[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the fourteenth 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.]
Arab Law Quarterly (Volume 34, Issue 4)
The UAE and Responsible Finance—Can Responsible Finance Ṣukūk Help the UAE in Fulfilling Its Sustainability Ambitions?
By: Edana Richardson
Abstract: Responsible finance ṣukūk provide market participants with a capital markets instrument through which they can fulfil the dictates of Islamic law while also participating in green, social or sustainable economic activity. However, as centres for Islamic finance (such as Malaysia and Indonesia) become prominent markets for responsible finance ṣukūk, issuances of these instruments have been noticeably slower to develop in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This has not been due to a lack of public enthusiasm for a sustainable economy from UAE authorities. However, the plethora of government sustainability initiatives, statements and targets has resulted in somewhat of a patchwork of policies, not all of which are publicly available or centrally curated. This article will aim to map the UAE’s sustainability agenda and consider where responsible finance ṣukūk fit within this agenda. Against this backdrop, it will analyse the contractual structure of the UAE’s first issuance of responsible finance ṣukūk.
Jordan’s Commitment towards Compulsory and Free Basic Education as a Constitutional Right: An Analytical Field Study
By: Ali Mohamed Aldabbas, Kamal Jamal Alawamleh, Worud Jamal Awamleh
Abstract: This study examines the extent to which Jordan is committed to principles of compulsory and free basic education, by analyzing legislation in light of constitutional and international standards regarding the right to education. Methodology includes quantitative assessment of these principles using a questionnaire distributed to students and their teachers in a number of public schools in three Jordanian governorates. Three focus group sessions composed of students and their teachers were held. The study suggests that, whilst the Jordanian Constitution has explicitly adopted such principles, Jordanian law yet includes provisions that diminish providing free basic education to all children of compulsory age and that mitigate the number of students who drop out of school. This study proposes amending the title of Chapter II of the Constitution and Article 20 to ensure that all children living in Jordan enjoy the right to education.
Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Qatar v. United Arab Emirates): So Far, So Good?
By: Udoka Ndidiamaka Owie
Abstract: International law has a long history of dealing with racial discrimination, including its involvement in the perpetration of racial discrimination. However, in establishing a body of norms to tackle the problems of racial discrimination, several multilateral instruments have been adopted under the auspices of the United Nations addressing this malaise to various extents with the most extensive being the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) of 21 December 1965. While lauded for its singular and dedicated focus on racial discrimination, the Convention is challenged, at least interpretatively, as to the grounds for racial discrimination within its remit. Events occurring between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on 5 June 2017 have afforded the International Court of Justice as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, an opportunity—the third since the coming into effect of the Convention—to interpret this landmark treaty.
Ambiguity in Insider Trading Regulations: Saudi Arabia as a Case Study
By: Yahya A. Alomari
Abstract: The Saudi legal system recognises insider trading as a crime and has established laws in order to prevent it. Yet, the complicated nature of insider trading makes it challenging to enact regulations that cover all of the aspects of the crime and clearly identify criminal conduct. This article analyses insider trading regulations in Saudi Arabia and addresses their ambiguities. This article specifies current Saudi regulations pertaining to the crimes of insider trading and disclosing material information, as well as analysing both crimes. It addresses ambiguities found in the language of the law as well as in case law. This article also criticises the definition of insider information under the law. The issue of ‘use’ versus ‘possession’ is discussed: namely, whether what is prohibited is trading on the basis of material non-public information or trading while in possession of material non-public information.
The Role of Intellectual Property Laws in Creating a Favourable Environment for Investment
By: By: Firas Abdel-Mahdi Massadeh, Tariq Abdel Rahman Kameel
Abstract: This article analyses the role of intellectual property laws in fostering domestic and foreign investment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As a signatory to all the major international agreements on intellectual property rights, such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the UAE has established legislative protection of intellectual property rights to create a favourable environment for investment. This study has two main aims. First, it analyses whether the approach taken by UAE legislators provides assurance for intellectual property holders and their related investments. Second, it reviews whether this approach indicates if the UAE has the political and legal will to provide incentives for investors. The study found that the UAE’s intellectual property laws are equitable, accurate, and capable of drawing the attention of foreign direct investment. With such a competent legal framework, the UAE demonstrates it has the required political and legal will to foster foreign direct investment.
Arab Studies Quarterly (Volume 42, Issue 4)
Mirroring Hybridity: The use of Arab Folk Tradition in Laila Halaby's Once in a Promised Land and Alia Yunis's The Night Counter
By: Reem M. Hilal
Abstract: This article explores the way in which Laila Halaby in Once in a Promised Land and Alia Yunis in The Night Counter utilize the Arab folk tradition in novels on Arab and Muslim American experience to counter the dominant narrative that simultaneously erases their extensive history in the United States and juxtaposes it with a forced visibility that is marked by Otherness, threat, and distrust. The article argues that by using folkloric figures and storytelling structures, Halaby and Yunis reverse the positionality of these communities by marking the multiple cultural signifiers that inform their stories in order to construct a palimpsest that reinscribes Arab and Muslim American experiences within narratives that perceive them as problems. As such, the Arab folk tradition emerges as a significant mode in the cultural memory of Arab and Muslim Americans, and the American literary fabric more broadly, and takes on a new meaning in this context.
The Naturalization of Orientalism in Herman Melville's Mardi: Whitewashing Arabian Nights?
By: Muna Abd-Rabbo
Abstract: The nineteenth-century American novelist, Herman Melville, is oftentimes viewed as a multi-cultured innovator who possibly anticipated post-modernism. In his epic romance, Mardi, Melville incorporates aspects of Orientalism within a Westernized framework, thereby eroding cultural borders. This article focuses on Arabian Nights as one possible parent text for Mardi on the one hand, and on Melville's naturalization of certain Orientalist concepts in his novel on the other. Furthermore, it explores the question of whether Melville “whitewashes” the Eastern narrative to naturalize the text and thus familiarize Westerners with a foreign culture in the spirit of multi-culturalism, or whether he simply subscribes to the Orientalist stereotypes prevalent in nineteenth-century America.
Feverish Souls: Archives, Identity, and Trauma in Fihris and Ḥiṣn Al-Turāb
By: Mahmoud Abdelhamid M. A. Khalifa
Abstract: The archive is used both literally and metaphorically as a manifestation of the ubiquity of power and the authority invested in material archives. To work from the margin and in secrecy is a trait of the subaltern quest of both Wadood the bookseller and Dr Nameer, as well as the different characters of the De Molina family. The official history written by the powers that be marginalizes the other. However, the digging of the archives by the subaltern raises the hope of an alternative history that saves the traces of the subaltern. The archive includes physical archives, manuscripts, artefacts, stamps, cassettes, and photos, as amply shown in Fihris. In Ḥiṣn al-turāb, the archive has more of a metaphoric than literal meaning: it is the spectral topos of suppressed desire and recovered memory. The archive enables the subaltern to speak by digging up and even making up archives. Both quests are feverish and reflect the trauma that motivates digging up the past as recovered memory and the desire to keep traces of the past as tokens of a marginalized identity seeking redress. Archives are tokens of the past that threaten the integrity of the history written by the powerful: the hunter. The victims question that history and create nuisance that offers hope of a more just history that includes the marginalized subalterns.
Contemporary Arab Affairs (Volume 13, Issue 3)
To What Extent Do Non-Westerners Tolerate Political Oppression?: They Have Their Own “Impossible Tyranny”!
By: Abdullah Al-Beraidi
Abstract: This paper seeks to challenge the interpretations found in Western political philosophy on Oriental or Asian tyranny. The main research questions are: Is tyranny the inevitable fate of non-Western societies? To what extent do these societies tolerate political oppression? To provide initial answers, the paper analyzes certain aspects of tyrannical phenomenon found in some non-Western countries, in Arab, Asian, African, and Latin American contexts. It offers two new interpretive terms: “possible tyranny” and “impossible tyranny.” It suggests that each country inevitably has its own share of tyranny in both quantity and quality, for a period of time. However, if this type of tyranny oversteps certain boundaries in a country, that country will likely experience another kind of tyranny: impossible tyranny. The study offers preliminary definitions, an initial justification of these two terms, and suggests many questions for future studies.
Gender Inequality in the Arab World: A Comparative Perspective
By: Nahla Yassine-Hamdan; John Strate
Abstract: According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), gender inequality is the loss in potential human development that occurs due to differences between the genders in achievements with respect to health, empowerment, and labor market participation. These differences in achievements typically favor men. Gender inequality is especially visible in the Arab world. We compare gender inequality in Arab countries with that in non-Arab countries, especially developed countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We argue that cross-national differences in gender inequality reflect cross-national differences in patriarchy, in particular differences in how men use their power over women to limit their agency or ability to make decisions for themselves. We set out a causal model to account for cross-national variations in gender inequality. Direct causes include fertility rate, per capita income, polygamy, OECD country, and corruption. Gender inequality in Arab countries is highly variable due to large differences in per capita income and is elevated because of polygamy and corruption. Arab countries can enact policies that would reduce gender inequality, especially improvements to women’s secondary and higher education. We analyze gender inequality in the Arab world and address the following questions: Is gender inequality greater in Arab countries? Among countries in the world generally, what differences in patriarchal practices contribute to differences in gender inequality? Where are Arab countries found with respect to such practices? What policies in Arab countries would reduce gender inequality? Our focus is upon cross-national differences in gender inequality, not upon differences in gender inequality within societies.
The Role of Religion in the Politics of Saudi Arabia: The Wahhabi Concept: ta’at wali al-amr
By: Faisal Mukhyat Abu Sulaib
Abstract: This article examines factors that influence the stability of the Saudi political regime. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has faced serious threats that have had impacts on the country; however, none of them has threatened the survival of the Saudi royal family in the Kingdom. The Arab uprisings, the well-known Arab Spring, led to the collapse of political regimes in the Arab region surrounding Saudi Arabia, as in Egypt and Yemen. However, the Saudi political regime was able to overcome this wave of popular revolutions and changes. Thus, this study attempts to answer a major question: why is it difficult to topple the Saudi political regime? Whereas the country’s oil wealth or external protection by great powers, Great Britain in the past, and currently the United States, are seen as main factors in the stability of the Saudi political regime, it is suggested here that the key factor that has helped the Saudi political regime successfully confront all internal and external threats rests on the influence of the religious Wahhabi concept, called “ta’at wali al-amr.”
The Moroccan Monarchy and the Construction of Social Representations
By: Blaiha Marouan; El Houcine Oughlane
Abstract: This article argues that the Moroccan monarchy’s past political projects seek to perpetuate social representations and monarchial rituals. Moreover, the monarchy started with primitive strategies such as radical repression to maintain these representations. Meanwhile, through socio-historical changes, the Moroccan monarchy has been remarkably dynamic in adapting to the new social realities. This explains why the monarchy has reconstructed social representations. Thus, the resilience of the monarchy is not only due to its authoritative features, but in fact, due to the cultural foundations of authoritative relationships that exist in the Moroccan society as well.
Foreign Correspondents between the Hammer and the Anvil: The Case of Egypt during Political Transitions
By: Alamira Samah Saleh
Abstract: For many decades, Egypt has been considered a distinctive society in which individuals from different nations with different backgrounds and ideologies can live. However, it seems that the Egyptian political, social, and media landscape has witnessed considerable shifts in the dimensions of such diversity. This study examines the contemporary Egyptian perspective on the presence of foreign correspondents and the radical change in Egypt’s regulations toward their work, and moreover, the repercussions of such policies that might be affecting the safety, level of freedom, and sometimes the whole identity of foreign correspondents in Egypt. Moreover, it examines the tactics with which the government seeks to accentuate the discourses of “Othering” in Egyptian public perceptions via whipping up hype in the media. Undoubtedly, the events experienced by Egypt between 25 January 2011 and the present have changed the idea the state and society have of foreigners, in general, and foreign correspondents, in particular. Some indicators confirmed that a state of “xenophobia” has been escalating over the past nine years. Foreign correspondents and journalists have been among the groups harmed by this sentiment, to the detriment of their working conditions. Results show that the transitional period that followed Hosni Mubarak’s toppling in 2011 until today has witnessed many transformations in the handling of foreign correspondents’ work in Egypt. There have been attacks on and expulsions of journalists from Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, The Associated Press, the BBC, CBS, CNN, Danish television, and others.
Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 13, Issue 4)
When (and where) can right-wing terrorists be charged with terrorism?
By: Jesse J. Norris
Abstract: As illustrated by the cases of white supremacists Dylan Roof and Robert Bowers, most ideological mass murderers in the US cannot be charged with any federal terrorism offence, even when their attacks clearly qualify as terrorism under federal law. Yet relatively minor offences committed to support a Foreign Terrorist Organisation can be charged as terrorism. Accordingly, nearly all those charged with terrorism are Muslim. This perverse result necessarily furthers Islamophobia and discourages vigilance against right-wing terrorism. To determine whether this imbalance exists in other jurisdictions, this article analyzes terrorism laws in all 50 US states and in 34 other countries. Results indicate that broad terrorism statutes, allowing any major crime fitting a general definition of terrorism to be charged as a terrorism offence, are extremely common (though not universal). The US government’s approach is thus highly anomalous. In addition, exploratory data collection was conducted to investigate whether these statutes are in fact utilised to charge right-wing terrorists with terrorism offences. A number of cases are identified in which prosecutors (in 6 US states and 12 countries) have charged right-wing terrorists with terrorism. The implications of these findings for theory and counterterrorism policy are explored
Constructing the Islamic state: analysing the interplay between media and policy frames in the aftermath of the November 13th 2015 Paris attacks
By: Jared Ahmad
Abstract: This article analyses the imagined threat posed by the Islamic State in the aftermath of the November 13th Paris attacks and during the build-up to the December 2nd 2015 House of Commons vote to extend U.K. airstrikes to Syria. Combining Political Communications and International Relations approaches to framing analysis, and focusing on Britain’s three main television news providers (BBC, ITV and Channel 4), it seeks to question (1) how the Islamic State is framed, (2) who shapes those frames, and (3) what consequences arise from adopting certain ways of seeing and speaking over others? The analysis identifies three competing frames (labelled here as the “(Para)Military”, the “Elusive” and the “Extremist” frames), and their main advocates, and shows how, ultimately, U.K. news media tend to support an “elite”-centred understanding of the threat, thus legitimising calls for extending airstrikes into Syria. In so doing, the article provides two contributions to knowledge: first, empirical, by generating substantive new insight into the way the Islamic State was portrayed in the days and weeks following the Paris attacks, and in particular who shapes those portrayals; and, second, conceptual, via its blending of Political Communications and International Relations approaches to framing and their consequences.
Understanding public constructions of counter-terrorism: an analysis of online comments during the state of emergency in France (2015-2017)
By: Ariane Bogain
Abstract: This article aims to analyse how lay members of the public conceptualised security politics in France within the context of the two-year-long state of emergency implemented after the Paris attack in November 2015. Building upon research on everyday narratives of security, this article examines the online comments written by readers of two major French newspapers on what should be done to counter terrorism. It first investigates the narratives constructed by the measures and policies they put forward, and second, whether the duration of the state of emergency affected them and, if so, how. It reveals the dominant conceptualisation of security as disciplining and taming the national body, with the Muslim migrant other and liberties the central elements to neutralise, and finds that this stance hardened over the period. This article argues that in challenging their authorities to go much further in their fight against terrorism, online readers not only legitimated their security discourse but also facilitated the existence of political subjects for the purpose of governmental logics, paving the way for authoritarian-driven and unfettered state power.
Researching race, racialisation, and racism in critical terrorism studies: clarifying conceptual ambiguities
By: Sanne Groothuis
Abstract: This article seeks to ameliorate the conceptual ambiguities surrounding the concepts of race, racialisation, and racism within Critical Terrorism Studies (CTS), as well as encourage the use of these concepts. Race is a key signifier in counter-terrorism discourse, yet its meaning is often taken for granted or left unexplored in CTS. Hence, this article proposes definitions of race, racialisation, and racism that make the concepts into an analytical lens. In developing these definitions, it employs a marginally adapted version of Gerring’s criterial framework for concept formation. The article argues that the core attributes of the concepts race, racialisation, and racism are: (A) their socially constructed nature; (B) categorisation of a group as the “other”; (C) naturalisation; and (D) being concerned with community-like groups. The proposed definitions build on similarities and navigate differences in how the concepts are currently given meaning in CTS research. Considering that CTS is embedded in the context of 9/11, the concepts of race, racialisation, and racism may help to place counter-terrorism discourses and practices in a broader historical and political context and analyse the justifications supporting these discourses.
Defence and Peace Economics (Volume 31, Issue 6)
Time-Varying Impact of Geopolitical Risks on Oil Prices
By: Juncal Cunado, Rangan Gupta, Chi Keung Marco Lau, Xin Sheng
Abstract: This paper analyses the dynamic impact of geopolitical risks (GPRs) on real oil returns for the period February 1974 to August 2017, using a time-varying parameter structural vector autoregressive (TVP-SVAR) model. Besides the two variables of concern, the model also includes growth in world oil production, global economic activity (to capture oil-demand), and world stock returns. We show that GPRs (based on a tally of newspaper articles covering geopolitical tensions), in general, has a significant negative impact on oil returns, primarily due to the decline in oil demand captured by the global economic activity. Our results, thus, highlight the risk of associating all GPRs with oil supply shocks driven by geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, and hence, ending up suggesting that higher GPRs drive up oil prices.
Revisiting Arms Race between India and Pakistan: A Case of Asymmetric Causal Relationship of Military Expenditures
By: Rafi Amir-ud-Din, Fatima Waqi Sajjad, Shazia Aziz
Abstract: This study explores the post-Cold War era by investigating geopolitical risks (GPRs) from the Middle East to the Korean Peninsula. Geopolitics is a fleeting reality and is a matter of a few top decision makers while ordinary people catch a glimpse of it by the press. Due to the relative inaccessibility of key information, geopolitics is hard to study even if it is a crucial element to shape our era. To fill the gap, we adopt a copula approach to surmise a joint probability distribution between the GPR in the world and several countries. This method could capture tail dependence. The highest upper tail dependence with the world’s GPR has been that of Israel; as one moves from the Cold War to the post-Cold War period, the increasing cases of upper tail dependence are China, Korea, Russia, and Ukraine while decreasing cases are Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. It implies that the world’s flashpoints might have been shifting from the Middle East to Asia as our eras have gone through the Cold War and the post-Cold War periods. Seemingly self-centered Make America Great Again could be Make the World Great Again. The best is yet to come.
Middle East Policy (Volume 27, Issue 3)
Iran's Foreign Policy in the Middle East: A Grand Strategy
By: Seyed Hossein Mousavian Mohammad Reza Chitsazian
Abstract: Not available
Iranian‐Israeli Confrontation: The Cyber Domain
By: Gawdat Bahgat
Abstract: Not available
Turkey's Battle with Covid‐19: A Multifaceted Investigation
By: Ahmet Erdi Öztürk Taptuk Emre Erkoc Salih Dogan
Abstract: Not available
Keeping the Soldiers at Bay: Coup‐Proofing Strategies in Turkey
By: Murat Ülgül Sertif Demir
Abstract: Not available
Who Defeated ISIS? The Pentagon's War Maps
By: Brian Glyn Williams
Abstract: Not available
Middle East Report (Issue 296)
On Blaming Climate Change for the Syrian Civil War
By: Jan Selby
Abstract: Not available
Global Aspirations and Local Realities of Solar Energy in Morocco
By: Atman Aoui, Moulay Ahmed el Amrani, Karen Rignall
Abstract: Not available
Birth Defects and the Toxic Legacy of War in Iraq
By: Kali Rubaii
Abstract: Not available
Bird Markets, Artisanal Pigeons and Class Relations in the Middle East
By: Bridget Guarasci
Abstract: Not available
The Unintended Consequences of Turkey’s Quest for Oil
By: Zeynep Oguz
Abstract: Not available
Terra Infirma – Dead Sea Sinkholes – A Photo Essay
By: Simone Popperl
Abstract: Not available
The Lost Wetlands of Turkey
By: Caterina Scaramelli
Abstract: Not available
“Algeria is not for Sale!” Mobilizing Against Fracking in the Sahara
By: Naoual Belakhdar
Abstract: Not available
An Interview with Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins
By: Tessa Farmer
Abstract: Not available
“Turkey Wants to be Part of the Nuclear Club” An Interview with Can Candan
By: Kenan Behzat Sharpe
Abstract: Not available
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism (Volume 43, Issues 9-11)
Confronting Apocalyptic Terrorism: Lessons from France and Japan
By: Nilay Saiya
Abstract: Terrorists who believe they have a role to play in bringing about the apocalypse pose a serious threat to countries around the world. In their quest to eradicate this especially pernicious form of terrorism, states, including liberal democratic ones, confront the understandable temptation to eliminate such groups through brute force: repression of apocalyptic groups and their constituencies at home and overwhelming military force abroad. Using a comparative case study of France and Japan, this article argues that such policies actually serve to perpetuate the very conditions that generate further terrorism rooted in apocalyptic beliefs. France’s policies of repression of Islam at home and militarism abroad have had the unintended consequence of encouraging attacks by those affiliated with the apocalyptic group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Conversely, the case of Japan shows that successfully combating apocalyptic terrorism requires far more understated measures, including respecting religious rights at home and caution in using force abroad.
Military Counterterrorism Measures, Civil–Military Relations, and Democracy: The Cases of Turkey and the United States
By: Nil S. Satana & Tijen Demirel-Pegg
Abstract: This study examines how military counterterrorism (CT) measures affect the quality of democracy by altering civil–military relations (CMR) and focuses on CMR as the main causal mechanism. We argue that the use of military measures in CT jeopardizes democracy at the societal level by increasing the belief that only the military is equipped to deal with the threat at hand. Therefore, erosions of civil liberties are tolerated in exchange for security. Second, we argue that military CT measures change the balance between the military and civilian executive powers in procedural and liberal democracies. While the military’s executive power increases in procedural democracies, civilian executive power increases and goes unchecked in liberal ones. Case studies of the United States and Turkey show that military CT measures affect CMR in these countries, which generate a similar tradeoff between security and the quality of democracy, albeit via different causal mechanisms. While that tradeoff is less severe in the United States, Turkey is more vulnerable to erosion of democracy.
The Three Ps of Radicalization: Push, Pull and Personal. A Systematic Scoping Review of the Scientific Evidence about Radicalization Into Violent Extremism
By: Matteo Vergani, Muhammad Iqbal, Ekin Ilbahar, Greg Barton
Abstract: In this article, we present the findings of the first systematic scoping review of scientific literature on radicalization into violent extremism since the Al Qaeda attacks on 11 September 2001. We selected and categorized all scholarly, peer-reviewed, English-language articles published between 2001 and 2015 that empirically investigated the factors of radicalization into violent extremism (N = 148). In the analysis we consider two main dependent variables (behavioral and cognitive radicalization) and three main independent variables (push, pull, and personal factors). “Pull” factors of radicalization emerge as the main factors of radicalization across studies focused on different geographical areas and ideologies. This article points to the need to focus more on the interaction between push, pull, and personal factors, and to diversify the methodologies used in the field.
Iran: Sponsoring or Combating Terrorism?
By: Zeynab Malakoutikhah
Abstract: Iran has a longstanding connection with terrorism, in particular after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It has been recognized as both a victim and state sponsor of terrorism, but has predominantly been accused of supporting terrorism worldwide. Iran has been accused of training, financing, and providing weapons and safe havens for nonstate militant actors, such as Hezbollah and Hamas. While Iran considers such groups as national liberation movements, they are by contrast designated as terrorist groups according to other countries. At the same time, Iran has suffered from terrorist attacks, although Iranian security has proven much superior to its neighbors, such as Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Regardless of claims relating to Iran as a victim or sponsor of terrorism, no official policy or document has been published by the government by way of a counterterrorism policy because any stated policy would be subject to accountability, human rights, and the rule of law. In practice, its focus is placed on the “War by Terror” as an external instrument as opposed to internal “Counterterrorism.” By analysis of official documents, statements, and laws, both Persian and English sources, this article aims to clarify Iran’s counterterrorism policy and framework and the actual practices of Iran in the Middle East.
When Ali Comes Marching Home: Shi’a Foreign Fighters after Syria
By: Jesse C. Reiff
Abstract: Since the Syrian Civil War broke out in 2011, there has been an unprecedented mobilization of Iran-backed Shi’a foreign fighters to Syria to protect Shi’a communities and shrines, combat the Islamic State, and buttress Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As the conflict nears a resolution, the fate of these Shi’a fighters remains uncertain. This article argues large numbers of Shi’a foreign fighters will engage in domestic and transnational insurgency and civil war due to hardening sectarian identities, a nascent pan-Shi’a ideology, Iranian direction, and the presence on ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and South Asia; however, the threat is lessened by so-called off-ramps, ranging from death to disillusionment with conflict. The article concludes with implications and policy recommendations for U.S. leaders.
Terrorism and Political Violence (Volume 32, Issues 5 & 6)
Entity-Elimination or Threat Management? Explaining Israel’s Shifting Policies Towards Terrorist Semi-States
By: Or Honig & Ido Yahel
Abstract: Israel’s policy towards both terrorist semi-states (TSS)—Fatahland and Hamas-controlled Gaza—shows a puzzling variation over time between threat-management (i.e., deterrence and/or brute force capacity-reduction) and entity-elimination. We hold that a military-based cost-benefit analysis cannot fully account for this variation. This explanation predicts that Israel would avoid the costly and risky TSS-elimination as long as Israel can effectively manage the military danger through the much cheaper deterrence/periodical capacity reduction or when there is a high risk of not getting a much better option partly due to the danger of creating a power-vacuum into which other terrorists may reenter. Yet, some Israeli Prime Ministers pursued TSS-elimination notwithstanding the vacuum consideration and deterrence working. By adding a non-military variable—the extent to which Israel’s policy-makers believe that the TSS harms their ideologically-preferred foreign policy goals—we can better reconstruct changes in threat perception and hence better explain policy variation. The TSSs became an intolerable danger only when non-military threats were involved. Israel was willing to tolerate TSSs when the Prime Minister believed they did not pose a political/ideological threat but sought to eliminate them when he thought they did, if there seemed to be a feasible alternative.
Organizational Dynamics, Public Condemnation and the Impetus to Disengage from Violence
By: Ioana Emy Matesan
Abstract: This article examines under what conditions armed Islamist groups intentionally demilitarize and de-legitimize violence, and under what conditions they deprioritize violence temporarily. The central argument is that the decision to de-escalate is driven by the interaction between political context, organizational dynamics and public attitudes. When violence becomes costly and non-violent alternatives are available, groups have incentives to pause armed action, but they do not necessarily feel the pressure to change their ideological tenets or permanently renounce military capabilities. However, when organizational weakness reaches a point of crisis, and when the public explicitly condemns groups, leaders are faced with a sink or swim scenario that forces them to reconsider the role of armed action and the very mission of the group. The ability of leaders to impose any changes in the behavior, ideology or organizational structure depends on the cohesion of the organization. Internal fragmentation can lead to behavioral escalation, but it can also eliminate the most hardline elements from a group, which facilitates organizational transformations from the top. The empirical discussion traces the complete demilitarization and renouncement of violence within the Egyptian Gama’a Islamiyah, and the more hesitant deprioritization of violence within the Indonesian Jama’a Islamiyah.
(Re)Constituting Community: Takfir and Institutional Design in Tunisia and Yemen
By: Ian M. Hartshorn, Stacey Philbrick Yadav
Abstract: As a speech act, takfir—the allegation of a Muslim’s apostasy—may insinuate violence in a way that can delimit the boundaries of political, as well as religious, community. Yet the use of takfir also incurs costs in plural political environments. Those who engage in it do not always see the dividends they may imagine. This article compares public acts of takfir at critical moments in Tunisia and Yemen to argue that the weight of this particular idiom is not universal, but is a function of the specific linguistic field in which it is employed as well as the historical juncture in which it takes place. Takfir both shapes and reflects the power relations between rival factions. As an informal discourse that occurs largely outside of formal state institutions, it nonetheless leaves a clear imprint on those institutions, particularly in moments of political transition when the contours of new constitutional arrangements are negotiated. Relying on ethnographic and interview-based field research from both Tunisia and Yemen, the context-specific arguments advanced here challenge the universalist prescriptions that underwrite policy efforts to engage in “counter-takfir” as a means of combatting excommunicative discourse.
The Effect of Terrorism on Stock Markets: Evidence from the 21st Century
By: Stelios Markoulis, Savvas Katsikides
Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between terrorist attacks and stock market performance, by employing the “event-study” methodology to examine eleven major terrorist attacks that occurred in the 21st century. Results suggest that earlier events appear to result in higher negative abnormal returns when compared to more recent ones. Where evident, these abnormal returns seem to persist beyond the date of the event, but tend to disappear rather quickly. Some events appear to exhibit a “spill-over” effect influencing international stock markets too. Our most important finding is that recent events do not seem to influence local or international markets, thus suggesting that investors have learnt to better assess terror events and react more calmly to them.
The Territorial Contours of Terrorism: A Conceptual Model of Territory for Non-state Violence
By: Jaume Castan Pinos, Steven M. Radil
Abstract: Our article challenges a common discourse that terrorist groups are relatively disinterested in territory by exploring emerging theories about territory and territoriality. We use these theories to introduce a new conceptual model of the importance of territory for terrorism that contrasts a group’s Sovereignty Claims over Territory (SCOT), which corresponds with the ultimate territorial aims of the group, with its Effective Control of Territory (ECOT), which relates to the ability of an organization to exert influence over a particular territory. Contrasting these dimensions of territory allows us to develop several archetypes of territorially-motivated terrorism. Our model predicts that, in contrast to common deterritorial discourses, truly non-territorial terrorism is likely to be quite rare as most groups engaged in violence have territorial ambitions in one way or another. We then use our model to interrogate the salience of territory to three representative cases: the Islamic State, ETA, and FARC-EP. Our analysis shows that territory remains a central motivating factor for these groups as their overall territorial aims tend to remain constant whereas their ability to control territory is more susceptible to change. We conclude by discussing the implications of our model and analysis for future research.
Perceived Societal Fear and Cyberhate after the November 2015 Paris Terrorist Attacks
By: Atte Oksanen, Markus Kaakinen, Jaana Minkkinen, Pekka Räsänen, Bernard Enjolras, Kari Steen-Johnsen
Abstract: Fear is one of the negative outcomes of terrorist attacks. Currently, there is a need to understand how societal fear and fear of terrorism might be shaped and induced by social-media discussions. This study analyzed how exposure to cyberhate was associated with perceived societal fear after the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. Demographically balanced data sets were collected from France, Spain, Finland, Norway, and the United States four weeks after the attacks. Cyberhate exposure was associated with higher perceived societal fear in all countries studied even when adjusting for confounding factors. This was particularly evident in the case of cyberhate related to terrorism. Hateful online communication after disruptive events may contribute to a social climate of fear and escalate societal uncertainty. There are, however, indications that social trust may bolster against perceived societal fear, hence enhancing resilience.
Closing the Gap: Promoting Suspect Communities’ Cooperation with Airport Security
By: Gali Perry, Badi Hasisi
Abstract: In the aftermath of 9/11, aviation security has become a central component of counterterrorism. To mitigate threats whilst maintaining flight schedules, airport security officers require the cooperation of all passengers, but especially of ethnic minorities perceived as posing a potential threat to homeland security, often referred to as “suspect communities.” Passengers from suspect communities are subject to rigorous screening, but are also regarded as a source of information, making their cooperation even more important than that of other passengers. Nevertheless, suspect communities’ cooperation with airport security, and the gap between their attitudes and those of other passengers, have not yet been examined. The current study utilizes a survey of 1970 passengers at the Ben-Gurion airport in Israel, examining passengers’ perceptions of airport security and their willingness to cooperate. We find that passengers belonging to the suspect community of Israeli Muslims were less willing to cooperate with security procedures than all other passengers. However, when controlling for passengers’ perceptions of legitimacy and procedural justice, Israeli Muslims were more willing to cooperate with airport security than Israeli Jews. The findings highlight the importance of legitimacy and procedural justice perceptions in obtaining the cooperation of suspect communities, and suggest practical pathways for improving cooperation.
Horizontal Inequality and Violent Unrest in Jerusalem
By: Jeremy Pressman
Abstract: In 2014 and then again in 2015-16 in Jerusalem, some Palestinians attacked Israelis and others, including through stabbings and vehicular attacks. A case study of Israeli rule of Palestinians in Jerusalem highlights the causal role of horizontal inequality or inter-group disparities in cultural, economic, political, and social realms. Palestinians are shortchanged in each realm, and this helps fuel the violence in the city. The case also adds further nuance to some of the supporting arguments put forward by scholars in the horizontal inequality tradition. Miodownik & Nir’s focus on perceptions suggests the possibility of a gap between reality and perceptions, but in East Jerusalem, Israeli policy and Palestinian perceptions appear in synch. The spontaneous grassroots violence with only limited organizational support contrasts with other cases where violence was the result of the interaction between elites influenced by political inequality and masses motivated by economic inequality. Lastly, Stewart’s policy recommendation of more aid to reduce economic inequality assumes that the rulers will provide more aid or allow others to do so. In East Jerusalem, Israel has not provided sufficient resources but also has blocked the most likely substitute, the Palestinian Authority, from freely operating in East Jerusalem.
From the Islamic State of Algeria to the Economic Caliphate of the Sahel: The Transformation of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
By: Richard Philippe Chelin
Abstract: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) appeared on the Algerian landscape in 2007 after the merger between Al Qaeda and the GSPC, with the objective of expanding its existing network in North Africa and the Sahel region. Pressure from security forces in Algeria propelled the group to seek refuge in Mali, where the 2012 conflict provided a safe haven for the group. Opération Serval, launched by the French military in 2013, dealt a severe setback to AQIM, as many of its fighters were killed and others dispersed to other parts of the region. From that period onwards, there has been a reduction in terror attacks and bombings until recently. Yet, an increase in kidnapping of foreigners for ransom coupled with drug trafficking signalled a transformation in the modus operandi of the group. To understand this trend, the article applies the crime-terror paradigm in order to assess the evolution of AQIM from a terror group with political and religious intentions into a group engaged in criminal activities with economic motivations. The article finds that AQIM is a hybrid entity that displays both terrorist and criminal motivations which are determined by the context within which the group finds itself.
Violence-producing Dynamics of Fragile States: How State Fragility in Iraq Contributed to the Emergence of Islamic State
By: S. Yaqub Ibrahimi
Abstract: In the post-Cold War era, “Jihadi-Salafi Groups” (JSGs) have emerged as significant “violence-making” organizations. Almost all JSGs have emerged in highly fragile states. The literature on the state fragility-terrorism nexus, by focusing exclusively on whether state fragility is a cause of terrorism or not, has failed to consider the broader impact of state fragility on the emergence of JSGs. The role of state fragility as a condition of the emergence of JSGs, in particular, is mostly overlooked in the literature. This paper, adding state fragility as a condition variable to the causal model of the rise of JSGs, fills this gap. The empirical basis of this research includes a single case study examining the relationship between state fragility in the post-Saddam Iraq and the formation of Islamic State (IS). By adding a new variable to the causal model of the rise of IS, this research makes a strong within-case inference concerning this case. Although the empirical basis of this research includes a single case study, the analytical framework developed in this paper has possible implications for studying a larger number of Jihadi-Salafi groups.
The Turkish Foreign Fighters and the Dynamics behind Their Flow into Syria and Iraq
By: Murat Haner, Ashley Wichern, Marissa Fleenor
Abstract: During the past decade, the flow of foreign fighters into conflict zones has emerged as a serious problem that deserves policy intervention. Based on latent content analysis of 89 interviews conducted with Turkish nationals, we examined the factors that influenced the mobilization of foreign fighters into Syria. Informed by the existing literature, the analysis revealed that the decision to engage in foreign fighting was influenced by five factors: a) peer pressure coming from religious networks; b) socialization with Islamic State fighters; c) low levels of risk associated with travel; d) favorable life conditions compared to previous jihad locations; and e) the opportunity to exact revenge. Our findings indicated that Turkish individuals’ decisions to participate in foreign fighting is predominantly influenced by peer pressure coming from preexisting networks. The risk of being acknowledged as a coward, a hypocrite, or disloyal, and the risk of exclusion from religious networks motivated Turkish foreign fighters’ decision to travel to conflict zones.