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Jihadism TransformedAl-Qaeda and Islamic State's Global Battle of Ideas$
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Simon Staffell and Akil Awan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190650292

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190650292.001.0001

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Ayman al-Zawahiri and the rise of ISIL

Ayman al-Zawahiri and the rise of ISIL

(p.35) 3 Ayman al-Zawahiri and the rise of ISIL
Jihadism Transformed

Donald Holbrook

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses statements released by Ayman al-Zawahiri in the context of MENA uprisings and the rise of the Islamic State organization. The chapter traces Zawahiri’s aggregate narrative during this period, discussing how the Al-Qaeda leader framed these key events and how these framing efforts evolved. This discussion highlights issues regarding legitimate leadership of jihadist vanguards, the role of public opinion in that equation and the way in which al-Zawahiri has sought to exploit and address those challenges in his efforts to retain momentum and relevancy within a complex jihadi universe. The chapter concludes by considering the particulars of al-Zawahiri’s most recent discursive emphases in light of his public rhetoric to date in order to highlight the evolution and, at times, contradictions of this narrative.

Keywords:   Ayman al-Zawahiri, Islamic State, MENA uprisings, Legitimacy, Public opinion, Al-Qaeda

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