Christopher Anzalone

Christopher Anzalone

Adjunct Faculty

World History: Islamic History, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Political History, Religious History, Social Movements

Current Research

Islamic History; Islamic Political Thought & Political Islam; Shi'ite Islam; Middle East; Africa; South Asia; Social Movements; Political Violence & Terrorism

Selected Publications

“From Dirʿiyya to Riyadh: The History and Global Impact of Saudi Religious Propagation and Education,” with Yasir Qadhi, in Wahhabism and the World: Understanding Saudi Arabia’s Global Influence on Islam, edited by Peter Mandaville (Oxford University Press, 2022).

“Framing Insurgency and the Rebel Proto-State: Al-Shabaab’s Media and Information Operations,” The Journal of the Middle East and Africa, Vol. 12, Issue 3 (2021):

“Women and Jihadism: Between the Battlefield and the Home-front,” Agenda: A Journal about Women and Gender 30, no. 3 (2016): 18-24.

“In the Shadow of the Islamic State: Shi‘i Responses to Sunni Jihadist Narratives in a Turbulent Middle East,” in Jihadism Transformed: Al-Qaeda and Islamic State’s Global Battle of Ideas (Oxford University Press, 2016), 157-182.

“The Multiple Faces of Jabhat al-Nusra (Jabhat Fath al-Sham) in Syria’s Civil War,” Insight Turkey 18, no. 2 (Spring 2016): 41-50.

“The Rise and Decline of al-Shabab in Somalia,” Turkish Review 4, no. 4 (2014): 386-395.

“Globalizing Insurgency in Somalia,” in A World Connected: Globalization in the 21st Century, ed. Nayan Chanda and Susan Froetschel (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), 129-132.

“Propaganda,” The Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, eds. Gerhard Böwering, Patricia Crone, Wadad Kadi, Devin Stewart, Muhammad Qasim Zaman, and Mahan Mirza.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.

“Ayatollah Hosayn Ali Montazeri,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law, ed. Jonathan A. C. Brown.  New York: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).

“Shi‘a,” in The Encyclopedia of the Modern World, ed. Peter Stearns.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Expanded Publication List

“International Islamic Organizations,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics, ed. Emad El-Din Shahin.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

“Islamic Action Front,” in Encyclopedia of the Islamic World, ed. John Esposito.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

“Madrasah,” in The Encyclopedia of the Modern World, ed. Peter Stearns.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2008.

“Addressing the Enemy: Al-Shabaab’s PSYOPS Media Warfare,” CTC Sentinel 13, no. 3 (March 2020), Combating Terrorism Center, West Point.

“The Saga of Mukhtar Robow and Somalia’s Fractious Politics,” with Stig Jarle Hansen, War on the Rocks, 30 January 2019.

“Black Banners in Somalia: The State of al-Shabaab’s Territorial Insurgency and the Specter of the Islamic State,” CTC Sentinel 11, no. 3 (March 2018), Combating Terrorism Center, West Point.

“After the Mogadishu Attacks: Will the Weakened Al Shabaab Rise Again?” with Stig Jarle Hansen, Foreign Affairs (November 3, 2017).

“Refighting the Past in the Present: Modern Conflicts and the Mobilizing and Contesting of Sacred History,” Maydan, George Mason University (November 17, 2016).

“The Resilience of al-Shabaab,” CTC Sentinel 9, no. 4 (April 2016): 13-20, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point.

“Canadian Foreign Fighters in Iraq and Syria,” CTC Sentinel 8, no. 4 (April 2015): 14-19, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point.

“The Life and Death of Al-Shabab Leader Ahmed Godane,” CTC Sentinel 7, no. 9 (September 2014): 19-23, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point. 

“The Nairobi Attack and Al-Shabab’s Media Strategy,” CTC Sentinel 6, no. 10 (October 2013): 1-6, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point. 

“Zaynab’s Guardians: The Emergence of Shi‘a Militias in Syria,” CTC Sentinel 6, no. 7 (July 2013): 16-21, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point.  

“The Rhetoric of Revolution,” Foreign Policy (June 10, 2013). 

“The Militant Web,” Foreign Policy (June 4, 2013). 

“Egyptian Salafis Protest Warming Relations with Iran amidst Rising Sectarian Tensions,” Tahrir Squared, (April 9, 2013).

“Al-Shabab’s Tactical and Media Strategies in the Wake of its Battlefield Setbacks,” CTC Sentinel 6, issue 3 (March 2013): 12-16, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point.  

“The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan: Down but Not Out,” Foreign Policy (November 20, 2012). 

“Kenya’s Muslim Youth Center and Al-Shabab’s East African Recruitment,” CTC Sentinel 5, issue 10 (October 2012): 9-13, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point.  

“The Evolution of an American Jihadi: The Case of Omar Hammami,” CTC Sentinel 5, issue 6 (June 2012): 10-13, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point. 

“Revisiting Shaykh Atiyyatullah’s Works on Takfir and Mass Violence,” CTC Sentinel 5, issue 4 (April 2012): 10-13, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point. 

“Why Should the World Take the Somali Conflict Seriously?,” Euro-Atlantic Quarterly (Spring 2012): 20-21.

“Al-Shabab’s Setbacks in Somalia,” CTC Sentinel 4, issue 10 (October 2011): 22-25, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point. 

“New Kid on the Block: An Al-Qaeda Leader Ascends,” Foreign Policy, (April 20, 2012). 

“Nigeria and Boko Haram in Jihadi Media Discourse,” openDemocracy (March 1, 2012).

“Taliban Leadership Decries Sectarian Attacks,” openDemocracy (January 16, 2012).

“Death of an Ideologue: The Killing of Anwar al-Awlaki,” with Bruno-Olivier Bureau, Foreign Policy (October 21, 2011). 

“Al-Shabab: Between the Battlefield & the Famine,”openDemocracy (October 21, 2011). 

“Al-Qaeda Loses its ‘Renaissance Man’: What the Death of ‘Sheikh Atiyyatullah’ Means,” Foreign Policy (September 9, 2011).  

“Globalizing Insurgency in Somalia,” Yale Global (August 23, 2011). 

“Dangerous Liaison?  Evaluating Relations between Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda,” openDemocracy (August 13, 2011).

“Who are Somalia’s Al-Shabab?,” African Arguments, Royal African Society & Social Science Research Council, (July 27, 2011).

“The Pakistani Taliban’s Media Jihad: The Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan’s Jihadi Propaganda,” Foreign Policy (June 17, 2011).   

“Missionaries of Jihad: Inside al-Qaeda’s Charismatic Vanguard,” Foreign Policy (June 3, 2011). 

“Al-Qaeda Loses Bridge to the West,” Foreign Policy (January 28, 2011). 

“Al-Qaeda’s Media Operation Falls Behind,” Foreign Policy (October 25, 2010).  

“Military Success but Political Failure: The Fight against Al-Shabab in Somalia,” openDemocracy (June 28, 2011).  

“After Usama: The Jihadi-Takfiri Trend after Bin Laden,” Informed Comment (May 6, 2011). 

“HAMAS’ Rhetoric as Spoiler,” Informed Comment (October 21, 2010).  

“From ‘Martyrdom’ Videos to Jihadi Journalism in Somalia,” Informed Comment (August 25, 2010). 

“The Death of a Caliph: Will the Reported Killings of the Islamic State of Iraq’s Two Senior Leaders Spell the End of the Self-styled Jihadi State?,” Informed Comment (April 20, 2010). 

“The Islamic State of Iraq’s Positions on Iraqi National Elections: The Continuing Decline of a Self-styled Jihadi State,” Informed Comment (March 29, 2010).  

Courses Taught

HIST 387: Jihad in the Islamic World


Christopher Anzalone has a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies with a focus on the Middle East and Africa from McGill University, an M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from Indiana University-Bloomington, and a B.A. in History and Religious Studies from George Mason University.  He was previously a Research Fellow with the International Security program at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and he is Assistant Professor with Middle East Studies at the Krulak Center, Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia where he covers the Middle East and Islamicate Africa.