THE WAR ON ISLAMISM
By Tsvi Bisk
The so-called ‘War on Terror’ is a ludicrous concept. Terror is a tactic and you cannot wage war on a tactic. You can wage war on an ideology or a policy but you cannot wage war on a tactic. The enemy is not terror, it is the Jihadist campaign to conquer the entire world; it is a ‘War on Islamism’; or as PM David Cameron put it on August 29th 2014 “poisonous Islamist extremism”.
Fear of being accused of Islamophobia has inhibited policy makers and strategists from calling a spade a spade. But just as one could be against Nazism without being against German culture so one can be against Islamism without being against the Muslim religion. In the same vein, just as many scholars have noted that Nazism would not have been possible without some profound psychosis inherent to German culture, so it should be acceptable to speculate whether Islamism would have been possible without some profound psychosis inherent to Muslim culture. This is a legitimate question for non-Muslims to ask and absolutely vital for moderate Muslim intellectuals to ask and answer. Asking it does not make one a racist or an Islamphobe; just as asking a similar question about German culture would not make one a racist or a Germanophobe.
Islamism is an “ism” – a totalitarian ideology with an internally coherent worldview, much like Fascism, Nazism, and Communism. This ideology manifests itself in various Islamist movements which include the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranian Ayatollahs, Saudi Wahhabis, ISIS, the Taliban, al-Qaeda and so on. Unless and until we acknowledge that the present struggle is against Islamism, that it is a war of constitutionalism and civilization against totalitarianism and barbarism (much like the war against Nazism), we will never be able to develop a coherent and nuanced grand-strategy that will eventually result in victory.
Moderate Islamism is an oxymoron. There may be moderate Muslims but definitely no moderate Islamists. There is not a hair of ideological difference between the various Islamist groups. There are theological differences, policy distinctions, and diverse strategies and tactics (some, indeed, more moderate than others) but ideologically, all aim to subjugate other religions and worldviews and create an Islamist Caliphate.
North African Islamists are openly calling for an “Andalusian Spring” – to reclaim “occupied” Spain for Islam (and affirming a ‘right of return’ to Spain, similar to the Palestinian claim of a ‘right of return’ to Israel). Turkish Islamists (led by the current President) are calling for the reconstitution of the Ottoman Caliphate (which would also include the present state of Israel). Hamas strategists have been debating whether to support the “Andalusian Spring” now, or only after the destruction of Israel.
If western policy makers really think some Islamists are more moderate than others – that Hamas is more moderate than the Islamic Jihad or that the Muslim Brotherhood is more moderate than al Qaeda – then the ‘War on Islamism’ is in serious trouble. If, on the other hand, they mean exploiting the policy and strategy differences between various Islamists (some indeed more moderate than others) then the ‘War on Islamism’ can develop the same kind of grand strategic coherence that the war on Communism developed during the Cold War. Thankfully, this reality seems to be sinking in. On September 11th 2014 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) condemned Hamas as being as ‘evil’ as ISIS. “Both are evil, corrupt and vicious groups. Yet for some reason Hamas’s brutality doesn’t elicit the same horror from the international community. The hypocrisy is stunning”, he said.
The most obvious Islamic distinction is the theological one between Shia and Sunni. Sunni al Qaeda has condemned the Shiites as being worse than the Jews (can’t get much worse than that), while Sunni Pakistan persecutes its Shia minority unmercifully. Shiite Hezbollah is slaughtering Sunni opponents of Assad in Syria, and these Sunni opponents, having morphed into ISIS, are slaughtering Shiites in Iraq.
Actually, since WWII Muslims have killed many more Muslims than Israel, Europe and the United States combined. About 8.5 million Muslims have been killed by their fellow Muslims during this period. Following is a partial list:
- One million Muslims killed by Muslims in Afghanistan.
- 500,000 Muslims killed by Muslims in Somalia.
- Two million East Pakistani (Bangladesh) Muslims killed by West Pakistani Muslims in the 1971 Civil War.
- Three million Muslims killed by Muslims in Iran/Iraq war.
- 150,000 Muslims killed in Yemen by Egyptian and Saudi forces from 1963 to 1970.
- Other ‘minor’ body counts of Muslim’s killing Muslims include: Jordan (up to 25,000 Palestinians killed in Black September by Jordanian Muslims), Tajikistan (50,000 Muslims killed by fellow Muslims in civil war from 1992 to 1996), Syria (Assad senior killed 20,000 fellow Muslims in Hama in 1982 and Assad junior has killed over 200,000 fellow Muslims and caused millions of refugees in the current civil war), Iran killed thousands of opponents and religious minorities after the revolution including 10,000 Kurdish Muslims, Turkey has killed over 20,000 Kurdish Muslims, in Zanzibar in the 1960s African Muslims killed up to 17,000 Muslim Arabs.
This is not counting the 2.5 million non-Muslims slaughtered by Muslims during this period (the total killed by Muslims is over 11 million). By comparison Israel, in all its wars, operations and counter terrorism actions since 1948, has killed less than 60,000 Muslims (with over 20,000 Jews killed by Muslims).
These statistics must concern moderate Muslims, especially those from minority Muslim sects such as the Ahmadis and Sufis persecuted by Sunni and Shia alike. Indeed, a coherent anti-Jihadi grand strategy must first of all concern itself with not only enlisting moderate Muslims but also demanding more from them. The reaction of many moderate Muslims to various Islamist atrocities has been feeble at best and passively collaborationist at worst – often indirectly justifying Islamic atrocities by citing so-called ‘root causes’. Others have been more candid. Mike Ghouse, president of the moderate Dallas-based World Muslim Congress, has been quoted as saying: “The harsh reality…we (Muslims) do not want to hear and acknowledge [is] that no Muslim in America or anywhere else in the world wants to live in an Islamic nation.”
Another truthful Muslim voice is Prof. Dr. Mehmet Görmez, the head of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs. In his address to the participants of the World Islamic Scholars, Peace, Moderation and Commonsense Initiative conference in Istanbul on July 19, 2014 he confirmed the Muslim on Muslim violence cited above by claiming that one thousand Muslims are being killed each day; 90 percent by other Muslims. “They are being killed by their brothers, not only in Syria and Iraq, but also in Libya, Pakistan, (and) Africa…”
Cold War analogies are useful here. In the War on Islamism the Shia-Sunni split might be exploited by the West much as the split between Maoist China and the Soviet Union. One might correlate the Taliban to Stalinist or Albanian Communism – Islamism/Communism initially in one country; while al Qaeda could be correlated to Trotskyite or Cuban Communism – evangelizing world revolution before Islamism/Communism is firmly established in one country. Morsi’s Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood could be likened to the Soviet Union and Hamas to a Soviet satellite. Islamic Jihad resembles the Baader-Meinhof gang; Hezbollah Ceausescu’s Rumania; and ISIS North Korea. When the internationalist Sunni Al Qaeda tried to establish itself in Gaza, the nationalist Sunni Hamas ran them out of town– much like the nationalist Stalin purging the internationalist Trotskyites.
ISIS sheikhs have declared enmity to the people of Gaza because they support an illegitimate (i.e. nationalist) leadership in Hamas, and are equivalent to Shiites because they have allied themselves with Shiite Hezbollah and Iran. They have branded the Hamas government apostate because it places its national liberation aims before the universal Islamic conquest of the entire world. In addition, tremendous tension between ISIS and al-Qaeda has been developing as they compete for the Jihadist ‘vote’.
Historically, internal Muslim conflicts have occurred with greater frequency than Jihad against external infidels (even Saladin suppressed the Shiites before engaging the Crusaders). This propensity to intra-Islamist infighting offers numerous strategic and tactical opportunities in the “War on Islamism”.
But there are fundamental differences between Islamism and Communism. The first is a religious belief ‘dictated’ by Allah; the second a political conviction based on historiosophic predictions about the future. When Marxian predictions collapsed under the weight of reality, fundamental communist convictions were undermined. Islamism, on the other hand, is a fanatic religious mindset that cannot be influenced or undermined by such banalities as the facts; it can only be destroyed root and branch. In this it bears greater similarity to Nazism. So, even though my analogy with Communism may be imprecise, it still reflects opportunities the West might have in its war with Islamist Jihadism – a war that must be won, and can be won with a combination of hard military power, soft cultural power and shrewd political and economic power.
The Challenge of Asymmetric Warfare
Western powers, led by the United States, must work for a Fifth Geneva Convention; this time pertaining to Asymmetric Warfare. At present there is no international legal framework for conducting a war in which the primary tactic is terror committed by persons or organizations rather than a state-sanctioned military force. The terror tactic is treated as a crime rather than an act of war, even though its perpetrators openly declare they are at war with western civilization. Killing ones enemies and own citizens who are actively involved in planning, carrying out, and encouraging terror activities has been branded as “extra-judicial executions” as if the terrorists should be Mirandized and granted due process.
This is equivalent to the British assassinating Hitler and his British propagandist William Joyce (the infamous Lord Haw Haw) and being accused of committing a crime rather than engaging in a legitimate act of war. The same charge could have been levied against the US if they had targeted and killed American citizen Tokyo Rose. The Fifth Geneva Convention for Asymmetric Warfare would enable a state to declare war on a non-state entity and treat that entity as if it were an enemy country. Its supporters would be considered enemy combatants and therefore legitimate targets on the asymmetric field of battle (whether the combatants be citizens or not).
The lack of a legal framework for Asymmetric Warfare is a conundrum that the USA has had to deal with in regards to rendition and the prison at Guantanamo. Those incarcerated have not been charged under civil law nor have they been treated as prisoners of war – they are in legal limbo. In some ways this has been tactically convenient for the USA, but has harmed the moral clarity of America’s cause by tarnishing the constitutionalist fundamentals of American civilization thus damaging its greatest grand strategic asset in the war on totalitarian Islamism.
There is no question that if the incarcerated are treated as prisoners of war they will have certain rights and this will elicit opposition to my proposal. But I would counter that the legal and moral clarity gained by creating an international legal code for asymmetric war would be a grand strategic asset far outweighing the temporary tactical convenience of the ‘neither here nor there’ limbo that Guantanamo represents.
The Challenge of Domestic Islamism
“Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil” …
– Thomas Mann
However, domestic Islamism is a greater threat to western civilization than international Islamists such as ISIS. Islamism has become the pancreatic cancer of many European countries and it is easier to fight neighborhood bullies like ISIS than pancreatic cancer. A policy of zero tolerance for domestic Islamism must, therefore, be adopted. No multiculturalist excuses, explanations or justifications for citizens or immigrants engaging in thuggish Islamist anti-constitutional behavior – no tolerance of evil. Those that promulgate domestic Islamism are intrinsically evangelizing for alienated Muslim youth to join Jihadist fighters in other areas of the world where they acquire the skills to carry out terrorist acts in their home countries. Good citizenship is an obligation, not an option or a recommendation. David Cameron’s speech of August 29th might be the first hint of a long overdue change in attitude.
Domestic Islamism is not a marginal phenomenon. Consider the views of Omar Ahmad (denied by him but confirmed by journalists who heard him speak) co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.
How to combat domestic Islamism yet keep within the constitutional boundaries of freedom of speech and religion? In the case of Mr. Ahmad it would depend. If he was born an American citizen, there is little that can be done unless he actually incites to violence or supports asymmetrical organizations that the United States has declared war on, in accordance with the Fifth Geneva Convention on Asymmetric Warfare. If so, he could be accused at the least of sedition and at most of treason. But Mr. Ahmad was born in Amman, Jordan. If he is not a citizen, he could have his visa revoked and deported as a danger to society. If he is a naturalized citizen, then he took an oath to uphold the constitution and thus could be charged with perjury – the above avowal being in violation of every fundamental principle of the constitution. The US and other countries should pass laws sufficient to these suggestions.
Europe’s problem is much more severe than America’s. Decades of fashionable multiculturalism and postcolonial guilt have enabled Muslims to create parallel societies within their European host nations. Islamic extremists have created “no-go” Muslim-only zones in many European cities. These zones are microstates governed by Sharia law. Host-countries have lost control and are often unable to provide police, fire fighting and ambulance services.
Something called the Islamic Emirates Projects has openly called for the British cities of Birmingham, Bradford, Derby, Dewsbury, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Sheffield, as well as the Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets neighborhoods of London to become areas ruled by Sharia rule. Tower Hamlets has already been nicknamed The Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets. Neighborhood streets are covered with posters declaring “You are entering a Sharia controlled zone: Islamic rules enforced” as well as “Gay free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment’.
Local Muslim preachers known as the Tower Hamlets Taliban regularly threaten death to women who refuse to wear veils. In Luton, Muslims have engaged in “ethnic cleansing” by harassing non-Muslims, forcing many of them to move out of Muslim neighborhoods. Waltham Forest’s proposed Sharia zone is to be patrolled by young Islamists using intimidation to compel observance of Sharia laws.
The leader of the Waltham Forest movement, Abu Izzadeen, says: “This is the first step towards turning Britain into an Islamic state. There are nearly three million Muslims in this country. Islam is a sleeping giant that is waking. We have moved on from the debate about the provision of Halal meat to more political issues.”
The British Association of Chief Police Officers reports that every year, 17,000 Muslim women are victims of forced marriages, or raped by their husbands, or subjected to female genital mutilation. Eighty-five Sharia courts operate in Britain. They rule on divorce, domestic and financial disputes. These courts discriminate against women, in gross violation of British law and values. In Sharia courts women are second-class citizens; a woman’s word counts for only half the value of a man’s. Polygamy is tolerated. Muslim women are subjected to domestic violence, and then refused a divorce, while their husbands marry other women. Muslim women are threatened with violence for not wearing burkhas. In other words, these Sharia-Law zones are equivalent to Gender Jim Crow or Gender Apartheid – the British state making its peace with severe discrimination against women who are British citizens. All this is done with complete impunity – de facto being tolerated by the authorities because they are afraid of violence if they enforce English law in these areas.
It is instructive to note that this “tolerance” is very selective – applying to Muslims only. The 20,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews living in the Stamford Hill neighborhood of London recently plastered the area with posters that read “Women should please walk along this side of the road only” and defended their action on the basis of religious restrictions regarding contact with the opposite sex. The posters were torn down by the local council and a female council member said: “It’s quite unacceptable to try to restrict women’s movements in a public place”. No such similar steps have been taken by other councils regarding posters proclaiming Sharia-Law zones. Perhaps the indignation about gender apartheid has been selective because local officials are not afraid of being beheaded by ultra-Orthodox Jewish enforcers.
In France, what are euphemistically called 751 Sensitive Urban Zones (Zones Urbaines Sensibles, ZUS) have completely compromised French republican values and French law. These zones are listed on a French government website with satellite maps and precise street demarcations. Several million French Muslims live in parts of France over which the French state and the French Constitution have effectively lost control. In Paris, Lyons, Marseilles and Toulouse, Muslims close off streets and sidewalks to accommodate overflow crowds for Friday prayers, thus closing local businesses and trapping non-Muslim residents in their homes and offices – all of this in direct violation of French law and values, and with total impunity.
Te Belgian capital of Brussels is 20% Muslim. Several neighborhoods have become “no-go” zones. Police patrol the Kuregem neighborhood in two cars: one to carry out the patrols and the other to prevent the first car from being attacked by rock throwing youth. In the Molenbeek neighborhood, police have been ordered not to drink coffee or eat in public during Ramadan.
The German Police Commissioner Bernhard Witthaut, has admitted that no-go zones in Germany are growing rapidly:
EVERY POLICE COMMISSIONER AND INTERIOR MINISTER WILL DENY IT. BUT OF COURSE WE KNOW WHERE WE CAN GO WITH THE POLICE CAR AND WHERE, EVEN INITIALLY, ONLY WITH THE PERSONNEL CARRIER. THE REASON IS THAT OUR COLLEAGUES CAN NO LONGER FEEL SAFE THERE IN TWOS, AND HAVE TO FEAR BECOMING THE VICTIM OF A CRIME THEMSELVES. WE KNOW THAT THESE AREAS EXIST. EVEN WORSE: IN THESE AREAS CRIMES NO LONGER RESULT IN CHARGES. THEY ARE LEFT TO THEMSELVES. ONLY IN THE WORST CASES DO WE IN THE POLICE LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT IT. THE POWER OF THE STATE IS COMPLETELY OUT OF THE PICTURE.
In Rome, Muslims regularly commandeer the Piazza Venezia for public prayers. In Bologna, Muslims have threatened to bomb the San Petronia Cathedral because it contains a 600-year-old fresco, inspired by Dante’s Inferno, depicting Mohammed being tormented in hell. In the Netherlands, the government recently released a list of 40 “no-go” zones in their biggest cities, especially the capital Amsterdam.
In Sweden, large areas of the city of Malmö – which is more than 25% Muslim – are “no-go” zones for non-Muslims. Fire and emergency workers refuse to enter Malmö’s Muslim Rosengaard district without police escorts. In Gothenburg, Molotov Cocktails are regularly thrown at police cars by young Muslims – more than 15 police cars have been destroyed. Muslim teenagers also point green lasers at the eyes of police officers, some of whom have been temporarily blinded. The Gothenburg police have been dealing with Muslim teenagers burning cars and attacking emergency services in several areas of the city.
In Norway a Muslim terrorist group, Ansar al-Sunna, is threatening that if the Grønland section of the capital city Oslo, (two subway stops from Parliament) isn’t transformed into a Sharia-compliant Muslim ‘nation’, an attack rivaling 9/11 will be visited on Norway. They write:
WE DO NOT WANT TO BE A PART OF NORWEGIAN SOCIETY. AND WE DO NOT CONSIDER IT NECESSARY EITHER TO MOVE AWAY FROM NORWAY, BECAUSE WE WERE BORN AND GREW UP HERE. AND ALLAH’S EARTH BELONGS TO EVERYBODY….BUT LET GRØNLAND BECOME OURS. BAR THIS CITY QUARTER AND LET US CONTROL IT THE WAY WE WISH TO DO IT… WE DO NOT WISH TO LIVE TOGETHER WITH DIRTY BEASTS LIKE YOU.
Austria has become a hub for jihadists. In a June 2014 report by Austrian Intelligence: “The number of young radicalized followers of violent Salafism in Austria continues to rise, seeking to impose Sharia law in Austria and other parts of Europe.” In Germany and Spain Imams are preaching in Mosques about the Islamic obligation to exterminate the Jews.
What must be done?
First of all the Europeans must take back their own countries. Before they preach to Israel to ‘end the occupation’ they must end the occupation of large sections of their own countries by their self-declared Islamist enemies. To do this they must first declare war on an entire battery of Islamist organizations and groups according to the precepts of the Fifth Geneva Convention on Asymmetric Warfare described above. Once this is done, domestic Islamist leaders who are citizens can legally be arrested for sedition or even treason; non-citizens for subversion. Others who do not belong to such groups can be legally prosecuted under existing laws for incitement to violence, violating the constitutional rights of women, disturbing the peace (when blocking traffic in prayer) and others. Discrimination against women should be treated as genderapartheid and branded as such. Laws must be passed to outlaw such behavior and be universally applied for every citizen, neighborhood and community, regardless of religion and ethnicity. Equality under the law is fundamental to western civilization and no exceptions should be permitted.
The police must, therefore, physically liberate the Sharia ‘no-go’ areas and maintain a substantial presence to guarantee that the laws of the country are enforced. Given their treatment of women, tolerating enclaves controlled by Islamists is similar to tolerating enclaves controlled by the Ku Klux Klan and the implications this would have for people of color.
The very existence and proliferation of these ‘no-go’ areas contributes to a sense of Islamist triumphalism that fuels global Islamism and enables radical Imams to enlist ever growing numbers of young disaffected Muslim youth to the Islamist/Jihadist creed. There is no way you can combat international Islamism while tolerating the evil of domestic Islamism. If necessary, martial law must be declared and troops sent in, just as President Eisenhower sent army units into Little Rock to guarantee that the laws of the country were enforced. Yes – that is the comparison I am making, and yes it is just as serious a civil rights issue (over and above the security implications).
The encroachment of abhorrent Islamist practices into the public arena must also be dealt with. This means making it illegal for anyone to cover their face in public areas (including women wearing veils) as the French have already done in a law passed in 2010. This ban was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights which accepted as constitutionally legitimate the French argument that it encouraged citizens to “live together”.
The French example must be followed by other countries. No entrance into public buildings or private businesses for people who cannot be identified. This is both a security and a law enforcement issue. Women with covered faces should be treated as if they were potential bank robbers or terrorists. In point of fact, the Quran does not require women to cover their faces with a veil, or bodies with the burqa. The Quran requires only that women and men dress modestly; not face or full-body coverings of any form. Ironically the veiling of women was a Byzantine-Christian custom that Islam adopted. Initially the Prophet Muhammad’s wives did not wear veils, nor did he require other women wear them. As he became more important in his community, and as his wives gained stature, Muhammad began adapting Byzantine customs, such as the veil, for his wives only. So there can be no claim of religious discrimination in forbidding Muslim women from covering their faces in public.
But even if there was a radical Islamist injunction for this practice, it would make no difference on principle. The same sort of radical Islamists that are presently corrupting the constitutionalist principles of Europe by advocating this practice also justify slavery as part of Islamic doctrine. Sanctioned slavery still exists in Islamic countries like Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Mali, and Sudan. Saudi Arabia is home to the inherently Islamist Wahhabi Muslim denomination (Osama bin Laden was a Wahhabi) which endorses slavery.
The Wahhabi Islamic jurist, Shaykh Saleh Al-Fawzan, has issued a fatwa stating “Slavery is a part of Islam. Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam.” Al-Fawzan is not some marginal Islamist eccentric. He has been a member of the Senior Council of Clerics, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, a member of the Council of Religious Edicts and Research, the Imam of Prince Mitaeb Mosque in Riyadh, and a professor at Imam Mohamed Bin Saud Islamic University, the main Wahhabi center of learning in the country. Another prominent Saudi cleric, Shaikh Saad Al-Buraik, recently urged Palestinians to enslave the Jews: ‘Their women are yours to take, legitimately. God made them yours. Why don’t you enslave their women?’ Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, has openly stated that “I shall capture people and make them slaves.” when claiming responsibility for the 2014 Chibok kidnapping.
This being the case, would European authorities tolerate slavery in their Sharia ‘no-go’ zones in the name of cultural pluralism and religious tolerance? If not, why tolerate gender apartheid? Why does it matter that many Muslim women agree to the veil – what about the ones who don’t (not to mention the non-Muslim female citizens of the country who don’t wish to be accosted by Sharia vigilantes in their own country)? Constitutionalist protections – the very essence of post-enlightenment western civilization must be universal in all corners of the country.
An example of what not to do would be the rather obsequious Obama/Clinton reaction to the infamous anti-Mohammed YouTube video that resulted in Benghazi. Instead of apologizing for it they should have said something like the following:
WHILE WE ABHOR THE OFFENSIVE POOR TASTE OF THIS VIDEO WE ARE GREATLY DISAPPOINTED AND ANGERED BY THE CHILDISH AND VIOLENT REACTION OF OUR MUSLIM BROTHERS AND SISTERS AROUND THE WORLD WHICH HAS RESULTED IN THE DEATH OF SOME OF OUR CITIZENS. CHRISTIANS IN OUR COUNTRY WERE GREATLY OFFENDED BY THE LIFE OF BRIAN – THEY WROTE LETTERS AND PICKETED MOVIE THEATERS; JEWS WERE GREATLY OFFENDED BY MEL GIBSON’S THE PASSION AND THEY WROTE LETTERS AND PICKETED MOVIE THEATERS. THESE WERE PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE REACTIONS – THEY DID NOT KILL ANYONE OR DESTROY ANY PROPERTY. THESE ARE NOT LEGITIMATE REACTIONS. THESE MOVIES WERE MAJOR PRODUCTIONS WITH WIDE DISTRIBUTION NOT SOME SILLY YOUTUBE VIDEO. WE IN AMERICA WANT TO BE GOOD FRIENDS WITH MUSLIMS AROUND THE WORLD, BUT FRIENDSHIP IS A TWO WAY STREET AND YOU MUST KEEP IN MIND THAT OUR FIRST AMENDMENT IS AS SACRED TO AMERICANS AS MOHAMMED IS TO MUSLIMS. IF YOU WANT TO BE OUR FRIENDS YOU MUST RESPECT THIS. AS FOR THE FUTURE, WE WILL DEFEND OUR EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES AS IF THEY WERE THE HEARTLAND OF OUR NATION AND MEET ANY FUTURE RIOTERS WITH DEADLY FORCE DELIVERED PROXIMATELY OR FROM A DISTANCE.
The actual wording of this statement might have had to have been a bit more diplomatic but the substance of it would have had to have been just as forthright and forceful. Apologetic whining that ‘we are sorry’ does not work with fanatics. If the USA (and the rest of the West) wishes to combat domestic as well as international Islamism it must adopt a tone that reflects a robust self-confidence in its own cultural values and zero tolerance for those that advocate acceptance of brazen anti-constitutionalist behavior in the name of multiculturalism.
The threat of violence on the part of Islamist fanatics or local street thugs cannot and should not be a consideration. Those that use violence should be resisted and arrested and sent to jail for long periods of time. Their time in prison should be monitored closely and they should be allowed no access whatsoever to any Islamist literature or media or visitors – even close family if they are Islamists. Prison cannot turn into a post-graduate course in Jihadism – as it has turned into a post-graduate course in crime in the United States. Zero tolerance for evil means zero tolerance for evil.
The Challenge of Oil and So-Called Moderate Arab States
The dirty little (well-known) ‘secret’ of the War on Islamism is that Saudi petrodollars have been financing “poisonous Islamist extremism” world over. Saudi Arabia is the home of the most extreme and intolerant denomination of Islam – the Wahhabis (the theological fountainhead of modern Islamism). Because of this, and despite its being granted the title of ‘moderate’, the two-faced Saudi state is a bigger enemy than Iran and ISIS combined in the “War on Islamism”. In point of fact ISIS and other Salafist groups around the world are largely financed by Saudi petrodollars, as are the domestic Islamists described above, as was Osama Ben Laden and the perpetrators of 9/11.
In May 28, 2013, Vancouver Sun columnist Jonathan Manthorpe noted that the Saudi royal family, by way of government aid and contributions by individual princes, donates huge amounts to Wahhabi institutions and organizations. This includes financing 210 Islamic centers, 1,500 mosques, 202 colleges and 2,000 religious schools (madrases) as well as $3 billion a year on missionary activity. He goes on to write that “Indian newspapers recently reported Saudi Arabia has a massive $35 billion program to build mosques and religious schools across South Asia, where there are major Muslim communities in India…”
This money overwhelms moderate Muslim leaders and poisons every Muslim community in the world. A good analogy would be to imagine the impact on world Christendom if the Westboro Baptist Church, which burns Korans and pickets funerals of American soldiers to protest tolerance of homosexuals, had the petrodollars of Saudi Arabia (and Qatar) and used this financial power to spread its disgusting doctrines. What would Christianity look like if that was the case?
It’s not as if the West did not know these facts. As Manthrope note: “In 2003, a United States Senate committee on terrorism heard testimony that in the previous 20 years Saudi Arabia had spent $87 billion on promoting Wahhabism worldwide…curbing direct payments to terrorist groups is a small matter when so many billions of dollars continue to be directed at creating terrorists.” The thirst for oil encourages the West to avert its eyes from this self-evident reality.
Qatar has become Saudi Arabia’s junior partner in financing Wahhabi Islam in Europe according to Soeren Kern in a February 9, 2012 article on the website of the Gatestone Institute. He called Qatar the most fraudulent ‘moderate’ Arab state.
The Qataris are “investing” $65 million to spread Wahhabi doctrine amongst the hundreds of thousands of discontented Muslim immigrants living in Parisian suburbs. The Qatari Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, poses as a pro-Western reformist and modernizer but is really a major supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. He has sworn to spread fundamentalist Wahhabi teachings across “the whole world”. This would discourage Muslim integration into the modern world and in practice encourage jihad against non-Muslims. Qatari and Saudi petrodollars are one of the main reasons that Sharia law is displacing French civil law in many parts of France (the Zones Urbaines Sensibles). The Sharia law ‘no-go’ zones of France are being financed by the French themselves – by buying Qatari gas and Saudi oil.
Other countries of Europe are also financing their own Islamist subversion by transferring huge amounts of money to the petro-fascists. In Italy, for instance, 60% of Mosques are controlled by the Wahhabi influenced and Qatari financed Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar is also financing a mega-mosque in Cork Ireland. Islam is the fastest growing religion in Ireland – having grown tenfold in the past 20 years. The Muslim Brotherhood is the dominant influence amongst Muslims in Ireland.
Eliminating Petrodollar Power
The elimination of Petrodollar Power must, therefore, become a priority in the “War on Islamism”. Fortunately, oil has now become a double edged sword. It can be wielded against the oil producing states as much as wielded by them. Iran is a good example of what could have been done in this regard. It could not have financed its nuclear program without the revenues of 2.5 million barrels of oil exports a day up until 2011. Exports were reduced to 1.1 million barrels a day by 2013 because of western sanctions. This significantly reduced the development inertia of their program. China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey are now the largest customers of the remaining 1.1 million barrels a day. Four of these five could have been easily pressured in forgoing their imports from Iran in return for equivalent amounts from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA and its constituent members have over four billion barrels of oil in strategic reserves. The USA, Japan and EU countries have almost two billion barrels of these strategic reserves and could have comfortably released a million barrels a day for well over two years, thus completely crippling the Iranian economy and hobbling their nuclear development even further.
Emasculating the economic power of Iran would have weakened Syrian militancy and starved Hamas and Hezbollah. Syria would have become even more amenable to a politically doable peace deal with Israel, while weakening Hamas would have strengthened the Palestinian Authority and reassured Israel, enabling both to enter into serious negotiations towards a two-state solution. The question is do these strategic reserves exist solely to ameliorate an oil supply interruption or should they also be available for use to disrupt much greater potential threats to the long term security of the West?
The big challenge of course is Saudi Arabia, which could not spend billions of dollars a year financing a Wahhabi educational system throughout the Moslem world if it did not have the revenues of eight million barrels of oil a day. What steps will the West take to liberate itself from Persian Gulf oil? What will characterize the West under the leadership of the United States – self-indulgence, or self discipline and self-reliance? Does the West have the will to do what needs to be done or does it continue to obsequiously grovel before oil blackmail and the Jihadist terror that petrodollars finance? Can the west formulate a grand strategy to rid itself of Jihadist oil?
Complete energy independence from Muslim countries would enable the west to withdraw from positions which are one of the greatest inciters to Islamism – their very presence in Muslim countries (especially military presence)
The Special Case of Egypt
America’s present attitude towards Egyptian president el-Sisi is dangerously wrong; it is devoid of historical context. El-Sisi is an Egyptian nationalist, not a pan-Arabist or a pan-Islamist. In his election speeches he persistently returned to themes like: “I promise you nothing – except to work day and night to raise Egypt out of its present ruin. To do this I need western investment and regional cooperation”. In other words to serve Egypt he needs national stability not the pan-Arab or Islamist adventurism of Nasser or Morsi.
Modern Egyptian history provides background to el-Sisi’s atittiude. Muhammad Naguib was the first President of modern Egypt. When in 1954 the Muslim Brotherhood tried to assassinate Nasser (then deputy Prime Minister) he arrested Naguib and jailed the Brotherhood. Naguib and Nasser had come to power in a coup in 1952. So in the first two years of modern Egypt we have two coups, one attempted assassination by the Muslim Brotherhood, a brutal crackdown on the Brotherhood and a ruthless violation of due process. Sounds like the last two years of Egyptian history.
Nasser’s pan-Arabist adventurism in Yemen and Palestine resulted in 100,000 dead and 300,000 wounded Egyptian soldiers and decades of grinding poverty. In 1960 Egypt still had a higher per capita income than South Korea – today South Korea’s per capita income is ten times that of Egypt’s, despite Egypt’s numerous natural advantages over South Korea: its proximity to the EU, the Suez Canal, its mass tourism potential, its own natural resources as well its potential access to petro-dollars.
Sadat was sickened by the human and economic price Egypt had paid for its pan-Arabist ambitions. He was an Egyptian nationalist who, anticipating el-Sisi, also wanted western investments and regional stability and cooperation. He needed to renew Egyptian self esteem and remove Egypt from playing a major role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This explains both the Yom Kippur War (self esteem) and his peace initiative with Israel (regional stability and cooperation). Previously, in the desire to liberalize Egypt, he made the mistake of releasing masses of Islamists who had been jailed by Nasser. This turned out to be suicidal. One group – the Islamic Jihad – eventually assassinated him.
Mubarak made some significant domestic reforms in housing and other areas but survived six attempts on his life by Islamists. These attempts led him gradually to turn Egypt into a semi-police state which, along with his personal corruption, made him increasingly unpopular and led to his eventual overthrow by the street.
Morsi was a leader of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood. He was elected democratically but immediately granted himself unlimited powers including the power to legislate without judicial oversight or review of his acts. He drafted an Islamist constitution which his opponents called an “Islamist coup”. He jailed journalists and his supporters attacked demonstrators. The liberal Egyptian politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed El-Baradei called Morsi a new pharaoh and supported el-Sisi’s coup. During Morsi’s short term in office, pogroms were conducted by Islamists against Coptic Christians and over 40 Coptic churches were burned to the ground; individuals of the small Shia minority were brutally murdered by Sunni Islamists and no coherent domestic policies were articulated. When a Muslim Brotherhood governmental official was asked by a foreign journalist how he intended to address Cairo’s horrendous traffic jams his response was “when Sharia law is instituted Allah will solve all our problems”. Tourism, Egypt’s biggest money maker and biggest employer had no future in a country ruled by such a mindset. Morsi’s Islamism promised to inflict even greater economic damage on Egypt than Nasser’s pan-Arabism
It was on the background of this history that el-Sisi came to power – undemocratically to be sure but with obvious mass popular support (including El-Baradei, the Coptic Pope and even some moderate Muslim Imams). El-Sisi’s burning hatred for the Muslim Brotherhood and its baby sister Hamas was palpable from the start. The Islamist assassination of Sadat and attempted Islamist assassinations of Nasser and Mubarak made his first order of business (and self-survival) the utter destruction by any means of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. It is this that explains the death sentence of 600 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. His message is clear – I am going to kill you before you can even try to kill me. His methods might not have endeared him to James Madison or John Adams, but then again Egypt is not Virginia or Massachusetts.
El-Sisi’s hatred has increased because Islamists from Libya and Hamas inspired Islamists in Sinai have been killing his soldiers. For him Hamas is just a provincial branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and thus an enemy of Egyptian national interests. This explains his indifference to Palestinian suffering in Gaza. Official Egyptian media, even more so than Israeli media, has consistently blamed Hamas for this suffering, not Israel.
America should embrace el-Sisi as a force for stability neutralizing the predictable instability of Islamism and pan-Arabism. El-Sisi’s rule is and will be cruel by western standards but will result in much less human suffering than that caused by pan-Arabism and Islamism. We should not let our devotion to the good prevent us from embracing the better. The choice here is not between Jeffersonian Democracy and Fascism; it is between a possible Egyptian Ataturk and Jihadi savagery. El-Sisi’s need for regional cooperation makes his commitment to the peace with Israel a vital part of his national agenda. The Obama administration should not condemn him for bombing Islamists in Libya who infiltrate Egypt and kill Egyptian citizens and soldiers. On the contrary, they should consider promoting the idea of a U.N. sponsored Egyptian mandate over Libya which is now to be considered a failed state and a breeding ground for Islamists, soon to become the Somalia of North Africa.
The Special Case of Turkey
This brings me to the special case of Turkish president Erdogan. Imagine if Italian or French Communists had succeeded in winning an election and were faced with implementing their Marxist ideology while managing the economic and cultural realty of an advanced capitalist country. Imagine that and you will understand Erdogan and why he appears moderate to the West, while at the same time he is openly calling for the reestablishment of the Ottoman Caliphate (which would include Egypt as well as Israel) and is siding with and supporting the most retrograde Islamists in the Arab world. He has had the difficult task of advancing his Islamic principles in perhaps the most western and secular society in the Muslim world. And, to his credit, he has been brilliant at walking this fine line without upsetting Turkey’s economy or the West.
An good example of his political skills and how he is playing the West while advancing his Islamist agenda have been his actions against the Turkish Army which have earned him the admiration of western liberals. He has successfully convinced the West and even many in the Turkish intelligentsia that he is simply reestablishing the constitutionalist principles of a western democracy. Technically this is certainly the case. Like most Middle Eastern armies, the Turkish army has had fascistic tendencies and has removed the democratically elected governments of Turkey several times by coup d’état. They are not and have never been a democratic institution in the western sense; but they have been a modernizing and secular institution in the Ataturk sense – preserving the secular character of the modern Turkish state at all costs. What Erdogan has really accomplished, therefore, is not the establishment of constitutionalism but the elimination of the most robust secular obstacle to his Islamist agenda.
When you understand the true character of this individual – his true ideological and theological motivations and agendas then what has appeared a mystery to the West suddenly becomes clear. His support for Hamas in Gaza and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, his ferocious antagonism to Israel and to el-Sisi, his domestic demagoguery against the Jews, his waffling on his NATO commitments and so on. Erdogan wears very fashionable western suits, appears in public with his attractive wife by his side (in a most non-Islamist way), supervises a rather successful economic policy (always looked on favorably by the Capitalist West) and in general presents Turkey as a potential ‘moderate’ and modernizing Islamist alternative to Iran. One must not underestimate his shrewd intelligence in these matters, but one should never forget that these are all tactics in the service of an overriding Islamist ideology.
The West must recognize the true enemy; it is the ideology of Islamism, not the tactic of terror. We must identify the real Islamists and not delude ourselves that there can be such a thing as a moderate Islamist. Thus we must reevaluate our relationships with Erdogan and with el-Sisi.
We must convene a Geneva Convention for Asymmetric Warfare and design international laws and conventions that create a legal and constitutionalist framework for the unique necessities of asymmetric warfare. This failed game of pretending we are dealing with criminals and not with enemies while at the same time conducting warfare against them must cease.
The West must adopt a comprehensive policy of zero tolerance for domestic Islamism right across the board; tolerating Islamism in one’s own country while pretending to combat it internationally is patently absurd. Worse than that – it is also self-defeating. The inertia of global Islamist triumphalism must be reversed and the starting point must be the domestic battlefield. Islamists and Islamism must be allowed no triumphs – domestic or international. “No-Go” Sharia Law zones in western countries must be completely eliminated. Veils covering faces must be outlawed. No Islamist entity should be given any aid or recognition whether directly or indirectly. Total war and unconditional surrender on the model of WWII policy to Germany and Japan must be our aim.
Two grand-strategic aims are fundamental to such a policy: the weakening of oil as a vital international commodity and the incremental empowerment of women in Muslim countries and communities. A comprehensive network of education and aid programs for Muslim women resident in western countries must be developed. A major first step would be to set up shelters for battered and abused Muslim women, or women who simply want to leave an oppressive social situation but have nowhere to go. Make Gender Apartheid a crime. On the international front, all western foreign aid should be funneled through women led and run NGOs. Empowering women is the greatest long term subversive threat to Islamism. Giving aid to male dominated governments not only leads to growing corruption, it reinforces the gender discrimination endemic to these societies and thus becomes an added fertilizer upon which the diseased plant of Islamism can grow. Giving scholarships to Muslim women to study in the West is another step that would have great positive impact.
The war against Islamism can be won, but it requires the elimination of self-deluding wishful thinking and the formulation of a coherent and comprehensive grand strategy. The history of the 20th century proves that when the West disenthralls itself from wishful thinking and develops a comprehensive grand strategy it can defeat Fascism, Nazism and Communism. In the 21st century it is destined to defeat Islamism.