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Thread: Understanding Terrorist Ideology

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    Default Understanding Terrorist Ideology

    Testimony presented to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence by Kim Cragin of RAND on 12 Jun 07:

    Understanding Terrorist Ideology
    Over the past twelve years, during the course of my research on terrorism and insurgency, I have explored the topic of terrorist ideology as it relates to what motivates individuals to become terrorists, as well as what influences communities to sympathize with terrorist groups. This research can be found in a number of RAND publications, including Terrorism and Development, and more recently, Dissuading Terror.

    Both issues – individual motivations and community support – are important to understanding the challenges that extremist ideologies pose to US national security. For example, potential exists for terrorist groups to use various ideological arguments to persuade individuals to ‘pick up a gun’ or become terrorists themselves. Potential also exists for terrorist groups to use ideological arguments to garner financial or other support from local communities. And yet, despite this potential, it remains uncertain to what degree ideology actually influences individual motivations or community support. Indeed, our research suggests that the impact of ideology tends to vary country by country, community by community and often individual by individual....
    The wasn't the only testimony presented; unfortunately the hearing transcripts aren't up on the committee website. If I find the others I'll post'em on this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Testimony presented to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence by Kim Cragin of RAND on 12 Jun 07:

    Understanding Terrorist Ideology

    The wasn't the only testimony presented; unfortunately the hearing transcripts aren't up on the committee website. If I find the others I'll post'em on this thread.
    Thanks for the references! Good timing--I'm writing a section on AQ's ideology at this very minute for what will be a Strategic Studies Institute monograph entitled The Fragile Assumptions of American Strategy, and am working on the ideology section of an insurgency book that I'm co-authoring with Con Crane and Ray Millen. The RAND reports will be helpful.

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    Testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment on 14 Jun 07:

    Assessing and Addressing the Threat: Defining the Role of a National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism

    Salam Al-Marayati, Executive Director Muslim Public Affairs Council
    ....While radicals use Islam to justify terrorism, we cannot afford to lend Islamic legitimacy to extremist groups. Hence, using “Islamic” before terms like fascism, terrorism, violent radicalism is counterproductive. MPAC appreciates the initiative of the Committee on Homeland Security to make distinctions between Islam and its exploitation by extremists.

    In conclusion, to the mainstream Muslim American community, Islam is the antidote to violent radicalization. The empowerment of the mainstream Muslim American community is the most effective but underutilized resource in creating effective counterterrorism strategies. MPAC is optimistic and is ready to foster cooperation and mutual understanding between our government and the Muslim American community.
    Frank J. Cilluffo, Director Homeland Security Policy Institute, GWU
    ...it is something of a misnomer to speak of “homegrown terrorism” for the term is suggestive of watertight compartments that do not in fact exist. To the contrary, we live in a borderless world and the threats that we face are similarly transnational. That said, the United States remains in some respects reasonably well situated. Other countries are currently experiencing a more full-blown manifestation of certain dimensions of the problem such as the United Kingdom. In a sense therefore, we have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve and deal proactively with these elements before they have the chance to flourish more vigorously in this country. Fortunately, the domestic plots that we have seen in the U.S. to date have evidenced intent but not much in the way of capability – but we would be foolish to think that the two cannot or will not come together in future....
    Brian Michael Jenkins, RAND
    ...Judging by the terrorist conspiracies uncovered since 9/11, violent radicalization has yielded very few recruits. Indeed, the level of terrorist activities in the United States was much higher in the 1970s than it is today. Fashioning national strategies to deal with handfuls of diverse misfits may be counterproductive. Therefore, as I concluded my April 5, 2007 testimony with some basic principles, let me conclude here by underscoring some principles to guide the proposed commission’s work:

    • Improving national security must be accomplished without degrading our enduring values.

    • Updating legal mechanisms to deal with Internet-era technology should be done, but more ambitious and more sensitive proposals for social engineering should be extensively analyzed for their intended and unintended, positive and negative consequences.

    • The criterion for any proposed measure should be a very high level of confidence that it will be effective, that the risks of adverse consequences will be very small, and that it will include mechanisms to prevent and remedy the abuse if things go wrong.

    Finally, efforts should be primarily local, albeit with federal assistance.

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment on 14 Jun 07:

    Assessing and Addressing the Threat: Defining the Role of a National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism

    Salam Al-Marayati, Executive Director Muslim Public Affairs Council

    Frank J. Cilluffo, Director Homeland Security Policy Institute, GWU

    Brian Michael Jenkins, RAND

    I've spent most of the week reading bin Laden and Zawahiri interviews and written statements, and am now diving into "The Management of Savagery." This is mind numbing.

    I really wish I could get a full translation of Zawahiri's "Knights Under the Prophet's Banner." I asked some of my buds in McLean if they had one and they were surprised to find out that they didn't. They said they were going to have it translated, but I haven't heard back from them.

    Sherifa Zuhur's A Hundred Osamas: Islamist Threats and the Future of Counterinsurgency is also useful as is David Zeidan's "The Islamic Fundamentalist View of Life as a Perennial Battle."

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz
    ...I really wish I could get a full translation of Zawahiri's "Knights Under the Prophet's Banner." I asked some of my buds in McLean if they had one and they were surprised to find out that they didn't. They said they were going to have it translated, but I haven't heard back from them.
    I have the translated text of the serialized version originally published in Sharq al-Awsat. PM me with an e-mail address if you would like me to send it to you.

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    Default and the point is.....

    Jed,

    Excellent posts, and I think the underlying point, though politically incorrect in this crowd, is that our responses are directly in accordance with Al Qaeda's stratgy. In other words we are doing what they want us to do. We are dangerously predictable, and I think we have made ourselves more vulnerable to effects based targeting than our foes. Of course, we developed a doctrine to defeat a peer competitor, so we gave the enemy the road map on how to hit our vulnerabilities.

    While we are not getting a lot of return on investment with our current approach, which is exactly what AQ's strategists predicted, based on where we're at now I think the correct answer may be counter intuitive, and that is to spend more (of course spend it intelligently). If our current strategy is going to work (I'm not convinced we can reform the Middle East, but if that is what we're attempting, then lets go all out), but we won't know unless we spend much more on economic development programs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. The perception is we made too unkept promises.

    If that can't be done, or if it won't work, because reform is not in the heart of people there, then I think we need to relook our strategy and look more at a coercisive strategy. It will be less expensive in gold and blood for us, and it will have a predictable effect.

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    Default A book we may have missed?

    I read this 'Think Progress' story today and wondered if the SWC community was aware of the book behind the title 'The Book That Really Explains ISIS (Hint: It's Not The Quran' and there is a thread, with two posts in 2007 about the book 'The Management of Savagery':http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/...not-the-quran/

    From the story:
    ... there is some evidence to suggest that ISIS’s overarching strategy is especially influenced by one book in particular — and no, it’s not the Qur’an.


    In 2004, a PDF of a book entitled “The Management Of Savagery” was posted online and circulated among Sunni jihadist circles. Scholars soon noticed that the book, which was published by an unknown author writing under the pseudonym “Abu Bakr Naji,” had become popular among many extremist groups such as al-Shabaab in Somalia, and was eventually translated into English for study in 2006 by William McCants, now the director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution. The book, McCants told ThinkProgress, was written as an alternative to the decentralized, “leaderless” approach to jihadism popular in the mid-2000s. Instead of using isolated attacks on super powers all over the globe, “The Management Of Savagery” offered an expansive plan for how a group of Muslim militants could violently seize land and establish their own self-governing Islamic state — much like ISIS is trying to do today.
    davidbfpo

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