Effective Counterterrorism

[Washington Times] Joshua Sinai - How do we win the conflict against radical Islamic terrorist groups and their supporters? In his important book, Unconquerable Nation, Brian Michael Jenkins, who established the first major U.S. terrorism studies program at the RAND think tank in 1972, formulates a counterterrorism strategy to destroy what he terms the "jihadist enterprise." A number of strategic principles can be discerned, including conserving resources for a long war, waging an effective political warfare campaign, breaking the cycle of jihadism, maintaining international cooperation, pre-empting attempts by terrorists to launch attacks involving weapons of mass destruction, and retaliating "in kind" against any state that provides WMD to a terrorist group. Among these principles, the "real battle" is ideological, with political warfare a crucial component in America's arsenal. "It is not enough to outgun the jihadists. We must destroy their appeal, halt their recruiting. It is not enough to kill or apprehend individual members. Al-Qaeda's jihadist ideology must be delegitimized and discredited." What is important, he argues, is to engage them in a political warfare campaign that "comprises aggressive tactics aimed at the fringes of the population, where personal discontent and spiritual devotion turn to violent expression."

2006-11-24 01:00:00

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