Misoverestimating ISIS: Comparisons with Al-Qaeda

John Mueller, Mark Stewart


An examination of the ISIS phenomenon, comparing it with that generated a decade and a half earlier by al-Qaeda. Although the vicious group certainly presents a threat to the people under its control and although it can contribute damagingly to the instability in the Middle East that has followed serial interventions there by the American military, it scarcely presents a challenge to global security. Moreover, the group is in very considerable decline in its key areas, Syria and particularly Iraq. As with al-Qaeda, however, the unwarranted fear and alarm ISIS has generated is likely to persist even if the group is effectively extinguished as a physical force in the Middle East.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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