Jihad after Iraq: Lessons from the Arab Afghans
Hafez, Mohammed M.
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The defeat of Al Qaeda in Iraq may generate new threats associated with the dispersal of its fighters in the region and around the world. Veterans of earlier insurgencies and civil wars in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya moved from one conflict zone to another, lending combatants valuable skills and networks of support. The flight of Iraq’s irreconcilable insurgents is a greater threat to global security than the one posed by the Arab Afghans because of the range of combat experiences and skills acquired in Iraq since 2003. This manuscript revisits the history of Arab veterans of the anti-Soviet struggle in Afghanistan (1979–1989) to draw out lessons for countering the current bleed out from Iraq. It explores the diverse pathways taken by these “Arab Afghans” and the factors that facilitated different patterns of dispersal around the globe. The article concludes with broad strategic recommendations for counterterrorism measures.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10576100802639600