What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Afghan spillover - As viewed in 1993

Today's Afghanistan-related compulsory reading is a recently declassified 1993 classic by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, titled The Wandering Mujahidin: Armed and Dangerous (pdf). Courtesy of Matt Levitt who drew attention to it at Harvard's MESH blog. As he rightly notes, "the 1993 warning of an unstructured network of jihadists moving on from their current area of operations to other battlefronts could have been written this morning." At the time when it was actually written, there had already been an attack on the World Trade Center which one had to put down at least partly to an Afghanistan spill-over. Of which the memo was warning, predicting a continued threat, potentially on a larger scale.
At MESH, Levitt is reminded among other possible scenarios of that what happened to Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon last year after some of "the boys went home" - to paraphrase one of the section titles from the State Department's intel memo. The concern is, of course, that jihadists saying farewell to any of their current AOs may feel like substituting a long list of other countries' names for Lebanon, inspired by that parallel.

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