Eventually, most terrorist and guerrilla groups are defeated by governments or gradually die off - sometimes becoming political parties, democratically participating in the non-violent governance of their states. Yet some terrorist and guerrilla groups maintain military capabilities, using violence and democratic participation simultaneously. Here, Krista E. Wiegand examines the different political strategies that Islamist terrorist and guerrilla groups use to achieve their political objectives. Focussing on Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine, Wiegand skilfully reveals the factors that determine why Islamist militant groups become involved in governance as political parties, how mainstream governments may or may not accept them as legitimate, why some groups like al- Gama'a al-Islamiya in Egypt renounce guerrilla tactics, and how some groups govern whilst employing political violence. Bombs and Ballots is a valuable contribution to the study of state-society relations in the Middle East, exposing the blurred line between terrorist activity and governance.
'This perceptive study by Wiegand argues that movements using guerrilla/terrorist tactics can become "legitimate political parties."…This is a solid scholarly study. It is highly readable and accessible to a wide range of readers…The volume will occupy a significant place in the literature not just on Islamist movements but more broadly on political violence and democratization. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels.' Choice 'In this engaging and meticulously researched book, Wiegand sheds light on two critical themes in the study of Middle Eastern countries and the larger Muslim world: democratic reform and political violence. Showing movements like Hamas and Hezbollah to be complex, rational actors that strategically blend their use of violent and non-violent tactics, Wiegand moves the discussion beyond its too limited characterization of Middle Eastern political actors as either violent radicals or peaceful reformers. A useful tool for students, scholars and members of the policy community alike'. James A. Piazza, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA