Saturday, May 5, 2012


Seth Jones, a former Special Ops Command senior advisor, does not believe al Qaeda is on the “path to defeat” as President Obama recently announced. After analyzing thousands of pages of court transcripts, including wiretapped conversations and communications intelligence intercepts, he reached the conclusion that al Qaeda has been transformed, but not defeated.

Jones speaks of three waves of al Qaeda terrorism. Wave 1 began in 1998 with the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and climaxed with 9/11; wave 2 began with the invasion of Iraq in 2003, when al Qaeda increased its suicide attacks, established itself there (currently remains there), and spread elsewhere to Bali, Casablanca, Madrid, and London (subway bombing); and wave 3 began in 2008 with its solid sanctuary in Yemen. In the article CIA Ramps Up Operations in Yemen, eight reasons are given as to why I feel we will show a light-footed, but deadly presence there. 

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Interestingly, Jones correlates these groundswells of al Qaeda activity with deployment of large numbers of U.S. and coalition troops to Muslim countries. Michael Scheur, ex-head of the CIA’s bin laden unit, wrote about this trend in his book “Imperial Hubris”. Seth Jones also found, through his extensive research, that these waves wane when such massive “foreign” troops are transfigured with light-footed, clandestine operations. It’s also difficult for al Qaeda to establish a foothold and gain traction when it kills large numbers of civilians and when its targeted country develops capable security forces. Jones believes that the side that kills the most civilians loses.

I also believe this light-footed approach will be the mainstay stratagem, from now on, in our global battle with al Qaeda, Inc. America has learned to fight the shadow war where insurgent weaklings can beat superpower giants. It's called asymmetric warfare. And, Yemen is an audition, a test case. Not long ago, behind closed doors with Yemeni officials, a harmonious decision was made to send in military advisers, surveillance satellites and drone aircraft, undercover CIA and DOD intelligence-gathering agents, and small special ops teams for surgical strikes against AQAP. News media reporters will most likely NOT be embedded in these clandestine operations, and subterfuge, ruse, trickery and wile will replace main battlefield soldiers, which radical Islam has successfully spread thin around the globe at great financial expense to America and its allies. In asymmetric warfare, whoever believes a super power can't become lop-sided is dead wrong. From now on, undercover CIA and DOD intelligence officers, stealthy raids by small special ops teams, Yemeni-approved U.S. air force support, secretive predator and reaper drone patrols, and supplying Yemeni troops with weaponry and training will replace massive armored Marine divisions.

And, this innovative strategy will spread throughout the world, wherever al Qaeda established itself.

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Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes about the online spy series "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean." The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of. Contact him on the Secure Contact Form

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