I'm out on a staff ride for FACCC today, but I wanted to drop a quick post after the Obama et al briefings today. Please excuse the lack of hyperlinks, I'm typing this on my phone and am thus limited in capability.
In the round of briefings by the President's national security team this afternoon, it was mentioned during the Q&A portion that AQAP had made threats of attacking the US, but (essentially) the US was not expecting an attack from the group.
Understanding now the level of maturity of AQAP, how do we analyze and identify the key milestones met to grow from separate regional insurgencies into the transnational threat AQAP now must be considered?
This week both DP and I have discussed al Shabaab's global aspirations and the likely achievement of those aspirations in Europe. Until fairly recently al Shabaab was considered (at most) a regional threat. It is now apparent they are likely much more when considering their potential to mobilize segments of the vast Somali diaspora.
Srinagar, Kashmir was the site of a Lashkar e Taiba attack today in which four people (including two attackers) were killed. This was LeT's first activity inside Kashmir in two years, potentially signaling a resurgence inside Kashmir and Jammu. In Pat's previous post, he discussed the possibility of transnational aspirations for LeT.
Analyzing, understanding and cataloguing the key milestones and steps required for growth and maturation of an insurgency is imperative for Western governments and societies. We simply cannot wait for another group to develop into the threat we're currently seeing in al Shabaab and AQAP. I fully believe there are similarities in the way insurgent groups mature. There is likely a framework or methodology Western governments can utilize in order to identify developing transnational jihadist groups earlier in the cycle. By identifying these groups earlier, Western governments would (theoretically) be able to work with threatened governments and apply preventative support in a combined inter-agency / -governmental (and specifically tailored) approach to the threatened government.
We have to get ahead of these groups. We won't continue to get lucky.