A Quarterly, Peer Reviewed Online Journal

The Combating Terrorism Exchange staff are happy to bring you the February 2013 issue of CTX.

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Learning from the Enemy: Alternative Afghan Security Forces

After a decade of vigorous fighting in Afghanistan, the United States and its allies are beginning to understand that a conventional battlefield military strategy, conducted by traditionally organized, trained, and equipped forces, does not work against a determined irregular adversary

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Land Grabs, Radicalization, and Political Violence: Lessons from Mali and Beyond

It is sometimes said that United States military personnel and policymakers are more interested in making history than reading it. Due to this lack of local knowledge and cultural awareness, many of the United States’ modern wars—primarily those unconventional or irregular in nature—have turned out rather poorly...

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The Problem with Rhetoric in COIN

The tax man should think twice before weighing in when professionals debate CT and COIN. But working in the tax profession will teach you a thing or two about the relationship between government and those governed...

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Decentralizing Democracy: Governance in Post-conflict Ethnically Divided Countries

During our first few academic quarters at NPS, my thesis partner, Wing Commander Srinivas Ganapathiraju (Indian Air Force), and I engaged in some sporadic dialogue while reflecting on the idea of how a country’s in-stability might make it the breeding ground for the kinds of insurgencies that are of interest to our respective countries’ armed forces.

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Cultural Intelligence: Archiving Lessons from Afghanistan

The decade since the United States began its war against al Qaeda in Afghanistan has brought changes to how militaries operate. The insights gained during this time are being captured as part of the DoD-sponsored Counter-Terrorism Archive Project (CTAP), which preserves critical lessons applicable to future engagements.

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Equivocated Intentions: Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan

General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s cunning argument for the “Islamization” of Pakistan in the 1970s enabled him to weaken his secular opponents and consolidate a decade of authoritarian rule over the country. His dogmatic Islamist reforms—especially with the amendment of the blasphemy laws—transformed the fabric of Pakistani society. Although the blasphemy laws originated in British-controlled India in 1860 to deter religious persecution of heterogeneous groups, Zia-ul-Haq’s tainted amendment of the laws paved the way for institutionalized socio-religious intolerance and violent extremism in Pakistan.

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Anger or Ability: Arguing the Causes of Rebellion

History books are so filled with stories of rebellion that it would seem that rebellion is a common thing. If we look at history as the flow of days and events, for most of those days for the vast majority of humans, rebellion has been a very rare thing.

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ETHICS & INSIGHTS: Should Former Military Members Maintain Their Military Obligation?

When an individual retires or moves to a job with a different employer, there may be limits placed upon that individual’s activities in the new position. The former employee may be obligated to adhere to a rule that limits his or her future employment status.

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India has witnessed one of the world’s highest levels of terrorist violence in the last three decades, with a unique hybrid of both domestic and international terrorism. Two audacious attacks, one on the Indian parliament in 2001 and the other in Mumbai in 2008, along with scores of smaller ones that have left thousands dead over the past ten years alone, have unsurprisingly brought into question the effectiveness of India’s security and intelligence agencies in counterterrorism.

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The 9/11 Memorial website, set up to accompany the long-awaited Freedom Tower complex in lower Manhattan, reflects a longing for closure to an event that most Americans cannot seem to let go.

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This journal is not an official DoD publication. The views expressed or implied within are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any governmental or nongovernmental organization or agency of the United States of America or any other country.


Copyright © 2023 by the author(s), except where otherwise noted. The Combating Threats Exchange journal (CTX) is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal available free of charge to individuals and institutions. Copies of this journal and the articles contained herein may be printed or downloaded and redistributed for personal, research, or educational purposes free of charge and without permission, except if otherwise noted. Any commercial use of CTX or the articles published herein is expressly prohibited without the written consent of the copyright holder. The copyright of all articles published herein rests with the author(s) of the article, unless otherwise noted.


  • SALLY BAHO, Copy Editor
  • LAYOUT AND DESIGN, Graduate Education Advancement Center, Naval Postgraduate School


  • VICTOR ASAL, University of Albany SUNY
  • CHRIS HARMON, Marine Corps University
  • TROELS HENNINGSEN, Royal Danish Defense College
  • PETER MCCABE, Joint Special Operations University
  • RAJAN RAVINDRAN, Indian Army (Ret.)
  • IAN C. RICE, US Army (Ret.)
  • ANNA SIMONS, Naval Postgraduate School
  • SHYAMSUNDER TEKWANI, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
  • CRAIG WHITESIDE, Naval War College


  • AMINA KATOR-MUBAREZ, Naval Postgraduate School