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The Henry Jackson Society has released a report which provides the most comprehensive compilation yet of what is known about the Islamic State’s leadership. The report provides detailed profiles and biographical details of the key figures within the caliphate’s government, both for the chief administrators internally, and for those organising attacks against the West. The command and control structure of the organisation is laid out in detail.
The report, “Profiles of Islamic State Leaders“, also demonstrates that the Islamic State leadership is mounting a strategically cohesive European-wide campaign of terror. Though these single-actor attacks have repeatedly been misreported as lone-wolves, the individuals are radicalised and often directed by a network; Islamic State has endorsed and suggested the action (Nice is only one of the more recent examples of such misreporting – the perpetrator was erroneously said to have self-radicalised within weeks. In fact he had been connected with a network for some time). This mistaken analysis can have devastating consequences: in 2015, the Islamic State tied down Western security services with a number of small, apparently-unrelated plots that then enabled the larger, directed attack in Paris to succeed unimpeded.