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Price: $32.95

Hardback 272 pp.
6.125" x 9.25"



Publication date:
August 2017

Imprint: OUP US

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Jihad & Co.

Black Markets and Islamist Power

Aisha Ahmad

For two decades, militant jihadism has been one of the world's most pressing security crises. In civil wars and insurgencies across the Muslim world, certain Islamist groups have taken advantage of the anarchy to establish political control over a broad range of territories and communities. In effect, they have built radical new jihadist proto-states.

Why have some ideologically-inspired Islamists been able to build state-like polities out of civil war stalemate, while many other armed groups have failed to gain similar traction? What makes jihadists win? In Jihad & Co., Aisha Ahmad argues that there are concrete economic reasons behind Islamist success. By tracking the economic activities of jihadist groups in Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Mali, and Iraq, she uncovers an unlikely actor in bringing Islamist groups to power: the local business community.

To illuminate the nexus between business and Islamist interests in civil war, Ahmad journeys into war-torn bazaars to meet with both jihadists and the smugglers who financed their rise to power. From the arms markets in the Pakistani border region to the street markets of Mogadishu, their stories reveal a powerful economic logic behind the rise of Islamist power in civil wars. Behind the fiery rhetoric and impassioned, ideological claims is the cold, hard cash of the local war economy. Moving readers back and forth between mosques, marketplaces, and battlefields, Ahmad makes a powerful argument that economic savvy, as much as ideological fervor, explains the rise of militant jihadism across the modern Muslim world.

Readership : General readers; international security scholars; students of international relations and political science; policymakers.

1. Mosques and Markets
2. Black Flags in the Bazaar: The Making of Modern Islamist Proto-States
3. Mafia and Mujahideen: Trafficking and Trust-Building under Soviet Occupation
4. Traders and Taliban: Business Interests and Islamist Power in Afghanistan
5. Beards for Business: The Origins and Evolution of the Mogadishu Mafia
6. The Price of Protection: The Rise of the Islamic Courts Union
7. The Blowback Effect: International Intervention and the Collapse of the Proto-State
8. The Proto-State Goes Global: Criminal Business Networks and Jihadist Power across the Muslim World
Appendix: Methodology and Field Research

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Aisha Ahmad is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto.

Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese
The al-Qaeda Franchise - Barak Mendelsohn
The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda - Fawaz A. Gerges
Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement - Daniel Byman
An Enemy We Created - Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn
Al-Shabaab in Somalia - Stig Jarle Hansen

Special Features

  • Offers a new explanation for the success of modern Islamist groups: an ability to work within and exploit local economies.
  • Challenges conventional wisdom, offering a rationalist explanation for the rise of Islamism.
  • Groundbreaking research features extensive interviews with jihadists and merchants from Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and new fieldwork on the wars in Mali, Syria, and Iraq.