Monday, April 24, 2006

How to win against al-Qaeda

I generally don't read articles posted to Aljazeera; if this piece is any indication, perhaps I ought to start. Perhaps you ought to, too.

While I don't buy the whole article, an interview with Fawaz Gerges, a professor at Sarah Lawrence University in the Christian Johnson Chair in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies, I did think his notion about "how to win" was on-the-mark:
The American war against al-Qaeda cannot and will not be won on the battlefield. The US is not facing a conventional army. This is an unconventional war and I think in many ways al-Qaeda is totally highly adaptable and dynamic.

The only way for the US and the international community to win this war is by creating coalitions and alliances with Arab and Muslim societies, not just counter-insurgency tactics.

The US must really endeavour to address the legitimate grievances of the floating middle and Arab and Muslim public opinion and create alliances by addressing regional conflicts like the Palestinian predicament.

It does this by keeping a healthy distance from Arab and Muslim dictators and by building bridges with the largest constituency in the Arab Muslim world - Arab and Muslim youth.
This sort of change in policy will be difficult, to say the least, but it makes sense. Now, just how do we move down this road?

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