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The learning is looped

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — Ts learn from CTs learn from Ts learn fro.. ]
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DQ Stealing
btw, this is a special format doublequote, yeah?

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Brachman and McCants note in the conclusion to Stealing Al-Qa’ida’s Playbook:

Jihadi ideologues closely follow Western thought and U.S. strategic planning for insights that can be used against the United States and its allies.

and acknowledge their own borrowing, not only in the title, but also in the earliest pages of their work:

Although we would like to claim credit for the approach described in the introductory paragraphs, it is modeled after a similar approach used by Abu Bakr Naji, a rising star in the jihadi movement. In his 2004 work, The Management of Barbarism,* Naji urges fellow jihadis to study Western works on management, military principles, political theory, and sociology in order to borrow strategies that have worked for Western governments and to discern their weaknesses.

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And here’s Naji, in The Management of Savagery (which Will McCants translated) on borrowing from non-Muslim sources of military expertise:

Wisdom is the goal of the believer, and even if we generally follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) and his Companions (may God be pleased with them), we only accept that our policies in any jihadi action are Sharia policies, unless the Sharia permits us to use the plans and military principles of non-Muslims in which there is no sin.

[ .. ]

Following the time-tested principles of military combat will shorten for us the long years in which we might suffer the corrupting influences of rigidity and random behavior. Truly, abandoning random behavior and adopting intellectual, academic methods and experimental military principles and actually implementing them and applying military science will facilitate our achievement of the goals without complication and enable us to develop and improve the execution (of our plans), by the permission of God.

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In practice, the loop is in fact a spiral, with each side learning, both on the battleield and on the mindfield, from the other.

The Brachman / McCants paper was published in 2006. I only learned of the Arabic translation today. For those interested in OODA loop timing, that looks to be an almost decade-long time-lapse, eh?

Or am I the slow one?

The Death of King Abdullah in three tweets

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — always amazed at the way “end times” considerations find their way into so many areas of geopolitics ]
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One can take the line De mortuis nihil nisi bonum.. which I rconfess I like..

One can take the line Veritas vos liberabit.. which I also favor, as does the CIA..

But as one might have guessed, my own final preference goes to omnium autem finis adpropinquavit..

Now there‘s a surprise!

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I hope to look into this third, specifically Mahdist interpretation of King Abdullah‘s death in a bit more detail in a subsequent post.

Sunday surprise: concerning scale and zoom

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — A DoubleTweet on earth, air and water, with IS for fire — plus a Gary Snyder poem ]
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The ability to scale, including but not limited to ratio, is one of the great human cognitive skills:

The Daily Mail:

John Robb:

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Or as Gary Snyder so excellently has it:

As the crickets’ soft autumn hum
is to us
so are we to the trees

as are they

to the rocks and the hills.

Birmingham, a little light relief in tough times

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — all tweets guaranteed safe for the workplace ]
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Steven Emerson made the mistaken claim on Fox News that Birmingham is an all-Muslim enclave — and has withdrawn his claim and apologized fulsomely in the aftermath. While Emerson is not an “expert” I’d follow or trust, I have to admit I’ve enjoyed some of the humo[u]r his claim brought forth under the #FoxNewsFacts hashtag. Here are my personal favorites:

Qibla:

For the record, that’s the Mecca bingo hall on Kingstanding Circle, Birmingham.

Hijab:

Hudud:

Isn’t that Henry V she’s beheading?

Keffiyeh:

Paris, AQ and IS

Friday, January 9th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — just noting the apparent blurring of a significant distinction, although it’s still early to draw conclusions ]
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Raffaello Pantucci tweets:

French TV interviewed Cherif Kouachi who states clearly I was directed by AQAP and funded by Awlaki. Same French TV channel spoke to Coulibaly who they say told them he was linked to ISIS. And Coulibaly claims that the brothers and himself were coordinated.

Here’s the video (in French) that Pantucci linked to:


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