Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 May 2021
Chapter 5 explores the dynamics of Tawhid’s engagement in low-level violence in Tripoli in 1982–3 and especially of the implementation of an “Islamic Emirate,” which amounted to the imposition of its Islamist ideological agenda onto the city. Tawhid’s ideological behaviour, instead of being homogeneous, came to vary sometimes significantly across space and to feature instances of inconsistencies with its declaratory ideology. This, the chapter claims, originated from its readiness to recruit less or not ideologically committed members who were often Tripolitan subalterns intent on utilizing the movement as a vehicle for their older social and political revolt. At first these urban poor provided the manpower Tawhid needed to implement its “Islamic Emirate” onto Tripoli. Yet, ultimately, this constituency dragged the movement into the city’s preexisting social antagonisms which were unrelated to ideology, pushing it to target the upper class and notables and to overthrow the local order.
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