Leadership and Succession in Terrorist Organisations: Combating Jihadist Terror - Series 2 - Episode 19

Anthony Richards, Elizabeth Grimm (Performer)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


This episode of Series 2 of CoJiT’s Combating Jihadist Terror podcast sees Dr Anthony Richards joined by Dr Elizabeth Grimm, Associate Teaching Professor and Director of Teaching at the Centre for Security Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC. Against the background of US missile strikes that killed the leaders of al-Qaeda in August and al-Shabaab in October this timely discussion focuses on Dr Grimm’s new book (co-authored with American University’s Dr Tricia Bacon) ‘Terror in Transition: Leadership and Succession in Terrorist Organizations’. The podcast begins by detailing the interdisciplinary nature of their research and setting out the key questions the authors sought to answer: what is the role of the founding leaders of terrorist organizations, what factors shape their successors and what different types of successors are there? Dr Grimm discusses at some length the preparations for handover by al-Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden and the surprising capacity of al-Shabaab to select ‘dark horse’ leaders. She identifies four types of leader and makes the key point that a better understanding of the different leadership types involved potentially has an important impact for counter terrorism policy makers in terms of discrediting terror networks and their messages of violence.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • terrorist leadership
  • leadership succession
  • leadership roles
  • counter-terrorism

Cite this