Islamic Radicals and Welfare Vacuums: A dangerous marriage

Islamic Radicals and Welfare Vacuums: A dangerous marriage

In the first presidential debate, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump remarked that "ISIS happened a number of years ago in a vacuum." The term "vacuum" was most likely a slur on the current administration's foreign policy; however, if we understand it as a reference to the lack of governance in areas of the Middle East then the statement is not entirely untrue. In fact, ISIS and Al Qaeda's efforts to present themselves as quasi-governments capable of social welfare provision draws our attention to a phenomenon that probably deserves more attention than it receives: the use of social welfare provision by radical Islamist groups as a means of consolidating political control.

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Fraying at the Center: New Ideological Disputes Harm the Brotherhood at its Core

Fraying at the Center: New Ideological Disputes Harm the Brotherhood at its Core

With the hierarchical structure and old guard of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt facing strong push-back from a younger revolutionary faction and a new ideological imperative, there is a chance we might see a permanent fissure that will lead the group on a downward trajectory for the foreseeable future.

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The Return: Can Rehabilitation Work for IS Defectors?

The Return: Can Rehabilitation Work for IS Defectors?

On September 2015, The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) came out with a report detailing the experiences of Islamic State (IS) defectors. The Centre gave key recommendations on how to deal with returning fighters.  Though the recommendations are helpful, they fall short in one key regard: addressing the specific rehabilitation needs of returning fighters.

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Voices from the Battlefield: Inside the Syrian Crisis

Voices from the Battlefield: Inside the Syrian Crisis

For the past five years, the country of Syria has transformed into a battlefield. Today, no one is truly safe. Terrorist, government, and rebel factions are massacring innocent people, and President Bashar al-Assad is drafting all young men to his security forces. Sammar Smesme exposes the appalling reality of everyday life for Syrians and shares interviews with her cousinsone living near Damascus and the other in a refugee camp. 

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The Plight of Foreign Domestic Workers in the Middle East

The Plight of Foreign Domestic Workers in the Middle East

At last, a breakthrough for foreign domestic workers in the Middle East with the passage of Kuwait's Household Employment Act providing unprecedented legal rights and protections. This initiative taken by Kuwait's National Assembly marks a significant shift from the common disregard of domestic work in the Middle East as a private matter of the home to a recognizable form of labor in need of protection under the law. 

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A Decade in Doha

A Decade in Doha

Last week in Doha, Qatar, the UCLA Center for Middle East Development concluded its  annual Enriching the Middle East’s Economic Future Conference, marking a decade of partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar. Through the hope and drama of the Arab Spring to the devastating conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, to name only a few, the conference has convened for 10 years to analyze, reflect, discuss, and recommend. 

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