How did the Islamic State attract so many followers and conquer so much land? By being more ruthless, more apocalyptic, and more devoted to state-building than its competitors. The shrewd leaders of the Islamic State combined two of the most powerful yet contradictory ideas in Islam-the return of the Islamic Empire and the end of the world-into a mission and a message that shapes its strategy and inspires its army of zealous fighters. They have defied conventional thinking about how to wage wars and win recruits. Even if the Islamic State is defeated, jihadist terrorism will never be the same.
Based almost entirely on primary sources in Arabic-including ancient religious texts and secret al-Qaeda and Islamic State letters that few have seen - William McCants' The ISIS Apocalypse explores how religious fervor, strategic calculation, and doomsday prophecy shaped the Islamic State's past and foreshadow its dark future.
Fault Lines in Global Jihad offers a systematic and comprehensive examination of the broad range of divisions that contribute to the weakening of the jihadi movement. It separates these divisions into two broad categories, namely fissures dividing jihadis themselves, and divisions separating jihadis from other Muslim and Islamist groups. The first part of the book covers intra-jihadi divisions, highlighting tensions and divisions over strategic, tactical, and organizational issues. The second part of the book addresses several important case studies of jihadi altercations with other Muslim and Islamist groups of non-jihadi persuasion, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and the Shii community. More than simply an enumeration of problems and cracks within al-Qa’ida and its cohorts, this book addresses critical policy issues of relevance to the broader struggle against the global jihadi movement. The editors conclude that these divisions have and continue to weaken al-Qa’ida, but neither in an automatic nor in an exclusive fashion—for these divisions render the global jihadi movement simultaneously vulnerable and more resilient.
This book will be of much interest to students of jihadism, terrorism and political violence, Islamism, security studies and IR in general.