From the New York Post :
No one should feel safe without submitting to Islam, and those who refuse to submit must pay a high price. The Islam ist movement must aim to turn the world into a series of "wildernesses" where only those under jihadi rule enjoy security.Ok, so how do we counter this kind of thing? How have we countered it historically?
These are some of the ideas developed by al Qaeda's chief theoretician, Sheik Abu-Bakar Naji, in his new book "Governance in the Wilderness" (Edarat al-Wahsh).
Since 9/11, Islamist terror movements have been debating grand strategy. Osama bin Laden had theorized that the "infidel," led by the United States, would crumble after a series of spectacular attacks, just as the Meccan "infidel" government did when the Prophet Muhammad launched deadly raids against its trade routes. Yet the 9/11 attacks didn't lead to an "infidel" retreat. On the contrary, the "Great Satan" hit back hard.
The jihadis are to begin by giving areas where Muslims live a distinctly Islamic appearance, by imposing special styles of dress for women and beards for men. Then they start imposing the shariah. In the final phase, they create a parallel system of taxation and law enforcement, effectively taking the areas out of government control.
The "wilderness" will provide the cover for bases for jihad operations. Jihad would be everywhere, rather than in just one or two countries that the "infidel" could hit with superior firepower.
In a notable departure from past al Qaeda strategy, Naji recommends "countless small operations" that render daily life unbearable, rather than a few spectacular attacks such as 9/11: The "infidel," leaving his home every morning, should be unsure whether he'll return in the evening.
Naji recommends kidnappings, the holding of hostages, the use of women and children as human shields, exhibition killings to terrorize the enemy, suicide bombings and countless gestures that make normal life impossible for the "infidel" and Muslim collaborators.
Once parallel societies are established throughout the world, they would exert pressure on non-Muslims to submit. Naji believes that, subjected to constant intimidation and fear of death, most non-Muslims (especially in the West) would submit: "The West has no stomach for a long fight."
Naji asks jihadis to target oilfields, sea and airports, tourist facilities and especially banking and financial services. He envisages "a very long war," at the end of which the whole world is brought under the banner of Islam.
Naji's message is stark: Western civilization is doomed. Its last bastion, America, lacks the will for a long war. The "infidel" loves life and treats it as an endless feast. Jihadis have to ruin that feast and persuade the "infidel" to abandon this world in exchange for greater rewards in the next.
You see it's nothing new. During the Cold War, such tactics were used to a greater or lesser extent by groups as disparate as the "Rot Armee Fraktion" in Germany, the "Brigatte Rosse" in Italy, the "Sonoro Luminoso" in Peru, the Nihon Sekigun in Japan, and even the various IRA's, "provisional", "real", "Arm Saoirse Náisiúnta na hÉireann" and so on.
It's not much of a stretch to include the Barbary Corsairs, and even the Vikings in one sense: although these were commercial ventures for loot rather than in support of an ideology, terror for plunder, no terror for its own sake, defence against such attacks was equally difficult.
The problem with this philosophy of warfare is that it doesn't work - it contains within it the seeds of its own destruction. As long as the attacks are relative pinpricks, a bloody nuisance (emphasis on the "bloody"), they do not threaten the survival of the state. They threaten civil liberties, requiring greater and greater restrictions on public life to keep them to a manageable level, but as long as the casualty list is an order of magnitude less than the annual road-toll, the brutal facts are that they can and will be largely ignored.
Should they escalate to an unacceptable level though, the reaction is not going to be to capitulate. First will come a greater and greater imposition on the public, more and more restrictions, until finally, when the choice is to become Medievally Islamic or just plain Medieval, the basic barbarianism that was covered by the relatively thin veneer of Western Civilisation will emerge.
All one has to do is study the Thirty Years War to see just what ruthlessness "westerners" are capable of. It is within living memory that Admiral Halsey spoke the words
Before we're through with 'em, the Japanese language will only be spoken in hell.And what is more, and what is often forgotten in these more politically correct and civilised times, he meant them, and a lot of Americans agreed with him.
There is a fundamental (not to say Fundamentalist) misunderstanding of the Western Psyche at work here. The Nazis made the same mistake, labelling the "Decadent West" as being too soft to survive the ruthless dog-eat-dog of Fanatical National Socialism. But it wasn't long before the "Decadent West" had been reduced to incinerating schoolgirls in the firestorms of Rostock, Dresden, the great metropolis of Hamburg, and numerous smaller pyres of the innocent and the guilty, mixed together because it was impossible with the weapons of the time to sort them out.
You see, it's not because "we" are saints, incapable of great evil, that we do our damnedest to reduce civilian casualties to a minimum. It's not because we're hedonists either, interested only in the comforts of civilisation. It's because we know that we're capable of enormities beyond their imagination. We hold ourselves in check, continue to take our meds, lest the Berserker Crusader be unleashed.
We rode out the Cold War, which lasted at least 40 years, and could even be said to have lasted since the Paris Commune. Civilian populations in London, in Leningrad, and in Lubeck too endured far worse than mere pinpricks, and their resistance grew stronger with adversity, not weaker.
So what do we do? We endure. Because the alternative is to cry "Havoc!" and let loose the dogs of war. And in the meantime, covert and shadowy units arrange "accidents", and we encourage through appeals to man's baser instincts the treachery that is often such "urban guerillas" downfall. Look carefully on page 23 of the paper, and you'll see the traces of that continuing struggle in pithy one-liners.
How long for? Well, maybe if the Sheikh had read of this little contretemps he might have come to a different conclusion about the ability of Western Civilisation to endure lengthy periods of hostilities. Should it go much longer though, I'm afraid that the evils of "ethnic cleansing" may be deemed "acceptable". And the majority of Muslims who just want to be left in peace will find themselves in a parlous situation, with fanatics on all sides. What is more, as technology advances over the next century, it could be that becoming a Jihadi will result in more-or-less instant termination, be it by airborne laser, or miniature assassin-robots, no bigger than moths. Their target discrimination capabilities won't be perfect, and may not even be very good, but that may not matter too much by then.
Or if things get too extreme... It was Tacitus nearly 2000 years ago who said
ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.Which for the Latin-challenged, is "where they make a desert, they call it peace.".