I don’t normally do this, but it’s been a slow week here, and these are exceptionally relevant pieces. I started off the morning coffee-reading with Cass Sunstein’s review of Marc Sageman’s latest book in The New Republic. I only recently began paying attention to Sunstein – since he stole my woman married Samantha Power – but he’s got a few interesting observations to make, so worth noting even without the celebrity-intellectual-coupling angle. So go take a look at that. More substantially, find listed below some of the latest refereed journal articles that I think address some important questions.
- Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni and Calvert Jones, “Assessing the Dangers of Illicit Networks: Why al-Qaida May be Less Dangerous Than Many Think, ” International Security 33:2 (Fall 2008): 7-44.
- Brynjar Lia, “Doctrines for Jihadi Terrorist Training, ” Terrorism and Political Violence 20:4(October 2008): 518-542.
- Truls Hallberg Tnnessen, “Training on a Battlefield: Iraq as a Training Ground for Global Jihadis,” Terrorism and Political Violence 20:4(October 2008): 543-562.
Lia and Tnnessen are both with the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, and its output is always worth reading. Its members have the linguistic skills to go directly to source, which results in some of the best available analysis of primary materials on the subject. The insights they’ve been pulling out, notably in Lia’s latest book on Abu Mus’ab Al Suri (“Architect of Jihad“), confirm some of my own findings on sanctuary in jihadi thought and practice, so I’m looking forward to what they have to say in these latest two articles.
Another, courtesy of Tim, on military geology and the geomorphology of battlefield terrain:
- Marko Zecevic and Enio Jungwirth, “The Influence of Geology on Battlefield Terrain and It’s Affects on Military Operations in Mountains and Karst Regions: Examples From WWI and Afghanistan.” Rudarsko-geološko-naftni zbornik Vol 19 (2007): 56-67.
There are a few other works in this area, but basically the geomorphology of battefield terrain – in its terrestrial sense, which almost (note, I do not fully concede) precludes discussion of battlespace – is something I’m new to. Obviously, it’s not a field to be neglected, so I’ll discuss it once I’ve done my homework in this area.