Tribal Militias: An Effective Tool to Counter Al-Qaida and Its Affiliates?
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA STRATEGIC STUDIES INSTITUTE
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Despite over a decade of open war, dealing with Al-Qaida and its affiliates in the Middle East is likely to remain a concern for the foreseeable future and will pose a challenge requiring the use of any tool that is likely to be effective in meeting the threat. Most of the local societies in which Al-Qaida has operated in the Middle East and Africa after September 11, 2001, have a predominantly tribal character or at least have a strong tribal component Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Mali, and Sinai. Developing effective tools to counter Al-Qaida s continuing presence in that social environment, therefore, is a priority and requires understanding Al-Qaidas critical vulnerabilities when it operates in those societies and developing the means to counter Al-Qaidas efforts. This monograph addresses the role of tribal militias in the context of the fight against Al-Qaida. The intent is to enrich policy analysis and clarify options for future operations by focusing on past experience in order to identify the positive and negative aspects related to the use of such militias. The focus in this monograph is on Iraq and Yemen. However, many of the lessons learned may be applied more broadly. The thesis is that the capabilities which tribally-based militias provide may be one of the most efficient, cost-effective tools against Al-Qaida. In some cases, such militias can act as a force multiplier for U.S. Landpower forces, whether deployed on the ground in significant numbers, or, in other cases, if such militias can reduce the need for a U.S. commitment on the ground in environments that might present unfavorable conditions for a significant U.S. Landpower footprint.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Unconventional Warfare