Global Jihadism After the Iraq War
01 Jan 2006-Middle East Journal (Middle East Institute)-Vol. 60, Iss: 1, pp 11-32
TL;DR: In this article, the authors investigated the impact of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq on the ideological development of the so-called global jihadist movement and highlighted important ideological changes in radical Islamist ideology.
Abstract: How has the invasion of Iraq influenced global jihadist ideology? Based on primary sources in Arabic, this article highlights important ideological changes; Iraq is considered a crossroads in the global jihad against the "Crusaders" New strategic dilemmas have caused divisions among militants, and Iraq's attractiveness has undermined other battlefronts A new "strategic studies" genre has emerged in jihadist literature Countries in Europe and the Gulf are increasingly highlighted as enemies and potential targets There seems to be a broad consensus among terrorism experts that the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 has contributed negatively to the so-called "global war on terror" According to many analysts, the war and the subsequent occupation have increased the level of frustration in the Islamic world over American foreign policy and facilitated recruitment by militant Islamist groups1 Moreover, Iraq seems to have replaced Afghanistan as a training ground where a new generation of Islamist militants can acquire military expertise and build personal relationships through the experience of combat and training camps2 Most analyses, however, seem to stop at the ascertainment of a vague, almost quantitative increase in the level of anti-Americanism or radicalism in Muslim communities since the Iraq War in 2003 This article will try to delve deeper into the matter and explore the qualitative changes in radical Islamist ideology since 2003 The next few pages are therefore devoted to the following research question: How has the invasion and occupation of Iraq influenced the ideological development of the so-called global jihadist movement? This question demands a closer examination of the writings and sayings of leading radical ideologues on the issue of Iraq since the autumn of 2002, when the prospect of war caught the world's attention Basing my analysis on key ideological texts, I will try to answer the following four subquestions: How important is Iraq to the socalled global jihadists? How united are the global jihadists in their view on the struggle for Iraq? How have the war and the occupation influenced their analysis of the overall confrontation with the US and the West? And how has their view of the enemy changed after the multinational invasion of Iraq? It must be emphasized that our focus will be on the militant and internationally-orientated Islamists, which means that moderate Islamist actors and nationalist Iraqi groups will not be considered here The research literature contains relatively few in-depth studies of post-September 11, 2001 ideological developments in radical Islamism3 This study is therefore almost entirely based on primary sources, mainly Arabic texts from radical Islamist Internet sites These sources are often problematic and cannot provide the full answer to our research question, but they represent one of our only windows into the world of militant Islamism The key argument in this article is that the Iraq War gave the global jihadists a welcome focal point in their struggle against the USA, but that Iraq at the same time became so attractive as a battle front that it weakened terrorist campaigns elsewhere Moreover, it is argued that the Iraq conflict contributed to the development of more sophisticated strategic thought in jihadist circles, and to an increase in hostility toward Europe and the Gulf countries The main objective of this analysis is to draw a more accurate picture of the global jihadist movement and to illustrate how armed conflict can generate unexpected ideological changes within radical political movements AL-QA 'IDA AND GLOBAL JIHADISM SINCE 9/11 First of all, it is essential to define the notion of "global jihadism" and clarify its relation to other Islamist movements "Islamism" - in itself a debated and polysemic term - is understood by this author as meaning "Islamic activism" It includes non-violent and violent, progressive as well as reactionary, political movements …
TL;DR: This paper examined the central terms, assumptions, labels, narratives and genealogical roots of the language and knowledge of Islamic terrorism and concluded that for the most part, political and academic discourses of "Islamic terrorism" are unhelpful, not least because they are highly politicized, intellectually contestable, damaging to community relations and practically counter-productive.
Abstract: The term ‘Islamic terrorism’ has become a ubiquitous feature of Western political and academic counter-terrorism discourse in recent years. Examining over 300 political and academic texts and employing a discourse analytic approach, this article attempts to describe and dissect the central terms, assumptions, labels, narratives and genealogical roots of the language and knowledge of ‘Islamic terrorism’ and to reflect on its practical and normative consequences. It concludes that for the most part, political and academic discourses of ‘Islamic terrorism’ are unhelpful, not least because they are highly politicized, intellectually contestable, damaging to community relations and practically counter-productive.
TL;DR: This paper proposed a theoretical synthesis based on four factors that come together to produce violent radicalization: personal and collective grievances, networks and interpersonal ties, political and religious ideologies, and enabling environments and support structures.
Abstract: Why and how do individuals residing in relatively peaceful and affluent Western societies come to embrace extremist ideologies that emanate from distant places? We summarize the most recent empirical literature on the causes and dynamics of radicalization, and evaluate the state of the art in the study of Islamist homegrown extremism in the West. We propose a theoretical synthesis based on four factors that come together to produce violent radicalization: personal and collective grievances, networks and interpersonal ties, political and religious ideologies, and enabling environments and support structures. We propose adopting a “puzzle” metaphor that represents a multifactor and contextualized approach to understanding how ordinary individuals transform into violent extremists. We concluded with three recommendations to strengthen the empirical foundations of radicalization studies.
Cites background from "Global Jihadism After the Iraq War"
...-led foreign interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, precipitated this change in strategy.(46)...
01 Jan 2007
TL;DR: Ayoob's "The Many Faces of Political Islam" is the first work to thoroughly describe the myriad manifestations of this rising ideology, and to analyze its impact on global relations as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Analysts and pundits from across the American political spectrum describe Islamic fundamentalism as one of the greatest threats to modern, Western-style democracy. Yet very few non-Muslims would be able to venture an accurate definition of political Islam. Mohammed Ayoob's "The Many Faces of Political Islam" is the first work to thoroughly describe the myriad manifestations of this rising ideology, and to analyze its impact on global relations.
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