Terrorism in Asymmetric Conflict Ideological and Structural Aspects

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-05-25
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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The book's main focus is on extremist ideologies and structural capabilities of violent non-state actors that employ terrorist means. Ideologies and organizational patterns are seen as the main comparative advantages of such groups in an asymmetrical confrontation at all levels, from the localto the global. Resolution of the key issues of the armed conflict is seen as essential, but this is not sufficient to undermine the foundations of terrorism generated by that conflict, unless the structural capabilities of militant groups are fully disrupted and the role of extremist ideologies indriving their terrorist activities is neutralized.With its central focus on Islamist terrorism, the book argues that the quasi-religious, supra-national ideology of violent Islamism, especially in its most ambitious transnational forms, cannot be effectively counterbalanced at the ideological level either by Western democratic secularism or by theuse of moderate versions of Islam itself. The author concludes that unless transnational violent Islamism is, first, 'nationalized' and, second, transformed in organizational terms through its being coopted into a more regular political process, it is unlikely to become amenable to persuasion or anyexternal influence, let alone to be destroyed by the repression on which it thrives.The study also proposes an original typology of terrorism based on the overall level of a militant group's goals and the extent to which its terrorist activities are linked to a broader armed conflict. It combines qualitative research with the analysis of available data on trends in modern terrorismand the use of primary sources and writings.

Author Biography

Dr Ekaterina Stepanova is a Project Leader of the Armed Conflicts and Conflict Management Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). She is also a Senior Researcher on leave of absence from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences, where she heads a research group on unconventional security threats at the Center for International Security. Her research and publications focus on armed conflict management and post-conflict peacebuilding, the political economy of conflicts, and unconventional/non-military security threats such as terrorism and transnational crime, particularly in conflict-related contexts.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Acronyms
Introduction: Terrorism and Asymmetry
Ideological patterns of terrorism: radical ethno-nationalism
Religious and quasi-religious extremism
Organizational forms of terrorism: local and regional levels
Organizational forms of transnational jihadi movement
In lieu of conclusion: back to nationalism and politics?
Select bibliography
About the Author
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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