ISIS and al-Qaeda—What Are They Thinking? Understanding the Adversary

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17 Scopus citations


The ideologies of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are rooted in larger historical trends that have to do with the rise of Islamism in the Arab world and its authoritarian politics. This article provides the basic history and ideological composition of these two militant movements, how they differ from each other, and what accounts for their initial political success and more recent failure. It also offers policy recommendations for how to more effectively counter these groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


  • ISIL
  • ISIS
  • Islamic State
  • Islamism
  • al-Qaeda


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