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The Dynamics of RadicalizationA Relational and Comparative Perspective$
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Eitan Y. Alimi, Lorenzo Bosi, and Chares Demetriou

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199937707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937707.001.0001

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The Salafi Transnational Jihad Movement and al-Qaeda (1984–2001)

The Salafi Transnational Jihad Movement and al-Qaeda (1984–2001)

(p.129) Chapter 5 The Salafi Transnational Jihad Movement and al-Qaeda (1984–2001)
The Dynamics of Radicalization

Eitan Y. Alimi

Chares Demetriou

Lorenzo Bosi

Oxford University Press

The chapter analyzes the episode of contention of the Salafi transnational jihad movement during the 1980s and 1990s. It focuses on how and when al-Qaeda gradually developed a clear political program, organizational resources, and action strategy, and shifted from a resistive mode of contention to a proactive, albeit predominantly nonviolent one, at first, and then to a predominantly violent mode of contention, which reached its most lethal form of indiscriminate violence of September 11, 2001. The chapter demonstrates how the radicalization of al-Qaeda, from defensive pan-Islam to offensive global jihad, was not deterministic, and was far from being a mere result of propensities and incentives for aggression or of ideologies justifying violence. The relational mechanisms propelling the radicalization of al-Qaeda regarded, most centrally, competition for power among various Salafi organizations, and intensifying outbidding dynamics between Salafi leaders and activists and local and foreign security forces.

Keywords:   pan-Islam, Salafism, indiscriminate violence, jihad, outbidding

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