Baseless Jihad

  • Khaled Al-Hashimi
  • Carolin Goerzig


According to conventional counterterrorism approaches, terrorist groups should be disintegrated and isolated. The corresponding strategy is to make terrorist groups and their ideologies unattractive and prevent them from building a base. Yet weakening terrorists’ support can have an ambivalent effect and does not necessarily guarantee a reduction in violence. Such is the case illustrated by the inner-Islamic debate. After al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya’s ideological revisions, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (al-Jihad) soon came to emulate al-Jamaa’s change of mind while al-Qaida ignored the calls to cease violence and instead labeled al-Jamaa members traitors and government agents. Why, the question arises, did one group come to choose moderation while the other did not? The findings of this study are counterintuitive yet conclusive. A closer look at both groups quickly reveals that the Egyptian Islamic Jihad has a group of followers while there was and still is no consistent support base standing behind al-Zawahiri, second in command of al-Qaida. But whereas some authors describe the group as the leaderless jihad, this chapter looks at the implications of a baseless jihad and argues that it is precisely the lack of a defined support base which helps to explain how al-Qaida’s “leaders” resist a ceasefire.


Support Base Religious Text Senior Leader Selective Inducement Islamic State 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Technical University BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.EU Institute for Security StudiesParisFrance

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