April 23, 2004

Sources for Understanding the Terror Wars

I have gotten a couple of emails asking for source material on some of the posts I've written, and to the best of my ability have provided it. The reason I frequently don't have many links in articles laying out broad patterns and situations is that I don't think from a single incident. Instead, I tend to read a lot of material, view things on TV, talk to people and let all of that filter through my brain. Eventually, out pops a conclusion and supporting material, but without references or links. For those, I have to go back and look it up (possible, but time-consuming, especially finding the disconfirming evidence that I've discarded for one reason or another). This may be the best "one stop shopping" for pulling together a picture of actual events and trends in the Terror Wars.

While I will still be happy to answer requests for specific information about a specific post, I wanted to provide a general reading list of sources that inform my views.

The traditional news media frequently have nuggets of information buried in their stories, but you have to ignore their analysis. I read a lot of bits and pieces from different sources, rather than reading exhaustively through any given source. The traditional media is the least useful source to me overall, but the most useful sources for war and economic news among them are the Wall Street Journal, Ha'aretz, the Guardian, the BBC, al-Jazeera, and (ugh) the New York Times. Let me stress again, though, to ignore the analysis and editorializing that is in the articles; it's frequently more indicative of the reporters' biases than the actual situation. And in the case of al-Jazeera, the BBC and the NY Times, swallow a case of salt with much of the coverage.

To see what the Arabs and Muslims are saying about us to themselves in Arabic, rather than to us in English, there is no better source than MEMRI. MEMRI translates news articles, speeches, sermons, and even cartoons from Arab/Muslim sources.

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs does an excellent job of culling many sources to find information about the jihadis' plans and intentions, the mood and behavior of Arab/Muslim societies, the activities of the "anti-war" groups and so on, and infrequently presents hopeful news. I used to think that this was bias against hopeful signs in the Arab world, but eventually I've come to believe that it's just that there aren't a lot of hopeful signs right now. By the way, don't read his comments; they tend to attract extremists and are a waste of time for serious observers.

Dan Darling at Regnum Crucis does a lot of work building up the structure of jihadi groups and the relationships between them.

Jihad Watch does something similar to Little Green Footballs, but with a narrower focus and more analysis.

Good filtered analysis comes from USS Clueless (mixed in with a lot of other things he analyzes), Winds of Change and above all Belmont Club.

Well, that should be enough reading material for a while.

UPDATE: Oops, almost forgot to include StrategyPage.

Posted by Jeff at April 23, 2004 10:07 AM | Link Cosmos
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