Al-Qa’ida members who appear less committed should not necessarily be removed from the network if they can be reliably observed, even if they present easy targets...
Make credible punishment of operatives harder for al-Qa’ida. This is most easily done by providing an exit option for members other than indefinite detention or death. . . . offering well-publicized amnesty or reduced punishment for defectors will encourage those dissatisfied with the organization to leave by reducing the perceived costs of exit. . . .
Publicly emphasize the differences between al-Qa’ida leaders and affiliate groups....
Create uncertainty about operationally relevant technical information. . . . If al-Qa’ida’s operators can readily find reliable technical information on bomb-making and the like, they can operate with a great deal of independence. However, if public technical data sources are rife with misinformation, then cells will need to communicate more to make sure they are using appropriate materials/techniques. These increased communications reduce the maximum feasible level of security. . . .
By openly monitoring the family relations of known al-Qa’ida members, governments can create the perception that using family ties to screen potential members is a security risk.
Finally, the author urges a strong focus on publicly blaming terrorist groups for unintended casualties of their attacks.
None of these approaches are important elements of current U.S. anti-terrorism strategy, which often does exactly the opposite of the recommendations set forth above. The recommendations above are derived from an analysis of public statements made by Al-Qa'ida leaders about how the operate and some careful consideration of how to address the organization's known weaknesses.
These principals of guerilla warfare strategy, from the guerilla's point of view, drafted by T.E. Lawrence, also bear consideration:
1. A successful guerrilla movement must have an unassailable base.
2. The guerrilla must have a technologically sophisticated enemy.
3. The enemy must be sufficiently weak in numbers so as to be unable to occupy the disputed territory in depth with a system of interlocking fortified posts.
4. The guerrilla must have at least the passive support of the populace, if not its full involvement.
5. The irregular force must have the fundamental qualities of speed, endurance, presence, and logistical independence.
6. The irregular must be sufficiently advanced in weaponry to strike at the enemy's logistics and signals vulnerabilities.