On this week’s episode of the POMEPS Conversation Podcast, Marc Lynch speaks with Thomas Hegghammer, an expert on violent Islamism. Hegghammer talks about current status of the Islamic State (ISIS), as well as future of violent extremism.

“Even though we are better off today than three years ago— in terms of [the Islamic State’s] overall activity— I think we’re probably at a higher level than in 2011,” Hegghammer says.

“The way I see the the the Islamic State terrorism campaign in Europe in 2015, 2016, and 2017 happened because there was a new generation of leaders in place who hadn’t quite realized or internalized the repercussions of [their] strategy,” Hegghammer says. “But I think that now— even in the Islamic State family— there is a growing realization that if you want to stay alive, or if you want to keep some kind of operation locally, you want to be careful about what you what you do. So I suspect that at least the medium-term effect of this will be a certain type of some kind of taming of the Islamic State animal.”

Hegghammer is currently a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and adjunct professor of political science at the University of Oslo. He is the author of numerous books, including Jihadi Culture: The Art and Social Practices of Militant Islamists and The Meccan Rebellion: The Story of Juhayman al-‘Utaybi Revisited.

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Violent Islamism: A conversation with Thomas Hegghammer