- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 2, 2003

Terrorist insurgencies do not emerge in a vacuum, but are the product of a spectrum of root causes. These are the factors that effective counterterrorist strategies must take into account. The following books discuss some of the socio-economic factors that produce inter-communal violence and the nature of the responses by governments threatened by terrorist adversaries.
Amy Chua is a professor at Yale Law School and a former lawyer on Wall, where she advised developing countries on privatizing governmental resources. In World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability (Doubleday, $26, 340 pages) she argues that rapid transformation of previously authoritarian societies (Russia, for one) to democratic majoritarian rule and free-market economies has benefited certain ethnic minority groups over others. In some societies, this has caused widespread sectarian conflict and genocide, especially when the majority feels, whether rightly or wrongly, that it has not benefited financially from the newly 'liberalized' economies.
Ms. Chua bases her argument concerning the consequences of "market-dominant minorities" by focusing on cases such as the Chinese in Southeast Asia, whites in Zimbabwe, Indians in East Africa and Fiji, Lebanese in Sierra Leone and Gambia. In a different but correlating case, she also focuses on how Israel's economic prowess is resented by substantial segments in the neighboring Arab world.
The issue explored by Ms. Chua is relevant to terrorism studies because terrorist insurgencies such as al Qaeda's spring not only from a clash of civilizations but also from competition by disaffected communities for economic and political resources. Therefore, effective counterterrorism strategies need to address the socioeconomic underpinnings of such conflicts.

In Fixing Intelligence: Solutions for America's Security (Yale University Press, $24.95, 212 pages), William E. Odom, a retired Army lieut. general and former director of the National Security Agency, discusses what he perceives to be the basic problems in American intelligence, and proposes solutions to fix them.
Believing that effective security depends on robust intelligence, Gen. Odom proposes a fundamental restructuring of America's vast network of intelligence agencies, technology, and agents. He argues that the failure of American intelligence on September 11 had much to do with the complex and often combative bureaucratic relationships among various components of the Intelligence community. The result of this tangle was often the blurring of security and intelligence missions and a lag in disseminating information about terrorism to the agencies specificially tasked with countering it.
Reforms in the ways our country fights terrorism is urgently needed because, as he writes, "the probabilities would have been greatly improved" to track and prevent al Qaeda's preparations for the September 11 attacks, if "most of the reforms advocated in this book had been implemented a decade ago …"
Noting that the type of attack carried out by al Qaeda on September 11 was beyond the "pale of imagination" of most intelligence analysts who were tracking al Qaeda at the time, the author may well have considered the latest models of threat assessment. Of these, an exercise known as Red Teaming, now being broadly used in the national security community, vigorously imagines the terrorist threat from many angles. A small ommission in an otherwise important book.

The worldwide terrorist insurgency being mounted by al Qaeda against the United States and its allies, and the consequent "war on terrorism," have made the question of effective counterterrorism policy a first order of magnitude national security priority in the United States and throughout the world.
Because countries such as Argentina, Britain, Colombia, India, Israel, Japan, Peru, Spain, and Turkey, in addition to the United States, have faced past or ongoing terrorist insurgencies, the essays in Combating Terrorism:Strategies of Ten Countries (University of Michigan Press, $28.95, 448 pages) by Yonah Alexander have the potential to offer valuable lessons on the counterterrorism policies of these countries.
For the most part, the volume succeeds in providing such lessons. For example, the contributors to the case studies evaluated the effectiveness of counterterrorism campaigns in terms of reducing the number of terrorist incidents, reducing casualties, reducing monetary damages caused by such incidents, reducing the size of the adversary terrorist groups, increasing the protection of national infrastructures, and preserving basic political structures and policies.
However, by using this framework Mr. Alexander overlooks other important criteria, such as these countries' ability to resolve their terrorist insurgencies through military or peaceful means in order to address the root causes of their conflicts. In his conclusion the author offers a summary of the 10-country experiences and offers a list of best practices in counterterrorism.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one of the world's most intractable terrorist-counterterrorist conflicts, where repeated attempts at diplomacy have failed to contain its escalating violence. Anyone interested in a quick overview of the conflict will benefit greatly from reading The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Crisis in the Middle East (Prentice Hall, $29, 232 pages, illus.) compiled by Reuters journalists.
This volume, written by Reuters journalists based in the region is accompanied by a huge array of compelling photographs. The chapters provide overviews of the conflict's history, the outbreak and continuing violence of the al Aqsa intifada, what it is like for the two communities to live "under fire," profiles of the two sides' leaders, the reasons why diplomacy has failed over the years, and a description of Jerusalem, the "Cauldron of Conflict."
Also valuable are the accompanying detailed three-dimensional graphics of border demarcations, Palestinian violence and Israeli counter-terrorist incursions into Palestinian towns, demographic information about Palestinian refugees and Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, maps demarcating the various territorial compromises resulting from peace agreements, and a map of Jerusalem's holy sites.

Joshua Sinai is a senior analyst on terrorism issues at ANSER (Analytical Services), in Arlington, Va., and an adjunct professor at the Internet-based American Military University, teaching a course on "Forecasting Terrorism."


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