Social Media, Rectruitment, Allegiance and the Islamic State

Scott Gates and Sukanya Podder


Terrorism Research Initiative

Photo: Terrorism Research Initiative

Published in:

Perspectives on Terrorism, volume 9, pp. 107-116, 2015

ISSN  2334-3745



Islamic State relies heavily on the recruitment of foreign fighters. We examine this recruitment from an organizational perspective. We analyze how the process of recruitment of foreigners shapes the adverse selection problem affecting the dissident groups that they join. We also examine the different mechanisms used to maintain the allegiance and compliance of foreigners as opposed to indigenous recruits. More broadly, we analyze how the recruitment of foreign fighters affects the organization. Foreign fighters and local recruits exhibit significant differences in recruitment patterns and motivations for joining IS. This could create problems for the organization. Evidence of such strife, however, is not discernible. Given the information at hand, IS appears to be effectively managing the mix of foreign and local recruits.

Published July 28, 2016 9:19 AM - Last modified Nov. 20, 2017 2:38 PM