Sources and drivers of violent extremism and radicalization in the Middle East (at the regional level and in the case of Tunisia)

Sources and drivers of violent extremism and radicalization in the Middle East (at the regional level and in the case of Tunisia)
// Pathways to Peace and Security. 2017. no 1(52) Special Issue: ADDRESSING TERRORISM, VIOLENT EXTREMISM AND RADICALIZATION (perspectives from Russia and the United States). Edited by Ekaterina Stepanova,. P. 138-154


DOI: 10.20542/2307-1494-2017-1-138-154


Abstract

The article raises the problem of terminology and attribution of various organizations in the Middle East to violent extremists and identifies three types of Islamist group that display significant specifics in this regard. It lists weak or failed statehood, failure to ensure state monopoly on legitimate violence in deeply divided societies and existence of real or perceived constant external threat as the most obvious conditions for the emergence of violent extremist organizations in the broader region. The case of Tunisia is used to explore why even societies that are homogenous in ethnoconfessional sense, display strong national identity and a developed political system still show signs of violent extremism. The main explanations include deficit of institutions, break-up of socialization and social trust mechanisms that leads to growing tolerance to violence, alienation of the society from the state, and difficulties in positive self-realization within existing system. At the same time, development of civil society institutes, historical rejection of the culture of violence by Tunisian political system, society’s painful reaction to aggressive behavior coupled with relative effectiveness of security sector help push jihadist youth out of the country or to its periphery.


Keywords

Middle East, Tunisia, violent extremism, jihadism, DAESH (ISIS), al-Qaeda, Nahda party, radicalization, motivation, institutions, socialization, culture of violence


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For citation:

Kuznetsov V. Sources and drivers of violent extremism and radicalization in the Middle East (at the regional level and in the case of Tunisia). Pathways to Peace and Security, 2017, no 1(52) Special Issue: ADDRESSING TERRORISM, VIOLENT EXTREMISM AND RADICALIZATION (perspectives from Russia and the United States). Edited by Ekaterina Stepanova,, pp. 138-154. DOI: 10.20542/2307-1494-2017-1-138-154