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  • Author: Michael W. S. Ryan
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: By consulting the work of well-known and obscure al-Qaeda theoreticians, Michael W. S. Ryan finds jihadist terrorism strategy has more in common with the principles of Maoist guerrilla warfare than mainstream Islam. Encouraging strategists and researchers to devote greater attention to jihadi ideas rather than jihadist military operations, Ryan builds an effective framework for analyzing al-Qaeda's plans against America and constructs a compelling counternarrative to the West's supposed "war on Islam." Ryan examines the Salafist roots of al-Qaeda ideology and the contributions of its most famous founders, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a political-military context. He also reads the Arabic-language works of lesser known theoreticians who have played an instrumental role in framing al-Qaeda's so-called war of the oppressed. These authors readily cite the guerrilla strategies of Mao, Che Guevara, and the mastermind of the Vietnam War, General Giap. They also incorporate the arguments of American theorists writing on "fourth-generation warfare." Through these texts, readers experience events as insiders see them, and by concentrating on the activities and pronouncements of al-Qaeda's thought leaders, especially in Yemen, they discern the direct link between al-Qaeda's tactics and trends in anti-U.S. terrorism. Ryan shows al-Qaeda's political-military strategy to be a revolutionary and largely secular departure from the classic Muslim conception of jihad, adding invaluable dimensions to the operational, psychological, and informational strategies already deployed by America's military in the region.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231533270
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Lorenzo Vidino
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Few observers foresaw the Arab Spring, but it should not have surprised anyone that the Islamist movements - the most organized movements in the Arab world - became the main beneficiaries of the turmoil that ensued. Islamism, in its gradualist and pragmatic approach embodied by the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots worldwide, seems ready to reap the rewards of its three decades-old decision to abandon violence and focus on grassroots activities. This monumental change has created many concerns among liberals, religious minorities and, more generally, all non-Islamists in the countries where Islamists have won. In addition, Arab states ruled by non-Islamist regimes have expressed concern. The former worry that Islamist ideology - even in its more contemporary, pragmatic form - remains deeply divisive and anti-democratic, often at odds with their values and interests. The latter believe that on foreign policy issues, most of the positions of various Brotherhood-inspired parties are on a collision course with the policies of established regimes in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Islam, Self Determination, Political Activism, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Hans Mouritzen (ed), Nanna Hvidt (ed)
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Permanent Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs analyses Danish foreign-policy priorities in 2011. The troublesome situation for the global econ-omy, including an uncertain outlook for the future, was the most impor-tant backdrop for Danish foreign policy in that year. Low growth prospects, combined with high levels of public debt, had wide foreign-policy implica-tions, amongst other things for the agenda of the EU and as a result also for the preparations for the Danish EU Presidency in the first half of 2012. This article therefore takes its point of departure in the state of the global economy, the state of the European economies and the challenges that this presented to the EU. It then goes on to discuss the emerging world powers, the Arab Spring, the world's conflict areas, security policy, Denmark's north-ern neighbours and various global issues, such as development cooperation, green growth and human rights. Finally, some reflections are offered on the core tasks of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a time when there is increased pressure on Denmark's public finances and the world influence of Denmark's traditional partners and allies is waning.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Arab Countries, Denmark, North Africa
  • Author: Samuel Musa, John Morgan, Matt Keegan
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: At the time of this writing, the United States and the other members of the International Security Assistance Forces are completing nearly a decade of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. What started as more conventional or traditional fights has degenerated over time into insurgency warfare, something U.S. Forces have had to re-learn and re-build to fight. Re-learn and re-build are key elements as U.S. Forces have fought insurgencies in the past, but consistently maintained forces to fight more conventional warfare. Counterinsurgency (COIN) is very different from armored vehicles rolling through the Fulda Gap, or the race to Baghdad. It is a fight not against a Government as much as it is a fight for control of the mind-set of the population by non-state actors in a race to gain popular support. It is a grassroots battle that not only requires military force, but security established at the local level through everyday police presence that represents the Rule of Law, the national Government, and safety and stability locally. It is against this backdrop that the Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP) and the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) came together to look at Policing and COIN and the ways, methods, and techniques that could be shared to help overcome the insurgencies Coalition forces face. The efforts of the CTNSP at the National Defense University (NDU) and the CTTSO culminated in a one-day workshop held on September 29, 2010, on Policing and COIN Operations: Lessons Learned, Strategies, and Future Directions.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Mark Kukis
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Featuring the testimony of close to seventy Iraqis from all walks of life, Voices from Iraq builds a riveting chronological history unmatched for its insight and revelations. Here is a history of the war in Iraq as told entirely by Iraqis living through the U.S. invasion and occupation. Beginning in 2003, this intimate narrative includes the experiential accounts of civilians, politicians, former dissidents, insurgents, and militiamen. Iraqis offering firsthand stories range from onetime Prime Minister Ayad Allawi to resistance fighters speaking on the condition of anonymity. Divided into five parts, these interviews recount the 2003 invasion; Iraq's gradual slide into chaos from 2004 to 2005; the start of a new order in 2006; the rise of open sectarian violence over the next two years; and the effort since 2008 to reconstruct a society from relative calm. Each section includes interviews grouped into themes, with brief epilogues for the participants. Not since Studs Terkel's The Good War has a book captured so acutely the human consequences of a conflict we are still struggling to understand. Voices from Iraq makes utterly vivid the meaning and legacy of America's campaign in Iraq.
  • Topic: War, Reconstruction, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231527569
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Abdallah Shalaby, Salah al-Din al-Jurshi, Mostafa El-Nabaraway, Moheb Zaki, Qays Jawad Azzawi, Antoine Nasri Messarra
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The situation in the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries concerning the state of the democracy has been on top of the agendas of not only political entities, but also civil society organizations, academia and the international media, with an intensifying frequency for the past decade. While the citizens of respective MENA countries deserve and demand better political, social, and economic conditions, the current state of affairs in many MENA countries is unfortunately far from ideal in terms of civic rights, freedoms, and other socio-political conditions.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East
  • Author: Steven R. Ward
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: In 1978 Iran And Its Armed Forces seemed to stand at the peak of their power and prestige in the modern era. Bountiful oil revenues and a strategic position overlooking the vital Persian Gulf oil export routes boosted Iran's standing in the world. Cold War competition made Iran a recipient of Western and Soviet arms and attention. Iran had just passed Egypt, a far more populous country, in having the largest armed forces in the Middle East. In fact, the Iranian military was outpacing some large European countries in the quantity and sophistication of its equipment. Iran was the only country other than the United States to possess the state- of- the- art F- 14 Tomcat fighter. Iran's military also was funding the development of the advanced British Challenger tank with its then revolutionary Chobham composite armor. These programs rep- resented only the middle stages of an extravagant rearmament process, with numerous sophisticated ground, air, and naval systems on order. In addition, the Iranian armed forces, the Artesh, had polished their reputation by gaining combat experience battling rebels in neighboring Oman and by participating in a UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Ami Pedahsur
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: While Mossad is known as one of the world's most successful terrorist-fighting organizations, the state of Israel has, more than once and on many levels, risked the lives of its agents and soldiers through unwise intelligence-based intervention. An expert on terror and political extremism, Ami Pedahzur argues that Israel's strict reliance on the elite units of its intelligence community is fundamentally flawed. A unique synthesis of memoir, academic research, and information gathered from print and online sources, Pedahzur's complex study explores this issue through Israel's past encounters with terrorists, specifically, hostage rescue missions, the first and second wars in Lebanon, the challenges of the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian terrorist groups, and Hezbollah. He brings a rare transparency to Israel's counterterrorist activities, highlighting their successes and failures and the factors that have contributed to these results. From the foundations of this analysis, Pedahzur ultimately builds a strategy for future confrontation that has relevance not only for Israel but also for other countries that have adopted Israel's intelligence-based model.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Military Affairs, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231511612
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Ami Pedahsur, Arie Perlinger
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Two world experts on the study of terror and security propose a theory of violence that contextualizes not only recent acts of terror but also instances of terrorism that stretch back centuries. Beginning with ancient Palestine and its encounters with Jewish terrorism, the authors analyze the social, political, and cultural factors sponsoring extreme violence, proving that religious terrorism is not the fault of one faith, but flourishes within any counterculture adhering to a totalistic ideology. Conducting interviews with former Jewish terrorists, political and spiritual leaders, and law-enforcement officials, and culling information from rare documents and surveys of terrorist networks, Pedahzur and Perliger construct an extensive portrait of terrorist aggression while also describing the conditions behind the modern rise of zealotry.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Affairs, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231520751
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Author: Wolfgang Danspeckgruber
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Afghanistan represents one of the most unique combinations a country and its society may offer. It is a country with a challenging and unforgiving but majestic geography which favors independence both to the central authorities in the capital but also to potential intruders from the outside. It holds a unique geopolitical location south and east of the Hindukush connecting Central Asia to South Asia, and the Middle East to each of them. It is home to a proud, independent people with a history of ages-old religions and diverse cultures, but also of conflict and war. The Afghans and their country stand out in terms of drama, disadvantages and sometimes even simple suffering, witnessing nearly three decades – an entire generation – of warfare and civil strife. Afghanistan too is home to one of the most archaic societies north of the Indian Ocean. It has very little transportation or energy infrastructure, one of the world's highest rates of poverty, and some of the lowest levels of literacy, health care and GDP per capita. However, Afghanistan is today the world's most important opium producer and is centrally located in a region marked by high population and poverty with tendencies toward fundamentalist religious expression. Afghanistan itself became a base of Islamic militancy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence, Civil Society, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Middle East