With the passage of time warfare has changed in method and nature. This especially applies to the late 20th century where human destiny took a dramatic turn as the forces of Faith battled a mighty force of Evil in the unforgiving lands of Afghanistan. Employing a mix of battle tactics the Mujahidin forces who were materially no match for their foes managed to subdue the mighty Soviet army and compelled it to retreat.
This series of events spelled the end of conventional warfare and redefined the concept of symmetric warfare. This war and its surprising conclusion forced military generals to rethink their strategy for dealing with Muslim masses and keeping their lands under perpetual occupations without having to face reprisals due to the fact that the Muslims had finally been given a jolt of life by the Afghan victory.
In every corner and every street whispers of Islamic victory and glimmer of hope for an oppressed civilization began circulating. People realized that defeating a far superior enemy was in fact possible but such a colossal task required a radical change in approach to warfare because the Muslims would not be able to win conventionally as they lacked both sustainable flow and manufacturing of arms as well as international backing.
At the start of the 21st century America along with all her allies began a disastrous conventional campaign against advocates of Islamic revival which quickly turned into a quagmire, or rather a quicksand, that swallow its victim the more it resisted. Thereupon the American generals began employing ‘COIN’ or Counter Insurgency strategy which basically sought to deny insurgent forces (fish) from operating within the population (pond). This strategy proved successful to a high extent as it pacified the Iraqi insurgency however this quick fix (buying loyalty of clan leaders) would also prove unsustainable because the money sources (which was used to rent the loyalty of influential clans) began drying up and the COIN strategy had failed to take into account the grievances of the population and finding lasting solutions to those grievances.
About a decade later the revolutions by the people began taking shape throughout the Arab world, once again affording Islamic forces opportunity to establish toe holds in new lands, which compelled America to again change her course in these regions. As the resources for further protracted wars and ‘nation building’ projects dwindled, America (with its mainly NATO allies) and other players including Iran and Russia opted for a far cheaper option – local proxies forces embedded with special operating forces who shall guide their efforts and provide military support or rather airstrikes to topple undesirable regimes and deny enemy forces (Sunni Islamic revival groups) territory to rule over population centers. And this highly toxic hybrid which uses a mix of conventional, proxy, psychological and propaganda warfare to blur out well defined lines between civilian and military targets to tackle different situations in different manners has now been dubbed ‘Generational Warfare’.
As ‘Generational Warfare’ of the enemy requires the molding and empowering of a new generation of secular thinkers in our homelands therefore the approach of Islamic revival forces must also change accordingly in order to confront this new enemy strategy.
The thinking behind this strategy is to deny Islamists a chance at governing through international isolation, population starvation, the destruction of basic infrastructure and targeting population centers from the air with hopes of instigating uprisings due to appalling living conditions and forcing the younger generation to shun the path of Jihad as the older leadership passes away.
Therefore the Mujahidin at the strategy-making level must begin thinking outside the box by giving serious thought to a new method of ‘hybrid governance’ that counters the enemy strategy and shatters conventional model of governance which mainly relies on international legitimacy for security as well as economic and social growth.
In order for the Islamists to succeed they must radically re-think their approach to old forms of governance. A new multi-dimensional mechanism must be enabled that will take advantage of the territory under their control and use political maneuvering to reach their goals. A method which will provide sustainable living conditions for its citizens, create job opportunities, monopolize trade to rival rates of goods and services provided by the regime, establish contacts with outside states and non-state actors and offer incentives for businessmen to invest in trade that bypasses regime tax laws which will let the people thrive and keep the flow of food, oil, gas and weaponry continue.
At the same time efforts must be exerted to stop the brain drain in their territories. The Mujahidin must create unions for doctors and engineers which function as vital organs for any government. A point of contact with this sector is critical as it can provide cheap medical care for the poor and help the Mujahidin maintain and even develop areas under their control which in turn will raise the confidence of the people in Mujahidin and encourage them to invest at locally.
This coupled with holding periodic seminars in areas of control to ideologically prepare the elders and younger generation for a protracted conflict will hopefully bring about the desired result which is the restoration of the right of Muslims to live peacefully under the shade of sublime Shariah law.