Tuesday, October 28, 2008
WPR Feature: The Al-Qaida We Don't Know
One of the reasons posting has been increasingly light here at HJ is that I've been picking up more reponsibilities over at World Politics Review. Among other things, I've been helping put together our new biweekly theme issues. The latest one just went up yesterday, and it's worth a glance:
Ten years after al-Qaida declared war against the U.S., and seven years after the U.S. followed suit, much of what we know about the group is filtered through the lens of the Global War on Terror, a rubric that hides and distorts as much as it reveals. But in reducing al-Qaida to a terrorist organization, we have ignored the broader socio-cultural movement it represents. The result has been to overlook the range of its activities on the one hand, while exaggerating its strategic outlook on the other.
To formulate a sound strategic response to al-Qaida, we must first have a clear understanding of just what kind of enemy it is. To provide a fuller picture of the group's origins and goals, its future prospects, as well as the conventional component of its activities, WPR examines The Al-Qaida We Don't Know.
In "The 055 Brigade," Brian Glyn Williams of the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and an expert witness in the military commission hearing of Salim Hamdan, discusses the little-known history of al-Qaida's conventional fighting force.
In "AQIM, the North African Franchise," Joseph Kirschke examines the potential threat posed by local al-Qaida franchises, as well as the challenges they face.
In "The Limits of the Counterterrorism Approach," Nathan Field examines the historical origins and socio-economic context of al-Qaida to determine its strategic outlook.
Let me know what you think here.