New and Noteworthy in Arab and Islamic Affairs — 8–30–17

In today’s roundup, a stinging indictment of the Trump administration’s Iran policy and a new book on jihadist returnees to Europe.

MEMRI: Trump has come to accept Iranian regional expansionism under the cover of the war on ISIS: “In the first three months of Trump’s term, Tehran was apprehensive about what his Iran policy would be. It significantly dialed back its provocations — both its verbal threats and its naval forays against U.S. vessels in the Gulf — and even cancelled the launch of a ballistic missile, removing the missile from its launching pad on the eve of Iran’s Revolution Day on February 10, after the Trump administration announced that Iran was being “put on notice.” … Three months later, Iran has changed its approach: It is stepping up its naval provocations; its anti-U.S. discourse is again in evidence — including the “Death to America” chant; and its verbal threats against the U.S. are increasing. Additionally, the same missile which was taken off the launching pad last February was launched on July 27, 2017, in disregard of the U.S.’s warning.

Al-Mesbar Center in Dubai publishes a new book on returning “foreign fighters” from jihadist war fronts: “In Al Mesbar’s 127th book (July 2017) — Returning Fighters from Conflict Zones: Challenges and Capacities — the current crop of jihadist returnees are considered in light of their historical precedents, such as the Algerian “Afghan Arabs” who returned to their native soil between 1989 and 2003. Scholarly contributions to the book trace the jihadists’ organizational loyalties and the process that led to their radicalization. Chapters also explore the motives and dynamics of their organized activities, the phenomenon of jihadist sleeper cells in Europe, and the religio-cultural challenges states face when fighters return. Other issues addressed in the book include the history of foreign jihadist recruitment in Syria following the militarization of the popular protests, the geographic distribution of fighters in conflict zones, terrorism in Western countries, and strategies of amnesty and rehabilitation for returning fighters.

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