Micah Zenko

Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

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by Micah Zenko
September 1, 2011

A Libyan rebel stands guard near the entrance of Ras Lanuf on August 27, 2011 (Esam Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters).

A Libyan rebel stands guard near the entrance of Ras Lanuf on August 27, 2011 (Esam Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters).

- Adam Entous and Siobhan Gorman, “CIA Strikes Strain Ties with Pakistan Further,” Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2011.

“Some military leaders have privately advocated lifting the veil of official secrecy surrounding the covert CIA strikes so the U.S. can explain more openly who the targets are and what roles they have played in attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Doing so, officials say, could chip away at anti-American sentiment in Pakistan and bolster the case for continued strikes.”

- Charles A. Duelfer and Stephen Benedict Dyson, “Chronic Misperception and International Conflict: The U.S.-Iraq Experience,” International Security, Vol. 36, no. 1, Summer 2011, pp. 73-100.

“Iraq’s inability to provide consistent and full documentation as to the disposition of its WMD programs and materials—taken by Washington as evidence of concealment—also had at least in part a slightly absurd explanation: Iraq told so many different stories over so many years to UN inspection teams that it became impossible for them to reconstruct an entirely consistent narrative; they simply could not keep the lies straight.” (98)

- Brian Michael Jenkins, Stray Dogs and Virtual Armies: Radicalization and Recruitment to Jihadist Terrorism in the United States Since 9/11, RAND Corporation, August 25, 2011.

“Since 9/11, there have been 32 homegrown jihadist plots to carry out attacks in the United States. Most of these plots never got beyond the discussion stage, although a few got as far as reconnaissance before being interrupted by authorities. In only 10 cases had the plotters developed an operational plan that identified a specific place to attack, decided upon or acquired the weapons to be used, and laid out the sequence of what they intended to do. Six of these 10 cases involved FBI stings. This suggests that while America’s jihadist terrorists have lethal intentions, they have trouble getting their act together on their own. Three of the 32 cases of plots to carry out terrorist attacks in the United States involved six or more persons, but 22 (69 percent) of them involved only a single individual.” (19)

- Ian Martin, “United Nations Post-Conflict Deployment to Libya,” August 2011. (3PA: This internal UN document was written by Ian Martin, a former British diplomat who is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-Conflict Planning on Libya. Matthew Lee of Inter City Press obtained a copy of the report and posted it on August 26.)

“[Department of Peacekeeping Operations] has developed a concept of operations for up to 200 UNMOs [Military Observers] with classic monitoring tasks, monitoring withdrawals, positions and movements, cantonments weapons storage, etc: These classic tasks would have to be adapted for the specific case of Libya as it has developed…DPKO/OMA has identified five officers from its own staff for rapid deployment, as well as about 50 UNMOs able to redeploy immediately from existing missions.”

“If the stabilization of Tripoli after the collapse of the Qadhafi government becomes such a major challenge that the transitional authorities seek more robust international assistance, this is a task clearly beyond the capacity of the UN…The Security Council’s “protection of civilians” mandate implemented by NATO does not end with the fall of the Qadhafi government and, therefore, NATO would continue to have some responsibilities.”

- Mohamed El Baradei, The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times (New York, NY: Metropolitan Books, 2011).

“Gaddafi launched into a soliloquy on his decision to terminate his WMD programs. He had reached the conclusion that weapons of mass destruction would not add to Libya’s security.” (152)

- Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda (New York, NY: Times Books, 2011).

“’When we kill somebody, there is going to be someone else to take their place.’ [Michael Leiter Former Director of the United States National Counterterrorism Center] said. ‘And it is relatively easy to take someone off the battlefield. But there is something that is less satisfying about starting a program that engages young Somalis to prevent radicalization; that is softer and mushier, and to many it is a less interesting conversation.’” (235)

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