Jihad Taha

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

1) Discuss” the ambivalence of the global” (Friedman 2002). Include a discussion of
globalization and the implications processes of globalization could have on ‘culture’
and/or how changes in cultural dynamics create globalization. You may use
examples.

2) What are the five different strategies, which may be behind the use of terrorism?
Explain the strategies and give historical examples of their use. Finally, discuss the
immolation of the Jordan pilot by Islamic State in this context.

You must answer both questions.

The above-mentioned questions will be answered separately. The answer to the first question
will focus on Friedman’s text with several examples including historical/descriptive ones,
while the answer to the second question will be more of a theory-to reality answer.

1) Discuss” the ambivalence of the global” (Friedman 2002). Include a discussion of
globalization and the implications processes of globalization could have on ‘culture’
and/or how changes in cultural dynamics create globalization. You may use
examples.

With conflicts going on in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and other
countries, the calls for global responsibility towards people in need of help, have increased.
At the moment, the world is experiencing the worst humanitarian disaster in newer time.
Over 51 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide, according to UNHCRs Global Trends
Report. (UNHCR Global Trends Report 2013). Humanitarian relief operations are therefore
established on global, regional, national and local levels involving cooperation and
coordination between different agencies. This process involves a globalization of politics and
rule making ending up in global policies that can be used worldwide in different settings. (Held

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Jihad Taha

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

& McGrew, 2007: 151) However, this process would not have been possible without the
existence of new, easier and faster means of communication and transportation.
The increased globalization of the world has besides improving means of communication and
transportation, also made movement between countries easier and increased job
opportunities in addition to an increase of foreign goods. However, globalization also has
another side. Markets and corporations now have to face unstable and unpredictable changes
in national politics and economies, as the situation is at the moment in the EU with the
economic situation of the PIGS, where especially Greece’s debt situation is having an impact
on the whole region.
Globalization is also seen as having an impact on culture. In recent years, terms like
Americanization and Islamization have represented a discourse that has represented the
spread of techno-capital, market and media systems around the world (Friedman,
2002:21,25) and represented a form of threat to the established norms and traditions.
In the wake of 9/11, many stated that the era of globalization was over and that the war on
terror, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, was only the beginning of the so-called ‘clash of
globalisations’. (Held & McGrew, 2007: 150-151). This view is standing in contrast to another
discourse towards globalisation that emerged in the late nineties. A discourse that was
characterized by ‘explicit transnationalism’ as a form of moral principle, as stated by Jonathan
Friedman, an American anthropologist who has been living in Europe for several years.
(Friedman, 2002:21)
Friedman who seems to be interested in the relation between the global aspect and the local
ones criticises the tendency that researches in the anthropological field have with respect to
globalisation. He states that the transnationalism approach does not take historical
perspectives into account. He criticises Appadurai and Malkki for thinking people, location
and culture together, and for those factors to have an effect on each other. This is especially
clear in respect to the nationalists living in camps vs. the town refugees example (Friedman,
2002: 28-29). Friedman criticises Malkki for defining camp refugees as being “dangerous
nationalists whose rooted identity can only lead to violence, while those who have adapted
and given up that identity to become ‘broad people’ point the way for the rest of us, toward a
cosmopolitan hybridity” (Friedman, 2002: 29). Malkki’s distinction between ecological people
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Jihad Taha

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

and rooted people and her celebration of cosmopolitanism can be related to the inaccuracy
she does in mixing up the terms ‘culture’ and ‘people’. (Friedman, 2002:29 & Malkki, 1992:24)
Friedman criticizes that Malkki is of the belief that the indigenous populations should move
to town and get rid of their rootedness. (Friedman, 2002: 30) Friedman does not believe that
indigenous people can get rid of their roots, as he sees their rootedness as a sign of historical
conditions and the power of history and in that way essentializing their existence. Friedman
points out that this can be seen with the Jewish diaspora, which focused on location but more
mainly on a common identity that was characterized by exploitation, oppression, slavery and
death. (Friedman, 2002: 24) Diasporas always “leave a trail of collective memory about
another place and time and create n ew maps of desire and of attachment” (Friedman, 2002:
24).
The same situation can be seen with other Diasporas. The Palestinian diaspora is also
characterized by having a common identity focusing on themes like “the right of return” but
also a feeling of being let down by everyone, especially other Arabs. However, the
ambivalence in the discussion about globalisation and anthropology can also be seen in the
Palestinian diaspora question. The majority of Palestinians who fled to neighbouring countries
have refused to assimilate in society as the example is in Lebanon. Many Palestinians refuse
to give up their Palestinian passports (that they really cannot use for anything) for Lebanese
one, and by that refuse rights that Lebanese nationals have. Palestinians are not allowed to
own property outside refugee camps. They are not allowed to practice over 70 different forms
of jobs. This situation has emerged as the Palestinians themselves hold on to their native
culture and identity and refuse to mix together with the rest of the population.
It should also be mentioned that this is also used as a political tool in the peace process. Both
in Lebanese and Palestinian politics. As long the Palestinians are still Palestinians and want to
go back to their villages, Palestinian parties can use this to pressure Israel in the negotiations.
And as long as the Lebanese political system is built on an equal distribution of power
between the different religious sects, the Palestinians will never be granted Lebanese
citizenship as that will tip the power towards the Sunni population.
It is also interesting to see that in the 40ies and 50ies Palestinians were granted the Lebanese
nationality, but today it is a highly sensitive issue as Palestinians living inside the refugee

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Jihad Taha

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

camps are often portrayed as being radicalized Muslims, which can be linked to Malkkis
observation on people living inside and outside of the camp.
Friedman also criticises the elites (including politicians and anthropologists) for their political
correctness that has portrayed globalisation with only ‘good’ sides. (Friedman, 2002:24) The
positivity for globalisation and the hybridity as an interesting meeting point between cultures
has not been received well by everyone. While some see globalisation as a solution to
essentialism, others see globalisation and its impact on nations as a threat to the existing, a
view shared by especially extreme right/left wing parties. In Denmark for instance, the far
right party Danish People’s Party (DF) state that they do not accept the premise that
globalisation is law of nature, as several anthropologists would state according to Friedman.
(DF, 2009) The party states on its webpage that “globalisation is a state in which market forces
get more influence because of the lack of political decisions. From a democratic point of view
this implies that high risk arise for both developed and developing countries” (DF, 2009). The
party has thus fighting the implications of globalisation as one of its goals.
One of the most prominent implications of globalisation that the Danish People’s Party wants
to fight is immigration, especially from Muslim countries, as a peaceful integration of Muslims
into another culture is not possible. (DF, 2009) Supporters of this view would emphasize on
the numerous cases where Muslim traditions and beliefs in some way has collided with Danish
norms. These cases include the halal vs. non-halal discussion that emerges every now and
then. An issue that the Danish People’s Party for long has been a front figure in. In 2013, the
party proposed to legislate against the ‘special treatment for Muslims’ under the title:
“prohibition to discrimination against Danish culture”, which should stop what they called “an
attack on the Danish traditions and culture”. (Hyldal, 2013) In addition, the increased
Americanisation and Europeanization of the Danish society and culture has also been
criticized. From the introduction of celebrations like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Valentine’s
Day. The EU’s legislation on member states has also been criticised for damaging national
democracy as power has transformed to the EU. But also initiatives that aim at making more
harmonizing policies in the EU have been criticized as they increase pressure on Danish
culture and norms, for example border control. (DF, 2009a)

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Jihad Taha

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

Friedman’s critique of the anthropological approach used by Mallki, Appadurai et. al. seems
to be built on different approaches and perspectives to the issue as both Mallki and Friedman
appear to be neither opposing not supporting globalisation. They both see globalisation as a
risky phenomenon, but they stay (somehow) neutral. Friedman highlights on the ambivalence
that exists between the elite and the people, where he sees globalisation as being one of the
main causes affecting this ambivalence. Local interests are affected when knowledge and
technology is brought in from the outside as stated in the examples above where globalisation
weakens the nation state. Whether this will affect Denmark and cause the political elite to
shift policies, can only time tell.

5

Jihad Taha

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

2) What are the five different strategies, which may be behind the use of terrorism?
Explain the strategies and give historical examples of their use. Finally, discuss the
immolation of the Jordan pilot by Islamic State in this context.
On the 14th of February 2015, Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein opened fire at an event about
the right to free speech, in Copenhagen, killing one civilian and wounding three police officers.
A few hours later, he killed a Jewish man near the Great Synagogue in central Copenhagen
and was later killed by police. Ten minutes before the first shooting, Omar El-Hussein had
posted an update on Facebook swearing loyalty to the leader of Islamic State Abu Bakr alBaghdadi. One day after, the Islamic State published a video on social media showing the
beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya, and just ten days before the Copenhagen shootings,
a video showing the immolation of a Jordanian pilot called Muath al-Kasasbeh was released
on social media. The Islamic State took responsibility.
Whereas the actions of Omar El-Hussein can be seen as the acts of a so-called ‘lone wolf’ i.e.
someone who performs violent acts in support of a group or ideology by himself, the videos
showing the beheading and immolation are signs of deliberate messages that are intended to
create fear and outrage everywhere. Both videos are tools used by the Islamic State to spread
different kinds of messages to multiple receivers. However, what are the strategies that
terrorist groups may use in order to get their messages out, and how can especially the video
of Muath fit into these strategies? This is what the following will look closer into.
Throughout history, there has been a debate on whether violence has been successful in
achieving political gains. According to Andrew Kydd, Ph. D. in political Science, and Barbara
Walter, professor of political science at University of California, historical events show that
terrorist attacks might have an impact on political decisions, one of them being the
withdrawal of the American soldiers from Lebanon after the US marine bombings in 1983.
The suicide attacks that left 299 American and French servicemen dead, convinced the US to
withdraw its troops from Beirut. (Kydd & Walter, 2006:49) Kydd & Walter state that what they
believe as being terrorist attacks can in fact play out in favour of the terrorist organizations.
“Between 1980 and 2003, half of all suicide terrorist campaigns were closely followed by
substantial concessions by the targeted governments” (Kydd & Walter, 2006:49). Kydd &
Walter argue that “terrorists are too weak to impose their will directly by force of arms”, which

6

Jihad Taha

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

can be a cause behind the adoption of terrorist attacks, and because of their weakness in that
sense, there is a need for the terrorist organizations to show their audience that they have
the capacity and ability to make credible threats. (Kydd & Walter, 2006:50-51) These threats
are expressed through five principal strategic logics as stated by Kydd & Walter, which are:
1. The attrition strategy, where “terrorists seek to persuade the enemy that the terrorists
are strong enough to impose considerable costs if the enemy continues a particular
policy”. (Kydd & Walter, 2006:51) It is very important that the terrorist organization
can show its enemy that it has the strength to cause serious harm on the enemy in
order to gain demands. The three conditions that are likely to figurate in the outcome
are; the state’s level of interest in the issue under dispute, retaliation, and a targets
cost tolerance. One of the most prominent examples is the above-mentioned example
with the withdrawal of the US troops from Beirut as the political and economic interest
in staying in Beirut was marginal with respect to the scale of the attack. The response
to the attack was also considered weak as the US still wanted to withhold a form of
‘referee’ status in the conflict between Christians and Muslims. The cost of the attack
was simply too high, and that is why the US decided to evacuate its troops. 1 In
addition, the withdrawal from Vietnam can be seen as a cause of the large number of
casualties. The costs (tens of thousands of soldiers) were too high to bear.
2. The intimidation strategy is used by terrorist to “try to convince the population that
the terrorists are strong enough to punish disobedience and that the government is
too weak to stop them, so that people behave as the terrorists want” (Kydd & Walter,
2006:51). It relies mainly on means of threat and costly signals to prevent any
unwanted behaviour. Because the terrorist are in constant battle with the government
over the support of the population, the terrorists will try to gain social control over
the population. They thus try to impose their own policy on the population directly
using violence and threats. Kydd & Walter highlight examples from the 1960ies where
racist groups burned down Afro-American churches to stop them from demanding
their civil rights. In Yemen for example, al-Qaida has targeted Yemeni officials showing

1

The US had also been part of the shelling on Muslim areas and killed several civilians, which lead to a mistrust
to the neutral role the US allegedly played, from Muslim parties. This might also have played an important role
in the American administration deciding to pull out.

7

Jihad Taha

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

that they have the capability to hurt their opponents and that they cannot be punished
as the government is too weak. (Kydd & Walter, 2006: 66 and BBC, 2015) Weak states
and rough terrain are the preferred conditions when the goal is regime change as the
case is when using the intimidation strategy. Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan
is a good example.
3. The provocation strategy is used as an attempt to “induce the enemy to respond to
terrorism with indiscriminate violence, which radicalizes the population and moves
them to support the terrorists.” (Kydd & Walter, 2006:51) This strategy is also mainly
used to achieve a territorial, and in the end regime, change, by persuading the
population to believe that the regime is not of the populations’ best interest and that
the only alternative is the terrorist organizations. This type of strategy can also be seen
in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen with for example drone attacks that are directed
against high ranked al-Qaida leaders, but for many times target civilians. Reports show
that missions to eliminate Al-Qaida’s Ayman Zawahiri ended up in killing seventy-six
children and 29 adults. But not Zawahiri. (Ackerman, 2014) The attacks have radically
changed the way the populations portray the US in favour of al-Qaida’s propaganda
machine.
4. The spoiling strategy consists of an “effort to persuade the enemy that moderates on
the terrorists' side are weak and untrustworthy, thus undermining attempts to reach
a peace settlement.” (Kydd & Walter, 2006:51) This should result in creating mistrust
between what can be called moderates on one side and the regime on the other, in
order to spoil possible settlements. This can be observed in the political landscape in
Lebanon as the ongoing dialogue between different parties especially between Shia
Hezbollah and Sunni Future Movement has led to tensions and explosions against
Alawi Muslims by what seems to be radical Sunni Islamists (Al-Akhbar. 2015).
5. The outbidding strategy tries to “convince the public that the terrorists have greater
resolve to fight the enemy than rival groups, and therefore are worthy of support”
mainly using violence. (Kydd & Walter, 2006:51) This strategy is used when two
domestic parties are competing for leadership, but the population is undetermined to
which side to support. According to Kydd & Walter, the Palestinian situation is an
example. The conflict between Hamas, which tends to use armed resistance in order

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Jihad Taha

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

to achieve political gains (zealots), and Fatah, which uses negotiations to achieve the
political gains (sellouts) is a clear example. Supporting Fatah can end up in achieving
peace with the Israeli side, but at a more costly outcome. This can be seen in the peace
talks where Mahmoud Abbas has gone so far as to substitute the “right of return” for
more territory and autonomy on the West Bank. (Aljazeera, 2012) A step Hamas would
never take as they see the armed resistance as the only way to get political
confessions. This has resulted in three wars with Israel in the last couple of years, with
thousands killed, mainly civilians.
It can also be seen to some degree at some stage of the Syrian conflict. The population
had the possibility to choose between the Syrian opposition, which on the ground is
represented by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and between the Islamist groups with AlNusra and IS in front. However, the development on the ground has created a new
reality, where FSA does not have that much to say, while Al-Nusra and IS control far
more areas. Today the FSA, is in a position where they accept talks with
representatives from the Assad regime (not Assad himself though). Nevertheless, the
situation is developing in favour of Assad, which makes the choice harder for the
population to choose between a peaceful approach (where influence on Assad is
marginal) or an armed approach, which includes support for extremist groups.
In regards to the immolation of the Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh, it can be argued that
IS mainly uses the provocation strategy and it seems that IS has succeeded in achieving its
goals with the video. As stated above, the aim of the strategy is to provoke the enemy into a
military response that could potentially harm civilians within IS territories. In the few hours
after the publication of the video, Jordanian jets made several airstrikes over IS controlled
areas. Jordanian officials assured that the targets were IS high-ranked commanders, however
reports from IS state that civilians (including children and an American hostage) died because
of the airstrikes. (Luck & Both, 2015) The military response is thus used by IS to convince the
population that the alternative is evil. This is, according to Kydd & Walter, the best way to
radicalize people. (Kydd & Walter, 2006:70)
Jordan had been hesitant with respect to participating actively in the coalition lead by the US,
as its borders are close to IS borders. By choosing to kill the pilot, who happened to be from
one of the most influential Jordanian tribes, a Jordanian response was imminent.
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Jihad Taha

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

Another strategy used is the intimidating strategy as reports show that tension is rising
between different armed groups within the areas controlled by IS, signalling mistrust and
weakness. IS therefore needs to signal strength to both its native population and to its
enemies outside the borders. With respect to its native population it is extremely important
that IS appears as being the one in control and as the strongest actor. By doing this IS will
eliminate local resistance and spread fear to enemies. However, it can also be argued that
this approach has had the opposite effect as the Jordanian society is now standing behind the
king in the operations against IS. Prominent Islamic leaders have rejected the caliphate and
denounced its actions, making it harder to influence the Jordanian (and overall Muslim)
society.
The use of these extreme methods can also be explained by the great losses that IS is
undergoing. The Kurds are slowly liberating cities in northern Syria. The Syrian army in
collaboration with Hezbollah is winning in the south and the Iraqi army is liberating cities in
Iraq in collaboration with Shia militias. IS has thereby not had a major victory since they
captured Mosul in Iraq last summer. It is therefore crucial that IS still can be portrayed as
strong and to (re) gain social control over the population is thereby a must. The publishing of
the video with the Egyptian Copts also contains a message other than the actual killing of
“infidels”. Publishing a video from Libya, a country IS had not had any presence in before, only
stresses the fact that IS is a strong and powerful organisation. Libya being close to Italy (and
thereby the rest of Europe) is just a plus.

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Jihad Taha

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

Bibliography:
Articles and papers:
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Ackerman, 2014 Spencer, “41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes
– the facts on the ground” The Guardian URL: http://www.theguardian.com/usnews/2014/nov/24/-sp-us-drone-strikes-kill-1147

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Al-Akhbar, 2015 “Lebanon: Twin Suicide Bombing Kills Nine in Tripoli's Jabal
Mohsen” January 11, 2015 Al-Akhbar Newspaper, URL: http://english.alakhbar.com/node/23158

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Aljazeera, 2012 “Hamas rejects Abbas 'right of return' remarks” 03 Nov 2012, URL:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/11/2012113141235546948.html

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BBC, 2015, ”Yemen bomb blast kills dozens near Sanaa police academy”, 7 January
2015 URL: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30706208

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DF, 2009, ”Udenrigs- og Tredjeverdenspolitik”, Christiansborg 2009 URL:
http://www.danskfolkeparti.dk/Dansk_udenrigspolitik

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DF, 2009a, ”Kulturpolitik”, Christiansborg 2009 URL:
http://www.danskfolkeparti.dk/Kulturpolitik

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Ellis et. al 2015, Ralph, Yan, Holly, Gargiulo, Susanne ”Denmark terror suspect swore
fidelity to ISIS leader on Facebook page”, February 23, 2015, CNN.com, URL:
http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/16/europe/denmark-shootings/

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Friedman, Jonathan, “From roots to routes: Tropes for trippers”, Anthropological
Theory 2002; 2; 21, Sage Publications. Found in GRS Culture, Identity, Politics Spring
2015 compendium.

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Hyldal, 2013, Christine, ” DF og Konservative: Vi skal lovgive mod diskrimination af
dansk kultur”, 26. JUL. 2013 , dr.dk URL:
http://www.dr.dk/Nyheder/Politik/2013/07/26/081816.htm

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Luck & Both 2015 “Jordan says its airstrikes are targeting Islamic State leadership”,
The Guardian, February 8 2015 URL:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/jordan-says-its-airstrikes-aretargeting-islamic-state-leadership/2015/02/08/431cfc88-63f0-4acd-b00594d6661aae3a_story.html

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Jihad Taha

-

Global Refugee Studies
Written Assignment

Spring 2015

Malkki Liisa, “National Geographic: The rooting of people and the territorialisation of
national identity among scholars and refugees”, Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 7, No. 1,
Space, Identity and the Politics of Difference . (Feb., 1992). Found in GRS Culture,
Identity, Politics Spring 2015 compendium.

Books:
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Held & McGrew, David & Anthony – Globalization/Anti-Globalization, Second
edition, Polity Press, 2007.

Reports:
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UNHCR Global Trends Report 2013 - URL:
http://www.unhcr.org/5399a14f9.html#_ga=1.28899260.149543448.1413903438

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