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This week’s front page editor

“Francesc”

Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The crisis of the state in the Arab region and the rise of the Islamic State

Islamic radical groups, such as the Islamic State, seem to have become the substitute for a failed regional order and failing domestic conditions.

Egypt: do you really want to counter terrorism?

Is the failure intentional or a result of general incompetence? Because of repression or Islamic ideology? This debate should be far from over.

IS’ strategic management of death

The concepts of life and death are utilized strategically to contribute to the military effort of IS. Examples from video releases and religious songs shed light on how these concepts are portrayed in IS propaganda.

Al-Qaeda or ISIS? Al-Shabab's loyalty dilemma

Al Qaeda’s franchise model continues to be attractive for al-Shabab despite the rise of ISIS.

Outside the box: a Sunni endgame in Syria, Iraq?

A series of related events point to a possible endgame scenario in Syria and Iraq.

The Islamic State that isn’t

Why do western media call a barbaric terrorist group the ‘Islamic State’ when it is neither Islamic nor a state?

Why the west cannot defeat ISIS

Maged Mandour

ISIS has emerged from the wounds of the Arab world—for which the west is to a large extent responsibleand current airstrikes are pouring salt into these wounds.

The ISIS threat: terror, propaganda and ideology

Mainstream Muslim scholars must engage with reinterpreting passages of the Qur'an that seem to support ISIS' treatment of women. Translated excerpt from Trusselen fra IS: Terror, propaganda og ideologi.

Countering the logic of the war economy in Syria

The country has entered a vicious circle where Syria’s own resources are being used to destroy it, and where ordinary people have no choice but to rearrange their lives around the conflict and either join or pay armed actors to meet everyday needs.

Social resistance to IS in Syria: the case of Daraa

Areas that maintained a strong sense of social cohesion despite the 'new war' situation, such as Daraa, are far more resistant to the infiltration of both JAN and ISIL.

ISIL and governance

ISIL enters areas afflicted by weak governance, an active war economy, and ongoing conflict with the intention of changing this situation and imposing control to ensure the longevity of its rule. 

ISIL, JAN, and the war economy in Syria

The nature of ISIL and its ability to recruit based on economic needs is not something that can be countered by aerial bombardment.

Islamic State as the Saddam regime’s afterlife: the Fedayeen Saddam

In the Fedayeen—connected to the global Islamist terrorist movement, combining elements of Ba’athism with an increasingly-stern Salafism—is a microcosm of the Saddam regime’s mutation into Islamic State (ISIS).

Outside the box: is the Islamic State close to victory?

Many facts belie the myth that Islamic State is on its back heel, and its longevity, proximity to Damascus, as well as the weakness of its enemies mean that it may wreak yet more havoc.

Why 'no-fly zones' or 'IS-free zones' are not a solution in Syria

An external military intervention to establish these zones, even with the best intentions, is likely to make things worse; the international community should instead work on building consensus. A NOREF policy brief.

The new war for the Middle East

ISIS has stepped opportunistically into the vacuum created by the absence of state, loss of shared narrative and feeble leverage of powers. But there may be a way ahead. A NOREF report.

The problem with the 'women of ISIL'

Deeply problematic media narratives on Islam and women go unchallanged, distracting from the difficult questions and warping perceptions directly involved in justifying western military intervention in the Middle East.

Dealing with Muslim dissent

The solution to extremism lies through strategies that enable rather than constrain the space for Muslim free expression.

When it comes to ‘Islamic State,’ the west just doesn’t get it

There is much the west does not understand about its latest enemy, in which it faces more than 'just' extremists.

Syrian Kurds turn the tables on ISIS

Syrian Kurds have won a strategic victory in Tel Abyad, uniting two of their self-run cantons and putting ISIS on the back foot.

Islamic State: more popular than you think

The powerful rise of religious fascism, though exacerbated by economic and political crises, is rooted in the ethnic and religious intolerance that has thrived in the region for decades.

The looming threat of ISIS in Sudan

ISIS is succesfully recruiting among disaffected Sudanese youth, and not enough is being done to stop it.

Mosul under IS

Three Sunni men from Mosul describe life under the so-called Islamic State.

Missing journalists: Tunisia’s Arab Spring meets Libya’s

Two radically different “Arab Springs” have collided in the ordeal of two Tunisian journalists in Libya.

Riding the caliphate interstate with Jeff Steinberg

An interview on the origins of Islamic State and its relationship with regional and global powers.

Jordan vows to avenge Kasasbeh's murder

The murder by IS of Lt Muath Kasasbeh has caused outrage everywhere, especially in his home country, Jordan, which wants a price paid in blood.

Saudi's husseiniya massacre: sectarianism coming home to roost

The murder of Shi'a worshippers in the Eastern Province, by fighters who are returned jihadis, is the latest instance of blow-back. The Saudi regime must quickly change course.

Understanding calls for reinstating the Islamic State

Maududi’s writings on implementing Sharia and Qutb’s radical approach contributed to Jihadist movements that have been multiplying like mushrooms since the mid-seventies of the last century.

How not to understand ISIS

The view that one particular religious doctrine is uniquely extremist won’t help us to appreciate the cycles of brutality that feed on narratives of torture, murder and desecration. 

A lasting presence for IS in Iraq and Syria: interview with Romain Caillet

On 29 June, after the spectacular takeover of Mosul and other Iraqi cities, the Islamic State (IS) declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria. How can the sudden rise to power of IS be explained? What is the future of the caliphate, and of the region as a whole? Romain Caillet provides an assessment. Interview.

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