ISIS vs. Al-Qaida: How Do Affiliates Choose?

An Indonesian woman with a poster outside a Starbucks cafe attacked by Islamic State militants, Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 17, 2016 (AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim).
An Indonesian woman with a poster outside a Starbucks cafe attacked by Islamic State militants, Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 17, 2016 (AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim).

Attacks earlier this month in Jakarta by Indonesia’s Islamic State affiliate and a claim of allegiance to the jihadi group from a militant collective in the Philippines seem to show the Islamic State’s ascendency in yet another region outside its core operating base in Syria and Iraq. Confounding efforts to contain its global expansion, the Islamic State appears to have an increasing number of territories, or wilayat, and organizations nominally under its authority, amid an uptick in attacks against Western interests carried out at its behest. On this basis, it’s tempting to conclude that the Islamic State’s reach and successful […]

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