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ISLAMIST RADICALISATION

PREFACE
RICHARD YOUNGS
MICHAEL EMERSON

Issues relating to political Islam continue to present challenges to European foreign policies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As EU policy has sought to come to terms with such challenges during the last decade or so political Islam itself has evolved. Experts point to the growing complexity and variety of trends within political Islam. Some Islamist organisations have strengthened their commitment to democratic norms and engaged fully in peaceable, mainstream national politics. Others remain wedded to violent means. And still others have drifted towards a more quietist form of Islam, disengaged from political activity. Political Islam in the MENA region presents no uniform trend to European policymakers. Analytical debate has grown around the concept of ‘radicalisation’. This in turn has spawned research on the factors driving ‘de-radicalisation’, and conversely, ‘re-radicalisation’. Much of the complexity derives from the widely held view that all three of these phenomena are occurring at the same time. Even the terms themselves are contested. It has often been pointed out that the moderate–radical dichotomy fails fully to capture the nuances of trends within political Islam. Some analysts also complain that talk of ‘radicalism’ is ideologically loaded. At the level of terminology, we understand radicalisation to be associated with extremism, but views differ over the centrality of its religious–fundamentalist versus political content, and over whether the willingness to resort to violence is implied or not.

Such differences are reflected in the views held by the Islamists themselves, as well as in the perceptions of outsiders.

Uislamu, ISLAMISTS, AND THE ELECTORAL PRINCIPLE I N THE MIDDLE EAST

James Piscatori

For an idea whose time has supposedly come, ÒdemocracyÓ masks an astonishing

number of unanswered questions and, in the Muslim world, has generated

a remarkable amount of heat. Is it a culturally specific term, reflecting Western

European experiences over several centuries? Do non-Western societies possess

their own standards of participation and accountabilityÑand indeed their own

rhythms of developmentÑwhich command attention, if not respect? Does Islam,

with its emphasis on scriptural authority and the centrality of sacred law, allow

for flexible politics and participatory government?

The answers to these questions form part of a narrative and counter-narrative

that themselves are an integral part of a contested discourse. The larger story

concerns whether or not ÒIslamÓ constitutes a threat to the West, and the supplementary

story involves IslamÕs compatibility with democracy. The intellectual

baggage, to change the metaphor, is scarcely neutral. The discussion itself has

become acutely politicised, caught in the related controversies over Orientalism,

the exceptionalism of the Middle East in particular and the Muslim world in general,

and the modernism of religious ÒfundamentalistÓ movements.

Political Islam and European Foreign Policy

POLITICAL ISLAM AND THE EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY

MICHAEL EMERSON

RICHARD YOUNGS

Since 2001 and the international events that ensued the nature of the relationship between the West and political Islam has become a definingissue for foreign policy. In recent years a considerable amount of research and analysis has been undertaken on the issue of political Islam. This has helped to correct some of the simplistic and alarmist assumptions previously held in the West about the nature of Islamist values and intentions. Parallel to this, the European Union (EU) has developed a number of policy initiatives primarily the European Neighbourhood Policy(ENP) that in principle commit to dialogue and deeper engagement all(non-violent) political actors and civil society organisations within Arab countries. Yet many analysts and policy-makers now complain of a certain a trophy in both conceptual debate and policy development. It has been established that political Islam is a changing landscape, deeply affected bya range of circumstances, but debate often seems to have stuck on the simplistic question of ‘are Islamists democratic?’ Many independent analysts have nevertheless advocated engagement with Islamists, but theactual rapprochement between Western governments and Islamist organisations remains limited .

The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood

Robert S. Leiken

Steven Brooke

The Muslim Brotherhood is the world’s oldest, largest, and most influential Islamist organization. It is also the most controversial,
condemned by both conventional opinion in the West and radical opinion in the Middle East. American commentators have called the Muslim Brothers “radical Islamists” and “a vital component of the enemy’s assault forcedeeply hostile to the United States.” Al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri sneers at them for “lur[ing] thousands of young Muslim men into lines for electionsinstead of into the lines of jihad.” Jihadists loathe the Muslim Brotherhood (known in Arabic as al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen) for rejecting global jihad and embracing democracy. These positions seem to make them moderates, the very thing the United States, short on allies in the Muslim world, seeks.
But the Ikhwan also assails U.S. sera za kigeni, especially Washington’s support for Israel, and questions linger about its actual commitment to the democratic process. Over the past year, we have met with dozens of Brotherhood leaders and activists from Egypt, Ufaransa, Jordan, Spain, Syria,Tunisia, and the United Kingdom.

Energizing US-Syria Relations: Leveraging Ancillary Diplomatic Vehicles

Benjamin E. Nguvu,

Andrew Akhlaghi,

Steven Rotchtin

The prospect for greater stability in the Middle East largely hinges on the ability to bring Syria into diplomatic and security discussions as a productive stakeholder, necessitating a thaw in the less than normal state of U.S. – Syrian relations. While Syria’s
importance as a keystone state to a Middle East peace process was acknowledged in the 2006 Iraq Study Group Report,1 which called for a shift from disincentives to incentives in seeking constructive results, only in the past few months has there been a demonstrable shift in Washington’s disposition. Recent meetings between high-ranking U.S. officials and their counterparts in Damascus, and even the announcement of reinstating a U.S. ambassador to Syria, have led to widespread speculation in policy circles that a diplomatic thaw is afoot.
This report analyzes key trends in Syria’s domestic and regional socio-political situation that currently function to make Syria a natural ally of the United States.

POLICY AND PRACTICE NOTES

Kenneth Roth

Today, virtually every government wants to be seen as a democracy, but many resist allowing the basic human rights that would make democracy meaningful because that might jeopardize their grasp on power. Instead, governments use a variety of subterfuges to manage or undermine the electoral process. Their task is facilitated by the lack of a broadly accepted definition of ‘democracy’ akin to the detailed rules of international human rights law. But much of the problem lies in the fact that, because of commercial or strategic interests, the world’s established democracies often close their eyes to electoral manipulation, making it easier for sham democrats to pass themselves off as the real thing. That acquiescence undermines the efforts to promote human rights because it can be more difficult for human rights organizations to stigmatize a government for its human rights violations when that government can hold itself up as an accepted ‘democracy.’ The challenge facing the human rights movement is to highlight the ploys used by dictatorial regimes to feign democratic rule and to build pressure on the established democracies to refuse to admit these pretenders into the club of democracies on the cheap. Keywords: civil society, democracy promotion, dictatorship, uchaguzi,
electoral manipulation, political violence Rarely has democracy been so acclaimed yet so breached, so promoted yet so disrespected, so important yet so disappointing. Democracy has become the key to legitimacy. Few governments want to be seen as undemocratic. Yet the credentials of the claimants have not kept pace with democracy’s
growing popularity. These days, even overt dictators aspire to the status conferred by the democracy label. Determined not to let mere facts stand in their way, these rulers have mastered the art of democratic rhetoric which bears
little relationship to their practice of governing.
This growing tendency poses an enormous challenge to the human rights movement. Human rights groups can hardly oppose the promotion of democracy, but they must be wary that the embrace of democracy not become a subterfuge for avoiding the more demanding standards of international human rights law. Human rights groups must especially insist that their natural governmental allies – the established democracies – not allow competing interests and short-sighted strategies to stand in the way of their
embrace of a richer, more meaningful concept of democracy.

From Rebel Movement to Political Party

Alastair Crooke

The view held by many in the West that transformation from an armed resistance movement to political party should be linear, should be preceded by a renunciation of violence, should be facilitated by civil society and brokered by moderate politicians has little reality for the case of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). This is not to suggest that Hamas has not been subject to a political transformation: it has. But that transformation has been achieved in spite of Western efforts and not facilitated by those efforts. While remaining a resistance movement, Hamas has become the government of the Palestinian Authority and has modified its military posture. But this transformation has taken a different course from the one outlined in traditional conflict resolution models. Hamas and other Islamist groups continue to see themselves as resistance movements, but increasingly they see the prospect that their organizations may evolve into political currents that are focused on non-violent resistance.Standard conflict resolution models rely heavily on Western experience in conflict resolution and often ignore the differences of approach in the Islamic history of peace-making. Not surprisingly, the Hamas approach to political negotiation is different in style to that of the West. Also, as an Islamist movement that shares the wider optic of the impact of the West on their societies, Hamas has requirements of authenticity and legitimacy within its own constituency that bear on the importance attached to maintaining an armed capability. These factors, together with the overwhelming effect of long term conflict on a community’s psychology (an aspect that receives little attention in Western models that put preponderant weight on political analysis), suggests that the transformation process for Hamas has been very different from the transformation of arms movements in traditional analysis. In addition, the harsh landscape of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict gives the Hamas experience its special characteristics.Hamas is in the midst of an important transformation, but the political currents within Israel, and within the region, make the outcome of this transformation unpredictable. Much will depend on the course of Western policy (its “Global War on Terror”) and how that policy effects revivalist Islamist groups such as Hamas, groups that are committed to elections, reform and good-governance.

INQUIRY KATIKA FEAR WESTERN

Dan Jahn

If one can point to an overarching characteristic of our time, concern with justice would surely be
near the top of the list. Never in the history of man has there been such a quest for justice, a quest
pursued by both individuals and groups in all walks of life and around the world. In this quest,
religions have played a vital role, while at the same time, religious movements are continually misunderstood
and mis-characterized by opposing groups. The Muslim movements which the Western
media refer to as representative of a dangerous Islamic fundamentalism with militant overtones
is one example where a misunderstanding has resulted in widespread fear and prohibited
what could potentially be a useful partnership. It is not an exaggeration to say that upon hearing
the words ‘Muslim Brotherhood’, many otherwise educated Westerners tend to think only of a
terrorist organization, and it is not inconceivable to think that some Muslims may in fact look at
the World Council of Churches as yet another example of Western imperialism. The truth is that
although Islamic fundamentalism or perhaps more appropriately ‘revivalism’ does have its extremists,
a major focal point of some Muslim movements is an attempt to balance the scales of
social justice in much the same way that the Christians of the West–through the World Council of
Churches–are attempting to rectify situations of poverty, abuse of human rights and other social
issues. This is not to dismiss the violence inherent in some Islamic fundamentalist movements,
merely to show that the terrorist like activities of these movements are emphatically not the
movements’ main program of action, and are, for instance in the case of the Muslim Brotherhood,
more a reaction to events of the time that many organizations, including the Brotherhood,
responded to in a violent manner.

Escalation in the Middle East: a lasting damage to peace and democracy

Paolo Cotta

The rapid and dangerous escalation of war operations in the Middle East has resulted in a very significant loss of life among Lebanese, Palestinians and Israelis, and serious damage to civilian infrastructures. Major operations began with a low-level conflict around Gaza,that involved the launching of some missiles into Israel, some (more deadly) Israeli retaliation on Gaza, and the attack on an Israeli military post outside Gaza to which Israel reacted swiftly and very strongly. In the chain reaction that followed, admittedly Israel’ sintention was, and is, to inflict on the other side a far heavier punishment than that taken by Israel—which may appear as a militarily sound posture aimed at avoiding incidents andattacks, lakini, in fact, it is the civilian population that has been mainly affected. Matokeo,the suffering of the Lebanese and Palestinian civilian populations (in terms of deaths,wounded and destroyed infrastructures) has to date been largely disproportionate to that of Israel. When, in the case of Palestine, this discrimination already follows about 40 years of discrimination in the same direction, hostility and adversarial relations are bound toincrease. So while Israel’s heavy deterrence through punishment may work temporarily and occasionally in preventing or reducing attacks, the general sentiment of hostility in the region is increased, and creates in the long range a bigger obstacle to peace.

The Syrian Opposition

Joshua Landis

Joe Pace


For decades, Marekani. policy toward Syria has been single-mindedly focused on Syria’s president, Hafiz al-Asad, from 1970 to 2000, followed by his son Bashar. Because they perceived the Syrian opposition to be too weak and anti-American, Marekani. officials preferred to work with the Asad regime. Washington thus had no relations with the Syrian opposition until its invasion of Iraq in 2003. hata hivyo, the Bush administration reached out only to Washington-based opponents of the Syrian regime. They were looking for a Syrian counterpart to Ahmad Chalabi, the pro-U.S. Iraqi opposition leader who helped build the case for invading Iraq.
Washington was not interested in engaging Islamists, whom it considered the only opposition with a demonstrated popular base in Syria. As for the secular opposition in Syria, Marekani. embassy officials in Damascus considered them to “have a weak back bench,” without a popular constituency or connection to Syrian youth.2 Moreover, contact between opposition members and embassy officials could be dangerous for opponents of the regime and leave them open to accusations of treason. For these reasons, the difficult terrain of opposition figures within Syria remained terra incognita.

Resolving America’s Islamist Dilemma

Shadi Hamid

Marekani. efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East have long been paralyzed by the “Islamist dilemma”: in theory, we want democracy, lakini, in practice, fear that Islamist parties will be the prime beneficiaries of any political opening. The most tragic manifestation of this was the Algerian debacle of 1991 na 1992, when the United States stood silently while the staunchly secular military canceled elections after an Islamist party won a parliamentary majority. More recently, the Bush administration backed away from its “freedom agenda” after Islamists did surprisingly well in elections throughout region, including in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories.
But even our fear of Islamist parties—and the resulting refusal to engage with them—has itself been inconsistent, holding true for some countries but not others. The more that a country is seen as vital to American national security interests, the less willing the United States has been to accept Islamist groups having a prominent political role there. Hata hivyo, in countries seen as less strategically relevant, and where less is at stake, the United States has occasionally taken a more nuanced approach. But it is precisely where more is at stake that recognizing a role for nonviolent Islamists is most important, na, here, American policy continues to fall short.
Throughout the region, the United States has actively supported autocratic regimes and given the green light for campaigns of repression against groups such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and most influential political movement in the region. In March 2008, during what many observers consider to be the worst period of anti-Brotherhood repression since the 1960s, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice waived a $100 million congressionally mandated reduction of military aid to Egypt.

International Consultation of Muslim Intellectuals on Islam & Siasa

Stimson Center & Taasisi ya Utafiti wa Sera

This two-day discussion brought together experts and scholars from Bangladesh, Misri, India,Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sudan and Sri Lanka representing academia,non-governmental organizations and think tanks. Among the participants were a number of former government officials and one sitting legislator. The participants were also chosen to comprise abroad spectrum of ideologies, including the religious and the secular, cultural, political andeconomic conservatives, liberals and radicals.The following themes characterized the discussion:1. Western and US (Mis)Understanding There is a fundamental failure by the West to understand the rich variety of intellectual currents andcross-currents in the Muslim world and in Islamic thought. What is underway in the Muslim worldis not a simple opposition to the West based on grievance (though grievances there also are), but are newal of thought and culture and an aspiration to seek development and to modernize withoutlosing their identity. This takes diverse forms, and cannot be understood in simple terms. There is particular resentment towards Western attempts to define the parameters of legitimate Islamicdiscourse. There is a sense that Islam suffers from gross over generalization, from its champions asmuch as from its detractors. It is strongly urged that in order to understand the nature of the Muslim renaissance, the West should study all intellectual elements within Muslim societies, and not only professedly Islamic discourse.US policy in the aftermath of 9/11 has had several effects. It has led to a hardening andradicalization on both sides of the Western-Muslim encounter. It has led to mutual broad brush(mis)characterization of the other and its intentions. It has contributed to a sense of pan-Islamicsolidarity unprecedented since the end of the Khilafat after World War I. It has also produced adegeneration of US policy, and a diminution of US power, influence and credibility. hatimaye, theUS’ dualistic opposition of terror and its national interests has made the former an appealing instrument for those intent on resistance to the West.

Political Transitions in the Arab World

Dina Shehata

The year 2007 marked the end of a brief interval of political liberalization in the Arab world which began shortly after the occupation of Iraq and which resulted primarily from external pressures on Arab regimes to reform and democratize. External pressures during the 2003-2006 period created a political opening which activists across the region used to press for longstanding demands for political and constitutional reform.Faced with a combination of growing external and internal pressures to reform, Arab regimes were forced to make some concessions to their challengers.In Egypt, upon the request of the President, Parliament passed a constitutional amendment to allowfor direct competitive presidential elections. In September2005, Egypt witnessed its first competitive presidential election ever and as expected Mubarak was elected for a fifth term with 87%of the vote. Moreover,during the November 2005 parliamentary elections,which were freer than previous elections, Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition movement in Egypt, won 88 seats. This was the largest number of seats won by an opposition group in Egypt since the 1952 revolution.Similarly, in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas won a majority of the seats.Hamas was thereby able to establish control over the Palestinian Legislative Council which had been dominated by Fatah since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1996. In Lebanon, in the wake of the assassination of Rafiq Hariri on 14th February2005, a coalition of pro-Hariri political forces was ablet hrough broad-based mass mobilization and external support to force Syrian troops to pull out from Lebanon and the pro-Syrian Government to resign. Elections were held, and the 14th February coalition was able to win a plurality of the votes and to form a new government.In Morocco, King Mohamed VI oversaw the establishment of a truth and reconciliation committee which sought to address the grievances of those who had been abused under the reign of his father.The Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC) also under took some important reforms during the 2003-2006 period. katika 2003 Qatar promulgated a written constitution for the first time in its history. In 2005,Saudi Arabia convened municipal elections for the firsttime in five decades. And in 2006, Bahrain held parliamentaryelections in which the Shiite society of AlWefaqwon 40%of the seats. Subsequently, the first Shiitedeputy prime minister in Bahrain was appointed.Theses events, which came to be known as ‘the Arab Spring,’ led some optimists to believe that the Arabworld was on the brink of a democratic transformation similar to those experienced in Latin American and Eastern and Central Europe during the 1980s and1990s. Hata hivyo, in 2007, as political liberalization gave way to heightened polarization and to renewed repression,these hopes were dispelled. The failure ofthe openings of the 2003-2006 period to create a sustained momentum towards democratization can beat tributed to a number of factors. The deteriorating security situation in Iraq and the failure of the United States to create a stable and democratic regime dampened support for democracy promotion efforts within the American administration and reinforced the views ofthose who held that security and stability must come before democracy. Moreover, the electoral successes of Islamists in Egypt and in Palestine further dampened Western support for democracy promotion efforts in the region since the principals of thesemovements were perceived to be at odds with the interestsof theWest.

Challenges to Democracy in the Arab and Muslim World

Alon Ben-Meir

President Bush’s notions that democratizing Iraq will have a ripple effect on the rest ofthe Arab world, bringing prosperity and peace to the region, and that democracy is the panaceafor Islamic terrorism are unsubstantiated as well as grossly misleading. Even a cursory review of the Arab political landscape indicates that the rise of democracy will not automatically translateinto the establishment of enduring liberal democracies or undermine terrorism in the region. Thesame conclusion may be generally made for the Muslim political landscape. kwa kweli, given theopportunity to compete freely and fairly in elections, Islamic extremist organizations will mostlikely emerge triumphant. In the recent elections in Lebanon and Egypt, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood respectively, won substantial gains, and in Palestine Hamas won thenational Parliamentary elections handedly. That they did so is both a vivid example of the today’spolitical realities and an indicator of future trends. And if current sentiments in the Arab statesoffer a guide, any government formed by elected Islamist political parties will be more antagonistic to the West than the authoritarian regimes still in power. In addition, there are noindications that democracy is a prerequisite to defeating terrorism or any empirical data tosupport the claim of linkage between existing authoritarian regimes and terrorism.

Civil society and Democratization in the Arab World

Saad Eddin Ibrahim
Even if Islam is the Answer, Arab Muslims are the Problem

In May 2008, the Arab nation experienced a number of fires, or rather, armed conflictsin

Lebanon, Iraq, Palestina, Yemen, and Somalia. In these conflicts,

the warring parties used Islam as the instrument for mobilization

and amassing support. Collectively, Muslims are

waging war against Muslims.

After some Muslims raised the slogan of “Islam is the solution,

it

became apparent “their Islam is the problem.” No sooner have some of them acquired weapons,

than they raised it against the state and its ruling regime regardless of

whether that regime was ruling in the name of Islam or not.

We have

seen this in recent years between the followers of Osama bin Laden

and the Al-Qaeda organization on the one hand, and the authorities in

the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the other. We have also seen an

explosive example of this phenomenon in Morocco, whose king rules in the name of Islam and

whose title is the ‘Prince of the Faithful.Thus each Muslim faction kills other Muslims in the

name of Islam.
A quick glance at the contents of the media confirms how the

term Islam and its associated symbols have become mere tools in the hands of these Muslims.

Prominent examples of these Islam-exploiting factions are:
Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and Jamiat al-Islamiyya, in Egypt

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement, in Palestine Hezbollah, Fatah al-Islam,

and Jamiat al-Islammiyya, in Lebanon The Houthi Zayadi rebels and the Islamic Reform Grouping

(Islah), inYemen The Islamic courts, in Somalia The Islamic Front ,

Kulinganisha TATU MUSLIM brotherhoods: SYRIA, JORDAN, EGYPT

Barry Rubin

bendera wa mapinduzi ya Kiislamu katika Mashariki ya Kati leo ina kiasi kikubwa kupita kwa makundi kufadhiliwa na au inayotokana na Muslim Brotherhood. Makala hii yanaendelea uchunguzi utangulizi wa makundi matatu muhimu Muslim Brotherhood na kulinganisha siasa zao, interrelations, na mbinu. kila, bila shaka, ni ilichukuliwa na hali ya pekee landet.Europeiska bendera wa mapinduzi ya Kiislamu katika Mashariki ya Kati leo ina kiasi kikubwa kupita kwa makundi kufadhiliwa na au inayotokana na Muslim Brotherhood. Makala hii yanaendelea uchunguzi utangulizi wa makundi matatu muhimu Muslim Brotherhood na kulinganisha siasa zao, interrelations, na mbinu. kila, bila shaka, ni ilichukuliwa na hali ya pekee country.First, ni muhimu kuelewa sera Brotherhood kuelekea na mahusiano na makundi yote mawili ya jihadi (al-Qaida, mtandao Zarqawi, na wengine kama vile Hizb al-Tahrir na Hamas) na wananadharia (kama vile Abu Mus'ab al-Suri na Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi).Brotherhoods hawana mahusiano yanayoendelea na Hizb al-Tahrir-jambo ambalo huchukuliwa kuwa ndogo, cultish kundi ya kutokuwa na umuhimu. Mbali nchini Jordan, wamekuwa na mawasiliano kidogo na hayo katika all.Regarding al-Qaida-wote nadharia yake na ugaidi wake miundombinu-brotherhoods kupitisha ujumla wa militancy yake, mashambulizi ya Marekani, na itikadi (au kuheshimu kiitikadi yake), lakini wanaona kama mpinzani.