The Islamic State in Europe : shifts, trends, and projections




Rettstadt, Annika Kate DeMoore

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Europe has faced a decades-long battle against the expansion of regional terrorism. Groups like al-Qaeda maintained an anti-West attitude and successfully conducted several attacks on major American and European landmarks. However, since 2015, the Islamic State’s flashy media campaign and harsh tactics stole the spotlight, gaining attention throughout the Western world. On top of the Islamic State’s tech-savvy cohort, their leadership aimed to expand efforts outside original territory in Iraq and Syria, and called on European affiliates to operate locally. As a result, European security and intelligence services collectively struggled to keep up with open borders and the Syrian migrant crisis, which only amplified and widened Europe’s security gap. This study analyzes and documents the Islamic State’s shifts in European activity over a period of three years, and whether or not these shifts provide any further insight on their presence in the region. In conclusion, this thesis offers several recommendations to European security and intelligence services as a means to dismantle future terrorist activity


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