Understanding the Rise of the Islamic State

Monday, 20 April 2015, 6:00pm - 8:00pm, IWM library

Less than a year after it announced its ambition to recreate the Caliphate, the Islamic State has shot at the top of international security affairs. Straddling two countries, Iraq and Syria, where it swiftly conquered large swathes of territory, the organisation previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) has continued to represent the primary threat to regional stability in the Middle east and North Africa and has increased its influence towards Asia and Africa. How to make sense of such accelerated rise? Where is the group coming from and where is it heading? What is the nature of its relation with Al Qaeda? Finally, what can be done in the face of such an actor and the menace it represents.

Mohamedou 1Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou is a leading international expert on new forms of transnational terrorism. He is Deputy Director and Academic Dean of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and Adjunct Professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. He is also Visiting Professor at the Doctoral School at Sciences Po Paris. Previously, Professor Mohamedou was Associate Director of the Harvard University Programme on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research, where the founded the transnational non-state armed groups project. He is the author of several books including Iraq and the Second Gulf War (2002) and Understanding Al Qaeda – Changing War and Global Politics (2011). In 2013-2014, he was a Commissioner in the Kofi Annan-appointed West Africa Commission on Drugs.

His research focuses on transnational terrorism, political violence, the transformation of warfare, transitions to democracy, and Middle Eastern and North African sociopolitical developments and contemporary conflicts.

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Discussants:

Viola Raheb
Independent consultant on development cooperation and cross-cultural dialogue for various institutions, among others the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the Ministry of European, and International Affairs in Austria, the German Development Service

Christian Ultsch
Head of the Foreign Politics Department, Die Presse

In cooperation with the Austrian Newspaper Die Presse and generously supported by EVN.

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Further Reading:
“Der IS ist nicht wirklich geschwächt worden”, Interview with Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Die Presse, 16.04.2015