Tag Archives: radicalization

From Peaceful Activism to Violent Insurgency

Last month, the New York Times posted a video of a summary execution of Syrian soldiers, which was carried out by Syrian insurgents. The article that accompanied the video emphasized the ferociousness of the act. The author suggested that this type of behavior poses a dilemma for leaders of countries who consider support for insurgents. The depth of that dilemma partly depends on the extent to which these actions represent the behavior of the Syrian insurgency at large. If the video is indeed representative of the Syrian insurgency, what can we expect from Syrian insurgents when they get the upper hand in the conflict? How will the insurgents treat Syrian citizens? And will they implement the social and political changes that activists called for in the streets of Damascus and other cities in the spring of 2011? Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Daily Disruption

Piety and Radicalization: Is There a Link?

After the unfortunate bombings in Boston, the media accounts often highlight increasing religiosity of the terrorists before their attacks. Here is a quote from NY Times, investigating Tamerlan’s path to radicalization:

He flew in to the airport here in Makhachkala, where the plate-glass windows of the arrival hall frame a mosque with twin minarets stretching skyward. He had already given up drinking alcohol, grown a close beard and become more devout, praying five times a day. (full story)

Similar descriptions could be found in many other outlets in these days. Does personal piety correlate with radical views? Continue reading


Filed under Daily Disruption

On Tribalism-Radicalism Nexus

Citizenship Initiative, led by David Jacobson and his colleagues at the University of South Florida, offers global Tribalism Index- a quantitative measure of tribal culture that can gauge degree of tribalism-  to study development of radical movements and terrorist networks around the world. Their database will be ready for public soon.

In their recent article in New Global Studies, Jacobson and Deckard utilize this new Index and come to interesting conclusions such as the following:

Regression models that include both Muslim population percentage and level of tribalism demonstrate that, in the absence of a clear tribal culture, adherence to Islam does not make for susceptibility to extremism. Furthermore, these models show that it is within tribal environments that Islamist movements are best nurtured. The Tribalism Index proves of greater utility than the Failed States Index for eliciting the dynamics of violence in tribal societies, while illuminating the inaccuracy of seeing militancy as a function of Islam as such. Continue reading


Filed under Daily Disruption

Why is student protest “radical”?

Have, as Montreal Gazette reporter Karen Seidman suggests, radicals hijacked the conflict over tuition increases in Québec?

In my previous post, I suggested that recent student protests in Montreal were more than just about tuition increases, and that tuition increases served as a triggering event that activated some other latent, longstanding grievances. In a recent May 16th article in the Montreal Gazette, Peggy Curran seems to agree with that assessment and writes that “it was clear the battle against tuition hikes had been transformed into the revolutionary cry of a lost generation. Toss a little anarchist mayhem into the mix, and you get a cocktail called pandemonium.”  According to Curran, student mobilization is partially explained by the broader context of social unrest and breakdown characterized by economic uncertainty and high unemployment. But in addition to social unrest, Curran suggests a certain kind of intergenerational conflict between today’s students and baby-boomers – what she calls “boomerhate.” Continue reading


Filed under Daily Disruption