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ISIL: Evolution by Degradation

Prof. Mohamedou gives an in-depth interview with Russia Today’s Oksana Boyko on the origins of ISIL and isolates a key point in the shift toward radical violence in Syria.

Analysis by Prof. Mohamedou traces the early formation of ISIL to the Spring of 2011. This emerged as a limited Syrian uprising against the Assad regime, largely non-violent, along the tenets of the Arab Spring. The modus operandi began shifting in Summer 2011 with the formation of the Syrian Free Army and by Fall 2011 had migrated to the armed factions which we see today. Prof Mohamedou sees a critical shift in the timeline of the Syrian conflict following the entry of Al Qaida in Iraq where the scope and violence of attacks escalated sharply. He distinguishes Al Qaida’s objective in Syria as being the fuller destabilization of the country rather than deposing the Assad regime.  

The thesis of ‘Evolution by Degradation’ identifies the danger to the international system of such fluid conflict environments as Syria, where civil society actors are forced into co-existence with radical military elements.  Syria is not an isolated case, as Libya and Yemen have faced similar challenges. Prof Mohamedou underlines the urgency of nation-states to exercise diligence and rule of law in responding to asymmetrical threats, citing the need to uphold the Geneva Conventions and establish a clear distance from the tactics of violent extremism.

Please see the full broadcast interview on Russia Today

Russia Today (RT) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios.