Islam, Guerrilla War, and Revolution: A Study in Comparative Social History

Islam, Guerrilla War, and Revolution: A Study in Comparative Social History

Islam, Guerrilla War, and Revolution: A Study in Comparative Social History

Islam, Guerrilla War, and Revolution: A Study in Comparative Social History

Excerpt

This study brings together my interests in several fields. First and foremost it is an effort to contribute to the field of comparative social history, a young sister of historical sociology, and to introduce this field into Islamic studies.My preoccupation with such topics has existed ever since I discovered Barrington Moore's famous study, which converged in my mind with a prior interest in long-range movements of change, involving mainly agrarian forces, which I owe to the late Professor Gabriel Baer.

I have written this book to demonstrate the great explanatory value of comparisons for Middle Eastern history and political sociology.Except for Clifford Geertz's brilliant small volume covering Morocco and Indonesia, the comparative approach has not so far been attempted on a serious scale.In this book I also seek to make a contribution toward elucidating the relations between Islam and communism or Marxism, basing my investigation on studies of the two extant Muslim-Marxist regimes, Albania and South Yemen.Because the coming to power of these two regimes was intimately connected with the dynamics of guerrilla warfare, I was led to the main topic of the book—the theoretical and actual relations between guerrilla warfare and political radicalism in general and communism in particular, a subject that has been surprisingly neglected in comparative social history. Even a casual look at the inventory of radical revolutions that have taken place in the twentieth century will show that several of them happened as part of a guerrilla war against an occupying foreign power. Was this simply fortuitous? As I shall show, the answer is probably no.

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