Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

William S Lind, "Al-Qaeda in Iraq: Another failed intervention?", October 21, 2008.

  Beyond Afghanistan, the Fourth Generation future belongs neither to al-Qaeda nor to the Taliban but to two more sophisticated models, Hezbollah and the Latin American drug gangs.

I have suggested in previous columns that the al-Qaeda model of 4GW may be failing for inherent reasons, i.e., for reasons it cannot fix. "Tom Ricks's Inbox" in the Oct. 19 Washington Post offers some confirmation of that assessment. Ricks writes:

"Where did al-Qaeda in Iraq go wrong? In a paper prepared for the recent annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, the Australian political scientist Andrew Phillips argues persuasively that, by their nature, al-Qaeda affiliates tend to alienate their hosts…."

He then quotes Phillips at some length:

"In successive conflicts ranging from Bosnia to Chechnya to Kashmir, the jihad jet-set has rapidly worn out its welcome among local host populations as a result of its ideological inflexibility and high-handedness, as well as its readiness to resort to indiscriminate violence against locals at the first signs of challenge…. That this pattern has so frequently been repeated suggests that the underlying causes of al-Qaeda's defeat in Iraq may transcend the specific circumstances of that conflict. Baldly stated, the causes of al-Qaeda's defeat in Iraq can be located in its ideological DNA."

Read the rest here =>
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