ISIL and al-Qaeda: “Protagonists in Today’s Deadliest Crises”

On March 14, 2016, the International Crisis Group (ICG) released a report regarding the roots and expansion of two deadliest extremist groups, ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] (also known as ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] or IS [Islamic State]) and al-Qaeda. Groups like ISIL and al-Qaeda (like Boko Haram and other extremist movements), are mentioned, yet the overall focus of the report revolves around the origins of The Islamic State, and how they have used their “bloody” tactics to “[reshape] the jihadist landscape[.]” 

The Islamic State has, “exploited wars, state collapse and geopolitical upheaval in the Middle East,” and continues to grow. IS’s separation from their “roots” (aka al-Qaeda) was evident when they (IS) declared a caliphate which in turn created multiple battlefronts. These battles are fought against “Iran’s allies, Sunni Arab regimes, and the West.” IS’s plan is to: “[unite] the caliphate, take Baghdad or even Mecca, or lure the West into an apocalyptic battle.” This “plan” concerns World leaders, due to the fact that IS and al-Qaeda attacks consist of, “kill[ing] civilians and instill[ing] fear across societies.”

A proposed counterattack against these extremists include: “Disaggregate not conflate”; “Contain if no better option exists”; “Use Force more judiciously”; “Respect rules”; “Curb targeted killings”; “Open lines of communication”; “Narrow the ‘countering violent extremism’ (CVE) agenda”; and “Invest in conflict prevention.” 

Jean-Marie Guéhenno, President and CEO of Crisis Group, stated that, “[w]e must find ways to dial back the growing rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia.” This statement because (as Guéhenno has stated), “[t]his high-stakes competition drives both Shia and Sunni radicalism, fuels conflicts and poses one of the biggest challenges to international peace and security today.” 


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