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This resistance is acceptable to us

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As we were eating, [an older professor and friend] Abdulla expressed a sentiment now widely heard. "The mujahideen are fighting for their country against the Americans. This resistance is acceptable to us"... among Iraqis the growing resistance was predicted long ago… While footage of cars with broken glass and bullet holes in their frames flashed across a television screen, my translator Hamid, an older man who had already grown weary of the violence, said softly, "It has begun. These are only the start, and they will not stop. Even after June 30."

Indeed it has, and indeed, it will rise, predicted by none other that the National Intelligence Council's 2020 Project, Mapping the Global Future. At least read the Executive Summary, starting with its Relative Certainties and Key Uncertainties, one of which is an "Arc of instability spanning Middle East, Asia, Africa":

The key factors that spawned international terrorism show no signs of abating over the next 15 years… We expect that by 2020 al-Qa’ida will be superceded by similarly inspired Islamic extremist groups, and there is a substantial risk that broad Islamic movements akin to al-Qa’ida will merge with local separatist movements. Information technology, allowing for instant connectivity, communication, and learning, will enable the terrorist threat to become increasingly decentralized, evolving into an eclectic array of groups, cells, and individuals that do not need a stationary headquarters to plan and carry out operations. Training materials, targeting guidance, weapons know-how, and fund-raising will become virtual (i.e., online). Terrorist attacks will continue to primarily employ conventional weapons, incorporating new twists and constantly adapting to counterterrorist efforts. Terrorists probably will be most original not in the technologies or weapons they use but rather in their operational concepts—i.e., the scope, design, or support arrangements for attacks.

Keep in mind, Mamdani's jihadist Islam, an ideology now dominating Islamist politics, as you read on in 2020:

There are indications that the Islamic radicals’ professed desire to create a transnational insurgency, that is, a drive by Muslim extremists to overthrow a number of allegedly apostate secular governments with predominately Muslim subjects, will have an appeal to many Muslims… groups inspired by al-Qa’ida, regionally based groups, and individuals labeled simply as jihadistsunited by a common hatred of moderate regimes and the Westare likely to conduct terrorist attacks. The al-Qa’ida membership that was distinguished by having trained in Afghanistan will gradually dissipate, to be replaced in part by the dispersion of the experienced survivors of the conflict in Iraq.

the majority of international terrorist groups will continue to identify with radical Islam. The revival of Muslim identity will create a framework for the spread of radical Islamic ideology both inside and outside the Middle East, including Western Europe, Southeast Asia and Central Asia.

  • This revival has been accompanied by a deepening solidarity among Muslims caught up in national or regional separatist struggles, such as Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir, Mindanao, or southern Thailand and has emerged in response to government repression, corruption, and ineffectiveness.
  • A radical takeover in a Muslim country in the Middle East could spur the spread of terrorism in the region and give confidence to others that a new Caliphate is not just a dream.
  • Informal networks of charitable foundations, madrasas, hawalas, and other mechanisms will continue to proliferate and be exploited by radical elements.
  • Alienation among unemployed youths will swell the ranks of those vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.

Re Mamdani's "Every Middle Eastern movement that opposes the American empire--secular or religious, state or nonstate--is being drawn to Iraq, as if to a magnet, to test out its convictions":

  • Iraq and other possible conflicts in the future could provide recruitment, training grounds, technical skills and language proficiency for a new class of terrorists who are "professionalized" and for whom political violence becomes an end in itself.
  • Foreign jihadistsindividuals ready to fight anywhere they believe Muslim lands are under attack by what they see as "infidel invaders" enjoy a growing sense of support from Muslims who are not necessarily supporters of terrorism.

In titanic understatement, NIC Chairman Robert Hutchings said that 2020 "tried to avoid analyzing the effect of U.S. policy on global trends to avoid being drawn into partisan politics," but I cannot see how it can be kept out of political calculus given the implications of policy roads taken and those not. As a geopolitical analyst, it is grim satisfaction to see the report echo the concerns raised in this weblog. Iraq as we know it, or thought we knew it, is lost; now it is the Islamist Jihad test-tube, and most likely my neo-Taliban exclusion zone that permits insurgents and jihadists to operate unhindered.

Part 2 of Resistance is acceptable

Mapping the Global Future
Report of the National Intelligence Council's 2020 Project
National Intelligence Council
NIC 2004-13, December 2004
Executive Summary

The devastation of Iraq
By Dahr Jamail
Asia Times
Jan 11, 2005

Gordon Housworth



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