We Need to Call It Terrorism

Sources identify the suspected shooter as 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

Sources identify the suspected shooter as 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

PJ Media, By Andrew C. McCarthy, October 22, 2014:

Within three days there have been two jihadist attacks in Canada, carried out by Canadian citizens who recently converted to Islam. No terrorist organization has claimed responsibility, at least as yet. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Stephen Harper showed no reluctance in calling the terrorists … terrorists.

Bravo!

Whether the attackers were incited by the summons to jihad from groups like al Qaeda and ISIS, or were actual members of such groups, there should be no question thatthese were terrorist attacks. The Obama administration’s practice of denying that terrorist attacks are terrorist attacks has been profoundly foolish – and it was good to hear the president seem to inch away from it today.

The point of this cockamamie denial approach is part political correctness and part plain politics.

President Obama has repeatedly claimed to have “decimated” al Qaeda and put it “on the path to defeat.” Actually, the terror network is on the rise. Furthermore, it is now rivaled by ISIS, a jihadist organization that may be even stronger. Denying obvious instances of terrorism, such as the jihadist mass-murder at Fort Hood, is a transparent effort to conceal the obvious falsity of the president’s claims. If these attacks are not really terrorism, the reasoning goes, then there must be less terrorism; therefore, the pretense of defeating terror networks can be spun as validated. As I’ve said before, it is a way of miniaturizing the threat.

It is more than that, though. Terrorism is fueled by an ideology. It is rooted, quite literally, in Islamic scripture. To cite one of many examples, in the Koran’s sura 8:12, Allah instructs Muslims: “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.” Thus, Omar Abdel Rahman, the infamous “Blind Sheikh” I prosecuted for terrorism in the nineties, used to exhort followers:

Why do we fear the word “terrorist”? If the terrorist is the person who defends his right, so we are terrorists. . . . The Koran mentions the words “to strike terror,” therefore we don’t fear to be described with “terrorism.” . . . We are ordered to prepare whatever we can of power to terrorize the enemies of Islam.

The United States government tried to portray Abdel Rahman as deranged and representative of no mainstream current of Islamic thought. In point of fact, he was a doctor of Islamic jurisprudence graduated from al-Azhar University in Cairo, the seat of Sunni learning for over a millennium. His capacity to command terrorists, although he was physically incapable of committing terrorist acts, stemmed from his indisputable mastery of sharia and Islamic doctrine – subjects I daresay he knew a good deal more about than President Obama. He was spokesman for a well-known interpretation of Islam that, as the Iraqi Shiite cleric Ayad Jamal al-Din recently acknowledged, has existed for 1,400 years.

A Muslim who commits an atrocious act with the purpose of becoming Allah’s instrument for “instilling terror into the hearts of the unbelievers” has committed terrorism. A Muslim who employs violence with the intention of “intimidating or coercing a civilian population; influencing the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or affecting the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping,” to borrow from the federal statutory definition of international terrorism, has engaged interrorism. He need neither be wearing an al Qaeda team jersey nor be formally sworn in as a member of ISIS for us to state this palpable fact with confidence.

Shouldn’t we be able to agree on at least that much?

The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist

pic_giant_092714_SM_Barack-Obama-Khorasan-Group-GBy Andrew C. McCarthy:

We’re being had. Again.

For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees. Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton “violent extremists” who purport to act in its name.

Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been “decimated.” The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability. Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria — even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama’s futile air raids — the president won’t let go of the charade.

Hence, Obama gives us theKhorosan Group.The who?

There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the “Khorosan Group” suddenly went from anonymity to the “imminent threat” that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.

You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one. It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan — the –Iranian–​Afghan border region — had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.

The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week’s U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he’s something the administration is at pains to call “core al-Qaeda.”

“Core al-Qaeda,” you are to understand, is different from “Jabhat al-Nusra,” which in turn is distinct from “al-Qaeda in Iraq” (formerly “al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia,” now the “Islamic State” al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly “al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham” or “al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant”). That al-Qaeda, don’t you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” “Boko Haram,” “Ansar al-Sharia,” or the latest entry, “al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.”

Coming soon, “al-Qaeda on Hollywood and Vine.” In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if, come 2015, Obama issued an executive order decreeing twelve new jihad jayvees stretching from al-Qaeda in January through al-Qaeda in December.

Except you’ll hear only about the jayvees, not the jihad. You see, there is a purpose behind this dizzying proliferation of names assigned to what, in reality, is a global network with multiple tentacles and occasional internecine rivalries.

As these columns have long contended, Obama has not quelled our enemies; he hasminiaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole — a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way.

For a product of the radical Left like Obama, terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance. That it happens to involve Muslims is just the coincidental fallout of Western imperialism in the Middle East, not the doctrinal command of a belief system that perceives itself as engaged in an inter-civilizational conflict. For the Left, America has to be the culprit. Despite its inbred pathologies, which we had no role in cultivating, Islam must be the victim, not the cause. As you’ll hear from Obama’s Islamist allies, who often double as Democrat activists, the problem is “Islamophobia,” not Muslim terrorism.

This is a gross distortion of reality, so the Left has to do some very heavy lifting to pull it off. Since the Islamic-supremacist ideology that unites the jihadists won’t disappear, it has to be denied and purged. The “real” jihad becomes the “internal struggle to become a better person.” The scriptural and scholarly underpinnings of Islamic supremacism must be bleached out of the materials used to train our national-security agents, and the instructors who resist going along with the program must be ostracized. The global terror network must be atomized into discrete, disconnected cells moved to violence by parochial political or territorial disputes, with no overarching unity or hegemonic ambition. That way, they can be limned as a manageable law-enforcement problem fit for the courts to address, not a national-security challenge requiring the armed forces.

The president has been telling us for years that he handled al-Qaeda by killing bin Laden. He has been telling us for weeks that the Islamic State — an al-Qaeda renegade that will soon reconcile with the mother ship for the greater good of unity in the anti-American jihad — is a regional nuisance that posed no threat to the United States. In recent days, however, reality intruded on this fiction. Suddenly, tens of thousands of terrorists, armed to the teeth, were demolishing American-trained armies, beheading American journalists, and threatening American targets.

Read more at National Review

**********

Cultural Jihad did some fact checking:

 

  •   A Wikipedia check showed entries and sources no older than September 2014
  •  The group is not listed by the Dept of State as a designated terrorist organization
  •  The group’s reported leader, Muhsin al-Fadhli is listed on the National Counter-terrorism website as part of  al-Qaeda but no mention of  a Khorosan/Khurasan Group.

 

The Islamic State . . . of Saudi Arabia

pic_giant_092014_SM_John-Kerry-King-AbdullahNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Sep. 20.2014:

The beheadings over the last several weeks were intended to terrorize, to intimidate, to coerce obedience, and to enforce a construction of sharia law that, being scripturally rooted, is draconian and repressive.

And let’s not kid ourselves: We know there will be more beheadings in the coming weeks, and on into the future. Apostates from Islam, homosexuals, and perceived blasphemers will face brutal persecution and death. Women will be treated as chattel and face institutionalized abuse. Islamic-supremacist ideology, with its incitements to jihad and conquest, with its virulent hostility toward the West, will spew from the mosques onto the streets. We will continue to be confronted by a country-sized breeding ground for anti-American terrorists.

The Islamic State? Sorry, no. I was talking about . . .  our “moderate Islamist” ally, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

But the confusion is understandable.

Islamic State terrorists have infamously decapitated three of their prisoners in recent weeks. That is five fewer than the Saudi government decapitated in August alone. Indeed, it is three fewer beheadings than were carried out in September by the Free Syrian Army — the “moderate Islamists” that congressional Republicans have now joined Obama Democrats in supporting with arms and training underwritten by American taxpayer dollars.

The Obama administration regards the Saudi government as America’s key partner in the fight against Islamic State jihadists. The increasingly delusional Secretary of State John Kerry reasons that this is because the fight is more ideological than military. Get it? The world’s leading propagators of the ideology that breeds violent jihad are our best asset in an ideological struggle against violent jihadists.

Aloof as ever from irony, Mr. Kerry gave this assessment while visiting King Abdullah in Riyadh on, of all days, September 11 — the thirteenth anniversary of the day when 15 Saudis joined four other terrorists in mass-murdering nearly 3,000 Americans in furtherance of the Islamic-supremacist ideology on which they were reared. The 19 were, of course, members of al-Qaeda, the jihadist network sprung from Saudi Arabia and its fundamentalist “Wahhabi” Islam.

Secretary Kerry and President Obama, like British prime minister David Cameron, insist that the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda-launched jihadist faction, is not Islamic. Evidently, this is owing to the terrorists’ savage tactics. In essence, however, they are the same tactics practiced by our “moderate Islamist” allies.

Saudi Arabia is the cradle of Islam: the birthplace of Mohammed, the site of the Hijra by which Islam marks time — the migration from Mecca to Medina under siege by Mohammed and his followers. The Saudi king is formally known as the “Keeper of the Two Holy Mosques” (in Mecca and Medina); he is the guardian host of theHaj pilgrimage that Islam makes mandatory for able-bodied believers. The despotic Saudi kingdom is governed by Islamic law — sharia. No other law is deemed necessary and no contrary law is permissible.

It is thus under the authority of sharia that the Saudis routinely behead prisoners.

I happen to own the edition of the Koran “with English Translation of ‘The Meanings and Commentary,’” published at the “King Fahd Holy Qur-an Printing Complex” — Fahd was Abdullah’s brother and predecessor. As the introductory pages explain, this version is produced under the auspices of the regime’s “Ministry of Hajj and Endowments.” In its sura (or chapter) 47, Allah commands Muslims, “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks.”

The accompanying English commentary helpfully explains:

When once the fight (Jihad) is entered upon, carry it out with the utmost vigor, and strike home your blows at the most vital points (smite at their necks), both literally and figuratively. You cannot wage war with kid gloves. [Italicized parentheticals in original.]

Sura 8 underscores the point with another of Allah’s exhortations: “I am with you: Give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: Smite ye above their necks and smite ye all their fingertips off them.”

Following the 9/11 attacks, Americans Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg were among prisoners notoriously decapitated by al-Qaeda. Reacting to their beheadings, Timothy Furnish, a U.S. Army veteran with a doctorate in Islamic history, wrote a comprehensive Middle East Quarterly essay on “Beheading in the Name of Islam.” As Dr. Furnish recounted,

The practice of beheading non-Muslim captives extends back to the Prophet himself. Ibn Ishaq (d. 768 C.E.), the earliest biographer of Muhammad, is recorded as saying that the Prophet ordered the execution by decapitation of 700 men of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina for allegedly plotting against him.

As is always the case, the prophet’s example has been emulated by Muslims through the centuries. When Muslims conquered central Spain in the eleventh century, for example, the caliph had 24,000 corpses beheaded; the remains were piled into makeshift minarets atop which muezzins sang the praises of Allah. In more modern times, Furnish adds, “The Ottoman Empire was the decapitation state par excellence” — employing the practice to terrorize enemies for centuries, including, to take just one of many examples, beheading hundreds of British soldiers captured in Egypt in 1807.

A pity Sheikh Cameron was not around back then to correct the caliphate’s understanding of Islam.

The Saudis behead prisoners for such “offenses” as apostasy. You see, our “moderate Islamist” allies brook no dissent and permit no freedom of conscience. In this, the world’s most identifiably Islamic regime is no different from its Shiite counterpart (and regional competitor) in Tehran — to which President Obama respectfully refers by its preferred name, “the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Sharia is the law there, too. While the regime is said to have repealed the punishment of decapitation, it still prescribes stoning, flogging, and amputation for various violations, such as adultery and petty theft.

Such cruel — but not at all unusual — punishments are designed to enforce a societal system that, as I’ve previously outlined, degrades and dehumanizes women, while subjecting apostates and homosexuals to death and non-Muslims to systematic discrimination.

As night follows day, young Muslims schooled in the ideology promoted in Saudi Arabia gravitate to jihadist networks such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. As recited in Reliance of the Traveller, an authoritative sharia manual endorsed by scholars at the ancient al-Azhar University in Egypt and the Islamic Fiqh Academy in Saudi Arabia, “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims.” They are simply acting on what “moderate Islamists” have been teaching them.

And now Republicans in Congress have joined Democrats to support President Obama’s hare-brained scheme to train 5,000 “moderate” Syrian rebels. As every sentient person knows, a force of that size will have no chance of defeating the Islamic State or al-Qaeda — even if we charitably assume that many in its ranks do not defect to those organizations, as they have been wont to do. The rebels will similarly have no chance against the Iran-backed Assad regime. In sum, our government, nearly $18 trillion in debt, will expend another $500 million to school 5,000 “moderate Islamists” in military tactics that cannot win the war in Syria but could eventually be used in the jihad against the United States. Welcome to Libya . . . the Sequel.

Oh, and did I mention that the training of these “moderate” rebels will take place in “moderate” Saudi Arabia?

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Also see:

Obama’s Go-To ‘Moderate Islamist’

pic_giant_091714_SM_-Mohamed-ElibiaryNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, SEPTEMBER 17, 2014:

On Monday, I had a follow-up to last week’s column on why members of the Obama administration and other transnational progressives deny that the Islamic State is Islamic — viz., because they want to ally with what they call “moderate Islamists.” If Americans grasp that “moderate Islamists” and violent jihadists share the same basic ideology, such an alliance becomes politically untenable.

Case in point: The curious tale of Mohamed Elibiary, the Obama administration’s go-to “moderate Islamist” for counterterrorism advice.

The “moderate Islamist” folly has both domestic and international components, and the Obama administration is far from alone in it. On the foreign-policy side of the equation, see David French’s excellent post on Monday highlighting how the administration (echoed by the GOP’s McCain wing) is again calling for the arming of the purportedly “moderate Syrian rebels” — and don’t miss continuing coverage of these U.S.-backed “moderates” as they collude with terrorists from al-Qaedaand the Islamic State. When that same strategy was applied in Libya, it gave us the Benghazi Massacre, contributed to the rise of the Islamic State, and left the country in jihadist clutches.

My Monday follow-up column dealt with the domestic side of our government’s “moderate Islamist” charade: the appearance last week of several administration officials with a number of their Islamist advisers — leaders of enterprises linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. These organizations and institutions continue to have Obama’s ear even though some were proved in court to have conspired in the Brotherhood’s conspiracy to provide material support to Hamas, its Palestinian terrorist branch, through a “charity” known as the Holy Land Foundation.

Now the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo reports on Mr. Elibiary, Obama’s appointee to the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council . . . though not for long. The administration has quietly announced that Elibiary is about to be cashiered.

Obama and then–DHS secretary Janet Napolitano made Elibiary a key counterterrorism adviser even though he had been a regular contributor to the very Holy Land Foundation charity the Justice Department had prosecuted. The HLF, it turns out, was established by Elibiary’s longtime friend Shukri Abu Baker. The latter was among the defendants convicted of using the “charity” to finance Hamas — he is serving a 65-year sentence from the prosecution that Elibiary dismisses as Islamophobic persecution.

Elibiary’s intriguing credentials also include his appearance at a 2004 conference in Dallas that paid “Tribute to the Great Islamic Visionary” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In addition, he has publicly praised the Islamic-supremacist writings of Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb, so inspirational to Osama bin Laden, Omar Abdel Rahman (the Blind Sheikh), and other infamous terrorists.

As I’ve previously recounted, Elibiary was tapped by the Obama Homeland Security Department for its expert working group on “Violent Extremism” (because we wouldn’t want to call it “Jihadist Terrorism”). It was this panel that formulated the president’s vaunted counterterrorism strategy, which envisions having law-enforcement agents pare back their intelligence-gathering activities and take their marching orders from “community partners” (i.e., local Islamist organizations).

Elibiary’s star has fallen because even this Islamist-friendly administration is embarrassed over his commentary about the “inevitable” return of the Muslim “caliphate.” Islamic-supremacist rhetoric is not out of the ordinary for this, shall we say, nuanced counterterrorism expert, but it was a tad untimely: Elibiary’s tweets are being praised by Islamic State affiliates, potentially facilitating their recruitment of young Muslims into the anti-American jihad.

That’s not all. There are also allegations, broken by investigative journalist Patrick Poole in 2011, that Elibiary used the access to sensitive information afforded by his DHS position to obtain documents that he is said to have peddled to the media for purposes of manufacturing a claim of “Islamophobia” (what else?) against Texas governor Rick Perry.

Congressman Louie Gohmert (R., Texas), among others, has been pressing the administration for an explanation regarding both the leak allegations and how Elibiary managed to get a security clearance. Representative Gohmert, you may recall, is also one of the five House conservatives who asked how Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, managed to get a security clearance despite her extensive (and not very moderate) Islamist connections. For their trouble, the five were vigorously attacked by Senator McCain, who took time out from calling for arming the “moderate Islamists” in Libya — or was it in Syria? — to defend Ms. Abedin on the Senate floor.

Obama’s DHS denied any wrongdoing by Elibiary after what it claimed was a full investigation. Nevertheless, Mr. Kredo reports that when Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act claim for details about this investigation, DHS said it did not have any. After the usual Obama-administration foot-dragging, DHS finally acknowledged in a 2013 letter that it could not find any “investigative records regarding the alleged mishandling” of sensitive information by Elibiary.

Was there a real investigation by the Obama administration of its Islamist counterterrorism adviser? We don’t know. We just know it has suddenly been announced that Elibiary won’t be reappointed.

By the way, the Obama administration also consulted with Muslim “experts” when it purged information about Islamic-supremacist ideology from the materials used to train our law-enforcement, intelligence, and military personnel. I know you’ll be shocked to hear this, but the administration refuses to identify its expert consultants — in fact, the administration took the astonishing step of classifying their identities when Congress started asking questions.

But don’t worry: We can rest assured that the experts Obama put in charge of what our national-security agents get to learn about our enemies are very “moderate Islamists.”

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

The Islamic State Is Nothing New

pic_giant_090314_SM_ISIS-FightersBy Andrew C. McCarthy:

The beheading of yet another Western journalist, Steven Sotloff, has ignited another round of commentary suggesting that the Islamic State is the worst terrorist network ever. There is value in this: The current jihadist threat to the United States and the West is more dire than the threat that existed just prior to the 9/11 attacks, so anything that increases pressure for a sea change in our Islamic-supremacist-enabling government’s policies helps. Nevertheless, the perception that the Islamic State is something new and different and aberrational compared with the Islamic-supremacist threat we’ve been living with for three decades is wrong, perhaps dangerously so.

Decapitation is not a new jihadist terror method, and it is far from unique to the Islamic State. Indeed, I noted here over the weekend that it has recently been used by Islamic-supremacist elements of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Armyagainst the Islamic State. It was only a few years ago that al-Qaeda beheaded Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg. Jihadists behead their victims (very much including other Muslims) all the time — as Tom Joscelyn notes at the indispensable Long War Journal, the al-Qaeda-tied Ansar al Jerusalem just beheaded four Egyptians suspected of spying for Israel.

Yet, the recent Islamic State beheadings, in addition to other cruelties, is fueling commentary portraying the Islamic State as more barbaric and threatening than al-Qaeda. This misses the point. The Islamic State is al-Qaeda. It is the evolution of the ruthless al-Qaeda division that grew up in Iraq under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

In order to make the Islamic State seem different from al-Qaeda — i.e., to make it seem like something that has spontaneously appeared, rather than something Obama ignored and empowered — some reporting claims there are “ideological” and “doctrinal” differences between the two. This is true in only the most technical sense, a sense that is essentially irrelevant vis à vis the West.

What is going on among the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood (including Hamas), and other factions is a power struggle for leadership of the Sunni side of the global Islamic-supremacist movement. Because of the audience to which these actors play, some of their differences are framed as sharia-based. Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda leaders (who are allied against Assad in Syria and were allied with the Islamic State until fairly recently) contend, for example, that the Islamic State’s unilateral declaration of a caliphate transgresses Islamic principles that call for consultation and consensus among sharia-adherent Muslims. They argue that Islamic-supremacist groups should work cooperatively in the formation of local or regional emirates, with an eye toward eventually assembling the global caliphate.

From our perspective, so what? Both sides regard the West as the enemy to be conquered. Their differences are germane only to the extent that sharia fidelity, in addition to sheer brute force, will determine who comes out on top in their intramural warfare. As we have been observing here for years with respect to al-Qaeda and the Brotherhood, their disputes are mostly tactical; their splits on the finer points of Islamic-supremacist ideology bear only on how they regard each other. When it comes to the West, both see us as the enemy — and they put aside their differences to attack us.

The same has also always been true of the ideological/doctrinal divide between Sunni and Shiite jihadists. For example, al-Qaeda has had cooperative and operational relations with Iran since the early 1990s. Iran collaborated with al-Qaeda in the 1996 Khobar Towers attack that killed 19 U.S. airmen; probably in the 9/11 attacks; certainly in the aftermath of 9/11; and in the Iraq and Afghan insurgencies. Al-Qaeda would not be what it is today without state sponsorship, particularly from Iran. The Islamic State might not exist at all.

The point is that al-Qaeda has never been anything close to the totality of the jihadist threat. Nor, now, is the Islamic State. The challenge has always been Islamic supremacism: the ideology, the jihadists that are the point of the spear, and the state sponsors that enable jihadists to project power. The challenge cannot be met effectively by focusing on one element to the exclusion of others.

Read more at National Review

 

McCarthy: Obama Administration ‘Ideologically Entrenched’ in Not Calling IS a Serious Threat

National Review:

Andrew recently wrote about the growing threat of the Islamic State in the Middle East, “Obama’s America Is September 10th America.”

Carter and Robinson: The Hamas Jihad’s Useful Idiots

Former US President Jimmy Carter Visits South Koreaby Andrew C. McCarthy:

Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson have jointly penned a characteristically appalling op-ed in Foreign Policy magazine assigning primary blame to Israel for the war in the Middle East. The key to ending the violence, they contend, is for the United States and the European Union to recognize the Hamas terrorist organization as a legitimate “political force.”

According to the authors, the latest outbreak of fighting was triggered neither by Hamas’s murder of three Israeli teenagers nor its firing of thousands of missiles into Israel. Rather, they proceed from the premise that Israel is the culprit, for what Carter and Robinson deceitfully describe as:

[Its] deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, in opening Gaza to joint control under a technocratic government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by the Middle East Quartet comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has succeeded in preventing the new government’s deployment in Gaza.

This surely reflects Obama administration thinking, as well. Obama’s presidency has aptly been called the second (and now third) Carter term — a downward spiral from the shambles made of American foreign policy in the late seventies. Mrs. Robinson is the former president of Ireland and UN high commissioner for human rights, whose pro-terrorist sympathies and anti-Israel animus were ably chronicled several years back by Michael Rubin. (See “Mary Robinson, War Criminal?”) In 2001, she led the notorious Durban conference (the “World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Zenophobia and Related Intolerance”) that was so rabidly anti-Semitic the American delegation stormed out. Yet, eight years later under a new, hard-Left administration, there stood Robinson in the White House being honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Of course, anyone who grasps the details of the “unity government” and Hamas’s strategy in agreeing to it quickly realizes it is the antithesis of “a promising move toward peace.” In fact, Hamas is simply applying the Hezbollah model to the Palestinian territories. In Lebanon, the Hezbollah terrorist organization — Iran’s forward jihadist militia and oft-time Hamas mentor — agreed to participate in a unity government while maintaining the independence of its jihadist military and intelligence apparatus. That is exactly what Hamas has done.

As this excellent analysis by Ehud Yaari of the Washington Institute relates, Hamas’s agreement to join its rival Fatah in a unity government does not relinquish control of either its 20,000-strong jihadist force, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, or its internal intelligence and security apparatus. These forces are already far stronger than the Palestinian Authority’s security forces under the control of Fatah (which Hamas routed and ejected from Gaza in 2007).

Note, moreover, the stealthy hand of Iran in the mix. Hamas has had to come crawling back to the mullahs, hat in hand. After angering Tehran (and thus losing much of its funding and weapons support) by jumping on the Sunni side of the Syrian civil war, Hamas saw its preferred patron, the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egyptian regime, overthrown. The terrorist organization now finds itself opposed by the new anti-Brotherhood government in Cairo, and thus on the outs with that government’s backers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Isolated more than ever, Hamas is working hard to get back in Iran’s good graces. Its leaders conducted extensive meetings with top Iranian and Hezbollah officials prior to agreeing to cede governing authority over Gaza to the unity government. Carter and Robinson claim that this was a “major concession.” In truth, it was a coup, as Iran’s enthusiastic endorsement of the pact attests.

Read more at PJ Media

How Not To Indict a Terrorist

pic_giant_070514_SM_How-Not-to-Indict-a-TerroristBy Andrew C. McCarthy:

What happens when the president who has politicized law-enforcement to a degree unprecedented in American history meets a terrorist responsible for killing Americans he has recklessly failed to protect, decimating his pretensions about “decimating” al-Qaeda?

What happens is: You get the most politicized terrorism indictment ever produced by the Justice Department. Behold United States v. Khatallah, Case No. 14 Crim. 141, quietly unsealed in a Washington courtroom last Saturday while the country dozed off into summer-vacation mode.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah, of course, is the only suspect apprehended in connection with the Benghazi massacre, a terrorist attack on a still-mysterious U.S. diplomatic installation. J. Christopher Stevens, the United States ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans — State Department official Sean Smith and two former Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty — were killed. Until recently, such attacks have been known as acts of war carried out by the enemy. In the age of Obama, they are now known as “crimes” for which “defendants” like Khatallah are “brought to justice” — rather than brought to Gitmo. Meaning: They are whisked into our country when no one’s paying much attention. The red carpet is rolled out at a federal courthouse, where the “defendant” is given Miranda warnings, taxpayer-funded counsel, and all the rights of the American citizens they plot to kill, including lavish discovery-of-intelligence files relevant to their civilian trial.

Gold-plated due process for our enemies begins with the constitutional right to an indictment returned by a grand jury, providing the “defendant” with notice of the charges against him. In Khatallah’s case, the first thing you’ll notice is that the indictment is tiny: less than two pages long — 15 measly lines of text once you discount the caption, citations, and signature lines. This is a startling departure from Justice Department indictments in jihadist terror cases, a turn to brevity that cannot be explained solely by Obama’s banning of words like “jihadist” from the government lexicon.

Read more at National Review

Dr. K, Wrong, Though Sincere

20110304_Krauthammer_OBAMAby ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

This week on Fox News (here and here), the estimable Charles Krauthammer argued in favor of President Obama’s decision to swap detainees with a terrorist organization, indulging the administration’s portrayal of a “prisoner of war” exchange though the trade involves unlawful-combatant jihadists (two of them wanted for mass-murder war crimes) and a deserter.

I respectfully disagree.

Charles’s theory is that the West routinely engages in these sorts of swaps and should do so, despite always coming out on the short end, because it is a beneficial exhibition of the higher value we place on human life. I do not for a moment doubt Dr. K’s sincerity in stressing the value of human life, but I believe he is confounding the value and the exhibition – the high-minded display of good intentions. After all, as we shall see, his argument is a loser from a humanitarian perspective.

Charles appears to find the demonstration of our veneration of life beneficial because the so-called war on terror is, in part, a war of ideas. That is, even though these typically one-sided exchanges are a tactical victory for the terrorists, our cause is advanced over the long haul because the superiority of our values attracts convincible people to our side.

It is a nice thought, of a piece with the Lawyer Left pipe dream that we advance our security by bringing terrorists into our civilian criminal-justice system and abandoning such heavy-handed practices as coercive interrogation, military commissions, and indefinite law-of-war detention. Here’s the problem: These pieties do not correlate to real-world experience. Irresolute responses to barbarism beget more barbarism.

It is delusional to believe that most people in the Muslim Middle East view the conflict through our self-absorbed lens and perceive a contest between savage and noble principles. They have their own lens, and through it they see the strong horse versus the weak horse. You don’t win a war of ideas against a culture that brays, “We love death more than you love life!” by showing them how much you love life. To think otherwise is an example of what Roger Simon wrote about this week: the elevation of moral narcissism over objective reality.

Charles Krauthammer, of course, is no pie-in-the-sky progressive. So not surprisingly, he also cites a more concrete benefit of demonstrating our reverence for human life: It breeds a knowledge that we never abandon our captured troops, which is essential to the esprit de corps of the world’s most effective fighting force.

In principle, I agree. But in the Bergdahl-Taliban situation, the principle is inapposite. Charles, it turns out, is conflating some importantly distinct concepts. To begin with, there is a huge difference between how detainees are treated (a) in the midst of hostilities and (b) in an armistice at the conclusion of hostilities.

While combat is still raging – especially combat by terrorist methods that violate civilized norms – detainees should be held until the conclusion of hostilities unless there is some strategic advantage in releasing them. There can be no strategic advantage in replenishing the Taliban with five of its most capable commanders at a time when the Taliban, along with its al-Qaeda and Haqqani confederates, is still conducting offensive jihadist operations against both our troops in harm’s way and civilians.

On that score, it would not matter if the deserter Bowe Bergdahl were, instead, a heroic Audie Murphy. Indeed, as my old boss Rudy Giuliani observed on Sean Hannity’s program this week, an honorable American prisoner of war would not want to be released if the price were freeing five terrorists who would then gravely endanger his fellow troops.

Moreover, in stressing how a detainee swap satisfies the admirable objective of retrieving our captive troops, Charles misses the other side of the humanitarian ledger. The laws of war permit detention of enemy combatants until the conclusion of hostilities not to punish the captives but to promote peace. The theory is that depleting the enemy’s resources creates an incentive on the enemy’s part to seek a truce and bring the war to a swifter end with less bloodshed.

To the contrary, releasing enemy combatants while the war is still raging fortifies the enemy, incentivizes the enemy to extend the war, and causes more carnage. If we are going to talk about our values and the veneration of human life, it makes no sense to account for the marginal humanitarian benefit of obtaining the return of our captured troops while ignoring the humanitarian catastrophe of returning enemy detainees to a hot battlefield. That is especially so if the detainees in question are terrorists, who target civilians.

This is not to say that we forget about our captured troops. Far from it. We routinely divert military resources that could be devoted to other strategic wartime objectives in order to conduct combat rescue operations. But we do not “rescue” our captured troops by negotiating with terrorist organizations and releasing their captured operatives so the enemy can sustain itself and kill more American troops.

If we were talking about a settlement to conclude hostilities, Charles would have a point. When war ends, with it ends the law-of-war justification for detaining enemy combatants without trial. At that point, even detainees who continue to pose a threat must be released unless they can be charged with war crimes or other offenses. The five Taliban commanders, however, were not exchanged in a final settlement that ends the war. They are going back to a very lethal jihad.

The absurdity here is that President Obama seems to think he can bring a war to an end, abracadabra, by saying so. In reality, the war is not close to being over from the enemy’s point of view – they are continuing to fight. Under such circumstances, Obama can end the war only by surrendering. In effect, that is what he is doing, albeit in slow motion and under the camouflage of a risible Afghan “reconciliation process.” (Translation: The Taliban retakes the country in a way that is made to look like a political settlement rather than a jihadist coup.)

Read more: Family Security Matters

Can Islamism Evolve?

lightBy Andrew C. McCarthy:

Like everything Daniel Pipes writes, his column this week about the prospects of Islamism is interesting and admirably honest. If every public intellectual were as willing as Daniel to check his premises regularly and modify them when new facts call them into question, our discourse would be a lot more civil and edifying.

His column is about “Islamism,” which is the ideology I (among others) call “Islamic supremacism” — a.k.a “radical” or “extremist” Islam, or even “sharia-ism” in the recent coinage of my friend Joy Brighton . . . all of us, it should be conceded, grappling for the pitch-perfect term that (we hope) justifies sidestepping the gnawing question whether Islam itself inevitably breeds aggressive Muslim groups even if it is otherwise widely construed, or at least practiced, benignly.

Daniel has previously rejected the possibility that Islamism, which is innately dictatorial, could evolve into something that approximates pluralistic democracy. He now surveys recent developments and concludes it is conceivable — not likely, but conceivable — that Islamism could evolve and improve.

To me, the developments Daniel cites are just glimmers here and there along a mostly discouraging trajectory. I will make three points, more in reaction than in direct response to his observations.

1. Only our own lower expectations of what liberal democracy is make it possible to speculate that Islamism could become borderline democratic. While Daniel mines some hopeful signs that Islamism — or at least branches of it — could be progressing away from unyielding authoritarianism, the parallel phenomenon (which is not the subject of his column) is that Western democracy is regressing away from a culture of individual liberty protected by limited government. If it now seems conceivable that Islamism could democratize, it can only be owing to modern democracy’s accommodation of more centralized and intrusive government.

2. The only conclusion of Daniel’s that I have a real quarrel with is his assertion that

Islamism has significantly evolved over the past 13 years. As recently as 2001, its adherents were synonymous with criminals, terrorists, and revolutionaries.

I think this conflates Islamism with our perception of Islamism. Personally, I don’t believe Islamism has materially changed at all. Instead, beginning about 21 years ago with the bombing of the World Trade Center, there was a vigorous effort on the part of progressive policy-makers and thinkers — an effort that still persists — to convince the public that the only “radical” Muslims were violent jihadists (who were incongruously portrayed as both “extremist” Muslims and practitioners of a “false Islam”). All other Muslims, we were told, were “moderates,” no matter how immoderate their beliefs. There was very little public understanding of sharia — the Islamic societal framework and legal system — and of the fact that imposing its implementation is the rationale for both jihadist terror and the non-violent agitations of Islamist groups.

What has changed over the past 13 years is not Islamism. Thanks to the good work of people like Daniel — I have tried to do my share, too — the public has begun to learn that Islamists include not only terrorists but Islamic supremacists who seek to impose and inculcate sharia standards by such other means as lawfare, legislation, the classroom, the media, popular culture, etc. There is nothing new in this variegated approach; it is the same plan for ground-up revolution that Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna laid out nearly a century ago. There is, however, more popular awareness today that not every non-terrorist Muslim activist is a “moderate.”

Daniel recalls his observation all those years ago that many Islamists “are peaceable in appearance, but they all must be considered potential killers.” He says “these words ring archaic now,” but, to me, they simply reflect the still valid insight that terrorist and non-terrorist Islamists share objectives even if their methods differ. I don’t think there has been any real evolution just because we are in a time when many Islamists, as Daniel says, “find the ballot box a more effective means to power than the gun.”

It has always been the case that some Islamists pursue the sharia agenda by barbaric means and others by political and legal processes. The only difference today lies in the nature of their opportunities. In Muslim-majority countries such as Egypt, Islamists got the chance to obtain by popular vote what they had previously sought by terrorism — control of the government. And what happened when the Muslim Brotherhood took over? Terrorists were sprung from captivity. Islamist Egypt seamlessly became a hospitable place for jihadists to organize against Israel and the United States. Islamists — both violent and ostensibly non-violent — put their differences aside and allied against the West.

’Twas ever thus. Daniel is surely right that “some reforms of Islam are already underway” (my italics). But that hardly means Islamism is reforming in any substantial way. Indeed, the link in Daniel’s assertion about ongoing Islamic reform takes the reader to an excellent essay he wrote for Commentary last year, which portrays the reform of Islam as what is required “if Islamism is to be defeated,” not as a phenomenon happening in Islamism itself.

Read more at National Review

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Daniel Pipes has written a reply: Islamism’s Trajectory

The Roots of CAIR’s Intimidation Campaign

pic_giant_041214_SM_The-Roots-of-CAIRs-Intimidation-Campaignby ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

Author’s Note: This week, capitulating to Islamic-supremacist agitation led by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Brandeis University reneged on its announced plan to present an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the heroic human-rights activist. In my 2010 book, The Grand Jihad, I devoted a chapter to the origins and purposes of CAIR, its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Hamas-support network, and its aim to silence critics of Islamic supremacism. In light of the continuing success of this campaign – despite a federal terrorism-financing prosecution that exposed CAIR’s unsavory background – it is worth revisiting that history. What follows is an adapted excerpt from that chapter.

In January 1993, a new, left-leaning U.S. administration, inclined to be more sympathetic to the Islamist clause, came to power. But before he could bat an eye, President Bill Clinton was confronted by the murder and depraved mutilation of American soldiers in Somalia. A few weeks later, on February 26, jihadists bombed the World Trade Center. The public was angry and appeasing Islamists would have to wait.

Yasser Arafat, however, sensed opportunity. The terrorist intifada launched at the end of 1987 had been a successful gambit for the Palestine Liberation Organization chief. Within a year, even as the body count mounted, the weak-kneed “international community” was granting the PLO the right to participate (though not to vote) in U.N. General Assembly sessions. And when Arafat made the usual show of “renouncing” terrorism – even as he was orchestrating terrorist attacks in conjunction with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Islamist factions – the United States recognized him as the Palestinians’ legitimate leader, just as the Europeans had done. Arafat blundered in 1991, throwing in his lot with Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War, and that seemed to bury him with the Bush 41 administration. But Clinton’s election was a new lease on life.

Anxious to chase the holy grail of Middle East peace and suddenly in need of demonstrating toughness against jihadist terror, the new “progressive” president was made to order for the wily Marxist terror master. If Arafat could resell his “I renounce terrorism” carpet yet again, chances were he could cash in. And so he did, purporting to commit the Palestinians to the 1993 Oslo Accords – an empty promise of peaceful coexistence exchanged for hundreds of millions in aid (much of which he pocketed), an open invitation to the Clinton White House (where he became a regular visitor), international recognition (as a statesman, no less!), and a ludicrous Nobel Peace Prize (forever degrading a once prestigious honor into a punch line).

The Muslim Brotherhood, for one, was not amused. Islamists had murdered Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981 for striking a peace pact with Israel. Sure, they knew Arafat and understood what chicanery he was up to. But acceptance of the Zionist entity’s right to exist was utterly unacceptable, even if done as a ploy.

Israel, the Brotherhood also realized, would not be the only thing squeezed by Clinton at Arafat’s urging. After a shaky start, the new president was winning global plaudits for his Orwellian “peace process.” Clinton must have known that Arafat was stringing him along, but with the theater of negotiation and ostensible progress drawing rave reviews, that was a problem for another day. The immediate concern was that Hamas jihadists could spoil the show with their implacable jihad, their blunt insistence that nothing less than Israel’s obliteration would satisfy them. That gave the fledgling administration a powerful incentive to crack down on them. Arafat would be the beneficiary as the Americans squeezed his rivals for power.

A ‘Media Twinkle’ in Philadelphia
Though the United States had been a cash cow for Hamas, it was thus a perilous time for the organization when 25 of its members and supporters gathered at a Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia on October 27, 1993. They were unaware that the FBI was monitoring their deliberations. The confab was a brainstorming exercise: How best to back Hamas and derail Oslo while concealing these activities from the American government?

A little more background to the Philadelphia meeting: For nearly two decades until his extradition in 1997, Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook was the most consequential Muslim Brotherhood operative in the United States. Now living in Egypt, he remains to this day deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau. In the early Nineties, he actually ran the terrorist organization from his home in Virginia.

During his time in the U.S., Marzook formed several organizations to promote the Palestinian jihad against Israel. In 1981, for public-relations purposes, he established the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) in conjunction with two other jihadists: future Hamas chief Khalid al-Mishal and Sami al-Arian (the latter was eventually convicted of conspiring to support Palestinian Islamic Jihad).

In December 1987, the intifada was launched and Hamas was born. Marzook immediately formed the “Palestine Committee” to serve as an umbrella organization, directing the various pro-Hamas initiatives that were developing. He brought under its wing both the IAP (which concentrated on “the political and media fronts”) and a fundraising entity he had established. That entity would eventually be called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) – though it was then known as the “Occupied Land Committee.” The reorganization would better enable the Palestine Committee to comply with the Muslim Brotherhood’s instructions to “increase the financial and the moral support for Hamas,” to “fight surrendering solutions” (like Oslo), and to publicize “the savagery of the Jews.”

It was under the auspices of the Palestine Committee that the 1993 Philadelphia meeting was convened. It was clear even then that Marzook’s Hamas network was anticipating the birth of yet another organization. The Palestine Committee’s amended by-laws declared that an as-yet-unnamed entity was already in the larval stage, “operat[ing] through” the IAP, and soon to “become an official organization for political work, and its headquarters will be in Washington, insha Allah.”

In the United States, the “political work” was crucial. The overarching mission, of course, was quite clear. As the IAP had explained in a December 1988 edition of its Arabic magazine, Ila Filastin, “The call for jihad in the name of Allah is the only path for liberation of Palestine and all the Muslim lands. We promise Allah, continuing the jihad way and the martyrdom’s way.” But while blatant summonses to jihad might stir the faithful in Islamic countries openly hostile to Jews, they were not going to fly in America – and even less so in an America whose financial heart had just been shaken by the jihadist bombing of the World Trade Center. The Brotherhood’s approach in the U.S. would have to be more subtle.

That was where the new organization would come in, as those gathered in Philadelphia – including Marzook’s brother-in-law and HLF co-founder Ghassan Elashi – explained. Although the Brotherhood had ideological depth and impressive fundraising mechanisms, Marzook had long been concerned that his network lacked the media and political savvy needed to advance an agenda in modern America. Now more than ever, they needed what HLF’s Shukri Abu Baker called “a media twinkle.”

In the U.S., Hamas was now perceived as the principal enemy of the popular “peace process.” After all, its charter explicitly called (and continues to call) for Israel’s annihilation by violent jihad. Therefore, its known supporters – the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, the IAP, and the others – were tainted in the American mind as terror-abettors, hostile to U.S. interests. As one attendee urged in Philadelphia, “We must form a new organization for activism which will be neutral, because we are placed in a corner. . . . It is known who we are. We are marked.” The new entity, by contrast, would have a clean slate. Maybe it could steal a page out of Arafat’s “hear what I say, don’t watch what I do” playbook. The new entity’s Islamism and Hamas promotion would have to be less “conspicuous.” It would need to couch its rhetoric in sweet nothings like “social justice,” “due process,” and “resistance.” If it did those things, though, it might be more attractive . . . and effective. A Muslim organization posing as a civil-rights activist while soft-pedaling its jihadist sympathies might be able to snow the American political class, the courts, the media, and the academy. It might make real inroads with the transnational progressives who dominated the Clinton administration.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Egypt: Are Elections “Democracy”?

by Andrew C. McCarthy:

From reading the American press, you would believe that if Middle Eastern Muslims were allowed to govern themselves by having free elections, this would be the route to democracy. This is a fallacy that we have been following now as a matter of American foreign policy for many administrations and many years. You cannot tell me that, after the same Egyptians voted two-to-one to have an intense Sharia constitution, eight months later they suddenly did not want Sharia any more. What they decided was that they did not want Morsi any more.

If here is ever to be anything approximating democratic transformation in Egypt the only way it is going it happen is if Egypt has a respected institution, such as the military, that governs the country, with the help of whatever technocratic officials it needs to run the country day-to-day, and where the forces of secular democracy at least have a chance to compete — which means growing these institutions to cultivate a respect for minority rights and individual liberty.

The good news is that the Egyptians will not be able to keep their Sharia constitution, at least not the way the Muslim Brotherhood designed it. But the way it was covered in the United States, this was not reflected as good news.

What is going on in Egypt now, while I wouldn’t go up in a balloon over it, is much more of a ray of hope than anything that we have had previously in what has been called the Arab Spring — a misnomer, if ever there was one. We actually knew quite a bit about how Egyptians wanted to be governed before Mubarak fell thanks to polling that was done there – in fact, done not only in Egypt but across the Middle East, from Egypt all the way to Indonesia.

There was pretty authoritative polling, for example, done by the University of Maryland in 2007 in conjunction with an outfit called World Public Opinion. It indicated that, depending on where you asked the questions, upwards of two‑thirds, and in some places over 80% of Muslim populations across the Middle East, wanted to live under Sharia, Islam’s legal code and societal framework.

 

An veiled woman casts her ballot in the second round of Egypt’s presidential election, in 2012. (Image source: Jonathan Rashad/Flickr)

Let me briefly address what Sharia is. There is no division in Islam – at least in classical Islam, Islamic supremacism, which is the Islam of the Middle East – between the secular and sacred realms. Sharia has ambition to be a total societal system.

To call it just a legal code really does not do it justice, because its ambition is to govern everything from the great things to the small things, from the matters of economy, military relations, the setting up of a government or caliphate, down to interpersonal relations and even matters of hygiene. It is a soup to nuts framework for how life is to be lived – it is not only, in many countries, about girls being prohibited from attending school, but about the many other ways in which girls and women are suppressed, not only their education, but professionally and in interpersonal relations as well.

From the Islamic perspective there is a belief that Islam has to be imposed, and that Sharia is the necessary precondition for Islamizing a society. The first World Trade Center bombing was really our first significant exposure in the United States to radical Islam conducting terrorists attacks on our shores in what turned out to be a systematic way over time.

It is interesting to me that 20 years after the World Trade Center bombing we still do not have a good understanding in the United States of what Jihad is. If you listen to the apologists for Islamic supremacists who are featured frequently in the media, you would think that it is an internal struggle for personal betterment; that it doesn’t have any military component. If you listen to them long enough, you would come away thinking that it wasn’t anything more meaningful than remembering to brush after every meal.

But Jihad is essentially a military concept, and people on our side, or on the national security side, of this debate have it wrong when they say it is everywhere and always a military concept.

What it is — everywhere and always — is the advancement of Sharia. It is about the implementation of Sharia. Whether jihad is done violently or non‑violently, the point is to implant Sharia because Sharia is seen as the necessary building block for Islamizing a society.

In the Middle East, it should tell us a lot that people across the region and in Egypt by upwards of two‑thirds said that they wanted to be governed under Sharia law. It should have given us a real clue about what was apt to happen once Mubarak fell and what, in fact, did happen once Mubarak fell. For all the hullabaloo about “democracy” and “democracy promotion,” the first election in Egypt — about two months after Mubarak was ousted — got very little coverage. I think it was the most important of all of the elections they had – then and thereafter. The media did not cover it much in the United States and in the West; it was dismissed as a procedural election about scheduling and something to do vaguely with constitutional amendments.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

KSM’s Prison Communiqués Part II: Wartime Religion of Peace Propaganda

20120506_khalid_sheikh_mohammed (1)by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

We explained in yesterday’s Ordered Liberty post that the publication of jihad heavyweight Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s communiqués, disseminated from the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, herald the return of the pre-9/11 paradigm: jihadist terror treated as a mere law-enforcement problem, not a war. Now, we turn to the propaganda aspects of KSM’s published writings, which – so far as we know at this time – include an Islamic-supremacist manifesto (published by the Huffington Post) and a lengthy letter to a social-worker pen-pal in Britain (reported on by the Guardian).

Let’s start by observing that it would have been inconceivable during, say, World War II, for the U.S. government to permit imprisoned German or Japanese enemy combatants (of which there were thousands) to enable publication of ideological propaganda from American detention facilities. It would have been nearly as inconceivable for American lawyers to argue that alien enemy combatants had a “right” to communicate with the outside world this way, or for American news outlets to publish enemy propaganda under the guise of “news” reporting. The two latter institutions have changed for the worse, and the government (very much including the courts) is bending to accommodate, rather than resisting, the Lawyer Left and the media.

For the reasons detailed in yesterday’s post, this is an alarming development. The national imperative in wartime should be victory over our enemies. We should not be at war unless we have that commitment – it is a profound betrayal of the young men and women we put in harm’s way to enable our enemies. KSM has no constitutional rights, we owe him only humane treatment, and it is ludicrous to suggest that he has a right to get his messages out to the world while he is lawfully detained as an enemy combatant.

Yet, the Obama Defense Department told Fox News that it is capable of vetting jihadist communications to ensure that their publication poses no threat. Even assuming for argument’s sake that the government has such a duty – and it does not, there should be a blanket prohibition – the claim is laughable.

As I demonstrated in yesterday’s post, the communications of imprisoned jihadists, even those that seem ostensibly harmless, increase the prestige of the inmates in the eyes of Islamic supremacists. They can be exploited by the imprisoned jihadists’ confederates for purposes of fundraising, recruitment, and calls to violence. It is not a matter of what our genius government analysts believe they can divine in the way of jihadist commands and coded messages. It is a matter of how the jihadists on the outside can use communications from imprisoned terrorists to promote anti-Americanism and jihadism.

But even putting that aside, our government is incompetent when it comes to vetting jihadist communications. It cannot be competent because it has spent the last quarter century putting its head in the sand on the matter of Islamic supremacist ideology and the nexus between Islamic scripture and jihadist violence.

Back in 2008, I wrote a book called Willful Blindness about what even then was a longstanding dysfunction. Yet, things have gotten much worse, particularly under Obama’s watch. The government has now purged information about Islamic supremacism from instruction materials used to train our military, intelligence and law-enforcement agents – effectively giving Islamist organizations and operatives (many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and red-carpet access to the administration) a veto over what our investigators and analysts may be taught about the ideology that catalyzes the threat to our nation.

The resulting debacle is elucidated by the press reporting on KSM’s communiqués, which shows why information of this sort should never be published in wartime. The HuffPo story uncritically reports, for example, that KSM is now trying to persuade people to come to Islam peacefully and that forcing people to convert to Islam is against the Koran. The obvious agenda is to put KSM – the most evil mass-murderer ever to be in American custody – in a more sympathetic light, or at the very least to bleach away any nexus between Islamic principles and atrocities committed by Muslims in the name of Islam.

But KSM has not changed and neither have his beliefs – they remain as enduring as our conscious avoidance of his ideology.

In point of fact, Islamic law teaches that, before waging offensive jihad, Muslims must first invite non-believers to accept the truth of Islam. Doctrinally, this summons to Islam is a necessary precondition to waging violent jihad. There are numerous examples of bin Laden and Zawahiri (bin Laden’s deputy and now the leader of al Qaeda) issuing public statements calling on infidels to accept Islam. Under their interpretation of sharia, it is a box they are supposed to check before they start blowing things up and steering airplanes into skyscrapers.

The reporting makes much of KSM’s assertion that the Koran forbids forcible conversion to Islam. The narrative now making the rounds is that KSM “has renounced violence,” as Canada’s National Post puts it.

Even a cursory familiarity with Islamic supremacist ideology would put this specious claim to rest. It is true, in the most narrow of senses, that Islamic doctrine forbids forcible conversion: Muslims are not supposed to hold a gun to your head to force you to convert. But Islamic doctrine endorses violence for the purpose of promoting Islam, and conversion is not close to being the most significant way of promoting Islam.

Read more: Family Security Matters

See also:

KSM’s Prison Communiqués: Enemy Combatants Back to Being Criminal Defendants

ksmBy Andrew C. McCarthy:

I was invited to provide commentary Tuesday night on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News program (“The Kelly File”) regarding the all too predictable but nevertheless appalling news that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — al Qaeda heavyweight, 9/11 mastermind, decapitator of Daniel Pearl, jihadist warring against America for the better part of two decades, and murderer of nearly 3,000 of our fellow citizens — has been permitted to transmit propaganda out of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. The interview is posted on Megyn’s site here — I respond to contentions made by the first guest, defense lawyer and former JAG Charles Swift.

More needs to be said on this. Let’s first consider the insanity of permitting enemy combatants to communicate with the outside world while the war ensues — and though the administration rarely speaks or acts as if there is a war going on, and while the public pays it scant attention, we still have forces in harm’s way pursuant to a congressional authorization of combat operations; we are still killing and capturing enemy operatives pursuant to the laws of war, which is only permissible during wartime.

The rationale for shifting, post-9/11, from a law-enforcement counterterrorism paradigm to a war-footing prominently included the recognition that we had to regard as a military enemy, not as mere criminal defendants, the members of an international terrorist network that (a) had declared war against the U.S.; (b) was supported by rogue governments; (c) focused its jihad on American military, political, economic and civilian targets; and (d) was capable of projecting force on the scale of the 9/11 attacks. Contrary to popular wisdom, that remains a salient distinction.

Criminal defendant detainees in the civilian justice system are arrested only after being accused of crimes, and are presumed innocent of the charges. Thus, in the pretrial phase, they have an array of rights even if they are denied bail — and bail may only be denied based on risk-of-flight or convincing proof that they pose a danger to potential witnesses or the community at large. These pretrial rights include liberal opportunities to meet with counsel for trial-defense preparation, and to have contact with others in the outside world that approximates what accused people who are at liberty enjoy. (This changes if and when a defendant is found guilty at trial. Incarcerated convicts have significantly fewer rights and privileges than pretrial detainees.)

To the contrary, enemy combatant detainees do not have to be accused of prosecutable offenses in order to be lawfully detained, and they are generally denied contact with the outside world. The reason is straightforward. While the object of the civilian criminal justice system is to provide due process to the accused so that civil rights are protected and trial outcomes have integrity, the object of war is to defeat the enemy. Consequently, while we owe enemy combatants basic humane treatment, due process concerns are not a high priority. After all, the rationale for detaining enemy combatants has little or nothing to do with prosecution of a criminal case — indeed, there need be no criminal case, and in most instances there is not one. The purpose of detaining enemy combatants is to deplete the assets of the enemy and thus achieve victory more rapidly and with less bloodshed.

Moreover, even when enemy combatants have committed provable war crimes that qualify for trial by military commission, the priority in wartime remains victory for the nation. As long as the war ensues, due process for the war criminal is never the priority because prosecuting war crimes, even when the accused is a high-ranking enemy operative, is far less important than victory in the war. Due process rules governing discovery and testimony can result in the public revelation of our intelligence about the enemy, and in the use of the trial process by the enemy for propaganda purposes. Thus, war crimes trials rarely happen until after the war is over, and when they do happen during the war, great care must be taken to guard against unnecessary disclosures.

Of course, fundamental fairness requires permitting an accused war criminal enough access to counsel to prepare for trial. This, however, does not imply that the accused has constitutional rights. Most commentators get this point wrong. We permit an alien enemy combatant meaningful access to counsel because by accusing him of war crimes we have chosen to put him on trial. A trial would not meet the Anglo-American standards for a trial if the accused were not permitted a meaningful opportunity to mount whatever defense he may have. That is, our concern is with the integrity of the trial process, not with the purported “rights” of wartime enemies who have committed atrocities against Americans.

Obviously, then, an alien enemy combatant accused of war crimes is not entitled to the extensive contact with counsel afforded in the civilian justice system to Americans who are fully vested with Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. And even less is an alien enemy combatant entitled to other, more general contact with the outside world.

Read more at PJ Media

Coercing Conformity

pic_giant_122813_ABy Andrew C. McCarthy:

In “protecting the rights of all people to worship the way they choose,” then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton vowed “to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.”

Mrs. Clinton required translation into the language of truth, as she generally does when her lips are moving. By the “rights” of “all people” to “worship” as “they choose,” she meant the sharia-based desire of Muslim supremacists to foreclose critical examination of Islam. Madame Secretary, you see, was speechifying before her friends at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — the bloc of 56 Muslim countries plus the Palestinian territories.

At that very moment in July 2011, Christians were under siege in Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, and Iran — being gradually purged from those Islamic countries just as they’d been purged from Turkey, which hosted Mrs. Clinton’s speech. As Christians from the Middle East to West Monroe, La., can tell you, the Left and its Obama vanguard are not remotely interested in their “rights . . . to worship the way they choose.”

What they choose, after all, is to honor Christian tenets about sexuality, freedom of conscience, and the sanctity of life. Those tenets, just like honest criticism of Islam, are consigned to the category Clinton calls “what we abhor.” And if progressives abhor something, it somehow always becomes everyone’s duty to make certain that those who embrace that something “don’t feel that they have . . . support.”

Of course, they do have support . . . at least on paper. The First Amendment protects all of us against government suppression of speech. But the amendment is just a parchment promise if the government against which it is a safeguard actively undermines it. That is today’s United States government: rendering free expression an illusory right by inciting the mob, by extortionate lawfare tactics that exhaust the resources and energy of the citizen.

That brings us to the most compelling of all the points Mark Steyn made this week in his trenchant defense of free expression: When it comes to stifling speech, and thus suppressing thought, it is increasingly frivolous to distinguish between “state coercion” and “cultural coercion.”

Yes, it is textbook true that the First Amendment applies only against the government — indeed, only against the federal government as originally understood. The constitutional free-speech guarantee is literally irrelevant against private actors, including bullies like GLAAD, the gay-rights agitators who intimidated A&E into suspending Phil Robertson from a show about his family — which, I suppose, is the absurd reality when you’re producing a “reality” program (Duck Dynasty) about a family business.

But as long as we’re talking about reality, what if the “private” actors are really the deadly point of a coercive government’s spear? Mrs. Clinton proclaimed that the Obama administration would unleash “old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming” to squelch speech it disapproved of. We call these “techniques” extortion and intimidation when they are used by mafia families and other like-minded racketeering enterprises.

A corrupt government has some direct ways of undermining our rights. It can bring vexatious lawsuits, knowingly enact unconstitutional laws, or sign international agreements transparently intended to erode constitutional liberties. Theoretically, we can fight these tactics in the courts and by lobbying our lethargic lawmakers; as a practical matter, though, it takes years of anxiety at prohibitive expense. Few will be up to the task.

Secretary Clinton’s collaboration with the OIC is a good example: They jointly came up with a resolution that would make it unlawful to engage in speech that incites “discrimination” and “hostility” toward “religion.” More translation: “Religion” here does not mean religion; it means Islam. The Obama administration, itself no stranger to incitements against traditional Christianity, is not worried about that kind of hostility.

But put aside the hypocrisy of bashing Christians for merely holding beliefs while turning a blind eye to Muslims who kill over theirs. The point here is: It is pluperfectly palpable that the resolution negotiated by the Obama State Department and the OIC violates the First Amendment.

Free speech cannot work if the government it is designed to restrain does not respect it. A lawful American government — one that takes seriously its sworn obligation to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution — would not only enforce the First Amendment; it would refrain from engaging in unconstitutional schemes in the first place.

When it instead leads the pack in assaulting the Constitution — when, to take another example, the government repeatedly, publicly, and mendaciously blames a jihadist mass murder in Benghazi on an obscure movie; when, under the guise of a “supervised release” violation, it then trumps up a prosecution against the filmmaker precisely to sell the “Muslim world” on its commitment to imposing anti-constitutional sharia blasphemy standards — it is implicitly endorsing and obviously encouraging mob suppression of speech.

Read more at National Review