ISIS: The Latest Phase of the Jihad

Hoover Institution’s Strategika, by Raymond Ibrahim, Feb. 5, 2016:

The best way to understand the Islamic State (ISIS) is to see it as the next phase of al-Qaeda. All Sunni Islamic jihadi groups—Boko Haram, ISIS, Taliban, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda, even Hamas—share the same motivations based on a literal and orthodox reading of Islamic history and doctrine: resurrecting a caliphate (which existed in various forms from 632 to 1924) that implements and spreads the totality of sharia, or Islamic law.

ggAccordingly, ISIS’s notorious atrocities—beheading, crucifixion, sexual enslavement, and destruction of non-Sunni places of worship—are being committed by other jihadi groups (e.g., Boko Haram and al-Shabaab, both of which pledged allegiance to ISIS) and even by some Muslim governments (e.g., Saudi Arabia) and individual Muslims around the world.

Conversely, although al-Qaeda (AQ) adheres to the same sharia that ISIS implements, it has long waged a propaganda war against the West. AQ portrays all terrorist attacks on the West, including 9/11, as mere payback for the West’s unjust polices against Muslims, including support for Israel and Arab dictators.[1]

To maintain this “grievance” narrative, AQ knows that the innately supremacist and violent aspects of sharia—for example ISIS’ destruction of churches and subjugation of “infidel” Christian minorities—need to be curtailed or hidden from the Western world.  Otherwise AQ’s efforts of portraying jihadis as “freedom fighters” resisting an oppressive West risk being undermined.[2]

Regardless, AQ’s strategy of turning Western opinion appears to have borne fruit in one pivotal area: canceling longtime Western support for secular Arab dictators. In the context of the “Arab Spring,” the Obama administration turned its back on America’s Egyptian ally of 30 years, Hosni Mubarak; helped ISIS-affiliated jihadis overthrow Libya’s Gaddafi (even though he was complying with Washington); and continues supporting ISIS-affiliated “moderates”[3] to overthrow Syria’s Assad. Idealists in both government and media forgot a primary reason the U.S. had formerly supported secular Arab dictators: they single-mindedly opposed the jihadis.

The result has been a new and emboldened phase of the jihad, a.k.a., ISIS. Born and entrenched in precisely those nations that U.S. leadership brought “freedom and democracy” to—Iraq, Syria, and Libya—ISIS (or al-Qaeda 2.0) is now indifferent to Western opinion. By widely broadcasting its savage triumphalism in the name of Islam, ISIS forfeits the “grievance card” but plays the “strength” card, thus inspiring millions of Muslims. According to the Pew Research Center, in 11 countries alone, at least 63 million and as many as 287 million Muslims support ISIS.[4]

Yet even ISIS works in stages. When criticized by Muslims for killing fellow Muslims and not attacking Israel—the supreme enemy—ISIS responded by saying it was following the pattern of the historic caliphate founded in 632.[5] Then, Caliph Abu Bakr beheaded and crucified tens of thousands of Muslims for apostatizing. Only after the rebel tribes were brought back into the fold of Islam were they set loose to conquer European/Christian territories during history’s early Muslim conquests (634–750). Indeed, it is believed that ISIS’ caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took this name to signify his focus, that is, terrorizing all “hypocrites” and “apostates” until they unify under the caliphate’s banner.

It still remains to be seen whether ISIS’ strategy—inspiring Muslims but losing Western opinion—will succeed. According to polls, “Islamophobia” is on the rise in the West, especially after the rise of ISIS, prompting several politicians to speak more candidly about the catalysts for terrorist violence.

The Obama administration’s weak responses feed into AQ’s narrative that Islamic terrorism at least in part reflects Islamic grievance; and it refuses to connect the actions of any jihadi organization—whether ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, et al—to Islamic teaching.

Time will tell whether the next administration will remain willfully ignorant of the nature of its jihadi enemy—which is fatal in war according to Sun Tzu’s ancient dictum, “know your enemy”—or whether reality will trump political correctness.

[1] See “An Analysis of Al-Qa’ida’s Worldview: Reciprocal Treatment or Religious Obligation?” Also, The Al Qaeda Reader, which separates the organization’s communiqués into two groups: “Propaganda” messages to the West portraying jihadi terrorists as mere freedom fighters, and “Theology” messages to fellow Muslims, preaching the same Islam of ISIS.

[2] See “Al-Qaeda: Defender of Christians?” for a more elaborate explanation of this theme.

[3] For the Syrian Free Army’s role: “Largest Massacre of Christians in Syria Ignored.”

[4]Pew poll: Between 63 million and 287 million ISIS supporters in just 11 countries.”

[5]New Islamic Caliphate Declares Jihad on … Muslims.”

Dutch Intelligence Report Exposes Horrors of Daily Life Under ISIS

by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
February 4, 2016

1349When the leaders of ISIS declared the caliphate of the Islamic State in June 2014, the world already had a strong idea of who they were: a jihadist group so violent, so barbaric, so extreme, that even al-Qaida, with whom they had once been affiliated, wanted nothing more to do with them.

But as the world soon learned, it would get even worse.

The founding of the Islamic State brought some of the most inhumane violence of modern civilization: captives held in cages and burned alive; beheadings captured on video and broadcast on the Internet; mass enslavement and rape of non-Muslim women; and the genocide of Iraq’s Yazidi tribe.

Coupled with this has been a perverse propaganda campaign that makes the Caliphate look like a teenage summer camp, aimed at recruiting Westerners to join the jihad and enjoy life in their idyllic, Allah-blessed commune-on-the-sea. And for thousands of Western Muslims, it has worked, either by inducing them to make the journey, or hijrah, to Syria and Iraq, or by motivating them to carry out terrorist attacks on Western towns and cities.

This is what we know.

What we have not known has been the reality of life in the Islamic State, including the social order, the availability of housing and health care and other basic necessities and the treatment of women and children.

A new report by the Dutch Intelligence Service (AIVD) now shines a spotlight into the heart of the Islamic State, its workings, and the psychology of its leaders. The picture it paints is no less terrifying than one might expect, a society increasingly paranoid and totalitarian, devoid of human empathy, lacking in the most vital resources, and yet somehow, still surviving through a combination of propaganda, lies, oppression, violence, and the profound power of delusion.

It is that delusion which seems most apparent in the AIVD report: the myth of a life of comfort and companionship and a coziness with God that ISIS’s propaganda promulgates, promotes, and perpetuates on social media; the delusion of those who manage to equate murder and enslavement with religious duty and moral good; and those delusions with which ISIS leaders fill the minds of children raised in their domain – and so, build and secure the future of their narrative and their jihad.

“Violence is inherent to ISIS,” the report says. “On a daily basis, it is practiced, glorified, and preached.” Through that violence has emerged a state (such as it is) that is at once overbearing, tyrannical, and powerful and yet, at its core, vulnerable, fragile, and afraid.

Following are highlights of the AIVD report, which was compiled on the basis of 18 months of research.

DAILY LIFE

While many Westerners make hijrah not to fight, per se, but for the glory of living in a true Muslim state, the reality that greets them is not what they likely anticipate, the AIVD reveals. Constant bombardments from Assad troops, allied forces, and Russia mean that every day is lived in perpetual fear and danger. The trauma this brings to children, especially, and particularly those who travel to the caliphate with their parents from the West, is incalculable.

Moreover, despite photographs ISIS distributes on the Internet of houses with exquisite views and happy families, most homes are in disrepair. There are food shortages. Medical care is as minimal as one might expect in a war zone that receives no legal imports or medicines, where there are excruciatingly few doctors or nurses, and daily streams of wounded. Electricity is also scarce; most homes can rely on only an hour or two of power every day.

And while all men receive a state salary (with supplements for wives and children), those salaries were recently halved – an unwelcome development for Caliphate citizens at a time when oil income has fallen and prices for basic necessities, especially food, skyrocket.

MEN

Men and women are separated on arrival, according to the AIVD. Men are required to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph, before being interrogated to ensure they aren’t spies. They are then sent into military training. Though not all men sign up to fight, all must be prepared to join the battle if called upon and participate actively “in ISIS-led executions, torture, and rape.”

From here, they are generally able to select their own roles, be it as marketing advisers, bus drivers, doctors, or warriors. Some, however, are assigned roles. Reports the AIVD, “specifically-selected men can be trained by ISIS and sent back to stage attacks in Europe.”

WOMEN

While many women make hijrah with the idea of joining in battle, in actuality women are forbidden to participate in what is viewed as men’s work. They also cannot work closely with men who are not family, a law that further bars them from the battlefield.

They have their own parts to play in the Caliphate, the most important of which is childbearing: as many and as fast as possible. Reports the AIVD, “Mothers are [then] required to raise their sons to be ISIS fighters. Daughters, for their part, are to marry fighters and, with the same purpose as their own mothers, to bear children.”

In addition, women can play an active role in recruiting, largely through social media. Others join the all-women Al-Khansaa brigade, which enforces sharia law as it applies to women, be it their manner of dress or their public behavior. “If a woman is apprehended by the brigade and convicted, then another woman carries out the punishment,” the AIVD report explains. “Hence even Western women who have joined Al-Khansaa will execute the lashings of women who have, according to ISIS, violated rules and boundaries.”

CHILDREN

It is the children, however, who suffer most in the Islamic State – children whose lives are made of daily confrontations with death and agony and fear. Nonetheless, shockingly more and more Western families are making their way to ISIS territory with their children, or with pregnant mothers wishing to give birth there. And then there are the children born not just to ISIS brides, but to rape victims and sexual slaves such as the Yazidis.

But where most boys of 7- or 8 years of age may go on fishing trips with their fathers or play soccer in local parks, these frequently are brought to observe public executions and beatings. Parents may pose their child with the head of a beheaded enemy. At school, they learn English, Arabic, and the tenets of ISIS doctrine alongside lessons in the use of firearms and “execution practice.” By the age of 9, girls are expected to cover themselves in public, while their male schoolmates are ushered off to training camps to learn to fight.

“Children take an increasingly frequent role in ISIS propaganda,” states the report. “In various execution videos made by the group in the first half of 2015, boys between the ages of ten and twelve served as executioner, shooting or beheading prisoners. The use of children in propaganda fits the strategy of ISIS, which largely hopes to use media images to shock and so, gain attention. Through this propaganda, which is often picked up by regular mass media, it becomes clear that parents who travel to the ISIS territory have a fully realistic view of what awaits their children when they get there.”

The Overview

Increasingly, it appears that life in the Caliphate is becoming tougher. A growing paranoia and fear that disillusioned fighters might leave and counter their propaganda with the truth – not to mention a concern about spies attacking from within – haunts ISIS leaders. They are cracking down in response. It is becoming harder and harder to leave the Islamic State, even for temporary, medical reasons.

Similarly, contact between residents of the Caliphate and those on the outside is being increasingly controlled. “Since July, 2015, it is no longer permissible to use wireless internet in Raqqah,” according to the report. “The Internet can only be accessed through ISIS-approved Internet cafes, where careful watch is kept over which sites are visited. In some cases, permission must be granted by a military leader or emir to spread information to the outside. Whoever fails to observe these rules must appear before a sharia court.”

Such measures ensure that the myth of an idyllic state continues, along with the flow of new warriors and the women who will give birth to them.

Ultimately, concludes the intelligence agency, “the so-called caliphate of ISIS stands far from what the organization purports it to be. The region that is occupied by ISIS is not a holy state or ideal society in its infancy. ISIS functions as a totalitarian regime. Whoever emigrates to the ISIS territory makes a conscious, deliberate choice to take part in an organization, an institution that commits terrorist activities and conducts attacks in Europe. In practice, this means that men as well as women who join the Islamic State, armed or otherwise, take part in ISIS’s jihad.”

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.

Guandolo: Understanding the Threat

UTT, By John Guandolo, Jan. 5, 2016:

As we enter 2016 and the global jihad grows, it is critical for discerning Americans, and all people in the free West, to understand the threat we face in order to address and defeat it.

Massacre-Those-Insult-Islam

Our enemy identifies itself at the “Global Islamic Movement.”  It takes many forms and comes at us in many different ways.  The International Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is the primary driving force behind the global Movement, but there are parallel movements aligned with the Brotherhood such as Tablighi Jamaat, Jamaat e Islami and others.  These groups focus on bringing the Muslim community back to authentic Islam while softening the non-Muslim world to accept their “civilization alternative” to Western culture.

As the Muslim Brotherhood’s by-laws state, they do their work by making “every effort for the establishment of educational, social, economic and scientific institutions and the establishment of mosques, schools, clinics, shelters, clubs as well as the formation of committees to regulate zakat affairs and alms.”  Today, across Europe and North America, the Muslim Brotherhood created and controls a large portion of the Islamic organizations.  Yet, it is in the United States the MB has their greatest influence.

Apart from the MB and related jihadi movements, there are military jihadi organizations like Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hizbollah, and hundreds of others.

100% of these organizations and their members state they are Muslims waging jihad in the Cause of Allah (Jihad Fisabilillah) in order to establish the caliphate under sharia.

shariah signs

Sharia is everything in this war.  It is what the enemy seeks to impose on the world, and it is the blueprint for how they do everything they do.  That is why sharia is taught at the first grade level to Muslims in Islamic schools and mosques across the planet.  Islam teaches that Islam is “a complete way of life” – social, cultural, political, military, and religious – governed by sharia (Islamic Law).

100% of all published sharia obliges jihad until the world is under Islamic rule.  100% of sharia only defines jihad as “warfare against non-Muslims.”

shariah for britainSharia is a totalitarian system of governance, not a religious edict.

Why don’t “moderate Muslims” teach a softer “version” of Islam?  Because it is a capital crime in Islam for a Muslim to teach another Muslim something that is not true about Islam.  You would actually have to read sharia to know this.

Hint:  When buying books on Islam, do not go to your local bookstore.  Go to the mosque bookstore and buy books written by Islamic authorities for a Muslim audience.  Then ask yourself  “Why is this information exactly opposite of the information that is written in books for the non-Muslim audience?”

zone

Sharia is the threat doctrine of our enemy.  If you read and understand Sharia, you will:  know why Muslims yell “Allahu akbar” before they commit an act of jihad; understand why in 15 years “Islamic advisors” to our government have not mentioned that “Jihad” is only defined in Islamic law as “warfare against non-Muslims”; and you will see why “Islamophobia” is not a random term but a term of art meant to identify people who violate the Islamic Law of Slander (a capital crime in Islam), which is defined as saying anything about a Muslim or Islam that a Muslim would “dislike.”

Sharia is the threat doctrine.  Those who practice Sharia and seek to impose it by all means necessary are the threat.

sharia poster

There is only one organization in the United States teaching law enforcement, military, and community organizations about the Muslim Brotherhood’s jihadi Movement and network here, their doctrine (Sharia), their modus operandi, and ways law enforcement can identify and defeat the network in their area – Understanding the Threat (UTT).

UTT intends on fighting the good fight until the fight is done.  UTT needs allies who know and understand the threat.  Join us!

It’s Not ISIS We Need to Beat — It’s the Caliphate

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Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, Dec. 29, 2015:

A recent report by, of all places, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, found that the Syrian rebels were mostly Islamic Jihadists and that even if ISIS were defeated there were 15 other groups sharing its worldview that were ready to take its place.

And that’s just in Syria.

The official ISIS story, the one that we read in the newspapers, watch on television and hear on the radio, is that it’s a unique group whose brand of extremism is so extreme that there is no comparing it to anything else. ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. Or with anything else. It’s a complete aberration.

Except for the 15 other Jihadist groups ready to step into its shoes in just one country.

Islamic Supremacist organizations like ISIS can be graded on the “Caliphate curve”. The Caliphate curve is based on how quickly an Islamic organization wants to achieve the Caliphate. What we describe as “extreme” or “moderate” is really the speed at which an Islamic group seeks to recreate the Caliphate.

ISIS is at the extreme end of the scale, not because it tortures, kills and rapes, but because it implemented the Caliphate immediately. The atrocities for which ISIS has become known are typical of a functioning Caliphate. The execution of Muslims who do not submit to the Caliph, the ethnic cleansing and sexual slavery of non-Muslims are not aberrations. They are normal behavior for a Caliphate.

The last Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, was selling non-Muslim girls as sex slaves after the invention of the telephone.  A New York Times report from 1886 documented the sale of girls as young as twelve, one of them with “light hazel eyes, black eyebrows and long yellow hair”. An earlier report from theLondon Post described Turks, “sending their blacks to market, in order to make room for a newly-purchased white girl”. This behavior is not a temporary aberration, but dates back to Mohammed’s men raping and enslaving non-Muslim women and young girls as a reward for fighting to spread Islam.

The ISIS behaviors that we find so shocking were widely practiced in even the most civilized parts of the Muslim world around the time that the Statue of Liberty was being dedicated in New York City.

To Muslims, the end of slavery is one of the humiliations that they had to endure because of the loss of the Caliphate. Europeans forced an end to the slave trade. The British made the Turks give up their slaves. The United States made the Saudis give up their slaves in the 1960s. (Unofficially they still exist.) When the Muslim Brotherhood took over Egypt, its Islamist constitution dropped a ban on slavery.

The Muslim Brotherhood is on the moderate side of the Caliphate curve not because it doesn’t want to bring back the Caliphate, it does, or because it doesn’t want to subjugate non-Muslims, it does, but because it wants to do so gradually over an extended period of time using modern political methods.

But whether you take the long road along the Caliphate curve or the short one it still ends up in the same place. Everyone on the Caliphate curve agrees that the world, including the United States, must be ruled by Muslims under Islamic law and that freedom and equal rights for all must come to an end.

ISIS is just doing right now what the Muslim Brotherhood would take a hundred years to accomplish.

We are not at war with ISIS. We are at war with everyone on the Caliphate curve. Not because we choose to be, but because like Hitler’s Thousand Year Reich or Communism’s vision of one world under the red flag, the Caliphate is a plan for imposing a totalitarian system on us  to deprive us of our rights.

The Nazis and the Communists had a vision for the world. So do the Islamic Supremacists who advocate the restoration of the Caliphate. All three groups occasionally played the victim of our foreign policy, but they were not responding to us, they were trying to bring about their positive vision of an ideal society.

Nazi, Communist and Islamist societies just happen to be living nightmares for the rest of us.

No one on the Caliphate curve is moderate. Some on the Caliphate curve are just more patient. They put up billboards, create hashtags and try to ban any criticism of their ideology as Islamophobic. But that’s just Caliphatism with a human face. And that makes them a much more dangerous enemy.

ISIS is in some ways our least dangerous enemy. We haven’t defeated ISIS, because we haven’t even tried. Instead Obama fights a war in which 75 percent of strikes on ISIS are blocked and leaflets are dropped 45 minutes before a strike on oil tankers warning ISIS to flee. If we were to fight ISIS by the same rules as our wars in the last century, the Islamic State would have been crushed long ago.

A insta-Caliphate like ISIS isn’t hard to beat. The global networks of Al Qaeda employing more conventional terror tactics are a trickier force because they are embedded within the stream of Muslim migration. And the Muslim Brotherhood is the trickiest of them all because it is so deeply embedded within Muslim populations in the West that it represents and controls those populations.

What ISIS accomplishes by brute force, the Muslim Brotherhood does by setting up networks of front groups. Both ISIS and the Brotherhood control large Muslim populations. ISIS conquers populations in failed states. The Muslim Brotherhood however exercises control over populations in the cities of the West. We could bomb Raqqa, but can we bomb Dearborn, Jersey City or Irvine?

This is where the Caliphate curve truly reaches its most terrifying potential.

The original Islamic expansionism was so devastating not because it managed to seize control over the hinterlands of Arabia, but because it conquered and subjugated civilized cities such as Alexandria, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Athens and Delhi. ISIS envisions repeating these conquests and more, but if it succeeds it will not be because of its military strategy, but because it targets have been colonized.

We can destroy ISIS tomorrow, but we will still be in an extended war with a hundred other groups who all have a vision for restoring the Caliphate. This war will never end until we crush their supremacist agenda by demonstrating that we will never again allow such a horror to exist on this earth. As long as Muslim groups hold out hope for a restoration of the Caliphate this war, in its various forms, will go on.

We are not at war with an organization, but with the idea that Muslims are superior to non-Muslims and are endowed by Allah with the right to rule over them, to rob them, to rape them and enslave them. ISIS is the most naked expression of this idea. But it’s an idea that everyone on the Caliphate curve accepts.

Until we defeat this racist idea, new Islamic groups will constantly keep arising animated by this vision. Wars fueled by supremacist beliefs have historically only ended when the illusion of superiority was destroyed by utterly defeating and humiliating the attackers. It worked with Japan and Nazi Germany.

Our war now will not end until we destroy the supremacist faith in the Caliphate curve.

***

Watch Muslims, in their own words, vowing to to install a worldwide Caliphate:

The Isis papers: leaked documents show how Isis is building its state

The leaked Islamic State document sets out a blueprint for a building a state

The leaked Islamic State document sets out a blueprint for a building a state

Blueprint lays bare new contours of Islamic state, complete with civil service, regional government and Soviet levels of economic control.

Guardian, by Shiv Malik, Dec. 7, 2015:

A leaked internal Islamic State manual shows how the terrorist group has set about building a state in Iraq and Syria complete with government departments, a treasury and an economic programme for self-sufficiency, the Guardian can reveal.

The 24-page document, obtained by the Guardian, sets out a blueprint for establishing foreign relations, a fully fledged propaganda operation, and centralised control over oil, gas and the other vital parts of the economy.

The manual, written last year and entitled Principles in the administration of the Islamic State, lays bare Isis’s state-building aspirations and the ways in which it has managed to set itself apart as the richest and most destabilising jihadi group of the past 50 years.

The Isis papers: a masterplan for consolidating power

 

Together with other documents obtained by the Guardian, it builds up a picture of a group that, although sworn to a founding principle of brutal violence, is equally set on more mundane matters such as health, education, commerce, communications and jobs. In short, it is building a state.

As western aircraft step up their aerial war on Isis targets in Syria, the implication is that the military task is not simply one of battlefield arithmetic. Isis is already far more than the sum of its fighters.

The document – written as a foundation text to train “cadres of administrators” in the months after Isis’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria on 28 June 2014 – sketches out how to organise government departments including education, natural resources, industry, foreign relations, public relations and military camps.

Dated some time between July and October 2014, it details how Isis will build separate training camps for regular troops and veteran fighters. Veterans, it says, should go on a fortnight’s refresher course each year to receive instruction in the “latest arts of using weapons, military planning and military technologies”.

It says they will also be given a “detailed commentary on the technologies” of the enemy and “how the soldiers of the state can take advantage of them”.

The statecraft manual recommends a department for administering the military camps, a complex arrangement that, as described, goes well beyond the capabilities of al-Qaida in Afghanistan during the time it plotted the 9/11 attacks.

The document reveals for the first time that Isis always intended to train children in the arts of war. Isis propaganda from this year has clearly shown children being drilled, and even made to shoot captives.

But the text, authored by an Egyptian called Abu Abdullah, is explicit about the intention to do so from mid- to late 2014. Children, it says, will be receive “training on bearing light arms” and “outstanding individuals” will be “selected from them for security portfolio assignments, including checkpoints, patrols”.

The text highlights the need for Isis to achieve a unified culture encompassing foreigners and natives and sets out the need for self-sufficiency by establishing its own independent “factories for local military and food production” and creating “isolated safe zones” for providing for local needs.

The document came from a businessman working within Isis via the academic researcher Aymenn al-Tamimi, who has worked over the past year to compile the most thorough log of Isis documents available to the public.

For safety reasons, the Guardian cannot reveal further information about the businessman but he has leaked nearly 30 documents in all, including a financial statement from one of Isis’s largest provinces.

Isis has suffered military setbacks in recent weeks, and some Sunni Arabs from Raqqa have indicated that its statecraft might be better on paper than it is in practice.

But Tamimi said the playbook, along with a further 300 Isis documents he has obtained over the past year, showed that building a viable country rooted in fundamentalist theology was the central aim. “[Isis] is a project that strives to govern. It’s not just a case of their sole end being endless battle.”

Gen Stanley McChrystal (retired), who led the military units that helped destroy Isis’s predecessor organisation (ISI) in Iraq from 2006 to 2008, said: “If it is indeed genuine, it is fascinating and should be read by everyone – particularly policymakers in the west.

“If the west sees Isis as an almost stereotypical band of psychopathic killers, we risk dramatically underestimating them.

“In the Principles in the administration of the Islamic State, you see a focus on education (really indoctrination) beginning with children but progressing through their ranks, a recognition that effective governance is essential, thoughts on their use of technology to master information (propaganda), and a willingness to learn from the mistakes of earlier movements.

“It’s not a big departure from the works of Mao, the practices of the Viet Minh in Indochina, or other movements for whom high-profile actions were really just the tip of a far more nuanced iceberg of organising activity.

Charlie Winter, a senior researcher for Georgia State University who has seen the document, said it demonstrated Isis’s high capacity for premeditation.

“Far from being an army of irrational, bloodthirsty fanatics, IS [Isis] is a deeply calculating political organisation with an extremely complex, well-planned infrastructure behind it.”

Lt Gen Graeme Lamb, former head of UK special forces, said the playbook carried a warning for current military strategy.

Referring to sections of the statecraft text in which Isis repeatedly claims it is the only true representatives of Sunni Arab Muslims in the region, Lamb said it was all the more important to ensure wider Sunni leadership in the fight with Isis, or risk “fuelling this monster”.

“Seeing Daesh [Isis] and the caliphate as simply a target to be systematically broken by forces other than Middle Eastern Sunnis … is to fail to understand this fight.

“It must be led by the Sunni Arab leadership and its many tribes across the region, with us in the west and the other religious factions in the Middle East acting in support.

“It is not currently how we are shaping the present counter-Isis campaign, thereby setting ourselves up for potential failure.”

Also see:

Islam, Jihad, and our Ignorance

mosqueinabujaPolitically Short, by Nick Short on Nov. 28, 2015:

“Ignorance kills. In war, ignorance brings defeat, especially for those who are sworn to support and defend us,” writes Stephen Coughlin in his latest book Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad. Coughlin continues, “While ignorance is not a crime for the average person, it is for professionals concerning subject matter that is the object of their professions. Why shouldn’t this hold true for national security professionals? For them, one requirement is that they know the enemy by undertaking real threat identification of entities that constitute actual threats to the Constitution and people of the United States.”

The refusal to account for the doctrinal elements of Islam in our national security analyses constitutes the professional malpractice that Coughlin was alluding to as our threat doctrine has been reduced to strategic incomprehension and incoherence. In wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris that took the lives of 130 and injured 350 others, Coughlin ominously warned back in April that this strategic incoherence in the War on Terror “will increasingly be measured by news stories that reveal senior leaders’ inability to answer basic questions about the nature of the enemy and his environment. It will also manifest itself in official responses to terrorist attacks that become progressively less reality-based.” Yet, as Americans, Parisians, and virtually every citizen living within Western society grows more outraged by yet another failure of intelligence in stopping the latest jihadist attack, “those professionally and constitutionally tasked with keeping them safe continue to lack awareness, understanding, and even professional curiosity about the doctrines that drive the enemy to action,” notes Coughlin.

For our enemies, the implementation of Islamic law known as sharia is both the objective and the basis in which they routinely states their justification for attack. Our enemy openly declares that they are engaged in a global jihad as Islamic law serves as their doctrinal driver to commit murder in order to establish an “Islamic state”, or Caliphate, governed by Islamic law.  Osama bin Laden stated the following in 2002:

Muslims, and especially the learned among them, should spread Shari’a law to the world — that and nothing else. Not laws under the “umbrella of justice, morality, and rights” as understood by the masses. No, the Shari’a of Islam is the foundation. … In fact, Muslims are obligated to raid the lands of the infidels, occupy them, and exchange their system of governance for an Islamic system, barring any practice that contradicts Shari’a from being publicly voiced among the people, as was the case in the dawn of Islam. … They say that our Shari’a does not impose our particular beliefs upon others; this is a false assertion. For it is, in fact, part of our religion to impose our particular beliefs upon others. … Thus whoever refuses the principle of terror[ism] against the enemy also refuses the commandment of Allah the Exalted, the Most High, and His Shari’a.

“Jihad in the cause of Allah” is what the enemy claims it is doing, whether it be the now deceased leader of al-Qaeda or the current leader of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. To the exclusion of all other reasons, including “underlying causes” such as economic deprivation, “climate change”, or poverty, the root cause always traces back to Islam itself and the enemy doesn’t just make this claim. What the jihadis say they will do tracks exactly with what they do.

The concepts of jihad given expression by so called “extremists” can be found in the body of Islamic law as defined by recognized authorities and authoritative sources as the legal description has remained consistent across the 1400 year span that incorporates today’s recognized authorities. Defined as “warfare against non-muslims to establish the religion,” the rules of Islamic law pertaining to jihad have remained consistent regardless of whether it was defined by an eighth century Arab, a ninth century Uzebki, a 12th century Spaniard, a 14th century North African, or even a 20th century Arab, Pakistani, Indian, Malaysian or American. “All conformed to the idea that jihad does not end until the world has been made the dar al-Islam,” notes Coughlin, adding “because there is agreement among the scholars on the status of jihad, it belongs to the fixed inner sphere of Islamic law that can never be changed.

“Yet, the requirement of jihad neither begins nor ends with the kinetic aspects of warfare. Coughlin notes that Islamic law divides the world into two states, dar al-Islam (the house of Islam and peace) and dar al-harb (the house of War, which is the world of the infidel and the region of perpetual warfare) with jihad being an unabrogable obligation for Muslims until the dar al-harb is eliminated and the people of the book ‘pay the jizya (tax) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (Qur’an 9: 29).” Anyone who comes from the dar al-harb has the status under Islamic law of harbi (enemy). As a country not governed by Islamic law, the United States resides in the dar al-harb, therefore we Americans are harbi.

To elaborate on this concept, Coughlin cites Majid Khadduri, a professor at John Hopkins University who wrote War and Peace in the Law of Islam (1955) and published his translation of the classic 8th-century treatise Shaybani’s Siyar (1966). The Siyar is among the oldest testaments on international relations and the law of war in Islamic law. Khadduri in War and Peace in the Law of Islam writes:

It follows that the existence of a dar al-Harb is ultimately outlawed under the Islamic jural order; that the dar al-Islam is permanently under jihad obligation until the dar al-Harb is reduced to non-existence; and that any community accepting certain disabilities must submit to Islamic rule and reside in the dar al-Islam or be bound as clients to the Muslim community. The universality of Islam, in its all-embracing creed, is imposed on the believers as a continuous process of warfare, psychological and political if not strictly military.

It’s imperative to understand this concept for even when a fighting jihad is not underway, a “continuous process of warfare” is waged at the psychological and political levels. Khadduri states this as a matter of doctrine— because the “dar al-harb is ultimately outlawed under the Islamic jural order; … the dar al-Islam is permanently under jihad obligation until the dar al-harb is reduced to non-existence.” It is from this context that those who believe, as our current adminstration repeatedly reminds us, that we are “not at war with Islam” can be refuted as Islam has and will continue to remain at war with us as a continuous process of psychological, political, and kinetic warfare.

Through this concept of Islamic warfare, a substantial effort is placed on the “preparation stage”, the object of which is to induce a collapse of faith in the cultural, political, and religious institutions underpinning the target. A very clear example of this doctrine is Pakistani Brigadier General S.K. Malik’s The Quranic Concept of War. As Coughlin explains, “In the Quranic Concept of War, Malik emphasized the importance of laying the groundwork for successful military operations. He explained this preparatory stage as a ‘dislocation of faith’ in the target nation’s sense of security and in the capability of its leaders to defend its territory. The inability of the target population’s leadership to protect its citizens in the face of a terror campaign signals the beginning of kinetic operations in earnest. At some point, dawah (issuing of summons) transitions to jihad.” Elaborating on the concept of dawah, Coughlin highlights that it is “often defined as the ‘invitation’ or ‘call to Islam,” the meaning and purpose of which is more extensive and closely associated with jihad. In fact, much of what is popularly called “stealth jihad” are actions taken in preparation for jihad in the dawah phase of operations as explained by Malik when he states the following:

The Quranic strategy comes into to play from the preparation stage, and aims at imposing a direct decision upon the enemy. Other things remaining the same, our preparation for war is the true index of our performance during war. We must aim at creating a wholesome respect for our Cause and our will and determination to attain it, in the minds of the enemies, well before facing them on the field of battle. So spirited, zealous, complete and thorough should be our preparation for war that we should enter upon the ‘war of muscles’ having already won the ‘war of will’. Only a strategy that aims at striking terror into the hearts of the enemies from the preparation stage can produce direct results and turn Liddell Hart’s dream into a reality. To instill terror into the hearts of the enemy is essential in the ultimate analysis to dislocate his faith. An invincible faith is immune to terror. A weak faith offers inroads to terror.

In the early phases of dawah, one should expect to see an emphasis on penetration and subversion campaigns directed at cultural, political, media, and religious institutions. Actions taken in the early dawah phase are aimed at compromising a community’s core beliefs which substantially contributes to the sense of hopelessness that is exponentially magnified when a jihadist finally commits an act of terrorism. From this perspective and contrary to Western notions of “separation of church and state,” Islam in general defines itself in unitary terms as a complete way of life governed by a single body of law that comes from Allah who retains sole sovereignty. Thus, Islamic law is the legal system “extremists” emulate and seek to impose when fighting jihad both kinetically and non-kinetically.

The refusal to understand the enemy’s doctrine, which tells him not to strike until he has assessed that we are already defeated in our own minds, lends credence to the notion of why we are so routinely caught of guard when a jihadist strikes. Judging by the fact that the FBI currently has nearly 1,000 ongoing ISIS probes in the United States with 82 individuals affiliated with ISIS having been interdicted by law enforcement since March of 2014, the enemy has assessed that the time has come to unleash kinetic attacks as we have already been defeated within our own minds.

“Most importantly,” notes Dr. Sebastian Gorka in his latest ThreatKnowldgeGroup special report on ISIS: The Threat to the United States, “nearly one third of the domestic ISIS cases in the past 18 months involved people who planned to carry out attacks against Americans on U.S. soil. In other words, one third of those interdicted calculated that the best way to serve the new Islamic State and its Caliph, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, is to wage jihad here on the soil of the infidel.” The primary reason that we have seen a 300 percent increase in terrorist arrests in the United States beginning in 2014 compared to the average monthly arrests of al Qaeda suspects since the 9/11 attacks of 2001 is because of the proclaimed caliphate established on June 29, 2014.

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch explains that “the Islamic State’s June 29, 2014, proclamation of itself as the caliphate, which in Islamic theology is the Islamic nation, embodying the supranational unity of the Muslim community worldwide under a single leader, the caliph, is the key to [understanding] its appeal to so many Muslims worldwide.” Spencer elaborates, “the caliph is the symbol of the unity of Muslims worldwide, in traditional Islamic theology, Muslims worldwide constitute a single community [known as an umma] and are rightfully citizens of the Islamic Caliphate.” Moreover, if we look to the book Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law that has the imprimatur of Al-Azhar University in Cairo which is the intellectual heartbeat of Islam, we find that it certifies as conforming “to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community” in which only the caliph is authorized to declare “offensive jihad” in order to “make war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians.” The caliphate, this Sharia manual says, is “both obligatory in itself and the necessary precondition for hundreds of rulings established by Allah Most High to govern and guide Islamic community life.” It quotes the Islamic scholar Abul Hasan Mawardi explaining that the caliph’s role is “preserving the religion and managing this-worldly affairs.”

As Spencer notes, “since the caliph is obligated to wage offensive jihad, we can expect that with the coming of the Islamic State caliphate there will be even more jihad in the wold than here has been recently.” This is because of the appeal that the Caliphate has upon Muslims who are devoutly religious and since the Islamic States’ theology is straightforward with the Qur’anic justifications for their actions being based on the plain words of the text, the appeal will continue as the tens of thousands of Muslims who have already joined ISIS from all over the world testifies to the resonance of their literal reading of Islam’s holy book.

In closing, since adherents to sharia and a strict interpretation of Islam have sworn to destroy us, it is their doctrine that we are required to know. Whether that doctrine is judged by us or this adminstration to be accurate with “genuine” Islam is wholly irrelevant. If it can be demonstrated, which it has been, that the enemy that attacks and kills Americans and seeks to subvert our Constitution refers to and relies on the implementation of sharia to guide and justify his actions, then that is all that matters in terms of the enemy threat doctrine U.S. civilian and military leaders must thoroughly understand and orient upon for the purpose of defeating such foes. As Coughlin concludes, “failing to orient on an enemy’s self-identified doctrines not only violates our own doctrine on threat analysis but renders us unable to defeat the enemy because we have failed properly to identify him.” Such a catastrophic failure of intelligence defies the rules of warfare reaching back to Sun Tzu on the requirement to “know the enemy.” It also completely defies common sense and the canons of professional conduct of our leadership.

We are at war and it’s time we as a nation orient our strategy to reflect it.

Nick Short, a graduate of Northern Arizona University with a Bachelors in Criminal Justice. Politically Short offers a millennials perspective over today’s news outside the beltway of Washington D.C.

Nick is also a contributor to Western Free Press and Western Journalism 

Follow Nick on Twitter , LinkedIn and Google+ 

Email him at Nds56@nau.edu

Audio: Clare Lopez on the Global Islamic Jihad Movement

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This is an excellent wide ranging interview with Clare Lopez by Roy “Backpack” Baron and Yoda of Global Voices of Freedom radio. Visit their website: http://www.magnifiedview.com/

Topics covered:

  • The Global Islamic Jihad Movement
  • Pre-violent civilization and violent jihad 
  • America’s First Principles vs. Sharia
  • Refugee resettlement and vetting for ideology
  • Need for local police departments and sheriffs to learn about jihad and what to look for (32 min. into audio)
  • Mosques as command and control centers for jihad
  • US Middle East Policy 

Resources mentioned:

Clare Lopez audio widget

Ms. Lopez manages the Center for Security Policy’s counterjihad and shariah programs, bringing with her also an expertise on Iran, Hizballah, and southern border issues. From 2010-2014, she was a Sr. Fellow with the Center. Lopez began her professional career as a CIA operations officer and later applied her national security expertise as a consultant, intelligence analyst, and researcher in various contract positions within the defense sector. She has been an instructor for military intelligence and Special Forces students and lectures widely on Iran, Islam, and the Muslim Brotherhood around the country. Earlier an advisor to EMP Act America, in February 2012 Ms. Lopez was named a member of the Congressional Task Force on National and Homeland Security, which focuses on the Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) threat to the nation and is a member of the Center’s Secure the Grid Coalition.

Lopez is the co-author of two published books on Iran, author of an acclaimed paper for the Center, The Rise of the Iran Lobby, and co-author/editor of the Center’s Team B II study, “Shariah: The Threat to America”. Ms. Lopez received a B.A. in Communications and French from Notre Dame College of Ohio and an M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She completed Marine Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, Virginia before declining a commission to join the CIA.

Clare Lopez: US Response to the Global Jihad Movement

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Published on Feb 26, 2015 by johngaltcsa

Alert Long Island presents Clare Lopez – former CIA officer and Strategic Policy and Intelligence Expert – The US Response to the Global Jihad Movement
Albertson, NY Feb 24, 2015

Our Lady of Victory

UTT, by John Guandolo, Oct. 7, 2015:

Today, October 7th, the free West celebrates and remembers that on this date in 1571 the last great naval battle of oared ships took place in the Gulf of Corinth (Greece).  Known as the Battle of Lepanto – where the Muslims had their fleet – this was the first defeat of the Muslim Turks at sea by Christian forces.

Prelude

In the 16th century, the Islamic Caliphate – the Ottoman Empire – was continuing it’s incursion and expansion into Western lands, including the Mediterranean and more of Europe.

Caliph Suleiman ruled the Caliphate from 1520 to 1566, and was followed by Selim II who ruled until 1574.

In May 1565, the Ottomans laid siege to the island of Malta (due south of Sicily) with 250 ships carrying 40,000 Muslim fighters.  Malta was defended by 700 Knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitallers) and approximately 8,000 Maltese troops.  For four months the Christian forces defended Malta and inflicted large casualties on the Ottoman Turks, who finally fled when reinforcements arrived.  Thereafter, the Knights carried the title the “Knights of Malta.”

The Battle of Cyprus

In the spring of 1570, the 4th Ottoman-Venetian war began when the Muslim Turks attacked Cyprus with 70,000 men.  The Venetians appealed to Pope Pius V to come to their defense.

The Christian defenders of Cyprus were outnumbered by a margin of almost 7 to 1.  The city of Nicosia held for nearly two months but, having been reduced to 500 soldiers, surrendered.

Venetian soldiers in Famagusta fought on for nearly a year, but on August 5, 1571, Cyprus fell.

The Venetians agreed to surrender terms offered by the Turkish commander, Lala Mustafa, who agreed to give them safe passage to Crete on Turkish ships.  Instead, the Venetians were stripped of their clothes, chained to the oars of the Turkish ships, and forced to row.

The Muslims beheaded the Venetian commanders and hung their heads on the mast of their ships.

On August 17, 1571, The Venetian governor/commander, Marco Antonio Bragadin, was humiliated, tortured, and flayed alive.  Mustafa had Bragadin’s body stuffed with hay and hung on the mast of his ship.

On May 25, 1571, while these battles were raging in Cyprus, Pope Pius V formed the Holy League with forces from the Papal States, the Habsburg States in Italy and Spain, monarchies of Tuscany, Savoy and elsewhere, the Knights of Malta, and others, in order to defend Cyprus and push back the Islamic forces.

The Battle of Lepanto

In September 1571, the Holy League’s fleet assembled at Messina, Sicily with 206 galleys and 6 smaller ships, manned by 40,000 sailors carrying approximately 27,000 soldiers.  The Holy League sailed for Corfu on September 16th with John of Austria commanding (in the center), Agostino Barbarigo on the left, Italy’s Admiral Giovanni Andrea Doria on the right, and, from Spain, Álvaro de Bazán in reserve.

The Muslim fleet was commanded by Ali Pasha (center), Alexandria’s governor, Mohammed Saulak (right), and the Pasha of Algiers Uluch Ali on the left.  The Turkish fleet flew the green standard with the word “Allah” embroidered over 29,000 times on it.

The Holy League’s Battle Standard was given to them by Pope Pius V and carried the image of the crucified Jesus on the Cross on it.

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On the eve of battle – October 6th – Priests on the Holy League’s vessels held Mass, heard confessions, and prayed with the men.  Knowing the Turks had never been defeated on the sea, the men of the Holy League prayed the Rosary and asked Mary, the Mother of God, to pray for them.

Across Europe, people had been praying for months, and the Pope called for all Christians to pray the Rosary for victory.

It is said that on the day of battle, John of Austria went from ship to ship with a crucifix encouraging the men to keep their faith strong in the face of this impending engagement.

The tactics of the day were to engage the enemy ship to ship, lash them together, and fight close hand to hand combat.

On October 7, 1571, the Battle of Lepanto began with the Holy League’s guns ripping down the masts of Turkish ships and doing great damage before the fleets came in close range.

John of Austria’s Real and Ali Pasha’s Sultana – the flagships for each force – collided together.  Fierce fighting ensued and finally subsided when Ali Pasha was shot dead and the Holy League standard was raised over theSultana. Even though the Muslim center was collapsing, the battle raged on.

In the end, the Christians were victorious.  The Holy league captured 117 galleys and thousands of men, liberated over 12,000 enslaved Christians, and sank or burned about four dozen enemy galleys.

Across Europe celebrations ensued as news of the victory spread throughout the land.  Great works of art were commissioned to memorialize the victory at Lepanto.

Lepanto

The Church declared October 7th the Feast Day of Our Lady of Victory, which today is also called the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, to honor what many believe were the prayers of Mary interceding on behalf of the Holy League and the forces of Liberty.

Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, was wounded in the battle.  He wrote the Battle of Lepanto was “the most noble and memorable event that past centuries have seen.”

While Venice later surrendered to the Islamic fleet in 1573, the victory at the Battle of Lepanto ensured the Islamic domination of the Mediterranean was over for the time being.  It also gave Europe a much needed boost in morale after centuries of war with the invading Muslims.

Coda

Since Mohammed first launched jihad in the early 7th century, the free Christian West has been at war with the Islamic forces who continue to kill and impose slavery on Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  Were it not for key victories against the Islamic armies over the last 1400 years, the lamp of freedom would be dim today.

The first war America fought after our Revolution was against the Muslim (Barbary states), when Thomas Jefferson ordered the Marines to deal with the Islamic forces which were capturing American vessels on the seas and taking Americans prisoner.  America defeated the Muslims in these now-famous engagements But we have forgotten our history.

Today, the world watches the continued incursion by Muslim forces into sovereign nations where tens of thousands are murdered in gruesome deaths.  Women are systematically raped and disfigured.  Homosexuals are thrown from buildings to their deaths.  Nations are being overthrown.  From Central and East Africa to the Philippines to Thailand, across Europe and throughout the Middle East and Asia.  The armies of Mohammed are again marching to conquer the globe.

Their stated goal:  to re-establish the Caliphate and impose Sharia (Islamic Law) on the world.

In Europe and America, we are told – especially by political and religious leaders – that we should be more tolerant of the Muslim faith which, they say, is a “religion of peace.”

Today, October 7th, we remember and honor all of those who fought for liberty against the forces of evil and slavery.  We remember the prayers that delivered the Holy League a great victory over the Ottoman Turks.

And we pray that Liberty will go back on the offensive where it belongs.

***

h/t Creeping Sharia

Also see:

‘Muslims are fleeing in droves’: ISIS suddenly has a caliphate problem

 

A militant Islamist fighter filming his fellow fighters taking part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province in 2014.

A militant Islamist fighter filming his fellow fighters taking part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province in 2014.

Business Insider, by Pamela Engel, Sep. 22, 2015:

The Islamic State militant group has recently released a barrage of propaganda videos targeting refugees and telling them to come join the “caliphate” instead of fleeing to “xenophobic” Europe.

The videos seek to reinforce the image of the caliphate — the territory ISIS controls in Iraq and Syria — as an Islamic utopia and capitalize on the dangers refugees face as they flee to European countries.

And these videos aren’t the first propaganda messages ISIS has released about the refugee crisis — earlier this month, in its English-language magazine Dabiq, the extremist group published an article warning against leaving the caliphate for Western countries.

The articles said leaving for Western nations was “a dangerous major sin” that was “a gate towards one’s children and grandchildren abandoning Islam for Christianity, atheism, or liberalism.”

This propaganda effort could be a sign of panic in the ranks of ISIS leadership as Iraqis and Syrians flee their home countries in large numbers.

“They claim to create this Islamic utopia, and Muslims are fleeing in droves,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a counterterrorism analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Business Insider.

“A legitimate caliphate … is supposed to be able to provide services to its citizens.”

ISIS relies on residents in the territory it controls for revenue — it makes most of its money from taxation — and for services that give ISIS-held territories the appearance of being ruled by a functioning government.

“Taxation certainly would [be] an issue with people fleeing,” Gartenstein-Ross said. “Another significant problem is brain drain … The people who have highly desirable skill sets like doctors are fleeing.”

A map from August showing oil wells under ISIS control.

A map from August showing oil wells under ISIS control.

Oil is another major source of funding for ISIS, which brought in an estimated $100 million in 2014 from selling crude on the black market.

“The oil industry … is another area where they haven’t preserved the level of talent that they need,” Gartenstein-Ross added.

Aside from a possible brain drain and loss of revenue if there are fewer people to tax as ISIS continues its attempt to seize territory across Iraq and Syria, the refugee exodus from the Middle East could call ISIS’ legitimacy into question, Gartenstein-Ross said.

And ISIS has a strategy to keep people from leaving the caliphate. The International Institute for Strategic Studies reported recently: “It is in ISIS’s interest to prevent a mass exodus by residents living in territory it controls, because this would undermine its image of a cohesive state-building project. The group has accordingly placed IEDs around entrances to cities it controls, such as Fallujah and Ramadi, to prevent escape, which simultaneously serve the larger purpose of preventing the [Iraqi Security Forces] from advancing.”

The strategic security firm The Soufan Group noted last week that “more people are visibly fleeing [ISIS] and the areas it controls than are flocking to join it.”

“In an attempt to change the minds of people who would rather risk drowning than live in the Islamic State, the group has ramped up its propaganda efforts,” The Soufan Group said. “The scatter-shot nature of the Islamic State’s recent messages — at times angry and denouncing refugees, at other times proclaiming the wisdom of staying in what the group sees as an Earthly paradise — shows the desperation of a group that resembles a pyramid scheme more than a government.”

Some experts, however, disagree with the characterization of ISIS’ media blitz as a sign of desperation or panic.

“I wouldn’t see it as a desperate call for the refugees … because they need people [in their caliphate] but more as a sophisticated move by the Islamic State to take advantage of the huge debate on the refugee movement in Europe,” Pieter Nanninga, an assistant professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, told Business Insider.

His research focuses on jihadist violence and media use, and he viewed the new videos ISIS posted about the refugee crisis.

Read more

Also see:

ISIS ‘Mein Kampf’ Blames Israel for Global Terrorism

Islamic State promoting and "end of the world" battle. (Photo : Google Commons)

Islamic State promoting and “end of the world” battle. (Photo : Google Commons)

Experts poring over secret Islamic State dossier found in Pakistan’s tribal badlands; Arutz Sheva gains an exclusive look.

Arutz Sheva, By Sara A. Carter, American Media Institute, 8/16/15:

Intelligence officials are comparing a newly discovered secret Islamic State document to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” as it blames Israel for the rise of the Islamic State and crowns U.S. President Barack Obama as the “Mule of the Jews.”

Found in Pakistan’s remote tribal region by American Media Institute (AMI), the 32-page Urdu language document promotes an “end of the world” battle as a final solution. It argues that the Islamic leader should be recognized as the sole ruler of the world’s 1 billion Muslims, under a religious empire called a “caliphate.”

“It reads like the caliphate’s own Mein Kampf,” said a U.S. intelligence official, who reviewed the document. “While the world is watching videos of beheadings and crucifixions in Iraq and Syria the Islamic State is moving into North Africa the Middle East, and now we see it has a strategy in South Asia. It’s a magician’s trick, watch this hand and you’ll never see what the other is doing.”

Retired U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Michael Flynn and other U.S. intelligence officials confirmed the authenticity of the document based on its unique markings, specific language used to describe leaders and the writing style and religious wording that matched other Islamic State records.

Flynn said the undated document, “A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC), The Caliphate According to the Prophet,” is a campaign plan that “lays out their intent, their goals and objectives, a red flag to which we must pay attention.”

The document serves as a Nazi-like recruiting pitch that attempts to unite dozens of factions of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban into a single army of terror.  It includes a never-before-seen history of the Islamic State, details chilling future battle plans and urges al-Qaeda to join Islamic State.

Its tone is direct: “Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last person that rebels against Allah. This is the bitter truth, swallow it.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal center for human rights who heads Center’s Digital Terrorism and Hate Project, compares the Islamic State threats in the document to the rise of Nazism pre-World War II.

The brutal killing of a teacher and three children at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse in 2012 by an Algerian Islamist was a major signal to the Jewish community that Europe was no longer safe and that not enough was being done to curtail the rise of anti-semitism, he said.

“It’s important to remember what our founder, Wiesenthal said, ‘it often starts with the Jews but it never ends with the Jews,” Cooper said. “As a matter fact [Islamic State] did not create anti-semitism but they are taking advantage of it, and they are building on it.”

The document advocates creating a new terrorist army in Afghanistan and Pakistan to trigger a war in India and provoke an Armageddon-like confrontation with the United States. It also details Islamic State’s plot to attack U.S. soldiers as they withdraw from Afghanistan and target America diplomats and Pakistani officials and blames the rise of jihadi organizations on the establishment of Israel.

“No sooner had the British government relinquished control of Israel, Ben-Gurion, the leader of the Jews, declared the independence of the State of Israel, triggering a global migration of Jews to the Jewish State, and launching the systematic persecution of Palestinian Muslims who had to abandon their homes and migrate,” the document states.

The document discloses the history of Islamic State dating back to the early 1990s and explains why in 2011 its leader, Abu Bakr al- Bagdhadi, unleashed car bombs to avenge Osama bin Laden’s death, and boasts about the suicide rates of American soldiers.

“Urban centers across Iraq exploded with car bombs and IED’s. The losses inflicted upon Americans, apostates, and heretics were unprecedented, as were the suicide rates amongst U.S soldiers,” the document states. “This state of affairs forced Mule of the Jews, U.S President Obama to announce an exit plan.”

The battle plan to “end the world” is described in six phases (three of which have already passed) – ripping pages from al-Qaeda’s original plans to defeat the west, in a graphic illustration of how ISIS sees itself as the true heirs to Osama Bin Laden’s legacy.

  • Phase 1 “Awakening” 2000-2003: Islamic State calls for “a major operation against the U.S. .. to provoke a crusade against Islam.”
  • Phase 2 “Shock and Awe” 2004 – 2006: Islamic State will lure U.S. into multiple theatres of war, including cyber-attacks and establish charities across the Muslim and Arab world to support terrorism.
  • Phase 3 “Self-reliance” 2007-2010: Islamic State will create “interference” with Iraq’s neighboring states with particular focus on Syria.
  • Phase 4 “Reaping/extortion/receiving” 2010-2013: Islamic State will attack “U.S and Western interests” to destroy their economy and replace the dollar with silver and gold and expose Muslim governments’ relations with Israel and the U.S.
  • Phase 5 Declaring the Caliphate 2013-2016: Not much details offered here. The document just says, “The Caliphate According to The Prophet.
  • Phase 6, Open Warfare 2017-2020:  Islamic State predicts faith will clash with non-believers and “Allah will grant victory to the believers after which peace will reign on earth.”

The document urges followers of al-Qaeda and the Taliban to join the Islamic State in overthrowing Arab governments who have relations with the U.S. and Israel, unlike al-Qaeda, which believed it was “important to weaken the U.S before launching an armed revolt in Arab states and establishing a caliphate.”

In response to the document, a senior ranking Israeli official said that in the Middle East the world faces two threats – from Islamic State and from Iran. “We need not strengthen one at the expense of the other. We need to weaken both and prevent the aggression and arming of both,” he warned.

Alistair Baskey, deputy spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council said Islamic State is being monitored “closely to see whether their emergence will have a meaningful impact on the threat environment in the region.”

The document builds on evidence that Islamic State is expanding into the region where the September 11 attacks were born. A united Taliban, backed by the hundreds of millions of dollars of Iraqi oil revenue now enjoyed by Islamic State, would be a “game-changer,” officials said.

The document warns that “preparations” for an attack in India are underway and predicts that an attack will provoke an apocalyptic confrontation with America: “Even if the U.S tries to attack with all its allies, which undoubtedly it will, the (entire global Muslim community) will be united, resulting in the final battle.”

A war in India would magnify Islamic State stature and threaten the stability of the region, said Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution who served more than 30 years in the CIA. “Attacking in India is the Holy Grail of South Asian jihadists.”

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry denied the presence of Islamic State in the region, calling it only “a potential threat.”

Unlike al-Qaida, whose focus was the United States and other western nations, the document said Islamic State leaders believe that’s the wrong strategic goal. “Instead of wasting energy in a direct confrontation with the U.S., we should focus on an armed uprising in the Arab world for the establishment of the caliphate,” the document said.

The failure to target the radical Islamic ideas has given the group breathing room to spread throughout the world much like Hitler did.

“We did a lousy job predicting what Hitler was going to do in the 1920s, 1930s – honestly, we blew it,” Cooper said. “It’s hard to take seriously or believe that such hatred was real or would be possible. They made jokes about Jews, degraded Jews but nobody believed that they would be capable of what they were saying.  So now, when groups, like [Islamic State] come along and say they are going to do A B and C, you have to take them for their word.”

Islamic State recruitment document seeks to provoke ‘end of the world’

A video grab released by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on July 11, 2015, shows Hafiz Saeed, the Islamic State leader of the Khorasan State, at an undisclosed location along the Pakistani-Afghan border. (Photo: TTP/EPA)

A video grab released by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on July 11, 2015, shows Hafiz Saeed, the Islamic State leader of the Khorasan State, at an undisclosed location along the Pakistani-Afghan border.
(Photo: TTP/EPA)

USA Today, by Sara A. Carter, July 28, 2015:

An apparent Islamic State recruitment document found in Pakistan’s lawless tribal lands reveals that the extremist group has grand ambitions of building a new terrorist army in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and triggering a war in India to provoke an Armageddon-like “end of the world.”

The 32-page Urdu-language document obtained by American Media Institute (AMI) and reviewed by USA TODAY details a plot to attack U.S. soldiers as they withdraw from Afghanistan and target American diplomats and Pakistani officials.

AMI obtained the document from a Pakistani citizen with connections inside the Pakistani Taliban and had it independently translated from Urdu by Harvard researcher and translator Mustafa Samdani. The Pakistani’s identity was shared with USA TODAY, which has agreed not to identify him publicly because of concerns for his safety.

The document was reviewed by three U.S. intelligence officials, who said they believe the document is authentic based on its unique markings and the fact that language used to describe leaders, the writing style and religious wording match other documents from the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS. They asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The undated document, titled “A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC), The Caliphate According to the Prophet,” seeks to unite dozens of factions of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban into a single army of terror.  It includes a never-before-seen history of the Islamic State, details chilling future battle plans, urges al-Qaeda to join the group and says the Islamic State’s leader should be recognized as the sole ruler of the world’s 1 billion Muslims under a religious empire called a “caliphate.”

“Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last person that rebels against Allah,” it proclaims. “This is the bitter truth, swallow it.”

Retired Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who also reviewed the document, said it “represents the Islamic State’s campaign plan and is something, as an intelligence officer, I would not only want to capture, but fully exploit. It lays out their intent, their goals and objectives, a red flag to which we must pay attention.”

Alistair Baskey, deputy spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, told AMI, “we are aware of the presence of ISIL-affiliated militants in Afghanistan, and we are monitoring closely to see whether their emergence will have a meaningful impact on the threat environment in the region.”

The Taliban is another radical Islamic group that ruled Afghanistan until ousted during the U.S. invasion in 2001. It continues fighting the current Afghan government and also trying to thwart the Islamic State’s expansion into Afghanistan.

The document warns that “preparations” for an attack in India are underway and predicts that an attack will provoke an apocalyptic confrontation with America: “Even if the U.S tries to attack with all its allies, which undoubtedly it will, the ummah will be united, resulting in the final battle.” The word “ummah” refers to the entire global community of Muslims.

Striking in India would magnify the Islamic State’s stature and threaten the stability of the region, said Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution who served more than 30 years in the CIA. “Attacking in India is the Holy Grail of South Asian jihadists.”

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said the Islamic State threat in Pakistan was discussed with White House, State Department and Pentagon officials in June. He told reporters at the Pakistani Embassy in June that successful allied military operations have scattered the Pakistani Taliban.

Chaudhry denied there is an Islamic State presence in Pakistan. It could be “a potential threat for the whole world, for our region too, for our country too,” he said. “We believe that all countries need to cooperate, and Pakistan, yes.”

Unlike al-Qaeda, which has targeted terror attacks on the United States and other western nations, the document said Islamic State leaders believe that’s the wrong strategic goal. “Instead of wasting energy in a direct confrontation with the U.S., we should focus on an armed uprising in the Arab world for the establishment of the caliphate,” the document said.

So far, the U.S. strategy has been limited to fighting the militant group in Iraq and Syria, ordering limited airstrikes and deploying trainers to strengthen Iraqi security forces.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State has recruited tens of thousands of fighters and sympathizers from around the world.

The failure to target the radical Islamic ideas behind the group has given its fighters the opportunity to spread, Flynn said. “If I were in their shoes, I would say,’We are winning, we are achieving our objectives,’” Flynn said. “They have demonstrated an incredible level of resiliency and they will not be defeated by military means alone.”

Richard Miniter contributed to this story.

You can reach Richard Miniter @RichMiniter

You can reach Sara A. Carter @SaraCarterDC 

American Media Institute is an independent investigative journalism organization.  USA TODAY assisted in the editing of this story. 

Islamic State’s Dabiq 10 Emphasizes Global Jihad over Islamist Nationalism

dh110Center for Security Policy, by Jennifer Keltz, July 15, 2015:

The Islamic State recently released the tenth issue of its online magazine, Dabiq, titled “The Law of Allah or the Laws of Men.” Dabiq 10, the magazine’s Ramadan edition, focuses primarily on the Islamic State’s Muslim opponents, whom the group accuses of disregarding the word of Allah.

Dabiq 10 addresses two audiences. The first is the general global Muslim population and the second consists of other Islamist and nationalist organizations who have fought against the Islamic State. The Islamic State is trying to convince both to join its campaign of jihad against non-Muslims.

To the global Muslim population, Dabiq 10 stresses the authority of the Caliphate. In its opening remarks, the magazine states that

The call to defend the Islamic State – the only state ruling by Allah’s Sharī’ah today – continues to be answered by sincere Muslims and mujāhihīn around the world prepared to sacrifice their lives and everything dear to them to raise high the word of Allah and trample democracy and nationalism.

Repeatedly, Dabiq 10 denounces nationalism and calls upon Muslims to pledge their allegiance to the Islamic State, which serves Allah above men and nations. The magazine emphasizes the importance of Shariah and points to a hierarchy within Islamic law; it sees itself as having a monopoly over the understanding of this hierarchy. For example, it talks of the Islamic duty to honor one’s parents. However, the magazine notes that children must disobey parents that order their children to defy Shariah,  specifically addressing situations when children are forbidden by their parents to participate in jihad, saying,

Ibn Qudāmah said, “If jihād becomes obligatory upon him then the permission of his parents is not taken into consideration because the jihād has become fard ‘ayn and abandonment of it is a sin. There is no obedience to anyone in disobedience of Allah.”

The Islamic State believes that it represents the only legitimate source of Shariah jurisprudence as a result of having established the Caliphate under AbuBakr Al-Baghdadi. As a result, its declarations “to the sincere Muslims around the world to march forth and wage war against the crusaders and apostates who seek to wipe out the Sharī’ah” carry with them the force of religious obligation and law.

Continuing on this theme of its religious superiority, Dabiq 10 specifically talks about Muslim women whose husbands are either not Muslim or who are Muslim but fight against the Islamic State. These women are instructed to abandon their husbands and family. According to the magazine,

It is not permissible for you in any case to remain under the same roof with someone who has removed the noose of Islam from his neck, and the marriage contract between you and him was nullified the moment when he apostatized from the religion of Islam. …As such, any relationship you have with him is a relationship that is impermissible according to the Sharī’ah. Rather, it amounts to zinā (fornication), so beware.

Fornication carries with it severe punishments, including possibly stoning, so this represents  a thinly veiled threat to both the Islamic State’s enemies, and their spouses.

When addressing other Islamist and nationalist organizations, Dabiq 10 is fiercely critical of the numerous Kurdish nationalist groups and Al Qaeda-affiliated groups. It acknowledges that Kurdish fighters have had some success against its own armies, but it says that Kurdish gains have come at the cost of complete submission to the American “crusaders.” It puts forth the additional point that these Kurdish victories will be short-lived because they have a nationalist, rather than Islamist, agenda. The magazine says,

It should be noted here that all nationalist agendas in the Muslim’s usurped lands are ultimately doomed to fail, even those that seek to unite the members of one nation, or even one ethnicity as in the case of the Kurdish murtaddīn. This includes the agenda of the “Islamist” nationalists, who would readily sacrifice their religion for the sake of temporary political gain, in contrast with the mujāhidīn of the Khilāfah who would readily cut off the heads of the murtaddīn from their own people in defense of Allah’s Sharī’ah.

Dabiq 10 uses a similar argument to criticize Jabhat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, its affiliate in Yemen. These groups are faulted for working with nationalist militias and for failing to enforce Shariah law in areas they control. It accuses these groups of following the laws of men and paying no heed to the laws of Allah, because

Some of those mentioned had fallen into apostasy… like those who permit partaking in the shirkī democratic elections, or those who seek intercession from the absent and dead, or those who take the Arab and non-Arab tawāghīt as well as the Crusaders as close allies, or those who deny some of the obvious, definite laws of the Sharī’ah.

Muslims fighting in nationalist groups against the Islamic State are called upon to “repent to Allah and wake up, for by Allah you are fighting the Sharī’ah whether you realize it or not. So gather your brothers, rise in unison, and kill those who order you to fight against those who rule with the Sharī’ah.”

The magazine focuses more closely on Jahbat al-Nusra, whom it calls the “Jawlānī front” in reference to the group’s leader Abu Muhammed Al-Joulani.  It calls Nusra out for Joulani’s recent interview with Al Jazeera, where he specifically stated that the group is not attacking the Druze in Syria. Dabiq 10 features its own interview with Abū Samīr al-Urdunī, a former member of the organization who defected to the Islamic State. According to Urdunī, Nusra fighters were tricked into fighting the Islamic State because they were deceived into believing that Islamic State fighters were members of the pro-Assad Syrian army. Urdunī provided an anecdote to this effect, saying,

One of the soldiers saw a signboard that had drawn on it the flag of the Islamic State. So he shouted, “The Islamic State will remain!” So Abū ‘Abbās stopped the convoy and said to the soldier, “What are you saying?” He said, “The Islamic State will remain. These are our brothers.” He said to him “Do you not know where you are going?” He said “I don’t know.” He said “How do you not know? You are going to fight the Islamic State…” The soldiers said, “We do not want to fight the Islamic State and we don’t agree with fighting it. They told us that we were going for ribāt at the 17th.”

Ribat typically refers to border or guard duty. The 17th is likely a reference to the 17th Syrian division, an Assad regime army unit which had been stationed at a base near the Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa.

The remaining Islamist organization that Dabiq 10 addresses is the Taliban. It publishes a question from a member of the Taliban who is unsure if he should remain loyal to the Taliban’s leader, Mullah Omar, or if he should defect to the Islamic State. The article makes clear the Islamic State’s stance on the ongoing feud between the two groups over control of Islamist activity in Afghanistan. The magazine describes the Taliban as a nationalist movement, pointing out that Taliban leader Mullah Omar has been at best circumspect about his global ambitions, and never publicly declared his position as Caliph. In contrast, the Islamic State is a global movement which purports to have established the Caliphate, therefore rendering the Islamic State the supreme and ultimate authority. Also notable is the claim by the Islamic State that the Caliphate position must go to a Quraysh, which is the tribe of Islam’s prophet Mohammed. Mullah Omar has openly declared his ancestry, which is not Quraysh, and Al-Baghdadi claims (almost certainly falsely) that he is Quraysh and that he does meet this important requirement.

Throughout the entirety of Dabiq 10, the power of the Islamic State and its supreme authority over all of Islam is repeatedly emphasized. It is upon this mantle of religious authority as the reestablished Caliphate that the Islamic State claims the right to target and killed other Muslims who do not recognize their authority and so views even other dedicated jihadist organizations as apostates.

The Caliphate is Reborn — Western Stupidity Continues

isisdabiqGates of Vienna, by , June 23,2015:

On June 29, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or IS) declared the formation of a new Caliphate and rebranded itself the Islamic State. As the author Robert Spencernotes, a plan for the restoration of the Caliphate was sketched out ten years ago by the Jihadist terror network al-Qaida. It has been carried out more or less exactly by the Islamic State. IS itself recognizes al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden as an important predecessor, as well as the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq (which ultimately became the Islamic State), Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

When a new Caliphate was declared in June 2014, many people considered it to be a bad joke. However, a year later, the Islamic State is still around. It has been successfully pushed back on several occasions, following significant military resistance. Yet it has also displayed an ability to adapt, and to conquer new territories when it has suffered a defeat on other fronts. The Islamic State is clearly not a joke.

The Egyptian activist Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928. He, too, sought to reestablish the Caliphate. It was considered a major blow by many Muslims when the Turkish reformer Mustafa Kemal, or Atatürk, formally abolished the Caliphate in 1924. Al-Banna was preceded by other Muslim activists such as Rashid Rida. Banna is the grandfather of Tariq Ramadan, who is currently Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at the prestigious University of Oxford, England. Ramadan has served as a high-level advisor to the authorities in Britain, France and the EU.

The influential Egyptian Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi is widely considered to be a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was a follower of the MB founder Hassan al-Banna in his youth. Qaradawi has confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a former member of the Brotherhood. Baghdadi on June 29, 2014 declared himself Caliph Ibrahim of the Islamic State. By reestablishing the Caliphate, al-Baghdadi was merely fulfilling the desire of millions if Muslims worldwide, a goal which the Muslim Brotherhood have been fighting towards for nearly a century.

The author Graeme Wood published an in-depth article in the American magazine The Atlantic which has been referred to by many: “What ISIS Really Wants.” I don’t agree with all of his claims. Nevertheless, he concluded that “The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam. Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, ‘the Prophetic methodology,’ which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail.” One pious Muslim Mr. Wood talked to commented that “I would go so far as to say that Islam has been reestablished” by the IS Caliphate.

Read more

Also see:

ISIS Is Following a Plan Laid Out Ten Years Ago by Al-Qaeda, and It’s All Working

-, -:  (FILES) -- A TV grab from the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel dated 17 June 2005 shows Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri delivering a speech at an undisclosed location with a machine gun next to him. Al-Zawahiri, in a video posted on the Internet 29 September 2006, called US President George W Bush a liar who had "failed in his war against Al-Qaeda", Al-Jazeera television reported. The previous day, Islamist websites on the Internet had said there would be a new video message posted by Zawahiri entitled " Bush, the pope, Darfur and the Crusades."  AFP PHOTO/AL-JAZEERA  -- QATAR OUT & INTERNET OUT --  (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

-, -: (FILES) — A TV grab from the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel dated 17 June 2005 shows Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri delivering a speech at an undisclosed location with a machine gun next to him. Al-Zawahiri, in a video posted on the Internet 29 September 2006, called US President George W Bush a liar who had “failed in his war against Al-Qaeda”, Al-Jazeera television reported. The previous day, Islamist websites on the Internet had said there would be a new video message posted by Zawahiri entitled ” Bush, the pope, Darfur and the Crusades.” AFP PHOTO/AL-JAZEERA — QATAR OUT & INTERNET OUT — (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

PJ Media, by Robert Spencer, June 19, 2015:

It has been almost a year since June 29, 2014, when the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) declared the formation of a new caliphate and dropped the second half of its name, rebranding itself as simply the Islamic State. It has survived nine months since Barack Obama vowed to “degrade and ultimately destroy” it.

It has survived, and has continued to attract Muslims from all over the world, even after virtually every major world leader and Islamic group has condemned it as un-Islamic. And it shows no sign of going anywhere anytime soon.

All this is well-known. What is less known is that the plan for the restoration of the caliphate was sketched out ten years ago by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and has been followed out more or less exactly by the Islamic State.

The claim to reconstitute the caliphate is the key to the Islamic State’s success — the importance of this cannot be overstated.

The revival of the caliphate is, in the eyes of those who support it and have longed for it all these years, a return to the form of government of the glory days of Islam. From Muhammad’s death through Islam’s Golden Age up until the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after the end of World War I, Muslims were ruled by a caliph, the successor to Muhammad as spiritual and political leader of Islam.

And the declaration of the caliphate, and its placement in and around Syria and Iraq, was not an invention of the Islamic State, or incidental to what it perceived as its mission from the beginning. In reality, a new caliphate had long been an aspiration dear to the hearts of many jihadi terrorists, including al-Qaeda.

Bin Laden’s lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri wrote to the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq (which ultimately became the Islamic State), Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, on July 9, 2005:

It has always been my belief that the victory of Islam will never take place until a Muslim state is established in the manner of the Prophet in the heart of the Islamic world, specifically in the Levant, Egypt, and the neighboring states of the Peninsula and Iraq; however, the center would be in the Levant and Egypt.

Zawahiri also heaped praise on Zarqawi for helping bring that state — the revived caliphate — closer to reality:

If our intended goal in this age is the establishment of a caliphate in the manner of the Prophet and if we expect to establish its state predominantly — according to how it appears to us — in the heart of the Islamic world, then your efforts and sacrifices — God permitting — are a large step directly towards that goal.

Zawahiri then offered Zarqawi his “humble opinion that the Jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals,” the first of which was to “expel the Americans from Iraq.” The second stage, wrote Zarqawi, would be exactly what the Islamic State ended up doing nine years later:

The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or amirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate — over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq, i.e., in Sunni areas, is in order to fill the void stemming from the departure of the Americans, immediately upon their exit and before un-Islamic forces attempt to fill this void, whether those whom the Americans will leave behind them, or those among the un-Islamic forces who will try to jump at taking power.

Following the establishment of this state, the third stage would be to “extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq,” followed by the fourth stage, which “may coincide with what came before: the clash with Israel, because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity.”

Zawahiri wrote in an extremely deferential manner to Zarqawi, repeatedly assuring the Iraq commander that his analysis was not “infallible.” Nonetheless, he did not hesitate to give him direction, emphasizing that:

The mujahedeen must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons, and silence the fighting zeal.

If they did that:

We will return to having the secularists and traitors holding sway over us. Instead, their ongoing mission is to establish an Islamic state, and defend it, and for every generation to hand over the banner to the one after it until the Hour of Resurrection.

Zawihiri summed up the “two short-term goals” as “removing the Americans and establishing an Islamic amirate in Iraq, or a caliphate if possible.” Attaining them, he wrote, would ensure possession of “the strongest weapon which the mujahedeen enjoy — after the help and granting of success by God,” which was “popular support from the Muslim masses in Iraq, and the surrounding Muslim countries.”

But al-Qaeda itself hesitated to declare a caliphate for fear that the Americans would nip it in the bud. A letter from Osama bin Laden, found in the trove of documents at the Abbottabad compound and declassified in May 2015, explained:

We should stress on the importance of timing in establishing the Islamic State. We should be aware that planning for the establishment of the state begins with exhausting the main influential power that enforced the siege on the Hamas government, and that overthrew the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan and Iraq despite the fact this power was depleted. We should keep in mind that this main power still has the capacity to lay siege on any Islamic State, and that such a siege might force the people to overthrow their duly elected governments. We have to continue with exhausting and depleting them till they become so weak that they can’t overthrow any State that we establish. That will be the time to commence with forming the Islamic state.

Bin Laden saw the restoration of the caliphate as the ultimate goal of al-Qaeda’s activities:

[T]he result that we deployed for … to reinstate the wise Caliphate and eliminate the disgrace and humiliation that our nation is suffering from.

But he argued against “insisting on the formation of an Islamic State at the time being” — and instead wanted his followers:

… to work on breaking the power of our main enemy by attacking the American embassies in the African countries, such as Sierra Leone, Togo, and mainly to attack the American oil companies.

Bin Laden was overcautious. The Islamic State established itself as the new caliphate and has thrived, and no one seems to have the will to do what is necessary to “degrade and destroy” it in any real sense. And so its first anniversary is unlikely to be its last.