A Military Historical Perspective on Terrorism, Guerrilla Warfare and their Impact on Society

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 refocused world attention onto the asymmetric character of non-state organised violence. Escalation had gone on for years, and the United States had been men tally prepared for something to happen. But the U.S. were as surprised as most of the rest of the world by the ferocity, the cynicism and the ‘military precision’ of the atrocity. Though method and scope of these attacks were astonishingly odious, they merely were the continuation of a long tradition, which spans the Spanish guerrillas[1] through the Boer and Second World Wars on to the present day’s political and religious terrorism. This paper will discuss three aspects of asymmetric threats: the conceptual aspect of guerrilla warfare, the operational perspective of the perpetrator of terrorist attacks, and the impact on the victimized society. The method used is a critical review of three opera, each of its distinct type: a theoretical-empirical work, military-style manual, and a compilation of research and committee papers.[2] The works, though disparate in quality and form, shed light from different angles on the armed struggle of non-state actors. While none of these works - not boasting academic status - provide any references, On Guerrilla Warfare and The Al Qaeda Manual bear no witness of academic research at all. Straight identification of evidence, therefore, is hardly possible. Mao’s work is to a large extent free speculation with a basis in his empirical studies and own observations, whereas the Manual appears to be based on experience and material from other ‘handbook’ like sources. Evidence to support the content of Super Terrorism obviously exists. But, apart from the casual reference to a matrix, graph, etc., it is not to be clearly identified. Finding evidence - which might have formed the basis of these opera - will, therefore, be attempted through use of other sources, deemed to be relevant to the themes of the respective texts.

The Historical Context
‘Guerrilla’ is an expression originally used to characterise the popular rising in support of the British regular army fighting French presence in the Iberian Peninsula 1807-12.[3] Similar popular and irregular warfare has since played an important rôle in toppling autocratic regimes and foreign occupation. The French retreat from Moscow in 1812 was severely hampered by peasant guerrillas and bands of Cossacks debouching on French columns wherever an opportunity arose. In the ‘War in South Africa,’ 1899-1902, the Boers - fighting ‘regularly’ up to and including Colenso and Spion Kop - employed a similar approach towards British forces from the beginning of 1900. In On Guerrilla, the historical context is the chaos following the demise of the last Imperial Chinese dynasty, the Manchu, in 1912; the internal war between local warlords; Chiang Kai-shek’s ascension to central power in 1926; and the Japanese occupation of China. The book’s politico-military advice should be seen in the light of Mao’s long-term goal of replacing Chiang with the intermediate objective of ridding the country of the Japanese army of occupation.

The other face of the irregular fight is terrorism: a battle being fought by instilling fear among non-combatants, thus indirectly influencing the leadership by swaying public attitudes. Terrorism is primarily of an either political or religious nature. Development in recent years has shown a trend towards the latter; and since ‘9/11’ Islamic extremists dominate the scene of religious terrorism, which has become almost synonymous with the Al Qaeda network. Islamic terrorism has developed through three phases: 1928-1978, 1978-1991, and 1991-today. The first phase followed the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1923 and the subsequent establishment of secular Turkey, which replaced the comprehensive and united Muslim state. This phase witnessed ‘internal’ assassinations of politicians and generals but no terror against other citizens or targets outside the Muslim world.[4] The second phase was brought about by the revolution in Iran. In this phase, to create chaos aimed at toppling the Shah, Islamists set a theatre on fire: terror against civilians had become reality. Also, in this phase, suicidal attacks were introduced, the first being committed by the Lebanese Hizbollah in Beyrouth/Beirut in October 1983. The third phase is the one of Osama bin Laden and the most notorious and spectacular one. It is linked with the victory of the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan (1989), the Gulf War, the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia (1991), and the Oslo Agreement (1993). In this context, it is important to distinguish between ‘Muslim’ as meaning phenomena associated with the creed of Islam, and ‘Islamic’ being related to the holistic politico-militant view aiming at reestablishment of the Caliphate by violent means.

The Conceptual Aspect of Guerrilla Warfare
Like Carl von Clausewitz, who had obviously provided the theoretical basis for his thought, Mao was a firm believer in the notion that policy avails itself of various means - war being but one.[5] When Mao wrote his work, China was still in a semi-colonial state of development, the fight “. . . against imperialism . . . must have a clearly defined political goal.”[6] Being a nation of conventional arms inferiority, China had to employ guerrilla methods against the more powerful Japanese foe. However, a gradual development of the guerrilla forces into something more orthodox had to take place as combat progressed, thus facilitating co-operation with the country’s regular forces (the Kuomintang) in complete accord with national policy. Clausewitz as well as Machiavelli would have agreed. Clausewitz professed that as policy created war, policy must maintain a directive influence throughout battle. Describing guerilla warfare, Mao goes one step further prescribing for guerilla units both military and political leadership.[7] Wisely, he stresses voluntary participation, suspicious - of course - that any member, forced to join, will be prone to a less sympathetic and less reliable attitude towards the cause.[8] This concept of freedom of choice, though obviously right, is practically restricted by the group pressure, which will always apply where units are formed from the population of geographically close societies.

Mao sees policy in war slightly differently than Clausewitz, as he regards the efforts directed against enemy morale and political cohesion as being equally important as armed combat.[9] He develops the Clausewitzian concept - of ongoing political direction as the war progresses - claiming a need for political consciousness with the soldiery. Not only must they know why the war is being waged, they shall actively preach the gospel of their organisation.[10] This interesting concept of total identification with the cause, so commonly found in revolutionary armies, is a long way from Wellington’s dictum that “soldiers are [merely] the scum of this world.” The insight and dedication required can possibly be found in a guerrilla, but hardly amongst ordinary soldiers in a traditional army, and it is questionable for how long it can be sustained as the guerrilla gets increasingly ‘orthodox’.

Mao’s work, though written in the early decades of the twentieth century, has not lost its relevance. The British seemed to understand it and acted accordingly in their counter-insurgency operations during the period of decolonisation. The Americans did not fully understand its substance - though excellently translated and commented by one of their own officers - and suffered a humiliating defeat in Vietnam.  

Tactically, Mao bases guerrilla warfare on mobility, attack and alertness.[11]

In guerrilla warfare, select the tactic as if seeming to come from the east and attacking from the west; avoid the solid; attack the hollow; attack; withdraw; deliver a lightning blow, seek a lightning decision. When guerrillas engage a stronger enemy, they withdraw when he advances; harass when he stops; strike him when he is weary; pursue him when he withdraws.[12]

These principles combine the Clausewitzian notion of defence being the stronger form of combat with Sun Tzu’s emphasis on the subtle indirect approach. It is a concept that was proven as early as the battle of the Lago Trasimene (21 June 217 B.C.), where the unlucky advancing forces were lured into an ambush in a defile between the lake and the mountains leaving no escape route open. 

As to tactics, the terms ‘front’ and ‘rear’ refer to enemy only, as the guerrilla itself operates without such delineation and primarily in the enemy hinterland. The guerrilla execute ambushes on small units and lines of communication, harassment of larger formations and establishment of own bases, thus eliciting dispersal of enemy forces.[13] During the years of occupation by Japanese forces, where a regular Chinese army existed alongside the guerrilla, their activities had to be planned and executed as harmoniously concerted efforts.[14] Thus, the guerrilla becomes a useful auxiliary to the orthodox formations.[15]

Mao asserts that guerrillas do not apply the tactics of decisive battles, reconnaissance, and deployment for attack. That, however, is a matter of terminology. Guerrillas certainly reconnoitre as we have seen in Yugoslavia and Vietnam; they do have to deploy before their attacks as did Lawrence’s Arab warriors against the Turks; and some battles are very decisive indeed, such as Napoléon’s withdrawal across the Berezina in 1812, where Cossacks and local peasants attacked and annihilated the French rearguard. Thus, guerrilla tactics, generally, differ from that of the regular army but, in a number of fields, similarity prevails.

Like tactics, also leadership differs from that of regular forces. Central direction is required in orthodox units: locally recruited commanders constitute the leadership with guerrillas.[16] Mao argues that leadership must be based on the unit members’ own choice among people who command local respect, and local authorities must be engaged playing a supportive rôle.[17] Units, which he forms up in a rather traditional, military, hierarchical manner, then will be formed by “farmers who leave their farms to become freedom fighters,” exactly as the Boers did. However, to praise guerilla - as Mao does - as the “University of War” seems tantamount to declaring the Home Guard the epitome of strategic outlook.[18]

The organisational chapter of On Guerrilla outlines five possible compositions of guerilla units ranging from purely popular well disciplined groups to bands of former criminals with a variety of military expertise interspersed at levels in between.[19] A regular army, having been rendered impotent as an orthodox fighting force, must detail its units to fight along the lines of the guerrilla concept.[20] As to political organisation of guerilla-held territory, Mao advocates a regional structure, where - within each region - the fighting force and the political leadership are indigenous to the area.[21]

He concludes that guerrilla operations should aim at retaining the initiative, complementing the regular army, establishing bases, using mobile operations and maintaining ‘correct command’. The basic tactical modus operandi should be one of disperse to operate, attack in a violent and deceptive form, and counterattack where ground is lost. It is astonishing how much this concept resembles the tactics of highly mobile modern units. It is natural to conclude that, though much wisdom is taken over from Sun Tzu as well as Clausewitz, Mao has contributed to the ‘Art of War’ giving the guerrilla a place in its own right. In some tactical contexts, his ideas will even reach beyond the guerrilla concept benefiting regular army tactics, as well.

The Operational Perspective of the Perpetrator of Terrorist Attacks
Whereas the French, the British, the Japanese, the Germans and others have been participants in guerrilla wars almost for two centuries, the primary targets for the terror acts of recent years have been those allegedly profaning the soil of Islam, and most prominent among these are the citizens of the U.S.A.

Though the Al Qaeda Manual[22] is set in a different historical context, it is as military and as normative in its approach as is Mao’s On Guerrilla Warfare. The philosophical element is substituted by a substantial religious admixture telling of Islamic aspirations to depose ‘renegade regimes’ in order to found, presumably, a new caliphate. The Manual’s aim seems to be instruction of Al Qaeda groups and individuals on how to accomplish operational tasks, upholding security standards, and ascertaining success; though this purpose is partially obscured by - only marginally relevant - allusions to Islamic scriptures or interpretations. The intent of the author[23] is, obviously, to provide the Al Qaeda with an operational guide allowing the network to function smoothly and with military efficiency. However, the Manual appears unfinished, and lends itself to breaking up and rearranging in a logical order.[24]

The author defines the objective set in its religious and political contexts: to fight the non-believers. In a politico-religious statement - opposing Islamic values to Greco-Western civilisation - the Manual informs us that: the confrontation that we are calling for with the apostate regimes does not know Socratic debates, Platonic ideals, or Aristotelian diplomacy. But it knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing, and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine-gun. 

This is phraseology not totally dissimilar to that of the levée en masse ordinance,[25] which ordered the old men, unfit for fighting, to give speeches in public places encouraging citizens to take on the battle against the enemies of la République. Taking his point of departure in the fact that an Islamic state has never been established but by violent means,[26] the author beseeches Islamic women, “covenant, o Sister, to make their women widows and their children orphans.”[27] It seems highly doubtful whether such call for brutality is legitimised by the Qu’ran. Mohammad Mustafa al-Muqra[28] concludes in his work on an Islamic ‘code-of-conduct’ that “in accordance with interpretations, which have been in effect for centuries, Islam does not allow killing of civilians.”[29] Perceiving Allah as a just god,[30] one would assume that Muslims were expected to exercise reasonable discretion with respect to whom they slay.

The Manual emphasises the need to unite to gather strength fulfilling Allah’s demands.[31] Italso, defines some ‘Principles of the Military Organisation’ subdivided in military organisation commander and advisory councilsoldiers, andstrategy. This seems to be an attempt to establish a coherence ad modem ‘the warfare cycle’ (organisation-doctrine-technology), though the idea is not further developed. Following these principles, the Manual lists a number of ‘requirements’ and ‘missions’. The ‘requirements’ are doctrinal issues falling thematically in 7 categories.[32] On the question of member qualifications the text becomes specific. These issues, though put in a rather casual order, are relevant and dealt with in a militarily sound manner. They include membership conditions and a list of other qualifications, which could be a point of departure for an ‘entrance examination’ or screening of ‘candidates’. The required qualifications also hint at suicidal working methods alluding to martyrdom, strict discipline and secrecy[33]. Though the Manual’s casual structure deprives most of the text of the clear, closely reasoned train of thought of a military directive, the importance attached to the ‘requirements’ demonstrate a wish to establish a smoothly functioning battle organisation. The aim is to obtain precision in performing its tasks, and achieve the long-term goal of establishing an Islamic state - ‘the Caliphate’.[34]  This brings us a little closer to an understanding of the creed of the organisation, which is neither altruistic nor universal. The aim is exclusively to enforce Al Qaeda’s interpretation of Islamic values, which in many ways, and not entirely surprisingly, resembles the Saudi puritan Wahabi interpretation

The security aspect as a whole takes up a considerable part of the Manual. The Al Qaeda is obviously an organisation, which is aware that surprise and mission success depend on meticulously planned secrecy and operational security measures.  Not surprisingly, precautions with respect to telephones, personal meetings, letters, and messengers receive special attention. The precision of modern weaponry homing on users of mobile phones seems to justify this. Though most relevant security aspects are addressed, it is evident that the text would benefit from a somewhat more logical sequence.

Among the central qualifications required for Al Qaeda members is the understanding of the need for intelligence, ‘caution’, and ‘prudence’. Caution seems to be what modern military forces would call ‘operational security’, whereas prudence coincides largely with the Clausewitzian notion of ‘cunning’.[35] Ability to observe and deduce from the matters observed are emphasised as prerequisite for preventing misjudgements and mistakes in operational matters: exactly what intelligence analysis is about.

Intelligence, espionage, interrogation and investigation are dealt with theoretically as well as practically. Apparently, Sun Tzu’s observation concerning the employment of spies has provided some of the intellectual background.[36] Much prudent intelligence thinking is provided interspersed with bits of ‘Islamic Supremacy’ phraseology; and in one case this takes the author somewhat astray, as he tells the reader that “since Islam is superior to all human conditions and earthly religions, it permits spying for itself but not for others.” Against this piece of Islamic self-delusion stands Clausewitz’s logical observation that the force opposing us will always be as human (living) as are our own. Thus, in this instance the Al Qaeda rhetoric does not appear conducive to providing the user with realistic guidance for future action.

Further to intelligence, in the section on ‘Beating and Killing Hostages’ . . . we find permission to interrogate the hostage for the purpose of obtaining information. It is permitted to strike the nonbeliever who has no covenant until he reveals the news, information, and secrets of his people. The religious scholars have also permitted the killing of a hostage if he insists on withholding information from Muslims. They permitted his killing so that he would not inform his people of what he learned about the Muslim condition, number, and secrets providing services and expertise to the Muslims.

This is obviously an ‘Al Qaeda adaptation’ of the Qu’ran and does not go unchallenged by Muslim scribes (cf. above p. 10 and note 28). Under the heading ‘Importance of Information’, the Manual lays out a number of rules similar to what can be found in western intelligence manuals. However, it is doubtful if Al Qaeda has had access to such manuals while writing these chapters. The Manual lacks sophistication as it is obviously remiss in fields such as prioritisation of intelligence needs, description of agencies (collection means) and analysis. Sophisticated it is nevertheless, appreciating the usefulness of ‘all-source’ as well as ‘open source intelligence’ in a way not totally dissimilar to what might be found in western military writing.

Summing up, the Al Qaeda Manual can be described as being, possibly, a draft, or unfinished, operational guideline for all levels of a network, wishing to see itself as a cohesive military organisation. This organisation has strategic goals rooted in Islam and operational missions, whom it wishes to deal with in an orderly, efficient and diligent manner. However, incomplete as it is and trying to embrace every aspect of operations, in a number of fields it actually provides limited support for their planning and execution.

The Impact on the Victimized Society [37]
Facing opponents operating asymmetrically vis-à-vis its own modus operandi, society must adapt its security and response concepts accordingly. Addressing biological threats, Super Terrorism - compiles possible answers to that need. These are provided through U.S. committee reports and academic research papers all published before 11 September 2001. Nonetheless, this compilation is a well orchestrated effort to present reports which are mutually supportive and relevant also after that key terror incident. Mostly, institutions concerned with security agree amongst themselves that the biggest possible organisational effort should be made to secure the population and vital government functions. Contrary to this, individual scientists have warned not to go to too great lengths with costly measures against threats which might never materialise.[38] That dichotomy, however, does not occur in this compilation.

As pointed out by U.S. State Department, Congress and Government repeatedly since 1996, the U.S. takes terrorism seriously.[39] The official committee reports’ primary object is the organisational aspect of possible prevention and response; whereas the research papers, naturally, concentrate on possible scientific approaches to the challenge.

Publishing the U.S. ‘National Defense Panel’s’ report in 1997, the then defence secretary, William Cohen, said about super terrorism that “the question is not if but when.”[40] The committee reports cover possible terrorist employment of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons (CBRN) on a lesser scale. They address the technical obstacles to developing missiles as the means of delivery of WMD and find that these difficulties appear a likely reason for terrorists to find other ways and means of employing such weapons, thus also rendering a possible missile defence irrelevant.[41] Further, if the terrorists’ aim at less than apocalyptical damage, WMD are not necessarily their ‘choice weapons’. CBRN weapons and high explosives are likely to inflict both abundant casualties and widespread panic. A series of simultaneous actions will instil general fear to sufficiently undermine government authority.[42] And there are non-state actors, who have both ill intent and sufficient means to carry out such actions.[43] Terrorists used to be aware that weapons of apocalyptical damage would alienate their potential constituencies. However, in recent years the nature of terrorism has changed, because religious objectives have replaced secular or political ends, prohibiting any prediction as to the scope of perpetration.[44] Although basic materials can be bought legally or illegally all over the world, inflicting casualties on a mass scale will require an advanced technology and considerable resources.[45] Thus, while the manufacture of chemical and biological agents is not beyond non-state group capabilities, it will be too simplistic to say that it is easy.[46]

Proliferation is trans-national, biological weapons pose a serious threat to all living creatures,[47] and the risk of infection of farm livestock or crops pose a similar threat to economy.

Prevention is difficult. In the efforts to limit damage, the response after bio-attacks is crucial. Effective co-operation between health authorities, hospitals, laboratories, and others is important and must be trained.[48]

Incidents of bio-terror, where bacterial pathogens and lethal plant toxins have been used, demonstrate that society is vulnerable; and as some agents are highly contagious (smallpox, variola virus) the effects cannot even be limited to the person(s) first infected.[49] Ways of reducing vulnerability will include improving the epidemiological capacity to detect and respond; diagnosis; communication programmes; education; availability of vaccines and drugs; and research.

The scientific research papers allow for some hope based on the observation that bio-weapons are difficult to handle, disperse, and ‘keep alive’. Luckily, bacterial and viral weapons are as dangerous to the terrorists working with them as they are for the prospective victims. Development requires highly skilled scientists and expensive laboratory facilities. And also diffusion might not be easy.[50] There seems to be reason to believe that, while viral infections are complicated to manage, science will beat the bacterial infections sooner or later. Further, the existing international treaties provide us with a means of control hampering illegal acquisition and easing the inquisitive access to plants all over the world; and the global battle against infectious disease is a tool to the same effect.[51] However, though military use of bio-weapons may be forestalled by good intelligence, terrorist use is far more unpredictable as to type and method of employment. Because of that unpredictability, specific vaccines will seldom be adequate. What is needed, therefore, is development of the right non-specific medical systems.[52] In other words: more research, and larger funds.

Traditionally, damage control depends on ‘first responders’ like fire fighters, police and rescue workers. These are, however, not adequate in a bio-terrorist attack, as effects do not materialise until days after the perpetration. First responders, therefore, should rather be public health and medical personnel, experts in diagnosis, hospitalisation, care and laboratory work.[53] In a situation where a bio-threat is imminent a number of precautions should be taken. A co-ordinating authority should make local emergency responders work together with appropriate elements of the health and defence departments, initiate an assessment at the scene of the incident and ask for necessary assistance at the national level.[54]    

To sum up, bio-terrorism is a very real threat, and the question might well not be ‘if’ but ‘when’. Bio-warfare poses a truly asymmetric threat, which can be used for punishment or revenge, undermining coalitions, disrupting power projection forces, etc. The potential consequences of major bio-attacks against one or more cities are far reaching. Though the immediate effects of 11 September 2002 were not ‘mass casualties’ the mass disruption caused in civil society, commerce, economy and exchange of goods influenced life far beyond the scenes of physical damage.

It seems worthwhile to try and look for the main thread through these works. The two first tally historically with each other. The guerrilla concept was the logical response to French conventional superiority, renewed under similar circumstances during the Boer and Second World Wars as well as in many other conflicts. But as the opponent’s traditional superiority becomes increasingly impenetrable, the guerrilla instrument needs sharpening. Thus, unconventional warfare against enemy conventional forces changes into an indirect approach of unconventional combat by - basically psychological - means of terror against the enemy non-combatant society. Super Terrorism deals with the damage control, thus necessitated. It stares one in the face that we are witnessing a sad confirmation of Clausewitz’s interaction of extremes: one party craves for something and goes out of his way to get it; the other side wants to keep his treasure and goes to extremes to defend it. And so on and so forth, until unreasonably huge amounts are allocated in preparing for something which may never happen, and Herculean efforts are put into planning and preparing for counter-strikes even worse than the assault anticipated. If the enemy cannot be conquered in face to face battle, guerrillas will debouch on his rear using primitive but unexpected and efficient means. If that does not appear a viable solution either - perhaps, because of increasing desensitisation of modern society - harsher asymmetric approaches are applied, and terrorists - super or otherwise - draft manuals, train and behave like members of any well trimmed army perceiving their cause to be just. Guerrilla tactics have come to stay, it must be realised,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         but a guerrilla war, by comparison with terrorism, is a harmless event which can be contained. Super terrorism and terrorism, in general, must be dealt with by preparing the threatened societies as best we can, but like any other kind of conflict it will not disappear until the underlying quarrels are solved.

Af Ph.D.-studerende, MA Kjeld Galster; Forsvarsakademiet


PDF med originaludgaven af Militært Tidskrift hvor denne artikel er fra:




Alexander, Yonah and Hoenig, Milton. Super Terrorism - Biological, Chemical and Nuclear.  Ardsley, NY, U.S.A., Transnational Publishers, 2001.

Al Qaeda. The Al Qaeda Manual (computer file impounded by British Police in Manchester). From internet www.disastercenter.com/terror/ondex.htm.

Andersen, Lars Erslev. ”Asymmetrisk krig, ny terrorisme.” Militært Tidsskrift (March 2002).

Bramming, Pernille. ”Hvorfor frygter vi Islam?”  Militært Tidsskrift (March 2002).

Cameron, Gavin. ”Multi-track Micro proliferation: Lessons from Aum Shinrikyo and Al Qaeda.” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Taylor and Frances # 22 (1999).

Clausewitz, Carl v. On War. Princeton, New Jersey; Princeton University Press, 1984.

Machiavelli, Nicolo. The Prince. London, UK; Penguin Books, 1999.

Mao Tse-tung. On Guerrilla Warfare. Urbana and Chicago, U.S.A.; University of Illinois Press, 2000.

Mozaffari, Mehdi. „Bin Laden and Islamist Terrorism.“ Militært Tidsskrift (March 2002).

Muir, Angus. “Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Case of Aum Shinrikyo.”  Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Taylor and Frances No. 22 (1999).

Rosenau, William. “Aum Shinrikyo’s Biological Program: Why did it Fail?” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Taylor and Frances No. 24 (2001).

Sprinzak, Ehud. The Great Terrorism Scare.

Sun Tzu. The Art of War. “The Denma Translation”, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Shambhala Publications Inc, 2000.


[1] The Spanish people rose against Napoléonic French occupation in support of British forces. Hence the word Guerrilla was introduced meaning ‘little war’.

[2] Mao Tse-tung, On Guerrilla Warfare (Urbana and Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 2000); Al Qaeda, the Al Qaeda Manual. (www.disastercenter.­com/terror/ondex.htm); and Yonah Alexander & Milton Hoenig, Super Terrorism; Biological, Chemical and Nuclear (Where focus will be on the Bio-Threat; se note 40, below) (Ardsley, NY, U.S.A., Transnational Publishers, 2001).

[3] Josef Bonaparte was crowned king of Spain in 1807. The French rule came to an end following the defeat at Vittoria in 1812, on which occasion Beethoven wrote his orchestral work Wellington’s Victory. The British operations are known as ‘The Peninsula War’.

[4] Mehdi Mozaffari, “Bin Laden and Islamist Terrorism,”  Militært Tidsskrift, Nr 1 (March 2002), pp. 36-40

[5] Carl von Clausewitz, On War (Princeton, New Jersey; Princeton University Press, 1984), passim

[6] Griffith: “because its purpose is to destroy an existing society and its institutions and replace them with a completely new structure.” In Mao, On Guerrilla,  p. 42

[7] Mao, On Guerrilla,  p. 44

[8] Ibid., pp. 82 & 86

[9] Ibid., p. 45

[10] Ibid., pp. 88 ff

[11] Ibid., p. 46

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid., p. 53

[14] Ibid., p. 55

[15] It is important, however, not to confuse this use of the term ‘auxiliary’ with the similar word with Machiavelli, to whom it implies allied troops, which he thinks should be avoided.

[16] Griffith in Mao, On Guerrilla, p. 33

[17] Mao, On Guerrilla, pp. 72 ff

[18] “Guerrilla hostilities are the university of war, and after you have fought several times valiantly and aggressively you may become a leader of troops . . .” Mao, On Guerrilla, p. 73.

[19] Mao, On Guerrilla, pp. 71-76

[20] Ibid., p. 74

[21] Ibid., p. 77

[22] The Manual was discovered in 2001 during a police search of an Al Qaeda member’s flat in Manchester, UK. It is, or is going to be, a part of a series called the military series related to the Declaration of Jihad.

[23] There might well have been more authors, but for stylistic reasons the singular is chosen throughout this article.

[24] A logical new lay out of the manual would be: (1) Theoretical Superstructure, (2) Doctrinal Manual, (3) Aide-Memoire, (4) Training Manual, and (5) Sample Operations Plan. The Manual’s layout makes one reflect whether the manual might be a ‘first draft’ still waiting for further ‘toiletage’ before being adopted as the organization’s official doctrine. Though no proof for that hypothesis, one reason for its being found in Manchester (of all places) might be that Al Qaeda - as any efficient organizations would do - has circulated the draft among ‘end users’ for consideration and comments before finalizing it.

[25] The decree commonly associated with the introduction of ‘National Service’ in revolutionary France 1793.

[26] This may be true, but the only remaining truly Islamic (as opposed to Muslim) state is Iran, which is not as Islamic as it once was.

[27] Al Qaeda, The Al Qaeda Manual, Introduction

[28] Member of the Supreme Council for Egyptian Groups, who gave up armed fight in 1998. Al-Muqra is in exile in London.

[29] Pernille Bramming, ”Hvorfor frygter vi Islam?”  Militært Tidsskrift, Nr. 1 (March 2002), p. 30 (my translation)

[30] Muslims distinguish the characteristics of deities in the following manner: Yahweh is a judging god, the Christian God is a forgiving god, Allah is a just god

[31] Al Qaeda, Al Quad Manual, First Lesson

[32] e.g.:

Operations and Training


Logistics and transport



Communications and signals


[33] “This secrecy should be used even with the closest people, for deceiving the enemies is not easy.  Allah says, "Allah's messenger -God bless and keep him -says, “Seek Allah's help in doing your affairs in secrecy.” It was said in the proverbs, “The hearts of freemen are the tombs of secrets “and "Moslems’ secrecy is faithfulness, and talking about it is faithlessness."[Mohammed.” [sic]

[34]Al Qaeda, The Al Qaeda Manual, Chapter 2

[35] Clausewitz, On War, p. 202, “the term cunning implies secret purpose . . . The use of trick or stratagem permits the intended victim to make his own mistakes, which . . . change the whole situation.  .  . ”

[36] Sun Tzu, The Art of War. “The Denma Translation” (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., Shambhala Publications Inc, 2000), p. 59

[37] The following component essays concerning bio-threats have been analysed: Preface, Joshua Lederberg ‘The Diversity of Bio Weapons’, John Huggins ‘Bacterial and Viral Terrorist Weapons’, DoD Threat and Response 2001, Transnational Threats to Agriculture and Livestock’, Louis J. French ‘Threats to U.S, National Security’, Joseph F. Pilat ‘The Bioterrorism Threat’, Richard E. Hoffman & Jane E. Norton ‘ Lessons Learned from Full-Scale Bioterrorism Exercise Operation TOPOFF in Denver, Center for Disease Control and Prevention ‘Biological and Chemical Terrorism: CDC Strategic Plan for Preparedness and Response’, Donald A. Henderson ‘Bio-terrorism: Our Front Line Response Evaluating U.S. Public Health and Medical Readiness’, Janet Reno ‘Organization of the Federal Government to Prevent and Respond to Terrorism and Larry Dubois ‘Advanced Bio Countermeasures at DARPA.

[38] To further elucidate the independent scientists’ view see Sprinzak’s “The Great Terrorism Scare.” ”Money should be allocated instead to early warning systems and preemption of tactical chemical and biological terrorism”

[39] Lars Erslev Andersen, ”Asymmetrisk krig, ny terrorisme og den postmoderne verdens(u)orden,”  Militært Tidsskrift, Nr. 1 (March 2002), p. 57

[40] Transforming Defense. National Security in the 21st Century (Pentagon December 1997) in Lars Erslev Andersen, “Asymmetrisk krig, ny terrorisme”.

[41] Alexander, Super Terrorism, p. 5

[42] Ibid., pp. 12-14

[43] It is evident that Aum Shinrikyo and Al Qaeda both have the intention, the financial capacity and the academic know-how to launch acts of super-terrorism. Also, the ‘American Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord’ has proven to have intention as well as capabilities. Osama bin Laden has declared that “we don’t consider it a crime if we tried to have nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Our holy land is occupied by Israeli and American forces. We have the right to defend ourselves and to liberate our holy land.”

[44] David Rapoport, in NSSQ, Summer 1999.

[45] Alexander, Super Terrorism, pp. 16-17

[46] Angus Muir, “Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Case of Aum Shinrikyo.”  Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Taylor and Frances # 22 (1999), p.83

[47] Alexander, Super Terrorism,  pp. 29-31

[48] Alexander, Super Terrorism, pp. 90-93. Exercises have been held e.g. in May 2000 in Denver to make the various hospitals, emergency management organizations, laboratories and others develop new working relationships

[49] Ibid., p. 101

[50] Ibid., p. 28

[51] Ibid., pp. 18-22

[52] Ibid., p. 25

[53] Ibid., pp. 106 ff

[54] Ibid., p. 133