units of ISIS (United Cyber Caliphate) and Al-Qaeda (Digital Battalion) by the end of the 2010s, the prospects for implementing a Cyber 9/11 scenario, implying a crushing blow in cyberspace, were assessed radical ideologists as dubious, which is why the idea of the applied role of digital tools has taken root even more firmly[42]. However, with the inevitable rejuvenation of the leadership of the ITOs, the approach to the struggle is changing. The importance of the digital space is gradually growing, and more and more radical ideologists in their appeals draw parallels not only with the physical, but also with the digital world. It is important to note that in these matters, radicals prefer to appeal to the works of contemporaries – Khalid al-Rashed, Nasir al-Fahd, Suleiman bin Nasir al-Alwan, Hamud bin Uqla’ ash-Shu’aybi, Omar bin Ahmed al-Hazimi, Ali bin Khidr al-Hudiara et al[43].

The lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic have quite clearly demonstrated that jihadists are able to quickly reorient their structures to new conditions and use digital tools not only for propaganda and recruitment work, but also for planning attacks – in particular, radicals are demonstrating success in mastering open-source intelligence technologies (OSINT)[44]. In this regard, the transition to cyber jihad is unlikely to take long. A rebuild-up of the combined strike potential is also not far off, especially in light of the refusal of both groups to use the tactics of individual digital terror. In the wake of a renewed surge in interest in cyber weapons, jihadists may well try to reboot their own digital armies, building on the positive experience of the hacker units of other movements, including non-radical ones.

The adaptability of the ITOs propaganda apparatus should not be underestimated. One of the most enduring concepts among radical ideologists is the digital “caliphate” – a projection of the physical model of the state onto cyberspace. This model has a number of visible advantages compared to its physical counterpart – in particular, it allows you to transfer the main work online and thereby minimize personal meetings of major functionaries of the radical movement. In addition, using the brand of the digital “caliphate” (as an ephemeral digital union of righteous fighters that has no borders and, as a result, a priori incapable of being destroyed)[45] will allow radicals to work with potential supporters, including by criticizing the actions of Muslim countries in cyberspace. One of the areas of criticism, in particular, may be the fact of the growing popularity of Metaverse projects in the countries of the Islamic world – as one of the markers of growing disbelief[46]. In this context, the beginning of the next wave of digital jihad and the emphasis on the digital factor of the struggle will no longer be perceived as a consequence of the defeat of the ITOs, but as their adaptation to modern conditions of struggle.


Despite the many painful blows dealt to the terrorist underground in recent years (both in the physical and spiritual worlds), the ITOs have remained a serious opponent and has significant potential for revival. The idea of building a “caliphate”, which is illusory at first glance, still dominates the minds of the masses, and the temporary departure from the cradle of Islam (the Middle East region) does not in the least prevent jihadists from strengthening their positions in other parts of the world and preparing for revenge. Moreover, the idea of recapturing what was lost acts as an additional rallying factor and allows field commanders on the ground to avoid a crisis of ideas.

Of course, objective factors are holding radicals back from effective and rapid expansion, first of all, the crisis of ideas and disunity characteristic of the radical movement as a whole, etc. At the same time, jihadists have enough resources and motivation to deliver a new blow to the non-radical world – and another a spiral of tension may already take place in the medium term. In addition to attempts to revive the physical component of the “caliphate” (by creating radical enclaves in Africa or Asia), jihadists may well once again reconsider their approach to actions in cyberspace and try to once again increase strike actions against the critical infrastructure of their opponents. Can the two key ITOs – ISIS and Al-Qaeda – join forces on the eve of the next revenge? The question remains open. On the one hand, the demand for the consolidation of the jihadist underground, which arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, is once again growing stronger – young radicals, not familiar with the origins of the conflict between al-Baghdadi and al-Zawahiri, for the most part no longer see a big problem in forming a tactical alliance for the sake of achieving a common goal. On the other hand, the leadership of both ITOs is still dominated by alarmist sentiments: the ideologists of both groups are well aware that excessive gullibility can cost them very dearly, and therefore prefer to bring up the idea of unity for a common cause in their sermons as little as possible. For this reason, it is much more likely that ISIS and Al-Qaeda, even in the event of revenge, will continue to act separately from each other, but will reduce mutual attacks within the framework of the emerging status quo

[1] Sikh Terrorism in the Struggle for Khalistan // US Department of Justice. 
URL: https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/sikh-terrorism-struggle-khalistan

[2] Yemen’s National Defense Council labels Houthis as terror group // Anadolu, October 23, 2022. 
URL: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/yemens-national-defense-council-labels-houthis-as-terror-group/2718571

[3] Foreign Terrorist Organizations // US Department of State. URL: https://www.state.gov/foreign-terrorist-organizations/

[4] Wagner Group Proscribed // UK Government. URL: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/wagner-group-proscribed

[5] There and below: The organization is recognized as terrorist in the Russian Federation – Editor’s Note. 

[6] There and below: The organization is recognized as terrorist in the Russian Federation – Editor’s Note.

[7] At the same time, to define the framework of the terrorism concept, we will use the generally accepted definition: premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents. See: Defining terrorism // UNODC. 

URL: https://www.unodc.org/e4j/en/terrorism/module-4/key-issues/defining-terrorism.html

[8] Due to the fact that radical Islamists, in the opinion of most theologians, cannot be purveyors of the true values of the Islamic world, some terms (caliphate, emir, etc.) will be deliberately placed in quotation marks by the author.

[9] Bar S. The Religious Sources of Islamic Terrorism // Policy Review; Jun/Jul 2004; Pp. 28, 30, 32; 
The Muslim Word after 9/11 // RAND Corporation. URL: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2004/RAND_MG246.pdf. RAND Corporation is included by Russia in the List of foreign and international nongovernmental organizations whose activities are recognized as undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation – Editor’s Note.; Al-Tamimi Caliphs of the Shadows: The Islamic State’s Leaders Post-Mawla // Combating Terrorism Center, August 10, 2023. 
URL: https://ctc.westpoint.edu/caliphs-of-the-shadows-the-islamic-states-leaders-post-mawla/

[10] Тагиров Т. Современный терроризм: идеология и противоречия Исламу // Российский совет по международным делам, 21 июля 2020 г. URL: https://russiancouncil.ru/blogs/tagir-tagirov/sovremennyy-terrorizm-ideologiya-i-protivorechiya-islamu/?sphrase_id=49698800

[11] Al-Tamimi Caliphs of the Shadows: The Islamic State’s Leaders Post-Mawla // Combating Terrorism Center, August 10, 2023; ISIS is not Islam. Collection of Materials to Help Imams and Government Officials (in Russian) // Ural State University, 2015. 


[12] Al-Azhar Refuses to Consider the Islamic State an Apostate // Al-Monitor, February 12, 2015. 
URL: https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2015/02/azhar-egypt-radicals-islamic-state-apostates.html

[13] The Islamic State Threatened the Shi’a Community in the Islamic Republic of Iran // Special Eurasia, September 26, 2023. URL: https://www.specialeurasia.com/2023/09/26/terrorism-shia-community/

[14] Jihadists used similar techniques during the COVID-19 pandemic, when they blamed apostates for its beginning (and positioned their destruction as a contribution to the fight against evil), and the pandemic itself was called a harbinger of the appearance of Sufyani (Antichrist). See: COVID-19 and Terrorism in the Middle East: New Impulse fir an Old Threat // Materials of the Youth Section of the Primakov Readings “Global Problems of the Post-Covid World Order: New Challenges and Leaders”, 2022 (In Russian) // IMEMO RAS. 
URL: https://www.imemo.ru/files/File/ru/publ/2022/SMU-sbornik-PR2021-1.pdf

[15] Kidway S. Al-Qaeda vs ISIS: Competitive Extremism and Turf Wars // IDSA, May 23, 2023. 
URL: https://www.idsa.in/issuebrief/Al-Qaeda-vs-ISIS-sakidwai-230523; Vasiliev A., Zherlitsyna N. The Evolution of Al-Qaeda: Between Regional Conflicts and a Globalist Perspective // NCBI, May 10, 2023. 
URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10036157/

[16] There and below: The organization is recognized as terrorist in the Russian Federation – Editor’s Note.

[17] Mali: ex-CMA Rebels Say They Are “In Wartime” with the Junta // Africa News, September 12, 2023. 
URL: https://www.africanews.com/2023/09/12/mali-ex-cma-rebels-say-they-are-in-wartime-with-the-junta/

[18] The assessment does not consider the term of reign of the 5th “caliph” of ISIS Abu Hafs al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, who took office in August 2023: at the time of writing (October 2023), the term of his reign is about 3 months, and the process of oath of allegiance to the new “caliph” by the leaders of regional cells is still ongoing.

[19] Decimated Daesh/ISIS: How Feared Terror Group’s Leaders Were Taken Down // Anadolu, May 1, 2023. 
URL: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/decimated-daesh-isis-how-feared-terror-groups-leaders-were-taken-down/2886234

[20] Byman D. Whatever Happened to Al Qaeda? // Foreign Policy, July 31, 2023. 
URL: https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/07/31/al-qaeda-zawahiri-death-strength-decline-terrorism/

[21] Al Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent: Still a Threat to India? // Geopolitical Monitor, January 25, 2023. URL: https://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/al-qaeda-in-the-indian-sub-continent-still-a-threat-to-india/; How Al-Qaeda’s Recent Growth in Africa Poses a Threat to Global Security // Modern Diplomacy, May, 29, 2023. 
URL: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2023/05/29/how-al-qaedas-recent-growth-in-africa-poses-a-threat-to-global-security/

[22] ISIL Confirms Death of Leader Abu Hussein Al-Qurashi, Names Successor // Al Jazeera, August 3, 2023. 
URL: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/8/3/isil-confirms-death-of-leader-abu-hussein-al-qurashi-names-successor

[23] There and below: The organization is recognized as terrorist in the Russian Federation – Editor’s Note.

[24] The term was introduced by K. Semenov and implies that the radicals will follow the path of the Taliban Movement (The organization is recognized as terrorist in the Russian Federation – Editor’s Note), trying to become the only organization, suppressing all others (including more moderate ones) in the opposition areas of Syria and forcing external actors to reckon with themselves, despite the possible preservation of the terrorist status organizations. See: Семенов К. Идлиб сегодня: «талибанизация» ХТШ и фрагментация Сирийской национальной армии // Российский совет по международным делам, 28 июля 2022 г. 
URL: https://russiancouncil.ru/analytics-and-comments/analytics/idlib-segodnya-talibanizatsiya-khtsh-i-fragmentatsiya-siriyskoy-natsionalnoy-armii/

[25] Shift in Religious Discourse, Will Al-Jolani Clash with HTS Sharia Scholars? // Enab Baladi, May 17, 2023. 
URL: https://english.enabbaladi.net/archives/2023/05/shift-in-religious-discourse-will-al-jolani-clash-with-hts-sharia-scholars/

[26] Syria: HTS Confirms Suspension of Co-Founder Abu Maria Al-Qahtani // The New Arab, August 18, 2023. 
URL: https://www.newarab.com/news/syria-hts-confirms-suspension-co-founder-abu-maria

[27] How Has the Saudi-Iran Divide Affected the Middle East? // Al Jazeera, April 7, 2023. 
URL: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/4/7/how-has-the-saudi-iran-divide-affected-the-middle-east

[28] There and below: The organization is recognized as terrorist in the Russian Federation – Editor’s Note.

[29] As Foreign Troops Withdraw, How Likely is an Al-Shabab Takeover in Somalia? // The New Arab, September 18, 2023. URL: https://www.newarab.com/analysis/how-likely-al-shabab-takeover-somalia

[30] Al-Shabab’s Grip on Somalia Loosening // VOA News, January 29, 2023. URL: https://www.voanews.com/a/al-shabab-s-grip-on-somalia-loosening-/6938627.html

[31] Asfandyar M. Two Years Under the Taliban: Is Afghanistan a Terrorist Safe Haven Once Again? // United States Institute of Peace, August 15, 2023. URL: https://www.usip.org/publications/2023/08/two-years-under-taliban-afghanistan-terrorist-safe-haven-once-again

[32] В ФСБ рассказали о планах террористов захватить власть в Центральной Азии // Lenta.ru, 11 октября 2023 г.URL: https://lenta.ru/news/2023/10/11/terroristy-zahoteli-zahvatit-vlast-v-stranah-tsentralnoy-azii/

[33] Халифат 2.0: Юго-Восточная Азия ожидает притока тысячи игиловцев // Известия, 31 октября 2019 г. 
URL: https://iz.ru/937751/nataliia-portiakova/khalifat-20-iugo-vostochnaia-aziia-ozhidaet-pritoka-tysiachi-igilovtcev

[34] Terrorism in South Asia after Fall of Afghanistan // War on the Rocks, August 23, 2021. 
URL: https://warontherocks.com/2021/08/terrorism-in-south-asia-after-the-fall-of-afghanistan/.

[35] В Индонезии ликвидирован самый разыскиваемый в стране террорист // Российская газета, 19 сентября 2021 г. URL:https://rg.ru/2021/09/19/v-indonezii-likvidirovan-samyj-razyskivaemyj-v-strane-terrorist.html

[36] How “War on Terror” Was Fought and Won in Southeast Asia – for Now // Al Jazeera, September 15, 2023. 
URL: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/9/15/how-war-on-terror-was-fought-won-in-southeast-asia-for-now

[37] Малайзию назвали основным пунктом транзита террористов в Азии // ТАСС, 6 ноября 2019 г. 

URL: https://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/7082366

[38] Кто стал главной целью джихадистов в Пакистане // Независимая газета, 20 сентября 2023 г. 

URL: https://www.ng.ru/kartblansh/2023-09-20/3_8831_kb.html

[39] Why Quran Burning Is Making Sweden and Denmark So Anxious // Time, August 17, 2023. 
URL: https://time.com/6303348/quran-burning-sweden-denmark/.

[40] Jihadi Reactions to Quran Burning in Stockholm: Condemnation, Calls to Execute Perpetrator, Expel Swedish Ambassadors, Carry Out Attacks Inspired by 2015 “Charlie Hebdo” Shooting // Memri, June 29, 2023. 
URL: https://www.memri.org/jttm/jihadi-reactions-quran-burning-stockholm-condemnation-calls-execute-perpetrator-expel-swedish.

[41] Online Jihadist Propaganda – 2021 in Review // Europol, May 24, 2022. 
URL: https://www.europol.europa.eu/publications-events/publications/online-jihadist-propaganda-2021-in-review

[42] More information about the stages of development of the digital component of the radical struggle of key ITOs can be found in the author’s paper “The Ups and Downs of the Cyber Caliphate: Al-Qaeda and ISIS in the Digital Space”. See: Цуканов Л.В. Взлеты и падения Киберхалифата: Аль-Каида* и ИГИЛ* в цифровом пространстве / Ред. Е.Г. Чобанян. М.: ПИР-Пресс, 2022. – 39 с. – (Индекс Безопасности – Научные записки). URL: https://pircenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/22-09-15-INF-SI-RUS-%E2%84%9617-43-2022.pdf

[43] Hasan S. “Islamic State”: Ideological Roots and Political Context of Interfaith Hostility // Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, December 27, 2016. URL: https://carnegie.ru/2016/12/27/ru-pub-66552. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is included by the Russian Ministry of Justice to the register of foreign agents – Editor’s Note.

[44] Azani E., Haberfeld D. Media Jihad Campaign: The Islamic State’s Response to Deplatforming // International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, July 10, 2023. URL: https://ict.org.il/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Azani-Haberfeld_Media-Jihad-Campaign_2023_07_13-1.pdf

[45] Borgonovo F. Strategies, Disinformation Techniques and Cognitive Warfare of Jihadist Organizations // Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units, December 10, 2022. 

URL: https://www.coespu.org/index.php/articles/strategies-disinformation-techniques-and-cognitive-warfare-jihadist-organisations

[46] According to the observations of a number of theologians, the development of the Metaverse system calls into question the idea of ​​the primacy of Allah over all worlds (See: Quran 1:2, 28:30, 7:54). Moreover, the concept of creating digital avatars is also condemned by traditionalists. See: Is the Metaverse the New Online Frontier for Halal Brands? // Muslim Network, August 11, 2021. 

URL: https://www.muslimadnetwork.com/2021/08/11/metaverse-for-halal-brands/

The preparation of the article was carried out for the Security Index Yearbook 2024/2025 Global Edition, which is preparing within the framework of the joint project of PIR Center and MGIMO University Global Security, Strategic Stability, and Arms Control under the auspices of the Priority-2030 Strategic Academic Leadership Program. 

Key words: Terrorism; Global Security


E16/MIN – 24/03/23