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Chasing Utopia: How the Arab Spring Gave Us Today's Islamic State

Diana Bolsinger

No qvbp9, Thesis Commons from Center for Open Science

Abstract: This thesis acknowledges existing scholarship that portrays the Islamic State as the product of conditions in Iraq following the 2003 U.S. invasion but argues the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 transformed the Iraq-based group into a larger movement. The revolts weakened governments, allowing the Islamic State and other jihadi groups to seize territories. Syrian regime brutality against civilians strengthened jihadi claims Islam was in danger. Jihadis released from prisons during and after the uprisings openly recruited and organized new factions, many of which later switched their allegiance to the Islamic State. Above all, counterrevolution and violence following the initially peaceful movements of 2011 expanded the pool of alienated youth susceptible to radicalization. The Islamic State’s success in seizing these openings suggests the merits of applying a path-dependent approach to analyzing the spread of terrorism.

Date: 2016-05-10
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DOI: 10.31219/

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