Dossier: Jihadism | Jihadists

Peshmerga fighters in Iraq (photo: Reuters)

The Peshmerga fight against IS militia

An unpredictable enemy

The Kurdish Peshmerga have limited tools in hand for their fight against the IS terror militia: they are for the most part poorly equipped, military co-ordination with the Americans is sluggish and US air strikes have thus far had little impact. By Karim El-Gawhary in IraqMore

US President Barack Obama speaking in the White House about the humanitarian relief situation in Iraq, 7 August 2014 (photo: Reuters)

The Middle East policies of Europe and the US

Mistakes must not be repeated

For years, the West's foreign policy approach to the Middle East has been short sighted and counterproductive. A shrewd blend of engagement and restraint in the region is now required. However, where there is a threat of genocide at the hands of terrorists or regimes, civilians must be protected using all available means, writes Kristin HelbergMore

Yazidis trapped in the Sinjar mountains fleeing from IS (photo: picture-alliance/AA)

Persecution of the Yazidis in Iraq

Don't abandon us!

In Iraq, not only are the Yazidi people being persecuted by IS, their sacred sites are also being destroyed by the jihadists. The Yazidis are now responding by forming troops of fighters to protect these sites. By Joseph CroitoruMore

Salafists handing out copies of the Koran in a German city (photo: dapd)

Interview with intelligence operative Benno Köpfer

"You're allowed to be a Salafist in Germany"

More than 300 people from Germany have gone to Syria to join the jihad. In this interview with Jannis Hagmann, Benno Köpfer of the German domestic intelligence service explains what radicalises young people, why not all Salafists agree with the ISIS caliphate and why he drinks the occasional tea with some of themMore

Still from an ISIS propaganda video (photo: picture-alliance/abaca)

ISIS propaganda and use of social networks

The online jihad

The terrorist group ISIS (which now refers to itself as Islamic State) has been conducting a massive propaganda campaign via social networks on the Internet. In addition to intimidating opponents, the group wants to establish its own media brand. By Nastassja SteudelMore

ISIS using a bulldozer to destroy Sunni sites in Tal Afar. Photo: justpaste.it/atrah

ISIS' cultural vandalism

A trail of destruction

Cultural barbarism prevails in the territories declared a "caliphate" by the radical Islamic group ISIS. The sad irony of this is that its members are even destroying monuments to the companions of Muhammad, whom they themselves supposedly revere. Joseph Croitoru reportsMore

The self-styled "caliph", Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Photo: YouTube

ISIS leader in Iraq

The new face of jihad?

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has been active in Syria for two years now. It currently has around 5,000 fighters there – and the numbers are growing. Aron Lund, who has written studies on Syria's fighter landscape for the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, explains the terrorist organisation's strategies to Mona SarkisMore

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Photo: Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images

The Syrian conflict and the advance of ISIS

Assad and the myth of the lesser evil

Assad has used chemical weapons and laid waste to entire neighbourhoods and regions with barrel bombs. However, in the West, fears of what ISIS Islamists could achieve loom so large that Syria's dictator continues to be seen as a smaller part of the problem. By Bente SchellerMore

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (left) during a visit to President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran (photo: AFP)

Iran's role in the Iraq conflict

An ally, but not a puppet

For many Sunnis in Iraq, the country's Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is a puppet of Iran. In the West too, the view that Tehran is pulling the strings in Iraqi politics is widely held. But what influence does Tehran really have in Iraq, and what role is it playing in the current crisis? Answers from Ulrich von SchwerinMore

Members of an ISIS unit in Nineveh (photo: AFP)

ISIS and the Iraqi government

In the grip of the jihadists

For years, Iraq's Sunnis have been marginalised by the central government in Baghdad. This is now having dire consequences. It is apparent that ISIS's advance has been aided by former Sunni officers from the Saddam era. By Karim El-GawharyMore

The aftermath of an ISIS attack on military vehicles in Mosul (photo: Reuters)

Jihadists seize Iraqi city of Mosul

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Wave of terror washes over Iraq

After the fall of Ramadi and Fallujah, the Islamist militants of ISIS have now seized Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. Some 500,000 civilians are now fleeing the insurgents. The deputy prime minister has called it a security disaster. By Birgit Svensson in BaghdadMore

US President Barack Obama during a meeting with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in Rawdat al-Khraim near Riyadh (photo: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's foreign policy

Pilgrimage to Pakistan

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has become increasingly estranged from the US, the world power that has held its protective hand over the kingdom for many years. The royal family has now changed the course of its foreign policy and sees Pakistan as a suitable strategic partner and a counterbalance to the influence of Turkey and Iran in the region. By Mai YamaniMore

Anti-Assad graffiti in Istanbul (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Civil war in Syria

No peace with Assad and al-Qaida

Bashar al-Assad is no bulwark against terrorism. On the contrary, he is a beneficiary of the Syrian conflict. As long as he continues to destroy his country, the jihadists will flourish in the chaos. Only his departure can unite Syrians in the fight against al-Qaida and bring peace to the nation, writes Kristin HelbergMore

Protesting Sunnis waving the flag of the Baath Party in Fallujah (photo: Birgit Svensson)

Fighting in the Iraqi province of Anbar

"Maliki is the new Saddam!"

The images coming out of the Iraqi province of Anbar shocked the world: masked fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were seen patrolling the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, waiting to take them over. Baghdad's central government seems to be losing its grip on the country's largest province. From Birgit Svensson in FallujahMore

Abu Ibraheem in a video message threatening to kill people who allegedly denigrate prophet Muhammed (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Guido Steinberg on German Islamist Terrorism

Trend towards "Individual Jihad"

Guido Steinberg is Germany's foremost specialist on Islamist terrorism in Europe. In this interview with Paul Hockenos, he talks about the specifics of German Islamist terrorism and al-Qaeda's change of strategyMore

ihadi militiamen in Iraq close to the Syrian border (photo: picture-alliance/AP)

Al-Qaeda's New Strategy

Turning away from the Distant Enemy

In contrast to their earlier tactics, militant jihadists are increasingly turning away from attacking the West to concentrate on more local and regional targets. Albrecht Metzger reports on the current change of strategy in the activities of Al-Qaeda and its alliesMore

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