ICCT’s Key Publications on Al-Qaeda’s Future Leadership and the Effectiveness of Targeted Killings

The United States drone strike killing Al-Qaedas leader al-Zawahiri has now opened the stage to many questions. This could impact the future of Al-Qaeda and generate further studies into the functioning and evolution of terrorist groups to be able to tackle them. Learn more about the future of Al-Qaedas leadership and the effectiveness of targeted killings against the Global Jihadist Movement through a selection of ICCT publications.  

1️⃣ Questions related to Al-Qaedas future leadership have been a significant discussion amongst scholars. United States drone strike resulted in the death of Al-Qaedas leader, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, so what could the groups future leadership look like? In this insightful Perspective, Tricia Bacon and Elizabeth Grimm develop a leadership framework and argue how al-Zawahiris foundational steps could now potentially lead to different outcomes for the group.  

2️⃣ Targeted killings have been a counterterrorism tactic for the United States. But, what are the impacts of leadership decapitation strikes? And how effective do targeted killings forge counterterrorism campaigns to be? This Perspective by Graig R. Klein discusses three impacts these tactics might hold and applies them to suggest ‘when’ a successful blow to ISIS could be landed. 

3️⃣ Historically, scholars have noted that when it comes to the longevity of terrorist organisations, there is not a large time frame to be considered. However, Al-Qaeda has been the sole terrorist group to withstand eradication measures taken by the United States and other Western countries for over twenty years. So what variables and factors could propel such power? In this Research Paper, Colin P. Clarke argues towards three factors that may have led to Al-Qaeda’s longevity and may just lead the group into its fourth decade.  

4️⃣ Although Iraq and Syria have seen a collapse of the Islamic State’s Caliphate, the number of individuals joining the global jihadist movement has only increased over the years. How then have terrorist groups been able to grow in an environment filled with counterterrorism campaigns? This Perspective by Colin P. Clarke dives deep into this question and explores the future trajectories of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.