Seeing the Syrian Conflict through Narrative

By Jeffry R. Halverson Unlike the protests of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt, the campaigns underway against the Assad regime in Syria have a distinctly sectarian character. The Assad regime is dominated by the Alawites, a little-known esoteric Shi‘ite sect. However, the majority of Syria’s population is Sunni Muslim (approx. 75%). And caught in the middle of the conflict are Syria’s Christians (10% of the pop.), Druze, Twelver Shi‘ites, and others, including a […] Read more »

When personalities trump institutions: Two assassinations in Afghanistan

As southern Afghanistan was still reeling from the assassination of local heavyweight Ahmed Wali Karzai, gunmen on Sunday struck down Jan Muhammad Khan, one of the most notorious powerbrokers in southern Afghanistan. JMK, as he is known to the Americans, was the governor of Uruzgan province until 2006, when his policies proved so divisive that [...] Read more »

Public Diplomacy Books, Articles, Websites #57

by Bruce Gregory* Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest.  Suggestions for future updates are welcome. Jozef Batora and Monika Mokre, eds., Culture and External Relations: Europe and Beyond, (Ashgate, 2011). The essays compiled by Batora (Comenius University, Brataslava) and Mokre (Austrian Academy of Sciences) examine conceptual issues, historical case studies, and trends in the uses of culture in external relations.  […] Read more »

Implicit Master Narratives in Extremist Website Launch

by Jeffry R. Halverson If you’ve read our book Master Narratives of Islamist Extremism then you already have a solid understanding of the major master narratives employed by Islamist extremists in their communications. For example, you’re able to recognize the significance of a Pharaoh reference when an extremist is condemning a world leader. Or you’re able to see the apocalyptic scheme articulated in Ahmadinejad’s praise of the “Lord of the Age” (which is not a […] Read more »

A New Cultural Path for Indonesia’s Islamist PKS?

by Steven R. Corman The CSC has released a new white paper entitled A New Cultural Path for Indonesia’s Islamist PKS? by Mark Woodward, Ali Amin, Inaya Rohmaniyah, and Chris Lundry.  The executive summary is as follows: With the commencement of Indonesia?s transition to democracy, following 32 years of rule by the military dictator Suharto, political space has opened for dozens of political parties to form and regularly contest elections. The Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (the […] Read more »

The Tariq ibn Ziyad Master Narrative

by Steven R. Corman The CSC has released a new white paper entitled The Tariq ibn Ziyad Master Narrative by Jeffry R. Halverson.  The executive summary is as follows: Master narratives provide important insights into the cultures and societies that analysts and diplomats encounter on a daily basis. Understanding how those narratives are utilized by factions hostile to the interests of the United States can be the difference between successful diplomacy and international catastrophe. Given […] Read more »

The Tariq ibn Ziyad Master Narrative

by Jeffry R. Halverson Master narratives provide important insights into the cultures and societies that analysts and diplomats encounter on a daily basis. Understanding how those narratives are utilized by factions hostile to the interests of the United States can be the difference between successful diplomacy and international catastrophe. Given the current geo-political climate, master narratives employed by Islamist extremists are among the most important. Many of those narratives are recorded and analyzed in the […] Read more »

A New Cultural Path for Indonesia’s Islamist PKS?

by Mark Woodward, Ali Amin, Inaya Rohmaniyah, Chris Lundry With the commencement of Indonesia‟s transition to democracy, following 32 years of rule by the military dictator Suharto, political space has opened for dozens of political parties to form and regularly contest elections. The Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (the Prosperity and Justice Party, PKS) is an Islamist party that emerged following the first post-1999 democratic elections, with roots that extend to the pre-Suharto era. Although Indonesia has […] Read more »