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The Jihadist Wars

It’s tempting the think of jihadism as monolithic, but nothing could be further from the truth. The movement may be dominated by just two groups, al Qaeda and the Islamic State, but they have ideological differences that cannot be reconciled. Each of these groups, moreover, comprise a core organization, franchise groups and grassroots supporters, all of which present a distinct threat to their enemies. And though the coalition this threat has galvanized against it has had its fair share of victories, it has struggled to defeat jihadism as an ideology. And until it does, jihadists will be able to recruit and train new adherents to their cause. But the persistence of jihadism cuts both ways: The longer it lasts, the more the movement will crack under the weight of personal disputes, doctrinal differences and conflicting objectives.

The jihadist movement may be dominated by just two groups, al Qaeda and the Islamic State, but they have ideological differences that cannot be reconciled.
(JM LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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