Islamist Movements in the Middle East

Political Islam plays a key role in every country of the Middle East and spans ideologies from ultra-violent, high-profile groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also known as ISIL or Daesh) to lesser known, pluralist, democratic political parties like Ennahda in Tunisia and the Justice and Development Party (PJD) in Morocco. Research will focus on identifying the moderate forces in the Muslim world and their capabilities and limitations. Without a coherent strategy to respond to such a diverse phenomenon, U.S. foreign policy strategy is relegated to reactive policies that ignore the root causes of Islamic extremism in the region. While the diversity of Islamist movements reflects a larger ideological struggle that can only be settled within the Arab and Muslim worlds, U.S. policymakers can take concrete steps to support the forces of moderation against the forces of extremism.