New York University
// Pathways to Peace and Security. 2021. No 2(61). P. 174-185
Abstract. The article explores the evolving role of Islamism in Russian national security discourse from the post-Soviet conflicts in the North Caucasus to present Russian engagement in Syria. It traces the development of the term “Wahhabi” as a shorthand for Islamist practices, including subversive and violent activity, and how that label has come to be replaced by an even more amorphous specter of “international terrorists” as the main source of such threats. The article concludes that in Russia, as in many other countries, the arbitrary divide between “good Muslims” and “bad Muslims” in national security discourse is largely subordinate to, and serves to obscure, more important realpolitik aims.
Keywords: Islam, radical Islamism, Russia, Chechnya, Syria, Wahhabism, terrorism, Soviet Union, Afghanistan
Noa Gur-Arie (USA) is the Institute for International Law and Justice Scholar, New York University School of Law.
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