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  • Author: David Tier
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: Our world is on a trajectory leading to a point where terrorists will eventually acquire a nuclear weapon. It is only a matter of time. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States recognized the lack of effectiveness of its previous intelligence and military efforts in deterring terrorists and sought an alternate way to defuse the radical Islamist threat. By continuing to advocate the use of military force in Iraq after weapons of mass destruction were not found, the U.S. pursued a strategy in line with the idealist school of thought by attempting to plant a democracy in the heart of the Middle East. Iraq became the centerpiece of the United States' ambitions to stop the region from exporting violence and terror, and attempted to transform it into a place of progress and peace. This effort was ambitious indeed, and many argued that these goals were be- yond the United States' ability to achieve. However, this strategy offered a possible solution to the endless cycle of violence across the Middle East and Africa and its continuing threat to U.S. national security. The current administration, in contrast, announced last year a "rebalance toward the Asia -Pacific region," ostensibly to counter the growing strength of China's military power. Like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand, this shift pivots the U.S. away from its true threat and increases the peril its citizens will face. The United States should focus its efforts on supporting democratization in troubled regions, and policy makers must counter those who criticize this strategy, including military-industrial complex advocates of the "pivot."
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Mumbai
  • Author: John J. Le Beau
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: Insurgency and counterinsurgency as types of warfare are currently subject to considerable attention due to the nature of the high-profile struggles underway in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is prudent to note that neither insurgency nor the strategy and tactics required to combat it represent new phenomena. A large body of experience and literature from the twentieth century and earlier exists that addresses both sides of the insurgent struggle. Some characteristics of insurgencies are largely immutable, since insurgency is ultimately a form of warfare that is adopted when a combatant has limited resources and limited choices for how to fight against a more powerful adversary. Today as in the past, these characteristics include employment of small-unit attacks, ambushes, assassinations, propaganda activity, and the development of covert infrastructure. Nevertheless, the primary insurgencies active in the twenty-first century are marked by important differences from earlier struggles, particularly in the areas of motivation and inspiration. Rather than being quintessentially political and interested in local or national grievances, many contemporary insurgencies are at their core linked to a particular interpretation of Islam. Thus, these insurgencies represent a war of religion, not of politics, economics, or ethnicity. Islamist insurgencies are likely to be uncompromising and averse to negotiation, absolutist and pan-national in their goals, and willing to justify the mass slaughter of non-combatants who do not share their religious vision.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Saudi Arabia