Section One: Historical Contextualization
One modern interpretation of the entire issue of jihad deals with historical contextualization: in other words, jihad in its times, places, circumstances, conditions, and other elements of its context in history. Such efforts attempt to study why jihad was waged when it was waged, why what was done was done, what changes from time to time and why and how, and so on.
One may thus divide jihad by force into four distinct periods:
1. Jihad under Muhammad
2. Wars of conquest
3. Rise of modern politics
4. Modern terrorist jihad Read the rest of this entry »
I saw Charlie Wilson’s War today. Now, it has been bashed, and some of that is justified, but it’s a great movie if you look over these bash-worthy elements.
In its fight against the evil Communists–and the movie takes quite some time making the case that the Russians were evil, evil indeed–it makes America and its cause for freedom and against Communism quite strong and powerful. Why, if one looks it at that way, this movie is actually pro-American. And it perhaps shows that only America is able to work out such complicated and seemingly impossible schemes to get what’s needed, what with Israel and Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan cooperating to defeat the Soviets. (There’s a funny scene of a spat between an Egyptian and an Israeli; what makes it interesting is that they agree to cooperate nevertheless. There’s also a scene about Zia-ul-Haq and his concerns about receiving aid from Israel.) It also shows that Americans of various types–an ultra-rightwing ueber-Christian woman and a slutty, drug-using Democrat politician–can unite behind a good cause.
After many scenes showing how the Afghanis are simply being slaughtered by the Soviets, the scenes begin showing how the Afghanis take down the Soviets. Along with it is a most unexpected chorus in the background: “And he shall purify the sons of Levi that they may offer unto the Lord an offering of righteousness” (No. 7, Part 1 of Handel’s Messiah, a quote from Malachi 3:3). Here’s a YouTube presentation of that chorus.
It also teaches us a lesson: consider the long run. It shows how we were reluctant to rebuild Afghanistan after the Soviets left. Part of it was understandable: we were quite busy rebuilding former Communist Europe as well, so Afghanistan was small fry. But that unwillingness cost us: it opened the door for the Islamist takeover of Afghanistan. And Wilson did make a good point: we could not claim victory for the Soviet defeat because our assistance was covert, and revealing our assistance would have negative repercussions for many players. Nevertheless, our strategy has changed dramatically, what with our major focus now in Afghanistan and Iraq being rebuilding along with killing the bad guys. So we learned our lesson, I would hope.
It’s rated R for good reasons, dealing mainly with sexuality. But it is a good movie, funny at times, and moving in what we can accomplish.
News sources, Pakistani and otherwise, have been very active in reporting two significant stories. The first is that Pervaiz Musharraf, Pakistan’s president, abruptly canceled his visit to Afghanistan to attend a jirga (tribal council) to solve the problems plaguing Afghanistan, Pakistan, and their border areas. (In other words, work out some diplomatic mumbo-jumbo on how to deal with those pesky terrorists.) In Musharraf’s place will be the Pakistani prime minister, Shaukat Aziz (who is seen as Musharraf’s puppet). The second story may explain why Musharraf abruptly withdrew from the jirga: there are reports that Musharraf (with other significant authorities in Pakistan’s military government) is planning to impose emergency martial rule in Pakistan. No explanation is given as to why.
I am puzzled. I am not aware of any significant developments in Pakistan that would necessitate such a measure. Well, other than what has been happening for some time. But I doubt emergency martial rule would do anything. As it is, Pakistan has been under de facto martial rule since Musharraf took power. The immediacy with which Musharraf came to his conclusion (and the urgency with which he is meeting with his top advisers) suggests that the military government has become aware of something or is anticipating something. What this something is, I haven’t even an idea, and seems like no one else does either.
Maybe this is in preparation for the failure of the Afghanistan-Pakistan jirga. Maybe if the jirga fails and no accord is reached, Musharraf and his military government will use the opportunity to execute a major operation in the areas of concern, using martial rule to stifle the inevitable outrage of the opportunistic politicians and people.
What has increased the need of such a measure is the recent blow to Musharraf’s legitimacy in the people’s eye, that is, when the Supreme Court reinstated the Chief Justice that Musharraf dismissed. That the legal/juridical apparatus has come out against Musharraf (and, it seems, with a vengeance) means more idiotic distractions for Musharraf. (It’s all politics, and I hope Musharraf knows not to take it personally. But at the same time, he cannot let opportunistic or idiotic legal people to bring him or his regime down.)
Regarding all this, the LA Times had a remarkably interesting article on President Bush and his strategic ambiguity regarding Pakistan. Bush did something right for once! According to the LA Times, when asked about potential policy towards Pakistan, Bush evaded the question. This was crucial. America has a large number of tools in its toolbox with which to pressure Pakistan to cooperate. Invasion is very, very, very low on the list. Perhaps the best tool is the promised jets, which have been a sore point in Pakistani-American relations for decades. By remaining silent, Bush does not assist anti-American propaganda nor does he let lazy Pakistani military authorities get away. He essentially permits the American and Pakistani governments to continue whatever arrangement they have made without having to deal with public outcry from either side.
In contrast, when other politicians openly threaten Pakistan, it makes an already complicated situation even more complicated. With regard to international politics and relations, one simply cannot threaten to invade an ally. I think why this is so is so blatantly obvious I don’t need to detail further.
Let us see what transpires.
And remember: we may not like Pakistan or its government or its military or its autocrat or its people, but the fact remains that Pakistan is a major geopolitical area in global terrorism. We need to keep paying attention and to keep making the right decisions if we are to win in that threatre of World War III.
Some people have made the claim that, based on the evidence before us, secularists (that is, those people whose prime daily motivator is not religion, and, additionally, whose dominant paradigm has not been informed or formed primarily by religion) have caused more death and suffering than religious people. Such a claim goes against the oft-repeated claim that religion has been the cause of all or most wars. But I would like to respectfully disagree with both propositions and offer an alternative explanation. Read the rest of this entry »
The United States have two main strategies with which to accomplish its most crucial objectives in Iraq. The creation of a professional and effective Iraqi security force goes without saying. This is needed so that we can leave Iraq in the hands of Iraqis. But establishing stability and security in Iraq, which is The United States’ primary objective, can be accomplished through one of two strategies, as mentioned before: one is for the Armed Services of The United States to establish security and stability, mainly by exterminating terrorist networks and militias, and the other is to train and equip Iraqi security forces to do it (and then maintain security and stability thereafter) themselves. The Administration chose the latter strategy, which is best strategy and the only one that will serve our interests in the long run. Read the rest of this entry »
P.S. If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you have the utmost
faith that He is opposed to Bush and Cheney and their path of deceit and
destruction, then why didn’t He prevent them from gaining power in the
— Stephen Spruiell, “More Rosie”, media blog, National Review Online; thanks to “Stephen Spruiell has fun with a Truther” by HayZeus of HayZeus, Inc. (Do read all of Mr. Spruiell’s post. It’s quite good!)
Mwahaha. Mwahahahaha. Mwahahahahahahahahahaha!
The problem with attributing events to the Will of God is that such attribution can be turned around. For example, many are wont to say that the attack against The United States on September 11, 2001, was (Heaven forfend!) the Will of God. Then it would follow that the destruction of the Taliban–al-Qa’idah regime in Afghanistan, the deaths of thousands of terrorists, the incarceration and (supposed and alleged) violations against them at Camp X-Ray, the fall of Saddam Hussein, the destruction of his regime, the death of his sons, and even the slaughter of Lebanese in response to Hezbollah’s attacks against Israel — all of these were also the Will of God.
And so if it is the Will of God that so much suffering be inflicted on these Muslim peoples, what does it say about how these Muslim peoples are viewed by God? Let us take into consideration as well the decline of Muslim peoples, their poverty and backwardness, and their utter inability to do anything — this also has to be the Will of God, if He is as omnipotent as they say He is. So, what then?
The rational conclusion is inescapable.
P.S. to the Muslim peoples: We, the chosen and favored of God (just look at all the evidence in support of the claim!), are celebrating the resurrection of your new savior this Sunday, April 8. Join us!
I had a nice idea regarding how The United States could deal with the problem of the Taliban in the FATA area, but I have decided not to post it. Any rational person can figure out what needs to be done, so there is no need to articulate it. As it is, I don’t want to add any ammunition to the bogus theory that we (of The West) are plotting the wholesale destruction of the unfortunate and powerless Eastern peoples. Although this is not what I was going to say, I am sure if someone wants to read that into my words, they would be able to.
My point: we need to be far more assertive and even destructive than we are. (Hello? Militaries exist to kill and destroy, don’tcha know.) But after decades of relative peace, we have become too pansified for our own good.
Heh. Better late than never.
I believe recognizing the issues affecting various “partners” in the War against Terrorism is crucial in understanding the War itself. This will help us formulate pragmatic, practical, and reality-based expectations, plans, programs, and operations.
One of the significant challenges in the War has to do with Pakistan’s military (and government and people), the Taliban, Afghanistan, and the Taliban’s use of Pakistan as a base of operations, which base Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Allies have yet to eliminate. Because this is and will remain an important issue, some history, perspective, and context is needed. So, please bear with me. Read the rest of this entry »
I came across an interesting passage from Isaiah (Isaiah 33:14-15) in the canticle for today’s Morning Prayer. According to KJV (emphasis added):
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil
The official translation for The Liturgy of the Hours has it (again, emphasis added):
On Zion sinners are in dread, trembling grips the impious; “Who of us can live with the consuming fire? Who of us can live with the everlasting flames?” He who practices virtue and speaks honestly, who spurns what is gained by oppression, brushing his hands free of contact with a bribe, stopping his ears lest he hear of bloodshed, closing his eyes lest he look on evil.
(The Liturgy of the Hours. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Corp., 1976, volume II, p. 1424.)
This is sort of confusing. Why is it good to stop one’s ears from hearing of bloodshed? Are we not obligated to hear of bloodshed so that we can boldly speak up on behalf of victims of violence, so that we can admonish the oppressor and, if need be, end the oppressor’s evil acts? Isn’t stopping our ears to ignore such acts? It seems almost the opposite: ignoring news of bloodshed makes us shirk our responsibilities to defend the weak and oppressed.
Whenever someone reads about jihad, one will invariably come across an explanation that includes a differentiation between the greater and lesser jihads.
Basically, this interpretation is based on some saying of some prominent person (and who exactly said it varies according to account) who, upon returning from a war or campaign, remarked that he was returning from the lesser jihad (that is, armed jihad; in Arabic: الجهاد الأصغر, al-jihād al-aSghar) to the greater jihad (that is, spiritual refinement; in Arabic: الجهاد الأكبر, al-jihād al-akbar). Another way to characterize this is to refer to “jihad with the sword” (جهاد بالسيف, jihād bi-s-sayf) and “jihad with the self” (جهاد بالنفس, jihād bi-n-nafs). However, we are presented with a linguistic dilemma. The particle prefix (ب, bi-) can here function as a possessive qualifier, that is: a jihad belonging to the sword or a jihad belonging to the self, or to indicate instrumentality, that is: a jihad fought by using a sword or a jihad fought by using one’s self. Considering both involve the offering of one’s self for the sake of Islam, they are practically synonymous in referring to jihad that is warfare.
In a similar manner, practically every phrase, term, title, or permutation using the word “jihad” can be and is taken to refer to jihad that is warfare. In other words, as far as Islam’s centuries-old literature is concerned, “jihad” refers to offensive warfare for Islam’s sake, even though it may take a number of forms. All of this “lesser jihad” and “greater jihad” and “non-violent jihad” is all nonsense.
Two major points:
- There is no authentic or reliable source for the quote that is used to create this concept of jihad being external and internal. Its authenticity is disputed. Plus, there are far more sayings and quotes that state the exact opposite of the quote in question. One simple example, by Muhammad himself, is that “the gates of Heaven are under the shadow of swords.”
- The literature of Islam pertaining to jihad focuses on jihad as warfare. Sufi manuals and books, and those influenced by the same, may talk about jihad as internal warfare, but this is an innovation and unattested to in the normative or orthodox literature of Islam, including and especially those dealing with Islamic law and practice.
Therefore, let anyone who claims that jihad can be non-offensive (that is, taking a form that does not affect those other than oneself) be aware that one is wrong. Although the jihad to establish Islamism can take non-violent forms (such as propaganda, supplying the fighters, et cetera), no form of jihad (or, at least, no legitimate form of jihad) exists that concerns solely the self. All forms of jihad have the aim to reform and change and conquer those around one.
(Note: If I later regret writing this post, it may magically disappear.)
It is time that we realized that war is a part of human society. It is part of our very being. We humans have been fighting wars since our beginning. If one believes in evolution, we have been fighting wars even before we were humans, competing for resources and whatnot. This tendency to violence continued as our species evolved; indeed, violence is how we became dominant and is how any species becomes and remains dominant.
But this is, of course, not an issue of species. It is quite common for beings to fight with others of their kind, especially for resources (whether food, water, mate, children, area of dominance, recognition in or advancement in the pecking order, and so on) or defense (of one’s resources or one’s self, or one’s descendants and/or mate, and so on).
Since we have been fighting from the very beginning, I see no reason whatsoever why we should expect humanity today to be any different. That we fight does not change; why we fight does change. Read the rest of this entry »
Reading the comments at the Elder of Ziyon‘s blog reminded me of a very unpleasant truth: at times, we are forced to deal with and even support very unpleasant people. Two examples should suffice: Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and The House of Saud of Saudi Arabia. In a perfect world, we would be free to conspire to remove both from power, but these entities are the lesser of evils that would exist. As it is said, better the devil we know than the devil we don’t. Furthermore, Abbas and The House of Saud have a vested interest in ensuring not only that they continue to receive our support but also that they continue to support our interests. In some cases, our interests are their interests as well. But then one has to wonder to what extent certain problems (such as, the so evil adversaries of Fatah or The House of Saud which cause us to support people and entities we’d rather not) are perpetuated by those who receive our support. In other words, rather than solving the problems that cause us to support them, are they in fact prolonging them so as to continue to receive our support?
An example of this is Pakistan’s government and military and the issue of the Taliban. To a certain degree, the government and military of Pakistan do not and will not completely eradicate the Taliban in Pakistan or in any areas over which they exercise influence or authority, no matter how easy or possible it is. The same with Usama bin Ladin: Pakistan has a policy, unofficial, of course, of deliberately not taking him out and even of sparing him. Both of these exist for the same reason: if the Taliban were destroyed and/or Bin Ladin taken out or apprehended, The United States’ interest in Pakistan (and, importantly, in Pakistan’s ruling regime) would decrease. Pakistan’s government and military want to ensure the maximum interest of The United States for the maximum amount of time.
(When the Pakistani government hinted that it may not permit foreign forces to move against Bin Ladin were he found within Pakistan’s borders, The Government wisely responded quite severely, stating that if Bin Ladin were found, The United States would move against him whether Pakistan permitted it or not. This sent a very clear message to Pakistan’s government and military: that Pakistan’s intransigence would be tolerated only so much.)
The issue of what Pakistan can and cannot do, as far as potential and politics are concerned, is another matter all together. In certain areas and issues, Pakistan’s government and military are quite impotent.
Unfortunately, we have to recognize that reality is often complicated and quite inconvenient. As much as we may hate it, we have little choice but to side with our erstwhile allies (while, at the same time, keeping a watch on our back). And we need to remember this for the future: when conditions change, we should remember why we supported whom we supported, both so as not to falsely accuse our past actions of laziness or insufficient dedication to our ideals and also so as to analyze every situation to ascertain if we can finally end an unpleasant relationship and bring onto the world stage a better, newer partner.
geoff, this is for you.
“Why Ethiopia Is Winning in Somalia” by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of Pajamas Media is an excellent article on Ethiopia’s armed campaign against the Islamist forces of Somalia, why and how Ethiopia is winning, and how and why it looks like Ethiopia will, in the end, prevail against Somalia’s Islamists.
Of course, Gartenstein-Ross says that there are lessons and examples here for The United States to learn, but I doubt it. There are quite different constraints on The United States than on Ethiopia. What works for Ethiopia, then, may not (and, in fact, will not) work for The United States. But it is wise and prudent and quite pertinent to be aware of these differences. (For one thing, this awareness may prepare us to lean more on warfare by proxy as opposed to direct involvement. Although I should mention that, unfortunately, Iraq and Afghanistan were different cases wherein The United States had to get directly involved.)
It is amusing and distressing–as predictable as it is–that Europe is quite displeased by Ethiopia’s campaign, and is pressuring Ethiopia to desist. Count on the Europeans to try and frustrate efforts to wipe out militant Islamism.
I want to point out that the article mentions what will ultimately cause the Islamist threat to disappear: exterminating it all together. As unpleasant as it may sound (and we Westerners are particularly loathe to consider such things), the fact remains that if the Islamists are pushed out without being eliminated, they will try to come back. Fleeing to safer areas, which they will find, they will rearm and replenish their resources (including finances), which they will be able to easily do, and then resume their jihad to regain Somalia. And then the whole thing will repeat itself. Additionally, there is a fear that Somalia’s Islamists inside and outside Somalia, and the Islamists’ international partners, will attempt to establish guerilla (sp?) warfare and/or suicide terrorism in Somalia. So, for many reasons, eliminating this network of militant Islamists is vital to securing the Horn of Africa.
The article also raises interesting points on what challenges lie ahead for Ethiopia. But it is nice to see them make progress. This sort of policy, which we held on to during Cold War I, will serve is very well in World War III (sometimes called the “War on Terror(ism)”) and Cold War II. And I hope this will open the door to the amelioration of conditions in that part of the world.
I wish to hear what you, my honorable readers, think about this.
How are the mighty fallen!
(King David; 2 Samuel 1:19.)
Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti has been executed for his crimes against the Iraqi people, for his crimes against humanity.
I remembered when Arafat died: many customers who came through the place I worked in at that time expressed joy at his death. They saw him as a terrorist, one who was a threat to the Israeli and Jewish people despite his apparent change of spots.
It may seem easy to believe that this event, the execution of a man who unflinchingly send uncountable people to their deaths, would be an occasion for joy and rejoicing. After all, if people rejoiced when Arafat died of (supposedly) natural causes, how much more ought we to rejoice when the sword of justice in mortal hands avenges the blood of the many, many slain.
But I believe differently. This is a moment for us to remember the many killed by Saddam. This is a moment for us to reflect on how such obvious tyrants and homocidal despots seem to be able to rule without any opposition by the supposedly enlightened and humane international community.
And let us contrast the ways of the West with those of the Rest. After the liberation of Iraq, coalition forces expended much effort to track down and find Saddam. There were attempts to take him out, but ultimately he was found by American troops when a person in the know basicallly revealed where Saddam was hiding. Saddam was not harmed, hurt, tortured, or otherwise violated. He was arrested and put on trial. He had a big-name lawyer. His side was able to make its case and points. The judge had to examine the evidence and arguments. It was a genuine trial.
Now, what happens in the Rest? People and their families are simply “disappeared”: no one knows anything about them, until one day their remains are found in a mass grave. No trial, no attorney, no defense, no justice. Whole villages are simply wiped out. Families live in fear that at any moment the despot’s forces, legal or not, with or without proper documentation, will sweep in and either take them away or slaughter them all at once.
For all of our talk about justice, human rights, liberties, and responsibility, we do let many despots get away. And there is something ironic when tyrannous and blood-stained despots are brought to justice through an actual just process. The very right Saddam denied to so many in the end undid him.
There will be those who will lament that Saddam’s trial was not fair. Let them lament. Their lament can now do nothing. Those who lament might very well be the same people who would have opposed liberating Iraq from Saddam’s talons to begin with. Let them whine and moan and lament. Let their got air rise to the skies. Their words are impotent.
Notice that I have not said that his execution has justified or completed the liberation of Iraq. It’s tempting to say so, but to say so would be to misunderstand why we went in to liberate Iraq. Our campaign–and by “our” I refer to the coalition led by The United States–was against Saddam Hussein and his regime. Were it against Saddam, we could have perpetuated Iraq’s “stability” (unjust as it was) by installing another Sunni general (or, as the British did when they created Iraq, a king). Our goal was to establish an entirely new regime, which we did. (I use the word “regime” in its academic sense, meaning a system of government.) Whether Saddam survived or how he would die are irrelevant for our purposes.
And this is not our victory or our gain. This is a victory for the Iraqi people; this is a victory for justice; this is a victory for history. So let us not think this occured for us Americans or by us Americans. We helped, yes, and without it this would not have been possible, but Saddam was tried by the Iraqis in an Iraqi court for crimes against the Iraqi people: the victory is theirs.
Yet we can share the relief of the Iraqi people and their accomplishment by virtue of the fact that this was a victory for humanity. It is very rare indeed for one such as Saddam–in Jewish parlance, a Haman (genocidal conniver)–to face justice. More often, such people succumb to nature or to internal politics. It is not a sad time when someone like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Jinggez Khan, or Arafat dies, but their death at the hands of nature rather than the sword of justice leaves something to be desired. Furthermore, we can take comfort in the fact that this victory by the Iraqi people, a true victory in that this was through a just process, could not have happened without our intervention. Whereas we may not have executed justice ourselves, we established the foundation, framework, conditions, and environment within which justice could be served. As such, the world (and justice and history) are indebted to the Armed Forces of The United States and of their allies and to the presidency and administration of President George W. Bush. While many clamored for diplomatic solutions and giving a blood-stained regime more time, these proactive forces set events into motion which would result, among many notable events, in Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti facing justice for his abominable crimes against humanity.
For once, goodness and justice have prevailed against evil and injustice. This can only give us hope.
To those online who seem to not appreciate the fact that Iraq is free:
You armchair commenters and bloggers, who probably have never seen what a Muslim state is like from the inside, cannot know what the liberation of Iraq means.
I am not an Iraqi. I am not a Sunni or a Shiite – I’m not even Muslim anymore. I am not an Arab or a Kurd. But I rejoiced when Baghdad fell to coalition forces and Iraq was, for the first time ever, liberated from the claws of tyranny. April 9, 2003. I was so happy, I could sing. My heart soared the whole day. It was the best day of my life.
Because I knew then, just as I know now, that millions — millions who had only despair to expect from life and the future, millions who lived in fear, millions who were abandoned by the world to suffer from the consequences of their unelected leader and his inhuman regime — could now breathe free.
And because I knew that the Armed Forces of The United States had toppled yet again another inhuman dictator, whom the rest of the world tolerated. Evil had been defeated. Good had triumphed. In a world as lone and dreary as ours, any such victory ought to be celebrated with much gusto and thanksgiving.
And the consequences! Dictators trembled in their boots! Tyrants shivered in fear! Oppressed people sighed in envy! Oppressing people whispered in anxiety! Who would be next? Which oppressing people, with their dictator, would these seemingly unstoppable legions of angels defeat? Which oppressed people will be able to stand confident amid the fresh, healthy breeze of freedom?
You really don’t know what freedom is until you have seen — even if only a glimpse — what a land without freedom is like.
I mean, really: one day the Kurds had to fear being attacked with chemical weapons, and the next they are free. I cannot understand how anyone can refuse to rejoice in the freedom of any people. I cannot understand how anyone can even think of claiming that their situation before their liberation was better. You have freedom and enjoy it; but when others get it, do you get jealous? Why must you be so sour? Why must you insist on fabricating false impressions in order to spoil a people’s freedom or the efforts of those who bring it to them? Freedom is good.
Frankly, you disgust me.
In the always “Happy World” of the Democratic Party every conflict is solved by diplomacy, there are no losers and there are no failures… they believe if only America will agree to the demands of it’s enemies everything will be “O.K.”.
This belief is a lie.
There is no diplomacy.
There is either war now…or war later. “Diplomacy” is a front to use and save face while one prepares for war.
Remember Hitler and Chamberlain at Munich in 1938, and Chamberlain’s “I believe it is peace for our time” naivete?
We should not forget the lessons of history. And if history has taught us anything, it is that diplomacy is nothing but distracting one’s opponent while one lines up one’s tanks.
In one way, I don’t really feel comfortable addressing this issue. It’s not safe. But it’s an important issue, so I better talk about it.
Often when I think about the “network” part of “militant Islamist terrorist networks,” I think about cell phones, bank transfers, smuggling, and, believe it or not, honey. (Honey is an ancient and major commodity in the Middle East — used mainly in tea and in food and as a food — , and NPR once said that militant Islamist terrorist networks practically controlled the entire industry, using their control not only to launder money but also to transport and hide ammunitions, materiel, money, and even people.)
Even considering the online presence of these networks, I am wont to think of fora and websites that have propagandistic books in PDF format. I am more aware of Islamists online than militant Islamist terrorists. (I tend to avoid the latter anyway.)
But we would be quite foolish — and I admit I have been foolish thusly — to ignore the very real online presence of militant Islamist terrorists, their networks, and their supporters. Whether e-mail, chat rooms, fora, links, portals, downloadable material (books, manuals, music, instructions, proapaganda), there is a large presence of militant Islamists. (This is, of course, in addition to Islamists of all types, which is an issue that deserves its own post and attention.)
What do militant Islamists use the Internet for? In a word: everything.
But I would like to focus on one phenomenon in particular, which may be known under many names: cyber-jihad, cyber-warfare, hacking, cracking, cyber-terrorism, so on and so forth. This relates to the efforts of computer-savvy Islamists — militant and otherwise — to sabotage, destroy, disrupt, or otherwise attack online entities of their enemies; we are their enemies. Read the rest of this entry »
I may have said this before, but we need to establish what really is going on in the world rather than being distracted by certain elements of what may be a broader, wider, larger movement.
Consider, for example, our obsession with terrorism (specifically, militant Islamist terrorism). The problem is that terrorism is part of a larger conflict: a war between The West and Islamism. (Not all Muslims are Islamists, although “true Muslims” inevitably are.) Along with terrorism, Islamism uses other techniques, some of which are even non-violent. Efforts by Islamist activists to have a special status given to Islam, Muslims, and Islam’s dictates by the governments of The West are one such strategy to bring to pass the triumph of Islam over The West. It is quite interesting (and perhaps one may say, even ironic) that the very states that stripped The Church (whether The Lutheran Church or The Church of England or The Catholic Church) of practically all of its authority and influence and clout in society, have accorded to Islam and its authorities and buildings virtual autonomy and independence. Although church tribunals would have no authority, Islamist courts have been empowered. Whereas asserting one’s Christianity has become something frowned upon, something untoward, something in bad taste, someone asserting one’s Muslim-hood has become something novel, unique, lauded, and applauded. Simply put: rather than making all inhabitants equal, many Western states have made some more equal than others. This granting of autonomy to and even special status to Muslims (meaning, Muslims following the dictates and laws of Islam as interpreted by traditionalists) is all part of Islamism’s goals to triumph over The West. And, indeed, look how they have succeeded! The very people who are ashamed of their Christian past (or even current identity) applaud those who embrace their Muslim-hood to the exclusion of everything else.
Fortunately, confidence in American culture and civilization has been resistant to this pernicious wave of anti-Westernism. But the Islamists keep trying: they keep trying to delegitimize The West, trying to prove that Islam is superior to The West and to its religions (Christianity and Judaism), trying to assert its mission as the “savior” of The West, and of course trying to make the case that The West is utterly lost and needs Islam to be saved. We Americans tend to scoff as such nonsense, for nonsense it is. It doesn’t take someone who is extraordinarily intelligent to see which of The West or the Muslim world has been successful, more true to its values, and a boon to humanity. (For those who may be blinded by some irrational propaganda, the better one is The West.) Indeed, unlike in other Western states, America has proved to be a formidable adversary to Islamism. Rather than infecting The West, The West has been slowly innoculating various segments of the Muslim world in The West against Islamism.
This all means that Islamists, whether militants or not, whether terrorists or not, will try ever the more harder to bring us down. In their world, there can only be one triumphant victor, and they are trying to ensure it is not us.
Orianna Fallaci has been warning us of this state of affairs. It is about time that we listened to her and act accordingly.
I’m going to go on a limb here and express confusion on something. (Usually I like to point out stuff I know, but this issue merits being discussed.)
It is quite easy to understand the modi operandi of states like China, Russia, The United States, and The United Kingdom. It is also easy–for those who are familiar with them–to understand the geopolitical strategies and policies (insofar as one can call them “political”) of militant and non-militant Islamists, terrorists and otherwise.
But one entity that seems to confuse many people is Iran. Now, it is important to understand the motivation, reasons, and ultimate goals of a state in order to determine why the state has such-and-such policy, how the state will implement it, and what other aspects can be expected, predicted, or considered most likely to occur.
The problem with Iran lies in our lack of reliable information close to the decision-makers. Whereas a similar lack of information exists regarding North Korea, we know what to expect from North Korea. North Korea will do what North Korea is wont to do, because that is what it has done for a long time now. The same cannot really be said about Iran. Read the rest of this entry »
They were real Taliban fighters.
As opposed to fake Taliban fighters? (Just being sarcasting: most likely he meant that those captured were determined to be actual members of the Taliban rather than suspected members thereof.)
They could not speak Urdu
Strange. Most people who speak Pashto can speak at least a little Urdu. I’ll grant that some mnilitant Islamist terrorists of the Taliban could have been in an isolated all-Pashto environment.
and had no knowledge where they are
Where they are or where they were? I’d imagine a Taliban terrorist to be quite aware of where he is and why. Taliban terrorists are from that region.
These statements make me quite suspicious. It seems these were more like “Arab” terrorists (that is, terrorists from around the world allied with militant Islamist terrorist networks operating in and from the northwest and far western region of South Asia). These descriptions make it sound as if those captured were completely alien to the region when, in fact, the northwest region of South Asia, where the Taliban predominate, is adjacent to Balochistan. Read the rest of this entry »