COIN and Counterterrorism: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In the Sergio Leone-inspired, and admittedly simplistic, formulation of the above headline, Iraq is the good, Somalia is the bad, and Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are the ugly.

The must-read from today’s media roundup of commentary concerns Iraq and comes from CNAS’s Nagl, Kahl and Brimley. The three analysts recently returned from Iraq advise policymakers on “How to Exit Iraq,” saying the answer has little to do with “‘all in’ or ‘all out’ way that Iraq is debated in Washington” at the moment.

The most worrying piece of analysis I saw in today’s papers assesses U.S. and Ethiopian counterterrorism efforts in long-troubled Somalia, or what the headline-writer cheekily calls “The Republic of Blowback.” The verdict: bad.

Finally, in Pakistan’s northwest, where al-Qaida and Taliban militants continue to have save haven from whence they can undermine the government of Afghanistan, things are ugly. But it’s not too late, says Malou Innocent in WPR, to draw lessons from the good counterinsurgency in Anbar for use in the FATA.

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