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All Jihad is Local

An unprecedented 38,000 foreign fighters from more than 120 countries have gone to fight in Syria according to American intelligence estimates. Still, recent attacks demonstrate ISIS’ presence beyond its military controlled borders. What do we know about the fighters behind these attacks? Where do they come from and what motivates them? And in which regions do they pose the greatest threat?

In All Jihad is Local, a new policy paper from New America, Nate Rosenblatt examines thousands of ISIS’ own entry records finding that far from a single profile, the identities and motives of militants leaving for Syria vary substantially depending on where they are from. 

Many analysts have put forward overarching explanations for ISIS’ success in radicalizing and recruiting fighters from sectarianism and jihadist ideology to unemployment and alienation. All Jihad is Local is the first analysis of the ISIS files to delve into the question of sub-national differences in recruitment and radicalization.

Join us at New America for a discussion of this new report and its implications for combating ISIS at the local level.

Follow the discussion online using #AllJihadisLocal and following @NewAmericaISP.


Nate Rosenblatt
Author, All Jihad is Local

Chris Meserole
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Brookings Institution
Author, The French Connection: Explaining Sunni militancy around the world


Nadia Oweidat
Smith Richardson Fellow, New America


Nate Rosenblatt is an independent Middle East/North Africa (MENA) consultant examining the social impact of urbanization in the region as a MSc/DPhil in Social Anthropology at Oxford University. He has lived, worked, and conducted field research in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates since graduating with an MA in Middle East Studies and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a BA in International Relations, also from Johns Hopkins.

Chris Meserole researches modern religious conflict and is a pre-doctoral fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. Chris graduated from Harvard with highest honors and has an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, where he also completed Yale’s Middle Eastern Studies program. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, and contributed to the Huffington Post since its launch. Chris is currently completing a PhD in political science at the University of Maryland. His doctoral research uses statistics and archival work to explain the causes and consequences of religious conflict.

Dr. Nadia Oweidat is a Smith Richardson Fellow at New America. She holds a D.Phil. in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford. Her dissertation focused on liberal Muslim intellectuals who attempt to bridge the gap between modern values such as secularism and women’s rights and Islam. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Oweidat worked as a Research Associate at the RAND Corporation where she led several research projects. In 2007, she initiated and co-led a research effort to look into works by Arabic-speakers that counter violence and extremism, including fiction, non-fiction, cartoons and film that advance values of tolerance, pluralism and the ability to deal with ambiguity without violence.