More than thirty years after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, there are signs of a growing assertiveness on the part of Shii actors, at times erupting into political violence. The book addresses two key questions: What trends emerge in the types of militancy Shii actors employ both inside and outside of the Shii heartland? And what are the main drivers of militancy in the Shii community? The editor concludes that although at present Shii assertiveness does not take on a predominantly militant form, a 'subculture of violence' does exist among most Shii communities examined here, and suggests five key drivers of political violence among Shiis: the impact of Iran; nationalism and anti-imperialism; Shii self-protection and communal advancement; mahdism; and organizational dynamics. This book will be of great interest to students and researchers of terrorism studies and political violence, war and conflict studies, and IR/Security Studies in general.
Assaf Moghadam is Senior Lecturer at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel, and Senior Fellow at its International Institute of Counterterrorism (ICT). He was previously Director of Terrorism Studies at the Combating Terrorism Center, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Sciences, United States Military Academy at West Point, USA. His publications include, as co-editor, Fault Lines in Global Jihad: Organizational, Strategic, and Ideological Fissures (also published by Routledge).
Religion and State examines the commonplace notion—held by both radical Muslim ideologues and various Western observers alike—that in Islam there is no separation between religion and politics. By placing this assertion in a broad historical context, the book reveals both the continuities between premodern and modern Islamic political thought as well as the distinctive dimensions of modern Muslim experiences. Brown shows that both the modern-day fundamentalists and their critics have it wrong when they posit an eternally militant, unchanging Islam outside of history. "They are conflating theology and history. They are confusing the oughtand the is," he writes. As the historical record shows, mainstream Muslim political thought in premodern times tended toward political quietism.
Brown maintains that we can better understand present-day politics among Muslims by accepting the reality of their historical diversity while at the same time seeking to identify what may be distinctive in Muslim thought and action. In order to illuminate the distinguishing characteristics of Islam in relation to politics, Brown compares this religion with its two Semitic sisters, Judaism and Christianity, drawing striking comparisons between Islam today and Christianity during the Reformation. With a wealth of evidence, he recreates a tradition of Islamic diversity every bit as rich as that of Judaism and Christianity.
• history of Islam and politics and an overview of key concepts
• how political Islam interacts with the nation-state and the global economy
• a wide variety of global case studies
• profiles of key movements and individuals
Fully illustrated throughout, featuring maps, a glossary and suggestions for further reading, this is the ideal introduction to the crucial role of political Islam in the contemporary world.
In exploring the roots of the extreme radicalization represented by Salafism, Moghadam finds many causes, including Western dominance in the Arab world, the physical diffusion of Salafi institutions and actors, and the element of opportunity created by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He uses individual examples from the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and Europe to show how the elite leaders of al Qaeda and affiliated groups and their foot soldiers interact with one another and how they garner support—and a growing number of converts and attackers—from the Muslim community. Based on over a decade of empirical research and a critical examination of existing thought on suicide attacks, Moghadam distinguishes the key characteristics separating globalized suicide strikes from the traditional, localized pattern that previously prevailed.
This unflinching analysis provides new information about the relationship between ideology and suicide attacks and recommends policies focused on containing Salafi Jihadism.
Beginning with the 2003 invasion of Iraq and concluding with the aftermath of the 2011 Arab uprisings, Frederic M. Wehrey investigates the roots of the Shi'a-Sunni divide now dominating the Persian Gulf's political landscape. Focusing on three Gulf states affected most by sectarian tensions—Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait—Wehrey identifies the factors that have exacerbated or tempered sectarianism, including domestic political institutions, the media, clerical establishments, and the contagion effect of external regional events, such as the Iraq war, the 2006 Lebanon conflict, the Arab uprisings, and Syria's civil war.
In addition to his analysis, Wehrey builds a historical narrative of Shi'a activism in the Arab Gulf since 2003, linking regional events to the development of local Shi'a strategies and attitudes toward citizenship, political reform, and transnational identity. He finds that, while the Gulf Shi'a were inspired by their coreligionists in Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon, they ultimately pursued greater rights through a nonsectarian, nationalist approach. He also discovers that sectarianism in the region has largely been the product of the institutional weaknesses of Gulf states, leading to excessive alarm by entrenched Sunni elites and calculated attempts by regimes to discredit Shi'a political actors as proxies for Iran, Iraq, or Lebanese Hizballah. Wehrey conducts interviews with nearly every major Shi'a leader, opinion shaper, and activist in the Gulf Arab states, as well as prominent Sunni voices, and consults diverse Arabic-language sources.
Nexus of Global Jihad brings to light an emerging style of "networked cooperation" that works alongside interorganizational terrorist cooperation to establish bonds of varying depth and endurance. Case studies use recently declassified materials to illuminate al-Qaeda's dealings from Iran to the Arabian Peninsula and the informal actors that power the Sharia4 movement. The book proposes policies that increase intelligence gathering on informal terrorist actors, constrain enabling environments, and disrupt terrorist networks according to different types of cooperation. It is a vital text for strategists and scholars struggling to understand a growing spectrum of terrorist groups working together more effectively than ever before.
An extraordinary insight into life under one of the world’s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships – and the story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.
As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond the confines of the Hermit Kingdom and, as the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to wonder, question and to realise that she had been brainwashed her entire life. Given the repression, poverty and starvation she witnessed surely her country could not be, as she had been told “the best on the planet”?
Aged seventeen, she decided to escape North Korea. She could not have imagined that it would be twelve years before she was reunited with her family.