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.”

The Dark State Rises: Can Barack & Bashar Tag-Team Caliphate? (Pt. 2)

Obama once said Assad had to go. Now can they work together to defeat a common enemy? Does Assad even want to stamp out the Islamic State? (Pt. 2 of 3)

The Islamic Terror Orchestra

377919105 (1)Center For Security Policy, By Nonie Darwish:

It has been 13 years since 9/11 and the West is still reluctant to link the non-ending parade of jihad groups with Islam. The West is also in denial about the similarities all radical Islamic groups share. It is important for the West to realize that there is a natural division of labor between the different terror groups. Some groups specialize in terror against non-Muslims and Western governments while others specialize in terrorizing Arab governments that refused to follow Sharia. But the truly sophisticated groups are those who reside in the West, calling themselves ‘moderate’ while at the same time defending and controlling the direction of Islamist goals through advocacy, diplomacy, negotiation and PR.

All of the above types of Islamist groups work together in perfect harmony like an orchestra that sings to the tune of “Allahu Akbar.” And when Islamic terrorism and beheadings anger the world and turn public opinion against Islam, that orchestra starts playing a different tune to confuse and prevent the world from uncovering their coordinated handy work. While one group proudly takes credit for the terror, another publicly denounces it. But most groups, while enjoying the power and attention the terrorists have bestowed on them, stand by with a look of victimhood saying: “I am a victim too because you condemn me and my peaceful religion when I did not do anything. That is not Islam and you are an Islamophobe.”

Not only is there division of labor amongst Islamist groups, but these groups also often change roles, tactics and appearances — after birthing other more radical terror groups to do the dirty work of terror. Because the West and some Arab governments refuse to deal with terror organizations, these organizations play a game of presenting a face of rehabilitation and moderation, while delegating the terror and assassinations to newer groups. Old guard terror groups like the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Fatah were able to change color and they assumed a new, but only cosmetic, appearance of moderation, but not before birthing the more violent Al-Qaeda and Hamas.

The West was told the MB and Fatah were now the moderate and humanitarian face of Islam that could be counted on and that could run Islamic government. Islam will present itself as working with the rest of the world only for the sake of establishing the Kalifate. The West has been only too happy to welcome the new face of the old terror groups to the camp of moderation. But the new face of evil after the MB became Al-Qaeda.

When the MB won the Egyptian elections, Islamists believed the Kalifate could be achieved through elections, avoiding the usual violent jihad. But when Egyptians realized they had made a mistake by electing the MB and 35,000,000 Egyptians revolted against Islamist rule, the dreams of a Kalifate through peaceful elections were defeated. The only solution for Muslims to achieve their Kalifate is the old fashioned way of 7th century Islam: pure violence, savagery and terror; thus the rise of the newest Islamist terror group, ISIS, while the MB takes a back seat.

When Al-Qaeda’s reputation tanked after 9/11, even inside the Middle East, the terror jihadists were forced into working under a new name — same goals, but with a more ferocious appetite for terror and torture. After the defeat of the budding Islamist State through elections in Egypt in 2013, the restrained beast of public beheadings hidden in the Islamic genie bottle finally exploded for the world to see in the form of ISIS; an organization that declared itself as the true long-awaited Islamic State. Force became the only choice. Coincidentally, this follows the example of Mohammed who tried to peacefully Islamize Mecca for 13 years but failed and could only Islamize Arabia by force, terror and the sword when he became a warrior in Medina.

ISIS rushed to declare itself as the Islamic State even before finishing the job of conquering all of Iraq and Syria. It was flaunting its savagery to the world in the hope of giving the message to reluctant Arab countries that they will be next. The plan is very similar to what Mohammed and his followers did in the 7th century: conquer Arabia quickly by force so they could move to more important goals of taking over the outside world, now the West and Israel. By doing that they are confirming to Muslims around the world that terror works and that their prophet Mohammed was correct when he said: “I have been victorious through terror.”

Bottom line: What legitimate Islamic organizations must adhere to is obeying Islamic commandments to conquer the world for Islam, defeat and humiliate non-Muslim nations and establish the Kalifate — to be ruled by sharia. That is the plan. It is not the opinion of the writer of this article, but it is the basic objective of Islamic law books, scriptures and preaching, which explicitly define jihad as a war with non-Muslims to establish the religion of Islam. To facilitate this mission, Islamic law freed Muslims from any restrictions on their behavior; they can wage offensive wars, kill, terrorize, behead, lie, deceive, humiliate, slander, use corporal punishment on women and children, and sacrifice the well being of the family, all for the purpose of the empowerment of Islam.

But instead of properly facing the 21 Century Islamic challenge, the West has chosen denial. Obama is being criticized for resorting to golf in a time of trouble, but that is perhaps his only outlet when he feels paralyzed, because what he believed and advocated Islam to be and what it is turned out to be polar opposites.

Also, instead of facing the incompetence and many obvious weaknesses of Islamic terror groups, the West has chosen to appease an enemy that only respects power. Thus, the Obama administration decided to be more concerned with appearances and saying instead of doing the right thing. For example, Obama likes to correct Americans on the proper pronunciation of Arabic names and expressions such as Pakistan and ISIL instead of ISIS, etc. But when the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was declared the West was too embarrassed to call it what it called itself, the Islamic State, and found the English abbreviation ISIS more appropriate than the Arabic name that linked the new terrorist state to Islam.

I was recently asked by visitors from Egypt, “What is ISIS?” My answer was, it is the preferred name the US administration and media use to refer to the newly declared Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Their response was, “Why? In Arabic they call themselves ‘The Islamic State?’” I told them it is a long story, but the West does not want to offend Muslims who believe that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism, tyranny and hatred.

Obama insists on presenting himself as more of an expert on Islam than the founders of ISIS when he stated, “ISIL speaks for no religion.” It is not appropriate for the US government or media to define what is or what is not Islam to Muslims who are reading from their books statements that command them to kill infidels. All we should do is take them for their word.

Both the US government and media have decided, long before Obama, that it would be the wise thing to do to keep US citizens uninformed about the true goals of Islam. The goal of this policy was partially to convince Islamic terror groups to leave the West alone and perhaps in the long run Islam will reform on its own one day. But unfortunately history was not on the side of this theory. Appeasement did not work for Coptic Christians in Egypt nor for Zoroastrians in Persia when in the 7th century the two ancient civilizations fell to the Arab Islamic invasion in the same year. Both Egypt and Persia tried to appease but failed to win hearts and minds of the Muslim invaders who used the most barbaric forms of terror and tyranny to Islamize and Arabize both civilizations. Both Egypt and Persia never saw their glory days again and today they are incapable of ruling themselves without the usual Sharia-enforced oppression and tyranny.

What everyone misses here is the right of the American people to know the full truth about their new enemy directly and honestly from their politicians and media. By caring about the feelings of Muslims more than American citizens’ right to the truth, and without naming Islam by name, the US government and media will usher America into a dark phase marking the beginning of tyranny and the end of liberty.

 

 

Media Confused as Boko Haram Claims to Join the Islamic State

boko-haram_3016074bCenter For Security Policy, By Kyle Shideler:

In a video released over the weekend, AbuBakr Shekaku, head of the Nigerian jihadist group known as Boko Haram, appears to have declared allegiance to the Islamic State, proclaiming lands currently under Boko Haram control in the province of Borno part of the “Caliphate.”

Despite this, much of the Western media seemed confused about the nature of a Caliphate and what it means. From the AFP report:

In a July video, Shekau voiced support for the leader of the Islamic State and the Levant (Isil) militants Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who in late June declared himself “the caliph” and “leader of Muslims everywhere”. But there was no indication from Shekau in the latest video that he was associating himself with Baghdadi, whose Sunni Muslim fighters have taken over parts of Iraq and Syria. As such, it was not clear if Shekau was declaring himself to be a part of Baghdadi’s call or if he was referring to a separate Nigerian caliphate.

The position of Caliph is one with purported dominion over the entire “ummah” the total collective of the Muslim faithful.There can only be one legitimate Caliph, and one Caliphate, as Shekaku is no doubt aware. Given that the  laudatory language Boko Haram has in the past offered towards the IS Caliphate, the most likely conclusion would be that Boko Haram either has joined, or intends to join the Islamic State of Al-Baghdadi. It would be incongruous for Shekaku to praise IS, and then negate its primary achievement by denying it legitimacy by claiming he was the true Caliph.

It’s worth noting that while this confusion over whether or not Boko Haram was declaring for the IS Caliphate or declaring its own Caliphate was echoed in all the western reporting which followed from the AFP report, the same confusion is not at all present in an OnIslam.net report, which draws from the same AFP wire.  The OnIslam.net report also ignores the extraneous historical detail of the Sokoto caliphate, a 19th century Nigerian Islamic state which laid claim to the Caliphate title. This is a classic example of how the disinclination to study Islamic law on matters leads to injecting unnecessary complexity into the analysis of events.

If it is the case that Boko Haram has acknowledged the territory it controls as part of the IS Caliphate, this is a major development for the Islamic State. The claim of authority by its “Caliph” Al-Baghdadi has largely been rejected by other Jihadist groups, with only minor exceptions. Yet being recognized as receiving the bay’at (oath) of notable scholars and jihadi emirs who hold actual territory is central to Al Baghdadi’s claim of legitimacy. Of course whether either group is capable of meeting the perceived obligation of such an oath, sharing and exchanging resources, personnel etc, is an entirely other matter.

Also see:

ISIS Declares War On Hamas And The Muslim Brotherhood

771By Walid ShoebatAugust 23, 2014:

There is a war of fatwas and some serious cyber rattling back and forth between the Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand and the organization of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) on the other hand. The fatwa wars erupted after Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, president of the World Federation of Muslim Scholars, the spiritual father of the Muslim Brotherhood, denounced the legitimacy for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as Caliph of the Muslim world. In turn, the ISIS denounced the Muslim Brotherhood and in addition Hamas as “apostates” and “followers of witchcraft theology”

The fatwa wars erupted when Qaradawi reiterated his call that announcing a Caliphate is under the authority of the Union of Muslim Scholars which it only represented the decision making in Muslim world. The Quran clearly says that Muslims need to obey “Allah, his messenger and the people of authority” (Q4:59). Qaradawi said: “The announcement for a Caliphate is not an entitlement to any faction because this function in every Muslim nation is entitled only to the scholars to indicate the legitimate government in such matters.”

He said in a statement that all those things that took place with ISIS “are without any criteria of legitimacy nor are realistic and does more harm than good,” adding “We are all dreaming of an Islamic caliphate on a platform of prophecy and hope from the bottom of our hearts that will be held today before tomorrow, but Islam taught us, and the school of life has taught us: that such a major project needs hard and long thinking and heavy preparation.”

The latest statements by the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Yusuf al-Qaradawi, was that the “Islamic Caliphate” for the whole world is Istanbul Turkey, claiming that “Istanbul is the capital for the Islamic Arab world and the West,” calling on the Turkish people to support Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “because God and Gabriel and Muhammad support Erdogan and the angels after that will be revealed.”

Those opinions raised an eyebrow from the ISIS when its chief ideologue, Shanqiti denounced the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas governments as apostates, and mocked Qaradawi’s fatwa which according to him goes along the principle of “the rule of the people,” saying that the Muslim Brotherhood:

“seeks to support the religion in terms of the Social Contract theory and is resorting to the ordinances and other exaggerations from the trash bin of ideas. Whoever does this is someone who claims to support the religion while they practice witchcraft.”

Shanqeeti said in his response to Qaradawi that the Muslim Brotherhood is harming the Muslim world:

“The Brotherhood by this deed damaged the Muslim world more than benefiting it and they delay the return of the Caliphate for decades by wasting tremendous financial and human resources running behind a mirage telling their followers that “God is their goal, and that the Prophet is their example and that Islam is their destiny?!””

Shanqeeti mocked Qaradawi’s fatwa saying:

“O Sheikh; The caliph is our Prince of the Mujahidin, Sheikh Ibrahim Awad al-Badri [Al-Baghdadi], who needs not your advice and has been given allegiance from battle hardened warriors who has gone through battles, trials and tribulations; your despicable fatwah will not hurt them”.

He pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood is only interested in power and making peace treaties with Israel as is with Turkey:

“as soon as they [The Muslim Brotherhood] came to power until things turned against them, their destination and their example went alongside the atheists and secularists with lubricity for America and appeasement for Israel, and we saw the same thing in Turkey and Gaza and Egypt during the reign of the ‘apostate Juggernaut Mohamed Morsi,’”

Shoebat.com has predicted that an escalation in Caliphate mania will arise. In this case we have the foxes on one hand and the bullies on the other. In the end, the foxes will win the minds of the Muslim masses and a Caliphate will be established in Turkey.

REFERENCES
Translated from AlBawabh (The Gate News) http://www.albawabhnews.com/748771

Also see:

Sherman’s 300,000 and the Caliphate’s Three Million

Middle East Forum:

by David P. Goldman
Asia Times
August 12, 2014

553When General William Tecumseh Sherman burned the city of Atlanta in 1864, he warned, “I fear the world will jump to the wrong conclusion that because I am in Atlanta the work is done. Far from it. We must kill three hundred thousand I have told you of so often, and the further they run the harder for us to get them.” Add a zero to calibrate the problem in the Levant today. War in the Middle East is less a strategic than a demographic phenomenon, the resolution of which will come with the exhaustion of the pool of potential fighters.

The Middle East has plunged into a new Thirty Years War, allows Richard Haass, the president of the Council of Foreign Relations:

It is a region wracked by religious struggle between competing traditions of the faith. But the conflict is also between militants and moderates, fueled by neighboring rulers seeking to defend their interests and increase their influence. Conflicts take place within and between states; civil wars and proxy wars become impossible to distinguish. Governments often forfeit control to smaller groups – militias and the like – operating within and across borders. The loss of life is devastating, and millions are rendered homeless.

Well and good: I predicted in 2006 that the George W. Bush administration’s blunder would provoke another Thirty Years War in the region, and repeated the diagnosis many times since. But I doubt that Mr. Haass (or Walter Russell Mead, who cited the Haass article) has given sufficient thought to the implications.

How does one handle wars of this sort? In 2008, I argued for a “Richelovian” foreign policy, that is, emulation of the evil genius who guided France to victory at the conclusion of the Thirty Years War in 1648. Wars of this sort end when two generations of fighters are killed. They last for decades (as did the Peloponnesian War, the Napoleonic Wars and the two World Wars of the 20th century) because one kills off the fathers in the first half of the war, and the sons in the second.

This new Thirty Years War has its origins in a demographic peak and an economic trough. There are nearly 30 million young men aged 15 to 24 in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, a bulge generation produced by pre-modern fertility rates that prevailed a generation ago. But the region’s economies cannot support them. Syria does not have enough water to support an agricultural population, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of farmers into tent cities preceded its civil war. The West mistook the death spasms of a civilization for an “Arab Spring,” and its blunders channeled the youth bulge into a regional war.

The way to win such a war is by attrition, that is, by feeding into the meat-grinder a quarter to a third of the enemy’s available manpower. Once a sufficient number of those who wish to fight to the death have had the opportunity to do so, the war stops because there are insufficient recruits to fill the ranks. That is how Generals Grant and Sherman fought the American Civil War, and that is the indicated strategy in the Middle East today.

It is a horrible business. It was not inevitable. It came about because of the ideological rigidity of the Bush Administration, compounded by the strategic withdrawal of the Obama administration. It could have been avoided by the cheap and simple expedient bombing of Iran’s nuclear program and Revolutionary Guards bases, followed by an intensive subversion effort aimed at regime change in Teheran. Former Vice President Dick Cheney advocated this course of action, but then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice persuaded Bush that the Muslim world would never forgive America for an attack on another Muslim state.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, warned Bush that America’s occupation army in Iraq had become hostage to Iranian retaliation: if America bombed Iran, Iran could exact vengeance in American blood in the cities of Iraq. Then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen told Charlie Rose on March 16, 2009:

What I worry about in terms of an attack on Iran is, in addition to the immediate effect, the effect of the attack, it’s the unintended consequences. It’s the further destabilization in the region. It’s how they would respond. We have lots of Americans who live in that region who are under the threat envelope right now [because of the] capability that Iran has across the Gulf. So, I worry about their responses and I worry about it escalating in ways that we couldn’t predict.

The Bush administration was too timid to take on Iran; the Obama administration views Iran as a prospective ally. Even Neville Chamberlain did not regard Hitler as prospective partner in European security. But that is what Barack Obama said in March to journalist Jeffrey Goldberg:

What I’ll say is that if you look at Iranian behavior, they are strategic, and they’re not impulsive. They have a worldview, and they see their interests, and they respond to costs and benefits. And that isn’t to say that they aren’t a theocracy that embraces all kinds of ideas that I find abhorrent, but they’re not North Korea. They are a large, powerful country that sees itself as an important player on the world stage, and I do not think has a suicide wish, and can respond to incentives.

Bush may have been feckless, but Obama is mad.

With Iran neutralized, Syrian President Basher Assad would have had no choice but to come to terms with Syria’s Sunni majority; as it happens, he had the firepower to expel millions of them. Without the protection of Tehran, Iraq’s Shia would have had to compromise with Sunnis and Kurds. Iraqi Sunnis would not have allied with ISIS against the Iranian-backed regime in Baghdad. A million or more Iraqis would not have been displaced by the metastasizing Caliphate.

The occupation of Iraq in the pursuit of nation building was colossally stupid. It wasted thousands of lives and disrupted millions, cost the better part of a trillion dollars, and demoralized the American public like no failure since Vietnam – most of all America’s young people. Not only did it fail to accomplish its objective, but it kept America stuck in a tar-baby trap, unable to take action against the region’s main malefactor. Worst of all: the methods America employed in order to give the Iraq war the temporary appearance of success set in motion the disaster we have today. I warned of this in a May 4, 2010 essay entitled, General Petraeus’ Thirty Years War (Asia Times Online, May 4, 2010).

The great field marshal of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, Albrecht von Wallenstein, taught armies to live off the land, and succeeded so well that nearly half the people of Central Europe starved to death during the conflict. General David Petraeus, who heads America’s Central Command (CENTCOM), taught the land to live off him. Petraeus’ putative success in the Iraq “surge” of 2007-2008 is one of the weirder cases of Karl Marx’s quip of history repeating itself first as tragedy second as farce. The consequences will be similar, that is, hideous.

Wallenstein put 100,000 men into the field, an army of terrifying size for the times, by turning the imperial army into a parasite that consumed the livelihood of the empire’s home provinces. The Austrian Empire fired him in 1629 after five years of depredation, but pressed him back into service in 1631. Those who were left alive joined the army, in a self-feeding spiral of destruction on a scale not seen in Europe since the 8th century. Wallenstein’s power grew with the implosion of civil society, and the Austrian emperor had him murdered in 1634.

Petraeus accomplished the same thing with (literally) bags of money. Starting with Iraq, the American military has militarized large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia in the name of pacification. And now America is engaged in a grand strategic withdrawal from responsibility in the region, leaving behind men with weapons and excellent reason to use them.

There is no way to rewind the tape after the fragile ties of traditional society have been ripped to shreds by war. All of this was foreseeable; most of it might have been averted. But the sordid players in this tragicomedy had too much reputation at stake to reverse course when it still was possible. Now they will spend the declining years of their careers blaming each other.

Three million men will have to die before the butchery comes to an end. That is roughly the number of men who have nothing to go back to, and will fight to the death rather than surrender.

ISIS by itself is overrated. It is a horde enhanced by captured heavy weapons, but cannot fly warplanes in a region where close air support is the decisive factor in battle. The fighters of the Caliphate cannot hide under the jungle canopy like the North Vietnamese. They occupy terrain where aerial reconnaissance can identify every stray cat. The Saudi and Jordanian air forces are quite capable of defending their borders. Saudi Arabia has over 300 F-15′s and 72 Typhoons, and more than 80 Apache attack helicopters. Jordan has 60 F16′s as well as 25 Cobra attack helicopters. The putative Caliphate can be contained; it cannot break out into Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and it cannot advance far into the core Shia territory of Iraq. It can operate freely in Syria, in a war of attrition with the Iranian backed government army. The grim task of regional security policy is to channel the butchery into areas that do not threaten oil production or transport.

Ultimately, ISIS is a distraction. The problem is Iran. Without Iran, Hamas would have no capacity to strike Israel beyond a few dozen kilometers past the Gaza border. Iran now has GPS-guided missiles which are much harder to shoot down than ordinary ballistic missiles (an unguided missile has a trajectory that is easy to calculate after launch; guided missiles squirrel about seeking their targets). If Hamas acquires such rockets – and it will eventually if left to its own devices – Israel will have to strike further, harder and deeper to eliminate the threat. That confrontation will not come within a year, and possibly not within five years, but it looms over the present hostilities. The region’s security will hinge on the ultimate reckoning with Iran.

David P Goldman is Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the Was Family Fellow at the Middle East Forum. His book How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is Dying, Too) was published by Regnery Press in September 2011. A volume of his essays on culture, religion and economics, It’s Not the End of the World – It’s Just the End of You, also appeared that fall, from Van Praag Press.

What Can YOU Do for Persecuted Iraqis? (Part 1)

17-WEIGEL-JONAH-IN-NINEVEH-JON-3-700x475By Faith McDonnell at Juicy Ecumenism, Aug. 17, 2014:

Civilized human beings across the world are sickened by the destruction taking place in Iraq at the hands of ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities — some of the most ancient indigenous people groups in the Middle East — are being slaughtered by what can only be described as a horrifically evil terrorist group.

I chose the artwork of Jonah in Ninevah to emphasize the historic importance of the people who are being exterminated, the culture that is being eradicated, by ISIS.  The capital of Assyria, the ancient city of Ninevah was on the eastern side of the Tigris River, just across from the modern city of Mosul, on the western side of the river, in what is now northern Iraq. God sent a reluctant Jonah to preach to the people of Ninevah, worshippers of Ishtar (not a very nice goddess!) and they repented of their sins. These were the ancestors of some of the earliest Christian converts and of the Chaldo-Assyrian Christians of Iraq today!

In one of his many impassioned speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives, U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf pointed out, “Aside from Israel, the Bible contains more references to the cities, regions and nations of ancient Iraq than any other country.  The patriarch Abraham came from a city in Iraq called Ur. Isaac’s bride, Rebekah, came from northwest Iraq.  Jacob spent 20 years in Iraq, and his sons (the 12 tribes of Israel) were born in northwest Iraq.” And perhaps an even more important historical connection: A recent article in Foreign Policy points out that ISIS has claimed towns representing the last major concentration of Aramaic speakers in the world. The language spoken by Jesus when He was on earth is also being deliberately wiped out.

There are not enough synonyms for evil to do justice to ISIS. Yet on they go, wiping out the people of northern Iraq and building (rebuilding) the Caliphate, the global Islamic State. In spite of recent U.S. airstrikes, there is seemingly little to oppose them except the brave Peshmerga militia of the Kurdish Regional Government. ISIS has now renamed itself Islamic State, boldly declaring their preeminent status as Caliphate establishers.

Many concerned citizens in the United States and in the world community are using the Arabic letter nun (ن)standing for Nasara, Islam’s name for Christians, to identify themselves on social media and show solidarity with the Iraqi Christians who have been forced from their homes, brutalized, and killed. The jihadists of ISIS spray painted doors and walls of Christian homes, businesses and churches in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, with the letter before issuing an ultimatum to the city’s Christian population, giving them until midday July 19 to convert to Islam, pay a special tax (jizya) or be killed. They have been just as ruthless to the Yazidis and others who do not support their Caliphate-from-hell.

It is encouraging in the midst of this desperate situation to see people all over the world, from many Christian denominations as well as from other religions and no religion at all, brandishing the nun in defiant solidarity. After years of ever-increasing hardship and persecution for Iraq’s religious minorities, and, frankly, for all non-jihadist Iraqis, the world community has finally begun to wake up to this devastating human rights catastrophe. But what can we do besides showing solidarity with a ن on our Facebook or Twitter page? In my next post I will offer five things you can do for persecuted Iraqis.