Competitive jihadism: Understanding the survival strategies of jihadist de facto states
Özpek, Burak Bilgehan
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The debates dealing with ISIS address the questions of how ISIS is conceptualized, what its aim is, and how it has successfully retained a core sovereignty zone. This study attempts to answer these questions by proposing that ISIS is a de facto state and uses jihadism as a survival strategy. The term 'competitive jihadism' is used to argue that ISIS competes with its metropole states, Syria and Iraq, on the basis of jihadism. This is a deliberate strategy, which aims to attract Muslims inclined to radicalization as well as to recruit foreign fighters by showing the jihadist deficits of the metropole states. As the research shows, ISIS is successful at this game and has become a magnet for foreign fighters. Thus, it is able to increase its military capabilities and continue to survive.