[The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the seventh in a series of “Peer-Reviewed Article Reviews” in which we present a collection of journals and their articles concerned with the Middle East and Arab world. This series will be published seasonally. Each issue will comprise one-to-three parts, depending on the number of articles included.]


American Anthropologist (Volume 120, Issue 4)

Mastering Submission: Palestinian Poets Measuring Sounds of “Freedom”

By: Khaled Furani

Abstract: This article examines how Palestinian poets experience “freedom” when they compose with traditional rhythms in Arabic verse. In analyzing narratives by poets on their introduction to, training in, and mastery of metrical discipline, I argue that these seemingly “technical” practices host an exercise of “freedom” strikingly at odds with dominant liberal modalities, which pit freedom against submission. In contrast with modernizing poets who posit sovereignty of the self as a prerequisite for freedom, poets who vindicate metrical composition measure their sounds in an aliberal space of “freedom,” which then enables them to contest various forms of authority in society. This study illustrates the analytical possibilities that become available to an ethnographic inquiry into “freedom” when surrendering normative liberal paradigms of self‐sovereignty. [freedom, poetry, ethics, liberalism, Palestine]

American Journal of Political Science (Volume 63, Issue 1)

Building Cooperation among Groups in Conflict: An Experiment on Intersectarian Cooperation in Lebanon

By: Han Il Chang, Leonid Peisakhin

Abstract: Societies divided along ethnic or religious lines suffer from persistent conflict and underprovision of public goods. Scholarly understanding of how to strengthen intergroup cooperation remains limited. In this study, we set out to test the effectiveness of two interventions on intergroup cooperation: cross‐group expert appeal and participation in a cross‐group discussion. The laboratory‐in‐the‐field experiment is set in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, and involves interactions between 180 Shia and 180 Sunni Muslim participants. We find that the expert appeal increases intersectarian cooperation in settings that do not entail reciprocal exchange. On average, cross‐sectarian discussions do not improve cooperation, but those discussions in which participants delve deeply into the conflict’s causes and possible remedies are associated with greater cooperation. Neither intervention diminishes the effectiveness of sectarian clientelistic appeals. The policy implication of our study is that intergroup cooperation can be strengthened even in regions as bitterly divided as the Middle East.

American Political Science Review (Volume 113, Issue 1)

From Isolation to Radicalization: Anti-Muslim Hostility and Support for ISIS in the West

By: Tamar Mitts

Abstract: What explains online radicalization and support for ISIS in the West? Over the past few years, thousands of individuals have radicalized by consuming extremist content online, many of whom eventually traveled overseas to join the Islamic State. This study examines whether anti-Muslim hostility might drive pro-ISIS radicalization in Western Europe. Using new geo-referenced data on the online behavior of thousands of Islamic State sympathizers in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Belgium, I study whether the intensity of anti-Muslim hostility at the local level is linked to pro-ISIS radicalization on Twitter. The results show that local-level measures of anti-Muslim animosity correlate significantly and substantively with indicators of online radicalization, including posting tweets sympathizing with ISIS, describing life in ISIS-controlled territories, and discussing foreign fighters. High-frequency data surrounding events that stir support for ISIS—terrorist attacks, propaganda releases, and anti-Muslim protests—show the same pattern.

Comparative Political Studies (Volume 51, Issue 14)

How Sanctions Affect Public Opinion in Target Countries: Experimental: Evidence From Israel

By: Guy Grossman, Devorah Manekin, Yotam Margalit

Abstract: How do economic sanctions affect the political attitudes of individuals in targeted countries? Do they reduce or increase support for policy change? Are targeted, “smart” sanctions more effective in generating public support? Despite the importance of these questions for understanding the effectiveness of sanctions, they have received little systematic attention. We address them drawing on original data from Israel, where the threat of economic sanctions has sparked a contentious policy debate. We first examine the political effects of the European Union’s (EU) 2015 decision to label goods produced in the West Bank, and then expand our analysis by employing a survey experiment that allows us to test the differential impact of sanction type and sender identity. We find that the EU’s decision produced a backlash effect, increasing support for hardline policies and raising hostility toward Europe. Our findings further reveal that individuals are likely to support concessions only in the most extreme and unlikely of circumstances—a comprehensive boycott imposed by a sender perceived as a key strategic ally. These results offer theoretical and policy implications for the study of the effects of economic sanctions.

Comparative Politics (Volume 51, Issue 2)

Radicalism on the Periphery: History, Collective Memory, and the Cultural Resonance of Jihadist Ideology in Tunisia

By: Michael Marcusa

Abstract: This article explores sub-national variation in jihadist Salafist mobilization through a comparative analysis of two Tunisian interior towns: Sidi Bouzid and Metlaoui. After the Arab Spring, while Sidi Bouzid emerged as a bastion of jihadist Salafism and Islamic State foreign fighter recruitment, the movement failed to gain broad-based legitimacy in Metlaoui. On the basis of the comparison, this study introduces a new explanation for the variation in jihadist mobilization: state-building legacies and collective memory. During the 20th century, Sidi Bouzid and Metlaoui were subjected to divergent processes of forced political incorporation that this study argues have had implications for how contemporary citizens respond to jihadist rhetoric. The final part of the article discusses how this insight informs the study of jihadist Salafism in other contexts.

Governing the Faithful: State Management of Salafi Activity in the Francophone Sahel

By: Sebastian Elischer

Abstract: The article examines how four states in the francophone Sahel have managed Salafi activity since independence. States that established institutional oversight mechanisms in the Islamic sphere prior to the emergence of Saudi Arabia as a global exporter of Salafi ideology have effectively counteracted the rise of political and jihadi Salafism in recent decades. Autocratic incumbents created national Islamic associations, determined the leadership makeup of these, and delegated state authority to non-Salafi leaders so as to regulate access to the Islamic sphere. The tacit cooperation arrangements between state and nonstate actors enabled the former to demobilize religious challengers. States that chose strategies other than institutional regulation contributed to the rise of political and security challengers. These findings challenge conventional assumptions about the inability of weak states to regulate their religious spheres and shed new light on the complex relationship between weak states and Islam.

Critical Studies on Terrorism (Volume 12, Issue 1)

The afterlife of Osama bin Laden: performative pictures in the “war on terror”

By: Gabi Schlag

Abstract: In his interview with CBS News on 4 May 2011, US President Barack Obama acknowledged the power of images when he explained that his government would not release a photo of the dead Osama bin Laden due to moral considerations and security-related issues. How is it possible that a photo is perceived as too horrific to be published and as a powerful threat to national security? In this article, I argue that the concept of performativity helps to acknowledge the iconic power of an image as well as its discursive contextualisation. Yet, the meaning of a picture is not only discursively constituted but made possible by a performative act of showing/seeing. Empirically, I focus on pictures that refer to the killing of Osama bin Laden, based on a critical reading of three defining and prominent images in the US public discourse (that circulated worldwide): the Situation Room photo by Pete Souza, a photo-shopped image purporting to show the terrorist’s dead body and the iconic X-ing out of bin Laden on the cover of Time magazine. This reading looks at three dimensions of performative pictures: (1) their success and failure, (2) their self-reflexivity and sociability and (3) their performativity.

We do negotiate with terrorists: navigating liberal and illiberal norms in peace mediation

By: Julia Palmiano Federer

Abstract: The normative framework in mediation processes is growing. Mediators are increasingly expected by their mandate-givers to incorporate liberal norms such as inclusivity into their overall strategy. However, in the wake of the terrorist attacks that took place on 11 September 2001, and the policy shifts that accompanied the “Global War on Terror”, mediators find themselves simultaneously pressured to design mediation processes actively excluding armed groups proscribed as terrorists and consequently incorporating this illiberal norm of “exclusivity”, barring proscribed groups’ access to negotiations. This article asks what consequences this development has on the normative agency of mediators, based on if and how they incorporate proscribed armed groups into their mediation strategies. It argues that the dichotomy between liberal and illiberal norms has important consequences on a mediator’s normative agency. First, the dichotomy constrains mediators to a single normative standard, rendering only liberal and illiberal views possible. Second, the assumption that liberal norms are “good” and illiberal norms are “bad” engenders a double dichotomy that greatly constrains a mediator’s normative agency. Third, these constraints on a mediator engender new mediation practices such as outsourcing and risk-sharing in an attempt to salvage normative agency. The article contributes to scholarship on norms, terrorism and mediation through providing a more nuanced view of normative parameters in mediation practice.

Immigrants and undesirables: “terrorism” and the “terrorist” in 1930s France

By: Chris Millington

Abstract: This article investigates French understandings of the terms “terrorism” and “terrorist” in the period of the late Third Republic when a series of assassinations, murders and bombings suggested that France was dangerously exposed to the threat of terror. The article deconstructs contemporary understandings of the phenomenon, showing that, if a variety of actions were labelled “terrorist”, the term was deployed in particular in relation to matters of foreignness. It was believed that immigrants, refugees and foreign secret agents imported terrorist violence to France. French citizens did not – could not even – perpetrate terrorism. Parallels may be drawn between discussions of citizenship in the wake of twenty-first century acts of terrorism and manifestations of such violence during the 1930s when notions of terrorism, Frenchness and foreignness were intimately connected.

“There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence – a noun, a verb and 9/11”: terrorism, fear and the after, after 9/11

By: Michael Stohl

Abstract: In the years since 11 September 2001, pundits, politicians and scholars of terrorism and international relations routinely have declared that 9/11 “changed everything”. This article explores not only how those decisions transformed the United States and the global response to terrorism, but also how both the decisions and response sustained a sense of fear. Further, they made possible, to paraphrase then candidate Joseph Biden’s critique of former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, the framing of so much of the global political debate about terrorism, and national security references as simply 9/11 accompanied by a noun and a verb. Finally, the article examines the consequences of this framing for not only our understanding of terrorism, but also our understanding of terrorism and violence within the current global system.

Discourses on countering violent extremism: the strategic interplay between fear and security after 9/11

By: Benjamin K. Smith

Abstract: This article explores the construction of extremism in media discourse, the factors driving specific constructions and the implications of these constructions for counterterrorism policy. We contend that extremism has predominantly and increasingly been framed as a security issue. This article explores the implications of this practice through the framework of securitisation. We measure the average intensity of security framing in 38,616 articles found in three major US newspapers, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times, between 20 January 1993 and 19 January 2017 comprising the Clinton, Bush and Obama presidencies, and look at factors influencing the shift in intensity over time. Through our analysis, we show that it is possible to return to a pre-9/11 discourse but that the confluence of real-world events and the strategic choices of political actors have so far prevented this from fully occurring. We then explore the effect of securitisation on public perceptions of the threat from terrorism, finding that increases in the intensity of security framing artificially increases the public’s worry about becoming a victim of terrorism. We conclude by discussing implications for the communication of counterterrorism policy and the requirements for an after, after 9/11 approach.

Development and Change (Volume 50, Issue 1)

Regional Financial Arrangements in the Global Financial Safety Net: The Arab Monetary Fund and the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development

By: Barbara Fritz, Laurissa Mühlich

Abstract: The so‐called global financial safety net provides backstop insurance during financial crises. The three elements of the global safety net — the IMF, regional financial arrangements (RFAs) and bilateral swap agreements — underwent substantial changes after the global financial crisis. How have these changes influenced their use? What role do RFAs have in the safety net? This contribution addresses these questions by examining the timeliness, volume and policy conditionality of liquidity provision of each of the three elements, using a data set of 50 RFA member countries from the period 1976–2015. The article presents case studies of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) and the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD) to create a deeper institutional understanding of the governance mechanisms of regional funds. The authors find that today’s global financial safety net produces inequalities in emergency liquidity provision. In terms of volume, RFAs improve the safety net only for small member countries — about one‐third of the countries in the sample can access sufficient liquidity regionally. The experiences of AMF and EFSD demonstrate that intra‐regional asymmetries of RFAs play a contradictory role: while the participation of large economies leverages liquidity provision, it simultaneously creates difficulties for the governance of the regional body.

Can South–South Cooperation Compete? The Development Bank of Latin America and the Islamic Development Bank

By: Rebecca Ray, Rohini Kamal

Abstract: Southern‐led multilateral development banks (MDBs) play a key role in harnessing global capital to finance the sectors most important to borrowers, especially infrastructure. Two prominent Southern MDBs, the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), have become crucial drivers of regional infrastructure growth. This article explores whether their performance has lived up to their goals of establishing borrower control over bank governance without sacrificing financial dynamism. Using power‐weighted voting indices for member representation on bank boards, the authors determine that these banks offer borrowers much more representation on their boards than do their Northern‐based counterparts, the Inter‐American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The article also analyses bank operations to determine whether their governance structure impacts their internal performance, as reflected on balance sheets, and external performance — gaining relevance in development finance and particularly in infrastructure lending, including the burgeoning sector of sustainable (climate‐resilient) infrastructure. The authors find that the CAF and IsDB have become major players in development finance, including in sustainable infrastructure. However, important issues remain in relation to their continued internal capacity development, especially with regard to the environmental and social safeguards necessary to oversee lending.

Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict (Volume 12, Issue 1)

Peripheral and embedded: relational patterns of lone-actor terrorist radicalization

By: Lasse Lindekilde, Stefan Malthaner, Francis O’Connor

Abstract: This article provides a comparative analysis of lone-actor terrorist radicalization from a relational perspective. Extant research on lone-actor terrorism has shown that lone actors are rarely as “lone” as public perceptions suggest. In most cases, lone-actor terrorists have some social ties to established radical groups. Accordingly, this article asks (1) why these individuals do not integrate into the radical groups they frequent and engage in collective violence, and (2) if they do integrate, why do they then end up engaging in violence on their own? The article argues that patterns of lone-actor terrorist radicalization can be categorized according to the extent and evolution of their loneness. It highlights two broad patterns of lone-actor radicalization in relation to broader radical groups/movements – peripheral and embedded – and explores the reasons why some lone-actor terrorists remain peripherally integrated in radical groups, while others become more embedded only to engage in violence alone. The article is based on qualitative research, drawing on a geographically and ideologically diverse sample of cases (N = 25), and access to restricted material. The article identifies and theorizes five recurrent radicalization trajectories, which are variations of the peripheral and embedded patterns, and discuss the implications for prevention/interdiction.

Economic Affairs (Volume 39, Issue 1)

How globalisation impacted Israel and India differently in the 1990s

By: Erez Cohen

Abstract: In both Israel and India the globalisation process of the 1990s led to the development of advanced domestic industry. This article sketches the socioeconomic impact of this development in the two countries. The analysis suggests that the unique comparative advantage of each of these countries underlies the differences in the form of development and its social impact. Where the relative advantage consisted of innovativeness (Israel), globalisation led to development of an advanced industry focusing on research and development centres and local start‐up companies. In contrast, where the relative advantage consisted of low labour costs (India), globalisation resulted in the development of an advanced industrial sector focusing on manufacturing and service centres.

European Political Science Review (Volume 11, Issue 1)

The making of four ideologies of globalization

By: Pieter de Wilde

Abstract: Recent societal conflicts over immigration, free trade and EU membership testify to the controversiality of globalization in Western societies. Brexit, Trump, the refugee crisis, and the debate around transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) are clear illustrations of the salience of globalization in politics. Many argue that neoliberal ideology supports and drives globalization. This raises the question whether opposition to globalization is also ideological, and how. This contribution investigates the existence of ideologies of globalization. It does so presenting a novel rigorous version of Freeden’s analytical morphological approach to ideologies, with deductive conceptualization drawing on political philosophy combined with inductive correlational analysis at the level of individual arguments. It presents original representative claims analysis data on debates over climate change, human rights, migration, trade, and regional integration in the United States, Germany, Poland, Mexico, Turkey, the European Parliament, and the United Nations General Assembly between 2004 and 2011. It shows that we are witnessing the making of four ideologies of globalization: liberalism, cosmopolitanism, communitarianism, and statism. Each has its own distinctive grouping of concepts. Their emergence may solidify a globalization cleavage in Western societies, shape democratic politics for years to come, and affect the course of globalization itself.

Global Media Journal (Volume 16, Issue 31)

In Search of an Egyptian Product Placement Regulation

By: Tara Al-Kadi

Abstract: This article analyses product placement regulation in different countries and regions. The investigative aim is to extrapolate from other systems’ regulations useful elements, which might benefit the Egyptian broadcast ecology given the current goals and challenges it faces. The methodology is based on official document analysis in nine countries grouped into four broad categories ranging from no existing product placement policies in a country such as India to more effective well-defined laws in countries such as the United Kingdom, Korea, and Turkey. The research highlights the drawbacks and advantages of each category concluding that the fourth and final category of regulation models has the highest potential of usefulness for future policy considerations in the Egyptian context.

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (Volume 43, Issue 1)

The Forever Frontier of Urbanism: Historicizing Persian Gulf Cities

By: Alex Boodrookas, Arang Keshavarzian

Abstract: In recent years, Persian Gulf cities have become symbols of the most spectacular forms of the ‘globalization of urbanization’. Current scholarship has sought to situate these cities in transnational processes and linkages with conceptualizations of ‘the global city’ and the mechanisms of ‘worlding’. This article builds on but moves beyond this line of analysis by turning to the histories of this region and its built environment to explore the longue‐durée influence of capital and empire operating across multiple scales. From this perspective, the glittering high‐rises and manmade islands are contemporary manifestations of a century of urban forms and logics of social control emanating from company towns, the struggles of state building, and the circulation and fixing of capital. To grasp how the Persian Gulf region has been remade as a frontier for accumulation, the analysis in this article blurs the boundaries between metropole and periphery, reconceptualizing the region not as an eclectic sideshow, but as a central site for global shifts in urbanism, capitalism and architecture in the twentieth century.

International Political Science Review (Volume 40, Issue 1)

Ethnicity and religiosity-based prejudice in Turkey: Evidence from a survey experiment

By: S. Erdem Aytaç, Ali Çarkoğlu

Abstract: Threat perceptions and prejudice underlie a large number of intergroup conflicts. In this article we explore prejudicial attitudes in Turkey regarding ethnic Kurdish and devout Muslim religious identities as opposed to Turkish and less observant, secular identities. Utilizing a population-based survey experiment, we use vignettes about a hypothetical family as a neighbour, with randomized ethnicity and religiosity-related cues. We find evidence for prejudice against Kurdish ethnicity, especially among older, lowly-educated and economically dissatisfied individuals. The level of prejudice against Kurds does not seem to be related to the relative size of the Kurdish population in the local population. We do not observe prejudice against devout Muslim or less observant, secular identities. Our findings indicate that prejudice against Kurds in Turkey does not have a sui generis nature. The lack of prejudice across the religiosity dimension suggests that major socio-political cleavages do not necessarily affect intergroup attitudes.

Electing women to new Arab assemblies: The roles of gender ideology, Islam, and tribalism in Oman

By: Ahlam Khalfan Al Subhi, Amy Erica Smith

Abstract: As Arab monarchies increasingly adopt and empower consultative assemblies, women’s representation varies markedly across countries. What leads citizens in these new electoral systems to vote for women? This study investigates the determinants of support for women’s representation using the first electoral survey ever conducted in Oman, prior to the October 2015 Majlis al Shura elections. It considers cross-nationally recognized factors – gender ideology and religion – and tribalism, a factor heretofore largely unexplored. Confirming prior studies, citizens with traditional gender ideology are much less supportive of women’s representation. Developing a simultaneous equations model, we show that religiosity and tribalism shape gender ideology. Unlike in Western countries, education is unassociated with attitudes, and there is no generational shift towards equality; younger men are less supportive of women’s representation than are older men. Increasing women’s representation requires not only increasing citizen demand for female leaders, but also changing informal tribal and formal electoral institutions.

International Political Sociology (Volume 12, Issue 4)

War Ink: Sense-Making and Curating War through Military Tattoos  

By: Synne L Dyvik; Julia Welland

Abstract: Veterans have long sought to make sense of and capture their wartime experiences through a variety of aesthetic means such as novels, memoirs, films, poetry, and art. Increasingly, scholars of international relations (IR) are turning to these sources as a means to study war experience. In this article, we analyze one such sense-making practice that has, despite its long association with war, largely gone unnoticed: the military tattoo. We argue that military tattoos and the experiences they capture can offer a novel entry point into understanding how wars are made sense of and captured on the body. Focusing on a web archive—War Ink—curated and collected for, and by, US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, we analyze how tattoos perform an important “sense-making” function for participating veterans. We focus on three recurring themes—loss and grief, guilt and anger, and transformation and hope—and demonstrate how military tattoos offer important insights into how military and wartime experience is traced and narrated on and through the body. The web archive, however, not only enables a space for veterans to make sense of their war experience through their tattoos, it also does important political work in curating the broader meaning of war to the wider public.

Journal of Economic Cooperation and Development (Volume 39, Issue 4)

Approaching the Environmental Kuznets Curve: Empirical Evidence From Turkey

By: Ahmet Ugur, Esma Gultekin

Abstract: This study investigated the important relationship between environmental factors and economic growth within the context of adaptation to the environment. We generated a Kuznets curve based on the original Kuznets (1995) curve for Turkey’s economy for the period 1960–2011, using the carbon dioxide emissions, energy consumption and per capita GDP variables. A time series analysis was applied to test the existence of a long-run relationship between the series and the coefficient definitions of the variables were made. The results obtained were parallel to the Kuznets curve for Turkey’s economy and the reverse approach was accepted and the structural break analyzes applied in the study are important in terms of Turkey’s economy,

The Role of Social Networks and Ties in Finding a Job in Economies Characterized with High Youth Unemployment: A Case study of Algeria and Jordan

By: Moundir Lassassi, Ibrahim Alhawarin

Abstract:  Using nationally representative data from Algeria and Jordan, this paper shows that social networks and ties play an important role in labor market intermediation in Arab countries. In addition to descriptive analysis, we utilize binary probit regressions to investigate determinants of the probability of finding a job through social contacts. The study finds that social networks are a popular method to find a job in Algeria and Jordan but not for skilled jobs. Such methods increase the probability of obtaining less secured informal jobs. Also, the study shows that despite the importance of public sector agencies in the job search process, less than 5% in Algeria and 9% in Jordan of employed youth state that such agencies have helped them transit into employment.

Prioritizing the Sustainable Development Components to improve the level of Development with Analytical Hierarchy Process

By: Vahid Pourshahabi, Masoud Pourkiani, Mohsen Zayandeh Roodi, Ayoub Sheikhi

Abstract: Sustainable development consists of a long-term, integrated approach to develop and achieve a healthy community by jointly addressing economic, environmental, and social issues, whilst avoiding the over consumption of key natural resources for managers and government planners in public management. Therefore, since the sustainable development refers to three major dimensions, this study aims to identify and rank the sustainable development components influencing and improving the development level of Sistan and Baluchestan province of Iran through using hierarchical analysis method (AHP) and Expert Choice software. The obtained results analyzed and ranked the factors using collected comments. Expert Choice software also indicated that the economic had the highest effect on improving the development level and the social and the environmental factors were the next priorities, respectively. Therefore, according to the results of this research, decision makers can plan to increase the development level of the study area.

Journal of Economic Literature (Volume 56, Issue 4)

Islam and Economic Performance: Historical and Contemporary Links

By: Timur Kuran

Abstract: This essay critically evaluates the analytic literature concerned with causal connections between Islam and economic performance. It focuses on works since 1997, when this literature was last surveyed. Among the findings are the following: Ramadan fasting by pregnant women harms prenatal development; Islamic charities mainly benefit the middle class; Islam affects educational outcomes less through Islamic schooling than through structural factors that handicap learning as a whole; Islamic finance hardly affects Muslim financial behavior; and low generalized trust depresses Muslim trade. The last feature reflects the Muslim world’s delay in transitioning from personal to impersonal exchange. The delay resulted from the persistent simplicity of the private enterprises formed under Islamic law. Weak property rights reinforced the private sector’s stagnation by driving capital out of commerce and into rigid waqfs. Waqfs limited economic development through their inflexibility and democratization by restraining the development of civil society. Parts of the Muslim world conquered by Arab armies are especially undemocratic, which suggests that early Islamic institutions, including slave-based armies, were particularly critical to the persistence of authoritarian patterns of governance. States have contributed themselves to the persistence of authoritarianism by treating Islam as an instrument of governance. As the world started to industrialize, non-Muslim subjects of Muslim-governed states pulled ahead of their Muslim neighbors by exercising the choice of law they enjoyed under Islamic law in favor of a Western legal system.

Journal of the American Oriental Society (Volume 138, Issue 4)

Reading Ancient Mail

By: John Huehnergard

Abstract: Not available

Features of Aramaeo-Canaanite

By: Na’ama Pat-El, Aren Wilson-Wright

Abstract: One of the sub-branches of Central Semitic, Northwest Semitic, contains a number of languages with no established hierarchical relation among them: Ugaritic, Aramaic, Canaanite, Deir Alla, and Samalian. Over the years, scholars have attempted to establish a more accurate sub-branching for Northwest Semitic or to suggest a different genetic affiliation for some languages, usually Ugaritic. In this paper, we will argue that Aramaic and Canaanite share a direct ancestor, on the basis of a number of morphosyntactic features: the fs demonstrative ∗ðaˀt, the direct object marker ∗ˀayāt, the development of dative subjects with adjectival predicates, the use of the construct state with prepositions, the G imperfect inflection of geminate verbs, and the plural form of *bayt. We will also address arguments that Ugaritic is a Canaanite dialect, or that Canaanite and Ugaritic are more closely related. This proposal not only outlines a more coherent family tree for Northwest Semitic, but also accounts for numerous “Aramaic”-like features in some Canaanite dialects, primarily Biblical Hebrew, which have thus far been treated as the result of language contact in the early Iron Age.

Written in Wax: Quranic Recitational Phonography

By: Jan Just Witkam

Abstract: Islamic law employs a classification of acts that divides each into one of five categories (al-aḥkām al-khamsa), ranging from forbidden to obligatory. When the phonograph became a popular instrument at the end of the nineteenth century, the use of this new machine, which reproduced both the Quran being recited and the song of an unknown woman, had to be categorized. The present article presents the edition for the first time, with translation and analysis, of a fatwa on the permissibility of the phonograph, issued in 1908 by the Meccan scholar ʾAbdallāh Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ al-Zawāwī (d. 1924). Fatwas on phonography by the Indonesian scholar Sayyid ʾUthmān (d. 1914) and the later shaykh al-Azhar Muḥammad Bakhīt al-Muṭīʾī (d. 1935) are also analyzed. Two European scholars who recorded Quranic phonography are paid attention as well: Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (d. 1936) and Gotthelf Bergsträsser (d. 1933). Their involvement with Quranic sound recording is placed within its historical context. Finally, a short impression is given of what survives of these early recordings.

The Gawhar Shād Waqf Deed: Public Works and the Commonweal

By: Shivan Mahendrarajah

Abstract: This article is about the 829/1426 charitable trust deed (waqfiyya) of the Gawhar Shād Mosque and its social and economic implications. The deed was for a public-private trust (waqf-i mushtarak): the private (waqf-i khāṣṣ) aspect advanced Gawhar Shād’s family interests, while the public (waqf-i khayrī) aspect promoted the commonweal (maṣlaḥa), being (1) income for the Shiʾi shrine-complex of Imām Riżā, the Gawhar Shād Mosque, and the Sunni shrine-complex of Aḥmad-i Jām; (2) funding for the maintenance of hydrological systems; (3) increasing agricultural production and employment; and (4) increasing revenues to the Timurid fisc. The Persian text, an annotated translation, and a map of certain endowed blocks are included.

MELA Notes (Issue 91)

Cairo Office Serials Collection: A Comparative Analysis

By: Ahmed Mostafa El Sayyed

Abstract: Not available

Middle East Librarians in Digital Scholarship:  Report from the MELA 2018 Roundtable

By: Evyn Kropf

Abstract: Not available

Early Arabic Printing in Europe:  A Selection of Books (1514–1694)

By: Mariette Atallah

Abstract: Not available

Middle East Report (Volume 48, Issue 289)

Toward a Just Peace in Yemen

By: Stacey Philbrick Yadav, Jillian Schwedler

Abstract: The United Nations (UN) has called Yemen’s four-year-old war the worst humanitarian crisis in nearly a century, with 10 million on the brink of famine and nearly a quarter million at “catastrophic levels of food insecurity.” Despite a brief glimmer of hope following negotiations in December 2018, “millions of Yemenis are hungrier, sicker and more vulnerable now than they were a year ago.”[1] At every stage, the scale of suffering has been preventable, and yet pervasive misunderstandings—and some deliberate mischaracterizations—mean that the war has reached a deadly stalemate.

The Saudi Coalition’s Food War on Yemen

By: Jeannie Sowers

Abstract: Millions of Yemenis face starvation as a result of the war. In August 2018, more than 51 civilians were killed, at least 40 of them young children, when a bomb hit a school bus. Yet as devastating as these strikes have been, more deadly to the Yemeni people overall are the coalition strikes targeting farms, fishing boats, food storage sites and transportation networks, which worsen the conditions that give rise to famine.

Yemen’s Women Confront War’s Marginalization

By: Afrah Nasser

Abstract: Despite advances gained from women’s strong participation in the 2011 uprisings against the dictatorship of Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Salih, and despite the fact that they continue to play an essential role in the day-to-day survival of their communities, three years of war and militarization have resulted in a significant setback for Yemeni women and increased their marginalization from formal political and conflict-resolution channels. Yet they continue to struggle for their rights and representation.

Yemen and the Imperial Investments in War

By: Priya Satia

Abstract: The killing of Jamal Khashoggi and the catastrophic war in Yemen has provoked intense and unprecedented public questioning about American ties to the Saudi regime in late 2018, particularly the role of American arms and military support in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. But rethinking the place of arms-making in our economy will entail a remaking of that foreign policy and envisioning a different kind of postcolonial world.

Ambitions of a Global Gulf

By: Adam Hanieh

Abstract: From the wars in Syria and Libya to the catastrophic bombing campaign in Yemen, the Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been the main Arab forces involved in the region’s current conflicts. The Gulf also increasingly shapes the political and economic policies of other Arab states, promoting economic liberalization along with hardening authoritarianism and repressing social protest. Their destructive prosecution of the war in Yemen is an attempt to position themselves as the principal mediators of the maritime routes and territorial hinterlands located in and around the Arabian Peninsula—a strategic prize that will be decisive to shaping the Middle East’s future geopolitical landscape.

The Saudis Bring War to Yemen’s East

By: Susanne Dahlgren

Abstract: A new phase of the war appears to be unfolding in al-Mahra, the far eastern governorate of southern Yemen on the Indian Ocean next to Oman. In 2017 Saudi Arabian troops suddenly rolled through the streets of al-Ghaydha, the governorate capital, taking over the regional airport and announcing that the area had been placed under their security control. The real reason for the Saudi presence has become visible: to build a long sought oil pipeline from Saudi Arabia to the Indian Ocean through Mahari lands.

American Interventionism and the Geopolitical Roots of Yemen’s Catastrophe

By: Waleed Hazbun

Abstract: The region’s current pattern of violence is rooted in the repeated US efforts to re-make the region to its advantage through the use of coercive force since 2001. Washington’s interventions and proliferating counterterrorism operations around the region—along with the new Arab wars that followed the Arab uprisings—have led regional middle powers to attempt to reshape that system to serve their own interests. The Saudi–Emirati war in Yemen is just the most tragic example of an Arab state suffering from the geopolitical transformation of the geopolitical and regional order.

Progressive Surge Propels Turning Point in US Policy on Yemen

By: Danny Postel

Abstract: The US House of Representatives passed a potentially historic resolution on February 13, 2019, calling for an end to US military support for the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen that began in 2015. This long overdue Congressional action to constrain executive war-making, however, would not have been possible without a tremendous grassroots mobilization against US involvement in this disastrous war and the surging progressive tide that is raising deeper questions about US foreign policy in the Middle East.

Millennium: Journal of International Studies (Volume 47, Issue 2)

The Ironic Western Self: Radical and Conservative Irony in the ‘Losing Turkey’ Narrative

By: Johanna Vuorelma

Abstract: This article focuses on ironic narrative forms in international media and policy debates concerning political developments in Turkey during the era of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) in the 2000s. More specifically, the article examines the narrative of ‘losing’ Turkey, which has grown in significance during the AKP era, and argues that the metaphor also contains an ironic, self-critical reading that contributes to the debate on the idea of the West. The article advances knowledge concerning different functions of ironic narratives, proposing that we need to distinguish between (1) radical irony and (2) conservative irony. It is argued that radical irony is an outward-looking strategy to advance social justice and to challenge the Western self’s hegemonic representations, while conservative irony is an attempt to re-strengthen the Western self’s hegemony in the international system. The debate on ‘losing’ Turkey is an illustrative case where a Western subject is intersubjectively imagined and narrated with moral and aesthetic preferences. It can be seen as a negotiation about the moral traditions that underpin the West as an imagined and narrated social system. The article argues that the Western self is partly constituted through ironic narrative forms.

Oxford Development Studies (Volume 47, Issue 1)

Does maternal employment affect child nutrition status? New evidence from Egypt

By: Ahmed Shoukry Rashad, Mesbah Fathy Sharaf

Abstract: Even though maternal employment can increase family income, several studies suggest that it could have adverse consequences on children’s health. In this study, we use a nationally representative sample of 12,888 children, aged 0–5 years from Egypt to examine the impact of maternal employment on child nutritional indicators, namely: stunting, wasting, and being underweight and overweight. We adopted various estimation methods to control for observable and unobservable household characteristics in order to identify the causal effect of maternal employment. These different techniques include, propensity score matching (PSM), OLS regression with controlling for a wide range of individual characteristics, and an instrumental variable two-stage least squares (IV 2SLS) approach. Results of the PSM and OLS suggest that maternal employment is weakly associated with having a malnourished child. On the other hand, the IV 2SLS suggests a stronger and significant association between maternal employment and poor nutritional status among children.

Review of Middle East Economics and Finance (Volume 14, Issue 3)

The Impact of New Drug Launches on Longevity Growth in Nine Middle Eastern and African Countries, 2007–2015

By: Frank R Lichtenberg

Abstract: This study provides econometric evidence about the impact that new chemical entity (NCE) launches had on premature mortality from 17 diseases in 9 Middle Eastern and African countries during the period 2007–2015.The greater the relative number of NCEs for a disease launched in a country, the greater the subsequent relative decline in premature mortality from that disease, controlling for the average rate of mortality decline in each country and from each disease.An 8-year increase in the number of post-1992 NCEs ever launched is estimated to have reduced the number of years of potential life lost before age 75 (YPLL75) in 2015 by 9.5 %. This is approximately half of the 18.9 % reduction in YPLL75, and about one-third of the 29.7 % reduction in the premature mortality rate. In the absence of 8 previous years of NCE launches, 2.80 million additional YPLL before age 75 would have been lost in 2015.Expenditure on new drugs per life-year below age 75 gained in 2015 from the drugs was $US 834. According to the standards of the WHO’s Choosing Interventions that are cost–effective project, new drugs launched in the nine ME&A countries were very cost–effective overall.

Financing for Development in the MENA Region

By: Ali Awdeh

Abstract: Financing for Development was addressed by the international community since more than 25 years, when the Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development (Monterrey, Mexico, March 2002) urged mobilising and increasing the effective use of financial resources to fulfil the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals. In 2015, a new Development Agenda was designed and was based on the Development Finance. Consequently, the efficient exploitation of traditional and innovative finance resources in economic, social and human development has become a global top priority. This study analyses the impact of 7 resources of financial flows on 6 socio-economic variables in a sample of 19 MENA countries over the period 1991–2015 to test the efficient exploitation of these resources in development. The results show that government spending and official development assistance are the most important factor in boosting development in the MENA region. International trade plays a limited role in financing development, whereas foreign direct investment has the least effect on MENA development.

The Effects of Sanctions on the Lending Policy and the Value of International Banks: the Case of Iran

By: Steffen Hundt, Andreas Horsch

Abstract: After being in force for several years, sanctions against Iran were partly lifted on 16 January 2016, reopening business options for the financial industry. This paper investigates whether a breach of internationally imposed economic sanctions had a negative impact on the value of a bank that decided to implicitly or explicitly violate those sanctions. Using event study methodology, our analysis provides evidence that a breach of Iran-related sanctions by foreign banks caused considerable wealth reductions for their shareholders who finally bear the corresponding fining-costs. The results also show that bank shareholders do not perceive the lifting of sanctions as being good news, implying that they lost faith in their bank’s ability to establish a sufficient compliance and due diligence system for Iran-related transactions. Finally, the study shows that the announced fining for a breach of sanctions does not induce spillover effects to non-fined banks. Thus, the study provides important insights on reasons of the current shortage of foreign lending toward Iran.

Review of Radical Political Economics (Volume 50, Issue 4)

The Acceleration of Privatization: Understanding State, Power Bloc, and Capital Accumulation in Turkey

By: Ahmet Zaifer

Abstract: This article seeks to explain the post-2001 acceleration of privatization in Turkey. Employing a Marxian analytical framework, the article argues that the acceleration of privatization in Turkey in the post-2001 period was the result of a powerful combination of support from the power bloc (i.e., fractions of capital) in Turkey, which has been achieved with a major subordination of labor. The power bloc saw previously unavailable advantages in supporting privatization within the context of the post-2001 domestic capital accumulation regime, and therefore acted to restructure the legal and institutional framework of the state to weaken the resistance of labor and facilitate the participation of potential investors in privatization tenders. This interpretation challenges the dominance of institutionalist accounts, which draw on the legal-institutional framework and/or national interest-based discourses without considering how the changing relations among different fractions of capital and between capital and labor within the constitutive dynamics of domestic capital accumulation exerted significant influence on the acceleration of privatization.

Security Studies (Volume 28, Issue 1)

The Grand Strategy of Militant Clients: Iran’s Way of War

By: Afshon Ostovar

Abstract: This article argues that militant clients should be understood as a pillar of Iran’s grand strategy and an extension of its military power. The article examines why Iran has relied on militant clients since the 1979 revolution and the benefits and costs of its client approach. In evaluating these issues, it identifies five main areas where Iran has gained from its client strategy: 1) maintaining independence from the West; 2) successfully exporting its religio-political worldview; 3) extending its military reach and power; 4) reducing political costs of its foreign activities; and 5) establishing needed regional allies. It further identifies five main dangers that Iran faces by continuing its strategic behavior: 1) increased pressure from the United States and a broader US military regional footprint; 2) more unified regional adversaries; 3) the risk of unintended escalation with the United States and regional adversarial states; and 4) enduring regional instability and insecurity.

Social & Legal Studies (Volume 27, Issue 6)

The Absent Present Law: An Ethnographic Study of Legal Violence in Turkey

By: Deniz Yonucu

Abstract: This article, which draws on the case of 10 young socialists from the urban margins of Istanbul, who were arrested as the result of an anti-terror operation in 2007, provides an ethnographically grounded analysis of Turkey’s anti-terror law by examining the threat it poses for the population. Contrary to widespread complaints about a supposed state of lawlessness in Turkey, the article suggests that law, indeed, exists as an overwhelming and ever-present force in the lives of country’s alleged internal enemies (i.e. Kurds, socialists, Alevis, non-Muslims), hanging over their lives like the sword of Damocles. Drawing on Walter Benjamin’s debate on the similarities between law and myth, the article demonstrates that the ambiguity, illegibility and unpredictability of Turkey’s anti-terror law bestows upon the law a mythical and/or sovereign force that controls one’s present and future, and hence one’s fate. The article also argues that the anti-terror operations that started to take place in the urban margins against Kurdish activists and socialist Alevi youth as early as 2007 were harbingers of a growing lawfare in Turkey, which gradually shifted to the center over the course of years.

Studies in Conflict &Terrorism (Volume 41, Issue 12 and Volume 42, Issue 1-2)

How States Exploit Jihadist Foreign Fighters

By: Daniel Byman

Abstract: Jihadist foreign fighters are frequently described as non-state actors whose prominence challenges the traditional, state-dominated international system and our understanding of it. In practice, however, foreign fighters rely heavily on the very states they reject. Some of the most important foreign fighter movements in the world today receive massive and explicit state support, while still others rely on states to tolerate their fund-raising, transit, recruitment, and other core activities. Yet the scope, scale, and nature of this reliance varies tremendously, as does its overall impact. To stop or at least limit these flows, it is vital to change the policies and capacities of these state backers.

ISIL’s Execution Videos: Audience Segmentation and Terrorist Communication in the Digital Age

By: Andrew Barr, Alexandra Herfroy-Mischler

Abstract: This article offers a bottom-up understanding of the media strategy employed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as it relates to the production and dissemination of its hostage execution videos. Through an empirical analysis of sixty-two videos of executions produced by ISIL in the year following its establishment as the “Islamic State” in 2014, this study examines the videos as a major component of ISIL’s media strategy. Through these media products, ISIL seeks to spread a political message aimed at both local and global, ingroup and outgroup consumption through audience segmentation, while striving to influence both local and global audiences through the use and production of graphic violence. This article also discusses the strategy governing the production and release of ISIL’s execution videos; how it relies on the global media to transmit its intertwined political and religious agenda in the digital media age.

Terrorism Financing with Virtual Currencies: Can Regulatory Technology Solutions Combat This?

By: Iwa Salami

Abstract: This article considers the terrorism financing risk associated with the growth of Financial Technology innovations and in particular, focuses on virtual currency products and services. The ease with which cross-border payments by virtual currencies are facilitated, the anonymity surrounding their usage, and their potential to be converted into the fiat financial system, make them ideal for terrorism financing and therefore calls for a coordinated global regulatory response. This article considers the extent of the risk of terrorism financing through virtual currencies in “high risk” States by focusing on countries that have been recently associated with terrorism activities. It assesses the robustness of their financial regulatory and law enforcement regimes in combating terrorism financing and considers the extent to which Regulatory Technology and its global standardization, can mitigate this risk.

Cash is King: Financial Sponsorship and Changing Priorities in the Syrian Civil War

By: Anne Marie Baylouny, Creighton A. Mullins

Abstract: The role of resources in war has been much debated. What happens when foreign patrons provide lavish amounts of cash to rebels, without mechanisms of accountability? This article analyzes three major sources of funding and their micro-level effects on insurgent-groups in the Syrian civil war. Recipients of funding demonstrated opportunism in actions, alliances, and ideologies, directly related to the funding source. Funders thus set the agenda of the war, promoting Islamist ideologies and regional over local issues. Private donors rivaled state sponsors, in what may be a harbinger of future globalization trends.

Mujahideen Mobilization: Examining the Evolution of the Global Jihadist Movement’s Communicative Action Repertoire

By: Maxime Bérubé, Benoit Dupont

Abstract: Drawing on Tilly’s notion of “repertoire of action,” this article shows how the evolution of the global jihadist movement’s communicative action repertoire has increased the potential resonance of its discourse. It foresees the construction of the global jihadist movement’s discourse of mobilization as the result of the evolution of its network of actors, the context in which its communications are undertaken, and its adaptation to new communication technologies. Accordingly, it argues that the decentralization of the global jihadist movement has led to a widening of its communicative action repertoire and a diversification of its discourse offering.

Competition and Innovation in a Hostile Environment: How Jabhat Al-Nusra and Islamic State Moved to Twitter in 2013–2014

By: Gunnar J. Weimann

Abstract: Social media offer unprecedented opportunities to terrorist groups to spread their message and target specific audiences for indoctrination and recruitment. In 2013 and 2014, social media, in particular Twitter, overtook Internet forums as preferred space for jihadist propaganda. This article looks into Arabic statements by Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamic State and jihadist forum administrators and online activists to argue that, beside the easier use of social media and disruption and infiltration of the forums, the conflict between the jihadist groups accelerated the migration to social media and the building of a presence on Twitter that provided relative resilience to suspensions.

A Dialectical Approach to Online Propaganda: Australia’s United Patriots Front, Right-Wing Politics, and Islamic State

By: Imogen Richards

Abstract: This article examines how the United Patriots Front (UPF), an Australian far-right organization, has communicated its ideology with reference to right-wing politics in Australia, Western Europe, and the United States, and through allusions to Islamic State. The investigation uses critical discourse and documentary analysis and a framework derived from the theory of Pierre Bourdieu to analyze textual and audiovisual postings on UPF Facebook pages, YouTube channels, and Twitter accounts. Relevant to the discussion are Bourdieu’s interdependent theories on “doxa” as a condition in which socially constructed phenomena appear self-evident, and “habitus” and “field,” which explain how structures and agents, through their reflexive behavior, become dialectically situated.

Grading the Quality of ISIS Videos: A Metric for Assessing the Technical Sophistication of Digital Video Propaganda

By: Mark D. Robinson, Cori E. Dauber

Abstract: This article offers a method for systematically grading the quality of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) videos based on technical production criteria. Using this method revealed moments when ISIS production capacity was severely debilitated (Fall 2015) and when they began to rebuild (Spring 2016), which the article details. Uses for this method include evaluating propaganda video output across time and across groups, and the ability to assess kinetic actions against propaganda organizations. This capacity will be critical as Islamic State media production teams will be pushed out of its territory as the State collapses.

Women’s Radicalization to Religious Terrorism: An Examination of ISIS Cases in the United States

By: Lauren R. Shapiro, Marie-Helen Maras

Abstract: American women joining Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have increased and their roles evolved beyond auxiliary and domestic provisions, demonstrating both agency and tenacity for pursuing, recruiting, supporting, and spreading extreme Islamist ideals and terrorism. Social learning theory was applied to information gained from open-source court cases as a way of examining how thirty-one U.S. women acquired, maintained, and acted pursuant to radicalization to religious terrorism for ISIS. Internet functionalities, reasons, roles, and support types for radicalization and illegal activities for ISIS were examined using self-, dyad-, and group-classifications. A gendered interventive program based on social learning theory’s extinguishing of radicalized ideology and behavior was outlined.

“The Lions of Tomorrow”: A News Value Analysis of Child Images in Jihadi Magazines

By: Amy-Louise Watkin, Seán Looney

Abstract: This article reports and discusses the results of a study that investigated photographic images of children in five online terrorist magazines to understand the roles of children in these groups. The analysis encompasses issues of Inspire, Dabiq, Jihad Recollections (JR), Azan, and Gaidi Mtanni (GM) from 2009 to 2016. The total number of images was ninety-four. A news value framework was applied that systematically investigated what values the images held that resulted in them being “newsworthy” enough to be published. This article discusses the key findings, which were that Dabiq distinguished different roles for boys and girls, portrayed fierce and prestigious boy child perpetrators, and children flourishing under the caliphate; Inspire and Azan focused on portraying children as victims of Western-backed warfare; GM portrayed children supporting the cause peacefully; and JR contained no re-occurring findings.

Disrupting Daesh: Measuring Takedown of Online Terrorist Material and Its Impacts

By: Maura Conway, Moign Khawaja, Suraj Lakhani, Jeremy Reffin, Andrew Robertson, David Weir

Abstract: This article contributes to public and policy debates on the value of social media disruption activity with respect to terrorist material. In particular, it explores aggressive account and content takedown, with the aim of accurately measuring this activity and its impacts. The major emphasis of the analysis is the so-called Islamic State (IS) and disruption of their online activity, but a catchall “Other Jihadi” category is also utilized for comparison purposes. Our findings challenge the notion that Twitter remains a conducive space for pro-IS accounts and communities to flourish. However, not all jihadists on Twitter are subject to the same high levels of disruption as IS, and we show that there is differential disruption taking place. IS’s and other jihadists’ online activity was never solely restricted to Twitter; it is just one node in a wider jihadist social media ecology. This is described and some preliminary analysis of disruption trends in this area supplied too.

Informal Countermessaging: The Potential and Perils of Informal Online Countermessaging

By: Benjamin J. Lee

Abstract: Online countermessaging—communication that seeks to disrupt the online content disseminated by extremist groups and individuals—is a core component of contemporary counterterrorism strategies. Countermessaging has been heavily criticized, not least on the grounds of effectiveness. Whereas current debates are focused on the role of government and large organizations in developing and disseminating countermessages, this article argues that such approaches overlook the informal production of countermessages. Recognizing the appetite for “natural world” content among those engaged in countermessaging, this article highlights some of the potential benefits of informal approaches to countermessaging. At the same time, the article also acknowledges the risks that may result from closer working between countermessaging organizations and informal actors.

Social Media and (Counter) Terrorist Finance: A Fund-Raising and Disruption Tool

By: Tom Keatinge, Florence Keen

Abstract: The proliferation of social media has created a terrorist finance vulnerability due to the ease with which propaganda can be spread, promoting fund-raising for a certain cause. Social media companies recognize the importance of preventing violent extremist and terrorist content, but less attention is paid to their fund-raising role. As well as presenting a threat, the movement of terrorist fund-raising activities online creates a disruption opportunity. This article argues that social media companies need to display greater awareness of their vulnerability to supporting terrorist financing and greater collaboration with law enforcement and financial institutions to strengthen the integrity of the system against abuse.

A Storm on the Horizon? “Twister” and the Implications of the Blockchain and Peer-to-Peer Social Networks for Online Violent Extremism

By: Gareth Mott

Abstract: “Twister,” developed by Miguel Freitas, is a social network platform centered around micro-blogging, much like Twitter. However, rather than relying on centralized servers owned and maintained by a single firm, Twister users operate a blockchain combined with distributed hash table (DHT)–like and BitTorrent-like protocols to both make posts and send private messages, and also to receive entries from other users. Twister’s raison d’etre is that it offers a social networking platform that cannot be censored and cannot itself censor. The software does not record the Internet Protocol addresses users use to access the service, nor does it notify other users of an account’s online/offline status. Growing adoption of blockchain services means that it is possible that the concept of decentralized social networks could become a norm. It is suggested in this article that blockchain-based peer-to-peer social networks present challenges to the current counterextremist practices for content removal and censorship. While there are methods to disrupt usage of blockchain-based peer-to-peer services, these approaches may have the net harm of curtailing bona fide use of legal and novel technologies. Given this opportunity cost, non-transitory online violent extremist content may need to be tolerated.

The European Journal of International Relations (Volume 24, Issue 4)

Internal colonisation: The intimate circulations of empire, race and liberal government

By: Joe Turner

Abstract: This article proposes that ‘internal colonisation’ provides a necessary lens through which to explore the relationship between violence and race in contemporary liberal government. Contributing to an increasing interest in race in International Relations, this article proposes that while racism remains a vital demarcation in liberal government between forms of worthy/unworthy life, this is continually shaped by colonial histories and ongoing projects of empire that manifest in the Global North and South in familiar, if not identical, ways. In unpacking the concept of internal colonisation and its intellectual history from Black Studies into colonial historiography and political geography, I highlight how (neo-)metropolitan states such as Britain were always active imperial terrain and subjected to forms of colonisation. This recognises how metropole and colonies were bounded together through colonisation and how knowledge and practices of rule were appropriated onto a heterogeneity of racialised and undesirable subjects both within colonies and Britain. Bringing the argument up to date, I show how internal colonisation remains diverse and dispersed under liberal empire — enhanced through the war on terror. To do this, I sketch out how forms of ‘armed social work’ central to counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq are also central to the management of sub-populations in Britain through the counterterrorism strategy Prevent. Treating (neo-)metropoles such as the UK as part of imperial terrain helps us recognise the way in which knowledge/practices of colonisation have worked across multiple populations and been invested in mundane sites of liberal government. This brings raced histories into closer encounters with the (re)making of a raced present.

The infrastructural power of the military: The geoeconomic role of the US Army Corps of Engineers in the Arabian Peninsula

By: Laleh Khalili

Abstract: In analysing the role of the US in the global expansion of capitalist relations, most critical accounts see the US military’s invasion and conquest of various states as paving the way for the arrival of US businesses and capitalist relations. However, beyond this somewhat simplified image, and even in peacetime, the US military has been a major geoeconomic actor that has wielded its infrastructural power via its US Army Corps of Engineers’ overseas activities. The transformation of global economies in the 20th century has depended on the capitalisation of the newly independent states and the consolidation of liberal capitalist relations in the subsequent decades. The US Army Corps of Engineers has not only extended lucrative contracts to private firms (based not only in the US and host country, but also in geopolitically allied states), but also, and perhaps most important, has itself established a grammar of capitalist relations. It has done so by forging both physical infrastructures (roads, ports, utilities and telecommunications infrastructures) and virtual capitalist infrastructures through its practices of contracting, purchasing, design, accounting, regulatory processes and specific regimes of labour and private property ownership.

Washington Quarterly (Volume 41, Issue 4)

A Eulogy for the Two-War Construct

By: Jim Mitre

Abstract: Not available

Nuclear Emulation: Pakistan’s Nuclear Trajectory

By: Sadia Tasleem, Toby Dalton

Abstract: Not available

Nuclear Ethics? Why Pakistan Has Not Used Nuclear Weapons … Yet

By: Sannia Abdullah

Abstract: Not available


[The articles below were recently added to the Peer-Reviewed Articles Review: Fall 2018 (Part 4). They have been included here for your convenience.]

American Economic Review (Volume 108, Issue 10)

Why Do Defaults Affect Behavior? Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan

By: Joshua Blumenstock, Michael Callen, Tarek Ghani

Abstract: We report on an experiment examining why default options impact behavior. By randomly assigning employees to different varieties of a salary-linked savings account, we find that default enrollment increases participation by 40 percentage points—an effect equivalent to providing a 50% matching incentive. We then use a series of experimental interventions to differentiate between explanations for the default effect, which we conclude is driven largely by present-biased preferences and the cognitive cost of thinking through different savings scenarios. Default assignment also changes employees’ attitudes toward saving, and makes them more likely to actively decide to save after the study concludes.

Constellations (Volume 25, Issue 3)

Toward new democratic imaginaries — Istanbul seminars on Islam, culture and politics. Seyla Benhabib and Volker Kaul eds. Basel: Springer,  2016

By: Humeira Iqtidar

Abstract: Not available

Journal of Arabic Literature (Volume 49, Issue 4)

Theological Echoes of Literary Controversies: Reading Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī’s Iʿjāz al-Qurʾān in Light of the Debate over Badīʿ Style

By: Rachel Friedman

Abstract: Islamic theology has normatively considered the Qurʾān to be the Islamic miracle par excellence. This article reads a formative treatise on the topic, Kitāb Iʿjāz al-Qurʾān by Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī (d. 403/1013), in light of literary debates over badīʿ poetry in the early Abbasid era. It argues that al-Bāqillānī’s theorizing of the Qurʾān’s literary-rhetorical excellence is best understood in this context, demonstrating that his articulation of aesthetic priorities was shaped by the controversy over badīʿ poetry. In particular, the influence of Abbasid literary discourse is evident in the manner in which al-Bāqillānī champions the clear communication of meaning over ornamentation in texts, showing how contemporaneous literary trends and debates shaped Abbasid iʿjāz al-Qurʾān discourse.

Iṣbahānī’s Invitation to Madness: Introduction to the Majnūn Laylā Story

By: Kirsten Beck

Abstract: Abū al-Faraj al-Iṣbahānī’s (d. 971) Kitāb al-Aghānī chapter on Majnūn Laylā (“Akhbār Majnūn Banī ʿĀmir wa nasabuh”) confronts its audience with unresolving divergent knowledge about Majnūn. We are left not only wondering about his name, his origin, and his mental state, but also his being—does he even exist? This paper examines the potential impact of Iṣbahānī’s selection and presentation of akhbār in this Aghānī chapter, making a case for a literary approach to Iṣbahānī’s text fitting with the medieval concept of adab. It asserts that the line of questions we are compelled to ask about Majnūn implicates us in his madness and the madness of the text, which disrupts and complicates that which appears most essential to his story.

Claiming Modernity in Mandate Palestine: A Journey Across the Mountains in the Strongholds of the Rebels

By: Pasquale Macaluso

Abstract: Riḥlah bayna al-jibāl fi maʿāqil al-thāʾirīn was serialized in the Jaffa newspaper Al-Jāmiʿah al-Islāmiyyah towards the end of the 1936 Palestine revolt. Under the guise of a reportage by a Western journalist, the series successfully defied British censorship and published interviews with guerrilla commanders and rank-and-file rebels, and one of Fawzī al-Qāwuqjī’s communiqués. Following the main trend of literary reportage at that time, the author adopted a viewpoint focused on the rebels’ cause and emphasized the ability of the Arabs of Palestine to face the challenges of modernity. The narrator comments on the skills and virtues of rebel leaders and common people, rejecting the dehumanizing image that colonial officials and Western newspapers were making of them, and romantically depicting the nighttime Palestinian landscape. At the same time, the description of the insurgents’ organization projects the picture of an orderly society, equipped with the institutions and symbols that typically define modern states.

Georgetown Journal of International Affairs (Volume 19)

Enduring entanglement: The Multi-Sectoral Impact of the Rohingya Crisis on Neighboring Bangladesh

By: Mayesha Alam

Abstract: Not available

Affordances of Websites for Counterpublicity and International Communication: Case of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood 3

By: Soumia Bardhan

Abstract: Not available

Third World Quarterly (Volume 39, Issue 11)

Construction Jihad: state-building and development in Iran and Lebanon’s Shiʿi Territories

By: Eric Lob

Abstract: Based on fieldwork in Iran and Lebanon, this article compares the Iranian reconstruction and development organisation Construction Jihad with its Hizbullah-affiliated subsidiary in Lebanon. Beyond shedding light on Iranian and Lebanese history and politics, this comparison offers insight into the transnational diffusion of a development organisation by a state actor to its non-state or quasi-state ‘client’ in the Muslim and developing world. Despite the distinct environmental and operational conditions of Iran and Lebanon, Construction Jihad similarly assisted a nascent Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) and a fledgling Hizbullah with state-building. The latter consisted of consolidating coercive power against domestic and foreign opponents, increasing administrative capacity through service provision and post-war reconstruction, and strengthening the political and religious identity of citizens and constituents. Regardless of the differing contexts of Iran and Lebanon, Construction Jihad counter-intuitively possessed a similar organisational and developmental model in both countries that did not neatly conform to the dichotomous typologies in development studies. This seemingly contradictory model was largely faith based, exclusive, distributive and top down with certain decentralised, community driven and participatory elements.