Mollie Inga Magdalena Saltskog
Class of 2017
I am Mollie Saltskog from Stockholm, Sweden. I have an academic and professional interest in International Security, focused on geopolitics and non-state actors in the Middle East. During my senior year at Yale-NUS, I was selected in the second class of the Schwarzman Scholars Program, an elite global scholarship designed to prepare the next generations of global leaders – with an acceptance rate of less than 5%. As a Schwarzman Scholar I am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. During my free time, I am a keen tennis player, an avid reader of fantasy literature, and a passionate animal welfare advocate.
My Capstone Project:
My capstone investigates al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra (JN)/Jabhat Fateh al-Sham/ Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, and challenges the conventional theory of splintering as a way terrorist organizations can end. In my research, I found that the official splintering between al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra had not diminished but dramatically enhanced the affiliate’s operational capability (a terrorist organization’s capability to carry out terrorist tactics).
The implications of my capstone project for counterterrorism strategy and policy making are many and important. In the case of the Syrian affiliate, counterterrorism efforts should be focused on degrading links between Jabhat al-Nusra and its allies in the Syrian opposition forces – a relationship JN draws much of its strength from. Moreover, the research provides a framework for how to evaluate future splintering in the al-Qaeda organization, which may become a new strategy for the global terror network given the positive effects on its Syrian affiliate.