Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Stock Market in DANGER of Strangling the Bears to Death - Nadeem_Walayat
2. Germany Pivoting East, Exit US Dollar, Enter Gold Standard - Jim_Willie_CB
3.Flight MH17 – Kiev Flash Mob's Last False Flag? - Andrew_McKillop
4.Stock Market Crash Nightmare! - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Gold - The Million DOLLAR Question... - Rambus_Chartology
6.Gold And Silver – BRICS And Germany Will Pave The Way - Michael_Noonan
7.The Jewish Selfish Gene, People Chosen by God, Everyone Else is Goyim to Kill - Nadeem_Walayat
8.The Israeli Promised Land Dream - The Criminal Roadmap Towards “Greater Israel”? - Felicity Arbuthnot
9.Which Way is Inflation Blowing? Watch Commodities - Gary_Dorsch
10.U.S. Economy Quarterly Review and Implications for 2014-2015 - Lacy Hunt
Last 5 days
Death of the U.S. Dollar? Gold an Inflation Hedge? Really? - 29th July 14
We’re Ready to Profit in the Coming Gold Price Correction—Are You? - 29th July 14
Their Economy Will Collapse, Including Ours - 29th July 14
Silver Prices – Megaphone Patterns - 29th July 14
Real U.S. Interest Rates - Fed Exit a Blue Pill? - 29th July 14
Why Israel Should NOT Exist, Just Like Any Other Rogue State - 29th July 14
Gold Still Looking Good - 29th July 14
Silver Price Set To Star - 29th July 14
Our Population Growth Totalitarian Future - 29th July 14
World War 1 Cause and Consequences - The Planned Destruction of Christendom - 29th July 14
Will Crashing Commodities Crash the Stock Market? - 29th July 14
Ukraine MH17 - Washington Thinks Americans Are Fools - 29th July 14
Stock Market Bubble Warning - 29th July 14
Gold Price and U.S. Dollar’s July Rally - 28th July 14
Second Quarter Corporate Earnings: Marching Toward a Strong Economic Recovery - 28th July 14
Time to Put a New Economic Tool in the Box - 28th July 14
Mossad in Gaza, Ukraine and the Cult Of The All-Powerful Elite - 28th July 14
Elliott Wave Gold Price Projection Since 1970 - 28th July 14
Investors Remain Uncertain As Stock Fluctuate Near Long-Term Highs - Will The Uptrend Extend? - 28th July 14
The Mass Psychology Of Decline - 28th July 14
Will the US Destroy the World? - Don’t Expect to Live Much Longer - 28th July 14
GDM and GDXJ Gold Stocks In-depth Look - 28th July 14
Stock Market One FINAL High? - 28th July 14
What It Means - Paradigm Collapse And Culture Crisis - 27th July 14
Wall Street Shadow Banking: You Can’t Taper a Ponzi Scheme: “Time to Reboot” - 27th July 14
6 Tips for Picking Winning Gold Mining Stocks - 27th July 14
Israel's War on Children, Exterminating the Palestinians Future - 27th July 14
Guilt By Insinuation - How American Propaganda Works - 26th July 14
Surprise Nuclear Attack On Russia To Liberate Ukraine - 26th July 14
Use "Magic" Of Gold/Silver Ratio To Greatly Increase Your Physical Holdings - 26th July 14
Derivatives Market Species Origins - Abuse, Props and Risks - 26th July 14
Stock Market Manipulation and Technical Analysis - 26th July 14
China’s Stock Market Finally Looks Like A Buy - 26th July 14
Ed Milliband Fears Israel Jewish Fundamentalist Gaza War Massacres Backlash - 26th July 14
The Big Energy = Power Battle Is Coming - 25th July 14
USrael - Zionists in Control of America's Goyim Brainwashed Second Coming Slaves - 25th July 14
More Weakness Ahead for Gold Miners - 25th July 14
Gold Price Strong Season Starts - 25th July 14
Geopolitics and Markets Red Flags Raised by the Fed and the BIS on Risk-taking - 25th July 14
Gold Lockdown Until Options Expiry - New Singapore Gold Contract Threatens Price Manipulation - 25th July 14
The Bond Markets, Black Swans, and the Tiny Spirit of Santo - 25th July 14
No Road Map For Avoiding The Future - 25th July 14
Israeli War Machine Concentrating Women and Children into UN Schools Before Killing Them - C4News - 25th July 14
Israeli Government Paying Jewish Fundamentalist Students to Post Facebook Gaza War Propaganda - 25th July 14
Why the Stock Market Is Heading For A Fall - This Time Is Not Different - 25th July 14
An Economic “Nuclear Strike” on Moscow, A “War of Degrees” - 25th July 14
BBC, Western Media Working for Israeli Agenda of Perpetual War to Steal Arab Land - 25th July 14
Ukraine: What To Do When Economic Growth Is Gone - 24th July 14
Stock Market Clear and Present Danger Zone - 24th July 14
The Five Elements to Creating a Something-for-Nothing Society - 24th July 14
Instability is the New Normal? - 24th July 14
Israel's Suicide Bombers Over Gaza - 24th July 14
EUR-AUD Heads Into The Danger Zone - 24th July 14
Tesco Supermarket Death Spiral Accelerates as Customers HATE the Mega Brand - 24th July 14
Ukraine MH17 Crisis - Best Remember Who Your Friends Are - 24th July 14
Three Reasons Why Gold Price and Gold Stocks Will Rise - 24th July 14
HUI Gold Bugs Fighting To Break Downtrend - 23rd July 14
What Putin Knows About Flight MH17 - 23rd July 14
Why Microsoft Will Continue to Rebound, Huge Upside Potential - 23rd July 14
Will Putin Survive? - 23rd July 14

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The Biggest lie in Stock Market History Revealed

Post 9/11 World Strategic Analysis

Politics / Al-Qeeda Oct 09, 2008 - 07:00 AM GMT

By: STRATFOR

Politics Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleOne day after 9/11, U.S. President George W. Bush declared a global “war on terror.” Al Qaeda had first reared its head years before in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 U.S. Embassy attacks in East Africa and the 2000 USS Cole bombing, but it was not until the World Trade Center towers came crashing down that the global international security community became almost completely consumed with battling global jihadism. Professors of political Islam came out of the woodwork, Osama bin Laden became a household name, university students started pouring into Arabic language courses and, for the first time, terrorism became a national security priority. This era became known as the “post-9/11 world.”


As we discussed last week, a great deal of debate continues within the international security community over the strength of the al Qaeda organization now as compared to seven years ago, with much of the U.S. intelligence community under the impression that al Qaeda is now stronger than it was before Sept. 11, 2001. Stratfor, on the other hand, has long maintained that the al Qaeda core — the tight group of individuals under the leadership of bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri that masterminded the 9/11 attacks — has seen its leadership and operational capability significantly decline over the past seven years.

A strategic threat to the U.S. homeland on the scale of 9/11 requires things like a transnational financial network to wire funds, highly trained operatives disciplined in operational security, undetected preoperational surveillance of targets, and safe-haven territory that is not constantly being bombarded with airstrikes, among other essentials. While al Qaeda prime is busy dodging missiles and making videos, al Qaeda franchises are by and large struggling to stay relevant in their theaters of operation (e.g., Iraq) or are shifting over to a more active area of operation (e.g., Afghanistan).

This is not to say, however, that terrorism is dead. The jihadist movement has decentralized into smaller, largely uncoordinated organizations capable of carrying out attacks in such notably lawless hotspots as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq and Algeria. In addition, the threat of al Qaeda grassroots cells in the West with the limited capability of pulling off small-scale attacks remains, though advances by Western security agencies since 9/11 have largely hampered such groups' efforts.

A Look Back at Cold War Terrorism

Scattered jihadist insurgencies will continue to erode stability in areas of the Middle East and South Asia for some time to come. But a larger terrorism threat is looming on the horizon, one that poses a more lethal threat to Western interests across the globe: the revival of state-sponsored terrorism.

This new phase of terrorism is developing in the context of growing state-to-state conflict between Russia and the West, for which Russian intelligence has long been preparing . Since the Russo-Georgian war in August, there have been a number of indications that Russia is looking to revive some of its Cold War contacts in places such as Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua , Syria, Lebanon and the Horn of Africa , among others.

Recent Russian activity in these areas invokes memories of the Cold War, when
the Soviets backed numerous left-wing militant groups in third-party countries, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, Germany's Red Army Faction, Italy's Red Brigades, the Japanese Red Army, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola and dozens of others. With Soviet assistance, training camps for militant groups were set up in such places as Libya, Iraq, Syria, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and elsewhere. Through a Soviet ideology that emphasized the socialist perspective of class struggle, these groups were given the funds, training, weaponry and ideological ammunition to wreak havoc across the globe.

Back then, the United States lacked a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy for dealing with these state-sponsored terrorist groups. Though terrorism was rampant at that time, it was still difficult to prove the Soviet hand in many of the terrorist groups active then. (Many used a variety of pseudonyms to confuse Western intelligence agencies.) Inside the United States, the FBI handled KGB-sponsored militant activity as a purely law enforcement problem. Overseas, the CIA would work with liaison intelligence services to combat insurgent and terrorist groups and to undermine Soviet proxy regimes, attempting covert operations such as coups in Latin America.

Overall, the focus was still on state-to-state conflict, not on developing a counterterrorism strategy for specific groups. Once Soviet funding finally dried up with the fall of the U.S.S.R., the vast majority of these left-wing militant groups crumbled, and terrorism remained low on the priority list for U.S. national security — that is, until 9/11.

Learning to Cope with Nonstate Actors

When the terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001, the first logical step was to take out al Qaeda's state sponsors. Going to war in Afghanistan to deprive al Qaeda of its primary state sponsor — the Taliban regime — was a relatively easy political decision for the United States. From there, however, things got complicated. While justifying a war in Iraq was difficult for the United States, Washington succeeded in compelling surrounding Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Libya to give their full cooperation in stamping out al Qaeda. Pakistan's security apparatus had deep relations with the very jihadists the United States was fighting, but carrying the war to a nuclear-armed Pakistan was a less attractive option than entering into a tenuous security alliance with Islamabad in hopes of eroding the jihadists' support base.

As the jihadists' list of state sponsors got shorter, the threat they posed became more diffuse. Though overall the jihadist threat had become less lethal, it had also become more difficult to stamp out in places like London, where grassroots cells had taken root. As a result, counterterrorism agencies are still grappling with the idea of waging a battle of ideas against jihadism and devoting more military resources to stability operations to deprive these groups of their support networks.

Looking Forward

While more work has to be done to further degrade the threat of jihadism, counterterrorism agencies need to anticipate a revival of state-sponsored terrorism. State sponsorship is capable of transforming a small, largely ineffective group into a serious threat. With state sponsorship, a militant group that previously was capable of only popping off trash can bombs in Manila can access difficult-to-obtain materials (such as blasting caps and explosives) via the state sponsor's diplomatic pouch. State sponsors can then train these groups to develop superior tradecraft in improvised explosive device construction for larger, deadlier attacks.

Militant groups with state backing also benefit from training in target surveillance and operational security — essential skills for avoiding scrutiny from hostile intelligence agencies. For militants always on the run, state sponsorship can provide a group with havens for planning and training purposes. Finally, state sponsors can prove essential in giving logistical support to militants who need funding and travel documents to move around with greater ease.

But having a state sponsor can also place limits on militants. A state sponsor is more likely to keep tabs on the activities of its militant proxies, keeping such things as weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) out of militant hands for fear of attacks on the sponsor's own soil. With a state sponsor, a militant group will have less autonomy and thus less inclination to acquire nonconventional weapons. By contrast, more autonomous nonstate actors like al Qaeda are more likely to work to acquire WMDs — though their chance of success remains low.

The Russian Agenda

Russia is not the great power it was during the Cold War, but Moscow plans to reassert Russian prowess vis-a-vis the West , particularly as the U.S. military is still bogged down in fighting the jihadist war.

The Russia of today is not constrained by the need to wage an ideological war in the name of communism. Instead, potential Russian covert activity in regions such as Latin America , the Middle East and Africa would be focused more on generating chaos, thereby creating enough headaches for the West to keep the United States preoccupied while Russia works on consolidating its influence along the former Soviet periphery. To this end, disaffected Palestinian groups, beaten-down Kurdish militants in Turkey, Bolivarian Leftist movements across Latin America and separatist movements in Africa are all fair game for the Russians.

While the world has seen better economic days, the Russians still have ample petrodollars to support terrorist campaigns in parts of the world where Moscow has a strategic interest in undermining the West. Terrorism, relatively speaking, is cheap. For example, the FBI estimates that the 9/11 attacks only cost al Qaeda between $175,000 and $250,000 for flight training, travel and other expenses for the hijackers. The Russians, who have long been deep in the global arms trade, could even potentially turn a profit via arms sales to rebel groups in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

The extent to which Russia would re-engage in such terrorist campaigns depends on a number of factors, including the potential risk versus opportunity in supporting certain groups, the resources of the Russian SVR, the amount Russia is willing to invest in terrorism campaigns and the geographical areas where the Russians are more likely to find cooperative allies. For example, Russia has complex relations with Israel and Turkey to worry about, and it is now more or less lacking a Libya equivalent to export a terrorist agenda in the Middle East. Latin America, in contrast, offers a much lower risk opportunity for the Russians to sow instability in the U.S. backyard.

The potential revival of Russian state-sponsored terrorism is most likely still early in its development. But one should not forget that after the Cold War, many experts proclaimed a “New World Order” in which terrorism had become a thing of the past — and U.S. intelligence capabilities atrophied as a result. About a decade later, the 9/11 attacks caught the United States off guard and brought into being a new era of Islamist terrorism that is only now declining. With state-sponsored terrorism back on the horizon, the time has come to recognize the changing face of terrorism beyond the post-9/11 world.

By Reva Bhalla

This analysis was just a fraction of what our Members enjoy, Click Here to start your Free Membership Trial Today! If a friend forwarded this email to you, click here to join our mailing list for FREE intelligence and other special offers. Please feel free to distribute this Intelligence Report to friends or repost to your Web site linking to www.stratfor.com .

© Copyright 2008 Stratfor. All rights reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis.

STRATFOR Archive

© 2005-2014 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014