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Hamzić, Vanja (2024) 'Rival Systems: Islamic International Law during the Cold War.' In: Craven, Matthew, Pahuja, Sundhya and Simpson, Gerry, (eds.), International Law during the Cold War, 1945-1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (The Cambridge History of International Law, Vol. XI) (Forthcoming)

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The present chapter seeks to provide a broad introduction to the problematics of an Islamic international law and its relationship with international law during the Cold War, paying attention to both juridical and political developments. I begin with the sketch of widely influential revivalist thought in the wake of the 1924 loss of the caliphate (khilāfa), which after the World War II grew alongside an array of equally pan-Muslim ideas of socialist, cultural and linguistic solidarity. I focus on some of the leading revivalist jurists-theologians (fuqahāʿ) as well as their chief intellectual and political antagonists—Third Worldist and socialist-leaning (to use the ubiquitous Soviet term of the time) in particular. Next, I attempt to show how these divergent strands of Muslim thought faired in the Cold War arena, from outright revolutions and insurgencies to more abstract and quietist reimaginations of both statehood and inter-state relations, including through the work of some of the key contemporary scholars of siyar. Finally, the chapter turns to Cold-War-time international lawyers from Muslim-majority states and their attempts to embed some of the principles of Islamic law in international legal theory and practice, particularly through the work of the ICJ. I maintain that, in an era of superpowers and blocs, Muslim decolonial ideas about statehood and inter-state relations traversed the field of international law towards a second coming of siyar, albeit in a variety of guises, from conservative populist to revolutionary Marxist. They simultaneously shaped and challenged, from within and without, the new world of nation states. For some, committing to a more diverse and dynamic international law, inclusive of certain modest emanations of siyar, was an acceptable alternative to an Islamic state beyond and above the world of nation states. For others, it was not, and they would continue to vie for this would-be ideal intellectually, politically and, on occasion, militarily, too. These contrasting worldmaking efforts would sometimes overlap and, more often than not, directly interact with larger Cold War affairs, providing for a unique terrain of political and legal engagements. Siyar’s ‘return’ was thus contemplated and put to work through multiple interpretations and, crucially perhaps, its appeal was both intellectual and practical. As for its relationship with international law, it remained a source of both hope and frustrations, emblematic of the larger systemic disparities in power-relations during as much as after the Cold War.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2023 13:16

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