The war in Gaza that began on 27 December 2008 reaches the end of its third week with its human toll still rising: by the end of 16 January 2009, more than 1,100 people had been killed (including over 300 children) and 5,100 injured (including over 1,500 children). The Israel Defence Forces (IDF's) air attacks intensified as the three-week mark approached, and its tanks and armoured vehicles moved closer into the crowded urban areas where the majority of the strip's 1.5 million Palestinians live.
The previous column in this series reflected on the first seven years of the post-9/11 conflict, and highlighted three of its significant if less prominent aspects - the performance of United States troops, the impact of Washington's relationship with Israel, and the fate of the US-led coalition (see "The war on terror: seven years on - part one"). This second part of the retrospective also looks ahead, to assess the prospects for the emergence of a different security strategy and way of thinking in the coming years.
The United States responded to the attacks of 11 September 2001 by launching a global "war on terror". Two weeks after 9/11, Paul Rogers began to track that war in a weekly column on the web site OpenDemocracy.org. In the first of a two-part retrospective, Paul Rogers reflects on these seven years: mistakes made, lessons learned and paths not taken.