Disrupting, dismantling, and ultimately defeating al-Qaeda based and inspired terrorism is a declared policy of the U.S. Government. Three key strategic objectives have been identified for accomplishing this: attacking al-Qaeda’s terror network, undermining radicalization and recruitment, and hardening homeland defense. The present monograph proposes a distinct "jihad-realist" approach for undermining radicalization and recruitment to al-Qaeda. First, a brief discussion of six means for ending terrorist organizations is provided. Second, the premises of a jihad-realist approach are described. Third, a jihad-realist shari’a case against al-Qaeda’s terrorism is presented. In conclusion, key assertions are summarized, and several specific policy recommendations offered for national security personnel charged with formulating and executing counterterrorist messaging strategy.
The al-Qaeda Organization (AQO) and the Islamic State Organization (ISO) are transnational adversaries that conduct terrorism in the name of Sunni Islam. It is declared U.S. Government (USG) policy to degrade, defeat, and destroy them. The present book has been written to assist policymakers, military planners, strategists, and professional military educators whose mission demands a deep understanding of strategically-relevant differences between these two transnational terrorist entities. In it, one shall find a careful comparative analysis across three key strategically relevant dimensions: essential doctrine, beliefs, and worldview; strategic concept, including terrorist modus operandi; and specific implications and recommendations for current USG policy and strategy. Key questions that are addressed include: How is each terrorist entity related historically and doctrinally to the broader phenomenon of transnational Sunni “jihadism”? What is the exact nature of the ISO? How, if at all, does ISO differ in strategically relevant ways from AQO? What doctrinal differences essentially define these entities? How does each understand and operationalize strategy? What critical requirements and vulnerabilities characterize each entity? Finally, what implications, recommendations, and proposals are advanced that are of particular interest to USG strategists and professional military educators?
U.S. landpower is an essential, but often overlooked, element of national power in semi-enclosed maritime environments like the South China Sea. This monograph gives U.S. policymakers a better understanding of the role of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Forces (SOF) in the region through potential combat operations employing wide area defense and maneuver; deterrence through forward presence and peacetime operations; and security engagement with landpower-dominant allies, partners, and competitors in the region. Landpower’s capabilities are also essential for direct support of the air and sea services and other government organization’s success when operating in this theater in direct support of U.S. national interests.
Prior to 1912, Libya was a province within the Ottoman Empire and subdivided into two regions (Tripolitania in the west and Cyrenaica in the east) reflecting a long-standing ethnic and geographic division in the country. Although not administered separately, the large region reaching south into the Sahara had a different ethnic make-up compared to the rest of the country and was more connected to sub-Saharan Africa than to the Mediterranean. Ottoman control in the south was limited to a few towns, which gave them some oversight of the trade routes; but by the start of the 20th century, Ottoman authority was notional rather than effective in this region.
The “America First” approach to foreign policy seems to call into question the value of institutions like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). However, in a more competitive and uncertain strategic environment, NATO and the EU remain vital to promoting U.S. interests.
Seventeen years ago this November, in a conference room in the Pentagon, I explained that, in whatever form it took, the new Government of Afghanistan would require some sort of provincial or territorial forces under Afghan Army command to augment the regular national army, which the interagency working group was tasked with creating. This structure was how Afghanistan organized its army from 1910 to 1979. Afghanistan could never afford to pay the salaries for, be able to maintain, or fill the ranks of a regular, all-volunteer army large enough to defend all of its territory simultaneously. And in Afghanistan, there’s always an uprising somewhere.
This Strategic Studies Institute book provides a comprehensive research guide to radical Islamist English-language online magazines, eBooks, and assorted radical Islamist news magazines, reports, and pocketbooks published between April-May 2007 and November 2016, and generates strategic insights and policy response options.
Syria has become one of the most vexing and complex problems for U.S. strategic planners in recent times. Currently, the United States has about 2,000 troops in the northeastern part of the country whose primary mission has been to aid the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up primarily of Kurds and some Arab tribesmen, to fight ISIS. The near total defeat of ISIS in Syria, especially with the fall of its so-called caliphate capital in Raqqa in October 2017, might seem to suggest that the military mission is coming to an end and, therefore, the United States should pull out its troops. Indeed, President Donald Trump stated publicly in late March 2018, that he wanted these troops to come home “very soon.” However, since that time, the U.S. President has backtracked from this statement after receiving advice from several of his top military advisers, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, some foreign leaders like French President Emanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and influential members of Congress, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, all of whom have recommended that the President keep these troops in Syria.
Russia has strengthened its military position in Central Asia and the South Caucasus through a combination of bilateral and multilateral initiatives. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has become the most important multilateral defense structure in the former Soviet Union and is an essential instrument in Russia’s resurgence. The CSTO has expanded its missions, authorities, and capabilities. However, it faces both internal and external challenges, especially debilitating divisions among its members.
This monograph examines the conflicts in the Middle East region between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the so-called proxy wars that are being fought between them, and discusses ways that the United States needs to maneuver carefully in this struggle to preserve its long-term interests in the area. Although Washington has political, economic, and strategic equities with Riyadh, it needs to think carefully about being perceived as engaging in sectarian strife that would alienate Shia allies in Iraq, show bias in its human rights policy, and anger millions of Iranian young people who want better relations with the United States.