[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the seventeenth 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-four parts, depending on the number of articles included.]
Acta Politica (Volume 56, Issue 3)
International recognition, religion, and the status of Western Sahara
By: Nikola Mirilovic, David S. Siroky
Abstract: How do countries decide whether or not to recognize an aspiring state? We examine such decisions in the context of contested recognition, which we define as a claim to statehood that is recognized by a large number of countries, but remains unrecognized by many others. We suggest that religion—both at the domestic level via religious regulation and discrimination against minority religions and at the international level via transnational religious ties—shapes recognition decisions. In cases where the two parties to a recognition dispute share the same dominant religious tradition (as in Western Sahara), transnational religious ties are expected to lead to external support for the side that emphasizes its religious identity and that has access to more resources. Moreover, we show that countries with higher levels of religious regulation are less likely to extend recognition. We assess these two conjectures for why some countries—but not others—have recognized the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as an independent state using data on the recognition decisions of all 192 United Nations member states.
American Ethnologist (Volume 48, Issue 3)
By: Marthe Achtnich
Abstract: In Libya's context of fragmented state authority, what does it mean for sub-Saharan migrants to be legible to state and criminal actors through their bodies rather than through the law? How do they experience and navigate precarity? Examining informal bordering practices in Libya reveals a mode of migration governance that is based less on legally restricting mobility and more on allowing uncertainty to proliferate and on exploiting migrants’ lives. In this system, certain bodies become targets for policing according to their skin color, documents, and blood tests, which can lead migrants to be extorted for money and detained. Migrants cope with such informal borderwork through affective labor. This plays a vital role in shaping their mobility decisions. By linking informal bordering practices with affect and mobilities, we can recast formal, state-centered ideas about migration governance. [mobility, migration, bordering practices, affect, Libya]
American Journal of Political Science (Volume 65, Issue 3)
Policing the Organizational Threat in Morocco: Protest and Public Violence in Liberal Autocracies
By: Chantal E. Berman
Abstract: As a prominent form of state violence against civilians, protest policing represents the type of coercion that “liberal” autocrats seek to minimize. Departing from aggregate notions of “mass threat” that dominate studies of authoritarian response to contention, this article develops an event-level model of protest policing centering the role of social movement organizations in shaping elite threat perceptions and, hence, the likelihood that protests will face state violence. More than public protest per se, I argue that liberal autocrats fear the rise of autonomous, national-level organizations capable of providing unregulated channels for citizen claim-making. Having forsworn the ability to control which networks become active as social movement organizations, liberal autocrats use protest policing to dissuade citizens from mobilizing with autonomous organizations and to protect the near-monopoly of embedded organizations over contention. I illustrate these arguments with unique protest event data from Morocco. I draw implications for the durability of liberalized regimes.
American Political Science Review (Volume 115, Issue 3)
The Journey Home: Violence, Anchoring, and Refugee Decisions to Return
By: Faten Ghosn, Tiffany S. Chu, Miranda Simon, Alex Braithwaite, MichaelFrith, Joanna Jandali
Abstract: While the UNHCR promotes voluntary repatriation as the preferred solution to refugee situations, there is little understanding of variation in refugees’ preferences regarding return. We develop a theoretical framework suggesting two mechanisms influencing refugees’ preferences. First, refugees’ lived experiences in their country of origin prior to displacement and in their new host country create a trade-off in feelings of being anchored to their origin or host country. Second, firsthand exposure to traumas of war provides some refugees with a sense of competency and self-efficacy, leading them to prefer to return home. We test these relationships with data from a survey among Syrian refugees hosted in Lebanon. We find refugees exposed to violence during the war have a sense of attachment to Syria and are most likely to prefer return. Refugees who have developed a detachment from Syria or an attachment to Lebanon are less likely to prefer return.
Arab Law Quarterly (Volume 35, Issue 3)
Egypt’s COVID-19 Response through a Gender Lens
By: Nora Salem
Abstract: Across every sphere of life—health, economy, social security, livelihood and education—the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women due to persisting gender inequalities. Women are not only more likely to contract COVID-19, but also lockdowns have affected women’s economic and social security disproportionately due to increased unpaid care work at home, women’s high representation in vulnerable employment or employment in the informal labour sector. Upon the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020, the Egyptian Government adopted a variety of public health measures to contain the widespread of the virus on 14 March 2020, accompanied by certain mitigation measures to reduce disproportionate impacts on women. Against this backdrop, this article examines the existence and scope of an international obligation to adopt mitigation measures to reduce disproportionate impacts on women and analyzes Egypt’s COVID-19 response against such obligation.
Paternity Rights of Authors under Iraqi and English Law: A Comparative Study in the Field of Copyright and Author Rights
By: Ali Mohammed Khalaf al-Fatlawi
Abstract: Historically, Iraqi law has followed the Latin approach in the ambit of civil law, while English law is the creator of the ‘common law approach’. This has had an effect on the Iraqi doctrine for the protection of works in the field of intellectual property law. Therefore, Iraqi author rights have followed French law which grants authors many, in particular moral, rights on their works whilst English law restricts the rights of the author in kind of the moral rights. However, both laws grant authors important ‘paternity rights’ that prevent anyone from using a work without first receiving license from the author. Due to its importance in both laws, this article will try to explain paternity rights and its differences in Iraqi and English laws. This article will examine the scope paternity rights under both systems of law.
Application of CISG in Kuwait
By: Bashayer al-Mukhaizeem
Abstract: This article examines the impact of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) (signed 11 April 1980, entered into force 1 January 1988) on Kuwait as a non-Contracting State. By examining the potential application of CISG to countries around the world, it becomes clear that the applicability of this Convention is inevitable. This article identifies and examines the cases where CISG can be applied, according to its rules, and the process by which CISG, as a foreign law, would be applied in Kuwait. As this article shows, this can be achieved through the autonomy of the parties, Kuwaiti conflict-of-laws rules, or through customary law. This article also examines the cases where CISG cannot be applied in Kuwait and the implications of Kuwaiti’s ratification of CISG.
Jurisdiction and Applicable Law to International Commercial Agency Agreements from a Jordanian Perspective
By: Abdullah Aldmour
Abstract: Doing business abroad within the framework of commercial agency or distribution agreements presents not only several financial and commercial challenges but also legal ones, raising questions about the applicable law, jurisdiction, and particularly the arbitrability of disputes arising out of commercial agency agreements governed by Jordanian law. The purpose of this article is to highlight selected aspects of Jordanian commercial agency law from the perspective of private international law in Jordan. It aims to discuss the applicable law and jurisdiction pertaining to international commercial agency agreements subject to Law No. 28 of 2001 on Commercial Agents and Intermediaries as a mandatory law. The article highlights the recent different methodological approaches adopted by the Jordanian Court of Cassation in dealing with commercial agency agreements, which can be described as heterogeneous, controversial, and traditional; they are tainted with dogmatic traditions and at odds with the Court’s own grundnorms.
Grand Coalition Government: The Case of Lebanon
By: Simon Badran
Abstract: To maintain political stability and to preserve the plurality and the diversity that characterise its societies, consociational democracies require, more than other states, a grand coalition government. In this type of democracy, the grand coalition is not a model that is used in exceptional cases, as in majoritarian democracies. It is a deliberate and permanent political choice. In Lebanon, following the modifications implemented by the 1989 Ṭā’if Accord, the Constitution instituted a collegial power-sharing within the executive that implies the establishment of a grand coalition which enables the political participation of the main Lebanese religious confessions in the government. On the other hand, the formation of the Lebanese Council of ministers since the spring of 2005 has become increasingly difficult and coalitions are often less stable than in the past. These laborious negotiations for unstable governmental coalitions are especially problematic in what may be called the perversion of the constitutional procedure by leaders of the parliamentary blocs.
British Journal of Political Science (Volume 51, Issue 3)
Silencing Their Critics: How Government Restrictions Against Civil Society Affect International ‘Naming and Shaming’
By: Hannah Smidt, Dominic Perera, Neil J. Mitchell, Kristin M. Bakke
Abstract: International ‘naming and shaming’ campaigns rely on domestic civil society organizations (CSOs) for information on local human rights conditions. To stop this flow of information, some governments restrict CSOs, for example by limiting their access to funding. Do such restrictions reduce international naming and shaming campaigns that rely on information from domestic CSOs? This article argues that on the one hand, restrictions may reduce CSOs’ ability and motives to monitor local abuses. On the other hand, these organizations may mobilize against restrictions and find new ways of delivering information on human rights violations to international publics. Using a cross-national dataset and in-depth evidence from Egypt, the study finds that low numbers of restrictions trigger shaming by international non-governmental organizations. Yet once governments impose multiple types of restrictions, it becomes harder for CSOs to adapt, resulting in fewer international shaming campaigns.
Contemporary Arab Affairs (Volume 14, Issue 2)
Rethinking the Carter Doctrine and its Geopolitical Implications
By: Gregory Noth
Abstract: This article combines insights from constructivism with historical analysis to argue that the US military engagement in the Gulf, beginning in the 1980s, was primarily driven by the changed roles of two actors: Iran after the Islamic Revolution and the United States attempting to regain its role as a global superpower following the Vietnam War. It argues that the year 1979 constitutes what constructivists deem a “critical juncture,” in which America’s response to three events—the Iranian Revolution/hostage crisis; the siege of Mecca’s Grand Mosque; and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—helped to redefine the Gulf’s security architecture and made the region more insecure. It ends with a close examination of US participation in the Iran–Iraq War and the long-term implications of the Carter Doctrine’s changing logic.
Security of the Middle East in Light of the Iranian Nuclear Deal
By: Hussein Talal Maklad
Abstract: Iran’s nuclear issue is considered one of the factors that has shaped the regional dynamic in the Arab Gulf sub-region because it is a major factor that might affect the perception of the other side players in the region, international, and regional actors. This matter represents a challenge to the security of the Gulf States. This started to change after the signing of the nuclear deal known as the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA), but then, upon the withdrawal of the Trump administration from this agreement in May 2018, regional alignments began to be reformed. It is within this context that this article tries to answer the following question: How does the American withdrawal from the JCPOA affect the stability in the region and change the stand of the Gulf countries and other regional states? This study is based on the following hypotheses. The withdrawal of the American administration from the nuclear deal, and its imposition of a “maximum pressure” policy, represented a turning point in the vision of the region and has again cast the shadow of the Cold War over the Gulf area. The American withdrawal from the nuclear deal is an independent variable, while the regional security system and the policy of the Gulf States toward this deal is the dependent variable.
Changes in Turkish Regional Policy from an Arab Perspective in the aftermath of Arab Uprisings
By: Shaimaa Magued
Abstract: This study presents Arab perspectives on changes in Turkish policy in the Middle East from 2010 until 2020. It examines how Arab countries perceive changes in Turkish regional policy after the 2010–11 uprisings. Unlike Western and Turkish literature that has highlighted identity–security combinations behind changes in Turkish regional policy, this study argues that the Arabic research literature provides a different perspective. Based on a foreign policy analysis concept of operational milieu, this study argues that Arab countries negatively perceive the changes in Turkish policy due to structural transformations in the region during and after the uprisings that paved the way for the reemergence of psychological barriers between both sides.
The Role of Armed Conflict in Developing a Subculture of Hate and its Consequences: Empirical Findings from Libya
By: Mustafa Omar Attir
Abstract: When Libyan youth took to the streets in a populist uprising in 2011, which became known as the 17 February 2011 revolution, many Libyans thought they were on the verge of removing one of the most vicious dictators of the twentieth century, Muammar Gaddafi, and building a new democratic state. Gaddafi responded forcefully, hoping to eliminate the movement in its infancy. But clashes between Gaddafi’s forces and those who took to streets soon turned into a civil war, during which Libyan society was split into two major groups: one supporting the uprising, the other the regime. In addition to armed conflict, these warring groups regarded each other with contempt, generated slander, and accused each other of betrayal, using words and phrases in a discourse of hate speech. This vocabulary of hate manifested in demonstrations and social media. Eight months later Gaddafi was dead, and the political system he built over four decades collapsed. But the war did not stop: yesterday’s allies became enemies, competing for political and economic gains. The number of contesting groups expanded as different clans, tribes, and cities joined the fray for personal gains. Strategies and techniques first used during the Libyan uprising were applied in the civil war, and are still manifest today. Every militia has a Facebook page, owns a television station, or has access to one. These media have been widely used to spread hate speech and to widen the rift between neighbors, creating refugees and internally displaced people. At least five cities became ghost towns during the uprising. When the concept of subculture first appeared in the sociological literature, it referred to members of a group that behaved according to a set of values and norms that deviated from those of mainstream society. Reviewing the language of militia members and their supporters that is articulated in social media or on television, it becomes obvious that such language has devolved into hate speech, creating social fragmentation among Libyans. This language has created a new set of values and norms in Libya that are different from preexisting mainstream Libyan culture. The new language has created a subculture of hate, which serves to sustain and accelerate continuing divisions within Libya, while further fragmenting the social fabric of the country.
Gulf Cooperation Council: Structural and Political Challenges in Establishing a Unified Regional Gulf Identity (RGI)
By: Wafaa A. Alaradi, Hasan A. Johar
Abstract: The evolution of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been one of slow progression and resistance to identity unification. Although historical legacies and common threats have brought the GCC countries together, yet the GCC faces some challenges in its aim of unification. This paper seeks to answer the following question: What are the structural and political challenges that impede the process of forming a unified regional Gulf identity (RGI)? The paper will tackle the historical aspect of the GCC and the challenges that faces the establishment of an RGI.
Political Governance in Higher Education: The Case of Arab Public Universities
By: Adnan ElAmine
Abstract: This paper uses a model of governance in higher education, called the political model, that explains the role of universities as agencies of control and socialization, with a resulting repercussion on the quality of education. It compares this model with common models such as the academic, Napoleonic, market-oriented and managerial. It undertakes a review of ten published cases studies, each dealing with the oldest public universities in ten Arab countries, using a historical approach, from their inception until 2016. Among the ten public universities, nine fall into the category of the political model, while the tenth represents the Napoleonic model. The discussion opens the field for further research.
Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 14, Issue 3)
“This barbaric terrorist organization”: Orientalism and Barack Obama’s language on ISIS
By: Ben Fermor
Abstract: This article explores US foreign policy discourse surrounding the rise of ISIS, from 2014 to 2016. Specifically, it asks how Obama constructed ISIS as a threatening Other at this time. This research responds to a gap in the literature concerning official Western discourses on ISIS violence, and partially fills this by tracing the formation of US foreign policy narratives and exploring how this drew from existing discourses and older Orientalist tropes. Conducting a discourse analysis of official statements, this paper shows how Obama modified his language to elevate the level of the threat in official discourse. It argues that he achieved this by drawing upon longstanding racialised and Orientalist archives of knowledge, effectively resituating the terrorist Other within a more markedly Orientalist discourse. Finally, the article concludes that by (re)producing the traditional Orientalist character of the barbarian as an existential threat to a Eurocentric idea of Western civilisation, Obama made possible an approach to intervention that prioritised air power, targeted assassinations and international cooperation to defend the “civilised” world. This had the effect of stigmatising Muslim communities who were left occupying a discursive space between the civilised West and the barbaric ISIS.
Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 14, Issue 3)
Unpacking “glocal” jihad: from the birth to the “sahelisation’ of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
By: Adib Bencherif
Abstract: Jihadist groups are often analysed either by looking at their global rhetoric, or by focusing on local grievances. Despite the distinctions made between the global and the local issues, these groups often belong to a complex “glocal jihad,” meaning that the borders between local, national, regional, transnational, and global layers, are partially blurred due in large part to the symbolic dimensions and imaginaries shared within the broader jihadist landscape. Rethinking and clarifying the notion of “glocal jihad” and applying it to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) reveals the complex interconnections that exist between the different layers and the ambiguous spatial reality of the group. The glocal jihad is understood as a dialectical process and as a sequence of events and actions occurring in intertwined layers. By analysing the “glocal realities,” this article will attempt to craft a critical understanding of the group.
Defence and Peace Economics (Volume 32, Issues 3 & 4)
Immigration Policy and Terrorism: An Empirical Analysis
By: Seung-Whan Choi
Abstract: Though populist politicians deem the terrorist threat as a reason for restrictive immigration policies, existing studies neglect to explore the systematic connection between immigration and security. This study offers a novel theoretical argument about the effect of terrorism on immigration policy and then conducts a first-cut empirical analysis. Based on a battery of statistical tests performed against pooled panel data on immigrant-receiving countries that are attractive to low-skilled workers due to high wages, this study shows evidence that terrorist threats are actually unrelated to restrictive immigration policies.
Does Oil Prices Cause Financial Liquidity Crunch? Perspective from Geopolitical Risk
By: Khalid Khan, Chi-Wei Su, Ran Tao
Abstract: This study measures whether oil prices affect financial liquidity (FL) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabi (KSA). The results indicate a positive association between oil prices (OP) and FL in the medium run. FL led OP in the short run during the global financial recession, when the KSA used foreign reserves to stabilize the impact of low OP. Similarly, geopolitical risk (GR) led OP in the medium term and had a positive influence on FL in the short term, especially during periods of higher uncertainty. The correlation between OP and FL becomes more noticeable in the medium term in the presence of GR. Short-run volatility can exert pressure on foreign reserves, which can be effectively managed by keeping reserves in the national currency. Similarly, economic growth sources other than oil income and a peaceful solution to regional differences can reduce defense spending.
Military Spending and Economic Growth in Turkey: A Wavelet Approach
By: Usman Khalid, Olivier Habimana
Abstract: This paper employs a wavelet approach to investigate the relationship between economic growth and military spending in a time-frequency domain for the case of Turkey. Turkey presents an interesting case for analysis of military spending and economic growth, as its geopolitical position and history of insurgencies and separatist violence oblige the country to devote an unusually large share of the central government budget to national defence. Timescale regression analysis reveals that military expenditures have significant negative effects on growth in per capita GDP at business cycles of 16 years and longer. Timescale Granger causality analysis indicates that per capita GDP growth responds to movements in military expenditures at business cycles of eight years and above and that this result is very significant. Wavelet coherency analysis corroborates these findings, indicating a significant negative long-run co-movement at business cycles of 16 years and longer. Thus, the neoclassical prediction that military spending may promote growth does not hold in the case of Turkey, at least in the long run. Furthermore, the analysis reveals that, in the long run, military spending has been leading rather than lagging economic growth.
Oil-stock Nexus in an Oil-rich Country: Does Geopolitical Risk Matter in Terms of Investment Horizons?
By: Chaker Aloui, Hela Ben Hamida
Abstract: In this paper, we attempt to delineate the relevance of geopolitical risk in the oil-stock nexus in a time-frequency domain. We resort to various wavelet coherence methods to capture the influence of geopolitical risk on the dynamic association between oil and stock prices in Saudi Arabia as a rich oil-exporting country in a region with high geopolitical risk. We primarily show that the role of geopolitical risk in the oil-stock interplay varies through timescales and investment horizons. News regarding geopolitical tensions affects the stock market in high frequency bands, while oil impacts are manifested more on longer time-horizons. Geopolitical risk weakens oil-stock connectedness in the short term. Interestingly, geopolitical incidents significantly lower the oil-stock magnitude and volatility correlation. These results offer prominent insights for investors and policy makers, which may be beneficial when responding to future geopolitical tensions in terms of risk management and the identification of investment opportunities.
European Journal of International Relations (Volume 27, Issue 2)
Confronting the caliphate? Explaining civil resistance in jihadist proto-states
By: Isak Svensson, Daniel Finnbogason
Abstract: Research has shown the potential of nonviolent civil resistance in challenging autocratic state regimes (e.g. Sharp, 1973; Chenoweth and Stephan, 2011). Yet, little is known about its applicability in jihadist proto-states, that is, territories governed by militant jihadist groups. We argue that civil resistance is more likely to occur when jihadists impose a rule that local populations perceive as alien and when organizational structures capable of collective nonviolent mobilization are activated. We develop this argument through a comparative analysis of three jihadist proto-states: one in which manifest and organized civil resistance occurred (Islamic Emirate of Azawad in Mali in 2012), and two in which it did not: the Islamic State of Iraq (2006–2008) and the Islamic Principality of al-Mukalla in Yemen (2015–2016). Whereas the former was met with mainly armed resistance (the Sunni Awakening campaign), the latter saw neither armed nor unarmed organized and collective resistance by locals under its rule. We demonstrate how variation in the jihadists’ governing strategies (especially the degree of adaptation to local conditions) as well as in the social structures for mobilization (i.e. whether opposition was channeled through civil society networks or tribal networks) created different conditions for civil resistance. This study adds to a growing research discussion on civil resistance against rebel governance (e.g. Arjona, 2015; Kaplan, 2017). More broadly, our study is an innovative first attempt to bridge research on terrorism, rebel governance, and civil resistance, three fields that have been siloed in previous research.
Global Change, Peace & Security (Volume 33, Issue 2)
Turkey’s contribution to international policing
By: Ayfer Genç Yılmaz, Billy Agwanda
Abstract: The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations has undergone significant changes in its organisation since 1948. A new global environment established by the end of Cold War, elevated the Police Division to a more pronounced role in international peace as an essential pillar of UN peacekeeping missions. Nonetheless, despite the increased role of police in international missions, research on police contributions to peacekeeping remains limited. This article addresses this gap in literature by highlighting the case of Turkey’s contribution to UN international police peacekeeping missions. The article confirms empirically that the Turkish police contribution has increased since the 2000s by relying on quantitative data offered by the TUBAKOV dataset designed to collect data on international peacekeeping missions of Turkey. The paper contends that, besides global trends, the increased participation of Turkey in UN-led missions reflects its internal political dynamics. First, under the JDP rule, Turkey’s Cold War era subtle foreign policy was transformed to a proactive policy in global politics. Second, since the 2000s, the transformation of civil–military relations has ended the system of military tutelage, and this has had a considerable impact on foreign policy. Civilian authority, by abolishing military dominance, has become the primary actor in foreign policy decision-making.
Government and Opposition (Volume 56, Issue 3)
The Strategic Logic of Islamophobic Populism
By: Lacin Idil Oztig, Turkan Ayda Gurkan, Kenan Aydin
Abstract: In Europe, the rise of populism is coupled with the rise of Islamophobia, vividly evident with exponential increases in votes for anti-Islam political parties in national elections. These parties portray Islam and Muslims as threats and maintain a position that Islam (as a religion and culture) is a threatening contrast to European values. By analysing Islamophobic discourses of the French National Front, Alternative for Germany and the Dutch Freedom Party, this article argues that Islamophobic populism targets not only Muslims, but also the incumbent leaders. By looking at the current dynamics of public opinion, this article explains how Islamophobic populism functions as an electoral strategy.
International Interactions (Volume 47, Issue 3)
Counterinsurgency as an institution: Evidence from Turkey
By: Aysegul Aydin, Cem Emrence
Abstract: Are emergency zones effective counterinsurgency measures? In response to Kurdish rebellion, the Turkish state put 13 provinces under emergency rule (1987–2002). In this paper, we investigate the link between emergency rule and electoral support for a pro-insurgent party. First, using the first-differencing method, we show that the tenure of provinces under emergency rule contributes to the vote share of the pro-insurgent party. Second, we investigate which counterinsurgency policies worked as a mechanism to connect emergency rule to pro-insurgent vote. We find that detentions targeting activists shifted electoral preferences toward the pro-insurgent party, whereas population displacement and party identifications with emergency rule led to an opposite outcome. These results show that (1) the legal-institutional framework of counterinsurgency affects civilians’ political perceptions in fundamental ways, and (2) it can lead to failure when its repressive arm target activism. Overall, the paper presents an institutionalist account of civilian perceptions during wartime.
International Organization (Volume 75, Issue 3)
Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: Assessing the Effect of Gender Norms on the Lethality of Female Suicide Terrorism
By: Jakana L. Thomas
Abstract: Although a substantial body of research argues that women provide terrorist organizations with important tactical benefits, few studies draw out the implications of this argument or examine whether female recruits affect the outcomes of terrorist operations. Using data on individual suicide attacks from 1985 to 2015, I show that an attacker's gender influences the lethality of an attack. However, this effect is conditional upon the gender norms of the state in which the attack occurs. The results demonstrate that a female advantage is more apparent only in societies where a woman's role in public life is limited; attacks by female suicide attackers are more deadly in countries where women are largely absent from the workforce, civil society, and protest organizations. I also assess whether counterterrorists eventually adapt to the use of female suicide terrorists. The results demonstrate that female attack lethality is declining with time, suggesting that security forces eventually adapt to women's participation in terrorism. These findings are consequential because they highlight the effect of persistent gender biases on counterterrorism efforts.
International Organization (Volume 75, Issue 3)
Regaining Control? The Political Impact of Policy Responses to Refugee Crises
By: Omer Solodoch
Abstract: In response to the political turmoil surrounding the recent refugee crisis, destination countries swiftly implemented new immigration and asylum policies. Are such countercrisis policies effective in mitigating political instability by reducing anti-immigrant backlash and support for radical-right parties? The present study exploits two surveys that were coincidentally fielded during significant policy changes, sampling respondents right before and immediately after the change. I employ a regression discontinuity design to identify the short-term causal effect of the policy change on public opinion within a narrow window of the sampling period. The findings show that both Swedish border controls and the EU–Turkey agreement significantly reduced public opposition to immigration in Sweden and Germany, respectively. In Germany, support for the AfD party also decreased following the new policy. Public opinion time trends suggest that the policy effects were short lived in Sweden but durable in Germany. These effects are similar across different levels of proximity to the border and are accompanied by increasing political trust and a sense of government control over the situation. The findings have implications for understanding the impact of border controls on international public opinion, as well as for assessing the electoral effect of policy responses to global refugee crises.
Middle East Policy (Volume 28, Issue 2)
Covid and China's BRI in Iraq and Syria
By: Anchi Hoh
Abstract: During the Covid-19 pandemic, China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in the Middle East first struggled but soon stabilized. This article studies the why and how by examining the cases of Iraq and Syria to observe the ways China handled its international business operations in the time of Covid. Prior to that, despite international criticism and doubts, China's BRI had continued to thrive. In the Middle East and North Africa, China had been forming partnerships under BRI with many countries and sought to connect with national development plans such as Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, Kuwait's Vision 2035, and Qatar's Vision 2030. After the Covid-19 outbreak in December 2019, in anticipation of a resultant global economic recession, China's economy experienced a 6.8 percent contraction in the first quarter of 2020. Recently, China reported 2.3 percent overall GDP growth in 2020 and an 18.3 percent growth spurt in the first quarter of 2021. These developments prompt one to ask, what impact has Covid-19 had—or what effects will it have—on China's BRI projects in the Middle East?
Questions on Public Policy and Trust during Covid-19 in the Middle East and North Africa
By: Roie Yellinek
Abstract: Trust is a recurring theme in social-science literature for disciplines as diverse as psychology, political science, anthropology, sociology, and management. Recently, the concept has even been studied in neurobiology, behavioral economics, and computer science. In discussing the impact of state responses to Covid-19 on trust in government, one should distinguish between two types of trust: political and social. Political trust refers to the extent to which people have trust in institutions; social trust refers to trust in other people within the community and beyond. While some studies suggest that political and social trust tend to correlate with each other, most studies examine these concepts separately. This article focuses on the impact of Covid-19 on trust in government in the Middle East: political trust in the context of the pandemic.
The Mind of a Jihadist: The North Islamic Resistance
By: Dmitry Shlapentokh
Abstract: There are libraries of books and articles related to the study of Islamic terrorism. Most of them see Islam as a reason for action. The authors of these publications fail to explain why similar terrorist acts are committed by people who often—as is the case in the United States—have no ideology and seem to choose their victims at random. This article argues that the roots of terrorism can be found not in ideology but in sociocultural aspects of society, including Western societies. This article argues that the mind of a jihadist, like any other terrorists or revolutionaries, can be roughly divided into two compartments. The first I define as “Tertullian,” based on emotions. Indeed, individuals from different cultures and societies have their own peculiar “road to Damascus.” The other, defined as “Cartesian,” is practical and helps Islamists achieve their goals. The writings of Islamists from the Russian Northern Caucasus during the heyday of their activities (2007–15) reveal how “Tertullian” and “Cartesian” minds work.
Vendetta and Jihadist Infighting
By: Emil A. Souleimanov, Roberto Colombo
Abstract: Reflecting on the rise of jihadist groups across the world, the burgeoning literature has focused on the threat posed by such groups to their non-jihadist adversaries, while paying less attention to the widespread incidents of jihadist infighting. According to various estimates, thousands of jihadists have been killed in inter-jihadist civil wars since 2014 alone. While the extant research has interpreted these clashes as a consequence of power outbidding, sectarian splits, and political competition, the driving incentive behind jihadist infighting has so far escaped scholarly attention. This article is the first in the literature to explain jihadist infighting as a consequence of deeply embedded sociocultural norms, namely, of the custom of vendetta.
The China Model and Its Detractors in Iran
By: Shahram Akbarzadeh, Mahmoud Pargoo
Abstract: In the last decade, China's rapid economic growth has become a hot topic for politicians and intellectuals in Iran. Iranian views on China and its development model are ambiguous and contradictory, despite exponential growth in trade between the two countries. Three broad views have emerged in Iran about the Chinese way of progress. The pragmatic moderates advocate rapid economic development while keeping tight political control, which is broadly known as the China model. Two other political factions have ambivalent views on China. Hardliners focus on the Islamic-Iranian Model of Progress but also admire some aspects of China's policies, especially its opposition to unilateralism in international affairs. Political reforms and social freedom are central to reformists’ views. On this ground, reformists are uncomfortable with the China model. During the Covid-19 pandemic, China's aid diplomacy in Iran and critical remarks by an Iranian health authority about China provided a pretext for a more open debate about Sino–Iranian relations, in general, and the China model, in particular. The range of views expressed on the matter confirms our assessment that there is a wide gap between political camps in relation to the applicability of the China model to Iran.
Strategic Depth Through Enclaves: Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah
By: Robert Mason
Abstract: This article interrogates and extrapolates Iran's bilateral relationship with the Assad government and Hezbollah in the context of the so-called Resistance Axis, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps's objective of enhancing its strategic depth in Syria after the onset of conflict in 2011. Utilizing a complex realist conceptual framework, and with reference to constructivism, it argues that Iran's strategic depth in Syria could have been addressed as part of a dialogue on regional security after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal) in 2015. However, it has been reinforced by the legacy of past warfare, the Trump administration's “maximum pressure” policy, and a regional trend toward the creation of enclaves in conflict zones. This trend, including Turkey's forward-defense strategy in Syria, could create further instabilities as state and nonstate actors vie for security and political influence and as long as enclaves remain untethered to broader interests and alliances. The case of Pakistan highlights enduring themes such as how shifting US diplomatic and military strategy and dependency could impact strategic depth.
How Russia Exploited Nationalism in Turkey to Expand Its Influence in Syria
By: Burak Bilgehan Özpek
Abstract: After the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its parliamentary majority in the June 2015 national elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked the re-emergence of nationalism and changed the course of Turkish politics. This was a vulgar, populist version of nationalism based on pillars such as a militaristic approach toward the Kurdish question, anti-Americanism, conspiracy theories, and a refusal to accept universal norms. With the help of this nationalism, Erdoğan managed to stop the decline of the AKP and further consolidate his power. Russia has been the primary beneficiary of rising nationalism in Turkey. President Vladimir Putin has been able to manipulate the irrationality at the heart of Erdoğan's populist nationalism. First, the withdrawal of Turkish-backed rebel groups has enabled the government of Bashar al-Assad to establish authority over Aleppo in Syria's north. Second, Turkey has accepted guardianship over Idlib, an isolation camp designed to ensure that jihadist groups do not pose a threat to the Assad regime. Third, Russia has expanded its sphere of influence to the west of the Euphrates by setting up bases in Manbij, Raqqa, Haseke, and Kobane. Fourth, Russia received $2.5 billion in cash for its sale of S-400 air defense systems to Turkey. Finally, Turkey's shifting foreign-policy axis has jeopardized the harmony among NATO members. This picture shows that nationalism not only helps governments to rally people around the same flag; it is also an opportunity to maximize other states’ foreign-policy goals.
The Regional Origins of the Libyan Conflict
By: Theocharis N. Grigoriadis, Walied Kassem
Abstract: We explore the effects of Libya's administrative division into Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan on the onset of the Libyan conflict. We argue that Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, in particular, followed two different and distinct paths of political development and socioeconomic transformation. While Tripolitania and its elites are connected to the core of Libyan statehood and the legacies of Italian colonization, Cyrenaica is defined by localized political autonomy and economic autarky with respect to natural resources. Furthermore, the Qadhafi regime marginalized Cyrenaica politically, despite its major significance for the Libyan economy, because of its strong royalist inclinations. By offering an overview of Libya's political evolution and socioeconomic development, we indicate that the current conflict has largely been due to the asymmetric and artificial dominance of Tripolitania over the other two regions, particularly Cyrenaica.
Droned Out? Counterterrorism Policies in Yemen
By: Sumaia A. Al-Kohlani, Carlin C. Crisanti, Jennifer L. Merolla
Abstract: Yemen has been the target of a high level of drone strikes by the US government, but we know very little about public reaction to such strikes, even though scholars of foreign policy have been concerned about the possibility of blowback from the Yemeni public. We conducted 63 in-depth interviews to assess how Yemenis think about terrorism and US counterterrorism strategies. In particular, we were interested in evidence of blowback among the public. We find that Yemenis have very negative views toward drone strikes, primarily related to the death of innocent bystanders and violations of sovereignty. We also see evidence of blowback in our interviews, with respondents expressing the belief that US counterterrorism policies contribute to the creation of new insurgents, the destabilization of the government, and the deterioration of US-Yemeni relations. At the same time, a substantial portion of interviewees think the United States can follow other strategies to help Yemen combat terrorism within its borders.
The Abraham Accords and Pakistan
By: Zahid Shahab Ahmed, Khurram Abbas
Abstract: In a major diplomatic realignment, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain normalized their relations with Israel in September 2020 by signing the Abraham Peace Accords in Washington. However, this normalization has created a noticeable divide; other majority-Muslim states, including Morocco and Sudan, have also accepted incentives to normalize relations with Israel, while pressure is mounting on Pakistan from its close allies in the Gulf region to recognize Israel. Pakistan, which enjoys multifaceted cooperative relations with all states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), now faces a dilemma, as it has a longstanding position on the Palestine issue through which it views its policy on Israel. Considering the dilemma, this article focuses on the impact the Abraham Peace Accords have had on Pakistan's relations with the GCC states and its own Israel policy. Based on the examination of various ideational and geopolitical factors, it is argued that Pakistan has more to lose than gain by changing its historical position and recognizing the state of Israel.
Security Studies (Volume 30, Issue 3)
The Psychology of Overt and Covert Intervention
By: Michael Poznansky
Abstract: Overt interventions to forcibly promote regimes abroad are often a risky undertaking. If successful, they can replace or rescue regimes and signal resolve in the process. But open meddling can also trigger large-scale escalation, incite nationalist backlash, and harm a state’s reputation. Despite an emerging consensus that states often prefer covert action to avoid these liabilities, leaders sometimes opt for overt action anyway. Why? Drawing on the concept of loss aversion, this article argues that leaders’ tolerance for risk differs depending on whether the goal is to overthrow a foreign regime or prop one up. Because regime rescue approximates loss prevention, leaders are more likely to pursue risky intervention strategies than they are to change regimes, a prospective gain. This framework helps explain why leaders are more likely to accept the risks of overt action when saving a foreign regime and more likely to go covert when deposing one. I evaluate this theory using the Eisenhower administration’s covert regime change efforts in Syria (1956–57) and overt regime rescue attempts in Lebanon (1958).
The Effect of Aerial Bombardment on Insurgent Civilian Victimization
By: Colin Tucker
Abstract: Little is known about how air strikes influence insurgent behavior toward civilians. This study provides evidence that air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by counterinsurgency forces were a contributing factor in its civilian victimization. I theorize that air strikes expanded the distribution of insurgent fatalities to include higher-echelon membership and, at the same time, imposed psychological impairments on its fighters. As a consequence, these changes relaxed restraints on civilian abuse at the organizational and individual levels. This theory is informed by interviews of ISIS defectors and translations of ISIS documents and tested through a statistical analysis of granular-level data on air strikes and one-sided violence during ISIS’s insurgency. These findings contribute to our knowledge of insurgent behavior and provide important policy implications in the use of air strikes as a counterinsurgency (COIN) tool.
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism (Volume 44, Issues 6-8)
Energy as a Rewarding and Punitive Foreign Policy Instrument: The Case of Israeli–Palestinian Relations
By: Lio Herman, Itay Fischhendler
Abstract: This article examines how and when energy is used as a punitive or rewarding measure to advance foreign policy ends under conditions of perpetual conflict. Drawing on hundreds of primary governmental and commercial documents, and extensive elite interviews, we examine Israeli–Palestinian relations over 50 years. We find extensive instrumentalization of energy for foreign policy objectives in the conflict. We highlight electricity, a neglected area in international relations and conflict literatures, as a significant foreign policy tool. Our findings emphasize four major variables that shape the timing and form of energy measures—politics, regime type, dependence level, and energy production chain.
Preventing the Next Wave of Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Lessons Learned from the Experiences of Algeria and Tunisia
By: R. Kim Cragin
Abstract: Foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) signify a unique threat. Islamic State leaders recruited many of them specifically to conduct terrorist attacks against the West. Many of these external operations have proven to be sophisticated and deadly, such as the November 2015 attacks in Paris. Yet the threat posed by FTFs goes beyond orchestrating attacks. In the past, they returned home to build networks that, in turn, facilitated a new generation of FTFs. Even more challenging, today’s FTFs can interact with recruits on social media to inspire attacks. This article addresses the threat of a new wave of FTFs and potential countermeasures. It presents findings from a comparative analysis of Tunisia and Algeria, concluding that to reverse the compounding nature of FTFs, countries must identify the potential threat from the outset, put appropriate legal measures in place, adequately fund judicial systems, and institute re-integration programs.
Recruitment and Incitement to Violence in the Islamic State’s Online Propaganda: Comparative Analysis of Dabiq and Rumiyah
By: Miron Lakomy
Abstract: This article attempts to fill a gap in research on the propaganda methods exploited in the Islamic State’s flagship online magazines, Dabiq and Rumiyah. Its major objective is to discover methods exploited by their editors either to convince readers to join the ranks of the Islamic State, or to partake in jihad in the form of violent actions against infidels. The article also attempts to understand the magazines’ modus operandi in terms of legitimizing the “Caliphate’s” violence against its enemies. In order to reach these goals, content analysis and comparative analysis were utilized. This article argues that while the legitimization of violence and call to violence was strongly emphasized in both magazines, there are significant differences in terms of recruitment messages. On the one hand, Dabiq prioritized this issue (e.g., through the promotion of hijrah). On the other hand, Rumiyah was much less interested in inciting followers to join its ranks in the Middle East. Instead, it focused on calling Ummah to participate in jihad against the infidels, especially in the form of lone-wolf terrorist attacks.
The Role of Islamist Ideology in Shaping Muslims Believers’ Attitudes toward Terrorism: Evidence from Europe
By: Clara Egger, Raùl Magni-Berton
Abstract: This article investigates the role religious beliefs play in leading European Muslims to justify terrorism, using survey data collected in twenty-one countries. Results show that the factors leading Muslims to justify terrorism contextually vary. Where Muslims are predominant, this probability decreases with the importance respondents assign to religion, while it increases where Muslims are a minority. We find no evidence in support of the thesis that Islamist propaganda causes ordinary believers’ radicalization. Yet, in Western countries affected by homegrown terrorism, we observe that justifying terrorism is strongly associated with an increase in religious practice, providing support to the thesis that Islamist groups are attracting Islam radical individuals.
Female Palestinian Terrorists: The Role of the Intifada Period and the Terrorism Context
By: Revital Sela-Shayovitz, Hava Dayan
Abstract: Palestinian women have played an increasingly active role in terrorist activities in the past two decades as part of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The present study aims to examine differences in the characteristics of female Palestinian terrorists and in the patterns of their terrorist activity between the Second Intifada and the Third Intifada. Furthermore, a comparative analysis of male Palestinian terrorist activity between the two Intifada periods was conducted in order to explore whether trends in female terrorist activity were unique to women or reflected global trends. Data are based on 171 female and male Palestinians that carried out terrorist activities. The findings show that age, terrorist method and organizational affiliation correlate significantly with the Intifada period. Significant differences were not found in the main motive for female terrorist activity. The analysis shows that overall trends of Palestinian female terrorist characteristics and their involvement in terrorism were similar to those of male terrorists. Moreover, during the Third Intifada female terrorists mainly acted alone, reflecting the current growing global trend of lone-actor terrorists.
Terrorism and Political Violence (Volume 33, Issues 3 & 4)
The Shifts in the Jihadi-Salafi Paradigms: From the Peshawar and Jalalabad Paradigms to Those of Idleb and Raqqa
By: Djallil Lounnas
Abstract: This paper, based on numerous interviews conducted with former jihadists, argues that the emergence of the Islamic State, more than an organizational rift, has led to a major paradigm shift within the jihadi organizations. As such we argue that the Al Qaeda salafi jihadi paradigm, i.e., the “Peshawar paradigm,” has gradually evolved over the years, becoming more in phase with the realities of the battlefield and less dogmatic, explaining this organization’s constant resilience in spite of many setbacks and leading to the rise of a new thinking which we call “the Idelb Paradigm.” Conversely, the ISIS jihadi paradigm, which we call “the Raqqa Paradigm,” stems from the Takfiri school of thought. While not new and already present in the 1980s in Afghanistan, the Takfiri school of thought has been gaining momentum over the years and emerged as a major to the Al Qaeda one. This schism is likely to have a long-term effect on the strategies and alliances of the respective affiliates of both Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Alarming Cargo: Regulation and Control at the UK Border
By: Robert James Downes
Abstract: Programme CYCLAMEN was initiated to manage the risk of non-conventional terrorism in the United Kingdom following Al-Qaeda’s attacks against the United States in 2001. Under Programme CYCLAMEN, the UK developed a border monitoring capability to detect and deter the illicit cross-border movement of radiological and nuclear materials by malicious non-state actors. This paper examines the development of border monitoring technologies before and after 9/11 with a focus on Programme CYCLAMEN using two models of state response to terrorism. Under the Control Model, state agencies seek to manage the risk associated with terrorism through disruption of terrorist activities. Under the Regulatory Model, actions are conceptualised as safeguarding public health and safety from various sources of risk including terrorism. The Regulatory Model is found to be dominant before 9/11 but the Control Model dominated thereafter and Programme CYCLAMEN is best understood as emanating from the Control Model. However, earlier action under the Regulatory Model shaped later consideration of this particular border-based protective security measure. This paper explores this shaping process and concludes that the Regulatory Model is under-considered as a model of state response to terrorism.
The Non-Jihadi Foreign Fighters: Western Right-Wing and Left-Wing Extremists in Syria
By: Ariel Koch
Abstract: The ongoing war in Syria reflects the interesting phenomenon of foreigners flocking to the troubled region to join the combat. While foreign Jihadists joining the fighting ranks of terror organizations such as the Islamic State or Al Qaeda have attracted considerable reporting and research, the flip side of this phenomenon has gone largely unnoticed—that of the foreign anti-ISIS fighters. Although these fighters share a common enemy, adversary on the battlefield, they hold disparate personal ideologies and motives. This article will examine manifestations of foreign anti-ISIS fighters affiliated with both the far right and far left ideologies, in order to contribute to the understanding of this unfamiliar aspect of the war in Syria and its scope, as well as the potential consequences and potential threats it embodies.
Returning to the Fight: An Empirical Analysis of Terrorist Reengagement and Recidivism
By: Mary Beth Altier, Emma Leonard Boyle, John G. Horgan
Abstract: Recent interest in terrorist risk assessment and rehabilitation reveals the likelihood and risk factors for terrorist reengagement and recidivism are poorly understood. Informed by advances in criminology, this study develops a series of theoretical starting points and hypotheses. We test our hypotheses using data on 185 terrorist engagement events, drawn from eighty-seven autobiographical accounts, representing over seventy terrorist groups. We find terrorist reengagement and recidivism rates are relatively high in our sample and similar to criminal recidivism rates except in the case of collective, voluntary disengagements when an entire group chooses to disarm. We account for why we observe relatively high rates in this sample. With regard to risk factors, we find terrorists are less likely to reengage as they age. Radical beliefs and connections to associates involved in terrorism increase the likelihood of reengagement. Social achievements (marriage, children, employment) do not commonly serve as protective factors, at least in the short term, when controlling for beliefs and connections. Finally, those from an upper or middle-class childhood family are less likely to reengage.
ISIS Cohort Transnational Travels and EU Security Gaps: Reconstructing the 2015 Paris Attack Preplanning and Outsource Strategy
By: Corri Zoli, Aliya Hallie Williams
Abstract: We explore the underappreciated role of organizational tactics in terrorist violence in an understudied single case: ISIS’s execution of the November 13, 2015 Paris attacks. It is one of the first systemic reconstructions of the journeys made by two ISIS strike cohorts in the coordinated attacks, as teams traveled from the Levant to Europe. In contrast to other high-profile attacks, terrorism scholars have not undertaken a detailed reconstruction of this event, even while open source information is now available. By examining the transnational travels of foreign terrorist fighters, we identify ISIS’s distinctive terrorist outsourcing strategy in which operatives used their experiences to adapt to changing security conditions, while EU governments revealed limited responses. Both elements in this tightly-knit dynamic—terrorist outsourcing savvy using FTFs and EU security policy failures—were necessary to achieve this high-profile attack. The essay contributes to descriptive empirical and theoretical knowledge of terrorist tactical innovation and adaptive operational learning, as these capacities are enhanced by on-the-ground organized networks to increase organizational (versus lone-wolf) campaign success. By using a single case interdisciplinary and exploratory framework, terrorism studies can delve deeper into superficially understood phenomena to isolate concepts with future cross-case value, such as cohorts and tactical adaptation.
Status Symmetry Effect: The Association of Exposure and PTS in Israel-Palestine and Northern Ireland
By: Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler, Dana R.Vashdi, Robert D.Lowe, Orla Muldoon, Stevan E.Hobfoll, Daphna Canetti
Abstract: A multi-national sample was used to investigate mechanisms that were hypothesized to moautocrat templatederate the relationship between exposure to political violence and symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS). We hypothesized that a) the phase of the conflict and b) the status asymmetry of the conflicting parties would moderate the relationship between exposure and PTS symptoms. We used original data from four groups: Israelis and Palestinians (n = 2,572), and Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland (n = 343). Looking at these two conflicts, we found that the positive relationship between exposure to violence and posttraumatic stress symptoms ceases to exist in a post-conflict setting (F(1, 2053) = 4.95, p < .05, η2 = 0.002). Interestingly, we found that PTS symptoms were highest among minority group members in an ongoing conflict irrespective of exposure to political violence (F(1, 2053) = 120.74, p < .001,η2 = 0.06). We provide explanations for these findings and discuss their psychological implications for victimized groups and the wider geopolitics of intergroup conflict.
Mapping Connections: A Dark Network Analysis of Neojihadism in Australia
By: Mitchel Kelly, Anthea McCarthy-Jones
Abstract: This article contributes to the growing literature on dark networks through an analysis on autocrat templatethe Australian neojihadist network (ANN). Through analysis of Australian terrorist cells, we present a visualisation of the cells’ structures to determine how individuals are connected within each cell and to the wider ANN. A detailed analysis of six separate cells was undertaken to determine the operations, structures, and interactions of individuals within each cell. A visual network is presented to demonstrate how six cells that span a 14-year period form an interconnected network of individuals linked by family and close friendships. The insights gained through the analysis of this dark network sheds light on the origins, evolution, and structure of the ANN and highlight the way in which Australia’s experience with home-grown terrorism has evolved into an interlinked overarching illegal network that transcends both geographical locations and individual operations.
The Treachery of Images: Visualizing “Statehood” as a Tactic for the Legitimization of Non-State Actors
By: Aaron Anfinson
Abstract: This article establishes that visual displays of sovereignty were central to the escalation and projected legitimacy of a violent non-state actor. Contrary to conventional perspectives, it details that the unprecedented appeal of the so-called Islamic State was tied to a visual projection of statehood. Through an innovative methodology, this study conducts a qualitative, affordance-driven analysis of the global visual politics of Dabiq. It details how photographs taken by Islamic State militants and downloaded from a variety of sources online were strategically utilized as “evidence” of the constitutive criteria of statehood: of a permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. It demonstrates that this violent non-state actor utilized the affordances of digital visualizing technologies in order to position itself as a viable and competitive alternative to existing nation-states—as both a destination for migration and a legitimate threat to the established political order. This realization has implications for terrorism studies as well as for the visual politics of non-state actors operating in an era of intense mediatization.
The Terrorism Information Environment: Analysing Terrorists’ Selection of Ideological and Facilitative Media
By: Donald Holbrook
Abstract: This article studies media material which individuals who planned or carried out acts of terrorism in the United Kingdom between 2004 and 2017 collected before their involvement in these activities concluded. It explores the nature and type of content found, the “levels” of extremities that can be detected in these narratives as well as their source. It identifies repetitions in selection and differences in selection between lone actors and those who operated together in a group. Finally, it traces any temporal changes that emerged over the period under examination.The article presents the subjects’ collection of ideological and facilitative media as reflections of the information environment which was available to them that helped to shape their perspective. It argues that subjects’ selections and choices from a much wider pool of available sources of information represent actions or behaviours that are observable. Moreover, it argues that studying these patterns and dynamics should form an essential part of our understanding of the way in which terrorism features and unfolds in different contexts.
Third World Quarterly (Volume 42, Issues 6-8)
‘Westoxication’ and resistance: the politics of dance in Iran #dancingisnotacrime
By: Ghoncheh Tazmini
Abstract: This study proposes an alternative analytical framework for the interpretation of the arrest of an Iranian teenage female social media star by regime authorities in May 2018. I argue that the regime’s reaction to the youngster’s dancing was a product of a complicated historical dialectic with the West, rather than an objection to dance as a performative category. While the Iranian regime may have inherited the predominantly negative perceptions of the solo female dancing body from the Pahlavi era, dancing is not a crime in post-revolutionary Iran. However, dance is ‘meaning in motion’, and it can be inscribed and re-inscribed with political, cultural and social markers – depending on the motives of the spectator. This paper argues that it was the meaning ascribed to the teen’s dancing by hardline authorities that led to her arrest, and not the act of dancing itself. By historicising and framing the arrest within the discourse of ‘Westoxication’, this study interprets the arrest as a form of state-centric cultural resistance. The site of cultural contestation, the youngster’s dancing body, became the discursive and ideological terrain on which the regime repudiated Western cultural norms in defence of its own post-revolutionary standards of decency and cultural authenticity.
Recognition of states and colonialism in the twenty-first century: Western Sahara and Palestine in Sweden’s recognition practice
By: Emile Badarin
Abstract: This article recalls the recognition–colonialism conjuncture to examine how prior normative rights to self-determination, independence and decolonisation influence current recognition practice, and asks how they compete with contingent factors. The interrogation of this interpretive process provides insights into how recognition of states operates. This reveals how state recognition in current colonial conflicts is qualified based on an assessment of contingent factors such as the international consensus and level of involvement. For this purpose, Sweden’s recognition practice towards Palestine and Western Sahara present apposite empirical cases. This article argues that the practice of recognition is a hermeneutic and evolving process, which is contingent on the interpretation of different situational and political aspects. This has far-reaching implications for international recognition and order, as colonised/occupied peoples’ prior normative right to self-determination and independence ends up being qualified, contested and adjudicated in connection with contingent political factors.
Registered NGOs and advocacy for women in Iran
By: Shahra Akbarzadeh, Rebecca Barlow, Sanaz Nasirpour
Abstract: Registered women’s non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the Islamic Republic of Iran occupy a critical space in the socio-political landscape. They are neither government insiders nor anti-regime activists, instead advocating for incremental change within the constraints of the system. Drawing on interviews with NGO leaders, this article sheds light on the objectives and activities of five registered women’s organisations as they work in the so-called ‘moderate’ political climate of the Rouhani government. The findings show that although the NGOs provide education and training, essential services, and recreational activities for women, they steer clear of seeking fundamental changes to laws on women’s rights. This approach is predicated on security considerations. NGO activists are keenly cognisant of state sensitivities and the risk to their work, registration and liberty. The NGOs’ reluctance to seek fundamental changes to laws concerning women’s status reflects palpable anxiety amongst activists over the possibility of political backlash. Rouhani’s ‘moderate’ politics do not appear to have relaxed tensions between the government and civil society, which were at their peak under his predecessor. The focus of contemporary NGOs on achieving behavioural, attitudinal and procedural change is significant, and has the potential to make a real difference in women’s lives.
Managing the humanitarian micro-space: the practices of relief access in Syria
By: Lisa Dorith Kool, Jan Pospisil, Roanne van Voorst
Abstract: The delivery of humanitarian aid remains one of the main challenges in contemporary armed conflict. The legal, political and physical construction of a sustained and respected humanitarian space, in which such aid delivery can occur, is a fragile operation. Humanitarian spaces increasingly appear fragmented and localised. They are re-negotiated continuously, either as part of subnational and local truces and peace or cooperation agreements or through ad hoc bargaining between humanitarians and armed actors. Based on a comparison of how relief efforts are negotiated in Syria, this article argues that humanitarian space is not shrinking, as is commonly assumed, but rather is being reconfigured into humanitarian micro-spaces. Such micro-spaces are fluid, dynamic and overlapping arenas of relief, constantly challenged, and morphed by different actors. Working in humanitarian micro-spaces requires continuous political involvement and decision-making, which presents a substantial challenge for humanitarian organisations.
Revisiting the moderation controversy with space and class: the Tunisian Ennahda
By: Hasret Dikici Bilgin
Abstract: What shapes political parties’ direction of change on the political spectrum? Under what conditions do Islamist movements moderate or shift towards a more radical stance? Drawing on the case of the Ennahda Party in Tunisia, I argue that transformation of the Islamist parties should be analysed on par with that of the secular parties, by focussing on the parties’ popular base and the target electorate rather than through a moderation–radicalisation framework. I find that Ennahda’s shift to Muslim democracy, self-defined as specialisation, is owed to their need to be backed by the new urban middle class in order to rule while maintaining the support of the rural and urban poor to come to power. Through field interviews conducted with the members of Tunisian political parties as well as union leaders and activists, I show that the secular parties are going through a similar process under the pressure of the spatial and class-related dynamics.
Populism, violence and authoritarian stability: necropolitics in Turkey
By: Ihsan Yilmaz, Omer F. Erturk
Abstract: The literature on populism overwhelmingly deals with the factors behind the rise of populism: the supply factors, and the economic and political crises. However, there is a lack of engagement in the literature on the construction of populist narratives and especially on the relations between populist narratives and violence. This paper addresses these gaps. Based on an empirically rich case study of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader President Recep T. Erdoğan, it shows that the populist narrative of the party and its leader is necropolitical as it is based on narratives of martyrdom, blood and death. The paper also shows that to maintain authoritarian stability, the incumbents instrumentalise these populist necropolitical narratives for repression, legitimation and co-optation. We analyse this complex case by combining the literatures on populism, necropolitics, politics of martyrdom and authoritarianism, and contribute to all of them.
Do regional powers prioritise their regions? Comparing Brazil, South Africa and Turkey
By: Rafael Mesquita, Jia Huei Chien
Abstract: Regional powers are often assumed to place diplomatic emphasis on their surrounding regions. Yet few systematic comparisons have been carried out to empirically verify this assumption. Do regional powers tend to devote more attention to their neighbours or to more influential global partners instead? This article attempts to bridge that gap by comparing the amount of diplomatic attention that Brazil, South Africa and Turkey have devoted to their regions, ie South America, Africa and the Middle East/North Africa region, respectively. Relying on data on presidential diplomacy and diplomatic presence from the Rising Powers Diplomatic Network (RPDN) data set, we verify which destinations were prioritised by these three countries from 1995 to 2018. Results indicate that South Africa is the most regionally committed regional power. Turkey shows the least significant regional engagement, while Brazil occupies an intermediate position.
Qatari ethnopolitical entrepreneurs during the blockade: the further consolidation of national identity
By: Waleed Serhan
Abstract: The article examines the further consolidation of Qatari national identity during the blockade imposed on Qatar in 2017 by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. It employs Rogers Brubaker’s conceptualisation of ‘ethnopolitical entrepreneurs’ to analyse how Qatari state and state-aligned actors evoked values defining the Qatari character and myths defining the Qatari nation state. The article argues that while these values mostly resonated among citizens and residents, there were also limits to the reach of Qatari ethnopolitical entrepreneurs. It thereby offers insights into the dynamics of ethnopolitical entrepreneurship within the context of a monarchical, non-democratic state. The findings are supported by 135 semi-structured interviews, six focus groups, and media content analysis of key events preceding and during the blockade.
Promoting Northern Ireland’s peacebuilding experience in Palestine–Israel: normalising the status quo
By: Brendan Ciarán Browne, Elaine Bradley
Abstract: Against the backdrop of enduring Israeli settler colonialist expansion in historic Palestine, the selective application of the Northern Ireland ‘Peace Process’ to the ‘Israel/Palestine Conflict’ ignores root causes and acts as a blunt instrument, one that sustains a deeply unjust status quo whilst eschewing decolonisation as the ultimate goal. We argue that the transposition of a Northern Irish peace model to Palestine/Israel serves to reinforce and embed the ‘conflict’ by promoting its own discourse of ‘peacebuilding’, one that is silent on the language of colonisation, which in turn marginalises the legitimacy of Palestinian anti-colonial resistance and prioritises westernised notions of ‘peace’ over international obligations to promote ‘justice’. Our argument is premised upon what is, in the main, a marginalised critique, namely that viewing the Northern Irish Peace Accord as ‘successful’ – an exemplary model suitable for application in other conflict/transitional spaces – depends on how one understands the agreement itself: as a tool to end ethnic conflict by fostering better cross-community relationships through a process of consociationalism that leads to reconciliation; or as a carefully constructed, bureaucratic means of providing a ruse of ‘peace’ whilst appeasing claims to self-determination and ignoring broader colonial history.
Colonial capitalism, boundary demarcation and imperial placemaking in South Arabia
By: Charles Alton Sills
Abstract: This study analyses the means through which indigenous stakeholders and British imperialists competed for influence in the shaping of Aden’s built environment, thus complementing a robust body of literature highlighting the importance of the port city within the framework of the world capitalist system. Yet in much of the historiography highlighting the colonial port city as an object of historical analysis, the coast of South Arabia – and the city of Aden in particular – remains overshadowed by the wealthy port cities of the Eastern Mediterranean. Crucially, the imperial politics of demarcation and development found in Aden grounds for experimental placemaking, a process consisting of military and civilian infrastructure projects and the securitisation of territory both within and beyond Aden’s walls. Attempts to territorialise space through the imposition of hard borders and infrastructure exemplify the colonial embrace of geo-spatial abstractions, a process that occurred alongside the consolidation of direct rule within Aden and the concurrent projection of capitalist market forces into the hinterland. British incapacity created room for local agents of change to contest the construction of colonial space; attempts to integrate Aden and neighbouring polities into the imperial orbit entailed negotiation, compromise and occasionally the use of violence.
Science and flags: deconstructing Turkey’s Antarctic strategy
By: Lerna K. Yanık, H. Emrah Karaoğuz
Abstract: This article explores Turkey’s recent increased interest in the Antarctic by deconstructing how this interest contributes to the making of Antarctic nationalism(s). It makes two arguments. First, Turkey’s status-seeking by being present in the Antarctic contributes to Antarctic nationalism(s) by invoking three distinct yet overlapping strands of nationalisms – banal, pragmatic-techno and Kemalist nationalisms, or what we term assemblage nationalism. Second, we argue that it was this nationalist trope that became the mutual language between Turkey’s ruling elite and scientists, and one of the factors that prompted a change of strategy in Turkey’s Antarctic policy. Turkey’s status-seeking combined with this nationalist trope, which highlighted compatibility with the former’s broader discourse on technological upgrading and economic development, helped the Turkish ruling elite and scientists frame and make sense of the country’s presence in Antarctica. We conclude that when status-seeking involves collaboration with foreigners, a ‘more benign’ form of nationalism becomes possible.