Jihad: More Than an Eight Second Ride

Viewpoints on the Global War on Terror from a Home on the Range.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Marines: Fighting Insurgencies of the Future

Marines Probing New Ways to Fight Future Insurgencies

Among those threats are organizations such as Al Qaeda, which employ terrorist tactics but also embody many of the characteristics of an insurgency, according to one Marine strategist.

Al Qaeda’s transnational networking and a multi-ethnic constituency has the makings of a “spiritually based insurgency that is somewhat different than the Maoist people’s war model, which underwrites most counterinsurgency doctrine,” wrote Marine Lt. Col. Michael F. Morris in a March 2005 research paper at the U.S. Army War College.

The dangers Al Qaeda pose flow from its willingness to employ weapons of mass destruction, its global reach and its focus on targeting America, Morris noted. But, more importantly, Al Qaeda’s strength lies in its “revolutionary and expansionist ideology.”

The size of Osama bin Laden’s organization, its political goals, and its enduring relationship with a fundamentalist Islamic social movement, Morris added, “provide strong evidence that Al Qaeda is not a terrorist group but an insurgency.”

This form of insurgency challenges the Pentagon’s traditional approach to planning wars, Morris argued. Al Qaeda is engaging in a “somewhat leisurely paced guerrilla war,” which makes it difficult for U.S. planners to develop a strategic response. “Long term success for the United States will require support for true political reform, a revolutionary cause in itself, among autocratic Islamic governments.”


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