‘Lone Wolf,’ or ‘Known Wolf’? The Ongoing Counter-Terrorism Failure

F5FA38EDDCFE45EABC4F263FECE614E5By Patrick Poole:

Katie Gorka of the Council on Global Security has released an important report [1], “The Flawed Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” and events of this week show that it couldn’t be more timely. The separate terror attacks in Canada and a long string of terror attacks here in the U.S. show that the counter-terrorism policies of Western governments are fundamentally broken, and are directly responsible for getting their citizens killed. Even as I write this there are breaking reports of yet another attack [2].

The primary targets of Gorka’s new report are the various fictitious narratives and bogus social science models that drive Western counter-terrorism efforts. Chief among these is the “countering violent extremism (CVE)” narrative that has been the centerpiece for U.S. intelligence and law enforcement.

CVE has been a colossal disaster because it has no roots in reality. It was always intended as a convenient fiction for politicians, bureaucrats, media and academics to avoid talking about [3] the problem of the ideology that supports Islamic terrorism.

There has never once been a recorded case of anyone on the planet swearing their allegiance to the ideology of “violent extremism” and their willingness to kill others and die in the cause of “violent extremism.” It is a null set. There is nothing to counter, which is the whole point. And yet there are academics and institutions who are the beneficiaries of mountains of taxpayer cash to pursue the elusive CVE unicorn.

CVE has been used to smuggle all kinds of crackpot theories into not just our counter-terrorism policy, but also our foreign policy.

One crackpot theory has been that there are good Islamists that we can use against the bad Islamists. This was the keystone of the Obama administration’s Arab Spring policies. And this theory put into practice in Egypt, Libya, Syria and other places has left the Middle East in even worse shape than Obama found it.

As Gorka observes, the administration’s head cheerleader [4] for this “good Islamist/bad Islamist” approach has been Quintan Wiktorowicz, who served as senior director of the National Security Council under Obama. But the disaster of the Arab Spring has prompted Wiktorowicz and his CVE pals to double-down on this approach. Now we have entirely new categories of actors, such as “vetted moderates,” and even “good bad Islamists,” who presumably are any jihadists not currently wearing a suicide belt.

This rampant idiocy has become so bad that we have the supposed best and brightest in the Washington, D.C. foreign policy elite now calling for engagement with “moderate al-Qaeda” (no, I’m not kidding [5]).

Another theory championed by the CVE crowd is the “lone wolf” syndrome, reportedly where unknown individuals unconnected to any other actor strike without warning. But numerous examples show that terrorist actors are almost always part of a network who were involved in recruiting and tasking terrorist activity. As Max Abrahms at Northeastern University has observed [6]:

Since the advent of international terrorism in 1970, none of the 40 most lethal terrorist attacks has been committed by a person unaffiliated with some terrorist group, according to publicly available data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, which is funded by the Department of Homeland Security and stored at the University of Maryland. In fact, lone wolves have carried out just two of the 1,900 most deadly terrorist incidents over the last four decades.

So why “lone wolf”? Simply, it was a mechanism promulgated by the CVE industry, with willing cooperation from law enforcement and intelligence officials, to exonerate themselves when a terrorist attack happened. At its core is terror agnosticism: “There is possibly no way to predict who will turn to terrorism, so therefore we can’t be held responsible when it happens. Oh, and give us more money so we can better improve how we won’t be able to predict terror attacks.”

The two terror attacks in Canada this week, which are already being described by CVE industry practitioners as “lone wolf” attacks, were by individuals already known to Canadian counter-terrorism officials. Reportedly both Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau [7] and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau [8] had their passports taken away by Canadian authorities because they were considered “high risk” to travel overseas to join the Islamic State. We also have reports that Zehaf-Bibeau had contacts with known jihadist sympathizers [9] and at least one individual who had fought in Syria.

Looking at the long string of domestic terror incidents here in the U.S. shows that the so-called “lone wolves,” in virtually every case, were in fact “known wolves.”

In fairness, this “known wolf” phenomenon goes back more than 20 years.

The cell responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was well known to law enforcement. An FBI informant, Emad Salem, was operating inside their cell and had been repeatedly warning the FBI about the group’s intentions. As far back as 1989, the FBI had been watching [10] these cell members conduct weapons training.

When one of the cell members, El Sayyid Nosair, killed Rabbi Meir Kahane in a New York City hotel in November 1990, law enforcement recovered hordes of information about the cell’s activities and intentions — but, as has been pointed out, it was never translated. My friend and colleague Andy McCarthy, who prosecuted some of the cell members after the 1993 WTC bombing, wrote a whole book about the affair, Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad [11].

Read more at PJ Media

Cruz: Time to Drop the ‘Illusion’ That Latest Terror Attacks Are ‘Random Acts’

Ted Cruz / AP

Ted Cruz / AP

By Adam Kredo:

Recent terror attacks in Jerusalem and Canada are not isolated events, and American policy leaders must drop “the illusion that these are random acts of senseless violence unrelated to our national security,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said.

Whether the Islamic State or Hamas is behind the attacks, the extremist ideologyremains the same–and it poses a direct threat to democratic values across the globe, Cruz said in pointed comments to those who might claim the attacks were unrelated.

Following the Hamas terror attack Wednesday in Jerusalem–which injured several American citizens, including a child–both Hamas and the more moderate Fatah ruling party praised the terrorist responsible for the attack.

The same day, IS supporters worldwide took to Twitter to celebrate the fatal shooting of a Canadian soldier by a radicalized man that attacked the country’s Parliament building.

“We have to get away from the illusion that these are random acts of senseless violence unrelated to our national security,” Cruz said.

Cruz said the attacks are both strains of the same extremist virus.

“Deliberations over our foreign policy have gained a new clarity in recent days,” Cruz said. “Yesterday, an innocent, beautiful baby in Jerusalem was murdered by Hamas.”

“Terrorist organizations Hamas and Fatah both celebrated the destruction of this precious life just months after they relished in the slayings of Jewish teens,” Cruz said. “They did not care that the baby was American or one of the teens was a dual Israeli-American citizen. Their campaign of death is indiscriminate.”

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

“Who have Eyes and See Not”

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau storming Parliament

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau storming Parliament

CSP, by Kyle Shideler:

October 22nd’s terror attack by Michael (aka Abdullah) Zehaf-Bibeau brings into focus an important question for Western counterterrorism efforts, as reports are now indicating that Zehaf-Bibeau, reportedly a Muslim convert, or having recently become religious, had been under Canadian law enforcement scrutiny prior to the attack, over fears that he may head abroad to join the Islamic State. This exact same set of circumstances also existed for Martin Couture Rouleau, who killed one Canadian soldier, and wounded another, in a hit and run terror attack on October 21st.

Nor are the Canadians the only ones who have had all the proper intelligence on suspects, and literally surveilled them all the up until the moment they began their deadly assault. A look at the past several years brings to mind multiple examples. The FBI was made aware of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev , and even interviewed him, well before he engaged in his jihad. British MI-5 had likewise been made aware of Michael Adebolajo, when he was arrested by Kenyan authorities allegedly for trying to join the jihad in Somalia. Adebolajo (together with a partner) would go on to engage in the beheading of British Army drummer Lee Rigby, in an attack very nearly copied by Rouleau.

Mohamed Merah, the French Muslim terrorist who attacked a Jewish school killing a Rabbi and three children as well as three French paratroopers in ambush attacks, was known to French intelligence and under surveillance for years. The Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hassan gave a briefing to his fellow Walter Reed psychiatrists about why sharia law obligated Muslims to engage in jihad against non-Muslims. Hassan’s email exchanges with Al Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki were read by the FBI in 2008 before the attack.  The Underwear bomber, and the Glasgow Airport bomber were also known to law enforcement and intelligence, and yet in both cases only quick acting members of the public prevented tragedy.

The point of mentioning these cases (and there are others) is not to blame law enforcement or intelligence agencies for failure, but rather to highlight a key problem. Despite the ability to detect, surveil and identify jihadists, which has been largely successful, the ability to actually prevent their attacks remains woefully inadequate. And even less is being done about the networks which indoctrinated these men, most of whom were recent converts, or men from largely secular families who had recently been re-introduced to their faith with a renewed zeal. Instead the relevant agencies watched, and listened… and then when the attacks occur, they were left to clean up the mess.

For starters, discussions of ideology, indoctrination, and recruitment have been forbidden, or at a minimum are utterly inadequate. While the RCMP wisely decided to reject an “anti-terror” handbook, which was put together in cooperation with Islamic groups in Canada, and which would have called for an end to the use of terms like “jihad” or “Islamist”, it shows that the same pressures exist in Canada as have been present in the United States. Ironically the U.S. State Department praised the same book rejected by Canadian law enforcement.

More efforts also need to be placed on disrupting the indoctrination and recruiting process, which requires understanding realistically where that indoctrination occurs. As noted by former Iraqi MP Ayad Jamal Al-Din (Transcript courtesy of Andy McCarthy):

As I have said, ISIS is a phenomenon with extensions all over the world, not just in Muslim countries. Even here in the U.S., there are many ISIS mosques.  There are thousands of mosques that are preparing people to join ISIS. Imagine: young people from Florida join the ranks of ISIS to fight, and so do young people from Britain, Australia, Russia, China, and elsewhere. How could a young university student leave Florida to fight for ISIS if not for a mosque that incited him to do so? I am not talking about a handful of mosques or about just a few people. No, we are talking about thousands of such mosques, or even more, in all countries of the world, from South America to North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. These mosques are calling, day in and day out, for the revival of the caliphate. There are school curricula that glorify the caliphate…

MP Al-Din said in that short segment on an Arabic television channel what most law enforcement officials and intelligence officers would be terrified to say, and are prohibitedfrom investigating.

Another tool law enforcement has traditionally used to preempt terrorists with great effect has been the use informants and sting operations. By luring would-be terrorists into conducting their jihad harmlessly with fake explosives or the like, law enforcement can pounce without waiting for death and mayhem. But as has been repeatedly documentedelsewhere, in the United States at least, that tool is under severe pressure. Sting operations are targeted for elimination by the Muslim Brotherhood, and their various allies through false claims of entrapment. While outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent guideline changes on profiling did not terminate the use of informants, it opened the door for continued efforts by MB groups to pursue their elimination.

The ability to gather intelligence, to surveil and identify potential threats is meaningless if there exists no way to take action before those threats become realized. This in turn plays a part in the public’s increased discomfort with surveillance, which does not seem to be accomplishing the one goal for which it was instituted, protecting the public. Quality intelligence work, and dramatic surveillance capabilities suggest that future Zehaf-Bibeaus, Rouleaus, Hassans, Abebolajos, and Tsarnaevs are unlikely to go “undetected.” However, thanks to the inability to get quality training on ideology, the impermissibility of addressing mosques as targets of investigations, and soon, the inability to utilize informants or sting operations, they are also unlikely to be stopped.

Psychological Warfare and Terrorism

napoleon_and_his_general_staff_1867-660x350-1414054375Via Raymond Ibrahim’s blog:

By William Kilpatrick

Crisis Magazine

In a recent column, I suggested that one of the best ways to fight terrorism is by undermining the terrorist’s ideology. For example, by undercutting the belief that seventy-two virgins await the young martyr in paradise, you simultaneously undermine the will to fight.

That’s not to say that the standard method of fighting terrorists—with guns—can be safely abandoned. The propaganda war works best when it is reinforced by the shooting war. The more convincingly force is applied on the battlefield, the more convincing will be the ideological arguments.

If, for example, you’re an ISIS fighter and you see your buddies on the battlefield fall victim to an occasional bomb or bullet, that won’t necessarily shake your faith in the brides-to-be. As long as the war is going well, and as long as there’s a senior officer or two around to assure you that your fallen comrades are now enjoying their reward in paradise, your basic assumptions can remain intact. If, on the other hand, you look around and see nothing but death and destruction and no surviving officers to make sense of it all, you may begin to doubt the whole enterprise.

Just as importantly, a devastating defeat will have a salutary effect on people far away from the battlefield. The fellow in Brussels or Brisbane or Boston who’s thinking of joining the jihad will now have second thoughts—not only about ISIS, but also about the ideology that fuels it. Even fanatics can become realists in the face of overwhelming facts. In short, doubts can be accelerated by defeats.

Most people, of whatever religion, like to think that God is on their side of the battle, but in Islam belief and battlefield success are more closely linked than in, say, Christianity. Indeed, the seemingly miraculous military successes of Muhammad and the caliphs who followed him were taken by Muslims to be a proof that Islam is the true religion. Conversely, the religion of Islam has never fared well when its imperialistic ambitions have been thwarted. After Napoleon’s invasion and subjugation of Egypt, and subsequent European conquests and colonization of the Muslim world, Muslims began to seriously question the efficacy of Islam. As Islam scholar Raymond Ibrahim observes:

It was one thing to hold unhesitatingly to Islam and Sharia when Islam was conquering and subjugating non-Muslims, as it had done for well over a millennium. It was quite another thing for Muslims to remain confident in the Islamic way when the despised Christian infidels were conquering and subjugating the lands of Islam with great ease—displaying their superior weapons and technology, not to mention all the other perks of Western civilization.

During the colonial and post-colonial era, Muslim nations looked increasingly to the West as a model of emulation, and increasingly they looked away from Islam. Religious fanaticism declined, the jizya collection and the dhimmi laws were abolished, and, according to Ibrahim, “By the middle of the twentieth century, the Middle East’s Christians were widely seen, particularly by the educated elites and those in power, as no different from their Muslim counterparts.” Islam had been so thoroughly defanged by mid-century that, if Americans thought about it at all, they thought of it in terms of comedy movies like The Road to Morocco or Broadway musicals like Kismet.

The point is that this more moderate Islam of the not so distant past was made possible by Western military power and by the secular strongmen who succeeded the colonial rulers. Likewise, the recent renewed appeal of fundamentalist Islam has been made possible by shows of force: the overthrow of the Shah in Iran, the defeat of the Russians in Afghanistan, the bombing of the World Trade Center and numerous other successful terror attacks, the Arab Spring revolutions and, most recently, the march of ISIS across Syria and Iraq.

Such victories against technologically and/or numerically superior forces create a psychological momentum which makes militant Islam all the more appealing to potential recruits. Psychological momentum, however, can be halted and reversed by decisive battlefield defeats. The idea that nothing is ever accomplished by war is not quite true—as evidenced by the current pacifist inclinations of our former enemies, Japan and Germany. In this respect, it’s heartening to see that some Catholic leaders are coming around to acknowledging that, on occasion, there is no alternative to military force. I recently criticized Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, for blaming terrorism on poverty and injustice, but in his address to the UN Security Council, he also called for intervention to combat the Islamic State:

My delegation wishes to recall that it is both licit and urgent to stop aggression through multilateral action and a proportionate use of force.

He was referring, of course, to the Catholic Church’s teaching on just war. One of the conditions of a just war is that force must be used proportionately. If you bulldoze my barn, I shouldn’t respond by burning down your house with all the people inside. The trouble is, when dealing with a group like ISIS, it’s difficult to say what constitutes proportionality. We are battling an armed force which also happens to have considerable symbolic significance for others. In figuring what a proportionate response would be, we have to take into consideration ISIS’ ability to inspire both lone-wolf and well-organized terror attacks around the world. Consequently, it’s crucial not only to degrade and contain ISIS, but to defeat it, and to defeat it in such a way as to crush the dreams of would-be jihadists.

As war historian Victor Davis Hanson has observed, successful military leaders strive to not only defeat the enemy, but also to discredit his ideology. This does not mean the killing of every last man on the enemy side, but it often involves the killing of the enemy’s dreams. After the defeat of Nazi Germany, Allied generals forced Nazi officials and thousands of nearby residents to take humiliating tours of the concentration camps and, in some cases, forced them to bury the dead prisoners. The prosecution of Nazi officials at the Nuremberg trials also helped to ensure that the Nazi dream would never rise again. Nazism was so thoroughly discredited as an ideology that, for decades after, no one—except for a few on the fringes—wanted to be associated with it in any way.

The Islamic State itself seems to fully understand the symbolic side of war. The crucifixions and ritual beheadings are not senseless acts, they are acts calculated to send a message. On one occasion, after capturing 250 Syrian soldiers, the Islamic State militants forced the prisoners to strip to their underwear and then paraded them in front of cameras before marching them to the place of execution. The message? Those who resist ISIS will suffer both defeat and dishonor; they fight for a worthless cause.

The ISIS campaign of psychological warfare, crude and ugly as it seems to the Western mind, has had the intended effect. Rallies to support ISIS have popped up in numerous Western cities, other Muslim groups have pledged their solidarity, and more and more Muslims are flocking to join its army. In ever-distracted America, football fans are abuzz about a penalty imposed on a Kansas City Chiefs player for prostrating himself in Muslim prayer after scoring a touchdown. Since Christian players are not penalized for similar behavior, fans were outraged. Meanwhile, on the same day, a much more significant sports-related event was playing out in Casablanca, Morocco. A video posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute showed a sizeable group of fans—perhaps one hundred—chanting “ISIS! ISIS!” and then “Allahu akbar, let’s go on jihad! Allahu akbar, let’s go on jihad!” American football fans—that is to say, Americans in general—might want to take note of the ever-expanding ISIS fan base. They might also do well to consider that the penalty ISIS imposes on losers is considerably more severe than fifteen yards.

If and when we get around to defeating ISIS, let’s hope we administer a psychological defeat as well—one that shows up not only the impotence of their fighting force, but also the emptiness of their vision. Else ISIS will rise again in some other form under some other name.

Exactly how this would be done is difficult to say. We are not, hopefully, going to descend to the level of displaying severed heads. And parading troops in their underwear is inconsistent with our concept of human dignity. Indeed, the whole idea of imposing a humiliating defeat goes against the grain of our highly developed sensitivities. Nonetheless, it seems time to reconsider our politically correct policy on waging war with terrorists—a policy which seems to say that war is simply a misunderstanding, and that after we’ve defeated you quietly and without fanfare, we will give you a clean cell and a copy of the Koran untouched by infidel hands because, of course, your religion has nothing to do with your terrorist behavior.

If we wish to avoid endless wars with jihadists, we should conclude our war with the Islamic State in such a way that Muslims around the world will rethink the notions of Islamic jihad and Islamic martyrdom. It’s not as improbable as it sounds. Not so long ago, historically speaking, Turks, Egyptians, and other Muslims who read the writing on the wall did rethink Islam. Faced with a West that was not only militarily powerful, but also culturally confident, they opted for a more muted form of Islam.

Brian Lilley on Martin “Ahmad” Roleau, Lee Rigby-style terrorist in Canada

 

Published on Oct 21, 2014 by AlohaSnackbar01

“We can’t let those that want to spread Islam by the sword, the bomb, or the car continue to use the feeble excuse that we bring these attacks on ourselves due to our policies. . . There was no American or Canadian foreign policy to blame when Islam swept across the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, up into Spain. Our foreign policy cannot be blamed for ISIS killing Shias. This is not about us and our policies; it’s about a warped feeble world view that seeks to spread like a cancer.”

*****

Marc Lebuis on Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau, Lee Rigby-style terrorist in Canada

 

Published on Oct 21, 2014 by AlohaSnackbar01

http://pointdebasculecanada.ca/

Marc Lebuis of Point de Bascule (“Tipping Point”) drills down on Lee-Rigby-style terrorist Martin “Ahmad” Roleau, his background, and the mosque to which he belonged.

“There is an RCMP agent who is a regular attendee of the mosque.”

*******

BBC’s Adnan Nawaz speaks to Tarek Fatah | ISIS Lone Wolf Kills Canadian Soldier

Published on Oct 21, 2014 by Tarek Fatah

Downing Street set to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood

Supporters of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood take part in a rally to protest against the death penalties for the members of the radical group in Egypt, outside the Egyptian embassy in Ankara Photo: ADEM ALTAN/AFP

Supporters of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood take part in a rally to protest against the death penalties for the members of the radical group in Egypt, outside the Egyptian embassy in Ankara Photo: ADEM ALTAN/AFP

By Robert Mendick, and Robert Verkaik:

Downing Street is to order a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and a network of Islamist groups accused of fuelling extremism in Britain and across the Arab world.

David Cameron launched an inquiry into the Brotherhood earlier this year, prompted by concerns it was stoking an Islamist ideology that had encouraged British jihadists to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, who is an adviser to the review, is reported to have described it as “at heart a terrorist organisation”. The Brotherhood insists it is non-violent and seeks to impose Islamic rule only through democratic change. It has condemned Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and al-Qaeda.

A senior source close to the inquiry said its report – compiled but not yet published – had identified “an incredibly complex web” of up to 60 organisations in Britain, including charities, think tanks and even television channels, with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, which will all now come under scrutiny.

The inquiry, aided by the security services, has also investigated its network abroad. One expert said that the Brotherhood was now operating from three major bases – London, Istanbul and Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Qatar, the wealthiest country in the world per head of population, has for 30 years been home to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric in exile, often described as the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader. Qaradawi, who was banned from entering Britain in 2008, is accused of anti-Semitism, supporting Palestinian suicide bombers, condoning wife- beating and punishing homosexuals.

Qatar has found itself isolated from its Gulf neighbours – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – over its support of the Brotherhood during the Arab Spring. Qatar also funds Hamas, which was originally established as a Palestinian branch of the Egyptian Brotherhood and whose military wing is banned as a terrorist organisation by Britain, among others.

Dr Lorenzo Vidino, who is understood to have worked on the Cabinet Office report, presided over by Sir John Jenkins, Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “It is clear that the Brotherhood has many dark spots, ranging from its ambiguous relationship with violence to its questionable impact on social cohesion in Britain.”

The Government crackdown will stop short of outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood but action is expected to include:

Þ Investigations into charities that are effectively “fronts” for the Brotherhood;

Þ Inquiries into funding of the organisation and links to jihadi groups abroad;

Þ Banning clerics linked to the group from countries such as Qatar and Turkey from coming to Britain for rallies and conferences.

The source said: “We cannot ban the organisation, but that was never the intention of the review. We can go after single individuals, not for terrorist-related activity, but through the Al Capone method of law-enforcement. We cannot get them for terrorism but I bet you they don’t pay their taxes.

“One of the big things is piling pressure on the charitable missions. Until now it has been very hard to monitor all the groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Read more at The Telegraph

Have We Reached Peak ISISmania Yet?

ISIS3-550x282PJ Media, By Patrick Poole:

A few thoughts on the current bout of ISISmania and the systemic problems it exposes:

1) ISISmania has created a financial/legal incentive for sources (most of them “shady” to begin with) used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to manufacture info whole-cloth.

This is nothing new. Think “prison snitches.” Various foreign actors are passing along disinformation to us as well, so mountains of BS are being fed into the system from the get-go.

Imagine, for a purely hypothetical example, a member of Congress getting an authentic report from a senior agency official, but the report is later found to have originated with a non-credible source. So the member of Congress who repeated the report was actually correct that the intel had been shared with them — but the information itself wasn’t reliable.

It never should have been shared in the first place, but it’s the member of Congress who ends up with egg on their face when the agency issues its denial. No one, whether politicians or agency officials, wants to later admit they were duped, so erroneous info never gets corrected.

2) There are considerable problems on the collection and analysis sides of intel in both the intelligence community and law enforcement. In fact, very few know how to do collection — and good analysis is basically prohibited these days.

So the BS and disinfo never gets sifted out. It then gets passed on to elected officials, which is some of what we’re seeing. Then you have agencies and the administration selectively manipulate and leak according to their own respective agendas. This is how the sausage is being made in DC these days.

3) There is only so much media space, and politicians compete with each other for that space.

So they need to come up with more outlandish claims to get a bigger share of that media space. That creates a disincentive to vet the info they get and publicly talk about. No one gets on Greta by saying: “We need to keep a cool head about this stuff.”

4) Because of that, the game of “I got a secret” is more prevalent than ever before.

Those secrets might be complete equine feces, but the desire to be “in the know,” whether they actually are or not, and the temptation to show that you’re “in the know,” is strong.

5) Congress has no mechanism to vet what the agencies and administration tells them.

 

Back in the 1990s there wase a House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare that gave Congress direct access to the intelligence and SPECOPS worlds to be able to know if what the admin at the time — regardless of party — was saying was true or not.

That’s gone. Congress itself has no internal vetting system to speak of. They are at the mercy of the Executive Branch.

6) The threats are escalating so rapidly, no one in D.C. wants to be holding the bag when something actually happens.

They’ve learned from 9/11 that they don’t want to be the one saying: “Yeah, I knew about it but never said anything publicly.” Everyone wants a chair when the music stops, so they are all trying to lay down their markers now to show they were trying to do something about it beforehand — whether they actually were or not.

Understand, much of this has nothing to do with actually preventing terrorism, but with political posturing.

7) Don’t even get me going about people in the D.C. media/foreign policy establishment — e.g., the think tanks.

There are some solid policy analysts out there doing very good work, but much of it goes unrecognized or never gets considered. That said, the vast majority of these analysts won’t do anything that gets them disinvited to a D.C. cocktail party or criticized by the cool kids on Twitter.

An M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins/Georgetown/Harvard doesn’t mean that you have the slightest idea of what you’re talking about. Analysis takes years of study and practice — but try telling that to your average 25-year-old policy wonk. And yet these are the characters that drive much the narrative, increasingly so as social media favored by the younger crowd drives much of the news cycle these days.

8) Because so much BS is being slung about, it is actually crowding out good intel.

There are actual border threats from various terrorist groups and actors currently being investigated. But none of that info will ever see the light of day because people inside the system know it will get lumped in with all the disinformation grabbing the headlines right now.

9) Because this administration seeks to maintain an iron grip over the flow of information, virtually any leak is subject to some variety of mole hunt.

It may not lead to official discipline, but perhaps to the imposition of other unofficial forms of discipline, like getting cut out of the loop, which is the kiss of death. That said, I personally know of whistleblowers getting hammered right now by their agencies for calling attention to these kinds of threats, or for trying to get information to Congress.

And Congress has still not created substantive legal protections for whistleblowers, so that creates a severe disincentive for accurate info making its way out.

(Note that the Democrats control the gavel in the Senate, and the impotent and incompetent GOP leadership that governs the House consistently refuses to exercise their oversight powers (particularly committee chairmen). That’s why it is taking YEARS for info related to the litany of Obama administration scandals from coming to light. And when the info becomes public, it is frequently due to groups outside the political establishment. Judicial Watch has done the yeomans work in this regard — not Congress — on the IRS, Fast and Furious, et al.)

10) Elections in four weeks increase all of these by an order of magnitude. So I’m not sure we’ve reached peak ISISmania yet.

There are actual threats to the homeland out there, including ISIS, but virtually all that we’re seeing in the media at the moment is political theater and the accumulation of serious systemic problems within the intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

And much of this nonsense is going to get more Americans killed.

Also see:

THE REAL FRONT IN THE WAR AGAINST ISIS

ISIL-Militant-TriumphantBreitbart, By Katie Gorka:

As the war with ISIS heats up, so too does the debate over what it will take to win.  Immediately following Obama’s announcement of air strikes against ISIS, the debate centered on whether air power was enough or whether the United States also needed to commit boots on the ground.

However, in recent days the focus has shifted to the war of ideas.  The now infamous verbal brawl between Ben Affleck and Sam Harris on the Bill Maher show is just one sign that more and more people are identifying the ideology of jihad as the main front in this war.

General Jonathan Shaw, former Assistant Chief of the UK Defence Staff, said in a recent interview with The Telegraph that the war against ISIS will not be won militarily.  This battle must be fought ideologically and politically.  He said the heart of the problem is Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s funding of militant Salafism.  Saudi Arabia has long funded radical mosques and Islamic cultural centers across the globe, and Qatar supports Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, considered the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Al Jazeera, the pro-Muslim Brotherhood news outlet.  But these efforts have now backfired.  According to General Shaw: “This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education, Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really.  And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money and that must stop.  And the question then is ‘does bombing people over there really tackle that?’ I don’t think so. I’d far rather see a much stronger handle on the ideological battle than the physical battle.”

Even President Obama, who spends much of his energy insisting that Islam is a religion of peace and that ISIS has nothing to do with real Islam, acknowledged that ideology might have some role here. In his September 24 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, he said, “It is time for the world — especially Muslim communities — to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of organizations like al Qaeda and ISIL.”  But as Bill Gertz points out in a recent article, in fact the Obama administration is not engaging in the ideological war. They simply refuse to engage the Islamists on the battlefield of ideas.  Gertz quotes Quintan Wiktorowicz, an architect of U.S. counter-extremism strategy, who blames this failure on Constitutional constraints:

While the government has tried to counter terrorist propaganda, it cannot directly address the warped religious interpretations of groups like ISIL because of the constitutional separation of church and state…U.S. officials are prohibited from engaging in debates about Islam, and as a result will need to rely on partners in the Muslim world for this part of the ideological struggle.

But this is disingenuous.  Wiktorowicz is on record in numerous places asserting the need for the United States to tread softly with Salafists in order to avoid pushing them toward violence, even while he acknowledges that in the long run they do endorse violent jihad.

President Obama himself has repeatedly engaged in discussions about Islam, stating, for example, as he did on September 10th when he announced his plan to fight the Islamic State, “ISIL is not Islamic.”  John Kerry has likewise entered the fray, insisting that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, an assertion that has formed the basis of U.S. counter-terrorism policy and training under the Obama administration.  So to say that U.S. leaders cannot talk about Islam is simply untrue.  It is how they talk about that it is the problem.  The bottom line is that they do not see the fundamental clash between Islamism and the principles of the American founding, and as a result, they are fighting this as a purely tactical war.

As Robert Reilly, former director of the Voice of America, has written, “In fact, the U.S. side has failed to show up for the war of ideas. Strategic communication or public diplomacy, the purpose of which is to win such wars, is the single weakest area of U.S. government performance since 9/11.”

Refusing to engage in the war of ideas, whatever the reason may be, is a disservice both to Americans and to the world’s Muslims.  It is a disservice to Americans because unless the United States engages in the ideological war against ISIS, the battlefield will simply keep repopulating itself.  For every fallen jihadist, there will be ten ready to take his place, another hundred willing to fund and support them, and another thousand to silently cheer them on.  So it is not Al Qaeda or even ISIS who are the real enemies, but the ideology that inspires them, and it is this ideology that the United States must oppose, among both its violent as well as its non-violent adherents.

Obama and many others have said this is not our debate, the Muslim world must work this out for itself.  But this is not true.  The ideas of the American founding are as relevant for the Muslim world as they are to the West.  America’s forebears learned over centuries that when religion is allowed to drive politics, it leads to tyranny, oppression and endless conflict.  This is no less true for the Muslim world.  As Ahmad Mustafa writes in today’sGulf News, “Whether we like it or not, we all helped in the rise of this terrorism by manipulating religion. And here comes the simple conclusion: Religion in politics leads only to ills.”  He goes on to say, “The fight for Islam will not be won unless the current alliance partners, and the rest of regional and international powers, come to an agreement on freeing politics from religion.”

As the war of ideas heats up, the good news is that Americans are throwing off the strictures against talking about Islam.  People like Ben Affleck and Bill Maher and Sam Harris are engaging in substantive debate about the nature of Islam and what is at stake. The bad news is that our own leaders so far are not exercising – or permitting – the same freedom.  And until they do, the ideas driving our enemies will continue to thrive.

Katie Gorka is president of the Council on Global Security.  Follow her on twitter @katharinegorka.

PIRRO: ISLAMIC TERRORISM ‘NOT JUST A THREAT, IT IS A REALITY’

Published on Sep 27, 2014 by RightSightings2

 

Breitbart, Sep. 27, 2014:

The Fox News Channel’s “Justice with Judge Jeanine” anchor Judge Jeanine Pirro declared Islamist terrorism was “not just a threat, it is a reality,” and argued the US must do more to fight it on Saturday.

“What this country faces is not just a threat, it is a reality. No longer free and easy or live and let live, and now you must adapt to this frightening new reality. To them we’re the Great Satan. To them we’re the infidel, and them includes now-radicalized Americans, arrested here as lone wolves. One charged with the killing of four Americans. Last week in Australia, a plot to horrify and shock the public with planned beheadings, and this week an Oklahoma man beheads a woman, completely decapitates her, and then he’s in the midst of attacking yet another woman with a knife when he is stopped. That man, 30-year-old Alton Nolen, a recent convert to Islam. Now Nolen visited a mosque whose former leader reportedly had ties with al Qaeda mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki” she stated.

Pirro argued that the US must take aggressive action against Islamic extremism, saying “until we put the Fear of God in them, they’re going to keep coming. We can’t negotiate with them, we can’t trade with them. We can’t let them out of Guantanamo. In fact, even Guantanamo is too good for them, and I don’t personally care what the rest of the world thinks of us. Until we get this country back on track with our military superiority, the hallmark of a strong and a free nation, then our enemies will continue to attack us as lone wolves or as legion.”

She further expressed that one of the key steps to combatting radical Islamic terrorism is to acknowledge that Islamic extremism exists “we can start by calling things what they are. when a Ft. Hood shooter guns down his fellow soldiers yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ with a business card that says ‘soldier of Allah,’ and who communicated with that same al-Awlaki, it’s not workplace violence, it’s terrorism, and he’s a terrorist. And I don’t want to hear the acting head of the CIA tell me that he took the word ‘Islamic’ out from in front of the word ‘extremist’ because he didn’t want to inflame passions. And I don’t want the word ‘jihad’ scrubbed from the FBI training manuals. And I don’t want to hear that ISIS is not an Islamic State any more than the USA is not the United States of America, or that we’re not states, or that we’re not united. And I’m tired of taking outside ads to apologize to other religions while our government drags and sues the Little Sisters of the Poor to the United States Supreme Court for simply expressing their religious beliefs. I’m tired of the charades.”

Other recommendations given by Pirro to fight Islamic terrorism were closing the borders, stripping citizenship, implementing anti-terrorism technology that measures things such body temperature and blood pressure used by the Israelis, and ending gun control so that Americans can defend themselves against violent terrorists in the same way Mark Vaughan stopped Alton Nolen’s attack with a firearm.

Austria’s “Russian” Solution to Islamic Terrorism

Obamas-Friends-251x350Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield:

It might seem strange that Austria is taking the lead in the European domestic response to ISIS, but it shouldn’t be. Thanks to Chancellor Kreisky’s left-wing radicalism and ties to the USSR, Vienna became a base for Muslim terrorists in Europe.

But the terrorists are a lot more disturbing these days than just the PLO. Vienna is now more of a Jihadist hub than ever.

The report stated that Austria is used as a place for recruiting and organising European jihadists who plan to travel through the Western Balkans to Syria.

As many as 130 people from Austria are believed to be fighting as jihadists abroad. More than half of Austria’s jihadists originally come from the Caucasus region and have a valid residence permit in Austria. The rest are mainly Bosnian and Turkish-born.

John R. Schindler, a professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College, writes in a recent blog post that “for years, Vienna has served as the de facto base for Islamist extremists from Southeastern Europe, a place to recruit, raise and hide funds, and radicalize, thanks to Austria’s permissive laws and weak enforcement mechanisms. It’s an exceptional terrorist or Salafi radical in Bosnia who has not spent some time in Austria.”

Now Austria is suddenly pushing some of the hardest laws in Europe in response to ISIS.

It includes: a ban on the groups’ symbols; revoking Austrian citizenship of extremist fighters who are double citizens; and stricter rules for minors who want to travel outside the European Union.

For Americans, two of these might as well be imaginary, but it’s the Koran retooling that is getting attention.

Austria’s foreign minister has proposed an idea he believes will discourage Muslims from joining the Islamic State group: create a single, standardized translation of the Koran to discourage misinterpretation of the Muslim holy book.

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Saturday that the move will prevent extremists from misusing the Koran, the German news agency DPA reported, suggesting bad translations are behind radicalism.

“There are countless translations, countless interpretations,” Kurz said. “On the other hand it is also in the interest of the community of faith that not many words are incorrectly interpreted and reproduced.”

Obviously it’s a ridiculous proposal since the idea that the Austrian government’s official Koran will be able to compete with the subsidized Saudi copies routed through its network of mosques and agencies is unrealistic.

Furthermore there’s only so much you can do with the translation. Even assuming that your targets don’t read Arabic, changing the meaning of some words won’t fix this. The Koran’s narrative is military. To fix that you would have to rewrite, rather than retranslate. The USSR adjusted the translations of some books. Other books it had to rewrite because they were too problematic.

And rewriting the Koran would require replacing it with a new Koran. Obviously that won’t happen. Instead a few of the more violent terms will be translated vaguely and the end result will fool no one and only serve as a hook for Salafist recruiters.

But the move itself is interesting. It’s alien to America where there is a separation of church and state, but not to Europe where they continue to be entangled.

Austria is pursuing the “Russian” solution of creating a government approved Islam. To some extent the UK is struggling to do the same thing. And when Obama and Kerry assert that ISIS isn’t real Islam, they are implictly doing the same thing.

In essence this means the rise of a government approved and subsidized Islam.

Justice Department Announces New Program to Counter ‘Violent Extremism’ — but Website Excludes References to Islam, Muslims

The Blaze, By Elizabeth Kreft, Sep. 25, 2014:

With Islamic State threats mounting and at least 100 Americans known to have traveled overseas to train or fight with the brutal terror group, Attorney General Eric Holder this month announced a new program designed to identify and root out sources of “violent extremism” across the nation.

The problem? It isn’t a new idea. National security experts say the concept has already proven to be “a complete failure.” And lacking from a description of the program is any reference to radical Islam.

In this July 16, 2014 photo, Minneapolis police officer Mike Kirchen talks with Mohamed Salat, left, and Abdi Ali at a community center where members of the Somali community gather in Minneapolis. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department’s pilot program will help detect American extremists looking to join terror organizations, but some experts say efforts like these have already failed across the nation (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Jim Gehrz, File)

In this July 16, 2014 photo, Minneapolis police officer Mike Kirchen talks with Mohamed Salat, left, and Abdi Ali at a community center where members of the Somali community gather in Minneapolis. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department’s pilot program will help detect American extremists looking to join terror organizations, but some experts say efforts like these have already failed across the nation (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Jim Gehrz, File)

“These programs will bring together community representatives, public safety officials, religious leaders, and United States attorneys to improve local engagement; to counter violent extremism; and – ultimately – to build a broad network of community partnerships to keep our nation safe,” Holder said.

On the surface, it sounds reasonable. Shouldn’t we embrace every effort to combat homegrown terror? Jonathan Gilliam, a former Navy SEAL and former FBI special agent said yes. But, he told TheBlaze, programs like these get muddled because the politicians at the top of the food chain stop listening to the operators on the ground.

“How can you target something without a scope, without proper sights?” he said. The former special operator finds it especially frustrating that the Justice Department refuses to allow monitoring of mosques where known terrorists gather.

“When political correctness becomes your scope you probably aren’t aimed at the right target anymore,” Gilliam told TheBlaze.

Without offering details about which cities would host the pilot program, the Justice Department announced that the new concept would “complement the Obama administration’s ongoing work to protect the American people from a range of evolving national security threats,” and right in line with the White House’s 2011 move to strip counterterrorism training documents of specific references to Islam or Muslims, Holder’s description of the program gives a rather cloudy explanation for which groups it could cover.

“Under President Obama’s leadership, along with our interagency affiliates, we will work closely with community representatives to develop comprehensive local strategies, to raise awareness about important issues, to share information on best practices, and to expand and improve training in every area of the country,” Holder said.

The Department of Homeland Security’s website echoes the bland description of “violent extremism” described by the Justice Department: “The threat posed by violent extremism is neither constrained by international borders nor limited to any single ideology. Groups and individuals inspired by a range of religious, political, or other ideological beliefs have promoted and used violence against the homeland.”

Gilliam said these political trends make no sense.

“How do you know someone is a ‘violent extremist’? They aren’t going to walk out into the street and tell you. They are going to patiently wait for instructions at their mosque and coordinate with the network overseas,” he said. “To try and say we don’t know which neighborhoods or which mosques are active with this kind of activity is a joke.”

In the pitch video for the program, Holder explains that since 2012, U.S. attorneys “have held or attended more than 1,700 engagement-related events or meetings to enhance trust and facilitate communication in their neighborhoods and districts,” and that the initiative will “build on that important work.”

But Patrick Poole, a national security and terrorism expert, said that explains exactly why more of the same won’t solve the problem.

“We’ve already had 100 Americans go overseas to fight for the terrorists … we’ve had people conducted suicide attacks for Jabhat al-Nusra, and we have at least two known fighters from Minneapolis and San Diego who died in fighting with ISIS in Syria. I’m not sure more of the same is going to do anything but delay the problem,” Poole said.

Poole pointed out the FBI was previously actively conducting outreach missions much like the Justice Department is proposing at the very mosque where the Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev attended services.

“So the Boston example is a snapshot of how this kind of outreach program has catastrophically failed,” Poole told TheBlaze. “What more needs to happen? Foreign intelligence identifies the guy, he’s causing trouble at the mosque, and yet no one at the mosque during this outreach effort said anything.”

Poole said it seems the Department of Justice is doubling down on a failed concept, but they continue to fail because program coordinators, especially at the top levels, are listening to the wrong people.

“This is the administration’s entire plan, this isn’t something they are doing in conjunction with something else, this is it, and some groups like the Muslim Public Affairs Council say that de-radicalization has to be left entirely to the Muslim community. But I have to ask, what proof is there that this actually works?” he said.

“I’m just not sure how much more this program could fail. It hasn’t been successful anywhere, identifiably,” Poole said.

Attorney General Eric Holder listens during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, where he announced the Justice Department’s civil rights division will launch a broad civil rights investigation in the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Attorney General Eric Holder listens during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, where he announced the Justice Department’s civil rights division will launch a broad civil rights investigation in the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Gilliam said the program will never work so long as the federal agencies feel hamstrung by political correctness.

“They’ll send 40 investigators to Ferguson, Missouri, to investigate one death, but they’ll only send one or two people to question suspicious actors at a mosque known to house terrorist activity? It’s crazy.”

“They are trying to respond to terrorists with ‘culturally diversified speakers,’ and that’s why it isn’t working.” Gilliam said community outreach programs could work, but only if there is a real promise of firm justice to back it up.

“If a terrorist is found at a mosque, the only thing that would work is to send 50 investigators in, question everyone, put the Imam away, lock the place down and never open it again,” he said.

“You do that, and you go over to their homelands and you lay waste,” he added.  ”That is what works.”

The Department of Justice didn’t respond to TheBlaze’s request for comment on the new pilot program, or whether it had heard any chatter regarding the potential for an increased level of retaliatory attacks now that the U.S. military has begun strikes on Islamic State targets.

TheBlaze TV’s For the Record examined the underlying ideology that fuels the Islamic State and the homegrown terrorists it hopes to influence in the United States. The episode, “Total Confrontation,” aired Wednesday; catch part of it below:

Fox’s Cashin’ In: ‘The Enemy Is Islamic,’ It’s Time to Start Profiling Muslims

Published on Sep 20, 2014 by Newsroom!!!

 

By Andrew Kirell:

For what was deemed the “most controversial” topic ever discussed on Fox’s Cashin’ In, all the guests seemed to agree: It’s time to start profiling Muslims in America.

“While the administration buries its head in the sand,” host Eric Bolling said of alleged jihadist recruitment in the United States, “we know how to find terrorists among us: Profile, profile, profile.”

M*A*S*H star-turned-investor Wayne Rogers agreed: “There’s no other way. You’ve got to do it. It’s stupid not to.”

Co-panelist Jonathan Hoenig seconded the motion, perhaps going a bit further:

We should have been profiling on September 12, 2001. Let’s take a trip down memory lane here: The last war this country won, we put Japanese-Americans in internment camps, we dropped nuclear bombs on residential city centers. So, yes, profiling would be at least a good start. It’s not on skin color, however, it’s on ideology: Muslim, Islamists, jihadist. That’s a good start but it’s only a start. We need to stop giving Korans to Gitmo prisoners, we need to stop having Ramadan and Iftar celebrations in the White House. We need to stop saying the enemy is not Islamic. They are.

Bolling then rattled off historical terrorist attacks: The 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 9/11 attacks, and the Boston Marathon bombing. The “common thread” he found? “Muslim males.” And so: “Is it okay to say it’s time to start profiling Muslim males? I say, yes, it is.”

Read more at Mediaite

Islamist foreign fighters returning home and the threat to Europe

Editor’s note: Below is Thomas Joscelyn’s testimony to the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats.

Tom_Large (1)By

Chairman Rohrabacher, Ranking Member Keating and members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me here today to discuss the threat posed by Islamist foreign fighters returning home to Europe. We have been asked to answer the question, “How are European countries addressing the threat, and how can the US assist in those efforts to thwart future terrorist attacks?” I offer my thoughts in more detail below.

But I begin by recalling the 9/11 Commission’s warning with respect to failed states. “In the twentieth century,” the Commission’s final report reads, “strategists focused on the world’s great industrial heartlands.” In the twenty-first century, however, “the focus is in the opposite direction, toward remote regions and failing states.” A few sentences later, the Commission continues:

If, for example, Iraq becomes a failed state, it will go to the top of the list of places that are breeding grounds for attacks against Americans at home. Similarly, if we are paying insufficient attention to Afghanistan, the rule of the Taliban or warlords or narcotraffickers may reemerge and its countryside could once again offer refuge to al Qaeda, or its successor.

Those words were written more than a decade ago. Unfortunately, they still ring true today, not just for the US, but also for Europe. Except, we no longer have to worry about just Iraq becoming a failed state. We now have to contend with a failed state in Syria as well. And Syria is not “remote.” It is much easier for foreign fighters to travel to Syria today than it was for new jihadists to get to Afghanistan in the 1980s. This is one reason that there are likely more foreign fighters in Syria than there were in Afghanistan at the height of the jihad against the Soviets. Estimates vary, but the total number of foreign recruits in Syria easily tops 10,000. A CIA source recently told CNN “that more than 15,000 foreign fighters, including 2,000 Westerners, have gone to Syria.” They “come from more than 80 countries.”

This, of course, is an unprecedented security challenge and one that counterterrorism and intelligence officials will be dealing with for some time to come. It requires exceptional international cooperation to track the threats to Europe and elsewhere emerging out of Iraq and Syria. My thoughts below are focused on what I consider to be some of the key aspects of dealing with this threat.

At the moment, most people are understandably focused on the Islamic State (often called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, or ISIS). There is certainly a strong possibility that some foreign fighters will return from fighting in the Islamic State’s ranks to commit an act of terror at home, either on their own accord or under the direction of senior terrorists.

However, I also want to focus our attention today one of the other significant threat streams coming out of Syria. Al-Qaeda’s official branch in the country, Jabhat al-Nusrah, has experienced al-Qaeda veterans in its ranks. I think they pose more of a near-term threat when it comes to launching catastrophic attacks in the West than do their Islamic State counterparts. And even though al-Nusrah and the Islamic State have been at odds, we should not rule out the possibility that parts of each organization could come together against their common enemies in the West. Indeed, two of al-Qaeda’s leading branches are currently encouraging the jihadists in Syria to broker a truce, such that they focus their efforts against the US and its allies. There is also a large incentive for terrorists in both organizations to separately lash out at the West, portraying any such attacks as an act of retaliation for the American-led bombings.

Read more at Long War Journal

The Muslim Dilemma: Allah’s Commands to Wage Jihad

Quran_coverBlind Eagle, by Brian Fairchild, Sep. 18, 2014:

The most important strategic counter terrorist challenge to the United States today is to defeat the ideology of the international jihad movement.  The organizations and individuals that spread this virulent ideology constitute a giant international production line that creates more Salafi-jihadis than the United States can kill or capture.  On September 16, 2014, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who recently stepped down as the nation’s senior military intelligence officer, stated this fact when he responded to a question during a speech at Fort Benning, Georgia:

  • “What this audience wants (to hear) is, ‘kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out, get the t-shirt, go down to Ranger Joe’s [a local military clothing store],…we can kill all day long, but until we understand why there are [such large] numbers of [fundamentalist] believers globally, [groups like the Islamic State] will not be defeated”.

The rabid ideology of the international jihad movement is comprised of two elements:  a Salafi religious belief, melded with the revolutionary Islamist ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Much has been written about the Muslim Brotherhood and its infrastructure globally and in the United States, so this report will focus on Salafism.

Within Islam, Salafism is considered a legitimate Islamic orientation.  It traces its roots to the 13th Century Islamic scholar ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328) and his students ibn al-Qayyim, and ibn Kathir, as well as to the 18th Century Islamic scholar Muhammad ibn Abd-al Wahhab who revived the writings of ibn Taymiyya in the area that would become the Salafi Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Salafism is an ultraconservative form of Sunni Islam.  It is not a creation of al Qaeda or any Islamist terrorist organization.  Quite the opposite is true.  Al Qaeda and all Sunni Islamist terrorist organizations emerged from a Salafi religious foundation.  Salafism is practiced by a minority of Muslims, but that minority numbers over a hundred million.

Salafis proclaim that it is impossible for any man to understand the mind of God, so they regard any interpretation of the Qur’an as illegitimate, and they label any Muslim who dares to question Allah’s commands as an apostate.  They regard the four schools of Sunni Islam as illegal innovations, and insist that the only sources of Islamic authority are a literal acceptance of Allah’s commands in the Qur’an, and a strict literal acceptance and emulation of the life experiences of the Prophet Muhammad.  They call themselves “Salafis” to commemorate the first three generations of Muslims, described in Arabic as “as-Salaf as-Salih” – the “pious predecessors”, who practiced Islam only according to these two sources.  As explained by al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the following linked video, the key concept in Salafism is the Islamic doctrine of Tawheed that, according to Zawahiri:  “must be the ruling authority in every system, constitution and law”; it demands that man be ruled by Sharia law alone because all man-made laws, political ideologies, and government systems are an affront to God.

In intelligence analysis, analysts are required to use primary sources and rigid tradecraft to support their findings and forecasts.  The Qur’an is a primary source, and this report will base its findings on an inspection and understanding of it.

The first point of importance is to understand what the Qur’an represents.  People say “the Qur’an says this, or the Qur’an says that”, but this is incorrect, the Qur’an says nothing.  Allah is the speaker, and the Qur’an is just the medium to report his commands.  The Qur’an is not comprised of stories about Allah, or stories recounting the life of Muhammad, or stories of any kind.  Rather, Islam regards the Qur’an as a compilation of over 6,000 verses revealed directly by Allah to the prophet Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel, in Arabic, over a 23 year period.  Muslims believe that the verses in the Qur’an are in Allah’s active voice – it is not a summation, description, or interpretation by man of what Allah said, it is Allah’s direct word as revealed to Muhammad.

Herein lies the Muslim dilemma.  Because all the jihad verses in the Qur’an come directly from God with no interpretation or intercession by man, jihadis use them to justify their violent campaigns, while non-jihadis cannot question them without being labeled as apostates who must be killed.  Much is made of the fact that jihadis kill other Muslims, but the jihadis state that they are killing apostates as commanded by Allah in revealed verses such as Chapter 4, verse 89 below (4:89).

When it comes to jihad, or killing apostates, Allah is very specific.  There is no interpretation needed, and he never qualifies any of his commands by putting a time limit or geographical limitation on them.  In Allah’s revealed verses below you will recognize many of the atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), from Islamic supremacism, killing other Muslims, waging jihad, beheadings, crucifixions, taking and ransoming prisoners, and waging jihad against Christians and Jews.  All are commanded by Allah as the following verses concretely demonstrate.

Note:  None of the Qur’anic citations below have been altered in any way; they are all copied verbatim exactly as they appear in The Noble Qur’an:  English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary, published by the King Fahd Complex of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  It is distributed free around the world.  Despite the fact that Salafis believe that nobody can understand the mind of God, the Saudi publisher ironically inserted comments in parentheses within the verses to ensure that Muslims clearly understand what Allah meant when he revealed them to Muhammad.  Again, in order to understand the power of these verses, Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the word of God verbally revealed to Muhammad, in Arabic, through the angel Gabriel.  All of the verses in the Qur’an (which, in aggregate, constitute Sharia law) are considered direct commands in God’s voice.  To ensure that Muslims understand exactly what God meant when he commanded Muslims to “fight in the way of Allah”, the Saudi publishers included the following extensive footnote which leaves nothing to the imagination.  The footnote appears on page 39 in reference to Qur’an Chapter 2, verse 190.  It is copied verbatim, including incorrect spelling and grammar: 

 

  • (V: 2:190)  Al-Jihad (holy fighting) in Allah’s Cause (with full force of numbers and weaponry) is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its pillars (on which it stands).  By Jihad Islam is established.  Allah’s Word is made superior, (His Word being La ilaha illaliah which means none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and His Religion (Islam) is propagated.  By abandoning Jihad (may Allah protect us from that) Islam is destroyed and the Muslims fall into an inferior position; their honour is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish.  Jihad is an obligatory duty in Islam on every Muslim, and he who tries to escape from this duty, or does not in his innermost heart wish to fulfil this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite. 

Jihad Chapters and Verses:

  • 8:39 – And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone (in the whole world).  But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do. 
  • 8:60 – And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery) to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know but whom Allah does know.  And whatever you shall spend in the Cause of Allah shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly. 
  • 47:4 – So, when you meet (in fight – Jihad in Allah’s Cause) those who disbelieve, smite (their) necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives).  Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without ransom), or ransom (according to what benefits Islam), until the war lays down its burden.  Thus (you are ordered by Allah to continue in carrying out Jihad against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam and are saved from the punishment in the Hell-fire or at least come under your protection), but if it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you), But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others.  But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost. 
  • 4:89 – They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another).  So take not Auliya (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allah (to Muhammad).  But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Auliya (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them. 
  • 5:33 – The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hand and their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.  That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter. 
  • 9:14 – Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of believing people. 
  • 9:29 – Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad) (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

The majority of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are not Salafis and do not live their lives according to a strict adherence to Sharia law and Allah’s commands to wage jihad.  It is precisely this fact, however, that Salafi-jihadis cite to justify their jihad to bring all Muslims and everyone else in the world to “true Islam”, and as the above verses demonstrate, the fact that Allah has commanded them to do so is irrefutable.  As a result, it is grossly incorrect to say that Salafi-jihadis are not Islamic.  According to the above jihad verses, it is evident that they are quite literally practicing Islam as Allah commanded.

Government recognition of the Islamic religious foundation of jihad is essential for two specific national security reasons.  The Muslim dilemma can never be successfully addressed until this fact is acknowledged, and official recognition of the religious nature of jihad would provide American counter-terrorism officers with an investigative direction.  This is especially vital at present to stem the flow of American foreign fighters to the Islamic State.  At present, official policy states that Islamic terrorists have nothing to do with Islam, but are simply “violent extremists”.  But, where does a counter-terrorism officer go to investigate violent extremists?  The answer is, nowhere.

Current American policy ties the hands of counter-terrorism officers and relegates them to investigating already developed plots where individual “violent extremists” are in the process of carrying out a violent act.  This effectively rules out all proactive investigations that would prevent such plots.

If the religious aspects of jihad were acknowledged, however, counter terrorism officers would have numerous options.  They could identify and neutralize Salafi-jihadi mosques as well as Salafi-jihadi imams and Salafi guest speakers from abroad.  They could investigate Salafi organizations that raise funds and distribute Islamist training material and manifestos, and they could identify and counter Muslim Brotherhood organizations and the training programs they employ to instill Salafi beliefs in the next generation of young Muslims.

The game-changing rise of the Islamic State and the phenomenal flood of radicalized foreign fighters flowing to the new “caliphate” make political correctness and willful ignorance of the Islamic religious foundation of the jihad a recipe for national disaster.

Brian Fairchild Bio