Happy New Year! The blog is finally back. Thanks for your indulgence.
We’ll start 2011 off with the release of the “FP Survey: Terrorism,” written up for FP’s AfPak Channel by Peter Bergen…… here.
Here’s what the panel of terrorism researchers surveyed, including myself, had to say about whether the US was safer in 2011 than on 9/11.
* This graphic is hotlinked from http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/01/02/the_fp_survey_terrorism?page=0,1
My Clintonian beef with this question is what is the meaning of “safe.” Does it mean in terms of not being attacked? Or if we get attacked from an adversary, that adversary can cause us less damage or kill fewer people than before?
Since I started seriously wrestling with the work of Abu Musab al-Suri starting back in 2005 and began to see the enormous impact he was having among the self-starting, grass-roots types within the global AQ movement, it became clear that AQ was likely heading into a place where attacks would become more frequent but less damaging. And one could view that as a security success in that “big AQ” has been vanquished.
If you ask al-Suri and company, however, that means that AQ has done it’s job. It catalyzed the birth of a social movement – one where “doing violent jihad” can go viral. I think in 2011 we have to flip our understanding of AQ on it’s head. AQ’s attacks aren’t the focus and it’s propaganda is the sideshow.
AQ’s attacks are the sideshow – only meant to put gas in the tank. The real focus is on building, honing, tweaking and propagating their grand narrative. And that’s precisely where the blog will concentrate in this new year.
Glad to be back.