April 30, 2016

THE IMPACT OF THE ARAB SPRING ON THE POLITICAL FUTURE OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN THE MIDDLE EAST: JORDAN AS A CASE STUDY

Jordanian Police Audi A6 C6 sedan in Amman, Jordan.

Click here for PDF The events of the Arab Spring have led to new political realities in the Arab world and paved the way for the Muslim Brotherhood to form short-lived governments in Tunisia and Egypt. Encouraged by these developments, the Brotherhood in Jordan played a leading role in the uprising there, adopted extreme positions, and boycotted the 2010 and 2013 parliamentary elections. The movement today is in open confrontation with the Jordanian regime and suffers from internal division and … [Read more...]

“MUHAMMAD TAUGHT US HOW TO FIGHT”: THE ISLAMIC STATE AND EARLY ISLAMIC WARFARE TRADITION

AP photo via militant website

Click here for PDF The performance of Western-trained Arab militaries has been generally abysmal.   Therefore, when the Islamic State (IS, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)) began scoring impressive victories, the Middle Eastern and Western intelligence and military circles were shocked. In fact, the ex-Ba’thist military officers who direct IS have returned to the roots of early Islamic warfare, reinventing the attributes of the Islamic warriors and using their strategy … [Read more...]

IRAN AND THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN THE ARABIC-SPEAKING WORLD: THE BEST OF ENEMIES?

Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya logo

Click here for PDF This article focuses on relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arabic-speaking Middle East.  The introduction looks at the historical and ideological background to relations between the Brotherhood and Iran.  The article then focuses on two examples - relations between Teheran and the Palestinian Hamas movement, and Iran’s relations to the Jama’a al-Islamiyya, the Lebanese branch of the Brotherhood.  Also surveyed … [Read more...]

SHI’I MILITIAS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA

Assad Allah al-Ghalib Forces in Iraq and al-Sham: originally Liwa Assad Allah al-Ghalib, a Shi'a militia that evolved out of Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas in the Damascus area- it has active contingents today in both Iraq and Syria, treating the two countries as one battlefield.

Click here for PDF The following is a summary of a presentation given by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi on the proliferation of Shi’i militias in Iraq and Syria, morphing from small foreign contingent deployments in the Syrian civil war in 2012 into what is currently a major cross-border phenomenon viewing Iraq and Syria as one battlefield. They are fueled and organized in no small part by Iran, whose overall regional influence is more powerful than ever with the rapid growth of Shi’i militancy. It … [Read more...]

EUROPE AND THE CHANGING MIDDLE EAST

Migrants arriving on the Italian Island of Lampedusa in August 2007 (Photo: Sara Prestianni / noborder network - http://www.flickr.com/photos/noborder/2495544558/)

Click here for PDF The following transcript addresses European domestic and foreign policy since the start of the Arab Spring and in light of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It also discusses increasing antisemitism in Europe. It is part of a symposium entitled, “Regime Collapse and Sectarian War: Where is the Middle East Headed?” The symposium was held on March 15, 2015, to mark the launch of the newly named Rubin Center for International Affairs in honor of MERIA founder and former editor the … [Read more...]

ESTIMATES ON THE GLOBAL THREAT OF ISLAMIC STATE TERRORISM IN THE FACE OF THE 2015 PARIS AND COPENHAGEN ATTACKS

Tausch - MJ v19n1 - Map 1

Click here for PDF This article estimates the probable conflict intensity in connection with Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS and ISIL) terrorism. Based on Pew data, covering 2/5 of the global Muslim population, it is estimated that 17.38 percent of Muslims worldwide openly express terror sympathies (five terrorism support indicators used). Quantitative estimates on terror support rates for a number of additional countries are also provided, based on European Social Survey (ESS) data … [Read more...]

HIZBALLAH, THE JIHAD IN SYRIA, AND COMMEMORATIONS IN LEBANON

Sign in Nabatiya, Lebanon, honoring Hizballah "martyrs" killed in Syria

Click for PDF This report--in part based on a two-week trip to Lebanon in April 2015--examines the role of Hizballah in the ongoing Syrian civil war, particularly its relation with the wider Shi’i jihadi militia efforts in support of the Assad regime. The article also examines “martyrdom” commemorations for Hizballah fighters killed in Syria, with a collection of tombstones and posters in a variety of locations throughout Lebanon examined in parallel with online evidence. HIZBALLAH AND … [Read more...]

THE ISLAMIC STATE VS. THE KURDISH YPG IN NORTHERN-CENTRAL SYRIA: AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT

YPG Kurds returning fire against ISIS

Following is an excerpt from an account of a reporting trip undertaken by the author to the Kobani enclave in northern Syria and to the Syria-Turkey border area in May 2014.  During the course of this trip, the author interviewed both YPG and IS fighters and visited frontline areas in which the two forces faced each other. The excerpt is part of a book project on the sectarian war in the northern Levant and in Iraq. ISIS was already by this stage acquiring a reputation that set it apart from … [Read more...]

THE PKK AND THE GUERRILLA TRADITION OF TURKEY’S KURDS

Protesters in Taksim Square, Turkey, hold Abdullah Ocalan posters, June 7, 2013.

Since 1984, the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish authorities intermittently and with varying success. This article studies how this rural-type insurgency was staged, placing it within the context of a tradition of resistance to Turkish rule among Turkey’s Kurds. It highlights the development of a consistent guerrilla tradition among Turkey’s Kurds in the early twentieth century as well as how and why the party deviated from this … [Read more...]

ISIS CALIPHATE MEETS CHINA’S SILK ROAD ECONOMIC BELT

Map 1: ISIS Caliphate in Five Years’ Time

This report examines the clashing ambitions between ISIS and China. With ISIS’s declaration of a caliphate that encompasses China's Muslim Xinjiang, Chinese strategists will now consider how ISIS’s Eastward pivot will impact China’s own Westward march to create a Silk Road Economic Belt across Eurasia. While the Western U.S.-led coalition continues to be hamstrung by a lack of ground forces, the coveted "boots on the ground" could eventually come from the East--as China asserts its … [Read more...]