Terça-feira, 3 de Maio de 2011

A mão invisível dos EUA

Paulo Gorjão

 

Ao longo da última década, beneficiando de um amplo consenso entre Republicanos e Democratas, os EUA prosseguiram uma guerra global contra al-Qaeda cujo êxito tem sido inegável. Apesar de diversas tentativas, depois dos atentados de 11 de Setembro de 2001, Osama bin Laden e a al-Qaeda nunca mais conseguiram perpetrar com êxito um atentado terrorista em solo norte-americano. Todavia, o sucesso e a eficácia da política contra-terrorista norte-americana estava manchada pela incapacidade de capturar bin Laden. Assim, a sua morte acaba por ser a cereja no topo do bolo, que coloca um ponto final simbólico num ciclo que se desenrolou entre 2001 e 2011.

O desaparecimento de bin Laden, todavia, não significa que o combate contra a al-Qaeda tenha terminado. A al-Qaeda – tanto a estrutura central, como as redes filiadas – continua a ter capacidade operacional e alguns dos seus quadros principais permanecem ainda por capturar. Por exemplo, Ayman al-Zawahiri – o segundo na cadeia de comando, o líder operacional da al-Qaeda e potencial sucessor de bin Laden – continua em parte incerta, tal como Mullah Omar, líder espiritual dos Taliban.

A morte de bin Laden terá pouco significado operacional, uma vez que hoje em dia o seu papel era sobretudo doutrinário e programático. Isto dito, o seu desaparecimento contribui para reforçar a capacidade de dissuasão dos EUA. O músculo militar norte-americano já pode ter conhecido no passado dias melhores, mas os seus inimigos continuam a não estar a salvo, mesmo que se refugiem nos lugares mais discretos, ou que contem com importantes cumplicidades locais.

 

(Artigo publicado hoje no Diário Económico.)

publicado por IPRIS às 11:57
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Terça-feira, 14 de Setembro de 2010

Nine years after 9/11: Past achievements and the road ahead

By Diogo Noivo

 

Almost a decade after the terrorist attacks of September 11, one naturally tends to do a balance of achievements and failures in the fight against al-Qaeda. Many analysts and commentators have their own interpretation of what happened in the course of these nine years.

Daniel Byman notices the triumph of counterterrorism policies in the US, as well as the pressure on al-Qaeda that the war in Afghanistan has successfully created, although he is cautious enough to recognize that the problem is far from being resolved.

Bruce Riedel goes straight to the point: al-Qaeda remains alive and deadly. Riedel then continues with his own reading into the nebulous and controversial organizational structure of al-Qaeda.

Bruce Hoffman highlights the increased complexity and diversity of the threat. Hoffman also points out the terrorist radicalization and recruitment taking place within the US.

The above mentioned analysts provide examples of the many possible evaluations of what has happened since 2001.

Here are some other facts and ideas that can be useful for the future:

[1] The main victims of jihadism are and always have been Muslims and Islam. Hence, al-Qaeda and similar groups have lost popular support in Islamic countries. Although its structure is quite atypical if compared with terrorist groups from the recent past, al-Qaeda cannot work (or survive) without a constituency. Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s deputy chief, is well aware of that since he has repeatedly tried to moderate the modus operandi of Abu Musaib al-Zarqawi, the former and ruthless leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

[2] The war in Afghanistan has had significant costs at the human, financial and political levels. At the same time, it has crippled bin Laden’s organization.

[3] Osama bin Laden is still at large. His arrest or death would be an unequivocal political victory, but would have little (if any) positive effect on the overall counterterrorism efforts. Ideas do not die with the men that advocate them. Furthermore, jihadism is based on a sense of community, and regardless of what we make of al-Qaeda, its affiliates and offshoots, it is now clear that Islamist terrorism is bigger than bin Laden and ‘al-Qaeda Central’.

[4] In spite of its religious outlines, the problem is political. Therefore, it is important to find an efficient and common counter-narrative to debunk al-Qaeda’s speech.

 

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publicado por IPRIS às 01:21
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Sexta-feira, 9 de Julho de 2010

Jihadist Plots in Europe: It’s not about Afghanistan or Iraq

By Diogo Noivo

 

As the immense majority of experts and scholars who dedicate to terrorism studies have acknowledged, the reasons behind jihadism go far beyond the presence of western troops in war scenarios such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

For example, Peter R. Neumann argues that, contrary to what the Enlightenment postulated, modernity and religious revival are not contradictory or even an anachronism. For XVIII century thinkers, Neumann states, “the more educated a society and the more it was government by reason and rationality, the less it was necessary for people to look to religion and religious leaders for guidance.”

However, Neumann continues, and putting it simply, late modernity and globalization have created a world characterized by permanent challenges, by an increased complexity difficult to be understood by all, by deep social changes, by cultural mixes, thus creates a sense of insecurity and social disenfranchise in many individuals. Therefore, Islamism and jihadism gain by offering a sense of belonging and of a somewhat cultural authenticity. Nevertheless, Peter Neumann highlights an interesting nuance: jihadism is not a return to the past; instead it is a product of globalization itself.

Neumann presents an interesting point of view that, among other things, demonstrates that simplistic approaches do not explain anything and, worse, mislead analysis thus compromising the efficiency of counterterrorism efforts.

Hence, establishing a direct causality between the terrorist plots of three alleged al-Qaeda militants in Oslo with the presence of Norwegian military forces in Afghanistan is far from explaining anything relevant.

If not, look at the Spanish case: Prime Minister Zapatero ordered the retreat of troops from Iraq because he believed, in part due to jihadist propaganda, that terrorist cells and plots in Spain were cause by Madrid’s involvement with the US in the Iraq War. As time as shown, the presence of jihadism in Spain was not eliminated.

publicado por IPRIS às 20:56
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