The Norwegian Institute for International Affairs has for more than 50 years been a leading community for research and communication about international affairs of relevance for Norway.

HYRES studies the interaction between Islamist groups and the state in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Mali, and asks: Why do some Islamist groups choose to conduct their political and religious struggle within the state, while other Islamist groups want to establish alternative political entities, such as restoring the Islamic caliphate?

The use of violence appears to be independent of whether groups have a state-oriented or transnational focus. Specifically, the research in this project will look at how resistance varies depending on local, internal and international contexts. This is important as the existing literature on Islamic movements does not provide good answers. It focuses too much on structural explanatory variables, such as Salafism and Islamic theology; or on domestic policy variables to which extent different groups are included or excluded by the state.

The project explores three possible explanations:

  1. Rivalry between competing Islamist groups, which propagate a more radical rhetoric.
  2. the interaction between different Islamist groups and state power
  3. import of transnational slogans reverberate in local controversy issues.

HYRES uses a systematic, comparative analysis and develops a general conceptual framework, based on the latest developments in the contentious politics literature. We will identify and review the variation between our cases and contribute to the general literature on social movements in non-democratic and semi-democratic countries.