Terrorism & Insurgency

Al-Qaeda seeks to capitalise on Islamic State decline 

23 October 2017

Key Points

  • Al-Qaeda and its affiliate organisations in North Africa, the Sahel, the Gulf, and Syria have continued to develop and expand their networks, despite being overshadowed by the Islamic State since the group established its self-proclaimed ‘caliphate’ in June 2014.
  • The Islamic State’s decline will likely work in favour of Al-Qaeda, which has already begun to benefit from defections and which will probably look to expand into the vacuum left behind by its rival.
  • A rapprochement between the two groups is still unlikely, but if it took place it would lead to a substantial increase in the terrorist threat level in Europe and would shape conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa.

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