chapter  1
30 Pages

‘There’s a good reason they are called al- Qaeda in Iraq. They are al- Qaeda . . . in . . . Iraq.’ The impossibility of a global counter- terrorism strategy, or the end of the nation state

WithBOB D E GRAAFF

Introduction In this chapter I argue that a global grand strategy against the jihadist insurgency of al Qaeda and its affiliates is impossible and could even be counterproductive. The traditional world order, based on the Westphalian system of sovereign states, is not facilitated to successfully counter a transnational insurgency, which can act simultaneously at or switch flexibly between the supra-state and the infra-state level. Having no strategy at all may therefore be the best option, apart from using as little violence as possible.