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How to Defeat al Qaeda? Meet Development Goals
How to Defeat al Qaeda? Meet Development Goals
When it comes to missions abroad, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the regional al Qaeda franchise headquartered in Yemen, has the distinction of being almost devastatingly successful, says Alistair Harris.
Saturday, July 10,2010 11:50
by Alistair Harris middle-east-online.com

When it comes to missions abroad, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the regional al Qaeda franchise headquartered in Yemen, has the distinction of being almost devastatingly successful.

The poorly understood organisation almost assassinated the deputy Saudi interior minister last August, almost destroyed a United Airlines flight over Detroit last December, and almost assassinated the British ambassador to Yemen in May.

While the group’s international forays may have yet to bear fruit, the same cannot be said of its record in Yemen. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has killed 37 out of the 40 local security officials that it has targeted over the past three years, according to Al-Masdar Online news website.

Despite its mixed record, AQAP has not lost its regional and global aspirations. For that reason, bilateral – particularly US – counter-terrorism aid is pouring into Yemen. Yet technology can only ever be a partial solution. The answer to the threat of AQAP lies in an integrated response that balances development, diplomacy and defence.

As the ongoing campaign in Afghanistan demonstrates, such a comprehensive strategy can only be successful if implemented in co-ordination and co-operation with a partner government that its citizens deem legitimate.

Analyses of al Qaeda’s emergence, activities and aspirations in the Arabian Peninsula tend to repeat the fact that Osama bin Laden is of Yemeni origin and has a Yemeni wife. More nuanced reports cite the al Qaeda strategist Abu Musab al Suri advocating Yemen as a safe haven and fertile ground for jihad.

Yet the reasons for the rise of AQAP are perhaps a little less exalted. Yemen is beset by mutually reinforcing social and national fault lines. In the past 50 years the country has experienced theocratic governance in the form of an Imamate, colonialism, communism, pan-Arabism and most recently, a unified democratic republic.

Besides frequent changes in the way the country is governed, there are other reasons for Yemen’s lack of stability. Chronic shortages of water and other resources, rapidly depleting foreign exchange reserves, spiralling unemployment, a youth bulge and a depressed economy exist alongside a religiously conservative, largely tribal society buffeted by secessionist claims in the south and an insurgency in the north.

In the face of these challenges, the government of Yemen, for its part, does not regard AQAP as an existential threat. With its cadres numbering in the hundreds and its attacks having resulted in less than 50 fatalities to date, given the range of other challenges facing the government, this lack of urgency is perhaps understandable.

Imagine, however, if all of AQAP’s endeavours to date had been successful – if, for example, the organisation had struck the “near enemy” by assassinating a member of the House of Saud and the “far enemy” epitomised by a US airliner and the British ambassador.

These military strikes failed not because of counterterrorist measures but because of bad luck and lack of operational experience. That situation could well change as AQAP learns from its mistakes. To effectively counter the group, it is imperative to understand how it recruits.

It is the precarious situation of youth that is creating a pool of potential recruits into violent jihad. The predicament of youths is caused by deficient religious and state education; the weakening of traditional, tribal and societal ties; a crisis in governance and questions over the government’s legitimacy; and the lack of meaningful employment opportunities for young people.

The way to shrink this expanding reservoir of recruits consists only in part in building the capacity of security forces, intelligence co-operation and enhanced surveillance by unmanned drones. It must also include non-coercive steps designed to consolidate the social contract between the governed and those who govern and focus as much on preventing terrorism as reacting to it.

In order to reduce the appeal of AQAP, the government and its international supporters need access to rural communities and local leaders. In order to ascertain what local people want, we need to ask them, and then be responsive to their needs. In the contest of legitimacy between the government of Yemen and AQAP, the side that has an impact on young people’s lives will win. A “Friends of Yemen” international donor process that ignores local realities emboldens al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda’s message is appealing; it paints a grievance narrative that resonates with many Yemenis. Nevertheless, young men joining the southern secessionist movement, the northern Houthi insurgency or al Qaeda are all symptoms of the same systemic problems. The limitations of al Qaeda’s success to date suggest that its prescription of violent jihad does not resonate widely – at least not yet.

The confrontation with AQAP is not an ideological debate or a clash of civilisations; it is about human development. While intelligence-gathering, law enforcement and the tools of national defence and international diplomacy must form part of the response to the threat, it is local development that will provide the most effective, sustainable response.

Alistair Harris is director of the research consultancy Pursue Ltd and the author of Exploiting Grievances: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Courtesy of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


tags: Qaeda / Qaida / Yemen / Afghanistan / Bin Laden / Zawahiri / Islamist Movement / / Ben Laden / Qaeda / Qaida
Posted in MB VS. Qaeda  
Threat Fsiekonomi.Multiply.Com
Al qaeda. Mmm, threat from within? Wallohu a'lam
Sunday, July 11,2010 02:50
"Taliban's biggest mistake" Mohammed Karim
Long live Shia-Sunni unity! Wahabi Saudi funded terrorists (namely: Taliban/Jundullah, Sipah-e-Sahaba) had attacked Shia Ashura Juloos in Karachi (Dec 2009) in the past. This time attacking "Al-Quds" irally in Quetta (organised by Pakistani Shias in support of Sunni Palestinians) was the biggest mistake of these terrorists. "It unwrapped terrorists' real face, and showing their hatred against all Muslims (shia and sunnis) and showing clear connection of Taliban to Israel". In short, Taliban Saudi Wahabi terrorists are linked to zionist Israel. Taliban=Terrorists=Saudi=Israel.
Monday, September 6,2010 10:39
HOW TO STOP ISLAMIC TERRORISTS...... it worked once in Philippines History... Once in U.S. history an episode of Islamic terrorism was very quickly stopped. It happened in the Philippines in 1911, when Gen. John J. Pershing was in command of a small garrison. There had been numerous Islamic killings against the population, so "Black Jack" told his men to catch some of them and teach them a lesson. Forced to dig their own graves, the terrorists were all tied to posts, execution style. The U.S. soldiers then brought in pigs and slaughtered them, rubbing their bullets in the blood and fat. Thus, the terrorists were terrorized; they saw that they would be contaminated with hogs' blood. This would mean that they could not enter Heaven, even if they died as terrorist martyrs. All but one was shot, their bodies dumped into the grave, and the hog guts dumped atop the bodies. The lone survivor was allowed to escape back to the islamist camps and tell his brethren what happened to the others. This brought a stop to terrorism in the Philippines for the next 50 years.
Monday, September 13,2010 19:41
Who is terrorist Truth
In Sidd'a comment The guy who dis extra judicial killing after degrading them is the real terrorist. Basically, the way to read is some thug from military got hold of a bunch of Muslims and expressed all his hatred towards all the Muslims all around the globe and killed them without any trial. If such as person is saying, he did it with a reason who should believer. There is nothing glorious about it and nothing new. And the are a group who thinks this is great - now think, how to defeat Alqaeda!
Sunday, February 20,2011 05:36
the people.... Ala Hala Achbar
of the countries that are being opressed by Al Qaeda are responsible for erradicating them. Countries that allow a cancer like Al Qaeda to grow withing their borders deserve the results of their apathy. stop being cowards and expecting someone else to spill blood for your freedom. fight and die for your freedom like everyboby else had to...
Tuesday, March 22,2011 00:42
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