A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Fratricidal Jihadists: Why Islamists Keep Losing their Civil Wars


Why do Islamists kill each other? In the last three decades, Islamist rebels enmeshed in civil wars have descended into internecine conflicts that divided their ranks, alienated their supporters, and cost them their bid for power. From the Armed Islamic Group in Algeria, to al-Qaeda in Iraq, to the Islamic State, each of these movements had perfect opportunities to topple their regimes. Yet, in the midst of civil wars, they turned their guns on fellow rebels, choosing to pursue hegemonic leadership over coalition unity. In fact, they assisted incumbent elites in crisis by handing them the perfect opportunity to divide and conquer their movements. What explains this self-defeating behavior?

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Hafez, Mohammed M. 2018. "Fratricidal Jihadists: Why Islamists Keep Losing their Civil Wars." Middle East Policy 25 (May): 86-99. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mepo.12344

START Author(s):