• Al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Hansen, Stig Jarle

    Revised and updated paperback edition

    Since early 2007 a new breed of combatants has appeared on the streets of Mogadishu and other towns in Somalia: the ‘Shabaab’, or youth, the only self-proclaimed branch of al-Qaeda to have gained acceptance (and praise) from Ayman al-Zawahiri and ‘AQ centre’ in Afghanistan. Itself an offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union, which split in 2006, Al-Shabaab has imposed Sharia law and is also heavily influenced by local clan structures within Somalia itself. It remains an infamous and widely discussed, yet little-researched and understood, Islamist group. Hansen’s remarkable book attempts to go beyond the media headlines and simplistic analyses based on alarmist or localist narratives and, by employing intensive field research conducted within Somalia, as well as on the ground interviews with Al-Shabaab leaders themselves, explores the history of a remarkable organisation, one that has survived predictions of its collapse on several occasions. Hansen portrays Al-Shabaab as a hybrid Islamist organisation that combines a strong streak of Somali nationalism with the rhetorical obligations of international jihadism, thereby attracting a not insignificant number of foreign fighters to its ranks. Both these strands of Al-Shabaab have been inadvertently boosted by Ethiopian, American and African Union attempts to defeat it militarily, all of which have come to nought.


    Stig Jarle Hansen is an associate professor at the University of Life Sciences in Oslo where he teaches Norway’s only MA in International Relations. He speaks Somali, Swahili and Arabic and is the author of Al-Shabaab in Somalia (Hurst, 2013). Revised and updated paperback edition, 2016.


    ‘Essential reading … Hansen focuses on the complex ideological detours and military tactics of the Shabab from its inception … a succinct and definitive history.’ — The Economist

    Al-Shabaab in Somalia is a judicious and timely study of a poorly understood militant Islamist group. A brave attempt to both historicize and scrutinize Al-Shabaab, it is a must-read for anyone wishing to understand a group that has unleashed havoc in parts of Africa.’ — African Affairs

    ‘E‪xceptional … D‪eserve[s]‪ a broad readership.’ — Nicholas van de Walle, Foreign Affairs‪

    ‘An intimidatingly impressive book. No one else has amassed this level of detail and matched it with analysis. … Stig Jarle Hansen knows more about the positions, decompositions and recompositions of Al-Shabaab than any Western scholar. This book is a real service to us all.’ – Stephen Chan, SOAS, University of London, The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Studies

    ‘If you want to understand the reality of the Al-Shabaab phenomenon in Somalia, its existence in the country and its grounding in that ravaged land, this short book, written by a researcher who actually engaged in person with his research topic, will provide you with more concrete nourishment than a whole raft of official reports.’ — Gérard Prunier, author of From Genocide to Continental War: The ‘Congolese’ Conflict and the Crisis of Contemporary Africa  

    ‪‘Unlike the legion of ivory-tower academics, armchair analysts, and self-promoting pundits who have expatiated about Al-Shabaab without even having set foot anywhere near Somalia, much less ever encountering an adherent of the group, Stig Jarle Hansen is a charter member of the small band of intrepid scholars who, even at the height of the insurgency, still pursued their research in the country, their work consistently informed by direct knowledge of actors and events. His is a comprehensive and accessible treatment of a significant subject. Highly recommended.’ — J. Peter Pham, Director, Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, Atlantic Council, and Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of the Middle East and Africa

    ‘This disturbing but fascinating book not only documents the rise of one of the most dangerous of al-Qaeda’s affiliates but also explains its central importance to Somali politics.  Hansen is a skilful writer whose long experience of Somali life allows him to enter into the thinking of one of the world’s most dangerous fundamentalist groups.’ — Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics, and author of Warrior Geeks: How 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think About War

    ‘So far, no book-length treatment of Al-Shabaab exists in the academic literature, and due to the political and military importance of the group in Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa, policymakers and development workers, as well as area specialists, are in urgent need of such a detailed account.’ –– Markus Hoehne, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

    ‘Stig Jarle Hansen has written what is undoubtedly the best book on Al-Shabaab […] Predictions of Al-Shabaab’s collapse have occurred frequently since 2008 but, despite notable set-backs, it has survived […] Hansen’s book is an essential tool for those wishing to understand what the future might hold.’ — Magnus Taylor, African Arguments

    ‘A compact and rich history’ — RUSI Journal

    ‘Hansen has travelled widely through Somalia for years and is personally familiar with many of the members and leaders of the movement. As a result, his description of events carries a powerful sense of legitimacy… [He] has put together a remarkably a remarkably detailed account of al-Shabaab’s history … [and] until the distant and unlikely day when something better comes along, Al-Shabaab in Somalia is the definitive book on the subject.’ — Richard J. Norton, Parameters, The US Army War College Quarterly

    March 2016 / 9781849045100 208pp



  • Beyond Sunni and Shia

    Frederic Wehrey

    This collection seeks to advance our understanding of intra-Islamic identity conflict in the Middle East. Instead of treating distinctions between and within Sunni and Shia Islam as primordial and immutable, it examines how political economy, geopolitics, domestic governance, social media, non- and sub-state groups, and clerical elites have affected the transformation and diffusion of sectarian identities.

    Particular attention is paid to how conflicts over distribution of political and economic power have taken on a sectarian quality, and how a variety of actors have instrumentalised sectarianism. The volume, covering Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, Iran, and Egypt, includes contributors from a broad array of disciplines including political science, history, sociology, and Islamic studies.

    Beyond Sunni and Shia draws on extensive fieldwork and primary sources to offer insights that are empirically rich and theoretically grounded, but also accessible for policy audiences and the informed public.

    Edited by

    Frederic Wehrey is a senior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings (2013), chosen as a Best Book on the Middle East by Foreign Affairs magazine. He holds a DPhil in International Relations from Oxford University


    ‘Sectarianism has become an urgently important, but often misunderstood, feature of politics in the Middle East. Beyond Sunni and Shia brings together an outstanding and diverse group of scholars who grapple with sectarian conflict across the region. These rigorous and deeply researched essays show how the complex interplay of politics, ideas and technology at a time of rapid change has driven dangerous new identity politics.’ — Marc Lynch, Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, and author of The New Arab Wars: Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East

    ‘This much-needed volume moves beyond primordialist and instrumentalist explanations of the issue of sectarianism. Its fascinating case-studies show not only why it is important to understand the geopolitical, institutional and religious sources of sectarianism in a changing Middle East, but also how it is possible to gain a deep and nuanced understanding of the subject.’ — Morten Valbjørn, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Aarhus University

    ‘A contextual but comparative analysis of the geopolitical, institutional, and ideational drivers of sectarianism in the contemporary Middle East. Navigating beyond primordial and instrumental theoretical explanations, Beyond Sunni and Shia offers a multilayered analysis of why sectarianism assumes today such a powerful role in the domestic politics and foreign policies of Middle East states and transnational movements, and what are the prospects of moving beyond sectarianism in the future.’ — Bassel F. Salloukh, Associate Professor of Political Science, Lebanese American University, Beirut

    ‘Rigorous, panoramic and grounded in impressive fieldwork, Beyond Sunni and Shia is a superb collection of studies that tackles a topic too often clouded by polemics and easy generalisations. Frederic Wehrey has assembled an all-star cast of scholars from multiple disciplines who show why and how sectarian tensions are ultimately rooted in the Middle East’s broken political order and authoritarianism, rather than in age-old religious animosity. This volume is at once a nuanced dissection of sectarianism and an impassioned plea for more pluralistic institutions in the region. A must-read for veteran scholars, policymakers, and the informed public.’ — Marwan Muasher, Vice President for Studies, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; author of The Second Arab Awakening


    Paperback / November 2017 / 9781849048149 / 352pp

  • Blood Year

    Kilcullen, David

    Blood Year is an unsparingly honest, self-critical analysis of the collapse of western counterterrorism strategy, by one of its original architects. As a counterterrorism officer, then Chief Strategist in the US State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism, David Kilcullen was one of the key designers of British and US counterterrorism policy. His insights helped to shape the strategy, known as “Disaggregation”, which crippled Al Qaeda and prevented a follow up to the 9/11 attacks, and he found himself in harm’s way in Southeast Asia, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. So Kilcullen’s frank assessment—that the strategy he helped design has failed, has not made us safer, and has contributed to new threats, including ISIS—makes this short book mandatory reading for anyone interested in how terrorism is confronted. The most startling part of Kilcullen’s analysis is when he suggests there may be far worse adversaries than ISIS incubating in various parts of the world, preparing for the next stage of their unending struggle. His prescription for change, for a thorough reimagining of the threat, and for an open public debate on how to deal with it, will be a massive challenge. But if western democracies are to avoid more years of blood, it will be essential.

  • Bosnia’s Paralysed Peace

    Bennett, Christopher

    ‘An excellent text — it is well structured, reads smoothly and displays a strong, confident grasp of the subject material — which is what one would expect from Christopher Bennett writing about Bosnia.’ — Dr Marko Hoare, Kingston University and author of The History of Bosnia

    The scale of international investment in peace-building in Bosnia has been unprecedented. A plethora of international institutions, including the EU, the IMF, the OHR, the OSCE, the World Bank and the United Nations, as well as many development agencies, set about piecing the country together, a process cushioned by generous flows of aid. However, despite the massive international commitment in time, resources and effort, a decade and a half later Bosnia’s peace is at best paralysed. War remains a risk because of the myriad of unresolved issues, zero-sum politics and incompatible positions of rival ethno-national leaders.

    In the face of paralysis, international officials repeat the mantra that there is no alternative to Bosnia’s European path and urge the country’s leaders to see sense, to temper their rhetoric and to carry out internationally approved reforms. To no avail.

    Christopher Bennett argues that the failure of peace-building is the failure of the ‘liberal peace model’. Policy-makers have focused on ‘what should be’ in terms of trying to reproduce Western
    liberal democracy, rather than ‘what is’ in Bosnia, where ethno-national security concerns remain
    critically important to most people.

    Bennett’s book offers a comprehensive analysis of stalled peace process. He concludes by proposing a paradigm shift in strategy aimed at ensuring a self-sustaining ethno-national security for all of its peoples.

  • Citizen Hariri

    Baumann, Hannes

    Rafiq Hariri was Lebanon’s Silvio Berlusconi: a ‘self-made’ billionaire who became prime minister and shaped postwar reconstruction. His assassination in February 2005 almost tipped the country into civil strife. Yet Hariri was neither a militia leader nor from a traditional political family. How did this outsider rise to wield such immense political and economic power?

    Citizen Hariri shows how the billionaire converted his wealth and close ties to the Saudi monarchy into political power. Hariri is used as a prism to examine how changes in global neoliberalism reshaped Lebanese politics. He initiated urban megaprojects and inflated the banking sector. And having grown rich as a contractor in the Gulf, he turned Lebanon into an outlet for Gulf capital. The concentration of wealth and the restructuring of the postwar Lebanese state were comparable to the effects of neoliberalism elsewhere. But at the same time, Hariri was a deeply Lebanese figure. He had to fend against militia leaders and a hostile Syrian regime. The billionaire outsider eventually came to behave like a traditional Lebanese political patron. Hannes Baumnann assesses not only the personal legacy of the man dubbed ‘Mr Lebanon’ but charts the wider social and economic transformations his rise represented.

    Hannes Baumann is a lecturer at the University of Liverpool. His current research looks at the politics of Gulf investment in non-oil Arab states. He previously taught or researched at King’s College London, Georgetown University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).


    ‘Baumann provides a brilliant study of the neoliberal reconstruction in post-war Lebanon by an oligarchy of warlords, bankers and contractors, who subordinated the state to private interests and enriched themselves on rent extraction, increasing unemployment, poverty and social inequalities.’ — Fawwaz Traboulsi, author of A History of Modern Lebanon

    ‘A masterly account of the introduction of neoliberalism in Lebanon. Combining sociological and economic analysis, Citizen Hariri provides a fresh look at clientelism, governance, class formation, and the state in Lebanon. It will be a key work for years to come.’ — Sune Haugbølle, Associate Professor at Roskilde University, and author of War and Memory in Lebanon

    ‘This insightful and clever book justifiably puts political economy at the center of the analysis, but also exposes the ways in which Hariri’s engagement in politics fueled an increasingly “sectarian” emphasis as he sought power in Lebanon’s power-sharing system. The careful exposition of large-scale state interference with property rights and currency markets is an important contribution.’ — Melani Cammett, Professor of Government, Harvard University, and author of Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon

    Citizen Hariri not only provides us with a critical biography of one of the modern Middle East’s most fascinating political figures, it also throws new light on state–business relations and the politics of economic reforms in the wider region.’ — Steffen Hertog, Associate Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science, and co-editor of Business Politics in the Middle East

    ‘An insightful, sharp and timely analysis of Hariri. This is an invaluable contribution that sheds light on contemporary politics in Lebanon, and a must-read for all those interested in the post-civil war era.’ — Mayssoun Sukarieh, Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies, King’s College London and co-author of Youth Rising? The Politics of Youth in the Global Economy

    ‘Citizen Hariri is the first head-on, comprehensive inquiry into Lebanon’s turn to “neoliberalism”; much rejected and despaired, but rarely analysed as powerfully as here. No other book so compellingly brings to life Mister Lebanon, the country’s turbulent politics, and the predicament of being ruled and governed by “real existing neoliberalism”.’ — Reinoud Leenders, King’s College London, author of Spoils of Truce – Corruption and State-Building in Postwar Lebanon


  • Destroying a Nation

    Nikolaos van Dam

    Why did Syria descend into chaos so suddenly? Following the Arab Spring, Syria descended into civil and sectarian conflict. It has since become a fractured warzone which operates as a breeding ground for new terrorist movements including ISIS as well as the root cause of the greatest refugee crisis in modern history. In this book, former Special Envoy of the Netherlands to Syria Nikolaos van Dam explains the recent history of Syria, covering the growing disenchantment with the Assad regime, the chaos of civil war and the fractures which led to the rise and expansion of ISIS. Through an in-depth examination of the role of sectarian, regional and tribal loyalties in Syria, van Dam traces political developments within the Assad regime and the military and civilian power elite from the Arab Spring to the present day.

    In his new book, Nikolaos van Dam explains why the Syrian War that followed the revolution in 2011 was inevitable, considering the earlier behaviour (and misbehaviour) of the Syrian regime. Nevertheless, many Western and Arab politicians had been wishfully thinking that the conflict could be solved peacefully if president Bashar al-Assad would step down on his own initiative, and that his regime could be toppled as a result of the – initially peaceful – demonstrations. They ignored the fact, however, that the conflict in Syria is a struggle for life and death between the Syrian regime and various opposition groups, in which each side wants to get rid the other. The regime is not prepared to negotiate its own departure, downfall or death sentence. Moreover, it has obtained wide experience of how to stay in power with the most brutal means of suppression for more than half a century.

    The wall of fear and silence in Syria

    More than two decades ago Van Dam already predicted in his book that any effort to overthrow the Alawi-dominated Syrian power elite was bound to be extremely violent and bloody. The book notes that the Western and Arab fixation on the departure of President Bashar al-Asad constituted a serious obstacle to helping find a solution to the conflict. Demanding as a precondition that al-Asad should be excluded from any role in Syria’s political future and that he should be court-martialled (meaning in practice being sentenced to death), blocked any possibility for serious negotiations. After all, al-Asad was in power in most of Syria, not the opposition or foreign countries. According to the book, the regime of President Bashar al-Asad had imagined that it could suppress the Syrian Revolution in 2011 with brute force, just as it had succeeded in doing on earlier occasions. But this time the situation was completely different, and the disproportionate regime violence encouraged the revolution only further. The wall of fear and silence in Syria had been broken and many peaceful Syrian demonstrators were inspired by Arab Spring developments elsewhere in the region, which still looked promising to them in the beginning, because of regime change in Egypt and Libya. Van Dam notes in his book that both the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition groups started to receive political, military and financial support from many foreign countries that thereby began to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs. All this gave rise to a combination of a bloody war among Syrians themselves, and a war by proxy between other countries to the detriment of the Syrian people.


    Nikolaos van Dam is a specialist on Syria who served as Special Envoy of the Netherlands for Syria in 2015-16. He was previously Ambassador of the Netherlands to Indonesia, Germany, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq.


    ‘Will be an overnight classic’ – Sami Moubayed, author of Under The Black Flag: An Exclusive Insight into the Inner Workings of ISIS

    ‘Nikolaos van Dam is simply one of the top experts on Syria…  This book is a sophisticated, yet accessible and readable analysis of a highly complex situation’

    – David W. Lesch, author of Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad

    ‘Nikolaos van Dam is one of the finest Syriatologists of all time. This new book will be an overnight classic’

    – Sami Moubayed, author of Under the Black Flag

    ‘The best book on the Syrian Civil War, hands down…a must read by a true scholar’

    – Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma

    July 2017 /224 pages /Paperback / 9781784537975

  • Europe’s Balkan Muslims

    Nathalie Clayer and Xavier Bougarel

    Clayer and Bougarel’s prodigiously researched Europe’s Balkan Muslims is a political and institutional history of the Muslims of south-east Europe since the nineteenth century, focusing on empires, states, political parties, and religious institutions.

    Translated by Andrew Kirby

    CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2017

    There are roughly eight million Muslims in south-east Europe, among them Albanians, Bosniaks, Turks and Roma — descendants of converts or settlers in the Ottoman period. This new history of the social, political and religious transformations that this population experienced in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries — a period marked by the collapse of the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires and by the creation of the modern Balkan states — will shed new light on the European Muslim experience.

    South-east Europe’s Muslims have experienced a slow and complex crystallisation of their respective national identities, which accelerated after 1945 as a result of the authoritarian modernisation of communist regimes and, in the late twentieth century, ended in nationalist mobilisations that precipitated the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo during the break-up of Yugoslavia.

    At a religious level, these populations have remained connected to the institutions established by the Ottoman Empire, as well as to various educational, intellectual and Sufi (mystic) networks. With the fall of communism, new transnational networks appeared, especially neo-Salafist and neo- Sufi ones, although Europe’s Balkan Muslims have not escaped the wider processes of secularisation.


    A specialist on Albanian Islam, Nathalie Clayer is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan and Central Asian Studies at EHESS in Paris. She is also a historian of religion and nationalism in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman eras.

    Xavier Bougarel is a researcher at the Centre for Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan and Central Asian Studies at EHESS in Paris. He also specialises in Islam in south-east Europe and the wars in the former Yugoslavia


    ‘Written by two of the most distinguished French scholars of Southeastern Europe and Islam, and appearing here in an outstanding translation from French, this is the most comprehensive existing survey of the Balkan Muslims in the last two centuries. Its interpretative strength lies in the rare combination between sophisticated historiographical analysis and clarity of exposition.’ — Maria Todorova, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

    ‘This welcome translation of this collaborative work … helps introduce readers to an important clarification of European Islam that has evolved over centuries … [An] excellent study…’ — Dr. Isa Blumi, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor of Turkish Studies, Stockholm University, CHOICE

    April 2017  / 9781849046596 / 288pp

  • Fortress Europe

    Carr, Matthew

    ‘Matthew Carr travels to remote borderlands of Poland, Spain, Greece, and Malta; Schengen-bordering countries like Turkey and Morocco that collaborate in enforcement; and the heart of western Europe and Britain to meet immigrants stuck in remote detention centers or “living rough” on city streets for years, as well as temporary workers and sex slaves abused by their handlers and abandoned by governments. But Carr also depicts ordinary Europeans who have gone to great lengths to help these stranded travelers. This disturbing but hopeful book humanizes the face of 21st-century immigration.’—Publishers Weekly

    ‘Military patrols using live ammunition against unarmed men, women and children scaling barbed wire fences, captains dumping their human cargo in the sea after being detected by the navy: These are scenes not from North Korea or divided Berlin, but from the modern-day European Union. . . Employing a personable, readable style, the author shares vignettes from his extensive travels along Europe’s outer reaches, from the African exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to the Greek archipelago to the Slovakian-Ukrainian border. . . An unflinching look inside.’—Kirkus Reviews

    ‘Carr argues that the combination of internal liberalisation and external hardening has increased criminal, abusive, and often deadly human trafficking, while only modestly reducing immigration. The unique virtue of the book lies in Carr’s reporting from the brutal frontiers of the new Europe: Ukrainian border towns where illegal trafficking thrives, Spanish territories in Morocco where would-be immigrants are shot dead or left to die in the Sahara after attempting to scale razor-wire fences, Italian and Maltese islands where overfilled boatloads of Africans drown by the hundreds. ’ —Foreign Affairs

    For nearly thirty years the Berlin Wall symbolised a divided Europe. In the euphoric aftermath of the Cold War, the advent of a new ‘borderless’ world was hailed, one in which such barriers would become obsolete. Today these utopian predictions have yet to be realised. European governments have enacted the most sustained and far-reaching border enforcement program in history in an attempt to repel migrants seeking work or asylum. Detention and deportation, physical and bureaucratic barriers, naval patrols and satellite technologies: all these form part of the militarised response to immigration adopted by European governments, the human cost of which is often overlooked. These efforts have generated a tragic confrontation between some of the richest countries in the world and a stateless population from the poorest – a clash that occurs within Europe’s territorial frontiers and also far beyond them. Fortress Europe investigates that confrontation on Europe’s ‘hard borders.’ In a series of searing dispatches, Carr speaks to border officers and police, officials, migrants, asylum-seekers, and activists. The result is a unique and groundbreaking critique of Europe’s exclusionary borders, and an essential guide to the wider drama of migration that will dominate politics for years ahead.

  • From Independence to Revolution

    Gillian Kennedy

    From Independence to Revolution tells the story of the complicated relationship between the Egyptian population and the nation’s most prominent political opposition — the Islamist movement. Most commentators focus on the Muslim Brotherhood and radical jihadists constantly vying for power under successive authoritarian rulers, from Gamal Abdul Nasser to General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Yet the relationship between the Islamists and Egyptian society has not remained fixed. Instead, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, radical jihadists and progressive Islamists like Tayyar al Masri have varied in their responses to Egypt’s socio-political transformation over the last sixty years, thereby attracting different sections of the Egyptian electorate at different times.

    From bread riots in the 1970s to the 2011 Tahrir Square uprising and the subsequent election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in 2012, Egypt’s Islamists have been countering authoritarian elites since colonial independence. This book is based on the author’s fieldwork interviews in Egypt and builds on comparative political approaches to the topic. It offers an account of Egypt’s contesting actors, demonstrating how a consistently fragmented Islamist movement and an authoritarian state have cemented political instability and economic decline as a persistent trend.


    Gillian Kennedy has a PhD in Middle Eastern Politics from King’s College London. She works for Canadean as lead analyst for the MENA region and is a visiting research fellow at King’s College. Previously she has had articles published on Open Democracy and in the Montreal Review, as well as appearing as a regular commentator on Egyptian politics for BBC Newshour.


    ‘In this meticulously researched book, Kennedy examines the many faces of Islamism in Egypt and the dialectical relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood, the most powerful Islamist trend, and the authoritarian nationalist state. Conceptually rigorous and empirically rich, From Independence to Revolution highlights the multiple dualities in Egyptian politics and the fierce struggle for power which has led to an arrested social development. Kennedy’s book deserves wide readership.‘ — Fawaz Gerges, Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics, author of ISIS: A History

    ‘In this well-researched book, Kennedy tracks the testy relationship between the various strands of Egyptian Islamism and the bureaucratic-authoritarian orders of Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak. In her focus on Islamism’s ideological and strategic shortcomings, Kennedy advances our understanding of Egypt’s religio-political landscape, including the contentious events that led to the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.’ — John Calvert, Professor of History, Creighton University, author of Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism

    ‘Kennedy provides a theoretically informed and readable account of Egyptian Islamism. The book’s strength is to locate the evolution of distinct Islamist trends within Egypt’s shifting economic, political and social terrain. Kennedy develops a convincing argument to explain why Islamism was unable to capitalise on the opportunity presented by the fall of the Mubarak regime in 2011.’ — Ewan Stein, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Edinburgh, and author of Intellectual Dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa

    From Independence to Revolution is a superb account of Egyptian Islamism and its interactions with the state. Kennedy adeptly deploys Gramscian concepts to provide the reader with a theoretically informed study of how to understand Islamism in Egypt. It is this novel theoretical approach that makes this such a significant contribution to the study of an important phenomenon.’ — Francesco Cavatorta, Associate Professor, Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, co-editor of Salafism After the Arab Awakening

    February 2017 – 9781849047050 –  264pp – Paperback

  • Gaza as Metaphor

    Matar, Dina (ed)

    A searing rendition of grim tragedy, and a powerful call to action. — Noam Chomsky
    Open-air Prison, Terror, Resistance, Occupation, Siege, Trauma: irrespective of when, where, and to whom the word is uttered, ‘Gaza’ immediately evokes an abundance of metaphors. Similarly, a host of metaphors also recall Gaza: Crisis, Exception, Refugees, Destitution, Tunnels, Persistence. This book brings together journalists, writers, doctors, academics and others, who use metaphor to record and historicise Gaza, to contextualise its everyday realities, interrogate its representations and provide an understanding of its real and symbolic significance. Offering perspectives from residents and observers, these essays touch on life and survival, the making of the Gaza Strip and its increasing isolation, the discursive and visual tools that have often obscured the real Gaza, and explore what Gaza contributes to our understanding of exception, inequality, dispossession, bio-politics, necro-power and other terms which we rely on to make sense of our world. The contributors reveal the manner of Gaza’s historical and spatial creation, to show that Gaza is more than simply a metaphor for far-away humanitarian disaster, or a location of incomprehensible violence — it is above all an inseparable part of Palestine’s past, present, and future, and of the condition of dispossession.


    Helga Tawil-Souri is Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication and Director of the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University. Her work focuses on issues of spatiality, technology, and politics in the Middle East, and especially Israel/ Palestine.

    Dina Matar is Associate Head, Centre for Media Studies at SOAS, University of London. She is the author of What it Means to be Palestinian and co-author of The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication.


    ‘Perhaps more than any place on earth, Gaza is a microcosm of our world of cruelty and barbarism, but, no less, of courage, creativity and resilience. With sympathy and deep understanding, these essays reveal the terror and sheer savagery to which the people of Gaza are subjected daily and their brave refusal to succumb to despair and hopelessness. A searing rendition of grim tragedy, and a powerful call to action.’ — Noam Chomsky

    ‘Gaza is a truth, to paraphrase Nietzsche, demanding its metaphors. Helga Tawil-Souri and Dina Matar have gathered the whirlwind momentum of a critical mass of caring intellects to dwell on the hermeneutic precipice when a piece of land in Palestine has become the fragmented site of a truth so bold and demanding that it forces all our languages to defy the tyranny of their compromised grammar. You have not read a book on Palestine as enduring a testimony to defiant dignity as Gaza as Metaphor. It captures with uncanny precision a traumatic moment in a colossal catastrophe the Palestinians call Nakba and the rest of the world can now see as the mirror metaphor of their own innermost struggles for truth and justice.’ — Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, and author of The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism and Brown Skin, White Masks

    ‘Gaza is a microcosm of global realities, “surplus humanity” fighting oppression and induced impoverishment against powerful militaries of the Global North. Through the fluid medium of metaphor, Tawil-Souri and Matar provide their contributors with a means of exploring the range of ways Gazans cope with imposed conditions of dispossession and “bare life.” Ultimately, they collectively rescue Gaza from metaphor as an actual location of humanity and resistance.’ — Jeff Halper, Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and author of War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification

    ‘This pathbreaking book takes the reader beyond the spectacle of ferocious warfare on Gaza to open up an expansive gaze onto a hermetically-sealed strip that has become both metaphor and metonymy for the Palestinian condition. The volume lucidly unpacks the metaphors by which Gazans live and die, shedding empathetic light on their creative quotidian struggles to exist. Written within diverse genres, the essays offer the reader vital conceptual tools for engaging the ongoing nakba of Palestinian history.’ — Ella Shohat, author of Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices

    Gaza as Metaphor offers an impressive selection of the most recent work of some of the best specialists, Palestinian and non-Palestinian. It is a very welcome reminder, as one of the contributors puts it, that “Gaza is Palestine.” Stimulating and dense, this edited volume is also fluid and absorbing.’ — Jean-Pierre Filiu, author of Gaza: A History and From Deep State to Islamic State: The Arab Counter-Revolution and its Jihadi Legacy

    ‘This carefully edited collection of essays and stories, mainly by Palestinian academics, is a rich insight into Gaza’s reality of human life versus inhuman violence — a challenge to false constructed image and narrative. These “unwanted Palestinians” come to life in vivid evocations of day-to-day struggle under Israeli military onslaught, and the tunnels’ business of lions and radiant brides coming through to life in Gaza.’ — Victoria Brittain, author of Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror

    Gaza as Metaphor is an exemplary collection: comprehensive despite its relatively small size, greatly readable, very stimulating, and most satisfying intellectually and aesthetically: a landmark in Gaza studies and an important addition to Palestine studies.’ — Gilbert Achcar, Journal of Palestine Studies

    ‘All [the contributors] have something unique and important to impart in this compilation of consistently excellent essays … If widely read, Gaza as Metaphor has the potential to raise the volume and increase the resonance of Gazans’ stories.’ — Sally Bland, Jordan Times

  • Gaza Under Hamas

    Bjorn Brenner


    Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the EU, the USA and the UN. It has made itself notorious for its violent radicalism and uncompromising rejection of the Jewish state. So after its victory in the 2006 elections the world was watching. How would Hamas govern? Could an Islamist group without any experience of power – and with an unwavering ideology – manage to deal with day-to-day realities on the ground? Bjorn Brenner investigates what happened after the elections and puts the spotlight on the people over whom Hamas rules, rather than on its ideas. Lodging with Palestinian families and experiencing their daily encounters with Hamas, he offers an intimate perspective of the group as seen through local eyes. The book is based on hard-to-secure interviews with a wide range of key political and security figures in the Hamas administration, as well as with military commanders and members of the feared Qassam Brigades. Brenner has also sought out those that Hamas identifies as local trouble makers: the extreme Salafi-Jihadis and members of the now more quiescent mainstream Fatah party led by Mahmoud Abbas.

    The book provides a new interpretation of one of the most powerful forces in the Israel-Palestine arena, arguing that the Gazan Islamists carry a potential to be much more flexible and pragmatic than anticipated – if they would think they stand to gain from it. Gaza under Hamas investigates the key challenges to Hamas’s authority and reveals why and in what ways ideology comes second to power consolidation.


    Bjorn Brenner is Lecturer at the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm and

    Björn Brenner
    Foto : Rickard Kilström

    Research Fellow at Institut francais du Proche-Orient in Amman, Jordan. He holds a doctorate in Peace and Development Studies from the University of Gothenburg and an MA in Political Science from Uppsala University. He is the author of numerous articles on Palestinian and Israeli politics and is a frequently appearing commentator in the media on Middle Eastern affairs.


    “In Gaza under Hamas, Björn Brenner provides an inside view of Hamas in power, based on extensive fieldwork alongside trenchant insights and incisive analysis. His book is an important contribution to the literature by greatly enhancing our understanding of the evolution of terrorist organizations from grassroots violence to formal governance.” – Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University. 

    “This is one of the rare books about Hamas that manages to be both balanced and insightful. Based on a broad range of primary sources, this in-depth study of Gaza under Hamas rule provides as full and comprehensive a picture as possible. A must-read for scholars, students, and diplomats alike!” – Peter Neumann, King’s College London

    “For academic researchers, policy makers, NGOs and broader civil society members interested in Islamist experiences and practices of governance this is a must read. The book not only helps address many misconceived notions about the challenges which Hamas has faced since it was elected in 2006 but it also assists readers in nuancing the particular context in which such a case of Islamist governance actually operates.” – Michelle Pace, Roskilde University

    “Gaza under Hamas is a fascinating, original, and uniquely well-researched analysis of how Hamas governs. Drawing on four years of ethnographic research, the author combines empirical granularity and analytical clarity to provide a wealth of new insights on the domestic politics of the Gaza Strip. The book will become the standard work on the Hamas administration and a must-read for anyone interested in rebel governance, political Islam, Middle East politics, Islamic Law, or Palestinian history.” – Thomas Hegghammer, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment

    “Brenner provides a well-researched, timely and extensive account of Hamas’s complex approach to governance, also offering a very interesting portrait of life in the Gaza Strip.” – Benedetta Berti, Institute for National Security Studies

    “What makes Brenner’s account especially valuable is its focus on how Hamas has managed to create a functioning government in Gaza – a subject that is little known This access to Hamas leaders and operatives will not be found in other studies.” – Perspectives on Terrorism, reviewed by Joshua Sinai

    “Brenner’s conclusion is a far cry from the clichéd statements about Hamas … Apart from establishing the centrality of Hamas rule to a political solution for Palestine, the book also expounds upon the spectrum of misconceptions, strengths and flaws associated with the movement. This approach provides a detailed assessment of Hamas in relation to Gaza and its unique circumstances, while dispelling mainstream manipulation, to which, as Brenner points out, academia has also contributed.” – Middle East Monitor, reviewed by Ramona Wadi

    “Brenner’s book constitutes an important contribution to our understanding of Hamas and how Islamist ideas are translated into political practices. Rarely do we have the opportunity to take stock of empirical research of a such a timely case. This book also provides a great opportunity for researchers to learn from Brenner’s best practices in how to conduct field research in conflict zones.” – Swedish Journal of Political Science, reviewed by Anders Malm

    Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.
    Series: Library of Modern Middle East Studies

    Hardback / ISBN: 9781784537777
    Publication Date: 18 Dec 2016
    Number of Pages: 256

  • Guardians of the Arab State

    Florence Gaub

    Guardians of the Arab State explains clearly and concisely how and why military organisations become involved in politics across the Middle East and North Africa, identifying four key factors: a high degree of organisational capacity, clear institutional interest, a forgiving population and weak civilian control.

    Looking at numerous case studies ranging from Mauritania to Iraq, the book finds that these factors are common to all Arab countries to have experienced coups in the last century. It also finds that the opposite is true in cases like Jordan, where strong civilian control and the absence of capacity, interest, or a positive public image made coup attempts futile. Gaub also convincingly argues that the reasons are structural rather than cultural, thereby proving a counter-narrative to conventional explanations which look at Arab coups along religious or historical lines. In essence, the questions addressed herein lead back to issues of weak statehood, legitimacy, and resource constraints — all problems the Arab world has struggled with since independence. Guardians of the Arab State picks up where previous literature on Middle Eastern military forces dropped the debate, and provides an updated and insightful analysis into the soul of Arab armies.


    Florence Gaub

    Florence Gaub is a senior analyst at the EU Institute for Security Studies; previously, she was employed at NATO Defence College. Her first book for Hurst, Guardians of the Arab State: When Militaries Intervene in Politics, from Iraq to Mauritania, was published by Hurst in March 2017. Florence Gaub works on the Arab world with a focus on conflict and security, with particular emphasis on Iraq, Lebanon and Libya. She also works on Arab military forces more generally, conflict structures and the geostrategic dimensions of the Arab region. Previously employed at NATO Defence College and the German parliament, she wrote her PhD on the Lebanese army at Humboldt University Berlin and holds degrees from Sciences Po Paris, Sorbonne and Munich universities.


    ‘A must-read book for all those seeking to understand the critical role of armies in the rise and fall of states in the Arab world and the critical role that they have played historically and since the uprisings of 2011, written by one of the leading experts on the subject.’ — Paul Salem, Vice President for Policy and Research, the Middle East Institute, Washington DC

    ‘Florence Gaub has produced a masterful analysis of the complex and critical relationship between Arab leaders and their militaries, a severely understudied topic. Her examination of these militaries’ political role should be read by anyone seeking to understand the Arab world— its history, the catalysts for the Arab uprisings, and its trajectory for the future.’ — Mara E. Karlin, PhD, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

    ‘Florence Gaub has truly grasped the intricate military and political balance that continues to define the Arab World today. How can we find a middle ground between building strong armies capable of shielding a region marred by instability, while also embracing the necessary reforms to attain more inclusive and peaceful societies? This is but one of the many questions that she presses us to contemplate in this very well documented book.’ — General Tannous Mouawad, Lebanese Army (Ret’d)

    ‘The political trajectory of the Middle East and North Africa after World War II looks on the face of it to have been a series of military coups, revolutions, civil wars and failing states. Indeed, the Arab world seems particularly prone to military involvement in politics — Why is this? Where does it happen? And why does it sometimes not? Florence Gaub gives clear answers to these questions, analyses perfectly the role of the militaries, civilian governments and the people in almost each of the Arab countries, and draws convincing conclusions. An excellent book.’ — Wolf-Dieter Löser, former General, German Army and Commandant of the NATO Defense College

    ‘This book is a must-read for diplomatic and military planners across the globe who are concerned about stability in the Middle East, a region with no shortage of military coups, revolutions, civil wars and failing states.  Understanding the foundations of civil-military triad — regional civilian leaders’ legitimacy, Arab military capabilities, and citizen threat perception— is a critical requirement for the pursuit of regional stability. This book provides an historical portrait of why Arab armies get involved in the political space and provides policy recommendations for necessary reforms.’ — Paula Broadwell,  former Deputy Director of the Fletcher School Counter-terrorism Center


    9781849046480 – 224pp – Hardback – March 2017

  • Hidden Power

    Cockayne, James

    ‘In this landmark study, James Cockayne provides a rich and thoroughly researched history of the interaction between mafias and the state, while providing a framework for considering the strategic calculations of all criminal organisations.’ — Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College London

    ‘Remarkable, a landmark in organised crime research. Cockayne, uniquely both an analyst and practitioner, is the first person to bridge the divide between the study of what we have traditionally called “the mafia” and a new generation of organised crime in the developing world. This will be the standard reference for all those debating the policy options for illicit trafficking and the role of criminal organisations in the age of globalisation.’
    — Mark Shaw, Director, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

    ‘This compelling narrative takes us on a geographic tour that includes Sicily, New York, Cuba and conflicts in Mexico and the Sahel. Even more impressive is the analytical tour Cockayne provides—a tour de force illuminating a blind spot in our understanding of global instability.’ — John G. Ruggie, Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs, Harvard University

    What should we make of the outsized role organ¬ised crime plays in conflict and crisis, from drug wars in Mexico to human smuggling in North Africa, from the struggle in Crimea to scandals in Kabul? How can we deal with the convergence of poli¬tics and crime in so-called ‘mafia states’ such as Guin¬ea-Bissau, North Korea or, as some argue, Russia? Drawing on unpublished government documents and mafia memoirs, James Cockayne discovers the strategic logic of organised crime, hidden in a cen¬tury of forgotten political–criminal collaboration in New York, Sicily and the Caribbean. He reveals states and mafias competing — and collaborating — in a competition for governmental power. He discovers mafias influencing elections, changing constitutions, organising domestic insurgencies and transnational terrorism, negotiating peace deals, and forming gov¬ernmental joint ventures with ruling groups. And he sees mafias working with the US government to spy on American citizens, catch Nazis, try to assassinate Fidel Castro, invade and govern Sicily, and playing unappreciated roles in the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
    ‘In this landmark study, James Cockayne provides a rich and thoroughly researched history of the interaction between mafias and the state, while providing a framework for considering the strategic calculations of all criminal organisations.’ — Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College London

    ‘Remarkable, a landmark in organised crime research. Cockayne, uniquely both an analyst and practitioner, is the first person to bridge the divide between the study of what we have traditionally called “the mafia” and a new generation of organised crime in the developing world. This will be the standard reference for all those debating the policy options for illicit trafficking and the role of criminal organisations in the age of globalisation.’
    — Mark Shaw, Director, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

    ‘This compelling narrative takes us on a geographic tour that includes Sicily, New York, Cuba and conflicts in Mexico and the Sahel. Even more impressive is the analytical tour Cockayne provides—a tour de force illuminating a blind spot in our understanding of global instability.’ — John G. Ruggie, Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs, Harvard University

    What should we make of the outsized role organ¬ised crime plays in conflict and crisis, from drug wars in Mexico to human smuggling in North Africa, from the struggle in Crimea to scandals in Kabul? How can we deal with the convergence of poli¬tics and crime in so-called ‘mafia states’ such as Guin¬ea-Bissau, North Korea or, as some argue, Russia? Drawing on unpublished government documents and mafia memoirs, James Cockayne discovers the strategic logic of organised crime, hidden in a cen¬tury of forgotten political–criminal collaboration in New York, Sicily and the Caribbean. He reveals states and mafias competing — and collaborating — in a competition for governmental power. He discovers mafias influencing elections, changing constitutions, organising domestic insurgencies and transnational terrorism, negotiating peace deals, and forming gov¬ernmental joint ventures with ruling groups. And he sees mafias working with the US government to spy on American citizens, catch Nazis, try to assassinate Fidel Castro, invade and govern Sicily, and playing unappreciated roles in the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  • How Long Will Israel Survive?

    Gregg Carlstrom

    The greatest threat to Israel may come from within, not without, as Carlstrom explains in his deft account of a nation’s identity crisis. Israel is surrounded by an array of ever-changing threats. But what if its most serious challenge comes from within? There was once a national consensus in Israeli society: despite a left-right political split, its people were broadly secular and liberal. Over the past decade, the country has fractured into tribes with little shared understanding of what it means to be a Zionist—let alone an Israeli—and contesting the very notion of a ‘Jewish and democratic’ state. While this shift has profound implications for Israel’s relationship with the broadly liberal Jewish diaspora, the greatest consequences will be felt at home. Israel’s tribes increasingly lead separate lives; even the army, once a great melting-pot, is now a political and cultural battleground. Tamir Pardo, former head of Mossad, has warned of the risk of civil war. Gregg Carlstrom maps this conflict, from cosmopolitan Tel Aviv to the hilltops of the West Bank, and asks a pressing question: will the Middle East’s strongest power survive its own internal contradictions?


    Gregg Carlstrom is a correspondent for The Times and The Economist, based in Tel Aviv. He contributes to a number of other publications, including The AtlanticForeign PolicyNew York magazine and others. He was previously based in Cairo, and before that as a Doha-based reporter for Al Jazeera English, covering the region from Tunisia to Iraq. He was born in New York and graduated from Northwestern University.


    ‘Useful primer for those seeking to understand Israeli politics and society. [Carlstrom’s] “threat from within” is the rise of right-wing and ultra-religious trends that put a strain on the ties that bind Israel.’ — David Aaronovitch, The Times

    ‘Carlstrom’s engrossing book doesn’t trade in dire warnings but offers a sobering look at contemporary Israel and its future.’ — Publishers Weekly

    ‘Carlstrom considers a near-term future in which Israel is destroyed — not by external enemies but instead torn apart by civil war. … A provocative, highly readable view of a nation that seems headed for more trouble, this time from within.’ — Kirkus Reviews

    ‘Readable and refreshingly straightforward … [Carlstrom] gives the reader a lot of facts to ponder.’ — The Jordan Times

    ‘How Long Will Israel Survive is an X-ray examination of a critically ill Western democracy. Gregg Carlstrom clearly shows that the blood vessels of Israel’s democracy are narrowing due to heavy social tensions and the cost of occupying the Palestinians. This book is a rare look into the same processes that in the twentieth century created Apartheid in South Africa and central Europe’s authoritarian regimes.’ — Menachem Klein, senior lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, Israel; author of Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron

    ‘By turning the lens on Israel and shedding light on the impulses that are tearing the country apart, Gregg Carlstrom sheds new light on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How Long Will Israel Survive lays bare a number of myths about Zionism, the occupation, and settlements. This nuanced, thoughtful, and deeply researched book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand Israel and its broader conflicts.’ — Mya Guarnieri Jaradat, author of The Unchosen: The Lives of Israel’s New Others

    ‘A damning indictment of modern day Israel that rightly condemns its descent into permanent occupation over the Palestinian people. What this means for the Jewish people, in Israel and the Diaspora, as well as the Palestinians, should be compulsory reading for anybody who still harbours any illusions about the real agenda of Israel.’ — Antony Loewenstein, independent journalist and author of My Israel Question and Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe

    ‘Well written, topical and hard hitting, this accessible, passionate and challenging book intersperses the personal and professional experiences of the author with the history and politics of Israeli society. Carlstrom has a strong opinion on what has gone wrong and what needs to be done. He deserves a wide audience for this work.’ — Rory Miller, Professor of Government at Georgetown University, Qatar

    ‘Gregg Carlstrom gives us a closely reported picture of Israel as it is today: more in danger from internal threats to its democracy and its identity than from any outside enemy. This book asks all the important questions about Israel’s future.’ — Gershom Gorenberg, senior correspondent for The American Prospect and author of The Unmaking of IsraelThe Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977; and The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount

    August 2017 / 9781849048040 / 256pp


  • Humanitarian Economics

    Carbonnier, Gilles

    The booming global humanitarian market is worth billions of dollars a year, yet the demand for, and provision of, humanitarian assistance for those affected by wars and disasters rarely if ever converges. In parallel, ‘humanitarian economics’ has emerged as a new field of study and practice, one that encompasses the economics and political economy of war, disaster, terrorism and humanitarianism.

    Carbonnier’s book is the first to present humanitarian economics to a wider readership, he seeks to define its parameters, explain its utility and convince us why it matters. Among the issues he discusses are: how are emotions and altruism incorporated within a rational-choice framework? How do the economics of war and terrorism inform humanitarians’ negotiations with combatants, and shed light on the role of aid in conflict? What do catastrophe bonds and risk-linked securities mean for disaster response? How does the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon illustrate the challenges of assessing needs in an urban, middle-income country and of opting for cash assistance rather than material aid?

    As more actors enter the humanitarian marketplace, including private firms, Carbonnier’s revealing portrayal is especially timely, as is his critique of the transformative power of crises.

  • Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam Is Reshaping the World

    Shadi Hamid

    Rated 5.00 out of 5

    In Islamic Exceptionalism, Brookings Institution scholar and acclaimed author Shadi Hamid offers a novel and provocative argument on how Islam is, in fact, “exceptional” in how it relates to politics, with profound implications for how we understand the future of the Middle East. Divides among citizens aren’t just about power but are products of fundamental disagreements over the very nature and purpose of the modern nation state―and the vexing problem of religion’s role in public life. Hamid argues for a new understanding of how Islam and Islamism shape politics by examining different models of reckoning with the problem of religion and state, including the terrifying―and alarmingly successful―example of ISIS.

    With unprecedented access to Islamist activists and leaders across the region, Hamid offers a panoramic and ambitious interpretation of the region’s descent into violence. Islamic Exceptionalism is a vital contribution to our understanding of Islam’s past and present, and its outsized role in modern politics. We don’t have to like it, but we have to understand it―because Islam, as a religion and as an idea, will continue to be a force that shapes not just the region, but the West as well in the decades to come.


    Shadi Hamid is a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and the author of Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World (St. Martin’s Press). His previous book Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East was named a Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2014. An expert on Islamist movements, Hamid served as director of research at the Brookings Doha Center until January 2014. Prior to joining Brookings, he was director of research at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and a Hewlett Fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He is currently vice-chair of POMED’s board of directors and a contributing writer to The Atlantic. Hamid received his B.S. and M.A. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and his Ph.D. in political science from Oxford University.


    “Few issues capture the public imagination quite so urgently as that of Islam’s troubled relationship with the West, democracy, modernity and, indeed, itself… This is where Shadi Hamid’s Islamic Exceptionalism comes into its own.” –Shiraz Maher, The New Statesman

    “Fresh, provocative thinking.” Kirkus Reviews

    “Well, it turns out, there is something going on with Islam, and Shadi Hamid, quite helpfully, has figured it out… [An] illuminating book.” –Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post

    “A page-turner… For me, the book also provided the rarest of enjoyments; it changed the way I looked at the world, even if just a bit.” –Murtaza Hussain, journalist at The Intercept

    “[Islamic Exceptionalism] limns the Islamist mind in unnerving detail… Hamid is unafraid to talk about heaven, theodicy and divine justice.” The National Interest

    “Perhaps [Hamid’s] most provocative claim is this: History will not necessarily favor the secular, liberal democracies of the West.” –Emma Green, The Atlantic

    “Shadi Hamid provides an invaluable corrective to Western interpretations of Islam, Islamism, and the future of democracy in the Muslim world. Whatever debate remains to be had cannot take place without reference to this insightful and sympathetic document.”–Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower and Thirteen Days in September

    “A riveting account of the Arab Spring and all that followed, by one of the world’s leading scholars on political Islam. Shadi Hamid explains convincingly that Islam and the political movements it spawns are truly exceptional and likely to frustrate the ‘liberal determinists’ who believe that history inevitably gravitates to a secular future. A hugely important book.” –General David Petraeus (Ret.), former director of the CIA and commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan

    Islamic Exceptionalism is an honest, deeply researched, and at times anguished effort to make sense of the Middle East after the failure of the Arab Spring and the rise of ISIS. Particularly rich and subtle on the crisis facing the Muslim Brotherhood, the book offers both a snapshot of a painful moment and a long-view inquiry into the meeting between Islam and democracy. Sobering, urgent reading for anyone who cares about the region, past and future.” –Noah Feldman, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and author of Cool War, Scorpions, and The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State

    “A smart and highly readable book by one of the leading experts on the topic. Hamid examines the defining problem in the modern Middle East: how to mix religion and politics. His heartfelt fear is that in the age of ISIS a solution won’t come quickly because the features of a modern democratic state are often at odds with the path to God.”–David Gregory, former host of Meet the Press and author of How’s Your Faith

    “Hamid offers readers a vital road map to navigate the chaos and confusion that is the post–Arab-Spring Middle East.” –Reza Aslan, New York Times bestselling author of Zealot and No God but God

    “Beyond the zero-sum proposals of Islam or liberalism, Shadi Hamid boldly wrestles with how these two can negotiate the future of Muslim polities. Along the way, he educates us, challenging entrenched stereotypes and blind presumptions, especially the notion that the Muslim world must, can, or should go the way of the West. Islam is a constant not a variable. Islamic Exceptionalism suggests that this may be the beginning of wisdom for anyone wishing to understand, let alone shape, the political future of majority Muslim states.”–Sherman A. Jackson, King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture, University of Southern California

    “Ambitious and Challenging” –Amanda Zeidan, The Huffington Post

    “Probably the most thoughtful attempt that I know to come to grips, to try to make sense of the rubble of the Arab Spring, to see what can be done after these colossal disappointments.” – Leon Wieseltier, Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy, The Brookings Institution

    “Hamid’s work offers a tempered, well-researched analysis of Islamism in its current state and offers tentative hopes for those seeking a new way through the intricacies of Islamic politics in the Middle East.” –Publishers Weekly

    “Excellent.” –The Irish Examiner

    “For those who feel that everything will be solved by an ‘Islamic reformation,’ Hamid has cautionary words.” –Prospect

  • Islamist Terrorism in Europe

    Nesser, Petter

    The lethal attacks in Paris of January and November 2015 demonstrated the threat posed by militant Islamist extremism in Europe. While the death of Osama bin Laden and the advent of the ‘Arab Spring’ fed expectations that international jihadism was a spent force, Europe is still facing an increase in terrorist plotting. This has led to growing security concerns over the fallout of the Syrian conflict, and the sizeable contingents of battle-hardened European foreign fighters.

    This book provides a comprehensive account of the rise of jihadist militancy in Europe and offers a detailed background for understanding the current and future threat. Based on a wide range of new primary sources, it traces the phenomenon back to the late 1980s, and the formation of jihadist support networks in Europe in the early 1990s. Combining analytical rigour with empirical richness, the book offers a comprehensive account of patterns of terrorist cell formation and plots between 1995 and 2015. In contrast to existing research which has emphasized social explanations, failed immigration and homegrown radicalism, this book highlights the transnational aspects. It shows how jihadi terrorism in Europe is intrinsically linked to and reflects the ideological agendas of armed organizations in conflict zones, and how entrepreneurial jihad-veterans facilitate such transnationalization of militancy.


    Petter Nesser is a senior research fellow with the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). Trained in Social Science, Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic, Nesser has conducted extensive research on jihadism in Europe for more than a decade, while focusing on motivational drivers, recruitment and radicalisation processes.

  • Jihad and Death

    Olivier Roy

    How has ISIS been able to muster support far beyond its initial constituency in the Arab world and attract tens of thousands of foreign volunteers, including converts to Islam, and seemingly countless supporters online? In this compelling intervention into the debate about ISIS’ origins and future prospects, the renowned French sociologist, Olivier Roy, argues that while terrorism and jihadism are familiar phenomena, the deliberate pursuit of death has produced a new kind of radical violence. In other words, we’re facing not a radicalization of Islam, but the Islamization of radicalism.

    Jihad and Death is a concise dissection of the highly sophisticated narrative mobilised by ISIS: the myth of the Caliphate recast into a modern story of heroism and nihilism. According to Roy, this very contemporary aesthetic of violence is less rooted in the history of Islamic thought than it is entrenched in a youth culture that has turned global and violent.


    Olivier Roy is one of the most distinguished analysts of and commentators on political Islam in the Middle East and Central Asia. The author of several highly acclaimed books, four of which are published by Hurst, he is Professor at the European University Institute in Florence.

    Olivier Roy’s work has always been both provocative and informative. This book is no exception; Roy provides readers with new scholarly insights into violence, its modern jihadi aesthetic, and “radicalisation” and its relationship to Islam. Whatever your opinion, this book will make you think, and think again. Without question, an essential contribution. — Tariq Ramadan

    ‘Roy’s brisk work is full of imaginative leaps, and that is what gives it value. There has been too much circular writing about the “mind of the terrorist”, too many assumptions about their supposed brainwashing. By examining the significance of death for these jihadists, he can dismantle their manifold confusions.’ — The Times

    ‘Olivier Roy is one of the most interestingly provocative thinkers on modern jihadism. In this excellent short book, the French academic reiterates his argument that we are seeing not “the radicalisation of Islam but the Islamisation of radicalism.”’ — Prospect

    ‘For three decades, Oliver Roy has pioneered innovative and insightful research on religion and politics in Islam and beyond. Equipped with analytical depth, historical sensitivity and a comparative lens, this book brings the analysis of jihad and death in the current radicalism to a new level. This is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the Islamization of radicalism.’ — Asef Bayat, Catherine and Bruce Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies and Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

    ‘This is another extraordinary work from a master scholar of Muslim politics. Taking conventional wisdom head-on, Olivier Roy clinically unpacks the supposed relationship between religion and radicalisation. He tellingly warns us that all the attention on the caliphal pretensions of ISIS obscures the core challenges of nihilism, generational revolt, and a radical repudiation of social norms.’ — James Piscatori, Professor at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University, and co-author of Muslim Politics

    ‘Olivier Roy is widely respected for his decades-long research into radical Islam. More interested in actual processes than in opportunistic concepts, he describes in Jihad and Death how the self-proclaimed Islamic State plays more on its enemies’ fears than on its own strength. A very welcome and eye-opening intervention.’ — Jean-Pierre Filiu, Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) and author of From Deep State to Islamic State

    ‘With Jihad and Death, Olivier Roy offers his contribution to the ongoing debate on jihadism and its causes, and advocates for a comparative sociological approach focused on the motivations of individual actors rather than grand theological debates. The result is deeply insightful, thought-provoking and deserves to be widely read.’ — Stéphane Lacroix, Associate Professor of Political Science, Sciences-Po, and author of Awakening Islam

    April 2017 • 9781849046985 • 136pp