"A close evaluation of today's insurgencies reveals far more similarities to classical insurgency theory than differences. Just as today's insurgency has evolved from the insurgencies of years past, success in today's counterinsurgency requires a careful evolution of practices, not a revolution of thought. As America and its allies find themselves confronting Al Qaeda across the globe, several modern theorists have suggested that Al Qaeda represents a new approach to warfare. Despite these theorists' claims, a long trail of evidence points to a deliberate attempt by Al Qaeda's leadership to model their actions after Mao Tse-tung, Che Guevara, and other classical insurgent leaders of the 20th century. In Al Qaeda's public and internal writings, the fingerprints of classical insurgency theory are clear. Not without its difficulties, Al Qaeda has attempted to educate the Muslim masses and build popular support for their perverse distortion of Islam. With the establishment of a global Caliphate as its political objective, Al Qaeda has used the popular support it has garnered to build a global Qutbist insurgency. Modern theorists argue that Al Qaeda's religious orientation, global nature, networked organization, and use of the internet separate it from the insurgencies of the 20th century. Yet, Mao Tse-tung himself called for a global spread of communism through the uprising of the population. As already stated, Al Qaeda has a definite political objective despite its foundation in religion. The acephalous, decentralized nature of Al Qaeda's organization is not unlike what Mao described in his treatise On Guerrilla War."
Research Paper No. 2007-2
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