While the Islamic State’s early years after its expansion from Iraq to Syria are generally considered a success, it was also during this period that internal ideological tensions developed within the group. The emerging faction of al-Hazimiyya, named after the Saudi cleric Ahmad al-Hazimi, instigated a power struggle within the group that posed a serious threat to the Islamic State’s internal cohesion and which eventually resulted in it fragmenting. Based on the author’s doctoral research, this report details the internal conflict within the Islamic State, how it evolved over time and its impact on the group. Through two brief case studies, it also details, with the scarce sources available, how the conflict migrated outside of the Levant to influence European networks of Islamic State sympathizers in the Netherlands and in Austria among other places.
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Published on May 4, 2021