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Influencing Policy on Radical Islam in the Middle East & North Africa

Professor Anoush Ehteshami, Dr Amjed Rasheed and Dr Juline Beaujouan are engaging with policy communities on matters relating to political Islam in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with particular focus on the narrative and internal dynamics of the Islamic State (IS) organization. The primary aim of this engagement is the exchange of perspectives and analyses on IS with a view to better understanding regional responses to it, helping inform relevant policies both in the UK and the MENA region itself.

With this in mind, the team has collaborated with foreign policy think tanks, initially the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and subsequently the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). These partnerships have enabled the sharing of project findings with Whitehall communities and other interested parties. Dissemination has also been carried out via innovative policy briefings and public engagement papers (see below). These have been shared with parliamentary stakeholders, the media, think tanks, and research institutions.

Collaboration with partners in the region (Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, and Lebanon) has helped extend the policy net further, not least through additional funding from the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), awarded in 2018 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for an additional stream of work on the impact of IS’ policies on refugee communities in Jordan and Lebanon. This has facilitated formal collaboration with the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan in Amman and the Berghof Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon.

Durham University's al-Sabah Programme has played a central role in managing this work, drawing on its regional partners and enriching UK debates about IS by providing additional, regional, perspectives.

For further information about the above impact activities contact:


10 December 2020

Regional Crises, Regional Responses workshop on security threats in the Middle East (WebEx event, 1pm-5pm).

9 March 2020

Peer Exchange Workshop: Insights of Recent Research about the Development of Salafi-Jihadism in the MENA Region and Entry Points for Conflict Transformation, Beirut, 9.30am-5pm.

8 July 2019

Roundtable: Post-IS MENA Regional Politics, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), London.

17 June 2019

The Consequences and Implications of Daesh Military Defeat workshop, Centre for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan, Amman.

5 February 2018

Roundtable: The Troubled Triangle of the Islamic State, Iran, and Syria, in collaboration with Chatham House (2.15-5pm, Lindisfarne Conference Centre, St Aidan's College, Durham).

Briefing Papers

Briefing paper I - The Islamic State’s (IS) discourse: Some repeated patterns (.pdf)

Briefing paper II - The Islamic State’s religious perspectives on Iran (.pdf)

Briefing paper III - Jordan in the eyes of Islamic State (.pdf)

Briefing paper IV - Islamic State’s political perspectives on Iran (.pdf)

Briefing paper V - Syria in the eyes of Islamic State (.pdf)

Briefing paper VI - Islamic State’s views on the Muslim Brotherhood (.pdf)

Briefing paper VII - An Analysis of Al-Baghdadi’s 26 August 2019 Audio Message (.pdf)

Briefing paper VIII - Iraq in the Eyes of the Islamic State (.pdf)

Briefing paper IX - Islamic State’s Perspectives on the Free Syrian Army (.pdf)

al-Sabah Papers

Anoush Ehteshami, Amjed Rasheed & Juline Beaujouan, The Rise and Fall of Islamic State: The Fading Influence of Political Islam in the Middle East (al-Sabah Paper 31, November 2020).

Amjed Rasheed & Juline Beaujouan, IS’ Discursive Power in the Middle East (al-Sabah Paper 25, October 2018).

Juline Beaujouan, Syrian Conflict, Syrian Refugees - Part II: The Case of Lebanon (al-Sabah Paper 24, August 2018).

Juline Beaujouan, Syrian Conflict, Syrian Refugees – Part I: The Case of Jordan (al-Sabah Paper 23, July 2018).

Public Engagement Papers

Amjed Rasheed & Juline Beaujouan, France Attacks Prove the Power of Violent Extremist Discourse, Global Policy, 10 November 2020.

Juline Beaujouan & Amjed Rasheed, 'The Fragmented Politics of the Syrian Refugee Crisis Jeopardises the Future of Millions'The Conversation, 10 March 2020.

Anoush Ehteshami, Amjed Rasheed & Juline Beaujouan, 'The Crisis of the State in the Arab Region and the Rise of the Islamic State'openDemocracy, 5 May 2018.