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xoxoxoBruce 02-24-2006 09:09 PM

Stealing al Qaeda's Playbook
According to CNN "two West Point studies that portray the terror network as sophisticated but its daily operations as banal."

And another study, "Harmony and Disharmony: Exploiting al Qaeda's Organizational Vulnerabilities," studies captured documents and intercepted communications.

They've come up with a list of jihadists thinking and how the U.S. should handle it:

1- Direct engagement with the United States has been positive for the movement because it rallies locals, drains U.S. resources and puts pressure on Washington's allies.

To counter the first trend, the study says the United States "should avoid direct, large-scale military action in the Middle East. If such fighting is necessary, it must be done through proxies whenever possible."

2- The movement has become decentralized, making training camps obsolete and opening doors to new venues for training, such as urban areas and the Internet.

Therefore, the study authors write, the United States "must be aware of the consequences of creating new theaters for jihad, particularly in the Arab world. The U.S. must also find ways to redirect the alienation among Muslim youth that is fueling recruitment."

3- Jihadist ideologues want to establish Islamic states that can be used as training bases and to help develop the "nuclei of the future jihadi order." But rather than overthrowing a sitting ruler, they would be content to create enclaves in poorly policed regions.

The United States should compete by helping local surrogates establish their own enclaves "in regions where there are security vacuums," according to the study.

4- Jihadists frown on bad publicity and want to foster an image that will convince people to join their groups.

The study suggests using Cold War-era propaganda tactics to covertly sway public opinion. Attempts by the U.S. "to elicit pro-American feelings in the Middle East by making public pronouncements about the true nature of Islam or the virtues of democracy" should be avoided.

5-Jihadists see religious leadership as integral to attracting youths and lending legitimacy to violence.

The United States "should very carefully and unobtrusively support Muslim religious leaders and movements" that counter the movement, even if the leaders are not friendly with the West," the study says.

"If the bottom line is a rejection of violence against the United States and its allies, [such groups] should be supported."

6- Jihadists look for insights in Western thought and U.S. strategic planning.

According to the study, the United States should counter these efforts by "establishing a think tank staffed with highly trained experts on the Middle East and counterinsurgency whose sole purpose would be to identify the major jihadi thinkers and analyze their works."
I guess Bush didn't read this memo, either. :headshake

marichiko 02-24-2006 10:06 PM

Maybe Bush is really a member of al Qaeda. :eyebrow:

Beestie 02-24-2006 11:58 PM

Something about that reminds me of the Black Panther movement.

tw 02-25-2006 01:07 AM

Another aspect of an insurgency playbook (gameplan) comes right out of nationalist Vietnam strategies. For example, insurgents don't confront the superior western forces. They strike and run. They leave traps, mines, and other ambushes to maim regular troops.

Also important is the attitude of local residents. Tactical purpose of a battle is to control the land. In Vietnam, S Vietnamese never controlled the land. Peasants were treated better by the VC and therefore favored the VC - despite propaganda provided by Time Magazine, et al. This week's Frontline on PBS entitled The Insurgency makes this point blantantly. Michael Ware had followed some insurgents. He noted how they would setup mortars and attack nearby military bases. Neighbors walked right past these insurgents. No one would turn these insurgents into authorities. Just like in Nam, when VC controlled the land even though VC was driven from the battlefield. In Iraq, insurgents control the land no matter how strong that American military presence is. Americans don't leave the Green zones without massive security convoys.

It remains a basic military doctrine; in Iraq as it was in Vietnam. He who controls the land after a battle has won a tactical victory. Conventional military forces often have trouble learning if they have won or lost due to how insurgencies are conducted - in Vietnam then as in Iraq now. This Iraqi insurgency is quite good and is winning once we look through the spin.

Real symptoms of how successful insurgent are include the lowest levels of electricity production was last month. Lowest production of oil was last month. That after America spend how many $tens of billions on both systems? Only a bean counter would look at the money spent and call that a victory. And yet the symptoms so parallel Vietnam - where free elections and a constitution were also touted as an American victory.

Anybody see a light at the end of this tunnel?

Beestie 02-25-2006 01:35 AM

What you are referring to goes back a lot further than Vietnam. Any overwhelmed force will resort to tactics other than direct confrontation - nothing new about that.

But I will give you this - you are dead on about the fallacy of attempting to make the fight against Al Qaeda a ground war. Its a big planet - there are more places for them to hide than we can search and following the ultra successful campaign in Afghanistan, they are an army of ghost soldiers with no home base. But, as usual, you insulate yourself from criticism by failing to either take a position on the intent or offer an alternative. Criticism is easy. Constructive criticism is another matter.

tw 02-25-2006 02:23 AM


Originally Posted by Beestie
But, as usual, you insulate yourself from criticism by failing to either take a position on the intent or offer an alternative. Criticism is easy. Constructive criticism is another matter.

Al Qaeda International is trivial. Based upon American response to an Arab company running American ports, I suspect most Americans are running afraid of their own shadow rather than understand what is and is not a threat. For example, 11 September occurred because so many FBI investigations and other source that tried to expose it were quashed ay a George Jr administration that all but denied terrorism existed. George Jr did not even read his own PDB warnings. In that first year, the George Jr administration was still 'fighting' with a cold war mentality including a silly China Spy plane incident and promoting an anti-ballistic missile system that does not work.

Currently, the real problem is extracting ourselves from another completely different Al Qaeda, et al problem in Iraq. Not only did I warn of this problem before the Mission Accomplished war was started. I also defined two exit strategies - both of which are superior to our current strategy. Where has anyone here offered another exit solution? Notice the one who most strongly here opposed the war using facts now demontrated to be accurate, who predicted what would happen if we stayed too long, also provided solutions for exiting.

To repeat the two options. One: tell the Iraqis that mom and dad are no longer paying ‘room and board’ in six months. IOW we are leaving. They have had plenty of time to learn. Now they must take over their own life. It is the sink or learn how to swim option. An option that becomes less viable every month we stay.

Or two: 1/2 million soldiers in Iraq right now to solve the problem. We currently have woefully too few boots on the ground – no matter how many times George Jr’s spin doctors hype lies to the contrary.

I foresaw this insurgency noting we would only have about 6 months to one year to earn our keep. Defined was what would happen when we did not have plans for the peace (George Jr administration did nothing for seven months after declaring Mission Accomplished). Defined was how an American presence after one year would only inspire an insurgency which is why we had to solve it and get out then. And last I have defined the only two workable military options.

BTW, latest Pentagon’s military analysis of Iraq. Whereas Iraq once had many battalions capable of independent action, well, after Fallujah, that number dropped to one. Now the latest Pentagon analysis puts the number of independently operational Iraqi battalions down to ZERO. This will continue as long as we and not they do all the work - just like in South Vietnam. Exactly like in Vietnam.

Defined by me repeatedly is that we are making the same mistakes as in Vietnam including the “no smoking gun”. The solution in Iraq is to not play into the insurgents hands. The worst thing we could do in Vietnam is exactly what we are also doing in Iraq.

But again, I have offered workable solutions. Where are yours? American operations in Iraq currently is a loser’s option - as I openly fretted about here years ago AND as is become painfully obvious.

Do you really understand what the insurgency is about? Next post cites a must read report from Frontline. Notice that the situation in Iraq is nothing like the George Jr administration proclaims … just like in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, International Al Qaeda is too hyped up by those who don't first learn why they were ever successful. It was no accident that the George Jr administration drove this nation's Number One anti-terrorist investigator out of government service. He died in the south tower of the WTC because he knew where a future attack was coming. Its also no accident that Richard Reed could not even give himself a hotfoot. Or that a terrorist in the Phillippines was exposed because he accidently started a fire in his hotel room. Al Qaeda International is only a problem when the little people in government are stifled by mental midgets who don't even read their PDBs.

tw 02-25-2006 02:33 AM

Time Magazine's Michael Ware is (I believe) an Australian who runs the Baghdad Bureau. His insight and his regular contacts with the three different types of insurgents is far more revealing than news summaries. It clearly supplements and expands on what xoxoxoBruce posted in his CNN / West Point article.

For example, Brits basically negotiated for control of the few Iraq provinces they are responsible for. Learn who took control before Americans and Brits got there. Not reported is that the Brits don't even try to control one of their four provinces. Appreciate how many different insurgencies control what, how inspired they are, and how difficult it is to fight an enemy that simply hits and runs. Of the so many accounts that are based in actual face to face interviews, Michael Ware is the "must read".
INSIDE THE INSURGENCY from PBS Frontline of 21 Feb 2006.

Adkenar 03-09-2006 02:40 PM

What about adopting a less agressive, less unilateral foreign policy that doesn't give people good enough reasons to beome terrorists in the first place? No giving someone's country to someone else, no invading sovereign nations...

Undertoad 03-09-2006 03:21 PM

No printing cartoons...

Adkenar 03-09-2006 03:55 PM

Like the current and former members of the US government aren't already urinating on freedom of the press by verbally attacking those publications? It wouldn't be that big of a step.

That said, I get that it's not something we'd actually want to do. But my understanding was that those attacks were more riots than terrorism (we get our share of riots in the US too), which are a somewhat different problem and which involve different tactics to fight.

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