In this issue, Rohan Gunaratna discusses the broad initiatives undertaken by Washington in its recent White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. He stresses that although the kinetic response against terrorist networks is necessary, a holistic and broad spectrum response against groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda needs initiatives to prevent the spread of radicalism which necessarily includes engaging the Muslim community, civil groups, and the private sector.
Other contributors to this issue consider the influence of ISIS and extremism outside the primary conflict areas of Syria and Iraq. Salim Abbadi talks about ISIS influence in Jordan which continues to bear the brunt of the crises in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria. Jordan is an active partner in the coalition against ISIS, but Salim Abbadi notes that Jordanians also contribute a large number of foreign fighters to the extremist groups in the restive region. Marc Andre Siegrist comments on how Lebanon – the Cedar Country – figures in ISIS’ plans. Siegrist highlights the role of Hezbollah in propping up the Syrian regime – combating rebel groups, including ISIS, and also discusses how ISIS can exploit sectarian schisms to spread its influence. Both authors also discuss the importance of refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, and the risks they pose in hosting large numbers of disaffected and marginalised populations from conflict zones, making them prime targets for recruitment by diverse terrorist groups.
Mohammed Sulemana examines the global, regional and local contours of Islamism in the Sahel-Sahara arc of West Africa, proposing contemporary, historical, geographical and socio-economic factors as key variables that have initiated and sustained a tectonic transformation in the security dynamics of the sub-region. He proposes that it is these factors that should form the core of any sustainable attempt at quelling the Islamist threat in this part of Africa.
Africa / Commentaries / Conflict and Stability / Global / International Politics and Security / Middle East and North Africa (MENA) / Terrorism Studies
Last updated on 09/12/2015