ICCT’s Key Publications on ISIS and the Terrorism Landscape

Following the fall of the ‘caliphate’, there has been broad speculation on what the future of ISIS will look like. ICCT’s key publications on ISIS collectively provide an understanding of ISIS’s modes of operation, their external networks, and how different counter-terrorism tactics can contribute to shaping the future of ISIS’s terrorist activities.

1️⃣ Are targeted killings and ‘decapitation strikes’ an effective counter-terrorism tactic? In this Perspective on the effectiveness of targeted killings of terrorist actors, Graig Klein discusses how the targeted killing of ISIS-leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi could influence the future of ISIS’s terrorism.

2️⃣ While the Islamic State’s early years after its expansion from Iraq to Syria are generally considered a success, it was also during this period that internal ideological tensions developed within the group. In this Report on the ideological conflict that destroyed ISIS from within, Tore Hamming dives into the internal conflict, its trajectory over time, and its impact on the group. 

3️⃣ How can we understand the future of the jihadi threat following the fall of the ‘caliphate’? In this Perspective on the future of jihadi terrorism, Thomas Renard discusses the threat’s retention through two dimensions: one linked to the caliphate’s legacy, and the other from fringe extremists.

4️⃣ How does ISIS’s network of insurgent affiliates operate? In this article on ISIS’s global insurgency and its counter-terrorism implications, Haroro J. Ingram, Craig Whiteside and Charlie Winter explore how ISIS’s networks, adhocracy, structure, and management influence its resilience as a global movement.

5️⃣ How can the threat of ISIS’s use of improvised explosives be characterised, and what implications does it have for the future? In this Perspective on ISIS’s use of anti-personnel landmines and improvised explosive devices, Aaron Anfinson and Nadia Al-Dayel discuss the impact of improvised explosives and the need for explosive decontamination to become an active component of counter-terrorism.

6️⃣ How does ISIS make use of slavery to financially support terrorism activity and to remain relevant and in control? This Perspective on ISIS’s use of slavery by Nadia Al-Dayel and Andrew Mumford illustrates how specific internal regulation controls have enabled a “successful” slavery economy in ISIS territory.