Religion & Geopolitics Weekly Roundup

At a Glance

Religion & Geopolitics Weekly Roundup

25 Jun 2015

In the Roundup this week we look at tensions between ISIS and the Afghan Taliban, the growing divide between peaceful and conflict-riven nations, and how poor governance can open the door to extremist groups.

We also highlight commentary on how ISIS in Libya is dealing with the country's other Islamist groups, the repercussions of Chad's decision to ban the burqa, the growth of sectarian violence in Balochistan province, Pakistan, and the risk of more militant groups pledging allegiance to ISIS in South East Asia.

Top Stories

ISIS and the Taliban: Monday's attack on the Afghan Parliament may be part of an attempt by the Taliban to demonstrate its dominance of the Afghan jihad against a rising threat from ISIS. The Centre on Religion & Geopolitics examines the context.

Conflict and Peace: As violent conflict continues to dominate global headlines, the Institute for Economics & Peace finds a growing gap between peaceful and conflict-riven countries. The Centre on Religion & Geopolitics draws out the key points.

Middle East & North Africa

ISIS: Despite the ardent efforts of governments around the world, and the difficult journey and harsh conditions that await, the number of foreigners joining ISIS is on the rise. Hassan Hassan takes a look at the allure of the 'caliphate'.

Libya: In late 2014 ISIS announced its arrival in Libya, growing in strength and stature it launched attacks on cities across the country. Although the group doesn't appear to have a clear strategy, its rise in Libya is affecting the country's other Islamist groups, write Frederic Wehrey and Ala' Alrababa'h.

Arab World: Insurgent groups have an established presence in a number of countries across the Arab world, but even with support from Western allies, efforts to fight them appear to be failing. Florence Gaub examines the weakness of the current approach.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa: A history of corruption and bad government in three African countries has created space for extremist groups to spread their ideologies. Regaining trust is vital to defeating them, writes Emily Mellgard.

Chad: The recent banning of the burqa in Chad has a caused public outcry, says Fredrick Nzwili. Chad is the second country in sub-Saharan Africa to ban the veil, after Congo-Brazzaville, and comes in reaction to recent suicide bombings in the country.

Kenya: Following announcements by Kenyan authorities that a British al-Shabaab fighter, Thomas Evans, had been killed in a recent attack on a military base, John Campbell discusses the phenomenon of non-ethnic Somali foreign fighters in al-Shabaab. 

Central & South Asia

India/Pakistan: The Partition of Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan in 1947 saw communities that had coexisted for centuries engage in brutal violence along religious lines. William Dalrymple writes that, as both countries find themselves more vulnerable than ever to religious extremism, the effects of Partition are still being felt across South Asia.

Pakistan: The low-level insurgency in Balochistan province has recently seen a rise in violence, which Pakistan's intelligence agencies blame on India. Akbar Notezai documents the concerning growth of sectarian conflict in a context where sects previously struggled together for autonomy.

Afghanistan: Videos released recently appear to show young Afghan men being held prisoner by anti-government rebels in Syria, accused of fighting for the Assad regime.  Mark Lobel meets the young jobless Afghans, mostly from the minority Shia Hazara community, who are supposedly being recruited by the Iranian government, with the promise of a better life in Syria.

East & South East Asia

South East Asia: There is a growing risk of Islamist militant groups in South East Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, pledging allegiance to ISIS. Attempts to combat this and to campaign against radicalisation are not targeting those most at risk in society, writes Rodion Ebbighausen

Myanmar: Following the intervention by South East Asian nations in the Rohingya migrant crisis, Luke Hunt argues that it is time for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to tackle such issues head on, and for countries to be expelled from the organisation if they do not comply. 


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