Bras. Political Sci. Rev.. 06/Mar/2018;12(1):e0002.

Terror or Terrorism? Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Comparative Perspective

Aureo de Toledo Gomes, Michelle Mitri Mikhael

DOI: 10.1590/1981-3821201800010002

The article compares al-Qaeda and ISIS, which despite similar origins have developed distinct paths and goals. According to our analytical framework, this is because al-Qaeda appears to use terror as a tool to induce other audiences into particular behaviors, expecting to change the correlation of forces in its favor in the future, while ISIS is a more complex organization whose primary goal is to build a new political order in territories it occupies. The results highlight the problems of treating both organizations as terrorist groups and contribute to debates on conceptually defining terrorism.

Terror or Terrorism? Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Comparative Perspective

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