Cover Story Overview

Pledging Bay`a: A Benefit or a Burden to the Islamic State?
By Daniel Milton and Muhammad al-`Ubaydi

Relationships between entities form an important element of warfare. In the current conflict in Iraq and Syria, the military alignment (or lack thereof) of states will likely be a key determinant in the eventual outcome. However, states are not the only actors within Iraq and Syria that are forming and evolving in their relationships with others. Over the past several months, one interesting facet in regards to relationships between actors involved in the conflict has been how the Islamic State has received and accepted a number of pledges from other organizations and groups in its quest to establish and expand its caliphate.

This issue of the CTC Sentinel is designed to address this phenomenon by focusing on four of the most complex and challenging regions in which organizations have offered bay`a to the Islamic State: the case of Jama’at Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis in Egypt, the crowded environment of actors in North Africa, the longstanding jihadi landscape in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, and the recent acceptance of Boko Haram into the Islamic State’s portfolio of actors. This issue also includes a discussion of a more structured manner for thinking about cooperation and relationships among terrorist organizations.

In addition, this special edition of the CTC Sentinel is being launched together with an interactive online map showing key events in the progression of bay`a being offered to the Islamic State.

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