Terror or Terrorism? Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Comparative Perspective

  • Citation: Gomes, Aureo de Toledo, and Michelle Mitri Mikhael. “Terror or Terrorism? Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Comparative Perspective.” Brazilian Political Science Review 12, no. 1 (2018): 1–27.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict and Security
    • Keywords:
    • Al-Qaeda
    • ISIS
    • terrorism

The article compares al-Qaeda and ISIS, which despite similar origins have developed distinct paths and goals. According to our analytical framework, this is because al-Qaeda appears to use terror as a tool to induce other audiences into particular behaviors, expecting to change the correlation of forces in its favor in the future, while ISIS is a more complex organization whose primary goal is to build a new political order in territories it occupies. The results highlight the problems of treating both organizations as terrorist groups and contribute to debates on conceptually defining terrorism.

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