The radicalization of domestic Islamist groups in weak or failed states is one of the most serious international security concerns in the world today. What causes some of these groups to adopt transnational political agendas and identities, while others maintain a nationalist focus? Why do some insurgent groups seek affiliations with transnational extremists, while others abjure such ties?

This research proposes that intra-Islamist fighting within a civil-war context is an important determinant in the decision to adopt a transnational identity. To examine this hypothesis against other competing explanations, the research tracks the ideological evolution of the Islamist insurgency in Somalia from 2006–2013.

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