CLARE LOPEZ – A LESSON ON THE ISLAMIC STATE

 

Published on Oct 9, 2014 by theunitedwest

Intelligence analyst, Clare Lopez, retired CIA and currently VP of Research for the Center for Security Policy, provides a factually fascinating explanation of the very complex Islamic State, often wrongly called ISIS or ISIL. Clare and Tom Trento will detail subjects like the beliefs and behaviors of IS, their eschatological view and why they MUST have a Kaliphate! Do not miss this extremely informative and instructive lesson on the Islamic State!

Audio: Clare Lopez analysis of the Islamic State

Published on Oct 9, 2014 by The Final Say Radio Show

Clare Lopez, Vice President for Research & Analysis with the Center for Security Policy, joins the show to discuss ISIS and other security threats.

Muslim Leaders Sign Letter Against ISIS, But Endorse Sharia

A picture of a the sharia punishment of stoning from the Islamic State's Dabiq magazine (Issue #2)

A picture of a the sharia punishment of stoning from the Islamic State’s Dabiq magazine (Issue #2)

Islamists regularly redefine words like “clear disbelief,” “democracy,” “justice,” “peace” and “terrorism” on their own terms. The use of subjective language like “innocents,” “mistreat,” “defensive” and “rights” leave much room for interpretation.

By Ryan Mauro:

A published letter to the Islamic State (ISIS)  signed by 126 international Muslim leaders and scholars, including top American leaders, is getting major press for rebutting the theological arguments behind the actions of Islamic State. Unfortunately, the same letter endorsed the goal of the Islamic State of rebuilding the caliphate and sharia governance, including its brutal hudud punishments.

Point 16 of the letter states, “Hudud punishments are fixed in the Qu’ran and Hadith and are unquestionably obligatory in Islamic Law.” The criticism of the Islamic State by the scholars is that the terrorist group is not “following the correct procedures that ensure justice and mercy.”

The Muslim “moderates” who signed the letter not only endorsed the combination of mosque and state; they endorsed the most brutal features of sharia governance as seen in Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

An example of a hudud punishment is the death penalty for apostates (Muslims who leave Islam). The letter does not dispute or oppose that. It says that labeling Muslims as apostates is only permissible when an individual “openly declares disbelief.”

The signatories are not condemning the execution of apostates, only how the Islamic State is deciding who qualifies as an apostate.

Point 7 states that Islam forbids the killing of diplomats, journalists and aid workers, but it comes with a very important exception.

“Journalists—if they are honest and of course are not spies—are emissaries of truth, because their job is to expose the truth to people in general,” it reads.

This is actually an endorsement of targeting journalists that Muslims feel are unfair. Islamists, including Islamic State supporters, often claim that the journalists they kill are propagandists and/or spies, meeting the letter’s standards.

Point 22 of the letter states, “There is agreement (ittifaq) among scholars that a caliphate is an obligation upon the Ummah. The Ummah has lacked a caliphate since 1924 CE. However, a new caliphate requires consensus from Muslims and not just from those in a small corner of the world.”

A caliphate is a pan-Islamic government based on sharia; virtually all Islamic scholars agree that this objective requires the elimination of Israel. It is also fundamentally (and by definition) expansionist.

Again, the “moderate” signatories endorse the principles of the Islamic State and other jihadists but criticize their implementation.

Read more at Clarion Project

Stealth jihadists use language deceptively. Learn the definitions of Islamic terms here: Islam’s Deceptive Use of Western Terminology

Also see:

 

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi: From Terrorist Commander to Religious Icon

abu-bakr-al-baghdadiBlind Eagle, By Brian Fairchild:

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s power to motivate and attract tens of thousands of radicalized Muslims is largely based on the fact that he has transcended the role of a terrorist commander and has become an Islamic religious and political icon – the new “Caliph” of the re-established “Caliphate”. 

He doesn’t claim to be a prophet, but he claims nothing less than to be the rightful political and religious heir to the Prophet Muhammad, and he often draws parallels between himself and Muhammad and other prophets, to support these claims and to legitimize his strict religious ideology.

On July 5, 2014, al-Baghdadi made his video debut at the Great Mosque of al-Nouri in Mosul, Iraq wearing Islamic garb and sporting a long beard, and he made a speech that was carefully crafted to draw parallels between himself and Muhammad.  The speech occurred during the Muslim month of Ramadan, and so he began his comments by stating that “Ramadan is a month to wage jihad”, noting that the Prophet Muhammad fought many battles against the “polytheists” during this month.

The implications of this reference sent a particularly potent message to radical Muslims because they know that Muhammad led Islam’s two most important battles during Ramadan – the very first battle, called the Battle of Badr, and the Battle of Mecca.  According to Islamic history, Muhammad faced overwhelming odds in his battle with the powerful Quraysh tribe at the desert oasis of Badr, but was victorious because of Allah’s divine intervention.  At the subsequent Battle of Mecca, he defeated the Quraysh with an Army of 10,000.  The city fell with almost no resistance.  The victory at Mecca consolidated Muhammad’s power and caused the surrounding tribes to join him.  The few remaining opposing tribes were quickly subdued.

The parallels to al-Baghdadi are unmistakable.  As he spoke at the Great Mosque of al-Nouri his total force was estimated to be around 10,000, the same number Muhammad fielded in the Battle of Mecca.  Like Muhammad, he emerged out of the desert and, against all odds, defeated a much larger and better equipped enemy, causing many to flee without firing a shot.  He consolidated his power by creating the “caliphate”, and the surrounding tribes joined him.  Finally, he proclaimed that these victories were only possible because he and his troops “have been bestowed upon by Allah to achieve victory” – divine intervention. 

The comparisons continue.  In the Islamic State’s September 21, 2014 statement, al Baghdadi calls Muslims to emulate the Prophet Muhammad’s historic hijrah (emigration) from Mecca to Medina by emigrating from their homes to defend the new Islamic State.  He proclaims that the coming fight with America is a decisive moment in Islamic history (just as Muhammad’s fight was) – a moment in which the fate of all Muslims hang in the balance, and he exhorts Muslims to rise to their brothers’ defense because:

  • “They are facing a battle which is of the decisive, critical battles in the history of Islam. If the Muslims are defeated, they will be humiliated in such a manner that no humiliation compares to. And if the Muslims are victorious – and this will be the case by Allah’s permission – they will be honored with all honor by which the Muslims will return to being the masters of the world and kings of the earth…”[1]

These comparisons resonate deeply in Salafi-jihadis who believe that there is no higher religious calling than to emulate the Prophet Muhammad’s methodology to establish Allah’s religion on earth, and this is precisely what al Baghdadi calls them to do.  He emphasizes their piousness by stating that he sees “the Quran walking alive amongst” them, and then unambiguously tells them that they are directly following in Muhammad’s footsteps:

  • “O soldiers of the Islamic State and its sons everywhere, listen and comprehend. If the people belie you, reject your state and your call, and mock your caliphate, then know that your Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was belied. His call was rejected. He was mocked. If your people fight you, accuse you with the worst of accusations, and describe you with the worst of all traits, then know that the people of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) fought him, expelled him, and accused him with matters worse than those you have been accused with.  If the parties have gathered against you, then know they gathered against your Prophet before (blessings and peace be upon him).”[2]

Muslim traditions tell how the pious Muhammad was able to overcome vastly superior military forces because of Allah’s divine intervention on his behalf, and thus, in the September 21, 2014 statement, al Baghdadi tells his followers that, because of their piousness and strict religious observance, Allah is on their side and that victory against America is assured because Allah wills it:

  • “Allah has given you might and honor after your humiliation. He has made you rich after your poverty. And He has aided you despite your weakness and small numbers. He showed you that victory is from Him, the Glorified.He grants it to whomever He wills and whenever He wills…Therefore Allah will give you victory. Indeed, Allah will give you victory. By Allah, Allah will give you victory…So know that – by Allah – we fear not the swarms of planes, nor ballistic missiles, nor drones, nor satellites, nor battleships, nor weapons of mass destruction. How could we fear them, while Allah the Exalted has said: ‘If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely” – Qur’an Chapter 3: Verse 160.

In addition to drawing parallels between himself and the Prophet Muhammad, al Baghdadi also uses the Prophet Noah to legitimize his particularly severe religious rule.  In the second issue of his official publication Dabiq magazine titled The Flood , al Baghdadi uses the story of Noah and the Ark to legitimize his demand that Muslims live according to a strict literal interpretation of Sharia law.  In the article, the Prophet Noah is described as an uncompromising prophet who gave his people a single, but profound, choice:

  • “He didn’t say to them, for example: “I have come to you with the truth, and your leaders are calling you to falsehood, so you are free to choose whether to follow me or to follow your leaders.” In fact, he didn’t even say anything to the effect of: “If you follow me then you would be correct, and if you follow your leaders then you would be mistaken.” Nor did he say anything to the effect of: “If you follow me you will be saved, and if you oppose me and follow your leaders then your reckoning is with Allah, and I have done what is required of me and you are free to choose.” Rather, he told them with full clarity:  “It’s either me or the flood.”[3]  The parallel between Noah and al Baghdadi couldn’t be more obvious, especially given the fact that the Dabiq article was titled:  It’s Either the Islamic State or the Flood.

It is al Baghdadi’s uncompromising religious belief that is the very crux of the jihadi civil war between al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri’s Jahbat al Nusra (also called the Nusra Front), and al Baghdadi’s Islamic State.

Al Baghdadi is much more religiously zealous and demanding than Zawahiri.  Zawahiri is flexible and pragmatic in matters of ideology, preferring to slowly and carefully educate the Muslim community to accept Sharia law, and he is willing to form pragmatic alliances with non-jihadi organizations to further al Qaeda’s interests.

Al Baghdadi, on the other hand, has no such tolerance for coddling the Muslim masses or working with infidels, believing rather that it is his mission to confront Muslims, including Zawahiri and the Nusra Front, on matters of religion:

  • “it’s upon us…to eradicate the principle of “free choice,” and to not deceive the people in an attempt to seek their pleasure…Rather, we must confront them with the fact that they’ve turned away from the religion…and that we’re completely ready to stand in the face of anyone who attempts to divert us from our commitmentto making the religion of Allah triumphant over all other religions, and that we will continue to fight the people of deviation and misguidance until we die trying to make the religion triumphant.”[4]

That al Baghdadi and his followers have drawn this religious line in the sand against al Qaeda is documented by the following developments:

In late April 2014, a group of nine al Qaeda emirs from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Iran defected from al Qaeda to the Islamic State.  They justified their defection by indirectly accusing Zawahiri and the al-Nusra Front of infidelity and apostasy:

  • “the forces of infidelity and apostasy quickly sowed the seeds of hypocrisy, using new groups under Islamic sounding names to be a rival and an obstacle to the Islamic state…the group did not have any courage to enforce judgments over those who disobey sharia, under the pretext of avoiding a clash with the people or due to their inability and incapacity…”

A few days later, al Baghdadi’s spokesman, Sheikh Muhammad al-Adnani, echoed these sentiments stating:

  • “Al Qaeda, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Khorasan, deviated from the rightful course…It is not a dispute about who to kill or who to give your allegiance. It is a question of religious practices being distorted and an approach veering off the right path.”

In The Flood, al Baghdadi specifically criticized the Nusra Front and Zawahiri for regularly breaking Sharia law in matters of religion and by forging alliances with organizations the Islamic State considers to be infidel, such as the Syrian National Coalition and the Islamic Front, and for justifying this religious laxity as a pragmatic and temporary necessity for “the sake of Jihad”.[5]

Also in The Flood, al Baghdadi quotes Salafi scholar Ibnul Qayyim who said:  “The pillars of kufr (religious infidelity) are four:  arrogance, envy, anger, and desire”, and then al Baghdadi goes on to accuse al Qaeda of all four:

  • “Whoever wants to know how a mujāhid (jihad) group fī sabīlillah (for Allah) becomes a militant group fighting fī sabīlit-tāghūt (for corrupt regimes) then let him review history, and let him know that a man’s love for leadership,wealth, and personal opinion becomes pride. Pride becomes envy. Envy becomes arrogance. Arrogance becomes hatred. Hatred becomes enmity. Enmity becomes contradiction of the rival.[6]

So confident is he in his religious superiority that in March 2014, al Baghdadi challenged the Nusra Front, to Mubahala – an Islamic ritual that implores Allah to choose between two rival factions by showing his favor for one while cursing the other.  In Muslim tradition, the repeated military success of one of the parties can only occur if Allah wills it, and al Baghdadi believes that his series of successes proves that Allah has chosen the Islamic State over the Nusra Front as the winner.

Analysts frequently try to explain why so many radicalized Muslims flock to Iraq and Syria.  The reasons they stipulate often include that these misguided Muslims are simply alienated youth, thrill seekers, or are attracted by “jihad cool”.  In actual fact, Salafi-jihadi fighters are religious zealots, and they are attracted to al Baghdadi as their religious and political leader precisely because he is seen by them to be the active defender of what they consider to be “true” Islam.  Tens of thousands have already performed hijrah to embrace his religious and political leadership, and this number can be expected to grow exponentially as al Baghdadi continues to “defend” Islam.

Brian Fairchild bio.

SPENCER: International Group of Muslim Scholars ‘Refutes’ Islamic State’s Islamic Case – While Endorsing Jihad, Sharia, Caliphate

isis_fightersBy Robert Spencer:

The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Fiqh Council of North America held a press conference in Washington today at which they declared that they had refuted the religious ideology of the Islamic State. They issued this lengthy “Open Letter” (not, interestingly enough, a fatwa) addressed to the Islamic State’s caliph Ibrahim, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, explaining how he was misunderstanding Islam. Is this an Islamic case against the Islamic State’s jihad terror that will move Islamic State fighters to lay down their arms? Or is it a deceptive piece designed to fool gullible non-Muslim Westerners into thinking that the case for “moderate Islam” has been made, but which will not change a single jihadi’s mind? Unfortunately, it is the latter.

To be sure, Hamas-linked CAIR and the Fiqh Council and all the signers of this Open Letter really do oppose the Islamic State. But they don’t oppose it because it is transgressing against the commands of what they believe to be a Religion of Peace. They oppose it because they want to establish a caliphate under the auspices of or led by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Islamic State constitutes competition. This is clear from their sly endorsements in this document of jihad, the Sharia, and the concept of the caliphate.

It begins with an “Executive Summary” which is then filled out in greater detail. I will intersperse commentary below, first in general terms on the Executive Summary, and then taking up the arguments on each point in detail.

Executive Summary
1- It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. Even then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts. It is also forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an—or part of a verse—to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith teach related to that matter. In other words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherry- pick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.

This is a null argument designed to appeal to non-Muslims who don’t know what is in the Qur’an. For unless one quotes the entire Qur’an and Hadith, this argument can be leveled against anyone: anyone can be accused of leaving out important points and ignoring contradictory material. Whether or not one has actually done so, however, is another matter.

2- It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language.

Red herring. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliph of the Islamic State, is a native Arabic speaker with a Ph.D in Islamic Studies.

3- It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.

Again, this is an empty charge, as it can be leveled against anyone.

4- It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.

No doubt the caliph would agree with Hamas-linked CAIR and the Fiqh Council on this. He might differ with them on what exactly constitutes “fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.”

5- It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.

This one is quite telling. It suggests that there is a certain accommodation Muslim believers must make to the times and to circumstance, without changing core principles — i.e., the problem with the Islamic State is not its beliefs, but their application, and the time may be right for the application of those beliefs at some other time, but not now.

6- It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent.

Indeed, but who is innocent? The Islamic State jihadis don’t believe they are killing the innocent.

7- It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.

None of these are blanket prohibitions; infidels considered to be at war with Islam can be killed and, according to Islamic law, must be killed.

8- Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose and without the right rules of conduct.

Disingenuous. Islamic law holds that the caliph alone has the authority to wage offensive jihad. The Islamic State considers itself to be the caliphate, and thus considers its caliph to have that privilege and responsibility.

9- It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares disbelief.

What constitutes an open declaration of disbelief? The Sudanese government executed Mahmoud Mohammed Taha for heresy after he said that the Qur’an’s Meccan suras, which are more peaceful, should supersede the Medinan suras, which are more violent. He wasn’t expressing disbelief in Islam, but was nonetheless executed as someone who had departed from the faith of Islam.

10- It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat—in any way—Christians or any ‘People of the Scripture’.

The Qur’an says to fight against and subjugate them (9:29). Once they submit, they should not be harmed or mistreated. But if they are considered to be in rebellion or war against the Muslims, they must be fought.

11- It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Scripture.

Here again, in a hadith, Muhammad instructs Muslims to invite the unbelievers to Islam, and subjugate them or go to war with them if they refuse. If the Yazidis refused the invitation to convert, they could lawfully be fought.

12- The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.

This is flatly false. Slavery is still widely practiced in North Africa, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere because it is sanctioned in Islam.

13- It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.

True, but the laws of dhimmitude are designed essentially to make life miserable for non-Muslims until they opt to convert as their only means to a better existence. Thus the boundaries of what constitutes coercion are somewhat blurred.

14- It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.

Indeed. But what are those rights?

15- It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights.

Indeed. But what are those rights?

16- It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud) without following the correct procedures that ensure justice and mercy.

This one is noteworthy, for by it Hamas-linked CAIR and the Fiqh Council and all these scholars affirm that hudud punishments — stoning for adultery, amputation for theft, death for leaving Islam, etc. — can be enacted as long as one is following the correct procedures.

17- It is forbidden in Islam to torture people.

At Khaybar, Muhammad ordered that a fire be lit upon Kinana’s chest until he told the Muslims where the Jews’ treasury was hidden. So what constitutes “torture” is, like so many things in Islam, subject to interpretation.

18- It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.

“When the prophet ordered that the corpses of the polytheists be dropped in to a well… He stood over the bodies of twenty-four leaders of Quraish, who had been thrown into one of the wells and started call them by name and by the names of their fathers…” (Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, The Battle of Badr, p. 271)

19- It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God.

Once again, a subjective and empty argument — no doubt the Islamic State would deny doing this.

Read more at Truth Revolt

Also see:

Br’er Mahdi? Luring the US into Eschatological Quicksand in Syria

Mahdi Watch, by Timothy Furnish, September 23, 2014:

Last night the United States and several allied Arab nations began airstrikes on the Islamic State [IS], as well as on the al-Qa`ida/Jabhat al-Nusrah offshoot Khurasan (or Khorasan), in Syria.  I wonder if the American political and military leadership realizes that in so doing we are waging war to stave off the end of the world—at least, that’s the opinion of many of our targeted enemies. I have previously explicated the extant and evident End Times beliefs of the major Sunni players in Syria—notably ISIS/ISIL/IS and Jabhat al-Nusrah.  Now comes a new twist: according to, of all sources, an Iranian one, IS is disseminating photos of a one-eyed infant which the group claims is the  Dajjal—the “Deceiver,” or anti-Christ, of Islamic tradition.  The story quotes Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Dempsey from a few weeks ago to the effect that IS has “an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision.”  It also, interestingly, quotes me: “once the caliphate is firmly established, then the likelihood of a Mahdiyah being proclaimed increases.”  (Does this constitute damning with faint praise?  Although nice on my trip to Tehran in 2008, official Iranian outlets have written negatively about me since.)  It is curious, as well, that the Ahlul Bay [Ahl al-Bayt, “Family of the House (of the Prophet)”] News Agency would mock IS adducing the one-eyed Dajjal—since the idea is clearly found in both Sunni and Twelver Shi`i hadiths.  

Urdu book on the Dajjal.  Now where have I seen this one-eyed chap before? Perhaps some pipe-weed will clear my mind....

Urdu book on the Dajjal. Now where have I seen this one-eyed chap before? Perhaps some pipe-weed will clear my mind….

This goes hand-in-fist with the many eschatological references in IS’s three issues of “Dabiq” magazine—the very name of which refers to the major apocalyptic battle between Muslim and “Roman/Crusader” forces at that location in northwest Syria.  (Again, see my previous blogalyses on the topic.)   But Levantine eschatological fervor is almost certainly being further inflamed by this newly-revelaled Khurasan organization—which, according to US intelligence and military sources, was planning “imminent” attacks on Americans, probably airliners.  The region of Khurasan is, however, much more than merely “part of the old Islamic caliphate that included Afghanistan [as well as eastern Iran and parts of Central Asia].”  That eastern Islamic territory was considered to be the eschatological font, as it were. There are a number of (Sunni) hadiths which predict that the Mahdi will ride in, with his jihadist entourage, from Khurasan to deliver the Islamic world and subjugate its enemies.  Furthermore, the Mahdi’s forces will bear the (in)famous black flags so beloved of groups like IS and Boko Haram right now.   Knowing the eschatological penchant of Jabhat al-Nusrah, I thus doubt that its splinter group’s name is only a geographical reference.  

Khurasan--also known as Greater Stanistan.

Khurasan–also known as Greater Stanistan.

Finally, I sat through all 55:14 of the new IS video “Flames of War: Fighting Has Just Begun.”  Frankly, this bloody and boring film is simply a live-action version of “Dabiq” magazine—albeit in the latter one at least is not subjected to interminable, grating Arabic Islamic chants and mind-numbing repetitions of “allah akbar.”  The usual IS suspects are everywhere: jihad is a duty; the caliphate is back, and this time it’s personal Bush/Obama; watch us kill “Nusayris” (Syrian Alawis), “Safawis” (Iraqi soldiers—“Safavids,” referring to the Twelver Shi`i Persian empire of early modern times), “murtaddin” (“apostate”) Kurds, usually en masse.  (IS even makes some of them dig their own graves before shooting them all in the backs of their heads.)

One aspect of the IS propaganda was new, however;  speaking directly to the United States, the self-styled Caliph Ibrahim says “O defender of the cross…a proxy war won’t help you in Sham [Syria] just as it didn’t help you in Iraq….you will be forced into a direct confrontation…despite your reluctance…” [emphasis added].

Observations:

1) IS is not the only belligerent in the Middle East with an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision; Jabhat al-Nusrah has one, as well—as does, most likely, Khurasan.

2) Said eschatological paradigms are not “extremist” but very much in the Islamic mainstream (both Sunni and Shi`i)—and it would behoove analysts to consider them. 


3) Last month, in my break-down of the second issue of “Dabiq,” I wrote the following:  IS atrocities like the beheading of James Foley and the mass murders of Shi`is and Yazidis are, in effect, “bizarre rituals intended to bring about the end of the world“–or at least to spark the Mahdi’s coming.  I truly think that IS has passed into the realm of trying to hotwire the apocalypse.   “Caliph Ibrahim’s” latest warning to us—that the US is destined for direct conflict (meaning ground forces) with IS—clearly supports my contention.  IS leadership is firmly convinced, based on its literal reading of relevant hadiths, that a great force of “Romans/Crusaders” (Americans) will invade Syria and that a pious group of Muslims, the Islamic State, will defeat it.  Thus, I am convinced that Ibrahim and his ansar WANT massed American boots in Syria, the sooner the better—and are trying to goad us into providing them.

4) Finally, a very important point which no one in the analytical or journalistic community notices–or cares to admit: the new Caliph refers to the United States of America as “defender of the cross.”  Not “proponent of Ayn Rand,” “guardian  of the Enlightenment” or “warden of Jeffersonian democracy.”  The Islamic State’s leader forthrightly and inconveniently spells out exactly why they hate us: because, in the eyes of him and his Muslim followers, we are a Christian nation.   There are those who will dismiss this as a mere progagandistic trope.  But they would be wrong to do so.  IS, along with Boko Haram and al-Qa`ida and Jabhat al-Nusra and the Taliban (to name only a few), as well as the non-terrorist but Muslim fundamentalist strains such as Wahhabism and Deobandism and Salafism–all view the world through a simplistic but legitimately Islamic lens of Dar al-Islam v. Dar al-harb: the “house of Islam” v. the “house of war.”  And for 14 centuries the vanguard of the latter has been Christendom.  Some decry pointing this out as crass  “Crusaderism.”  But as that combat veteran J.R.R. Tolkien points outs, “it needs but one foe to breed a war”–and when that enemy declares its war on us in religious terms, should we pretend otherwise?

The 100-Year-Old Agreement You Need to Know About to Understand What’s Driving the Islamic State

Glenn Beck broke down the history of the Middle East on his television program Thursday, focusing on a nearly 100-year-old agreement that he says is integral to understanding the motivations of the Islamic State: the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

If you do not understand the Sykes-Picot Agreement, Beck said, you cannot fully understand the Islamic State, or why the Israelis and the Palestinians will never reach a two-state solution.

Though many go back to 1948 and the creation of the modern state of Israel when examining the history of Middle Eastern conflicts, Beck said you actually have to go back to 1916 and World War I.

T.E. Lawrence and World War I

Glenn Beck speaks about T.E. Lawrence, right, on his television program September 18, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

Glenn Beck speaks about T.E. Lawrence, right, on his television program September 18, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

“This is the last time the Arab world had a united Islamic State led by a religious leader: the Ottoman Empire, the caliphate,” Beck began. “The Allies knew the Ottoman Empire could shut down key shipping routes and cripple Britain’s economy, France’s. … They had to neutralize it. So Great Britain sent over an Army officer from Britain, and his name was T.E. Lawrence. There was a movie made about him, a great movie with Peter O’Toole called ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’”

Lawrence was tasked with convincing the Arabs to fight against the Ottoman Empire. After Lawrence promised the Arabs rule over a new united Arab kingdom of greater Syria — which encompassed present day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and parts of Iraq and Jordan — he succeeded.

“To get to the root of the current Middle East conflict, that is your starting point,” Beck said. “It is at the center of everything that is happening today.”

“The problem here — Great Britain never intended to honor the promises that they made,” Beck continued. “They had used the Arabs in order to protect their own interests. Remember, they needed to get the Ottoman Empire out of the way.”

Sykes-Picot Agreement

“The entire time Lawrence was negotiating with the Arabs, Great Britain, behind everybody’s back, was negotiating with France, and planning how they were going to actually divide up the Middle East after the war,” Beck said. “They needed to make sure there was no united Arab kingdom that would ever get in the way.”

Under the Sykes-Picot agreement, the British and the French drew new boundaries, fracturing the region so, Beck said, “the British and their allies in the region could control it.”

“Remember, the goal was to divide the Arabs, not to unite them, divide them, so they could protect the trade routes,” Beck said. “They didn’t care about the Arabs, they didn’t care about the Jews, they didn’t care about anything. They wanted the trade routes.”

“The Arabs were forced to accept this western European model of the nation-states because they had no choice,” Beck remarked. “Arab resentment grows in the wake of that treaty, Sykes-Picot, where they have divided everything and made new lines. They wanted — the Palestinians, the Arabs — what was promised to them — the rule of greater Syria.”

 

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

In the decades after the Sykes-Picot Agreement, after the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the British created the British Mandate for Palestine. The area east of the Jordan River was called Transjordan, and the area west of it was a land for the Jewish people.

“How would the Arab world be able to unite now? They needed a new rallying cry. They would use the Balfour Declaration, Britain’s promise of a Jewish homeland in Palestine,” Beck said. “[They] needed to start blaming the Jews, the pawns.”

“The motive becomes clear when you see how the Arab world reacted when the British Mandate in Palestine was set to expire,” Beck said. “The Palestinian Arabs were about to be presented with a chance to finally have what they said they’d always dreamed of. All they wanted was their own land. So now, here comes the UN, and they have this mandate.”

“Remember, the British put together this partition — Transjordan and the Israeli state. So it was a two-state solution. It was split 56 percent Jewish, 43 percent Arab. 56 looks big, but much of the land’s not sufficient for crops, so it’s pretty close. Jerusalem, an international zone. The Jewish people accepted the plan. And if a Palestinian homeland was the goal for the Arab world — not the Palestinians, the Arab world — all they had to do was agree. But remember, the scapegoat goes away.”

Read more at The Blaze with more videos

Clare Lopez: “Jihad Resurgent: Islamic Challenge, Western Response”.

 

Published on Sep 16, 2014 by Q Society of Australia Inc

Clare Lopez at the Q Society event in Sydney on the evening of 5 September 2014.

RECOMMENDED READING: Understanding The Islamic Caliphate State

Abu Bakr Al-BaghdadiBy Cultural Jihad:

While apologists in the west are clinging to a theme that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam …” Al-Baghdadi is emulating the Prophet Muhammad – the ultimate Islamic role model.”

Much of the western world is under the impression that ISIS/IS (Islamic State) is preparing  to attack western targets.  A report by  The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI),  Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State, notes that while global attacks are part of the Islamic State’s long term strategy,  it’s current focus is on  “establishing and consolidating a state”:

The successive atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS, previously called the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham – ISIS) have diverted the discussion away from an understanding of this organization’s political program, creating the erroneous impression that it is simply a more vicious version of Al-Qaeda. According to this view, this organization presumably intends to attack the West by means of its foreign militants who hold Western passports and could return to Western countries to carry out terror attacks – and hence it is paramount to destroy the IS forthwith. Saudi King ‘Abdallah bin ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz promoted this approach when he said that he was certain that those jihadists “would arrive in Europe within a month and in America within two months”.

This report seeks to clarify the IS’s doctrine based on the organization’s official writings and speeches by its leaders. It will argue that, unlike Al-Qaeda, the IS places priority not on global terrorism, but rather on establishing and consolidating a state, and hence it defers the clash with the West to a much later stage. In this, it is emulating and reenacting the early Islamic model.

hijrahIn The Islamic State – building its infrastructure, we highlighted how witness accounts out of Raqqa, Syria indicate  an effort by the Islamic State to attract foreigners to serve as jihadis and experts in various fields to provide infrastructure support.  These accounts seem to fit the narrative of the MEMRI report:

What supplants the struggle against the West at this stage are the duties of hijra [migration to the Islamic calipahte state] and bay’ah[pledge of allegiance to the Caliph], both of them central components in building the caliphate. In an audio message published immediately after the caliphate was declared, Al-Baghdadi said to Muslims everywhere,  including in the West: “Whoever amongst you can migrate to the Islamic State should migrate. Hijra to Dar Al-Islam is obligatory.” In his first public appearance, his Friday sermon in Mosul,  he referred to the implementation of the shari’a as “a religious obligation,” while avoiding any call to global jihad or to harming the West. Both Al-‘Adnani in the declaration of the caliphate and Al-Baghdadi in his Mosul sermon refer to the caliphate as an “obligation that has been forgotten for generations.” In this, their discourse contrasts sharply, for example, with the discourse of Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Salam Faraj, a major theorist of the Egyptian jihad movement in the 1980s, who termed jihad (rather than the establishment of a caliphate) the forgotten obligation.


The MEMRI report also notes that Al-Qaeda publications such as Inspire constantly call for terror attacks on the west and include advice/instructions on how to proceed as a “lone wolf” or in groups.  In comparison, an issue of  the Islamic State’s English publication Dabiq included,  “A life of jihad is impossible until you pack your belongings and move to the caliphate.” :

The issue also says: “Many readers are probably asking about their obligations towards the Khilafah right now. Therefore the Dabiq team wants to convey the position of the Islamic State leadership on this important matter. The first priority is to perform hijra from wherever you are to the Islamic State, from darul-kufr to darul-Islam. Rush to perform it as Musa (‘alayhis-salam) rushed to his Lord, saying {and I hastened to You, my Lord, that You be pleased} [Taha:84]. Rush to the shade of the Islamic state with your parents, siblings, spouses and children. There are homes here for you and your families. You can be a major contributor towards the liberation of Makkah, Madinah, and al-Quds. Would you not like to reach Judgment Day with these grand deeds in your scales[?] Finally, if you cannot do any of the above for reasons extremely beyond your control, inshallah your intention and belief that the Islamic State is the Khilafah for all Muslims will be sufficient to save you from the warning mentioned in the hadith, ‘Whoever dies without having bound himself by a bay’ah dies a death of jahiliyya.’”

While apologists in the west are clinging to a theme that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, the MEMRI report points out:

In his approach that prioritizes the consolidation of the Islamic State over an all-encompassing battle with Islam’s enemies, Al-Baghdadi is emulating the Prophet Muhammad – the ultimate Islamic role model. The Prophet, while displaying cruelty in battle – cruelty mirrored by the IS – put off battles with his enemies and integrated compromises and tactical agreements in his policy, in order to gather strength prior to renewing action to obtain his ultimate goals. The IS, ruling from its informal capital in Syria’s Al-Raqqa, conducts itself in a similar manner, enforcing the laws of the shari’a while selling oil to Europe via the black market.

In other words, Al-Baghdadi and his Islamic State are attempting to repeat history as described in the Quran.

Despite the emphasis on the Islamic State’s current priority in  establishing and consolidating a state, the MERI report cautions:

It should be emphasized that, although the doctrine of postponing the clash with the West is solidly entrenched, as reflected in the organization’s writings and actions, it cannot be ruled out that certain developments, such as a massive Western attack, could change the organization’s order of priorities and advance the stage of conflict with the West. The Western strategy of nipping the Islamic State in the bud may provoke counterattacks that were not planned by the organization at the outset. This places the West in a bind: inaction endangers the West in the long run, while immediate action may exact a heavy price that Al-Baghdadi did not plan to exact in the present stage.

The full report, Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State can be read HERE

LOPEZ: Obama pledges additional support for Iranian puppet regimes

In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014.  (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader)

In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader’s office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader)

By Clare Lopez:

In a prime time address to the nation on the eve of 11 September 2014, President Obama pledged an expanded U.S. effort to destroy the Islamic State (IS), which he still calls “ISIL” (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). American air power, stepped-up training for anti-Assad Syrian jihadis (which he calls “moderate rebels”), an additional $25 million in financial aid to Baghdad, and partnership with “a broad coalition” (that currently consists of 9 countries) comprise the key elements of the new military campaign.

Given that the only territory IS currently threatens are the regimes of two Iranian puppets – one in Baghdad, one in Damascus – Obama’s announcement in effect amounts to a renewed U.S. commitment to support Tehran’s grip on regional hegemony. The nuclear talks about how quickly the U.S. will accede to the Iranian bomb resume in another week.

Remarkably, the president opened his remarks with the rather preposterous claim that “ISIL is not Islamic.” Now, Obama himself has admitted in his autobiography “Dreams From My Father” that he “made faces during Quranic studies.” Still, it might be expected that he retained something of those madrassa lessons—or at least that White House advisors (not the Muslim Brotherhood ones, though) would have steered him away from such an egregious misstatement.

As it is, one of the reasons that the Saudi regime is so shaken by the approach of IS forces toward its borders is precisely because Riyadh royals know full well their Islamic piety doesn’t begin to measure up to the purity of IS practice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the IS leader, not only boasts a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from a Baghdad university, but wears the black turban to signify descent from Muhammad. Whether entitled to claim the Islamic prophet’s bloodline or not, al-Baghdadi models his every action on the example Muslims believe set out for them centuries ago by the founder of their faith. For Muslim purists like al-Baghdadi, the Qur’anic verse 33:21 that tells them “Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day…” is taken quite literally (amputations, beheading, crucifixions, flogging and all).

Obama rambled on, claiming next that “ISIL is certainly not a state.” Unfortunately for the Iranian proxies in Baghdad and Damascus that are his intended beneficiaries, it is their former states that no longer exist—because the Islamic State, the Caliphate, has dismantled them. Obama did seem to recognize the effective erasure of the 1916 Sykes-Picot borders at least in some measure, though, as he declared his intent to expand U.S. air strikes more evenly throughout the Caliphate (including into what used to be called Syria as well as the former Iraq).

Apparently in pursuit of a public relations coup that’s eluded him of late, Obama nevertheless offered up additional glimpses of his unenviable conundrum about which jihadis to support on the ground in the intra-Islamic sectarian struggle that’s torn the region apart since the Islamic Uprising began in 2011.

For example, he seems to have conveniently forgotten that the ranks of today’s IS are full of Syrian jihadis armed, funded, and trained by U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) in cooperation with the now-terrified Hashemites, NATO ally Turkey, Muslim Brotherhood sponsor Qatar, and the flailing Saudi monarchy. A monster has slipped the leash but the American president says he’s more than ready to provide even more support to more Syrian rebels, who, this time, definitely will be exclusively the ‘moderate’ ones.

But what about the threat to the homeland if IS is allowed to exist and consolidate? Well, the question somehow is never asked about how either individual jihadis or small jihadi cells that an IS enclave might direct to attack the homeland are in any way different than the jihadis the Iranian or the Saudi state have launched our way over the decades—to include the hijackers of September 11, 2001 or the uncounted numbers of Hizballah cells operating across the Americas today. But there’s never been a hint of a suggestion that those jihadist sponsoring states constitute a compelling national security threat to the U.S. that requires an international coalition to deal with them.

Read more at Washington Times

Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

Honor the 9/11 Dead: Defeat the Enemy & Punish Those Supporting Them

WTC-and-Pentagon-on-9-11By John Guandolo at Understanding the Threat, September 11, 2014:

It is 13 years after September 11, 2001.

How are we honoring those slain on that day? How are we honoring those in uniform who have given the last full measure of devotion for a cause they believed is truly right and just?

In preparation for his speech Wednesday night (9/10/14), America’s President sought council from the King of Saudi Arabia – the largest financial sponsor of the global jihad.

At the leadership level of our federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies, “catastrophically ignorant” is the only appropriate way to describe their status with regards to our enemy.  And yet our leaders shut down meaningful, fact/evidence based training on this enemy in compliance with the requests of their Muslim Brotherhood masters.

Nearly every major Islamic organization in the United States has been identified in U.S. federal terrorism trials as being a part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Movement with the stated goal of destroying America from within via Civilization Jihad.  Yet, our President, National Security Council, State Department, FBI, DHS, Pentagon, and others, ONLY rely on Islamic advisors who are leaders of known MB organizations or affiliated with the MB Movement.

Around the world the Islamic armies are overthrowing nations, brutally murdering non-Muslims (over 100,000 Christians per year in the last few years) by beheading them, crucifying them, burying them alive, and the like – all of which comports to Sharia (Islamic Law).  Yet our leaders say this war has “nothing to do with Islam.”

Because of cowardly and criminally negligent leadership on both sides of the political aisle in America, in our Universities, in our churches, and across our media, the enemy has been given wide latitude to push their jihadi movement forward with great force and success.

We wouldn’t want to offend them after all.

On Wednesday (9/10/14), demonstrating the light of hope for rational thought is still alive, Vice President Dick Cheney called (19:06) for the Muslim Brotherhood to be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and noted they are the root of the global jihad.  At the same time this administration materially supports the MB and Al Qaeda in Libya and Syria against the sitting governments.  All of us would be in jail for such actions.

This behavior, in no way honors the 9/11 dead or our troops who have died in battle.  It is time we rectify this.  It is time to engage and defeat the enemy and punish those who support them.

It is time to recognize the fact that the enemy leading the MB Movement in America wearing suits and spending time with our leaders in cities like Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, Denver, Charlotte, Miami, Dallas, Detroit, and others, is the same enemy  cutting off children’s heads and putting them on pikes in Syria and Iraq.  It is the same enemy our troops fought and are fighting in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, North/Central/East Africa, and elsewhere.  This is the global Islamic Movement with one unified goal – the establishment of a global Islamic state (caliphate) under which Sharia (Islamic Law) is the law of the land.

Our Constitutional Republic stands on the principle that God gave us our liberty and no man nor any government may take that liberty from us.  That is the ideal found in our Declaration.  Our Constitution is the first great attempt to make that ideal a reality.  Since its inception, our nation has been the most prosperous, generous, and virtuous in the history of mankind.  Not perfect, but our system requires the drive towards liberty and away from tyranny.

The Islamic Movement seeks to impose Sharia, which necessarily enslaves people and strips them of their God-given liberty.  Women are property under Islamic Law.  Apostates and homosexuals must be killed if they do not repent and change their ways under Islamic Law.  Non-muslims must convert, be killed, or submit to Sharia and pay the non-muslim poll tax under Islamic Law.  100% of all published Islamic law agree on these matters.

This enemy only understands one thing – strength and power.  We must exert our strength and power and ensure the enemy knows we will not surrender anymore ground, and we will retake the ground lost thus far.

It is time for the think tanks across this nation to stop mincing words about this Islamic enemy by creating fictitious meaningless phrases which do anything but identify the enemy.  We must recognize that at the nation-state level (hint: Organization of Islamic Cooperation), there is a global war being waged by an Islamic enemy, and we appear to be the only ones unaware.

It is time to shut down the thousands of MB front groups and Islamic Centers in America – which the MB itself says are places from which the jihad will be launched.  All of the MB leaders should be treated like the jihadis (“terrorists”) they are.

Saudi Arabia should be handled like the terrorist state it is.  Men like former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar, who funded two of the 9/11 hijackers through a third party,  should be treated as a “terrorist,” as should other members of the Saudi elite class who the U.S. government knows are currently funding the global jihad.

Men like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the richest men in the world and a leading funder of the global jihad, and who sits on the board of Time Warner  and News Corp, should be handled like any other terrorist, not like an executive of a media giant.

George Soros has created thousands of organizations which work daily to undermine our Constitutional Republic.  Included in these are many organizations, like the New America Foundation, which directly support and work with the Islamic Movement.  Mr. Soros, his enterprise, and at least one of his sons all work to support our enemies and destroy this nation, and all should spend the rest of their days behind bars for it.

Leaders of DHS, FBI, CIA, State Department, and other branches of the government, as well as elected officials who:  continue to appoint Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas, and Al Qaeda individuals to positions of authority inside our bureaucracy; give quarter to our enemies; apologize for and defend their actions; attend functions to raise money for the jihadis; and aid and abet them in any way, should meet the fate of a traitor because they have and are violating the law – not to mention violating their Oath of Office to “protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies.”

When men like Denis McDonough, the President’s former Deputy National Security Advisor, publicly laud leaders of MB organizations and funders of Hamas like Imam Mohamed Magid of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), allow him to have input on U.S. foreign policy and domestic counterterrorism strategies, and give him a security clearance and access to sensitive U.S. systems, Mr. McDonough should go to jail, not get promoted.

When the FBI Director collaborates with leaders of Hamas (dba “CAIR”), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and other jihadis, and then testifies before Congress that he did not know the place where the Boston Marathon bombers were radicalized was founded by an Al Qaeda operative – and Americans are dead – well…we put doctors and lawyers in jail for criminal negligence like this.

When elected officials and law enforcement leaders raise money for Hamas in America, they should be prosecuted for a variety of charges, including material support for terrorism.  They are breaking the law and should pay the price for directly supporting our enemies.

The President himself has violated his oath of office and federal law, abused his powers of the office he holds, and has exposed America and its people to grave dangers on a number of levels.  At no time in history has such a gross disregard for the Constitution been so evident, yet the American people so silent.

It is time for those who give aid and comfort, propaganda, material support, and financial reward to our enemies to pay a price.  And it should be a harsh price.

If we are to honor the great and heroic sacrifices of all of the men and women who gave their lives on 9/1/01 and since, it is time for America to shed its weak and traitorous leadership and begin to retake our place in the world as the strong, principled leader we are and were meant to be.

If Americans would like to experience on U.S. streets what we are witnessing in Syria, Iraq, Niger, Mali, Pakistan, and elsewhere around the world, then let us continue on the road we are on of capitulation and defeat.

If we want to stand on the wall and defend Western civilization, the actions advocated here are much less severe than we will have to engage in when the enemy makes itself prominently known in our hometowns.

John Guandolo bio

Why Al-Qaeda Just Won’t Die

OsombieBy Sebastian Gorka:

These days, zombies are all the rage. Viewing figures for the season finale of the hit show The Walking Dead are to be envied. Blockbuster movies featuring Brad Pitt proclaim the genre, as do popular books reconceiving Jane Austen among the living dead.

Perhaps this is no coincidence. The fascination with zombies may be fed subconsciously by a real-world global foe which bears more than a passing resemblance to George Romero’s iconic monsters. Al-Qaeda, even if not actually peopled by animated corpses, is a cult of death. Ayman al-Zawahiri said exactly that when he declared that he and his cohorts love death more than we love life. On top of that, it seems that—despite declarations to the contrary from the White House and more than thirteen years of U.S. counterterrorism operations—al-Qaeda is far from deceased.

Slide2_0In fact, in at least one respect, al-Qaeda may be even worse than the menace of the walking dead. In the latter’s case, they at least have the decency to die when you strike them hard enough in the head. Not so with al-Qaeda. We killed Osama bin Laden, its founder and head, more than two years ago, yet the body of jihadi terrorism fights on. So much so that in his recent open testimony before Congress, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated that al Qaeda now has operational centers in in twelve nations around the world, from Mali to Syria.(1) By way of comparison, in 2001, when we started the war against al-Qaeda, it had operations centers in just one country: Afghanistan. Indeed, as the graph below, based upon open-source unclassified databases illustrates, al-Qaeda is on the rise.

So why is it proving so hard to kill al-Qaeda? Because as a nation we have broken the fundamental rules of strategy: we have failed to execute an objective analysis of why the threat exists and what it wants. Worse, in the last four years we have distorted reality even further by allowing preconceived notions and politically driven strictures to influence and limit our understanding of the enemy.

Know Thine Enemy

I spend my days teaching strategy to the military, federal law enforcement and their intelligence community colleagues. Whoever the audience, we always start in the same place: if you have an enemy that you want to defeat, you have to know who they are, where they came from and what their strategy is. The military calls this an Estimate of the Situation, or more operationally, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. In the decade-plus war with al-Qaeda, we have been erratic and counterfactual in our EoS and IPB.

After 9/11, the President declared a global war on “terror.” The term was an odd one, for terror is the tool of several types of actor, especially dictators who use it systematically against their own people and dissidents abroad. Yet our GWOT was not targeted against recognized practitioners of terror, such as the Kim dynasty in North Korea or the mullahs in Iran. Nor did our global campaign target all terrorist groups. We did not deploy Delta Force against Basque separatists in Spain, or the eco-terrorist ELF (Earth Liberation Front), but against a very specific foe: those that were responsible for the attacks of 9/11. Those “practitioners of terror” justified their murder of unarmed civilians with a religious narrative that saw the West—Dar al Harb, or the House of War—as having declared war on Islam, and had as their strategic objective the re-establishment of the theocratic empire of Islam known as the Caliphate.

Yet from the very start, the President and his team assiduously disassociated al-Qaeda from Islam, representing bin Laden and his followers as renegade extremists whose actions were un-Islamic. This, despite the fact that their fatwas leveraged the words of Allah and Mohammed, those Koranic passages and sections of the Haddith (sayings and tales of Mohammed) that explicitly call for the death of the infidel.(2)

To be clear, as a nation America was never at war with Islam. Nor is it now. We are, however, at war with people who have a fundamental understanding of Islam, and whose broader legitimacy is very difficult to theologically undermine due to their reliance on the ancient tenets of an often-violent religion. But what exactly is al-Qaeda, and where did it come from?

Root Causes

The story starts with the Caliphate, which—contrary to popular conception—is not some abstract idea invented by a small group of extremists. The theocratic empire of Islam, the polity that integrated faith and politics and which was founded by Mohammed, existed for over a thousand years. True, its center moved over time, from Mecca to Damascus, then to Baghdad and finally to Istanbul, but it was a real living thing which still existed at the beginning of the 20th century. By then, it was under Turkish control and most people called it the Ottoman Empire. Yet this was the Caliphate, and there was even a Caliph, or emperor of Islam.

Unfortunately for the Ottomans, after World War I broke out they decided to side with the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany. As a result, by 1918 they were on the losing side of the world’s first global war. In an attempt to salvage the Muslim empire after this defeat, and prevent total dismemberment and disarmament along the lines of what occurred to Germany and Austria-Hungary at Versailles, the Ottomans reinvented themselves under the leadership of a very charismatic and intelligent army officer named Mustafa Kemal. Kemal, who would later change his name to Atatürk—meaning Father of All Turks—would reinvent the nation that would eventually become the Republic of Turkey.

Atatürk’s strategy was to convince the West that his people no longer were a threat and that his nation should be recognized as a member of their community. This required a wholesale reinvention of his country, the key pillars of which were the separation of Islam and politics and the broader secularization of Turkey. To that end, he not only banned traditional Turkic-Islamic dress for officials of the state but replaced the Arabic alphabet with a modified version of our Roman one.(3) Most significantly, in 1924 Atatürk formally decreed the dissolution of the Caliphate.(4) It is no accident, therefore, that less than five years later in the Suez region of Egypt, one Hasan al-Banna established the Ikwan Muslimin, or Muslim Brotherhood, the avowed mission of which was—and still is—to reestablish the Caliphate which had been “unjustly” dissolved.

After World War I, certain Middle Eastern territories that had been part of the Ottoman Empire were put under the mandate of the British government. These lands include what we today call Israel, as well as the Palestinian territories (the West Bank and Gaza Strip). After WWII, as violence escalated between Arabs and Jews and between these groups and British mandate forces, London decided that after six years of fighting the Nazis, the British had no future as the governors of the Middle East and pulled out of Palestine. It was under these circumstances that the new Jewish state of Israel was declared.

From the Muslim perspective, and the view of the Arab states that invaded Israel the day after it declared its statehood, this was the second seismic blow to the psyche of the ummah, the global community of Islam. From the perspective of the true believer, this territory is sacred Muslim soil. So much so, that before the Qibla—the Islamic direction of prayer—became Mecca, all Muslims had to face Jerusalem five times a day as they prayed to their creator, Jerusalem being the third holiest site in Islam and the place from which Mohammed was said to have risen into heaven.

However, the most important year of all for anyone who wishes to understand why 9/11 happened and what al-Qaeda stands for, is 1979. In the Muslim world, which follows a shorter lunar calendar initiated when Mohammed journeyed from Mecca to Medina (Yathrib), 1979 represented a turn of the century, the shift from 1399 into the year 1400. And just as with other cultures, there were many in the Muslim world who had great expectations for the new century, that significant events would occur. And so they did.

First came the Iranian Revolution. Although a Shi’a event, it had great ramifications for all Muslims. With the removal of the Shah and the complete rejection of the Western model of the secular nation-state, the revolution had at its core the religious imperative that Islam and politics cannot be separated. That is why the real center of power in the Islamic Republic since 1979 has been a man of the cloth and not a politician. This message of the reintegration of faith and politics and the continued success of Iran in rejecting the Western way of politics is an example to all Muslims.

Second was the attack against the holiest site in Islam: the Siege of the Grand Mosque of Mecca. As the Muslim world was collectively entering the year 1400, more than a thousand jihadi terrorists stormed the Grand Mosque and declared a Holy War against “false Muslims.” The terrorists managed to control the most important site in Islam, the epicenter of the annual hajj pilgrimage, for almost two weeks. More importantly, it turned out that the radicals had been encouraged and in fact blessed by members of the Saudi ulema, or clerical class, who agreed that Islam had lost its way and had to be cleansed by force.

The siege was eventually broken by French commandos who had been smuggled into Mecca after being hastily converted to Islam. But the true geostrategic significance of the attack came afterwards, as the King of Saudi Arabia, in an effort to secure the House of Saud, made a pact with the ulema who had endorsed the jihad.(5) The deal was straightforward: in exchange for the support and patronage of the monarchy, the clerics would not propagate the ideology of jihad on the soil of the Kingdom. However, the export and dissemination of jihadi ideology outside of Saudi Arabia into non-Muslim lands was not only permissible but would be supported by the government.

Lastly, that December, came the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. With the unprovoked assault against a Muslim country by godless communists, the seeds were sown for the redefinition of jihad as a global brand, a brand that would exploit the Western desire to hurt the Kremlin for its military expansion into Southwest Asia.

One of the non-Afghan mujahedeen that took up the fight was a Palestinian Jordanian named Abdullah Azzam. With a PhD in fiqh—Islamic jurisprudence—from the most important Sunni institution in the world, al-Azhar University in Cairo, this charismatic teacher established the Services Bureau (MAK) to recruit Muslims from around the world to come to Pakistan, learn the rudiments of guerrilla warfare and then be deployed into Afghanistan against the Soviet forces. The same year he would release a fatwa entitled Defense of Muslim Lands, in which he would call all Muslims to Holy War, declaring jihad to be fard ayn, an individual and universal obligation of all believers.(6)

Azzam’s logic was clear, and compelling. Since Atatürk had dissolved the empire in 1924, there was no longer a Caliph or commander-in-chief who could declare a holy war. As a result, it was up to each and every believer to deploy himself. Eventually, according to authoritative estimates, the MAK would churn out between 50,000 and 100,000 fighters, including the man who became Azzam’s deputy, Osama bin Laden.(7) A decade later, after the Soviets had been vanquished in Afghanistan, Azzam would be assassinated in Pakistan and bin Laden would take over control of his organization and rename it The Base for the Propagation of Holy War against Jews and Crusaders, or al-Qaeda, as we call it in the West.

Read more at The Journal of International Security Affairs

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is Associate Dean and Associate Professor of War and Conflict Studies at National Defense University in Washington and a regular instructor and advisor for SOCOM, US Army Special Operations Command, and the FBI. Dr Gorka is also the National Security Editor for Breitbart.com.

Al Qaeda Announces New Branch and Bid for Own Caliphate

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

BY RYAN MAURO:

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced the opening of a new branch targeting India, Bangladesh and Burma in a videotape release. He did not mention the Islamic State (formerly ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), but his announcement could be interpreted as an attempt to demonstrate Al Qaeda’s viability as it is being eclipsed by the Islamic State.

Zawahiri, who is thought to be hiding in Pakistan, said that it took Al Qaeda two years to merge its associated forces into this new branch. Tellingly, he said that the new branch, named Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent (QJIS), would be loyal to Taliban chief Mullah Omar.

QJIS is led by a Pakistani commander of Al Qaeda named Asim Umar. His official position in Al Qaeda is chief of the group’s Sharia Committee in Pakistan. He is also a Pakistani Taliban commander.

Zawahiri named Ustad Usama Mahmoud as the spokesperson for QJIS.

He emphasized that the group’s goal is to “Establish sharia in the land and to free the occupied land of Muslims in the Indian sub-continent.”

The jihad is not fundamentally about territorial disputes. Indian control of Kashmir, the crackdown on Islamists by the Bangladeshi government and the dictatorship of Burma are road blocks standing in the way of this greater objective of sharia governance. Al Qaeda takes up these political causes as a means to this end.

Zawahiri called on Muslims to help QJIS create a caliphate. He describes its mission statement as “to call the ummah [Muslim world] to unite round the word of Tawhid [monotheism], to wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty, and to revive its Caliphate.”

This is an important detail. The Islamic State’s pitch is that it is an established caliphate and the one with the best chance of a success. Zawahiri is showing that Al Qaeda is also pro-caliphate and is suggesting the Indian subcontinent as an alternative starting point.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

LOPEZ: Islamic State Drawing the U.S. into Armageddon?

9_2_2014_terror-group-isis-a8201_c0-0-1799-1049_s561x327By Clare Lopez:

What if the Islamic State (IS) staged an Armageddon – and nobody came?

With the savage videotaped beheading of a second U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff, by the IS on 2 September 2014, it’s becoming impossible to ignore how desperately the group wants to draw American forces into its End Times scenario.

The repeated, explicit incitement embedded in statements accompanying first the beheading of American reporter James Foley and now of Sotloff, was aimed directly at President Barack Obama in order to goad the U.S. and its allies into a military reaction that would give IS the common infidel enemy it needs to consolidate its own Sunni ranks against any possible regional backlash. Without the return of U.S. and other Western forces into the region, IS may well fear the sort of Sunni Awakening (or “Sahwah”) that eventually defeated its al-Qa’eda (AQ) predecessor, Al-Qa’eda in Iraq (AQI), along with the 2007 U.S. surge.

Issue 3 of IS’s slick online magazine, ‘Dabiq,’ is titled “A Call To Hijrah” and gives us a revealing look at the new Caliphate’s strategy.

The number one priority for the moment is consolidating territorial gains made during the blitzkrieg advances of June and July 2014. IS needs a continued influx of Muslim fighters from around the region as well as abroad to accomplish this and make the Caliphate an established, governing reality—hence, the heavy emphasis on encouraging Muslim youth to join the latest jihad caravan.

According to the 7-Phase al-Qa’eda timeline outlined in a 2005 Der Spiegel interview with Seif al-Adl (the AQ military commander who’s been running joint terror operations out of Iran ever since 9/11), the period 2013-2016 is marked by the establishment of a Caliphate, so this puts them right on track.

The latest Dabiq issue also makes reference to a hadith that declares “The Hour of Resurrection” cannot come until the ‘Romans’ (Christian Westerners) land forces in Dabiq, an area near Aleppo in northwestern Syria. According to Muslim eschatology as recounted in Dabiq, this sets up the great battle, or “Final Confrontation” of the “Al-Hamah” (meaning Armageddon) in which Muslim forces will triumph, go on to conquer and slaughter all remaining on earth who will not convert to Islam, and usher in a millennium of ‘peace’ and ‘justice’ under the universal rule of shariah.

Thus far, though, even as Obama’s own military leaders are urging immediate action to destroy IS, the administration has hesitated to commit more than some targeted air strikes, humanitarian aid, and limited numbers of Special Operations Forces (SOFs) on the ground, who are working alongside the Kurds to blunt the IS advance.

But as IS sees things, the only way it can forestall the possibility that regional Sunni tribes might unite against its brutal shariah enforcement, involves pulling U.S., Australian, British, and other Western military forces once again into a high casualty confrontation in the land of al-Sham.

If videotaped beheadings don’t do it, a spectacular IS attack on the American homeland might—just as with the original 9/11 attacks, when Usama bin Laden (along with Hizballah, Iran, and Saudi Arabia) provoked the U.S. into the massive invasions of Muslim lands that launched the “Islamic Awakening,” according to the AQ conquest timeline.

Read more at Washington Times

Clare M. Lopez is the vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

 

Latest Islamic State Magazine Touts Foley Killing, Taunts Obama

IPT, by John Rossomando:

Al-Hayat Media, an important part of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine, released the third issue of its English-language jihadist publication Dabiq Friday. It released its first two editions of the magazine written in the style of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine earlier in August.

A recent article in the New Republic compared the first two editions of Dabiq with Inspire, saying the new magazine provided a more “comprehensive attempt to recruit westerners” than its Al-Qaida predecessor.

1058The cover, “A Call to Hijrah,” recalls the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s journey from Mecca to Medina and reads like a glossy recruiting guide.

It sets up the United States as the boogeyman all Muslims must fight because Americans killed thousands of Muslims during their occupation of Iraq, calling their deaths “collateral damage.”

Dabiq gloats over James Foley’s beheading, calling it “a cooling balm for the believers’ hearts” that served “as a retribution for the recent American aggression against the Muslims of Iraq.”

It claims that the Obama administration was “dragging its feet” its feet for nine months trying to save Foley’s life and those of other American and British hostages held in the Islamic State’s dungeons. In the new issue, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, or ISIL) again raises the administration’s refusal to release Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year sentence for attempting to murder Americans in Afghanistan and plotting ‘mass-casualty’ attacks in New York.

Obama acts “more foolishly” than Bush on matters of foreign policy in the Middle East, the magazine says, and calls him an “apostate.”

The magazine also provides religious justification for Muslims living in the West to leave their countries and join the fight, depicting a Muslim society free from nationalism and where they can live in full accord with Islamic law and morality. It also uses guilt against Muslims who refuse to follow the Islamic State.

“So abandoning hijrah (migration to the Islamic State) – the path to jihad – is a dangerous matter. In effect, one is thereby deserting jihad and willingly becoming a hypocritical spectator,” the magazine said, criticizing Muslims in the West who live like their non-Muslim neighbors. “… [N]ow there is a Khalifah (Caliphate) prepared to accept every Muslim and Muslimah into lands and all it can within its power to protect them alone.”

The “life of jihad” it says is only possible if Muslims move to the Islamic State’s caliphate.”