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By Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou

-- exhibits how we needs to interact with Al Qaeda to defeat terrorism -- "Mohamedou offers a much-needed secular figuring out of Al Qaeda. not like such a lot writers, [he] insists on knowing the altering importance of [Al Qaeda's] discourse opposed to a histor

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Extra info for Understanding Al Qaeda: The Transformation of War

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Legal reasoning, interpretation and argumentation are meant to allow for a systematic and systemic approach to the promotion and defence of rights (to kill) and duties (to distinguish). That Mohamedou 01 intro 34 14/8/06 10:29:45 Changed Context 35 approach leads, in turn, to the predictable implementation of law, not merely its theory. This dimension of the primacy of the law – its ‘rule’, in effect – stands at the heart of the legal framework. It implies that all actors must appreciate (and respect) the added value of the legal approach, namely the insurance of protection associated with a system, which, though it may be imperfect, inconvenient and sometimes misguided, seeks to help regulate and advance a process.

If both states of affairs reflect, first and foremost, the power of these actors, their concern with war, as well as their ability to project their might internationally, such understanding necessarily omits a host of other actors whose approach to war often differs radically from the Western canon. An important recent exception to the domination of Western-centred texts on war, and a harbinger of the current metamorphosis of conflict was provided in 1999 by two Chinese military officers, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, in a book entitled Unrestricted Warfare, in which the authors remarked that ‘from this point on, war will no longer be what it was originally … It can no longer be carried out in the ways with which we are familiar … The metamorphosis of war will have a more complex backdrop’.

They call it terrorism. 3 Al Qaeda’s Non-linear War Motive Rationale Strategy Tactics Punitive retaliation to aggressive policies Principle 1 Substitution Bypassing the state’s monopoly of legitimate violence Principle 2 Indiscrimination Privatised collective responsibility Instrumentalisation of technological imbalance Disparity of forces as opportunity rather than constraint • Mobilisation of combatants across boundaries • Cell structure and spin-off groups • Use of high-profile civilian assets (planes, trains, ships, buses, hotels) Third, the will and power to act militarily is claimed legitimately by a private entity.

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