Monday, February 11, 2008
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There's hope for the war on terror after all
Kevin Whitelaw wrote a fascinating piece in U.S. News and World Report suggesting that Al Qaeda is confronting a more powerful than the United States government: organizational pathology:
More than 600 captured personnel files of foreigners who joined the terrorist group known as Al Qaeda in Iraq tell the individual stories of Muslim extremists who made the difficult journey to Iraq—and most likely died or were captured there....Here's a link to a longer analysis of the recovered documents.
UPDATE: Over at The Monkey Cage, Henry Farrell suggests that post-2002, Al Qaeda "traded operational control and financial efficiencies for security and organizational survival" as one research article puts it. This was my sense of the literature as well, which was why I found Whitelaw's story so intriguing. It should be noted, however, that this is not necessaarily inconsistent with the above report -- which is about Al Qaeda in Iraq's organization at the national level. From an anti-terrorism perspective, the best outcome might very well be decentralization at the international level but bureaucratization at the national level.
Is the moral here that we are supposed to be relieved that al Qaeda is organizationally sophisticated and actually keeps track of where their weapons are?
Killing the #3 ranking officer every time he respawns doesn't seem to be helping us much.posted by: Arr-squared on 02.11.08 at 08:49 AM [permalink]
This is hardly surprising. Al-Qaeda has been bureaucratic since its inception. The very name al-qaeda is a shortened form of the term for "database" in Arabic.
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