Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prospects

Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:55 am

Part 2 of 2

A significant strategic shift in a major Muslim state would also create potential safe havens for a number of nonstate groups. A government sympathetic to al-Qaeda and its affiliates, and holding considerable military capabilities and perhaps popular support, would be less concerned with potential fallout from external action, such as what occurred with the fall of the Taliban.

Figure 5.1 shows how the actors change in terms of probability of acting and the hazard of their acting in the case of “Pakistan going bad.”

The nation going bad, in this case shown as Pakistan, is much more probable to act contrary to U.S. objectives. We see that the hazard from al-Qaeda and its affiliates grows as they obtain access to advanced capabilities. It is likely that other state-supported actors, ranging from Islamic schools to paramilitary organizations, would follow the trend of becoming more dangerous and more likely to act against U.S. interests.

Figure 5.2 shows how factors that influence the threat of SJ change when a major Muslim nation “goes bad.” We can see from this that there would be an increased source of funding, arms, and safe havens to the SJ. All of these factors increase the threat posed by SJ.

Figure 5.1: Target Diagram for “Pakistan Goes Bad”
RAND MG738-5.1

Direct state support through funding, training, weapons procurement, and recruiting mechanisms can greatly increase a nonstate actor’s capabilities to act on its motives. Advanced and up-to-date military technologies, including small arms, anti-tank weaponry, and sophisticated knowledge of explosives, are often available. The acquisition can occur through various means, including black and gray market activities, illicit trading regimes, and back-channeled, state-supported lines.

The effects of collaboration in the area of expanding support for radical SJ terrorism around the world is tested in the “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad” trajectory. If a major Muslim state were seized by a pro-jihadist group, one of the largest non-WMD risks to U.S. and Western interests would be that the new leadership would provide money and training to a wide range of SJ groups throughout the world, including al-Qaeda, and would work to use these groups to destabilize other Muslim states.

Figure 5.2: Influence Diagram for “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad”
NOTE: The factors that are of increased importance are shown in red.
RAND MG738-5.2

For example, a radical Pakistani government could be expected to overtly support the Taliban in its efforts to overthrow the democratic government of Afghanistan. Such a regime could also redouble its efforts to weaken India’s control of Kashmir by funding transnational jihadist groups that have been fighting against Indian security forces in that province (e.g., the Lashkar-e-Toiba organization). A projihadist Pakistan might also cast a wider net and offer support to SJ terror groups in Europe and the Middle East.

Even a Muslim state that has gone “a little bit bad” might offer support where none existed before. Before state sponsorship or normative proxy wars could be executed, however, the state sponsor would have to make two assumptions regarding the ramifications of that support.

First, it would have to be convinced that its leverage over its proxy was so strong that the proxy would have to obey its commands to attack the Americans. This condition is not as easily met as many may believe. Most terrorist/insurgent groups are more independently minded than many Western analysts give them credit for. For instance, although Hezbollah is often portrayed in the U.S. press as a mindless extension of Iran, most Middle East experts agree that Hezbollah is first and foremost a Lebanese organization with its own identity, aspirations, and plans. It does indeed receive much military aid from Iran, but it does not feel bound to accede to every request or directive from Tehran.

Second, and equally important, the state sponsor would have to be sanguine about its ability not to leave its “fingerprints” on any attack on U.S. interests by its proxy. Having solid deniability would be a necessary insurance policy against the prospect of a sudden and large-scale American counterattack. If either one of these conditions fails to hold, it is likely that the state sponsor would be deterred from urging its proxy to strike at the United States.

State support is not limited to ideologically equivalent networks. Ideologies may transcend religious support to advance higher-order objectives, as was thought to be occurring as Hezbollah vied for power during the confrontations in Lebanon in the summer of 2006:

For Hizbullah, and even for Iran, [the] play for power in the region serves an ideological aim. Their influence over the Palestinians does not mean they want to spread Shiite Islam in Palestine. It’s to confront Israel and the U.S. It’s to spread resistance; that is the religion they want to spread. (Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, as quoted in Peterson (2007))

Expanding Scope

The “Expanding Scope” trajectory is the reverse of “Narrowing of Threat.” Here a decision is made that radical Shiism, the Iranian state itself, regional terrorists, and other non-Islamic terror groups are part of the long war. The long war here is expanded beyond Salafi-jihadism. The catalyst for this turn of events could be either a major terrorist attack against U.S. interests or a substantial increase in state support for nonstate organizations. The long war, in this formulation, would become a true global war on terror if it were to include an expanded set of groups using terrorist tactics.

Based on continuing support and association of state actors with the SJ threat, a long-term confrontation with Iran could become a key part of American foreign and military policy. The U.S. military footprint around Iran (including in Iraq and Afghanistan) would expand.

The SOF force structure would likely grow if this trajectory happened because SOF would have to conduct global operations against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, Hezbollah, the Iranian intelligence services, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia (FARC), and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The motives, means and opportunities for these groups as described in the trajectory are shown in Table 5.4.

In the “Expanding Scope” trajectory, the anti-American, antiglobalization ideologies of the present have gained strength and credibility and have created a larger consort. In a more threatening case, disparate ideologies have set aside differences to unite in a common cause: the usual Shia-Sunni divide is less defined and violent groups of Muslims begin cooperating. In this future, the United States faces a grave threat to the status quo in the Muslim world and potentially severe threats to its own security, including its economic security.

Table 5.4: Motives, Means, and Opportunities for the “Expanding Scope” Trajectory


Motive / Means / Opportunity / Examples

Western mistreatment -- Globalization -- Middle Eastern politics / Individual acts of violence -- Paramilitary activities -- Levée en masse / Many disaffected groups within states -- Net-enabled virtual proximity of nonstate groups -- Sharing and exchange of technological knowledge; potential enabled transfer of WMD -- Substantial access to outside state support -- Ideological attenuation fostering groups’ cohesion; singularity of objectives / Increasing U.S. confrontation with violent groups (Hezbollah, FARC, LTTE in addition to al-Qaeda and its affiliates) and state supporters (Iran); caution with many grey area countries (Syria, Philippines)

The coalescence of violent ideologies in the Muslim world, or the operational cooperation of disparate anti-Western ideologies across the world, is certainly a worst case and probably a highly unlikely future scenario. However, if such a worst case were to unfold, the United States would likely face a highly diffuse yet organized network of foes, whose ability to project power and create crises in various parts of the globe would seriously tax American military and political prowess. In fact, a conflict on this scale would likely become an international issue, with international cooperation and mobilization required on a scale not seen since the last world war.

For the United States to expand the scope of the long war to the extent portrayed in this trajectory, there would have to be a shift in the ideology of at least one or more major non-SJ terrorist groups that would transform the United States from simply being an antagonistic force that supports Israel and other enemy governments into an active enemy that needs to be confronted. This kind of transformation took place within al-Qaeda in 1996 after bin Ladin moved to Afghanistan and before the organization proclaimed its “jihad” against the United States with the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Hezbollah, which launched several attacks against the United States in Lebanon in the 1980s, could undergo such a transformation if its leadership were to change or if it were to suffer a sudden reversal of fortune in Lebanese politics.9 In these cases, a Category 3 religious nationalist group (see Chapter Three, Figure 3.1 for definitions of the categories) would reduce its political efforts and expand its military interests outside of the immediate region, thus planting itself into Category 1.

Uncertainties Addressed.

This trajectory addresses three uncertainties explicitly: domestic support for the long war, capabilities of nonstate actors, and the draw of conventional war.

One type of trigger for the “Expanding Scope” trajectory would be a major terrorist attack on U.S. interests either inside or outside the United States by a non-SJ group such as Hezbollah or the Colombian FARC. Examples of such an event include the bombing of an American embassy, an attack on a group of U.S. tourists abroad, the bombing of a major American military base overseas, or a bombing attack in a large American city (perhaps involving weapons of mass effect). This sort of attack, using Hezbollah as the example, would cause a shift in actors as shown in Figure 5.3. In the figure, the probability of Iran and Syria acting in support of Hezbollah increases, but in fact the opposite might occur if they feel they need to disassociate themselves from Hezbollah.

Another kind of trigger would be a scenario in which a non-SJ extremist group is on the verge of overthrowing a pro-U.S. regime in a strategically important country. The most obvious example of this kind of scenario would be a Hezbollah push to remove the democratically elected government of Lebanon through a combination of popular protests and terrorism. Another possibility would be a serious effort by the FARC to take down the Colombian government.

This sort of attack would not only cause the long war to be expanded to include the perpetrators of the attack and their allies, but would also result in a significant increase in support for the long war within the United States. This would likely result in increased funding for the long war, possibly at the expense of other programs.

Figure 5.3: Target Diagram for the “Expanding Scope” Trajectory Where Hezbollah Attacks the West
RAND MG738-5.3  

The level of challenge posed to the United States in “Expanding Scope” would be dependent upon uncertainties in the rate of technology proliferation to the non-SJ terrorist insurgent groups. If these groups are receiving current generation anti-tank weaponry, man-portable airdefense systems (MANPADS), improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and mortars, the risks to U.S. personnel and their local partners would increase substantially. Any spread of nuclear technology to these groups would, needless to say, raise the risks involved by orders of magnitude.10 Most likely, this proliferation would in some way be aided by state sponsorship, and the extent to which states would become involved in arms transfers and facilitating new and advanced weaponry remains uncertain. One deterrent to expanded collaboration from a state to a nonstate SJ entity would be the ensuing geopolitical repercussions.

In the case of the “Expanding Scope” trajectory, the shift of a non-SJ terror group to a posture of direct confrontation with the United States could, under certain conditions, be driven by the preferences and demands of the group’s state sponsor(s), if it has them. If, for example, Iran were to face serious economic sanctions coordinated by the United States, it could pressure Hezbollah to strike against U.S. interests in response. Using a proxy to harm the United States would allow a state sponsor to defend its interests without risking a full-scale confrontation with the United States and its Western allies. The two assumptions stated above that Iran would have to make hold in this case.

The existence of conventional war is important to mention here because in this trajectory the aggressive new U.S. posture against radical Shiite groups like Hezbollah raises the possibility that the United States could be drawn, either wittingly or unwittingly, into a conventional conflict with Iran. An escalation spiral could be touched off, for instance, if a U.S. military strike in Lebanon against Hezbollah were to kill a number of Iranian advisers. If a conventional conflict with Iran were to commence, the whole nature of this trajectory would change— it would become a very high intensity scenario.

Holding Action

“Holding Action” would be a response to series of geopolitical shocks that would compel the United States to temporarily scale back its efforts in the long war against the worldwide constellation of SJ groups. These shocks would divert U.S. attention to more traditional kinds of threats that would require a response with large amounts of conventional forces and diplomatic capital. There are several plausible examples of these kinds of shocks.

Perhaps the most likely trigger for this trajectory would be a sudden Chinese push to overturn the balance of power in the Western Pacific, possibly by blockading or invading Taiwan. There are, however, other scenarios that could come to pass instead. A sudden, violent implosion of North Korea, a North Korean deployment of nuclear-capable ICBMs, an Iranian campaign to close the Straits of Hormuz, the declaration of a Russian-Iranian military alliance, a major Indo-Pakistani war, and a Venezuelan-sponsored destabilization of the Andes region are all shocks that would require serious focus by American political and military leaders to the extent that the long war would have to be deemphasized.

In the case of an event like these, the United States might seek to counter the Salafi-jihadist movement by trying to use just the minimum level of military resources necessary to keep the jihadist movement from spreading. In this vision, the United States might turn to some of its allies to conduct a significant portion of the global direct action effort against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The inclusion of these allies might be facilitated by a growth in an anterior threat that would necessitate U.S. actions elsewhere for the good of others. The United States might try to bring significant contingents of European SOF (British, French, etc.) into its global anti–al-Qaeda campaign in order to free up capabilities to combat the conventional threat.

Uncertainties Addressed.

The “Holding Action” trajectory addresses two main uncertainties: the draw of conventional war and domestic support.

As might be expected, the main driver for the “Holding Action” trajectory is a changing geopolitical landscape that increases the draw of conventional war. Geopolitical fault lines and changes in the balance of power, development of advanced weaponry, hostile actions against strategic throughways, or advanced alliances being formed would be the root causes of this trajectory. Most of the crises that would lead to a “Holding Action” trajectory would be caused by a hostile state’s perception that there was a window of opportunity for great gains that it could take advantage of without major risks. Windows of opportunity are particularly tempting if a state believes that long-term trends favor its adversary.11

Internal crises, like a North Korean implosion, would, on the other hand, be caused by strong external pressures on a weak, unstable state. These pressures would probably be caused by economic sanctions and aid restrictions or, alternatively, by Western support for local opposition groups.

If the new crisis involves a conventional conflict, e.g., a war with China in the Taiwan Straits, then the chances that the “Holding Action” trajectory will last for a long time grow larger. But if the new crisis does not require that the United States actually fight a conventional war, but only deter a new adversary or stabilize an imploded state, then the chances decrease that the “Holding Action” trajectory will go on for several years.

Funding for the long war is also a critical variable in the “Holding Action” trajectory. If the U.S. leadership is able to address the new geopolitical crises without severely cutting funds for the war against the SJ forces, then the “Holding Action” trajectory would be relatively short and perhaps even insignificant from the strategic perspective. If, however, funding for the long war has to be reduced by a significant percentage to pay for the cost of dealing with a major new geopolitical crisis, then the “Holding Action” trajectory might last for several years and require the United States to depend on key allies to press much of the fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The funding uncertainty is complicated because it does not depend just on strategic calculations about the distribution of military resources, but also on the growth rate of the U.S. economy at the moment, the size of the federal budget deficit, and the percent of GDP currently devoted to defense expenditures, among other things.

The U.S. domestic political environment is also important here. If the Congress feels it has some fiscal leeway, it might be willing to increase defense spending to the point where the United States could both fight the long war at full speed and also deal with the new geopolitical crisis posited here.

Figure 5.4 shows which factors are likely to cause a change in the U.S. strategy, thus resulting in the “Holding Action” trajectory as described above. The figure also indicates that an increased conventional threat (i.e., a decrease in the waning of conventional threats) would lead to a loss of funding and require the training/equipping of forces for other tasks. Additionally, the loss of support for the long war in the face of this other threat could also influence domestic politics and public opinion.

Figure 5.4: Influence Diagram Showing Factors Affecting the U.S. Ability to Prosecute the Long War
RAND MG738-5.4

Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict

The “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” trajectory posits that the combination of memories of the intensive sectarian violence in Iraq during 2006–07 and the emergence of a largely Shiite regime in that country produces deep fault lines between Shia and Sunni communities throughout the Muslim world.

These fault lines are manifested by an upsurge in political instability and violent conflict in those Middle Eastern and South Asian countries that contain mixed Sunni-Shiite populations. In this vision of the future long war, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Lebanon are all plagued by sectarian fighting, while disenfranchised and poor Shiite communities lash out at their Sunni-dominated governments. Local government security forces respond in every case with heavy force. Many Shiite clerics are arrested and held without charge. In Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Shiite uprisings elicit vicious reprisals against Shia noncombatants from radical Salafi-jihadist militias and street gangs. The televised scenes of bloodletting from these countries spur the Iranian government to action. The clerical regime in Tehran could set about to provide covert financial assistance and military training to Shiite militias and self-defense forces throughout the Muslim world, including those in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Similarly, the expanding Sunni-Shia conflicts could be accelerated by the overt inclusion of Sunni supporters from Saudi Arabia and Jordan meddling across state borders, increasing international attention.

U.S. leaders are very concerned about these developments and decide 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. U.S. economic aid and security assistance to these governments increases rapidly as the sectarian violence worsens in the region.

Washington also provides specialized counterterrorism (CT) assistance to the beleaguered governments of Bahrain and Lebanon so that these regimes can control the Iranian-sponsored Shiite terrorist groups on their soil that are now growing in size and sophistication (i.e., Bahraini Hezbollah and Lebanese Hezbollah).

This trajectory compels the United States to walk a diplomatic tightrope in that it would have to maintain a strong strategic relationship with the Iraqi Shiite government while at the same time buttressing the conservative Sunni regimes in the Middle East that view the Iraqi regime as a challenge to the established order. U.S. diplomacy would have to work to maximize the influence of moderate Shiites in the Iraqi regime at the expense of hard-line Iranian-supported fundamentalists.

One of the oddities of this long war trajectory is that it may actually reduce the al-Qaeda threat to U.S. interests in the short term. The upsurge in Shia identity and confidence seen here would certainly cause serious concern in the Salafi-jihadist community in the Muslim world, including the senior leadership of al-Qaeda. As a result, it is very likely that al-Qaeda might focus its efforts on targeting Iranian interests throughout the Middle East and Persian Gulf while simultaneously cutting back on anti-American and anti-Western operations.12 Al-Qaeda would probably intensify its efforts to destabilize the Iraqi government and might also undertake a terror campaign against Hezbollah’s social services infrastructure in southern Lebanon. In this vision of the long war, it is conceivable that al-Qaeda might attempt to execute a “spectacular” attack inside Iran itself. The MMO for this trajectory are shown in Table 5.5.

This trajectory is driven by a combination of ideology and governance shortcomings. Ideology plays an obvious role in this trajectory because the core issue in the Shia-Sunni split involves different views on the legitimate leadership of the Muslim polity. These disagreements cut to the heart of identity in the Muslim world and have created major fault lines in the Muslim community for many centuries.

Moreover, while these fault lines have been blurred for decades by colonial intrusion and various types of nationalism, the Salafi-jihadist ideology takes direct aim at any competing ideological framework, attempting to delegitimize other concepts as “un-Islamic.” Hence, the disintegration of secular ideologies and proper governance (which could smooth relations between competing groups) would provide openings for this type of trajectory to occur.

Table 5.5: Motives, Means, and Opportunities for the “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” Trajectory


Motive / Means / Opportunity / Examples

Religious solidarity -- Regional underrepresentation -- Anger over Middle Eastern policies and actions / Individual acts of violence -- Paramilitary activities -- Proxy state wars / Swath of sectarian counterparts across many countries -- Virtual proximity and kinship -- Sharing and exchange of technological knowledge; potential enabled transfer of weaponry, funds from state supporters -- Specific access to religiously affiliated state support -- Religious, ideological / Violent conflict in areas of mixed Sunni-Shia population from Middle East to South Asia -- Small-scale escalation of state lines being drawn -- Nonstate-on-state attacks across sectarian lines

Poor governance exacerbates the ideological tension in that many of the conservative Sunni regimes in the Muslim world have discriminated systematically against Shiites for years. In Saddam’s Iraq, for example, all of the top positions in the Ba’ath Party, the military, and the intelligence services were reserved for Sunnis even though Shiites are more than 50 percent of the total Iraqi population. Sunni areas of Iraq received more modern hospitals, schools, and roads than did Shia districts, where the infrastructure was usually allowed to decay. In Saudi Arabia, Shiites have long faced restrictions on their celebration of religious festivals and have often been forbidden to construct new mosques. Schools in Shiite areas are run by Sunni administrators and teach students that Shiism is illegitimate. Finally, the establishment Sunni clerics in Saudi Arabia relentlessly attack Shiism in the press, referring to Shiites as apostates or worse. This systematic discrimination has created a deep resentment toward the government in many Shiite communities that can easily be ignited into street violence given the right political spark.

Uncertainties Addressed.

The “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” trajectory addresses two main uncertainties: Middle East political stability and international support and legitimacy of U.S. actions.

Stability in the Middle East, particularly in the political situation, plays a large role in the creation of the “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” trajectory. If the region is tense and unstable, as it was during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war when Hezbollah was seen as stealing the mantle of anti-Israeli resistance from Sunni rejectionist forces, sectarian passions would be high and more difficult to control. Conversely, a period of relative calm, similar to the mid-1990s when there were hopes that the Oslo accords would succeed, would reinforce those forces and actors seeking sectarian peace in the Arab world.

Middle Eastern political stability can be affected to a large part by the eventual outcome of the Iraq war.13 For instance, the full institutionalization of a Shiite-dominated government in Iraq could facilitate this trajectory. If it became clear that the Sunnis in Iraq would be permanently consigned to a second-tier political status, there would be considerable anxiety among many Sunni populations and clerics in the Arab world, who would fear spreading Shiite influence in their own countries. States where Shiites outnumber Sunnis, like Bahrain and Lebanon, would be especially vulnerable to this trigger. At the same time, disenfranchised Shiite populations in countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan would be emboldened by the symbol of Iraq, home of the ancient caliphate, being ruled by Shiites. This could cause them to consider using street violence against local Sunnis to achieve their own objectives.

Another potential trigger for this trajectory would be, obviously, the continuation of intense Sunni-Shia sectarian violence in Iraq. The specter of mass bloodletting going on for several years could inflame already tense communal relations in mixed Shia-Sunni parts of the Muslim world.

Aggressive Iranian foreign policy in the Persian Gulf could also spark a more widespread conflict among Sunni and Shia.14 If Tehran were to continue on its current path of developing nuclear weapons and seeking to expand its military presence and influence in the Persian Gulf, the conservative Arab Sunni states might feel compelled to use the rhetoric of Sunni solidarity and superiority to rally their populations behind them against Iran. This could spark spontaneous violence against the Shiite minorities in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and Yemen.

The level of U.S. political legitimacy in the Middle East and Persian Gulf also plays a role in the “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” trajectory. If the United States is perceived as weak and/or lacking credibility as an honest actor in the region, Washington will probably not have the diplomatic capability to induce local governments to undertake the actions necessary to halt mass sectarian violence, nor will it be able to consistently deter Iranian expansionism in the region. A scenario in which America is politically weak in the Middle East would be relatively more likely to move toward the Shia-Sunni conflict trajectory. On the other hand, if America is able to regain its reputation and standing in the region, this trajectory would become less likely because U.S. diplomatic pressure would be more powerful and could force local regimes to use the necessary mixes of carrots and sticks to stop sectarian conflict.

Chronic Insurgencies/Instability

The “Chronic Insurgencies/Instability” trajectory, unlike “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad,” does not posit the successful overthrow of a major allied Muslim government, but instead paints a picture in which several U.S. allies and friends face serious insurgencies and unrest that drain their resources and decrease regime legitimacy. The insurgencies are driven in large part by similar grievances incurred in many of the trajectories being described, namely, internally generated issues with inefficient and ineffective governmental structures, dilapidated infrastructure in terms of basic services, and questions of legitimacy of the current leaders.

In this trajectory, Pakistan would face major revolts in both the federally administered tribal areas (FATA) and Baluchistan. Saudi Arabia would be contending with an al-Qaeda–led fundamentalist insurgency in the conservative Wahhabi heartland areas to the north of Riyadh. Egypt would be dealing with a resurgence of the once-defunct Egyptian Islamic Group (EIG), while the still maturing Iraqi government would have its hands full with both radical Sunni tribes and al-Qaeda fighters operating in Al Anbar province. Jordan and Lebanon could also face major internal security threats here. The Lebanese government would be challenged by an ever more assertive Hezbollah, while Jordan might have to contend with those tentacles of al-Qaeda in Iraq that stretch into the conservative Sunni towns south of Amman.

None of these insurgencies would be strong enough to topple an existing regime. However, the sum of all of them would create an atmosphere of instability and chaos in the Middle East that would complicate American long war efforts and strategy. There would likely be an increased number of ungoverned zones in which terrorists and organized crime syndicates could operate with impunity. This would hold down economic growth in the region and increase unemployment in countries that already face very large youth bulges. If insurgent elements in Saudi Arabia were to start targeting oil pipelines on a regular basis, the resulting spike in global oil prices would adversely affect the global economy as well.

Undoubtedly, the United States would respond to this trajectory with a stepped-up program of COIN/FID assistance to the affected countries. U.S. advisers might go into the field with some local security forces, but U.S. combat units would probably not be deployed into any of the affected states with the exception of Iraq, where some U.S. combat units might remain for the long term. Intensive intelligence sharing with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Pakistan would also occur here. The United States would generally want to keep its footprint in the region small.

Finally, the security assistance would be accompanied by a diplomatic effort to promote a series of slow political and organizational reforms in the affected states—reforms that would increase government legitimacy (by, for example, streamlining bureaucracies and improving the delivery of basic services), thereby reducing support for insurgent groups. These reforms would be most likely to work in Egypt and Iraq; they would be less probable to work in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The MMO for this trajectory are shown in Table 5.6.

Defective governance helps drive “Chronic Insurgencies/Instability” because it furnishes many of the original grievances that are at the root of instability in the Muslim world. Corruption, nepotism, inefficiencies, dilapidated infrastructure, and poor delivery of basic services like electricity all reduce the legitimacy of ruling regimes in much of the Muslim world. This problem is particularly acute in the Arab world, where Egypt has served as a prototypical example of ineffective governance, but these kinds of governance shortcomings can be seen in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan as well. When corruption and poor service delivery are combined with stagnant economies, inflexible labor markets that produce high levels of youth unemployment, and political repression, great opportunities are created for extremist Islamist groups and ambitious tribal leaders to present themselves as an alternative to the regime and mobilize followers for violence against the authorities.

Table 5.6: Motives, Means, and Opportunities for the “Chronic Insurgencies/ Instability” Trajectory


Motive / Means / Opportunity / Examples

Poor, ineffective government at home -- Unemployment woes; demographic changes / Individual acts of violence -- Paramilitary activities / Ungoverned zones, safe havens -- Inability of state to internally govern -- External funds, weapons, recruits, advvanced military technologies / Major revolts in PAK tribal areas -- Al-Qaeda-led insurgency in Saudi Arabia -- EIG in Egypt -- Internal threats in Jordan, Lebanon

Uncertainties Addressed.

The “Chronic Insurgencies/Instability” trajectory addresses two main uncertainties: prevalence of safe havens and capabilities of nonstate actors.

Whether or not safe havens are established is another factor that will determine how seriously this trajectory could affect the security environment in parts of the Muslim world. If several insurgent/terrorist groups are able to seize control of undergoverned zones and use them as sanctuaries where they can train, plan, and recruit in peace, the threat posed by “Chronic Insurgencies/Instability” will grow. Safe havens are a real force multiplier for insurgent groups, and their existence is often a key indicator of the probability of success of an insurgency. In the 1960s, the existence of safe havens in Laos and Cambodia helped the Viet Cong to control the tempo of the guerrilla war in South Vietnam. In more contemporary times, the creation of a government-approved safe haven for the FARC in southern Colombia in the 1990s paved the way for an upsurge in FARC activity that threw more and more of Colombia into chaos. It was only when government forces reoccupied the safe haven zone that the FARC’s fortunes on the battlefield began to decline. Indeed, if North Waziristan were to become a long-term safe haven for al-Qaeda and its affiliates and the Taliban in Pakistan, it is virtually certain that the insurgency in Afghanistan would become harder for NATO and Afghan government forces to control.

Figure 5.5: Influence Diagram for the “Chronic Insurgencies/Instability” Trajectory
RAND MG738-5.5

Figure 5.5 shows the relationship between poor states, failed states, safe havens, and the threat level. It also shows how the unity of terrorist organizations, possible in this trajectory, might fuel an increased threat. Additionally, the insurgencies themselves are likely to fuel local anger and unemployment, leading to an increased number of recruits.

In addition to the safe havens necessary, outside state and nonstate actors providing support in terms of funds, weapons, and recruits to at least some of the insurgent and terrorist groups could drive “Chronic Insurgencies/Instability” in the Muslim world and beyond. Although it is clear that external support is usually not the root cause of the instability and insurgencies, it most certainly exacerbates conflicts, often transforming them from minor nuisances into large, persistent conflagrations that either tie down large numbers of government soldiers or create undergoverned zones that can breed transnational terrorism. This trajectory anticipates that, based on past behavior, Iran would be a major state sponsor of the Hezbollah insurgency in southern Lebanon and the radical Shiite groups opposing Iraqi government authority in southern Iraq. Tehran could also conceivably provide covert assistance to elements of the Taliban fighting in eastern and southern Afghanistan. Although the Taliban are ideologically incompatible with Iran, Tehran might see some advantage to be gained from bleeding American and NATO forces in Afghanistan so that they have no opportunity to pose a threat to eastern Iran or to the growing Iranian political and economic interests in western Afghanistan. Instability in the tribal areas of Pakistan could well be fueled by financial contributions to rebellious tribes and al-Qaeda elements from wealthy Persian Gulf donors and charities with a Wahhabist bent.

Modern military technologies enable many insurgent groups to withstand the onslaught of government security forces better than their predecessors could. If the spread of advanced military technology to insurgent and terrorist groups accelerates, the security implications of this trajectory would become more serious for the United States in that local military and security forces may become unable to deal with the security threats without significant military intervention by the United States and its allies. New communications technologies allow insurgent and terrorist groups to operate seamlessly as networked architectures made up of a large set of compartmentalized cells that are only loosely linked to the senior leadership. These architectures ensure that no single wave of arrests and subsequent interrogations can lead to the unraveling of the whole organization.

Advances in kinetic technologies have also benefited the cause of insurgent groups. New versions of hand-held rocket weapons like the RPG family and portable anti-tank missiles like the Kornet allow small cells of insurgents to pack a potent punch against the more lightly armored vehicles of a conventional army or security force. Advanced triggering mechanisms for IEDs allow these groups to hold major roads and highways at risk for long periods even against an army with sophisticated electronic countermeasures. Finally, MANPADS have become more capable over time and have also widely proliferated on international black markets. The latest generation of these systems can legitimately threaten even advanced attack helicopters as well as slowmoving transport aircraft.

By the same token, a rapid increase in collaboration between powerful outside actors, like Iran and some insurgent groups, would worsen the picture for this trajectory. An increased flow of funds and weapons and a larger pipeline for the training of insurgent and terrorist recruits in foreign training camps sponsored by outside actors could increase the potency of an insurgent group very quickly. Indeed, if the level of collaboration rises above a certain point, the “Chronic Insurgencies/ Instability” trajectory could change into the “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad” trajectory as the threat expands to the point where the regime’s survival could be in jeopardy without a large infusion of military aid from the West. The case of the Mahdi Army in Iraq is instructive here. This force evolved rapidly from a ragtag militia into a fairly disciplined paramilitary entity that exerts control over large parts of southern Iraq and can openly challenge both the Iraqi army and al- Qaeda in Iraq when it is on its home turf.


Notes: (Chapter 5)

1 “Transnational Web” describes a future wherein the most serious threats to national security are posed not by states but by nonstate actors such as transnational, globally distributed entities, e.g., multinational corporations, transnational criminal organizations, and terrorist networks that have usurped power and are exerting increased influence through collaboration driven by advanced communication technologies.

2 For instance, major actions in Somalia, Mali, or Indonesia, would increase pressure on the administration in power to take rapid action, even if only by supporting local proxies. Such action would open a major new theater in the long war, thus vitiating Steady State.

3 For an additional discussion of a “war of ideas” and associated ideological counterstrategy, see Rosenau (2006).

4 The issue of improving U.S. strategic communications has already attracted much highlevel attention. The Defense Science Board devoted a major study effort to this issue. See DSB (2004). A hint of the challenges that would be faced in a full-fledged “War of Ideas” can be found in Kepel (2004).

5 A third important potential problem could be Algeria. With its uranium deposits, fuel manufacturing plant, and alleged reprocessing capability, any realignment of Algeria could create medium- to longer-term problems regarding WMD proliferation. See Albright and Hinderstein (2001) for a more complete discussion.

6 The logic here assumes a rational actor.

7 The U.S. intelligence community was actively worrying about the short-term security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in the late summer of 2007 as internal opposition to President Musharraf increased. See Barbara Starr, “Sources: U.S. Assessing Pakistan Nukes If Musharraf Falls,” posted on CNN.com on August 10, 2007.

8 See Daly et al. (2005) for accounts of Aum Shinrikyo and al-Qaeda attempts to acquire nuclear WMD.

9 A U.S. choice to support Israel in going after Hezbollah without a marked change in Hezbollah’s political or military stance might also occur, but it would not be a part of the long war as constructed in this document.

10 The spread of chemical, biological, and radiological weaponry would not be as dramatic a change.

11 One of the reasons why Germany entered World War I in 1914, for example, was a belief among German leaders that Russia’s economic and population growth would make Russia virtually unbeatable in war in another decade.

12 Indeed, one of the most prominent SJ clerics in the Persian Gulf region, Hamed al-Ali, is already openly calling for radical Sunnis to fight Iran and the Shiites with as much vigor as they devote to fighting the United States and its Western allies.

13 The specific topic of alternative outcomes of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their importance to the futures discussed will be covered in a future publication.

14 Predicting the direction of Iranian foreign policy in the middle to long term is difficult because of the fragmented nature of the Iranian national security decisionmaking process. See Kamrava (2007). On the growing power of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Iranian state, see Khalaji (2007).
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:17 am

CHAPTER SIX: What Does This Mean for the Army?


This study’s assessment of the assumptions and uncertainties associated with the future combat environment, combined with an understanding of the unique components of the long war, provides a basis for determining a set of specific strategies for the United States in the long war, and hence a greater understanding of the implications of these trajectories for the military. The potential strategies for the long war help the military to better assess the range of force sizes and structures that it may need to develop to fight it.

Our list of strategies was formulated by drawing on official sources, including the Quadrennial Defense Review, the National Security Strategy of the United States of America, the National Military Strategy for Combating Terrorism, the Irregular Warfare Joint Operating Concept, the SSTRO Joint Operating Concept, and the new Army COIN manual. We also drew heavily on the discussions that took place during the NLWS in December 2006. Finally, we referred to the academic area studies literature on the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia to round out our thinking on this subject. Through iterations among our team members, we winnowed down the broad list to those that covered the space of strategic options without unnecessary overlap.

Seven Strategies for the Long War

Our list includes seven strategies for the United States: Divide and Rule, Shrink the Swamp, Inside Out, State-Centric, Contain and React, Ink Blot, and Underlying Causes. It is important for the reader to remember that these are pure options; in the real world these strategies will probably not be mutually exclusive, and actual U.S. strategy for the long war will almost certainly turn out to be some kind of hybrid approach. In fact, the strategies in general are likely to change as administrations and Congresses change.

Nonetheless, descriptions of the pure strategies can be instructive for force planners. These example strategies will frame interpretations, and implications for the force, of individual uncertainties, trends, and drivers. This provides consistency through the study.

Some elements of the strategies and how they relate to the factors affecting SJ are shown in Figure 6.1. This diagram is not meant to be comprehensive, but is designed to illustrate how a strategy can draw on numerous elements to affect the system as a whole.

What follows is a short description of each of the seven strategies. After the seven descriptions, we discuss the application of those strategies to the trajectories, along with the implications of each trajectory for the U.S. armed forces.

Shrink the Swamp

Shrink the Swamp is a strategy that tries to slowly reduce the space in the Muslim world in which SJ groups can operate. It is an “outside-in” approach that seeks to stabilize the outer edges of the Muslim world to the point where those countries are inoculated against SJ ideology. States like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Morocco, which have long had ties to the West through trade, would be the first targets of this campaign. Once they are “inoculated,” the United States and its allies could move forward to try to stabilize the next ring of Muslim countries (Algeria, Tunisia, and Bangladesh, for example). This strategy involves many FID missions as well as some COIN work. The military burden is handled by Army Special Forces, but general purpose forces are needed to periodically help with COIN.

Figure 6.1: How Elements of Strategy Can Affect the Factors in the Long War
NOTE: A positive change is in blue, a negative one in red.
RAND MG738-6.1

In contrast to Divide and Rule (described below), governance would be the primary GTI factor at work here. The inoculation process in the outer ring of Muslim countries would be dominated by efforts to reform and streamline governing institutions down to the local grass-roots level so that they are more responsive to the basic needs of the population. Both terrorism and ideology would be secondary lines of operation here; they would be of equal importance to Shrink the Swamp. U.S. Special Forces would work with local security forces to improve their effectiveness against insurgents and terrorists. At the same time, the U.S. government would have to devote some moderate level of resources to IO to counter the messages of SJ groups working in the outer ring of the Muslim world. In Shrink the Swamp, IO efforts would probably be the most intensive in Indonesia, where the SJ ideology has found some traction.

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 is that the geopolitical earthquake caused by this will empower democratic forces throughout the Muslim world. Also, these bold actions will force much of the SJ warrior community to come out into the open to fight U.S. conventional forces, giving the United States a better chance of crushing them decisively. The Inside Out strategy corresponds closely to the Bush Doctrine of 2002–03, and as a result of current frustration in Iraq, may not be a strategy easily adopted for many years.

Inside Out is primarily about using military force to defeat terrorist and insurgent elements. The assumption in this strategy is that the forceful use of military power against jihadist groups will unleash political forces that will stabilize the Muslim world for the long term. This strategy might reduce some problems with governance, but would do less to address the ideological center of gravity.


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 SJ surge is the existence of ungoverned spaces (like the tribal areas of Pakistan) and public administrations that cannot deliver basic services to ordinary people. Once Muslim state structures are rebuilt, both these problems can be ameliorated and the appeal of SJ ideology will decline. This strategy would be built on foreign aid, FID, and some unconventional warfare capabilities.

As in the case of Shrink the Swamp, this strategy would be driven by governance considerations. By increasing the penetration and responsiveness of regime governance, the hope is that the appeal of SJ will decline. Counterterrorism and ideology would both be strong secondary lines of operation here. U.S. advice to local security forces would be necessary in order to contain local jihadists until governance reform could take hold. Some IO to discredit SJ in countries where it has appeal would also be conducted.

Contain and React (Defensive)

Contain and React is a fundamentally defensive strategy that seeks to hold the current “perimeter” in the Muslim world and only act strongly if that perimeter is breached (i.e., a major U.S. ally is threatened with collapse or overthrow). At that point, the United States would intervene massively with general purpose forces. Under this strategy, U.S. interventions in a Saudi insurgency or Pakistani coup scenario would be mandated.

Contain and React would give equal roles to all three parts of our GTI framework. Each would have to be conducted at a moderate level of intensity in order for the U.S. defensive perimeter to hold. Counterterrorist efforts would be necessary to prevent SJ groups from seeping out of ungoverned zones and into the territory of U.S. allies and partners. Ideological campaigns would likewise be required to reduce the appeal of SJ in Muslim states that face problems with youth bulges, poor delivery of basic services, and high unemployment. Finally, limited programs aimed at improving governance in the most strategically important U.S. allies in the Muslim world (for example, Egypt and Pakistan) would be useful as reinforcement for the IO efforts.

Ink Blot (Seize, Clear, and Hold)

Ink Blot is a global COIN strategy that aims to seize, clear, and hold strategically important areas throughout the Muslim world by working actively with local security forces. Most of the U.S. commitment would likely be conducted with SOF, but the involvement of some general purpose forces in some areas would be almost inevitable. Compared to State- Centric, the Ink Blot strategy would be more reactive and aggressive and focus initially on direct U.S. action and secondarily on preparing the host nation for action. As distinct from Inside Out, however, this strategy would likely find U.S. actions supported by the host nation, and thus any larger attempt for regime change or strategic realignment within the host nation would not occur. The Ink Blot might hold in cases where immediate action, supported by the host nation, is allowable.

Ink Blot would be driven mainly by the counterterrorism line of operation. The emphasis is on using American SOF to guide regional pacification operations. The governance and ideological lines of operation would be fairly minor for the United States, as they would be carried out mainly by the local regimes.

Under this strategy, the United States would work with key allies like Algeria, Egypt, and Yemen to remove all SJ 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 SJ groups would be relegated to the geographic margins of the Muslim world and would be cut off from one another.

Ink Blot differs from Contain and React in its scope and tenor of operations. The size of the operations in Ink Blot would tend to be smaller in scale based on a proactive and forward-leaning policy of working with local forces before escalation to full-blown destabilization.

Underlying Causes

The Underlying Causes approach 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, better basic socioeconomic conditions reduce the appeal of radical SJ ideas and create support for free market openness. This is the most indirect strategy of our seven and would entail a very small role for the U.S. military. This indirect strategy would also entail a close look at U.S. policies in the region, especially in regard to Israel- Palestine and Iran, and necessitate confronting those policies in conflict with broader systemic problems.

In the ideal case, governance considerations would be paramount here, while counterterrorism and ideological operations would be minor parts of the strategy. Governance would have to be defined very broadly here, as it would include a broad spectrum of actions across the labor, public health, transportation, education, and civil society sectors of the countries in the Middle East and South Asia. One of the salient features of this strategy is that it would probably require extensive cooperation between the U.S. government and local/international nongovernmental organizations and private volunteer organizations. If SJ violence were to surge before the governance initiatives began to have an effect, the counterterrorist line of operation could become the primary focus in this strategy for a short period of time. Once order was restored, the governance line of operation would resume its leading position in Underlying Causes.

Divide and Rule

Divide and Rule is a strategy that focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various SJ groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts. For example, the United States could conceivably exploit the tensions that exist between local SJ groups that wish to concentrate on overthrowing their national government and al-Qaeda, which aims to fight a transnational jihad. In such a strategy as Divide and Rule, the inevitable choosing of sides may inadvertently empower future adversaries in the pursuit of immediate gains.

This strategy would rely heavily on covert action, IO, unconventional warfare, and support to indigenous security forces to achieve its goals. U.S. SOF would be critical in this strategy, and the role of U.S. general purpose forces would be quite limited.1

If we place Divide and Rule in the context of the project’s broader GTI framework, we find that this strategy is dominated by the ideological component because it focuses on fault lines and contradictions in SJ ideology to turn the various jihadist groups against one another. In order to execute this strategy, U.S. policymakers and intelligence analysts would need to develop a keen understanding of the nuances of SJ ideology as well as its historical evolution.

This strategy would also entail some focus on kinetic action against the most virulent SJ groups and leaders. A Divide and Rule strategy discounts the role of governance, since the focus is on creating dissension among jihadists and not on building more effective governing patterns in the Muslim world.

Responses to and Implications of the Trajectories

The strategies for the long war will drive how the United States responds to the trajectories. However, as discussed above, the strategies presented are pure strategies, and there has been some necessary mixing and matching when discussing the trajectories.2 To that end, Table 6.1 summarizes the ways in which different long war strategies might be considered in relation to the various trajectories. Alternative strategies are possible, and any additional association of specific strategies above to the particular trajectories is left as additional work. In some of the trajectories described, notably “Steady State,” “War of Ideas,” and “Narrowing of Threat,” the choice of U.S. strategy drives the way that trajectory unfolds. In the others, the trajectories largely unfold as a response to some external shock or environmental change. Nonetheless, associating U.S. strategies with the trajectories provides structure to the plausible actions the United States might take.

Table 6.1: Existence of the Seven Long War Strategies (Across the Top) in the Eight Trajectories



Trajectories / Divide and Rule / Shrink the Swamp / Inside Out / State- Centric / Contain and React / Ink Blot / Underlying Causes

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

NOTE: XX = most likely; X = less likely though plausible; blank = not analyzed or not appropriate.

The strategies as applied to each trajectory are described below. For each trajectory, the implications for U.S. forces are described in terms of what potential challenges or future capability seams might exist resulting from the application of the strategies. For the implications, care has been given to not recommending a particular strategy as being best for the military to adopt, and thus implications narrowly defined for that strategy being applied to that trajectory. The adjudication of best strategies is left to further analysis. Nonetheless, we highlight one to three strategies that would seem amenable to being applied in each trajectory and base any implications to the force on a mixture of those strategies. Thus, the implications are across potential responses and not narrowly attached to a specific strategy.

Narrowing of Threat

Divide and Rule would be the obvious strategy choice for the “Narrowing of Threat” trajectory. As various nationalist jihadist groups turned against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, 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 some instances, the United States and the host nation could even help the nationalist jihadists execute a military campaign to stamp out al-Qaeda elements that are present locally. In the framework of participants developed in Chapter Three, this would entail splitting Category 1 off from Categories 2 and 3, thus allowing more targeted action against the global jihadists bolstered by various local groups. As mentioned earlier, while choosing sides with some of the Category 2 and 3 groups may provide short-term successes, their success could create longer-term issues.

Shrink the Swamp would likely be germane here. 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 rings of the Muslim world, i.e., Indonesia, Malaysia, 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.

Contain and React is also an option for this trajectory. The United States could deploy ISR perimeters around areas where there are concentrations of transnational jihadists and periodically launch air/missile strikes against high-value targets. Host nation security forces would have more freedom to help in this mission, since they would no longer have to be concerned about national jihadist forces. If the transnational jihadists were ever to attempt to expand their area of sanctuary, the United States could respond with additional increments of long-range, standoff firepower and SOF.


Perhaps the best case for the United States, this trajectory sees the nationalist jihadists fighting the internationally focused ones. Even in this case, 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 counterinsurgency campaigns currently being bolstered by transnational terrorists—something that is perhaps currently out of the scope of U.S. operations. In these cases, the military could see an expanded role for COIN to target the more subtle places those groups are providing aid.

 Steady State

 A combination of Inside Out and State-Centric (discussed below) is what the United States is pursuing today, and this approach would be applicable to the “Steady State” trajectory. The Inside Out strategy is included here because of the continuing focus on building democracy at some level in the middle of the Muslim world 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.

The State-Centric strategy would apply for the United States in the rest of the Muslim world, i.e., bolstering existing regimes against insurgencies, terrorism, and social instability while nudging them toward making improvements in the provision of basic services to the population.


As the name suggests, the “Steady State” trajectory is quite similar to the current situation. In this case, the role of the Army will be dominated by any continuing commitment to Afghanistan and Iraq. Other efforts would be similar to before the long war, with the exception that preparation could be performed for the various other trajectories that might occur, some of which are described in this report.

In this trajectory, the United States continues to withdraw troops from Europe and traditional Cold War bases and, at some rate, withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army is unlikely to be stretched in this scenario, unless the Afghanistan and/or Iraq deployments continue to be large. The Army would probably use this time to recover and reset from the Iraq war, possibly a difficult and time-consuming feat. The Army might also use this time to refocus its efforts to fighting the next war.

The United States might choose to engage in more peacekeeping and enforcement roles to prevent the growth of Salafi-jihadism in various areas and suppress other terrorist groups. These would require some different skill sets for the Army compared to those of major combat operations, and some specialized equipment might also be useful (nonlethal weapons, for example).

At a higher level, the United States could support various governments around the world in an attempt to reduce the number of insurgencies and instability in particular countries. Such operations could involve larger numbers of troops, but not nearly as many as in Iraq.

In both of the above, there may be an emphasis on tactical actions against SJ groups in complex terrain as opposed to conventional warfare. The continued use of Army SOF for global operations against al- Qaeda and its affiliates could compel an increase in SOF force structure over and above the expansions that are programmed for today. In this trajectory, the high priority afforded to direct action against al-Qaeda and its affiliates could imply that special mission units (SMUs) would require larger proportional increases in size than the SOF force.

Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict

In this trajectory, an Inside Out strategy would seek to attack one of the roots of the problem. The “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” has multiple triggers, one of which is the inclusion of large amounts of Iranian support in the Gulf region. Under this strategy, 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. This would tamp down the forces of radical Shiism in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, but the costs and risk of this strategy would be huge.

The more likely strategy for the “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” would be State-Centric, where the United States would work to build the institutional capacities of at-risk Muslim states so that their security forces could contain sectarian violence effectively.

Divide and Rule is also a possible strategy the United States could adopt for this trajectory. Here U.S. leaders could choose to capitalize on the Shia-Sunni conflict by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes in a decisive fashion and working with them against all Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world.3 This would allow the United States to split the jihadist movement between Shiites and Sunnis and to gain political capital with orthodox Sunni clerics, politicians, and scholars. The risks to this strategy are that it might spread sectarian conflict instead of containing it. It could also put the United States on a collision course with Iran that could culminate in a full-scale war or ultimately backfire when empowered Sunni regimes turn against the United States.


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 to this 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. Any U.S. involvement in the region during times of sectarian violence would challenge IO capabilities to aid in discrediting arguments and propaganda of radical elements on either side without exacerbating divides from a U.S. presence.

The United States may also seek to end the conflict through peacekeeping operations. Here there would be a substantial role for the Army, as the size of the area of operations would be large, as would the number of potential combatants within it. Such a huge peacekeeping operation may be beyond the scope of the current Army and span geographic boundaries much wider than previously encountered. The tasks that the Army would need to perform would also be different from major combat operations and the counterinsurgency operations in Iraq from which many would have experience. Increased training for peacekeeping operations and nonlethal weapons would both be useful in such an operation. However, the sheer scope of this task, and the difficulty in achieving it, might suggest that such a strategy is unlikely to be chosen.

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. At a lower level, the United States might provide air cover and air strikes. These would not be the role of the Army in the first instance. At a higher level, the U.S. Army might provide lift, logistical support, and other types of aid that the Army is capable of providing (implying it would not provide capabilities it had to develop). At the highest level, the Army would be involved directly in the conflict, which may look partly like an insurgency and partly like conventional war. At this level, the Army would call upon rapid precision strike systems, and it would have to balance aggressive operations with an IO campaign against the extremist rhetoric so as not to exacerbate tensions.

Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad

State-Centric is a defensive and lower-profile approach that would try to ameliorate the threat by building up the capacity of neighboring states to resist any covert or overt aggression by the newly radicalized state. Large-unit U.S. military forces are not required in this approach; instead, small teams of American trainers and advisers would work to build up host nation security forces in adjacent states, while personnel from non-DoD agencies like AID, DOJ, the FBI, and Treasury would work to bolster the nonmilitary institutions in the adjacent states.

An alternative strategy of Contain and React would seek to position U.S. military forces in neighboring states to deter the newly radicalized state from threatening its neighbors. This strategy would demand that the United States aggressively patrol the borders of the radical state to make sure that WMD and WMD materials are not transported out of that state to other bad actors; this border interdiction mission would also involve efforts to prevent the radical state from sending weapons and recruits to SJ insurgents/terrorists in neighboring countries. Depending on the particular situation on the ground, Contain and React might also include operations by U.S. and allied SOF aimed at removing or neutralizing stockpiles of WMD in the radical state.

An Inside Out strategy that would put the United States in a position of opening a full-scale MCO with the realigned state is not supported for multiple reasons. For one, the scope of any full-scale invasion and occupation of the Muslim states that top the list is large by both population and geographic standards. Ongoing operations, whether continuing deployments in Iraq or elsewhere, may not leave sufficient forces to undertake such an operation. Also, the realignment may not pose an imminent danger that could rally support sufficiently from domestic and international sources. For these reasons, the MCO-style invasion is not considered a likely response.4


If the United States decided on a strategy of containment, then significant efforts to control the spread of influence of that state would be required. ISR, on both air and ground platforms, and HUMINT assets would be required to detect and monitor the flow of weapons/WMD components and people across the board of the “bad nation.” Given the recent experience on the Iraq/Syria and Iraq/ Iran borders, such a strategy might prove extremely difficult. 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 states. These forces may subsequently require training, equipment, and supervision to mount effective operations. These indigenous border guards might be from the military or the police force of the neighboring country, each bringing its own challenges. Either way, the training role, as well as ongoing monitoring of effectiveness, could fall to the U.S. Army. Much of the intelligence effort might be appropriately handled by agencies other than the Army.

At least three proactive strategy components can be envisioned. First, the United States could proactively strike the WMD facilities to prevent them from falling into the hands of the incoming government. Such an effort would require strike capabilities, possibly at short notice, and might be a component of the Contain and React strategy that aggressively addresses immediate concerns. The location of the WMD facilities would be identified beforehand so as to reduce time pressures at execution. Both the ISR and striking of these targets would probably be done from the air and not involve the Army heavily. Some targets, however, are likely to require some degree of SOF operations, which may involve the Army. It is also possible that there might be a seize-andhold operation at some sites while material is collected or destroyed. The fallout, in terms of stabilizing and resecuring any area after strikes or seizure, could be substantial.

Another possible response is that the United States would become directly involved in trying to conduct a countercoup. This might be through covert support to an insurgent group through unconventional warfare methods. More overt support might involve using Army units to train the friendly forces or even having Army advisers in country. This approach would require the United States to choose sides.

Lastly, a more direct confrontation between U.S. forces and the new governments could also occur. This type of operation 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. It should be noted, however, that larger states would tend to require more effort than smaller states.

A radicalized state without WMD/E capabilities could require a less immediate response from the United States. A Contain and React strategy that seeks to prevent a newly radical Muslim nation from invading one of its neighbors might involve the stationing of a couple of U.S. Army brigades in neighboring or regional countries as a deterrence to aggressive moves. The acceptance of brigade-sized forces in many of the countries in the region would be tentative.

Whether or not the country has WMD/E capabilities, a takeover of a major state by an SJ group would constitute a major public relations coup for this ideology. The Army may expect to be involved in significant IO operations in neighboring states to help contain the fallout and reduce the influence of SJ propaganda flowing from this state.

Expanding Scope

State-Centric would be the more conservative option for this trajectory, as it would seek to build up the institutions of those states that are threatened by the non-SJ groups. A State-Centric approach against Hezbollah would, for example, focus on strengthening the institutions of the democratically elected Lebanese government as well as those of other Shia majority countries like Bahrain and Azerbaijan. FID missions would be mounted to all these countries to improve their security forces.

Contain and React could be used to try to fence off groups like Hezbollah and the FARC in finite swaths of territory with stepped-up border enforcement as well as periodic strikes and raids. If these groups were to try to breach this American perimeter, the United States would respond with significant conventional forces.


The requirements and strategic options in this case are most similar to “Steady State.” 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. If there is still a significant deployment in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, opening up a war on an additional front may stretch the Army in terms of personnel. However, given the expected reduction of troops in Iraq over the coming years, this situation should not arise.

If in the midst of conducting peacekeeping and insurgency control operations, U.S. forces may need to scale back those operations to address any new threat; however, this shouldn’t pose an immediate strategic threat. One of the more significant capability needs would be for HUMINT capabilities capable of penetrating the new non-SJ targets. These capabilities are more likely to be developed in conjunction with the intelligence community rather than solely in the Army.

Also, in view of the fact that both Hezbollah and the FARC have used rockets and mortars innovatively in their operations, it would be useful for the Army to accelerate its research on CRAM (counter-rocket, artillery, mortar) technologies if it were to get involved in a confrontation with these groups, or others positioned to acquire these capabilities. Other asymmetric technological hurdles would need to be addressed, including the IED problem.

Holding Action

The “Holding Action” trajectory posits a migration away from the current SJ threat due largely from overwhelming concern for other national security missions. These include state-on-state conflict that draws U.S. attention, sudden increases in state WMD acquisition and testing, or alliances being built to counter status quo. At the same time, the expectation for diverting attention to these matters assumes that many events directly related to the long war do not come to pass.5 That is, no new sophisticated weaponry or WMD technologies have been acquired by al-Qaeda and its affiliates, the ideology has not gained widespread international support on any level, and the effects of any nonstate actions do not challenge state control. In this trajectory, with regard to the challenges surrounding the long war, the United States might adopt a longer-term and less aggressive stance in the Middle East.

If the United States wishes to be extremely cautious regarding its use of proactive and forward-leaning operations in the Muslim world while its focus is elsewhere, it could use Underlying Causes. Underlying Causes would minimize the military part of DIME6 and engage non-DoD government agencies to work on addressing the underlying social and economic problems causing instability in the Muslim world. USAID, the State Department, the Peace Corps, the Department of Agriculture, and DOJ would become the focus of the new U.S. strategy. Underlying Causes would be a viable option if the jihadist threat in the Muslim world was at a manageable level at the time when the new geopolitical crisis erupted.

On the other hand, State-Centric would require only that the United States provide basic FID support to friendly Muslim governments that are battling SJ insurgents and terrorists. Even if the U.S. special operations force was heavily engaged in the new crisis, the United States could still undertake a limited form of the State-Centric strategy by drawing on allied special forces to pick up some of the FID mission. British, French, and German SOF, for example, could pick up some of the slack; in the case of a geopolitical crisis that drew other states into the fold, the likelihood increases that other forces would be needed.

Divide and Rule at the strategic level would be an inexpensive way of buying time for the United States and its allies until the United States can return its attention fully to the long war. In order to compensate for the diversion of resources to the new geopolitical crises unfolding elsewhere in the world, the United States could choose to use diplomacy and economic incentives to attempt to create divisions in the jihadist camp. Today in Iraq such a strategy is being used at the tactical level, as the United States now forms temporary alliances with nationalist insurgent groups that it has been fighting for four years by exploiting the common threat that al-Qaeda now poses to both parties and providing carrots in the form of weapons and cash. In the past, these nationalists have cooperated with al-Qaeda against U.S. forces. The Divide and Rule strategy may not provide quick results, but could provide enough room for U.S. forces to reduce their effort in one region to focus on another.


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 such a situation the Army might revert to a training and advisory role in countries where it might prefer to have an active presence. It might even turn exclusively to the “train the trainer” model, which would require even fewer resources.

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. In such cases, troops may have to be adaptable and rely on local forces for many functions usually provided by the United States, such as possibly logistical support and even ISR support in the case where high-value, low-density ISR assets are being used elsewhere.

Additionally, there might be an increased need to operate with allies who might be required to aid in picking up the slack in FID and counterterrorism missions as the United States addresses the emergent threat. These alliances might be based on the larger conflict and not the long war itself and would probably include a mix of traditional and nontraditional allies. It might be that in the face of a severe threat, the United States may not lead the coalition in some of the smaller theaters and would instead be under the command of another state. Such an arrangement would require new command and control arrangements to be developed and implemented, especially in the case where SOF forces are integrated into allied units.

he implications for the Air Force and Navy might be different, as they are able to more quickly move forces from one theater to another. 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.

Chronic Insurgencies/Instability

State-Centric would be useful in those countries that have stabilized their domestic security situation to the point where the insurgents are not gaining territory or influence. The United States would simply work to build up the state’s security and political institutions to a level where the government could go on the strategic offensive against the insurgents.

In this trajectory, Ink Blot would be reserved for those insurgencies and areas of instability around the globe where the insurgents are gaining ground and influence; here the United States would provide wide-area support mechanisms to host nations so as to facilitate aggressive pacification campaigns. American advisers would actively guide host nations on a clear, hold, and build strategy that would work to eject the insurgents from certain key areas, weed out their civilian supporters, and provide enough infrastructure assistance to win the hearts and minds of the civilian populace.


In this trajectory, the United States finds itself with the option of intervening in a large number of insurgencies worldwide. If it chooses very limited intervention, it risks the creation of states that are more unfriendly to the United States and its interests and may increase the possibility of the “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad” trajectory.

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 SF, CA, PSYOP, Intelligence, Engineers, Military Police, Logistics, Medical, Signal, and Aviation. As the numbers grow, the insurgency may require the Army to take additional risk in core mission essential tasks (from full spectrum operations) to focus more exclusively on the directed mission essential tasks (COIN mission). In such a situation, the Army may consider a significant restructuring to focus its forces on fighting insurgencies rather than major combat operations.

We do not attempt to calculate the point at which this transition might occur. In fact, there is likely to be a smooth transition from one priority to another such that the Army works across multiple mission sets. This is consistent with the concept of “full spectrum” operations, and a future such as this would require the breadth and agility envisioned.

Missions expected in fighting insurgences and other irregular warfare are different from those expected for conventional warfare and would cause the Army to refocus some of its training and equipping.

The United States would also need a capability to rebuild the state’s infrastructure that was damaged during the conflict. This role has traditionally been assigned to agencies other than the Army, but is often fulfilled by the Army. Given the failure of the other agencies to be able to operate effectively in Iraq, this role might move within the Department of Defense, especially for high-threat environments. This would be a new role for the Army, albeit one that it has been asked to fill in the past. Nation building on this scale could require vastly new capabilities and training.

War of Ideas

Contain and React would be the preferred choice for the “War of Ideas” trajectory because the ideational campaign would be an ideal, low-cost, low-visibility tool for containing al-Qaeda and SJ ideologues. Containment here would be more in the informational realm than in the physical space where military operations are normally conducted. However, should al-Qaeda break through the information containment ring, the United States could quickly use traditional kinetic power to resume direct action against al-Qaeda’s senior leadership and their key training and assembly areas in the Muslim world.

State-Centric would be a secondary option for this trajectory (after Contain and React). It would seek to leverage the ideational campaign to bolster the credibility and appeal of existing regimes in the Muslim world as opposed to focusing on the ideational offensive against al- Qaeda and its affiliates. State-Centric would seek to accelerate development projects throughout the Middle East and South Asia while also working to build the foundation for democratic civil societies in key countries like Jordan, Egypt, and Pakistan.


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, although much of the strategic IO required would not be handled by the Army.

Second, in order to make tangible progress in the “War of Ideas,” the Army would need to do its best to reduce collateral damage during kinetic operations that target al-Qaeda and its affiliates. This implies a 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.



1 A specific example of the type of fissures contained in this strategy comes from the case of HAMAS. The decision by HAMAS to pursue political power in democratic elections led to strong negative reactions from transnational ideologues, such as al-Qaeda’s Ayman al- Zawahiri (see Ulph, 2006) and Kuwaiti SJ cleric Hamid al-’Ali. These ideologues stated that HAMAS had succumbed to parochial interests and would find democracy incompatible with its aims. Moreover, there was recognition that HAMAS’s acceptance of the electoral system posed a threat to the SJ transnational project; popular participation would focus HAMAS’s efforts on the real exigencies of the Palestinian population rather than the overarching goal of a caliphate. Such divisions in the movement show how local concerns can trump ideology and how these splits and fissures can be useful in U.S. efforts to isolate, contain, or combat these groups.

2 For example, in the case of “Major Muslim Nation Goes Bad,” it is unlikely that the U.S. government would choose a pure strategy to respond to this trajectory. Instead, past history suggests that a mixed solution involving elements of both State-Centric and Contain and React would be used. The exact composition of the strategy mix would depend on the domestic U.S. political environment at the time, the nature of U.S. security commitments in other parts of the world, and the number and type of coalition partners the United States would be able to assemble to help deal with the crisis.

3 It bears reminding that the strategies and trajectories are not orthogonal and the “Divide and Rule” strategy in this case presupposes an existing divide among the Sunni and Shia that the U.S. exploits.

4 Any support to indigenous forces in opposition to the new government would be considered under a State-Centric strategy.

5 The inclusion of a growing, international SJ threat as well as state conflicts as described would probably be the worst case of all, perhaps motivating national resources in line with past world security efforts. This future, which would combine “Expanding Scope” with some of the tenets of “Holding Action,” is left to additional analysis.

6 Diplomatic, information, military, and economic.
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:31 am

CHAPTER SEVEN: Observations on the Long War

Shown in Table 7.1 are the breakdowns of the various trajectories as they have been interpreted in the study. These “ratings” are open for further debate, and are generated from the interpretations detailed in the previous chapter.

Based on the implications from specific trajectories, broad observations about the effect the long war will have on the U.S. military can be generated. This chapter lists some broad observations about this overall exercise.

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 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 gain understanding of the impacts of those missions across GTI.

Table 7.1: How Certain Operations Might Manifest Themselves in the Individual Trajectories


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

IW / Strikes and raids / Some / Main / Rare / Some / Main / Main, may limit other LI / Some / Some
IW / FID / Some / Some / Some / Some / Some / Rare / Main / Some
IW / IO / Main / Some / Main / Main / Some / Main / Some / Main
IW / CT / Main / Some / Some / Main / Main / Some / Some / Some
IW / COIN / Some / Some / Rare / Some / Main / Rare / Main Some
IW / UW / Rare / Main / Rare / Some / Main / Some / Some / Some
MCO / SSTRO / Some / Rare / Main / Rare / Some / Rare / Some / Some
MCO / Conv War / Rare / Some / Rare / Rare / Some / Rare / Some / Some
MCO / PME / Main / Main / Some / Some / Some / Some / Some / Main
MCO / Peace Ops / Rare / Rare / Rare / Rare / Rare / Rare / Rare / Rare

NOTES: These are for illustrative purposes, and are based on discussions contained in this report.

In each cell, “Main” = focus of operations; “Some” = some operations; “Rare” = rare or no operations of that type.

IW = irregular warfare; MCO = major combat operation; FID = foreign internal defense; IO = information operations; CT = counterterrorism; COIN = counterinsurgency; UW = unconventional warfare; SSTRO = stability, support, transition, and reconstruction operations; PME = peacetime military engagement; LI = limited interdiction.

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 SJ 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 U.S. forces role in governance is clearer. Typically, any largescale efforts associated with post-conflict situations will be the military’s responsibility. Reactive operations associated with restoration and improvement through SSTRO 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 the reconstruction of civilian governance infrastructure, are not usually thought to require an Army role. However, the lack of largescale, deployable units from other government agencies may mean that 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 et al., 2006) calls for the U.S. Department of Justice 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 will be left to the military.

Another immediate step is to determine the role of the U.S. forces in ideologically generated struggles, taking into consideration which specific ideologies are in play and the effects their actions will have on those ideologies. This will incur scoping of potential changes to the force to better reflect the effects of ideology across the entire DOTMLPF.

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 who 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 engage faltering states proactively. Similarly, “Expanding Scope” implies escalation of nonstate actor capabilities that increase risk to U.S. national security. The proactive mission here includes the development of 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-to-military 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 construct.1 These programs would be conducted as part of an interagency approach to the situation, and may be very far removed from any warfighting.

Thus, there is a need to determine what enhanced access to peacetime military engagement might be in the Muslim world. Specifically, it will be necessary to detail what PME is, how it is different from previous efforts (if at all), and how best to build the longer-term relationships fostering capability building vice historically exercise-driven relationships.2

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 non-state 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 in order to prepare for the various ways in which the long war might evolve and so the Army will remain prepared 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 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.

Thus, there is a need to determine whether medium- and large-scale stability operations, post-conflict reconstruction, and nation-building operations are what the military will plan and prepare for, and what the implications are to the force. This will rely on the development of an interagency approach that specifies the Department of Defense’s, and hence the Army’s, role in these operations. The Army’s role will need to be determined both in ideal and worst-case security situations. New roles for the general purpose forces in non-combatrelated governance and peacetime military engagement are possible and should be explored and understood in terms of the GTI framework presented in this report.

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; UW and CT 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.



1 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.

2 See Donnelly (2007) for further discussion.
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:04 am

APPENDIX A: Short Descriptions of Ideology, Governance, and Terrorism


An ideology is a framework of ideas that describes a view of reality and a set of social and political actions that should be undertaken to change and improve the situation of a particular group. In the American political system, conservative and liberal ideologies vie for power through a democratic system of elections; the group that wins these elections can then apply the policies dictated by its understanding of reality and its particular sociopolitical program. Other ideologies encourage violence against different parties or groups; these are the ideologies with which this study is concerned.

Ideologies are also changeable and evolving. For instance, Leninism and Stalinism built upon and added to Marxism. Both early leaders of the Soviet Union developed and implemented Marxist ideals in different ways to create and shape the communist state. It is not always clear how and when a framework of ideas will change and develop, as well as which ideologies will be most prevalent and decisive over a given time.

Still, ideology appears to be a central component of the long war. In fact, it may define the long war on some level by making it long; whereas a physical target can be destroyed, a way of conceiving of the world is much harder to eradicate or disprove. In addition, the ideologies in question can include very strong motivators for action, as noted in this comment about Lebanese militant groups:

Hezbollah leaders and Lebanese village militias proved far more committed to the fight than the Arab armies of 1967 or 1973: Revolutionary Islam is a motivator far more potent than old pan- Arab nationalism or Ba’ath-style socialism. (Donnelly, 2007)

Ideologies are thus difficult to combat using military forces, because ideas are extremely difficult to contain or destroy. Moreover, certain ideologies are more “virulent” than others, in that they can appeal to more people and encourage and motivate more extreme actions.

With the requisite caveats on the uncertainty of plotting the course of a given ideology, it is still useful to discuss the ideological movements of the post–Cold War era that potentially pose a threat to America or its allies. These ideologies range from peculiarly local varieties, such as the ethnic nationalism of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) or Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), to transnational movements such as al- Qaeda. While local groups with particular ideologies can have strategic influence, transnational movements generally have the potential for greater impact on American security interests and are therefore more likely to be implicated in the long war.1

There are four transnational ideologies that currently have this potential. In South America, there is neo-Bolivarism, mainly espoused by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and also finding traction in Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Neo-Bolivarism is a populist ideology that is explicitly anti-American but has not in practice generated violence against American targets.2 In South Asia there is Maoism, which has fueled violence in Nepal, Bangladesh, and parts of India. Maoist groups are mainly concerned with local social and political issues, though many advocate armed struggle.

The main proponents of the aforementioned ideologies have never directly attacked the United States and, therefore, depending on how the long war is interpreted, may not be included in this framework. However, American troops have directly confronted transnational ideologies in the Muslim world. The first is Salafi-jihadism, and coalition troops fight its adherents in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. In Iraq, the United States has also confronted militant Shiism in the form of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Jaysh al-Mahdi and other groups. Israel has also struggled against a militant Shia group for over two decades in the form of Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Both of these ideologies use aspects of Islamic theology, which they alter to justify violent attacks against the United States, its allies, and other Muslims. Nonetheless, it should be noted that these groups still remain firmly in Category 3 (locally oriented, religious nationalist) of our framework, and would only escalate to the forefront of U.S. interests with significant changes to the organizations that put them closer to Category 1 (militant, global jihadist).

How these ideologies develop and interact will have a distinct influence on the course of the long war. While specific changes in leadership and the tenets of an ideology cannot be predicted, the assumptions that this study makes about the future can be used to postulate how these ideologies might manifest themselves in the future. The following sections will discuss how globalization, failing and failed states, and demographic changes could interact with ideology, as well as the implications of these interactions for the long war.

Globalization and the Generation of Grievances

This study assumes that globalization will continue. That is, the world will witness greater economic and informational interconnectedness— the flow of goods and ideas will increase in both frequency and speed, and will penetrate areas that have heretofore been less influenced by this phenomenon.

As with any transformational economic process, globalization will create winners and losers. Some regions, nations, societies, and individuals will fare better than others. Overall, it appears that globalization has been a benefit to many nations and peoples, and many regions of the world, particularly in parts of South America and Asia, have seen a rise in their standard of living. However, because globalization has not influenced all parts of the globe in a uniform way, there will be a sense in some corners of the world that increasing globalization is not beneficial and that the wealth being generated is directly or indirectly exploitative. Grievances of this sort are not unheard of—conflicts throughout modern history have stemmed partially or primarily from the control or disposition of economic wealth, either within a society, such as in pre-Revolutionary France, or between nations, as can be seen in the 1948 war over Egyptian nationalization of the Suez Canal.

The ideologies we have noted—neo-Bolivarism, Maoism, Salafijihadism, and militant Shiism—generally profess an anti-globalization stance. Globalization is an evil within their conception of reality.3 Moreover, these ideologies provide their adherents with a tangible perpetrator, a focus for their anger against the rather amorphous economic process: Western countries that appear to benefit most from this economic process. As globalization increases, it is likely then that the “grievance-generating” effects of dislocation and wealth discrepancies will also increase, despite the positive effects felt by others. In fact, as recent experience in combating Salafi-jihadism suggests, the vast majority of a population may benefit from globalization; it only takes a small number of adherents to generate large effects.

An important point to make here, however, is that globalization is certainly not the only “grievance-generating” factor in the development of these ideologies. There are many others, including military occupation, oppression of a minority (or majority), poor governance, etc.

Moreover, even though these ideologies can be considered in part to be a reaction against globalization, their adherents will not hesitate to utilize the structures and components of globalization to proliferate the ideologies. What is most troubling is that this proliferation need not be significant (in terms of numbers) to have an effect—a minority can have a large impact. The expanding reach of easily obtained and reliable communication, together with the internationalization of business and media, which allows for the swift transmission of money and events around the globe, has given these minorities expanded reach and influence. For example, jihadist training manuals and propaganda are easily found on the Internet, and the 24-hour news cycle beams images and information about terrorist attacks across the globe in a matter of minutes. For groups seeking to influence the public through their acts of violence, the globalization of media and information is a particularly effective way to “advertise” their presence and their ideology.

The Role of Failed and Failing States in Propagating Ideologies

Failed states can play an important role in propagating ideologies. A number of different factors contribute to state failure. The Failed States Index takes into account 12 factors, ranging from the loss of control over territory to the collapse of the rule of law.4 The Failed States Index has divided states into three categories, with the highest scores deemed “Critical” and the next highest “In Danger.” This study refers to the nations in the “Critical” category as “failed states.” The list includes Iraq, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Haiti. Of the twelve indicators, these states rank close to the bottom in at least nine. Those on the next tier, “In Danger,” are considered failing—this list includes Nepal, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Yemen, and Egypt.5 These states are certainly not in good shape, but they are not experiencing the same level of failure as those in the first set.

The phenomena of ideology and state failure interact in a variety of ways, but as this discussion will illustrate, it is difficult to characterize the precise nature of these interactions. For instance, it stands to reason that states unable to effectively govern their own territories are hardly able to act against a fast-spreading or malignant ideology. On the other hand, some states may propagate or co-opt an ideology in order to bolster their own credibility or gain further control over some part of their territory. Furthermore, there is the danger that failed or failing states may produce the conditions under which a violent ideology can find recruits and grow more radical.

This study assumes that failed or failing states will exist (and perhaps grow in number), but it is not entirely clear how different ideologies will be influenced by this fact. Failing states may still have the ability to resist violent ideologies, as in the case of Egypt, while failed states may not become hotbeds of ideological fervor, as in the case of Zimbabwe.

Still, it may be useful to examine the case of two states, one failing and the other failed, as examples of how state failure may interact with ideology. Egypt and Afghanistan provide different examples of how the ideology of Salafi-jihadism formed and spread in two states that have been characterized as failing, in the case of Egypt, or failed, in the case of Afghanistan. In Egypt in the 1960s and 1970s, the state faced an internal revolt fed by political, social, and economic discontent.6 Within this milieu, Salafi-jihadism emerged intellectually through the writings of Sayyid Qutb and the preaching of clerics ‘Umar ‘Abd al- Rahman and Ayman al-Zawahiri and others. While Egypt was able to quell the violence through a widespread crackdown on militant and Islamic groups, the result was that many of the ideologues and their ideology left Egypt for another, less capable state: Afghanistan.

The Egyptian roots of many of the “Afghan Arabs” and their struggle against the Soviet Union are relatively well documented.7 These Afghan Arabs took advantage of Cold War politics and the power vacuum that existed in Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion to build an effective organization. Afghanistan was essentially a war zone at this time, with the Soviet Army fighting a guerilla war against CIA-armed and trained militants. Within this milieu, the ideology of Salafi-jihadism was able to spread through the guerilla foot soldiers; the ideology found a cause where the actions prescribed by its sociopolitical program could be implemented. In the 1990s, when the Taliban consolidated its power over Afghanistan, they established a relatively functional government, at least in comparison to the warlordism and civil war of the previous period.8 However, the fundamentalism of the Taliban was not incompatible with the sociopolitical program of al- Qaeda, and thus the organization produced by the Afghan Arabs, a physical manifestation of the Salafi-jihadist creed, remained and flourished. Through the failed state of Afghanistan, which for most of the past three decades lacked a responsible government and the rule of law, a violent ideology was able to propagate.

These two cases show how both failing and failed states can contribute to the development and actualization of an ideology. In the first case, a failing state facing an internal revolt managed to suppress internal dissent—only to play a role in generating a militant ideology and exporting it. The next state where this ideology appears in force is a failed state, where an invasion and the subsequent chaos provide room for the propagation of the violent ideology. The chaos also eventually brings to power a government that, while hardly effective from a Western standpoint, harbors that ideology and provides a base from which it can operate.

These cases describe one relationship between failed and failing states with regard to ideology—that is, instances where an ideology is formed in the failing state prior to its transmission to the failed state. Egypt, the failing state, was suffering significant socioeconomic and governance problems, but provided the milieu for the generation of a violent ideology.9 Thus, when combating an ideology, a focus only on failed states is inappropriate; an effective response to the ideology must also target its centers of generation and propagation, and these loci of ideological thought and communication may very well exist in countries that this taxonomy would consider functional or failing.

Demographic Changes in the Muslim World and the Growth of Ideology

A study of militants in Egypt conducted by sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim in the mid-1990s revealed a particularly salient point about Islamic activists and demography: Islamic activists are getting younger. 10 The current demographic trend in the Muslim world is a growing youth bulge; the correlation between these two factors is evident and worrisome. If Muslims are becoming politicized earlier in their lives and a particular ideology seems to have resonance with younger Muslims, the number of recruits available to a mobilizing ideology will increase. There is no reason to think that other violent ideologies will not also seek to prey upon the most impressionable members of society. 11 Moreover, the Muslim world is not the only region experiencing a youth bulge.

Major ideologues already recognize that targeting young people is a useful recruitment technique. Islamic schools or madaris (plural of madrasa) are typical recruiting grounds for Salafi-jihadist ideologues.12 Mosques are also places of organization and recruitment by virtue of their ability to serve as socially accepted public venues for quasi-religious discourse; in the 1970s, the mosques of Upper Egypt were closed by the Egyptian government in an attempt to quell anti-government Salafijihadists. “Virtual” recruiting is also possible in the technological age, and it is likely that the online presence of these ideologies will grow more prevalent and sophisticated.13

Moreover, as there is evidence to suggest that some level of dissatisfaction with economic and political realities feeds recruitment and provides justification to violent groups, the economic and political ramifications of the youth bulge must not be ignored.14 As young people move toward employment age, scant economic opportunities and a sclerotic political establishment in many developing nations will present significant problems and possibly result in troubling social convulsions that could provide opportunities for radical groups.

The Geography of Ideology

As the previous discussion illustrates, several assumptions about the future indicate that Salafi-jihadist ideologies will be of greater, not lesser, appeal. Globalization will fuel grievances and help disseminate an ideology, while failing and failed states may play a role in fostering or harboring an ideology and its followers, and demographics suggest that some ideologies will have an expanding pool of potential recruits.

These assumptions help delineate the factors involved in the potential growth of these hostile ideologies. The next part of this inquiry will describe how these ideologies are situated geographically. Since it may be necessary for the military, as part of a wide range of plausible operations, to destroy, interrupt, disprove, lessen the appeal of, modify, or silence an ideology, the questions of where and how the ideology operates become vital. Hence, the “space” that an ideology occupies is of particular concern. Because the focus of our geographical inquiry is essentially a framework of ideas, we use the term “space” in the broadest possible sense. In the following discussion, this study will address four types of space in which an ideology exists: physical space, intellectual space, sociopolitical space, and virtual space.

Physical space is by far the easiest to understand and influence. The physical space occupied by an ideology includes its adherents (the minds and bodies of its followers), its physical points of dissemination (schools, religious buildings, trade union offices, government agencies, etc.), and, if applicable, its geographic territory (the former Soviet Union or Taliban-controlled Afghanistan would be examples of ideologically motivated states). Physical space can be influenced in a number of ways. One can kill adherents, destroy buildings, and capture territory to gain control of particular kinds of physical space.

Intellectual space and sociopolitical space are more opaque, and consequently more difficult to influence and control. Intellectual space involves the presence of ideas, the individuals involved in generating and directing these ideas (the ideologues), and the applicability of these ideas to various situations. Sociopolitical space is the political, cultural, and historical milieu in which these ideas exist. Sociopolitical space includes religion, ethnicity, nationality, etc. Different societies can be more or less susceptible to particular ideologies, depending on their makeup.

Finally, there is virtual space, the space of modern communication. While virtual space could be considered a subset of intellectual or sociopolitical space (the Internet still being a realm of language), its increasing importance as a vehicle for transmission, as well as the influence it may have in networking individuals and ideas, requires virtual space to constitute a separate, if related, category.

A successful modern ideology needs some level of functionality in at least the first three spaces. It cannot simply exist on the physical plane—just the presence of a school or mosque does not give life to ideas. An ideology will not have much influence if it exists only on the intellectual level; i.e., a manifesto is only effective if someone reads and acts upon it. An ideology exists to convince, to organize and mobilize individuals and institutions. While a virtual presence may not be necessary, it is possible that, in this modern age, an ideology may be compelled to generate some kind of an electronic presence or footprint, either on the web or in the media.

If the military seeks to address the ideological component of the long war, it cannot focus on just one type of space. Schools can be closed and adherents jailed or killed, but a strategy that ignores the intellectual production or social factors involved is likely to fail.15 Likewise, a campaign to discredit ideologues or alter cultural mores while ceding territory and resources to adherents is also likely to fail.16

To illustrate how these different types of space manifest themselves, let us examine the geography of the ideology of Salafi-jihadism. While it is difficult to comprehensively describe the physical space occupied by Salafi-jihadism, we do know that groups of adherents can be found in several countries across the world, mainly in the Muslim world, but also in Europe and North America.17 Schools and mosques in various parts of the Muslim world have been implicated as centers of Salafi-jihadist indoctrination. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan under the Taliban harbored a Salafi-jihadist organization, and parts of Iraq are now havens for Salafi-jihadist adherents.

Because Salafi-jihadism is essentially a religious ideology, it manipulates Islamic theology and law for its own ends, and is thus clearly trying to appeal to Muslim intellectual and cultural tradition. This, of course, creates impediments for non-Muslims who attempt to influence the intellectual and social milieu that Salafi-jihadists inhabit.

Another component of the intellectual space of Salafi-jihadism is the ideologues: the individuals and institutions that generate and direct the ideology’s conception of reality and its sociopolitical program. In Salafi-jihadism, these ideologues are known from their various communiqués, and many will seem familiar. This group includes:

• Usama bin Ladin
• Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi
• Ayman al-Zawahiri
• Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi (deceased)
• Yusuf al-Ayyiri (deceased)
• Nasr al-Fahd
• ‘Ali bin al-Khudayr
• Abu Basir al-Tartusi
• Abu Qatada al-Falistini
• Abu Mus’ab al-Suri
• Hamid al-’Ali
• and others.

These ideologues include a number of nationalities and can be found in many countries. This list includes a Saudi living in Kuwait, an Egyptian in Pakistan, and a Palestinian in the United Kingdom. Moreover, these ideologues do not exist in a political or philosophical vacuum. Other Muslim clerics, such as Safar al-Hawali and Yusuf al-Qaradawi, are not necessarily Salafi-jihadist, but some of their interpretations of Islamic law and theology fall in line with Salafi-jihadist ideologues. Thus, the ideology can draw support from other thinkers within its intellectual and social sphere.

In a similar vein, ideologies can draw support from particular social conditions. Historical, ethnic, religious, or cultural factors (among others) can predispose or create an affinity for a particular ideology among a given population. In Salafi-jihadism, this can be seen in some of the philosophical similarities between it and the Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia. Many of the major ideologues and adherents of Salafijihadism are Saudi. While Saudi Arabia may not suffer from as many terrorist incidents as Algeria or Egypt, it has been a major center for ideological production. This fact suggests that the number of attacks or the number of adherents is not the only metric of interest in assessing the strategic importance of a particular region or society vis-à-vis an ideological struggle. Other social conditions, such as economic dislocation or civil strife, may prove conducive to the promulgation of an ideology. As Middle East security expert Daniel Byman noted:

Because al-Qaida can tap into these insurgencies for recruits and its logistics network, it is able to conduct operations far beyond where its narrow core is located and can replenish cadre as they are lost. Insurgencies also add legitimacy to al-Qaida as Muslims around the world support many of these struggles, even though they might otherwise oppose al-Qaida’s ideological agenda and use of terrorism. (Byman, 2006)

Byman’s commentary illustrates how an ideology can exploit various proclivities, loyalties, and needs within the sociopolitical sphere to promote its views and pursue its goals. This concept includes the notion of “passive enablers,” meaning those individuals who will passively support an ideological agenda but not take an active part. These passive enablers are vital to a cause because they generate an attitude of legitimacy (or at the very least, not hostility) for an ideology. In this way, the sociopolitical sphere becomes another space that needs to be addressed in combating an ideology.

The virtual space occupied by an ideology may also be a realm of concern for the military. The Internet offers a new and unparalleled opportunity to disseminate ideological material. Technology also offers new and more efficient ways to network individuals and share ideas. While the effect of these materials may be no different from a traditional audio recording, the speed and ready access of online materials is unprecedented. For any type of counterideology campaign to be effective, this modern technological component must be considered. In terms of Salafi-jihadism, the propaganda utility of the Internet is significant. Various Salafi-jihadist groups publish online newsletters and magazines and maintain websites. Tawhed.ws, a Salafi-jihadist library, provides a broad collection of ideological treatises, fatawa, and articles. Chatrooms and blogs offer new means for individuals and groups to link to one another. All of these new tools are being used to discuss and disseminate the Salafi-jihadist program.

Because ideology occupies all of these spheres—physical, intellectual, sociopolitical, and virtual—it cannot be combated by direct, physical means alone. Rather, a collection of tactics that address the physical, intellectual, sociopolitical, and virtual manifestations of the ideology will be necessary. For instance, an IO campaign might target Saudi Arabia’s ideologues, while a FID mission restores effective governance to a region. The first type of mission addresses the intellectual space of the ideology, while the second type tackles the sociopolitical space. If the United States cedes one sphere to ideological actors, then its efforts to engage them in other spheres are unlikely to produce the desired results, particularly in the long term.


For the purposes of this report, a review of the significant literature on terrorists and terrorism would be unnecessarily redundant.18 Rather, this section will explain why terrorism will be an important aspect of the long war, and suggest some trends in the use of terrorism in the future.

Terrorism is defined as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets,” according to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The status of “noncombatant” excludes “military, paramilitary, militia, and police under military command and control, in specific areas or regions where war zones or war-like settings exist.”19 This distinction between combatant and noncombatant is important. The goal of terrorists is not to destroy another nation’s military capability; instead, the terrorist seeks to advertise his presence and his cause.20 Moreover, except in rare cases, terrorist organizations do not have the capacity to obliterate a wellarmed and trained military. Because they cannot fight head-to-head, they view the tactic of terrorism as a viable way to challenge the authority, system, etc. that they seek to change or destroy. In addition, since one of the military’s most important missions is to safeguard the government, population, and territory of a given polity, terrorist attacks are an effective asymmetrical challenge to a nation’s security and military apparatus. Since it is unlikely that nonstate actors will develop the capacity to directly attack the United States with conventional military power, terrorism and guerilla tactics are likely to be their methods of choice, making terrorism a significant aspect of the long war.

The Future Development of Terrorism

During the 1990s, the world saw fewer incidents of terrorism year to year, but this decrease was offset by greater lethality.21 While counting terrorist acts and casualties is notoriously problematic, the number of attacks currently ongoing in Iraq and Afghanistan is unprecedented in both number and lethality. The future use of terrorism will, of course, depend on a great number of factors, and the end of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts may result in less terrorism. However, it is clear that terrorists can now accomplish more with less, and there is little tosuggest that this will change in the future. Instead, this study suggests that there is a high likelihood that a nonstate actor will gain access to biological or chemical weapons. Such weapons can cause vast numbers of casualties and create significant chaos. Other technological advancements or a creative application of current materials may also increase the lethality of terrorist attacks.

State sponsorship is a key factor in the capacity of organizations to undertake attacks. A state can be the vehicle for proliferating arms, training terrorists, and sharing more lethal technologies. Moreover, the same kind of asymmetric logic that leads terrorist organizations to use terrorism can also apply to states. A nation that feels threatened by more capable neighbors may seek to encourage and arm nonstate groups as proxies. So great is the capacity of states to influence and enhance an organization’s capabilities that state sponsorship should be considered a “force multiplier” that provides a nonstate actor with a range of different capabilities.22

It is unlikely that state sponsorship of terrorist groups will disappear because it is in the interest of many states to use proxies to harass a stronger foe. In addition, because of precedents set by both Persian Gulf wars, where international coalitions reversed an invasion and took preemptive action against a suspected threat, in the future states may decide to utilize proxies more often. These groups serve to obfuscate responsibility, allowing the sponsoring state to easily disassociate itself from the group’s actions.

There has also been an increase in collaboration among nonstate actors. While some of this may simply be a matter of access to resources rather than actual strategic and operational collaboration, there is evidence of the sharing of technology and tactics.23 Several factors might push these groups closer together: greater connectedness driven by technological advances; the rise of a charismatic leader; a perception of shared enemies, fortunes, or goals; an increased acceptability of a particular ideology, etc. An increased level of collaboration would likely herald more frequent and more significant attacks; such attacks could be coordinated to cause the most disruption possible. Examples of this could include a coordinated strike against energy or financial facilities in several countries.

Terror and the Long War

Understanding the way in which terrorism is used and how it interacts with other factors, most importantly ideology and governance, is key to the management of the long war.

The United States has formulated a counterterrorism strategy that acknowledges that the tactic itself is only part of the equation. This strategy asserts that the United States must confront terrorist leaders, their safe havens, and the underlying conditions encouraging extremism. 24 Yet, while recognizing the various means and ends that drive terrorist behavior, there is still a tendency in the military literature to describe the phenomenon of terrorism as a component that can be separated somehow from the overall security situation in the world. In other words, the focus on stopping the “phenomenon” of terrorism ignores the extensive social, economic, and political system in which state and nonstate actors exist. However, as part of a broader web of processes, terrorism becomes more than a dangerous tactic used by a few extreme groups and their state sponsors. It becomes a manifestation of the system and, as such, can have significant strategic impact; it becomes a method for influencing and altering regional and even global frameworks. For that reason, terrorism appears in a variety of different contexts.

Terrorism functions as a technique in state-on-state competition, as can be seen in Syria’s struggle with Israel vis-à-vis Hezbollah. Terrorism has the potential to directly affect the global economic system, as can be seen in the U.S. economic downturn post–September 11 and the increase in energy prices after attacks on Nigerian and Saudi Arabian oil production. Terrorist groups are funded by, and therefore provide customers for, drug traffickers and other smugglers. This can be seen in Afghanistan and the Tri-Border Area of South America.

Hence, the long war as a concept functions as recognition that these connections may require a different, more comprehensive strategy than the one articulated specifically for countering terrorism. It also recognizes that any strategy may take time to fully implement and register success. Moreover, because of the nature of terrorism and its effect on real and perceived security, this strategy may require the military to bring to bear capabilities that it once left solely to civilian agencies.

Terrorist tactics can be expected to be present, no matter which trajectory ultimately plays out. In some cases terrorism will be used against the U.S. forces or the U.S. homeland. In others the target will be other states, or even other nonstate actors. The strategic nature of the trajectories does not specify the exact type of terrorist attacks that will occur, but they may be widespread or isolated, low-tech or hightech, or anonymous or claimed depending on the exact situation. The increase in technology, the availability of materials, and the spread of knowledge create the potential for more numerous and more deadly attacks.


The QDR is concerned with several aspects of governance:

• its presence or nonpresence
• its quality
• the predisposition of governing bodies toward the United States and its interests.25

In terms of presence, the QDR recognizes that ungoverned zones constitute an environment where violent nonstate groups can establish sanctuaries. Ungoverned areas are also areas where authority and accountability are unpredictable and fluid. From a military standpoint, such regions can be difficult to manage, as actions taken to influence such an environment could have unforeseen consequences.

Quality refers to two aspects: the structure of governance found in a particular locale and its capabilities. For instance, the territory of Lebanon is controlled partially by that state’s government and partially by an independent nonstate organization. The territory is governed— just not entirely by one structure, i.e., a central, officially recognized, democratic government. The capabilities of that government, whatever it might be, are an important aspect in discussing the quality of governance. There is evidence to suggest that poor governance fuels, on some level, the discontent and the grievances that drive violent conflict.26 Thus, one could have a state with a central government that controls its territory, but the way this government functions gives rise to problems of consequence. This state could be massively corrupt, exploitative, or incompetent. The state could apply repressive techniques or prefer one ethnic or religious group over another. The rise of radicalism in places like Egypt in the 1990s or Pakistan at the present time are partially linked to issues of the quality of governance.27

The final component of governance with which the QDR is concerned is the disposition of governing bodies toward the United States and its interests. At first glance, this component seems relatively straightforward: the United States would obviously prefer governments that support American policies and interests. However, a deeper examination of this issue suggests that this priority may, in fact, contradict other goals regarding governance. States that are poorly governed, or incapable of governing their entire territory, may be allies of the United States. Governments that enact unwise or counterproductive policies with the potential to create conflict may be vital to the protection of American interests. The opposite may also apply. Well-governed, democratic states may not accede to U.S. wishes—Turkey in the recent Iraq war is an example of an American ally with strong and capable governance that refused to support U.S. aims. Thus, the need to encourage better, more effective, more widespread governance may in fact be counter to America’s interests—any discussion of promoting reform or other changes in governance should take this into account.

Table 2.2, introduced in Chapter Two, contains many of the ungoverned or poorly governed regions of the world that would be of concern to the United States. This list includes ungoverned areas that provide safe havens, such as parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as areas that suffer from poor governance, such as the Tri-Border Area of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, or southern Lebanon. These poorly governed areas may or may not contain safe havens threatening nonstate actors, but the problem of governance there can encourage illicit activities and recruitment.

Governance and the Long War

As noted in the QDR, the concept of governance—its presence, quality, and disposition—will play a major role in driving future conflicts in the long war. The way that governance interacts with and influences violent nonstate actors is of great importance to determining possible future developments in the long war.

However, governance is not an easy concept to unpack. For instance, poor governance can come about in many different ways. In a discussion of Somalia as a failed state, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner noted that:

Some so-called “failed states” have been torn asunder by civil war, others by external aggression. Some have foundered on unresolved conflicts based on clan or ethnicity; drought and grinding poverty have claimed still more. All have potential for destabilizing their neighbors.28

Since there are many different causes for poor or nonexistent governance, addressing these causes is equally multifaceted. It is not simply a matter of “good” or “bad” governance, but of how these different aspects of governance—presence, quality, and disposition—interact with violent nonstate actors, their ideology, and their actions.29

The issue of presence is perhaps the simplest to comprehend. When governance structures are nonexistent, a nonstate group may be left to pursue its own agenda. For instance, when Afghanistan descended into chaos after the 1988 Soviet withdrawal, a nascent al-Qaeda, made up of Arab and other non-Afghan extremists, was not interested in governing that state. Instead, the organization used this period of chaos to fortify its bases and to organize and train its fighters there. When a Pakistan-supported Taliban came to power, al-Qaeda maneuvered into alliance with and accommodation of the new government of Afghanistan. 30 Other regions suffer from problems of virtually nonexistent governance, including parts of the trans-Sahara and the Tri-Border Area in South America.

Another possibility is that the vacuum left by nonexistent governance may be filled by a nonstate group ready to exert its own authority. These nonstate groups can become de facto “states within a state,” as has occurred with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and the northern region of Somalia, Somaliland. Thus, the governance structure of the state becomes bifurcated, with a nonstate actor governing some part of the state’s territory and population.

These types of states have particular implications for the military and pose problems in reconstituting an effective governance structure. Take, for instance, the most famous of “states within a state,” Hezbollah. Not only did this guerilla group fight the modern, well-equipped Israeli army in the summer of 2006, preventing it from achieving its goals, but it has also maintained alliances and built a social services organization that allowed it to rebuild some of the infrastructure destroyed by Israeli bombing. When the nonstate group is more effective and responsive as a governing body than the central government, it can be difficult to amputate from the body politic. Thus, rather than destroying this entity, a strategy of co-optation, of generating and supporting alternatives, of targeting its popularity and appeal may be the best strategy to combat such a group.

Finally, poor governance has implications for the security of weapons of mass destruction. If a government in possession of WMD cannot maintain adequate control of its territory and does not have a monopoly on the legitimate use of force within its boundaries, a nonstate group with a particular agenda may take advantage of easy prey. In these cases, the military may need to take quick and decisive action when these groups pose a threat.

Kinetic operations of this type may be more difficult if a viable governance structure does exist in a country. The quality of governance is the issue in this scenario; these states may be thought of as undergoverned or ill-governed. They may also be termed “failed” or “failing,” depending on the interlocutor. A government may control its territory and its population through a viable security or military apparatus, but when it comes to providing effective governance, it may be weak and even widely viewed by its citizens as illegitimate.

For instance, in two of the countries mentioned earlier, Egypt and Pakistan, the central government is widely viewed as corrupt and incapable, and there are regions of the country where its power is not strongly felt. At the same time, the Pakistani and Egyptian military and security apparatuses are relatively functional and have been able either to resist the violence of nonstate actors or infiltrate their ranks.31 These states may not take kindly to foreign intervention, and if they do cooperate with American intelligence or military, there may be serious domestic repercussions. In these situations, where a government relies mainly on coercion to maintain power and its governance structures are weak or failing, there is a danger of collapse.

Thus, the implication for military action in a country with a weak and/or unstable government is different from that in a region with no governance at all. Instead of taking direct action, the United States may need to find ways to work through that state’s military and government. These methods could include typical efforts such as training, arms sales, and exchanges. However, the Army may also need to intervene by bolstering the host nation’s fighting strength or inserting military forces for discreet operations against a nonstate actor. Meanwhile, the military might also be prepared to intervene in the case of the collapse of that state’s government, particularly if there are nonstate actors present to take advantage of the situation.

Lastly, there is the question of disposition, or how a particular governance structure responds to and views American interests. From this perspective, a nonstate actor that effectively governs its territory, harbors no extreme elements, and poses no threat to American interests could be a perfectly suitable arrangement. This, in some ways, debunks the focus on “failed states” that is found in the QDR and other documents. An effective national government may not be plausible in some regions. Instead, the idea would be to find and support methods of governance that are stable, functional, and nonthreatening. Thus, the military may need to involve itself with several different types of governance structures and find ways to empower those structures that pose no threat to American interests.

Drivers of Governance

Some of the major assumptions of this study pose significant challenges for governance: globalization, access to limited WMD, and demographics in the developing world. Assuming that globalization continues apace, more societies and cultures will be touched by this transformative phenomenon, resulting in all of the associated economic and technological negatives and positives.32 Governments will face hard decisions on how to manage these changes, and will often not have control over the influences of globalization. Moreover, governments that make poor decisions, thus exacerbating the effects of economic and cultural dislocation and changing traditional structures, will face strong resistance from elements of their populations. The world has already witnessed such convulsions in Latin America and Asia, where anti-globalization governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Afghanistan have at times controlled the instruments of state. While these governments may provide suitable governance, they tend to reject the current international system and resist international norms. They often couple their anti-globalization to anti-Americanism, both undesirable to the United States. At the same time, in resisting the international economic system, these governments run the risk of causing significant economic damage to their populations.

There are some factors in globalization that may help provide better governance. As globalization can have the effect of helping states develop, increasing standards of living and generating revenue for the government, some states may find it possible to do more. Technological advances and the free flow of information may provide tools and opportunities for more effective and efficient governance.

Governance clearly plays a role in the access nonstate actors may gain to weapons of mass destruction. Governments must make policies and resources available for the protection of weapons caches. However, this does not always occur; governance in parts of a country may break down, a government may not have the resources to provide the necessary security, or a state might willfully allow nonstate actors access to these destructive weapons.

Demographics in the developing world will also pose issues for governance structures. Developing nations are growing rapidly, with large youth bulges. As these young people reach employment age, providing jobs and services will become increasingly more difficult. Governments will find their choices limited and civil unrest will likely increase in frequency, a situation that will only make societies more difficult to govern.

The prevalence of communications technology will allow the vast majority of the world’s population to see “how the other half is living.” This might happen despite the wishes of their governments. The censorship regimes of China and some other states are key to observe in this regard. This global perspective will make it harder for authoritarian regimes to convince their poor citizens that they should do without. This has the potential to create a great deal of civil unrest in authoritarian regimes, both good and bad. An example of this is the very recent fuel riots in Iran in response to fuel rationing by the regime.33



1 These transnational ideologies can also absorb, co-opt, or subvert the local goals of a particular group, making them all the more dangerous and difficult to contain. The U.S. Department of State publication, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, comments on this situation, “[Al-Qaeda] and its core leadership group represent a global action network that . . . links and exploits a wider, more nebulous community of regional, national, and local actors who share some of its objectives, but also pursue their own local agendas.”

2 Neo-Bolivarism is a new term to describe a relatively new phenomenon. According to a Google search, its first appearance on the web is in 2005, with the publication of a University of Miami occasional paper by Hernán Yanes, “The Cuba-Venezuela Alliance: ‘Emancipatory Neo-Bolivarismo’ or Totalitarian Expansion.” The term is used to describe the rise of socialist leaders in several Latin American countries in recent years: Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. Chavez in particular has used the name of Simon Bolivar, the 19th century Venezuelan leader of Latin American independence movements, to justify and legitimize his social programs.

3 Ayman al-Zawahiri has made comments about economic systems in several of his communiqués. Hugo Chavez consistently rails against the Western economic system.

4 The twelve factors include social, economic, and political indicators.

• Social indicators: mounting demographic pressures; massive movement of refugees or internally displaced persons creating complex humanitarian emergencies; legacy of vengeance-seeking group grievance or group paranoia; chronic and sustained human flight.
• Economic indicators: uneven economic development along group lines; sharp and/or severe economic decline.
• Political indicators: criminalization and/or delegitimization of the state; progressive deterioration of public services; suspension or arbitrary application of the rule of law and widespread violation of human rights; security apparatus operates as a “state within a state;” rise of factionalized elites; intervention of other states or external political actors.

5 For a full list of all the states rated by the Failed States Index, visit the Fund for Peace website.

6 One of the best studies of the development of violent extremism in Egypt is Kepel (1986).

7 Prominent Egyptians involved in the guerilla war against the Soviet Union included Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mohammed Shawky al-Istambouli, and Muhammad Ibrahim al- Makkawi. See Compass Media, “Arab Veterans of Afghanistan War Lead New Islamic Holy War,” October 28, 1994. For an “insider’s” look at the genesis of the Afghan Arab movement, see Abdallah Anas, Wiladat (2002).

8 For a more nuanced view on “warlordism” and the history of Afghanistan’s violent groups, see Schetter et al. (2007).

9 This has occurred in other states in the region as well. For instance, Saudi Arabia is a relatively stable entity, but its Wahhabist ideology has strongly influenced Salafi-jihadism.

10 Ibrahim (1996).

11 Fuller (2003), Ibrahim (1980), Saudi Arab News (2005), and CCISS (2006).

12 See Human Rights Watch (2006), National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (2004) p. 374, and Ahmed (2007).

13 Army Brigadier General John Custer commented in a CBS interview, “Without a doubt, the Internet is the single most important venue for the radicalization of Islamic youth.” See Pelley (2007) and Awan (2007).

14 Carrie Rosefsky Wickham makes an excellent point about what she terms “grievancebased” explanations of Islamic activism. While acknowledging that such explanations have some weight, she also brings up a salient point about the other important aspect of these organizations—mobilization. She writes, “Grievance-based explanations of Islamic activism are not wrong, but they are incomplete. Even under the most extreme conditions of human misery and exploitation, the emergence of collective protest is not assured . . . to mobilize citizens into politics, it is not sufficient for movement leaders to tap into preexisting discontents; they must also generate motivations, resources, and opportunities for collective action.” See Rosefsky Wickham (2002), pp. 6–8.

15 This can be seen in the case of Salafi-jihadism, where Egypt’s crackdown in the 1960s and 1970s drove leaders of Salafi-jihadist cells out of the country. This may have reduced violence in Egypt, but it did not destroy the ideology. These individuals moved their operations to Afghanistan, and after the end of the Afghanistan war, they returned to Egypt in the 1990s and a new round of violence ensued. Again, Egypt responded with a crackdown and jailed many leaders of the Salafi-jihadist groups Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya. These actions reduced the level of violence in Egypt but did little to rid the region of the ideology.

16 Creating a safe physical base from which to expand has been a key component of several expansionist ideologies.

17 The London underground attacks on July 7, 2005, and the murder of Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam on November 2, 2004, point to a Salafi-jihadist penetration of Muslim communities in Europe. The letter left behind by van Gogh’s murderer, Muhammad Bouyeri, clearly indicates a predilection for Salafi-jihadist ideology. See Nesser (2006). To learn more about North American Salafi-jihadist networks, see Gunaratna (2002).

18 These studies include Jenkins (2007a, 2007b) and Hoffman (1993, 1998, 2003).

19 National Counterterrorism Center (2006a, 2006b).

20 Kellen (1982).

21 Hoffman (1999), pp. 7–38.

22 Hoffman (1999), pp. 7–38.

23 The change of the Algerian organization Groupe Salafist pour la Prédication et le Combat (GSPC) into a manifestation of al-Qaeda under the new name “The Organization of al Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb” (AQIM) has received a great deal of attention. This shift can be viewed as a change in strategy, but many analysts view the change as originating more out of desperation for funds and resources than a real affinity for al-Qaeda’s goals and mission. It remains to be seen whether this shift will result in greatly increased coordination between groups in various parts of the world. For a good review of this change, see Kennedy Boudali (2007). For a view on migration of tactics and techniques, see Jane’s Terrorism and Security Monitor (2007).

24 See testimony by Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton (2005).

25 Department of Defense, “Quadrennial Defense Review Report” (2006), pp. 32, 90. The QDR mentions governance with respect to states and nonstate actors at a couple junctures. The most salient comment for the purposes of our discussion is: “Assistance in today’s environment relies on the ability to improve states’ governance, administration, internal security and the rule of law in order to build partner governments’ legitimacy in the eyes of their own people and thereby inoculate societies against terrorism, insurgency and non-state threats.”

26 Carol Lancaster, a professor at Georgetown and former administrator at USAID, argues that “Terrorist grievances are often over land, assets, or other resources—in essence, who should control them. Grievances can also be over values—for example, the perception that an ethnic, religious, or political organization is encroaching on others’ rights or that a society is flawed in some fundamental way and must be reformed.” The control and disposition of resources and the organization of society are essentially under the purview of governance. See Lancaster (2003).

27 See Hafez and Wiktorowicz (2004, pp. 61–88), and Belt (2007, pp. 32–59).

28 Kansteiner (2002).

29 The State Department’s publication, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, designates ungoverned, undergoverned, and ill-governed territories as “terrorist safe havens.” While this designation clearly implicates governance as a component of any struggle against terrorist organizations, there is no attempt to further define these terms. See U.S. Department of State (2007).

30 For a review of Afghanistan’s past and present, see Rubin (2007).

31 A review of the military and security services in Pakistan and Egypt by Daniel L. Byman in his book, Going to War With the Allies You Have: Allies, Counterinsurgency, and the War on Terrorism, suggests that these institutions are badly in need of reform, suffering from corruption, poor training, and insufficient equipment. At the same time, both have managed to fend off threats to the governing regime. In Egypt, this occurred in the 1990s, when Egyptian security services eventually prevailed over two Egyptian terrorist organizations, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya. In Pakistan, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has rounded up a number of al-Qaeda agents over the past few years. See Byman (2005, p. 16), Gerges (2000, pp. 592–612), and Belokrenitsky (2003, pp. 5–7).

32 For a general discussion of the consequences of globalization and its effects on national security, see Kirshner (2006).

33 See BBC News (2007) and associated stories.
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:11 am

APPENDIX B: The Use of Civilizational Conflict When Describing the Long War

The topic of civilizational conflict, both globally and within specific regions of the world, is often used when discussing current events in the Middle East and describing the long war. Samuel Huntington’s 1993 article, originally published in Foreign Affairs, describes his post– Cold War view of the world that revolves around cultural clashes rather than ideological tensions:

It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be battle lines of the future. (Huntington, 1993)

The civilizations at work in his view of the world, and in subsequent extensions of the framework to other potential interpretations, have formed the bases for arguments both in support of and against the existence and emergence of larger, escalatory conflicts among disparate groups. Huntington’s discussion forms around eight (plus a possible ninth) civilizations that he describes as defining the predominant unifiers of people: Western, Latin American, Islamic, Sinic, Hindu, Orthodox, Buddhist and Japanese, and the possible ninth, African. In his formulation, cultural organization of groups replaces the classical notion of states as the locus of war.1

The assumptions surrounding the arguments rely on a coalescence of motivations that solidify otherwise previously differently oriented groups of people. Examples include not only those espoused by Huntington, but various forms of Christian versus Muslim, Arab versus Persian, and other religious and ideological interpretations of civilizations. The debate still rages on whether the construct, as ill-defined as it may be, really is something new or just a rehash of old international relations theories (Rubenstein and Crocker, 1994).

Considerable work has gone into deconstructing the monolithic nature of Huntington’s argument. As examples, discussants have pursued intra-Islamic cooperation and conflict to show the variety of players, motives, and reactions that makes a high-order civilizational coalescence not possible. Dyads such as Iran and Saudi Arabia and Iraq and Turkey (Hunter, 1998) have been used to explain the cultural mosaic of Islamic countries (Said, 2001).

Empirical testing of the hypothesis has also had difficulty identifying increasing conflicts between Islam and democracy (Midlarsky, 1998) and deconflicting increases between Western and Islamic civilizations and civilizational forms of conflict or Islamic involvement in civilizational ethnic conflict since the end of the Cold War (Fox, 2001). Along similar lines, Russett, Oneal, and Cox (2000) found historically well-known realist and liberal variables of conflict, and not civilizations, as the determinants of cooperation and conflict.

Others have argued forcefully that the civilizational construct is neither an accurate nor a useful description of the future and that the utility of the concept for planning purposes is inappropriate and useless and, perhaps, only provides “justification for ugly thoughts and uglier deeds” (Ikenberry et al., 1997). The events of 9/11 have been linked to the resurrection of the warm debates concerning Huntington’s argument (Abrahamian, 2002), since Islam was the practiced religion of the attackers on that day.

In the description presented elsewhere in this report of the various groups and objectives within Islamic entities, we ran into similar problem of uncovering some unifying ideology to link them. Nonetheless, the alignment along sectarian, nationalistic, ethnic, and other lines is a theme within the construct of the long war, and there are many events that might precipitate that alignment. Despite this, it might fall short of a civilizational struggle and perhaps be more akin to opportunistic objective sharing than ideologically or civilizationally motivated coherence. One recent example of a spark that garnered widespread support within the Muslim world was the now infamous Danish cartoons.

In late 2005 the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons depicting interpretations of Mohammad. The eventual reproduction of the cartoons in papers around the world sparked reaction and violence in multiple countries. This event motivated Islamic groups around the world to protest through rallies in diverse countries and boycotts of Danish products. The individual acts escalated to the country level— Iran and Saudi Arabia issued bans on consumer goods imported from Denmark. On the economic side, the unrest caused by the cartoons was implicated in many large-scale deals between countries, and there was estimated a 7.5 billion kroner damage (approximately US$1.4 billion) to the country (Allagui, 2006).

The eventual effect of the Danish cartoons in rallying people around the world for some cause is an example of an event that might precipitate a more collective movement among extremist elements. For example, a call to arms from a charismatic religious leader or polarizing stance from a non-Islamic leader, such as the Catholic Pope, could provide the impetus for a similar grass-roots upheaval within the Islamic world. As well, political events within the Middle East could also exacerbate ideological, racial, and ethnic divisions. An increasingly significant Iranian involvement in Iraq or other states could provide the motivation for escalating sectarian violence in other parts of the region.

Civilizational Conflict and the Long War

From the standpoint of this project, futures of large-scale or wholly coalesced civilizational clashes being borne out of the current threats are of extremely low probability. Alignment of disparate ideologies, fomented by poor governance and other motives, is an extrapolation of current events, even though a great many other factors would need to come about for the straight-line projection to be realized. Nonetheless, the tenets of ideology, governance, and individual and group acts of violence entail at least recognition of the similarity between the civilizational construct and the confluence of GTI. Table B.1 has the breakdown of specific wars, primary adversaries, potential goals, and challenges and drawbacks for the civilizational construct. (See Table 2.1 for a similar breakdown for governance, terrorism, and ideology as developed within this report.)

While trajectories in this report have similarities to a larger, more concerted civilizational-style conflict, the expectation for a civilizational conflict is quite low and perhaps more opportunistic than the pure case. For instance, the “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” trajectory has some of the higher-order features of a civilizational conflict. Sectarian violence and escalation of tensions within the Middle East have been well studied as events in Iraq have unfolded. Violence between different sects of Islam, most notably the Sunni and Shia brands, has been watched closely in relation to other conflicts within the region.2 The trajectory, however, falls short of the theoretical “civil war” within Islam.

Table B.1: Civilizational Construct for the Long War


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

Civilizational / Islamic world -- China (?) / Expansionist non-Western civilizations / Containment -- Advancement of Western civilization / Alienates large parts of the world -- Incites conflict unnecessarily -- May exclude non- Islamic threats (?) -- May require very large military -- Not “long,” but unending

An escalation of the Sunni-Shia conflict across borders would assume that sectarian identification becomes more fundamental and persistent to identification over regional, ethnic, or nationalistic identifiers (Gurr, 1994). The opposite claim can be made as well, and might rely on historical or practical interpretations of opportunism:

The risk of a regional Shiite-Sunni war is modest. The region has endured many civil wars: Algeria, Lebanon, Oman, Oakuistan, Yemen. While some have drawn in outsiders, none has led to war among those outsiders. Such meddlers tend to seek advantage in their neighbors’ civil wars, not to spread them, which is why they rely on proxies to do their fighting. (Simon and Takeyh, 2007)

Figure B.1: Breakdown of Sunni and Shia Majorities from Northern Africa to Indonesia
RAND MG738-B.1

For the purposes of this report, the probability and potentiality of some full-scale or concerted Sunni-Shia civil war is left to future debate and analysis. Rather, the “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” trajectory addresses the escalation of the current sectarian violence to other areas of the Muslim world, but certainly short of a civilizational conflict.

There are many problems inherent in viewing the current situation as on a path to a civilizational conflict, even beyond the lack of empirical data to support such an assertion. Indeed, policies adopted to “combat” an assumed civilizational conflict could end up creating that very situation. In the wake of U.S. operations in the Middle East, already-existing tensions could be exacerbated by official rhetoric on the subject that would provide the motivation for leaders to prey upon. In addition, if the civilizational conflict construct had not coalesced to date, the use of the term by some authority could legitimize an otherwise fringe element.

While we might suspend disbelief that some far-off future holds a more coalesced “Us versus Them” (Kalin, 2001) alignment, the emergence of a civilizational conflict remains unimportant in terms of discussing the long war in the timeline we are interested in. Thus, we do not consider it a major component of current or future states of the long war.



 1 Various other authors in the international relations literature have debated the dissolution of the state systems and the validity of claims of escalation of fragmentation of the state system. See, for example, Gurr (1994).

2 Nasr (2007, pp. 9–13).
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:18 am

APPENDIX C: Interpreting the Influence Diagram

In this section the influence diagram shown in Figures C.1 and C.2 is developed more slowly. A description of the boxes added in each step is given to describe in more detail the relationships that are covered by the diagram.

Figure C.1: Influence Diagram: Stage 1
RAND MG738-C.1

Stage 1, illustrated in Figure C.1, shows the seven direct influences on the threat of the Salafi-jihadists that were identified. We now describe each, starting at about one o’clock and moving clockwise.

The effectiveness of the leadership of the Salafi-jihadist groups is the first factor. These people need to be able to maintain some degree of control, aid in recruitment, set goals, and be a key part of the organization’s external image. The effectiveness of the leadership group is also a key influence on the number of recruits available. Within this concept is the group’s ability to adapt to change and learn from its mistakes and successes.

The number of recruits available to the group is important in conducting tasks/missions. These may range from single-person operations, suicide bombings, or IED attacks to guerilla attacks to conventional attacks. All of these tasks require people to perform them.

The availability of funds allows organizations to purchase equipment, pay/bribe officials, conduct training, and carry out a host of other activities. The more funds the organization has, the more operations and the more threatening operations it is likely to be able to fund, and hence the greater its threat.

As the lethality of the terrorists grows, the threat from individual attacks increases. Even if the number of attacks can be controlled, the widely expected increase in lethality of individuals adds to the threat posed by the group.

To conduct training, organize recruiting, and manage operations, a group requires bases, often referred to as safe havens. These bases are most effective if they are not under constant threat of attack from U.S. or other forces. The al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan prior to the U.S.-led toppling of the Taliban were a significant factor. This training includes both externally supported and driven training, and internally driven lessons learned and growth within the organization. The latter is a subject of increasing interest within the research community.

International legitimacy is a key component of the threat of Salafijihadism. A group that has international legitimacy has a great many more strategies available to it and is less vulnerable to missteps. Additionally, U.S. action against such a group is likely to have at least some negative consequences.

Finally, the training, logistical, tactical, and other information a group is able to receive from other terrorist organizations is important. Whether this is the construction of more effective IEDs or the development of effective terror tactics, these relationships are important. Organizations need not share common ideologies, as they may have other incentives to cooperate. This sort of exchange of information could be especially important in developing effective leadership.

Beyond these seven initial factors is an ever-increasing set of new influencers. Figure C.2 illustrates some of these second-order factors. Starting at the same point as on the previous diagram, we see that the “number of students in radical Islamic schools” is a key factor in determining both the effectiveness of the leadership, since this is a likely source of leaders, and the general number of recruits.

The number of recruits is also affected by the degree of anger felt by people against the West, the number of unemployed, and the number of people severely angered by local issues. These sorts of people probably do not (at least initially) share the Salafi-jihadist ideology but make up many of the available recruits.

Additionally, the number of recruits is driven by the seen level of illegitimacy of the governments of Muslim countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The final, and important, driver for the number of recruits is the number of people who don’t belong to Salafi-jihadist organizations, but who are willing to turn a blind eye to activities or provide passive support. In the illustration these people are termed passive supporters. These people can also provide safe havens.

The funds provided to the groups are sourced from a large number of areas, including criminal activities and donations by individuals and states, as well as existing, often abundant, funds. Passive supports aid in gaining donations, especially from individuals, by either donating themselves or seeking others to donate through questionable charities. Technically this link is a third-order linkage, but this only refers to its distance from the center, not its level of importance.

Figure C.2: Influence Diagram: Stage 2
RAND MG738-C.2

The lethality of the terrorists depends on their ability to obtain nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons and also the general level of proliferation of other weapons. The threat posed by nuclear weapons has been separated from other WMD because of the perceptions associated with the use of this type of weapon and the increased difficulties in obtaining them.

Figure C.3 illustrates the remaining second-order influences.

Figure C.3: Influence Diagram: Nearly Complete
RAND MG738-C.3

Safe havens may be provided by state sponsors, who must be powerful enough to resist international pressure to remove them. They may also occur in lawless regions of states where the central authority has very little power or where the cost of acting is greater than the benefits (such as potentially in Pakistan). Additionally, failed states that have no effective government are potential safe havens. This is in addition to the smaller types of safe havens likely to be provided by passive supporters. If these passive supporters form a large enough community, then the community may be able to provide limited safe havens against the wishes of weak governments.

The level of international legitimacy of the threat organizations is driven by their political involvement in various processes. The inclusion of groups in peace talks can be a double-edged sword in this regard, and so for the purposes of this diagram only non-peace political interactions have been included.

The illegitimate actions by the United States can also be seen as legitimizing the organizations.

The ability of the Salafi-jihadists to benefit from support from other terrorist organizations relies on their ability to communicate with these organizations. Additionally, there must be some shared benefit in the collaboration represented by the unity of terror groups worldwide. The other terror groups must also have the resources and capability to be of assistance.

Further expanding the analysis yields additional factors, illustrated in Figure C.4.

First, we note that the number of these passive supporters is driven in part by the effectiveness of the leadership and the level of legitimacy of the organizations. The elements “closest to” passive supporters capture much of the ideological aspect of the issue.

Related to this is the support provided by wealthy Muslims and states (such as Saudi Arabia and some of its citizens) to radical Islamic schools, which they rely upon for their survival. These donations are often motivated by religious convictions and the degree of anger/frustration with the West.

In the bottom right, groups with the potential to overthrow governments and establish governments that are likely to pose a threat should themselves be considered a threat.

Extra linkages are developed between the power of state sponsors and the proliferation of weapons, both of mass destruction and not.

Figure C.4: Influence Diagram: Complete
RAND MG738-C.4

Additionally, a link between state sponsors and donations by state sponsors is an obvious connection.

Nonstate sponsors who might choose to proliferate WMD, such as North Korea, are also important factors in the potential for these groups to obtain these sorts of weapons. While these states might not support the goals of the Salafi-jihadists, their willingness to export WMD increases the risk of such groups obtaining them.

The existence of anti-U.S./anti-Western governments that might in turn support states that support terrorism is a significant factor in the power of these states. Should a new superpower develop, its relationship with the state supporters/sponsors would be crucial.

Finally, the number of failing states directly leads to the number of failed states.

Such an analysis can be expanded further. The one presented here is not meant as a complete analysis and has been artificially limited by the size of PowerPoint slides.

A more complex representation could also be developed by allowing for feedback loops, as in traditional influence diagrams. However, this representation captures many of the main issues in a relatively simple format.
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:22 am

APPENDIX D: Relating Long War Strategies to Grand Strategies

Grand Strategies

An important consideration for the use and implications of the various long war strategies shown above is how these different strategies could fit into a larger grand strategy that the U.S. military might have to accommodate. For the purposes of this report, we use the term “grand strategy” to be the integrating guidance for the use of DIME means to pursue a state’s ultimate objectives in an international system.1 The descriptions of these grand strategies relate to overall foreign policies adopted throughout history within the United States, with a focus more on the military implications of those policies. The distinction between foreign policies and grand strategies has been discussed elsewhere.2

Grand strategies for the U.S. military are set at the national level. While the Army does not control this policy, the effects of a choice in grand strategy should be understood in terms of the environment in which it works. Therefore, the choices the Army does make, whether they involve force readiness, capabilities, personnel, or other choices under its belt, should include some consideration of the alignment and applicability to overall grand strategies it expects to be working under. To that end, comparing potential future U.S. grand strategies with potential U.S. strategies for prosecuting the long war will be important.

In this appendix, we describe six potential grand strategies as gleaned from the literature. We also consider their consistency with the long war strategies described elsewhere in this report.


This grand strategy entails a focus on homeland security and a major reduction in our overseas military commitments and alliance obligations. The United States would pursue security relationships with friendly states on a largely ad hoc basis. Quick strikes against major terror targets would be launched periodically through the use of temporary access to foreign bases.

The United States would largely rely on its economic, diplomatic, and ideational power to influence the international environment— much as it did during the 1920s. The Navy would become the most important and well-funded service; the United States would also work hard to ensure its continued preeminence in space.

Offshore Balancing

This is the first of the two classical realist options. It holds that the United States would seek to preserve rough balances of power in the two or three most critical regions of the world (e.g., Europe, the Persian Gulf, Northeast Asia) by using standoff measures (aircraft carriers, long-range air power), arms sales, and loose alliance structures to support status quo states against aspiring hegemons. Certain regional allies would be used as proxies in the long war. The Nixon Doctrine of the early 1970s is a good analogue to this option.

Selective Engagement.

This is another realist option. It is more ambitious than offshore balancing. Here the United States elects to become deeply engaged in the critical regions chosen in the option above. This engagement includes the forward positioning of significant ground and air forces and the formation of tight alliance structures.

Cooperative Security

This is the liberal internationalist option. It holds that the United States should work with other Western states to enforce a set of liberal norms for international behavior (i.e., genocide will not be permitted anywhere, etc.) Humanitarian relief and peacekeeping missions would become commonplace for the United States and relations with the UN would deepen. Strategic interests would take a back seat to efforts to “do good” in the world. Under this grand strategy a U.S. military intervention in Darfur would be far more likely than an Operation Iraqi Freedom–style regime change operation against a rogue state. Efforts to stop WMD proliferation everywhere would be intense in this world but would be conducted largely through multilateral diplomacy, sanctions, and short sets of precision air strikes, rather than through massive applications of military power.

Pursue Primacy

This is the strategy of preventing any conceivable peer competitor from rising anywhere in the world. It also aims to project American power throughout all regions of the world with the assertive use of military and diplomatic power and the enforcement of free trade agreements. This is essentially a Pax Americana strategy.

Primacy Plus

This is a strategy of pursuing primacy and having a declared policy of military preemption against any perceived threat to the United States, from terrorist groups to rogue states to potential near peer competitors. Accompanying the preemption policy would be an effort to impose Western democracy throughout the world.

Consistency Among Long War Strategies and Grand Strategies

Each of the pure long war strategies described above can be more or less compatible with each of the grand strategies. That is, since the long war is only part of the U.S. national strategy, any long war strategy pertaining to U.S. actions will need to be in line with or at least not in conflict with any particular overall policy doctrine set forth at the national level. For the purposes of this section, we do not provide any rigorous analysis of consistency; rather, we look on the surface and note that some grand strategies are “consistent,” others are “somewhat consistent,” and still others “not consistent.”

There are uses for such an exercise. First, the strategy has not been explicitly set on how the military will combat this long war as it unfolds. Past and current operations, as well as previous policy statements (such as those in the QDR, NSS, and other official documents) may not stand, and new strategies will not be crafted in isolation from other aspects of national concern. Thus, as events unfold and changes are made in what the military needs to consider and prepare for, an articulation of potential strategies based on other strategies is necessary.

Also, actions associated with this long war need to fit into higher-order U.S. policies, or at least not be in conflict with what the United States stands for. A broad look across the grand strategies possible may help facilitate discussions on how individual actions within the military might play out on larger overall goals of the United States. It should be noted that inconsistency among grand and long war strategies may not preclude actions being taken.

Table D.1 shows how each strategy fared against the others. Some of the long war strategies are more compatible across the grand strategies. For instance, “Divide and Rule,” which selectively exploits fault lines among disparate groups, is consistent across most grand strategies. Likewise, certain grand strategies, such as “Selective Engagement,” are consistent across a larger number of the long war strategies we developed earlier.

The color coding in Table D.1 is open for interpretation, and while we have justification for these values, a more lengthy discussion may uncover nuances or rationale for alternative codings. To the extent that this type of critical thinking advances how the U.S. leadership might envision the larger efforts ongoing in U.S. foreign policy, or how U.S. Army leadership might envision their role as part of the larger U.S. foreign policy system, the framework is useful.

Table D.1: Compatibility of U.S. Grand Strategies (in the Rows) and Potential Long War Strategies (in the Columns)
KEY: White = consistent, medium gray = somewhat consistent, black = not consistent.



1 For example, see Kennedy (1991) for a general discussion of the topic among various authors, and Biddle (2005) for a discussion of post–9/11 American grand strategies.

2 Luttwak (1987).
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:26 am

APPENDIX E: Location of Oil and Natural Gas Resources

In the near future, and throughout the timeline considered by this project, the economies of the industrialized states will continue to rely heavily on oil, thus making it a strategically important resource. The United States, as well as other industrialized states, therefore has an interest in maintaining stability and good relations with countries that produce oil. Much of this oil is, and will continue to be, produced in the Middle East and the former Soviet Republics. The United States and other states therefore have motive for maintaining stability in and good relations with Middle Eastern states.

Nearly 62 percent of proven1 oil reserves are located in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia accounts for the largest portion of that (about 36 percent) along with Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait making up about 15 percent of the proven reserves in the region. Kazakhstan and Russia account for a combined 10 percent of world proven reserves. Figure E.1 shows the breakdown by percentage across both natural gas and oil reserves. The natural gas proven reserves follow similar to the oil, with the exception that the largest region of natural gas development is in Russia.

The geographic area of proven oil reserves coincides with the power base of much of the Salafi-jihadist network. This creates a linkage between oil supplies and the long war that is not easily broken or simply characterized. Oil sales will continue to finance much of what occurs in the Middle East—be it good, bad, or somewhere in between.

Figure E.1: Proven Reserves for Natural Gas and Oil
NOTE: Total natural gas estimated at 181,000 cubic meters; total oil reserves estimated at 1,200 billion barrels. (British Petroleum, 2007)
RAND MG738-E.1

Of the alternative sources of energy, none can currently compete with oil on a cost basis. Although the development of new technology may help change this in the future, such a breakthrough does not appear to be within the time horizon of this study. The use of alternative fuel sources and increased efficiency of use may somewhat alleviate the U.S. dependence on oil, but it will not remove (and may not even reduce) it in the short or medium term. Thus, the United States will continue to benefit from a stable and nonhostile Middle East.

Disruptions from internal unrest, market forces, and individual incidents associated with oil and gas infrastructure are known (see Figure E.2) and will continue to be applicable to future planning for contingencies.

Figure E.2: Disruptions in Oil Production
NOTE: Scale is shown in millions of barrels per day per total world production, normalized to “Nigeria Unrest” = 1. The numbers to the right of the bars are the total duration (in months) of the disruption. (Energy Information Administration, 2007)
RAND MG738-E.2

For the foreseeable future, world oil production growth and total output will be dominated by Persian Gulf resources (see Figure E.3). The region will therefore remain a strategic priority, and this priority will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war.

Figure E.3: World Oil Production Projections Shown in Millions of Barrels per Day
NOTE: The breakdown is mature market economies (purple: United States is about half of this category, with Western Europe, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand comprising the remainder), transitional (red: former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe), emerging (yellow: China is about 25 percent, also includes Asia, Middle East, Africa, South America, and Central America), and OPEC (light blue). The breakdown between Persian Gulf (PG) and other OPEC is for the 2025 projection only. (Energy Information Administration, 2007)
RAND MG738-E.3



1 Numbers taken from British Petroleum (2007). “Proven” reserves entail geologic or engineering support for the sources to be extractable under existing economic and operating conditions.
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:33 am

APPENDIX F: Demographic Trends and Factors

Demographic trends and factors—including low fertility rates in Europe, migrant and refugee flows from the Middle East, an increase in the percentage of youth in Middle Eastern countries, the changing ethnic and sectarian composition of some regions of the Middle East, natural resource constraints, and the spread of radical Islam—will play a important role in the long war as it unfolds. It is useful to understand how demography will shape the course of this struggle and what the implications of demographic trends and factors are for Army operations, doctrine, and acquisition strategy. This short section will try to frame the issue of demography in the long war, albeit at a very high level.

European Demographics

One of the more important demographic trends affecting the long war lies not in the Middle East, but in Europe. Virtually all of America’s key NATO allies have low fertility rates, stagnant or declining total populations, and rapidly growing numbers of elderly citizens. Great Britain’s fertility rate1 is 1.7, France’s is 1.9, and Germany’s is a stunningly low 1.3.2 Germany’s current population of 82 million will decline to 75 million in 2050.3 These low fertility profiles in Europe may affect U.S. allies’ ability and willingness to deploy military forces alongside those of the United States in expeditionary operations in the long war.

This decline is not unique to Europe and will occur in some countries such as Japan. Immigration to the United States from Mexico and Central America may limit these effects on the U.S. population, although it will change the demographics of the United States in its own way.

Europe faces a similar decline in population growth in its traditional ethnic groups. In Europe’s case, most immigration is from Islamic countries. This has the potential to change the ethnic/religious nature of Europe, which may affect its role in prosecuting the long war in the longer term.


Migrant and refugee flows also impact the stability of the Middle East. Some of the flows originating in the Middle East move into Europe and East Asia, where they have security implications as well. The longest standing migration factor in the long war is the presence of about 4.3 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, other Middle Eastern countries, and Europe.4 These are people who fled Mandate Palestine after the Israeli victories in the 1948 and 1967 Middle Eastern wars. The living conditions of these refugees vary across countries. In Jordan, the Palestinians are well integrated into society and some have high income levels. On the other hand, in Lebanon the Palestinian refugee population of 400,000 is kept in refugee camps and is barred from entering Lebanese society. The right of return for this large Palestinian diaspora is a complicating factor in the Middle East peace process.

Another trend affecting security is the flow of migrants from the Middle East, Persian Gulf, South Asia, and North Africa into other regions. Long-standing immigration flows from North Africa, Turkey, and Pakistan into Western Europe have created a large Muslim diaspora within which radical terrorist groups can find a haven as well as some sympathy. Close to 10 percent of France’s population is Muslim, and about 1.5–2 million Muslims reside in the United Kingdom. The Muslim community in France is largely composed of Algerians and Moroccans, while that in the United Kingdom is made up mainly of Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants and their children. Recent public opinion polling indicates that some European Muslim populations sympathize at least somewhat with the plight of the terrorists in their use of terrorism against the West and its interests.5

Youth Bulges in the Middle East

Youth bulges in the Arab world and Pakistan are significant at many levels. In Saudi Arabia, fully 40 percent of the population is under 15, while in the Palestinian Territories that figure rises to an astonishing 46 percent. Similar youth bulges exist in Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq. Figure F.1 shows the population pyramid for Saudi Arabia. These countries still maintain high fertility rates at a time when improving public health measures like clean drinking water and vaccinations for children are reducing infant mortality. Fertility rates are starting to decline in much of the Middle East and Persian Gulf. Iran, for example, has substantially decreased its fertility rate over the past decade with an ambitious national family planning program. As a result, it is fair to say that by 2025, the youth bulge problem in the Middle East will begin to ease.

Figure F.1: Saudi Arabia’s Youth Bulge (Projected for 2025)
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base.
RAND MG738-F.1

The Middle Eastern youth bulge puts pressure on conservative Sunni regimes like Egypt and Saudi Arabia that are allies of the United States in the long war. These regimes, which are not efficient providers of services in the first place, have to contend with great demand for primary and secondary education, children’s health care, transportation infrastructure, and entry-level jobs. In general, they are not able to meet these demands, and the result is a high level of social frustration that can be exploited by radical Islamists. The security forces of these regimes have been effective in preventing real insurgencies from developing in these countries, but the regimes have been unable to keep radical Islamists from gaining significant social and ideological power in these states.

This youth bulge problem also confronts Iran. Iran’s large youth population also strains the country’s resources and, by all accounts, favors political reform and social liberalization. However, the hard-line Islamists associated with the Ahmadinejad regime have so far been able to deter Iran’s liberal youth from taking to the streets in large numbers to demand change.6

Sectarian Composition

Ethnic/sectarian composition is also a major demographic issue in parts of the Middle East. Israel and the Palestinian Territories is a particular case. Palestinian fertility rates are higher than Jewish ones and, absent any major new migration of Jews into Israel from other countries, the demographic balance between Israel and the Palestinians will shift in favor of the Palestinians over time. Today, the best estimates are that there are 6.8 million people in Israel while the Palestinian Territories host around 3.5 million. However, at least 1 million residents of Israel are Palestinians, so the current balance between Jews and Palestinians in Mandate Palestine is roughly about 5.8 million to 4.5 million.

Lebanon is another flashpoint in terms of sectarian composition. The Shiite population is growing more rapidly than the Christian and Sunni Muslim populations, which is straining Lebanon’s sectarian apportionment political system, a system that has been in place since the 1930s. Increasing Shiite political aspirations are heavily driven by the changing demographic realities of Lebanon, and they have helped support the rise of Hezbollah as a force in national politics.

Additionally, the sectarian violence in Iraq has exacerbated tensions specifically along the Shiite-Sunni fault lines that exist in many Muslim countries.7 Tensions have risen noticeably in Muslim countries where the Shiites comprise 10 percent or more of the total population. These include Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria, and Bahrain. 8 In the last country mentioned, Shiites are a strong majority of the total population.

Radicalization Spreading

The flow of former guest workers in the Persian Gulf countries back to their home states of the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Pakistan is not well understood. There is some anecdotal evidence that small percentages of these returning guest workers embraced radical Islam during their time in the Persian Gulf and are eager to spread violent jihad in their home countries once they get settled and have the time to establish networks of like-minded individuals.

A small percentage of these guest workers come to embrace radical Wahhabism while employed in Saudi Arabia or the Gulf states and, when they return to their home countries, they either attempt to spread the message of radical Islam or attempt to use violence against their home governments in the name of jihad. In the Philippines, for example, one of the more violent jihadist groups operating today, the Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM), is a small group of former guest workers in Saudi Arabia who have vowed to launch a jihad in their home country similar to that being conducted by the Abu Sayyaf Group (International Crisis Group, 2005b).



1 Total fertility rates (TFR) are based on the average number of children born to a woman during her lifetime. For comparison, U.S. fertility rates are 2.0 versus a world fertility rate of 2.7. In a country like the United States, a TFR of 2.1 produces replacement-level fertility; values less than 2.1 indicate a shrinking population. In a country with high mortality such as Sierra Leone, replacement-level fertility would require a TFR greater than 3 (McFalls, 2003).

2 Population Reference Bureau, 2004 World Population Data Sheet, Washington, D.C., 2005.

3 Population Reference Bureau, 2004 World Population Data Sheet, Washington, D.C., 2005.

4 Specifically, there are 2.7 million Palestinians in Jordan, 400,000 in Lebanon, 400,000 in Syria, 500,000 spread across the rest of the Middle East, and 300,000 in Europe and other Western countries. See McCarthy and Nichiporuk (2005, p. 76).

5 An ICM poll prepared for the Sunday Telegraph found that 20 percent of those polled felt “sympathy with the feelings and motives” of the terrorists from the July 7, 2005 London bombings. See “Sunday Telegraph Muslims Poll—February 2006,” Table 10, p. 11. Available through the ICM Research website, http://www.icmresearch.co.uk/.

6 It should be noted that 2–3 years of high oil prices have provided the Iranian economy with a major influx of export revenue; however, this inflow has not helped to pacify those elements of the Iranian youth population that are unhappy with clerical rule. This is because the regime of President Ahmadinejad has largely mismanaged the Iranian economy to the point where the high levels of oil export revenue are not having much effect at all on the lives of ordinary Iranians. Worsening inflation and increasing unemployment rates have added to the concerns of the population. Despite the increases in oil revenue, the Iranian economy remains a cause of frustration and discontent among the country’s liberal youth elements, and this fact is one of the reasons why the regime is now using overtly repressive measures against these elements.

7 For a discussion of the rising sectarian tensions, see Nasr (2006, pp. 58–74).

8 The current position and developing attitudes of the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia is discussed in International Crisis Group (2005a).
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Re: Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prosp

Postby admin » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:36 am

APPENDIX G: Water in the Middle East

Fresh water shortages in the Middle East are one particular example of natural resource constraints that, in conjunction with demographic changes, may be important into the future and eventually shape the long war. Increasing populations and the effects of creeping desertification are reducing per capita water availability to dangerously low levels in Iran, Egypt, the West Bank, and the whole of the Arabian Peninsula. Sustainable development is difficult to accomplish when water scarcity exists. Water shortages raise the prospect that water might be used as a weapon in future conflicts.

Upstream countries on the region’s major rivers have already built large dams that would allow them to restrict the flow of water to downstream countries during a crisis or war. Most of these downstream states are water-scarce countries (see Figure G.1) that would suffer greatly if their flow of fresh river water were to be shut off for any length of time. The two conflict dyads to watch in this area are Sudan versus Egypt and Turkey versus Syria/Iraq. Both Sudan and Turkey are upstream countries that control the flow of the Nile and Euphrates Rivers respectively. Egypt, Syria, and Iraq are downstream countries that are becoming increasingly water scarce as their populations grow.

Figure G.1: Per Capita Fresh Water Availability Pojections for 1995, 2025, and 2050
NOTE: More than 1,700 cubic meters per person is considered adequate, between 1,000 and 1,700 is considered “water stressed” and below 1,000 is considered “water scarce” (data from Gardner-Outlaw and Engelman, 1997; Falkenmark and Widstrand, 1992).
RAND MG738-G.1
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