ABSTRACT. In this six-part strategic assessment, I argue that fighting extremism will require practical institutional solutions for ethnically problematic areas and new Western task forces for the interface between ethnicity and religion. Analyzing the model of the territorial autonomy of the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol in Northern Italy, considered as one of the best proven models of ethnic pacification in Europe, I show that addressing key aspects of the extremism problem is possible through the institutional regulation of ethnic rights. Implementing territorial autonomies for ethnic minority areas can benefit all of their citizens, including the members of the ethnic majority living on the ground; and it can help to run dry extremist trends by providing justice through “deep” equality that fosters long-term stability. The situation in Iraq and Syria could be one case of application and a practical test for the validity of the model and its transferability to different conflict areas in today’s global strategic landscape. pp. 7–29

Keywords: extremism; ethnicity; minority; autonomy; Iraq; Syria; South Tyrol model

How to cite: Benedikter, Roland (2016), “Extremism and Ethnicity: A Crucial Interface of Contemporary Geopolitical Strategy to Be Better Addressed by International Policy,” Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 8(1): 7–29.

Received 9 April 2015 • Received in revised form 6 July 2015
Accepted 8 July 2015 • Available online 1 October 2015


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