International Security in a World of Fragile States

Islamic States and Islamist Organizations
S. Yaqub Ibrahimi
Fragile states are laboratories for Islamist terror groups


Following the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, DC, there has been an increasing interest among scholars, students, and the interested public to study and learn about the Islamist-oriented terrorist organizations called Jihadi Salafi Groups (JSGs). Considering that these organizations emerged in highly fragile states, S. Yaqub Ibrahimi asks: how and why is state fragility linked to the emergence of JSGs?

Ibrahimi bases his study on three events: the establishment of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in 1998, the rise of Islamic State in the post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, and the failed al-Qaeda effort to establish a base in Saudi Arabia in 2003. These case studies contain major aspects and features of the rise of JSGs and, together, explain the contribution of state fragility to the process of the formation and expansion of these terrorist organizations.

International Security in a World of Fragile States stands out as a pivotal work on the interconnection between the root causes of JSGs and state fragility conditions and their amalgamated role in the formation and evolution of these organizations. It contributes to IR and international security debates by developing a comprehensive but readily understandable narrative of the rise of JSGs in Islamic countries, and examining them in an analytical framework in which their root causes are categorized on individual, group, and international levels.

S. Yaqub Ibrahimi is Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Carleton University.

Praise / Awards

  • “A seminal work on the link between state fragility and violent Islamist organizations. Highly readable and insightful, the book uniquely examines how state fragility contributes to the formation and expansion of Jihadi Salafi Groups. The result is a critical assessment and explanation of one of the most serious and enduring security threats to the world.” 
    —Elinor Sloan, Carleton University
  • International Security in a World of Fragile States is an essential book for anyone attempting to understand the nature and causes of violent jihadi organizations, as well as their impact on international security. Ibrahimi offers a novel framework for examining the relationship between terrorism and state fragility in the Islamic world.”
    —Brian C. Schmidt, Carleton University
  • “The volume articulates a well-thought-out theory on the security dimensions of state fragility in the Middle East. Detailed and extensive case studies combine historical analysis, content analysis, and fieldwork. It is a fine contribution to the field that will stimulate considerably more research on the origins of Jihadi Salafi groups.”
    —David Carment, Carleton University
  • “In International Security in a World of Fragile States, the author offers an intriguing and compelling historical and political analysis of the interweaving of state juridical fragility and defiiciency with the emergence, consolidation, and expansion of terror networks—networks that the author calls Jihadi Salafi Groups—in the Middle East. Using a sophisticated IR theoretical approach and writing in an accessible prose, Ibrahimi challenges some of the long-held views about ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ and offers a nuanced and even-handed examination of the dynamics, conditions, and root causes of some of the Salafi and Salafi-affiliated groups that pose an immanent threat to both regional and global security. This book is a deeply informed product of exhaustive and thorough research.”
    —Wali Ahmadi, Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, University of California, Berkeley
  • “This timely and thoroughly researched book lends convincing and unique evidence to the what, how, and in what way the rise of Jihadi Salafi Groups occurs. Ibrahimi’s research brings a unique insight as to how the lack of legitimacy, authority, and capacity of fragile states contribute to the emergence of JSGs. Above all the author’s deep knowledge and dedication to the subject is evident throughout.”
    —Anastasia Filippidou, Cranfield University

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 232pp.
  • 8 figures, 1 table.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2022
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07551-5

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  • $70.00 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2022
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05551-7

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  • $24.95 U.S.

  • Open Access
  • 2022
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-90289-7

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