Islamic Terrorism in the Middle East and its Impact on Global Security

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Abstract


This paper examines the impact of the increase in terrorist activity in the Middle East after the Arab Spring on the terrorist threat in other parts of the world. The aim of the work is to clarify, using quantitative methods, the factors, mechanisms and scale of the spread of Islamist terrorism from the Middle East. A qualitative study of time series with partial formalization is used to identify time lags between the rise of Islamist terrorism in the Middle East and its intensification in other parts of the world. It has been demonstrated that the rapid growth in the number of terrorist attacks recorded in the world after 2010 was primarily due to the explosive growth of Islamist terrorist activity in the “Afrasian” zone of instability in general and in the Middle East in particular. There is considerable evidence to suggest that this spurred terrorist activity after 2013 in the U.S., Western Europe, Turkey and Russia. The analysis shows that the “Islamic State” (ISIS) and its affiliates (prohibited in Russian Federation) have acted as the main export agent of terrorism to these countries and regions in an attempt to retaliate military strikes carried out by foreign powers in the Middle East. Among these foreign countries, Turkey was particularly hard hit by the increase in terrorist activities - the level of terrorist activity in Turkey between 2013 and 2014 grew 14 times. In the United States and Western Europe, the onslaught of Islamist terrorism has been accompanied by a threefold increase in the number of terrorist attacks recorded. A similar scale of the Middle East terrorist echo was observed in the Russian Federation. The ISIS efforts to expand and develop terrorist networks in Russia also resulted in the tripling of a number of terrorist attacks in this country. However, it would be wrong to exaggerate the scale of the Middle East terrorist “echo” in Russia. The previous waves of the terrorist threat between 2002 and 2004, as well as the second half of the 2000s (an echo effect of the Chechen wars) were much larger.


About the authors

Leonid M. Issaev

National Research University Higher School of Economics; Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Author for correspondence.
Email: lisaev@hse.ru
20, Myasnitskaya St, Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation; 6, Miklukho-Maklaya St, Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation

PhD (in Political Sciences), Deputy Head of the Laboratory for Monitoring the Risks of Socio-Political Destabilization at the National Research University Higher School of Economics; Research Professor at the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Marat B. Aisin

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Email: marataysin@gmail.com
20, Myasnitskaya St, Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Intern in the Laboratory for Monitoring the Risks of Socio-Political Destabilization

Ilya A. Medvedev

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Email: semyonkot@yandex.ru
20, Myasnitskaya St, Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Intern in the Laboratory for Monitoring the Risks of Socio-Political Destabilization

Andrey V. Korotayev

National Research University Higher School of Economics; Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Email: akorotaev@hse.ru
20, Myasnitskaya St, Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation; 6, Miklukho-Maklaya St, Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation

Dr. Sc. (in History), Head of the Laboratory for Monitoring the Risks of Socio-Political Destabilization at the National Research University Higher School of Economics; Senior Research Professor at the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

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Copyright (c) 2020 Issaev L.M., Aisin M.B., Medvedev I.A., Korotayev A.V.

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