What’s the key to success for militant Islamists? In her book Jihad & Co.: Black Markets and Islamist Power, political scientist Aisha Ahmad offers a new explanation for the success of some ideologically-inspired groups: their ability to work within and exploit local economies. In this lecture, part of our World at War – International Speaker Series, she demonstrates that while civil wars and insurgencies provide opportunities to establish political control, it’s through business savvy that extremists gain and maintain their power. Ahmad, an expert in international security and conflict dynamics at the University of Toronto, tracked the activities of modern Islamist groups to uncover the economic drivers of complex security crises. Her ground-breaking research, including extensive interviews with jihadists and merchants from Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and new fieldwork on the wars in Mali, Syria and Iraq, challenges conventional wisdom by offering a rationalist explanation for the rise of Islamism.
In English with simultaneous translation in French.
Presented in conjunction with the World at War – International Speaker Series, an annual series of academic events, presented by the Canadian War Museum.