THE 4GW ANTI-STATE"al Qaidastan" RisingFourth Generation Warfare
, according to it's leading theorists, is designed to challenge the legitimacy of the state. It's "kinetic" attacks are really a form of ju-jitsu designed to strike the enemy society at the mental and moral levels and thereby cripple the state apparatus through which modern nation-states govern themselves.
Repeated successful mitary forays by 4GW entities, perhaps in alliance with local ethnic and criminal organizations, can create a "TAZ"
or temporary autonomous zone, outside the rule of law. "Temporary" is a useful descriptor because, frequently, police, paramilitary or Army units are able to "re-take" the TAZ from 4GW control because these decentralized forces melt away, go underground or shift to a less direct form of conflict such as system disruption or the use of IED type munitions.
However, there are now enough examples of recent vintage to tentatively answer the question of what happens when a TAZ under the domination of a 4GW group slides toward permanency? Al Qaida, is now doing so for the second time in it's history, as detailed by Pramit Pal Chaudhuri
:"Confederation of Terror
On September 6 the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan marked the first anniversary of its de facto recognition. On that day last year, the Taliban used the name when it signed a ceasefire agreement with the Pakistani government. The ceasefire is in tatters, but the terror trail of the recent plots in Germany and Denmark indicates that the Emirate is doing fine.
The Emirate's writ is spreading among the mountainous areas that make up the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) that run along the Pakistan-Afghan border. Going by trends, the Emirate is more than just a safe haven: It is on a nightmare path of nation-building. Osama bin Laden will be its sultan; Mullah Omar its spiritual leader; heroin and smuggling its economic drivers; and terrorism its primary export. "Al Qaeda is building a mini-state, an enclave, in the FATA," says Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside al Qaeda.
Besides the heartland of South and North Waziristan, "al Qaedastan" also encompasses a belt of tribal land going up to Mohmand and Bajaur areas. Its sphere of violent influence, says a former member of the Afghan National Security Council, includes bordering Afghan provinces like Loya Paktia and, increasingly, Nangarhar...
...The malik, a local chief who helped keep the peace since the British Raj, and represented an older secular Pashtun nationalism, has been marginalized. The mullah now holds sway. "The Durrani tribal maliki that once dominated these areas is being physically eradicated," says Michael Shaikh of the International Crisis Group.
Some argue this is nothing more than Durrani nobility being replaced by an upstart subtribe, the Ghilzai. But the spread of Islamicism is blurring tribal distinctions. "Today's Taliban are fighting for an extremist ideology, not for Ghilzai supremacy," says an Afghan official. An example of how this ideology is taking root is how it has ended the centuries-old feuds between the Waziri and Mehsud subtribes.
The "al Qaedaization" of the Taliban can be seen in their use of suicide bombing, human shields and bloodier kidnappings, practices abhorrent in traditional Pashtun culture. The Afghan government has no doubt this represents foreign tutelage. Says the Afghan ambassador to the U.S., Said Tayeb Jawad: "Al Qaeda is the commander, the Taliban the foot soldier. Al Qaeda provides strategic guidance"William Lind
, during the Israeli-Hezbollah War, suggested that after having attained a critical mass of legitimacy through sustained political-military success, 4GW organizations faced a choice of "To Be or Not To Be, a State
". Lind argued that statehood was equivalent with vulnerable "targetability" and that Westphalian-era mummery was something that 4GW forces could best do without.
To an extent, Lind was correct. Neither Hezbollah, nor the Islamic Courts Union, HAMAS, al Qaida or even the Taliban during the period of their rule of Afghanistan, have ever formed a proper and recognized state apparatus. Nor have they, when enjoying longer-term territorial control, remained covert guerilla-terrorist networks either. Instead, they have tried to lock in their comparative advantages with an Anti-State model
existing alongside or symbiotically integrated with, the sovereign state.
The 4GW Anti-State has certain recognizable characteristics or tendencies:*Corporative
: The 4GW organization openly lives by it's own codes, not the state's, with final authority for enforcement. The 4GW entity may impose these codes on the people over whom they exist (Taliban), or apply them primarily to their own membership (HAMAS) but the state has de facto ceded that prerogative.*Post-Westphalian
: The borders and claims of the nation-state are irrelevant, whether we are discussing a Pushtunistan-based "al Qaidastan" that crosses the Durand Line or a Transnational Criminal Organization network like a Russian mafiya clan with cells under discipline from Novgorod to Brighton Beach to Budapest to Tel Aviv. The 4GW Anti-State can be geographic or virtual
as the primary loyalty attachment for the membership is a psychological and social one.*Hegemonic Governance
: The 4GW entity frequently, as HAMAS and Hezbollah have amply demonstrated, provide a sophisticated array of public goods and other services, often free of charge, in order to cultivate political legitimacy among the larger population. They do not accept all of the de jure responsibilities for the local population that are normally traditional for a rcognized sovereign and suppress rival authorities or independent-minded individuals with arbitrary force. In matters outside of the interests of the 4GW entity, residents are left to their own devices ( or the mercy of smaller predators) so that resources are conserved.*Symbiotic Coexistence
: The 4GW group is shielded, to a degree, from international intervention by coexisting within the confines of a recognized and sovereign nation-state that is unwilling (Sudan, Iran) or unable (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iraq) to bring them to heel and even more unwilling to let outsiders do so. Like a parasite, a 4GW entity, if unchecked, is capable of hijacking it's host nation-state to serve it's own needs as al Qaida did in Afghanistan before 9/11.
The Anti-State model is useful for 4GW forces at a certain threshold of magnitude because it offers some of the defensive advantages of statehood with far fewer of the responsibilities or liabilities with running a state.UPDATE:John Robb
was kind enough to link and had this comment
:"Mark, over at ZenPundit, has an excellent (!) post on the virtual-state (not sure that 4GW, as a description of a form of warfare, works as a label for this). "
Thanks, John! I'm not sure it works either - LOL! An explanation though:
I used "4GW" primarily because I was interested in how such movements are developing semi-permanent, alternative, forms of governance to the nation-state. Bobbitt's "Virtual-State
" could work well in many instances for what 4GW forces are in a structural or behavioral sense but the term also has broader application.
Then there is also the issue where 4GW entity is overlapping pre-modern (at times, ancient), subnational, territorial/tribal identities that are the very antithesis of "the state". A schizoid hybrid, if you will. The analogy can be misleading because these phenomena have aspects that are very unlike the state of Max Weber, despite usurping some of the functions, so I used " Anti-State". I'm not wedded to the term yet as the whole issue needs more fleshing out and discussion (and as Fabius
noted in the comments, empirical investigation).
Labels: 4GW, al qaida, hezbollah, state failure, virtual states, william lind