When we began this volume, political leaders around the world were already hailing their victory over the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ISIS forces were being steadily driven out of the territories they had acquired in Syria and Iraq. Yet we were concerned that the threat posed by ISIS was far from over.
A vanquished, but not eradicated, ISIS likely would lead to the emergence of other forms or brands of jihadi movements or groups, both in the Middle East and other regions, as long as conditions are conducive to spreading its malign ideology and motivating sympathetic groups to initiate terrorist campaigns. To eliminate the potential for further radical Islamist threats in the Middle East and among NATO countries, significant long-term strategies are urgently needed for establishing and maintaining security and stability, building state legitimacy, and effective application of the rule of law.
This book is the result of a NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW) titled “The Post ISIS-Era: Regional and Global Implications.” The ARW brought together participants from NATO member nations and its Cooperation Partners countries (specified by NATO) on September 6–8, 2019, in Washington, DC. The participants come from diverse backgrounds, including academia, security, law enforcement, intelligence, military, foreign affairs, media, think tanks, international organizations (United Nations, World Bank, NATO, European Union), and representatives from Embassies.
In this book, we aim to:
Develop projections for the future of ISIS after it has lost its territory in Syria and Iraq.
Discuss the challenges of maintaining security and stability and ways to transform and maintain state structures and institutions.
Provide a comparative and an in-depth analysis on recruitment and propaganda activities of ISIS; examine the returnee problem from regional and country- specific perspectives.
Examine the plight of refugees in the region and elsewhere and assess their current status and steps to help them return to their countries of origin.
Discuss the processes by which individuals become radicalized toward terrorism and ultimately join terrorist groups and the steps that practitioners and policy makers can use to prevent and counter terrorism.
Assess how the security structures of countries and their law enforcement agencies should respond to the changing nature of threats of violent extremism, and then offer policy recommendations to mitigate the consequences of new threats.
Discuss the exploitation of public fear of terrorism by media and politicians and how to deal with the vicious cycle of fear.
Discuss the lessons learned to strengthen the navigation capacities of intelligence services and potential threats to the institutionalization of ethics in professional practices.
We would like to acknowledge and thank all those who have participated and contributed to the ARW and this book. This project would not have been successful without the support of Mark J. Rozell, Dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. We would like to express our special thanks to Heejoo Cheon and Saffanah Zaini for their relentless and exceptional assistance throughout the planning, preparation, and implementation of the workshop. Also, we would like to express our special appreciation to Audrey C. Kessler for her proofreading service and contribution to this book.
Of course, this volume could not have been produced without the support of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Program. In addition to funding the ARW and production of this volume, the NATO-PSP staff were incredibly supportive and patient at every step, from assembling our participants from NATO and cooperating partner countries to planning the workshop and helping with preparation of the final manuscript. We express our sincere gratitude to them for the opportunity to have so many outstanding scholars work with us to better understand this security threat.
Jack A. Goldstone, Ph.D.
Eitan Y. Alimi, Ph.D.
Suleyman Ozeren, Ph.D.
Suat Cubukcu, Ph.D.