Project Title How the Islamic State (IS) Fights: Military Tactics in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt
LPI Omar Ashour
Collaborations N/A
Funding Source Major Research Fund (internal)
Project Start Year 2018
Status Completed
Project Website
Abstract The literature on armed non-state actors provides a wide range of explanations regarding their military upsets against stronger forces. Most notably these centered on population-support, regime-type, geography, external support, aims, tactics and strategy. These explanations have made important contributions to understanding how weaker insurgents can survive or defeat stronger incumbents. Explaining the endurance and expansion of the Islamic State (IS) organization however has been mostly limited to journalistic or descriptive accounts, rather than a comparative, scholarly approach. The core puzzle that this proposed project will engage with is, how did IS fight and why did it endure for that long against much stronger international, regional and local forces? More specifically, it aims to answer the following research question: how did IS fight and why did it militarily endure and expand in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt between 2013 and 2017? The project will utilize multiple data-collection techniques to include discourse analysis of interview data and content analysis of historical records to answer the research question and offer relevant policy prescriptions on a topic that has greatly affected the Arab World and the rest of the globe.