Tuesday, August 30, 2011
There are myriad cultural, historical, diplomatic, perceptual, security and economic challenges facing the Middle East. While the Middle East consists of anywhere from 18 to about 30 countries depending on perspective and sources (University of Texas, 2008), most people tend to immediately think Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories- especially Israel and the Palestinian territories. The most obvious threat to Israel’s existence hides in the population numbers and their concentrations. Much data can be skewed, but population numbers are more difficult to hide (Arieff, 2010, 54). The following key findings indicate a major war is shaping between Israelis and the Palestinians.
Children, many from lesser developed countries are recruited into conflicts ranging from civil wars, mass atrocities and murder, as well as attacks against other foreign countries. These children are typically drug into conflict by force, and often serve as pawns and fodder for the warlords drafting them. These efforts have drawn the attention of various nations, as well as the United Nations. This piece is a primer that will aid those interested in learning more about this problem and what’s being done about it. It will provide some fundamental answers to a few key questions. Who protects children from being recruited into War? What laws exist to protect them? Some enforcement challenges.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Targeting Terrorists – 6 Minute Audio: Not 'Snake'... 'Hydra' - Western Organizational Structures And Methods Won't Win The War On al-Qaeda (May 4, 2011)
Summary of Audio (link below): this short audio addresses what the speaker perceives as psychological challenges western nations face when engaging Sunni Extremist groups like al Qaeda…specifically when it comes to understanding al Qaeda’s organization structure, adaptation and identifying root causes.
According to the speaker, American Institutions try to analyze Sunni extremists from a western “looking glass”. He specifically brings this point up when he identifies how Anwar al Awlaki was named to replace Osama bin Laden over Ayman Zawahiri. The speaker said we don’t assume about the basic structure about our own power sharing system, but we try to assume al Qaeda’s organizational structure functions somewhat like the do in the west. Hierarchical structures suffer from decapitation approaches, while al Qaeda is decentralized and decapitation will not work.
Serious insurgents, terrorists, irregular warfare practitioners rely on mobility and adaptation to survive and persist…people are generally replaceable…driven by a cause.
Furthermore, the speaker suggests having al Anwar al-Awlaki and Abu Yehya Gadan argue and defend their positions by debating US media leaders in order to draw out the causes driving them to support extremism so they can be debated and addressed.
Friday, August 19, 2011
|Love Letter to America|
|No "novosti" is good news|
|World Thought Police|
The booklet is fascinating. I think what he is saying is largely true. But the author is too often bogged down in a kind of historical predetermination that leaves no room for new forces and new directions. Human society has more complexity than he gives it credit for. Read Love Letter to America with that, and Schuman’s genuine love for America, in mind.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Military Instructions for Officers Detached in the field: Containing, a Scheme for Forming a Corps of a Partisan - 2011-08-16 1900-01-01 16:32:27
Military Instructions for Officers Detached in the field: Containing, a Scheme for Forming a Corps of a Partisan, Roger Stevenson, 1775. It is available at... Click Here
Yemen: A Different Political Paradigm in Context by Roby C. Barrett
File Size: 4MB
In this sweeping study of Yemen, Dr. Barrett argues that while Yemen may be a failed state, it is not a failed society. Yemen is a complex society with power built on family, clan, and tribal relationships. It is not one nation-state, but rather a balance of multiple Yemens based on fundamental social, cultural, and sectarian differences. Within this context Dr. Barrett asserts that now is the time to reconsider U.S. approaches towards Yemen. We should not seek governmental transformation, but rather strive to reach beyond the central government and weak institutions to engage tribes and clans. Throughout history, political power has ebbed and flowed between central and decentralized local and regional authority. Yemen today is no more or less fragmented than it has ever been. Our goal should be to strive to achieve a balance among these multiple Yemens--groups that have coexisted, almost in continuous conflict, throughout history.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
The discussion catalyst:
Fieldmann, Andreas E. and Maiju Perala. “Reassessing the Causes of Nongovernmental Terrorism in Latin America”. Latin American Politics and Society, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Summer, 2004), pp. 101-132. Available at http://www.jstor.org/stable/3177176, accessed 9 Jul 2011.
The Issue, a Macro View.
The central problem addressed in Fieldmann’s and Perala’s piece, “Reassessing the Causes of Nongovernmental Terrorism in Latin America”, pertained to the identification of the driving factors associated with terrorism, specifically nongovernmental terrorism. It was hypothesized by a number of scholars that terrorism in Latin American was a derivative of the Cold War. During the Cold War it was well known that the two major driving forces for these efforts were the United States and the former Soviet Union. Both nations reportedly supported activities that often involved terrorism in order to disrupt the ideological and political influences of the other party in Latin America. As a result, it was assumed by these scholars that terrorism would cease once the Cold War ended- that did not happen. Instead terrorism continued, and even increased in parts of Latin America.
Okay, Now What?
Caught off-guard, scholars decided to address the issue. They wanted to determine what conditions were conducive for the creation, development and sustainment of nongovernmental terrorism. This approach resulted in a five-part piece, of which, the last piece concludes with the most significant findings resulting from the research effort.
How Was This Done?
As noted previously, the articles consisted of five parts. The first part provides readers a common baseline before moving further into the problem by establishing a definition for terrorism and how it is addressed in the piece. The scholars intentionally separated nongovernmental terrorism from guerilla/insurgent warfare and politically driven conflicts. Second, the part referred to historical records to identify and gauge the growth associated with nongovernmental terrorist movements. Some of this data derived from statistical/quantitative findings. Third, causes were identified and addressed. This data was used to test their assertions. Finally, an analytical conclusion was made. Of note, data sets pertaining to drug-trafficking were not included.
The End Result
Many scholars and government institutions widely disagree with definitions of terrorism. However, this piece basically concluded that terrorist acts deliberately target “noncombatants” and their environmental needs (e.g. water, electricity, police, etc.) that tie to their “well-being” for the purposes of spreading fear and instability.
Several key findings were identified. States with poor human rights records, and poor governance, appeared to have a significant number of nongovernmental terrorist incidences. Ironically, nations that improve civil liberties and improve local conditions found themselves victim to nongovernmental terrorist attacks one year after such changes were made. Scholars assessed that such incidences were a result of political opposition, and that terrorist actions resulted when peaceful means of oppositions were prosecuted unsuccessfully. Terrorist attacks tended to be cyclic. This meant that terrorist attacks seemed to happen in clusters and seemed to follow suit of the original attack.
Of note, the data collection and data sets were limited. This means the findings were not conclusive and further data collection, data processing and analysis is needed.
The piece highlighted several key facts that can skew terrorism analysis, particularly the reference to the possibility of eradicating narco-terrorism in Latin America as noted on page 34 of Global Issues: Selections From CQ Researcher by Pine Forge Press 2010. First, terrorism has existed since the birth of man, yet there still continues to be debate regarding the substance and universal meaning of terrorism. Analysis, problem identification and mitigation will be hampered by lack of agreement. Second, the data sets specifically ignore narco-terrorist incidences. Terrorism impacts systems; states consist of a system of systems; meaning that terrorism in whatever form impacts society at large, and not one specific segment. That said, answer to the question on page 34 asking “Can narco-terrorism be eradicated?” will remain no. Why? Words shape policy, and policy controls money, will, resources and force. The value of the piece was its lack of recognition of narco-terrorism as a form of nongovernmental terrorism worth studying. Ergo, the problems will continue.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Check Out: The Al Qaeda Connection: International Terrorism, Organized Crime, and the Coming Apocalypse (9781591023494): Paul L. Williams: Books
The Al Qaeda Connection: International Terrorism, Organized Crime, and the Coming Apocalypse [Hardcover]Paul L. Williams
Paul L. Williams (Author)
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Fighting in Urban Terrain Conference - 2011-08-09 1900-01-01 07:57:17
Fighting in Urban Terrain Conference, Proceeding of the 2010 Zvi Meitar Institute for Land Warfare Studies, Russell Glenn, 2010. It is available at... Click Here