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4 HA: War on Terror articles Archives

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July 18, 2011

After the Arab Spring Comes the Storm?

By Joe Katzman at 00:33

Caroline Glick's "Caution: Storm Approaching" looks at the economic convulsions that underpin the Arab world's current political convulsions. Her conclusion is that those convulsions are about the get worse before they get better. It doesn't help that the same hate-spawning, dysfunctional political systems are big contributors to the Arabs' lack of economic progress as well. Nor does it help that key economies around the world cannot pretend away problems forever, but appear to be trying. The reckoning always comes, and the fallout from each side is about to affect the other.

Of course, replacing current governance in Arab/Islamic countries with an even more hate-filled and more dysfunctional system of Islamic theocracy - all that does is double down on human disaster and misery. It remains to be seen which way things tip. Revolution =/= progress; they are linked but ultimately separate variables.

On which topic, Brett Stephens had a useful reminder the other day, about courage...

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  • Chris M: Thanks for the great post, Joe ... linked it on read more

July 1, 2011

Ending al-Qaeda: The Psyop Approach

By Joe Katzman at 07:29

Interesting bit in The American Interest:

"In a September 2007 video, al-Qaeda's third-highest leader, Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi, published a strategy, largely based on al-Qaeda errors in Iraq, showing how the West can fight and win its "war of ideas." Why would he do this? That is unclear. Al-Libi may have believed that the United States lags so far behind the global jihadist movement that al-Qaeda has little to fear.6 In any event, his six-part strategy for the West focuses almost exclusively on countering al-Qaeda's narrative:

  1. Amplify cases of ex-jihadis who have renounced armed action;
  2. Fabricate stories about jihadi mistakes and exaggerate actual mistakes;
  3. Prompt Muslim clerics to issue fatwas that incriminate the jihadi movement;
  4. Support Islamic movements that disavow terrorist violence, particularly those with a democratic approach;
  5. Aggressively neutralize or discredit the jihadi movement's guiding thinkers; and
  6. Spin minor disagreements among jihadi leaders into major doctrinal or methodological disputes.

This actually strikes me as a pretty good list. As to why a jihadist cleric would issue this, it seems pretty simple to me. I've seen more than a few "beware of the following dirty tricks from the other side, so you're prepared" pieces among political partisans. Why not among theocrats, for whom religion is politics and vice-versa?

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  • Marcus Vitruvius: Chris, If there were some way to do all these read more
  • Chris M: Marcus Vitruvius, I'm surprised by your comments. You're quite right, read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: I agree with JK that this list wasn't exactly put read more

October 9, 2010

Uncomfortable Laughter

By Armed Liberal at 15:00

From On War And Words, an Israeli video on social media, negotiation, and terror.


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May 29, 2010

Politics and the Arabic Language

By Porphyrogenitus at 16:18
Musing a bit further on this article, particularly this section:
Next, our counterterror adviser evokes the perverse logic behind the administration's recent decision to censor words offensive to Muslims (which I closely explored in this PJM article):
Nor do we describe our enemy as "jihadists" or "Islamists" because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.
Inasmuch as he is correct in the first clause of that sentence -- "jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community" -- he greatly errs in the latter clause, by projecting his own notions of what constitutes "holy," "legitimate," and "innocent" onto Islam. In Islam, such terms are often antithetical to the Judeo-Christian/Western understanding. Indeed, the institution of jihad, according to every authoritative Muslim book on Islamic jurisprudence, is nothing less than offensive warfare to spread Sharia law, a cause seen as both "legitimate" and "holy" in Islam. As for "innocence," by simply being a non-Muslim infidel, one is already guilty in Islam. Brennan understands the definition of jihad; he just has no clue of its application. So he is left fumbling about with a square peg that simply refuses to pass through a round hole.

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  • toc3: Thank You and Godspeed read more
  • Bobby Bran: Porphyrogenitus, You're under the mistaken impression we're re-defining the word read more
  • toc3: toc3: Is here to obsfuscate the issue, so I pay read more

May 10, 2010

What's Killing Afghanistan's Poppies?

By Joe Katzman at 16:51

Because something certainly seems to be doing so. My personal guess, shared by a friend of mine, is pleospora papaveracea, a fungus that attacks poppies, but leaves other plants alone.

That certainly seems to fit reports from the field - and it would neatly sidestep the central military-political problem created by conventional anti-poppy efforts, while providing a boost for programs aimed at a farmer-centric approach to counterinsurgency.

Well, well, isn't that convenient? Then again...

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May 5, 2010

Mirandizing Shahzad

By Armed Liberal at 06:38

Memeorandum suggests that John McCain is opposed to treating the Times Square bomber under criminal law.

He's wrong.

Look, it's simple - and I've made this point since Moussaoui. US citizen? Legal US resident? Activity committed on US soil? You're suspected of treason, and entitled to the full protections of the law.

Activity committed offshore - US citizen or not? Bag 'em and tag 'em. Non US resident? Ditto.

I'm sorry, but we're fighting to protect the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. And that just doesn't jibe with US citizens or residents held in undisclosed locations, incommunicado, outside out legal system.

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  • Marcus Vitruvius: PD, I'm aware that citizenship can be stripped. However, the read more
  • Glen Wishard: PD Shaw - That procedure might be difficult to implement read more
  • toc3: McCain becomes more confused and compromised by the day. I read more

May 2, 2010

Friday Night Chats and Times Square Car Bombs...

By Armed Liberal at 07:24

Michael Totten and a few others were at the house talking global politics and we were all shaking our heads that no meaningful terrorist attacks had hit the US in the last few years.

We were obviously talking too soon...
The police discovered a car bomb in a smoking Nissan Pathfinder in the heart of Times Square, prompting the evacuation of thousands of tourists and theatergoers from the area on a warm and busy Saturday evening.
The ineptitude of the bombmaker mirrors the squib car bomb in the UK a year ago...

Obviously lots to learn as the investigation progresses, and lots and lots of possibilities here from white power to Islamists to pro-p0rn advocates upset that Times Square was cleaned up...but one simple thing to watch for. If the bomber is an American Islamist, this is significant. It means that we're seeing radical action from the folks who have to date only been talking smack on the Internet.

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  • Armed Liberal: Well, the Glasgow bomb was equally lame... And a bigger read more
  • Silverlake Bodhisattva: OK, someone with more tech background than I have can read more
  • Bobby Bran: Even if the Pakistani Taliban was not involved in the read more

April 3, 2010

Bosnia On The Rio Grande

By Armed Liberal at 21:38

As cited by zenpundit, population cleansing along the US border...
...Last week, at least 30 Mexicans from the town of El Porvenir walked to the border crossing post at Fort Hancock, Texas, and asked for political asylum. Ordinarily, their claim would be denied as groundless, and they would be turned back. Instead, they were taken to El Paso, where they expect to have their cases heard.

No one doubts that they have a strong claim. Their town on the Mexican side of the border is under siege by one or more drug cartels battling for control of the key border crossing. According to Mike Doyle, the chief deputy sheriff of Hudspeth County, Texas, one of the cartels has ordered all residents of the town of 10,000 to abandon the city within the next month.

"They came in and put up a sign in the plaza telling everyone to leave or pay with their own blood," Doyle said. Since then there has been a steady stream of El Porvenir residents seeking safety on the American side of the border, both legally and illegally. Among them are the 30 who are seeking political asylum.

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  • phantommut: If Mexico's civil authority collapses, there are two options: (a) read more
  • Armed Liberal: OK, OK, I looked it up...brilliant, acerbic and gimpy? read more
  • Armed Liberal: toc, thank you. My own tone was a little...harsh. Dumb read more

March 26, 2010

Go Jarheads...

By Armed Liberal at 01:36

When BG joined the Army, I made a serious effort to convince him to join the Marines instead - based on my experiences in dealing with both at Spirit of America. He made his decision, and I'm an Army Dad all the way - but checkout this great 'how-to' on COIN ops in Helmland by the 1/5 Marines.


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  • Joe Katzman: The one that really stuck with me was the one read more

March 23, 2010

March 2010: Times Report on Foreign Fighters in Af-Pak

By Joe Katzman at 00:17

The Times of London talks about the large roster of foreign fighters in Pakistan's tribal belt. They serve as shock troops that consolidate al-Qaeda's local control over the tribes in Pakistan, and also conduct operations in Afghanistan.

"First-hand accounts from locals in the lawless areas of Pakistan close to the Afghan border, combined with those of Pakistani officers in the region, suggest that there is no shortage of Islamic foreigners willing to join the fray. Britain claims that these fighters are still the source of 75 per cent of terror plots against it.

Among this disparate group are al-Qaeda's Arab fighters, with a reputation for being well heeled and well mannered; Uzbeks from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), regarded as tough, rough and poor; and the Punjabis of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), viewed by their hosts as arrogant but militarily competent."

That said, Islamic paradise has its drawbacks. If we're clever enough to exploit them. Right now, we're doing the exact reverse:

"It's because of them that the army has come to our land and destroyed our homes," one local tribesman said. "Because of them our businesses are wrecked. Because of them we live as internal refugees.

"I've met ordinary people who say that they'd even welcome Israel or India if they helped us get rid of these Arabs and their friends."

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  • tagryn: Long War Journal referred to these guys as AQ's Shadow read more

February 10, 2010

What Israel Can Teach Airport Security

By Joe Katzman at 01:34

The lameness of airport security in the USA - or security theater, as it should be called - is difficult to properly express. It will end when people consistently demand better - and not one second of useless inconvenience before.

Before I forget, and for future reference, here's a fine post about the contrasting way the Israelis do it. With far less inconvenience, and a better security record.

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  • Andrew J. Lazarus: My recollection is that 25 minutes to the lounge is read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: My recollection is that 25 minutes to the lounge is read more
  • Joe Katzman: Phil, Depends how tired people get of being inconvenienced for read more

December 2, 2009

Pirates, Morphing: Somalia's Cooperative/ Stock Exchange

By Joe Katzman at 17:07

From Reuters:

"In Somalia's main pirate lair of Haradheere [about 400 km/ 250 miles NE of Mogadishu], the sea gangs have set up a cooperative to fund their hijackings offshore, a sort of stock exchange meets criminal syndicate.... "Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 'maritime companies' and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking," Mohammed said.

"The shares are open to all and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful materials ... we've made piracy a community activity.".... "Piracy-related business has become the main profitable economic activity in our area and as locals we depend on their output," said Mohamed Adam, the town's deputy security officer.

This is just the beginning of the true cost of the dithering and ineffective measures demanded by the UN and its enablers. Large sections of the Indian Ocean, far beyond Somalia, are already becoming dangerous for shipping and trade. And the forces on land will continue to morph toward more sophisticated - and hostile - models, the longer they're left alone. This is far too good a racket not to attract interest from al-Qaeda, which already has reliable proxies in the area - and a long Islamic history of piracy and slavery to use as justification and rallying call.

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  • Tim Oren: Sorry, ADV, too slow off the mark. The entrepreneurs are read more
  • AvatarADV: No, no, this sort of thing should be left to read more
  • Joe Katzman: That would be a shame. Wonder how much the Marines read more
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