Thursday, December 10, 2015

Seven inconvenient truths about ISIS, terrorism

Guest Editorial (first published on Des Moines Register)

American Muslims now live with three interconnected and devastating burdens: disastrous civil wars that are turning Syrians and Iraqis into unwanted refugees, acts of terrorism by fanatical groups that are distorting their faith, and racist attitudes and acts inspired by politicians claiming to represent the citizens of the United States. None of these issues are of American Muslims’ own making. Yet they are called upon to clear their religion of perversions, argue the virtues of admitting refugees, and fight new expressions of persistent racism in America. The real perpetrators of these burdens continue to profit from their trade in the sweat and blood of the vulnerable, and the real causes continue unabated.

Undoubtedly the couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, were inspired by ISIL. There is also no doubt that the order to commit such murders came from ISIL, although law enforcement officials claim that they have no evidence that “ISIS directed or ordered the attack.” The distinction between attacks inspired by ISIL and the ones ordered by ISIL reveals a lack of understanding of the ideology and practices of ISIL and an incoherent response that allows this group to carry out its genocidal agenda. This willful ignorance is present among federal law enforcement officials and politicians, especially those who are supposed to formulate a comprehensive strategy to neutralize and eradicate such threats. Importantly, the occurrence of these brutal attacks in many countries, with both Muslim and non-Muslim majorities, underscore the link between the crises in Syria and Iraq, the spread of terrorism, and increased hateful speech against Muslims. It is now abundantly clear that the longer the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars are allowed to continue, the graver the threat of terrorism around the world. Therefore, properly defining the nature of the terrorist threat facing the world and defeating ISIL in Syria, Libya, and Iraq will protect American citizens — all of them — at home and abroad, and will end the cycle of violence that is killing and displacing people from their homes and countries.

Defeating ISIL and its current and future derivative requires a comprehensive principled strategy that is built on facts, not on imagination or political spin. Through such a strategy the administration should be able to protect American citizens — including American Muslims — effectively counter ISIL’s propaganda, and stop the violent civil wars that create the kind of environment where ISIL thrives. Fearing being perceived as sympathizers to authoritarian regimes, most experts and media outlets avoid reminding the public and our political leaders of the facts and the hard truths that must guide U.S. foreign policy and security strategy. Here are some of these facts and hard truths:

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Genealogy, Ideology, and Future of ISIL and its Derivatives

Abstract:      
Founder of Wahhabism


The organization known today simply as the “Islamic State,” or by its Arabic acronym, Daesh (English, ISIL), has historical and ideological roots that go beyond the territories it now controls. These deep roots give Daesh confidence that it will succeed in dominating the world, but give others reasons to believe that it will fail in controlling even a single nation. Mixing puritan religious and political discourses, ISIL managed to dominate all other armed opposition groups in conflict zones (Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya) and has inspired individuals in many other countries (Egypt, Pakistan, France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia) to carry out brutal attacks in its name.

Essays of the Week