In the 1920s, German Fascist leader Ernst Rohm would boast that he could turn “the reddest Communist into a glowing nationalist in four weeks.” His Communist nemesis, Karl Radek, meanwhile viewed Rohm’s ultra-right wing S.A. militias as “a reserve for future Communist recruits.” These claims represented more than just belligerent […]Read more ›
Articles by: Mark Bracher
Co-Editor in Chief: Mark Bracher is an MRes Candidate at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. He holds an MA Degree in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter and MA and BA Degrees in War & Society from the University of Wales, Swansea. He interned at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut and is a freelance writer for the Council for MENA Affairs (www.formena.org). He specialises in international relations and communal conflicts in the Middle East, with special interests in radicalisation, religious extremism and sectarianism.
With the Islamic State seizing control of much of the Sunni-majority territory in Iraq’s north and west, a de facto Shi’a “Islamic State” could be emerging in the south. What drives this division is fear, which military actors on both sides exploit to cement their power. In June 2014, a vanguard […]Read more ›
Jordanian Air Force Chief General Mansour al-Jbour has claimed that air strikes carried out in retaliation for the sadistic execution-by-immolation of Pilot Lieutenant Moaz Youssef al-Kasasbeh have degraded nearly 20% of the ‘Islamic State’s’ [IS] military capabilities. This led a cynical Omar Ashour to muse that, if such claims are […]Read more ›
Hashtag Culture and the Death of Debate: Why we are still stuck on a defunked Clash of Values Narrative
For me there were two tragedies on 7th January 2015 – the unjustifiable targeted killing of twelve satirists, and the worlds’ reaction. The latter, I feel, is more dangerous and longer lasting. The first I heard about the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office was a stream of mysterious #JesuisCharlie […]Read more ›
In December 2014, Word Cloud published an info-graphic (see right) using key words from Islamophobic social media statements collated by Islamophobia-watch group “Tell Mama UK”. The larger the words on the info-graphic, the more those words have been reported. The graphic provides a telling window into the mind-set of Britain’s […]Read more ›
“Come to the Dark Side… We have Kittens”: Cementing the Islamic State, and why Counter-Terrorism won’t break it.
It is difficult to believe that just over a year ago, in August 2013, the self-proclaimed Islamic State [IS] was an organisation clinging to the shadows, asserting its presence in the only way it could after being chased underground by a US troop surge and an exasperated indigenous Sunni insurgency […]Read more ›
Better the Devil we know – Why the aerial bombing campaign against the “Islamic State” could create an even more deadly ISIS.
ISIS has made few friends with its particularly theatrical brand of conquest-by-terror, and it is difficult not to take some grim satisfaction as the group’s media horror-fest finally oversteps its mark, provoking the fiery vengeance of a growing Coalition of appalled states. However, it takes a short memory to believe […]Read more ›
Jihadism or Altruism? Why UK Government discourse on Extremist Ideology is only approaching half of the problem
In a 2013 Foreign Policy article entitled “Syria’s Foreign Fighters”, Thomas Hegghammer argued that the majority of foreign fighters flocking to Syria see themselves as “militarised” humanitarians – “aid workers with Kalashnikovs”. Aaron Y. Zelin has designated such fighters into a group of their own, which he calls “Tourist”. They […]Read more ›
There are few things more dangerous than overconfidence, and after their lightning campaign through Northern Iraq, in which they routed a much larger and better equipped, US-trained Iraqi National Army, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) is in no shortage of that particular vice. As far as military […]Read more ›
Hearts and Minds in Libya: A Delicate line between ideologically-inept Salafists and totally inept Central Government
An estimated 2,000 Libyans participated in international jihad between 1980 and 2011. Documents seized in Iraq found that, after Saudi Arabia, Libya contributed the largest number (18.8%) of foreign fighters to al-Qaeda in Iraq. Furthermore, between 2007-8, Eastern Libya alone contributed up to twice as many fighters per capita as […]Read more ›