Stratfor on the War on Terror

Seeker Blog has posted an analysis and excerpts of Dr. George Friedman's "America's Secret War." Dr. Friedman, founder of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. ("Stratfor"), provides a compelling picture of the strategy behind the war on terror, the Iraq invasion, and our relations with our sometime allies, the Saudis. (Hat tip: Roger L. Simon.)

One of the most interesting new pieces of information I got out of the piece was as follows:
...because the number of Al Qaeda’s key operatives is small, AQ is quite risk averse regarding mission compromise. Allied intelligence has used this against AQ to stop operations. E.g., by leaking that the CIA is interrogating "X", since AQ doesn’t know whether "X" has compromised an operation, they are likely to cancel it to avoid the risk.
I'd often wondered why news organizations publish this sort of information; now I know. This seems to dovetail nicely with some of my thesis research, particularly the "Two-Army Problem": given unreliable communications, two parties cannot coordinate their actions with any certainty, and coordinated activities will break down—especially if they involve a significant degree of risk. Of course, this only happens when the parties know that the communications are unreliable. Therefore, by making al-Qa'ida suspect that they've been compromised, the U.S. is very cleverly disrupting any terror attacks in progress.

The drawback is that this tactic will limit the utility of any actual information gained from captured VIP's. But in the particular instances mentioned, it was apparently judged that the chance of actually rolling up the active terror operations was not worth the risk of letting them continue to function. If al-Qa'ida is indeed this conservative, then it is worth taking some gains off the table, so to speak.

I will purchase this book soon, I think. I'll be sure to write up any thoughts on it when I finish.

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