Review: “De-Legitimizing al-Qaeda”

by Jeffry R. Halverson The Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) has released a short monograph, De-Legitimizing al-Qaeda: A Jihad-Realist Approach, by sociologist Paul Kamolnick, a professor at Eastern Tennessee State University. Kamolnick criticizes current US efforts to counter al-Qaeda’s messaging and recruitment strategies as ineffective, and proposes an alternative two-fold solution to marginalize and defeat al-Qaeda. However, Kamolnick’s proposed strategy is problematic for several reasons. In the first component of his proposed strategy, Kamolnick suggests that […] 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 »

Putting the Islamist “win” in Tunisia in Context

by Jeffry R. Halverson Put him in power and see how wise he is. – Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms I have spent an inordinate amount of time studying Islamist ideologues and their ideas during my relatively short lifetime. I’ve never read War and Peace, but I have read Milestones and The Neglected Duty. In recent months, the Tunisian Islamist and leader of Ennahda, Rachid Ghannouchi, has occupied a good deal of my attention. […] Read more »

Should We Fear Muslim Brotherhood Influence in Egypt?

by Jeffry R. Halverson There are a lot of questions and speculation about the Ikhwan al-Muslimun (The Muslim Brotherhood, or MB) and their role in the future of Egypt. The coverage of the organization in the U.S. media has been better than expected. However, I am still struck by some of the more ominous rhetoric emanating from select corners. This rhetoric seems to focus on two main points of concern: 1) MB ties to violence, […] Read more »

Recent Events in Indonesia and the Philippines

Having recently returned from a brief (four-day!) trip to Indonesia and Singapore, I’ve been reminded of the value of simply being in a location with eyes and ears open in order to gain insight into current events. While in Indonesia, some interesting communication- and terrorism-related news emerged. Facebook has been gaining ground in Indonesia, and in terms of absolute number of users, Indonesia is now ranked third in the world after the US and the UK. […] Read more »

Blame the Victims to Advance Your Agenda

by Chris Lundry and Steven R. Corman On September 30th, an earthquake struck Padang, Indonesia. It measured 7.6 on the Richter Scale, killed over 1,100, and injured around 2000.  Following the quake some religious leaders moved quickly to blame the victims, a familiar tactic of exploiting natural disasters to advance extremist agendas. Located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” Indonesia is no stranger to devastating seismic and volcanic events that frequently lead to tremendous losses […] Read more »

Explosive Statement by Archbishop of Canterbury

by Steven R. Corman Today the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, said in a radio interview that the adoption of some aspect of Sharia law in the UK is “unavoidable.” A BBC story quotes him as saying the idea that there’s one law for everybody and that’s all there is to be said, and anything else that commands your loyalty or allegiance is completely irrelevant in the processes of the courts – I think […] Read more »