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Old 01-28-2013   #1
davidbfpo
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Default It's A Salafi - Jihadist Insurgency, Stupid

The London-based counter-extremism think tank The Quilliam Foundation have today issued this policy briefing, ‘It’s A Salafi-Jihadist Insurgency, Stupid’:http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/wp...ncy-stupid.pdf

Their e-circulation states it:
Quote:
sheds light on this developing situation by revealing exclusive insights into AQIM and its allies, and providing key strategic recommendations for achieving operational success in countering their Salafi-Jihadist insurgency.
One of the authors is Quilliam's President Noman Benotman, a Libyan national and ex-LIFG member. There is an oddly worded Wiki bio:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noman_Benotman

Whilst I may disagree with their analysis on the threat from Mali / Sahel to the UK, I have none with this introductory passage to their recommended strategy:
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..the reaction to the conflict in Mali requires an overhaul; one in which the aims and strategy of the intervention can be redefined so that they clearly set out to disable and dismantle AQIM and its allies. Such a comprehensive counter-Salafi-Jihadist insurgency strategy must be developed now in order to prevent a prolonged war between Islamist groups in Mali and the ‘other’; a war which would reinforce the concept of al-Sira’, or ideological struggle.
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Recommendations
1. Get to know your enemies like you know yourself
2. Overcome the major challenges
3. Know how to measure success
4. Ideology vs. Ideology
5. Determination
6. The Deadly Fault Lines
7. Belmokhtar – the useful enemy
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Old 01-28-2013   #2
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Sounds like they really want the French/West to become dogged down in the epitome of a worthless desert.

Using the lipstick/pig image, I don't think the lipstick of ideology means much here.
Some regions to some African states or even only some groups therein came to the conclusion that violence is a promising business model or path to power.
They also happen to have discovered that using the mantle of religious ideology makes recruiting somewhat easier and helps getting some outside support.

Thirty years ago those groups would have been "socialists".


It's embarrassing that only a decade or so after the West finally understood it got much wrong during the Cold War - and especially so in the Third World - a simple re-branding sufficed to provoke the same old domino fears, containment and push-back intentions.


It's a huge waste of attention.
Open your eyes; the semi-arid zone south of the Sahara has been turning into a desert through desertification driven by droughts and excessive grazing. A bit farther south, there's also a shortage of energy due to excessive consumption of wood (more than grows).

These regions are amongst the few where the Malthusian problem is really striking; they don't produce much of value, certainly not enough to buy their way out of this problem.
Sooner or later a couple million people need to migrate into rather humid areas (or areas close to rivers), usage of semiarid areas should be regulated like high seas fishery (albeit more strictly and more effectively) to enable recovery and to stop desertification before it reaches more valuable agricultural areas and finally these regions need to set up sustainable energy supply. It's likely too late for creating sustainable woodland areas, but much can be done with solar energy and energy saving/storing, obviously.
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Old 01-29-2013   #3
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Sooner or later a couple million people need to migrate into rather humid areas (or areas close to rivers), usage of semiarid areas should be regulated like high seas fishery (albeit more strictly and more effectively) to enable recovery and to stop desertification before it reaches more valuable agricultural areas and finally these regions need to set up sustainable energy supply.
Survive there these people cannot. From there someone must take them and someplace else put them.

Probably not the worst prescription in the realm of pure theory, but who do you think should carry it out? Who would provide that strict and effective regulation of the use of semi-arid regions?
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Old 01-29-2013   #4
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Survive there these people cannot. From there someone must take them and someplace else put them.

Probably not the worst prescription in the realm of pure theory, but who do you think should carry it out? Who would provide that strict and effective regulation of the use of semi-arid regions?

Obviously, nobody does either and thus the problem follows a rather natural trajectory. The way nature resolves such affairs is messy, of course.


A start would be if the normal migration into cities was guided and accelerated a bit, in order to reduce the population in settlements. The share of the population in the desertifying regions which considers itself nomads could probably be enticed to a seasonal migration pattern, in order to reduce its presence in the problematic regions.

Either way, improving the economy (relative unemployment, especially youth unemployment) in the cities along rivers or generally in humid areas, would help a lot.

Regulating semi-arid land use might be feasible through nature reservations, but I don't recall any impressive big game in the area, so this would at least initially look quite unconvincing.
One might probably outlaw certain kinds of livestock, too (the ones which damage vegetation the most. Goats are such problematic livestock elsewhere, but I'm not sure which livestock is being used in the region.)
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Old 01-29-2013   #5
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Yes there are a few people outside the Sahel and Africa who wish to see the region, including Mali, face the changing environmental scene as the sands shift. That long-term objective should be kept in view.

I agree fully that the success of AQIM & allies in Mali is not a strategic disaster for the West, including France. The Quilliam paper gives us a template to think about and help the locals wage their own competition with Jihadist factions. Malians know far better now what their enemy is. Now whether they want to fight themselves is unclear.
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Old 01-29-2013   #6
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The way nature resolves such affairs is messy, of course.
The way people solve such affairs can be pretty messy too, especially when it involves shifting a lot of people into areas that are already occupied.

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A start would be if the normal migration into cities was guided and accelerated a bit, in order to reduce the population in settlements. The share of the population in the desertifying regions which considers itself nomads could probably be enticed to a seasonal migration pattern, in order to reduce its presence in the problematic regions.

Either way, improving the economy (relative unemployment, especially youth unemployment) in the cities along rivers or generally in humid areas, would help a lot.

Regulating semi-arid land use might be feasible through nature reservations, but I don't recall any impressive big game in the area, so this would at least initially look quite unconvincing.

One might probably outlaw certain kinds of livestock, too (the ones which damage vegetation the most. Goats are such problematic livestock elsewhere, but I'm not sure which livestock is being used in the region.)
Is there any government in that area capable of carrying out the actions emphasized by bold type above? Any external authority with the capacity and interest? It's all a very nice idea, but short of putting the whole region under some external authority with the capacity to take on these actions, which we all know is not going to happen, it seems too far outside the confines of practical reality to warrant discussion.
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Old 01-29-2013   #7
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Compare the resettlement policies in Tanzania from its early independence period.
It doesn't take a highly organised state to pull something like this off, African style.

The motivation is the real scarcity, not the capability.
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