Militancy and Political Violence in Shiism: Trends and Patterns

Routledge
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This book is the first systematic assessment of current trends and patterns of militancy in Shii communities in the Middle East and South Asia - specifically in Iran, Iraq, but also in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Bahrain

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.

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About the author

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).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Nov 28, 2011
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9781136663529
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / General
Political Science / Political Freedom
Political Science / Terrorism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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One of Foreign Policy's Best Five Books of 2013, chosen by Marc Lynch of The Middle East Channel

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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.

Leading jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State dominate through cooperation in the form of knowledge sharing, resource sharing, joint training exercises, and operational collaboration. They build alliances and lesser partnerships with other formal and informal terrorist actors to recruit foreign fighters and spread their message worldwide, raising the aggregate threat level for their declared enemies. Whether they consist of friends or foes, whether they are connected locally or online, these networks create a wellspring of support for jihadist organizations that may fluctuate in strength or change in character but never runs dry. Nexus of Global Jihad identifies types of terrorist actors, the nature of their partnerships, and the environments in which they prosper to explain global jihadist terrorism's ongoing success and resilience.

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.

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