The Future of the Islamic State in the West

Future of the Islamic State in the West

As its self-proclaimed Caliphate turns three, the Islamic State is suffering significant territorial losses. These swift and dramatic developments have major implications for terrorism dynamics in the West. Are Europe and North America going to see an influx of returning foreign fighters, some of which will attempt to carry out attacks? Will homegrown sympathizers of the Islamic State conduct attacks to avenge the group's losses? Will the group be able to maintain a substantial presence in the physical and virtual space?

To discuss these and related matters, on June 14, 2017, the Program on Extremism at The George Washington University hosted a conference to assess the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State to the West. Speakers included:

  • Dick Schoof, National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism, The Netherlands
  • Dr. Daniel Byman, Georgetown University
  • Rukmini Callimachi, Foreign Correspondent for The New York Times
  • Professor Fernando Reinares, Program on Global Terrorism, Madrid's Elcano Royal Institute, and Georgetown University
  • Dr. Kim Cragin, Senior Research Fellow for Counterterrorism, National Defense University
  • Ambassador Alberto Fernandez, Vice President, Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
  • Dr. Lorenzo Vidino, Director of the Program on Extremism
  • Seamus Hughes, Deputy Director of the Program on Extremism
  • Dr. Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, Research Director of the Program on Extremism

The event, which occurred on the second anniversary of the Program on Extremism's launch, also coincided with the release of the Program's new report, Fear Thy Neighbor: Radicalization and Jihadist Attacks in the West. Published in conjunction with the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (Milan) and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (The Hague), the report analyzes the characteristics of all perpetrators of jihadist-inspired attacks in the West since the declaration of the Caliphate.