The objectives of Da’wah are to come back to the religion by keeping all the Sharī’ah’s commandments; to be a good and devoted Muslim; to establish unity among all the Muslims; and to exalt the word of Allah on earth with the purpose to establish the good and legitimate society, the Ummah.
As about the infidels, the objectives is to promote the Islamic Sharī’ah among them and to encourage them to join the ranks of Islam as Allah’s chosen religion. This means, to guide all the peoples of the world to Islam, being the only legitimate religion deserves of worshiping. This requires the use of wisdom in persuading the infidels of the supremacy righteousness of Islam as compare to other religions. This is the Da’wah of the word, and assist it then comes the financial Da’wah, to support the converts so that Islam can prevail.
This is Jihād al-Da’wah, the spreading of Islam among the infidels by peaceful propagating means, such as argumentations and reasonable examples:
Call them in the way of Allah, with wisdom and words of good advice; and reason with them in the best way possible. Allah surely knows who strays from his path and He knows those who are guided in the right way (Sûrat al-Nahl, 16:125).
He who finds the right path does so for himself; and he who goes astray does so to his own loss…we never punish till we send a messenger [to preach] (Sûrat Banī Isrā’īl, 17:15).
The question is, were the Islamic territorial expansion historically, and the conversion to Islam religiously, an intended strategic plan, or a result of historical circumstances? The Muslim exegetes do believe that Allah commanded Muhammad to start making the Da’wah, to preach to Islam, and to use Jihad war to subdue the entire world under Islamic rule, from the first day he was entrusted with the mission of Islam. From this point of view, Islam is a missionary religion from its very inception, yet, we suggest that this was a gradual process, which developed hand by hand with the Islamic political success. In the battleground, all Islamic exegetes agree that when the Muslims meet infidels, they should not fight them until they have been asked to convert to Islam or to come under Islamic rule. Jihad war to eliminate the infidels comes only later on. This means that Jihad can be conducted only after the missionary activity of Da’wah has failed. Indeed, in Islam, al-Da’wah Qablal-Qitāl (invitation to Islam before death in war). It is based on the commandment: “We never punish till we have sent a messenger” (Sûrat Banī Isrā’īl, 17:15) and by the Ahādīth:
Muhammad said: When you meet your enemies among the infidels, offer them three choices, whichever of these they agree to, accept it from them: call them to Islam. If they accept, make peace with them; if they refuse, demand they pay the Jizyah. If they agree, accept it from them; if they still refuse… fight and slay them for the sake of Allah.
Umar sent the Muslims to the great countries to fight the pagans. Every place they came, the Muslim declared: “our Prophet has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or give Jizyah; and our Prophet has informed us that whoever amongst us is killed, he is a Shahīd and shall go to Paradise to lead a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever amongst us remain alive, becomes your master.
Muslim theologians and the four Islamic schools of jurisprudence have pointed out that Islam was spread by proof and evidence, in the case of those who responded positively to the message, and by strength and sword, in the case of those who stubbornly resisted it, until they had no choice. It is best elaborated by Tirmidhi:
And there is no group of people on earth in which you cannot bring to me from them Muslims. And the best I like that you bring their wives and sons and kill their men.
Da’wah can work as an active, dynamic and missionary force, and the Muslims have to invite, to call, to reason with, and to exhort all those who are not Muslims with the objective of submitting to Allah’s will. At the same time Muslims must let the infidels know about their perfect religion and its mission to mankind. They have to deliver the message of Islam in its totality to other peoples who are not acquainted with it, and to aid them to embrace Islam. This is facilitated by contacting individuals and families with information; lecturing about the values of Islam as the perfect way of life.
From the Free World vantage point, the most important aspect of Da’wah is concerned with education. He, who wishes to stop fanaticism and radicalism in contemporary Islamic activity, must spend his energies to totally eradicate the deep-rooted connection between religion and education, the extreme incitement and hatred to the other. Muslim propagators work mainly in schools, colleges and universities, and it includes publishing material about Islam; using of the communication media to deliver the message of Islam; and de-legitimizing all other religions, cultures, political systems and way of life.
Domestically, the means to achieve these purposes within the Islamic community is by the establishment of Muslim religious and educational institutions, mainly the mosque (Masjid) and the school (Madrasah). It is carried out by eloquent scholars and Imāms, through sophisticated propaganda, and it presented as the cure to all modern ills: the destruction of family values, the high crime rates, alcoholism and the drug problem.
The Da’wah activity includes gentle preaching with reasonable argumentations and ideas to attract the infidels. The Islamic facts should be taught in such an elegant and beautiful language, as to bring in those with the capacity to accept Islam. The preachers must understand that the call to Islam should be clear, eloquent, self-evident and effective. They should present arguments in many ways and be replete with emotions and zeal, uniformity and unity of purpose. They should develop friendship and win the trust and confidence of those inclined towards Islam, be patient with them.
Da`wah should be pursued at all various societal and educational levels, and the communications media are considered imperative for the preaching. Special attention is given to campuses of colleges and universities where the Islamic propaganda is valued as effective and profitable. The second level of attention, after the campuses, is the Afro-Americans. The Muslim should carry the message of Islam to these groups in the ghettoes and in prisons, which are more susceptible to religious transformation. The emergence, in fact the flourishing, of mosques all-around of Western countries, together with the educational activity, the visiting of trained, sophisticated Imāms and scholars, alongside the distribution of informative literature and the proliferation of Islamic presses and publishers, all are intended to assist the spreading of the Da’wah in the West.
These twofold objectives of the Da’wah, to convert infidels to Islam and to strengthen the faith of the Muslims according to the Sharī’ah, not necessarily in this order, are illuminated by the above-mentioned activities. The interesting fact is that to the Muslim communities, the demand is for a more conservative and strict interpretation of Islam, urging them to reject all the elements of Western culture as Bid’ah (sin, unlawful). The projection is of the moral chaos and decadence of Western societies. Praying and visiting the mosques regularly, being educated in Islamic Madāris (schools), and dealing with any cultural and marital assimilation, become part of an ideological commitment to Islam as a way of life. This also means that the Muslims should organize themselves in communities, as close and segregated as possible.
Since they are considered missionaries and not immigrants, Muslim propagators are taught to master the modern languages and disciplines, and to have an absolute command of what they have to offer. By this, they can eliminate, amend, reinterpret and adapt the teaching of Islam according to the situation and the surroundings, producing and disseminating Islamic knowledge and providing daily requirements. They have a mission to the new generations of Muslims and the converted, how to follow in their footsteps and become a devoted Muslim. The Da’wah is connected to Jihad through the abandonment of personal wishes and sensual desires; promoting the unity of the Islamic community, and facilitating the absorption of Islamic values among the infidels.
From the early days of Islam, Da’wah was used extensively to denote the mission of Muhammad to the believers: to follow him and to believe in Allah’s Tawhīd. By that, the words Da’wah, Sunnah, Sharī’ah, Dīn are exchangeable and replaceable by one another. That is, Da’wah represents the real Islam in its full context, and a clear message to the world concerning Islamic intentions. One can find on many internet Islamic sites with huge passages and detailed instructions how to approach the infidels in deceit, concerning the character of Islam; proofs that Islam is the only true religion; the advantages of Islam to all mankind; how to convert to Islam; civil rights and human freedoms; Islam and terror.
From Islamic perspective, it is not only in order to convert people to Islam, but to liberate them from the dark slavery in which they live in by showing them the beauty of life in Islam. This is clearly echoed in the Muslim Brotherhood periodical, al-Da’wah, which indicates: the Da’wah is the genuine representative of the Islamic cultural and historical personality and identity, to recreate the Islamic true society, the Ummah. Da`wah is used as the chief diplomatic operation of the Muslims to deceive, disorient, and confuse the infidels about the real objectives of Islam. Moreover, it helps to redirect and twist reality. The aims of the Da’wah are very clear: to summon all the peoples of the world to accept Islam as the only true religion and to help its world spread.
Da’wah is the political use to divert public opinion from the horrors of Jihad, to whitewash Islamic terrorism: one hand butchers and demolishes, and the other condemns and misleads. So it turns that after a terrorist Jihad act is executed, Muslim organizations and NGOs rush immediately up to deny any connection to Islam and to reassure that Islam is a peaceful religion. Condemning and denying is only one aspect of Da’wah. There is the strategy aimed at subduing public opinion and by capitulating it to Islamic will. It is elaborated by Islamic practice in the US, with the aim to propagate in all fields and sources to exhibit Islam as a religion of peace and compassion.
While the operations of Jihad and Da’wah are carried out by different perpetrators and different means, they are all part and parcel of the objective to resurrect the Islamic caliphate as Allah’s kingdom on earth. This objective is compulsory on Muslims, and verifies the dictum of the Qur’an that the opponents of Islam will convert or become its supporters. Ibn Khaldun clearly articulates this division:
Because of the universalism of the Muslim mission, it becomes a religious duty to convert everybody to Islam or to bring them under Islamic rule, either by persuasion (Da’wah) or by force.
S. K. Malik elaborates this interaction between Jihad and Da’wah:
“…our main objective is the opponent’s heart or soul, and our main weapon of offence against this objective is the strength of our own souls… (These) are not only a means, but the end itself… It can be instilled only if the opponent’s faith and belief systems are destroyed.”
Muhammad as a model
For the Muslims, Muhammad is not merely a prophet, and not only a political and military leader, but an admired symbol; the representative of Allah on earth, the person with immunity to sin and error. He is the perfect embodiment of a human being on earth, and a model of the reality to come true by his deeds and sayings. It is the utmost goal of every believer to obey and to imitate him. Muhammad encouraged these trends by demanding that all the believers love him supremely and cherish him by his name. This is the reason why almost every Muslim also has “Muhammad” or “Ahmad,” or “Mahmud” or “Hamdan” as one of his names.
Narrated Anas: “The Prophet said: ‘none of you will have faith till he loves me more than his faith, his children and all mankind.’”
Narrated Abu Hurairah: “The Prophet said: ‘name yourself after me…and whoever sees me in a dream, he surely sees me, for Satan cannot impersonate me. Who intentionally ascribes something to me falsely he will surely take his place in hell fire.’”
If we understand the deep and total admiration to Muhammad, we can understand the reasons for today’s violent Muslim riots against even mere cartoons of Muhammad. It is demonstrated with the horrific slogans used by the Muslims marching all around the world: “Slay those who insult Islam”, “Butcher those who mock Islam”, “Behead those who insult Islam”, “Exterminate those who slander Islam”, “Massacre those who insult Islam”, “Europe is the cancer, Islam is the answer”, “Europe take lessons from 9/11”, “Europe you will pay. Your 9/11 is on its way”, “Freedom go to hell”, “Be prepared for the real holocaust,” and the most: “Islam will dominate the world.”
Contrary to the exegesis of most classical Islamic exegetes and the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence, the second part of the twentieth century brought a resurgence propagation and reinterpretation of the attitude to Jihad. Moulavi Ali, a Pakistani scholar and exegete, puts it very blatantly:
Almost all Muslim and European writers think that the religious war of aggression is one of the tenets of Islam, and prescribed by the Qur’an for the purpose of proselytizing. I do not find any such doctrine enjoined in the Qur’an or preached by Muhammad. His sole mission was to enlighten the Arabs to the true worship of one Allah. These have nothing to do with popular jihad and exterminating the idolaters. All the verses of the Qur’an are related only to defensive war without exception, and none of them has any reference to make warfare offensively. All fighting injunctions within the Qur’an are only in self-defense, none of them has any reference by which to make warfare offensively. There are several passages in the Qur’an which forbid taking offensive measures and enjoin only defensive war.
In a booklet “The Basics of Islam at a Glance” prepared by The Islamic Cultural Center in Tempe, Arizona, we read:
There is no historical proof that Islam was “spread by the sword”. Even non-Muslim scholars now admit that this is nothing more than a vicious myth which cannot be substantiated by historical fact. Others have claimed that Islam is a religion of love and peace and forgiveness.
An Egyptian exegete of Islam, Mahmoud Shaltut:
Muhammad revealed a book containing the principles of happiness. It commands to judge by reason, it propagates science and knowledge, it gives clear rules, it proclaims mercy, it urges to do good, it preaches peace, it gives firm principles concerning politics and society, it fights injustice and corruption. The Islamic community is commanded to do only what is good and is forbidden to do what is reprehensible and evil. The Islamic mission is clear and evident, easy and uncomplicated. This is the mission of Muhammad to humanity.
Here is the verse that Muslim Propagators falsely deceive the infidels, and most
Western leaders quote without any trace of understanding, as if Islam is tolerant, compassionate, and peace-loving: Sûrat al-Mā’idah, 5:32
“If anyone slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land -it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole.”
However, the full verse is:
“[Because of Cain killing Abel], That is why we decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever kills a human being except for murder or for spreading corruption in the land it shall be killing all humanity. And whosoever saves a life saves the entire human. Our apostle brought clear proofs to them, but even after that most of them committed excesses in the land.”
One of the last misuse of this verse as a diplomacy of deceit was the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremists, on February 18, 2015. Imam Abdisalam Adam of the Islamic Civil Society of America said that “Mosques serve as beacon of hope,” and they “provide moral compass for the Muslim community in navigating life… The peace, safety, and security of the US are of fundamental importance to the Muslim American community, and we oppose any form or shape of violent extremism that threatens peaceful coexistence… We believe in the right of all people to live in peace and security… Muslim imams have condemned and continue to denounce anyone who tries to use the religion of Islam to support terrorism.”
He has quoted verse 5:32, as to prove Islam is a religion of peace. President Obama used this passage in his Cairo Speech as do many apologists for Islam. What is actually presented by apologists is a distorted, out-of-context and misleading paraphrasing of the verse. The phrase “if any one saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole” is taken from the Jewish Mishnah, Sanhedrin, 4:5. Hence, this commandment is not incumbent upon Muslims, but on Jews. And the reference to “our messengers” is the Jewish prophets coming to the Jews with “clear proofs” which the Jews ignored, and filled the land with excess. This verse is written in past tense and does not apply to Muslims but to “the Children of Israel,” who, according to Islam itself, received the scriptures earlier.
In fact, this passage mentioned in the Qur’an is not a prohibition on Muslims to kill anyone, but explicitly not to kill fellow Muslims. Ibn Kathir explains this verse: he who kills a believing soul intentionally, Allah makes the Fire of Hell his abode. He will become angry with him, and curse him, and has prepared a tremendous punishment for him, equal to if he had killed all people. He explains the meaning of “mischief:” Do not commit acts of disobedience on the earth. Their mischief is disobeying Allah, because whoever disobeys Allah on the earth, or commands that Allah be disobeyed, he has committed mischief on the earth. This commentary also appears in Tafsīr al-Jalālayn. Moreover, Muhammad himself said the life of a non-Muslim is not sacred:
“Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: None has the right to be worshipped but Allah. And if they say so, pray our prayers, face our Qiblah and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred.'”
“Narrated Maimun ibn Siyah that he asked Anas bin Malik, ‘What makes the life and property of a person sacred?’ He replied, ‘Whoever says, none has the right to be worshipped but Allah… then he is a Muslim.'”
Furthermore, Muhammad also gave the Fatwah that a Muslim cannot be killed for killing a non-Muslim. However, most important, the problem emerges in its fullest expression in the following verse (5:33), which is tightly connected, reveals the issue clearly: The price to pay for the “mischief” (Fasād) done is death:
“The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and his prophet and perpetrate disorder in the land is to kill and hang them or have a hand on one side and a foot on the other cut off. Or banish them of the land. Such is their disgrace in the world, and in the hereafter their doom shall be dreadful, except for those who repent before you apprehend them. Allah is forgiving and merciful.”
Should Turkey and Azerbaijan Be Worried About Killed Syrian Mercenaries?
Just a few weeks ago many analysts and observers were sceptical about reports of Turkey’s transferring units of its Syrian National Army (SNA) proxies to Nagorno Karabakh, even more so because Turkish officials denied any such claims. However, as evidence of massive casualties among the Syrian mercenaries continues to mount, there is little space left for doubt: SNA fighters have become cannon fodder in the Turkish operation in support of Azerbaijan.
The first batch of bodies of those Syrians who perished in Nagorno Karabakh counted over 50 people, according to messages and videos that went viral on opposition WhatsApp and Telegram channels. Among the dead who were delivered to Syria over Hiwar Kilis border crossing and were given a hasted burial were men from Aleppo, Idlib, Homs and other regions of Syria. Many of their relatives, like families of Muhammad Shaalan from Atareb and Kinan Ferzat from Maarat al-Nuuman, were shocked to learn about their death.
Just like the majority of the Syrians who travelled to Nagorno Karabakh, Muhammad and Firzat were primarily motivated by lucrative rewards of up to 2,000 dollars promised by Turkey. “I came here to make money and have a better life back in Syria where the living conditions are miserable. I consider this a job, nothing else,” a member of Liwa Sultan Murad, one of the first SNA factions to deploy its fighters to the contested region, told Guardian.
The reason behind heavy casualties of the Syrian mercenaries is that they are thrown into action where the clashes are the most violent, including Jabrayil, Terter, Fizulin and Talysh. This move allows Azerbaijan to keep its military, who mainly provide air support including operating Turkey-made Bayraktar TB2 UAVs and coordinate artillery and missile strikes of the Armenian positions, out of direct contact with the enemy.
The estimates of the numbers of the Syrian mercenaries present in Nagorno Karabakh are wildly different. While initial reports put their number at 500 men, it is currently believed that the actual number may be in thousands. This data indicates that at least 10 percent of the fighters were killed during the very first days of the escalation – a serious alarm for the mercenaries as well as their Turkish backers.
These developments must ring a bell for Azerbaijan as well. The longer the conflict protracts, the higher the risk of casualties among the Azeri servicemen becomes, who have already suffered losses in Armenian retaliation strikes. Baku has managed to avoid discontent among the military as well as the civilian populace – not least thanks to the Syrian mercenaries crushed as cannon fodder – but this can not continue for long.
Emerging Multipolarity and its consequences
“Make America great again” a slogan that formed the nucleus of trump’s electoral campaign vividly suggests that America is no more a great country. It is, in fact, an implicit admission that U.S is gradually losing its clout in international politics and hence, its image as a sole superpower of the world has virtually tarnished. Let me rephrase this connotation; it means that the era of unipolar world is over and the world has now transitioned to a multipolarirty.
Currently, new power centers are emerging in transnational political landscape. China, Russia, India and Turkey are excessively engaged to carve a niche for them in evolving international order. Most importantly, with China and Russia’s mushrooming proximity, balance of power is now shifting from west to east. Former United States (US) Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton at her state visit to New Zealand was one of the first to observe “a shifting balance of power to a more multi-polar world as opposed to the Cold War model of a bipolar world”. This conspicuous change in multi-national political setup was also realized by Ban ki Moon, the then secretary- General of United Nations who stated at Stanford University in 2013 that we have begun to “move increasingly and irreversibly to a multi-polar world”. Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, also declared at the Russia-China Conference 2016 that “international relations have entered into a conceptually new historical stage that consists in the emergence of a multi-polar world order and reflects the strengthening of new centers of economic development and power”.
These manifestations of political spin doctors have since then revealed a general acceptance of the idea of multi-polar world as a concept that is inescapable political reality in the contemporary international dynamics. However, when it comes to the transitions and inevitability of power structures, there is a little agreement among the international states.
A much stronger resistance to forego unipolarity remains embedded in the Trump administration vision to “make America great again”. Political pundits such as Robert Kaplan continue to question, whether there is an overlap of unipolar and multi-polar world realities; where US continues to retain the supremacy in military realm of affairs and is anticipated to remain so for a considerable future time, whereby China leads in the economic realm. Additionally nations in the former Third World are acquiring status as rising powers, notably India who have over the years with smart diplomacy have acquired global outreach to shape international agenda.
Chronologically, After World War II, the U.S. became the undisputed and unchallenged global superpower. It was the only country, equipped with nuclear warheads and was one of the few countries involved in the war that came away from it relatively unscathed at home. The U.S. underwent a meager loss of approximately 400,000 soldiers and a fractional amount of civilians in the war. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, incurred a gigantic loss of around 11 million soldiers and some 7 million to 10 million civilians. While Soviet and European cities were undergoing the process of rehabilitation, American cities flourished. It seemed clear to all that the future belonged to the United States.
But it didn’t take long for the luster of unrivaled power to tarnish. The U.S. military machine relaxed as quickly as it had mobilized, and wartime unity gave way to peacetime political debates over government spending and entitlement programs. Within five years, a bipolar world emerged: The Soviets attained an atomic bomb, and the U.S. was caught flat-footed in a war on the Korean Peninsula that ended in a stalemate. Soon thereafter, the U.S. was withdrawing from Vietnam and rioting at home. In 1971, then-President Richard Nixon predicted a world that he said would soon emerge in which the U.S. was “no longer in the position of complete pre-eminence.” Within 26 years of the end of World War II, Nixon’s prediction saw the light of the day and the U.S. had to resign to its fate.
Theoretically, multipolarity refers to a distribution of power in which more than two states have nearly equal amounts of military, cultural, financial and economic influence.
If we look at the contemporary world, we find that with the rise of like China, India, Russia, Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil, global power will spread across a wider range of countries, hence, a new world order with multipolar outlook is likely to emerge .
Realistically speaking, several revisionist powers are and will shaking up their regions. For instance, Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 – annexing Crimea, over which it has fought several wars throughout history (mainly with Turkey). In turn, Turkey is asserting its sovereignty over the eastern Mediterranean to the frustration of countries like Greece, Egypt, Cyprus and Israel. Meanwhile, India has upped its aggression in its border dispute with Pakistan as Modi began a process to revoke the autonomous status of the disputed territories of Jammu and Kashmir.
Notably, after the age of city-states and nation-states, we are now entering the age of continental politics. The most powerful countries of the 21st century (the U.S., China, Russia India, Indonesia, and Brazil) are the size of continents. They have broad economic bases and their digital economies potentially have hundreds of millions of users. Internationally, their scale requires them to seek broad spheres of influence in order to protect their security.
Here the question arises what will be the impact of growing multipolarity in the world? First of all, revisionist powers will increasingly ignite tensions. The growing assertiveness of countries like Russia, Turkey and India is the new normal. As they grow more powerful, these countries will seek to revise arrangements in order to reflect the new realities of power. Because these (continental) states seek broad spheres of influence, many places are at risk of destabilization.
Second, one of the biggest risks is the growing paranoia of the hegemon (the U.S.). The current trade war has shown how destabilizing the policy of the (financial) hegemon becomes as it feels threatened by the rise of a rival. Historically, this has been the most important source of violent conflicts. Indeed, the biggest source of uncertainty in the coming years is how the U.S. will react to the rise of China.
Third, the world order will become more ambiguous. Two developments deserve our attention. First, the growing use of shadow power will make conflict more unpredictable. With digital tools, states (and non-state actors) are manipulating each other in subtle ways. For example, Russian hackers posed as Iranians to hit dozens of countries and Americans blamed Russia for tampering with American elections. Second, alliances will also become more ambiguous. With ever changing dynamics of world economy, new alliances, motivated by the concept of triangulation (to keep balance in relation with the US and China, the trade warriors) will form and such alliances, as predicted by spin doctors; will be less stable than the blocs, formed in 20th century.
To sum it up, before we reach a multipolar world order, we will see a period of growing uncertainty based on the rise of revisionist powers, the paranoia of the U.S. and growing ambiguity of conflict and cooperation. Moreover, the political pundits are divided in opinion that whether multi-polarity is unstable than unipolarity or bipolarity. Kenneth Waltz strongly was in favor of “bipolar order as stable”. On the other side, Karl Deutsch and David Singer saw multi-polarity as guaranteeing a greater degree of stability in an article published in 1964, “Multipolar Systems and International Stability”. Simon Reich and Richard Ned Lebow in “Goodbye Hegemony” (2014), question the belief whether a global system without a hegemon would be unstable and more war prone. However, whatever the system the world is likely to witness in the days to come, let’s hope that this should be in the best interest of humanity and it should make the lives of the inhabitants of this planet peaceful and prosperous.
The future of strategic intelligence
There are currently three types of intelligence transformations, namely conceptual, technological and operational.
In the first case, we are dealing with a new and original intelligence paradigm.
From a mechanism based on the identification of the need for information-research-processing and analysis-dissemination-feedback, we are shifting to what some people already call “position intelligence”.
In other words, we are coming to an information mechanism that continuously perceives data and processes it, and then spreads it permanently and continuously to those who have to use it.
While the old intelligence model was “positivist”, i.e it concerned single objective and empirical data to be included in a decision-making process that is not determined by intelligence, currently it is instead a matter of building acontinuous follow-up not of data, but of political behaviours, perceptions of reality by the enemy-opponent, as well as complex phenomena that constantly reach the intelligence matrix from different parts and areas.
While in the past intelligence was rhapsodic and temporary, à la carte of politicians, and sometimes even unsolicited and not requested, it currently becomes the stable core of political, strategic, economic and industrial decisions.
This obviously results in a new relationship between politicians and Intelligence Services.
While, in an era we have already defined as “positivist”, facts, news and the unknown novelties of the enemy-opponent counted, what currently matters is the ever more evident integration between the intelligence system and politicians.
There is obviously a danger not to be overlooked, i.e. the danger that – without even realizing it – the Intelligence Services take on responsibilities which must be typical of elective bodies only.
But certainly intelligence currently plays a much greater role than in the past.
Another key element of the conceptual transformation of intelligence is the use not only of highly advanced and powerful information technologies, but also of scientific paradigms which were unknown to us only a few years ago.
Just think about Artificial Intelligence, but also cloud computing, algorithm theory and Markov chains – and here we confine ourselves to the mathematics that sustains current IT and computing.
But there is also human ethology, an extraordinary evolution of Konrad Lorenz’s animal ethology, as well as social psychology, sociological analysis and scientific depth psychology.
A whole universe of theories that, in Kant’s words, have recently shifted from metaphysics to science.
It must certainly be used to analyse, for example, mass behaviours that seem unpredictable, as well as the psychological reactions of both the ruling classes and the crowds, and the interactions between the various group behaviours of a country.
Nothing to do with the old Habsburg Evidenzbureau, which informed the General Staff of enemy troops’ movements or of the various generals’ lovers.
We here witness a substantial union between intelligence and political decision-making or, rather, between the thought produced by intelligence and the foundations of political decision-making.
CIA has often tried to poison Fidel Castro’s beard.
Today, apart from the doubtful rationality of that operation, it would be a matter of using – for example – advertising, TV series, Hollywood movies, the sugar, tourist or tobacco market cycles, not to poison late Fidel’s beard, but to put the Cuban economy and decision-making system into structural crisis.
The typical idea of Anglo-Saxon political culture –whereby, once the “tyrant” is eliminated, everything can be fine and back in place – has been largely denied by facts.
All this obviously without being noticed, as far as the operations for disrupting a country are concerned.
Another factor of the conceptual transformation of intelligence is speed: currently the IT networks are such as to allow data collection in real time with respect to facts and hence favour wide-ranging decisions.
As far as technology is concerned, it is well known that both the AI networks, the new calculation structures, and the networks for listening and manipulating the enemy-opponent data are such as to allow operations which were previously not even imaginable.
At this juncture, however, there are two problems: everybody has all the same tools available and hence the danger of not “successfully completing” the operation is great, unlike when the Intelligence Services’ operations were based on the skills, role and dissimulation abilities of some operatives – or on confidential and restricted technologies.
The other problem is intelligence manipulation: a country that thinks to be a target can spread – in ad hoc networks – manipulated news, malware, data and information which are completely false, but plausible, and can modify the whole information system of the country under attack.
Another problem of current intelligence technologies is their distance from the “traditional” political decision-making centres.
A politician, a Minister, a Premier must know what comes out of the intelligence system. Nevertheless, it is so specialised and sectorial that the distance between technical data processing and the “natural language” of politics is likely to make data ambiguous or unclear and of little use.
Moreover, there is a purely conceptual factor to be noted: if we put together the analysis of financial cycles, of technology change, of public finance and of political and military systems, we must connect systems that operate relatively autonomously from each other.
In other words, there is no “science of the whole” that can significantly connect such different sectors.
Therefore, there is the danger of projecting the effects of one sector onto another that is only slightly influenced by it, or of believing that, possibly, if the economy goes well, also the public debt – for example -will go well.
The room for political decision-making is therefore much wider than modern intelligence analysts believe.
Political decision-making is still made up of history, political-cultural traditions and of perceptions of reality which are shaped by many years of psychological and conceptual training.
With specific reference to operativity, once again we are dealing with radical changes.
Years ago, there was the single “operative” who had to decide alone – or with very little support from the “Centre” – what to do on the spot and with whom to deal.
Today, obviously, there is still the individual operative, but he/she is connected to the “Centre” in a different way and, in any case, imagines his/her role differently.
On the level of political decision-making, intelligence is always operative, because reality is so complex and technically subtle that it no longer enables even the most experienced statesman to “follow their nose”.
The primary paradox of the issue, however, is that intelligence cannot take on political roles that imply a choice between equivalent options.
This is inevitably the sphere of politics.
Another factor of the operational transformation is the inevitable presence of intelligence operatives in finance, in the scientific world, in high-level business consulting, in advertising, communication and media.
Intelligence has therefore progressively demilitarised itself and is increasingly operating in sectors that we would have previously thought to be completely alien to Intelligence Services. Instead, they are currently the central ones.
Moreover, we are currently witnessing a particular mix of strategic intelligence, geopolitics and financial analysis.
Why finance? Because it is the most mobile and widespread economic function.
We are witnessing the birth of a new profession, namely currency geopolitics.
Hence we are also witnessing the evolution of two new types of intelligence, namely market intelligence (MARKINT) and financial intelligence (FININT).
An old and new problem is secrecy. The greater the extent to which old and new intelligence is used, the less it can keep secrecy, which is essential now as it was in the past.
What has always been the aim of strategic intelligence? To predict phenomena starting from a given context.
Contexts, however, change quickly and the interaction between sectors is such as to change the effect of forecasts.
The formalised techniques for analysis-decision making are manifold: intelligence data mining, “grid technologies”, knowledge creation and sharing, semantic analysis, key intelligence needs (KINS) and many others.
All operations which are often necessary, but currently we need to highlight two factors typical of the North American intelligence culture which, unfortunately, also negatively affects the models used by U.S. allies.
The first aspect is that, strangely enough, the same formal models are proposed for both companies and States.
A State does not have to maximize profits, while a corporation does, at least on a level playing field with its competitors.
A State is not a “competitor” of the others and ultimately a State has no specific “comparative advantage” but, on the contrary, some of its companies have, if this happens.
Therefore, the overlap between business intelligence, which is currently necessary, and States’ intelligence is a conceptual bias, typical of those who believe that a State is, as Von Mises said, “the joint stock company of those who pay taxes to it”.
For companies, it is obvious that all specific and original intelligence operations must be known to the State apparata, which may coordinate them or not, considering that they inevitably have additional data.
On the other hand, some business operations can become very useful for intelligence.
Hence a structure would be needed to put the two “lines” of operations together, and above all, a new intelligence concept is needed.
In the past, the Intelligence Services’ operations were largely defensive: to know something just before it happened, to avoid the adverse operations of a State hitting its own resources, but all with often minimal time limits.
Now we need expressly offensive intelligence which can hit the opponents’ (commercial, economic and strategic) networks before they move and in good time.
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