Terror in Nice: Time to unite in the fight against radical Islam

What is it going to take for us to correctly identify the enemy and unite in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism?

A 13 year old Jewish girl stabbed to death in her own bed in Israel? A massacre at a gay club in Orlando? Attacks against travelers in Brussels and music fans in Paris? Yazidis, Christians and other minorities persecuted throughout the Middle East? Muslims who are butchered because they are the ”wrong” kind of Muslim? Pedestrians run over by a truck in Nice?

The reason for radical Islamic terrorism is not poverty, lack of opportunities, or Israeli ”occupation” (who exactly is Nice or the LGBT community in Orlando ”occupying”?). It is a political ideology that calls for the destruction of Western society and the establishment of Sharia law worldwide.

We are all targets of this totalitarian medieval ideology and therefore we have to unite and fight it together.

It’s not too late to turn the tide on this war but we all need to do our part. Educate yourself on the enemy, elect the right leaders, get involved in your community and don’t be afraid to speak up but base your arguments on facts and not prejudice.

This time it was Paris

Summary: “Whether or not people in the civilized world want to admit it, radical Islam has declared war on Western civilization,” and asserts that despite what many people have been insisting since 9/11, Israeli ‘occupation’ or ‘settlements’ are not the root of Muslim rage. The author argues that a clash of civilizations is the main cause of friction between Islam and Western civilization, and hopes that the world “will once and for all understand and appreciate that Israel is a Middle Eastern fortress of 21st century liberal democracy and human rights living in a region dominated by a seventh-century religion of conquest or submission.”

Israel Hayom (Nov 17) — … Since 9/11, many people have insisted on pointing to the Israeli “occupation” or “settlements” as the root of Muslim rage.

Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, in various negotiations, Israel has offered to give up practically of the territories it was forced to conquer in the defensive war of June 1967. Every time, the Arabs have rejected the Israeli offers. They have chosen to remain in a continuous state of war, rather than accept the existence of a Jewish entity, which they view as a cancerous blight on what they deem to be “holy Muslim soil.”

There is ongoing a clash of civilizations and the fault line of this conflict runs right along the borders of Israel. Jews in Israel are despised for the exact same reason that attendees at a soccer match or rock concert in Paris or passengers on the London Underground are. Simply put, in the eyes of Islamist terrorists, they are all “the other.”

According to the Koran, the world is divided into two domains: Dar-al-Islam (the House of Islam), which submits to Shariah law, and Dar-al Harb (the House of War), which includes the rest of the world that does not submit to Shariah law and therefore must be conquered.

It is time for the West to wake up and realize that the war that Israel has been fighting for its survival ever since it came into being has nothing whatsoever to do with the shape of its borders. The terrorism that has been taking place in Israel has nothing to do with 1967 and everything to do with 1948.

Maybe this time, the world will finally wake up and understand the nature of the war the Islamists are waging against Western civilization. I erroneously thought the world had woken up from its slumber in 2001, but it proved that it would rather put its hand back on the snooze button and blame Islamic terrorism on extraneous and irrelevant factors, such as the “occupation.”

My hope and prayer is that the world will once and for all understand and appreciate that Israel is a Middle Eastern fortress of 21st century liberal democracy and human rights living in a region dominated by a seventh-century religion of conquest or submission. Israel is always willing and able lend a hand and to teach the painful lessons it has learned during its 67 years of survival in a tribal and primitive part of the world. It can teach about how to survive in a new globalized world where the friendly Islamist neighbor next door might suddenly wake up and decide to stab you in the back.

Sarah N. Stern is the founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, a pro-American and pro-Israeli think tank and policy institute in Washington.

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Radical Islam – the invisible enemy

“Every day the US and its allies maintain their refusal to acknowledge that radical Islam exists.”

By Caroline B. Glick, senior contributing editor of the Jerusalem Post.

The Jerusalem Post (Nov 17) — As the cleaning crews were mopping the dried blood from the stage and the seats of the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, a depressing act appeared on stage in distant Iowa.

Saturday night the three contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination took to the stage in Iowa for a debate. The moderator asked them whether they would be willing to use the term “radical Islam” to describe the ideology motivating Islamic terrorists to massacre innocents. All refused…

But of course, it is easy to understand what motivates Islamic terrorists. They tell us all the time.

They want the world to be run by an Islamic empire.

When they are in charge, they will kill, subjugate, convert or enslave all non-Muslims, except Jews.

The Jews will be obliterated.

The attacks they carry out in the Western world are viewed both as battles for the soul of Muslims worldwide and as a means to terrorize non-Muslims into accepting subjugation.

… The radical Islamic goal of destroying America – and the rest of the world – is the same regardless of who ends up winning the intramural jihad contest.

And as we have seen repeatedly in recent years, the sides are happy to come together to achieve their common goal of killing us and destroying our societies.

The Americans’ avoidance of reality is not unique.

The Europeans also refuse to see it.

Following the jihadist massacres at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher in Paris in January, French President Francois Hollande insisted that the attackers who killed in the name of Islam had nothing to do with Islam.

After jihadists in London beheaded British soldier Lee Rigby outside his barracks in 2013, British Prime Minister David Cameron insisted that the attack, carried out in the name of Islam, had nothing to do with Islam.

The operational consequences of the West’s refusal to acknowledge the nature of the forces waging war against it have been disastrous.

Radical Islam is an ideology that serves both as an organizing principle for civil societies and a military doctrine. By ignoring it, the US and the rest of the free nations of the world have made it impossible to conceptualize or implement a strategy for either discrediting it or defeating its adherents.

Rather than develop comprehensive plans for dealing with this enemy, the Americans, the Europeans and others have opted for a mix of policies running the spectrum from appeasement to whack-a-mole operations.

Abroad, appeasement has taken its most significant form in the US-led nuclear deal with Iran. As the largest state sponsor of terrorism and the most active radical Islamic imperialist force in the Middle East, Iran is the ground zero of radical Islam. It not only oversees and directs the operations of its puppets, like Syrian President Bashar Assad, and its foreign legions, like Hezbollah. The Iranian regime has also played a key role in developing Muslim Brotherhood offshoots like al-Qaida, which received, and likely continues to receive training and direction from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. As for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, if Iran had been interested in preventing its rise, IS would never have taken over any territory in either country.

At home, appeasement of radical Islamic forces has involved embracing Muslim Brotherhood front groups and insisting that radical Islamic clerics are moderates because they aren’t pulling any triggers.

The West’s whack-a-mole war against radical Islam at home and abroad has meant that even as one group – like core al-Qaida – is cut down, it is swiftly replaced by other groups, like Islamic State. And if IS is eventually cut down, it too will be replaced by another group, and then reconstitute itself as IS when the West’s attention is taken up by the next major group.

Obama has enabled this state of affairs by defining the enemy as narrowly as possible, reducing the whole sphere of radical Islam to a few discrete groups – like al-Qaeda and IS – that he seeks to defeat or contain.

It is not simply that the whack-a-mole strategy doesn’t work. It is self-defeating. Since the radical Islamic trigger pullers in the West are usually no more than a few people who get together to murder people, insisting that someone has to be a card carrying member of a recognized terrorist group before authorities will go after him makes it almost impossible to find operatives and prevent attacks.

The murderers Friday may well never have received formal orders to commit their attacks from a central jihadist headquarters. They may have met at a mosque in Paris or Brussels and decided to do it.

Certainly they needed no advanced training to mow down people eating dinner or watching a rock concert. They didn’t even really need to know how to shoot straight.

As for their explosives vests, all they needed was a guy with a working knowledge of explosives to set them up with the means to turn themselves into human bombs. Maybe he trained in Syria. Maybe he has a degree in chemistry from the Sorbonne.

Maybe he is just good at following YouTube videos.

The most important component of Friday night’s massacre was the terrorists’ radical Islamic motivation.

Their belief in their ideology motivated them to die killing innocent people. Everything else was secondary. They may have been inspired and loosely directed by the heads of IS. But if Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed six months ago, they would have found another source of inspiration.

And that’s the main point. While Friday’s killers may have given their allegiance to IS, they were operationally and ideologically all but indistinguishable from their predecessors in the London subways in 2005 and the Madrid commuter rails in 2004 who hailed from al-Qaida. Likewise, while the US may have seriously degraded core al-Qaida in the Middle East over the past seven years, IS in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Libya is an organic extension of al-Qaida.

To defeat these groups, the US and its allies need to adopt a strategy that is rooted in an acknowledgment of the nature of our true enemy: radical Islam.

Armed with this recognition, the nations of the free world can determine operational guidelines for combating not only specific, discrete groupings of adherents to this ideology, they can develop overall strategies for combating it at home and in the Middle East.

At home, such strategies require Western governments to penetrate, disrupt and destroy radical Islamic networks on the ground in a sustained, concentrated manner. In the Middle East, they require the free world to stop seeking to appease leaders, regimes and militias that support and ascribe to radical Islam.

… Every day the US and its allies maintain their refusal to acknowledge that radical Islam exists and that the regime in Tehran, al-Qaida, IS, Hamas and all the rest are mere expressions of this larger ideology, the danger radical Islam poses to the survival of free societies will continue to mount and grow. Saturday night’s Democratic debate was a depressing reminder how low we have fallen.

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Why the Paris Massacre Will Have Limited Impact

urlBy Daniel Pipes for National Review Online (Nov 15) — The murder of some 127 innocents in Paris by a jihadi gang on Friday has again shocked the French and led to another round of solidarity, soul searching, and anger. In the end, however, Islamist violence against Westerners boils down to two questions: How much will this latest atrocity turn public opinion? And how much will it further spur the Establishment to deny reality?

As these questions suggest, the people and the professionals are moving in opposite directions, the former to the right, the latter to the left. In the end, this clash much reduces the impact of such events on policy.

Public opinion moves against Islamists specifically and Islam more generally when the number of deaths is large enough. America’s three thousand dead on 9/11 stands out as by far the largest mortality but many other countries have had their equivalent – the Bali bombings for Australia, the railroad bombing for Spain, the Beslan school massacre for Russia, the transportation bombings for Britain.

Sheer numbers are not the only consideration. Other factors can multiply the impact of an assault, making it almost the political equivalent of mass carnage: (1) The renown of those attacked, such as Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands and the Charlie Hebdo office in France. (2) The professional status of the victim, such as soldiers or police. (3) High-profile circumstances, such as the Boston Marathon bombing.

In addition to the over 27,000 attacks globally connected to Islam since 9/11, or more than 5 per day (as counted by TheReligionOfPeace.com), a huge increase in illegal immigration from the Middle East recently exacerbated feelings of vulnerability and fear. It’s a one-way street, with not a single soul ever heard to announce, “I used to worry about Islamism but I don’t any more.”

These cases make more Westerners worried about Islam and related topics from the building of minarets to female infibulation. Overall, a relentless march rightwards is underway. Surveys of European attitudes show 60 to 70 percent of voters expressing these concerns. Populist individuals like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands and parties like the Sweden Democrats are surging in the polls.

But when it comes to the Establishment – politicians, the police, the press, and the professors – the unrelenting violence has a contrary effect. Those charged with interpreting the attacks live in a bubble of public denial (what they say privately is another matter) in which they feel compelled to pretend that Islam has no role in the violence, out of concern that to recognize it would cause even more problems.

These 4-P professionals bald-facedly feign belief in a mysterious “violent extremist” virus that seems to afflict only Muslims, prompting them to engage in random acts of barbaric violence. Of the many preposterous statements by politicians, my all-time favorite is what Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, said about the Charlie Hebdo jihadis: “They’re about as Muslim as I am.”

This defiance of common sense has survived each atrocity and I predict that it will also outlast the Paris massacre. Only a truly massive loss of life, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands, will force the professionals to back off their deeply ingrained pattern of denying an Islamic component in the spate of attacks.

That pattern has the very consequential effect of shutting out the fears of ordinary voters, whose views thereby have negligible impact on policy. Worries about Shari’a, rape gangs, exotic diseases, and bloodbaths are dismissed with charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia,” as though name-calling addresses these real issues.

More surprising yet, the professionals respond to the public’s move to the right by themselves moving to the left, encouraging more immigration from the Middle East, instituting more “hate speech” codes to suppress criticism of Islam, and providing more patronage to Islamists. This pattern affects not just Establishment figures of the Left but more strikingly also of the Right (such as Angela Merkel of Germany); only Eastern European leaders such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán permit themselves to speak honestly about the real problems.

Eventually, to be sure, voters’ views will make themselves heard, but decades later and more weakly than democratically should have been the case.

Placing the murderous rampage in Paris into this context: it will likely move public sentiments substantially in one direction and Establishment policies in quite the opposite way, therefore ultimately having only a limited impact.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

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Erdoğan Leads Turkey to the Precipice

Erdoğan Pasha as imagined by The Economist.

Erdoğan Pasha as imagined by The Economist.

By Daniel Pipes for the Autralian — The Republic of Turkey is undergoing possibly its greatest crisis since the founding of the state nearly a century ago. Present trends suggest worse to come as a long-time Western ally evolves into a hostile dictatorship.

The crisis results primarily from the ambitions of one very capable and sinister individual, Turkey’s 61-year old president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. A career politician who previously served four years as the mayor of Turkey’s megacity, Istanbul, and then eleven years as the country’s prime minister, he forwards two goals hitherto unknown in the republic: dictatorship and full application of the Shari’a, Islam’s law code.

During his first eight years of power, 2003-11, Erdoğan ruled with such finesse that one could only suspect these two aspirations; proof remained elusive. This author, for example, wrote an article in 2005 that weighed the contradictory evidence for and against Erdoğan being an Islamist. A combination of playing by the rules, caution in the Islamic arena, and economic success won Erdoğan’s party, Justice and Development (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP), increasing percentages of the vote in parliamentary elections, going from 34 percent in 2002, to 46 percent in 2007, to 50 percent in 2011.

That 2011 election victory, his third in succession, gave Erdoğan the confidence finally to remove the armed forces from politics, where they had long served as Turkey’s ultimate power broker. Ironically, this change ended the increasing democratization of prior decades for his fully taking charge allowed Erdoğan to develop an oversized ego, to bare his fangs, flex his despotic muscles, and openly seek his twin objectives of tyranny and Shari’a.

Indeed, Erdoğan made his power felt in every domain after 2011. Banks provided loans to the businessmen who kicked back funds to the AKP. Hostile media found themselves subject to vast fines or physical assault. Ordinary citizens who criticized the leader found themselves facing lawsuits, fines, and jail. Politicians in competing parties faced dirty tricks. Like a latter-day sultan, Erdoğan openly flouted the law and intervened at will when and where he wished, inserting himself into legal proceedings, meddling in local decisions, and interfering with police investigations. For example, he responded to compelling raw evidence of his own and his family’s corruption by simply closing down the inquiry.

The Islamic order also took shape. School instruction became more Islamic even as Islamic schools proliferated, with the number of students in the latter jumping from 60,000 to 1,600,000, a 27-fold increase. Erdoğan instructed women to stay home and breed, demanding three children apiece from them. Burqas proliferated and hijabs became legal headgear in government buildings. Alcohol became harder to find and higher priced. More broadly, Erdoğan harked back to the piety of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922), eroded the secular republic founded in 1923 by Kemal Atatürk, and positioned himself as the anti-Atatürk.

Erdoğan also faced some serious problems after 2011. The China-like economic growth slowed down and debt spiraled upwards. A disastrously inept Syria policy contributed to the rise of the Islamic State, the emergence of a hostile Kurdish autonomous area, and millions of unwelcome refugees flooding into Turkey. Foreign relations soured with nearly the entire neighborhood: Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo, Athens, the (Greek) Republic of Cyprus, and even (Turkish) northern Cyprus. Ties also went south with Washington, Moscow, and Beijing. Good relations were limited to Doha, Kuala Lumpur, and – until recently, as shown by the many indications of Turkish state support for the Islamic State – Raqqa.

When the Erdoğan era expires, the country will be much more divided than when it began in March 2003 between Turk and Kurd, Sunni and Alevi, pious and secular Sunnis, and rich and poor. It will contain millions of difficult to assimilate Syrian refugees and Kurdish areas declared independent of the state. It will be isolated internationally. It will contain a hollowed-out government structure. It will have lost the tradition of legal impartiality.

Erdoğan’s larger accomplishment will have been to reverse Atatürk’s Westernizing policies. Whereas Atatürk and several generations of leaders wanted Turkey to be in Europe, Erdoğan brought it thunderingly back to the Middle East and to the tyranny, corruption, female subjugation, and other hallmarks of a region in crisis. As Turks struggle over the years to undo this damage, they will have ample opportunity to ponder the many evils bequeathed them by Erdoğan.

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What Do Palestinian Terrorists Want?

By Bassam Tawil for the Gatestone Institute (Oct 15):

  • Palestinian terrorists are not driven by poverty and deprivation, as many have long argued. Instead, they are driven by hatred for Jews — because of what their leaders, media and mosques are telling them.
  • These young people took advantage of their status as permanent residents of Israel to set out and murder Jews. Their Israeli ID cards allow them to travel freely inside Israel. They were also entitled to the social welfare benefits and free healthcare granted to all Israeli citizens.
  • Muhannad Halabi wanted to murder Jews because he had been brainwashed by our leaders and media, and was driven by hatred — he was not living in misery and deprivation. The family’s house in the village of Surda, on the outskirts of Ramallah, looks as if it came out of a movie filmed in San Diego.
  • This conflict is not about Islamic holy sites or Jerusalem. Murdering a Jewish couple in front of their four children has nothing to do with the Aqsa Mosque or “occupation.”
  • For the terrorists, all Jews are “settlers” and Israel is one big settlement. This is not an intifada — it is just another killing-spree aimed at terrorizing the Jews and forcing them out of this part of the world. It already succeeded in the rest of the Middle East and is now being done there to the Christians as well.
  • The current wave of terrorism is just another phase in our dream to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. The terrorists and their supporters are not struggling against a checkpoint or a wall. They want to see Israel destroyed, Jews slaughtered, and the streets of Israel running with Jewish blood.

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Gaza cleric calls on Palestinians to stab Jews

Sheikh Muhammad Sallah, brandishing knife during Friday sermon, calls on young men in West Bank to form ‘stabbing squads’

A Gaza cleric calls on Palestinians to carry out more stabbing attacks against Jews, in a sermon on Friday, October 9, 2015, in a translation made available by MEMRI. Screenshot/ MEMRI)

A Gaza cleric calls on Palestinians to carry out more stabbing attacks against Jews, in a sermon on Friday, October 9, 2015, in a translation made available by MEMRI. Screenshot/ MEMRI)

The Times of Israel (Oct 12) — A Gaza-based cleric gave a sermon at a Rafah mosque this past Friday encouraging Palestinians to stab Jews amid a surging wave of terror that has seen near-daily stabbing attacks against Israelis since the beginning of this month.

Brandishing a knife of his own during the speech at the Al-Abrar Mosque, Sheikh Muhammad Sallah called on Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank to “attack in threes and fours” and “cut them into body parts.”

“My brother in the West Bank: Stab! My brother is the West Bank: Stab the myths of the Talmud in their minds! My brother in the West Bank: Stab the myths about the temple in their hearts!” Sallah cries out while wielding the knife and making stabbing motions, according to a translation made available by the Middle East Media Research Institute which also provided a video of the sermon.

Seemingly delighted with the recent surge in stabbing attacks which have killed 4 Israelis and injured 31 in 17 separate assaults, Sallah encouraged the formation of “stabbing quads.”

“We don’t want just a single stabber. Oh young men of the West Bank: Attack in threes and fours. Some should restrain the victim, while others attack him with axes and butcher knives, he said.

“Do not fear what will be said about you. Oh men of the West Bank, next time, attack in a group of three, four, or five. Attack them in groups. Cut them into body parts,” he went on.

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An Islamic Caliphate in Seven Easy Steps

This article was published in 2005 but is more relevant now than ever. A Jordanian journalist who spent with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq from 2004-2006, outlined al-Qaeda’s plan to achieve a world wide Caliphate in 7 steps. They are currently at step 6.

The Future of Terrorism: What al-Qaida Really Wants” by Yassin Musharbash for Spiegel Online, August 12, 2005:

If there is anyone who might possibly have an inkling as to what al-Qaida are up to, it is the Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein. He has not only spent time in prison with al-Zarqawi, but has also managed make contact with many of the network’s leaders. Based on correspondence with these sources, he has now brought out a book detailing the organization’s master plan.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is blamed for some of the worst terrorist attacks and hostage killings in Iraq.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is blamed for some of the worst terrorist attacks and hostage killings in Iraq.

There must be something particularly trustworthy about the Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein. After all, he has managed to get some of the the most sought after terrorists to open up to him. Maybe it helped that they spent time together in prison many years ago — when Hussein was a political prisoner he successfully negotiated for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to be released from solitary confinement. Or is it because of the honest and direct way in which he puts his ideas onto paper? Whatever the reason, the result is that a film which Hussein made about al-Zarqawi has even been shown on al-Qaida affiliated Web sites. “That showed me that they at least felt understood,” the journalist says.

Even for an Arab journalist it is no easy matter getting in touch with al-Qaida’s inner circle. Nevertheless, Hussein, who is based in Amman, Jordan, has succeeded in turning his correspondence with the terrorists into a remarkable book: “al-Zarqawi – al-Qaida’s Second Generation.”

If you meet Hussein, as you might when he is relaxing in Amman’s Café Vienna, you see he is calm and laid-back, without any of the glamour of a secret service spy. But what this small, slim man has to report is nothing less than the world’s most dangerous terrorist network’s plan of action: al-Qaida’s strategy for the next two decades. It is both frightening and absurd, a lunatic plan conceived by fanatics who live in their own world, but who continually manage to break into the real world with their brutal acts of violence.

One of Hussein’s most sensational sources for the book, according to what he told SPIEGEL Online, was Seif al-Adl. The Egyptian terrorist, who is suspected of taking part in the attacks on the American Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in 1998, has a ransom of US$5 million on his head from the FBI. Secret services suspect that al-Adl is now in Iran.

To prove that he really has had contact to al-Adl, Hussein includes in the first two pages of the book a copy of a hand-written letter the wanted man sent to the author. In the original document, which is 15 pages long, al-Adl describes the disagreements between al-Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden during the Afghanistan war. “Statements from Seif al-Adl have also crept into the chapter on al-Qaida’s strategy,” explains Fouad Hussein.

An Islamic Caliphate in Seven Easy Steps

In the introduction, the Jordanian journalist writes, “I interviewed a whole range of al-Qaida members with different ideologies to get an idea of how the war between the terrorists and Washington would develop in the future.” What he then describes between pages 202 and 213 is a scenario, proof both of the terrorists’ blindness as well as their brutal single-mindedness. In seven phases the terror network hopes to establish an Islamic caliphate which the West will then be too weak to fight.

    • The First Phase Known as “the awakening” — this has already been carried out and was supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby “awakening” Muslims. “The first phase was judged by the strategists and masterminds behind al-Qaida as very successful,” writes Hussein. “The battle field was opened up and the Americans and their allies became a closer and easier target.” The terrorist network is also reported as being satisfied that its message can now be heard “everywhere.”

 

    • The Second Phase “Opening Eyes” is, according to Hussein’s definition, the period we are now in and should last until 2006. Hussein says the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the “Islamic community.” Hussein believes this is a phase in which al-Qaida wants an organization to develop into a movement. The network is banking on recruiting young men during this period. Iraq should become the center for all global operations, with an “army” set up there and bases established in other Arabic states.

 

    • The Third Phase This is described as “Arising and Standing Up” and should last from 2007 to 2010. “There will be a focus on Syria,” prophesies Hussein, based on what his sources told him. The fighting cadres are supposedly already prepared and some are in Iraq. Attacks on Turkey and — even more explosive — in Israel are predicted. Al-Qaida’s masterminds hope that attacks on Israel will help the terrorist group become a recognized organization. The author also believes that countries neighboring Iraq, such as Jordan, are also in danger.

 

    • The Fourth Phase Between 2010 and 2013, Hussein writes that al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments. The estimate is that “the creeping loss of the regimes’ power will lead to a steady growth in strength within al-Qaida.” At the same time attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism.

 

    • The Fifth Phase This will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaida hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.

 

    • The Sixth Phase Hussein believes that from 2016 onwards there will a period of “total confrontation.” As soon as the caliphate has been declared the “Islamic army” it will instigate the “fight between the believers and the non-believers” which has so often been predicted by Osama bin Laden.

 

    • The Seventh Phase This final stage is described as “definitive victory.” Hussein writes that in the terrorists’ eyes, because the rest of the world will be so beaten down by the “one-and-a-half billion Muslims,” the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn’t last longer than two years.

 

A Serious Plan?

But just how serious is this scenario? “Al-Qaida makes no compromises,” says the book’s author Fouad Hussein. He obviously believes that this seven-point plan could well become the guiding principle for a whole range of al-Qaida fighters. Hussein is far from an hysterical alarmist — in fact he is seen as a serious journalist and his Zarqawi book is better than most of the reports in Arabic on the subject. Only last year, the journalist made a film which was received with great interest and was shown on the German-French TV channel arte. In it he provided deep insights into al-Qaida’s internet propaganda machine.

Nevertheless, there is no way the scenario he depicts can be seen as a plan which al-Qaida can follow step by step. The terrorist network just doesn’t work like that anymore. The significance of the central leadership has diminished and its direct commands have lost a great deal of importance. The supposed master plan for the years 2000 to 2020 reads in parts more like a group of ideas cobbled together in retrospect, than something planned and presented in advance. And not to mention the terrorist agenda is simply unworkable: the idea that al-Qaida could set up a caliphate in the entire Islamic world is absurd. The 20-year plan is based mainly on religious ideas. It hardly has anything to do with reality — especially phases four to seven.

But that doesn’t mean that we should simply discount everything that Hussein has uncovered. A few of the steps in the agenda are plausible. The idea that Syria will become a focus for the Mujahedin is regarded by experts as highly likely. “Close ranks, concentrate on getting more recruits, set up cells,” was the call to the “Mujahedin in Syria” which appeared on one Web site at the beginning of August. From the point of view of the jihadists, Israel and Turkey are also fairly logical targets for an escalation of the confrontation. “Al-Qaida views every fight as a victory, because for so long Muslims didn’t have any weapons at all,” says Hussein. He may not be far off. As for Jordan, al-Qaida leaders such as al-Zarqawi, have already made attacks on the country. They have also stated on numerous occasions that Jerusalem is the real target.

Equally, the idea that in the future al-Qaida could increasingly become a movement that attracts young frustrated men, is hardly a theory plucked out of thin air. The terror network puts a lot of effort into its propaganda — assumedly in order to expand its support base.

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Op-Ed: Solving the Middle East’s Problems

This article is a must read if you want to understand the sources of all the problems in the Middle East.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena.

IsraelNationalNews (Sep 13) — The world keeps asking itself why the Arab Spring was such a dismal failure, trying to get to the source of the region’s problems. The answer to this question is complex, because it includes different factors that influenced events at different periods and in different ways.

Still, one can say with certainty that the main source of all the troubles is the cornerstone of Middle Eastern culture, tribal loyalties, once necessary for survival in a vast dry and arid desert area spanning the Sahara in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Sinai Desert, and also the deserts of Syria, Iraq and Jordan. In the desert man must be part of a tribe in order to protect his water sources from other tribes who are also in need of water. That fact turns the “other” into an enemy, a threatening figure who is against “us” because he is not one of “us.”

It is always “us” and “them”, our group against all the others. every man loyal to his tribe to the death, to its customs and traditions and not to a state or the state’s laws and institutions. It is called “tribalism” and the Arab world still lives under the influence of this way of life.

The second problem, spawned by tribalism, is violence. Middle Eastern culture says that since the other is an enemy, he may try to kill me as soon as he gets near enough to take my water sources, so I have to get him before he gets me.

It follows that the first reaction to any problem that arises in the Middle East is violence, violence aimed to kill.

The third problem evolving from the ancient tribal culture is the Middle Eastern concept of honor. No Muslim will accept humiliation, and he who is humiliated will seek revenge against those who caused him shame – and that revenge means murder. A person is willing to murder members of his own household, his sister and even his mother, if they have brought shame upon him by acting too freely. Honor takes first place in relations between politicians and nations, is sometimes more important that development, economics and health.

The fourth problem, also a result of tribalism, is corruption. Appointing relatives to positions in a regime – nepotism – is considered a serious problem in the West, and there are laws, rules and bureaucratic procedures that are supposed to prevent its occurrence. In Middle Eastern culture, nepotism is the name of the game, both in the political and public spheres, because anyone in power has a basic distrust of anyone from another group. A leader will appoint his family, or members of another family with whom he has a pact of loyalty, to the positions under his patronage and if the relations between the families deteriorate, he will either fire them or make sure they resign..

The fifth problem is economic corruption.  A government official feels beholden financially to his family and tribe, not to the state and certainly not to other population groups in the country, so he allocates funds for investment in infrastructure in the area his tribe resides in or areas filled with his supporters. He does not allocate funds to groups that did not support him. As far as he is concerned, they can go to hell – or Europe – as they wish.

The sixth problem is the existence of a large number of ethnic groups in the Middle East: Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Berbers, Jews, Arameans, Persians, and more. Often the groups live in a state of ongoing friction, their relations marked by hostility rather than tranquillity. As a rule, they do not intermarry, and each group fiercely guards its dialect, customs and traditions. Each group delineates itself by defining its enemies. That is the source of the violence between the Arabs and the Kurds, the Turks and the Kurds, the Arabs and the Berbers – and let’s face it, the Arabs and everyone else.

The seventh problem is religion. Islam is the main religion of the Middle East, and Islamist extremists see members of other religions who live in their proximity as infidels deserving of death. This is the cause of the horrific violence of Islamists against Christians, Yazidis, Jews, Alawites, Zoroastrians, Bahais, Mandeans, Shabakists, Druze and atheists.

The eighth problem is the internecine sectarian conflict within Islam. In the middle of the seventh century, Islam split into two parts, the Sunnis and the Shiites. Their struggle is really about wresting control over Islam, but over time the struggle has assumed a religious cast with each side making use of Allah, the Qur’an, the Hadiths (Oral Law), Sharia, history and theology for its own ends, so that Sunni Islam is now quite different from Shia islam. There is a case for claiming that, similarities notwithstanding, they are two distinct religions. The two groups have  spent the centuries since the split massacring one another, with millions sacrificed  in this endless struggle, not a few during the 1980s war between Shiite Iran and Iraq, headed by a Sunni, Saddam Hussein.

The ninth problem is the prevailing culture. Schematically, the Middle East’s population is made up of three cultural groups: the desert-dwellers, or Bedouin, the falakhim – farmers who live in villages – and the urban population dwelling in cities. These groups differ in many ways from one another and each is prone to stereotyping the others to the point where there is no way to get around their mutual preconceptions. The falakh hates the Bedouin for stealing the agricultural produce he reaps by the sweat of his brow. The Bedouin considers the falakhs and city dwellers inferior to him for giving up the original Arab desert way of life and becoming weak and lily-livered in mind and body. The city dwellers consider the Bedouin primitive desert people. Marriages between the groups are rare.

The tenth problem can be laid at the door of British, French and Italian colonialism. These powers drew borders that suited their interests but had no bearing on the sociological zones of the Middle East. This is how countries were formed with populations of all kinds of ethnic groups, tribes, religions and sects who had never had any connection with one another and certainly never saw themselves as members of the same nation. Although Syria has existed for decades (that verb should be in past tense) there was no national Syrian consciousness uniting its citizens. They remained Arabs, Kurds, Turkmans, Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Shia, Sunni, et al. Iraq also did not succeed in creating an Iraqi people despite great efforts expended on the part of the regime, and its citizens defined themselves as Kurds, Sunni, Christians, Yazidi, etc. The colonialists actually created what their citizens considered illegitimate countries foreign entities forced upon them by Christian European strangers who understood absolutely nothing about the Middle East.

The eleventh problem is the modern Arab regime. In each Arab country a minority group has gained control of the entire country and preserves its power by using a “mighty hand and an outstretched arm”, a drawn sword – and subterranean torture chambers.The Alawite minority in Syria, the Qaddafi tribe in Libya and the Hashemites of Jordan are all examples of small groups that control others with little legitimacy, if any.

The twelfth problem is Israel, a small country that was established as a result of the fall of the Ottoman Empire in WWI and the end of British colonialism, two world developments that made it possible for the Jews to return to the historical land of their birth after two thousand years of exile.

In general, Arabs and Muslims do not recognize the right of the Jewish people to its land, do not recognize Judaism as a living religion, and view the Jews as a collection of communities belonging to whatever country they are in and not as a people. The very existence of the state of Israel infuriates them, no matter what its size.

The rulers of the modern Arab states, with both ruler and state lacking legitimacy, were in dire need of an external enemy that would enable them to silence internal opposition and unite the people as one under their fraudulent flag. Israel was a unifying factor, an external enemy that served as the scapegoat upon which the masses could vent their rage. That is what is behind the constant hostility of the Arab media regarding Israel, and three generations of Arabs have been raised on this propaganda machine aimed solely at Israel. Their approach to Jews and Israelis is a direct consequence of this inciteful propaganda.

The thirteenth problem is oil. This important resource turned the Arab companies in the gulf to societies that sell a commodity, do not work, purchase but do not create, societies whose every possession stems not from ability, studying or work, but from what others – the Americans and the Europeans – found under their earth.  The biggest effort the men of the Gulf have to expend is the walk to the bank to deposit their checks. Easy money created a materialistic, hedonist society, busy with itself and with having fun, buying luxury cars, houses that strike you blind, designer clothing, watches that cost millions and designer jewellery, showing off in the media and buying every gadget that reaches the stores. Just opposite their palatial homes are tens of millions of Egyptians and other Arabs living in abject poverty, in unplanned neighborhoods, filled with the ignorant, unemployed and despairing poor. The gap between the wealth of the Gulf and the poverty in the Arab street is mind-boggling.

The fourteenth problem is the West’s meddling in Middle Eastern affairs, not in order to solve the region’s problems, but in order to promote its own interests. Oil, gas, arms sales, development contracts, purchases and  trade, all are intended to take advantage of the natural resources of the Middle East and of the cheap labor it offers in order to advance western economies. The countries of the West, the USSR and today’s Russia and China, protected and still protect non-legitimate Arab rulers, keeping them dependent on the West and the economic agreements signed with them.

Anyone who signs any kind of contract with an Arab ruler knows full well that this contract will be carried out at the price of the people who live – if you can call it living – under a cruel regime, but that doesn’t stop the money hungry Western countries. Since when did moral considerations ever move them?

The fifteenth problem is the existence of  al Jazeera, the Jihad website and network run by a terror state, Qatar. From the first day it hit the air in November 1996, al Jazeera spends its time unrestrainedly inciting against dictators, Israel, against the West and against the Western culture slowly finding its way into the airspace of Islamic countries.

Al Jazeera’s stated objective is to destroy the modern Arab state and hand over the rule to the Muslim Brotherhood. This mixed salad of messages is wrapped in attractive clichés such as “opinon and other opinion” and is covered with a mask of openness and video editing. This channel brought the angry people out into the streets at the end of 2010 and all through 2011, setting the Arab world ablaze, but it does not know how to put out the fire. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social networks played an instrumental role that helped the public organize demonstrations, but the motivation came from al Jazeera‘s incitement.

The seething mass of problems that plague the Middle East have destroyed the region’s’ social, economic, political and normative infrastructure, leading to the waves of emigration to Europe that we are now witnessing. During the twentieth century, Europe tried to solve the myriad cultural problems that beset the Middle East by creating the Modern Arab State, cloning the Nation-State it had invented and that suited Europe’s cultural needs. The European-style Modern Arab State is a colossal failure, because the Arab population has a Middle Eastern culture, with problems that Europe knows nothing about – tribalism on the one hand, and violence, extremism and a lack of national consciousness on the other.

A striking example of an egregiously mistaken belief held by the West is the naïve and unfounded faith that democracy can flourish in the Middle East. Western democracy is based on a social order stemming from European culture: the belief in equality for all religions and ethnic groups, women’s liberation, minority rights and freedom of expression and thought. Add to that the right to choose alternative lifestyles, along with freedom of religion and from religion, a ban on violence and free elections and you have a list that is almost totally foreign to the Middle East. Most of these freedoms are opposed to the spirit of Islam or to tribal culture, but Middle Eastern societies hold “free” elections to create  the impression that they have become democracies, although they have not adopted any of the other characteristics of a democracy. Elections are an easily adopted mechanism, but the other elements of democracy are substantive and are therefore difficult, or impossible, to embed in the Middle East.

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Daniel Pipes: Middle East Provocations and Predictions

Daniel Pipes is known for accurately predicting events in the Middle East. If you want to truly understand what is happening and what is going to happen in the Middle East this article is a must read.

The Mackenzie Institute (Sep 9) — The Middle East stands out as the world’s most volatile, combustible, and troubled region; not coincidentally, it also inspires the most intense policy debates – think of the Arab-Israeli conflict or the Iran deal. The following tour d’horizon offers interpretations and speculations on Iran, ISIS, Syria-Iraq, the Kurds, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, and Islamism, then concludes with some thoughts on policy choices. My one-sentence conclusion: some good news lies under the onslaught of misunderstandings, mistakes, and misery.

Iran

Iran is Topic No. 1 these days, especially since the nuclear deal the six great powers reached with its rulers in Vienna on July 14. The “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” seeks to bring Tehran in from the cold, ending decades of hostility and inducing Iran to become a more normal state. In itself, this is an entirely worthy endeavor.

The problem lies in the execution, which has been execrable, rewarding an aggressive government with legitimacy and additional funding, not requiring serious safeguards on its nuclear arms program, and permitting that program in about a decade. The annals of diplomacy have never witnessed a comparable capitulation by great powers to an isolated, weak state.

The Iranian leadership has an apocalyptic mindset and preoccupation with the end of days that does not apply to the North Koreans, Stalin, Mao, the Pakistanis or anyone else. Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i et al. have reason to use these weapons for reasons outside of the normal military concerns – to bring on the end of the world. This makes it especially urgent to stop them.

Economic sanctions, however, amount to a sideshow, even a distraction. The Iranian government compares to the North Korean in its absolute devotion to building these weapons and its readiness to do whatever it takes, whether mass starvation or some other calamity, to achieve them. Therefore, no matter how severely applied, the sanctions only make life more difficult for the Iranian leadership without actually stopping the nuclear buildup.

The only way to stop the buildup is through the use of force. I hope the Israeli government – the only one left that might take action – will undertake this dangerous and thankless job. It can do so through aerial bombardment, special operations, or nuclear weapons, with option #2 both the most attractive and the most difficult.

If the Israelis do not stop the bomb, a nuclear device in the hands of the mullahs will have terrifying consequences for the Middle East and beyond, including North America, where a devastating electromagnetic pulse attack must be considered possible.

To the contrary, if the Iranians do not deploy their new weapons, it is just possible that the increased contact with the outside world and the disruption caused by inconsistent Western policies will work to undermine the regime.

ISIS

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (aka ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State, Daesh) is the topic that consumes the most attention other than Iran. I agree with Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, that Iran is a thousand times more dangerous than ISIS. But ISIS is also a thousand times more interesting. Plus, the Obama administration finds it a useful bogeyman to justify working with Tehran.

Emerging out of almost nowhere, the group has taken Islamic nostalgia to an unimagined extreme. The Saudis, the ayatollahs, the Taliban, Boko Haram, and Shabaab each imposed its version of a medieval order. But ISIS went further, replicating as best it can a seventh-century Islamic environment, down to such specifics as public beheading and enslavement.

This effort has provoked two opposite responses among Muslims. One is favorable, as manifested by Muslims coming from Tunisia and the West, attracted moth-like to an incandescently pure vision of Islam. The other, more important, response is negative. The great majority of Muslims, not to speak of non-Muslims, are alienated by the violent and flamboyant ISIS phenomenon. In the long term, ISIS will harm the Islamist movement (the one aspiring to apply Islamic law in its entirety) and even Islam itself, as Muslims in large numbers abominate ISIS.

One thing about ISIS will likely last, however: the notion of the caliphate. The last caliph who actually gave orders ruled in the 940s. That’s the 940s, not the 1940s, over a thousand years ago. The reappearance of an executive caliph after centuries of figurehead caliphs has prompted considerable excitement among Islamists. In Western terms, it’s like someone reviving the Roman Empire with a piece of territory in Europe; that would get everybody’s attention. I predict the caliphate will have a lasting and negative impact.

Syria, Iraq, and the Kurds

In certain circles, Syria and Iraq have come to be known as Suraqiya, joining their names together as the border has collapsed and they have each simultaneously been divided into three main regions: a Shiite-oriented central government, a Sunni Arab rebellion, and a Kurdish part that wants out.

This is a positive development; there’s nothing sacred about the British-French Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 which created these two polities. Quite the contrary, that accord has proven an abject failure; conjure up the names of Hafez al-Assad and Saddam Hussein to remember why. These miserable states exist for the benefit of their monstrous leaders who proceed to murder their own subjects. So, let them fracture into threes, improving matters for the locals and the outside world.

As Turkish-backed Sunni jihadis fight Iranian-backed Shi’i jihadis in Suraqiya, the West should stand back from the fighting. Neither side deserves support; this is not our fight. Indeed, these two evil forces at each others’ throats means they have less opportunity to aggress on the rest of the world. If we do wish to help, it should be directed first to the many victims of the civil war; if we want to be strategic, help the losing side (so neither side wins).

As for the massive flow of refugees from Syria: Western governments should not take in large numbers but instead pressure Saudi Arabia and other rich Middle Eastern states to offer sanctuary. Why should the Saudis be exempt from the refugee flow, especially when their country has many advantages over, say, Sweden: linguistic, cultural, and religious compatibility, as well as proximity and a similar climate.

The rapid emergence of a Kurdish polity in Iraq, followed by one in Syria, as well as a new assertiveness in Turkey and rumblings in Iran are a positive sign. Kurds have proven themselves to be responsible in a way that none of their neighbors have. I say this as someone who, 25 years ago, opposed Kurdish autonomy. Let us help the Kurds who are as close to an ally as we have in the Muslim Middle East. Not just separate Kurdish units should come into existence but also a unified Kurdistan made up from parts of all four countries. That this harms the territorial integrity of those states does not present a problem, as not one of them works well as presently constituted.

Turkey

Erdoğan Pasha as imagined by The Economist.

Erdoğan Pasha as imagined by The Economist.

The June 2015 election turned out not so well for the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP), the party that’s single-handedly been ruling Turkey since 2002. It’s an Islamist party but more importantly of late, it is the party of tyranny. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, its dominant figure, does as he wishes, gaining undue influence over the banks, the media, the schools, the courts, law enforcement, the intelligence services, and the military. He overrides customs, rules, regulations, and even the constitution in the block-by-block building of a one-man rule. He’s the Middle Eastern version of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.

For the most part, Erdoğan has played by democratic rules, via elections and parliament, which has served him well. But the June election could spell the end of his self-restraint. Long ago, when mayor of Istanbul, he signaled that he ultimately does not accept the verdict of elections, stating that democracy is like a bus: “You ride it until you arrive at your destination, then you step off.” He has now reached that destination and appears ready to step off. He has initiated hostilities against the Kurdish PKK group as an ugly electoral tactic (to win over Turkish nationalists); he might go so far as to start a war between now and the Nov. 1 snap elections, taking advantage of a constitutional provision deferring elections in time of war.

Accordingly, the June electoral setback will not prove much of an obstacle to Erdoğan, whose path to tyranny remains open.

Erdoğan’s undoing will likely not be domestic, nor will it concern a relative triviality like votes; it will be foreign and concern larger issues. Precisely because he has done so well domestically, he believes himself a master politician on the global stage and pursues a foreign policy as aggressive as his domestic one. But, after some initial successes of the “Zero problems with neighbors” policy, Turkey’s international standing lies in tatters. Ankara has bad relations or major problems with nearly every neighbor: Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Greek Cyprus, Turkish Cyprus, and Greece, as well as the United States and China. Some foreign escapade will likely be Erdoğan’s undoing.

Israel

In November 2000, Ehud Barak said that Israel resembles “a villa located in a jungle.” I love that expression; and how much truer it is today, with ISIS on Israel’s Syrian and Sinai borders, Lebanon and Jordan groaning under unsustainable refugee influxes, the West Bank in anarchy, and Gaza approaching the same?

Everyone knows about Israel’s high-tech capabilities and military prowess. But much more about it is impressive bordering on extraordinary.

Demography: The entire modern, industrial world from South Korea to Sweden is unable to replace itself demographically, with the single, outstanding exception of Israel. Societies need roughly 2.1 children per woman to sustain their populations. Iceland, France, and Ireland come in just below that level, but then the numbers descend down to Hong Kong with its 1.1 children per woman, or just over half of what’s necessary for a country to survive long term. Well, Israel is at 3.0. Yes, the Arabs and the Haredim partly explain that high number, but it also depends on secular Tel Aviv residents. It’s nearly unprecedented development for a modern country to have more children over time.

Energy: Everyone knows the old quip about Moses taking a wrong turn on leaving Egypt. Well no, it turns out he didn’t. Israel has as large an energy reserve as—get this—Saudi Arabia. Now, this resource is not as accessible, so it’s far more expensive and complex to exploit than Arabia’s enormous and shallow pools of oil, but it’s there and Israelis will someday extract it.

Illegal immigration: This is a brewing crisis for Europe, especially in summertime, when the Mediterranean and the Balkans become highways from the Middle East. Israel is the one Western country that has handled this problem by building fences that give control over borders.

Water: Twenty years ago, like everyone else in the Middle East, the Israelis suffered from water shortages. They then solved this problem through conservation, drip agriculture, new methods of desalination, and intensive recycling. One statistic: Spain is the country with the second-highest percentage of recycling, around 18 percent. Israel does the most recycling, at 90 percent, five times more than Spain. Israel’s now so awash in water that it exports some to neighbors.

In all, Israel’s doing exceptionally well. Of course, it is under the threat of weapons of mass destruction and the delegitimization process. But it has a record of accomplishment that I believe will see it through these challenges.

Islamist Ideology: Three Types

Islamists can be broken down into three main forces:

Shiite revolutionaries: Spearheaded by the Iranian regime, they are on the warpath, relying on Tehran’s help, apocalyptic ideology, subversion, and (eventually) nuclear weaponry. They want to overturn the existing world order and replace it with the Islamic one envisioned by Ayatollah Khomeini. The revolutionaries’ strength lies in their determination; their weakness lies in their minority status, for Shiites make up just 10 percent or so of the total Muslim population and further divide into multiple sub-groups such as the Fivers, Seveners, and Twelvers.

Sunni revisionists: They deploy varied tactics in the common effort to overthrow the existing order. At one extreme stand the crazies – ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Shabaab, and the Taliban, hate-filled, violent, and yet more revolutionary than their Shiite counterparts. The Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates (such as President Erdoğan of Turkey) fill the middle ground, using violence only when deemed necessary but preferring to work through the system. Soft Islamists like Fethullah Gülen, Pennsylvania’s Turkish preacher living in self-exile, forward their vision through education and commerce and work strictly within the system, but whose goals, despite their mild tactics, are no less ambitious.

Sunni status-quo maintainers: The Saudi state heads a bloc of governments (GCC members, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco), only some of which are Islamist, that wish to hold onto what they have and fend off the revolutionaries and revisionists.

Islamist Tactics: Violent vs. Lawful

Violent Islamists, Shiite and Sunni alike, are doomed. Their attacks on fellow Muslims alienate coreligionists. They challenge non-Muslims in precisely those areas where the latter are strongest; the combined might of the military, law enforcement, and the intelligence services can crush any Islamist uprising.

Islamist violence is counterproductive. Its drumbeat quality teaches and moves public opinion. Murderous assaults move opinion, not the analysts, the media, or politicians. An incident like the Charlie Hebdomassacre in Paris moves voters over to anti-Islamic parties. Blood in the streets teaches. It’s education by murder.

In contrast, lawful Islamists working within the system are very dangerous. They are seen as respectable, appearing on television, appearing as lawyers in courtrooms, and teaching classes. Western governments mistakenly treat them as allies against the crazies. My rule of thumb: The less violent the Islamist, the more dangerous.

Therefore, were I an Islamist strategist, I’d say, “Work through the system. Cut the violence except on those rare occasions when it intimidates and helps reach the goal.” In fact, the Islamists are not doing this, to their detriment. They are making a major mistake, to our benefit.

Islamism in Decline?

The Islamist movement could be on the way down due to infighting and unpopularity…

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ISIS smuggler: ‘We will use refugee crisis to infiltrate West’

WND (Sep 6) — As the migrant-train standoff entered its second day in Hungary, with thousands of mostly Syrian refugees seeking passage to Germany, it’s time the West recognized this shift in Muslim populations for what it is, say American activists who have been warning of a “fifth column” for years.

isis_fightersAuthor Robert Spencer wrote Sept. 4 in Front Page Magazine, “This is no longer just a ‘refugee crisis.’ This is a hijrah.”

Hijrah is the Islamic doctrine of migration, which is a form of stealth jihad.

“To emigrate in the cause of Allah – that is, to move to a new land in order to bring Islam there, is considered in Islam to be a highly meritorious act,” Spencer wrote. He cited the following Quranic text:

“And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many locations and abundance,” says the Quran. “And whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him, his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah. And Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful” (Quran 4:100).

And now, looking at Europe and America, a migration invasion of a much greater magnitude is underway.

Evidence of that invasion came in February when an ISIS operative confirmed what many already suspected – the Islamic State is using the refugee crisis to form a fifth column of Muslim fighters inside Western nations.

The Syrian operative claimed more than 4,000 trained ISIS gunmen have already been smuggled into Europe – hidden among innocent refugees, reported the Express, a British newspaper.

 

The Islamic State operative spoke exclusively to BuzzFeed on the condition of anonymity and is believed to be the first to confirm plans to infiltrate Western countries, although similar statements have been made through unconfirmed ISIS Twitter accounts.

ISIS is believed to be actively smuggling covert gunmen across the 565-mile Turkish border and on to wealthier European nations, the smuggler told BuzzFeed.

He said ISIS now has more than 4,000 fighters “ready” throughout the European Union.

ISIS operatives are taking advantage of Western nations’ generosity toward refugees to infiltrate Europe, he said.

The ISIS fighters use local smugglers to blend in and travel within the ranks of a tidal wave of illegal migrants flooding into Europe, both by boat from North Africa and on land through Hungary and Austria into Germany, Belgium and Sweden.

Persecuted Christians stay behind

More than 1.5 million have migrated into Turkey alone, with millions more refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and outside their homes in Syria itself. Almost all of the migrants flooding into Europe are Muslims.

Most of the Christians have been hiding in churches and homes in the Middle East, afraid to venture to the United Nations refugee camps, which tend to be managed by Muslims, WND has previously reported.

“The Christians are afraid to venture into these camps, because they believe they will be harmed” said George Marlin of Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic group that is sending aid to persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

From Turkish cities such as Izmir and Mersin, the Muslim refugees venture across the Mediterranean aiming for Italy, the smuggler said.

Then the majority head for the most welcoming nations – Sweden and Germany – turning themselves over to authorities and appealing for asylum.

Plans to conquer Europe from within

The jihadist smuggler said ISIS has laid ambitious plans for the future of Europe.

“It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world,” he said, “and we will have it soon, God willing.”

“There are some things I’m allowed to tell you and some things I’m not,” he said.

The revelation came just days after a spokesperson for Islamic State called on Muslims in the West to carry out terror attacks.

The jihadist told Western followers if they had the opportunity to “shed a drop of blood” in Western countries – then they should do so.

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Islamists only want one thing. We cannot appease them

Like the old Leninists, Isil truly believes only it can defeat the conspiracy that runs the world. There is no possible common ground

 The bearers of this flag will not surrender or negotiate Photo: AP

The bearers of this flag will not surrender or negotiate Photo: AP

The Telegraph (July 6) — David Cameron calls Isil an “existential threat” to the Western way of life. On the face of it, that seems ridiculous. How could a bunch of relatively poor, ill-armed fanatics and psychopaths conceivably topple what remains the most dominant civilisation since the Roman Empire?

In physical terms, they can’t (yet). We in the West have much more money, many more weapons (though here in Britain, we have been doing our best to weaken ourselves militarily) and greatly superior technology. While Islamist fanatics can murder 30 British tourists on a North African beach, we can probably intercept enough of them here to keep their activities below a certain level.

But consider the Tunisian effect. “Only” 38 people died, but each death spreads its stain. First, it traumatises the survivors, the victims’ families and even the nation – hence our minute’s silence yesterday. Next, it wounds the host country. The moderate, hospitable Muslim feels endangered; the extremist feels empowered. The entire tourist industry is hit; Western money disappears, Western links are weakened.

The West’s behaviour towards Islamism in general has resembled that of tourists. More than any other mass occupation, tourism is subject to fear. Its object is peaceful relaxation. If your chosen resort suddenly becomes the scene of violence, you try to get the first plane home. You know little about the source of the trouble: you just want to escape. For far too long, we in the West have done too much for a quiet life. Fear has worked, which is why terrorism is so called.

In the early years after September 11 2001, I found myself embroiled in numerous arguments with British politicians, senior police officers and “securocrats” who put forward these fear-based arguments. These atrocities happened in America, they said, because the US was too big and “provocative”: it wouldn’t happen among “our” Muslims. The answer, they went on, was to placate Muslims by praising their peaceful intentions, punishing “Islamophobia” and empowering their “community leaders”, often with government money. They were almost uncritical about Muslim leaders – their denunciations of Jews or homosexuals, their subordination of women, their calls for sharia – so long as they did not perpetrate violence.

As editor of this newspaper at the time, I was approached to sign a “pledge to British Muslims”, and was in the minority who refused. The topsy-turvy idea was that the non-Muslim majority should apologise to those from whose ranks terrorism was coming. There was even a semi-successful attempt by the Muslim Council of Britain to ban the phrase “Islamic terrorism” from the media.

This approach took a knock after 7/7, when some of “our” Muslims, mostly from Leeds, blew up themselves and others – 52 dead in all – in the Tube and on a London bus. But still most of our public authorities and media pressed on, trying to be nicer and nicer. To our collective shame, all main British media outlets refused to publish the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, although they were utterly harmless by any normal British standard. We even tried to pass a sort of blasphemy law criminalising those who insulted Islam.

Time has worked against this craven approach. Nowadays, it is more likely to be Russell Brand (see yesterday’s outburst), not a politician, who blames the slaughter at Sousse on our foreign policy. Given the overwhelming evidence that the young men who kill are usually run by cells and almost always inspired by web incitements, there is much less talk of “lone wolves”. Few now believe that we can concede our way out of trouble. As Tony Blair, who is working on another of his essays on the subject, is formulating it, the appeasement of the unappeasable is, by definition, pointless.

Islamism is unappeasable because it is a doctrine, not a set of demands. Like Marxism-Leninism (whose methods it imitates), it purports to prove that a conspiracy runs the world. The anti-Muslim capitalist forces – America, Britain, the Jews – and the “hypocrites”, the corrupt regimes that run so many Muslim states, conspire to prevent the true Islamic state arising. In this crazy but coherent account, it becomes possible to believe, as millions of Muslims apparently do, that it was the Jews who bombed the World Trade Centre.

Colonialism, the Islamist story runs, is not dead. The humiliation of Muslims is part of its continuing purpose. The modern nation state has no legitimacy and divides Muslims. The only just form of rule is the restoration of the caliphate which the West destroyed. The role of devout Muslims, like the “leading rule of the party” in Leninism, is to be the vanguard.

From this, two things follow. The first is that Islamism, though not the same thing as Islam itself, will have a strong pull on discontented Muslims. It allows grievance to brandish the scimitar of righteousness. It is really a political doctrine about power, but its pseudo-holiness drags in believers. This means that the extremists are, to use another Blair phrase, part of “a spectrum not a fringe”.

The second is that the distinction between violent and non-violent extremism is merely operational. Islamists feel morally free to achieve their aims peacefully or violently, publicly or secretly, whichever suits. They follow a revolutionary doctrine, so there are no moderates. Islamism is declaredly determined to overthrow our way of life. Recent years prove its determination is matched by actions almost every day, almost everywhere. Like the Bolsheviks between 1905 and 1917, Islamists have moved fast from ranting to ruling, and they preach their creed globally. The phrase “existential threat” fits.

This is what Mr Cameron understands. In the Coalition, he was actively resisted by his own appointed minister, Sayeed Warsi, and by his partners, the Liberal Democrats. He was passively resisted by the more Arabist side of his party and by many government institutions – the Foreign Office, most senior police officers, many educational establishments, some in the various counter-terrorist agencies. On its website, as this column reminds readers from time to time, the Security Service, MI5, insists that it does not investigate “subversion”, as it did in the Cold War. Yesterday afternoon, it posted a new sentence anxiously emphasising that the Security Service Act of 1989 had created a “much more clearly defined function” which keeps it out of all this mucky stuff.

Officialdom remains uncomfortable with that word “subversion”. But it will have to get used to the word “entryism”, which will appear in the Government’s forthcoming counter-extremism strategy. Now, with his overall majority, the Prime Minister is unexpectedly free, and fired up. He will soon say more about how the transmission of a little-challenged “narrative” of hatred drives frustrated young men to violence even when it does not explicitly incite them to kill. It is not paranoid to say that there is a deadly enemy within, and not intolerant to want to defeat it.

Click here for original source.

Video & Transcript: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Full Speech To Congress

Netanyahu to Congress: Emerging deal would lead to a nuclear Iran and inevitable war

Netanyahu Congress Speech March 2015Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the US Congress on Tuesday, saying that the current deal being formulated by the P5+1 group of world powers and Tehran would inevitably lead to a nuclear Iran and war.

The US has said over the past year that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal, Netanyahu told the assembled American lawmakers.”Well this is a bad deal. A very bad deal.”

Netanyahu said that the alternative to this deal was not war, as some have posited, “but a better deal.”

“The days of the Jewish people remaining passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over!” Netanyahu said to rousing applause.

The Israeli leader said that the Western powers’ emerging deal with Iran would all but guarantee that Tehran gets nuclear weapons.

Any deal would include concessions that would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, he said. “Not a single nuclear facility would be demolished,” according to the terms of the deal, Netanyahu added.

Their breakout time would be a year by US assessments and even shorter by Israeli assessments, he said.

He said that nuclear inspectors in North Korea had not been able to stop Pyongyang from getting nuclear weapons and they would not be able to stop Tehran either.

Netanyahu said that sanctions against Iran should not be lifted until Tehran stops aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East, stops supporting terrorism around the world and stops threatening to annihilate Israel, “the one and only Jewish state.”

He recalled the story of Purim in which Persians tried to wipe out the Jews, saying that the people were saved by Esther speaking out.

Today, Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is trying to wipe out the Jews, he said. “He spews the worst kind of anti-Semitic hatred. He tweets that Israel must be destroyed.”

He rejected Iran’s claim that it opposes Israel only, and not Jews, by quoting Iranian ally, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah: “‘If all Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the problem of chasing them around the world.'”

“We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest subjugation and terror,” Netanyahu said to applause.

He rejected the notion that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was a moderate, saying that the regime is as extremist as ever.

“The ideology of Iran’s regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam and therefore it will always be an enemy of the US. The fact that Iran and the US have a common enemy in Islamic State doesn’t make Iran a friend of America,” he said.

“To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle and lose the war,” he said. “We can’t let that happen.”

Netanyahu said he regretted that some saw his visit to Washington as political. “That was never my intention,” the prime minister said.

“I know that no matter what side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel,” Netanyahu said to applause.

He said that the US-Israel alliance must remain above politics. The prime minister said that he had called US President Barack Obama a number of times in Israel’s hour of need, and he had obliged. He thanked the US president for all of the support he had provided Israel.

“This Capitol dome helped build our Iron Dome,” Netanyahu said.

 

Full video of the speech:

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Click here for the complete transcript of the speech.

What ISIS Really Wants

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

This is one of the best articles I’ve read about ISIS. It is very comprehensive and goes way beyond the surface.

307796482The Atlantic (Feb 18):

What is the Islamic State?

Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.

The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.

Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.

We have misunderstood the nature of the Islamic State in at least two ways. First, we tend to see jihadism as monolithic, and to apply the logic of al‑Qaeda to an organization that has decisively eclipsed it. The Islamic State supporters I spoke with still refer to Osama bin Laden as “Sheikh Osama,” a title of honor. But jihadism has evolved since al-Qaeda’s heyday, from about 1998 to 2003, and many jihadists disdain the group’s priorities and current leadership.

Bin Laden viewed his terrorism as a prologue to a caliphate he did not expect to see in his lifetime. His organization was flexible, operating as a geographically diffuse network of autonomous cells. The Islamic State, by contrast, requires territory to remain legitimate, and a top-down structure to rule it. (Its bureaucracy is divided into civil and military arms, and its territory into provinces.)

We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. Peter Bergen, who produced the first interview with bin Laden in 1997, titled his first book Holy War, Inc. in part to acknowledge bin Laden as a creature of the modern secular world. Bin Laden corporatized terror and franchised it out. He requested specific political concessions, such as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. His foot soldiers navigated the modern world confidently. On Mohammad Atta’s last full day of life, he shopped at Walmart and ate dinner at Pizza Hut.

Nearly all the Islamic State’s decisions adhere to what it calls, on its billboards, license plates, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology.”

The Islamic State awaits the army of “Rome,” whose defeat at Dabiq, Syria, will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse.

Our failure to appreciate the essential differences between ISIS and al-Qaeda has led to dangerous decisions.

Social-media posts from the Islamic State suggest that executions happen more or less continually.

After mujahideen reported having seen American soldiers in battle, Islamic State Twitter accounts erupted in spasms of pleasure, like overenthusiastic hosts upon the arrival of the first guests at a party.

Given everything we know about the Islamic State, continuing to slowly bleed it appears the best of bad military options.

A theological alternative to the Islamic State exists—just as uncompromising, but with opposite conclusions.

Click here for full article.

US: 20,000 foreigners heading to Syria to join Islamic State

The reason “the rate of foreign fighter travel to Syria is unprecedented” is because the Islamic State has proclaimed the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, with the first Caliph (leader of the Caliphate) with actual political and military power. This is a very desirable idea to radical Muslims around the world.

“Rates of travel of foreign jihadists is ‘unprecedented,’ officials say; 3,400 are from West, 150 are US citizens.”

This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 shows fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. (photo credit: AP/ militant website, File)

This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 shows fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. (photo credit: AP/ militant website, File)

AFP (Feb 11) — Foreign fighters are flocking to Syria at an “unprecedented” rate, with more than 20,000 volunteers from around the world joining the Islamic State or other extremist groups, US intelligence officials said Tuesday.

The foreign fighters have traveled to Syria from more than 90 countries, including at least 3,400 from Western states and more than 150 Americans, according to the latest estimate from the National Counter-Terrorism Center.

A majority of the foreign volunteers who arrived recently have joined forces with the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, it said.

No precise numbers are available “but the trend lines are clear and concerning,” Nicholas Rasmussen, NCTC director, said in prepared remarks for a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

“The rate of foreign fighter travel to Syria is unprecedented. It exceeds the rate of travelers who went to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia at any point in the last 20 years,” he said.

“The battlefields in Iraq and Syria provide foreign fighters with combat experience, weapons and explosives training, and access to terrorist networks that may be planning attacks which target the West,” he said.

Western governments have voiced increasing alarm over the flow of foreign volunteers heading to the Syrian conflict, particularly in the aftermath of jihadist attacks in Paris that left 17 dead.

Click here for full article.

WATCH: French flag burned on Temple Mount in a large rally against Mohammad cartoons

Protesters on Temple Mount burn a French Flag. (photo credit:SCREEN CAPTURE: SHEHAB NEWS AGENCY/ FACEBOOK)

Protesters on Temple Mount burn a French Flag. (photo credit:SCREEN CAPTURE: SHEHAB NEWS AGENCY/ FACEBOOK)

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The Jerusalem Post — Hundreds of Palestinians rallied Friday afternoon on the Temple Mount against the new cover of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which featured a drawing of Prophet Muhammad.

In a video uploaded by the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency, protesters are seen burning a French flag, and shouting: “Burn it, burn it…in the cause of God, Allah. the greatest. Prophet Muhammad is our leader forever.”

Charlie Hebdo’s first edition since the attack on its office in Paris last week that left 12 journalists dead, which was published on Wednesday, featured another cartoon of Muhammad on a cover that critics saw as a new provocation.

A protest in Niger against the French magazine’s cartoons turned violent on Friday as demonstrators set fire to churches and raided shops run by Christians, residents said.

Police in the former French colony’s southern town of Zinder fired tear gas on a crowd of hundreds of people as tires burned in the streets.

“The protesters are crying out in local Hausa language: Charlie is Satan – let hell engulf those supporting Charlie,” said Aboubacar Mamane, a shopkeeper by telephone (See story, Page 8).

Meanwhile, in Algiers, police clashed with protesters after rioting broke out at the end of a march against the magazine.

Several officers were injured during the clashes, with police firing riot pellets and small groups of protesters responding with rocks, fireworks and bottles in the streets around the waterfront area of the Algerian capital.

The front page of Charlie Hebdo’s January 14 edition shows a cartoon of a tearful Muhammad with a sign “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) below the headline: “Tout est pardonné” (All is forgiven).

Click here for full article.

Enforcement Of Sharia Law In The Muslim World For Insulting Islam, Prophet Muhammad

By MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) January 12:

A Review Of Recent Arrests, Imprisonment, Flogging, Death Sentences

In Arab and Muslim countries, defaming Islam and the Prophet Muhammad is still defined as an offense against the shari’a that entails punishment. Recent examples of enforcement include the arrest of Saudi intellectual Dr. Turki Al-Hamad and Saudi blogger Hamza Kashgari; another Saudi liberal, Raef Badawi, was sentenced to public flogging, and both Mauritanian blogger Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir and Iranian blogger Soheil Arabi were even sentenced to death.

These recent cases were preceded by well-known assassinations or assassination attempts against individuals accused of insulting Islam or the Prophet, such as the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 against the author Salman Rushdie, which called to kill him for his book The Satanic Verses (this fatwa still holds in Iran); the assassination attempt against Nobel laureate Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz for irreverent allusions to Allah and the Prophet in his book Children of Our Neighborhood; the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh for his film Submission, which shows Koranic verses written on the body of a woman; and fatwas permitting the killing of the artists responsible for the Danish cartoons published in 2005.    

Historic Perspective: Punishment Of Prophet’s Defamers Based On Koranic Verses, Hadith, Authoritative Sirah Literature (Biographies Of The Prophet)  

According to the shari’a, defaming the Prophet is an act of blasphemy, the punishment for which is death even if the accused repents. This law is a Koranic decree, for Koran 9:61 says: “Those who hurt Allah’s Messenger will have a painful punishment.” The same Surah also states: “…Say: “(Go ahead and) mock! But certainly Allah will bring to light all that you fear. If you ask them (about this), they declare: ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘Was it at Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking? Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after you had believed. [Koran 9:64-66].” In addition, the Sira literature (biographies of the Prophet) and the Hadith include many instances in which Muhammad ordered to kill his maligners or praised his followers for doing so. In the Muhammad’s era, writing poems against him was considered an unforgivable crime, and many poets were killed for this, including the Jewish poet Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf, who would ridicule the Prophet. According to a hadith, he was killed by Muhammad bin Maslama at the behest of the Prophet himself and with his blessing. Another poet who composed a poem against Muhammad, the Jewess ‘Asma bint Marwan, was assassinated by ‘Umayr bin ‘Adiy, who was later praised by the Prophet for executing her. Some sources state that Muhammad asked who would kill this woman on his behalf, and a member of her tribe volunteered. Two more poets killed for this crime were Abu ‘Afak, assassinated by Salem bin ‘Umayr, and  the Meccan poet Sarah, whom the Prophet ordered to kill on the day Mecca was conquered.

Prominent medieval Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyya, considered by many to be the father of the modern fundamentalist Islamic movements, wrote on this issue: “Mocking Allah, His verses or His Messenger is blasphemy.” He wrote further: “Whosoever curses the Prophet, be he a Muslim of an infidel, must be put to death. All [religious] scholars take this view.” The late Saudi mufti ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz Ibn ‘Abdallah Ibn Bazz said: “Anyone who curses Allah or His Messenger Muhammad in any way is a heretic apostate.”

unnamedSince criticism of Muhammad is still taboo in the Muslim world and cases of it are fairly rare, this act and the punishment it merits are not major topics of debate in Islamist discourse. However, when it does occur – as in the case of Rushdie’s book or cartoons lampooning Muhammad – it is regarded as a “crime” whose perpetrator must be punished. Governments in the Muslim world, as well as the sheikhs of the religious establishment, handle this matter according to political considerations, sometimes enforcing strict punishments and sometimes lenient ones, according to the political interests of the moment.

The following are some recent examples of citizens of Muslim countries punished for harming Islam or the Prophet.

  • Mauritanian Blogger Sentenced To Death For Insulting The Prophet
  • Iranian Blogger Receives Death Sentence For Insulting The Prophet
  • Saudi Blogger Arrested For Tweeting “There Are Things About The Prophet That I Hate”
  • Saudi Intellectual Dr. Turki Al-Hamad Arrested For Calling To “Correct The Faith Of Muhammad”

Click here for full report.

Reflections on the terror in Paris

An excellent and very important op-ed about terrorism and the Western world’s fight against it.

875PJ Media (Jan 16) — The Islamic world is currently in the midst of a great historic convulsion. This process is giving birth to political trends and movements of a murderously violent nature. These movements offer a supposed escape route from the humiliation felt at the profound societal failure of the Arab and to a slightly lesser extent the broader Muslim world.

The escape is by way of the most violent and intolerant historic trends of Islam, into a mythologized and imagined past. The route to this old-new imagined utopia is a bloody one. All who oppose or even slight it must die. The simple and brutal laws of 7th century Muslim Arabia are re-applied, in their literal sense. The events of last week in Paris were a manifestation of this trend.

These trends exist not only in the Arab and Muslim worlds themselves. Because of mass immigration from the Arab and Muslim world to western European countries, they are also powerful and present in immigrant communities in these countries. The Kouachi brothers and Amedi Coulibaly are the latest, and no doubt not the last representatives of this political world to impose themselves on us.

The political trend in question is called political Islam. It manifests itself in its most extreme form in the rival global networks of the Al Qaeda movement and the Islamic State. But these, alas, are only the sharp tip of a much larger iceberg.

Political Islamists are not all, or mainly, young men from slums. On the contrary, its adherents include heads of state, powerful economic interests and media groups, and prominent cultural figures. Some of these, absurdly, were even present at the “solidarity rally” in Paris.

They rendered this event an empty spectacle by their presence.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, for example, came to offer his solidarity to the victims of journalists murdered by Islamists in Paris, just two days after the Turkish courts sentenced a pianist to a 10 month prison sentence, suspended for five years, for the crime of “denigrating religion (ie Islam).” More urgently, Turkey has been an active supporter of both Islamic State and al-Qaeda forces in northern Syria over the last three years. That is, Davutoglu was marching in condemnation of forces to which his own government has offered support.

Political Islam is a reaction to profound societal failure. It is also a flight into unreality. It has nothing practical to offer as an actual remedy to Arab and Islamic developmental problems. Economic, legal and societal models deriving from the 7th century Arabian desert are fairly obvious impediments to success in the 21st.

Where they are systematically imposed, as in the Islamic State, they will create something close to hell on earth. Where they remain present in more partial forms — as in Qatar, Gaza, Iran, (increasingly) Turkey, and so on — they will merely produce stifling, stagnant and repressive societies.

But the remedy for failure that political Islam offers is not a material one. It offers in generous portions the intoxicating psychological cocktail of murderous rage and self-assertion, and the desire to strike out and destroy those deemed enemies — infidels who transgress binding religious commandments, Jews and so on.

This is not the first time that Europe has encountered political phenomena based on murderous rage and utopias buried in the magical past. The European fascist movements produced precisely such a mix. But of course, this time around, the rage and the utopia derive not from European culture, but from an alien culture which has implanted itself among the Europeans.

Here is the second part of the problem. Arab and Muslim societies may be basket cases, but they retain an exceptionally strong and vivid sense of themselves. It is the irony of history that this sense of self is precisely of a type that is bound to keep their societies mired in failure. But history favors irony, and this sense nevertheless remains powerfully experienced and hence politically potent. In this respect, the modern Islamic world resembles western Europe of 80 or 90 years ago, but not the contemporary continent.

In contemporary western European societies, political Islam meets a human collectivity suffering, by contrast, from a profound loss of self. No one, at least in the mainstream of politics and culture, seems able to quite articulate what western European countries are for, or what they oppose — at least beyond a sort of vapid belief in everyone doing what they want and not bothering each other.

The result is that when violent political Islam collides with the satiated, lost societies of western Europe, the response is not defiance on the part of the latter, but rather fear.

This fear, as fear is wont to do, manifests itself in various, not particularly edifying, ways.

The most obvious is avoidance (“the attacks had nothing to do with Islam,” “unemployment and poverty are the root cause,” “the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state,” etc etc).

Another is appeasement — “maybe if we give them some of what they want, they’ll leave us alone.”

This response perhaps partially explains the notable adoption in parts of western Europe of the anti-Jewish prejudice so prevalent in the Islamic world.

The ennui of the western European mainstream will almost certainly prevent the adoption of the very tough measures which alone might serve to adequately address the burgeoning problem of large numbers of young European Muslims committed to political Islam and to violence against their host societies.

Such measures — which would include tighter surveillance and policing of communities, quick deportations of incendiary preachers, revocation of citizenship for those engaged in violence, possible imprisonment of suspects and so on — would require a political will which is manifestly absent. So it wont happen. So the events of Paris will almost certainly recur.

And lastly, since the elites will not be able to produce resistance, it will come from outside of the elites. Hence the growth of populist, nationalist parties and movements in western Europe. But Europe being what it is, such revivalist movements are likely to contain a hefty dose of the xenophobia and bigotry which characterized the continent of old.

None of this can, at present, be discussed in polite European society. But all of it is fairly obvious. For this reason, Europe’s Jews are at present warily eying the door. As someone who was born in western Europe, and left it 25 years ago for Israel, I am happy to conclude that as a result of the efforts and sacrifice of many, Europe’s Jews are this time around neither defenseless nor alone. Nor will their blood be free to be taken with impunity.

Jonathan Spyer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict (Continuum, 2011).

Click here for original source.