Sunday, February 22, 2015

KNOW THY ENEMY: DEFEATING TOTALITARIAN ISLAM

The West is mentally crippled in its defense against the violent side of Islam. False doctrines, faulty conceptual frameworks and political correctness have conspired to make the free world a sitting duck in the face of the evil that has manifested itself in IS, the Islamic State. So, what are we going to do about it? 


Yaron Brook (Director of the Ayn Rand Institute) and Dr Onkar Ghate (Senior Fellow) elaborate on the morality of war. More particular, what are the options in defeating totalitarian Islam. 

UPDATE: Noting that the apocalypse was a central theme to their vision, Wood outlined in a piece on The Atlantic how the brutal methods employed by ISIS were not necessarily a perversion of Islam, as President Obama frequently claims, but an interpretation of Islamic teachings that most Muslims simply choose to ignore.



Feb 19, 2015 Journalist Graeme Wood told CNN that the terrorist group firmly believes Jesus Christ will come to their aid during an apocalyptic final battle in Jerusalem.

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. (Source)




Feb. 9, 2015

THE ISIS IDEOLOGY DRIVES IT TO EVER GREATER SAVAGERY

A double update on the subject of defeating the Islamic State on a strategic level.
  • The first is an academic paper, entitled "Two steps to freedom – defeating Daesh", by Douglas Wade. It looks at the overall long term picture from the perspective of the Kurds. (Source) H/t @Pirrha108
  • The second is a very interesting article by Hasan Hasan, about what moves IS and its specific concept of Jihad. The terror group bases itself, not on theology, but on early Islamic sources, some of which are very obscure indeed. If we want to understand our enemy, we'd better start reading up and brace ourselves. Their approach to victory through terror drives IS to ever greater savagery. (Source)



Dec. 24, 2014

SAVING LIBERTY FROM THE 3RD JIHAD

For the last 25 years the West has adopted the doctrine, that if we deny that terrorism is rooted in Islam, we can stop radicalization. And may even win Muslims for our side! After a quarter of a century of pursuing this doctrine, we have the manifestation of the Islamic State to show for it. Isn't it time to reject the lie, that many world leaders actually have started to believe themselves?

False premises

The false narrative was born in 1992 when the Internationalist Assistant Secretary of State Edward Djerejian formulated the doctrine that sought to delegitimize terrorism by denying the terrorists' claim that they are acting according to Islamic precepts. Policymakers believed that by tempering their language with regard to Islam, they might forestall further radicalization of 'moderate' Muslims and indeed even win them into the American circle of friendship. (Source) The West has been pursuing this lie based on moral cowardice (source) ever since and most people have even come to believe it. The verdict on this policy is now in: the Islamic State that proclaimed a Caliphate stretching across Syria and Iraq.

The second narrative is rooted in this failed doctrine: the false dichotomy of  bad 'radical' and good 'moderate' Islam, as if these are two unrelated ideologies, instead of two branches sharing a common root. The moral distinction between moderate and extreme Islam is a construct that has nothing to do with reality in the Islamic world, for the same reason that the concept of terrorism is very difficult to explain to Muslims: Islam makes no such moral distinctions. The whole idea of the Caliphate is that it unites politics and religion, the secular and the ethos, the military and the civil domain in a territorial state.

We have come to believe our own lies and in the process have strengthened the hand of Jihadists by claiming there is no evil in Islam. As a result, the Islamic State alone boasts some 30,000 fighters in the field, and many, many more sympathizers at home, in the East and in the West. Echoing the failed doctrine, the reaction of President Obama was that Islam has nothing to do with the Islamic State, and the abject lie that "no religion supports terrorism". Egalitarianism in popular thought demands that 'all religions are equally valid'. To assert otherwise is deemed of 'double standards'. Moral relativism borders insanity!

More in: Fighting an Existential War With Demoralized Leaders (Source)

War on extremists

John R. Schindler is a strategist, author, and commentator (about) with years of experience in intelligence and counterintelligence work in the NSA, the Naval War College and the Department of Defense. As such he's fairly representative of the people devizing these constructs. He continues making the mistake of distinguishing moderate Muslims and Takfiris, as if these are different ideologies, instead of branches on the same tree with common roots, the same world view, the same morality and the same ethics. But Schindler's no appeaser!
"Let me state unambiguously that this is a war that the West must win. Our Salafi jihadist enemy is a threat to virtually every country on earth, including Western ones. Their vision is fanatical and uncompromising. They are a foe who must be killed off through attrition. There is no room for negotiation or dialogue. We must face the reality that our struggle against these fanatics will last decades, not years (...) Winning the war will require the full effort of Western governments, working with each other and partners across the Muslim world. This is a two-front war, against Salafi jihadists who struggle against the Muslim world, and also against the fanatics in our midst who reside inside the West itself."
Even while we can look back on a quarter of a century of failed anti-Islamist doctrine, Schindler perpetuates the lie. What he identifies as 'partners' are the people who spawned these terrorist groups in the first place! When these terrrorists became a menace to their hosts, they were exiled and used against their political enemies. That would be us. Our 'partners' are double crossing us, not in the last place because they share the same basic ideology, not a different 'view' on Islam, as Schindler c.s. put it.

Instead of lying to them and to ourselves, we must confront cultural Muslims with the reality of what is in their Scriptures, allowing them to make an honest choice for the good; not driving this lie even further with false illusions about "religion of peace". The evidence is there that appeasement has made matters worse over the last quarter of a century! 

Jihad isn't cime, it's warfare

Schindler rightly rejects the idea that America embraced a (bad) military-focused approach to counterterrorism while Europeans stuck to a (good) law enforcement model. Currently everyone has adopted the false notion that terrorism is criminality. That's another Western construct. Islam as such doesn't know a distinction between the military and civil. Which may be the reason why Muslim leaders call all enemies, terrorists. Jihad isn't crime, it's war! And it involves state agents and civilians alike. Which explains why terrorists don't recognize 'innocent' civilians.

More in: Jihad Isn't Crime; It's a Special Kind of World War (Source)

End game

Whereas Schindler points out that Salafi radicalism (his definition) has shaken the Muslim world before, he believes that the fanaticism of IS and its violent Caliphate building will eventually burn itself out. That is true, upto a point, and after costing many people their lives, Muslims and infidels alike.

But Schindler also holds a contradictory view: that the cruel violence will ultimately be IS' undoing because it will alienate the majority of Muslims. (Source) Muslims may protest some of the brutality, but they cannot fundamentally reject the basic tenants of the Caliphate, nor the beheadings and slavery of infidel women as war booty or the killings of Apostates. You can't jettison a core tenet while keeping the essence of the ideology. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Muslims will only reject political Islam and what is required by Islamic Law, if the entire ideology is threatened with extinction. At the current trajectory the Caliphate might implode on its own violent Nihilism, but Al Qaeda and IS are nothing if not Pragmatic. Al Qaeda is aware of this, which is why they rejected Baghdadi's extremism in the past.

Baghdadi will also come to understand that he needs popular support. He's as much dependent on the contradiction that every tyrant faces: at a certain point there will be only zombies left to oppress. In short, although Schindler has frequently "dined out on this oft-stated belief", this is another pipe dream. In the end, the Caliphate will become a sort of Iran or Saudi Arabia, firmly settled as a nation and probably with a seat at the amoral talking shop called the United Nations. 

PARTNERS AGAINST IS

The Kurds 

On the cooperation with the Kurds and Iran Schindler has this to say.
"Kurdish militias are fighting for their lives and Shia militias may be able to show the stamina in battle that the U.S-raised and trained Iraqi military so humiliatingly failed to against IS." 
Assisting the Kurds is practically a no brainer, but there are some provisos. No official government in the region wants to see an independent, secular Kurdistan, in the first place because it will impact their own territorial integrity. The Kurds might also be far too successful, revealing a stark contrast with the terrible track records of the existing Islamic tyrannies in the region. A successful secular state is the last thing they're waiting for.

The Peshmerga have some 80,000 men and women at arms, while the total number of fighters the Islamic State currently is able to muster, amounts to 30,000 fighters. But according to a Kurdish estimate, IS could eventually bring together as many as 100,000 Jihadists.

While some Kurds are still very much wedded to Marxism, the Kurds of Northern Iraq have embraced an almost Libertarian form of Capitalism. The Kurdish enthusiasm and sense of life is in fact very contagious. Although with caution, a free Kurdish state may eventually trigger free trade, secularism and the much needed Liberalism the region needs to boost progress.

Iran 

Then there's the danger of aligning ourselves with the Shia, which means Iran. But Shia Islam is an even greater enemy to the Western liberty than our Sunni Muslim 'partners' . So let's not fall into that trap. Iran has given Obama to understand there can be no cooperation against the Islamic State. And rightly so. You can't partner with an entity without lending it a smither of legitimization and become an accomplice to some extent. Yes, Iran will be "deadly serious about destroying the Islamic State" in both Iraq and Syria, but Iran is equally deadly serious about destroying the West!

Russia and Syria 

Schindler lives in a fool's paradise where the coalition is concerned: he believes nearly everybody will want to partner with the West to some degree in fighting the Islamic State. Even "Russia could be a valuable partner in the fight against IS, while Putin’s friends in Syria are very eager to eliminate this existential threat to the Assad regime", were it not that Putin has no intention of tipping the balance of power in the direction of the Transatlantic alliance. Putin is thinking in Cold War style power blocks, locked in a zero sum game for world domination. Russia won't miss an opportunity to throw a spanner in the works, if only for the hell of it.

Turkey 

Not unimportantly Schindler is touching on the role of Turkey, the Caliphate Conspiracy. Certainly, apart from the rat lines into Syria, the entire attitude of the Erdogan government must be looked at. But since Obama is buying into the narrative of the cultural Islamists in his own ranks, this may not be an issue that can be tackled on the short term. The Erdogan Government is much more interested in fighting secularists -- i.e. the Kurds and Assad --  then he is in fighting the Caliphate.

Root cause of extremism

While it may be partly true that local politics contributed to the rise of IS, their viciousness is not rooted in social determinism. Freedom fighters have existed for a long time, but none have resorted to Nihilism. However wrong their ideology may have been, their goal was always a free state (in their minds at least), not a terror state as prescribed and justified by Islamic Scripture (with the exception of the Islamic Republic of Iran). Social determinism is a Leftist argument that is objectively untrue: these aren't poor disenfranchised peasants, but the highly educated and well trained spawn of the spoiled, decadent middle class.

But even if the Left's narrative was right, and the poor and disenfranchised are at the root of Muslim extremism, research has established there is not a strong statistical link between poverty and terrorism. (Source) It stands to reason: if anything, poverty leads to apathy, not armed rebellion. It's the middle classes that cause revolutions, not the marginalized.

Thugs, maffiosi and hoodlums have brought up excuses of victimization to legitimize violence since time immemorial. Every gang war starts with claims that their turf is under attack by a rival gang. The Leftist dogma of social determinism institutionalizes that claim. What in the name of humanity could possibly warrant the beheadings, the enslavement and the targeting of innocent children?

Let's also not fall into the trap of blaming messengers: the Internet and social media. It's not the spoons that make you fat! All that is the denial of free will, negation of the moral root cause and the evasion of the fundamentals that are at work here,  namely Islam's world view, and the morals and ethics program in which the Prophet is the role model.

The Obama leadership

Which brings the problem back to the core: our leaders. Schindler is correctly pointing out that "will, not way, is our problem."
President Obama’s take on the jihadist enemy has never inspired confidence in the counterterrorism community, and his reaction to the rise of the Islamic State does not reflect the seriousness of the threat we now face. 
Given the track record and the ideological make up of the Obama regime, frankly it is an illusion to believe that anything serious can be done under the current Presidency. We will have to muddle through as best we can and hope the next President will be a man of principles, insight and moral courage.

We'll be lucky if we get through without the advent of World War III, or bringing the Muslim Brotherhood to power in half the countries that make up the Middle East. This batch of postmodern, anti-colonialist, post-American babies with razors always was a hazard on the world stage.

Losing the war on the Islamic State

We are losing the war on the Islamic State in Schindler's estimation for a number of reasons. As a member of the establishment he's mentioning the Snowdon Operation in particular, but also stresses the inner conflicts in the Obama administration.
"The Pentagon can't decide internally just what its new Iraq war is trying to do, while coordination with the White House, and particularly Obama’s deeply troubled National Security Council, falls short of the abysmal standards of civil-military relations set by the Johnson Administration during their failed war in Vietnam." 
He again mentions 'micromanagement', which stands to reason for the peacenik, 'anticolonial', post-American government's suspicion of  its military and 'intelligence community'.

We have seen Obama working himself into an intricate contradiction: IS, as the enemy of Assad in the role of the good guys in Syria, while cast as the enemy when IS attacked the US protectorate of Iraq. Here it is becoming apparent where the mistake lies: the West as an ally of Sunni Islam fighting the Shia forces and their allies in Syria and Russia. The actual dichotomy should be Islam versus secularism, with the West aligned with Assad. But that was not how the West got into this predicament: it was the so-called 'spontaneous democratic uprisings' called the Arab Spring.

Read also: Frmr Egyptian FM: 'Obama Wanted Political Islam' (Source)
"To make matters worse, the current American strategy to defeat Da’ish [IS], inasmuch as it exists at all, is based on the assumption that the United States and its allies will bring airpower to act as the hammer to crush Da’ish on the anvil of the Iraqi military.
That force, Schindler believes, is a joke.
"(...) Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey explained the requirement concisely: “We’re going to need about 80,000 competent Iraqi security forces to recapture territory lost, and eventually the city of Mosul, to restore the border.” Regrettably, Baghdad has nowhere near that many 'competent' troops.

Special War

So what can we do?  In the way of defeating 'Salafi Jihadism' as he defines it, Schindler has some interesting suggestions to make. He proposes a combination of intelligence and covert action, not warfare in any conventional sense.
"While pummeling IS kinetically in Iraq and Syria is a necessary first step, it is only the beginning. The military defeat of the Islamic State by Western airpower and commandos, aided by local proxies, will set the stage for the strategic defeat of their movement. What must follow is a version of what I term Special War, tailored for counterterrorism, combining offensive counterintelligence, denial and deception, and long-term manipulation of the jihadists leading to their collapse and self-immolation.
Special war is basically what Russia is doing in eastern Ukraine: "an amalgam of espionage, subversion, even forms of terrorism to attain political ends without actually going to war in any conventional sense. Special war is the default setting for countries that are unable or unwilling to fight major wars. But there are prerequisites, above all a degree of cunning and a willingness to accept operational risk to achieve strategic aims." It is a matter for further study and a separate posting.

More: "Strategy (3): Special War" (Source)

THE ENEMY WITHIN

The West is hosting a considerable amount of 'enemies within' that have been seeking to destroy the values that make up the free world for decades. These enemies are traditional Leftists and postmodern cultural Marxists, but also progressive transnationals and more recently, political Islamists. All have sought to destroy the West from within by means of mental demoralization. (Source)

Transnational Progressives

Special War -- tailored for counterterrorism, combining offensive counterintelligence, denial and deception, and long-term manipulation -- is exactly counter to the main moral aspects of Just War Theory (source) and the Geneva Conventions. The specific purpose of which is to limit Western capacity to reach political goals by means of warfare, by increasing the cost in terms of treasure and the lives of the military.

Progressivists have been trying to impose the anti-concept of 'international law' for ages. It's one thing, what entities in the non-equal paradigm are doing, i.e. the Russians, and the Soviets before them, and terrorists like Hamas and IS;  but the free world is held to higher moral standards:  if the 'imperialistic West' will try an 'amalgam of espionage, subversion an terrorism, there'll hell to pay at home and in the corridors of the UN.

Postmodern Marxists

In this respect Schindler warns to harden ourselves against asymmetrical tactics used for instance by Hamas. But equally, we shall have to resist political activism at home by sympathetic Muslims, Code Pink type peaceniks and the entire Left who are as ever sensitive to their postmodern methods in which no holds are barred, from tugging at the heart strings about dead babies, to tamper tantrums and histrionics, fake rage and accusations of fascism and the inevitable slurs of racism.

Per Schindler, it is a political given that "no state in the 21st century that does not wish to be a global pariah can employ tactics that would actually be effective in suppressing the sorts of uprisings that are now endemic in Iraq, Syria, and Libya (...) The sooner we accept this fact, the sooner we can have an honest and reality-based debate about what can be achieved by force of arms in the Middle East." So what are we to do?


The Jakarta Post is facing blasphemy charges for a cartoon, mocking IS!

The objective 

But here is the crux of the error!
"To be blunt, we kill very effectively but we have precious little understanding of how to transform Muslim societies by force. (...) Simply put, we have no ability to change Muslim societies unless we are willing to stay the long haul and are eager to kill staggering numbers of people, many of them civilians, in horrible ways.
The error is this: while IS is evil enough to warrant good, cold suppression, in the end it will never be enough, because Islam is an idea. You can't kill ideas. People will have to reject it of their own free will and on moral grounds: because it is a system that is contrary to human nature and human needs.

What Muslims can do

Muslims will have to accept the fact that only they can save Islam, and they can only save it by making key reforms: Sharia is the codification of theocratic law and the Caliphate is the worldly manifestation of Islam. Both Sharia and the Caliphate are the main road blocks on the way of Islam becoming a 'normal religion'. Jihad must be rejected as a legitimate means to consolidate or expand the faith. Basic human rights must be respected*: the individual rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. The worldly power of the law and of politics must be separated from the sacred powers of the ethos and morality. And as a personal challenge to Muslims: every individual has the right to his or her own life. A process of individualization must be set in process. Personal faith must be subordinated to the philosophy of Liberty, because only Liberty ensures individual rights irrespective of race, faith or sexual orientation.

*Some rights have been detailed in The St. Petersburg Declaration signed by a number of leading apostates (Source) H/t @SamVanRooy1

Read also:
Only Muslims Can Save Islam from Itself (Source)
Islam At the Crossroads: War or Peace? (Source)

What the West can do

Due to their collectivism, the intuition of the postmodern Right in Europe, is tending towards Ethnic Nationalism. This path is also pursued by Vladimir Putin's Russia. Ethnicity is a nice word for racism. As such it is not a moral solution. The founding fathers of the US were wiser and opted to build the nation, not on ethnicity but on a common idea: Liberty. This is the path we all must embrace. Muslims and non Muslims alike must self-identity as citizens of the State of Liberty first, as Muslims, Christians, atheists, humanists, etc., second.

Second nationalities, as some Muslim states require - such as Morocco and Turkey - so as to keep a hold over their nationals, are out of the question. Bilateral treaties will have to be amended accordingly.

The welfare state is no longer financially sustainable and is statist in nature. Phasing out of the mixed economy means that a policy of open immigration becomes possible. This will however not apply to unreformed Islamic countries. But on an individual basis some temporary work permits may be possible.

Subjective laws, that favor certain groups over other groups, will have to be phased out. Individuals have rights, not groups. The mountain of special privileges and subsidies will have to go. Muslim women do not have more or other rights than other women. The same goes for education and schools.

Relations with state sponsors of terrorism will be suspended until such time that these states denounce Jihadism and are willing and able to reform Islam as the state religion. The West is currently allied with Sunni Islam against Shi'ism. Both are equally problematic when it comes to basic rights. Energy independence is a matter of the utmost urgency. Alternative sources of energy must be pursued, including fracking and nuclear power.

Read also:  Chart: Good and Bad Counter Jihadism (Source)


Conclusion

The current trajectory is leading the free world inevitably into untold disaster. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, Islam has declared us the enemy and is at war with us. It has been since its inception. According to historians the present is the Third (or even the Fourth) Jihad.
The West is deluding itself when pursuing false doctrines and the use of incorrect conceptual frame works. Demoralization looks like a psychological problem, but it is mentally induced by moral cowardice (source). Somehow our leaders will have to bring themselves to face reality. 
Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants has a standing army of some 30,000 Jihadists in the field in Iraq and Syia. But according to a senior Iraqi Kurdish leader, it is actually closer to 200,000 fighters, over six times larger than previous CIA estimate. (Source) A special war will take years. If IS keeps growing there may be no other option than all out war that in the end will bring Islam to the brink of extinction.
But IS is just one world manifestation of the wider problem, that is the ideology of Islam. Only Muslims can save Islam from itself: reform from within and the rejection of violence will become a matter of self-preservation. A number of divisions of powers will have to be implemented, chief of which is the separation of mosque and state.
The West will suspend special privileges based on ethnicity and religion and will revert to the principle of individual rights. Western countries will reject ethnic Nationalism and embrace the philosophy of Liberty that subordinates every other group identity. The suspension of the welfare state will enable open immigration policy, with special provisions for nationals of Islamic countries.
The world is in serious trouble. This is a problem that can't be solved by the mindset that got us here. That means that a revolution in our thinking has become imperative. This is going to cost a lot of effort and a willingness to jettison what we now accept as true and moral. Reality will have to be faced and it will take courage to embrace and implement the premises that are necessary to save our values from an unprecedented existential threat.


References: articles by John R. Schindler