A Persistent Threat: The Evolution of al Qa'ida and Other Salafi Jihadists

A Persistent Threat: The Evolution of al Qa'ida and Other Salafi Jihadists

A Persistent Threat: The Evolution of al Qa'ida and Other Salafi Jihadists

A Persistent Threat: The Evolution of al Qa'ida and Other Salafi Jihadists

Synopsis

This report examines the status and evolution of al Qa'ida and other Salafi-jihadist groups, a subject of intense debate in the West. Based on an analysis of thousands of primary source documents, the report concludes that there has been an increase in the number of Salafi-jihadist groups, fighters, and attacks over the past several years. The author uses this analysis to build a framework for addressing the varying levels of threat in different countries, from engagement in high-threat, low government capacity countries; to forward partnering in medium-threat, limited government capacity environments; to offshore balancing in countries with low levels of threat and sufficient government capacity to counter Salafi-jihadist groups.

Excerpt

This research examines the evolution of al Qa’ida and other Salafijihadist groups, as well as implications for U.S. policy. It was conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This work may be of interest to government officials involved in counterterrorism; academics and scholars engaged in research on terrorism and counterterrorism; graduate and undergraduate students of international politics; and those in the general public interested in al Qa’ida and contemporary terrorist threats.

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