Date of Degree

2-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Political Science

Advisor

Peter Romaniuk

Subject Categories

International Relations | Near and Middle Eastern Studies

Keywords

jihadist movement, extremist competition, foreign fighters, ISIS, al qaeda

Abstract

ISIS and al Qaeda are the world’s preeminent transnational jihadist organizations. Following a public schism, the two started competing, even though they previous cooperated to accomplish their shared goals. This split divided the movement, which was previously united under the leadership of al Qaeda. Now the two must compete with one another for the limited resources of the global jihadist movement as the loser of the competition risks losing their standing within the movement, which may lead to irrelevancy, or even organizational demise, for the loser. This competition requires study because it is necessary to explain why the two would choose to focus their efforts on one another as opposed to their shared enemy. In order to expand on this competition, their actions can be viewed through a marketplace metaphor, where each jihadist organization acts as a business firm would in trying to monopolize its market. One resource that requires extra attention is jihadist foreign fighters, as they are a vital feature within the jihadist movement because of their ability to perpetuate the movement by replenishing loses and spreading ideas.

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