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After the Caliphate: The Islamic State & the Future Terrorist Diaspora



After the Caliphate: The Islamic State & the Future Terrorist Diaspora

Colin P. Clarke

ISBN: 978-1-509-53387-9 June 2019 Polity 240 Pages



In 2014, the declaration of the Islamic State caliphate was hailed as a major victory by the global jihadist movement. But it was short-lived. Three years on, the caliphate was destroyed, leaving its surviving fighters – many of whom were foreign recruits – to retreat and scatter across the globe.

So what happens now? Is this the beginning of the end of IS? Or can it adapt and regroup after the physical fall of the caliphate? In this timely analysis, terrorism expert Colin P. Clarke takes stock of IS – its roots, its evolution, and its monumental setbacks – to assess the road ahead. The caliphate, he argues, was an anomaly. The future of the global jihadist movement will look very much like its past – with peripatetic and divided groups of militants dispersing to new battlefields, from North Africa to Southeast Asia, where they will join existing civil wars, establish safe havens and sanctuaries, and seek ways of conducting spectacular attacks in the West that inspire new followers. In this fragmented and atomized form, Clarke cautions, IS could become even more dangerous and challenging for counterterrorism forces, as its splinter groups threaten renewed and heightened violence across the globe.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: The Long Road to the Caliphate
  • Chapter 2: The Inner Workings of IS
  • Chapter 3: The Coming Terrorist Diaspora
  • Chapter 4: From ‘Remain and Expand’ to Survive and Persist
  • Chapter 5: After the Caliphate: Preventing the Islamic State’s Return
  • Notes & Bibliography
  • Index

“A pioneering work that puts the rise of the Islamic State in perspective and makes compelling arguments about the threats it will pose in the years to come.”
Daniel Byman, Georgetown University

“Clarke's richly detailed and informative book fills a conspicuous gap in the literature by providing an up-to-date assessment of the IS, its short-lived but enormously consequential proto-state, and the movement's uncertain future."
Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University and author of Inside Terrorism