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The Potential for Collaboration Between Islamists and Western Left-Wing Extremists: A theoretical and Empirical Introduction


The Potential for Collaboration Between Islamists and Western Left-Wing Extremists: A theoretical and Empirical Introduction

Abstract: 

The question of potential leftist–Islamist collaboration is important because if such collaboration were to materialize, Western security agencies could be faced with a new type of terrorist threat. This study identifies the potential strategic and tactical facilitators of such collaboration. While noting the many ideological disparities and antipathies between these two milieus, we also highlight certain ideological pivots around which collaboration between leftists and Islamists might coalesce. Chief among these are a shared hatred for the capitalist “New World Order”, American “imperialism”, Western democratic pluralism, and the state of Israel (if not Jews in general). We then survey the empirical record of such collaboration, finding only 22 cases of leftist–Islamist collaboration or attempted collaboration between 1980 and 2008. These cases, which consist mostly of rhetorical support with no unequivocal cases of operational collaboration, reinforce the conclusion that there are significant impediments to operational collaboration between leftists and Islamist terrorists. Nevertheless, the few cases that have occurred indicate that leftist–Islamist collaboration remains a possibility that should not be ignored.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Ackerman, Gary, and Jeffrey M. Bale. 2012. "The Potential for Collaboration Between Islamists and Western Left-Wing Extremists: A theoretical and Empirical Introduction." Dynamics of Assymetric Conflict (October): 151-171. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17467586.2012.745197#preview

START Author(s): 
Gary AckermanJeffrey Bale
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