Why do some extremist groups, such as the one that attacked Egypt’s al-Rawda mosque, thrive in today’s civil wars in ways that moderate groups have not? In 2016, Salafi-jihadist groups accounted for most of the major militant groups in Syria, half of all such groups in Somalia and a third of Iraq’s militant groups.
Most people assume that Salafi-jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State emerged because the “average” Muslim has become more radical over time. But in new research, I show this is not necessarily the case. In times of civil war, moderate Muslims have very good reasons to support extremist groups, even if they don’t believe the radical ideologies behind them.… Seguir leyendo »
There’s a new trend in civil wars. After declining in the 1990s, the number of active civil wars has significantly increased since 2003. Over the past 13 years, large-scale civil wars have broken out in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Chad, Mali, the Central African Republic and Ukraine. Meanwhile, countries like Turkey, Egypt and Lebanon may be on the cusp of their own civil wars.
In a new article, “The New New Civil Wars,” I argue that this increase is partly the result of the new and evolving information and communication (ICT) environment.… Seguir leyendo »
Over the past few years, approximately 550 young Muslim women have left Europe to join Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq, often marrying fighters.
Many are well educated, from middle-class families, born and raised in Europe. They do not appear to be deeply alienated from society or women who could be easily radicalized. Why would young women leave London, Glasgow or Vienna to join a group that is considered anti-woman in its policies and behavior? Why would they go to so much trouble to reach places where their freedom of movement and expression will, at best, be severely constrained?
The reasons, according to analysts, are roughly the same reasons as for men.… Seguir leyendo »
Everyone knows that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ bid for statehood through the United Nations Security Council will fail. Even if the Palestinians get the nine votes needed , the United States will veto it. And yet the strategy is brilliant. Why? Because the Palestinians win even if they lose.
To understand how this seemingly doomed effort is designed to work, one has to recognize the strategic game Abbas is playing. Abbas knows that time and public opinion are on his side. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can denounce the move, President Obama can end it, those opposed to it can call it foolish and self-defeating.… Seguir leyendo »
On Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with plastic explosives hidden in his underwear. On Dec. 22, 2001, Richard Reid tried to blow up a transatlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes. Incompetent and poorly supported, they were quickly foiled by passengers and flight crew. But the fact that Abdulmutallab would try a variation of Reid’s attack eight years later raises some interesting questions about terrorist tactics.
One question in particular is, why airplanes? Anyone who has traveled on a train, subway, bus or ferry in the United States knows that anyone can board without much fear of being detained or searched.… Seguir leyendo »