Islamic State beyond Iraq and Syria: an analysis of ISIS provinces outside Iraq and Syria and their role in the future of ISIS as the ‘Caliphate’ collapses.

Author: Lachlan Wilson

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 27 Apr 2025.

Wilson, Lachlan, 2017 Islamic State beyond Iraq and Syria: an analysis of ISIS provinces outside Iraq and Syria and their role in the future of ISIS as the ‘Caliphate’ collapses., Flinders University, College of Business, Government and Law

Terms of Use: This electronic version is (or will be) made publicly available by Flinders University in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. You may use this material for uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material and/or you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact with the details.


This thesis argues that that the persistence of ISIS after the collapse of its “caliphate" in Iraq and Syria is unlikely to be achieved through its provinces outside of the Levant. To support this argument this thesis analyzes thirteen Islamic State (ISIS) provinces outside of Iraq and Syria, assessing the threat they pose, the possibility that they will remain affiliated with ISIS, and the prospect that they will continue to persist. The accumulative outcome of these assessments assists in evaluating the likelihood that the ISIS brand will survive when the group’s core in Syria and Iraq collapses. The analysis involves an outline of the individual provinces objectives, backgrounds, leadership, membership and activity combined with quantitative data analysis and the use of a metric analytical system. The outcome of the analysis shows that the provinces vary significantly in: the threat that they pose to the country in which they exist in; their bonds with and interests shared with ISIS core; and in their overall likelihood to persist. More broadly, the results demonstrate that ISIS has been unsuccessful in controlling territory outside of Syria and Iraq. It suggests ISIS’s relationship with its affiliates is predominantly defined by the value of its jihadist brand and its ability to provide financial support to its affiliates. As ISIS in Syria and Iraq collapses the legitimacy of its brand will become tarnished and its ability to provide fiscal support compromised. This situation will lead to many of the provinces defecting and indicates that the ISIS brand is unlikely to survive through its affiliates.

Keywords: ISIS, Daesh, Iraq, Syria, Provinces, Wilayat, Jihadism, Caliphate, Global Jihad, Affiliate, Analysis

Subject: International Relations thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2017
School: College of Business, Government and Law
Supervisor: Maryanne Kelton