Chapter

Constructing the Enemy

Thomas Martin

in Empires of Intelligence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251175
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933743 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520251175.003.0003
Constructing the Enemy

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This chapter investigates imperial intelligence gathering about ideologically driven unrest. Islamic piety and atheistic Marxism-Leninism may seem poles apart, but, from the perspective of intelligence analysts, they had much in common. Both attracted committed adherents who abhorred Western materialism and imperialist social theories. It was this internationalist dimension to Islamism and Communism that preoccupied the security services of France and Britain because it suggested that, whatever the relative local weaknesses of pan-Islamist and Comintern-organized anticolonial groups, their real strength lay elsewhere: in their appeal to colonial subjects to unite across imperial frontiers in opposition to European control. The estimates made by imperial intelligence communities about the nature of the enemies they faced must also be taken into account. It is for this reason that the article begins by considering how opponents of Britain and France's Middle Eastern imperial ventures were viewed, first in popular culture, and second in terms of stereotype.

Keywords: intelligence gathering; Marxism; Leninism; materialism; Islamism; Communism; France; Britain

Chapter.  15046 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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