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THE CULTURE AND CONFLICT REVIEW Click for an RSS Feed for the Latest Articles

Issue: Vol 6, #2 - Summer 2012

The Culture & Conflict Review is an online peer-review journal produced by the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies, bringing you analysis of current events, policy, operations, and human terrain in South and Central Asia as well as other regions of the world. Premised on the belief that the United States must understand the culture and human terrain of other nations and peoples, we offer commentary and analysis on issues of current interest to policy makers, military commanders, academics, and the general public. We are particularly interested in issues addressing culture, anthropology, regional and identity politics, and the contemporary role of U.S. forces in areas of conflict. New issues of The Culture & Conflict Review are published on a quarterly basis.

Welcome to The Culture & Conflict Review

Welcome to our Summer 2012 edition of The Culture and Conflict Review!

In this issue, we present several new feature articles, reviews, and student theses exploring the nexus of culture and conflict.

Included in our feature article section are:

In our reviews section, we present three new reviews from our prolific reviewer, CDR Youssef Aboul-Enein, MSC, USN; a new CCS book announcement; and our latest look at AQAP's Inspire magazine:

In addition, we are pleased to present several student theses, including:

We also present links to our articles from our Spring 2012 edition in case you may have missed it!

Please enjoy our journal - and have a great summer!!

Feature Articles

Culture, Conflict and Insurgency

From 1989 through 2008, 117 of the 124 active armed conflicts around the world were intrastate insurgencies. Insurgencies are predicted to remain the major form of conflict in the coming decades. When an insurgency establishes itself, what is the most effective approach to ending it while maintaining a functioning government and minimizing the loss of life by all parties involved? Through the assessment of six counterinsurgency (COIN) country case studies, this research sets out to determine whether more inclusive government policies produce better outcomes in combating insurgencies than more suppressive policies. Particular focus is placed on whether enacted policy achieved the desired end state, relatively quickly, with the fewest number of casualties.
The purpose of this article is to improve unity of effort and understanding within, and between, the military and other stakeholders in expeditionary economic. Defining this role will also contribute to mission success and more effective conflict related development. In pursuit of this quest questions drawing upon relevant strategic guidance; current USAID conflict related development protocol; relevant academic theory; recent U.S. military development efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq; relevant historical military development efforts; and proposals by development experts are employed. Questions evaluate whether or not a given proposed role for the military aligns with strategic guidance, development protocol and best practices, academic principles and theory, and military expediency.

Culture, Conflict & Human Rights

The recent conflict in Libya has thrust a relatively new concept, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) onto the international stage.  Adopted by the UN in 2005, R2P is the product of an evolution in international thought since the end of the Cold War as the international community tried to adapt from primarily interstate to intrastate conflicts. Soon after, rapid development in technological globalization greatly increased interconnectedness throughout the world. This meant that more people, in more places, in shorter timeframes had access to events occurring anywhere in the world. The development of R2P will be studied through this lens, by examining a number of intrastate conflicts to show that a relationship exists between the end of the Cold War, globalization and R2P.

Culture & Conflict in the Nuclear Age

Radiation was a revolutionary concept to most Americans when they first became aware of the clouds blowing over their heads from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Radiation became a favorite plot element in popular-culture texts that embodied the complex contradictions of the atomic age. In plot or setting, radiation legitimized breaks in normality. It was a uniquely postmodern world that unfolded every day; at the same time that fallout was killing the sheep of downwind ranchers in Nevada and Utah by the thousands, moviegoers across America could watch aliens, intent on destroying humanity, breeding and raising hordes of giant bugs and reptiles underneath the Nevada desert. Wearing 3-D glasses and striding boldly into the future, Americans seemed as ready to explore this land of tomorrow as they had been to fund its creation with their tax dollars.

Culture & Conflict in Post-Saddam Iraq

In addition to its many political and security problems, Iraq at present faces many difficult socioeconomic challenges as well: poverty; sluggish real growth; high unemployment; low productivity; low standard of living; and widespread corruption. In a wider geopolitical and global economic context, Iraq’s awaited economic model which should benefit from globalization could also generate far-reaching political and economic impacts on the security and prosperity of the unstable but strategically vital Middle East region.

Reviews: Mapping the Literary Terrain

Stanford University’s Francis Fukuyama is nothing if not controversial and intellectually provocative; his book The End of History and the Last Man, published in 1992, was among those models that attempted to make sense of what America should do in the post-Cold War era. His latest work is an ambitious topic that tries to explore the historical origins of political institutions and the process of political decay. His mammoth book, which is only volume one of two, is not a book of solutions but a book of ideas on the rise and fall of political institutions that is filled with historical snippets that leave you pondering about where America is in the 21st century.
The conflict over Western Sahara is one that involves the disorderly transference of Spanish colonial rule, ideological differences between Algeria and Morocco, the issue of self-determination, as well as the national obsession by all segments of Moroccan society regarding possession of this territory. It is perhaps the one of the biggest roadblocks hindering the five-nation Arab-Maghreb Union (AMU) from realizing its full potential. Moroccan retired Colonel-Major Bouriyala writes a unique book that looks into the history of the conflict between the Frente Popular de Liberacion de Saguia el-Hamra y Rio de Oro (Polisario), Algeria, Mauritania, and Morocco. His book is entitled, Al-Sahraa’ Al-Gharbiya Al-Maghribiya min Khilaal Al-Tareekh wal Diplomasia Al-Hasniya (The Moroccan Western Sahara from a Historical and Diplomatic Vantage), and was published in Arabic by Al-Talib Publishing in Rabat, Morocco in 2002.
The long war on terrorism necessitates that we immerse ourselves in books of military significance published in Arabic, as all war is fought in the mind first. These books can range from those written by terrorists, those combating terrorism, to the subject of this essay, the Umayyad Caliphate, a period that came three decades after the death of Prophet Muhammad in 632 CE. Dr. Omar Farouk Fawzy (hereafter referred to as Fawzy) is an Iraqi historian, and among the few Arabs who specialize in the history of the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates. His books form a part of my course on the obsession Militant Islamists have in re-establishing the Caliphate as a long term inter-generational objective. This necessitates a closer examination of this institution, beyond the sound bites al-Qaida provides to appeal to segments of the Muslim world.
In May 2012, more than six months after the killing by US drones of its founding editorial leaders, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Kahn, AQAP published simultaneously Issue 8 and Issue 9 of its glossy magazine Inspire. Much of the content of Issue 8 was completed at the time of the killings but due to the disruption, it would be several months before these completed articles would be edited and formatted for publication. Issue 9, largely composed of new materials including moving tributes to the slain editors, was produced at the same time. Below, we present a reformatted version of the magazine designed for easy and rapid web scrolling, to foster wider discussion among students of counterterrorism and to stimulate further insight into the mind of our opponent as the war on terror, by whatever name it is now known, continues.

Student Theses
This thesis examines how Islamic extremism spread within the Republic of Macedonia and what policies could reverse this trend. Major political, economic, and legal changes in Macedonia have provided fertile ground for nontraditional Islamic ideologies. Although adherents to radical Islamic ideologies in Macedonia have used NGOs and charities as mobilizing structures, they were not able to create their own organization. For most Muslims in Macedonia, critiques and visions of contemporary radical Islamic ideologues are problematic. The author suggests that nurturing a culture of questioning and debating may counter radical Islamic ideologies. Other policy recommendations for counterterrorism measures include fighting organized crime and application of social network analysis concepts.
This thesis considers in the influence of culture on strategic decision-making processes in Japan and China. It applies strategic culture and operational code analysis to two historical case studies, Japan in 1941 and China in 1954, and considers primary source documents from both cases. The author assesses the strengths and weaknesses of both research perspectives and develops a composite view of decision-making for both Japan and China and determines that elements of culture, manifested through strategic culture and operational code, had a significant influence on decision-making in both cases, but that it cannot entirely supplant structural theories of international relations in determining state behavior. The author suggests some future research avenues that could improve understanding of these cases and decision-making research in general.
Since the establishment of the Durand Line in 1893 as the international border between Afghanistan and British India, the frontier areas on the eastern side of the border have not been integrated into the social fabric or political framework of the government. Conventional wisdom views integrating the tribes of the FATA as extremely difficult, if not impossible. But the real reason is that neither the British nor subsequent Pakistani administrations committed the appropriate resources or attention to accomplish the task due to a lack of political will. Geopolitical influences and Islamist militants drove the resistance that deemed the effort to integrate FATA, an area void of significant natural resources, not worth the cost. Terrorist organizations that Pakistan supported both covertly and overtly in the frontier areas are now uncontrollable and the very instruments intended to promote the national interests of a nuclear armed yet power deficient state pose an existential threat to the government they were intended to serve.
State, local, and tribal law enforcement (SLTLE) agencies play a significant role in homeland security. Their intelligence function supports their hometown and the nation's homeland security. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) recognized that the same intelligence that secures the homeland is required to secure New York City. NYPD restructured its organizational structure and external business practices to acquire the requisite intelligence to secure NYC and in effect facilitated the nation's homeland security. This thesis identifies NYPD's intelligence practices as a smart practice that SLTLE agencies should adopt, scaled and tailored to their realities and needs, to secure their hometowns and to compound a national effort to secure the homeland.

Spring 2012 Articles
Feature Articles

Spotlight India: Uttarakhand Election 2012

Book Reviews: Mapping the Literary Terrain

Student Theses
Culture & Conflict in the Islamic World
Culture & Conflict in Southeast Asia 

Culture & Conflict in the Digital Era

CCS in the News

Video & Audio Appearances:

Analysis & Commentary:

  • The Fog of Peace, Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chris Mason, The AfPak Channel, ForeignPolicy.com, January 18, 2012

New Books:

Sponsorship Opportunities

As our work continues to evolve and expand, we are welcoming new sponsors to join us in our efforts:



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