Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prospects

Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prospects

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:18 am

Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prospects, and Implications for the U.S. Army
by Christopher G. Pernin, Brian Nichiporuk, Dale Stahl, Justin Beck, Ricky Radaelli-Sanchez
© Copyright 2008 RAND Corporation

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Table of Contents:

• Preface
• Figures
• Tables
• Summary
• Acknowledgments
• Glossary
• CHAPTER ONE
• Introduction
• Focus of This Study
• Organization of This Report
• CHAPTER TWO
• What Is the Long War?
• Background and Use of the Term “Long War”
• A Synthesis Description of the Long War: The Confluence of Governance, Terrorism, and Ideology
• Ideology in the Current Long War
• Governance in the Current Long War
• Terrorism in the Current Long War
• Toward Defining the Participants
• CHAPTER THREE
• Who Is Involved in the Long War?
• Past Definitions of the Adversary
• A Framework for Understanding the Participants in the Long War
• Expanding the Framework of Participants Through Influence Diagrams
• Conclusions
• CHAPTER FOUR
• What Will Affect the Way the Long War Unfolds?
• Trends and Drivers of the Long War
• Uncertainties: The Variables That Drive Alternative Trajectories
• Weapons Proliferation and Capabilities of Nonstate Actors
• The Prevalence of Weak/Failed States as Safe Havens
• Middle Eastern Political Stability
• International Support for U.S. Actions
• Domestic Support for the Long War
• The Draw of Conventional War
• Summary
• CHAPTER FIVE
• How Might the Long War Unfold?
• Generating Alternative Trajectories
• The Eight Trajectories
• Steady State
• War of Ideas
• Narrowing of Threat
• Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad
• Expanding Scope
• Holding Action
• Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict
• Chronic Insurgencies/Instability
• CHAPTER SIX
• What Does This Mean for the Army?
• Introduction
• Seven Strategies for the Long War
• Shrink the Swamp
• Inside Out
• State-Centric
• Contain and React (Defensive)
• Ink Blot (Seize, Clear, and Hold)
• Underlying Causes
• Divide and Rule
• Responses to and Implications of the Trajectories
• Narrowing of Threat
• Steady State
• Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict
• Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad
• Expanding Scope
• Holding Action
• Chronic Insurgencies/Instability
• War of Ideas
• CHAPTER SEVEN
• Observations on the Long War
• Broad Observations
• As Appropriate, the Military Should Define and Set Appropriate Goals for Any Engagements Associated with the Long War in Terms of the Confluence of Governance, Terrorism, and Ideology
• The Army Should Plan and Prepare to Be Involved with Aspectsfrom Across the GTI Construct
• The Army Should Consider Mission Sets That Allow for a More Proactive Effect Across the GTI Construct
• The Enduring Missions of the Force Combined with the Evolving Responses to the Long War Imply an Agile and Flexible Military
• The Military Should Consider the Vulnerability of the Assumption That Major Combat Operations Will Be Their Most Pressing Issue in the Medium and Longer Term
• The Military, and More Specifically the Army, Should Plan for Potential Involvement in Medium- to Large-Scale Stability Operations and Nation Building
• The Army Should Continue to Identify and Adopt Niche Capabilities to Prosecute the Long War
• APPENDIX
• A. Short Descriptions of Ideology, Governance, and Terrorism
• B. The Use of Civilizational Conflict When Describing the Long War
• C. Interpreting the Influence Diagram
• D. Relating Long War Strategies to Grand Strategies
• E. Location of Oil and Natural Gas Resources
• F. Demographic Trends and Factors
• G. Water in the Middle East
• Bibliography
• Figures
• S.1. Long War as the Confluence of Terrorism, Governance, and Ideology
• 1.1. Five Main Questions Addressed in This Report
• 2.1. Long War as the Confluence of Governance, Terrorism, and Ideology
• 3.1. Framework for Understanding Objectives and Motives for Various Violent Nonstate Groups (Groups 1 Through 4)
• 3.2. Factors Contributing to the Threat of Salafi-Jihadism: Initial Analysis
• 3.3. Factors Contributing to the Threat of Salafi-Jihadism: Initial Analysis Expanded
• 3.4. The Current Dominant Factors and Examples of How U.S. Action Being Faced in the Long War
• 4.1. Influence Diagram Showing Factors Affecting the U.S. Ability to Prosecute the Long War
• 5.1. Target Diagram for “Pakistan Goes Bad”
• 5.2. Influence Diagram for “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad”
• 5.3. Target Diagram for the “Expanding Scope” Trajectory Where Hezbollah Attacks the West
• 5.4. Influence Diagram Showing Factors Affecting the U.S. Ability to Prosecute the Long War
• 5.5. Influence Diagram for the “Chronic Insurgencies/Instability” Trajectory
• 6.1. How Elements of Strategy Can Affect the Factors in the Long War
• B.1. Breakdown of Sunni and Shia Majorities from Northern Africa to Indonesia
• C.1. Influence Diagram: Stage 1
• C.2. Influence Diagram: Stage 2
• C.3. Influence Diagram: Nearly Complete
• C.4. Influence Diagram: Complete
• E.1. Proven Reserves for Natural Gas and Oil
• E.2. Disruptions in Oil Production
• E.3. World Oil Production Projections Shown in Millions of Barrels per Day
• F.1. Saudi Arabia’s Youth Bulge (Projected for 2025)
• G.1. Per Capita Fresh Water Availability Projections for 1995, 2025, and 2050
• Tables
• S.1. Short Description of the Eight Trajectories Discussed in This Report
• 1.1. Tagline Descriptions of the Eight Trajectories Discussed in This Report
• 2.1. Breakdown of Different Interpretations of the Long War
• 2.2. Descriptions of Some Ungoverned Areas with Large Muslim Populations
• 3.1. Examples from Groups 1 Through 4 of the Framework
• 4.1. Trends and Drivers Forming the Basis for This Report
• 4.2. Number of New Nuclear States Each Decade
• 4.3. Example Levels of Uncertainties Contained in This Report
• 5.1. Association of Particular Uncertainties Being Tested (Columns) with the Eight Trajectories (Rows)
• 5.2. Short Descriptions of the Trajectories 5.3. Motives, Means, and Opportunities for the “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad” Trajectory
• 5.4. Motives, Means, and Opportunities for the “Expanding Scope” Trajectory
• 5.5. Motives, Means, and Opportunities for the “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” Trajectory
• 5.6. Motives, Means, and Opportunities for the “Chronic Insurgencies/Instability” Trajectory
• 6.1. Existence of the Seven Long War Strategies (Across the Top) in the Eight Trajectories
• 7.1 How Certain Operations Might Manifest Themselves in the Individual Trajectories
• B.1. Civilizational Construct for the Long War
• D.1. Compatibility of U.S. Grand Strategies (in the Rows) and Potential Long War Strategies (in the Columns)
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:19 am

Preface

This document explores how the “long war” might unfold in the coming years. It looks out to about the year 2020 and reports on the major trends, uncertainties, participants, and ways the long war might unfold through the use of eight specific trajectories.

This work will interest those involved in military training, force structure, policy, and how the confluence of governance, terrorism, and ideology might affect the U.S. military forces.

This research was sponsored by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Army Capability Integration Center, and was conducted within RAND Arroyo Center’s Force Development and Technology Program. RAND Arroyo Center, part of the RAND Corporation, is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the United States Army.

Questions about this report should be sent to the Project Lead, Christopher G. Pernin (pernin@rand.org). Questions concerning RAND Arroyo Center’s Force Development and Technology Program should be directed toward the Program Director, Bruce Held (bruce_ held@rand.org).

The Project Unique Identification Code (PUIC) for the project that produced this document is DAPRR06014.

For more information on RAND Arroyo Center, contact the Director of Operations (telephone 310-393-0411, extension 6419; FAX 310-451-6952; email Marcy_Agmon@rand.org), or visit Arroyo’s web site at http://www.rand.org/ard/.
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:26 am

Summary

The United States is currently engaged in what has been characterized as the “long war.” The long war has been described by some as an epic struggle against adversaries bent on forming a unified Islamic world to supplant Western dominance, while others characterize it more narrowly as an extension of the war on terror. But while policymakers, military leaders, and scholars have offered numerous definitions of the long war, no consensus has been reached about this term or its implications for the United States. To understand the effects that this long war will have on the U.S. Army and on U.S. forces in general, it is necessary to understand more precisely what the long war is and how it might unfold. To address this need, this study explores the concept of the long war and identifies potential ways in which it might unfold as well as the implications for the Army and the U.S. military more generally.

Framework for Understanding the Long War

As seen in Figure S.1, one way to think about the potential threats the United States faces in the long war is to consider the confluence of three problems raised by the war: those related to the ideologies espoused by key adversaries in the conflict, those related to the use of terrorism, and those related to governance (i.e., its absence or presence, its quality, and the predisposition of specific governing bodies to the United States and its interests). The goal of this report is not to determine which of these areas is the key problem. Instead, we take the stance that to ensure that this long war follows a favorable course, the United States will need to make a concerted effort across all three domains.

Figure S.1 Long War as the Confluence of Terrorism, Governance, and Ideology
Image
RAND MG738-S.1

Also important for understanding the long war is a definition of the adversary. Because several of the adversaries that have attacked the United States have espoused an ideology laced with Islamic motifs and juridical justifications, this study examined groups operating within predominantly Muslim countries and organized them into categories based on an understanding of their motivating ideas and goals:1

• Doctrinaire jihadists, whether global in orientation or internally focused, who adhere to a version of Islam known as Salafi-jihadism. This interpretation of Islam rejects modernism and emphasizes the concepts of jihad (holy struggle) and takfir (declaring another Muslim an infidel).
• Religious nationalist organizations such as Hezbollah and HAMAS that participate in the political process but that are also willing to use violence, sometimes against their own people, to dominate a particular community, region, or nation.
• Other groups whose primary motivation is secular, such as communists, Arab nationalists, or Ba’athists.

In addition to these groups, other nonviolent organizations operating within predominantly Muslim nations can sometimes provide a “gateway” for entrance into more radical organizations.

This categorization scheme helps illustrate the diversity of groups plausibly involved in a long war with the United States and indicates the assortment of economic, social, and political factors and grievances that can motivate adversaries. Some groups in this scheme pose a greater or lesser relative threat than do others (e.g., doctrinaire jihadists with an external focus constitute the greatest threat) and thus require the United States to have a range of approaches available to deal with them.

Alternative Trajectories

The study identified eight alternative “trajectories,” or paths, that the long war might take. The trajectories emphasize not what the future looks like, but the ways in which it might unfold. The eight trajectories discussed in this report are listed and briefly defined in Table S.1.

Strategies for Addressing the Trajectories

In addressing the future of the long war, we identified a number of trends and uncertainties associated with the future combat environment. This analysis, combined with our understanding of the components of the long war, provided the basis for a set of seven strategy options for the United States in the long war.

Divide and Rule

Divide and Rule focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts. This strategy relies heavily on covert action, information operations (IO), unconventional warfare, and support to indigenous security forces. Divide and Rule would be the obvious strategy choice for the “Narrowing of Threat” trajectory as the United States and its local allies could use the nationalist jihadists to launch proxy IO campaigns to discredit the transnational jihadists in the eyes of the local populace. In the “Holding Action” trajectory, Divide and Rule would be an inexpensive way of buying time for the United States and its allies until the United States can return its full attention to the long war. U.S. leaders could also choose to capitalize on the “Sustained Shia-Sunni Conflict” trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world.

Shrink the Swamp

Shrink the Swamp tries to slowly reduce the space in the Muslim world in which Salafi-jihadist groups can operate. It is an “outside-in” approach that seeks to stabilize the outer geographic edges of the Muslim world to the point where those countries are inoculated against Salafi-jihadist ideology. This strategy is particularly germane to the “Narrowing of Threat” trajectory. After isolating the transnational jihadists from the rest of the jihadist movement, the United States could work to eradicate the transnational jihadist presence from the outer geographic rings of the Muslim world—i.e., Indonesia, Malaysia, and Morocco—by working intensively with local security forces to eliminate the funding, educational, and recruitment mechanisms that support al-Qaeda and its affiliates in those countries. The strategy might also apply to the “Steady State” and “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” trajectories.

Inside Out

This strategy holds that the United States should use decisive conventional military force to change the regime in certain key Muslim countries and impose democracy in its place. The theory here is that the geopolitical earthquake caused by regime change will empower democratic forces throughout the Muslim world and force much of the Salafi-jihadist warrior community to come out into the open to fight U.S. conventional forces, thus giving the United States a better chance of crushing them decisively. This strategy is part of the “Steady State” because of the continuing focus on building democracy at some level in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although the notion that the birth of democracy in those two countries would cause it to spread throughout the entire Middle East has long since been discredited, one can still argue that the existence of two democratic states in the middle of the Muslim world would create two likely security partners and potential allies for the United States over the long term. In the “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” trajectory, the United States might take an aggressive stance by seeking to overthrow the Iranian regime and replacing it with a moderate one that does not rely on Shiite chauvinism for its legitimacy.

Table S.1 Short Description of the Eight Trajectories Discussed in This Report

1 / Steady State / Baseline case largely reminiscent of current actions and environment. In this vision, the threat continues to be the broad universe of radical Salafi-jihadists, including both transnational and sometimes regional groups.

2 / War of Ideas / Shift to information-based campaign with the goal of isolating jihadists and their infrastructure from the broader global Muslim population. Plans to confront Iran militarily over its nuclear program are shelved for the time being.

3 / Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad / Radical shift in a regime brought on when a critical state in the Muslim world is taken over by radical extremists. Two of the most plausible and most threatening scenarios to American interests would be a military coup in Pakistan or a successful fundamentalist insurgency in Saudi Arabia.

4 / Narrowing of Threat / Conflict arising between jihadists leads the U.S. to take a “divide and conquer” approach in order to exploit cleavages among transnational jihadists and local/regional jihadists. Consequently, the U.S. would adopt a more flexible position toward local and nationalist Islamist groups like HAMAS and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the Philippines.

5 / Expanding Scope / Expanded scope of the long war threat beyond a major terrorist attack against U.S. interests to include radical Shiism, the Iranian state, regional terrorists, and/or some non-Islamic terror groups. In this formulation, the long war would become a true global war on terror.

6 / Holding Action / A series of geopolitical shocks (e.g., an attempt by China to shift the balance of power in the Western Pacific or a sudden, violent implosion of North Korea) would compel the U.S. to temporarily scale back its efforts against Salafi-jihadists in order to focus on more traditional threats that require a response involving conventional forces and diplomatic capital.

7 / Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict/ Widespread violence between Shia and Sunni groups, resulting in deep fault lines between Shia and Sunni communities throughout the Muslim world. As a result, the U.S. is led to concentrate, in the short term, on shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan as a way of containing Iranian power and influence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.

8 / Chronic Insurgencies/ Instability / Serious insurgencies and unrest around the world that drain the resources of the U.S. and its allies and decrease regime legitimacy. The insurgencies are driven largely by dissatisfaction with inefficient and ineffective governmental structures, dilapidated infrastructure in terms of basic services, and questions of legitimacy of the current leaders.


State-Centric

State-Centric aims to spread effective governance throughout the Muslim world by strengthening established regimes, giving them more resources, and making them less brittle. The theory here is that the main driver behind the Salafi-jihadist surge is the existence of ungoverned spaces (like the tribal areas of Pakistan) and public administrations that cannot deliver basic services to ordinary people. The State-Centric strategy applies across all eight trajectories. For example, in the “Steady State” trajectory, the United States would continue to bolster existing regimes against insurgencies, terrorism, and social instability while nudging them toward improvements in the provision of basic services to the population. In the “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” trajectory, the United States would work to build the institutional capacities of atrisk Muslim states so that their security forces could contain sectarian violence effectively. In the “Chronic Insurgencies/Instability” trajectory, State-Centric would be useful in countries that have stabilized their domestic security situation to the point where the insurgents are not gaining territory or influence.

Contain and React

Contain and React is a fundamentally defensive strategy that seeks to hold a “perimeter” in the Muslim world and only act strongly if that perimeter is breached (i.e., a U.S. ally is threatened with collapse or overthrow). As a predominantly defensive strategy, the threshold for U.S. involvement would be high and would be contingent on a good relationship between the United States and its ally in the region. At the point of intervention, the United States would react with general purpose forces from a geographic perimeter location. This contrasts with other strategies such as Inside Out, where proactive U.S. actions would entail more aggressive actions across a broader group of states in the region.

This strategy has applications for several trajectories. For example, in “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad,” Contain and React would seek to position U.S. military forces in neighboring states to deter the newly radicalized state from threatening its neighbors. In “Expanding Scope,” this strategy could be used to try to fence off groups like Hezbollah in finite swaths of territory with stepped-up border enforcement as well as periodic strikes and raids. Contain and React would be the preferred choice for the “War of Ideas” because the ideational campaign would be an ideal, low-cost, low-visibility tool for containing al-Qaeda and Salafi-jihadist ideologues.

Ink Blot (Seize, Clear, and Hold)

Ink Blot is a global counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy that aims to seize, clear, and hold strategically important areas throughout the Muslim world by working actively with local security forces. Under this strategy, the United States would work with key allies like Algeria, Egypt, and Yemen to remove all Salafi-jihadist elements from certain areas through a classic COIN approach that concludes with infrastructure restoration and the formation of local self-defense militias. The hope here would be that over time the Salafi-jihadist groups would be relegated to the geographic margins of the Muslim world and cut off from one another. In the “Chronic Insurgencies/Instability” trajectory, Ink Blot would be reserved for those insurgencies and areas of instability in which the insurgents are gaining ground and influence. The approach might also be applicable to the “Steady State” and “Narrowing of the Threat” trajectories.

Underlying Causes

Underlying Causes holds that the United States needs to attack the broad underlying socioeconomic problems of the Muslim world on a regional, rather than country-specific, basis. The United States would work steadily to deal with the demographic, resource scarcity, labor market, and public health problems that create poor living conditions and social frustration in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa. Over time, the theory is that better basic socioeconomic conditions would reduce the appeal of radical Salafi-jihadist ideas and create support for free market openness. This strategy would entail only a small role for the U.S. military. Under the “Holding Action” trajectory, the United States might adopt a longer-term and less aggressive stance in the Middle East. Nonmilitary organizations such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, the State Department, the Peace Corps, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Justice would become the focus of the new U.S. strategy.

Implications for the U.S. Army

We now describe some implications for the Army arising from the trajectories.

Steady State

In the “Steady State” trajectory, the role of the Army would be dominated by any continuing commitment to Afghanistan and Iraq. The Army is unlikely to be stretched in this scenario unless the Afghanistan or Iraq deployments continue to be large. If the United States chooses to engage in more peacekeeping and enforcement roles to prevent the growth of Salafi-jihadism, the Army would require some different skill sets from those needed in major combat, and some specialized equipment might also be useful (e.g., nonlethal weapons). If the United States decides to provide support to governments in an attempt to reduce the number of insurgencies and instability in particular countries, such operations could involve large numbers of troops but not nearly as many as Iraq. The continued use of Army special operations forces (SOF) for global operations against al-Qaeda could compel an increase in SOF force structure beyond that currently programmed.

War of Ideas

There would be two implications for the Army here. First, the Army would need to improve all facets of its IO capabilities, including target audience analysis, message creation, and message delivery. The Army would also need to learn how to synchronize strategic and tactical IO lines of operation. Second, to make tangible progress in the “War of Ideas,” the Army would need to do its best to reduce collateral damage during kinetic operations. This implies the need for better systems for all-source intelligence fusion as well as weaponry to support the discriminatory nature of the IO campaigns and reduce unwanted collateral damage.

Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad

If the United States were to decide on a strategy of containment, then intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) as well as human intelligence (HUMINT) assets would be required to detect and monitor the flow of weapons/WMD components and people across the border of the “bad nation.” Since it is unlikely that the United States would commit to long-term border patrols, these ultimately would need to be handled by the forces of the neighboring nations, and the Army might be required to take on training or monitoring roles.

At least three proactive strategy components can be envisioned, including the need for strike capabilities against WMD facilities to prevent them from falling into the hands of the incoming government (which would not involve the Army heavily) as well as SOF, seize-and-hold, or stabilization operations, which could require a larger Army role.

If the United States were to become directly involved in a countercoup, Army units might be required to train the friendly forces or serve as advisers. A more direct confrontation between U.S. forces and the new governments might be seen as similar to the “regime change” operation in Iraq. Lessons from this operation are well known and will not be repeated here. A radicalized state without weapons of mass destruction or effect (WMD/E) capabilities could require a less immediate response from U.S. forces, such as the stationing of a couple of U.S. Army brigades in neighboring or regional countries as a deterrent to aggressive moves. The Army might also expect to be involved in significant IO operations in neighboring states to help contain the fallout and reduce the influence of Salafi-jihadist propaganda.

Narrowing of Threat

Because of the nature of the nationalist terrorist groups, any assistance would be mainly covert and would imply advanced IO capabilities so that it could aid other government agencies and host nations in the effort to promote cleavages within the jihadist movement. Much of this work would not necessarily be done by the Army. However, a narrowing of the threat could also allow the U.S. forces to focus their efforts more broadly on COIN campaigns currently being bolstered by transnational terrorists. In these cases, the military, and the Army in particular, could see an expanded role for COIN to target the more subtle places those groups are providing aid.

Expanding Scope

It is likely, assuming that commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan have been reduced, that the U.S. Army would not be stretched by the addition of another long war enemy. However, if there is still a significant deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan, opening up a war on an additional front may stretch the Army in terms of personnel. One of the more significant capability needs would be for HUMINT capabilities able to penetrate the new non-Salafi-jihadist targets, although such capabilities are likely to be developed in conjunction with the intelligence community rather than solely in the Army. It would also be useful for the Army to accelerate its research on counter-rocket, artillery, mortar (CRAM) technologies.

Holding Action

In this trajectory, the United States faces a conventional foe, or other threat, that forces it to reduce its focus on the long war. The implications for the Army of this other threat are not discussed here. In regard to the long war, the Army might revert to a training and advisory role in countries where it might prefer to have an active presence. It is unlikely that in the face of this new threat the United States will continue to have “boots on the ground” where they are not desperately needed, but if ground troops do remain fighting the long war, then they will have to make do with fewer resources and less equipment. Additionally, there might be an increased need to operate with allies who might be required to aid the United States in offsetting the diminished U.S. commitment in foreign internal defense (FID) and counterterrorism missions. Depending on the nature of the conventional conflict, this trajectory could be extremely stressful on the Army, but it would not be the long war causing this stress.

Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict

If the United States attempts to exploit the conflict to avoid having to confront a united Islamic world (possibly a very unwise strategy), then there will be little role for the Army. The exception would be the FID missions to train host nation security forces with the possible insertion of advisers, but this might be handled by other agencies. The United States may also seek to end the conflict through peacekeeping operations. Here there would be a substantial role for the Army.

A third option would be to take sides in the conflict, possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran. The level of U.S. involvement would dictate the type of operations requirement by the Army, which might, at the higher end, require the Army to provide troop lift, logistical support, and other types of aid, or direct involvement in the conflict, which may look partly like an insurgency and partly like conventional war. At the latter level, the U.S. Army would call upon rapid precision strike systems and would have to balance aggressive operations with an IO campaign.

Chronic Insurgencies/Instability

If the United States chooses to get involved in a large number of the insurgencies, then the Army could find itself stretched in terms of numbers of specialty capabilities such as Special Forces (SF), Civil Affairs (CA), and psychological operations (PSYOPS). As the numbers grow, the insurgencies might become “core Army business.” In such a situation, the Army may consider a significant restructuring to focus its forces on fighting insurgencies rather than major combat operations.

The capabilities required to fight insurgencies are different from those required for conventional warfare and would cause the Army to change some of its training and equipment. The United States would also need a capability to rebuild foreign infrastructure that was damaged during the conflict. This role has traditionally been taken on by agencies other than the Army, but it has often been fulfilled by the Army.

Broad Observations

From the consideration of the implications of the proposed trajectories for the United States, we conclude with a number of broad observations.

As Appropriate, the Military Should Define and Set Appropriate Goals for Any Engagements Associated with the Long War in Terms of the Confluence of Governance, Terrorism, and Ideology

Rhetorical use of the term “long war” aside, the basic tenets of the governance, terrorism, and ideology (GTI) construct provide one means of ensuring a more systemwide view of any engagements in the Muslim world. Defining future engagements too narrowly may not provide the effects desired and may only exacerbate situations. For instance, in the case of the “Chronic Insurgencies” trajectory, viewing the problem as solely a peacekeeping mission may not directly address the governance issues underlying the insurgencies. Likewise, not tailoring responses to the variegated motivations behind individual groups and their respective ideologies may create short-term local effects that do not address the longer-term and chronic unrest. Articulating the overall objectives from a systems point of view will help to better construct individual military missions and understand the impacts of those missions across GTI.

The Army Should Plan and Prepare to Be Involved with Aspects from Across the GTI Construct

The fight against international terrorism implies some U.S. military action; however, the key role tends to fall upon Special Forces or agencies other than the U.S. Army. In any case, an overall strategy should be well established that deals with the near-term tactical problems of Salafi-jihadism without forgetting the more nascent and growing terror networks and influences. Acquisition of WMD is a pivotal unknown in dealing with terrorist capabilities, and thus counter-WMD activities remain paramount.

The role of U.S. forces in governance is clearer. Typically, any large-scale efforts associated with post-conflict situations will be the military’s responsibility. Reactive operations associated with restoration and improvement through SSTRO2 activities with a host nation are done with ground forces through Civil Affairs and other specialties. When considering the implications of nation building, SSTRO, and post-conflict border security, key issues concern the needed specialization for such activities and the overall capacity required. The U.S. Army in particular is implicated in such activities because of its size and experience in such operations. Some of these activities, especially reconstruction of civilian governance infrastructure, are not usually thought to require an Army role. However, the lack of large-scale, deployable units from other government agencies may mean this role is performed by the U.S. Department of Defense and at least in part by the Army. For instance, the Iraq Study Group Report (Baker and Hamilton, 2006) calls for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to manage the reconstruction of the courts and legal system in Iraq. However, if the DOJ is incapable of performing such tasks in areas lacking security, this role is to be left to the military.

A more immediate step is to better understand the implications of military actions on ideologies and ideologically driven groups across the full spectrum of operations and address gap issues as appropriate across DOTMLPF.3

The Army Should Consider Mission Sets That Allow for a More Proactive Effect Across the GTI Construct

A potentially more significant implication of the long war concerns proactive operations to shape countries before they become significant security problems. Being able to address issues across GTI before conflict or immediate need for direct involvement is a pivotal capability in ensuring that the long war does not escalate.

Trajectories explored during this study—for example, “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad” and “Expanding Scope”—escalate current conflicts to broader groups of actors. In the former case, the proliferation of an ideology garners enough support to bring down an established regime. The proactive forces here are the establishment clergy that counterweigh the radicalized ideologies. To date, U.S. involvement with these groups has been limited, and it may be difficult for the Army to develop and exercise appropriate mission sets and relationships to proactively engage faltering states. Similarly, “Expanding Scope” implies escalation of nonstate actor capabilities that increase risk to U.S. national security. The proactive mission here includes developing policing and internal security capabilities within a number of states.

These types of novel mission areas would allow the military to proactively get ahead of the problems and reduce the need to be reactive. Typically, these operations are largely contained under “Peacetime Military Engagement” operations, which entail military-tomilitary engagements, education and training programs, advisory roles, border enforcement, and long-term intelligence support. However, these should be considered more broadly in relation to the long war description in this report and understood in terms of how they interact with the governance, terrorism, and ideology.4 These programs would be conducted as part of an interagency approach to the situation, and may be very far removed from any warfighting.

The Enduring Missions of the Force Combined with the Evolving Responses to the Long War Imply an Agile and Flexible Military

As described in this study, the focus of the long war could expand to include a broader focus on nonstate actors (“Expanding Scope”), narrow to emphasize simpler or more specific threats (“Narrowing of Scope”), or be overcome entirely by conventional threats (“Holding Action”). Any actions taken to change the force based on the long war should weigh the effects they will have on longer-term planning horizons, and the enduring missions of the force. In these terms, maintaining flexibility in the force is critically important, both to prepare for the various ways in which the long war might evolve and to allow the Army to remain ready for other contingencies while it wages the long war. Flexibility is more important in the case of the long war than in the conventional arena, since the long war enemy is able to adapt much more quickly than potential conventional foes.

The Military Should Consider the Vulnerability of the Assumption That Major Combat Operations Will Be Their Most Pressing Issue in the Medium and Longer Term

The assumption that major combat operations (MCO) would remain the primary mission in the timeframes considered in the report may not continue to hold beyond those timeframes. If this assumption were to change in the future, then resources spent on MCO capabilities could be redirected toward those better suited for fighting the long war, however it has evolved. If the assumption about the predominance of conventional conflict changes, then the Army, and the rest of the Department of Defense, would need to restructure in order to fight the long war in the most optimal fashion.

Similarly, in the future the Army may be relieved of MCO requirements by the other services and those resources redeployed to focus on COIN and SSTRO. Some of the trajectories explored in this study, namely “Expanding Scope” and “Chronic Insurgencies,” might imply considerable size and capabilities from the Army that could be strengthened with a focus on those missions instead of conventional conflicts.

The Military, and More Specifically the Army, Should Plan for Potential Involvement in Medium- to Large-Scale Stability Operations and Nation Building

Depending on the chosen strategy, medium- to large-scale stability operations and nation building are possibly part of the long war. Many of the trajectories require the Army to use substantial counterinsurgency operations and/or nation building capabilities. Counterinsurgency operations are increasingly being seen as an Army role, whereas nation building has predominantly been the domain of other agencies. In the wake of Iraq, however, it is clear these other agencies lack the capability to conduct these operations, especially in an insecure environment. It may be necessary for the Army to take on these roles if other solutions cannot be found. Thus the military needs to understand the tradeoffs and risks involved with any assumptions about its capacity to perform such duties as the long war unfolds.

The Army Should Continue to Identify and Adopt Niche Capabilities to Prosecute the Long War

A more detailed examination of the trajectories described in this monograph will undoubtedly uncover capabilities necessary for successful operations. Examples of niche capabilities across the trajectories described in this monograph and evident in small-scale, low-intensity operations that the U.S. military might consider increasing include specific high-value, low-density capabilities such as: various ISR platforms; soldier skills for diplomacy; theater- and longer-term specific knowledge of areas and cultures; language skills; unconventional warfare and counterterrorism capabilities; tactical to strategic IO integration and development; and FID advisers. More detailed scenario planning would be useful to determine the biggest operational needs and potentially missing capabilities. In any case, the trajectories seen here indicate a reliance on many special skill sets, and developing, integrating, and balancing those capabilities within the larger bevy of military capabilities will remain a challenge.

_______________

Notes: (Summary)

1 For the purposes of this report, we use the term “Muslim world” to denote those states with predominantly or large Muslim populations. Many of these states are located in the Middle East and northern Africa, and others span south and southeast Asia through to Indonesia.

2 Stability, support, transition, and reconstruction operations.

3 Doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, and facilities.

4 One case for this expanding mission set includes the effects of early actions in Operation Unified Assistance (tsunami relief in the Indian Ocean). The swift military assistance program, while nominally included under “humanitarian assistance,” engendered sudden support for the United States in that part of the world, changing Indonesian public opinion the most (Pew, 2005, p. 2). The tsunami was also implicated in bringing the regional insurgent group GAM together with the government, and it fostered a more open dialogue between the United States and various Muslim states in the affected areas. The U.S. part of the relief could not have been successful if not for a few core capabilities of the U.S. military— logistics, operational planning, and the ability and capacity for swift, large-scale action.
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:27 am

Acknowledgments

We wish to express our thanks to a number of Army officers, civil servants, and analysts for their assistance on this study. This work would not have been possible without the support of many individuals. We thank our action officers, LTC Ronald T. Millis (formerly of ARCIC) and LTC Mark Elfendahl (ARCIC), and various others for their comments and feedback along the way including (in alphabetical order): Robert Allen (DCSINT), George Conrad (ARCIC), Joe Green (G-2), Tony Huggar (ARCIC), and COL Robert Johnson (ARCIC).

We are indebted to a number of RAND researchers for their substantial efforts in discussions on the topics associated with complex environments and the long war. This includes Jed Peters, Tom Szayna, and Derek Eaton for substantial feedback on interim ideas and products, and Lauren Caston for input into regular meetings. Critical reviews of this document by Karl Mueller (of RAND) and Douglas Lovelace (of Strategic Studies Institute) improved the monograph substantially.

We also would like to thank Kristin Leuschner and Jerry Sollinger for important efforts in crafting the language and simplifying the message. Terri Perkins, Joanna Nelsen, and Paraag Shukla helped with the production of this monograph.
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:27 am

Glossary

9/11 / The terrorist acts that occurred on September 11, 2001
ABP / Assumption-Based Planning
ARCIC / Army Capabilities Integration Center
ASG / Abu Sayyaf Group
CBRN / Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear
CIA / Central Intelligence Agency
COIN / Counterinsurgency
CONUS / Continental United States
CRAM / Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar
CT / Counterterrorism
DIME / Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic
DoD / Department of Defense
DOJ / Department of Justice
DOTMLPF / Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities
EIG / Egyptian Islamic Group
ETA / Basque Fatherland and Liberty (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna)
EU / European Union
FARC / Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia
FATA / Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Pakistan)
FBI / Federal Bureau of Investigation
FID / Foreign Internal Defense
GTI / Governance, Terrorism, and Ideology (Construct)
GSPC / Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat
HLS / Homeland Security
HQDA / Headquarters, Department of the Army
ICBM / Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
IED / Improvised Explosive Device
IO / Information Operations
IR / International relations
JI / Jemaah Islamiyah
LTTE / Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
LW / Long War
MANPADS / Man-Portable Air Defense System
MCO / Major Combat Operations
MMO / Motives, Means, and Opportunities
NATO / North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NCTC / National Counterterrorism Center
NLWS / (Army-sponsored) Nature of the Long War Seminar
NSCT / National Strategy for Combating Terrorism
NSA / Nonstate Actor
NSS / The National Security Strategy of the United States of America
OPTEMPO / Operational Tempo
OSC / Open Source Center
PKK / Kurdistan Worker’s Party
PME / Peacetime Military Engagement
QDR / Quadrennial Defense Review
RSM / Rajah Solaiman Movement
SJ / Salafi-Jihadism/Salafi-Jihadists
SOF / Special Operations Forces
SSTRO Stability, Support, Transition, and Reconstruction Operations
TRADOC / U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
UAE / United Arab Emirates
UAV / Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
UQ / Unified Quest
USAID / United States Agency for International Development
USCENTCOM / United States Central Command
USDS / United States Department of State
UW / Unconventional warfare
WMD/E / Weapons of Mass Destruction or Effect
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:29 am

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction

The United States is engaged in a military effort that some have characterized as the “long war.” The long war has been described by some as an epic struggle against adversaries bent on forming a unified Islamic world to supplant Western dominance. Others see it more narrowly as an extension of the war on terror. The long war has been posited as the central challenge to U.S. security that will influence and be shaped by all other U.S. international relations. Others have seen it as a conflict requiring specialized tactical groups of well-trained forces that roam the world in a hunt for terrorists. But while policymakers, military leaders, and scholars have offered numerous, and wildly differing, definitions of the long war, no consensus has been reached about this term or its implications for the United States.

To understand the effects that this long war will have on the U.S. Army and on U.S. forces in general, it is necessary to understand more precisely what the long war is and how it might unfold over the coming years. Therefore, the Army asked RAND Arroyo Center to explore the concept of the long war and to identify potential ways in which it might unfold and the resulting implications for the Army.

Focus of This Study

This study examines the long war in relation to what we see as its three main components: ideology, terrorism, and governance. As will be explained further in Chapter Two, one way of thinking about the potential future threats the United States faces in the long war is to consider it as the confluence of three sets of problems: those related to the ideologies espoused by key adversaries in the conflict, those related to the use of terrorism, and those related to governance—its absence or presence, its quality, and the predisposition of specific governing bodies toward the United States and its interests. The goal of this report is not to determine which of these areas is the key problem. Instead, this report takes the stance that the United States will need to make a concerted effort across all three domains in order to ensure that this long war follows a favorable course.

This project focuses on exploring how the current long war might evolve and develop in the coming years. The study describes eight alternative “trajectories,” or paths that the long war might take, along with the specific implications of those trajectories for the U.S. military. The eight trajectories discussed in this report are listed in Table 1.1.

In addressing the future of the long war, we examine what the broader future will look like and what shape the long war might take within these futures. Our analysis of the future is not comprehensive but draws on a number of sources to address the issues that most directly affect the course of the long war. Through this analysis, we identify a number of trends and uncertainties germane to the trajectories. We then identify a range of strategies that might be used to address these alternate futures and identify the implications of these strategies for the Army.

Table 1.1: Tagline Descriptions of the Eight Trajectories Discussed in This Report

1 / Steady State / Baseline case largely reminiscent of current actions and environment

2 /War of Ideas / Shift to information-based campaign

3 / Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad / Radical shift in a regime brought on by a powerful nonstate actor

4 / Narrowing of Threat / Conflict arising between jihadists

5 / Expanding Scope / Expanding nonstate capabilities and an enlarging of the current threat

6 / Holding Action / External influences constraining the execution of the long war

7 / Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict / Widespread violence between Shia and Sunni groups

8 / Chronic Insurgencies/ Instability // Uprisings around the world


Organization of This Report

The following five chapters answer five main questions, as shown in Figure 1.1.

In Chapter Two, we discuss current uses of the term “long war” and describe our synthesis definition of the long war to aid in further analysis.

In Chapter Three, we describe the participants in the long war to date and examine the nature of the current threat under the three areas of governance, terrorism, and ideology.

In Chapter Four, we present factors affecting how the long war will unfold. These factors are a combination of actions taken by the United States, actions taken by various actors involved in the long war, and ongoing environmental changes. The factors are briefly described in two sections: those that are constant throughout all futures (“trends”), and those that can take on alternative values and ultimately define the alternative trajectories (“uncertainties”).

Figure 1.1: Five Main Questions Addressed in This Report

What is the “long war”? (Chapter Two)

Who is involved in the long war? (Chapter Three)

What will affect the way the long war unfolds? (Chapter Four)

How might the long war unfold? (Chapter Five)

What does this mean to the Army? (Chapter Six)


 In Chapter Six, we describe various strategies the armed forces might adopt to address the alternative trajectories and what is implied by those strategies in terms of potential gap issues1 that might exist in carrying out those strategies.

Finally, in Chapter Seven, we identify broad observations about the long war and next steps and considerations for engaging in the long war.

_______________

Notes: (Chapter 1)

1 “Gap issues” are defined as broad areas for concern for the military arising from (1) needed capabilities that do not currently exist in either the military or civilian communities, (2) an emerging capability for which there exists no practical framework or authority for integration into joint operations, or (3) a capability or role that military units are currently performing on the ground out of necessity, but for which they are undertrained, underresourced, or lacking legal justification. In this report we will speak only broadly about gaps that might exist in the Army.
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:35 am

CHAPTER TWO: What Is the Long War?

To understand and describe how the current long war might unfold in the coming years, it is first necessary to understand what the long war actually is. Since no definition for the long war has been widely accepted, in this chapter we review recent uses of the term and propose our own definition of long war.

While we feel that our definition accurately characterizes the current long war in a fair and politically uncharged manner, we do not use it exclusively in the rest of the report. To broaden the applicability of this report to cover a range of potential future trajectories, we sometimes introduce modified definitions of long war that are appropriate to the future scenario described.

Background and Use of the Term “Long War”

General John Abizaid brought the term “long war” into prominence in 2004 while he was commander of USCENTCOM. “Long war” was solidified as a term of art through its inclusion in subsequent books (Carafano and Rosenzweig, 2005), the President’s January 2006 State of the Union address, and especially the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). In these documents, the term is used to refer to current U.S. actions against al-Qaeda and its manifestations.

The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review spoke at length about a long war the United States is currently engaged in, and opened with the line: “The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war” (DoD, 2006). In the QDR, the term “long war” emphasized the war’s duration and was chiefly used in regard to the set of actors that the United States faces, who are often characterized as “violent extremists” or “terrorists.” Not much attention was paid to the connection, if any, between particular groups that may be involved in the long war. In the QDR, four main points are made regarding winning the long war. They are as follows:

• defeat terrorist networks
• defend the homeland in depth
• shape the choices of countries at strategic crossroads
• prevent hostile states and nonstate actors from acquiring or using WMD.

While each objective is clearly relevant for national security, the QDR does not explain how, or whether, these objectives are unique to the long war. Indeed, the reference to “countries at strategic crossroads” is historically used to denote well-known states such as China and Russia; however, despite the importance of these states within military planning, they are not directly linked to the long war. Also, in describing the strategy for winning the long war, the QDR says little about the theory of victory. The QDR provides little to go on in terms of “winning” in the long war, or “defeating decisively” the threat that the United States faces.

The description of the long war in the QDR provides little guidance on how this war might unfold into the future. To explore this issue, the Army, in cooperation with Joint Forces Command and Special Operations Command, held workshops in support of the Unified Quest 2007 wargame to describe what the long war is. One of the first workshops, held in late 2006—the Nature of the Long War Seminar or NLWS—provided multiple definitions from panel members to help spur discussion. One definition focused on “protracted conflicts involving episodes of intense armed violence interspersed with tense peace or low intensity conflict.”1 Other definitions, specifically addressing indi- vidual components of the long war, aided in articulating the individual components that drove the nature of the long war in its many guises. However, while many definitions met with general approval, no single definition emerged that was broadly accepted.

Definitions of the long war often bear similarities or include concepts relevant to other U.S. national strategies, including the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism (NSCT). The NSCT begins with a statement made by President Bush not long after 9/11:

No group or nation should mistake America’s intentions: We will not rest until terrorist groups of global reach have been found, have been stopped, and have been defeated. (President George W. Bush, November 6, 2001) (The White House, 2003, p. 1)


This statement specifically calls attention to the “global reach” of the terrorist groups that the United States is most interested in, thus implicitly making a distinction between these groups and local and regional terrorist organizations that do not have, and that in many cases do not even desire, global reach. The discussions of the long war in the QDR draw a similar distinction between groups with and without global reach.

Similarly, the U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) speaks of the global nature of terrorism and the importance of using a full suite of national power to combat it:

To defeat this threat we must make use of every tool in our arsenal—military power, better homeland defenses, law enforcement, intelligence, and vigorous efforts to cut off terrorist financing. (The White House, 2002, pp. iii–iv)


The NSS goes on to mention the temporal aspect of this set of challenges: “The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration.” This statement is in concert with the discussion in the QDR and indicates directly the difficulty in knowing the duration of the war, while also indirectly committing U.S. efforts to last longer than might be expected.

A growing dissatisfaction with the term “long war” itself has been evident in many discussions waged in political circles. A recent memo released by the House Armed Services Committee (Conaton, 2007; Maze, 2007) reiterates the colloquial understanding of the term long war when it asks that such terms be “removed” from future legislation. In March 2007, Admiral William Fallon, upon taking over command of CENTCOM from General Abizaid, asked that the term be dropped from the military lexicon to emphasize the U.S. military’s desire to reduce U.S. forces in the region over time, although the military would continue to conduct operations more broadly against the threat (Lardner, 2007).

Other terms have been suggested as potential replacements for the long war. In April 2007, General George Casey, after becoming Chief of Staff of the Army, offered the term “persistent conflict” as a potential descriptor for the types of operations the United States would be using to combat al-Qaeda and associated movements (Scarborough, 2007). This term is particularly pertinent to the time component of expected operations in Iraq and elsewhere—the term emphasizes how long U.S. operations in the region would be conducted, perhaps in preparation for longer-than-normal deployments.

Despite the controversy over the term “long war,” it still has supporters. Some in the joint community use the term to describe current operations. While discussing Iran’s contribution to current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with the former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, General James T. Conway said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not single events, but part of a larger set of battles associated with the long war. He noted that the term long war “precisely describes what this nation is going to be engaged in, for probably the next couple of decades” (Grogan, 2007). Admiral Mullen has also used the term to denote both the duration and the breadth of actions that will be necessary to address current security issues in the Middle East.2

While a clear and unambiguous definition of the long war has thus far been elusive, many have tried to define the term through analogy, often drawing upon historical examples. The long war has been considered as being somewhat akin to long-duration metaphorical wars such as the “war on drugs” and the “war on poverty,” albeit without significant consensus or expansion. While all of these terms are somewhat vague and politically charged, they nonetheless describe real-world threats to the United States, the existence of which few would dispute. Similarly, major works such as Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” (Huntington, 1993), have also been cited as an overarching descriptor of the current long war. In many of these cases, the parallels with the long war have not been discussed beyond superficial anecdotes, and some may warrant further exploration.

Some argue that there will always be an ideology that confronts the dominant power of the time—from the anarchists in the early 20th century to Nazism and communism and now Islamic extremism. These ideologies attract individuals who are disaffected with the status quo even if they do not necessary subscribe to the ideology in full. The most frequently cited analogy used in reference to the long war is the “Cold War,” with the ideology of communism used as a parallel to some fanatical form of Islam.

Behind this understanding of the long war lies the belief that the collective thinking on communism pulled groups of people together much like the violent ideologies espoused by such groups as al-Qaeda.3 Once again, however, those who draw comparisons between the Cold War and the long war have typically not linked specific operations, policies, and mechanisms of the Cold War to the act of confronting al- Qaeda and its manifestations or to current unrest in the Middle East in general. It is also clear that communism, at its height, commanded a set of resources well beyond the scope of the current, or any plausible future, long war adversary. In sum, therefore, such comparisons must be made cautiously so as not to overstate the current threat.

Carafano and Rosenzweig (2005) provide an example of the kinds of parallels that may be drawn between the Cold War and the long war. In this book, the authors draw broad lessons for the current conflict from the Cold War, despite the differences in the actual threat. These lessons include the need for “sound security, economic growth, a strong civil society, and a willingness to engage in a public battle of ideas,” all hallmarks of Eisenhower’s policies during the Cold War. The authors note further that the long war, like the Cold War, “takes time,” and whether looking back on the 40 years of the Cold War, or further back to World War I (thus linking fascism and communism against democracy as did Bobbitt (2002)), the United States will have to prepare for a multiyear event. Finally, the authors emphasize that “Now is the time to get it right,” i.e., in both situations, a clear policy and strategy are needed to confront the threat and provide the guidance to generate the actions to be taken. Carafano and Rosenzweig rightly speak to the “systems view” of the problems currently being faced by the United States, an emphasis we will take up in this report.

Notwithstanding the thrust of this study, defining the struggle against terrorism is not within the Department of Defense’s exclusive competence, much less the U.S. Army’s. Any eventual and agreedupon definition must reflect a national consensus of what the effort is and what it is not. The national definition must take into account the views of all who are involved in the struggle, to include other agencies of government, the legislative branch, the national security intellectual community, industry and corporate America, and the informed public. The multiparty discourse required to reach such a consensus definition has yet to occur.

A Synthesis Description of the Long War: The Confluence of Governance, Terrorism, and Ideology

This report is concerned with the attention given to three areas in describing the current situation facing U.S. forces, namely, those related to the ideologies espoused by key adversaries in the conflict, those related to the use of terrorism, and those related to governance (i.e., its absence or presence, its quality, and the predisposition of specific governing bodies to the United States and its interests). How the U.S. forces and U.S. national means writ large address each of these issues is still largely to be determined. Thus, paraphrasing the Cold War analogy, getting the starting point “right” and setting the strategy for the long war are still largely unaddressed, if they are not contained in already articulated policies of combating terrorism and other national strategies.

Others have written about the shortcomings of using the Cold War analogy for describing current threats facing the United States. These include John Tirman at the MIT Center for International Studies.4 Air Force General Richard B. Myers has also distinguished between the current struggle and the long war:

It’s not like the Cold War, where we knew what the enemy’s capabilities were; we kept pretty good track of that. Their intent was always the question mark. Now we are in the 21st century security environment, and we know what the intent is; that question mark has gone away. Capabilities is the issue.5


The RAND Arroyo Center team has been engaged in various discussions, both internally and externally (with our sponsors and through Unified Quest), on the topic of the long war, all of which have highlighted the difficulty of producing a single term capable of describing the complex nature of the situation facing the United States. Indeed, so many terms have been bandied about, it is clear others are struggling with an overarching term as well. Nonetheless, even though the term “long war” is being supplanted and will possibly even be removed from formal military writing, we find it useful to study the construct in relation to the three key issues of governance, terrorism, and ideol- ogy, particularly to understand how these concepts coalesced to foster an attack such as 9/11.

The elements of the long war currently being discussed by policymakers, military leaders, and others are not without merit. Individual and group violence, the proliferation of dangerous and violent ideologies, and destabilization of government and government control—all are currently in play. However, the most common misconception of the long war has been the attribution of one of these as being more important than the others. Equating the long war to just terrorism or just an “ideological struggle” does not do it justice and can perhaps be counterproductive in the effort to define the strategies and operations necessary to meet national goals. Definitions that address one of the components over the others miss the impact that this long war has had, which is: the confluence of governance, terrorism, and ideology (GTI) makes this long war complex and difficult, and is what differentiates it from other struggles the United States might be involved in.

The goal of this report is not to determine which one of the three is the key problem. Indeed, much empirical research has focused on the particular drivers of conflict in an attempt to pinpoint specific underlying causes and prioritized effects. Instead, we take the stance that the biggest, and perhaps most likely, pitfall U.S. forces will encounter in preparing and considering the implications of the long war is to focus too much attention on one area without due consideration of the effects of the other two. While the United States may have many individual successes in tracking down terrorists abroad, shoring up individual governments, or discounting ideologies, a concerted effort across all three domains will be necessary to ensure that this long war follows a favorable course.

One means of thinking through the problems the United States faces is to consider the long war as the confluence of those three problems— those associated with terrorism, those associated with governance, and those associated with ideologies (see Figure 2.1). Each area has a long history of concern for the United States.6 Splitting up the components and then recombining them to understand the overall issues involved helps to differentiate what is “in” and what is “out” of the long war.

Figure 2.1: Long War as the Confluence of Governance, Terrorism, and Ideology
Image
RAND MG738-2.1

As shown in Figure 2.1, there are regions where only two of the three factors overlap, such as the overlap of terrorism and governance, so that the resulting situation, while potentially important to U.S. national security, is not part of the long war, which, according to our construct, involves all three elements. Fighting Hezbollah, for instance, is related to governance and terrorism but does not involve an ideology that, at the moment, directly threatens the United States. Thus, actions against Hezbollah are not a primary element of the long war in our GTI construct. This is not to say the issue does not warrant attention; in fact, we will describe later that for various reasons the struggle against ideologically motivated groups like Hezbollah has important implications for the long war depending on actions taken by both Hezbollah and the United States. While Hezbollah is not included in our current construct since it does not fall into the GTI construct, it may eventually be, depending on how the future unfolds.

Table 2.1 breaks down the components of the long war in terms of the nature of the problem, primary adversary, potential goals, and challenges and drawbacks. The items refer to our thesis that the current set of problems in the long war represents a confluence of GTI issues. In some cases, such as when a country participates in nation building to foster good governance, there may not be a person, group, or state that constitutes the adversary. Rather, the “adversary” would be the underlying economic and governmental conditions that create societal disharmony.

It is possible that some of the broad definitions of the long war may end up looking narrow when strategies are actually implemented to address the problems. For example, a broad ideological definition could result in something akin to a very narrow counterterrorism campaign when implemented. In those cases, some of the benefits in the way that the war has been described may be garnered up front in the way the long war mobilizes domestic constituencies at home and provides a central idea to rally around. Some of these interpretations will most likely need additional strategies articulated to best address them; others may already be contained in current U.S. security strategies.7

In this report, we are interested in understanding the intersection of these three areas that construe our interpretation of the long war. As mentioned above, we propose in this report that the long war cannot be described in one simple tagline, but rather constitutes a collection of issues associated with GTI. The breakdown in Table 2.1 gives many references to other potential GTI problems that U.S. forces might be facing, and potential drawbacks to choosing one interpretation (versus a focus on all three problems) on which to base a U.S. strategy.

Table 2.1: Breakdown of Different Interpretations of the Long War

Image

Nature of Problem / Specific War (examples) / Who Is the Primary Adversary? / Potential Goals / Challenges and Drawbacks

Ideological / Interpretations of Islam (al-Qaeda, Taliban, and allied groups) -- Anti-Western (N. Korea, Chavez-like movements, al-Qaeda and associated movements) / Extremist Muslim groups -- Nondemocratic governments and nonstate actors / No support for adversary ideology -- Advancement of democracy / Expensive in relation to the threat -- Legitimizes the adversary ideology and leaders -- Made complex by multiple, competing ideologies -- May not cover non-Islamic groups -- Many of the extreme groups don’t threaten U.S. -- May contradict U.S. strategic interests

Governance / Nation building / Social and economic conditions that lead to conflict / Stable, effective governments and regions -- Market creation -- Secure trade -- routes / Expense -- Enormity of problem -- Very complex problems and solutions (nonmilitary) -- Forced to tolerate authoritarian governments

Terror / Insurgencies around the globe -- Muslim terrorists -- Narco-terrorists -- Marxist terrorists / Insurgency groups -- Violent groups / Stable, effective governments and regions -- Market creation -- Secure trade routes -- Elimination of terror tactics -- Homeland security / Many insurgencies not a direct threat to the U.S.; some may aid U.S. interests -- Picking sides is risky -- Hard to define victory -- Same as War on Terror -- Attempts to eliminate a tactic, not an adversary or cause -- Military force may invite more terror


As an example, an ideological description designating “extremist” Muslim groups as the primary problem facing the United States might imply the goal of reducing or eliminating support for the ideology and advancement of democracy in its place. In this case, using ideology alone as the basis for action creates a number of challenges. First, many of what are often termed “extremist” groups are not actively engaged in anti-Western efforts. Thus, calls for fighting “extremist” Muslim groups incur considerable expense relative to the threat those groups pose. The designation also creates problems of ascription. Limiting the ideological basis to only Muslim groups excludes any secular or nationalistic groups that may be more threatening. At the same time, aggregating all groups under an umbrella term “extremist” conceals the variegated goals of individual groups and nuances that any U.S. response will have to address. Examples of the challenges in simplifying the description of the long war to issues of governance or terrorism are also given.

Ideology in the Current Long War8

The primary adversary in the current conflict begins with the one that attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, causing nearly 3,000 deaths. Usama bin Ladin and the terrorist organization al-Qaeda are enemies of the United States. However, there is more to this “long war” than simply fighting a particular terrorist group. If we start with the ideology espoused by al-Qaeda, to include those who believe as Usama bin Ladin does, we can start to discuss the anti-Western and violent ideology of al-Qaeda: Salafi-jihadism (SJ).9

In this hyphenated phrase, “Salafi” refers to Salafism, an Islamic revival movement that began in late 19th century Egypt,10 which has since come to function as an umbrella term for a number of fundamentalist groups—only a portion of which advocate violent activities. Early Salafism portrayed Muslims as having lost their way in the modern era, and holds that only through a return to the practices of the first generations of Muslims (the “Salaf”) could Islam renew itself and, at the same time, come to terms with modernity. Roughly half a century later, another group was to redirect the fundamentalist orientation of Salafism. Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood rejected Western liberal influences and injected a more extreme understanding of Islam into Salafism. This thread met with Wahhabism, an older movement that also rejected modernism and emphasized the tenets of jihad (holy struggle) and takfir (declaring another Muslim an infidel),11 in 20th century Saudi Arabia. In the 21st century, a number of self-declared “Salafi” groups exist, both violent and nonviolent, which argue with each other over who represents true Islamic practices. Thus Salafism is not well bounded in the sense that there is near-constant debate regarding who is truly Salafi and who is not. For instance, some groups describe others as “Qutbist,” an epithet in Islam because it suggests that the targeted practitioners worship a man, not the true religion.

Consequently, Salafi-jihadism is a hybrid of sorts, because it rejects traditional understandings of Islam along the lines of early Salafism, while accreting the innovations of Qutb and Wahhabism in disdaining the West and proclaiming the prominence and acceptability of jihad and takfir.12 Operationally, Salafi-jihadism sees American policies as especially implicated both in introducing foreign norms into Muslim culture and in creating a system that oppresses Muslims. The only way to confront the American threat is to take up arms, establish an Islamic emirate, and wage war against the West and its Muslim allies (not necessarily in that order).

It is not true that groups other than Salafi-jihadists do not threaten the United States.13 The focus of many groups on local issues rather than attacking the United States directly leaves them outside of having specific U.S. strategic importance. These local issues may sometimes concern the United States, especially those affecting Middle East stability, but they are not directly justifying action. Nonetheless, some of these groups may act to support the aims of the SJ groups at the center of this long war, either directly or indirectly, and, over time, may eventually be implicated in direct U.S. action based on those actions.

Governance in the Current Long War14

The concept of governance appears as a central component in the 2006 QDR. The QDR views good governance as a key influence in reducing “the possibility of failed states or ungoverned spaces in which terrorist extremists can more easily operate or take shelter” as well as “opportunities for terrorist organizations to acquire or harbor WMD.”15 To understand how good governance creates such effects, it is useful to know what governance means. According to the United Nations, governance is the “process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented).”16

When a group needs to accomplish certain ends, it develops a process to decide how to reach that end, and then decides how to implement that decision. Governance therefore corresponds to some level of social organization; a situation without any type of governance could be seen as chaotic or anarchic. In some systems, governance is more straightforward—a single individual, or small cadre of individuals, decides, and the decision is carried out by whatever governing apparatus has been established. In other systems, particularly in open, democratic systems, governance can be messier and less predictable.

In the current situation, poor governance exists in a number of places worldwide. This is the situation in much of the developing world, such as the Middle East, Africa, South America, and parts of Asia.

In the current context of the long war, and the particular ideology that is being fought against, only some areas are important, and so only these areas will be considered in relation to poor governance. These correspond to areas where SJ groups might establish safe havens. To meet this requirement, there would seem to be a minimum level of support from local Muslims. This requirement essentially sets the “theater of operation” on some level, but has implications for future spillover into less religiously connected areas.

Given the position of the United States as the world’s only superpower, and an aggressive prosecution of this long war, particularly in the destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan as a demonstration of the perils of collaborating with SJ, it seems unlikely that any government with the ability to prevent the use of its territory by SJ would allow it. There are still areas of interest where the local government would not have the ability to stop SJ if they were to try to establish a safe base. (Additional discussion on state sponsorship is found in Chapter Four under the “Uncertainties” subsection.) Areas designated “ungoverned” are described in Table 2.2.

Terrorism in the Current Long War17

Triggering the current emphasis on the long war was the terrorist attack on CONUS that occurred on September 11, 2001. While terrorism was not created on that date, the significance of the attacks caused a new understanding of the term. While many analysts, including those at the RAND Corporation, had been warning for some time that an attack like 9/11 was possible, the size and nature of the 9/11 attacks, as well as the following attacks in Bali, Spain, and London, changed the nature of the counterterrorist effort.

Policymakers recognized that terrorists could not only strike at U.S. interests overseas (such as the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania) but also at targets on CONUS itself, and devastatingly so. This turned the counterterrorism effort into a more aggressive and proactive campaign: within one month of the attacks, the United States was attacking the recognized government of Afghanistan, which was harboring the planners of the attacks. The term “War on Terror” was coined, later evolving into the “long war.”18

Table 2.2: Descriptions of Some Ungoverned Areas with Large Muslim Populations

Image

Area / Makeup / Description

Iraq / Significant Sunni populations / • Not currently deemed a “safe haven” by the U.S. State Department, though many internal groups are positioned.

Afghanistan / Predominant Sunni / • Areas of Afghanistan, particularly the south and border with Pakistan, remain ungoverned by the Afghan government.

Pakistan / Sunni / • Federally Administered Tribal Areas are considered safe havens as the government balances internal political stability with the need to enforce laws in border regions.

The Gaza Strip and the West Bank / -- / • Currently in civil war; a continuing crisis might allow SJ to take hold. However, neither Fatah nor HAMAS has interests aligned directly with the SJ movement.

Southern Lebanon / Large Shia community] / • The Lebanese government is unable to control much of Southern Lebanon.
• Some al-Qaeda–linked cells operating in Palestinian refugee camps.
• Hezbollah, which is in control, is unlikely to support SJ objectives.

Northern and Eastern Africa / Much of area has Islam as its main religion / • Many of these areas are poor and have governments that are unable to strictly enforce control over all their territory.
• Somalia’s political instability, porous borders, and proximity to Arabian peninsula.

Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral / -- / • Ungoverned and geographically difficult archipelago.
• Mixture of illicit activities among three countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines).
• Al-Qaeda–linked Jemaah Islamiyah, and Abu Sayyaf Group present.
• Indonesia’s widespread archipelago and porous borders.

Tri-Border Area (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay) / -- / • Loosely regulated region close to Muslim communities in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, and Foz do Iguacu, Brazil.
• Concern that Hezbollah and HAMAS, among others, use the region for fundraising and other illicit activities.

Trans-Sahara / -- / Difficult to control borders between Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, and Chad.
• Recruiting and training in region.

NOTE: Adapted from U.S. Department of State (2007). Other safe havens exist, such as the Colombian Border Region, that do not have significant ties to Muslim populations at the moment.


Terrorists have also increased their capability. This has occurred for several reasons, which are also discussed at length in the literature. Among those reasons are the following:

• increased lethality of individual actions
• increased ability to organize through modern communications
• greater ability to publicize their message for motivation and to recruit.

These factors combine to mean that while, as discussed elsewhere in this report, the United States continues to face conventional threats, the relative risk of terrorism in terms of both the risk and hazard remains higher than it did during the Cold War. Further discussion and elucidation of terrorism and its relation to the long war is provided in Appendix A.

Toward Defining the Participants

The question thus remains: Who is the United States facing in this long war? Namely, when considering the current confluence of governance, terrorism, and ideology, who threatens the United States and who else, in addition to those, is involved? The next chapter describes a framework for considering the various nonstate groups implicated in the long war, and one way of envisioning the various other potential actors to be involved in the future long war.

_______________

Notes: (Chapter 2)

1 Any quotes taken from the NLWS are not for attribution, and thus names are withheld in this report.

2 Admiral Mullen was recently picked to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and issued guidance to the Joint Staff to “develop a strategy to defend our National interests in the Middle East” (Mullen, 2007, p. 3). Additional objectives highlight the need to “reset, reconstitute, and revitalize our Armed forces” (p. 3) and “properly balance our global strategic risk” (p. 4).

3 Another example of the “long war” that includes confrontation with communism but goes further back in history can be found in Philip Bobbitt’s (2002) articulation of the Peace of Paris, which culminated in parliamentary democracy’s triumph over communism and fascism.

4 John Tirman, “The War on Terror and the Cold War: They’re Not the Same,” MIT Center for International Studies, April 2006. As of July 11, 2007: http://web.mit.edu/CIS/pdf/Audit_04_06_Tirman.pdf

5 Jim Garamone, “Myers Asks Americans to Remain Committed to Terror War,” American Forces Press Service, October 20, 2003. As of July 11, 2007: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsart ... x?id=28291

6 It should be noted here that the confluence of these three factors—governance, terrorism, and ideology—could be seen across a host of historical struggles, from communist insurgencies to liberation movements, and does not constitute something necessarily unique to the circumstances the United States currently faces.

7 To contrast with the top three approaches, the “civilizational war” definition is deconstructed in a similar way in Appendix B. When the goals and primary adversaries are examined, it can be seen that the civilizational construct is quite different from the GTI war we describe in the remainder of this report. This report does not support the civilizational construct as being a useful explanation for the current problems the United States faces.

8 For a general discussion of ideology, see Appendix C.

9 For a general discussion of the global jihadist movement, see Rabasa et al. (2006).

10 The main founders of this broad-based movement were Muhammad Abduh, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, and Rashid Rida of Egypt’s al-Azhar University.

11 The Arabic term jihad comes from the Arabic root “to strive” or “to fight.” The exact meaning depends on the context, but Salafi-jihadists tend to use the term to refer to legally sanctioned warfare. Many religious legal precepts guide the proper conduct of jihad, and one of those is takfir. Takfir refers to the process of declaring another individual an “unbeliever.” Under Islamic law, one can attack and kill unbelievers (kafir), justifying the use of jihad. For more information about these terms, see Esposito (2003).

12 Many scholars reject the use of the word “Salafi” to describe these groups, even when coupled with “jihadism,” since the term legitimizes their ideology, which hardly bears resemblance to the spirit of the original movement. These scholars would prefer to use the term “Qutbists” or “Takfiris,” which would have the effect of placing these actors outside the mainstream. A similar comment is made in the CTC publication, Militant Ideology Atlas, (McCants, 2006, p. 5).

13 An overview of concepts of jihad across all Islamic schools of thought is found in Peter (1996).

14 For a general discussion of governance, see Appendix A.

15 Department of Defense (DoD), “Quadrennial Defense Review Report,” Washington, D.C., February 6, 2006, pp. 12, 32. As of July 11, 2007: http://www.defenselink.mil/qdr

16 United Nations Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), “What Is Good Governance?” As of September 2008: http://www.unescap.org/pdd/prs/ProjectA ... rnance.asp

17 For a general discussion of terrorism, see Appendix A.

18 While the damage was significant and the loss of life tremendous, this was not as great as the potential damage from a conventional, let alone a nuclear, confrontation with the USSR during the Cold War. However, the end of the Cold War and the successful attacks on the U.S. homeland elevated the importance of combating terrorism.
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:40 am

CHAPTER THREE: Who Is Involved in the Long War?

In an attempt to define more precisely the long war that the United States now confronts, an effective description of the adversary is required. Attempts have been made in this direction. However, many of these definitions are not entirely satisfactory, resulting in either the exclusion of important actors or an obfuscation of the strategically important differences among these actors. We thus begin this chapter with a reflection on the definitions that have been set forth, particularly focusing on those from the QDR and NLWS as examples.

The chapter then details two sequential but separate ways of deconstructing the potential threats involved in the long war. The first part provides a framework to address shortcomings in previous definitions; it describes particular differences in scope, political motivation, and militarism of violent, nonstate groups in the long war. Because several of the adversaries that have attacked the United States have espoused an ideology laced with Islamic motifs and juridical justifications, the examination was of groups operating within predominantly Muslim countries, organized into categories based on an understanding of their motivating ideas and goals. This framework helps to distinguish the violent groups within the Muslim world,1 their varying relevance to U.S. strategic aims, and implied U.S. responses based on characteristics of the groups. By distinguishing among the various actors, this framework provides depth to the GTI construct to guide potential U.S. responses and a foundation for articulating the current, most important ideology facing the United States.

The second part shows, through the use of influence diagrams, how threats deemed important within the framework can expand to include a number of enabling actors and influences. The influence diagrams help to pinpoint where actions can be taken and what affect those actions would have on the system of threats being faced in the long war. The influence diagrams are further described in Appendix C.

Past Definitions of the Adversary

In describing the long war, the 2006 QDR refers to “enemies . [that] are not nation-states but rather dispersed non-state networks.”2 The Nature of the Long War Seminar (NLWS) provided a more precise characterization of the enemy:

A transnational movement of extremist organizations, networks, and individuals—and their state and non-state sponsors—which have in common that they exploit Islam and use terrorism for ideological ends.3


However, when these definitions are applied to actual groups and organizations, neither provides sufficient clarity for use in understanding the implications for U.S. forces. The QDR’s identification of “dispersed non-state networks” as the adversary is somewhat vague, since it is unclear what types of networks are being designated. For instance, terrorist networks, smuggling networks, and arms trafficking networks fall into this categorization. Such a definition may imply that these various networks are interconnected, but such an interpretation would still be unnecessarily broad and unfocused, in that the true threat of this long war may be closely related to the aims and actions of one particular network. Likewise, the NLWS definition focuses on groups that have “ideological ends” and specifically discusses Islam; however, both of these concepts do not apply to many of the groups implied by the first part of the QDR definition.

The NLWS panel’s definition clearly designates as adversary a “transnational movement” that contains several components: organizations, networks, and individuals. These organizations, networks, and individuals all exploit Islam to justify acts of terrorism to achieve goals dictated by their ideology. This definition provides more specificity than do others we have examined. However, its weakness might be that it does not distinguish the range of plausible actors. This is especially important when various possible future adversaries are considered. Additionally, under the NLWS definition, a group that does not exploit Islamic law or theology would not be part of the long war.

For instance, the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which goes by several aliases, is designated a terrorist organization by the United States. The PKK started as a Marxist-Leninist organization and is focused on creating a free Kurdistan rather than bringing about an Islamic caliphate, despite the fact that the majority of Kurds are Muslim. But the PKK would not be considered a long war adversary, according to several of the definitions discussed in this report. If the PKK were to become involved in Iraqi violence in a significant way, however, or if a large number of Turkish troops were to invade Iraq in an attempt to crush the PKK and its manifestations, the United States might get involved with this nonstate actor. Such an action and its potential effects, namely the influence it would have on U.S. relations with an important ally in a region, the possibility that other nonstate actors might become involved, and the effect of Kurdish nationalism on several states in the region, warrant U.S. attention. Nonetheless, such a nonstate group is excluded under the NLWS definition because of the lack of ideological underpinnings that do not necessarily exploit Islam.

Additionally, the NLWS suggests that the various organizations, networks, and individuals encompassed by its definition of the adversary belong to a single transnational “movement.” However, a movement connecting these various and different actors remains elusive. For instance, a locally oriented group such as the PKK is concerned with a viable, independent Kurdistan rather than with the creation of the bin Ladin caliphate. Another example would be HAMAS, the Palestinian organization that won elections for the Palestinian legislature. This organization has fought a long public relations battle with more radical Islamists over its involvement in the Palestinian political process.4 Similar to the PKK, HAMAS is more interested in local concerns, in this case creating a Palestinian state, than in pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda’s dreams of a caliphate. As viewed through the NLWS and QDR definitions mentioned above, HAMAS would not be part of the long war because it is not a transnational movement and rather adheres to local goals of self-rule.

However, despite its interest in “local” concerns, HAMAS is an Islamist party that advocates violent action and whose activities could have important implications for the United States. The organization was established by ‘Abdallah ‘Azzam, an ideologue who also provided the intellectual foundation for the Afghan resistance to the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The rhetoric of jihad espoused by hard-line HAMAS leaders is similar to that of other international jihadist leaders, even if the organization’s aims are more local. This distinction is important in terms of how the United States addresses groups like HAMAS, and it may mean that they remain within the conceptualization of the long war. There are many examples of other actors and groups that might or might not be included as adversaries in the long war, depending on the definition used.

Thus, the QDR definition of the long war is too broad to define participants effectively, while the NLWS definition is not helpful in terms of describing differences and similarities among the concerned participants in this long war. The GTI construct that is proposed in this report provides an overarching framework to consider adversaries; however, the challenge remains to describe these participants in a way that articulates their differences (political and military), anticipates how these actors might change, and specifies concrete actions the United States might take into the future to address the threat posed by these adversaries. The next section proposes one framework to address these considerations.

A Framework for Understanding the Participants in the Long War

Taking a step back from the definitions above, this report assumes that the focus of the current long war is centered on the Muslim world. From there, we assessed the violent groups operating within this region and categorized them based on an understanding of their motivating ideas and goals. This is not an exact science, because what an organization says (for example, its propaganda or manifesto) and what it actually does may differ. For instance, while HAMAS might articulate Islamic concepts of land ownership similar to al-Qaeda, its aim is to justify a claim to Palestine, not a claim to a utopian global caliphate.5 The results of this survey are visually represented in Figure 3.1.

Violent groups in the Muslim world representing various nationalities, sects, ethnicities, linguistic groups, and tribal affiliations can be delineated into four useful categories. The first and second categories represent doctrinaire jihadists and can be considered global in orientation (Category 1) or internally focused (Category 2). The version of Islam known as Salafi-jihadism is primarily contained within these two groups.6 The SJ interpretation of Islam rejects modernism and places an inordinate emphasis on the concepts of jihad (holy struggle) and takfir (declaring another Muslim an infidel).7 Category 1 contains organizations that seek to target Western powers and other non-Muslim governments and populations in their pursuit of a utopian vision of a global Islamic caliphate. Al-Qaeda and some of its manifestations belong to this group. Category 2 is similar to Category 1 in ideological orientation, but focuses more on local issues, governments, and populations. This category would contain such groups as Egypt’s al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya in the late 1980s and Afghanistan’s Hizb i-Islami.

Figure 3.1: Framework for Understanding Objectives and Motives for Various Violent Nonstate Groups (Groups 1 Through 4)
Image
RAND MG738-3.1

Category 3 incorporates religious nationalists. These are groups like Hezbollah and HAMAS, who are willing to use violence, sometimes against their own people, to dominate a particular community, region, or nation. They can be differentiated from groups in Category 2, which also aims for dominion over a Muslim state, by the structure of their organizations and willingness to participate in the political process. These groups may espouse doctrines similar to those espoused by the Salafi-jihadists in Categories 1 and 2, but Category 3’s preoccupation with local interests and their engagement in social and political spheres sets them apart from groups in the first two categories.

It is worth noting that Category 3 contains a Sunni group like HAMAS and a Shia group like Hezbollah. While these groups do not adhere to the same sect within Islam, they show great similarity in terms of structure and aims. For instance, both HAMAS and Hezbollah are represented in the Palestinian and Lebanese governments, respectively. Both have a social services arm and a military arm. Both seek greater power within their respective states. Both were born out of liberation movements and have sought to remove an occupying power. And, even though they belong to different sects, both espouse theological justifications for their actions, presenting their actions within the narrative of their own particular version of fundamentalist Islam. This illustrates the notion that, even within this framework, there are important differences between members of the same category.

Category 4 brings together groups operating in the Muslim world espousing a variety of ideologies, such as communism or Arab nationalism or Ba’athism; groups in this category may pursue goals that differ from those of groups in other categories. These groups use some of the rhetoric associated with groups in other categories, especially as the profile of Islamic fundamentalism has risen. However, at root these groups are motivated not by religiosity but by secular ideologies. Examples of groups in this category include Fatah’s al-Aqsa Brigades, the PKK, and the United Liberation Front of Assam. Examples from all four groups are given in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1: Examples from Groups 1 Through 4 of the Framework

Image

Category 1: Global Jihadists / Category 2: Internal Jihadists

Al-Qaeda and its various branches / Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya
Al-Qaeda Group of Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers (Iraq) / Hizb-i-Islami (Afghanistan)
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (North Africa) / Al-Haramayn Brigades (Saudi Arabia)
Al-Qaeda Organization in the Arabian Peninsula / Jund al-Sham
Egyptian Islamic Jihad / Islamic Army in Iraq
Harakat ul-Mujahidin (Pakistan, India) / Ansar al-Sunnah Army (Iraq)
Jemaah Islamiyya (Southeast Asia) / GIA: Armed Islamic Group (Algeria) Abu Sayyaf Group

Category 4: Secular Nationalists / Category 3: Religious Nationalists

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front / HAMAS
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine / Hezbollah
Kurdish Worker’s Party / Jaysh al-Mahdi
Al-Aqsa brigades / Badr organization
Al-Fursan brigades / --
Fedayeen Saddam a / --
Dhi Qar organization / --

a Fedayeen Saddam is a paramilitary group formed in 1995 by Uday Hussayn. See http://www.cfr.org/publication/7698/ for additional information.


Encompassing these violent groups are other organizations within the civil society of Muslim states, representing Categories 5 and 6. These organizations are nonviolent, but some, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, may have ideological tendencies that are similar to more radical ideologies. Those who prefer the more extreme path will often find themselves stymied within the moderate organization and seek the more radical option. The framework places such “gateway” groups into Category 5, though it should be noted that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood do not actively promote the agendas of groups in the violent categories. All other civil society groups, such as trade unions or women’s organizations, can be found in Category 6.

The “gateway” nature of Category 5 underscores an important fact: individuals and groups can move from one category to another. The arrows on Figure 3.1 suggest the most plausible movement for these groups. Thus, it is plausible that an extremist Salafi-jihadist group in Category 2 could gain considerable grass-roots support and migrate into a more political role, which would resemble groups in Category 3. One can see this development in the transformation of the Egyptian group al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, which turned toward a more political orientation after the crackdowns of the 1990s.8

It is also possible for groups to move between Categories 1 and 2. Algeria’s Groupe Salafist pour la Prédication et le Combat (GSPC) became another manifestation of al-Qaeda on September 11, 2006, the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. While there is some question about the GSPC’s reasons for making this change, it is fairly certain that the new al-Qaeda “brand name” indicates a new global strategy.9 Such a new orientation would move this group from Category 2 to Category 1. This move, from 2 to 1, is something that has been occurring more and more often, and it appears that Category 2 groups that are focused solely on local concerns are being recruited into the global framework. This can be seen from the statements of allegiance that the GSPC and a faction of al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya have made to a Category 1 group, al-Qaeda.10 It is unclear, however, how operational these pledges are. Questions remain whether these groups are making these statements to gain attention and access to funding or they truly embrace the global jihadist ideology of al-Qaeda. The actions of these groups will need to be evaluated to determine whether these changes are cosmetic or not and what appropriate military and other actions these distinctions imply.

There are a number of reasons why this framework and these distinctions between categories of nonstate actors are important. First, the way that the United States military engages each of these categories of actors will be different. A kinetic military or policing approach is likely to be the dominating response to groups in Categories 1 and 2. Complementary approaches other than military or policing actions will be necessary to interdict the funding and recruitment mechanisms of groups in these two categories, but once individuals accept the ideology and are bent on violent terrorist actions, it is likely that an aggressive military or police response will be necessary to keep these groups at bay. Groups in Category 3 are political as much as military or terrorist organizations. They often have strong support within a particular population and sometimes win elections. They have far more legitimacy than those in Categories 1 and 2, and are often not fringe elements lurking on the outskirts of society. These nonstate actors cannot be easily overturned through military force. As can be seen by the recent Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, a military response may not be a suitable way of achieving political goals vis-à-vis these organizations. Category 4, the secular nationalists, may be engaged in a variety of ways, depending on the nature of the group.

Second, groups in different categories pose a greater or lesser threat to the security of the United States. This is a somewhat general statement that may not always hold true, because small actions can have large strategic consequences. However, groups in Category 1 generally pose the greatest threat since their goals are global. A group with very local objectives in Category 2 that seeks to overthrow a specific government poses a lesser threat to U.S. security than one with global aspirations that seeks to unleash chemical weapons in, say, Houston, Texas. It is most likely that a group seeking to do the latter would come from Category 1, global jihadists, while the group implicated in the former scenario would be more likely to come from Categories 2, 3, or 4. It is therefore worth noting when groups such as the GSPC either openly or surreptitiously adopt the attributes of groups in Category 1.

Third, this categorization schema helps to illustrate the diversity of groups plausibly involved in a long war with the United States. Describing the long war simply as an “ideological battle” or a struggle against a single transnational movement ignores the structure and ideational variety present within the Muslim world. It also ignores the assortment of economic, social, and political factors and grievances that created these nonstate groups and continues to fuel recruitment. A simplistic view of the adversary may focus undue attention on a religion when religion may have less to do with a particular group’s goals or origins than local factors. Such an erroneous perception may encourage a unity of action when a more locally tailored approach would be more appropriate.

There are, therefore, many plausible ways for a long war to unfold, given the range of violent nonstate actors operating in the region. There is also a growing sense that these groups are connected in some fashion, a topic this report addresses under the “collaboration among actors” uncertainty described in the next chapter. While many of these groups differ in terms of structure, goals and concerns, and ideological basis, it is possible to delineate some similarities. Thus, while the groups fall into our GTI construct, the framework in Figure 3.1 allows distinguishing characteristics to help guide responses to these violent groups. Furthermore, it is also possible to suggest, based on the current situation, the category that will be of greatest concern going forward in the long war: Category 1.11

Expanding the Framework of Participants Through Influence Diagrams

Having considered the particular differences among the various violent, nonstate groups in the Muslim world, we now turn to the many enabling actors and factors that come together to create the threat. One way to consider the extent to which the center threat is expanded to include the overall capability of a group is through the use of influence diagrams.12 Figure 3.2 illustrates the first-order influences that increase the threat of SJ. These diagrams and others similar to it will be referred to as “influence diagrams.” (Note that in these diagrams and subsequent discussions, we refer to the center as being SJ based on our thesis developed heretofore; however, the framework developed in the previous section could just as easily afford alternative foci, albeit with a different systems view, and ultimately different U.S. aims and responses.) A more detailed description of the influence diagrams is provided in Appendix C to this report. An increase in one of the factors leads to an increase in the factors to which it points, eventually leading to an increased overall threat from SJ. The diagrams are meant for two purposes. One is to spur discussion on the broad factors that are associated with the threats this report is discussing, particularly those associated with our GTI construct. The second is to highlight the effects of particular actions a player might take on the range of factors contributing to the threat. The flow diagrams are an easy way to record changes from actions, both positive and negative, and thus enable accounting of the important interactions.

Figure 3.2: Factors Contributing to the Threat of Salafi-Jihadism: Initial Analysis
Image
RAND MG738-3.2  

Figure 3.2 shows seven key factors in determining the threat that SJ groups pose: safe havens; funds; leadership; recruits; lethal weapons; legitimacy of the group; and training and support mechanisms. An increase in any one of these leads directly to an increased SJ threat. This does not in any way imply that such changes are linear, or that all of the influences need to be addressed. However, starting with what we know to be a threat, and developing the influences that have created that threat, helps to encompass the wide variety of actors and participants that will eventually be confronted in this long war.

Figure 3.3 expands the influence diagram to look at factors that influence the first-order factors. For example, on the left near the top of the figure is the number of poor states/regions. If this number increases, then the number of failed states/regions will also increase. The latter increase in turn causes an increase in the number of safe havens. This could allow SJ groups to take hold in these areas, allowing them to establish bases and increase their threat to the United States.

Influences do not have to come from the extreme outside. For example, the availability of funds to SJ groups could increase independently of the four means identified in the diagram. These diagrams are meant to capture important ways in which the threat of SJ might increase, and do not purport to include all of them. And consistent with our thesis that the confluence of governance, terrorism, and ideology paint a more appropriate picture of the threat facing the United States, the diagram helps to illustrate how those factors manifest themselves in enabling a group like al-Qaeda.

The most important relationships at the current time are shown in Figure 3.4, which grays out the less important relationships in Figure 3.3. For example, since there is currently no overt, direct state sponsor of SJ, this box is grayed out. This diagram therefore shows the current important influences that might be countered in fighting the long war, while at the same time alluding to other potential influences that could be kept at bay to ensure they do not come into play. How these factors change under various assumptions will be addressed in later discussions of how the current long war might unfold, and is explained in some of the trajectories.

Figure 3.3: Factors Contributing to the Threat of Salafi-Jihadism: Initial Analysis Expanded
Image
RAND MG738-3.3

Figure 3.4: The Current Dominant Factors and Examples of How U.S. Actions Can Be Represented
Image
RAND MG738-3.4

Figure 3.4 also shows four U.S. operations and their influence on the factors. This is by no means a comprehensive list of U.S. operations or strategies, but it demonstrates how the United States is able to influence the factors both individually and in concert with other influences currently at work. For example, the operations in Iraq seek to reduce the number of failed states and terrorist safe havens, but they also contribute to a rise in the degree of anger felt by many Muslims towards the West.

One common way for other non-SJ organizations to be considered part of the long war is if they collaborate with SJ terrorists in the ways described by the top middle of the diagram. These organizations also have the potential to turn nations into failed states, which, as shown in the bottom portion of the diagram, can increase the threat of SJ. The presence of various other states is also implied through the bottom of the diagram, where state-sponsorship of nonstate entities is addressed. In this influence diagram, we show three main forms of state sponsorship: proliferation of weapons, supply of safe havens, and supply of funds.13

Figure 3.5: Examples of Some Current Actors and Threat Risks Being Faced in the Long War
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RAND MG738-3.5

Thus, having described SJ as the core threat, we can examine the probability that actors will act in a way (including nonaction) that increases the threat of SJ. The other nonstate and state actors that might be implicated as part of the SJ threat to varying degrees are also characterized by the hazard that their actions might pose. The result of this is shown in Figure 3.5, which shows the overall risk (risk being the combination of probability and hazard) of a group engaging the United Sates under various assumptions of probability and hazard.

The figure shows the notional hazard and probability of acting against U.S. interests in terms of the SJ-defined long war. In this example, Iran is assessed as being of high potential hazard because it could provide significant support to nonstate SJ groups, but the probability of this is assessed as low since Iran is also the enemy of many SJ groups. This example might describe only a single way the future evolves, and would hence be contingent on a number of assumptions about Iran’s capacity and desires to engage in helping groups that the United States is currently battling.

Conclusions

Ideology is a vital motivating force in Salafi-jihadist and other extremist groups. Violent groups in the Muslim world may not share the same ideology, but an ideology is a key component of why these groups undertake violent action and can be a motivating factor across many influences that ultimately increase the capabilities of an SJ group. These groups function and thrive in the absence or weakness of governments. They are able to operate in ungoverned territories and take advantage of weak states to smuggle weapons, money, and other resources. Many groups and ideologies themselves were founded in the absence of politically legitimate processes to address real political, social, and economic conditions. Unable to compete in a direct confrontation, these groups use asymmetric tactics such as terrorism to engage their enemies and further their ideologies.

Exploring the influence diagrams, centered on a given ideology or group of people, we see that many factors can ultimately be incorporated into the overall systems view of the threat, leading to a clearer picture of the ultimate problems facing the United States in this long war. The influences contained in the diagrams grow and wane, driven by changes to ideologies, governance, and capacities for violence. This study started narrowly with an articulation of a threat based on groups adhering to the SJ ideology. Through the use of a systems view of the problem illustrated through the influence diagrams, however, we note a number of external variables that ultimately will affect the way this group develops as a concern for U.S. national security.

The major underlying factors that will affect the way this long war will unfold are described in the following chapter. The trends and uncertainties that define the future are a combination of actions that might be taken by the United States, actions taken by the many other actors involved with the long war, and environmental factors outside the direct control of any parties involved. Combining these factors, and challenging the ways the uncertainties play out into the future, aids in tracing how the long war might ultimately unfold.

_______________

Notes: (Chapter 3)

1 In this report, the term “Muslim world” is used to denote those states with majority or large Muslim populations. Many of these states are located in the Middle East and northern Africa, and they span south and southeast Asia through to Indonesia.

2 Department of Defense, “Quadrennial Defense Review,” 2006, p. 9.

3 The National Long War Seminar (NLWS) panel, “Session 3 Outbrief — Frame the Problem: What Is the Long War?” December 8, 2006.

4 Open Source Center (OSC) Report, “Al-Zawahiri Censures HAMAS in New Statement,” FEA20070312101188, March 12, 2007.

5 For a good analysis of Usama bin Ladin’s global grand strategy, see Paz (2003).

6 For a general review of the SJ ideology, see Oliveti (2001). An analysis of the extremely radical version of SJ advocated by the late al-Zarqawi can be found in Kazimi (2005).

7 The Arabic term jihad comes from the Arabic root “to strive” or “to fight.” The exact meaning depends on the context, but Salafi-jihadists tend to use the term to refer to legally sanctioned warfare. Many religious legal precepts guide the proper conduct of jihad, and one of those is takfir. Takfir refers to the process of declaring another individual an “unbeliever.” Under Islamic law, one can attack and kill unbelievers (kafir), justifying the use of jihad. For more information about these terms, see Esposito (2003).

8 Author’s interview with Dia’a Rashwan, analyst at the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Cairo, Egypt, February 13, 2007.

9 There are many commentaries on the change of the GSPC to al-Qaeda. An Australian report puts it most succinctly: “These statements made by the group and al Qaeda indicate the GSPC is evolving from a domestically focused group to one with a global Jihadist ideology.” See Office of the Australian Attorney-General (2007).

10 Katz and Devon (2006).

11 Recall the example of Category 1 groups that have a particular ideology of Salafi-jihadism and a focus on establishing a caliphate. It is this ideology that is the basis for our discussion of the ideological component of the current long war.

12 See Appendix C for a further explanation of the influence diagrams used in this report.

13 Funding from states may include training, logistics, and other direct support.
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:45 am

CHAPTER FOUR: What Will Affect the Way the Long War Unfolds?

In this chapter we identify the major factors that we believe are likely to have a significant influence in determining which of the future trajectories, if any, comes to pass. A number of factors describe what a future scenario might look like. Some of these are highly strategic (or global), others are more regional. The factors chosen here are the ones that would seem to have the greatest influence on the type of long war that might be fought. They were developed through examination of the literature.

Trends and Drivers of the Long War

All planning documents make assumptions about the future. Methodologies have been developed to assist in understanding the risks inherent in those assumptions.1 Those tests are typically performed before, during, and after strategy development to prepare for potential unforeseen contingencies and to update the strategy based on changing environmental concerns. In the case of this report, we surveyed a number of trends evident in discussions of the future to help form the basis for our discussion on the long war. These trends and drivers are listed in Table 4.1.

Table 4.1: Trends and Drivers Forming the Basis for This Report

Image

Demographic / • Population growth • Urbanization • Mass migrations/immigrations

Ideological / • Rise of nonstate actors • Competing ideologies • Bifurcations

Natural resource / • Oil, fossil fuels • Ecological deterioration • Water shortages • Climate change • Natural disasters, chronic and acute

Geopolitical / • State of nation-states • Political borders and economic barriers • Multi-tier system of states • Failed/ungoverned/failing/stable states • U.S. policies in the Middle East

Technological / • WMD/E proliferation • Transportation and communication revolutions • Information-based economies

Governance / • Reformation of political systems • Degree of western investments • Building of civil societies • Rule of law, justice systems

NOTE: Items in bold are discussed further in this chapter in the “Uncertainties” subsection. Items in italics are contained in Appendixes E, F, and G.


Some trends, such as the increasing importance of global trade and the intertwining of the world’s economies, are treated as assumptions for the purposes of developing the trajectories in this report. Th ese assumptions are based on our analysis of what trends and drivers are least vulnerable to being incorrect and most amenable to being constant across all trajectories.

Some of the trends surveyed during this project are less certain, and thus more prone to entertaining widely disparate values in the future. For the purposes of this report, we have used a number of these “uncertainties” to describe alternative ways the future might unfold. In this report, we have resisted the temptation to talk broadly about the future in every possible aspect. Instead, we have focused only on a few of the uncertainties that are key to the development of the long war. While outside the scope of this current project, a future analysis should challenge the vulnerability of the embedded assumptions in this report to assess risks and create strategies that will be robust if assumptions identified as vulnerable turn out to be incorrect.

Some of the trends listed in Table 4.1 are further explained in the appendixes to this report. Below are explanations of some of the others that constitute important uncertainties driving the future.

Uncertainties: The Variables That Drive Alternative Trajectories

In this project, we identified the major uncertainties driving our interpretation of how the long war might unfold over the coming decade or so. Major areas of uncertainty include weapons proliferation and capabilities of nonstate actors, the prevalence of weak or failed states as safe havens, political stability in the Middle East, international support for the United States, domestic support for the long war, and the draw of conventional war. We describe each of these areas below.

Weapons Proliferation and Capabilities of Nonstate Actors

As technology continues to advance and then propagates throughout the world, so does the potential for nonstate actors to use this technology for military means. Low-end proliferation of small arms, proliferation of nuclear weapons, and exploitation of communication technologies all play a role.

Small arms, land mines, and the like are easily purchased by states and widely available to nonstate actors through their state supporters or the black market. Particularly destructive weapons, such as the explosively formed projectiles currently being used in Iraq, will also be available, but not as widely as other, low-tech items. Equipment like the aircraft recently acquired by the Tamil Tigers could be available only to groups with genuine safe havens and international support.2

The proliferation of nuclear weapons to nonstate actors would seem unlikely without the support of a nuclear government or the extreme negligence of one. Although there has been discussion concerning the proliferation of nuclear weapons among states, as Table 4.2 shows, there has been very little proliferation since the development of the world’s most powerful weapons in the 1950s (Walsh, 2005).

This does not imply that further proliferation of nuclear weapons to states will not occur, nor that counterproliferation efforts are being wasted. States most likely to buck the trend are those that feel threatened by their neighbors or by the world’s only superpower. Increasing energy prices has made nuclear fission a more attractive energy source for many states,3 although this does not imply there must be an associated nuclear weapons program.

Table 4.2: Number of New Nuclear States Each Decade

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Decade / Increase In Number of Nuclear Countries

1940s / 2
1950s / 1
1960s / 3
1970s / 2
1980s / 1
1990s / 0
2000s / Up to 2 (North Korea and possibly Iran)

SOURCE: Walsh (2005). This does not include the loss of South Africa as a nuclear state.


Of more concern is the more likely and potentially equally devastating proliferation of smaller and conveniently acquired conventional, chemical, and biological agents. At the lower end of this spectrum are small incendiary devices and homemade bombs which have long been available and used. Most improvised explosive devices (IEDs) being used in Iraq would fall into this category. More serious are devices such as truck chlorine bombs. It should be noted, however, that while Iraq has seen limited use of chemical weapons in the cases of a handful of chlorine-containing attacks in Baghdad and surrounding areas (Cave and Fadam, 2007; Garrels, 2007), none were particularly effective and there is no support for more widespread use. More serious still are the true WMD-type chemical and biological weapons, which tend to have higher theoretical casualty rates although they are considerably more difficult to procure.

The ability of people to use phones, cell phones, and the Internet to communicate globally increases the capabilities of nonstate actors. Indeed, these communications vehicles have become part of everyday life. The growth of communications media, especially relating to websites, user groups, chat rooms, and email, also allows technologies and tactics to be transferred between otherwise disparate organizations.4 When the raw materials are available, these sorts of weapons will be available to long war foes who will be able to use them to carry out both spectacular and chronic violent campaigns like those in Iraq. These attacks will be more difficult to reproduce away from their safe havens, in CONUS for instance, but will remain possible.

Terrorists exploit media and are increasingly able to bring “breaking news” that publicizes the achievements of the groups in ways that amplify their effectiveness far beyond anything achievable before the advent of the Information Age. They may also use the “Web 2.0” revolution to bring their messages directly to those who might be interested. The communication of their message is a key aim of the long war foes, and their ability to deliver it will only increase with time.

As the world increasingly relies on communications networks for business and governments, the networks themselves become targets to those wanting to take aggressive actions. Computer viruses are an example of how the networks themselves can be attacked for a relatively small cost with a large damage potential. Internet fraud is also likely to continue and grow, especially in poorly governed areas. This fraud is a potential source of revenue for terrorists and organized crime.5 The Internet is used for a variety of activities within Islamic groups, including propaganda, recruiting and training, and fundraising.

While the ability of nonstate actors to strike may be high, their ability to defend themselves is limited. Access to sophisticated weapons will depend on some level of state support. For example, a rising Shia with its support mechanisms (“axis of resistance” bolstered by Iran and Syria (Peterson, 2007)) could increase the likelihood that several of the trajectories might occur, including “Shia-Sunni Conflict” and “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad.”

Recent studies in the terrorist literature (Cragin et al., 2007) have also reported the importance of shared objectives in nonstate groups’ willingness to collaborate on technology exchanges between groups with different overarching ideologies.6

The proliferation of WMD agents such as anthrax to nongovernmental individuals occurred in the United States, leading to the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people. Limited amounts of such materials are almost certainly going to become available to nonstate groups in other countries, although not necessarily those involved in the long war. The degree to which such proliferation occurs, and hence the risk of an attack, is uncertain. However, given al-Qaeda’s attempts to obtain such materials in the past (Daly, Parachini, and Rosenau, 2005), and the difficulty in navigating the black market proliferation cultures, it still would seem likely that some groups would attempt to use them if they were able to obtain them.

The Prevalence of Weak/Failed States as Safe Havens

Even a concerted effort by the West and other industrialized nations would be insufficient to completely eradicate the existence of ungoverned spaces. The existence of failing and failed states is assumed even in a world that has high levels of economic growth, since such growth will not be distributed evenly throughout the world. Many states will continue to struggle to govern their regions and support their populations. Even a developed world that was fully supportive of these states will be unable to overcome the severity of the problem and the unwillingness of some governments to accept the help that is offered. The states most affected may change, but states will continue to fall into the category of “failed” and “failing.” The degree to which this occurs is, however, more uncertain.7

The prevalence of these spaces is described below as an uncertainty, but a basic assumption is that some such spaces exist and, moreover, that they will exist in the Muslim world. Various methods of assessing state stability have been floated. One such assessment was developed by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace.8 Their Failed States Index rates states on a number of different criteria, including the following:

• mounting demographic pressures
• massive movement of refugees and internal displacement
• chronic and sustained human flight
• uneven economic development along group lines
• sharp and/or severe economic decline
• deterioration of public services
• widespread violation of human rights
• criminalization or delegitimization of the state
• security apparatus as “a state within a state.”

Nations with Muslim majorities make up 23 of the top 50 states in this index, which highlights the troubling issues faced by many societies in this region. Sixteen of the subsequent 50 states are Muslim majorities, and only two are outside of the top 100.

The details of the methods developed in the Failed State Index and other indices notwithstanding, the general contents of the lists developed, in terms of prevalence of Muslim states near the top and scattered throughout, are similar. While the top-most states in most indices are obvious areas of concern—e.g., Iraq, Sudan, and Pakistan— there is a large middle ground where violent, nonstate actors exist. The correlation between failed (and failing) states and nonstate actors is somewhat difficult to determine and relies upon a range of different factors. Moreover, indices are developed and published for many years without update, so there is no way to determine how different trends affect a state’s tactical stability. Thus, while the stability of states is a difficult issue to define, there is a rich literature on the subject and applicable to a broad look across governance in the Muslim world. For the purposes of this report, the stability of the state is an important factor in influencing how many of the trajectories evolve, and understanding and tracking the indicators of stability is important.

Middle Eastern Political Stability

Indeed, assuming the Middle East is of continuing importance, the general stability of the region is a key uncertainty. The resolution of the Iraq war is by no means certain, nor is the international response to and affects of Iranian nuclear ambitions. Additionally, there are several wild cards that could occur in this region.

A significant improvement or deterioration in the Israel/Palestine- Middle East situation has the potential to calm or enflame Muslim passions. Many events are possible, considering the long and checkered history of Israel’s relations with others in the region; however, only an extreme change in either direction would create stability or make matters significantly worse.

An example of an extreme version of the change described above would be the creation of new Islamic states that impose Sharia Law with outright support to terrorism. A powerful Sunni Islamic state may prove even more troublesome than Iran, especially in its support for SJ. The more militarily and economically powerful the state, the more potentially dangerous the situation would be. Among the most undesirable states to undergo such a revolution would be Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Egypt.

Proliferation of nuclear and other WMD among Arab and other Gulf states may also exacerbate tensions and lead to instability in the region. The tensions could lead to alliances forming along sectarian or other lines, and create escalation among the few actors with potential access.

International Support for U.S. Actions

Support from international partners may change in the coming years. It is uncertain how Europe and the UN will respond to continued aggressive actions by the United States, especially in the wake of the war in Iraq. While there is still significant support from governments, the populations of few states favor the U.S.-led war against terror.9 As well, U.S. legitimacy in the Middle East will bolster the United States’ ability to foster relationships with key players, including both state and nonstate groups. This will be particularly important in situations where it is necessary to encourage peace negotiations among groups, exploit fissures and rifts among organizations, and induce state support within the region for U.S. goals. Pressure for such changes could come from the adoption of vastly differing policies, resulting from changing demographics and public support for U.S. actions.

The effect of reduced international support may mean that additional U.S. resources would be required to prosecute the long war and, perhaps more significantly, that access to bases may be limited and thus preclude particular U.S. military strategies.

Domestic Support for the Long War

Effects of individual attacks on the United States or its interests.


Resources for the long war are likely to be constrained by budgetary pressures for domestic programs and further constrained if any of the many wild card events come to pass. Figure 4.1 provides an influence diagram showing some of the factors influencing U.S. effectiveness in prosecuting the long war, of which funding is a part.

New terror attacks in the United States would almost certainly increase funding directed at long war activities. Such funding would not necessarily result in more vigorous prosecution of the current policy, as a change in policy could also occur. The increase in support could be magnified if the attack involved mass casualties beyond the scale of 9/11 or involved WMD materials. Similarly, the overthrow of a U.S. ally government might also cause an increase in support for the long war within the United States.

Figure 4.1: Influence Diagram Showing Factors Affecting the U.S. Ability to Prosecute the Long War
Image
RAND MG738-4.1

Conversely, a continuing lack of significant domestic terrorist events could bolster support for current policies in conducting the long war, and provide the metrics necessary to support continuing operations. However, the lack of any “reminders” of the threats associated with the long war is more likely to be associated with a decrease in funding.10

Available Funding.

Funding for operations in Iraq (as manifested in both core and supplemental funding) limits funding for operations elsewhere, and a prolonged effort into the future will similarly do so. If operations in Iraq reduce, a number of other factors will dominate the availability of future funding.

A U.S. confrontation with China over Taiwan, or some other unforeseen cause, would seem to be the most likely source of conflict between major powers in the near future. Even an escalation of tensions surrounding a confrontation would divert funds away from the long war toward major combat operations. U.S. conflicts with other states could also occur, and these would all have similar effects from a long war point of view. The reverse is also possible: successful prosecution of the long war could lead to reduced funding due to the perception of reduced threat. Compared to the funding for conventional forces, most operations associated with the long war as described are small, with the few exceptions of larger-scale rebuilding or peacekeeping efforts. Nonetheless, small changes in funding of key long war assets could alter the military’s response across all operations, and thus funding will remain a key determinant of the extent to which the United States can be involved in long war affairs.

Funding to support the long war can be bolstered or at least sustained in the wake of such events as successful apprehension of al- Qaeda leaders, declining sectarian violence in Iraq and the region, continuing successful homeland security (HLS), and increases in the ability of the governments in Iraq and Afghanistan to thwart new trou- bles.11 The trajectory similar to the current situation, and enhanced by moderate successes and lack of significant drawbacks, is contained in the “Steady State” trajectory.

Availability of U.S. Capabilities.

Another U.S. operation on the scale of Iraq or greater would strain U.S. capabilities. It would draw the focus of the military away from operations such as the long war, and preparation for a MCO would redirect it toward dealing with the current crisis. In addition, a second “Iraq war” could create areas of ungoverned space like those that arose in parts of Iraq at various times during that conflict.

Similarly, other wild cards could affect attention and funding for the long war. The death of Fidel Castro has the potential to change the dynamics between the United States and Cuba in many ways. It may become a new focus of U.S. attention at the expense of the long war.

A conflict between other major powers such as Japan and China may arise. While such a conflict would not necessarily involve the United States, it would be likely to cause a division in world opinion. Such a division may interact with the religious basis of the long war in various unpredictable ways.

A state such as North Korea has the potential to draw U.S. resources away from the long war. A non-test nuclear detonation, the first since the end of World War II, would drastically change the international landscape. States and nonstate actors may clamor to obtain nuclear weapons, and the United States would most likely be involved in some form of intervention against a nuclear-armed foe.

A conflict between India and Pakistan would have particular significance for the long war.12 Not only would both states have nuclear arms, thus raising fears of nuclear warfare, but the Muslim/Hindu divide might exacerbate tensions between Muslims and the rest of the world. Such a conflict could expand the long war into a global conflict with the nature of a MCO.

Attention of the United States.

U.S. elections will continue to affect the prosecution of the long war in terms of both funding and strategy. While current Democratic and Republican policies surrounding the long war are similar, it is possible that other policies may become dominant. A change of strategy at some time in the future will cause a corresponding change in the dynamics of the long war.

The U.S. focus might also change because of other circumstances outside the scope of the long war. Hostile actions by states that threaten the balance of power, perhaps even taking advantage of U.S. preoccupation in other areas of the world, might shift attention to other matters that would require putting much of the focus of the long war on hold.

The Draw of Conventional War

The U.S. armed forces will continue to perceive a significant conventional threat. The economic and military might of the United States seems unassailable in the timeframes discussed in this report. However, while an elimination of the conventional threat such that the U.S. military strategy is no longer focused on major combat operations is unlikely to occur, it is uncertain to what degree the United States will ultimately balance its conventional and nonconventional resourcing.

While the United States will continue to act as the sole superpower, new major powers might emerge and increase in importance. With regard to planning, the often discussed rise of China and India produces the most likely contenders driving the U.S. conventional capabilities. Other concerns include the potential for a resurgent Russia. These nations seem the only ones capable of sparking an arms race with the United States or challenging the United States on an economic basis.

It is also possible, although unlikely unless the long war becomes much larger, that the opportunistic nature of some powers may seek to take advantage of the U.S. engagement in it. This might be seen as more likely if continuing operations in Iraq stretch the United States over a long period of time. This in turn would result in a reduction of the priority of the long war, as described in the “Holding Action” trajectory.

Summary

This chapter has identified a number of uncertainties that were used to explore aspects of the long war. With each uncertainty, we identified a number of factors important to how that uncertainty may look in the future. In Table 4.3 we show a summary of how the individual uncertainties might be further extrapolated based on the previous discussion.

The individual levels (1 through 4) indicate values that those uncertainties can hold. In each case, the values are discrete to simplify the discussion and provide a launching point for additional expansion. For instance, there is currently “little proliferation” of nuclear materials into the hands of nonstate actors. In some future, this uncertainty can stay the same or change to an alternative level which, in this case, would imply an increase in weapons proliferation. Example levels are summarized for all the uncertainties discussed in this chapter. How these uncertainties are combined to produce alternative trajectories is described in the next chapter.

Table 4.3: Example Levels of Uncertainties Contained in This Report

Image

Capabilities of Nonstate Actors

Weapons proliferation / Collaboration Among Actors / Safe Havens / Middle Eastern Political Stability / International Support / Domestic Support / Conventional War


1 / Little / Actors do not aid each other / No safe havens / Middle East is highly volatile / Significant support provided / Funding provided above current levels / There is no peer

2 / Some / There is tactical collaboration between groups / Few, temporary safe havens / Situation is dangerous / Limited support provided / No additional funding / There is a peer that is nonthreatening

3 / High / There is widespread collaboration and sharing of goals / Few, permanent safe havens / Situation is unresolved but relatively calm / No support provided / Reduction in funding / There is a peer that is threatening

4 / -- / -- / Safe havens are widespread / A widely supported settlement is reached / Support provided to opposing forces / -- / --


_______________

Notes: (Chapter 4)

1 See Dewar et al. (1993) for a discussion on methodologies to test vulnerable assumptions contained in training documents. Also see Dewar et al. (1997) for an example of the methodology applied to Army Force XXI strategy.

2 Recent reports of an air force capability within the LTTE are still being developed, though news stories have confirmed some extant capability. See Dikshit (2007) for some information on the LTTE’s air capability.

3 See Commonwealth of Australia (2006) for additional exploration of the subject.

4 See Forest (2006) for a compendium of material regarding learning in terrorist organizations. Also see Cragin et al. (2007) on how 11 terrorist groups in three areas (Mindanao, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and southwest Colombia) have attempted to exchange technologies.

5 For an example see Krebs (2007), which details a UK terrorist plot’s link to Internet fraud.

6 For examples of PIRA/FARC and Hezbollah/Palestinian exchanges, among others, see Cragin et al. (2007).

7 Nonetheless, there will be places, such as Zimbabwe currently, where governance has failed but the West is reluctant to become involved for a number of supportable reasons.

8 See the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy Magazine (2007) for information on the Failed States Index. For additional information on ungoverned territories with detailed case studies, see Rabasa et al. (2007).

9 For example, see Pew (2007).

10 This issue is raised in the “Steady State” trajectory, which assumes no, or moderate, success on the U.S. side, but no major new terrorist instances.

11 Conversely, funding can go down in the absence of these events, which may pull U.S. capabilities to other efforts.

12 The inherent instability of the Indo-Pakistani relationship is covered in Kapur (2005).
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:54 am

Part 1 of 2

CHAPTER FIVE: How Might the Long War Unfold?

This project is focused on exploring how the current long war might evolve and develop in the coming years. The development of individual trajectories is an offshoot of the generation of alternative futures.

With alternative futures, the researcher probes a large number of potential strategic drivers and uncertainties for a breadth of plausible situations the world might find itself in well into the future. The creation of “trajectories” takes a more narrow view. With trajectories, more importance is placed on how the futures are unfolding and less on what the future looks like. Thus, the time period of this discussion is crafted both in the current situation and in varying, deliberately vague, timelines out to 2022. The driver behind this project, which started with discussions of what the long war is and might be, leads us to believe that trajectories are more appropriate than alternative futures as a mechanism for discussion, since an alternative future may fall outside of the current construct being used to describe the long war.

In past work, we developed broad alternative futures that described the uncertainties crossing a full range of national security issues. In this report, we define more narrowly how some of the uncertainties may play out. For instance, a world of increased asymmetric, nonstate contingencies such as the “Transnational Web” future1 (as described in Nichiporuk (2005)) might look like specific, racially or ideologically motivated insurgencies spurred on by changes in technology (the “Expanding Scope” trajectory in this report). The use of the alternative futures, and parts and extensions from them, helped to develop the current set of trajectories.

Generating Alternative Trajectories

The trajectories described below were generated within the RAND Arroyo Center team based on the various uncertainties and assumptions described in the previous chapter. The trajectories were developed through a series of internal sessions exploring what different values each of the uncertainties might take and what events might best describe those values.

Each uncertainty is addressed by elucidating a plausible, representative, and risk-averse example of an event that best describes it. For example, after exploring the many ways that weapons can proliferate to nonstate actors, we determined that a plausible representation of a particularly challenging event for the U.S. military would be for an entire state’s arsenal to change hands through a strategic realignment of a state with an SJ group. This example event is thus contained in the “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad” trajectory, with particular example states used as representative Muslim states realigning.

Each of the major uncertainties is addressed in one or more of the trajectories. The association of specific uncertainties being exercised in particular trajectories is summarized in Table 5.1. Some of the trajectories address multiple uncertainties explicitly in the text. The uncertainties not explicitly described in the trajectory are either deemed unimportant to the development of that trajectory or take on values that are inconsequential to the implications to the force. That is, this exercise hopes to address each uncertainty with a worst-case or near-worst-case value for the variable, to aid in planning. Extremely low-probability events, however, are not considered.

Table 5.1: Association of Particular Uncertainties Being Tested (Columns) with the Eight Trajectories (Rows)

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-- / Capabilities of Nonstate Actors / Safe Havens / Middle East Political Stability / Support and Legitimacy / Domestic Support / Draw of Conventional War

Steady State / -- X / -- / -- / X / --
War of Ideas / -- / -- / X / X / -- / --
Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad / X / -- / -- / -- / -- / --
Narrowing of Threat / X / -- / X / X / -- / --
Expanding Scope / X / -- / -- / -- / X / X
Holding Action / -- / -- / -- / -- / X / X
Sustained Sunni- Shia Conflict / -- / -- / X / X / -- / --
Chronic Insurgencies/ Instability / X / X / -- / -- / -- / --


In addition, some of the uncertainties are addressed in multiple trajectories, though not always with the same specific events or in a specific direction of influence. For instance, “Middle East Political Stability” is explicitly addressed in three trajectories: “War of Ideas,” “Narrowing of Threat,” and “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict.” In the first two trajectories, the Middle Eastern political situation would need to be stable and improving to allow for the trajectory to develop, whereas in the latter trajectory, a tense and unstable political situation (potentially manifested in a number of events occurring in the region) drives that trajectory.

Using Chapter Two and subsequent chapters as the basis for our understanding of the long war, we have excluded from the trajectories a focus on some external issues above and beyond how they might directly involve themselves with the unfolding of the long war or U.S. involvement in prosecuting its strategy. That is, we have incorporated how, for example, uncertainties in peer competition might affect the way U.S. actions in the long war might unfold, but have not focused on alternatives of peer competition in detail. Table 5.2 gives a very short description of each trajectory. The next section provides more detailed descriptions.

Table 5.2: Short Descriptions of the Trajectories

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1 / Steady State / Baseline case largely reminiscent of current actions and environment. In this vision, the threat continues to be the broad universe of radical Salafi-jihadists, including both transnational and sometimes regional groups.

2 / War of Ideas / Shift to information-based campaign with the goal of isolating jihadists and their infrastructure from the broader global Muslim population. Plans to confront Iran militarily over its nuclear program are shelved for the time being.

3 / Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad / Radical shift in a regime brought on when a critical state in the Muslim world is taken over by radical extremists.a Two of the most plausible and most threatening scenarios to American interests would be a military coup in Pakistan or a successful fundamentalist insurgency in Saudi Arabia.

4 / Narrowing of Threat / Conflict arising between jihadists leads the U.S. to take a “divide and conquer” approach in order to exploit cleavages among transnational jihadists and local/regional jihadists. Consequently, the U.S. would adopt a more flexible position toward local and nationalist Islamist groups like HAMAS and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the Philippines.

5 / Expanding Scope / Expanded scope of the long war threat beyond a major terrorist attack against U.S. interests to include radical Shiism, the Iranian state, regional terrorists, and/or some non-Islamic terror groups. In this formulation, the long war would become a true global war on terror.

6 / Holding Action / A series of geopolitical shocks (e.g., an attempt by China to shift the balance of power in the Western Pacific or a sudden, violent implosion of North Korea) would compel the U.S. to temporarily scale back its efforts against Salafi-jihadists in order to focus on more traditional threats that require a response involving conventional forces and diplomatic capital.

7 / Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict / Widespread violence between Shia and Sunni groups results in deep fault lines between Shia and Sunni communities throughout the Muslim world. As a result, the U.S. is led to concentrate, in the short term, on shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan as a way of containing Iranian power and influence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.

8 / Chronic Insurgencies/ Instability / Serious insurgencies and unrest around the world drain the resources of the U.S. and its allies and decrease regime legitimacy. The insurgencies are driven largely by dissatisfaction with inefficient and ineffective governmental structures, dilapidated infrastructure in terms of basic services, and questions of legitimacy of the current leaders.

a This trajectory can also be thought of as a variant of a “catastrophic terrorism” trajectory where the intersection of technology and radical ideology greatly increases the capabilities of a nonstate group.


The Eight Trajectories

The trajectories developed in this report are presented below. As the strategy for U.S. actions in this long war is still unspecified, we have grouped the trajectories into two main bins. The few contains those trajectories largely reflecting a U.S. choice in strategy. The trajectories in this bin include “Steady State,” “The War of Ideas,” and “Narrowing of Threat.” In these cases, the environment has allowed the U.S. strategy to dominate how the future unfolds.

In the second set, the trajectories largely unfold as a response to some external shock or environmental change. This set includes “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad,” “Holding Action,” “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict,” “Chronic Insurgency/Instability,” and “Expanding Scope.” In these cases, while the United States may have strategic choices and exercise them accordingly, the predominant implications to the force are largely a result of an external factor. For these trajectories (except “Holding Action”), the major change concerns the actors involved directly in the long war. To highlight those changes, we present a shorthand description of the motives, means, and opportunities (MMO) for the participants in those trajectories at the end of each section. These MMO tables can be used to see across the alternative trajectories to illustrate specific differences among them.

In each of the descriptions, we highlight the main uncertainties (taken from the previous chapter) that are addressed and how they were envisioned as leading to the specific trajectory.

Steady State

The “Steady State” trajectory assumes that the long war moves forward without any major shifts in U.S. strategy or major strategic surprises. In this vision, the threat in the long war continues to be the broad universe of radical Salafi-jihadists, including both transnational and sometimes regional groups. No state is directly targeted by the United States in this long war, and the U.S.-led coalition that we have today largely holds together.

In this trajectory, the United States slowly moves toward an advisory and quick-reaction role in Iraq and focuses its energies mainly on attacking al-Qaeda and associated movements and their most hardcore supporters. The counterinsurgency (COIN) mission in Afghanistan continues at the present level of effort with modest success, and Washington continues to use SOF to fight a covert global campaign against the strategic leadership of al-Qaeda. Small-footprint foreign internal defense (FID) missions operate in a dozen or so moderate Muslim countries that have ungoverned zones that could become terrorist havens.

In the area of ideology, the “Steady State” trajectory would be supported by polling data and other evidence showing that the appeal of Salafi-jihadism and the al-Qaeda organization among Sunni Muslims was declining somewhat, at least in some Muslim countries. This fall in support for SJ would not need to be accompanied by a concomitant increase in good feelings toward the United States and the West.

In the “Steady State” future, where the United States continues to be involved in FID missions across the Muslim world to combat violent terrorist groups, governance is a key component in limiting long-term American involvement. Creating effective governance structures to combat terrorist groups is a vital component in these missions, whether it is generating some manner of government for an ungoverned zone or reforming a broken governance structure in an area of conflict.

Uncertainties Addressed.

This trajectory addresses two variables more explicitly: the prevalence of weak or failed states as safe havens and domestic support for the long war.

The “Steady State” trajectory assumes that there are no significant new SJ safe havens where the SJ groups can establish bases and training camps. Nonetheless, SJ groups continue to operate in various regions and are able to have small safe havens but unable to establish bases or training camps. From these havens they are able to launch limited strikes against U.S. interests.

If the United States continues to aggressively prosecute the long war, it is likely that no state will choose to give safe havens to SJ groups. In this trajectory it is expected that the United States (and coalition) would take action against wherever SJ groups seek safe haven with or without the support of the host nation.

It also assumes that safe havens and bases are not allowed to become established before there is a response and no major new strategic offensives2 by the United States and its allies are needed. It means that U.S. military actions are isolated against small, poorly defended targets.

The “Steady State” trajectory assumes the United States devotes roughly the same amount of federal funding to the long war as it does today, minus some supplemental funding for the war in Iraq as U.S. forces there are reduced to a long-term steady state level. Any major cut in federal funding for long war activities and operations by Congress would make this trajectory largely untenable, since it depends on a robust set of CT/COIN/FID activities around the world.

The broader international security environment would have to be stable or slightly improving for this trajectory to happen. No major new gains by radical Islamists would be occurring and, outside the scope of the long war, no new conventional threats to U.S. interests would be emerging. At the same time, on the Blue side of the ledger, the pro-U.S. coalition of Western states that has been conducting the long war would have to be holding together. Key U.S. allies like Britain, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan would be holding fast in their commitment to fight alongside U.S. forces in the various theaters of the long war. Intelligence-sharing among these coalition partners would continue to be extensive and frequent. World opinion may remain somewhat divided, but the overall support would be for U.S. action.

No additional conventional threats or “hot spots” arise that would divert funding away from the long war toward preparing for or executing operations in these regions.

War of Ideas3

The “War of Ideas” vision assumes that U.S. strategy for the long war shifts to the employment of largely nonkinetic means. U.S. leaders decide that the long war should be mainly an IO effort to increasingly isolate the jihadists and their infrastructure from the broader global Muslim population. 4 As a result, U.S. leaders work to avoid direct military actions in the Middle East and Persian Gulf that might inflame moderate Muslims in the region. Plans to confront Iran militarily over its nuclear program are shelved for the time being. Without the cover that is provided by sympathetic elements within the population, so the theory goes, al-Qaeda would probably wither away over time.

Public diplomacy, humanitarian assistance operations, targeted foreign aid, and strategic communications are the main tools used. Special operations forces (SOF) direct action activities against al-Qaeda around the Muslim world are scaled back. The United States continues to maintain a military presence in Iraq but it is quite small. Washington’s strategy here also includes a massive diplomatic push to achieve a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

This trajectory might reflect a lack of willingness of part of the U.S. population to become involved in further armed conflict and perhaps parallel a belief among American leaders that a direct action approach to the long war is not yielding the kind of results that were expected, alongside emerging evidence that a number of governments in the Muslim world are improving their competence and raising their image in the eyes of their citizens.

In the “War of Ideas” future, ideology constitutes the main battleground. In this future, the United States does not engage in largescale military combat, but instead focuses on limiting the dissemination and spread of a radical ideology. It is clear that the most virulent and destructive ideology facing the United States at present is Salafijihadism. This ideology drives the insurgencies in a portion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and its antagonistic interaction with militant Shiism in Iraq has the potential to instigate further conflict.

In the “War of Ideas” future, the United States faces the serious task of reducing the appeal of this ideology, marginalizing it so that it can no longer pose a threat to it or its allies. This task will require more than a sophisticated IO or public diplomacy campaign. To defeat this ideology, the United States must make some difficult decisions about how it interacts with both traditional allies and enemies in the Muslim world.

The possibility of this trajectory is also promoted by concrete evidence that demonstrates that the SJ ideology favored by al-Qaeda is losing traction with the global Muslim population. This evidence would probably have to come from reliable polling in the Muslim world as well as other scattered metrics (e.g., declining number of visitors to jihadist websites). Another indicator that the “War of Ideas” might be appropriate would be the occurrence of 1–2 major elections in the Muslim world in which Islamist parties lose by significant margins to secular or liberal parties. The increasing popularity of moderate non- Salafi preachers on Arab satellite television would be one more sign that the SJ ideology is becoming vulnerable to an all-out ideational assault by the United States.

In the “War of Ideas” future, strong and effective governance, as seen by better delivery of basic services and declining levels of unemployment, becomes a key tool in combating a radical and diffuse ideology. Governments with political legitimacy and popular support are much more capable of marginalizing a radical ideology and providing incentives for a population to reject such ideas. In addition, an ideational assault on the Salafi-jihadists across the Muslim world would stand a better chance of working if the citizens of key Arab and Muslim states are beginning to see their governments as a source of hope rather than frustration and broken promises. This can be seen in counterinsurgency models and doctrine: increasing the effectiveness and civil support/protection functions of the government is a primary concern in these types of low-intensity conflict situations.

Improved governance would give the centrists on the political spectrum a genuine place to go with their support as they turn decisively away from political Islam and especially its virulent SJ variant. Support for existing regimes based on coercion and patronage could be replaced with inspired loyalty. This would have to start to change if the “War of Ideas” is to have a credible chance of succeeding.

Uncertainties Addressed.

Two main uncertainties are addressed in the “War of Ideas” trajectory—Middle Eastern political stability and international support and legitimacy.

The Middle Eastern political situation would have to be favorable for U.S. interests in order for a concerted “War of Ideas” trajectory to come about. The trajectory would have to be pursued in an environment where the risk of a major interstate war in the region was low. In other words, the United States and Iran would need to reduce bilateral tensions to manageable levels, and Hezbollah, Syria, and HAMAS would scale back their military buildups along the borders of Israel and halt provocative acts like attempted kidnappings of Israeli soldiers. The trajectory would become untenable if the United States were drawn into a shooting war in the Middle East or Persian Gulf, even if our involvement were limited to providing military assistance to Israel; the almost certain backlash that any kinetic operations would cause in much of the Arab media would preclude an effective ideational campaign by the United States and its allies.

Although much of the “War of Ideas” would be conducted through proxies, there is no way that the United States could conceal its own involvement. Thus, in order for the ideational approach to make some progress, the United States would have to be seen in the Muslim world as having a fairly high level of international legitimacy. This could be accomplished by success in building a democratic government and free society in Afghanistan, the brokering of a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, or leadership somewhere in the Muslim world of a successful humanitarian aid effort that parallels the Indonesian tsunami model, but with continuing effect.

Narrowing of Threat

In “Narrowing of Threat,” the United States decides that its strategy for the long war should be “divide and conquer” in that it will work actively to exploit cleavages among the transnational jihadists and the local/regional jihadists. Rather than trying to isolate the jihadists from the broader Muslim population, this approach focuses more on turning parts of the jihadist community against each other. Consequently, the United States would adopt a more flexible position toward local and nationalist Islamist groups like HAMAS and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the Philippines, which might include face-to-face diplomatic interactions. This approach would be based on the dual premises that (1) the transnational jihadist movement, enforced by changes in al-Qaeda’s technical capabilities, organizational capacity, and stature, poses the central and most coherent threat to U.S. security, and (2) there are splits within the jihadist movement that can be exploited in order to decrease terrorism and increase stability in the Muslim world.

This strategy would entail the pursuit of some basic political negotiations with local jihadist groups with the goal of alleviating some of their grievances without harming the interests of the American allies that they have been fighting (e.g., Israel, the Philippines, Egypt). It also assumes that the use of information operations (IO) on the Muslim populace writ large will be more effective if IO are used specifically to spotlight the abuses and atrocities of the transnational jihadists like al- Qaeda, who are already losing credibility in the Muslim world according to some early polling data.

If the United States can successfully exploit some of these cleavages, this would pave the way for a concentration of SOF assets against purely transnational jihadist targets. Since many of these groups have significant infrastructure in Europe, cooperation with European authorities would become critical.

Ideology would affect the potential for the “Narrowing of Threat” trajectory as well. This is because clear ideological splits would have to be emerging between the transnational and national jihadist movements for this trajectory to occur. These splits would be becoming increasingly public and vociferous; they would exist on a number of key issues, including treatment of Shiites, the legitimacy of targeting civilians, the legitimacy of suicide operations, the utility of targeting oilfields in the Muslim world, and the best way to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim population at large. These splits could even become violent in some cases, resembling the current fighting in Iraq between al-Qaeda and the major tribal groupings.

Uncertainties Addressed.

The “Narrowing of Threat” trajectory addresses three main uncertainties: Middle Eastern political stability, international support and legitimacy, and capabilities of nonstate actors.

The Middle Eastern political situation is a major factor driving the “Narrowing of Threat” trajectory. If regional Arab governments are strengthening their institutions and delivering better services to their citizens, this approach would be more feasible because the national jihadists might sense that time was not on their side and that cutting a deal with the United States to sever all links with transnational jihadists might be their best chance of retaining some influence.

By the same reasoning, this trajectory would also become more feasible if public opinion in the Arab and Muslim worlds were to swing heavily against violent jihad. Here too the national jihadists might sense time turning against them and begin to contemplate policies that would move them away from the transnational jihadists.

“Narrowing of Threat” would become easier for the United States to execute if its legitimacy were high in both the Muslim world and the wider international arena. This is because the United States as an actor with genuine political capital to draw on would be seen by many of the national jihadist groups as a powerful force that could deliver some benefits to those groups in exchange for reductions, or perhaps cessation, of terrorist activity in their respective countries. In some cases, U.S. diplomacy could secure amnesty for former jihadists; in others it could work to bring former jihadists into their national political processes as a peaceful political party. Without much legitimacy, the United States would find it difficult to move into the trajectory.

In this trajectory, the decision to focus on the transnational jihadists would be the result of evidence that al-Qaeda and its affiliates pose a much greater threat to international security than the sum of that posed by local jihadist groups. This could be driven by their moves to acquire WMD, their increasing ability to mount insurgencies against friendly regimes in the Middle East and South Asia, and their skill at exploiting fault lines between Shia and Sunni in order to stimulate mass sectarian violence. For this trajectory to occur, al-Qaeda and its affiliates would likely have to become a stronger, more resilient organization than it is today—for example, al-Qaeda would probably have seized control of most of the insurgent movement in Iraq in this future and could also be mounting a credible insurgency in Pakistan. The impact would spill over into how other local jihadist movements and affiliated groups viewed al-Qaeda and could facilitate splitting of the most extremist ideologies from the mainstream movements.

Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad

The “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad” trajectory for the long war describes a situation in which a critical state in the Muslim world is taken over by extremists who are sympathetic to al-Qaeda and its affiliates. There are a number of specific scenarios for this; two of the most plausible and most threatening to American interests are a military coup in Pakistan and a successful fundamentalist insurgency in Saudi Arabia.5 Uncertainties tested in this trajectory include technological proliferation and collaboration among actors.

In this vision, the United States could face a long war with a significant conventional component. If the United States deems a largescale military involvement as necessary, significant forces could be devoted to containing the new jihadist state and/or neutralizing any WMD it might possess. The global SOF campaign against al-Qaeda might suffer, as would the ongoing COIN efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Similarly, outside of the WMD arena, any access to state support from a large Muslim nation could bolster nonstate access to conventional weaponry from various well-developed arms industries within these countries.

In addition to access to weaponry, the existence of U.S. strategic energy assets in a state such as Saudi Arabia and the opportunity for mismanagement of or refusal to sell oil becomes important and would elevate any strategic shift there, perhaps regardless of weapon proliferation.

For this trajectory and others that entail major change in the participants or environment that drives it, we provide a breakdown of the MMO. In this case, they are summarized in Table 5.3 for the aggressor that has instigated the strategic shift in the major Muslim state. For instance, motivated by ineffective government, the group might use paramilitary activity to exploit sanctuary within that state to lead a coup to take over the government. As detailed in subsequent sections of this report, the implications to the Army can then be gleaned from their ability to affect the motives, counter the means, and reduce the opportunities in these trajectories.

The ultimate effectiveness of ideology in driving the long war toward this particular trajectory will depend on how skillfully radical clerics and scholars are able to disseminate their message and mobilize significant sectors of society against the regime in power. In particular, the ability of the ideology to appeal to important loci of power within the authoritarian states of the Muslim world will have a great influence over the plausibility of the “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad” trajectory. The military and security apparatus is a significant locus of power and should be monitored for Salafi-jihadist leanings. A lack of professionalism in these two entities, combined with the infiltration of Salafijihadist thinking, could lead to a government takeover. Additional loci of power include student organizations and trade unions. Both have the potential to mobilize large numbers of people and could create a climate where security forces are unwilling or unable to act to preserve the power of the authoritarian ruler.

Table 5.3: Motives, Means, and Opportunities for the “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad” Trajectory

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Motive / Means / Opportunity / Examples

Poor, ineffective government at home -- Unemployment woes; demographic changes -- Ideological motivation -- Instability and unease in Middle East / Paramilitary activity leading to coup -- Individual acts of violence leading to destruction of government sovereignty / Inability of governments to exercise sovereignty over own territory (internal police, security, military) -- Mismanaged borders -- Sanctuary within Muslim nation -- Ideologically motivated foot soldiers -- External support to extremists -- Lack of external support to Muslim nation / Worst case: Pakistan for WMD capabilities -- Bad cases: Saudi Arabia for conventional capabilities and some WMD; Egypt for conventional weaponry; Algeria -- Other cases: Portions of Philippines, Malaysia, other


There are also loci of power that would act against an ideology and make this trajectory less likely. In some major Muslim states, the establishment clergy (which is paid by the regime) can serve as a counterweight to radical Islamist ideologies. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the establishment clergy have been very active in fighting an information war against jihadist clerics who support al-Qaeda. Although many Saudis see the establishment clerics as being tainted by virtue of their financial ties to the regime, many analysts believe that they have enjoyed some success in keeping public support for the SJ ideology at a manageable level.

The primary drivers for the “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad” trajectory are governance and ideology, with demography also playing a role. Weak governance would be critical in almost any scenario for a SJ-sympathetic takeover of a major state. Many of the current regimes in the Middle East, South Asia, and Muslim parts of Africa are not able to effectively deliver basic services to their populations, nor are they able to maintain and expand their national infrastructures to the extent necessary. Corruption and nepotism are seen by many ordinary people in these states as being rampant and, indeed, as being the only real path to wealth and power. Public bureaucracies in these states are often seen as bloated and inefficient.

This example also highlights the quality aspect of governance— it is not simply about whether a territory is governed or ungoverned. Rather, the type and characteristics of governance in particular countries need to be examined, so the United States can avoid or respond to this eventuality.

Uncertainties Addressed.

The “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad” trajectory addresses two uncertainties explicitly: weapons proliferation and capabilities of nonstate actors, and the proliferation of safe havens.

The threat that this trajectory presents to U.S. interests will be largely determined by the specific kind of proliferation dynamics involved. The severity of the threat depends upon both the level of WMD proliferation that has occurred in the country that “goes bad” and the willingness of the new leadership to allow that technology or associated knowledge to leak to unsavory actors. The worst case would be a nation gone bad with an indigenously developed nuclear arsenal and reliable means of delivery that is taken over by a radical leadership that is willing to transfer weapons, production technology, and/or expertise to other bad actors.

For this trajectory to pose a dire threat to core U.S. interests, both uncertainties have to be resolved in an unfavorable manner. A high level of domestic proliferation without any collaboration with outside actors would not allow WMD to fall into the hands of terrorist groups that could use them against the United States anonymously. It is possible that the newly hostile state in this case could use its WMD against U.S. interests in a direct attack, but in so doing it would enable the United States to retaliate massively, so this scenario is rated as relatively unlikely by most experts.6 Conversely, a low level of domestic proliferation coupled with active collaboration with terrorist groups would limit the risk to the United States because the technologies transferred would not be capable of causing catastrophic damage to either the U.S. homeland or U.S. interests abroad.

Pakistan is the state that would test these two uncertainties most severely, should the current regime there be replaced by a pro-jihadist leadership.7 This is because (1) Pakistan has a relatively large nuclear arsenal with reliable weapons and effective means of delivery and (2) the exposure of the A.Q. Khan network in 2004 shows that elements within the Pakistani defense industrial establishment are willing to market their expertise to others abroad. If Pakistan were taken over by a radical Islamist government, the risk to U.S. interests from the state’s WMD arsenal would be great. The risks are somewhat lower in the case of other candidates for “going bad” in the long war. Saudi Arabia, for example, most likely has a very limited WMD arsenal (probably restricted to chemical weapons) and only a modest indigenous technical capability to produce more advanced WMD. A new, radical Saudi government could certainly draw upon the state’s large foreign exchange reserves to purchase WMD materials and expertise on the black market, but the black market for WMD is very treacherous and murky and the sheer possession of large amounts of money does not guarantee success there, as al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have found out on repeated occasions.8
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