Page 10 of 15 FirstFirst ... 89101112 ... LastLast
Results 181 to 200 of 287

Thread: Assessing Al-Qaeda (merged thread)

  1. #181
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,361

    Default Preventing AQ expansion: a strategy needed?

    JMM99 asked for a new thread we should discuss "preventing AQ expansion". An ounce of prevention now may free a pound of care later.

    His initial comment added:
    But, having said that, US "prevention" efforts generally have been less than "shock and awe"-inspiring. Our "state building" operations in Iraq and Astan were certainly intended to prevent AQ expansion. Now, thousands of lives and just south of $ 2 trillion later, we have basically nada - those two "state building" efforts have been the "spectacular failures".

    A subsidiary issue for that separate discussion is how far afield does the US go in preventing the expansion of AQ "franchises" (as opposed to hitting AQ Base). In short, the feasibility and the costs of mounting those operations (whatever they might be) may well be prohibitive with respect to local "AQ" groups.

    In retrospect from 9/11, the US has been successful in small direct actions and drone strikes against AQ Base and the leadership of closely-tied franchises on an international scale. The US has also been successful within CONUS in prosecuting hundreds of AQ inspired local terrs - with only one shootout (Detroit MI) that I know of.
    My initial search, using intervention and prevention failed to identify a relevant thread. A skim through this arena found a thread started by Gian Gentile that does fit! It is a 2008 thread 'The Global Counter Insurgency" Some Thoughts' at:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=4927
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-24-2014 at 04:46 PM.
    davidbfpo

  2. #182
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    1

    Default Islamic sects: vehicle for de-legitimizing AQ?

    I submit that a possible avenue of de-legitimization of AQ and its (Sunni) literalist exegetical paradigm of the Qur'an, Hadith and Islamic history would be Islamic sects, some of which (Ahmadis, Isma'ili Shi`a, a number of Sufi orders) hold different views of, in particular, jihad; they define it as truly non-violent, unlike the majority Sunni view over the last 1434 years. Jihad is thus not "extremist" or even "radical," as journalists and too many analysts parrot; jihad, and yes violent jihad against non-Muslims, is mainstream in Islam and has been since the examples of Muhammad himself. The only way that legitimate narrative--which gives strength to AQ and the other 38 Muslim groups on the current State Dept. FTO list--can be degraded is by holding up to Muslims that there are those within their own faith tradition that dissent. This will take time, but it may work. I wrote an article on this a few years ago: http://hnn.us/article/83742

  3. #183
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    MoorthyM:

    I ask your opinion on this. One of the vulnerabilities of radical Islam is its bloodthirstiness. People in general don't like that, so much so that radical Islam either comes up with a fairy story denying that radical Islam did it, ie the story that we destroyed the world trade center ourselves; or they twist the theology in order to justify psychopathic murder. Even that only goes so far with the people who have live under them, eventually those people rebel, like in Iraq before and in Syria now. The people who provide the recruits and the money never see the blood so they swallow the fairy stories and the twisted theology and continue to provide recruits and money.

    So, I think we should attack this vulnerability. We should highlight all the murders continuously, constantly present the obvious evidence that these guys are so many Jeffrey Dahmers organized. Every time an American diplomat meets a Sauidi or Pakistani diplomat bring up the latest atrocity. We should buy time on Al Jazerra and run shows on the bombings and murders. We should beat them over the head so to speak with the severed limbs of the
    victims. The idea is to try and make it that people who give the money have to some extent live with and see the blood. I think it would discourage the money giving.

    What do you think?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  4. #184
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,021

    Default Tim: Welcome to the shop

    As another fan of Jeremiah Johnson (Amazon), I liked your short comment on your webpage:

    Friday, January 3, 2014

    Jeremiah Johnson, Islam and CT Analysis.

    One of my favorites movies of all time is the 1972 atypical Western "Jeremiah Johnson," starring Robert Redford. Johnson is a mountain man somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of the western US in the mid-19th century, fighting the elements, bears, wolves and of course Indians (no they aren't' "Native Americans," because they too came to the Western hemisphere from elsewhere--they just did so some millennia before the Europeans).

    At one point Johnson is asked to guide a US Cavalry unit and a Protestant minister through a sacred Crow Indian burial ground, in order to relieve a band of trapped American settlers. Johnson replies that doing so could be dangerous because the area is "big medicine." Reverend Lindquist sneers "you don't believe that!" To which the mountain man retorts "it doesn't matter; THEY do!"

    After being reminded of this insightful scene by my good friend Reverend Chuck Treadwell, it occurred to me that most modern American counter-intelligence, intelligence and area studies analysts could learn something from Jeremiah Johnson. I can't even recall how many times I've read, or been told in person--by members of the Intelligence Community, State Department, media, chaplains or even our military--that "jihadists aren't REALLY motivated by Islam" or "no Muslims REALLY believe in the Mahdi" or (perhaps my favorite) "I don't have to read the Qur'an to know that it's a 'peaceful' book."


    US CT policy would be better off heeding this guy than the Mark Sagemans of the world.

    This was the point I was making in an interview I did with the "Jerusalem Post" (during my trip to Israel in November 2012), regarding analysis of the Islamic world: "We have to look at the culture, economics, politics and psychology in addition to religion—but it cannot be ignored. In intelligence analysis, much like historical analysis, you put yourself in the others' position. It is very important to understand the others—even when we do not agree with them.”

    That way, maybe, the Muslim equivalents of Paints-His-Shirt-Red will eventually call off their jihad against us and raise their hands in peace--as that Crow chief did toward Johnson at the end of the movie. But that only occurred after the bearded and heavily armed white Christian had defeated all the braves sent to kill him.
    Reverend Lindquist was an idiot, was he not (arrogance bred from ignorance).

    Regards

    Mike

    PS (off-topic): Vine would've argued that the moccasin tracks went in the other direction (link).

    I've drunk more than a few beers with Indians (woo-woo kind), but not with a Native American (rara avis ?)
    Last edited by jmm99; 01-24-2014 at 06:08 PM.

  5. #185
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DrTRFurnish View Post
    I submit that a possible avenue of de-legitimization of AQ and its (Sunni) literalist exegetical paradigm of the Qur'an, Hadith and Islamic history would be Islamic sects, some of which (Ahmadis, Isma'ili Shi`a, a number of Sufi orders) hold different views of, in particular, jihad; they define it as truly non-violent, unlike the majority Sunni view over the last 1434 years. Jihad is thus not "extremist" or even "radical," as journalists and too many analysts parrot; jihad, and yes violent jihad against non-Muslims, is mainstream in Islam and has been since the examples of Muhammad himself. The only way that legitimate narrative--which gives strength to AQ and the other 38 Muslim groups on the current State Dept. FTO list--can be degraded is by holding up to Muslims that there are those within their own faith tradition that dissent. This will take time, but it may work. I wrote an article on this a few years ago: http://hnn.us/article/83742
    This should be looked at closely. I think it has real merit as a main effort.

  6. #186
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MoorthyM View Post
    The author of this article, Praveen Swami, has overlooked the strategic aims of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia backed Islamists in South Asia.

    These Islamists, such as Pakistani intelligence backed Lashkar-e-Taiba want to “recapture” India for Islam. Under this vision, a radicalized Kashmir is to be used as a base for escalating radicalization of India’s Muslim minorities and formation of jihadist groups in the Indian heartland. The Islamists have made great strides in this direction. It has just been noted that a group modeled after (Pakistan-based) Tahreek-e-Taliban has now taken root in the central Indian city of Aurangabad.

    Strategically, from an Islamist view, there is little to be gained by intensifying jihad in Kashmir at this time as it would invite retaliation by the Indian army, bring hardships to the local (Muslim) population, and make them reluctant to help the Islamist cause. Fundamentally, India (like every other nation) has failed to understand why the locals have been drawn to radical ideologies and how to extricate them. That’s the bottom line.

    In my 2009 book, Defeating Political Islam: The New Cold War, an entire section titled, “Siege of India (pp: 81-133)” is devoted to a discussion of the ongoing multi-front jihadist assault on India.

    This may be one of those situations where a storm is waiting in the wings of the calm.
    We have understood the radicalization for years, even prior to 9/11, but that doesn't mean we understand how to stop it. I think we need to keep a realistic view of our limitations when it comes to both implementing counter-radicalization (prevention) and de-radicalization effective programs. We understand the forces the cause volcanos, but we can't prevent them from happening. Assuming the collective we, to include Muslim allies in this struggle could develop an approach to counter current methods, both state and non-state actors who promote radicalization as a way to obtain their political goals will adjust their radicalization process to overcome our messaging to discredit them. While this will still remain an important effort we're not going to contain Al-Qaeda anytime soon pursuing this.

    Fighting will still be required to hold the wave back, but more importantly as Bob's World has pointed out repeatedly governments will have to evolve to limit the appeal of radical Islam. While counter intuitive, if the population desires more fundamentalism then why not encourage it? If they practice Islam in that way, then what is the basis of any argument by Al-Qaeda that they need to change?

  7. #187
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,361

    Default AQ comes in kit form: how do we respond?

    The NYT Sunday Review has a succinct article, with many good quotes, for example Will McCants:
    Al Qaeda is kind of a ready-made kit now..It is a portable ideology that is entirely fleshed out, with its own symbols and ways of mobilizing people and money to the cause. In many ways, you don’t have to join the actual organization anymore to get those benefits.
    The penultimate sentence:
    But while counterterrorism can be effective in stopping specific threats, depriving militant groups of the unstable environments where they flourish and organize is much harder.
    The last sentence reflects a focus on the Middle East, when IMHO it ignores the sustenance provided by some within stable, governed territory (KSA, Gulf sheikhdoms etc) for militancy elsewhere. The Yemen has been a nearby "sideshow" for years, then there is the 'sore" of Iraq and now Syria. None of them appear to mobilise beyond a small militant minority, which we all too often overlook in our fear.

    What you are seeing in the Middle East is a problem of militancy combined with ungoverned territory,....That is the real problem, not which groups belong to Al Qaeda and how can we get rid of them.
    Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/su...aeda.html?_r=0
    davidbfpo

  8. #188
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    The NYT Sunday Review has a succinct article, with many good quotes, for example Will McCants:

    The penultimate sentence:

    The last sentence reflects a focus on the Middle East, when IMHO it ignores the sustenance provided by some within stable, governed territory (KSA, Gulf sheikhdoms etc) for militancy elsewhere. The Yemen has been a nearby "sideshow" for years, then there is the 'sore" of Iraq and now Syria. None of them appear to mobilise beyond a small militant minority, which we all too often overlook in our fear.

    Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/su...aeda.html?_r=0
    David, is it ungoverned territory if Al-Qaeda or affiliated group governs that space? This was addressed in the "Management of Strategy," which is one of the Islamist strategy books. Kilcullen developed a theory to address this for terrorists, criminals, and insurgents, called "the theory of competitive control." I tried to spur a discussion on this topic earlier to no avail, but in my opinion the spread of AQ is all about competitive control.

  9. #189
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,361

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    David, is it ungoverned territory if Al-Qaeda or affiliated group governs that space? This was addressed in the "Management of Strategy," which is one of the Islamist strategy books. Kilcullen developed a theory to address this for terrorists, criminals, and insurgents, called "the theory of competitive control." I tried to spur a discussion on this topic earlier to no avail, but in my opinion the spread of AQ is all about competitive control.
    Bill,

    No, in many of the territories AQ are supposedly active they rarely govern. AQIM is a good example. It has gone through a cycle of militancy, retreat, crime (kidnapping & smuggling) and militancy in the Sahel where there are few people and even fewer who accept or need what they offer. Yemen I think is similar, with corruption replacing crime.

    There is a big difference in deciding what the strategy should be in places where there are people in large numbers, Indonesia comes to mind.

    I am not sure AQ's narrative has much appeal beyond inhospitable places with small populations (Afghanistan) where there is a competent state which can contain them (India), sorry also those that are ruthless (Algeria & Egypt).

    I failed to find 'competitive control' instead this old thread Indirect and Direct components to strategy for the Long War (from 2008-2009) appeared and maybe useful:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=5070
    davidbfpo

  10. #190
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Bill,

    No, in many of the territories AQ are supposedly active they rarely govern. AQIM is a good example. It has gone through a cycle of militancy, retreat, crime (kidnapping & smuggling) and militancy in the Sahel where there are few people and even fewer who accept or need what they offer. Yemen I think is similar, with corruption replacing crime.

    There is a big difference in deciding what the strategy should be in places where there are people in large numbers, Indonesia comes to mind.

    I am not sure AQ's narrative has much appeal beyond inhospitable places with small populations (Afghanistan) where there is a competent state which can contain them (India), sorry also those that are ruthless (Algeria & Egypt).

    I failed to find 'competitive control' instead this old thread Indirect and Direct components to strategy for the Long War (from 2008-2009) appeared and maybe useful:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=5070
    David,

    I going to disagree, while you have some valid points, they are not true in all cases. They generally can't maintain control, but they can establish it pretty quickly as demonstrated in parts of Iraq, Syria, Mali, etc. where village by village, or town by town they established control (however ephemeral) quickly, implemented their laws, and provided predictability.

    If you read Kilcullen's new book Out of the Mountains he discusses his theory at some length, and a little more explanation at the links below:

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...nflict-climate

    In a 1964 lecture he said that during WW2 “any sound revolutionary warfare operator used small-war tactics [ie guerrilla techniques] -not to destroy the German Army, of which they were thoroughly incapable, but to establish a competitive system of control over the population”. This is the same normative system idea I mentioned earlier: it implies the presence of a system of incentives and disincentives, of a normative system (behavioral rules correlated with a set of consequences) that is used to generate control over population groups.
    http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780199737505.html

    Kilcullen also offers a unified theory of "competitive control" that shows how non-state armed groups, drug cartels, street gangs, warlords - draw their strength from local populations, providing useful ideas for dealing with these groups and with diffuse social conflicts in general. But for many of the struggles we will face, he notes, there will be no military solution. We will need to involve local people deeply to address problems which neither outsiders nor locals alone can solve.
    http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book...rban-guerrilla

    a more lengthy discussion on how it applies to AQ at this link.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/...84450431896952

    The foundation of "Out of the Mountains" is Mr. Kilcullen's "theory of competitive control," which zooms in on the insurgent networks that other theories glance at from a bird's-eye perspective. The theory suggests that "populations respond to a predictable, ordered, normative system, which tells them exactly what they need to do, and not do, in order to be safe." Remove that normative system, and chaos could easily ensue.

  11. #191
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3,902

    Default

    Good perspective... and probably correct.

    When an area 'goes quiet' you need to have a good look at what is going on below the surface (so to speak).


    Quote Originally Posted by MoorthyM View Post
    The author of this article, Praveen Swami, has overlooked the strategic aims of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia backed Islamists in South Asia.

    These Islamists, such as Pakistani intelligence backed Lashkar-e-Taiba want to “recapture” India for Islam. Under this vision, a radicalized Kashmir is to be used as a base for escalating radicalization of India’s Muslim minorities and formation of jihadist groups in the Indian heartland. The Islamists have made great strides in this direction. It has just been noted that a group modeled after (Pakistan-based) Tahreek-e-Taliban has now taken root in the central Indian city of Aurangabad.

    Strategically, from an Islamist view, there is little to be gained by intensifying jihad in Kashmir at this time as it would invite retaliation by the Indian army, bring hardships to the local (Muslim) population, and make them reluctant to help the Islamist cause. Fundamentally, India (like every other nation) has failed to understand why the locals have been drawn to radical ideologies and how to extricate them. That’s the bottom line.

    In my 2009 book, Defeating Political Islam: The New Cold War, an entire section titled, “Siege of India (pp: 81-133)” is devoted to a discussion of the ongoing multi-front jihadist assault on India.

    This may be one of those situations where a storm is waiting in the wings of the calm.

  12. #192
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default Normative Systems? What Does He Mean?

    I have not read Kilcullen's new book so I am asking if anybody knows what Kilcullen means when he says a "Normative" system. In it's normal usage Normative systems are often the primary cause of Insurgencies and Revolts because the Governing system is refusing to Adapt to the needs of the Governed Population.

  13. #193
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    I have not read Kilcullen's new book so I am asking if anybody knows what Kilcullen means when he says a "Normative" system. In it's normal usage Normative systems are often the primary cause of Insurgencies and Revolts because the Governing system is refusing to Adapt to the needs of the Governed Population.
    There is a decent explanation at this link which was provided above also.

    http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book...rban-guerrilla

    This range of wide to narrow normative systems of a specific society in question has important implications. It often demonstrates how much control a group (whether it is a government or non-state actor) may or may not have, over that society.
    Thus organizations, whether they are state or non-state actors, which successfully provide stability and predictability, have a greater chance of achieving such control while others, of course, may have far less success. Failure to provide stability (as well as fairness), of course, is just one of the reasons why so many governments in the Arab spring have faltered.
    Some examples from his book include, page 104: The gang leader in each area, known as a "don," maintained a group of armed followers or "shooters" who acted as enforcers, kept down petty crime, and enforced a strict normative system of punishment and reward upon the population.

    p 124:
    Nonstate armed groups draw their strength and freedom of action primarily from their ability to manipulate and mobilize populations, and that they do this using a spectrum of methods from coercion to persuasion, by creating a normative system that makes people feel safe through the predictability and order it generates.
    break
    It applies to insurgents, terrorists, drug cartels, street gangs, organized crime syndicates, pirates, and warlords, and it provides useful explanations and insights for law enforcement, civil war, and diffuse civil conflict, --not just insurgency.
    p 136:
    Simply put, the idea is that populations respond to a predictable, ordered, normative system that tells them exactly what they need to do, and not do, in order to be safe.
    We didn't do this in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Rules correlated with consequences (both negative and positive).

    p. 142:
    the owner of a normative system becomes the dominant actor in a given area (or over a given population) precisely to the extent to which people in that area or population abide by its rules.
    Much more in the book, but getting to our point about why insurgencies start is because people reject the normative system, that is the whole point about competitive control. Who can establish the most effective normative system. If people get to the point they believe the normative system puts them at risk, and they believe they have a chance to change it they most likely will. My point is we don't seem to realize this dynamic with our approach to U.S. led COIN operations. When we remove a government and then take our sweet time to establish a government, while failing to take on our responsibility as an occupying power because it is politically correct we allow chaos to emerge, and that presents opportunities for various non-state actors to establish an alternative normative system.

  14. #194
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Latitude 17° 5' 11N, Longitude 120° 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
    Posts
    3,137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    My point is we don't seem to realize this dynamic with our approach to U.S. led COIN operations. When we remove a government and then take our sweet time to establish a government, while failing to take on our responsibility as an occupying power because it is politically correct we allow chaos to emerge, and that presents opportunities for various non-state actors to establish an alternative normative system.
    Isn't it also true that the US is at times inclined to favor "normative systems" that conform to the preferences of the American populace (those we can at least pretend ar democratic) over those that meet the requirements of the populace being governed? We might also consider that a "normative system" perceived as an imposition by an occupying power is going to face an uphill struggle for acceptance purely because it's seen as an imposition by an occupying power?

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    There is a big difference in deciding what the strategy should be in places where there are people in large numbers, Indonesia comes to mind.
    AQ's influence in Indonesia has deteriorated very considerably, but not because of any strategy adopted by the US or "the west". The Government has been fairly successful in cracking down on AQ-associated groups and arresting leaders. JI attacks on civilian targets that have killed Indonesian Muslims have not helped the group. Possibly the most important factor, though, has been a sharp reduction in domestic sectarian conflict. Sectarian fighting between Christians and Muslims in Sulawesi and Maluku kept groups like Laskar Jihad in business; these groups were often not directly linked to AQ, but drew in fundamentalists with an inclination toward violence and provided ideal recruitment and organizing grounds for groups like JI. There is still a radical core in place, but the reduction in local sectarian conflict has deprived them of the immediate local issue that allowed them to tap into the larger populace.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  15. #195
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,361

    Default AQ changing from being terrorists to insurgents?

    A fascinating review of AQ by J.M. Berger this week on FP, with several hat tips on Twitter and now The New Yorker's recommendations for weekend reading says:
    a thorough and clear overview of the group’s evolution since 9/11. Berger argues that Al Qaeda has changed so much in its hierarchy, goals, and tactics that to call it a terrorist organization might actually be a misnomer: its focus has shifted almost entirely to military campaigns and insurgencies. “The new Al Qaeda is still radical, extremist, and incredibly violent, overwhelming evidence suggests that terrorism is now decidedly secondary in Al Qaeda’s portfolio.” Updating our understanding of the organization, Berger argues, can give us insight into the strength of its leadership, the motivations of its recruits, and the next stages of its development, all of which will be difficult to grasp as long as U.S. policies “remain fixated on the brand name and organization that carried out the 9/11 attacks.”
    Link:http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...n-keillor.html

    The FP article is behind a free, registration wall:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...aeda_terrorism
    davidbfpo

  16. #196
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,021

    Default AQ Was, Is and Will Be a TVNSA ...

    a Transnational, Violent, Non-State Actor, a nature that existed in 1994, in 2004 and still exists in 2014 - and should be expected to continue in that nature (whether as "AQ", the Base, or under the name of some takfirist affiliate who manages to weather the storms better than its spiritual parent).

    One would expect that, since its "conception" ca. 1988, its tactics (and, for that matter, strategies and underlying policies) would have changed to meet changed conditions. And indeed, that has been the case with AQ's embrace of terrorism from 1988 to date - a steadily tightening embrace until ca. 2008 (two decades after its founding as an insurgent group; or probably better, an aider and abettor of insurgent groups).

    In other words, what could be seen was The Erosion of Noncombatant Immunity within Al Qaeda (by Carl J. Ciovacco, 2008, SWJ) - a somewhat legalistic way of saying that AQ fell more and more in love with whacking innocent civilians and increasing its reliance on the tactic of terrorism.

    Ciovacco sees five stages of AQ's embrace of terrorism in its first two decades:

    Phase One

    The first phase of al Qaeda’s treatment of noncombatant immunity begins with respect for noncombatants in war. When al Qaeda first formed in 1988, it was fully engaged in a battle between armed combatants. While the Soviet Army was better trained and equipped, the Afghan militias and Afghan Arabs were armed nonetheless. Al Qaeda only fought the Soviets with guns and tactics directed against its soldiers. Suicide bombings against Soviet civilians in Moscow were scarcely a figment of bin Laden’s imagination. ...
    Phase Two

    This phase begins in March, 1997, with a CNN interview of bin Laden in Afghanistan. In a dramatic change to bin Laden’s view of noncombatants, he hints that civilians may not be as shielded as they were in the past. While he does not say that al Qaeda will target civilians, he basically intimates that if noncombatants get in the way, “it is their problem.” ...
    Phase Three

    In this third phase, bin Laden moved from luke warm approval of noncombatant immunity to overtly declaring that noncombatants were legitimate targets. On February 22, 1998, bin Laden released a signed statement on behalf of the World Islamic Front. The World Islamic Front consisted of al Qaeda, the Jihad Group in Egypt, the Egyptian Islamic Group, Jamiet-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan, and the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh. In this statement, bin Laden, and the rest of the alliance, not only sanctioned the killing of civilians, but also elevated it to level of a holy duty, or fatwa. ...
    Phase Four

    Phase Four is time-stamped by the 9/11 attacks. In these attacks, nearly 3,000 noncombatants were targeted both on the planes and on the ground. The noncombatants working in the World Trade Towers and those flying on the planes were in no way associated with the American government. Their intentional murder was exacted to draw media attention to al Qaeda’s cause and as retribution for perceived injustices by the American government on the Muslim community. While uniformed combatants were killed in the Pentagon on 9/11, the thrust of the operation was directed against noncombatants. ...
    Phase Five

    After the 9/11 attacks, it appears that al Qaeda’s move to complete disrespect for noncombatant immunity was complete. This interpretations, however, does not account for the scale-up potential of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Accordingly, the fifth phase demonstrates the final and most disturbing position regarding noncombatants: the use of WMDs to intentionally kill mass numbers of noncombatants. The fact that al Qaeda released a public statement informing the world of this intent, and received religious backing from a prominent Muslim cleric, makes this phase all the more dangerous. This is the current [2008] phase that we find al Qaeda; however, as far as we know, it is only at the rhetorical and preparation stage. ...
    But, as AQ was winding up for its pitch at Armageddon, it realized it was as vulnerable to blowback as the USG. Ciovacco saw this in 2008 as a possible Phase Six, where the terrorism pendulum would start to swing back to increased Noncombatant Immunity - a shift which could go on for years (as it took two decades to shift from insurgency to WMD terrorism).

    Just as al Qaeda’s targeting of noncombatants progressed in phases, perhaps it is moving into a Phase Six where a limited respect for noncombatant immunity once again exists. In 2005, Zawahiri directed al Qaeda in Iraq to stop killing Shia noncombatants because it was hurting al Qaeda’s greater cause. Furthermore, a top al Qaeda strategist, Abu Yahya al-Libi, has written to al Qaeda in Iraq telling them that its killing of “too many civilians” was undermining al Qaeda’s global strategy. Indeed, one influential ex-jihadist has correctly identified the flawed nature of targeting noncombatants by saying that, “the tactics have taken over the strategy.” While a full prohibition against the targeting of all noncombatants may be years ahead, this development is promising. Although the path to disregard for noncombatant immunity took over a decade to mature, signs are pointing to a reversal as its legitimacy is crumbing under its own weight. ...
    So, in the tents of the takfirists, as in the punditry of the infidels, we heard the lament that “the tactics have taken over the strategy.”

    The shift from WMD terrorism in 2008 (already then changing) to a more insurgency-focused set of tactics (complete with more formalized base areas - i.e., shadow governments) has been no surprise to those who read Ciovacco's article in 2008, or who arrived at its construct independently.

    IMO: J.M.Berger's article is a typical buzz-word piece of rhetoric - the sky is falling; do something quick:

    So what happens next?

    The most immediate priority for the United States and its allies is to make sense of the rapid changes al Qaeda is undergoing and then make the necessary policy adjustments.

    While there are many different dimensions to the course corrections the United States needs to consider, the most important questions are these:

    1. Do we believe jihadist warfighting organizations present a national security threat on a similar order to terrorist groups?

    [JMM: Jihadist organizations are jihadist organizations - tactics do shift]
    2. What policy tools do we need to deal with such organizations?

    [JMM: Realistic decisions in each case about our engagement in the "Management of Savagery" would help - see below and above]
    3. If such organizations are a national security threat by their nature, does it matter whether a group calls itself al Qaeda or not?

    [JMM: No; names can be changed to protect the guilty - The critical question is whether the organization (jihadist or otherwise) is a TVNSA whose violence is directed against the US]
    4. How do we address our concerns about these groups without embroiling ourselves in a series of counterproductive wars all over the globe?

    [JMM: See "Management of Savagery" below]
    5. What can we do to mitigate the risk that future terrorist organizations might emerge as successors to these fighting groups?

    [JMM: Probably nothing realistic without attempting to be the World's policeman - Anna Simons footnote below]
    As the points raised herein suggest, these are not simple questions -- but the United States must venture answers. The fundamental nature of al Qaeda has shifted, perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently. But U.S. policies -- most notably the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that empowers the so-called war on terrorism -- remain fixated on the brand name and organization that carried out the 9/11 attacks.

    Although these policies allow for broad powers -- perhaps overly broad -- they are geared toward fighting a terrorist mission that has become secondary to our adversaries.
    In reality, the 2001 AUMF has turned out to be very flexible in dealing with TVNSAs (e.g., the drone strikes) - the key issue has become violence directed against the US. A decent wordsmith (I don't know if that applies to Mr Berger) could draft a broader AUMF, encompassing all TVNSAs whose violence is directed against the US. But, currently and into the next several years, the 2001 AUMF is not the villain.

    That is not to say that the USG has had a coherent policy with respect to AQ and its affiliates since 1996. However, what future policy should be is not going to be helped by premising a qualitative change in AQ's nature which is really only a tactical shift.

    Progress toward a coherent policy would be helped if the USG would ask - realistically - whether it should become involved directly in the "Management of Savagery", or become involved by proxy, or not become involved at all. And, "Management of Savagery" is exactly what is involved.

    Anna Simons articles 2011-2013:

    Sovereignty – The Ultimate States’ Rights Argument

    Soft War = Smart War? Think Again

    21st Century Cultures of War: Advantage Them

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 02-09-2014 at 05:39 AM.

  17. #197
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default Insightful UN report on AQ's trends

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-26281231

    Al-Qaeda: Younger men take up leadership roles - UN study

    "Younger commanders and fighters have a different perspective on international affairs, have the potential to generate propaganda that chimes with their generation more easily, and can also challenge their own leadership on tactics and targets," the UN experts found.
    Further points highlighted in the report were:

    Shifting locations: Affiliates find new spaces from which to operate when pushed back by government forces

    Operational changes: Complex, simultaneous multi-strike attacks demonstrate that local branches are seeking to follow al-Qaeda core guidance for "spectacular" incidents

    Potential return to Afghanistan: al-Qaeda is seeking to regroup and rebuild a presence in Afghanistan ahead of Nato's withdrawal of international troops at the end of 2014

    Better weapons: Bombs are getting large and more innovative, with at least 90 countries suffering attacks
    Now the actual report:

    http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_...mbol=S/2014/41

    Fifteenth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team submitted pursuant to resolution 2083 (2012) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities

    Summary

    1. The present report is the fifteenth to be submitted by the Analytical Support
    and Sanctions Monitoring Team, which supports the work of the Security Council and its Committee established pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) and now referred to as the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee. The Team finds that Al-Qaida (QE.A.4.01) remains a threat, even though it has not been able to recover its former strength. Meanwhile multiple Al-Qaida affiliates are evolving, often autonomously, with generational, geographical, ethnic, structural and operational changes in evidence. The overarching ideology of international terrorism remains central for all affiliates, but local experiences and preferences generate varying operational trends. This presents a challenge for any analysis of Al-Qaida as a whole. The report also identifies three specific approaches to enhance sanctions implementation:

    • First, deterring ransom payments to Al-Qaida and its affiliates to advance the
    assets freeze
    • Second, using biometrics and changes to national inadmissible passenger
    criteria to advance the travel ban against listed individuals
    • Third, improving analysis of and measures to limit component availability for
    improvised explosive devices used by Al-Qaida and its affiliates

  18. #198
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    11,074

    Default One More Thought on Unconventional Approaches to Dealing with al Qaeda

    One More Thought on Unconventional Approaches to Dealing with al Qaeda

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  19. #199
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    11,074

    Default U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Warns that Full Withdrawal will Allow al-Qaeda to Regro

    U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Warns that Full Withdrawal will Allow al-Qaeda to Regroup

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  20. #200
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default Al-Qaeda's future in the maritime domain

    This article focuses on ISI's support for various militant groups to include Al-Qaeda, which of course is worthy of its own discussion. I'll limit my thoughts on the paragraph where al-Qaeda sees it future in the Indian Ocean Region post Afghanistan, and they see the value in a Naval capability. What would an al-Qaeda naval capability look like? LTTE model? Quds Force model?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/ma...n.html?hp&_r=0

    What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden

    At the meeting, Bin Laden rejected Akhtar’s request for help and urged him and other militant groups not to fight Pakistan but to serve the greater cause — the jihad against America. He warned against fighting inside Pakistan because it would destroy their home base: “If you make a hole in the ship, the whole ship will go down,” he said.

    He wanted Akhtar and the Taliban to accelerate the recruitment and training of fighters so they could trap United States forces in Afghanistan with a well-organized guerrilla war. Bin Laden said that Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and the Indian Ocean region would be Al Qaeda’s main battlefields in the coming years, and that he needed more fighters from those areas. He even offered naval training for militants, saying that the United States would soon exit Afghanistan and that the next war would be waged on the seas.

Similar Threads

  1. Refugees, Migrants and helping (Merged Thread)
    By Jedburgh in forum NGO & Humanitarian
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 04-14-2019, 06:21 PM
  2. Drugs & US Law Enforcement (2006-2017)
    By SWJED in forum Americas
    Replies: 310
    Last Post: 12-19-2017, 12:56 PM
  3. Bin Laden: after Abbottabad (merged thread)
    By SWJ Blog in forum Global Issues & Threats
    Replies: 149
    Last Post: 11-01-2017, 08:08 PM
  4. The David Kilcullen Collection (merged thread)
    By Fabius Maximus in forum Doctrine & TTPs
    Replies: 451
    Last Post: 03-31-2016, 03:23 PM
  5. Gaza, Israel & Rockets (merged thread)
    By AdamG in forum Middle East
    Replies: 95
    Last Post: 08-29-2014, 03:12 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •