The Trump administration brought major changes in how the United States relates to the Muslim World, and a growing awareness of the need to compete with radical Islamic forces in the domain of their theocratically-based ideology. This work explores the current state of the “wars of ideas” against radical Islam and identifies America’s potential partners in this fight.
Ilan Berman is Senior Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC. An expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation, he has consulted for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency as well as the Departments of Defense and State, and provided assistance on foreign policy and national security issues to a range of governmental agencies and congressional offices. He has been called one of America's leading experts on the Middle East and Iran by CNN.
Chapter 1: The Islamic State, And After
Chapter 2: State and Religion in Central Asia
Chapter 3: Morocco’s Answer to Religious Extremism
Chapter 4: Understanding Indonesia’s
“Third Way” Islam
Chapter 5: The Emirates and the Struggle Against
Chapter 6: Jordan Navigates the Intellectual Battlefield
Shehab Al Makahleh
Chapter 7: Saudi Arabia: A Post-Salafist Trajectory?
Chapter 8: Learning From Allies
The ideologies of our adversaries matter. In America’s 20th Century wars against Communism, Nazism and Fascism, America and its allies understood that we had to defeat our foes on the intellectual as well as the physical battlefield. We must do the same today if we are to bring the Global War on Terror to a successful conclusion. Wars of Ideas: Theology, Interpretation and Power in the Muslim World, edited by Ilan Berman, is an important contribution to this effort. It should be read and considered by everyone involved in creating and executing U.S. counter terrorism policy.
Twice in the past 20 years, extreme ideological movements have emerged from the Muslim World to shake global politics. Wars of Ideas is a superb primer on the ideological state of play in the region in the aftermath of the Al-Qaeda and ISIS eruptions. It offers cutting edge insights into the evolving intellectual battlefield, the work of those fighting extremism and the evolving ideological threat. It is essential reading for those seeking to comprehend possible new iterations of Islamist extremism and the counter-narratives needed to combat them.
Wars of Ideas is a must-read for anyone wishing to understand the enduring threat to Western civilization posed by Islamic extremism and how various Muslim states have sought to marginalize it. Berman has adroitly orchestrated a collection of scholarly essays—bookended with his own expert analysis—that dissects the historical, philosophical, cultural, and ideological underpinnings of the global jihadist movement with remarkable clarity. It is refreshingly substantive, analytically rigorous, and highly informative, avoiding the sweeping generalities that often masquerade as strategic insight. Berman’s book is also a warning to policymakers that the United States has yet to craft a counterterrorism strategy that effectively negates the menacing ideology of the global jihadist movement—as well as a call to work collaboratively with moderate Muslim states in this endeavor. Those responsible for American national security should take heed.