February 09, 2008

Abu Muqawama: One Year Later

On the occasion of this blog's birthday, our customary and ridiculous use of the third person is suspended for the following post.

Abu Muqawama started a year ago today. The name was born, tongue-in-cheek, when I penned an anonymous comment on a blog which had unfairly (IMHO) denounced a friend's recent op-ed in an-Nahar. My friend got a laugh out of "Abu Muqawama's" comment, and we both liked the nom de plume so much that we wondered if we could buy the name www.abumuqawama.com. Apparently we could, and within an hour this blog had been created.

In the months prior to starting this blog, I had been reading a lot of articles and books on counterinsurgency theory and often went to great lengths to photocopy these articles and books and send them along to my buddies in Iraq. I myself am an Iraq veteran, and I had also served in Afghanistan a few times before leaving the U.S. Army for graduate school. And although this blog rapidly became a way for me to sound off on everything from Lebanese politics to anthropology to the Boston Red Sox, the primary purpose of this blog had always been to be a kind of resource for counterinsurgents and the regular Joe (or Omar) looking to learn more about both counterinsurgency theory and the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wanted to spend time highlighting articles in the news or books and journal articles that put the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere into a tactical and strategic perspective for the reader, and that's what we have tried to do these past 12 months. We have also tried to introduce some new texts to the readership -- assuming not everyone reads David Galula as an undergraduate -- which has been the motivation behind both the counterinsurgency reading list and the COIN Book Club.

In the first few months after this blog started, we averaged about 50 readers a day. Now we average over 1,000 -- and closer to 1,500 on most weekdays. This has a lot to do with my very wise decision to bring "Charlie" and "Kip" on board. Both my co-bloggers have pretty incredible academic qualifications and have studied counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfare in great depth. But the primary reason they bring a unique perspective to the readership is because Charlie spends her days teaching counterinsurgency to the guys who actually do it, and Kip is an active-duty soldier who has applied his academic background and learning to the actual fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They have prevented this blog from being one man's vanity project, and in case you haven't noticed, their posts are usually about 130% smarter than anything I write.

Anyway, many thanks to all our readers for making the first year so much fun. The crews at Small Wars Journal, Instapundit, Danger Room and Intel Dump have been kind enough to throw readers our way from time to time, and we can't thank them enough for helping us build up our daily readership. We hope Year Two is twice as fun for you (and us) as the first year has been.