This paper is part of a research project on the relationship between
Islamist violent extremism and conflict, addressing the research
question: “what is distinctive about violent Islamist extremism in
conflict situations, and what features does it share with other
ideologies or movements involved in conflicts?” This paper considers the
question in three country case studies: Kenya, Nigeria, and Syria/Iraq.
The method used in the analysis is comparative. We set out to compare
Islamist and non-Islamist groups, focusing particularly on how they have
influenced and been influenced by conflicts. In the case of Syria/Iraq,
and at the request of DFID experts, we compared different Islamist
groups, including Shia ones, rather than (as we originally proposed)
comparing a secular and an Islamist group. This reflects the nature of
the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars, as well as British governmental
priorities. We also feel that this approach has been of analytical
benefit, as it has demonstrated the differences among Islamist groups in
Each case study follows a similar structure to facilitate comparisons.
It sets out the background to the conflict and the main groups involved
in it, then examines the aims and objectives of the groups, the drivers
and enablers for radicalisation and recruitment, how the groups have
interacted with conflict, and implications for interventions.
Conclusions summarise, amongst other points, what we believe makes IVE
groups different from others in conflict situations. The report ends
with a summary table setting out the characteristics of the groups we
Glazzard, A.; Jesperson, S.; Maguire, T. Conflict and Countering Violent Extremism: Case Studies. RUSI, London, UK (2015) 99 pp.
Conflict and Countering Violent Extremism: Case Studies