International conference - (Re)assessing the Islamic State group and its futures - 23-24 August 2016

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The Afro-Middle East Centre invites you to an international conference entitled 'In whose interests? Exploring Middle East involvement in Africa'. AMEC’s international conference scheduled for 5 to 6 November 2013 promises a close interrogation of the nature and extent of Middle Eastern states' penetration into Africa. Around twenty Middle East and African speakers and scholars will come together to deliberate on various issues such as aid to Africa, the role of the African Union, educational links, and desire for African resources in the interaction between the two regions. - See more at: http://www.amec.org.za/events/conferences/itemlist/category/263-middle-east-in-africa-conference-2013.html#sthash.OJQi5lDx.dpuf
The Afro-Middle East Centre invites you to an international conference entitled 'In whose interests? Exploring Middle East involvement in Africa'. AMEC’s international conference scheduled for 5 to 6 November 2013 promises a close interrogation of the nature and extent of Middle Eastern states' penetration into Africa. Around twenty Middle East and African speakers and scholars will come together to deliberate on various issues such as aid to Africa, the role of the African Union, educational links, and desire for African resources in the interaction between the two regions. - See more at: http://www.amec.org.za/events/conferences/itemlist/category/263-middle-east-in-africa-conference-2013.html#sthash.OJQi5lDx.dpuf
Concept Note Programme Registration Form

 

The Afro-Middle East Centre will, from 23 to 24 August 2016, host the annual AMEC Conference. This year's conference theme is '(Re)assessing the Islamic State group and its futures'. The conference will be held at the Premier Hotel, Pretoria. Spread over seven sessions, the conference will open with a keynote address by Minister David Mahlobo, Minister of State Security in the government of the Repubic of South Africa.

It is crucial for all those wishing to attend to confirm their attendance by 10 August 2016. For enquiries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 011 880-0525.

 

 

Concept Note

The Islamic State group (IS) has been a regular feature in international news for the past three years. A clandestine insurgent group, it represents the latest and most violent incarnation of non-state Muslim militancy across the globe. It is also a combination of a variety of contradictions, which have consistently befuddled many observers. The group claims to be a state in the modern sense of the word, but also invokes the ancient notion of caliphate in order to argue for its legitimacy. While territorially bound, it also claims to rule over geographically-separated provinces. Despite being an off-shoot of al-Qa'ida, and portraying itself as loyal to its late leader Osama Bin Laden, the group actively opposes al-Qa'ida’s current leadership. It attracts thousands of foreigners, including westerners to its ‘state’, but also appeals to local Syrians and Iraqis. While being intensely ideological in its official publications, it displays pragmatism typical of a government bureaucracy. Maintaining a global online presence unmatched by any other insurgent group, it also shows extreme strategic thinking on the battlefield. And, claiming to be followers of a single powerful leader, its members also act in an extremely decentralised manner. IS not only demands attention, but also explanation.

However, only a handful of scholars have successfully developed analytical tools to get a grasp on assessing IS. Insufficient work has been done, however, in considering IS comparatively in relation to other insurgencies, or to analyse it as a ‘revolutionary group’, as some scholars have recently suggested. Another area that requires more research is whether IS’s claim to operate as a state holds true, and what indicators might be used to make such an assessment. Or, if this claim is not true, can the group be studied from a historical sociological perspective to predict its evolutionary path towards statehood?

It is in the interest of furthering such research on IS – in order to understand the movement from an academic perspective but also to help policy-makers think more coherently about their strategies vis-a-vis the group’s growth and spread – that the Afro-Middle East Centre (AMEC) has organised a conference on the Islamic State group. The conference will bring together internationally-recognised scholars who have written on the movement, and researchers who are studying it. The conference aims to consolidate extant knowledge about IS, also also to initiate further lines of inquiry.

 

 

 

 

Conference Programme

Tuesday, 23 August 2016


09:00 Opening session:

Chair: Aziz Pahad

Welcome, introduction – Na’eem Jeenah

Keynote address: David Mahlobo


10:00 Coffee Break


10:30 Session 1: Ideological foundations

Ideological roots of IS –
Salafism and/in the Islamic State – Joas Wagemakers
IS’s eschatological imperative – Shahid Mathee

12:00 Lunch


13:00 Session 2: Conceptualising IS

About revolutionaries and insurgents – Ibrahim Halawi
IS as a decolonial movement – Ashraf Kunnummal
IS and statehood –

14:30 Coffee Break


15:00 Session 3: IS membership

Membership, structure and hierarchy – Christoph Reuter
Recruitment of ‘foreign fighter’ – Akil Awan
IS online and media presence –


Wednesday, 24 August 2016


09:00 Session 4: Governance and/in the Islamic State

IS and lawful governance – Mara Revkin
IS state administration and provinces – Aymenn al-Tamimi
It’s all about bread: State building in the arena of contested sovereignties – Jose Martinez


10:30 Coffee Break


11:00 Session 5: History and context of the Islamic State group (IS)

IS roots between Ba'athism and al-Qa'ida Islamism – Yahya al-Kubaisi
IS in Syria – Radwan Ziadeh
Sunni nationalism or Islamic puritanism? – Melissa Finn


12:30 Lunch


13:30 Session 6: IS and the future

‘Remaining and expanding’: IS future strategy – Omar Shaukat
IS and the economy: Prospects for the future – Mohammed Okda
Military prospects for the future – Omar Ashour


15:00 Coffee Break


15:30 Session 7: Countering extremism

Potentialities and failures in current CT/CVE models – Rizwan Sabir
Countering extremism from a security perspective: Experiences from South Africa – David Africa
Ideological countering of extremism –


16:30 Closing session

Last modified on Friday, 05 August 2016 00:06

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