The Rise of the Jihadists - the Second Stage of the Arab Spring

Monday, February 16
Breakout 1

We will address what is now a distinct second stage of the Arab Spring and assess the impact jihadists will have as they exploit the new realities of the region.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has swept across western Iraq after securing a foothold in eastern Syria. It has declared a new caliphate in the region and is directly challenging al-Qaeda for leadership of the global jihadist movement. Jihadists are fighting one another in Syria and this competition is already spreading to other countries. Meanwhile, jihadist activity is increasing in Egypt in response to the return of an Army-backed regime while Libya is slipping into rising tribal, Islamist and jihadist violence. To what extent will this wave of violence change the face of the region?

Presented by: Tim Williams, Managing Director, Stirling Assynt, United Kingdom
Mazen Saadah, Managing Director, Stirling Assynt, United Kingdom

After joining Stirling Assynt in 2009, Tim Williams became Director, Political & Security Risk in March 2011. While responsible for the Assynt Report and bespoke political and security risk projects, he presided over a significant growth in the business. On acquisition by Falanx Group Ltd in May 2013, Tim was appointed Managing Director of Stirling Assynt and is responsible for profit and loss across all the company's business lines. Tim previously worked at the Society of British Aerospace Companies, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and in a defence policy role for the Conservative Party. He has lectured widely on security issues, including at RSMF, the NATO School and Wilton Park, and remains an Associate Fellow of RUSI.


Mazen Saadah is Director, Middle East and North Africa, and Islamic Affairs Adviser at Stirling Assynt. His principal expertise concerns political and security risks in MENA and Islamist-related issues. His deep knowledge of Islamic and cultural issues and of the jihadist philosophy enables him to understand jihadist groups' ideology and hence their strategy. He has played a significant role in developing the Assynt Report through enhancing analytical quality of reporting. His advice and expertise have enabled business and government to increase profits, mitigate risks and protect them from threats emanating from jihadists. In addition to his advisory work, he regularly speaks at conferences and public forums. He received intensive religious studies in Saudi Arabia.