Small Wars Journal

The Process of Islamic Radicalization in Intra-State Conflict

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Religious radicalization is not a new phenomenon in intra-state conflict, be it insurgency or civil war, but it is a particularly common and worrisome occurrence in many current and ongoing conflicts. The process of insurgent radicalization is complex and the causal links that lead to radicalization in one conflict may be different then all others.  That being said, it seems clear that leadership and the nature of the insurgent and or fighter grievance both play a key role in the radicalization process.  This paper examines the impact of both insurgent grievance and leadership on religious radicalization through an examination of the first Chechen War and the Tajik Civil War, two conflicts that took very different turns.

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About the Author(s)

William Thomson is a Masters candidate at Harvard University where he specializes in International Relations.  His research and thesis focuses on US engagement in Central and South Asia as well as civil and ethnic violence.