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We interviewed Raphaël Lefèvre about his new book Jihad in the City: Militant Islamism and Contentious Politics in Tripoli, available now. OxPol: What motivated you write your book? Raphaël Lefèvre: I wanted to shed light on a little-known historical event with large contemporary echo: the creation by a militant Islamist movement of an “Islamic Emirate” on the city of Tripoli, Lebanon in 1982-1985. This movement has modern parallels​ with the “Islamic Caliphate” created by ISIS in parts of Iraq and Syria after 2014 and with similar attempts by Al-Qaeda to create “Islamic Emirates” on the territories it has sporadically controlled recently, from Southern Yemen and Northern Mali to Northern Syria. I am not suggesting that the 1982-1985 “Islamic Emirate” in Tripoli …

COVID-19 has hit European citizens dramatically, not only creating a general risk-driven environment with a wide array of economic vulnerabilities but also exposing them to pervasive digital risks, such as biosurveillance, misinformation, and e-democracy algorithmic threats. Over the course of the pandemic, a debate has emerged about the appropriate techno-political response when governments use disease surveillance technologies to tackle the spread of COVID-19. Citizens have pointed out the dichotomy between state-Leviathan cybercontrol and civil liberties. Moreover, the giant technological flagship firms of surveillance capitalism, such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, have already assumed many functions previously associated with the nation-state, from cartography to the disease surveillance of citizens. But particularly, amidst the AI-driven algorithmic disruption and surveillance capitalism, Smart City Citizenship sheds light on the way citizens …

Brexit has weakened populists on the continent? This is wishful thinking. No longer willing to leave the EU, instead populists are determined to take it over. Brexit is a moving target. Each time we think we have a deal, the British House of Commons decides to re-think. It’s like the famous passage from T.S. Eliot: “Time yet for a hundred indecisions/And for a hundred visions and revisions,/ Before taking a toast and tea.” Boris Johnson expected the Parliament to approve the exit deal he reached with the EU. Instead, the Parliament voted for an amendment tabled by a Tory MP, Sir Oliver Letwin. The amendment withholds approval of the deal, until the legislation to enact it is safely passed – …

It is a period of civil war. Rebel politicians, striking from hidden Westminster offices, have won their first victory against the evil Brexiteer Prime Minister. During the battle, Rebel MPs manage to steal control of the Commons… The so-called “rebel alliance” of pro-EU MPs secured an important victory on September 4 of this year in their quest to prevent a no-deal Brexit: parliament passed the Benn-Burt Bill, which requires Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek a four-month extension of Article 50 if parliament has not agreed to a no-deal Brexit or a withdrawal agreement by October 19. When the result of the vote was announced, protestors outside of the House of Commons, celebrated by playing the Star Wars theme tune. …

Anette Idler summarizes some of the findings from her new book Borderland Battles, which reveals how violent non-state groups compete for territorial control, co-operate in illicit cross-border activities and replace the state in exerting governance functions in borderlands. Borderlands are like a magnifying glass on some of the most entrenched security challenges of the world. In unstable regions, border areas attract violent non-state groups ranging from rebels and paramilitaries to criminal organisations who exploit their neglect by central governments. These groups compete for territorial control, cooperate in illicit cross-border activities, and substitute for the governance functions usually associated with the state. Studying the Colombian borderlands where armed conflict and organised crime converge demonstrates that the gap between state-centric views on …

With the Brexit deadline on the horizon, Britain could enter a new beneficial relationship with Australia and other Anglosphere countries – a development that is slowly gaining traction. On February 11, several prominent UK MP’s called for the prioritisation of a free-movement area – similar to the free movement of persons provision in the European Economic Area – between Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Britain, after the UK eventually exits the EU.  Towards a CANZUK Alliance These pronouncements followed the release of the report titled ‘Global Britain: A Twenty-First Century Vision’, co-authored by Conservative MP Bob Seely and the Henry Jackson Society  – a bi-partisan British Foreign Policy think-tank. One of the main proposals of the report was to reach out to Australia, New Zealand …

President Donald Trump promised a “very big trade deal” between the US and the UK after Brexit. Prime minister Boris Johnson, however, was less certain, stating that it will not be “plain sailing.” As third prime minister since the Brexit referendum, he is aware that at the moment “the only certainty is uncertainty.” While Mr. Johnson insists that Brexit will take place on 31 October, it remains unclear what will come after Brexit. Brexit optimists paint a picture of unbound potential. Britain freed from the shackles of the EU and Common Market rules and regulations, is able to freely negotiate new trade deals. Embracing the Commonwealth is presented as alternative to remaining in the EU, which is seen as being …

There are at least four reasons why one might expect Brexit to be a high-profile, politicized issue in Czech politics. First of all, there is increasing evidence that the European Union (EU) crises, of which Brexit is currently probably the most acute one, have led to increased politicization of EU politics in many member states. Secondly, the Czech EU debate is generally politicized and characterized by a predominantly critical tone. Indeed, the country has long been one of the most Eurosceptic EU member states, with a strong tradition of party-based Euroscepticism and a low level of public trust in the EU (according to the latest Eurobarometer survey, it has the third lowest level of public trust in the EU after …