Terror on Three Continents: Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2015 — Jihadists have a fondness for anniversaries, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by three terror attacks, on three continents, all taking place on the eve of the Islamic State’s declaration of a caliphate last June 29.
Why Would Anyone Join ISIL?: Simon Cottee, National Post, June 24, 2015— ISIL is an abomination. Since capturing large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria last summer, it has slaughtered thousands of defenceless Iraqi soldiers and Shiite civilians. The Myth of Muslim Radicalization: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, June 24, 2015 — After some of its quarter of a million Muslims headed to join ISIS, Quebec decided the answer was a $2 million anti-radicalization center headed by a specialist in cultural sensitivity.
A Nuclear Nightmare for Lebanon: Ahmad el-Assaad, Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2015 — Ever since it entered the Syrian civil war, the Iranian-funded Lebanese-Shiite terror outfit Hezbollah has suffered tremendously and in many different ways.
America’s Friends in the Middle East are its Enemies: George Jonas, National Post, June 27, 2015
Trying to Placate All, Iran Leader Zigs and Zags on Nuclear Talks: Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times, June 27, 2015
Observing Ramadan with Murder: Washington Times, June 29, 2014
Fears of Terrorism Mount in France: Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, June 27, 2015
Does Islam Have a Role in Suicide Bombings?: A.J. Caschetta, Middle East Forum, Summer, 2015
Many Paths to Jihadist Views, Federally Funded Study Finds: Jim Bronskill., Global News, June 28, 2015
Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2015
Jihadists have a fondness for anniversaries, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by three terror attacks, on three continents, all taking place on the eve of the Islamic State’s declaration of a caliphate last June 29. That makes the prospect of follow-on strikes through Monday that much more plausible—and more difficult to stop.
ISIS took credit for only one of the three atrocities—a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait, in which at least 27 people were killed. But their near-simultaneity suggested some kind of coordination, or at least joint inspiration. Ramadan began last week, and an ISIS spokesman recently called on “mujahadeen everywhere” to make it “a month of disasters for the infidels.”
Coordinated or not, ISIS’s trademark hyper-brutality has made its mark on jihadi minds. In Tunisia a gunman posing as a tourist killed at least 37 people, many of them European vacationers, at a beach resort. In France terrorists were less successful but no less bloody-minded: A car-bombing attempt at an American-owned chemical plant near Lyon failed to cause major damage, but not before the alleged attacker, Yassine Salhi, planted the decapitated head of his boss on the plant’s gate, along with an Islamic flag.
All of this is a stark reminder that the Middle East is no Las Vegas: What happens there doesn’t stay there. Tunisians make up the largest contingent of foreign fighters in ISIS, which took credit for murdering 21 people at a Tunis museum in March. Thousands of Europeans, and an estimated 180 Americans, have gone to fight for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and Western security officials will not be able to track all of them. That increases the possibility of mass-casualty attacks by well-trained killers, as opposed to the more inept recent attempts by lone-wolf jihadists in Texas and Massachusetts.
Friday’s attacks should cause some rethinking from so-called civil libertarians in Congress and the White House, who have competed to hobble and dismantle the National Security Agency’s anti-terror surveillance capabilities. It’s especially instructive to note that Mr. Salhi had once been under surveillance by French intelligence but was dropped several years ago, likely because French resources are stretched by the number of potential suspects. A similar story played out in January, when it turned out that French authorities had stopped surveilling Said and Cheríf Kouachi nearly a year before their attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices.
The larger lesson is that defensive measures alone will never suffice to stop the next terrorist outrage; the best defense is a devastating offense. President Obama recently deployed 450 additional trainers to help the Iraqi army fight ISIS, as if Islamic State is mostly Baghdad’s problem. But ISIS is a direct threat to the West as well as to the region, and it needs to be dealt with that way. Until our mindset changes, we can expect more terror, on more continents.
National Post, June 24, 2015
ISIL is an abomination. Since capturing large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria last summer, it has slaughtered thousands of defenceless Iraqi soldiers and Shiite civilians. It has raped and enslaved hundreds of Yazidi women. It has brutalized children by forcing them to watch scenes of horrific cruelty and violence. It has presided over public crucifixions in its stronghold of Raqqa, Syria. It has coerced boys as young as 14 to carry out suicide missions. It has launched a campaign of murderous aggression against gay men. It has stolen and vandalized ancient and irreplaceable artifacts. And it has created a vast library of snuff movies that degrades not only the defenceless victims whose deaths they depict, but also the viewers who watch them.
Why on earth, then, would anyone wish to join it? This question was asked with renewed urgency last week after it emerged that three sisters from Bradford, U.K., together with their nine children, may have fled to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State or the “Caliphate,” as it also calls itself. According to Balaal Khan, a solicitor representing two of the fathers of the nine children, the women had travelled from Britain to Saudi Arabia on May 28 for an Islamic pilgrimage and were due to return on June 11. “The suspicion and main concern is that the women have taken their children to Syria,” he said. Khan added that the three sisters had a brother who had already left the U.K. for Syria.
At an emotional press conference last Tuesday, the two fathers pleaded for their wives to return. “Please come back home so we can live a normal life,” a distraught Akhtar Iqbal implored his wife Sugra Dawood. Mohammed Shoaib, also stricken with grief, issued the same plea to his own wife Khadija Dawood. “Come back to normal life, please,” he said, his face hot with tears. “I don’t know what happened,” Mr. Shoaib exclaimed. And neither do we — not yet anyway. A fuller picture is certain to emerge over the coming days and weeks. But we may never fully know why what happened happened.
One thing we can be certain of is more bafflement — unless of course it turns out that the three women were two-headed monsters raised in a cesspool on Mars. “Some newspaper stories,” the late Christopher Hitchens once wrote, “quite simply write themselves.” He was specifically referring to the journalistic tendency in news reports on serial killers and child molesters to relay the disbelief of neighbours and acquaintances, who “feel duty-bound to say that this has come as a great shock, not to say a complete surprise, and that the guy next door seemed perfectly decent — if perhaps a little inclined to ‘keep to himself’.”
This reportorial protocol is now standard in news stories on terrorists, too. The neighbours of Shehzad Tanweer, one of the 7/7 suicide bombers, said he was “nice lad” who could “get on with anyone.” A schoolteacher who had taught Mohammad Emwazi (a.k.a Jihadi John), said he was “shy” and “reserved.” According to Sahima Begum, her 15 year-old sister Shamima, one of the three east London schoolgirls who absconded to Syria in February, “was into normal teenage things” and “used to watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians, so there was nothing that indicated that she was radicalized in any way — not at home.” All of this was dutifully recorded in news reports on Tanweer, Emwazi and Begum. And when the neighbours and friends of the Dawood’s are interviewed, as they surely will be in time, you can bet their disbelief and bafflement will be dutifully recorded by the journalists who interview them.
Attention is certain to fall on the brother of the three sisters and what role (if any) he and his wider network of jihadi facilitators played in the women’s radicalization and eventual journey out to Syria. But this is unlikely to dispel the bafflement, since the women so profoundly disturb our assumptions or stereotypes about who becomes radicalized into joining a violent jihadi movement. They were not loners or radical losers; they were not — one imagines — sexual malcontents; they were not widows avenging the deaths of their martyred husbands; they were not — one presumes — violence in search of a cause. They are, in fact, mothers and wives, and they are relatively mature: 30 (Khadija), 33 (Zohra) and 34 (Sugra). They are also loved, by their children — and it would seem, in the case of Khadija and Sugra, their husbands.
Why these particular women decided to migrate to the Islamic State at this particular moment may forever remain a mystery. It is estimated that over 500 British men have joined ISIL over the last two years. In most cases, their female siblings have not followed them. What, then, is special about the Dawood sisters, and what makes them different from the scores of others sisters who have remained in the U.K.? We may never be able to fully explain it.
Our bafflement is partly the bafflement of the outsider and moral judge. We see ISIL as a horror show and consequently can’t imagine why anyone would decide, of their own free will, to join it. We assume that something terrible must have befallen those who do so, that some awful wound is behind it, “pushing” or “driving” them to do something so palpably crazy. But this is almost certainly a mistake, since, for those who join, ISIL is assuredly not a horror show. It is a glorious, exciting and divinely ordained project, for which they feel obligated to fight, in whatever capacity, and ultimately sacrifice their lives. That, from their perspective, is reason enough. And, more often than not, there is no obvious wound in the lives of the Western international jihadi jet-set; there is — or was — just ordinary banal life: the Kardashians, football, fish and chips and cricket.
In a report on the Western female migrants to the Islamic State published last month by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, in collaboration with International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, Erin Saltman and Melanie Smith noted that, given the striking “diversity within the profiles of women becoming radicalised and migrating to ISIS territory,” it is impossible “to create a broad profile of females at risk of radicalisation.” Saltman and Smith also postulated that among the various motives of the Western female migrants, preeminent was the desire to redeem their lives and secure their place in heaven by dedicating their lives to God’s “Caliphate.” This edges us closer to some understanding, but it still only scratches at the surface of why someone should take such a momentous and life-changing decision…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Breaking Israel News, June 24, 2015
After some of its quarter of a million Muslims headed to join ISIS, Quebec decided the answer was a $2 million anti-radicalization center headed by a specialist in cultural sensitivity. But if you’re about to be beheaded by a masked ISIS Jihadist, a specialist in cultural sensitivity isn’t going to help you much. Western governments nevertheless keep rolling out their culturally sensitive approaches to fighting ISIS.
The key element in Obama’s strategy for fighting ISIS isn’t the F-15E Strike Eagle, it’s a Twitter account run by a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer which claims to “Counter Violent Extremism” by presenting moderate Islamists like Al Qaeda as positive role models for the Islamic State’s social media supporters. So far 75% of planes flown on combat missions against ISIS return without engaging the enemy, but the culturally sensitive State Department Twitter account has racked up over 5,000 tweets and zero kills.
Cultural sensitivity hasn’t exactly set Iraq on fire in fighting ISIS and deradicalization programs here start from the false premise that there is a wide gap between a moderate and extremist Islam. Smiling news anchors daily recite new stories about a teenager from Kentucky, Boston or Manchester getting “radicalized” and joining ISIS to the bafflement of his parents, mosque and community. And who is to blame for all this mysterious radicalization? It’s not the parents. It certainly can’t be the moderate local mosque with its stock of Jihadist CDs and DVDs being dispensed from under the table.
The attorney for the family of Usaama Rahim, the Muslim terrorist who plotted to behead Pamela Geller, claims that his radicalization came as a “complete shock” to them. It must have come as a truly great shock to his brother Imam Ibrahim Rahim who claimed that his brother was shot in the back and that the Garland cartoon attack had been staged by the government. It must have come as an even bigger shock to Imam Abdullah Faaruuq, the Imam linked to Usaama Rahim and his fellow terrorist conspirators, as well as the Tsarnaev brothers, who had urged Muslims to “grab onto the gun and the sword.” The culturally insensitive truth about Islamic ‘radicalization’ is that it is incremental.
There is no peaceful Islam. Instead of two sharply divided groups, peaceful Islam and extremist Islam, there is a spectrum of acceptable terrorism. Muslim institutions have different places on that spectrum depending on their allegiances and tactics, but the process of radicalization is rarely a sharp break from the past for any except converts to Islam. The latest tragic victim of radicalization is Munther Omar Saleh; a Muslim man living in New York City who allegedly plotted to use a Tsarnaev-style pressure cooker bomb in a major landmark such as the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. Saleh claimed to be following orders from ISIS. Media coverage of the Saleh arrest drags out the old clichés about how unexpected this sudden radicalization was, but what appears to be his father’s social media account shows support for Hamas.
Likewise one of Usaama Rahim’s fellow mosque attendees said that Rahim and another conspirator had initially followed the “teachings of the Muslim Brotherhood” but that he had been forced to cut ties with them when they moved past the Brotherhood and became “extreme”. Despite the media’s insistence on describing the Muslim Brotherhood as a moderate organization, it has multiple terrorist arms, including Hamas, and its views on non-Muslims run the gamut from the violent to the genocidal.
A year after Obama’s Cairo speech and his outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood, its Supreme Guide announced that the United States will soon be destroyed, urged violent terrorist attacks against the United States and “raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.” Despite this, Obama continued backing the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power across the region. There are distinctions between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, but the latter is a splinter group of the former. Al Qaeda’s current leader came out of the Muslim Brotherhood. A move from one to the other is a minor transition between two groups that have far more in common than their differences.
And since the Brotherhood controls much of the Islamic infrastructure in the United States, the idea that Munther Omar Saleh or Usaama Rahim became radicalized because they went from a Jihadist group that takes the long view in the struggle against the infidel, putting political structures into place to make a violent struggle tactically feasible, to a Jihadist group that focuses more on short term violence, is silly.
Radicalization isn’t transformational; it’s incremental. It’s the Pakistani kid down the block deciding that instead of joining the Muslim Students Association and then CAIR to build Islamist political structures in America, he should just cut to the chase and kill a few cops to begin taking over America now. Radicalization is the moderate Imam who stops putting on an act for PBS and the local politicians and moves to Yemen where he openly recruits terrorists to attack America instead of doing it covertly at his mosque in Virginia.
Radicalization is the teenage Muslim girl who forgets about marrying her Egyptian third cousin and bringing him and his fifty relatives to America and goes to join ISIS as a Caliphate brood mare instead. It’s not pacifism giving way to violence. Instead it’s an impatient shift from tactical actions meant to eventually make Islam supreme in America over many generations to immediate bloody gratification. ISIS is promising the apocalypse now. No more waiting. No more lying. You can have it tomorrow.
Radicalization does not go from zero to sixty. It speeds up from sixty to seventy-five. It builds on elements that are already there in the mosque and the household. The term “extremism” implicitly admits that what we are talking about is not a complete transformation, but the logical extension of existing Islamic beliefs. Omar Saleh seemed cheerful enough about Hamas dropping Kassam rockets on Israeli towns and cities. Would he have supported his son setting off a bomb in the Statue of Liberty? Who knows, but his son was already starting from a family position that Muslim terrorism against non-Muslims was acceptable. Everything else is the fine print….
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2015
Ever since it entered the Syrian civil war, the Iranian-funded Lebanese-Shiite terror outfit Hezbollah has suffered tremendously and in many different ways. Over the past two years, more than 1,000 Hezbollah fighters have died in that war, and the Lebanese people’s resentment toward the group has increased. Lebanese Shiites who don’t belong to Hezbollah have also been targeted for scorn by the rest of the country, even though many of us oppose its vicious ways.
Long gone are the days when a large portion of the Lebanese population believed that Hezbollah is there to protect them and Lebanon. The mask has fallen off. Most Lebanese now see Hezbollah for what it is: a militia that works for the Iranian regime and must therefore obey Tehran’s orders. And to quiet the disenchanted voices, to make them dare not speak out, especially in the Shiite areas, Hezbollah has become more oppressive than ever.
The war in Syria has been a big financial burden on Hezbollah as well. The cash coming from Tehran is not what it used to be. In many Shiite neighborhoods, Hezbollah is asking people for donations. This has weakened the image of Hezbollah, as people see that its coffers are no longer filled as they once were. Most young men join Hezbollah not because they believe in its talk about “resistance,” but simply because it’s the only option for the poor, unemployed and uneducated Shiites to earn a few hundred dollars a month.
The source of Hezbollah’s financial troubles is obvious: The Iranian regime has spent exorbitant sums trying to support and sustain the Assad regime in Damascus. With a population of approximately 80 million, Iran’s gross domestic product is only $369 billion. The United Arab Emirates, by comparison, with a population of nine million, has a GDP of $402 billion.
Yet despite its penurious position, Iran continues to ignore its domestic and social problems. Instead, just like the old Soviet Union, it is stretching its influence throughout the Middle East as if it were an economic powerhouse, not an economic disaster. Furthermore, Tehran views Hezbollah’s results over the past 33 years as such a success that it is now franchising it. From Hamas in the Palestinian territories to the Sadrists in Iraq to the Houthis in Yemen, these proxy terrorist organizations are an exact replica of Hezbollah.
Now the Obama administration is negotiating a flawed nuclear deal with the Iranian regime that will see Tehran get a windfall of up to $150 billion. With so much cash on hand, Tehran would surely create new Hezbollah franchises elsewhere in the Middle East and order all these radical proxy groups to wage even more wars in the region. At the very least, Tehran would be eager to give a good boost to its pride and joy—Hezbollah—and help it buy its way out of the problems it is facing in Lebanon now.
I recently met in Washington D.C. with senators, members of Congress and think-tank analysts. When I shared my worries with those close to the Obama administration, the response was, “Let’s get a deal now on the nuclear issue and then we’ll work out a plan on how to stand up to this Iranian invasion of the Middle East.” When I pressed them further on the matter, I got no answers. What kind of plan are we talking about? Who would implement such a plan and confront the various Iranian proxy groups? Would the U.S. be willing to put American boots on the ground?
It has become clear to me that there is no plan. At best, if there will ever be a plan, it will be as successful as the one we see unfolding today against Islamic State. There is no doubt that a nuclear deal with Iran would be a nightmare for my beloved Lebanon and for all the other countries in the Middle East that are controlled, or could be controlled, by Iranian proxy groups.
With this deal, my Lebanon won’t be able to free itself in the foreseeable future from the control of Hezbollah. It will never again be the Switzerland of the Middle East, will never prosper and thrive again like it did in the 1960s and early ’70s. To those who say that this nuclear deal is a recipe for peace, I say that this deal is an invitation for more wars in the Middle East.
America’s Friends in the Middle East are its Enemies: George Jonas, National Post, June 27, 2015 —Fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is no picnic. America’s allies in the Middle East are often nothing but couriers delivering American arms to America’s enemies.
Trying to Placate All, Iran Leader Zigs and Zags on Nuclear Talks: Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times, June 27, 2015— Persian carpets were rolled out in the Beit-e Rahbar, the downtown Tehran offices of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday, a sign that important guests were on their way.
Observing Ramadan with Murder: Washington Times, June 29, 2014—Ramadan is Islam’s period of religious reflection and observance, but this year, radical Muslims are making it a ritual of mayhem and murder.
Fears of Terrorism Mount in France: Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, June 27, 2015—Following Friday’s attempted assault on a chemical plant that officials described as a terrorist attack, France was hunkering down Saturday for what politicians and analysts warned could be a prolonged period of uncertainty and fear.
Does Islam Have a Role in Suicide Bombings?: A.J. Caschetta, Middle East Forum, Summer, 2015 —When journalists, historians, psychologists, and experts in group dynamics, organizational structures, and criminal justice write about the unique set of circumstances that lead to suicide terrorism, they share the view that Islam has little to do with it.
Many Paths to Jihadist Views, Federally Funded Study Finds: Jim Bronskill., Global News, June 28, 2015—A federally funded study of young people who embraced radical jihadism found they had little else in common, suggesting efforts to discourage extremism must be flexible and tailored to individual cases.