Here are a few links for those interested in political Islam in different Middle Eastern states. The first link is to a study of Shi’a militias in Syria and their regional impact. It is from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Like much of WINEP’s material, it is arguing that Iran is the greatest threat to US and Israeli security in the region. Whether you buy into that argument or not, there is some interesting details in the study, particularly organizational charts.
The second group comes from a series produced by the Brookings Institute. In addition to the links below, there are further studies on Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan and South East Asia.
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
“The web of Iran-backed Shiite proxies is exceedingly complex, with much overlap and many changing aliases. In this new Institute study…. exploring topics such as the narrative of pan-Shiite jihad, the range of Shiite clerical views on the jihad, recruitment techniques, and weapons used.”
The Brookings Institute
Steven Brooke, University of Texas at Austin
Since July 3, 2013, Egypt’s government has embarked on an extensive campaign to dismember the Muslim Brotherhood’s formidable network of social services. With electoral participation, civic activism, and social service provision now foreclosed, street activism has become the lone vehicle for Brotherhood mobilization. This paper uses the lens of the Brotherhood’s schools and medical facilities to show how regime repression and the rise of alternative models of social service provision are incentivizing the Brotherhood to adopt more confrontational methods of opposition.
Monica Marks, University of Oxford
A series of regional and local challenges—including the rise of Salafi-jihadism, the 2013 coup in Egypt, and local suspicions over its aims—have prompted Tunisia’s Ennahda party to narrow its range of political maneuver and rethink the parameters of its own Islamism. Ennahda has assumed a defensive posture, casting itself as a long-term, gradualist project predicated on compromise, a malleable message of cultural conservatism, and the survival of Tunisia’s democratic political system.
Avi Spiegel, University of San Diego
Moroccan Islamists have proven resilient in the wake of the Arab Spring and have offered a different model of Islamist participation that partly reflects the country’s unique monarchical context. The Brotherhood-inspired Justice and Development Party (PJD) has secured a foothold in government through an accommodationist posture towards Morocco’s monarchy, while the anti-monarchical popular movement Al Adl Wal Ihsan has sustained its appeal and access through non-violent activism.
Raphaël Lefèvre, Carnegie Middle East Center
After 30 years in exile outside of Syria, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has become an important component of the western-backed Syrian opposition. Despite its influence, the expansion and radicalization of the Islamist scene in Syria challenges the legitimacy of the Brotherhood’s gradualist approach and constrains its presence on the ground.
Stacey Philbrick Yadav, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
After the country’s uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s multi-factional Islamist party Islah enjoyed new opportunities for institutional power, joining a coalition government in December 2011. But, while the Muslim Brotherhood faction within Islah initially seemed ascendant, it has since found itself targeted by the Houthi movement, weakened in relation to other factions within the party, and increasingly dependent on external actors to retain its political relevance.
Omar Ashour, University of Exeter
Libya’s diverse Islamist actors played a substantial role in the 2011 armed revolution against Moammar Gadhafi and the subsequent collapse of Libya’s democratization process into armed conflict. The advances of ISIS in Libya and the breakdown of Brotherhood electoral activism in neighboring Egypt, however, present an ideological and recruitment challenge to Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi factions.
Saudi Aarbia: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Research/Files/Reports/2015/07/rethinking-political-islam/Saudi-Arabia_Matthiesen-FINALE.pdf?la=en
Toby Matthiesen, University of Cambridge
Saudi Arabia’s fragmented Islamist field has displayed a diversity of responses to the coup in Egypt, the conflict in Syria, and the Saudi-led war in Yemen. While a group of younger Saudi Islamists and intellectuals have embraced elements of democracy, the war in Syria, the authoritarian political system, and domestic sectarian tendencies have rallied support for the ISIS model of violent political change.