Conclusion: Religious Radicalism after the Arab Uprisings

In the conclusion to Religious Radicalism after the Arab Uprisings, Jon Alterman sums up the troubling implications of developments in the region: Almost four years after the “Arab Spring,” radical movements in the Arab world seem to have been even more invigorated by the Arab Spring than liberal ones. The Arab uprisings seem to have increased the innovation and entrepreneurship of radical groups in the Middle East, at the same time that it increased the opportunities for radicals to gain battlefield experience. For those seeking to combat radicalism, the challenges will only grow more complex. What all of this means for the Middle East is a continuation of conflicts that many thought were coming to an end. What unifies radicals’ vision is an acceptance of the idea of deadly conflict stretching far into the future, fought by irregular forces arrayed against better-armed foes. It is a logic that rewards asymmetrical warfare and accepts heavy casualties. For the rest of the world, it is a daunting prospect.

Jon B. Alterman
Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program