I somehow missed this fantastic "Al'Queda is a scene" roundup from NoteWorthy.
George Packer is simply essential. This is a long post because there is no way to boil this down.
"After 9/11, when a lot of people were saying, ‘The problem is Islam,’ I was thinking, It’s something deeper than that. It's about human social networks and the way that they operate."
That's David Kilcullen, an Australian lieutenant colonel who may just be our last best hope in the long war.
"The Islamic bit is secondary. This is human behavior in an Islamic setting. This is not ‘Islamic behavior.’"
“People don’t get pushed into rebellion by their ideology. They get pulled in by their social networks."
In the 1 December issue of Jane's Intelligence Review, John Horgan writes (sub req'd):
People who leave terrorist groups or move away from violent roles do so for a multitude of reasons. Horgan explains why greater understanding of the motivations behind this so-called 'disengagement' will help in developing successful anti-terrorism initiatives.
The reality is that actual attacks represent only the tip of an iceberg of activity.
Here's the abstract of a recent RAND working paper:
In the battle of ideas that has come to characterize the struggle against jihadist terrorism, a sometimes neglected dimension is the personal motivations of those drawn into the movement. This paper reports the results of a workshop held in September 2005 and sponsored by RAND’s Center for Middle East Public Policy and the Initiative for Middle East Youth. Workshop participants discussed the issue of why young people enter into jihadist groups and what might be done to prevent it or to disengage members of such groups once they have joined.
Now, back to the Packer piece:
The odd inclusion of environmentalist rhetoric, he said, made clear that “this wasn’t a list of genuine grievances. This was an Al Qaeda information strategy." ... “bin Laden’s message was clearly designed to assist the President’s reëlection.” Bin Laden shrewdly created an implicit association between Al Qaeda and the Democratic Party, for he had come to feel that Bush’s strategy in the war on terror was sustaining his own global importance.
You may recall the speculation that Bush would produce bin Laden's he... [ Read More (0.7k in body) ]