Thursday, 2 December 2010

AQ, Afghanistan and National Security

I am posting this following a discussion among various people I follow on Twitter, in which they were discussing the association between AQ and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the continuing operations there to nullify the country as a safe haven.

This is an early version of a chapter of the dissertation I wrote in the third year of my Bachelor's degree. The dissertation was a discussion of what stance Britain should take vis-a-vis failed states. The excerpt linked to below argues that since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the threat from international jihadis is no longer associated with failed states, and that overseas intervention exacerbates the threat from jihadi terrorism.

Based on these conclusions, I believe that intervention in Afghanistan is not serving to reduce the threat from terrorism, and is indeed exacerbating it. However, as a side-note, I don't think we should leave based on the fact that we should start what we finished, and do our best to create a sustainably stable country in Afganistan.

Also, I realise this is a massive escalation from a Twitter debate. Haha.

Author's note: I do not claim to be an expert. My conclusions are based on the readings listed below (in other words, I reserve the right to be completely wrong). Comments would be greatly appreciated, even if it simply consists of "STFU you are totally wrong GTFO". Though supporting evidence would also be appreciated. Just to clarify, any comments made won't do anything toward affecting my marks - I graduated earlier this year.

  • Art, Robert J. and Richardson, Louise, Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Past. Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007.
  • Atwan, Abdel Bari. The Secret History of al-Qa’ida. London: Abacus, 2006.
  • Burke, Jason. Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam. 3rd ed. London: Penguin, 2007.
  • English, Richard. Terrorism: How to Respond. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Husain, Ed. The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw and Why I Left. London: Penguin, 2007.
  • Laqueur, Walter. The Age of Terrorism. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987.
  • Sayyid, S. A Fundamental Fear: Eurocentrism and the Emergence of Islamism. 2nd ed. London: Zed Books, 2007.
  • Simons, Anna and David Tucker. “The Misleading Problem of Failed States: a ‘socio-geography’ of terrorism in the post-9/11 era.” Third World Quarterly 28, no. 2 (2007): 387-401.
  • Wilkinson, Paul. Homeland Security in the UK: Future preparedness for terrorist attack since 9/11. London: Routledge, 2007.

Shortly after writing this passage I came across this work which confirmed my conclusions (but with far greater depth and eloquence), and I heartily recommend: John Mackinlay. The Insurgent Archipelago: From Mao to bin Laden. London: Hurst, 2009.

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