US Envoy: To defeat the Islamic State, we must “tell the story of how we celebrate Islam”

Allen-and-Kuwaiti-emir-300x213Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer:

General Allen was the commander in Afghanistan who issued an abject and embarrassing video apology to “the noble people of Afghanistan” for the alleged desecration of a Qur’an at a U.S. air base. Here he is assuming what all Western leaders assume: that the Islamic State is perverting the true teachings of Islam, and that these Muslim leaders will be eager to show that to be the case. But it is increasingly clear to everyone that this is just whistling in the dark: even the Guardian sees through it. “US Envoy: To Defeat ISIS, We Must Highlight ‘Our Profound Respect’ for Islam,” by Patrick Goodenough, CNS News, October 29, 2014 (thanks to Lookmann):

(CNSNews.com) – A global effort to counter claims by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) that it is acting in the name of Islam must include a counter-narrative that highlights “our profound respect” for the religion, the administration’s point man in the anti-ISIS coalition said this week.Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen was speaking in Kuwait, where representatives of more than a dozen Islamic and Western met to discuss using public communications to combat ISIS (also known as Da’esh – an acronym for the Arabic rendering of the group’s name, ad-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fil-Iraq wa ash-Sham).

“As we seek to expose Da’esh’s true nature,” Allen told the gathering on Monday, “we must also tell a positive story, one that highlights our respect – our profound respect for Islam’s proud traditions, its rich history, and celebration of scholarship and family and community.”

“We must work with clerics and scholars and teachers and parents to tell the story of how we celebrate Islam, even as we show that Da’esh perverts it.”

The conference in Kuwait City brought together officials from leading Arab states, Turkey, France, Britain and the U.S. to discuss ways their governments are working to counter ISIS’ message.

The jihadist group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq and has declared a “caliphate” in those areas, runs a dynamic propaganda and recruitment operation, including a full-color online magazine, video clips, and an active social media presence.

The Qur’an and other Islamic texts, along with viewpoints of historical and modern-day Muslim scholars, are central to its messaging, and the U.S.-led coalition is prioritizing attempts to counter the purported religious justifications for its actions.

Allen said that ISIS propaganda serves both to attract recruits and “perverts the innocent.”

“It is only when we contest Da’esh’s presence online and deny the legitimacy of its message – the message that it sends to vulnerable young people – and as we expose Da’esh for the un-Islamic, criminal cult of violence that it really is, it is only then that Da’esh will be truly defeated.”

He said every member of the coalition had a role to play in combating the image ISIS portrays of itself.

“Da’esh’s online messengers present themselves as the true and victorious representatives of Islam. They seek to portray themselves as winners, true leaders worthy of financial support that attracts and radicalizes foreign fighters,” he said.

“I believe every coalition partner, every one, has a unique and a vital role to play in striking down this image – this image within the context of our respective cultural, religious, and national norms.”

Allen noted that leading religious figures in the region have spoken out against ISIS on religious grounds.

Last August, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia declared that ISIS’ ideas and violent conduct made it “enemy number one of Islam.” The same month, Egypt’s grand mufti launched an Internet-based campaign to discredit ISIS, and urged media to stop using any name for the group that incorporates the word “Islamic.”

More than 120 Islamic figures last month signed a letter to ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – who calls himself “Caliph Ibrahim” and has called on jihadists everywhere to swear loyalty to him – challenging him on religious grounds….

And that challenge was as hypocritical as it was revealing.

Obama Throws the Free Syrian Army Under the Bus

Smoke rises following an airstrike by US-led coalition aircraft in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Oct. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) LEFTERIS PITARAKIS — AP

Smoke rises following an airstrike by US-led coalition aircraft in Kobani, Syria, during fighting between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Oct. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
LEFTERIS PITARAKIS — AP

PJ Media, By Patrick Poole, October 16, 2014

For the past three years, the Obama administration has hailed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as the saviors of Syria — the “vetted moderate” force that was going to topple the butcher Assad. Because of that, the administration provided training, money and weapons to prop up the FSA (the word is they sent lawyers too).

But according to a report last night by Hannah Allam at McClatchy, Obama is now throwing the FSA under bus:

John Allen, the retired Marine general in charge of coordinating the U.S.-led coalition’s response to the Islamic State, confirmed Wednesday what Syrian rebel commanders have complained about for months – that the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists.

“At this point, there is not formal coordination with the FSA,” Allen told reporters at the State Department.

That was perhaps the bluntest answer yet to the question of how existing Syrian rebel forces might fit into the U.S. strategy to fight the Islamic State. Allen said the United States’ intent is to start from scratch in creating a home-grown, moderate counterweight to the Islamic State.

For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the U.S. ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA. Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida loyalists of the Nusra Front.

Last month I reported here at PJ Media about the coordination of the “vetted moderate” FSA with Jabhat al-Nusra and even ISIS. That coordination was later confirmed by a senior FSA commander.

Those reports came just as Congress was considering a vote to spend another $500 million to train their administration’s “vetted moderate” partners. That funding wasapproved by both the House and the Senate before Congress left town for the election break. With Obama cutting the FSA loose less than a month later, those who voted against the funding are going to look like geniuses.

Now that the FSA is safely under the bus it remains to be seen exactly who Obama is going to enlist to train and fight. Most of those who can fight are already in the fight. What are they going to do now, put out an ad on Craig’s List?

As one observer noted last night, Syria watchers should keep an eye out for the following ad showing up in the help wanted section of Middle East newspapers:

Wanted, Multicultural, non-sectarian, Jeffersonian democrats interested in military careers. English a plus. Drug test required.

Under Obama’s bus must be getting crowded…

The Scandal of 2013

1By Diana West

Early in 2012, I opened a column with this question: “Is there a  single public official who is examining – who cares about – the murder  spree by Afghan security forces against Western troops and security  contractors in Afghanistan?”

Nearly one year has passed, during which 62 Americans and other  Westerners have been killed by Afghan forces “inside the wire.” The  president has yet to call for “meaningful change”; in fact, he has said  nothing about it. The Congress has said nothing about it. During the  presidential campaign, Mitt Romney said nothing about it. Such silence  is a national disgrace, but it’s an answer to my question. No. They  don’t care. Not about the men. Not about their families. What they care  about is the story line – the fraud that has kept the national arteries  to Afghanistan open, fueling the American-led “counterinsurgency”  fantasy that an ally, heart-and-mind, exists in the umma (Islamic  world), if only Uncle Sam can mold it and bribe it and train it into  viability.

But this trail of blood shed by our men – fathers, husbands,  brothers, friends – leads in another direction. If We the People were to  follow it, drop by drop, we would begin to understand there is no ally,  no “partner” in Afghanistan, no matter how hard our leadership lies to  us. We would see for ourselves that the difference between the  “extremists” and the “moderates” in a Shariah-supreme culture is  ultimately inconsequential, and that the gulf between Islam and the West  is too deep to plumb without losing ourselves in the process. If we  were to keep following this trail of blood, we would even conclude that  our leaders, from President Bush to President Obama, have been wrong,  criminally, recklessly wrong, ever since 9/11/01, when they began doing  everything possible to deny the centrality of jihad in Islam even while  sending America and her allies to combat jihad in the Islamic world.

Silence, thus, becomes the way our leaders can keep both their  delusional ideology intact and their places in power secure. Deflection,  too. In March 2012, a month in which three Afghan attacks took the live  of two British soldiers and three Americans, Chairman of the Joint  Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey deemed such shootings as  “additional risk” necessary for “national security.” In April, he would  order all branches of the military and the service academies to scrub  any training materials deemed “disrespectful of Islam” – another blow to  the study of jihad. In August 2012, midway through a month in which 12  American and three Australian forces would be killed in seven “insider  attacks,” Afghanistan commander Gen. John Allen actually offered excuses  for the murders – the strain of Ramadan fasting, summer heat and fast  operational tempo. The following month, after four Americans and two  British troops were killed in two separate shootings, Obama campaign  adviser and former senior Pentagon official Michele Flournoy minimized  the attacks as a “very occasional” problem and a sign of “Taliban  desperation.”

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