Friday, January 9, 2015
The past year witnessed further jihadi gains amid the political turmoil in the Middle East that has followed the Arab uprisings -- most significantly the Islamic State Group (ISG)'s conquest of Sunni provinces Iraq in June and proclamation of a caliphate. However, the advance is not even across the board; the threat remains centred on regional targets, more than those in the West. More spillover from a metastasising jihadism in the Middle East is to be expected, including sporadic high-profile attacks in the West.
- The international reputation of Syria's Assad regime will gradually improve as the West remains focused on the threat of the ISG.
- Authoritarian regimes will exploit the jihadist threat to justify internal security crackdowns and delay democratic reforms.
- US-Iranian collaboration against ISG will reinforce the perception of an anti-Sunni conspiracy -- a key feature of jihadi propaganda.
- The US shale oil revolution will continue to offset disruption to oil supplies by the ISG.
- Tourism in affected countries, particularly Egypt, will continue to suffer.