Presenting a Strategic Model to Understand Spillover Effects of ISIS Terrorism

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Connections: The Quarterly Journal, Volume 16, Issue 2, p.41-57 (2017)


foreign fighters, ISIS, regional security, spillover effects, Terrorism


Understanding the nature and the extent of the future threat from ISIS has been a key question for scholars, policy makers and security professionals since ISIS started losing significant grounds in Syria and Iraq. This article analyses ISIS terrorism and its possible spillover effects from a regional security perspective by presenting a strategic model to develop options for the policy makers. A strategic understanding, supported by a model that has been designed to capture all possible variables and their interaction which each other, is necessary to understand the future direction of the threat. Many scholars agree that the threat is not only about the organizational structure of ISIS but also its ideological aspect, therefore the model presented here connects the facts and the ideology with variables at three different levels: regional political level; ISIS and its organizational structure; and individual level variables. The model was designed to capture changes with relevant data thus providing a strategic data-driven understanding of the threat. Regional political developments and how ISIS reacts to those developments are the main concerns at the first two levels of analysis. Foreign fighters and other sympathizers are the most important subjects of the study at the individual level with the assumption that the future threat will diffuse through foreign fighters and self-radicalized lone actors.