Countering ISIS and International Terrorism

October 10, 2016
By Prof. Irina Zvyagelskaya

The following article is part of the SFG publication “Big Questions of Our time: The World Speaks”. To access the full publication please click here.


International terrorism has become a most serious challenge of our time. Islamic State and similar organizations while reformatting the Middle East, has created chaos and violence and might bring it forth into other countries and regions. 

ISIS is an ambitious political project of creating a state in Iraq and Syria (protocaliphate), which will eventually extend to the whole region and then conquer the rest of the world. The struggle for the Caliphate has a special attraction for many Muslims, who have perceived it as an ideal form of government. 

Jihadism, the main ideology of ISIS, has been interpreting Jihad in a purely military sense, as an armed struggle against the infidels and as a sacred duty of Muslims. ISIS has positioned itself as a new global state-building project, devoid of problems generated by disbelief and deviation from the genuine faith. 

The success of ISIS– territorial conquests, fighting capabilities and huge financial resources, greatly exceeding the ones of any other powerful terrorist organization are key reasons for the growth of its adherents. 

ISIS with its medieval ideology has fitted itself into the postmodern world with its cruelty and an absence of  clear division line between virtual and  reality. The need to coordinate efforts of external and regional players in the fight against this clear cut threat would not only contain the spread of ISIS, but also help to reduce the level of confrontation in international relations.

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