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Boomerang: Opinion versus Action in the Radicalization of Abu-Mulal al-Balawi


Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, recruited by Jordanian intelligence as a double agent to gather information on high-profile Taliban leaders, blew himself up on 30 December 2009, in Khost province of Afghanistan. He killed seven CIA agents and one Jordanian agent. We distinguish two phases in al-Balawi's trajectory to violence: radicalization of opinion during his life in Jordan working as a physician from 2002 to 2009, and radicalization of action in Pakistan between March and December 2009. Mechanisms of radicalization, including personal and group grievances and “slippery-slope” increments of commitment, can make sense of al-Balawi's radicalization of opinion, but his turn to violent action requires consideration of his Internet identity as a warrior, Abu Dujana. In our interpretation, his radicalization in action depended on the means and opportunity offered by Jordanian intelligence and the CIA.

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Full Citation:

McCauley, Clark, and Metin Turcan. 2010. "Boomerang: Opinion versus Action in the Radicalization of Abu-Mulal al-Balawi." Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict (July): 14-31. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17467586.2010.498896#tabMod…

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