Authored by Haroro J. Ingram and Jon Lewis
This report assesses three individuals who played an outsized role in the evolution of English-language jihadist propaganda: The Americans Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan, and Ahmad Abousamra. The study applies the CIP (Charismatic, Ideological, and Pragmatic) leadership framework to analyze and compare the legacies and impacts of the three. Drawing on the framework's life narrative approach, the report focuses on how 'life events' were leveraged in each of their eulogies to project these individuals as inspirational jihadi figures worthy of emulation.
Through this framework, al-Awlaki emerges as the quintessential charismatic leader, Khan as an ideological leader, and Abousamra as a pragmatic leader. These clear distinctions in leadership styles are reflective of the different personal attributes, backgrounds, and organizational contexts within which the individuals operated. Moreover, these differences in leadership characteristics shaped their respective impacts and legacies in ways that have important implications for the fields of research and practice.