Other Arab Afghans became assets of regimes and their security services. This was especially the case in Yemen, where the returning Arab Afghans were given a haven and were deployed against the socialist establishment of the former South Yemen . Those who did not reintegrate or serve as assets of governments embarked on a militant path. Four archetypes emerged:.
Facilitators of Jihad. Many Arab Afghans saw their role as facilitators of jihadist movements in their home countries or around the world. Facilitation included training, financing and sheltering jihadists in Pakistani camps and guest houses. It also encompassed smuggling weapons, forging travel documents, printing propaganda materials and serving as communication liaisons between clandestine individuals.
Facilitators also produced ideological and theological justifications for militant groups. These facilitators were mainly in Peshawar, but they also emerged in Europe London in particular , Yemen, Sudan and Afghanistan after the rise of the Taliban. National Islamic Revolutionaries. Some Arab Afghans, particularly those from Algeria and Egypt, saw an opportunity in the early s to overthrow their own regimes. Although the Algerian and Egyptian veterans did not initiate the insurgency in their respective countries, their skills, networks and experience helped the insurgent movements tremendously .
Global Jihadists. A number of Arab Afghans took their training, experience and networks to other conflict zones, especially Bosnia and, later, Chechnya. Their aim was to aid fellow co-religionists in their own struggles for secession or liberation. Roaming jihadists used a variety of means to enter conflict zones. The most common was illegal infiltration with the help of professional smugglers or through bribing local officials and border security agents. Others posed as humanitarian activists, relief workers, or journalists seeking to cover a war zone.
Some relied on fake passports, even diplomatic ones, acquired through forgers in Pakistan or Europe. Unaffiliated Terrorists. Less common were the volunteers who carried out successful and foiled terrorist attacks in the name of Islamic causes either in their home countries or in the West.
An exemplar of this pattern is Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the World Trade Center attack. In , he went to Afghanistan to train in the Khaldin camp, run by Arab volunteers. He trained for about six months, learning weapons tactics, basic explosives and military maneuvers.
He used his connections in Peshawar to acquire an Iraqi passport, which he used to enter the United States . Although Arab Afghans were a relatively small group that had little influence on the course of events in Afghanistan, they were able to carry out terrorist attacks around the world, start new national and transnational terrorist cells, aid several insurgent movements, build camps to train future generations of radical Islamists and launch a surprise attack on the only remaining superpower in the world. These considerations do not bode well for the dispersal of jihadists from Iraq.
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Foreign fighters in Iraq are more threatening than their Arab Afghan predecessors in several respects. Foreign fighters in Iraq have been exposed to intense combat since the Iraqi insurgency escalated. Jihadists in Iraq are connected to experienced trainers, gun runners, human smugglers, guns-for-hire, criminals, forgers and other radical Islamist groups.
AQI has transformed its largely foreign membership into an Iraqi one through cooptation and money. This was not the case with the Afghan mujahidin. The internet enables them to maintain communication with their networks in Iraq with relative ease, reach out to other jihadist groups for guidance on how to enter other conflict zones, and access their training manuals without having to carry them across borders. Dispersing terrorists will likely mine the internet for practical information on visas, travel regulations and routes to take.
First, foreign fighters are the main supply of suicide bombers in Iraq, which means they will not be around to threaten other states .
Second, neighboring states are not likely to offer fleeing jihadists an inviting safe haven akin to the one Pakistan offered Arab Afghans in the s and s. Therefore, they have no incentives to shelter fleeing jihadists. Syria and Iran might choose to provide a safe haven for fleeing militants, but they will do so discretely to avoid incurring further hostility or military action from the United States. Jihadists that go to Iran and Syria will not be able to set up camps like the ones that developed in Pakistan during the s or under the Taliban in the late s.
Absence of an inviting safe haven next to Iraq means that dispersing jihadists will have to cross multiple borders and acquire documentation to enter distant havens.
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This, in turn, increases their vulnerability to detection and arrest. Many foreign fighters in Iraq have to turn over their cell phones, money and passports to smugglers or the insurgent groups that host them . If they choose to leave, they will have to acquire money and forged documents to cross multiple borders to make it back to their homelands or new destinations.
Finally, dispersing jihadists will encounter vigilant Arab and European governments that are aware of their potential threat. During the Afghan campaign, Arab and European governments took in returning volunteers because they were aided by some of these governments to fight the Soviet Union. Volunteering for Iraq, in contrast, is considered a criminal act by most of these governments.
Returnees from Iraq will encounter arrests, interrogation and possibly surveillance to make sure they are not a threat. European governments are not likely to welcome jihadists in their territory as they did Arab Afghans during the s. These governments are on the lookout for jihadists seeking to destabilize their countries or take advantage of their territories. The experiences of Arab Afghans suggest several lessons for containing the potential threat coming out of Iraq.
Jihadists who wish to leave Iraq in the near future are likely to seek other conflict zones, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, where they are likely to be welcomed by fellow militants in need of support. In such cases, mobility, the element of surprise, and superior intelligence figured prominently; the aim was always to harass the enemy rather than to force a decisive encounter. Roman history is also replete with descriptions of guerrilla warfare, particularly in Spain and North Africa. About Tacfarinas, King of the Numidians, Tacitus writes that he played cat and mouse with the Romans, disappearing when attacked and attacking when the Romans retreated.
But one of the main problems facing the armies of the French Revolution sent against them was the fact that the Chouans frequently showed leniency to their prisoners, and released them with special passes upon their word of honor not to fight again. The assumption was, of course, that word would spread and that defections from the enemy would be encouraged.
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They too successfully encouraged desertion from the enemy armies by treating prisoners leniently whenever they could; in the later stages of their campaign they even employed them as orderlies. Whenever possible they also paid for the food obtained from the local population. And they ruthlessly pursued and exterminated the native brigands, who at one time became a bigger plague than the French, robbing and plundering under the guise of patriotic struggle.
Clausewitz himself taught a course on guerrilla warfare at the Prussian military academy in , in which he stressed time and again that it was absolutely essential for success not to antagonize the civilian population: if one used messengers, they should always get presents; if one could not pay for food, one should at least liberally distribute receipts with the promise of honoring them after victory.
It was only in the second half of the 19th century that interest in the subject waned. When T. These assumptions were seemingly borne out by subsequent events. Guerrilla tactics in the Boer war were a last desperate attempt to thwart the British advance after the Boer regular forces had been defeated.
In the First World War, guerrillas played an insignificant role, and so too in the Spanish civil war. There was a good deal of partisan warfare in the Second World War, but its military importance was greatly exaggerated. In no theater of war did partisans play a decisive role; even in Yugoslavia they were restricted to a relatively small part of the country right up to the end, far away from the centers of industry and communications. By and large, the guerrilla phenomenon has appeared in the context of the national struggle against foreign invaders.
But the nationalist component was also present in all those cases. But these arguments usually do not survive closer inspection. Thus the guerrilla movements in Guatemala and Venezuela, in Bolivia and Uruguay, all failed even though they faced weak governments and ineffective regular armies, even though they had the Cuban example to guide them, and even though social conditions were certainly conducive to revolution. On the other hand, against foreign enemies, however strong, even weak guerrilla movements, lacking direction and military experience, have frequently succeeded.
Most colonies, indeed, gained independence after the Second World War merely through political pressure and without major military struggles; the metropolis gradually realized that the maintenance of colonial empires had become too costly. Not all foreign-supported guerrilla wars have been won, but it would be exceedingly difficult to name even one which succeeded without supplies and other help from abroad.
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In the American Revolution and in Spain under Napoleon, the irregulars went into battle on more than one occasion with two or three cartridges each, expecting to get their ammunition from the enemy; but such tactics became suicidal with the appearance of automatic weapons. Gone too are the days when a few determined men with a handful of rifles on trusty horses could harass the enemy for many months without great danger to themselves if they behaved with elementary prudence.
There is a fair amount of international cooperation among terrorists: Irish, Japanese, Turkish, Arab, Latin American, North American, West German, Italian, and others are known to have cooperated on various occasions. But in the last resort, a guerrilla movement with any hope of lasting success needs a major sponsor such as Castro or Qaddafi, the Soviet Union or China. This victory encouraged the belief that guerrilla warfare could become as effective an instrument of domestic revolution throughout Latin America as it had been of colonial revolt.
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In Venezuela the center of gravity in the beginning was in the towns: subsequently, under the capable leadership of Douglas Bravo, rural foci were established. Ten years later, however, the Venezuelan revolutionary forces were in total disarray and Castro and Bravo were denouncing each other as traitors. Developments in other Latin American countries took a similar turn. Initially unprepared for counter-insurgency, they became quite adept at it; the use of helicopters, for instance, made guerrilla activities in the open country very difficult indeed.
But it was not only a question of military tactics: in Peru, for example, far-reaching agrarian reforms stole the guerrillas' thunder, and a sizable proportion of their forces went over to the government.