Middle East

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Saudi Arabia has been careful not to appear overly oppressive of groups like Islamic State for fear of antagonising its own constituents. Reuters

What’s behind Saudi Arabia’s connection to Islamic State?

Saudi citizens supporting Islamic State are not the result of a coherent plan directed by its rulers, but the overflow of a long-standing system used to maintain its domestic legitimacy.
Increased oil and gas revenues amid lifted sanctions are set to raise Iran’s economic fortunes, which ease Middle Eastern tensions. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh/AAP Image

Energy and economic diplomacy can trump the nuclear ‘threat’ of the Iran deal

Opponents of the Iran nuclear deal say it raises the nuclear weapons threat in the region. But Middle East tensions are actually likely to ease as Iran grows richer without being shackled by sanctions.
Schools should teach students about peace and pluralism to reduce radicalisation, not necessarily about every world conflict and religion. Australian teen Jake Bilardi with Islamic State fighters. AAP Image/Twitter

Teaching terror: what role for schools in countering violent extremism?

Introducing new curriculum requirements to teach young people about specific issues or requiring teachers to look out for signs of radicalisation are just as likely to have little or no impact if not supported by evidence.
At its core, Islamic State’s runaway success is not down to its military capability. Rather, it is due to Iraq’s political circumstances. Reuters

One year on, Islamic State is here to stay – so what next?

There are three key reasons why success for the West hasn’t followed. Together, these reasons point towards an urgent need to shift strategy to avoid a stalemate.
Australia’s reaction to revelations that its citizens were fighting for IS follows a pattern of intellectual and state fear-mongering. AAP/Lukas Coch

Radical Islam and the West: the moral panic behind the threat

If governments are to maintain public support for their military ventures, war narratives must be kept simple and consistent. The underlying message must not change: the West is always the innocent victim of terrorism, never its perpetrator.
What possesses a Queensland teenager like Oliver Bridgeman to go to fight in Syria? Online propaganda is not an adequate explanation on its own. Facebook

IS radicalises Western youth via the internet? It’s not that simple

Simplistic views of terrorist recruitment focus on online messages to Western youth. Foreign fighters are coming from many other countries, lured by many means, and we need more sophisticated responses.

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