December 05, 2007

Midweek Announcements

Hey, folks, Abu Muqawama wants to bring a few things to your attention:

1. Abu Muqawama will be traveling for the next week, so his posting will be light. Charlie, meanwhile, will still be posting when not busily preparing to defend her PhD dissertation in a few days. Actually, Abu Muqawama is going to see Charlie in about 48 hours, and the two of us are going to attend an event on Afghanistan together. So you, dear readers, might get a rare treat: a joint blog posting from the two of us.

2. Speaking of Afghanistan, if you have not already done so, please visit the Afghanistan COIN Library. This project is a joint initiative between Small Wars Journal and Abu Muqawama aimed at building up the resources of the plucky little counterinsurgency school run by our friend Capt. Dan Helmer in Kabul.

3. And while we're on the subject of books, be sure to check out COIN Book Club #5, written by Charlie and highlighting that great Graham Greene classic, The Quiet American. A few nights ago, Abu Muqawama attended a lecture by Peter Katzenstein, who called The Quiet American one of the best books ever written on U.S. foreign policy. Those are strong words coming from America's top political scientist. Even stronger when you consider the book is a novel. (And a damn good read too.)

4. Getting back to this blog's bread-and-butter issue (counterinsurgency; not the Red Sox), there is an article in the New York Times this morning worth reading on the reasons behind Iraq's fragile calm. The analysis is dead on, Abu Muqawama believes, when it notes how transitory this calm might be. Abu Muqawama has been screaming for months now for some kind of big political push to turn temporary military gains into concrete political concessions. The article also highlights the analysis of Joost Hilterman, International Crisis Group's lead analyst in the Middle East. Abu Muqawama has been consistently impressed by ICG's reports on the three countries in which he takes a serious interest: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. Solid, nuanced work worth checking out if you have the time.