Archive for the ‘National Security’ Category

DEBUNKING THE JIHADIST CREATION MYTH

DEBUNKING THE JIHADIST CREATION MYTH

by Michael Dennin

There are many lies and myths surrounding jihadism but the most dangerous one is the jihadist creation myth that the people who stand up and respond to jihadist aggression are responsible for causing it. This myth, which is commonly and uncritically accepted throughout the “anti-war” Left and “non-interventionist” Right, is dangerous for several reasons. First, it is dangerous because it is false and misleading and distracts us from the root causes of jihadism. Second, it is dangerous because it is endorsed and promoted by powerful and influential individuals and groups from President Obama to former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw to the Libertarian Party. Finally, and most importantly, it is dangerous because it paralyzes our willingness and ability to effectively respond to jihadism and emerging jihadists threats before they pose a risk to American lives and interests. For all of these reasons, the jihadist creation myth that has been used as an excuse for ignoring the rise of organizations such as al Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL* deserves to be analyzed and debunked once and for all.

THE RISE OF THS ISLAMIC STATE IN SYRIA AND IRAQ

Ironically, no one has done more to dispel the jihadist creation myth than the jihadists who have been shielded by that fabrication. ISIS/ISIL was once an organization consisting of approximately 1500 Sunni jihadists who were waging a sectarian war against the Assad regime in Syria. Today, it has grown into an army of 20-30,000 fanatics who have carved out a terrorist sanctuary in northeastern Syria and the predominantly Arab regions in northern Iraq from Fallujah to Mosul. In the process, ISIS/ISIL has overrun numerous military installations in both countries and has captured an enormous stockpile of light and heavy weaponry that includes T-55 and T-72 tanks, M198 and Type 59-1 field artillery, M79 and HJ-8 anti-tank missiles and FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. According to Helgurd Hikmet Mela Ali, a spokesman for the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, “when [ISIS/ISIL] entered Mosul, the Iraq army fled head over heels and left behind a modern weapons arsenal for 70,000 soldiers.” On top of that, ISIS/ISIL has looted banks and captured oil pipelines and refineries, enabling it to establish a lucrative black market revenue stream that will supplement the income it is already receiving from its wealthy Islamist donors in the Middle East. What makes all these developments relevant to the jihadist creation myth is that they have all occurred years after American and international military forces vacated Iraq and President Obama made it clear that the United States was withdrawing from the region. If the presence of American and international forces in the Middle East was driving jihadism, then the absence and withdrawal of those forces should have correspondingly reduced the level of jihadist activity in the region, but it has had the opposite effect.

Two other developments in recent weeks have further refuted the jihadist creation myth that the response to jihadism causes jihadism (i.e., cause and effect in reverse). The first is the disruption of an ISIS-related conspiracy to behead Australians on the streets of Sydney and Brisbane – a plot that was launched and discovered months before the Australian government even began talking about doing something about ISIS/ISIL. The second is the case of two teenaged Bosnian girls living in Austria who were radicalized by “Chechen youths” and then later left their homes to join ISIS/ISIL in Syria. What legitimate political grievances could these two children possibly have? Austria is a neutral country that willingly accepted their family into its home, and Bosnia-Herzegovina wouldn’t exist today if it wasn’t for the intervention of the United States and other Western nations who interceded on the behalf of Muslims in the Balkans.

Finally, one has to ask what did the ancient Christian and Yazidi communities in Iraq do to provoke ISIS/ISIL? What did these powerless religious minorities do to cause or “feed” ISIS/ISIL’s jihadist aggression? What else but their mere existence served as ISIS/ISIL’s genocidal agenda to wipe them off the face of the earth?

Egyptian-born scholar Gisèle Littman (a.k.a. Bat Ye’or) addressed that very same question following the September 11, 2001 attacks:

Untruths and taboos form a psychological net of lies and traps. For the past thirty years Europe has refused to see the global jihad in action at the four corners of the earth and to recognize the sources of Islamist terrorism. Bin Laden’s declarations emerge from an exclusively religious context and fit in with narratives of wars against the infidels to impose Islamic supremacy. It is not Israel and the West that is humiliating the Arab-Muslim world; what is humiliating is the very existence of these nations, their freedom and sovereignty that contradict the Islamist view of the natural order in which Islam must dominate and not be dominated. It is the frustration of this will to power that feeds the humiliation and violence, and not poverty or economic disparities which exist all over the world without provoking this type of hatred and terrorism.

Of course, ISIS/ISIL’s takfirist intolerance of the existence, freedom and sovereignty of others extends to the Muslims that they have declared “unbelievers” and butchered en masse for refusing to submit to their ideology and domination.

THE JIHADIST PIPELINE

So who and/or what is producing the jihadists in groups like al Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL? The same networks that have been producing them for decades – the jihadist pipeline that indoctrinates, radicalizes and funnels recruits to jihadist organizations and finances their operations.

The source of the jihadist pipeline begins with the centers of indoctrination that range from the school systems and media networks in the Middle East to the extremist madrassas in Asia and Africa to the radical mosques and Islamic centers all around the world. Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaat-e-Islami and Hizb ut-Tahrir have also played a prominent role in indoctrinating and radicalizing Muslims, and some terrorist groups, such as Hamas, are direct off-shoots of these groups. Furthermore, individual Islamist ideologues such as Hassan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, Abdul Ala Maududi, Ruhollah Khomeini, Abdullah Azzam and Yusuf al-Qaradawi have also inspired countless Muslims to wage jihad.

In addition to the traditional methods of indoctrinating and radicalizing Muslim recruits, jihadists have exploited the Internet and social media to contact more people than they have ever been able to reach in the past. One of the main reasons ISIS/ISIL has been able to expand its ranks so quickly is because of its ability to effectively market its jihadist cause and exploits to a global audience in real time. Today’s jihadists are operating in a communications environment that has never existed before, and they can be expected to continue expanding this segment of the jihadist pipeline in the future.

One of the most critical components of the jihadist pipeline is the financial support networks that fund the schools, mosques/Islamic centers and Islamist groups that are indoctrinating and radicalizing Muslims. This support network also directly finances the activities of jihadist groups around the world. The entities that have funded the creation and operation of the jihadist pipeline include the governments in Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and Pakistan, the members of Islamist groups and political parties, and individual donors, many of whom are wealthy financiers.

There is also something to be said for how the successful military and terrorist exploits of jihadist groups serve as a powerful recruitment tool. Past experience has proven that when jihadist organizations including al Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS/ISIL are dismissed and ignored during their developmental stages they will explode in size and strength after they have been permitted to grow and commit successful terrorist attacks and military campaigns.

Last but not least, one cannot overlook the central role that militant Islamist interpretations of Islam play in inspiring many Muslims to wage jihad. To these individuals the violent passages in Islam’s scriptural texts, such as Qur’an IX:5 (the Verse of the Sword) and IX:29, serve as timeless and universal commandments to kill and wage expansionist warfare until every human being is forced to submit to Islam and Islamic law (Shari’a). Furthermore, Muhammad’s status as the paragon of Islamic virtue and behavior serves as an inspiration to those who seek to emulate his career as a raider and warlord. Finally, there is the nostalgia for the high imperialist “Golden Age” of Islam that followed the Muslim military conquests that stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian subcontinent. It is this nostalgia for the past glories of the Islamic caliphates of old that inspires the Islamists in Hizb ut-Tahir and jihadists in ISIS/ISIL to re-establish the caliphate and resume its expansionist project. To these “revivalists”, anyone who resists them and their agenda is an enemy of Allah who must be killed. These beliefs form the ideological core of the jihadist mind-set that ultimately inspires Islamists to wage holy war against “unbelievers” throughout the world.

RESPONDING TO JIHADISM AND THE JIHADIST PIPELINE

Next to the jihadists, the people who have done the most to dispel the jihadist creation myth are the useful idiots who subscribe to it. Foremost amongst them is Barack Obama. The president’s philosophy and policy of appeasement, withdrawal and indifference have not decreased jihadist activity – they have encouraged, emboldened and increased it. What Obama and others have failed to learn over the past three decades is that jihadists are opportunists who are quick to exploit the power vacuums that exist in lawless regions and failed states around the world. Al Qaeda, the Taliban, al-Shabab, Ansar Dine and Boko Haram, to name a few, have all operated in the anarchic environments in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Mali and Nigeria. Similarly, ISIS/ISIL has taken root in the chaos of the civil war in Syria and spread into the predominantly Sunni areas of northern Iraq that were alienated and abandoned by the al-Maliki government in Baghdad. None of these areas were occupied by foreign military forces.

Despite the fact that ISIS/ISIL has brutally murdered American citizens and continues to pose a threat to our security and interests, there are many good reasons why the United States should not send combat troops into Iraq to hunt down the jihadists and kill them. However, the jihadist creation myth peddled by President Obama, the “anti-war” Left and the “non-interventionist” Right is not one of them. The perpetuation of that self-defeating lie in not only distracting our focus and efforts away from the jihadist pipeline that continues to funnel recruits to ISIS/ISIL and other jihadist groups, it is paralyzing our willingness and ability to effectively respond to them with military force when that measure is necessary to defend our lives and interests. If we are ever going to get the upper hand on jihadist aggression, we have to stop letting people blame ourselves for the actions and beliefs of the Muslim governments, financiers and theocrats who are responsible for fomenting it.

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*Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Posted October 12, 2014 by Candidus in National Security, Politics

“Smart Power” and the Deadly Consequences of Appeasement

“SMART POWER” AND THE DEADLY CONSEQUENCES OF APPEASEMENT

by Michael Dennin

It’s been a banner week for our nation’s enemies. A Black Banner of Jihad Week, to be precise.

Eleven years to the day after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington that left 3000 people dead, Americans were jolted by the news that the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt had been attacked by Islamists and that the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens had been killed, along with security officers Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods and computer expert Sean Smith, when the U.S. consulate was stormed by heavily armed jihadists in Benghazi. On September 13th, the U.S. embassy in Yemen was attacked, followed by similar attacks in Tunisia and Sudan the following day.

To make matters worse, the White House declined a request by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with President Obama while he is at the UN headquarters in New York in late September. At a time when the United States needs to present a united front with Israel and our other allies against the hostile fascist regime in Iran and its nuclear weapons program, Netanyahu’s aides were informed that the president’s schedule “would not permit that”. In other words, the president is too busy and has more important things to do.

One can only wonder what more important things are occupying the president’s schedule than America’s national security?

Is it any wonder Islamists are storming our embassies? Is it any wonder Iran is continuing with its effort to develop nuclear weapons?

For that matter, is it any wonder the Chinese government has become more aggressive in its effort to impose its sovereignty over the entire South China Sea?

All of these developments are a direct product of President Obama’s weakness, just as the attacks on our embassies in Africa in 1998 were a product of President Clinton’s weakness and the attacks on our embassies in 1979 were a product of President Carter’s weakness.

The Obama Administration, like others before it, claims to have been caught off-guard, yet back in October 2010, Israeli analyst Barry Rubin essentially predicted the Arab Spring and the violence we are witnessing today after the publication of a sermon from the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Badi, titled “How Islam Confronts the Oppression and Tyranny [Against the Muslims]”. In his article, Rubin observed:

This is one of those obscure  Middle East events of the utmost significance that is ignored by the Western mass media, especially because they happen in Arabic, not English; by Western governments, because they don’t fit their policies; and by experts, because they don’t mesh with their preconceptions.

This explicit formulation of a revolutionary program makes it a game-changer. It should be read by every Western decisionmaker and have a direct effect on policy because this development may affect people’s lives in every Western country…

…something awaited for decades has happened: the Muslim Brotherhood is ready to move from the era of propaganda and base-building to one of revolutionary action. At least, its hundreds of thousands of followers are being given that signal. Some of them will engage in terrorist violence as individuals or forming splinter groups; others will redouble their efforts to seize control of their countries and turn them into safe areas for terrorists and instruments for war on the West…

U.S. actions of apology, concessions, and withdrawals—whether or not any of the specific steps are useful or desirable—they are interpreted by the Islamists and by many in the Middle East as signs of weakness which should spark further aggression and violence. There are hundreds of examples of this reaction every month…

Indeed, this last factor explains the Brotherhood’s timing. Note that he says nothing about fighting Egypt’s government, which won’t hesitate to throw the Brotherhood leaders into prison and even to torture them. Still, the coming leadership transition in Egypt, with the death or retirement of President Husni Mubarak, seems to offer opportunities. 

The new harder line coincides with the Brotherhood’s announcement that it will run candidates in the November elections, another sign of its confidence and increased militancy. The Brotherhood is not a legal group but the government lets members run in other parties. Its candidates won about 20 percent of the vote in the last elections, especially impressive given the regime’s repressive measures. If the Brotherhood intends to defy Egyptian law now there will be confrontations, mass arrests, and perhaps violence.

Most important of all, however, Badi and many others sense weakness on the part of the West, especially the U.S. leaders, and victory for the Islamists.

The events of the last week represent the spectacular failure of the Obama Administration’s appeasement-oriented “smart power” foreign policy. Despite all of the president’s apologies, despite his peace overtures to the psychopaths in the Middle East who want to kill us, despite his administration’s attempts to convince itself and the world of the politically-correct fantasy that America’s Islamist and jihadist enemies are not Islamists and jihadists because jihad means, in the words of the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John Brennan, “to purify oneself or one’s community”, despite all the warning signs of the threats that terrorism experts have tried to convey to the Obama administration over the years, we once again find our Islamist and jihadist enemies assaulting our embassies and murdering our diplomatic personnel.

So much for “smart”. So much for “power”. Four Americans are dead and the world is a much more dangerous place. As always – as predicted – these are the deadly consequences of appeasement.

Welcome back to the pre-9/11 world, America.

Posted September 19, 2012 by Candidus in National Security