Conflict and Fragility

Reports and papers

Islamic State franchising

20 Apr 2015 - 09:57
Source: Fighters belonging to the Islamic State group in Anbar, Iraq / Wikimedia Commons

Tribes, transnational jihadi networks and generational shifts

The brutal decapitation of 21 Copts on the north-western shores of Libya shown on 16 February 2015 in a video – ‘A Message signed with blood to the Nations of the Cross’ – by jihadis claiming to be part of the Islamic State (IS) – focused international attention on Libya as a new area of IS expansion. However, IS had already announced the extension of its Caliphate three months earlier in an audio message to a series of self-declared new provinces in Algeria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Sinai and Yemen. Yet these events were largely drowned out by the intensification of the violent struggle against the group in Iraq and Syria. Consequently, there has been little analysis so far of this apparent IS expansion.

This report seeks to fill that gap by shedding light on the nature of IS expansion into different areas of the Middle East and North Africa, the challenges it faces in doing so, and the impact it has on local power dynamics, in particular with respect to local jihadi groups. By comparing the Sinai and Libya as different cases of IS expansion, the report offers tentative conclusions on the IS ‘model of expansion’ through franchising. It focuses on the incentives and conditions for, as well as objectives and strategies of, expansion and brand affiliation.

Please click below to read:
- the full report
- the report’s executive summary in Arabic