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Old 07-09-2009   #21
davidbfpo
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Default Saudi court case

A different aspect to the traditional 'rehab' policy in Saudi Arabaia: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...ourt-case.html

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Old 07-09-2009   #22
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Recent publication on this topic, focusing on the Egyptian and Algerian cases:

Omar Ashour, The De-Radicalization of Jihadists: Transforming Armed Islamist Movements (London: Routledge, 2009).

Quote:
This book is the first detailed study of the causes of de-radicalization in armed Islamist movements. It is based on frontline research that includes interviews with Jihadist leaders, mid-ranking commanders, and young sympathizers, as well as former security and intelligence officers and state officials.

Additionally, it is also the first book to analyze the particular conditions under which successful de-radicalization can take place. The current literature on Islamist movements attempts to explain two principal issues: their support of violence (radicalization) and their changing attitudes towards democracy and democratization (moderation). However, the reasons behind renouncing (behavioural de-radicalization) and de-legitimizing (ideological de-radicalization) violence have not been evaluated to date. The author provides an in-depth analysis of the de-radicalization processes of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers (1951-73), former allies of al-Qa'ida, such as al-Gama'a al-Islammiyya (Islamic Group of Egypt, 1997-2002) and al-Jihad Organization (2007- present), as well as of Algerian Islamist groups (1997-2000). The book also analyzes cases of de-radicalization failure.

The two questions that the book highlights and attempts to answer are Why? and How? For example, why do radical Islamist militants revise their ideologies, strategies and objectives and initiate a de-radicalization process; and what are the necessary conditions behind successful de-radicalization? De-radicalization of Jihadists shows how a combination of charismatic leadership, state repression, social interactions and selective inducements can ultimately lead jihadists to abandon 'jihad' and de-legitimize violence.

This book will be of great interest to students of radical Islamist movements and Islamic Studies, terrorism and political violence, security studies, and Middle Eastern politics.

Omar Ashour is a Lecturer in Politics in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. He has a PhD in International Relations from McGill University in Canada.
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Old 07-10-2009   #23
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http://fubar.com/stashEntry.php?stashId=5613345

It's a good day to die

I just don't believe counseling and incentives can turn a man who wants to die with you that easily but I don't argue against the attempts of conversion
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Old 07-10-2009   #24
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Have the de-programming techniques of anti-sect activists been considered ?
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Old 07-10-2009   #25
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Default Sect de-programming?

Fuchs,

I've read a few books on this theme and none refer to this activity. Some mention is made of leaving gangs behind. John Horgan has written on the issue, so maybe check his writings?

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Old 07-10-2009   #26
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Hi David,

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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
I've read a few books on this theme and none refer to this activity. Some mention is made of leaving gangs behind. John Horgan has written on the issue, so maybe check his writings?
Cult deprogramming was fairly big in the US and, to a lessor degree, in Canada in the 1970's and 80's. Here are a couple of references:

Combatting Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults

Strange Gods: The Great American Cult Scare

The Politics of Religious Apostasy: The Role of Apostates in the Transformation of Religious Movements (Religion in the Age of Transformation)
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Old 07-11-2009   #27
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There is no empirical data to even suggest there is a lessening amongst our foes in their efforts to seek spiritual purity, the good death. We come at this problem with our linear, 3 dimensional thinking, grabbing at telelogical snippets taken from Jung, Skinner and Freud, attempting to construct theoretical models of how men can be dissuaded from the path of spiritual purity. I think the complexity of conversions of this nature are beyond our Western capabililty of fully understanding. If it is working in Saudi Arabia, we can't fully understand it and we can only best honor the purists by shooting them in the head. It can be argued that the upsurge of IEDs and other detonations in Afghan is tactical but I think not. It is but an exacerbation of the recent actions in the Swat valley, a mere shifting of energy and resources towards the Afghan flank, part and parcel of their circular thinking and culture.
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Old 07-11-2009   #28
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Hi Goesh,

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Originally Posted by goesh View Post
There is no empirical data to even suggest there is a lessening amongst our foes in their efforts to seek spiritual purity, the good death.
Actually, there is empirical that shows that people can, and do, move away from that particular path.

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Originally Posted by goesh View Post
We come at this problem with our linear, 3 dimensional thinking, grabbing at telelogical snippets taken from Jung, Skinner and Freud, attempting to construct theoretical models of how men can be dissuaded from the path of spiritual purity. I think the complexity of conversions of this nature are beyond our Western capabililty of fully understanding. If it is working in Saudi Arabia, we can't fully understand it and we can only best honor the purists by shooting them in the head.
Speak for yourself good buddy !

I do agree, however, that people who use a bricolage model with no empathic understanding (verstehen) are doomed to failure. Theoretical models, as I constantly tell my students, are maps with varying degrees of reflecting the actuality of the terrain. Most of these models suffer from pretty serious flaws including, but not limited to, the basic beliefs of those who try to use them. If we want to understand and model "spiritual purity", then we really have to experience some form of it.

Years ago, back when I was working on my BA, I spent quite a bit of time reading the writings of mystics. One of the things that really stood out was that mystics frome every religious tradition had more in common with each other than with their supposed co-religionists. A second point, that became clearer with a lot of reading on ritual, was that all religious symbol systems are quite limited and fragile and what mystics do is to leverage the paradoxes in them to expand beyond their boundaries to achieve what you are calling "spiritual purity".

When we look at what AQ and others of their psychotic ilk are doing, however, we can see that they are restricting the symbol systems even more than normal. This is, actually, a rather unstable proposition (symbol systems have a certain "habit" of returning to core configurations), and that is where the leverage point is - the symbolic centre of gravity if you will. If you want an example inside Islam, look at the AQ habit of declaring people takfir at the drop of a hat - that is an extremely unstable symbolic configuration.
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Old 07-11-2009   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goesh View Post
I think the complexity of conversions of this nature are beyond our Western capabililty of fully understanding. If it is working in Saudi Arabia, we can't fully understand it and we can only best honor the purists by shooting them in the head.
In the case of Egypt's very successful deradicalization effort, carrot and stick methods—including regulation of conjugal visits by prisoners' wives—were used to induce the shift. It has been a major shift too, with the once militant Islamic Group and parts of Jihad now engaged in active proselytization for the cause of non-violent Islamism, and engaged in a very pointed rhetorical battle with AQ over the issue.

There are many other factors at play too, including theological engagement by pro-regime clerics (more important in Saudi Arabia than Egypt) and longer term socialization by civil society, but I'm not sure that the dynamics of deradicalization are inherently so complex and culturally-bound as to not be understandable. (Replicable by outsiders is, however, another thing!)
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Old 01-14-2010   #30
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Default Saudi work critique

A short article by Shiraz Maher on the Saudi Arabian prison de-radicalisation programme: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000..._LEFTTopBucket

Starts with:
Quote:
It is now clear that the failed terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day was directed by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The reasons for the sudden resurgence of this previously almost extinct chapter of the global jihad network lie not in Yemen, though—where AQAP is based—but across the border in Saudi Arabia.
Ends with:
Quote:
Omar Ashour, an expert on deradicalization programs at Exeter University, thinks this approach will ultimately result in more recidivism. "The Egyptians tried something similar in the 1970s and failed," he says. "The Saudi program is not comprehensive because it doesn't address the wider issue of religious and ideological reformation. While it doesn't do that, it can only offer a temporary panacea."

It appears that as long as the Saudis fail to address the regressive literalism and intolerance of their own state religion—which fuels radical Islam around the world—they will also fail to rehabilitate true jihadis.
The author is an ex-radical from Hizb-ut-Tahrir, who has written and reported on radicalisation for several years and was linked to UK "think tank" Policy Exchange - not known for an anti-Saudi stance.

An interesting balance to Christopher Boucek's longer period of work on the issue cited earlier.
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Old 01-17-2010   #31
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I believe Time had a piece on this a few years ago and the Saudis trotted outs some stats on how successful their program is. I wonder what the re-lapse rate is a few years out?

I always found it deeply ironic that the Saudis of all people are rehabilitating jihadis.
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Old 01-17-2010   #32
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Default True, but it has to be both

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Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
First, it is founded in the popular, but baseless "Pied Piper Theory of Insurgency" (My name for it, I'm sure it has a more official name elsewhere), that presumes that some dynamic leader comes along with a magical flute of ideology and that he somehow bewitches (radicalizes) young men to follow him to their doom. Now if we simply expose the Pied Piper as a fraud, they will see the light and settle down and become good citizens once again.

First, this totally absolves the government giving rise to these young insurgents of any responsibility for contributing to the causation for the insurgency through their failures of governance.
We have to do both, push the governments that restrict human rights and opportunity (pick any gov't in the Middle East as a prime example) to change as well as deradicalize the environment. Radical Imams do in fact gather followers by building layers of legitimate-sounding religious discourse on the substrate of resentment against the effects of those governments until the followers believe violence is not only their sole option but their sacred duty.

Many non-violent (I hate the word moderate) Imams simply do not have the education in Islamic jurisprudence to counter radicals in a manner that appeals both intellectually and emotionally to the target population. The radicals have built an intellectually solid, albeit narrowly based, argument that justifies violence against both infidels and innocents, who are tools in that fight. Deradicalization efforts have to tip the radical argument off that narrow base by exposing its nihilism and by promoting alternative, broader interpretations that attract wider support.

Midnight basketball won't do it. We have to both change the underlying conditions and undermine the efforts that capitalize on the resentment. Neither is sufficient by itself.
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Old 01-17-2010   #33
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Default Leaders are important

Posted by Bob's World,

Quote:
Causation and Motivation are two very different things, and should not be confused. Causation typically lies in poor governance. Motivation is typically some inspiring ideology or big event, or both. Addressing motivation without publicly recognizing and addressing causation is a fraud on the populace.

The duty of government is not to fix the thinking of its populace, the duty of governance is to fix its governance of the populace.
The so called Pied Pipers have always been critical to any social movement. Once the movement has started it may be possible to have a leaderless jihad or other revolt, but I remain skeptical of how effective that will actually be. I think you give way too much credit to the power of good governance to prevent conflicts and radicalization. States are not composed of like minded people who all have the same vison of good governance (not even when Mao attempted to force this type of belief on his people with mass re-education), but rather states are composed of groups/individuals with different ideas of what good governance is. Was it a failure of the U.S. government and Western European governments to provide so called good governance that led to the radicalization of a few extreme leftists who resorted to terrorism? Should we have changed our form of government from a Republic to communism in order to please them? Why did foreign fighters from Morocco, Libya, France, etc. travel to fight in Iraq? Was it a failure of their local governments to provide "good" governance? Or did they travel to Iraq to fight because Pied Pipers on the internet and in their Mosques provided (created) the cause and motivation? Your argument assumes that their own government has failed, so they went to Iraq to fight. I assume our government has failed also, and that is why American kids are going to Somalia and Pakistan to join the jihad? UBL is effective because he is a good leader (many attempted to be Pied Pipers and failed) that provides his followers a vision (sick as it may be), and he comes across as genuine so people who are like minded follow him, and they will continue to follow him (his ideology) after he dies.

As for State reform in the Middle East, just be careful what you ask for. Democracy in countries where the majority live in poverty and are poorly educated, and deeply segregated could and have resulted in radical governments and mass violence. I can't recall who said it, but there is a popular saying the current government in Saudi is terrible, but it is better than any alternative.

Everyone is fighting for what they think good governance means.

Posted by graphei,
Quote:
I always found it deeply ironic that the Saudis of all people are rehabilitating jihadis.
Why? The jihadis are actual a threat to the Saudi's existence. The jihadis want nothing more than to rule over their holy land.
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Old 01-18-2010   #34
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Default Cause vs Cause - Narratives & Motivation

We agree that leaders are important. So are cadres (we middle-rankers) and also the mass of the populace. I believe a fair generalization (yes, there are exceptions) is that leaders are more motivated by ideology, cadres more by perceived opportunity, and the masses more by perceived security (or more realistically in these screwed-up environments, the better perceived insecurity - credit: M-A Legrange).

I believe that COL Jones has refined his position on Causation, Motivation and Causes (as contained in the Narratives) - see Distinguishing "Causes" from "causes" and Agreed as to what a cause is.

I have no position about the Saudi program cuz I don't have enough knowledge about it and no experience with it. I do know that the Saudi ideology is not that far removed from UBL's; but the "Causes" in their "Narratives" are quite different. As you correctly state:

Quote:
The jihadis are actual a threat to the Saudi's existence. The jihadis want nothing more than to rule over their holy land.
The Powers That Be in the Kingdom are betting that their Narrative will beat AQ's Narrative. In confined conditions, that probably is a good bet; but whether that will stick once people are out of the program is something else.

In a way, this reminds me of our Socialist allies in the Cold War (certainly Marxist-based, but with a different Narrative than the Coms). That alliance won a few political battles and avoided some military battles.

Regards

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Old 01-18-2010   #35
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Quote:
We agree that leaders are important. So are cadres (we middle-rankers) and also the mass of the populace. I believe a fair generalization (yes, there are exceptions) is that leaders are more motivated by ideology, cadres more by perceived opportunity, and the masses more by perceived security (or more realistically in these screwed-up environments, the better perceived insecurity - credit: M-A Legrange).

I believe that COL Jones has refined his position on Causation, Motivation and Causes (as contained in the Narratives) - see Distinguishing "Causes" from "causes" and Agreed as to what a cause is.
Mike, what I read on BW's post was that deradicalization was sheer arrogance and laughable. While I agree attempting to change a rational man's position through a re-education program (much like the communists tried with their prisoners and their conquered populations, and if they didn't pretend to change their mind they were often killed) on which form of governance is arrogance to the extreme. However, radicalization is different from political grievances. Kids and adults are frequently brainwashed through sosphisticated methods and often with the help of narcotics to weaken their resistance. They are isolated from alternative views and feed a diet of hatred based partially on truth, but largely on lies.

I see radicalization being closer to kids getting sweep into a religious cult than an insurgency. Most insurgents are not radicalized, but are fighting for several reasons. Kids and young men who travel from Morocco or elsewhere to conduct a suicide attack have probably been radicalized.

The assumption of de-radicalization programs is if these "victims" are exposed to a different interpretation of Islam and taught that killing innocent civilians is a sin, etc., and they're given alternative ways to vent their anger, etc. they "may" shed their radical views. For instance let's take the kid who attempted to blow up the NW flight on Christmas. He grew up in a very moderate family with means and had a good education, yet somewhere along the line a "leader" persuaded him to conduct a suicide attack that would kill over 200 innocent non-combatants. I'm sorry, but that isn't a failure of good governance, there is something else going on here.

The stats I have seen have shown that about 30% of those who been through these programs return to jihad over time (how much time?). Like all stats this leaves a lot unanswered questions. My point is I think it is bit simplistic to boil everything down to good governance. That Nigerian kid declared his own personal jihad on the U.S. and it had nothing to do with governance and everything to do with "Pied Pipers".
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Old 01-18-2010   #36
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Default I can't define "good governance"

in any sort of generalized way that would make that term useful for doctrinal guidance.

To me, the quality of governance requires reference to the specific context and some measurement (even if only qualitative and a "fuzzy pattern") of the People's perception of that governance.

What goes on with suicide bombers has to end up with a belief strong enough to die for - with the certain knowledge that no possibility exists for survival. How they get there must be by varied paths (probably too many or too deep to apply any sort of generalized preventive program).

In any event, focusing on them is akin to focusing on a cruise missile (9/11) or mortar shell (suicide bombings) - they are the means to project explosive power (as well as personalizing the attack - to create a Wind of Hate in Dave Grossman's terms). So, I'd look to the people that send them.

As to them, kill, detain or convert are the options. Convert is probably not a good option for leaders; possibly an option for middle-level cadres; and probably an option for many low-level doggies. As I said, I've little knowledge and no experience with the Saudi program.

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Old 01-18-2010   #37
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Quote:
Why? The jihadis are actual a threat to the Saudi's existence. The jihadis want nothing more than to rule over their holy land.
Some jihadis are a threat to them, but I wouldn't say all. Wahhabism is the theological backbone for many jihadi groups and for decades Saudis disavowed knowledge of many of these groups while quietly pumping their coffers full. Many of these men know their bank balances down to the penny (I heard the stories from their kids/relatives at school in London) and all of a sudden they either can't account for a couple million and/or they are duped into giving millions to a front charity for a militant group?

While I don't doubt there are many Saudis- even in the royal family and government- who are legitimately trying to do their part, I'm not quite convinced everyone is on board.
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Old 01-18-2010   #38
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Default everyone is never on board

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While I don't doubt there are many Saudis- even in the royal family and government- who are legitimately trying to do their part, I'm not quite convinced everyone is on board.
Agreed, there are very few instances where everyone is on board in any country, which is why I think the good governance will solve all problems card is danagerously over played.

In the U.S. there was huge opposition to both WWI and WWII, and more recent time while it was official policy not to support terrorists, many Americans donated money to the IRA. In any democracy you have left leaning, center leaning, and right leaning groups and individuals and variations within those groups. Each has their own interpretation of good government, and some will resort to violence to pursue their ideal form of government.

What does the average American, the average German, the average Mexican, the average Nigerian, really think about various issues? I think the term average used in this fashion is an illusion at best. For those who accept the argument that good governance is the cure for all global ills, it would seem that they would accept that the government should fold everytime an armed group challenges its policies. Obviously it must be a "popular uprising". Seems like a receipe for chaos and failure to me. Principles are worth fighting for, and groups opposed to my and perhaps our principles feel the same way. If there are groups out there opposed to a particular government, then it is highly probable that there are groups opposed to those groups (as both Afghanistan and Iraq "clearly" demonstrate).

Eventually you have to take a stand, and "sometimes" the political process will be violent as it has been throughout the history of mankind.
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Old 01-22-2010   #39
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Default Terrorist Dropouts: Learning from those who have Left

CT Blog pointer to a WINEP report starts with:
Quote:
In December 2001, Sajid Badat and Richard Reid, two young Muslims from England, were scheduled to blow up two U.S.-bound planes by using explosive-laden footwear, Jacobson writes. Reid -- like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, al-Qaeda's most recent alleged plane bomber -- made the attempt and failed. Badat, however, abandoned the plan, later telling prosecutors he wanted to "introduce some calm" into his life. What led Badat to choose an alternative path? (My emphasis)What can we learn from his case and from the many other terrorist "drop outs" who have left al-Qaeda? In a newly released Washington Institute study, I explore these difficult but important questions.
I have asked about those who have given up the fight, not necessarily the cause and few academics appear to have considered this - so even if I've not read the report yet - I welcome this and will return when read.

The link to full report:
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/p...-who-have-left
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Old 02-10-2010   #40
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Default After Yemeni AQ surge, the KSA responds

I suppose this was to be expected and appearing in The Daily Telegraph is no surprise.

In short:
Quote:
Saudi Arabia says it will not give up a controversial rehabilitation programme for Islamist radicals heavily criticised in the US after former inmates set up an al-Qaeda cell in neighbouring Yemen.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...on-scheme.html

Note a 20% recidivism rate is cited by the Saudis (not seen that before).
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