1932

Abstract

Post-2003 civil wars are different from previous civil wars in three striking ways. First, most of them are situated in Muslim-majority countries. Second, most of the rebel groups fighting these wars espouse radical Islamist ideas and goals. Third, most of these radical groups are pursuing transnational rather than national aims. Current civil war theories can explain some of what is going on, but not everything. In this article, I argue that the transformation of information technology, especially the advent of the Web 2.0 in the early 2000s, is the big new innovation that is likely driving many of these changes. I offer a theory to explain why rebel groups, especially those in Muslim countries, have chosen to pursue a particular type of extreme ideology and goals. I then identify the six big implications this new information environment is likely to have for rebel behavior in the future. Innovations in information and communication technology are currently manifesting themselves in the rise of global Jihadi groups in the Muslim world, but we can expect them to be exploited by other groups as well.

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2017-05-11
2024-06-18
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