Rules for Rebels | 2018 | Events

Rules for Rebels: The Science of Victory in Militant History
Max Abrahms
Max Abrahms
Northeastern University
November 7, 2018
Building E40-496 (Pye Room)


Ever wonder why militant groups behave as they do? For instance, why did Al Qaeda attack the World Trade Center whereas the African National Congress tried to avoid civilian bloodshed? Why does Islamic State brag over social media about its gory attacks, while Hezbollah denies responsibility or even apologizes for its carnage? Abrahms' forthcoming book shows that militant group behavior depends on the strategic intelligence of the leaders. The author has extensively studied the political plights of hundreds of militant groups throughout world history and reveals that successful militant leaders have followed three rules. Although counterintuitive, these rules are based on original insights from the fields of political science, psychology, criminology, economics, management, marketing, communication, and sociology. It turns out there's a science to victory in militant history. But even rebels must follow rules.


Max Abrahms is assistant professor of political science and public policy at Northeaster University. His new book, Rules for Rebels (Oxford University Press), explains why the conventional wisdom about Islamic State was incorrect.