After the terrorist attacks in Paris, my interest in doing in-depth research on fundamentalist Islam, terrorism, and Middle Eastern politics was reinvigorated, so I put aside some of the stuff I was working on and started reorienting my readings to be on the Syrian civil war, Saudi Arabian political economy, etc. This interest is largely due to the upsurge in Islamophobia and fascist sentiments that I saw in the aftermath of the attacks, and my desire to combat these sentiments with a more compelling and accurate and complex narrative.
A few hypotheses that are guiding my investigations:
- Fundamentalist Islam is a by-product of imperialism, both through Western support for Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States as well as through the unraveling of the region’s social and economic fabric via neoliberal structural adjustments and outright war
- Western governments have historically been quite content with the spread of fundamentalism as an ideological bulwark against Marxism
- Regimes like that of Saudi Arabia would have collapsed long ago without Western support
- There is a relationship between Gulf State export of conservative, sectarian Islamic theology, their desire to import cheap, vulnerable migrant labor from South and South-East Asia, and their desire to export their own restive population of unemployed men
- Private funding of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State by wealthy Gulf State elites is motivated more by business interests and political rivalries, than it is by an actual identification with fundamentalism
Tagged: capitalism, communism, fundamentalism, history, imperialism, iraq, islam, kuwait, marxism, middle east, political economy, qatar, saudi arabia, socialism, sociology, syria, terrorism, turkey, united states