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

Monday, May 10, 2010

Vetting jihadi recruits...

Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau present here a brief discussion in Newsweek of how "vetting" is done in the case of jihadi organisations. It is quite an interesting angle to look at jihadi organisations from. It shows how for these organisations willing recruits may be just as problematic as a walk-in asset for an intelligence agency. "O, hai, thx for coming, bai!" may be an instinctive answer to someone coming with no acquaintant already inside. But obviously there is a temptation as well to accept the services of someone who is basically trying to follow, in their interpretation, the righteous path. This is all pretty obvious, and the discussion remains on the level of the obvious in the piece I linked to above.
If you want to read something going much more below the surface, here is Omar Nasiri's book (the cover) below: "Inside the jihad." It tells you a lot. An awful lot and even more. I know it is not new, but I have two good reasons to recommend it now: one is that I became aware of it only recently and I found it to be a really precious source of information (besides being an interesting story); the other is something you may appreciate more, namely that the CIA's Khost incident, at the end of 2009, in which a turned al-Qaida double agent of Jordanian origin blew himself up killing and injuring a lot of agents, could be seen in a different light when you look at the sort of operations Nasiri was involved in, and how he was handled by the services that worked with him.

And an update (May 12): it seems like Eric Breininger went through similar training as Omar Nasiri even as late as 2007/2008. (To specify: Nasiri visited the Khaldan camp for basic training back in the mid-1990s and went on to spend time at Darunta.)

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