Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

R. L. Liora Salter


Arab world, Authoritarian ambition, Global centralization, Colonialism, Counterinsurgency, Counter-terrorism, Definition of terrorism


Contemporary anti-terrorism legislation has raised concerns about the global evolution of law and crime control. National and global anti-terrorism frameworks include broad definitions of terrorist crimes and exceptional measures, which risk violating the rule of law and criminal justice. While these frameworks have been broadened since 9/11, the experience of the Arab world shows that wide sweeping anti-terrorism frameworks existed well before this time. This dissertation investigates the origin of current anti-terrorism laws and measures, arguing that colonialism and neo-colonialism contributed to the shaping of counter-terrorism law and policy in two case studies: Egypt and Tunisia. The investigation considers the counter-insurgency experience of Egypt and Tunisia under British and French colonialism. Colonial methods of crime control included militarism and exceptionalism, and these approaches are still used in post-colonial Egypt and Tunisia not only to bring criminals to justice, but also to suppress opponents in the name of national security and counter-terrorism. The neo-colonial influence, particularly in the imposition of global anti-terrorism obligations by the UN Security Council and FATF is investigated. These global obligations require the criminalization of terrorism financing and speech related to terrorism, with the establishment of an executive-like mechanism that allows blacklisting individuals and groups, freezing their funds, and restricting their travel, all of which have become part of Egypt and Tunisias anti-terrorism frameworks. The dissertation investigates whether such neo-colonial measures also have their roots in the colonial experience and are thus an extension of the colonial rationale in the contemporary war on terror. Finally, the dissertation examines the role of authoritarian ambition in Egypt and Tunisia in developing draconian anti-terrorism laws, which empower the government but obstruct the advancement of democratic values and the protection of human rights.


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Available for download on Sunday, December 31, 2023