Backgrounder: Islamic State’s Global Operations and Affiliates


Over the past few weeks Islamic State (ISIS) has come under intense pressure from the Iraqi army backed by Iranian-led Shia militias in and around Tikrit. Of late, ISIS has suffered heavy casualties and has seen the territory under its control in Iraq shrink by almost 25%. Despite these setbacks, ISIS has expanded its global footprint over the last year and now has as many as 31 active branches, franchises, affiliates, partner organizations and cells currently operating in: Libya, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt, The Philippines, Indonesia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Algeria, and the Indian sub-continent.

This backgrounder will examine ISIS’s key global hubs and affiliates. It will focus on ISIS’s footprint in countries outside its traditional operating theater of Iraq and Syria. It will also explore how ISIS has expanded its global reach through the use of partners/affiliates/supporters and how ISIS is beating out Al-Qaeda to become the ‘premier brand’ in global jihad.

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