Assistant Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Lawrence Rubin’s research interests include comparative Middle East politics and international security with a specific focus on Islam and politics, Arab foreign policies, and nuclear proliferation. He holds a PhD in Political Science from UCLA and has earned degrees from UC Berkeley, the London School of Economics, and the University of Oxford. Rubin has been a Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs with the Dubai Initiative in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (2009-2010) and has served as a lecturer on the Robert and Myra Kraft chair in Arab politics at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University (2008-2009). Rubin is currently the Associate Editor for the journal Terrorism and Political Violence. Outside of Academia, Rubin has held positions at the National Defense University's Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies and the RAND Corporation. Rubin has conducted research in Morocco, Egypt, Israel, the UAE, and Yemen. He is the author of the recent book, Islam in the Balance: Ideational Threats in Arab Politics (Stanford University Press, 2014)
Islam in the Balance: Ideational Threats in Arab Politics is an analysis of how ideas, or political ideology, can threaten states and how states react to ideational threats. It examines the threat perception and policies of two Arab, Muslim majority states, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, in response to the rise and activities of two revolutionary "Islamic states," established in Iran (1979) and Sudan (1989).
In this new Saban Center Analysis Paper, Lawrence Rubin examines the curious case of the Islamic movement in Israel, from its origins in the early 1970s, fragmentation in the mid-1990s, to its present state. He provides an overview of this Islamic movement as a window into an under-examined subject at the intersection of Israeli-Arab and Islamist politics.
Rubin pays particular attention to the evolution of the Islamic movement by surveying its major inflection points, including its development, its split into hardline and moderate factions and its attempts at reconciliation. The paper also situates this movement within the domestic and regional environment in order to highlight both the similarities and differences between the Israeli Islamic movement and others in the region. Rubin looks at the future trajectories of the movement, including the challenges and opportunities presented by the Prawer Plan and other developments.
Finally, the paper concludes by highlighting why this movement is important for Arab-Jewish relations, the peace process and regional peace and stability—and what it means for U.S. foreign policy.
This paper examines the development of ‘Official Islam’, or state-sponsored religious institutions, in Jordan. We argue that Jordan's development went through three phases. From its independence in 1947 until the revolution, the state undertook minimal efforts to develop this institution. After the Iranian revolution, however, the state changed course by developing two such institutions – the Advisory Council of Dar al-Ifta (Department for Issuing Fatwas) and the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. These institutional changes set the stage for the regime's new policy of seeking to manage the public religious space. With the rise of Global Jihadism in the late 1990s, however, the state has increasingly empowered both institutions seeking to actively shape the religious space and debate in Jordan.
Regime changes through revolution or war are of great interest for scholars not simply because there is a need to explain these events but also because the conquering army or new regine may release information that enables scholars to assess the previous historical record. Access to state records is particularly important for trying to understand more about social and political life under authoritarian or totalitarian rule.
This book seeks to explore the new frontiers in counter-terrorism research, analyses and practice, focusing on the imperative to rehabilitate terrorists.