A Raw Salafist Power Play
We can – and certainly should – make it clear to the likes of Mohamed Morsi that we can make his job and his life a lot more difficult than the Salafists can.
It should be clear to almost everyone by now that the rampaging mob violence against American embassies and consulates in the Middle East and North Africa last week was not primarily motivated by a video uploaded to YouTube. Something offensive to Muslims (along with something offensive to just about everyone else in the world) is posted on the Internet several times every second, yet massive international uprisings against this thing or that thing break out only periodically.
Rather than a spontaneous outburst, what we saw last week was a raw play for political power by radical Salafists. We have seen things like this before, most notoriously in Tehran after the Iranian revolution.
On November 4, 1979, 52 American diplomats were taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Iran by young supporters of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who belonged to the so-called Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line. Iran was not yet a theocracy. Khomeini had not consolidated power after the overthrow of the Shah's government; his Islamist faction still had to battle it out for control with Iran's liberals and leftists.
Khomeinei may not have orchestrated the takeover personally, but it was not long before he threw his full support behind it: he realized how popular the hostage-takers were -- Iranian anti-Americanism was at its apogee then -- while his proposal for a theocratic constitution was meeting stiff resistance from his internal enemies. By rallying the country around the cause of anti-Americanism he was able seriously to blunt criticism of the domestic agenda. All he had to do was tar his opponents as secretly pro-American. The deflection worked brilliantly.
The Salafists have just pulled a similar stunt in Egypt. They are more extreme and therefore less popular than the Muslim Brotherhood government. By ginning up an anti-American mob and forcing President Mohamed Morsi, himself a Brotherhood member, to send riot police after the demonstrators to protect the American Embassy, they were able to make him look like a tool of the West. When push came to shove, Morsi ended up siccing the cops on his fellow Egyptians to protect the interests of the hated "imperialists."
Walter Russell Mead bluntly put it this way: "Moderates who speak against violence or try to cool matters look like American puppets; this is the kind of issue the radicals love, and we can expect them to milk it for all it is worth."
Morsi did not condemn the attack on our embassy in Cairo—or attacks against us anywhere else—for two days. Nor did his police officers initially do a thing to stop belligerent rioters who tore down the American flag and replace with an Al Qaeda banner. Such things would have appeared "pro-American." Not until President Barack Obama supposedly yelled at him on the phone did Morsi do his job and order the authorities to do theirs.
Salafist preachers ginned up a similar mob in Tunisia, although this time the police responded at once and struggled to keep rioters out of the embassy. President Moncef Marzouki even sent hundreds of his own presidential guards to the embassy; unfortunately the walls were nevertheless breached by militants with Al Qaeda flags.
Salafist gangs have been running amok in Tunisia now for a year, and the police are already accustomed to battling it out with them in the streets. Unlike in Egypt where Salafists won 25 percent of the parliamentary vote, a huge majority of Tunisians finds this extremist faction repulsive, even terrifying. We shall have to wait to find out if attacking an American target instead of a local one has boosted the Salafists' popularity.
The terrorist attack against the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, however, clearly backfired -- spectacularly. Protests broke out all over the country -- not against America or the anti-Mohammad video, but against terrorism. The Libyan government purged its security chiefs in Benghazi and has already arrested dozens of suspects.
Cairo is the place where the Salafist onslaught against us was hatched, and it is the place where it was carried out most effectively. As it is likely to happen again, the United States will have to do something about it. Members of Congress are publicly questioning whether the Egyptian government deserves any more aid. This question is an excellent start. There is nothing we can do to stop radical Islamists from framing the United States when they need a wedge issue, but we can -- and certainly should -- make it clear to the likes of Mohamed Morsi that we can make his job and his life a lot more difficult than the Salafists can.
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|The usual suspects [10 words]||Nikon||Sep 21, 2012 04:15|
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by Louis René Beres
Jihadi violence serves not only to advance the terrorist's delusion of immortality, but also to add, however perversely, an apparent and desperately needed erotic satisfaction, using religion as the justification.
Persuasive promises of immortality -- the desperate hope to live forever -- underlie virtually all major religions.
Washington and Jerusalem should finally address what needs to be done in addition to military remediation -- reinforcing efforts to convince these terrorists that their expected martyrdom is ultimately just an elaborate fiction.
by Gill Gillespie and Shabnam Assadollahi
The aim of the current Iranian regime is clearly to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and to retain as much territory in Iraq as possible under Shia Islamist rule, whatever the human cost. Those aims are also the reason Iran's regime is now trying to intervene in Iraq.
Iran will doubtless be demanding that any cooperation with the West be compensated for by "concessions" permitting its nuclear weapons program.
Involving Iran in Iraq at this point will merely alienate any Sunni allies whose assistance is much needed to defeat IS.
Many people inside Iran have alerted the U.S. Administration for over two years about other industrial facilities being secretly built in Iran and not declared to the International Atomic Energy. So far, all intelligence from within Iran has been wilfully ignored by the Obama Administration.
by Burak Bekdil
The Turkish government "frankly worked" with the al-Nusrah Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, along with other terrorist groups.
The Financial Task Force, an international body setting the standards for combating terrorist financing, ruled that Turkey should remain in its "gray list."
While NATO wishes to reinforce its outreach to democracies such as Australia and Japan, Turkey is trying to forge wider partnerships with the Arab world, Russia, China, Central Asia, China, Africa and -- and with a bunch of terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Nusrah Front.
Being NATO's only Muslim member was fine. Being NATO's only Islamist member ideologically attached to the Muslim Brotherhood is quite another thing.
by Samuel Westrop
British politicians seem to be trapped in an endless debate over how to curb both violent and non-violent extremism within the Muslim community.
A truly useful measure might be to end the provision of state funding and legitimacy to terror-linked extremist charities.
by Soeren Kern
"My son and I love life with the beheaders." — British jihadist Sally Jones.
Mujahidah Bint Usama published pictures of herself on Twitter holding a severed head while wearing a white doctor's jacket; alongside it, the message: "Dream job, a terrorist doc."
British female jihadists are now in charge of guarding as many as 3,000 non-Muslim Iraqi women and girls held captive as sex slaves.
"The British women are some of the most zealous in imposing the IS laws in the region. I believe that's why at least four of them have been chosen to join the women police force." — British terrorism analyst Melanie Smith.