The Evolution of Jihadi Terrorism from al-Qaeda to Daesh

07 May 2018

This article by EFD Programme Manager Francesco Farinelli addresses the theme of contemporary jihadist terrorism and its historical development from al-Qaeda to Daesh and is published in The Evolution of Jihadist Radicalisation in Asia, edited by G. Iacovino, F. Manenti.

After an introduction defining the key terms and concepts of 'jihadist terrorism', the article continues with two paragraphs on the birth of al-Qaeda and the subsequent arrival on the scene of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The first part focuses on the main historical stages that led Osama Bin Laden to create the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) and al-Qaeda in the context of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, highlighting the strategic changes that characterized al-Qaeda terrorist activity up until 2001. The second part focuses on the birth of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), its transformation into the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), and its separation from al-Qaeda under the leadership of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, highlighting the similarities and differences between the two terrorist organizations. The article concludes with some considerations on the phenomenon of jihadist terrorism in Europe, reflecting on possible preventative measures which can be implemented against the evolving jihadist threat.

The full report is in English and can be read here.