The Arab Constitutions 2012: Chaos and Strategy

by Nathaniel Greenberg The sudden vote on a new Constitution in Egypt has done little to stem tension in Egypt following the decree of President Mohamed Morsi to grant himself unilateral powers in driving the legislative agenda. In a live appearance on Egyptian television on Friday, Morsi attempted to address criticism that the January 25 revolution has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood. He singled out the two critical votes that led to an Islamist […] Read more »

Is the Ansar al-Shariah Crackdown a True About Face?

by Nathaniel Greenberg The Libyan consulate bombing has drifted into the twilight world of murder mystery and conspiracy theory, a talking point for American political pundits, and major source of frustration for leaders in the region. In Cairo a militant from Libya suspected of having participated in the Consulate attack was killed when Egyptian authorities raided his hideout in Nasser City earlier this week. But it is doubtful that this action represents a true change […] Read more »

Film Protests Strengthen Extremists’ Hand

by Nathaniel Greenberg The Innocence of Muslims is not the first, nor will it be the last offensive depiction of Islam. Just today the French journal Charlie Hebdo released its new edition with an image of Mohamed in a wheel-chair being pushed by a farcical looking Hassidic Jew. Happy Rosh Hashanah! Most in the Muslim world are onto these games and understand that marketing gimmicks, like offending Muslims, help sell magazines and generate page views. […] Read more »

Egyptians Protest Islamophobic Video

 by Jeffry Halverson With all the very serious problems facing Egypt, the region, and indeed the world today, what brought out thousands of Egyptian protestors in Cairo on September 11, 2012? A thirteen-minute Islamophobic online video produced by a group of US-based Coptic Christians. But Coptic officials in Egypt, understandably fearful that Muslim anger might turn against them yet again, quickly issued a statement condemning the activities of Copts living abroad in producing such projects. […] Read more »

Narratives Behind the False Pyramid Destruction Story

by Jeffry R. Halverson For the second time this year, remnants of the pro-Mubarak media in Egypt have caused a major stir in the international press and blogosphere by spreading false stories about alleged Islamist plans for Egypt. The latest claim is that the Islamist-led government of President Mohammed Morsi intends to destroy the pyramids of Giza and the rest of Egypt’s world famous Pharaonic heritage as un-Islamic or jahili remnants of pagan idolatry. A […] Read more »

Islamism and Dissent vs. Identity in the Voting Booth

by Jeffry R. Halverson* “If a group of people feels that it has been humiliated and that its honor has been trampled underfoot, it will want to express its identity.”                                                                                           […] Read more »

Ridiculing AQ’s Irrelevance in the Arab Spring

by Steven R. Corman A few weeks ago I did a keynote speech at a public meeting of the U.S. Advisory Commission in Public Diplomacy.  Later in the meeting I heard a presentation by Ambassador Richard LeBaron, Coordinator of the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC).  The topic of his talk tied together several topics recently discussed on COMOPS Journal, and accordingly I want to share it with readers. Presumably in response to […] Read more »

Zawahiri’s Curious Recollection of Karbala in Bin Laden Eulogy

by Jeffry R. Halverson The Karbala master narrative is one of the most rich and influential in the Islamic world, specifically among Shi‘a societies. We devoted an entire chapter to it in the book Master Narratives of Islamist Extremism, and Kamran Scott Aghaie has penned a wonderful study of it in relation to the history of Iranian identity and nationalism. There is a terrific documentary too, examining the narrative in contemporary Iran and Iraq, which […] Read more »

New Third Way Narrative Poses Challenge to U.S. Strategic Communication

by Bud Goodall There is a new narrative responsible for the success of the uprisings that spread from Tunisia through Egypt and now are heard in the streets of Syria, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere.  It is a secular narrative generated by young Muslims who recognize that older jihadist forms of “telling their resistance story” by linking them to Islamic Master Narratives were largely responsible for the binary oppositions that divide them, and Islam, from the […] Read more »

Egypt and Iran: A Tale of Two Narratives

by Jeffry R. Halverson and Steven R. Corman Recent events in Egypt have led some quarters to suggest we are witnessing a case parallel to the 1979 revolution in Iran. Back then, the fall of the Shah left a political vacuum that allowed religious hardliners to take control and create a new theocratic and stridently anti-western government. In his New Republic article, Abbas Milani, co-director of Stanford’s Iranian Democracy Project, views the situation in Egypt […] Read more »