[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the fifth in a series of "Peer-Reviewed Article Reviews" in which we present a collection of journals and their articles concerned with the Middle East and Arab world. This series will be published seasonally. Each issue will comprise one-to-three parts, depending on the number of articles included.]
American Economic Review (Volume 108, Issue 8)
Violence and Risk Preference: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan: Comment
By: Ferdinand M. Vieider
Abstract: In this comment on Callen et al. (2014), I revisit recent evidence uncovering a "preference for certainty" in violation of dominant normative and descriptive theories of decision-making under risk. I show that the empirical findings are potentially confounded by systematic noise. I then develop choice lists that allow me to disentangle these different explanations. Experimental results obtained with these lists reject explanations based on a preference for certainty in favor of explanations based on random choice. From a theoretical point of view, the levels of risk aversion detected in the choice list involving certainty can be accounted for by prospect theory through reference dependence activated by salient outcomes.
American Ethnologist (Volume 45, Issue 3)
Commensuration, performativity, and the reform of statistics in Turkey
By: Brian Silverstein
Abstract: Turkey's application to join the European Union, while currently a distant prospect, has nonetheless required the Turkish state to learn new things about the country in light of new norms and to use new formats and methodologies. The reform of its statistics is a key mechanism through which this transformation is taking place. A focus of intensive reforms is agricultural statistics, and these reforms have had an impact on farmers’ practices and livelihoods. The attempt to measure agriculture in new ways in Turkey is changing it through a logic of performativity. It is in and through this performativity that important work of institutional commensuration between Turkey and the European Union is happening, illustrating the technopolitical nature of reform in many parts of the world.
Immersive invisibility in the settler‐colonial city: The conditional inclusion of Palestinians in Tel Aviv
By: Andreas Hackl
Abstract: The inclusion of indigenous people into settler‐colonial cities is often highly conditional. For middle‐class Palestinian citizens of Israel in Tel Aviv, the invisibility of their ethnonational identity is a precondition for their access to the city's neoliberal economy and “liberal” lifestyle. To increase their mobility and socioeconomic opportunities, they employ diverse tactics of immersive invisibility. Some, in hopes of overcoming their stigmatized identity, aspire to be recognized as unmarked individuals and successful professionals. Although immersive invisibility does not change settler‐colonial exclusion, it determines how much individuals can achieve within existing parameters. Tactics of immersive invisibility do not necessarily enable one to transcend categorical difference and racialized exclusion, but they reveal how neoliberal inclusion and the settler‐colonial politics of exclusion become entangled and constitute each other.
Contesting love through commodification: Soccer fans, affect, and social class in Turkey
By: Yagmur Nuhrat
Abstract: Soccer in Turkey has in recent decades become increasingly commodified. This process has been reinforced by a national law passed in 2011 that promises to prevent violence in the stands and “civilize” fandom. For upper‐middle‐class fans, the new “cleaned‐up” version of soccer secures class distinction, but among less affluent and working‐class fans, it has inspired resistance. Class conflict is here indexed through contestations over what it means to be a true fan and especially the quality of one's love for the team. Working‐class fans often describe their love as maddening or self‐sacrificing, while more affluent fans, sponsors, and administrators associate love with consumption. In the context of increasing political repression, fan resistance to commodification is discursively entangled with love and violence.
American Journal of Political Science (Volume 62, Issue 3)
Born Weak, Growing Strong: Anti‐Government Protests as a Signal of Rebel Strength in the Context of Civil Wars
By: Bahar Leventoğlu, Nils W. Metternich
Abstract: All rebel organizations start weak, but how do they grow and achieve favorable conflict outcomes? We present a theoretical model that allows for rebel organizations to gain support beyond their “core” and build their bargaining power during fighting. We highlight that rebel organizations need to win over crucial parts of society to generate the necessary support that allows them to attain favorable civil conflict outcomes. We find empirical support for the argument that low‐income individuals who initially fight the government (rebel organizations) have to convince middle‐class individuals to turn out against the government to gain government concessions. Empirically, we demonstrate that government concessions in the form of peace agreements and the onset of negotiations become more likely when protest occurs in the context of civil conflicts.
Anthropology & Education Quarterly (Volume 49, Issue 2)
Care or Neglect?: Corporal Discipline Reform in a Rural Moroccan Classroom
By: Christine Nutter El Ouardani
Abstract: I examine parent, student, and teacher reactions in a rural Moroccan village to a national ban on corporal punishment in schools. I argue that although the ban has largely been ignored in the local primary school, talk about acts of corporal punishment are used to make claims about the relationship between rural citizen and state as represented by the teachers because of the way in which these practices index care and authority.
Arab Law Quarterly (Volume 32, Issue 2)
The Applicability of the 1980 Hague Abduction Convention in Muslim Countries: Particular Reference to the Malaysian Position
By: Abdul Ghafur Hamid; Nora Abdul Hak; Najibah Mohd Zin, Hidayati Mohamed Jani
Abstract: In response to the increasing number of traumatic international child abduction cases, the Hague Abduction Convention (the convention) has been adopted to secure the return of abducted children to their home country. Most Muslim countries are, however, not yet parties to the convention. This article seeks to investigate the reason for this phenomenon, focusing in particular on the convention’s compatibility with basic tenets of Islamic law. The article also evaluates Malaysian domestic legislation and case law in order to assess whether Malaysia is in a position to be a party to the convention. The article finds that although there are a few areas of concern, no serious incompatibility between Shari‘a and the convention exist, and that more dissemination is required to quash misconceptions about the convention among Muslim countries. The article concludes with recommendations for Muslim countries in this crucial area of protecting the best interests of our children.
Sustainable Financing and Enhancing the Role of Islamic Banks in Malaysia
By: Sherin Kunhibava; Sarah Tan Yen Ling, Md Khalil Ruslan
Abstract: Although the banking sector does not directly affect the environment, it can pursue environmentally friendly practices and reduce waste. Moreover, it can promote environmentally sustainable investments and encourage businesses to adopt similar practices. Because Islam encourages preservation and prohibits harm to the earth, Islamic banks are expected to follow such practices in pursuit of Shariʿa compliance. In Malaysia, Islamic banks have already embarked on this path, mainly by practising conservation in operational matters; however, other areas of sustainable financing have been less enthusiastically pursued. This study recommends a three-level approach: (1) at the banking level, more proactive steps should be taken, e.g., greening operations, introducing environmentally friendly products and services, complying with environmental regulations, creating awareness and training stakeholders; (2) at the national level, the Central Bank should introduce appropriate policies and guidelines; and (3) at an international level, voluntary principles should be adopted to ensure compliance with global initiatives.
Sufficiency of Omani Laws to Suppress Cybercrimes in Light of the UN Comprehensive Study on Cybercrimes
By: Muhammad Masum Billah
Abstract: To address the problem of cybercrimes and related issues, Oman has adopted two new pieces of legislation, the Electronic Transactions Law (ETL) and the Cybercrime Law. Of the two, the ETL, enacted in 2008, is the older one. It addresses only some cybercrimes, in particular, the ‘target cybercrimes’ in its last chapter. In 2011, Oman enacted the Cybercrime Law to specifically address cases of cybercrime. The law covers almost every type of target cybercrime and some tool cybercrimes. This article analyses the concept of cybercrime and whether Omani law addresses all such crimes. In evaluating the Omani cybercrime laws and the challenges cybercrime brings, the article uses the United Nation’s Comprehensive Study on Cybercrime (2013) as the standard of reference for comparison.
Juristic Differences over the Implementation of Qisas against a Muslim Who Kills a Non-Muslim
By: Muhammad Amanullah
Abstract: Muslim jurists differ on whether Muslims who murder non-Muslims should be sentenced to death or not. Although Hanafi jurists maintain that they should be, most Muslim jurists hold that they should not. Modern scholars such as ʿAwdah, El-Awa and others have discussed the issue. Based on classical and modern fiqh (Islamic law) literature, this article examines the principal arguments used by both groups, concluding that the Hanafi opinion is to be preferred because it is based on stronger proofs and conforms more closely to the public interest of contemporary Muslims and non-Muslims.
Arab Studies Quarterly (Volume 40, Issue 3)
Divided Mediterranean, Divided World: The Influence of Arabic on Medieval Italian Poetry
By: Samar Attar
Abstract: “Divided Mediterranean, Divided World: The Influence of Arabic on Medieval Italian Poetry” describes the significant role played by Arabic and Islamic poetry, legends, tales, and philosophy on major Italian poets in the Middle Ages in spite of the denial of some of the poets themselves of such an influence. Psychologists do not seem to pay much attention to the love-hate syndrome that affects sensitive souls in politically unstable states. Similarly, many literary critics continue to turn a blind eye to the influence of Arabic on Medieval Italian poetry. Historians also present history to us not only through documents they have read in archives, but they similarly express their own divergent personal opinions and interpretations of historical events.
Emotional Distance: Transnational Pleasure in Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North
By: Rimun Murad
Abstract: Scholars in Arab post-colonial literature have spoken of the lure of the West for immigrants in terms of the West's superiority of education, technological development, military prowess, political weight, and economic clout. Sudanese novelist Tayeb Salih presents a different, but not inconsistent, narrative: his novel Season of Migration to the North suggests that the lure of the West, in the case of England, consists in its accommodation of emotional distance. Even though Tayeb Salih's literary work acknowledges the role of emotional detachment in undermining the notions of community, home, and integration, Season asserts that emotionlessness is the source of gratification for the transnational protagonist Mustafa Sa'eed. In so doing, Season argues against the immigrant and transnational notion of emotional apathy being a source of pain for diasporic subjects. Mustafa Sa'eed's lack of emotions allows him to interact with the fiction of West through embodying Oriental and other performances. The protagonist's emotional detachment from English society, its women, and preconceived notions about the Orient, paradoxically, enables him to derive pleasure from his physical trysts, nomadism, anti-colonial revenge, and pretend play.
Revisiting the Druze Politics in Palestine under British Colonial Rule
By: Eduardo Wassim Aboultaif
Abstract: There is an established literature which argues that the Druze of Palestine were either neutral during the Colonial period or supportive of the Zionist Agency and its plans. The aim of this research is to counter the Zionist narratives that promote the concept of Druze-Zionist cooperation. I argue that the Druze were supportive of the Palestinian-Arab cause, and they heavily participated in the anti-colonial activities of the Palestinians, politically and militarily. Their military participation was manifested in their participation in the events of 1929, 1936, and 1948. Politically, Sheikh Amin Tarif led the community in their stance against Zionism. This research will provide a new account and narrative for the Druze role in the events in mandatory Palestine, revealing their supportive stance to the Palestinian national struggle.
Comparative Political Studies (Volume 51, Issue 8)
Collective Action and Constraints on Repression at the Endgame
By: Tiberiu Dragu, Yonatan Lupu
Abstract: How can human rights abuses be prevented or reduced? Using a simple game-theoretic model, we demonstrate that repression can become a coordination game when the potential for abuses is greatest: when dissent against a regime has grown sufficiently powerful. In such scenarios, repression depends on how the leader’s agents coordinate on implementing a repression order. If and to the extent agents believe other agents will not comply with an order to repress, leaders can expect agents to disobey orders and will be less likely to order repression. This logic of expectations constitutes a third mechanism for constraining repression, in addition to sanctioning (i.e., the logic of consequences) and normative mechanisms (i.e., the logic of appropriateness). We formally explore how the logic of expectations can constrain the implementation of repression and also show that the logic of expectations has the greatest potential to constrain repression in middle regimes or “anocracies.” In turn, this has broader implications for the strategies human rights advocates use in such regimes, how leaders structure their security forces, and for the study of why legal rules might be especially effective in such regimes.
Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 11, Issue 2)
The right to commemoration and “ideal victims”: the puzzle of victim dissatisfaction with State-led commemoration after 9/11 and 3/11
By: Cristina Flesher Fominaya, Rosemary Barberet
Abstract: This article explores the puzzle of victim dissatisfaction with State-led commemoration following 9/11 and 3/11 by offering a cross-national case study through which to view key areas of theoretical debate in the sociology of human rights, cultural trauma and collective memory, and the politics of victimhood. Although state-led commemorative processes are often highly contested, we would expect them to be less so in the cases of 9/11 and 3/11, given broad social consensus about the victims’ right to commemoration and the traumatic nature of the events, and especially the “ideal nature” of the victims who as symbolic representatives of the state are conferred with great moral authority. Drawing on primary and secondary data on the commemoration of the attacks of 11th September 2001 and 11th March 2004 we find that despite sharp differences between commemorative processes, three common key areas of contestation and dissatisfaction for victims emerge: political instrumentalization, hierarchies of worth and exclusion. We show how the status of ideal victimhood for victims of transnational terrorism carries within it an inherent paradox which provides the key to their dissatisfaction, namely the moral authority conferred on them as representatives of the state simultaneously depersonalises them, excluding them as individuals with rights and needs.
Temporal trends in US counterterrorism sting operations, 1989–2014
By: Jesse J. Norris, Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk
Abstract: How has the US government’s use of counterterrorism sting operations changed over the past quarter-century? Have major terrorist attacks led to more frequent sting operations and/or more frequent entrapment–and if so, have such changes been temporary or long-lasting? Have different types of terrorism provoked different reactions? This study answers these questions using a database of US terrorism prosecutions occurring between 1989 and 2014, each coded for twenty indicators of entrapment. We analyse temporal trends, and in particular, compare the government’s responses to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 terror attacks. Results indicate that after the Oklahoma City bombing, the number of sting operations against right-wing extremists doubled, while the average number of entrapment indicators dropped. This suggests that authorities in the 1990s responded to the growing threat of right-wing terrorism appropriately: conducting more investigations while avoiding entrapment. After 9/11, sting operations against suspected jihadi terrorists rapidly increased, but in this case, they featured high numbers of entrapment indicators through the end of the study period, suggesting widespread and persistent entrapment. Reasons for this difference, and for the government’s failure to reduce entrapment in response to widespread criticism over the past decade, are analysed.
A history of drones: moral(e) bombing and state terrorism
By: Afxentis Afxentiou
Abstract: This article argues that an historical investigation of air power makes possible the critique of current regimes of drone surveillance and bombing as a practice of state terrorism. By identifying certain key themes regularly used in terrorism studies for the classification of violence as “terrorism”, this article shows that early air power theorists understood military aircraft as essentially instruments of terrorism. A central argument permeating these theorists’ conception of air power was that the military value of aviation lay in its capacity to target the enemy’s population and, by means of bombing, generate a significant “moral effect”–that is, a psychological effect against the morale of civilians. This strategic formula constituted a central component of British air control schemes during the interwar period, where terror bombing was deployed systematically in order to control and pacify colonial populations. In arguing that widespread and long-lasting terror remains an inalienable feature of air power, this article concludes with a call for a critique that accounts for the fact that current deployments of armed drones–for instance, the US “targeted killings” programme–effectively reproduce these historical and material conditions of terrorist violence.
Drones, state terrorism and international law
By: Ruth Blakeley
Abstract: The conventional wisdom among US foreign policymakers is that drones enable precise strikes, and therefore limit collateral damage. In contrast, critics point out that many civilian casualties have ensued, and they variously cite poor intelligence and imprecision of the strikes as reasons for this. Critics have also raised concerns that the United States and its allies are engaging in “lawfare” to legitimise violations of human rights law. As such, some have questioned whether academic engagement with the legal questions surrounding targeted killings amount to collusion with state attempts to legitimise human rights violations. This article will argue that by conceptualising the targeted killings programme as a form of state terrorism, we are better equipped to provide a critical analysis of the drones programme within the context of a long history of violence and terrorism which has underpinned the imperial and neo-imperial projects of the United Kingdom and United States. The article will then argue that there are important similarities between the targeted killings programme, and previous UK and US counterinsurgency operations, including prior uses of air power, and operations involving the internment of terror suspects, and the targeting of specific individuals for interrogation and torture or disappearance. Common to these programmes is that they are forms of policing aimed at crushing rebellions, stifling disorder and constructing or maintaining particular political economies, through terror. Also common to these programmes are the attempts made either to conceal illicit actions, or in the event they are exposed, to shroud them in a veil of legitimacy. The article concludes by offering some brief reflections on why we should not abandon the quest to resolve the thorny legal questions around the targeted killings programme.
The (non) event of state terror: drones and divine violence
By: Sean Rupka, Bianca Baggiarini
Abstract: In this article, we interrogate how the logic of the drone reconfigures state terrorism through the politics of (in)visibility. We argue that the everyday life of the drone can be both dull and disastrous, and thus demonstrates how state and non-state terror operate around different logics of visibility and witnessing. Enhanced sight and interpretation of data wrought by drones are distinct from the politicised act of witnessing. State terrorism, however, benefits from the privatisation and depoliticization of the witnessing of the event through a minimisation of those who appear “visible.” Further, through the language of technology and security, drones help to classify the witnessing of the event. The event produces terror without witness, and without premonition, invoking the omnipresent power of god and thus blending divine retribution with profane catastrophe. We claim that state terror seeks to: (1) limit the exposure of the state to the act of witnessing and remembrance; and (2) through the ethos of privatisation, legalistically control the narrative of violence. In our conclusion, we discuss the implications of warfare in relation to (in)visibility, memory and drones.
Totalitarian tendencies in drone strikes by states
By: Laurie Calhoun
Abstract: Lethal drones or unmanned combat aerial vehicles have been used to kill thousands of persons suspected of complicity in terrorism. Despite concerns aired by legal scholars that drone strikes outside areas of active hostilities violate international law, the US government contends that targeted killing is distinct from assassination, and has persisted in the practice to the point where it has become normalised as a standard operating procedure and taken up by other nations as well. Drone strikes have been championed by Western politicians as a “light footprint” approach to war, but the institutional apparatus of remote-control killing rests on totalitarian, not democratic principles. Secretive targeting criteria and procedures are withheld from citizens under a pretext of national security, resulting in a conflation of executive with judicial authority and an inversion of the burden of proof, undermining the very framework of universal human rights said to be championed by modern Western states. Moreover, lethal drones hovering above in the sky threaten all persons on the ground with the arbitrary termination of their lives and as such represent a form of terrorism no less than the suicide bombings of jihadist groups such as al-Qa‘ida and ISIS.
State terrorism: orientalism and the drone programme
By: Marina Espinoza
Abstract: This article builds on the recent and growing scholarship on the negative effects of the drone programme. Current literature has shown that the drone programme terrorises the civilian population that it keeps under surveillance. Furthermore, it has articulated the drone programme’s violence as biopolitical and its surveillance as a necropolitical technology of distinction. It is argued in this article that the Orientalist attitudes and logic necessary for drone targeting form the basis for the biopolitical and necropolitical component of the drone programme. This article explores the Orientalism that suffuses the US drone programme in order to juxtapose it with governmental discourses that characterise the drone programme and its surveillance as neutral and humane–demonstrating the gap between government discourses of modernity and the actual drone programme. The necropolitical logic of distinction used for targeting leads to the assimilation of those under the drone’s gaze to a population that can be put to death, leading the drone programme to operate indiscriminately. The biopolitical logic is visible in the US practices, which I argue constitutes terrorism with the corroboration of civilian testimonies.
Flesh and steel: antithetical figures in the war on terrorism
By: Elke Schwarz
Abstract: The ongoing conflict in the war on terrorism puts two emblematic modes of violence into sharp relief: the drone, as an ostensibly rational, clinical and measured weapon of war, and suicide bombings, frequently portrayed as the horrid deeds of fanatics. In this article, I seek to challenge this juxtaposition and instead suggest that both modalities of killing are part of the same technologically-mediated ecology of violence. To do this, I examine the material-semiotic assemblage of the drone and of the suicide bomber, paying attention to the technological production of each mode of violence, as well as the narratives that render each figure intelligible in the war on terrorism. I argue that the strongly divergent narratives found in Western discourse serve as a politically expedient sense–making device, whereby suicide bombing is pathologized, thereby justifying ever more intrusive violent acts with seemingly rational technologies like the drone. Rather than “solving” the problem of terrorism, this creates counter-productive, or iatrogenic, effects, in which technological mediation escalates rather than diminishes cycles of violence. By way of response, I suggest that a better understanding of the relational nature of violence in the war on terrorism might be gained by reading the two not as antithetical figures, but instead as operating in the same technological key.
Dead Sea Discoveries (Volume 25, Issue 2)
One Work or Three? A Proposal for Reading 1QS-1QSa-1QSb as a Composite Work
By: Michael Brooks Johnson
Abstract: Milik’s interpretation of the columns of 1QSa and 1QSb as appendices to 1QS. This article examines the circumstances out of which this “appendix hypothesis” emerged, highlights its weaknesses, and takes up Philip Alexander and Géza Vermes’s call to consider the sections of the scroll together by proposing that 1QS-1QSa-1QSb is a composite work that its editor has unified through superscriptions. This study also examines the formatting between 1QS, 1QSa, and 1QSb and the evidence of a recension concerned with introducing the activity of the sons of Zadok and reframing the material for the Maskil throughout the scroll to propose that the heterogeneous and sometimes inconsistent contents are presented by its redactor as a single work rather than three distinct works in a single scroll.
New Light on the Ten Jubilees of 11QMelchizedek (11Q13)
By: Ariel Feldman
Abstract: This note suggests a new reading and reconstruction of the oft-cited 11QMelchizedek 2:6–8. This passage is a part of the “pesher for the last days” expounding on Lev 25:13 and Deut 15:2. Its vision of future liberation from spiritual captivity to Belial relies on the language and conceptual framework of the Jubilee Year. Moreover, the pesher refers to a temporal scheme of ten Jubilees. The new reading helps clarify the precise timing of the eschatological redemption, “the beginning of the first Jubilee after [the] te[n] Jubilees,” and its implication for the scroll’s scriptural exegesis.
Another Look at the Cave 1 Hodayot: Was CH I Materially Part of the Scroll 1QHodayota?
By: Angela Kim Harkins
Abstract: This essay builds on the monumental material reconstruction of the Cave 1 hodayot scroll (1QHa) first proposed by Hartmut Stegemann and brought to completion by Eileen Schuller in the critical edition available in DJD 40, which is, and will remain, an invaluable scholarly resource. At the same time, the proliferation of scholarly editions of the Cave 1 hodayot projects to modern readers an illusory material unity that the Cave 1 hodayot did not enjoy in antiquity. This study highlights some curious aspects of the unprovenanced Cave 1 hodayot, especially as they pertain to our understanding of the literary collection known popularly as the first group of Community Hymns (= CH I), and offers a possible scenario to account for the material state of the hodayot at the time of its abandonment.
Community, Alterity, and Space in the Qumran Covenant Curses
By: Andrew R. Krause
Abstract: 1QS 2 recounts a ritual in which the community convenes and shares in the annual recitation of blessings and curses for the purpose of reaffirming its communal, ritual boundaries as it is beset on all sides by darkness and transgressive ways. This group needs purifying through the ejection of the morally impure, those whose actions are judged to be ‘out of place.’ Conversely, in 4QBerakhot, the entirety of divinely ordered creation is cited in the blessing of God by the performative community in the heavenly throne room. This latter tradition understands those capable of this heavenly benediction as being sufficiently pure to stand in God’s presence, while Belial and those of his lot are already consigned to their fate in the pit. Thus, given the entirely different ideals and resultant construction of figural space in these two traditions, we are forced to question the equation of their performative contexts.
The Scribe of 1QS, 1QSa, 1QSb, 4Q53 (4QSamc), 4Q175 and Three Features of Orthography and Phonology
By: Eric D. Reymond
Abstract: That a single scribe copied 1QS, 1QSa, 1QSb, 4Q53 (4QSamc), 4Q175 is commonly recognized. However, what has not been emphasized previously is that certain orthographic / phonological idiosyncrasies appear prominently, if not exclusively, in only one of these texts, 1QS, even though these idiosyncrasies would seem to be involuntary and, for this reason, should appear evenly distributed throughout the texts. Instead, one finds the greatest correspondence in type and concentration in 1QIsaa, though this was copied by different scribes. The three idiosyncratic features studied are the Aramaic והי- suffix on plural nouns, the he in the prefix of hiphil yiqṭol verbs, and the interchange of gutturals.
Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict (Volume 11, Issue 2)
Examining the military–media nexus in ISIS’s provincial photography campaign
By: Kareem El Damanhoury, Carol Winkler, Wojciech Kaczkowski, Aaron Dicker
Abstract: Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) views military action and media operations as two equally important, reinforcing components of its campaign. With provinces disseminating ninety-five percent of ISIS’s media output, provincial media play a central role in achieving appearance shifts in the contested balance of power. Yet, scholars have not fully examined the interactions between the media and military components of ISIS’s campaign at the provincial level. To understand how enhanced coalition military operations impact the quantity and content of provincial media output, this study examines all 1643 photographs that Ninawa province disseminated before and during intense battles in the east Mosul operation. Unlike the common views in earlier studies, our study reveals that Ninawa’s use of still imagery, in particular, tripled following the launch of the Mosul operation, and the depiction of the state-building campaign remained intact. ISIS also used about-to-die images as its image weaponry of choice during intensified military pressure. Here, we use the case of Ninawa province to explore how ISIS can create nuanced photographic campaigns to help offset losses on the contested media battlefield and facilitate future repackaging of content. Finally, we highlight the importance of operationalization for a better understanding of the military–media nexus in future studies.
Changes and stabilities in the language of Islamic state magazines: a sentiment analysis
By: Logan Macnair, Richard Frank
Abstract: This study applies the semi-automated method of sentiment analysis in order to examine any quantifiable changes in the linguistic, topical, or narrative patterns that are present in the English-language Islamic State-produced propaganda magazines Dabiq (fifteen issues) and Rumiyah (ten issues). Based on a sentiment analysis of the textual content of these magazines, it was found that the overall use of language has remained largely consistent between the two magazines and across a timespan of roughly three years. However, while the majority of the language within these magazines is consistent, a small number of significant changes with regard to certain words and phrases were found. Specifically, the language of Islamic State magazines has become increasingly hostile towards certain enemy groups of the organization, while the language used to describe the Islamic State itself has become significantly more positive over time. In addition to identifying the changes and stabilities of the language used in Islamic State magazines, this study endeavours to test the effectiveness of the sentiment analysis method as a means of examining and potentially countering extremist media moving forward.
Economic Affairs (Volume 38, Issue 2)
How is the Pro-Capitalist Mentality Globally Distributed?
By: Pál Czeglédi Carlos Newland
Abstract: This article demonstrates the existence of conglomerates of nations that seem to have similar ideological attitudes towards capitalism. The main finding is the existence of relatively homogeneous global cultural clusters, the Anglosphere and Northern European nations showing the highest appreciation for free markets, followed by the Sinosphere. The rest of the world tends to be more anti‐capitalist, with the Middle East and Eastern Europe standing out for being at the end of the spectrum. Statistical analysis suggests that the capitalist mentality is to some extent autonomous, and does not seem to be determined strongly by other variables such as income, growth or inequality. At the same time, the capitalistic mentality appears to correlate with economic freedom, as measured by the Economic Freedom of the World index. If a pro‐capitalist ideology is connected to institutional development, then some conglomerates seem to be in a better position to attain or maintain economic growth in the future.
Electoral Studies (Volume 54)
Mapping the European far right in the 21st century: A meso-level analysis
By: Vasiliki Georgiadou, Lamprini Rori, Costas Roumanias
Abstract: Using a new regional database of national and European parliament elections on NUTS 2 level in twenty-eight countries, we test the main theories explaining the electoral support for the European far right. Accounting for differences between the extremist (ER) and populist radical right (PRR), we find evidence in support of both economic insecurity and cultural backlash theses. The ER vote is associated mostly with economic insecurity and the PRR vote mostly with cultural backlash. Whereas micro and macro-level analyses have often produced conflicting results, unemployment, immigration and income inequalities have significant and robust effects at the meso level, indicating that the factors determining the far right vote might at large be operating at a sub-national level. In line with the “contact” and “salience-of-change” hypotheses, the effects of economic insecurity are more pronounced in regions that undergo sudden changes compared to those with high levels of immigration.
Centre right and radical right party competition in Europe: Strategic emphasis on immigration, anti-incumbency, and economic crisis
By: James F. Downes, Matthew Loveless
Abstract: We examine centre right and radical right party competition. We argue that centre right parties–particularly non-incumbents–recognise economic crises as electoral opportunities for radical right parties and respond with the strategic emphasis of immigration in mass appeals. To test this, we merge party performance data with expert surveys across twenty-four European Union countries to examine parties’ electoral performances during the 2008 economic crisis. We find that non-incumbent centre right parties benefited from emphasising immigration, performing better than radical right parties. Second, incumbent centre right parties that did not emphasise immigration lost out electorally, providing an opportunity for far-right parties to benefit from immigration in this economic context. Qualitative case studies further suggest that while these effects appear to be more pronounced in Western Europe, the results are consistent across the East and West. The findings suggest a reconsideration of immigration as an exclusive issue for far-right electoral success.
International Political Sociology (Volume 12, Issue 2)
The Islamic State: Violence and Ideology in a Post-colonial Revolutionary Regime
By: Brian Mello
Abstract: This paper seeks to counter popular and academic discourse that emphasizes the uniqueness or unprecedented nature of the Islamic State. Many of these claims highlight the violence perpetrated by ISIS as evidence of its unique ideology. This essay draws from the work of Foucault and Fanon, as well as from Richard Sakwa’s thinking on the changing nature of the concept of revolution, in order to counter these popular narratives. The paper begins by reading ISIS’s public executions through the lens of Foucault’s discussion of the spectacle of violence in Discipline and Punish. What is often described as unique, irrational, unprecedented violence is reread as advancing particular rational goals. Yet, rather than dismiss ISIS’s ideology altogether, the paper argues that ISIS is best understood as exhibiting qualities of an anticolonial revolutionary regime. Through violent actions, it forges new collective identities grounded in a national culture rooted in an effort to find authenticity in precolonial Sunni Islam.
Grieving, Valuing, and Viewing Differently: The Global War on Terror's American Toll
By: Kandida Purnell
Abstract: In March 2003 (the eve of Iraq's invasion), the George W. Bush Administration reissued, extended, and enforced a directive prohibiting the publication and broadcast of images and videos capturing the ritual repatriation of America's war dead. This directive (known as the Dover Ban) is exemplary of a wider set of more subtle processes and practices of American statecraft working to move suffering and dead American soldiers out of the American public eye. This is due, I argue, to dominant (government and military) bodies knowing, valuing, and counting generic soldier material as but a “precious resource” with which to fuel the Global War on Terror. However, my investigation into the (in)visibility of suffering and dead American soldiers since 9/11 reveals that subordinate yet challenging American bodies could not be stopped from knowing, valuing, and counting American soldiers differently—in life, injury, and death. Indeed, regarding American soldiers as grievable persons, the challenging actions discussed in this article demonstrate how Americans were moved to demand and take the right to count and account for soldiers’ suffering and deaths in public and in the very face of dominant bodies that “do not do body counts.”
International Studies Perspectives (Volume 19, Issue 3)
Toward a Pedagogy for Critical Security Studies: Politics of Migration in the Classroom
By: Ali Bilgic, Mandeep Dhami, Dilek Onkal
Abstract: International relations has increasingly paid attention to critical pedagogy. Feminist, postcolonial, and poststructuralist international relations scholarship, in particular, have long been advancing discussions about how to create a pluralist and democratic classroom where “the others” of politics can be heard by the students, who then can critically reflect upon complex power relations in global politics. Despite its normative position, critical security studies has so far refrained from joining this pedagogical conversation. International relations scholars in critical security studies can contribute to the production of a critical political subject in the “uncomfortable classroom,” one who reflects on violent practices of security. Three pedagogical methods will be discussed here: engaging with the students’ lifeworlds, revealing the positionality of security knowledge claims, and opening up the classroom to the choices about how student agency can be performed beyond the classroom. The argument is illustrated with reference to international relations and politics students’ perceptions of Syrian refugees in Turkey. The article advances the discussion in critical international relations pedagogy and encourages critical security studies scholarship to focus on teaching in accordance with its normative position.
Post 9/11 Higher Education Reforms and the Instruction of International Relations in Pakistan
By: Wali Aslam
Abstract: Although Pakistan's higher education sector has seen seismic reforms since 9/11, little is known about the impact of those reforms on day-to-day instruction at Pakistani universities. Based on fieldwork at three institutions, this article examines the impact of these reforms on the teaching of international relations. This study makes several points. First, faculty who receive advanced degrees abroad and return to Pakistan have introduced a culture of innovation at Pakistani universities, but the changes have been too abrupt. Second, students express clear preference for their instruction to be in English. Third, students have limited appetites for instruction in their first language. Fourth, the staff and students at one of the military institutions examined displayed a moderate, often liberal view. Finally, universities still lag behind in catering to the learning needs of a diverse student body.
International Studies Quarterly (Volume 62, Issue 2)
Cleansing the Caliphate: Insurgent Violence against Sexual Minorities
By: Joshua Tschantret
Abstract: Why do insurgents target certain groups for extermination? Despite a great deal of attention to the targeting of civilian ethnic minorities, comparatively little scholarship exists on insurgent violence against sexual minorities (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual individuals). This article maintains that the decision to target sexual minorities follows three distinct logics: two strategic and one ideological. First, insurgents face an incentive to outbid rivals by targeting sexual minorities when homophobic violence is politically and socially legitimated. Second, territorial control creates an incentive for insurgents to signal their ability to selectively punish, which they can accomplish through homophobic violence. Third, revolutionary ideologies provide legitimation for exclusionary violence in the pursuit of transforming society. Statistical analysis of insurgent violence against sexual minorities from 1985 to 2015 lends strong support for these arguments. Process tracing of the spread of violence against sexual minorities in Iraq and Syria clarifies the strategic causal mechanisms. When progovernment militias targeted perceived homosexuals with impunity, antigay violence was adopted by insurgent groups seeking to legitimize their claims to power; violence then quickly spread to competing insurgents. Two additional cases from Latin America demonstrate that ideology plays an important role in influencing which groups embrace homophobic violence even under these strategic constraints.
How to Keep Officers in the Barracks: Causes, Agents, and Types of Military Coups
By: Holger Albrecht, Ferdinand Eibl
Abstract: What are the most efficient strategies to prevent military coups d’état? The answer depends on coup agency, that is, who attempts to overthrow the regime: elite officers or lower-ranking combat officers. Elite officers and lower-ranking combat officers have different incentives, opportunities, and capacities when it comes to perpetrating coups. Using original data on coup agency, public spending, and officer salaries in the Middle East and North Africa, we find that counterbalancing—a strategy designed to increase barriers for coup plotters’ coordination efforts—and higher shares of defense spending prove more effective at preventing coups by elite officers. However, higher social spending reduces the risk of coups by combat officers. Political liberalization has mixed effects on military agents. It decreases the risk of coups by combat officers, but makes elite officers more likely to mount coups. Our findings suggest that the study of coups needs to better incorporate variation and that we need to rethink the image of coups as purely elite-led power grabs.
Crude Peace: The Role of Oil Trade in the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Negotiations
By: Ziv Rubinovitz, Elai Rettig
Abstract: Does trading oil promote peace between rival countries? Despite the optimism of liberal theories on the value of economic interdependence, countries worry more about the possibility of being cut off from vital oil supplies than about forgoing the potential economic gains of trade. The 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace is an exception to this rule, as the inclusion of oil trade agreements during negotiations succeeded and eventually became a positive aspect of the relations between the two states. However, this resulted not from the promotion of economic interdependence during negotiations, but from its avoidance. The United States guaranteed to compensate Israel for any breach in the oil agreement. This permitted Israel and Egypt to trade freely without imminent concern of becoming too dependent on one another. In consequence, they slowly built mutual trust over the years. Israeli and US declassified documents shed light on the creation of this unique oil trade agreement during the final phase of peace negotiations. We argue that a third-party guarantee to compensate for a breach in energy trade is often a necessary condition for such deals to succeed, provided that the guarantor meets certain preconditions unique to energy trade.
Labor Migrants as Political Leverage: Migration Interdependence and Coercion in the Mediterranean
By: Gerasimos Tsourapas
Abstract: How do states attempt to use their position as destinations for labor migration to influence sending states, and under what conditions do they succeed? I argue that economically driven cross-border mobility generates reciprocal political economy effects on sending and host states. That is, it produces migration interdependence. Host states may leverage their position against a sending state by either deploying strategies of restriction—curbing remittances, strengthening immigration controls, or both—or displacement—forcefully expelling citizens of the sending state. These strategies’ success depends on whether the sending state is vulnerable to the political economy costs incurred by host states’ strategy, namely if it is unable to absorb them domestically and cannot procure the support of alternative host states. I also contend that displacement strategies involve higher costs than restriction efforts and are therefore more likely to succeed. I demonstrate my claims through a least-likely, two-case study design of Libyan and Jordanian coercive migration diplomacy against Egypt in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. I examine how two weaker Arab states leveraged their position against Egypt, a stronger state but one vulnerable to migration interdependence, through the restriction and displacement of Egyptian migrants.
Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (Volume 61, Issues 3 & 4)
Beneath the Mustache: A Well-Trimmed History of Facial Hair in the Late Ottoman Era
By: Avner Wishnitzer
Abstract: Based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of visual representations and written texts, this study argues that officers, civil officials, and urban professionals who came of age in the late Hamidian era adopted the mustache as an expression of a generational identification and a related self-consciously modern masculinity that defined itself against the bearded, Hamidian order. After 1908, when the instigators of the revolution and their supporters climbed up the social and political hierarchies, the mustache rose with them and became the facial ornament of the most powerful people in the empire. Considering the common association of the mustache with youth, its adoption as a marker of identification hints at the unsettling of longtime ageist hierarchies but also, at the durability and adaptability of gender ones.
The Promises and Perils of Courtly Poetry: The Case of Mir ʿAbd al-Jalil Bilgrami (1660-1725) in the Late Mughal Empire
By: Abhishek Kaicker
Abstract: This article examines the career and writings of the minor poet ʿAbd al-Jalil Bilgrami (1660-1725) in order to explore the relation between the practice of courtly poetry and the work of politics in the Late Mughal empire. Tracing the transformations in ʿAbd al-Jalil’s writings over the first decades of the eighteenth century, this article demonstrates that the poet’s practice, driven as much by literary concerns as by material needs, responded to and was implicated within the politics of the Mughal court. His life thus illuminates both the opportunities and dangers opened by the practice of poetry in an era of the rapid and unprecedented dispersal of political authority in the empire.
Female Labor, Merchant Capital, and Resilient Manufacturing: Rethinking Ottoman Armenian Communities through Labor and Business
By: Yasar Tolga Cora
Abstract: The present article is a study of the social history of textile production in the city of Yerznka (Erzincan) in East-Central Anatolia. It examines textile manufacturing as a site in which gender, class, and ethnicity interacted to form the basis of an Armenian community before the Genocide. It brings a fresh perspective to studies on the persistence of Ottoman textile production in the age of European industrial production by approaching the community as a nexus of production relations. It argues that extensive female labor and a hierarchically organized production system under the control of merchant-entrepreneurs were among the main factors in the endurance of the Ottoman production system into World War I. At the same time, the control of the production system by the merchant-entrepreneurs, who were also leaders of the local Armenian community, reproduced patriarchal communal ties.
The Mandaean Community and Ottoman-British Rivalry in Late 19th-Century Iraq: The Curious Case of Shaykh SaHan
By: Thabit A.J. Abdullah
Abstract: In 1895, a Mandaean priest was captured near the town of Chabayish in Iraq and brought to the jailhouse in Basra. Shaykh SaHan was accused of murdering his nephew and, more significantly, of supporting an Arab tribal rebellion against Ottoman authority. Using archival sources and Mandaean oral history, this article analyzes the case of Shaykh SaHan within the context of state centralization, Ottoman-British rivalry, and the internal conflicts among the Mandaeans. The case is significant because it sheds light on how large-scale transformations affected vulnerable minorities like the Mandaeans, and the way these communities struggled to survive in turbulent times.
Life in the Egyptian Valley under Ikhshidid and Faṭimid Rule: Insights from Documentary Sources
By: Daisy Livingston
Abstract: Offering a micro-historical reading of extant legal deeds from Ashmunayn in Upper Egypt, this article investigates the history of the diverse communities living in the Egyptian valley during the Ikhshidid and Faṭimid periods. It reveals the varied nature of settlements, the large extent of interconnections between towns and villages of different size and character, and the implications these had on legal and documentary practice. It presents a re-evaluated concept of centres and peripheries within the context of the Egyptian valley which highlights the varied pace at which developments taking place in central areas impacted on more remote regions, and argues for an understanding of the history of the Egyptian valley that looks beyond periodisation based on dynastic change.
The Adoption of Paper in the Middle East, 700-1300 AD
By: Maya Shatzmiller
Abstract: The adoption of paper in the Middle East changed literacy practices and improved economic performance, yet current accounts remain unhelpful for understanding why and how it happened. This paper offers a new analysis of the long-term factors behind the adoption of paper in the Middle East, combining insights from economic theory, economic history and evidence from quantitative studies. The paper establishes a long-term trend in the price of writing material and books in the Middle East, and suggests an explanation based on economic factors which led to a decline in the price of inputs in paper production.
The Politics of Suqs in Early Islam
By: Fanny Bessard
Abstract: In the early Middle Ages, while Byzantium was impoverished and Anatolian cities were evolving into fortified kastra, the Islamic Near East enjoyed an age of economic and demographic growth. Exploring the formation of souks and the rise of the Umayyad and early ‘Abbasid states, this article argues that the Arab-Islamic aristocracy’s involvement in establishing souks reflected a desire to exert power and build legitimacy. Despite their physical resemblance to Late Roman and Sasanian bazaars, early Islamic souks functioned differently, and their specificity exemplifies an evolution of labour patterns from 700 to 950, in particular the social rise and increasing religious involvement of merchants. This article places the archaeological evidence in dialogue with the literary. Although the Islamic material is central, comparisons in the paths of trade and economic life between the Middle East and Western Europe provide ways to identify the divergences between East and West after the fall of Rome.
Black Pepper Consumption in the Roman Empire
By: Matthew Cobb
Abstract: During the Roman Imperial period huge quantities of black pepper arrived into the Empire from southern India and were employed in a range of contexts, from the culinary and medicinal, to the religious. This article seeks to examine the popularity of black pepper in the Roman Empire and test the theory that its consumption was not simply restricted to elite circles, but reached a wider spectrum of the population. In particular, price and wage data from the Edict of Maximum Prices is examined to see how feasible it was for those lower down the socio-economic spectrum to make such purchases.
Tanti non emo, Sexte, Piper: Pepper Prices, Roman Consumer Culture, and the Bulk of Indo-Roman Trade
By: Ernst Emanuel Mayer
Abstract: In contrast to other Indian exports, black pepper was widely available throughout the Roman World, and affordable for ordinary working people. The relatively low price of black pepper indicates that Indo-Roman trade goods was not just pitched at the very wealthy, but benefited a much broader segment of the population. This throws new light on the scale and cultural impact of Indo-Roman trade, which appears to have exploited Rome’s burgeoning non-elite “consumer culture” in the early imperial period. The scale and cultural impact of Indo-Roman pepper and other trade is evidenced by a wide variety of Western sources and ancient Indian texts.
Administrative Boundaries, Communal Segregation and Factional Territorialisation: The Complex Nature of Urban Boundaries in the Ottoman Empire
By: Nora Lafi, Florian Riedler
Abstract: This article offers an approach to Ottoman urban history that puts boundaries at the focus of attention. It serves as an introduction to four case studies exploring social, communal and political boundaries in different Ottoman cities from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Our understanding of boundaries rests on a theoretical approach that considers urban space as a collection of socially constructed territories whose boundaries have important functions that serve to structure urban life. From a long-term perspective boundaries can also serve as a heuristic tool to examine the transition from the Ottoman to the post-Ottoman period and its effects on urban environments. In conclusion, the article explores in how far Ottoman urban boundaries in their various transformations can explain present-day urban situations.
Urban Factionalism in Late Ottoman Gaza, c. 1875-1914: Local Politics and Spatial Divisions
By: Yuval Ben-Bassat, Johann Büssow
Abstract: During the late Ottoman period the city of Gaza was caught up in internal political strife. The city’s elite families tended to operate within rival factions while trying to draw Istanbul into its internal conflicts. In this context, they formed complex relationships with the elite of Jerusalem that dominated Palestine’s politics, as well as with peasants and Bedouins in Gaza’s hinterland. The article presents the first systematic account of factional strife in Gaza during the period. In addition, it examines what caused the internal divisions in Gaza to be so severe and considers whether factionalism also played out in the urban space. It is argued that (1) the severity of this factionalism derived from the rising stakes resulting from imperial politics and economic benefits, and (2) factionalism and urban development interacted with each other, leading to a particular type of “spatialized factionalism.” We suggest that this perspective can lead to a better understanding of both urban politics and urban development in other towns and cities in the Ottoman Empire’s Arab provinces.
Overlapping Boundaries in the City: Mahalle and Kahal in the Early Modern Ottoman Urban Context
By: Gürer Karagedikli
Abstract: In the present article, I examine the construction and articulation of urban and communal identities in the early modern Ottoman Empire with special reference to the complex and dynamic local Jewish identities in Edirne. I analyse the terminology used for identifying Jewish litigants at the Islamic court in Edirne based on twelve cases selected from the Islamic court registers. In other words, I scrutinize in which cases the court identified Jews by their membership of a particular congregation (Heb. kahal; pl. kehalim), in which cases by their residential affiliations (Ott. mahalle ; pl. mahallat, “urban quarter”), and in which by a combination of these aforementioned ascriptions. In so doing, I attempt to enhance our understanding about pre-modern people who were simultaneously members of multiple religious, spatial, ethnic or occupational sub-communities. More specifically, I examine which of the Jews’ multiple identities (i.e., kahal as religious/ethnic; mahalle as spatial) were emphasized by the judges of the Muslim courts. I suggest that various identification markers were employed by court personnel to define the Edirne Jews. While in some matters the fiscally, administratively, as well as socially defined spatial identity based on the term mahalle was employed, in other cases the ethnic/communal identity based on the Jewish kahal—that was also a taxable unit—was the prevalent concept.
From ‘Tourkopolis’ to ‘Metropolis’: Transforming Urban Boundaries in Late Nineteenth-Century Iraklio (Candia), Crete
By: Aris Anagnostopoulos
Abstract: This article examines the case of Iraklio, Crete, on its passage from the Ottoman regime to the Autonomous Cretan Polity in 1898, to interrogate current categories of ethnic boundaries used in historical and social research. It proposes an “archaeological” method of investigating such boundaries in space. It conceives of the city as a field of interaction between the predominant religious groups of Muslim and Christian, and the way these groups have been represented in historical research and public memory. It also shows how understandings of ethnic boundaries were fashioned by colonial, especially British, sanitary and civic planning projects. Finally, it demonstrates how subaltern Muslim spaces, gendered places and ‘dangerous’ neighbourhoods were transformed into paradigmatic cases for understanding spatial segregation in cultural terms.
Communal Boundaries and Confessional Policies in Ottoman Niš
By: Florian Riedler
Abstract: This article focuses on communal boundaries in nineteenth-century Ottoman Niš, a city located in what is today southern Serbia. In particular, it explores the implications of Robert Hayden’s model of “antagonistic tolerance” for Ottoman urban history. In a first step, by taking into consideration the urban form of Niš from a long-term historical perspective, we consider how urban space was divided between inhabitants with different religious backgrounds. The article then turns to consider the symbolic boundaries that existed between confessional groups in nineteenth-century Niš, which can be traced by looking at the construction of churches and mosques. By examining the ways in which communal boundaries were expressed, negotiated and changed through church and mosque buildings, we can begin to render the confessional policies of the Ottoman authorities more transparent.
Journal of Palestine Studies (Volume 47, Issue 4)
“Super-Israel”: The Politics of Palestinian Labor in a Settler Supermarket
By: Jeremy A. Siegman
Abstract: A careful examination of Palestinian service work in Israeli settlements and of everyday settler-Palestinian contact demonstrates how these encounters play a key role in normalizing the presence and dominance of settlers in the occupied West Bank. Based on ethnographic fieldwork at a settlement supermarket, this article shows that Palestinians are called upon to perform customer service in a setting where they are not only subjugated but are also coerced to help create the ultranationalist climate of their occupiers’ holidays. In addition to being compelled to normalize Israeli dominance, Palestinian workers are also the object of a seemingly contradictory orientation, one that favors not having Palestinians around at all. The article thus weighs in on the broader contemporary significance of Palestinian labor for the settler-colonial logics of Zionism.
Owning the Homeland: Property, Markets, and Land Defense in the West Bank
By: Paul Kohlbry
Abstract: This article examines the formation of land defense in relation to changing legal and economic conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories. It argues that as a result of settler capital and law, Palestinian land defense should be understood as emerging through, rather than apart from, private property. Specifically, it explores how private property and market forces shaped agrarian land defense (1970s–1980s) and real estate land defense (post-2007). In the 1970s and the 1980s, land defense sought to protect agriculture against market forces that drew Palestinians off the land and into wage labor in Israel. Beginning in the 1990s, the exclusion of Palestinians from Israeli wage labor and new forms of West Bank governance created the conditions for real estate land defense to appear. Taking the real estate project TABO as a case study, this article details its political logic, unexpected market effects, and social and economic limits.
An Immoral Dilemma: The Trap of Zionist Propaganda
By: Moshé Machover
Abstract: Political Zionism is based on the fallacy that there exists a single nation encompassing all the world’s Jews. How can Zionism claim that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, since the only attribute shared by all Jews is Judaism, a religion and not an attribute of nationhood in any modern sense of the word? Jews can belong to various nations—a Jew may be French, American, Indian, Argentinian, and so forth—but being Jewish excludes other religious affiliations. Thus, this essay argues, the Zionist claim that all the world’s Jews constitute a single distinct national entity is an ideological myth, invented as a misconceived way of dealing with the persecution and discrimination suffered by European Jews, in particular. Indeed, from its earliest iterations and up to the present day, Zionism—a colonizing project—has been fueled by an inverted form of anti-Semitism: if, as it claims, Israel acts on behalf of all Jews everywhere, then all Jews must be collectively held responsible for the actions of that state—clearly an anti-Semitic position.
Mediterranean Politics (Volume 23, Issue 2)
The French foreign policy U-turn in the Arab Spring – the case of Tunisia
By: Laura-Theresa Krüger, Bernhard Stahl
Abstract: As for many, the Arab uprisings of 2010–11 came as a surprise for France. After initial inactivity, followed by last minute support of the Tunisian regime, President Sarkozy took a U-turn by spearheading the military intervention in Libya and both Sarkozy and his successor Hollande announced a re-launch in the Franco-Tunisian relations. Starting from the assumption that France’s drastic foreign policy changes cannot be sufficiently explained by presidential change, we draw upon social-constructivist discourse-bound identity theory and provide a model for discursive legitimations of foreign policy changes. When the “permissive consensus” between the three discursive formations of the French foreign policy identity breaks up, drastic foreign policy turns may occur. By analysing the French policy actions and rhetoric towards Tunisia between 2007 and 2015, we show, however, that the sudden change tends to be rather ephemeral and that French foreign policy seems to be gradually returning to its pre-revolution approach.
The EU and the international socialization of gender equality: a case study of Tunisia’s AFTURD and Women and Citizenship (WAC)
By: Lucía Ferreiro Prado
Abstract: The paper explores the impact of EU democracy promotion in the area of gender in Tunisia. It corroborates and adds nuance to the claim found in previous literature that the European Union finances those CSOs whose leadership already embraces gender equality. It shows that members of these CSOs are socialized to different degrees and the internalization of gender equality differs depending on age, gender and location. Already socialized members increased their levels of attachment and investment. New CSO members differed in their socialization outcomes. Some undergo a full internalization process, others develop attachment to some features, while they reject those ideas that do not resonate in their value system. Findings also show that the European Union successfully fosters local ownership in project management.
‘Dégage RCD!’ The rise of internal dissent in Ben Ali’s Constitutional Democratic Rally and the Tunisian uprisings
By: Anne Wolf
Abstract: This article examines the historical evolution of Tunisia’s Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) from its beginnings in 1987, when President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali took power, until his ousting in 2011 when the party was outlawed. I argue that the RCD evolved from a political force with wide popular support during a short democratic era (1987–89) into a repressive interest group in the 1990s, when the regime cracked down on political dissidents and popular freedoms whilst rewarding party members with lucrative benefits. In the 2000s the RCD adopted a quasi-mafiosi structure that profited the Ben Ali family, which increasingly monopolized economic and political power. Tunisia’s transformation into a near dynasty marginalized many RCD members and its wider networks, a central dynamic to understand Ben Ali’s ousting in 2011.
A common transnational agenda? Communication network and discourse of political-Salafists on Twitter
By: Annette Ranko, Justyna Nedza, Nikolai Röhl
Abstract: Employing social network analysis, this article investigates the transnational communication network and discourse of political-Salafists on social media. It examines whether political-Salafists across the MENA region have a common sociopolitical and geopolitical agenda, and whether–given the recent shift of some political-Salafists towards violence–their discourse and communication network can still be distinguished from that of the jihadists. The analysis finds that political-Salafists do not share a common agenda but that their discourse and communication network display three transnational gravity centres: a revisionist, a status quo-oriented and an ostracized pro-Sisi gravity centre. Only the revisionist gravity centre advocates violence. Its discourse, however, remains clearly set apart from that of the jihadists.
Middle Eastern Literatures (Volume 21, Issue 1)
Embodying the beloved: embodiment, (homo)eroticism, and the straightening of desire in the hagiographic tradition of Fakhr al-Dīn ʿIrāqī
By: Matthew Thomas Miller
Abstract: Modern treatments of Sufi love theory have had a pronounced tendency to disembody and “straighten” Sufi eroticism in various ways. Focusing primarily on a series of anecdotes from the hagiography of the thirteenth-century Persian poet and profligate Sufi lover, Fakhr al-Dīn ʿIrāqī, the author argues that the centrality of bodies and embodied textual performances of Sufi love theory in Sufi hagiographic works not only militates against efforts to reduce this form of desire to a disembodied or philosophical love of “beautiful forms,” but it also helps us to re-embody a particular type of beloved: a same-sex beloved who often gets obscured and metaphorized out of corporeal existence in much modern scholarship. Medieval Sufi eroticism, the author concludes, should not be viewed as a rejection of the body and sexuality, but rather an effort to harness the considerable affective potency inherent in these phenomena for spiritual ends.
Rethinking the Eurocentric gaze in narratives of urban modernity: the Shaykh, the Flâneur, and the orientalist in Takhlīṣ al-Ibrīz and ʿAlam al-Dīn
By: Mona El-Sherif
Abstract: This paper situates two early nahḍāh texts, Takhlīṣ al- Ibrīz fī talkhīṣ Bārīz and ʿAlam al-Dīn in the canonical imaginary of urban modernity. The paper argues that Takhlīṣ and ʿAlam al-Dīn capture the impact of technology and urban culture on literary writing in the nineteenth-century. By analyzing the authorial position of the figure of the Muslim shaykh in the nineteenth -century metropolis the paper traces the rise of a global Arabic literary imaginary. I argue that Takhlīṣ and ʿAlam al-Dīn posit the literary text as an essential site of legibility in an urban culture where circulation, mobility, and visual cognition played significant roles in shaping authorial positions. I examine how those two early nahḍah texts impose a reevaluation of the current canonical knowledge of the practice of flânerie—commonly associated with the bourgeois male figure of the flâneur. The paper analyzes the history of shaykh Ṭahṭāwī’s encounter with the culture of flânerie tracing its influence on ‘Alī Mubārak’s ʿAlam al-Dīn. By situating those early narratives in the canon of urban literature, this paper sheds light on the intersection between literary narratives, circulation, visual culture, and the conditions of unequal literary exchanges in modern urban culture.
Whose war is it anyway? Multilingual games as political encoding in Rawi Hage’s De Niro’s Game
By: Syrine Hout
Abstract: This article examines Rawi Hage’s De Niro’s Game (2006) by focusing on its sociolinguistics, its author-driven translating, transliterating, and glossing of Arabic words/terms, and the interplay between dialogical and textual code-switching. It demonstrates how these strategies amount to multilingual games that provide an indirect yet critical semantic dimension accessible only to the insider reader who has not only a grasp of English, but also knowledge of the Arabic language and of Lebanese culture and history. This dimension, I argue, is revealed through a deep multilingualism, which some critics contend no longer has currency in prize-winning twenty-first-century fiction by diasporic authors, most of whom use code-switching as window dressing for an Anglo-American audience. This novel’s Arabic usages help deliver an additional critique of right-wing Phalange political ideology, Christian sectarianism, and how they are linked to racism, classism, and views on Israeli military action. More generally, I argue that these multilingual practices allow this novel to subtly challenge both nationalist and postcolonial approaches by adopting a unique angle from which to critique warmongering, xenophobia, and sectarianism, both within and across national, linguistic, and cultural boundaries.
Is perfect “Passing” possible? nationalism and gender in the Writings of Sayed Kashua
By: Dana Olmert
Abstract: The essay addresses a central aspect in the writings of the Israeli-Palestinian writer, scriptwriter and journalist, Sayed Kashua: the passion of his main characters, all Israeli-Arabs, to assimilate into Jewish culture and pass as Jews. It argues that narratives of “passing”, even when dealing with the crossing of racial, national or social lines, are necessarily tied to gender models. Literature and history are full of stories of “passing”, and all of them, including Kashua's, depict a craving to pass that shows an affinity to forceful binary heteronormative ideals of manhood and womanhood. The essay offers an analysis of the narrative of “passing” in Kashua's third novel, Second Person Singular (2010). It points to the successful “passing” of the protagonist, Amir, and examines the psycho-political implications of this success by comparing it with other protagonists in Kashua's earlier writing, who all failed to pass as Jewish-Israelis.
Middle East Report (Volume 48, Issue 287)
Globalized Authoritarianism and the New Moroccan City
By: Koenraad Bogaert
Abstract: In two decades, Morocco’s large cities experienced dramatic changes. In 2009, the weekly magazine TelQuel referred to a veritable “urban revolution” following the launch of several megaprojects in cities like Tangiers, Casablanca and the capital Rabat.
Amman: Ruination in the City of Lost Nations
By: Eliana Abu-Hamdi
Abstract: Amman has absorbed influxes of refugees for decades, each perpetuating political and cultural tensions in a country already fragmented by tribal allegiances. While these divisions provide an easy scapegoat as to why the country continues to struggle financially, politically and developmentally, state policies and practices are at least as responsible as external pressures for exacerbating Jordan’s domestic troubles.
Alexandria, City of Dispossession
By: Youssef El Chazli
Abstract: “In Egypt, provincial cities do not exist.” This statement by French geographer Eric Denis eloquently summarizes the relationship between Cairo—the capital city—and the rest of the country. Little seems to exist beyond Cairo, except perhaps Alexandria. In the late 1990s and during the 2000s, Egypt’s second largest city seemed to witness an effervescent moment. Large economic investments and beautification projects changed its urban features, new political groups emerged and the opening of new institutions, such as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, changed the cultural landscape. By the late 2000s, a lot was happening in Alexandria. Nevertheless, almost a decade later, very little of this moment remains. Is Alexandria, once again, lost?
The Destructive Dreams of AKP Urbanism
By: Ayse Çavdar
Abstract: Başakşehir is an emerging district of Istanbul that was planned by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when he was the city’s mayor in the 1990s. Today it is part of an archipelago of privileged, upper-middle-class religious enclaves that ring Istanbul as part of an urban construction boom overseen by Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) after it became the ruling party in Turkey in 2002. As prime minister, Erdoğan promoted development projects throughout Turkey’s large cities under the framework of urban transformation.
Abadan: The Rise and Demise of an Oil Metropolis
By: Kaveh Ehsani, Rasmus Christian Elling
Abstract: In fall 1978, Abadan’s oil refinery workers played a decisive role in the Iranian Revolution by joining the national mass strikes. Just two years later, Abadan and the adjoining port city of Khorramshahr were shelled by the invading Iraqi army and effectively destroyed during the Iran–Iraq war (1980–88), which scattered their population of over 600,000 as refugees across Iran and abroad. The bloody liberation of Khorramshahr (May 1982) turned the tide of Iraqi advances. Abadan’s refinery workers remarkably kept up production under constant shelling through eight years of war and international sanctions, earning the two cities a prominent place in post-revolutionary Iran’s official mythology of the “Sacred Defense.”
Generational Dislocations: One Hundred Years of Displacement in a Beirut Suburb
By: Joanne Randa Nucho
Abstract: Not available
Jerusalem's Colonial Landscapes of Loss: From Deir Yassin to Khan al-Ahmar
By: Thomas Abowd
Abstract: Not available
Sur: A City of Imagination, A City under Occupation
By: Serra Hakyemez
Abstract: On a warm winter day in 2018, a young boy was attending to a group of tumbler pigeons on the rooftop of a two-story shanty house on the outskirts of Sur, the walled old city of Diyarbakır in the Kurdish region of Turkey. As the pigeons took off from the ground, the boy grabbed a broom and began to orchestrate how high and wide they would dance in the sky. Well-trained by their little owner, who may sell them in the black market, these domesticated birds momentarily attracted the attention of everyone seated in an open-air teahouse facing the neighborhoods of Sur that in 2016–2017 had been razed following the urban warfare between Kurdish armed groups and Turkish security forces.
Near Eastern Archaeology (Volume 81, Issue 2)
The Site of Pella in Jordan: A Case Study for Developing Interpretive Strategies in an Archaeological Heritage Attraction
By: Abdelkader Ababneh
Abstract: The interpretation of archaeological sites and landscapes for the benefit of the wider public has been of interest to heritage managers, archaeologists, and public groups ever since sites have been open for visitation. However, those responsible for interpreting archaeological sites for presentation to the public often fail to take advantage of a site's interpretive potential. Interpretation of archaeological sites is a relatively recent activity in Jordan, as is their valuing and heritage management. This study explores issues relating to site interpretation and the potential benefits of improved interpretive strategies. Based on an analysis of the literature and on an exploratory study at the site of Tabqat Fahl (ancient Pella) the author offers concrete recommendations for revealing the potential of the site and improving the interpretive media choices that can be used to communicate the site's themes to visitors. The aim is to preserve the site into the future and to revitalize it by improving the standard of information about the natural and cultural heritage value found there. Realizing the full potential of the site of Pella is a task that will require the cooperation of a wide range of disciplines and institutions, including historical, architectural, and archaeological.
Gertrude Bell's Mesopotamian Archaeological Photographs
By: Lisa Cooper
Abstract: Photographs taken by Gertrude Bell during her 1909 and 1911 archaeological trips to Mesopotamia provide not only a valuable record of sites, monuments, and landscapes that have suffered near or complete destruction over the past one hundred years, they also provide insight into the mindset, aims, and agendas Bell held when she produced these images. Her photographs taken at two sites in particular, Assur and Ukhaidir, highlight some of her attitudes and motivations at the time. On the one hand, in the case of Assur, the photos reflect her admiration for her European archaeological colleagues' skill at excavation and concede their claim to the ancient city's glorious past. On the other hand, the photographs highlight her efforts to showcase her own archaeological knowledge. Many also reflect a sympathetic stance towards the people of modern Mesopotamia, acknowledging their vital presence and often regarding them as the inheritors of the country's rich ancient legacy.
Ships Graffiti in Maresha Subterranean Complex 89
By: Elie Haddad, Ian Stern, Michal Artzy
Abstract: During the course of excavations in room 50, Subterranean Complex (SC) 89 at Maresha, several interesting wall drawings were discovered. Located within the southeastern part of the lower city of Maresha, SC 89 bears graffiti depicting four ships. The graffito on the western wall contains a very long warship and additional prows of two warships. The graffito in the entranceway contains a single merchant vessel. The graffiti were scratched into the soft chalk stone with a sharp tool and are typologically datable to the Hellenistic period. The graffito of the warship—the first from Maresha—represents a Macedonian galley according to the authors. They theorize that if the locals were the artists, the ships depicted should represent their vessels. Who did the actual hard labor of the quarrying of these future tombs? The authors suggest the possibility that captives or slaves carried out the task.
The Petroglyphs of Domab in the Central Plateau of Iran
By: Ebrahim Karimi
Abstract: Two clusters of rock art consisting of a considerable number of petroglyphs are identified in the Domab region in the west of the Isfahan province in the central plateau of Iran. Hunting scenes and zoomorphic depictions, mostly ibexes, are the main subjects of rock art in the Domab area. All panels are made on the schist rocks that can be seen all over the region. Several scattered panels that bear geometric markings and depictions of ibexes have also been identified. The petroglyphs of Domab show similarities in terms of subject matter, style, and iconography to the rock art of other regions of central Iran, such as Teymare and Qameshlu national park. The current evidence suggests hunters as the possible creators of some of this rock art.
A Rejoinder on the Value of Archaeomagnetic Dating: Integrative Methodology Is the Key to Addressing Levantine Iron Age Chronology
By: Michele D. Stillinger, Joshua M. Feinberg, Erez Ben-Yosef, Ron Shaar, James W. Hardin, Jeffrey A. Blakely
Abstract: Archaeomagnetic dating is a firmly established dating technique applicable to a wide variety of heat-treated anthropological materials and is advantageous for sites that lack materials suitable for radiocarbon dating. To correct recent misinterpretations of the method, we provide examples of how archaeomagnetic dating curves are calibrated and show how, in some instances, the technique can provide superior results. We emphasize that no single dating technique is capable of resolving the challenging chronology controversies in the Levant, and instead argue that multiple dating methods must be integrated in order to achieve the highest possible temporal resolution.
From a Fortified Canaanite City-State to “a City and a Mother” in Israel: Five Seasons of Excavation at Tel Abel Beth Maacah
By: Naama Yahalom-Mack, Nava Panitz-Cohen, Robert Mullins
Abstract: Tel Abel Beth Maacah is a prominent site on the border of Israel, Syria, and Lebanon where it occupied a strategic geopolitical niche among ancient Canaanites, Israelites, Arameans, and Phoenicians. A survey and five seasons of excavation have revealed an occupation sequence ranging from EB II until modern times with peak occupation dating to MB IIB and Iron Age I–IIA. The robust continuity in settlement from the Late Bronze Age until Iron Age II is a unique phenomenon in this region and sheds important light on the site's transition from a Canaanite city-state to an Iron Age territorial kingdom, particularly acute in this region, between the Israelite kingdom and that of Aram-Damascus.
Oriens (Volume 46, Issue 1-2)
Rationalist Disciplines and Postclassical Islamic Legal Theories: Introduction
By: Asad Q. Ahmed, Robert Gleave
Abstract: Not available
From Legal Theory to Erkenntnistheorie: Ibn Taymiyya on Tawatur as the Ultimate Guarantor of Human Cognition
By: Carl Sharif El-Tobgui
Abstract: This article presents and analyzes Ibn Taymiyya’s views on tawatur in usul al-fiqh and as the basis of a generalized epistemological system. In legal theory, Ibn Taymiyya expands the umbrella of what is “functionally equivalent to the mutawatir,” extending epistemic certainty to a wide range of religious knowledge. More originally, he expands tawatur beyond the realm of transmitted knowledge altogether, making it the final guarantor of all human cognition. Tawatur in this theory reveals the nature of the uncorrupted human intellect, underwriting the integrity even of the basic axioms of reason and the native intuitions of the sound human fitra.
Al-Samarqandi’s Third Masʾala: Juridical Dialectic Governed by the Adab al-BaHth
By: Walter Edward Young
Abstract: This article presents, analyzes, and attempts to explain what is probably the most difficult of three problem-questions (masaʾil) contrived by Shams al-Din al-Samarqandi in the closing section of his Risala fi Adab al-Bahth. The “third masʾala,” from the science of juridical disagreement (khilaf), argues the Shafiʿi position for the father’s right to guardianship of compulsion (wilayat al-ijbar) over the virgin major. And in so doing it offers a sophisticated model of a post-classical juristic dialectic articulated in streamlined modes of objection and response, replete with variant species of dilemmatic syllogisms and reductios, and interwoven with logical-philosophical axioms.
Underdetermination in Late Postclassical Hanafi Legal Theories
By: Asad Q. Ahmed
Abstract: This article argues that Hanafi usulis of the later phases of the postclassical period understood usul to be universal propositions that were underdetermined with respect to their evidentiary bases. Though the purpose of such propositions was to confer actionable certainty to particular legal effects, the later tradition imagined the main charge of usul al-fiqh on a meta-theoretic level, i.e., to determine how such propositions could themselves be suitably grounded. In casting the discourse within the framework of naturalized technical methods and distinctions from fields of logic and philosophy, the tradition generally granted the relational and systemic validity of each proposition in terms of the grounding it received from another underdetermined proposition. This second-order perspective of the tradition reveals that usul were systemically and relationally valid, but individually underdetermined. Thus, the application of the attribute of relational validity to them and to the effects for which they are serviceable is apt.
Debating the Imperative Mood in Usul al-Fiqh: Collective Deliberation and Legal Validity
By: Omar Farahat
Abstract: This article offers an analysis of the way a number of classical Muslim scholars treated the question of the normative impact of statements in the imperative mood. This question, which was standard in classical works of legal theory, is noteworthy for its direct implication in establishing links between linguistic forms and normative positions. It reveals to us with some clarity the logic of norm-formation in part of the tradition. It will be argued that the debates surrounding the normative impact of the imperative mood reflect a logic of collective deliberation that highlights a reliance on the authority of the community of jurists as a foundation of validity for jurisprudential principles. Establishing the validity of legal norms and processes that lead to their formulation is a common concern among legal systems. In the study of classical Islamic law, it is commonly assumed that the jurists derived substantive norms from revealed sources using the tools and methods of Islamic legal theory. This assumption locates the validity of legal norms and their formulation exclusively in divine will as expressed in revelation. This study suggests that we can view debates in legal theory as efforts in grounding legal validity in various sources of authority, including revealed language and the collective authority of the scholars. This corresponds to what has been described in analytic jurisprudence as a secondary rule of recognition.
Explicitly Said or Only Implied?: The Development of the manṭuq / mafhum Dichotomy in Islamic Legal Hermeneutics
By: Nora Kalbarczyk
Abstract: There are two main approaches in Islamic legal theory to the classification of a meaning as explicit or implicit. The two approaches—i.e. the Safiʿite and the Hanafite—differ with regard to their underlying hermeneutic paradigms. It is sometimes assumed that the “standard” Safiʿite approach corresponds to that of Amidi (d. 631/1233). However, as this paper argues, there were two other authors who had a major impact on the evolution of the Safiʿite approach: the post-Avicennian polymath and Safiʿi jurist Faḫr ad-din ar-Razi (d. 606/1210); and the Malikite jurist Ibn al-Hagib (d. 646/1249) who creates his own classification—on the basis of both Amidi’s approach and the Hanafite paradigm. Aḍud ad-din al-Igi (d. 756/1355) eventually modified Ibn al-Hagib’s classification using Razi’s framework—and this is the version which is nowadays referred to as the Safiʿite approach.
Customary Practices as Exigencies in Islamic Law: Between a Source of Law and a Legal Maxim
By: Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim
Abstract: I offer a corrective to Libson’s view that customs made their way into Islamic law in the formative period only through the Hadith and ijmaʿ genres. I argue that custom was incorporated into the law through the legal methodologies of Abu Hanifa and Malik. Due to the success of al-Shafiʿi’s thesis, later jurists justified custom on grounds of necessity and exigency of the times rather than elevating it to the level of the four-source theory of Islamic law. Essential to this process of valorization of custom was a legal maxim developed by al-Juwayni in the classical period.
Polity (Volume 50, Issue 3)
Elite Survival Strategies and Authoritarian Reversal in Turkey
By: Oksan Bayulgen, Ekim Arbatli, Sercan Canbolat
Abstract: What explains authoritarian reversal and resilience in hybrid regimes? This article derives hypotheses from an in-depth case analysis of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule in Turkey. The Turkish case demonstrates that authoritarian reversal can happen as a result of strategies pursued by political elites to stay in power. Ruling elites in hybrid regimes endure by using the strategies of centralization, legitimation, and repression. During the 2002–13 period, Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) were able to entrench their power by eliminating veto players within the state, building a well-organized apparatus for targeted repression, and strategically making concessions to large segments of the electorate. Since 2013, they have changed their strategies for political survival in response to emerging economic and security problems and the ensuing defections of some supporters, which had rendered the original equilibrium unsustainable. AKP elites intensified repression, further centralized power, and relied heavily on an ideological and polarizing rhetoric to delegitimize and splinter the opposition. We argue that this new equilibrium of high centralization, ideological legitimation, and widespread repression allowed the elites to withstand serious challenges to their rule, while significantly weakening the competitive and democratic elements of the hybrid regime. Our in-depth analysis of elite strategies and their adaptability to changing exogenous economic and geostrategic conditions in the Turkish context contribute to the analysis of the resilience and vulnerability of hybrid regimes in general and of where on the regime spectrum they eventually move.
Progress in Development Studies (Volume 18, Issue 3)
Translating global gender norms in Islamic Relief Worldwide
By: Marie Juul Petersen
Abstract: Based on a case study of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), this article analyses organizational processes of norm translation, asking how IRW understands and employs global norms of gender equality. Approaching IRW as an organization positioned in between two different normative environments, the analysis explores the ways in which it seeks to align different sets of norms, balance between different kinds of expectations and create resonance with different audiences. In these processes, actors make use of a range of different strategies, including bridging, thinning and parallel co-existence, testifying to the complexities involved in translating organizational norms.
Security Studies (Volume 27, Issue 3)
Is the Enemy of My Enemy My Friend?
By: Tricia Bacon
Abstract: The terrorist organizations that have posed the greatest threat to international security are those with allies. Terrorist groups at the core of alliance networks, particularly the Islamic State and al Qaeda, define the threat today, as they are able to accrue and disperse the benefits of their alliances—including greater lethality, longevity, and resilience—to their partners. While the consequences of these alliances are clear, their causes remain poorly understood, especially with respect to why terrorist alliances cluster around a small number of organizations. I propose that groups ally with the organization at the core of a network to address organizational deficits. In addition, the prospective partners must have both complementary needs and the ability to link their ideologies and frames to build a shared identity. Finally, groups must overcome their inherent suspicions and build trust to ally. These three mechanisms lead to alliance formation, but they also offer numerous avenues for disruption.
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism (Volume 41, Issues 6-8)
Interviewing Jihadists: On the Importance of Drinking Tea and Other Methodological Considerations
By: Marco Nilsson
Abstract: The field of terrorism research has arguably long been characterized by a separation of the scholars from their subject of inquiry. Interviews can be used to bridge this chasm, but making contact with potential interviewees, conducting interviews, and analyzing the data pose unique challenges when conducting research into jihadists, especially active ones. This article focuses on the author's experience of interviewing both former and active jihadi foreign fighters. It is specifically intended to contribute to a better methodological understanding of conducting first-hand empirical research into jihadi foreign fighters and builds on fieldwork conducted in Sweden, Iraq, and Lebanon.
Terrorist Attacks on the Energy Sector: The Case of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State
By: Lukáš Tichý, Jan Eichler
Abstract: The article focuses on the attitudes of two militant Islamist groups, Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, toward the issue of terrorist attacks in the energy sector. The main aim of the article is both to analyze the importance of attacks on energy infrastructure for the strategies of these two organizations, and to describe specific examples and manifestations of terrorist activities from the side of al-Qa‘ida and the Islamic State with regard to the energy sector in the Middle East and North Africa. The article is based on the concept of terrorist attacks on the energy sector.
Ideational Dimensions of the Boko Haram Phenomenon
By: Temitope B. Oriola, Olabanji Akinola
Abstract: This article draws on frame theory to explore the ideational dimensions of the Boko Haram phenomenon. Speech acts by Boko Haram's leaders are analyzed to interrogate how the organization conducts its three core framing tasks. The article argues that Boko Haram deploys three major master frames. These are the return to true Islam frame, the injustice frame, and the war against the infidel frame. Boko Haram's framing strategies draw on the social conditions and cultural reservoir in its domain of operations. This includes antipathy toward the West and Western education, patriarchal beliefs about gender roles and the “place” of women, and the contours of a widely popular Islamic movement that emerged in the early 1800s. Boko Haram's framing approach is also shaped by state repression and the post-9/11 cosmic war discourse. Overall, the article contributes to the limited literature on nonstructural aspects of Boko Haram's terrorist activities.
Psychological Barriers to a Peaceful Resolution: Longitudinal Evidence from the Middle East and Northern Ireland
By: Daphna Canetti, Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler, Carmit Rapaport, Robert D. Lowe, Orla T. Muldoon
Abstract: Does individual-level exposure to political violence prompt conciliatory attitudes? Does the answer vary by phase of conflict? The study uses longitudinal primary datasets to test the hypothesis that conflict-related experiences impact conciliation. Data were collected from Israeli Jews, Palestinians, and Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. Across both contexts, and among both parties to each conflict, psychological distress and threat perceptions had a polarizing effect on conciliatory preferences. The study highlights that experiences of political violence are potentially a crucial source of psychological distress, and consequently, a continuing barrier to peace. This has implications in peacemaking, implying that alongside removing the real threat of violence, peacemakers must also work toward the social and political inclusion of those most affected by previous violence.
Terrorism and Political Violence (Volume 30, Issue 4)
Old (Molotov) cocktails in new bottles? “Price-tag” and settler violence in Israel and the West Bank
By: Ehud Eiran, Peter Krause
Abstract: In the early morning of July 31, 2015, masked attackers threw firebombs into two Palestinian homes in the West Bank village of Duma, south of Nablus, killing three Palestinian civilians. Contrary to claims by Israeli and Palestinian politicians, this attack was neither an isolated anomaly nor just another incident of settler violence. Instead, it was the latest attack in an important but largely unknown phenomenon called “price-tag,” in which a loosely connected group of young Israelis called “hilltop youth” burn Palestinian mosques and destroy property in hundreds of attacks accompanied by threatening graffiti that references Israeli settlers, outposts, and anti-Arab slogans. Using an original dataset of price-tag incidents and interviews with key actors, we demonstrate that the perpetrators, targets, and strategies of price-tag are different than previous patterns of settler violence. Whereas previous settlers saw the Israeli state as legitimate and largely decided to cooperate with it, the hilltop youth have decided to confront it by using price-tag attacks to deter settlement withdrawals and chain-gang the state into a conflict with the Palestinians. This analysis of the strategic logic of price-tag reveals its potential to shift the political landscape within and between Israelis and Palestinians.
Reading jihad: Mapping the shifting themes of Inspire magazine
By: Julian Droogan, Shane Peattie
Abstract: Al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine has received attention within Western academia and media for its role in inspiring and instructing a series of homegrown terrorist attacks. Reporting on the magazine often characterises it as a Western-centric instrument of jihadi discourse. This characterisation, while broadly accurate, is in need of refinement. Using a modified version of Jennifer Attride-Stirling’s method of thematic network analysis, this research visualises and analyses the narrative themes contained within fourteen issues of Inspire magazine. It demonstrates that the magazine’s narrative extends well beyond the Western world. In reality, Inspire’s themes centre not only on the West and its Muslim populations, but on local politics and broader religious issues. The magazine’s thematic focus has also shifted over time—particularly in response to (a) political volatility in the Middle East and North Africa, (b) the killing of prominent jihadists, and (c) the execution of successful individual jihad operations. Throughout these periods of change, Inspire struggled to maintain focus on its anti-Western narrative and proved easily distracted by local issues and the “martyrdom” of al-Qa‘ida leaders. Understanding Inspire’s thematic landscape and its shifting character prove important in understanding and responding effectively to its jihadi discourse.
The European Journal of International Relations (Volume 24, Issue 2)
‘Behead, burn, crucify, crush’: Theorizing the Islamic State’s public displays of violence
By: Simone Molin Friis
Abstract: The militant group known as the Islamic State has become notorious for its public displays of violence. Through slick high-definition videos showing beheadings, immolations and other forms of choreographed executions, the Islamic State has repeatedly captured the imagination of a global public and provoked vehement reactions. This article examines the Islamic State’s public displays of violence. Contrary to the public constitution of the Islamic State’s violence as an exceptional evil, the article argues that the group’s staging of killings and mutilations is not an unprecedented phenomenon, but a contemporary version of a distinct type of political violence that has been mobilized by various political agents throughout centuries. However, what is new and significant about the Islamic State’s choreographed executions is the public visibility of the acts and the global spectacle that the group has created. Thus, if the Islamic State is introducing a new dynamic in global politics, it is not a new form of violence or brutality, but rather a transformation of how spectacles of violence unfold on the global stage. Subsequently, the article highlights three dimensions of the Islamic State’s public displays of violence that have facilitated the creation of the global spectacle: the Islamic State’s technological skills and professional use of media (technology); the Islamic State’s mobilization of acts of violence that transgress prevailing sensibilities (transgression); and the violent acts’ function as not only a form of terror, but also an integral element of a state project and a visual manifestation of an alternative political order (politics).
Narrating success and failure: Congressional debates on the ‘Iran nuclear deal’
By: Kai Oppermann, Alexander Spencer
Abstract: This article applies a method of narrative analysis to investigate the discursive contestation over the “Iran nuclear deal” in the United States. Specifically, it explores the struggle in the US Congress between narratives constituting the deal as a US foreign policy success or failure. The article argues that foreign policy successes and failures are socially constructed through narratives and suggests how narrative analysis as a discourse-analytical method can be employed to trace discursive contests about such constructions. Based on insights from literary studies and narratology, it shows that stories of failures and successes follow similar structures and include a number of key elements, including: a particular setting; a negative/positive characterization of individual and collective decision-makers; and an emplotment of success or failure through the attribution of credit/blame and responsibility. The article foregrounds the importance of how stories are told as an explanation for the dominance or marginality of narratives in political discourse.
The international relations of ‘bourgeois revolutions’: Disputing the Turkish Revolution
By: Eren Duzgun
Abstract: The study of revolutions is at the forefront of the growing field of international historical sociology. As international historical sociology scholars have sought to uncover the spatio-temporally changing character of international relations, they have come a long way in overcoming “unilinear” and “internalist” conceptions of revolutionary modern transformation. In this article, I re-evaluate the extent to which the international historical sociology of “bourgeois revolutions” has succeeded in remedying unilinear conceptions of the transition to modernity. I argue that “consequentialist” approaches to the study of bourgeois revolutions tend to obscure the radically heterogeneous character of revolutionary transformations, both within and outside Western Europe. Drawing on Political Marxism and Robbie Shilliam’s discussion of Jacobinism, I first provide a non-consequentialist reading of the revolutions of modernity within Western Europe, and then utilize this reinterpretation to provide a new interpretation of the Turkish Revolution (1923–1945). My aim is to demonstrate that a non-consequentialist conception of “bourgeois revolutions” will enable us to historicize and theorize more accurately the co-constitution of international relations and revolutionary processes, hence providing a stronger foundation for the international historical sociology of modern revolutions.
Third World Quarterly (Volume 39, Issue 8)
From resistance to military institutionalisation: the case of the peshmerga versus the Islamic State
By: Marianna Charountaki
Abstract: This study explores differing strategies and tactics employed by the peshmerga forces against the Islamic State (IS). This experience highlights a number of issues which are relevant to contemporary security debates. Firstly, the struggle highlights important aspects of the development of the peshmerga and their strategies as an organised non-state military force (defending as it does the Kurdistan Region in Iraq). Secondly, the peshmerga–IS conflict is an important case study of small wars. The strategy and tactics used here are therefore useful empirical references about the effectiveness of military force in counter-insurgency. Finally, the war against IS united the peshmerga forces, possibly for the first time, and effected a radical change in the Kurdish use of military tactics, including the shift from defensive to offensive strategies. The article examines the methods employed by the peshmerga forces against IS, explains why the cases of Makhmour and Shingal stand out as tipping points, and discusses the evolution of Kurdish defence capacity.
Regulating religious authority for political gains: al-Sisi’s manipulation of al-Azhar in Egypt
By: Masooda Bano, Hanane Benadi
Abstract: The shedding of blood is a serious matter in Islamic law; disregard for human life negates the very essence of just rule. By standing by General al-Sisi as he suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood, the popular legitimacy of al-Azhar – the oldest seat of Islamic learning – was called into question. This article shows how the al-Sisi government skilfully deployed the two other state-controlled religious establishments, the Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) and Dar-ul-Ifta, to boost al-Azhar’s popular legitimacy in this context. Existing scholarship highlights the importance of competition within the Egyptian religious sphere to explain how the Egyptian state co-opts the al-Azhari official establishment. This article instead shows how the state, equally skilfully, uses state institutions to boost al-Azhar’s popular legitimacy – albeit to ensure that it remains useful for the purposes of political legitimisation. Political authority and religious authority in Egypt thus remain closely entangled.