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  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: While Russia’s military involvement in the war in Syria has received great attention, less focus has been directed at the foreign fighters from Russia and other post-Soviet states who have joined the Islamic State and other Jihadist groups. The emergence of these Jihadists has been a gradual process, which began in the 1990s, and it has now led to a situation where an estimated 7,000 Russians and 3,000 Central Asians are fighting in Syria. These figures present a challenge for the various states fighting the Jihadist groups, but they pose a much greater problem for the Russian and other national authorities, who will have to handle the fighters, when they return home.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Andrea Sjøberg Aasgaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: Why do young Muslim women from the whole world join the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, despite the fact that the group is notorious for conducting terrible sexual violations against women? Through comparing how al-Qaeda (AQ) and IS are positioning women in their ideological literature, this article sheds light on IS’ appeal to women. This is interesting, as AQ in a historical perspective only attracted a handful of European women to physically join the group. The comparison highlights that AQ and IS position women in different ways: as housewives, migrants, warriors and sex slaves. Both groups’ ideologies agree that a woman’s primarily role is to be a housewife and mother, and exclude in principle women from the battlefield. However, only IS is emphasizing that Muslim women have a right and duty to migrate to its territory. Through using ideological arguments in its literature, IS convinces its supporters that it is a religious duty to enslave women the group defines as idolaters. For this reason, IS’ brutality against non-Muslim women will not discourage its female supporters from joining the group.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Migration, Sex Trafficking, Islamic State, Sexual Violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Mona Kanal Sheikh
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The Islamic State (IS) movement has opened a new chapter in the Afpak region, changing the landscape of militant movements in the area. This article looks at the patterns of rivalry and collaboration between the Islamic State on one side and Al-Qaeda and Taliban-related movements on the other. It also surveys the way Al-Qaeda has developed during the past years where most of the international attention has been devoted to the formation of IS in Iraq/Syria, and shows that Al-Qaeda is still active, though it has become more locally oriented. Finally, the article looks at the prospects for the further expansion of IS especially in Pakistan where, on one side, a range of sectarian anti-Shia movements that resonate with parts of the IS agenda while, on the other side, there is no ideological tradition for embracing the kind of caliphate-jihadism that the IS advocates.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Maria-Louise Clausen
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The Yemeni state has all but collapsed as the political transition that followed the popular protests in 2011 has been derailed. This has left Yemen without a functioning central government and thus provided a ripe context for the expansion of both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State in Yemen. This article focuses on the balance of power between AQAP and Islamic State in Yemen. Yemen is an interest- ing case of the international competition between al-Qaeda and Islamic State as the branch of al-Qaeda in Yemen, AQAP, is one of the strongest. The article argues that AQAP has sought to establish stronger local ties by enmeshing itself with the still strong tribal structures in Yemen whereas IS has sought to carve out a place for itself in Yemen by challenging AQAP on its religi
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Nazia Hussain, Louise Shelley
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: Crime and terror groups are key non-state actors in Karachi and employ crime and violence to achieve political and economic gains. They have a different relationship with the state than crime groups in Italy where the state has more resources to share with the crime groups. Instead, much more complex relationships exist between the state and the non-state actors in this difficult environment where crime and terror groups have become a part of diffuse governance of the city, including provision of housing and water. Our analysis differs from others who suggest that crime and terror groups have stepped into a power void. We suggest that the political parties rather than the crime and terror groups are at the forefront of violent and criminalized politics. Therefore, violent non-state actors are not the ultimate arbiters of the political order. Crime and terror groups remain vulnerable as they may lose the state’s support and without this they face difficulty surviving in this highly competitive environment.
  • Topic: Crime, Terrorism, Non State Actors, Organized Crime
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Middle East, Karachi
  • Author: Almakan Orozobekova
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: This article examines how foreign fighters were recruited and mobilized for Islamic State in 2012-2014. Institutional and individual approaches to this phenomenon form the basis of understanding the mechanisms used for the mobilization and recruitment of foreign fighters. The former refers to a terrorist institution that plays a key role in the recruitment of individuals (top-down/institutional), and the latter refers to the self-radicalization process that foreign fighters undergo (bottom-up/ individual). In particular, the research focuses on an analysis of Islamic State and the recruitment/mobilization of sixteen foreign fighters from Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, France, and the United Kingdom. The analysis shows that both top-down and bottom-up concepts are important but that the extent to which each is used depends on the profiles of the country in question. The study concludes by demonstrating the comparative value of top-down and bottom-up approaches in terms of understanding contemporary terrorist recruitment and providing policy recommendations.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Islamic State, Recruitment
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East, France, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia
  • Author: Abdul Basir Yosufi
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: This research paper examines the extent to which both the United States (US) intervention in 2003 and sectarian conflict in Iraq and the region contributed to the rise and consolidation of the Islamic State (IS). It is argued that the US intervention contributed to the rise of IS by creating a strategic cause for mobilization of insurgency while insufficient counterinsurgency resources and doctrine, and the lack of a post-war plan enabled the insurgency to consolidate. Although the US adapted its strategy and deployed additional resources as part of the “surge,” which succeeded in weakening of the insurgents significantly, the premature withdrawal of US troops allowed for a revival of the insurgency which eventually evolved into IS. The sectarian conflict in Iraq and the region further contributed to the rise and consolidation of IS by helping in prolif-eration of the group’s underlying ideology, increasing funding opportunities for the insurgents and driving the Sunni communities to support the Islamic State
  • Topic: Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, ISIS, Islamic State, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Esmira Jafarova
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: This article intends to highlight the dynamics within the UN Security Council 1 (UNSC) with regard to the events in the Syrian Arab Republic that have unfolded in the wake of the so-called "Arab Spring" and perturbed the entire region of the Middle East. What had begun as peaceful demonstrations against the incumbent leadership of the country very quickly transformed into the violent conflict that has raged for about three years. As a primary world body fulfilling the watchdog functions over the protection of international peace and security, the UNSC was overwhelmed by the highly dynamic nature of the situation on the ground, and was embroiled in intensive deliberations on the ways to solve the Syrian crisis.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Gayane Novikova
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: Over the last five to six years we have witnessed dramatic changes in the international security environment-changes that have directly influenced developments in the South Caucasus. Among the most significant changes are the world economic crisis, the Arab awakening, and the turbulence and civil wars all over North Africa and the Middle East.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Alexander Vysotsky
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The Russian attitude to the Arab Spring—a mixture of skepticism, caution and mis-trust—was for a long time poorly understood outside the country. In the West, which initially saw in the Arab Spring the familiar battle between “democracy from below” and “dictatorship from above,” many accused Moscow of sympathizing with outdated au-thoritarian regimes, even facilitating their behavior, and of being incapable of keeping up with the times. Later, the situation changed. As democratic revolutions were replaced by civil con-flicts (some more peaceful, others more bloody, all exacerbated by ethnic or religious differences) Russia’s conservative position started to find support, both within the Mid-dle East and beyond. The breakthrough Russo-American agreement on Syrian chemical weapons opened the door to the Geneva II talks, bringing factions within Syria to the same talks table, and also helping regulate the Iranian nuclear issue. To understand the factors that shaped the Russian attitude to the Arab Spring, we need to review recent Russian history and how the situation has changed Russia’s bor-ders. In this article, we will attempt to circumscribe these factors, and offer insights into their true nature.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Social Movement, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Arab Spring, Protests
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East, Syria