January 20, 2003
New Global Policy Brief web site gets crucial
information out quickly
By Jennifer McNulty
As the United States moves closer to war with Iraq, a leading scholar
of the Middle East has published a compelling analysis of the conditions
that have given rise to Islamic radicalism.
|Alan Richards Photo:
Tom Van Dyke
The policy brief, "Explaining
the Appeal of Islamic Radicals" by UCSC professor of environmental
studies Alan Richards, is the first to be posted on a new web site launched
by UCSC that targets journalists and policy makers.
In the policy brief, Richards identifies the social, economic, and
political factors fueling Islamic radicalism, and critiques the Bush
administration's policies as "throwing gasoline on the fire."
A military attack on Iraq will stoke the "already intense rage
against the U.S. felt by the political actors to whom the future belongs:
young Muslims," writes Richards, who argues instead for short-term
covert operations against al-Qaeda and long-run strategies to undermine
the appeal of violent Islamist radicals.
Richards, a frequent consultant to the U.S. State Department and the
Department of Defense on Middle Eastern affairs, said he feels a "moral
obligation" to try to contribute to greater understanding of Middle
"Believe me, there are people in our military, State Department,
and intelligence agencies who think the Bush administration's policies
are very dangerous," said Richards, whose analysis of the roots
of Islamic radicalism illuminates the risk of a U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Even the Army has expressed interest in reprinting a paper Richards
prepared last year for a conference at the Army War College's Strategic
Studies Institute, he said.
"Explaining the Appeal of Islamic Radicals" is the first
piece posted on a new Global Policy Brief web
site sponsored by the UCSC
Center for Global, International & Regional Studies (CGIRS).
The site will showcase research and opinions on international matters
of widespread interest, said Ben Crow, an associate professor of sociology
at UCSC and the CGIRS associate director who launched the site.
"We'd like to help narrow the gap between academics, policy makers,
and the public," said Crow, adding that new web technology gives
scholars an opportunity to circumvent the lengthy academic publishing
cycle, get information out quickly, and reach lay audiences.
Global Policy Briefs and CGIRS Working Papers will also be available
through the California Digital Library's eScholarship Repository. "Explaining
the Appeal of Islamic Radicals" may be downloaded at http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgirs/gpb/GPB1/.
The CGIRS web page on the California Digital Library is http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgirs/.
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