[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 three-to-fout parts, depending on the number of articles included.]
Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics (Volume 38)
Translating Orientalism into the Arabic Nahda
By: Spencer Scoville
Abstract: Not available
An Ayyubid Renaissance: Saladdin, from Knighthood to Nahḍa
By: Samuel England
Abstract: Not available
Politics and Paratext: On Translating Arwa Salih’s al-Mubtasarun
By: Samah Selim
Abstract: Not available
American Anthropologist (Volume 120, Issue 3)
“Toppling” Saddam Hussein in London: Media, Meaning, and the Construction of an Iraqi Diasporic Community
By: Zainab Saleh
Abstract: This article interrogates the reaction of Iraqis in London to the live coverage of the fall of Saddam Hussein's statue during the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, which transformed their experience of temporality and their diasporic connections to homeland. I argue that the fall of the statue transformed the Iraqi communities in London from exilic ones—defined by enforced absence, and limited contact with Iraq—into a single diasporic one defined by transnational connections and transmigration. Furthermore, this moment was first and foremost a diasporic event. On the one hand, while it opened up the national space of Iraq to the communities in London, it entailed the disconnect of most Iraqis in Iraq from it due to lack of electricity and the ban on acquiring satellites under Hussein's regime. On the other hand, it brought Iraqis in London together as a community unified over the fall of the regime and allayed the deep divisions within the communities. This communal watching of this event made possible the imagination of a “better” Iraq, which sutured together divided exilic communities into a national body and constituted a rupture between two realities—namely, the reality of authoritarianism and the reality of US occupation. [diaspora, exile, media, temporality, live news]
Arabica (Volume 65, Issue 5-6)
Perched on the Shoulders of Giants? Looking at the Almohad Empire in the Hafsid Chronicles
By: Sébastien Garnier
Abstract: Our contribution tackles the ideological aspect of “legacy” developed in the pro-Hafsid legitimizing discourse. The court historiographers pretended that their patrons had deserved and inherited the throne of Ifrīqiya. We shall see how they sketched a genealogy of founding fathers—Abū Ḥafṣ ʿUmar (d. 571/1175-1176), Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Wāḥid (d. 618/1221) and Abū Zakariyyāʾ Yaḥyā (d. 647/1249)—, considering that Muʾminids and Hafsids were the two pillars of the Almohad Empire, so it was natural that the latters took up the torch when the formers declined.
The Manda Family: A Dynasty of Isfahani Scholars
By: Pavel Pavlovitch
Abstract: The Manda family was an important scholarly dynasty in Isfahan. From the beginning of the third century/ca 816 until the Mongol conquest of Isfahan in 632/1235-633/1236, its members were active in the fields of ḥadīṯ transmission and criticism, theology, and historiography. Despite its significance for the Ḥanbalī scholarly tradition, Āl Manda has remained marginal in the works of Western Islamicists during the last fifty years, whereas Muslim scholars have focused almost exclusively on the most prominent representative of the family, Muḥammad b. Isḥāq b. Manda (d. 395/1005), and, to a lesser extent, on his son, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān (d. 470/1078). In this essay, I catalogue all members of the Manda family who are mentioned in Arabic bio-bibliographical sources. I study in detail the theological views of Muḥammad b. Isḥāq b. Manda and his son ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Muḥammad, as well as Muḥammad b. Isḥāq’s contribution to the development of ḥadīṯ criticism.
Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 11, Issue 3)
The Malaysian “Islamic” State versus the Islamic State (IS): evolving definitions of “terror” in an “Islamising” nation-state
By: Nicholas Chan
Abstract: This article provides a study of how the Malaysian state defines and redefines “terror” as the nature of militancy changes from the Communist insurgency to present day’s Islamist jihadism. Tracing such definitional changes, the article demonstrates how the portrait of a terrorist not only is inherently political (and at certain junctures, politicised), but also reflects the changing nature of the state. While able to ethnicise and externalise the Communist Terrorists (CTs), the rise of Islamist militancy forced the Malaysian state to shelve the term “terrorist” in favour of religious “deviancy” until the advent of the “war on terror”. Advancing along a state-driven Islamisation project, the discursive ideal that is the “Islamic state”, was securitised (1980–2001), normalised (2001–2013), and resecuritised (2014–2016) as a balancing act not only to neutralise the security threat but also to augment the state’s “Islamic” credentials for domestic political gains. Following the emergence of the Islamic State (IS), I argue that the Malaysian state is now embroiled in an “Islamic state versus Islamic State” dilemma, where in the face of a far enemy it cannot decisively eliminate, the state has no choice but to defend itself as a sovereign nation-state as well as an “Islamic” one, further problematising Islam in discourses of security and violence.
The mediums and the messages: exploring the language of Islamic State media through sentiment analysis
By: Logan Macnair, Richard Frank
Abstract: This study applies the method of sentiment analysis to the online media released by the Islamic State (IS) in order to distinguish the ways in which IS uses language within their media, and potential ways in which this language differs across various online platforms. The data used for this sentiment analysis consist of transcripts of IS-produced videos, the text of IS-produced online periodical magazines, and social media posts from IS-affiliated Twitter accounts. It was found that the language and discourse utilised by IS in their online media is of a predominantly negative nature, with the language of videos containing the highest concentration of negative sentiment. The words and phrases with the most extreme sentiment values are used as a starting point for the identification of specific narratives that exist within online IS media. The dominant narratives discovered with the aid of sentiment analysis were: 1) the demonstrated strength of the IS, 2) the humiliation of IS enemies, 3) continuous victory, and 4) religious righteousness. Beyond the identification of IS narratives, this study serves to further explore the utility of the sentiment analysis method by applying it to mediums and data that it has not traditionally been applied to, specifically, videos and magazines.
Making women terrorists into “Jihadi brides”: an analysis of media narratives on women joining ISIS
By: Alice Martini
Abstract: Although the involvement of women in terrorist activities is not new, it is still considered to be an exceptional phenomenon. The figure of a woman militant contradicts the main gender constructions and thus produces a certain shock and disconcertment in societies. In the case of “Jihadism”, women who willingly join a terrorist organisation also challenge the Western Neo-Orientalist perspective on Muslim women in the West. Starting from these theoretical standpoints, this article focuses on a group of terrorists who have recently received a great deal of attention: ISIS women jihadis. Based on a critical discourse analysis of three main UK broadsheets, this article presents, deconstructs and problematises the main depictions that were used to describe these subjects. Furthermore, it discusses how the frames described reconcile these women’s actions with the gender and Neo-Orientalist constructions that circulate in Western societies, safeguarding the deriving hegemonic narratives. In other words, the article focuses on how women terrorists are made into “Jihadi Brides”.
Sectarianism in Iraq: the role of the coalition provisional authority
By: Tim Jacoby, Nassima Neggaz
Abstract: This article challenges recent analyses on sectarianism and Sunni-Shi’a conflict in Iraq by examining the political and economic factors that have underpinned the rising levels of internecine violence that have become apparent since 2003. Rather than rooted in “ancient hatreds”, these dynamics are, we argue, the outcome of a series of decisions and social transformations imposed on the Iraqi state in the immediate aftermath of the invasion – namely the format of the constitution, counter-insurgency policy, the establishment of a new media sector and the social effects of the Coalition’s economic reorganisation.
Brides, black widows and baby-makers; or not: an analysis of the portrayal of women in English-language jihadi magazine image content
By: Orla Lehane, David Mair, Saffron Lee, Jodie Parker
Abstract: This article analyses the depiction of women in image content from 39 issues of official English-language magazine publications produced by designated terrorist organisations that follow a jihadist ideology. Research on the role of women in jihadi organisations has found that women are active at all levels within terrorist groups. This includes creating and disseminating terrorist content; planning, co-ordinating and carrying out attacks; and, supporting fighters as wives, mothers and homemakers. Our analysis, however, found that women are almost never depicted within the images of terrorist organisations’ official magazines. We argue that this airbrushing is a deliberate attempt to reinforce traditional gender roles and strengthen existing gender hierarchies within terrorist organisations, and we make a number of suggestions for future research in this understudied field.
Representing the West and “non-believers” in the online jihadist magazines Dabiq and Inspire
By: Nuria Lorenzo-Dus, Anina Kinzel, Luke Walker
Abstract: This article analyses how jihadist ideology groups discursively represent “the West” and “non-believers” in their online propagandamagazines. In doing so, it contributes to the field of Critical Terrorism Studies conceptually, by considering the voices of violent actors, and methodologically, by illustrating how linguistic tools of enquiry can advance current knowledge of jihadist ideology groups. Our work adopts a case study approach, focusing on the online magazines Inspire and Dabiq, which are part of the propaganda machinery of, respectively, Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The analysis reveals a number of similarities and differences in the discursive strategies that these twogroups use. On the one hand, both Inspire and Dabiq support and further construct an “us versus them” dichotomy thatpolarises differences between their jihadist ideologies and those of Westerners/non-believers. On the other, Dabiq’s discursiverepresentation of “the West” targets a wider variety of individuals and groups of people and geographical locations than Inspire’s. Additionally, Inspire places a greater focus on the pejorative construction of “the West” than Dabiq, suggesting that Al-Qaeda places more emphasis than ISIS on presenting “the West” as the enemy of jihad.
Online jihadist magazines and the “religious terrorism” thesis
By: Stuart Macdonald, Nyasha Maravanyika, David Nezri, Elliot Parry, Kate Thomas
Abstract: This article presents findings from an empirical study of 39 issues of five online terrorist magazines in order to problematise the concept of religious terrorism. The presentation of the study’s findings focuses on the magazines’ textual content, examining the types of textual item each magazine contains, how the producers of the magazines perceive the publications, the justifications the magazines offer for the groups’ activities and the motivations that underlie these activities. This analysis shows that there are important differences between the messages each group expounds. These differences, the article argues, are obscured by the homogeneous label “religious terrorism”. Moreover, an examination of these groups’ messages shows that the purported distinction between religion and politics is unsustainable and has detrimental political-normative repercussions.
Dead Sea Discoveries (Volume 25, Issue 3)
Damascus: From the Fall of Persia to the Roman Conquest
By: Paul J. Kosmin
Abstract: This contribution aims to provide an outline of the political dynamics, cultural developments, and, ultimately, historical semantics of the city of Damascus for the circle(s) of its eponymous Document.
Codicological Reconstruction of the Cairo Damascus Document (CD A) and 4QDa
By: Jean-Sébastien Rey
Abstract: Despite the fact that scholars often rely on the medieval Cairo Damascus Document manuscripts (CD) when reconstructing the Qumran Damascus Document scrolls (4QD), there has yet to be an attempt to reconstruct the medieval codex on the basis of the Qumran scrolls. The purpose of this contribution, then, is to offer a reconstruction of CD A that is both informed by the Qumran scrolls as well as being informative for the reconstruction of 4QD. This article will try to answer three questions: 1) the number of quires that comprised CD A; 2) the width of the first column of 4QDa; and 3) the length of the missing part of the CD A codex.
Between Artefacts, Fragments, and Texts: An Analysis of 4Q266 Column I
By: James M. Tucker, Peter Porzig
Abstract: In this article, we propose a new reconstruction of column I of 4Q266 (4QDa), which is part of our new edition of the Damascus Document. Our proposed reconstruction results from a careful assessment of previous reconstructions of this column, as it pertains to fragment 1b and its relationship to frag. 1a. Specifically, we argue that the DJD line 1 reading of ב]נ֯י̇ אור לה̇נז֯ר֯ מדר֯[כי is better understood as a scribal gloss and not as the first line of the column. We conclude the article by discussing the compositional history of the Damascus Document, especially in terms of how our new reconstruction relates to the Cairo Genizah Codex CD A.
A Comparison of the “Penal Code” in the Damascus Document and in the Serekh ha-Yaḥad from a Literary Perspective
By: Stefan Beyerle, Andreas Ruwe
Abstract: In contrast to the so-called Penal Code in 1QS, the Penal Code in the Damascus Document (D) is very fragmentary. Only a few sentences at its beginning are attested. Furthermore, the Penal Code of 4Q265 is more like the Penal Code in 1QS than the version D (CD and 4QD frags). Nevertheless, all three literary works were written in a complex interdependency. The goal of this article is to focus on a comparison between the passages in 1QS and D and present a detailed structural analyses of each version, leading to a synthesis with the aim of answering the question as to which version of the Penal Code predates the other. Questions of legal structures and legal logic are in the focus. With regard to discrepancies between the versions in 1QS and D, this study argues that most of the regulations in the S-version presuppose the older rules of the D-version.
The Admonitions in the Damascus Document as a Series of Thematic Pesharim
By: Liora Goldman
Abstract: This study reveals a mosaic of artful rearrangement, rewriting, and creative interpretation of prophetic texts within the Admonitions of the Damascus Document. Many explicit quotations from scriptures and implicit allusions are interwoven and interpreted in the Admonitions through various methods, including pesher interpretation. The textual backdrop of the Admonitions helps us to determine the borders of the different discourses and to define the structure of the composition, which is divided into ten discourses built in a symmetrical chiastic structure. Each discourse comprises layers of quotations and allusions arranged around a central explicit pesher. Therefore, the explicit pesher in each discourse should not be viewed as an isolated pesher, as some have claimed, but rather as part of a larger thematic pesher. Each discourse/thematic pesher presents a different aspect of the work’s central theme: a polemic introduction to the rules of interpreting the Torah.
History (?) in the Damascus Document
By: Steven D. Fraade
Abstract: While the Damascus Document, like other writings found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, has been mined for historical information, with which to reconstruct the history of the Yaḥad, including the process and conditions of its formation and development over time, the present study is interested in discerning the text’s own understanding of the place in history occupied by its community of auditors and learners. Particular attention will be given to the text’s recurring reference to its beginnings (“first ones”) and ends (“last ones”) and to its sense of living in a truncated time-between. Through the close reading of two hortatory sections of the text, the question of how the Yaḥad’s collective social memory informs its self-understanding and practices as it faces both backward and forward in time.
International Journal of Middle East Studies (Volume 50, Issue 4)
Technopolitics of a Concessionary Contract: How International Law was Transformed by its Encounter with Anglo-iranian Oil
By: Katayoun Shafiee
Abstract: The Iranian government's decision to nationalize its British-controlled oil industry in 1951 was a landmark case in international law. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and the Iranian government clashed over whether international authorities had the right to arbitrate for them in disputes over the terms of the oil concession. Scholarship in Middle East studies has overlooked the role of concession terms in shaping political disputes in the 20th century. Rather than seeing legal studies of the oil industry on one side and power struggles and resources on the other, this article examines international court proceedings at The Hague to argue that Anglo-Iranian oil transformed international law. Novel mechanisms of economic and legal governance, set up to deal with an expanded community of nation-states, worked as techniques of political power that equipped the oil corporation with the power to associate Iran's oil with foreign control while generating new forms of law and contract that undermined resource nationalism.
A Prehistory of the Modern Legal Profession in Egypt, 1840s–1870s
By: Omar Youssef Cheta
Abstract: This article examines the emergence of a new corps of legal practitioners in Egypt during the 1860s and early 1870s. The proceedings of hundreds of merchant court cases in mid-19th-century Cairo are replete with references to deputies and agents (wukalā; sing. wakīl) who represented merchant-litigants in a wide range of commercial disputes. Examining how these historical actors understood Egyptian, Ottoman, and French laws, and how they strategically deployed their knowledge in the merchant courts, this article revises the commonly accepted historical account of the founding of the legal profession in Egypt. Specifically, it argues that norms of legal practice hitherto linked to the establishment of the Mixed Courts in 1876 were already being formed and refined within the realm of commercial law as part of a more comprehensive program of legal reforms underway during the middle decades of the 19th century. In uncovering this genealogy of practice, the article reevaluates the extent to which the khedival state shared a legal culture with the Ottoman center, and, simultaneously, created the space for a new form of legal representation that became ubiquitous under British, and, subsequently, postcolonial rule.
A Politics of Care: Local Nurses in Mandate Palestine
By: Julia R. Shatz
Abstract: This article examines the work experiences of Palestinian Arab nurses to illuminate the operation of the colonial public health regime in Mandate Palestine. Analyzing nurses’ work in the clinics of town and village communities and their relationships with the colonial government's Department of Health, it argues that these nurses were social and political interlocutors in the system of public health, which depended upon their intimate relationships with local communities. By pulling these women out of the archives, this article complicates received wisdom among scholars about development, expertise, and the chronology of welfare. Telling the stories of these women also provides a ground-level view of the operation of daily governance in Mandate Palestine and the lived social, political, and economic realities of an often-overlooked cadre of Palestinian workers from that period.
Nursing Transgressions, Exploring Difference: North Africans In French Medical Spaces During World War I
By: Chris Rominger
Abstract: This article explores the social impact of North African soldiers’ experiences in French military hospitals during World War I. In particular, it examines improvised “Muslim hospitals” that were opened in order to isolate North Africans from French civilian society. Colonial and military officials believed that North Africans, presumed to be warlike, pathogenic, and promiscuous, could corrupt and be corrupted by the French public. Yet while existing literature tends to highlight the dehumanization of North Africans at the hands of military and medical authorities, this article, drawing from personal correspondence, photographs, and military and medical records, reveals a more ambiguous daily reality. I argue that the individual needs and desires of wounded North Africans and of French nurses, as well as material limitations and contingencies, created spaces for an unprecedented series of humanizing personal encounters. In military-medical “colonies within the metropole,” these soldiers found themselves caught between a newfound sense of affinity with the French public and a starker sense of the boundaries of colonial practice.
At the Tipping Point? Al-azhar’s Growing Crisis of Moral Authority
By: Masooda Bano
Abstract: Routinely required to lend religious legitimacy to contentious state policies, al-Azhar's moral authority has been under pressure since its nationalization in 1961. This article outlines how Shaykh al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyib's recent alliance with President ʿAbd al-Fattah al-Sisi has, however, exposed al-Azhar's moral authority to unprecedented risks. This is for three reasons. First, the tactics used by al-Sisi's government to quell the Muslim Brotherhood have been more extreme than those used by previous regimes. Second, the al-Azhari establishment's defence of these violent tactics has been more unqualified than in the past. Third, current state-led reforms of al-Azhar's curriculum are more controversial than prior efforts along these lines. As I show, these recent developments are not a complete break from the past; rather, they are a natural outcome of incremental shifts that have been occurring within al-Azhar since its nationalization over fifty years ago.
The Hunchakian Revolutionary Party and the Assassination Attempts Against Patriarch Khoren Ashekian and Maksudzade Simon Bey in 1894
By: Varak Ketsemanian
Abstract: The spring of 1894 was an important period for Constantinople's Armenian community. Two assassination attempts targeted the Armenian patriarch Khoren Ashekian, and the chairperson of the Armenian Political Assembly Maksudzade Simon Bey, respectively. In both cases, the assailants were partisans of the Hunchakian Party, an Armenian revolutionary organization established in 1887. Analyzing the reasons behind these two attacks, and the imperial context in which they took place, this article challenges aspects of mainstream Armenian and Turkish historiography on the Hamidian period. It argues that a critical look at these two attacks through a socio-economic paradigm rather than an ethno-political one provides a viable analytical framework for deconstructing the notion of the “Armenian millet” as an undifferentiated community. More generally, the article explores the role of violence in shaping intracommunal relationships in the early 1890s.
Islamic Law and Society (Volume 25, Issue 4)
“Whoever Imitates a People Becomes One of Them”: A Hadith and its Interpreters
By: Youshaa Patel
Abstract: This article examines the canonization of the Prophetic hadith, “Whoever imitates a people becomes one of them,” which became the keynote expression of tashabbuh (reprehensible imitation), a Sunni doctrine commonly invoked by religious authorities to distinguish Muslims from non-Muslims. First, I analyze how the Partisans of Hadith transmitted and classified the hadith, highlighting the pivotal role of Abū Dāwūd (d. 275/889) in canonizing the tradition. I then trace the divergent trajectories of its interpretation over time, especially the glosses of two brilliant Damascenes: Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328) and Najm al-Dīn al-Ghazzī (d. 1061/1651). This study draws not only from hadith commentaries but also from treatises on law, ethics, and Sufism, illustrating how hadith interpretation takes place in multiple Islamic literary genres. A detailed appendix catalogues the collections of hadith that transmit the tradition; compares different narrations in order to date and locate its circulation; and visually maps its isnād networks.
Money in Classical Islam: Legal Theory and Economic Practice
By: Norbert Oberauer
Abstract: The present study examines the conception of money in classical Islamic law, specifically the relationship between scholarly discourses on money and actual economic practice. I shall argue that the theoretical concept of money was to some extent a fiction. Muslim jurists conceived of money in terms of a three-tier currency system that involved gold dinars, silver dirhams and copper fulūs. The market was much more complex. A wide range of coins of various metallic content, weight and value circulated. In the first part of the study I describe the complexity of Islamic money markets. In the second part, I investigate how scholars reacted to the gap between theory and practice and posit some tentative conclusions about the relationship between Islamic law and practice.
The Practice of Khulʿ in Germany: Pragmatism versus Conservativism
By: Mahmoud Jaraba
Abstract: In this article, I examine how Muslim women who ae religiously-married in Germany might initiate no-fault divorce in the absence of a German registered civil marriage. Because there is no Muslim state authority to consult, local imams and Islamic leaders can resort to a community-led practice known as khulʿ (divorce initiated by the woman) to dissolve an Islamic marriage (nikāḥ) that is not recognized by civil authorities. In this article, which is the culmination of three years of fieldwork in Germany, I analyze and interpret the views and practices of two groups of religious actors - conservatives and pragmatists - towards khulʿ in cases of nikāḥ. I find that conservatives only permit a woman to divorce through khulʿ with her husband’s consent, whereas pragmatists use Muslim minority jurisprudence (fiqh al-aqalliyyāt al-Muslima) to argue that the husband’s consent is not essential to legitimize a khulʿ pronouncement.
A Legal Concept in Motion: The ‘Spreader of Corruption’ (sā‘ī bi’l-fesād) from Qarakhanid to Ottoman Jurisprudence
By: Yavuz Aykan
Abstract: This article traces the genealogies of the legal concept ‘spreader of corruption’. Although some scholars working on Ottoman law consider this concept to be part of the Ottoman ḳānūn tradition, the history of its adaptation by Ottoman jurists actually dates back to the Qarakhanid period (eleventh century CE). It acquired its legal meaning as a result of jurisprudential debates among Ḥanafī jurists in the context of political turmoil and violent factionalism among madhhabs. Later, Seljuq and Golden Horde legal-textual traditions served as conduit for Ottoman jurists to adapt the concept in order to apply it to a variety of criminal acts. This article explores how the ‘spreader of corruption’ concept was reinterpreted over the centuries and how it contributed to the enforcement of law in the Ottoman context.
Journal of Cuneiform Studies (Volume 70)
By: Vitali Bartash
Abstract: This article studies Sumerian terms for minors (dumu, di4-di4-la(2) and lu2 tur-ra) in texts of various genres to define their precise meaning and relationship to kinship and age-grade terminologies. The author argues that dumu is essentially a kinship term “son/daughter, one's own child, offspring,” which lacks any age connotations. In contrast, di4-di4-la(2) designates children as an age grade. As in other languages, words for children as kinship and children as minors often exchange their semantic domains. Lu2 tur-ra, lit. “minor” is another age-grade term. In contrast, it has a pronounced social connotation and denotes those under patriarchal or professional authority, including children, youths, and young unmarried, or even recently married, individuals, as well as junior professionals.
The Stele of Sarab-e Sey Khan: A Recent Discovery of a Second-Millennium Stele on the Iranian–Mesopotamian Borderland in the Western Zagros Mountains
By: Aref Biglari, Sajjad Alibaigi, Masoud Beyranvand
Abstract: Recent surveys on the eastern hillsides of Bamou Mountain near the current frontiers of Iran and Iraq have led to the discovery of an ancient broken stele in the area of the Sarab-e Sey (Seyed) Khan spring. The stele was made from a large slab of limestone that was broken and of which only two fragments have been recovered so far. The remaining pieces of the stele had a full-size image of a person in a long robe holding a crook in his right hand, undoubtedly a representation of the god Amurru; his left foot rests on the back of a sitting goat while grasping the goat's horns with his left hand. Another, smaller figure stands to the right of the main figure, near his left shoulder, with in front of him carved a star which could be the symbol of Ishtar. The highly damaged nature of the stele and the absence of an inscription does not allow any precise dating, but it may be proposed that the stele of Sey Khan dates to the Old Babylonian period.
The Divine Appointment of the First Antediluvian King: Newly Recovered Content from the Ur Version of the Sumerian Flood Story
By: Jeremiah Peterson
Abstract: A newly reconstructed manuscript of the Sumerian Flood Story from Old Babylonian Ur furnishes us with further content of the composition, most notably the divine appointment of the first king, Alulim of Eridu. It appears that this text contained an etiology for the pervasive royal image of the king as shepherd of the people.
Beginnings of Old Babylonian Babylon: Sumu-abum and Sumu-la-El
By: Rients de Boer
Abstract: This article studies the lives of two men pivotal in the history of (Old Babylonian) Babylon: Sumu-abum and Sumu-la-El. Sumu-abum was an Amorite tribal and military leader who led groups of Amorite warriors between ca. 1890 and 1860 BCE. He managed to conquer large swaths of northern Babylonian and the Lower Diyala region. In the wake of these conquests, numerous small Amorite kingdoms were set up by his subordinates. The most important one was Sumu-la-El (1880–1845 BCE), who founded the First Dynasty of Babylon. After Sumu-abum's death, Sumu-la-El subjugated several other petty kings in Babylon's vicinity and built a string of fortresses around his territory. Through his actions he formed the core of the Babylonian kingdom.
On Some Metrological Issues Affecting Yield Estimates in Second-Millennium BCE Upper Mesopotamia
By: Hervé Reculeau
Abstract: Comparative and quantitative analyses of second millennium BCE agriculture in Upper Mesopotamia are often hindered by the use of absolute values for metrological units of surface and capacity that are based on third millennium southern Mesopotamian documentations. The evidence suggests to the contrary that different metrological systems were used through space and time, and that both their relative and absolute values varied to a great extent, even in cases when similar cuneiform signs and/or unit names were used. This essay analyses the surface and capacity units of Old Babylonian Mari and Assyria in the Old and Middle Assyrian periods, and explores paths to establish their absolute value in modern units by focusing on their internal coherence.
Fraud, Forgery, and Fiction: Is There Still Hope for Agum-Kakrime?
By: Susanne Paulus
Abstract: In this paper, I discuss the authenticity of one of the most controversial Kassite inscriptions known only from post-Kassite copies, the Agum-kakrime Inscription. I revisit the most common arguments brought up against the inscription's authenticity and then discuss it in the context of other Kassite inscriptions known from later copies. I additionally address the proposed financial motivations for possible forgers as well as potential anachronisms and the Sitz im Leben of the copies discovered in the library of Assurbanipal.
Assyrian Antiquities Lost in Translation
By: Julian Edgeworth Reade
Abstract: Europeans who excavated the great Assyrian cities in the mid-nineteenth century discovered colossal alabaster figures, hundreds of wall panels, and innumerable smaller items that they wished to send home. The journey was perilous and much was lost, most notably sculptures from Khorsabad and elsewhere that were on a French convoy attacked near the Tigris-Euphrates confluence in 1855. There has been much uncertainty over what perished on this and other occasions. This paper integrates the relevant sources, identifies antiquities lost during transport from Khorsabad, the Northwest Palace at Nimrud, the Southwest and North Palaces at Nineveh, and other sites, and compares the loss of original photographs, squeezes and paper archives after arrival in Europe.
Two Temple Rituals from Babylon
By: Rocío Da Riva, Gianluca Galetti
Abstract: BM 40790 (81–04–28, 335) and BM 40854 (81–04–28, 401) + BM 41208 (81–04–28, 756) bear ritual instructions to be carried out in the Esagil. The main activities described deal with Nabû and Nanāya in their cellas: Ezida and Euršaba, respectively. These two tablets clearly belong together, and—together with other tablets now lost—may have originally constituted a series of rituals for the whole year that were connected, in a way or another, to the New Year Festival of Nisan. A striking aspect of BM 40790 and BM 40854+ is the presence of female deities and of female and sexually ambiguous cult attendants. The two texts show a new perspective on temple rituals, in which female agency appears stronger than previously assumed.
Journal of Economic Cooperation and Development (Volume 39, Issue 3)
Evaluating the Effect of Ownership Structure on Firm Performance: Evidence from Saudi Arabian Listed Companies
By: Allam Mohammed Hamdan, Anisa Abdulrahman Amin
Abstract: The study aims to evaluate the relation between ownership structure and firm performance; the sample included 171 firms from all the sectors in (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) KSA for two years, 2013–2014. Two dimensions of ownership structure were studied, concentration and identity of owner, which was subdivided into foreign, managerial, family and institutional ownership. One major financial tool was used to measure firm performance: return on assets (ROA). The study evaluated this relation using several control variables which are: firm size, firm age, financial leverage and industry sector. Ownership concentration was found to have a positive, statistically insignificant effect on company performance. Institutional ownership was found to have a positive effect on company performance. Managerial ownership did not have a significant effect on company performance; however, managerial ownership had a positive effect on performance. Foreign ownership was found to have a negative, statistically significant effect on firm performance, and family ownership was found to have a positive and statistically insignificant effect on firm performance. Other results were revealed by the study regarding company age, size, leverage and sector. The study contributes to the debate about agency theory and the separation that exists between shareholders and management. The study may benefit many interested groups in the KSA and other countries in making business decisions concerning this topic and other related decisions.
Online Financial Disclosure, Board Characteristics and the Performance of Islamic Banks
By: Abdalmuttaleb M.A. Musleh Al-Sartawi
Abstract: This paper aims to investigate the association between online financial disclosure, board characteristics and performance of listed Islamic banks in the gulf cooperation council bourses. A checklist of 90 items was adopted to measure the level of online financial disclosure for the Islamic banks that are listed in Gulf Cooperation Council bourses. The findings indicate that there is a positive relationship between the level of online financial disclosure and performance indicators. Accordingly, the study recommends that regulatory bodies should develop a guideline of disclosing information through the internet in order to enhance the transparency and performance among Islamic banks leading to sound decision making.
Internal and External Determinants of Turkey-Kazakhstan Energy Collaboration
By: Remziye Yilmaz Bozkus
Abstract: A number of academic studies have covered Turkey’s energy relations with Kazakhstan, overwhelmingly in the context of Turkey’s energy cooperation with Caspian Sea or Central Asian countries. But, since there is a great potential of energy collaboration between Ankara and Astana, this collaboration deserves to be analysed exclusively. Hence, by covering the energy partnership between Turkey and Kazakhstan, this study attempts to fill in this significant gap in the academic literature on Turkish-Kazakh energy ties. In addition, the existing studies have rarely applied IR theories to describe these ties. Through explaining Ankara’s energy cooperation with Astana in the framework of Realism and Liberalism, this paper seeks to fill in this gap. The analysis made in this context shows that Turkey’s energy security concerns; its aspiration of becoming an energy hub; the economic and business partnerships established between Turkey and Kazakhstan; the close political, historical and cultural links between the two countries; and regional issues such as the aspiration of the EU to reduce its dependence on Russian gas and the competition among Russia, Turkey, Iran, China and the EU control over the Caspian energy resources, including those of Kazakhstan, are the main determinants of Turkey-Kazakhstan energy cooperation.
Journal of the American Oriental Society (Volume 138, Issue 3)
The Assyrian Sculptures from the Nergal Gate Museum at Nineveh before the Islamic State's Attack
By: Paolo Brusasco
Abstract: After the destruction of the treasures of the Mosul Cultural Museum in Iraq shown in the Islamic State (IS) video released on February 26, 2015, scholars focused their discussion on the inventory of the missing items and the question of how many modern copies were present. A few suggested that the video circulating of the devastation was possibly a montage of items originating from different places. Based on a new photographic database provided by Suzanne E. Bott, a U.S. Reconstruction Advisor in Iraq between 2007 and 2010, this paper shows that some of the artifacts featured in the video were photographed in the small Nergal Gate Museum at the archaeological site of Nineveh. This sets up the problem of identifying objects whose provenance is the Nergal Gate Museum instead of the Mosul Museum. An historical and archaeological analysis of items from the Nergal Gate Museum, both originals and copies, is here carried out in order to highlight the cultural importance of this little-known but significant institution which has been lost forever.
Irony, Archeology, and the Rule of Rhyme: Two Readings of the Ṭasmu Luzūmiyya of Abū l-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī
By: Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych
Abstract: Two contrasting approaches to the genesis of the Luzūmiyya rhymed in Ṭasmu serve as entry points into Abū l-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī's (d. 449/1058) double-rhymed diwan, Luzūm mā lā yalzam. The first takes the seventh/thirteenth-century litterateur Ibn al-Qifṭī's account of the Umayyad caliph al-Walīd's Mosque of Damascus excavations, which was read before al-Maʿarrī, as the inspiration for the poem. This reading elicits the metaphorical connection, through the ubi sunt topos of the Arabic nasīb, between the extinct Arab tribe Ṭasm and the long-lost civilization unearthed in Damascus, and, further, the high irony with which the poem predicts the ineluctable annihilation of Islam itself. The second reading interprets the poem as the product of the extreme double-rhyme strictures al-Maʿarrī has imposed on himself—here the rhyme in -smu. The use of Ṭasm/ṭasm (erasure, obliteration) inexorably drives the poem from the lore of tribal extermination to the lexical and motival world of the nasīb.
Middle East Journal (Volume 72, Issue 4)
Iran and Russia in the Middle East: Toward a Regional Alliance?
By: Clément Therme
Abstract: This article sheds light on the converging interests between Iran and Russia in the Middle East as well as persistent points of friction between the two countries. There is an internal debate in Iran about defining a new regional and foreign policy in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and during the administration of United States president Donald Trump. As there are no purely bilateral relationships in the international system, the Tehran-Moscow relationship is, to a certain extent, influenced by US foreign policy.
Saudi Arabia and Israel: From Secret to Public Engagement, 1948–2018
By: Elie Podeh
Abstract: Media reports have recently indicated that Israel and Saudi Arabia have been cooperating behind the scenes against their common enemies, Iran and jihadist groups. This article sets to explore the rationale behind and essence of this cooperation, while putting it in proper historical perspective. The article shows that Saudi policy toward Israel was consistently dictated by pragmatism rather than ideology, while Israel’s suspicions toward the kingdom disappeared only following the 2006 Lebanon War and the Arab Spring.
Can Saudi Arabia Move beyond “Production with Rentier Characteristics”? Human Capital Development in the Transitional Oil Economy
By: Makio Yamada
Abstract: Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification to date has largely involved “production with rentier characteristics” — a mode of production that relies on oil-driven advantages such as energy- and capital-abundance and foreign labor. The kingdom’s previous attempts to invest in human capital development in order to create labor-intensive sectors for local citizens were hampered by institutional fragmentation in the education sector and the legacy of rentierism. While the current government is integrating the school system and training programs, capacity-building remains the major challenge in building a skilled Saudi workforce.
Israel Turns to the Sea
By: Yael Teff-Seker, Ehud Eiran, Aviad Rubin
Abstract: Since the mid-1990s, both the Israeli state and Israeli society have been developing and implementing several separate new policies regarding the country’s seas. These include the extraction of offshore hydrocarbons; expansion of the navy; massive desalination projects; and several legislative, planning, and zoning initiatives. Put together, these changes amount to a “turn to the sea” that profoundly affects Israel’s economy, foreign policy, and military. This article compares this shift to historical precedents, offering Israel as a template for a new, cumulative model that does not conform to the existing narratives of how polities have turned to the maritime domain.
Speaking with the “Voice of Syria”: Producing the Arab World’s First Personality Cult
By: Kevin W. Martin
Abstract: The most significant macro-historical trend of the late 20th century Arab world was the consolidation of undemocratic governance. One of the most visible manifestations of this phenomenon was the establishment of personality cults surrounding authoritarian rulers. This article analyzes the first such cult in the Arab world, that of Colonel Adib al-Shishakli, who was effectively dictator of Syria from 1949 to 1954. This article undermines the presumptions that Hafiz al-Asad’s cult of personality was unprecedented in Syrian history and modeled solely on previous cults in Communist dictatorships.
Middle East Law and Governance (Volume 10, Issue 3)
Civil Society and the Rise of Unconventional Modes of Youth Participation in the MENA
By: Nadine Sika
Abstract: Why are there variances in young people’s civic and political participation in the aftermath of the Arab Uprisings, and what are the implications of these types of participatory modes on authoritarian rule in the region? Based on quantitative and qualitative fieldwork from five countries in the Middle East – Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon – this paper demonstrates that young people in the region are increasingly drawn to independent and unconventional forms of participation to varying degrees, depending on each country’s authoritarian structure and institutional arrangements. Though the rise of unconventional participation is a manifestation of the presence of a vibrant Arab street, these participatory modes lead to civil society’s weakness and fragmentation. This adds to the volatility of new civic and political actors and provides the regimes with more authoritarian strategies for resilience.
New Social Movements: The Case of Youth’s Political Project in Egypt - Comparing the 1919 and 2011 Revolutions
By: Dina El-Sharnouby
Abstract: With the 2011 Revolution in Egypt, new forms of social mobilization and new possibilities for political interaction surfaced. The manifestation of these events suggested a different understanding of politics among particularly revolutionary youth. How do their values and practices affect political imaginaries? How are those imaginaries different from previous revolutionary struggles? This article highlights the political projects of the 2011 revolutionary youth versus previous revolutionary struggles by looking at youth activists and the case of the leftist Bread and Freedom party. Contrasting the Revolution of 1919 to 2011 in Egypt reveals a renewed call to social justice imagined to be practiced through the state and state institutions while minimizing ideology and a singular leadership in their mobilization strategies. Drawing on fieldwork done in 2014 and 2015, this paper suggests that the 2011 political project from youth’s perspective is about the importance of political practices of social justice over an ideology.
Activism Amid Disappointment: Women’s Groups and the Politics of Hope in Egypt
By: Nermin Allam
Abstract: In this paper, I provide preliminary answers to two main questions, namely: How did the politics of disappointment unfold among female activists after the 2011 Egyptian uprising and specifically under the current regime? And what were the effects of the strong sense of emotional disappointment on women’s activism and collective action? The study is situated within the literature on emotions and contentious politics. Utilizing the rich theoretical tools found in the literature, I argue that disappointment did not mark the end of politics and activism among women’s groups in Egypt. The data for this paper was gathered from semi-structured interviews with female activists, protestors, and leaders of women’s rights groups. The data gathered was analyzed within the prism of critical discourse analysis in an attempt to empirically investigate how activists move both forward and backward as they navigate their own emotions in addition to a crippling political system. It is true that the situation is complicated and activism is restricted in Egypt, however, the essence of this research is ignited by participants’ affirmation that their experience in the uprising has changed them, and that “things cannot go back to the old days,” notwithstanding their disappointment over the turn of events. A focus on hope and disappointment places the experiences of activists squarely in our analysis. It allows researchers to reclaim the voices of female activists in explaining the challenges and opportunities that developed post the uprising and how these developments influenced and shaped their experience, movement, and mobilization.
An Evolving ‘Fuzzy’ Islamic Public: The Case of Sheikh al-Amoud in Egypt
By: Dina Hosni
Abstract: The paper deconstructs the dichotomization of Islamic educational institutions into those run under the state’s purview and those operating as ‘parallel’ Islamic institutions usually as part of Islamic group activism. It argues for the existence of ‘fuzzy’ Islamic educational institutions that have merged dīn (religion) and dunyā (life) – without delving into the modern dawla (state). Focusing on contemporary Egypt, the paper uses Sheikh al-Amoud as a case study of these ‘fuzzy’ Islamic educational entities that have emerged as Islamic publics following the 2011 Egyptian uprisings attracting a wide array of Muslim youth in Egypt. The paper expects Sheikh al-Amoud to survive partly due to its non-political orientations and to its indirect connection with al-Azhar. Due to the novelty of the topic, the paper mainly depends on fieldwork through interviews and observation.
The ‘Third Hand’ in Egypt: Legitimation and the International Dimension in Political Transformations
By: Sarah Wessel
Abstract: This article seeks to complement current research on the international dimension of the recent transformations in the Arab world by focusing on the subjective domestic political debates on external actors in Egypt. Approaching political transformations in post-revolutionary Egypt (2010–2014) as dynamic and reciprocal processes of claim making and receiving, I explore how the representations of external actors served as an important source for the military to legitimize the continuous expansion of its political powers. By doing so, I hope to illuminate on a period that was celebrated as a departure towards democracy, yet regressed into the re-emergence of a military regime three years later. Drawing from empirical findings gained in a multi-sited long-term field study from 2010 to 2014, I show that the ‘third hand’ – a concept that is commonly used in the streets, the media and in political speeches to designate external interventions as attempts to undermine the stability of the country – had a major impact on the transformations. The article shows how the exploration of domestic public debates is key to a better understanding of the international dimension in political transformations.
The Legacy of Authoritarian Strategies: Repression and Polarization in the Palestinian Territories
By: Dana S. El Kurd
Abstract: What is the effect of authoritarianism on polarization within society, and how does such polarization affect collective action? This paper specifically addresses whether varying types of authoritarian strategies have an effect on the level of polarization in society, and the subsequent ability of different segments of society to coordinate. I argue that authoritarianism generates rising polarization, which in turn inhibits cooperation between groups. Specifically, the type of authoritarian strategy matters; exclusionary strategies such as repression generate higher levels of grievance and insularity, making it more difficult for groups to coordinate, than inclusionary strategies such as cooptation. To assess this dynamic, I examine a specific case of authoritarianism and polarization: the case of the Palestinian territories. Using this case, I present a two-stage theory, arguing: (1) that particular forms of authoritarianism generate polarization, and (2) that polarization subsequently affects social cohesion, and capacity for collective action. Results confirm the theory that authoritarianism, in particular forms, exacerbates polarization within society. This polarization in turn affects the ability and willingness of different segments to coordinate on a common task. In particular, exclusionary strategies such as repression generate greater levels of polarization than inclusionary strategies such as cooptation. Moreover, the qualitative evidence shows that Islamists in the West Bank, the most repressed group, are much more insular and less willing to cooperate with others. These results shed light on mechanisms of authoritarian control, and provide pathways for future research on how regimes maintain power by neutralizing opposition increasingly over time. On a substantive level, these results also explain why the Palestinian community specifically, and Arab societies more generally, suffer from increasing polarization and a decreasing capacity for collective action.
Democratization in Unlikely Places: Comparative Lessons from the Latin American Experience
By: Kenneth M. Roberts
Abstract: The Latin American experience at the end of the 20th century demonstrates that democratic regimes can be established and stabilized in “unlikely” places that would not appear to have the requisite “preconditions” for democracy as conventionally theorized. The region may thus provide insights into the prospects for democracy in other parts of the world, such as the MENA region, that also lack the traditional correlates of democracy. An understanding of democracy’s institutional roots in deep societal conflicts, rather than political consensus, civic cultures, or economic prosperity, is an essential starting point for such cross-regional perspectives.
Millennium: Journal of International Studies (Volume 47, Issue 1)
Stray Dogs, Post-Humanism and Cosmopolitan Belongingness: Interspecies Hospitality in Times of War
By: Matthew Leep
Abstract: International Relations scholars have recently begun exploring the politics of human-animal relations in global affairs. Building on Jacques Derrida’s work on hospitality and animals, this article theorises possibilities of responsibility to animals in war zones, pushing the limits of what it means to be with and for others regardless of their human or animal otherness. Specifically, I develop a critical account of cosmopolitan belongingness to illustrate how our being on earth is always a ‘being-with’ animal others. In thinking through possibilities of post-human belongingness that could emerge in times of war, cosmopolitanism becomes a futural task, an out-of-time and endless confrontation of past and future opportunities for interspecies togetherness. The theoretical significance of this approach is illustrated with a case study on the killing of stray dogs during the Iraq War. This case reveals a cosmopolitanism calibrated to more fully consider possibilities of human-animal belongingness amidst violence.
Oriens (Volume 46, Issue 3-4)
On the Emergence of Maragha Avicennism
By: Robert Wisnovsky
Abstract: Not available
Babylonian and Indian Wisdoms in Islamicate Culture
By: Y. Tzvi Langermann
Abstract: The interaction of Islamicate civilization with those civilizations that preceded it or were contemporaneous with it has focused for the most part on Hellenistic civilization, and the huge body of scientific and philosophical literature which was translated and absorbed in the first centuries after the appearance of Islam. This paper aims to present two small but much needed correctives to this understanding. In the first section I argue that the “Greek” astronomy that was translated into Arabic ought more correctly to be described as Greco-Babylonian astronomy. In the second I turn to India: not only was a great deal of Indian knowledge absorbed at the time of the great translation movement, we must recall that the exchanges with India carried on well beyond the early Abbasids. I illustrate these points with some new materials in the fields of medicine, philosophy, and alchemy.
Oxford Development Studies (Volume 46, Issue 4)
Protecting future rights for future citizens: children’s property rights in fragile environments
By: Sandra F. Joireman
Abstract: The property rights of children is an understudied area that straddles the development/humanitarian divide. Access to assets is important to the livelihood choices and economic well-being of adults. Yet, adults’ ability to claim property can be significantly impaired by humanitarian emergencies that occurred in their youth. We typically do not think of children as economic actors because of their age; their property rights are future rights not yet realized. This paper addresses the future rights to property held by children and examines how fragile environments, characterized by conflict, displacement and disease, can undermine their ability to claim those rights when they become adults, thus depriving them of assets. We identify two types of responses that can begin to address this problem: (1) legal changes to protect children’s assets when guardianship is lost; and (2) actions that can be taken by humanitarian organizations to identify children’s assets and protect them through conflict and displacement. This is a particularly salient topic at the current time when the numbers of displaced people are higher than any time previously recorded, and half of the displaced are children.
Perspectives on Politics (Volume 16, Issue 3)
When Do the Dispossessed Protest? Informal Leadership and Mobilization in Syrian Refugee Camps
By: Killian Clarke
Abstract: Refugees are often considered to be among the world’s most powerless groups; they face significant structural barriers to political mobilization, often including extreme poverty and exposure to repression. Yet despite these odds refugee groups do occasionally mobilize to demand better services and greater rights. In this paper I examine varying levels of mobilization among Syrian refugees living in camps and informal settlements in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan in order to explain how marginalized and dispossessed groups manage to develop autonomous political strength. I explain the surprisingly high levels of mobilization in Jordan’s Za’atari Camp compared to the relative quiescence of refugees in Turkish camps and Lebanese informal settlements as the product of a set of strong informal leadership networks. These networks emerged due to two unique facets of the refugee management regime in Jordan: the concentration of refugees in the camp, and a fragmented governance system. In Turkey and Lebanon, where these two conditions were absent, refugees did not develop the strong leadership networks necessary to support mobilization. I develop this argument through structured comparison of three cases and within-case process tracing, using primary source documents from humanitarian agencies, contentious event data, and 87 original interviews conducted in the summer of 2015.
Political Science Quarterly (Volume 133, Issue 3)
The Puzzle of Democratic Divergence in the Arab World: Theory Confronts Experience in Egypt and Tunisia
By: Eva Bellin
Abstract: Eva Bellin explores the divergent political trajectories pursued by Egypt and Tunisia after the Arab Spring. She argues that factors such as socio-economic development, mass culture, and prior regime character were less consequential in shaping the chances of democratic transition than were factors such as civil society, the character of the military, and leadership.
PS: Political Science & Politics (Volume 51, Issue 4)
Who Supports Syrians? The Relative Importance of Religion, Partisanship, and Partisan News
By: Brian Newman
Abstract: Who supports allowing Syrian refugees into the United States? As a candidate, Donald Trump clearly opposed doing so. In contrast, religious leaders across the broad spectrum of religious traditions in the United States have drawn on sacred texts to call their people to action in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Many explicitly ask the government to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States. Thus, many Republicans may have experienced cross-cutting pressures. Analyses of three surveys from 2015 and 2016 found that party identification, ideology, support for Trump, partisan-news consumption, religious-service attendance, age, and education predicted support for bringing Syrian refugees to the United States. Overall, the partisan and ideological variables were far more predictive of attitudes than religious variables. These results raise important questions about refugee politics and contexts in which religious forces conflict with partisan and ideological forces.
Security Studies (Volume 27, Issue 4)
The Future of Chemical Weapons: Implications from the Syrian Civil War
By: Geoffrey Chapman, Hassan Elbahtimy, Susan B. Martin
Abstract: With chemical weapons (CW) use in Syria raising questions about the health of the CW norm, this article analyzes whether the Syrian case will lead to further proliferation and use of chemical weapons by states. We examine the use of chemical weapons at Ghouta in 2013 and on the Hama Plains in 2014 and find that: first, chemical weapons have demonstrated limited military utility in Syria, either tactically or as a tool of civilian victimization; second, the costs of use have been repeatedly demonstrated by the international reaction to their use; and third, the use of sarin—a nerve agent—has attracted a stronger international response than the use of chlorine, a less lethal agent. Consequently, we conclude that the Syrian case is unlikely to lead to significant proliferation and use of chemical weapons; any that does occur is most likely to involve states already outside the CW norm.
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism (Volume 41, Issues 10 & 11)
Beyond the Pale? Exploring Prospects for Negotiations with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State
By: Seth Cantey
Abstract: This article argues that prospects for negotiations with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have been undertheorized. Drawing on nearly two thousand pages of primary source material— all issues of Inspire and Dabiq magazines published at the time of writing—it examines these groups' statements about their motivations for violence, their objectives, and their views about the possibility of dialogue with the West. It finds stark differences in all three areas and suggests that assumptions that have prevented theorizing about negotiations with these groups should be revisited.
Identity, Ideology, and Information: The Sources of Iraqi Public Support for the Islamic State
By: Karl Kaltenthaler, Daniel Silverman, Munqith Dagher
Abstract: This article explores the amount and sources of support for the Islamic State among Iraqis. We argue that, in addition to shared identity and ideology, a neglected factor in debates about support for Islamist militancy is the messaging and information that individuals receive about a given group. We test these arguments using regression analysis on public opinion data collected in Iraq in April 2015. The analyses largely support our contentions, showing that exposure to news coverage of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant substantially reduces support for the group, even among alienated Sunnis or ideological Islamists.
Online as the New Frontline: Affect, Gender, and ISIS-Take-Down on Social Media
By: Elizabeth Pearson
Abstract: Using a dataset of more than 80 accounts during 2015, this article explores the gendered ways in which self-proclaiming Twitter Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) supporters construct community around “suspension.” The article argues that suspension is an integral event in the online lives of ISIS supporters, which is reproduced in online identities. The highly gendered roles of ISIS males and females frame responses to suspension, enforcing norms that benefit the group: the shaming of men into battle and policing of women into modesty. Both male and female members of “Wilayat Twitter” regard online as a frontline, with suspension an act of war against the “baqiya family.” The findings have implications for broader repressive measures against ISIS online.
A Psychological Re-Examination of Mental Health Problems among the 9/11 Terrorists
By: Adam Lankford
Abstract: More than 15 years have passed since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and a comprehensive re-examination of the 9/11 attackers is now warranted. Research on the psychology of terrorists has evolved dramatically, and there is also new information on some offenders. The present study provides the available psychological and psychiatric evidence on each of the 9/11 pilots, muscle hijackers, and thwarted hijackers who intended to participate in the “planes operation.” Overall, findings suggest that the 9/11 terrorists may have had significantly more mental health problems than previously assumed, and the leaders who planned 9/11 personally approved suicide attackers with prior histories of mental illness. By widely publicizing this information, security officials may be able to more effectively delegitimize suicide terrorism and reduce the number of individuals who would consider funding, supporting, or committing these deadly attacks.
Who is the Lone Terrorist? A Study of Vehicle-Borne Attackers in Israel and the West Bank
By: Simon Perry, Badi Hasisi, Gali Perry
Abstract: Lone actor terrorism has become a significant challenge for Western democracies. Previous studies have failed to point out a comprehensive profile of lone terrorists, and suggested that examining more specific sub-groups of lone actors, sharing contextual factors or ideology, may produce such a profile. The current study examines the sub-group of vehicle-borne lone terrorists, who committed their attacks in Israel and the West Bank between January 2000 and March 2016. Based on confidential and open-source data, we find that general sociodemographic characteristics did not produce a unique profile of attackers. However, a deeper examination of behavioral factors preceding the attack yields common traits. Specifically, we find that previous experience—both in different forms of unlawful behavior and in training related to the attack method—was significantly related to a successful attack. Similarities in regards to the triggers for the attack and personal motivations also emerge, suggesting that while operating independently, lone actors are very much influenced by ongoing events. We conclude that focusing on a sub-group of lone attackers following a spatio-methodological-oriented approach contributes to the construction of a profile for lone terrorists, and discuss these findings in the context of mitigation.
Terrorism and Political Violence (Volume 30, Issue 5)
The Threat of Returning Foreign Fighters: Finnish State Responses to the Volunteers in the Spanish and Syria-Iraq Civil Wars
By: Teemu Tammikko
Abstract: The conflict in Syria and Iraq from 2011 onwards, and the Spanish Civil War in 1936–39 both witnessed a very relevant foreign fighter phenomenon. Even if the ideological drivers were different, both phenomena had a huge impact internationally on how foreign fighters were perceived as a threat in their home countries. In this article the official state responses to the two waves of foreign fighters have been compared with respect to the Finnish context. The volunteers in the Spanish conflict were regarded a security threat upon their return, since it was estimated that they might provide added expertise to the revolutionary left-wing movements in Finland. The returning volunteers from Syria-Iraq have not been perceived as a revolutionary threat to the Finnish political system, but as potential terrorists attacking the civilian population. After comparing different political contexts, it can be argued that the domestic political situation has in both cases had an impact on how the threats were answered in practice. Since the foreign fighters in Spain had significant political support among the growing left-wing parties, the Finnish state response towards them remained vague. In the Syria-Iraq case there has been no political support for the foreign fighters, and the issue has been effectively securitized.
The Economic Journal (Volume 128, Issues 614 & 615)
New and Improved: Does FDI Boost Production Complexity in Host Countries?
By: Beata S. Javorcik, Alessia Lo Turco, Daniela Maggioni
Abstract: This article examines the relationship between the presence of foreign affiliates and product upgrading by Turkish manufacturing firms. The analysis suggests that Turkish firms in sectors and regions more likely to supply foreign affiliates tend to introduce more complex products, where complexity is captured using a measure developed by Hidalgo and Hausmann (2009). This finding is robust to controlling for omitted variables, sample selection and potential simultaneity bias. It is also in line with the view that inflows of foreign direct investment stimulate upgrading of indigenous production capabilities in host countries.
Making Do With What You Have: Conflict, Input Misallocation and Firm Performance
By: Francesco Amodio, Michele Di Maio
Abstract: This article investigates whether conflict induces distortions in the functioning and accessibility of markets for production inputs and in their allocation among firms. We study firm operations and outcomes in the context of Palestine during the Second Intifada. We analyse input usage over time across districts experiencing differential changes in conflict intensity. Conflict induces firms to substitute domestically produced materials for imported ones. Counterfactual analyses show that this mechanism can account for more than 70% of the fall in the output value of firms in high conflict districts.