Middle East Studies

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Radical Islam in Egypt and Jordan


Dr. Tal was a senior official of Israel’s General Security Service (GSS), head of the GSS Arab section and GSS commander of the Gaza Strip and Sinai district. He was a member of the Israeli delegation to the 1991 Madrid Conference, and a member of the Israeli delegation to the peace talks with the Jordanians, which led to the peace agreement that was signed in October 1994. He is currently a researcher at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies and teaches in the security studies program Tel Aviv University.

Based on extensive research and discussions with Islamic activists and statesmen and academics in Egypt, Jordan and Israel

Documents the rise of Islamic fundamentalism as a social and political force, and its appeal to the Arab Muslim demography

Examines the role of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and Hamas

Reveals how Egypt and Jordan have fought back against Islamic radicalism

The rise of the Islamic fundamentalist movement as a social and political force is the most important development in the modern Arab world. Beginning in the late 1970s, radical Islam directly affected Egypt and Jordan, neighbors and co-signatories of peace treaties with Israel. The radical Islamic movement in both these countries assumed two forms – non-violent, represented mainly by the Muslim Brotherhood, and violent, represented by various terrorist groups. Both groups shared the objective of replacing the existing regimes with Islamic theocracies.

Egypt and Jordan responded firmly to the growth of radical Islam, quashing terrorist activity. Successive Egyptian regimes attempted unsuccessfully to arrive at a compromise for coexistence with the Muslim Brotherhood, and resorted to firm countermeasures to strip the movement of its social and political power. In Jordan, where the Muslim Brotherhood enjoyed legal status, the regime kept a strict hold on the movement so that its influence would not exceed government-imposed limits.

By the end of the 1990s, the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups no longer posed an existential threat to the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes, since there was little chance of their seizing the government in the foreseeable future. Although they might succeed in toppling a head of state, it is unlikely that they would be able to establish an Islamic regime. At the same time, both regimes acknowledged that it was beyond their power to eradicate Islamic radicalism, and recognized that they would have to face its challenge for many years to come.

Published in association with the Institute for National Strategic Studies

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-052-1
Hardback Price: £47.50 / $67.50
Release Date: January 2005
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-098-9
Paperback Price: £19.50 / $29.95
Release Date: January 2005
Page Extent / Format: 296 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


List of Tables and Figures

The Essence of Fundamentalism
The Crisis of the Faithful
The Threat of Fundamentalism to Current Regimes

1 Egypt and Islamic Fundamentalism
Socio-Economic Background
The Muslim Brotherhood
The Islamic Terrorist Organizations

2 Egypt's Struggle against the Muslim Brotherhood
An Unbridgeable Divide
The Confrontation under Nasser and Sadat
Mubarak's Policy of Containment
From Containment to All-Out Confrontation
Suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood, 1998–99

3 Islamic Terrorism in Egypt
The Surge of the 1990s
Funding and Armament
The Inclusive Range of Targets

4 Egypt Battles Islamic Terrorism
Early Intelligence and Operational Efforts
The Evolution of an Anti-Terrorism Strategy
The Legislature and the Courts
Propaganda and Psychological Warfare
The Inter-Arab and International Arenas

5 Egyptian Resistance to Fundamentalism

6 Jordan's Struggle with Subversion and Terrorism
The Hashemite Regime vs. Non-Fundamentalist Opposition
The Rise and Suppression of Islamic Organizations in the 1990s
The Regime vs. Palestinian Islamic Jihad Factions

7 The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan
The Movement's Establishment, Goals, and Activity
The Muslim Brotherhood and the Political System
The Palestinian Element within the Muslim Brotherhood
The Challenge of the Peace Process with Israel

8 Jordan against the Muslim Brotherhood
From Ally to Opponent
Forming the Response
The Regime's Containment Policy
Deterrent and Stabilizing Factors

9 Jordanian Resistance to Fundamentalism

Radical Islam in Egypt and Jordan: An Integrative Conclusion


Nachman Tal has written a unique book. It elucidates the variety of streams of radical Islam and the modus operandi of Egypt and Jordan in coping with them. Based on his intimate knowledge of the field, Tal’s work is an indispensable source for understanding the relations between the ideology and the strategy of these radical streams.
Dr Matti Steinberg, former advisor to the head of Israel’s General Security Service

Nachman Tal’s book presents an extensive review of the rise of violent and non-Islamic groups in Egypt and Jordan. Based on original research and the author’s personal interviews with leading figures in the field, the book is a most impressive collection of information and records, covering both the radical groups themselves and the regimes’ methods of confronting the Islamic threat.
Prof. Shaul Mishal (Department of Political Science, Tel Aviv University), co-author of Investment in Peace: The Politics of Economic Cooperation Between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians, writing in Ha’aretz

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