Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Coming of Al Qaeda 3.0. By Bruce Reidel.

The Coming of Al Qaeda 3.0. By Bruce Reidel. The Daily Beast, August 6, 2013.


In case anyone needed reminding, the recent global terror alert illustrates that, 15 years after its first attacks on America, Al Qaeda is thriving. The coup in Egypt and the chaotic aftermath of the Arab awakening is only going to add more militants to this army of radicals. Failed revolutions and failing states are like incubators for the jihadists, a sort of Pandora’s Box of hostility and alienation.
The news that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and his man in Yemen, Nasr al Wuhayshi, were communicating and hatching plots to attack Western targets in the region is no surprise. Like any CEO of a multinational company, Zawahiri is in regular communication with al Qaeda’s half dozen regional franchises—just as Osama bin Laden was before he was killed.
What is new is the rapid growth of these franchises—associated cells and sympathetic movements from Algeria to Aden. The uprisings that swept the Middle East two years ago initially threatened al Qaeda by suggesting a better alternative to terror and jihad in the form of democracy and peaceful change. Now the revolutions have all but failed, creating more chaos than constitutions, and Twitter is not mobilizing reform. The pandemonium in Syria, Libya, and Egypt, are like a hothouse for al Qaeda, which is thriving just as it has in Somalia and Afghanistan.
But Egypt is the most critical piece. Zawahiri was taken by surprise in 2011 when the revolution swept President Hosni Mubarak from power. Indeed, his first statements on the revolution bordered on the incoherent. But his message has since then become clear.
Last week, al Qaeda issued a statement from his hideout in Pakistan that urged Egyptians to fight the army coup. Zawahiri said the Egyptian Army is an American tool and that the coup was fueled by Saudi and Gulf money.
In an I-told-you-so moment, Zawahiri reminded the Muslim Brotherhood—and the now-ousted President Mohamed Morsi—that al Qaeda had always maintained that nothing was to be gained through the ballot box and that jihad was the only viable path to power.
Zawahiri seems to have calculated that the army coup will radicalize millions of Muslim Brotherhood members, driving them into the embrace of al Qaeda, and that Egypt will revert to the terror and violence that wracked it in the early 1990s.
He may be right. In Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, al Qaeda has made unprecedented gains recently due to growing Sunni anger. This growth in these al Qaeda franchises has been encouraged by Zawahiri in covert and overt messages for two years.
Jihadists from Chechnya to Copenhagen have followed his advice and flocked to Syria to join the jihad. Hundreds have “martyred” themselves fighting Syrian despot Bashar al Assad. Jail breaks in Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan have freed more than a thousand Qaeda prisoners in the last month alone, a move Zawahiri has also lauded. In Yemen the American-backed government in Sana has made some gains this year and has had a better record on reform than many other postrevolutionary regimes. Yet al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is still attracting Yemenis and Saudis angered by drones, poverty, and desperation.
Most of al Qaeda's energy and Zawahiri's effort is focused on the crisis inside the Arab and Islamic worlds for now. The new generation of al Qaeda—AQ 3.0, if you like—is more focused on the nearby enemy close to home than the faraway enemy in America and Europe. For now at least. But easy targets like the natural-gas plant in Algeria attacked last winter by an Qaeda cell based in Libya and Mali allow local groups to kill dozens of foreign "crusaders." And embassies are always favorite targets. After all, that is how al Qaeda started 15 years ago this month when it blew up our missions in Kenya and Tanzania.
The Obama administration is right to alert the public to this threat. When it can, it should share more intelligence about how al Qaeda works, protecting collection sources, of course, but revealing how the enemy thinks and what its goals are. For example, two years after bin Laden's safe house in Pakistan was found, there must be more documents that can be shared with the public to heighten awareness and understanding about the inner workings and global connections of our still deadly enemy.
When the CIA revealed Zawahiri’s communication with the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musssb al-Zarqawi in 2005, it highlighted a high level of disagreement within al Qaeda that hurt the movement. According to the Qaeda narrative, America is an enemy of Islam that supports oppressive military dictators and greedy royal princes who, in turn, rule by repression and secretly partner with Israel. How Obama handles events in Cairo this summer will impact that narrative for years to come.
Unfortunately, the ill-starred Arab Awakening is fueling more anger and frustration in the Islamic world, converting more people to jihad. After 15 years, there is no end in sight to al Qaeda. And the new generation—AQ 3.0—may be with us for years to come.

“Total Destruction and Devastation”: George Washington Orders the Ethnic Cleansing of the Iroquois, 1779.

The Wyoming Valley Massacre, July 3, 1778. By Alonzo Chappel, 1858.

“Total Destruction and Devastation”: George Washington Orders the Ethnic Cleansing of the Iroquois, 1779. Instructions to General John Sullivan, May 31, 1779. Founders Online.

Total Ruin. By Logan Beirne. Blood of Tyrants: George Washington and the Forging of the Presidency, Chapter 26. New York: Encounter Books, 2013.

History of Sullivan’s Campaign Against the Iroquois. By A. Tiffany Norton. Lima, N.Y., 1879.


The expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the six nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more.
The troops to be employed under your commmand are—Clintons, Maxwells, Poors and Hands Brigades and ten independent companies raised in the State of Pennsylvania—In Hands Brigade, I comprehend all the detached corps of Continental troops now on the Susquehanna and Spencers regiment—Cortlandts I consider as belonging to Clintons Brigade—Aldens may go to Poors & Butlers & the rifle corps to Maxwells or Hands according to their comparative strength and circumstances.
Clintons Brigade you are informed has been ordered to rendezvous at Conojoharie, subject to your orders either to form a junction with the main body on the Susquehannah, by way of Otsege—or to proceed up the Mohawk river and co-operate in the best manner circumstances will permit—as you judge most adviseable.
So soon as your preparations are in sufficient forwardness, you will assemble your main body at Wyoming and proceed thence to Tioga, taking from that place the most direct and practicable route into the heart of the Indian settlements—You will establish such intermediate posts as you think necessary for the security of your communication and convoys, nor need I caution you, while you leave a sufficiency of men for their defence to take care to diminish your operating force as little as possible. A post at Tioga will be particularly necessary—either a stockade Fort or an intrenched camp—if the latter a blockhouse should be erected in the interior.
I would recommend that some post in the center of the Indian Country should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provision, whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed.
I beg leave to suggest as general rules that ought to govern your operations—to make rather than receive attacks, attended with as much impetuosity, shouting and noise as possible, and to make the troops act in as loose and dispersed a way as is consistent with a proper degree of government concert and mutual support—It should be previously impressed upon the minds of the men wherever they have an opportunity, to rush on with the war hoop and fixed bayonet—Nothing will disconcert and terrify the Indians more than this.
I need not urge the necessity of using every method in your power, to gain intelligence of the enemy’s strength motions and designs; nor need I suggest the extraordinary degree of vigilance and caution which will be necessary to guard against surprises from an adversary so secret desultory & rapid as the Indians.
If a detachment operates on the Mohawk River the commanding Officer should be instructed to be very watchfull that no troops come from Oswegatchie and Niagara to Oswego without his knowledge; and for this purpose he should keep trusty spies at those three places to advertise him instantly of the movement of any party and its force. This detachment should also endeavour to keep up a constant intercourse with the main body.
More than common care will be necessary of your arms and ammunition from the nature of the service—They should be particularly inspected after a rain or the passage of any deep water.
After you have very thoroughly completed the destruction of their settlements; if the Indians should show a disposition for peace, I would have you to encourage it, on condition that they will give some decisive evidence of their sincerity by delivering up some of the principal instigators of their past hostility into our hands—Butler, Brandt, the most mischievous of the tories that have joined them or any other they may have in their power that we are interested to get into ours—They may possibly be engaged, by address, secrecy and stratagem, to surprise the Garrison of Niagara and the shipping on the lakes and put them into our possession. This may be demanded as a condition of our friendship and would be a most important point gained—If they can render a service of this kind you may stipulate to assist them in their distress with supplies of provisions and other articles of which they will stand in need, having regard in the expectations you give them to our real abilities to perform. I have no power at present to authorise you to conclude a treaty of peace with them but you may agree upon the terms of one, letting them know that it must be finally ratified by Congress and giving them every proper assurance that it will. I shall write to Congress on the subject and endeavour to obtain more ample and definitive authority.
But you will not by any means listen to overture of peace before the total ruin of their settlements is effected—It is likely enough their fears if they are unable to oppose us, will compel them to offers of peace, or policy may lead them, to endeavour to amuse us in this way to gain time and succour for more effectual opposition. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us the distance to which they are driven and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire Peace without this would be fallacious and temporary—New presents and an addition of force from the enemy would engage them to break it the first fair opportunity and all the expence of our extensive preparations would be lost.
When we have effectually chastised them we may then listen to peace and endeavour to draw further advantages from their fears. But even in this case great caution will be necessary to guard against the snares which their treachery may hold out—They must be explicit in their promises give substantial pledges for their performance and execute their engagements with decision and dispatch. Hostages are the only kind of security to be depended on.
Should Niagara fall into your hands in the manner I have mentioned—you will do every thing in your power for preserving & maintaining it, by establishing a chain of posts, in such manner as shall appear to you most safe and effectual and tending as little to reduce our general force as possible—Th however we shall be better able to decide as the future events of the campaign unfold themselves—I shall be more explicit on the subject hereafter.
When you have completed the objects of your expedition, unless otherwise directed in the mean time, you will return to form a junction with the main army by the most convenient expeditious and secure route according to circumstances—The Mohawk river, if it can be done without too great risk, will perhaps be most elegible on several accounts. Much should depend on the relative position of the main army at the time.

As it is impossible to foresee what may be the exigences of the service in this quarter, this united with other important reasons makes it essential that your operations should be as rapid and that the expedition should be performed in as little time as will be consistent with its success and efficacy.

And here I cannot forbear repeating my former caution, that your troops may move as light and as little encumbered as possible even from their first outset—The state of our Magazines demands it as well as other considerations—if much time should be lost in transporting the troops and stores up the river—the provisions for the expedition will be consumed and the general scantiness of our supplies will not permit their being replaced—conse the whole enterprise may be defeated—I would recommend it to you for this purpose that the General Officers should make an actual inspection of the baggage of their several Brigades and absolutely reject to be left behind, at proper places every articles that can be dispensed with on the expedition—This is an extraordinary case and requires extraordinary attention.
Relying perfectly upon your judgment prudence and activity—I have the highest expectation of success equal to our wishes; and I beg leave to assure you, that I anticipate with great pleasure, the honor which will redound to yourself and the advantage to the common cause, from a happy termination of this important enterprise.

How We Lost Yemen. By Gregory D. Johnsen.

How We Lost Yemen. By Gregory D. Johnsen. Foreign Policy, August 6, 2013. Also here.

The United States used the Pakistan playbook on Yemen’s terrorists. It didn’t work.

Poll: Israeli Jews Say They Are Pessimistic About the Peace Process. By Gil Hoffman.

Poll: Israeli Jews say they are pessimistic about peace process. By Gil Hoffman. Jerusalem Post, August 6, 2013.

In the Arab Middle East, Science Lags Behind the West. By Lee Smith.

In the Arab Middle East, Science Lags Behind the West. By Lee Smith. Tablet, July 31, 2013.

The Anti-Israel Lesbian Avenger. By Roberta P. Seid.

The anti-Israel lesbian avenger. By Roberta P. Seid. The Times of Israel, August 1, 2013.

Going Undercover: UK Mother Alex Abou-El-Ella Dons a Burka to Rescue Her Daughter in Egypt.

Going undercover: UK mother Alex Abou-El-Ella dons burka to rescue daughter in Egypt. Al Arabiya, August 5, 2013.

How desperate mother donned a veil to snatch back her daughter in daring rescue mission to Egypt – two years after she was kidnapped by her father. Daily Mail, August 4, 2013.

Brushing up on her English: After Mona was taken Alex could only speak with her by phone with communication becoming increasingly difficult as the child forgot English and began speaking more and more in Arabic.

The War on Terror Is Here to Stay. By Walter Russell Mead.

The War on Terror Is Here to Stay. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, August 6, 2013.


It was “mission accomplished” and “death throes” in the Bush-Cheney years. It has been “on the run”, “decimated,” and “September 10” under the current leadership. The real truth, as many in the press are starting to see, is that President Obama’s counter-terrorism strategy has run into the ground. With the latest intercepted chatter indicating that a major attack is being planned, and with the corresponding shuttering of US embassies across the world, it’s clear that al-Qaeda has adjusted to American tactics and taken advantage of the widespread chaos and crisis across the Middle East. To make things even more troubling, there’s now talk of al-Qaeda’s having gotten its mitts on a new kind of undetectable liquid explosive.
The “Arab democracy” approach to the problem of terrorism that dominated both the Bush and Obama presidencies was a classic example of American “quick fix” thinking. Get democracy going, or so the thinking went, and we marginalize al-Qaeda, make people happy, and the war on terror comes to an end. What defeated both Bush and Obama was really the same thing: the deep resistance of the Middle East to American quick fixes. The political, religious, cultural, and social issues that keep that part of the world under stress and set the conditions for al-Qaeda-type movements to arise are deeply rooted. Worse, we really don’t have the answers to them.
From Pakistan to Morocco there are countries and societies wrestling with demons we can’t control and casting desperately about for answers we can’t supply. That’s a reality that is hard for Americans to accept, but accept it we must. If there are any answers for what’s troubling the Middle East, we don’t have them—yet our interests continue to demand that we be entangled in its politics.
Presidents Bush and Obama both thought they saw the evolution of a peaceful, democratic Middle East hovering just on the horizon. Both were deceived by a mirage. Instead of putting the finishing touches to beautiful castles of democracy and riding unicorns from one tranquil, prosperous Middle Eastern country to the next, we face a long slog of uncertain duration and changing risk against people who really, really hate us, and really, really believe that killing as many of us as possible is the shortest road to a better life for them and their people.
This number never has been a majority in the Middle East; nor is not now. The overwhelming majority wishes the crazies would shut up and stop stirring things up. So this is not a clash of civilizations, and it is not a “war against Islam.” But that doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous or that we will be permitted to ignore it. The US media and the public could not be more bored with this threat, but our best efforts to ignore it into insignificance are unlikely to succeed.
The forces of order and stability are weak across much of the region, economies are in trouble, and the wars in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq are ensuring adequate funding, weapons, training, and mobility for the bad guys. There is no reason to think that the trend toward a stronger and more capable al-Qaeda won’t continue for some time.

Is Globalization Leading to More Restrictions on Religion? By Joshua Keating.

Globalization Leading to More Restrictions on Religion? By Joshua Keating. Foreign Policy, August 5, 2013. Also here.


In a report last year, the Pew Research Center noted a marked increase in legal restrictions on the practice of religion around the world. The report found that “The share of countries with high or very high restrictions on religious beliefs and practices rose from 31% in the year ending in mid-2009 to 37% in the year ending in mid-2010” and that three quarters of the world’s population live in countries with “high government restrictions on religion.” (That stat’s due largely to China, but still.) These included not just laws in theocratic or autocratic regimes, but new restrictions in democracies such as Switzerland’s 2009 minaret ban.
A new paper in the journal Political Studies by three Israeli political scientists suggests that this trend is an ironic byproduct of globalization, which has “has increased interpersonal contact between individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds.” Rather than increasing tolerance, this new interaction actually “induces perceived threat to a hegemonic religion, which leads to more restrictions on religious freedom.”
Using globalization indicators including communications, trade, tourism, and diplomatic contact for 147 countries, they find a correlation between a country’s global oppenness and legal restrictions on religion.
One would assume that there’s a saturation level at which religious minorities are no longer perceived as a threat by the majority, or at which religious minorities are simply more integrated into their communities, but things may get significantly worse on this front before they get better.

Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion. Pew Research, September 20, 2012.

Religion can both hurt and enhance democratic attitudes. By Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom and Gizem Arikan. The London School of Economics and Political Science, May 21, 2013.

Religion and Support for Democracy: A Cross-National Test of the Mediating Mechanisms. By Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom and Gizem Arikan. British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 43, No. 2 (April 2013).

Globalization, Threat and Religious Freedom. By Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom, Gizem Arikan, and Udi Sommer. Political Studies, published first online, July 11, 2013.


While arguably central to the human experience, religion is a largely understudied component of social life and of politics. The comparative literature on religion and politics is limited in scope, and offers mostly descriptions of trends. We know, for example, that restrictions on freedom of religion are on the rise worldwide. In our theoretical framework, the recently higher universal levels of globalization combine with other sources of threat to account for the trend away from religious freedom. As threat to the majority religion increases, due to globalization and an increasing number of minority religions, freedom of religion is on the decline. Data for two decades from 147 nations are used to test hypotheses. Time-series cross-sectional and mediation models estimated at different levels of analysis with data from two independent sources confirm that threat systematically accounts for changes in religious freedom, with globalization playing a key role.

Can Bezos Save the Washington Post From Print’s Dismal Economics? By Megan McArdle.

Can Bezos Save the Washington Post From Print’s Dismal Economics? Megan McArdle. Bloomberg, August 5, 2013.

Why the Sale of the Washington Post Seems So Significant. By James Fallows. The Atlantic, August 5, 2013.

Bezos Buys Post, Tech Discovers DC. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, August 6, 2013.

The Next Edition: Katharine Weymouth Takes Charge at the Washington Post. By Sheryl Gay Stolberg. New York Times, August 2, 2013.

The Post’s Fire Sale. By Michael Walsh. National Review Online, August 7, 2013.