Volume 47 Number 3
Published: May 26, 2016
This article discusses and analyses the landscape of Islamist movements in Egypt using a network approach, and showing where connections lie between different movements across North Africa. The article unpacks the centripetal forces that bring Islamist movements together in ‘uber-ideology coalitions’ and the moments where centrifugal forces serve to divide and splinter movements. The article challenges the mainstream narrative on Islamist movements and violence in two critical ways. First, contrary to analysts’ forecasts of a ‘post-Islamist age’, one of the ripple effects of the Arab Spring was the revival and proliferation of Islamist movements on a grand scale. Second, the article challenges the discourse that attributes the rise in radical militancy almost exclusively to the obfuscation of democratic politics through the emergence of counterrevolutionary forces. Rather, it argues that the Arab revolts created the political and security environment that allowed radical Islamist movements to flex their muscles.