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The First Commandments in Combating World Jihad

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The international situation proves we are losing the war on terror, by failing to define the enemy and ignoring the battle ground. Western leader must acknowledge reality. Indeed, one of the wonders of human nature is how leaders transform information into knowledge, or perhaps better, how they disregard the hazards by ignoring, using mental agnosia, and appeasing. This politicians’ illness, the oblivion of reality, is pervasive, and “war on terrorism” has become a favorite slogan.

However, it is not only naïve, but also stupid as much as criminal to declare ‘we are at war with terrorism,” “we must fight terrorism.” We are not. We are at war with Islamic ideology, because Muslim groups and organizations has declared war against all other civilizations. Terrorism is a tactic, a means; one cannot be at war with a tactic, as if during WWII, the US went to war against the ‘Blitzkrieg’ or ‘Kamikaze.’

Those days, the free world was not afraid to clearly declare it is at war against Nazi Germany and Japan. Nowadays our leaders are afraid, terrorized, and intimidated, and that is why they even do not say ‘Islamic terrorism.’ Oddly enough they immediately reiterate that Islam is a peaceful and compassionate religion, and even that al-Qaeda and the Islamic Caliphate State are not Islamic. However, Islamic ideology is the only reason, the incentive, the motivation, and the only cause of the free world’s severe hazardous situation.

It is ridiculous to define the enemy as ‘al-Qaeda’ or ‘Islamic Caliphate State’ or ‘Taliban’ or ‘Hamas’ or ‘Hezbollah’ – and at the same time to “set free” the motivational force, the political drive of Islamic ideology to occupy the world. It is illogical let alone futile, not to courageously define the enemy, the rival you fight against. In World War II the Free World fought Nazi Germany and Japan on the international level. The aim was not the 16th German Armor Division or the 45th Japanese Regiment. Our leaders should loud and clear declare that we are fighting against Islamic ideology, Islamic ambitions to occupy the world. Our leaders must clearly assert that we are fighting against the ideology of Islam manifested in a tactical level as terrorism, Jihad, which knows no country and recognizes no borders. Our leaders must clearly establish that we are fighting against a world political movement, an imperialist colonialist political religion that seeks to submit and subdue us all and bring us to their 7th century desert.

In his Art of War, Sun Tzu remarks, “He who knows neither self nor enemy will fail in every battle.” This is exactly the contemporary Western world situation. It exhibits a catastrophic failure because it knows neither self nor enemy and stands as helpless as a kitten against the onslaught of Islam’s aggressive, political, ideological and territorial offensive. Where is the problem? It is exactly our leaders, our media, and academia. One can never awaken a man who is pretending to be asleep. One can never arouse a man who lives in utopian wishful world, and clearly denies the situation, and it is even unfortunate that one cannot bring knowledge to those who are in mental agnosia and ignorance. It is no less important to note that the conclusions we reach reflect the assumptions we make. Start with false assumptions and you reach false conclusions. Start with euphoric assumptions and you reach false peaceful conclusions.

However, data assembled from all reliable sources show that more than 70 percent of world violence and more than 90 Percent of world terrorism is connected directly to Muslims and Islamic ideology. Horrific data taken for more than twenty years also show that every minute there is at least one victim from the Muslims worldwide, most of them are Muslims by themselves. In 2015 there were 452 homicide bombings; all of them were Islamic. This date is crystal clear: the issue at stake is the Islamic ideology, and from here stem the targets and the means.

However, do our leaders really intend to combat Islamic terrorism to eliminating it, or perhaps they intentionally evade the issues by not truly defining it correctly? It is unfortunate to realize that the most salient characteristics of our generation is the deep crisis of leadership and the lake of statesmanship. It is pervasive and cut across all over the world. An accumulation of President Bush’s declarations show that he has never added the word “Arab” to terrorism, and when he said “Islamic terrorism,” he immediately adds that Islam is a peace-loving compassionate religion. Is it only a politically correctness? A denial? An ignorance? President Obama has adopted a worse policy: it is forbidden to put together “Islamic” with “terrorism;” it is imposed to utter that Islam is a “religion of peace;” and it is coerced to declare that al-Qaeda or the Islamic Caliphate State are nor Islamic movements, in fact they are anti Islam.  

After London blasts of July 2005, British Prime Minister, and in many declarations, Tony Blair denounced “terrorism” and not “Islamic ideology. He persistently accused poverty, wretchedness and Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the causes of terrorism, while systematically said Islam is a religion of peace and the Qur’an is the book of wisdom. Almost the same ritual was reiterated by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the new elected Canadian Prime Minister, Trudeau, and even by the current Pope who declared that Islam “exemplifies shared belief of Christianity.”

The riots that erupted in France from the beginning of the 21st century, gives another example to the politics of oblivion and mental agnosia so characterizes Western leadership. Even the terrorist attacks in Paris, in 2015 and 2016, has not caused a strategic change in the operational code of the ideology and policy of France. Experts who watched closely these phenomena are amazed by the fact that also the reality of Muslims’ character and nature is distinct and obvious, there was consensus in France as much as in other states, among political leader and parties, the media and public opinion to deny the true reality that there was religious and cultural dimensions.

However, The folly of mental blindness and appeasement prevails, and hypocrisy combined with ignorance and political correctness, runs rampant: indeed, there are extreme verses as much as there are mild in the Qur’an, and this duality is found in every religion; and indeed, there are radicals among the Muslims just as in all societies, but they are just a minority, even weeds. The Muslim majority is different. However, this is the problem with all its severity, to be investigated by the following questions:

If that is the true situation – how do we know this? Are there any corroborating studies and data to substantiate this view? Or we only believe this is the reality? Even if a different peace-loving majority exists, is its voice heard? Does it have any influence in the decision-making processes and the policies adopted by the leaders? Or is it only in our mirror imaged personality? Where is public opinion voice, the political parties, the media, the leaders which prove there are other voices and policies? Or we just assume this is the situation?

How many peace movements, demonstrations and masses marching and rolling for peace and against terrorist perpetrators can be identified? Was any terrorist attack stopped or even just even denounced by the so-called majority? Or is it our own imagination alone? How many pressure and interest groups are there which actively function against Islamic fanaticism and Jihad terrorism? And if they do, to what extent do they influence? Or we just ignore reality out of politically correctness? How many NGO’s are there acting against the terrorist organizations and preventing aid from their reach? Do they even try to stop terrorism and convince it is act against humanity? Or we just want to believe that there are such? If there are moderate peace-loving political leaders, where are they? What influence do they have? Is their voice heard? What do they declare after the horrible acts of terrorism perpetuated, except of blaming the US and Israel? Or is it all our mental blindness and political denial?

Indeed, there are intellectuals and liberals, unfortunately very few, condemning the atrocious terrorist acts. However, who controls the Islamic communities and in the streets? Which voice is heard and is written in the communication Media? Who is more influential and admired by the youth; in the Madaris (school system)? In the mosques and in the media? Who are the heroes of the masses? And the biggest wonder of all, why do we always supply excuses and explanations to the horrific phenomenon we don’t understand culturally and ignorant religiously, and at the same time we do not demand from the others to apologize and act? Or we just have a death wish? Do we ignore reality out of confusion or the Stockholm syndrome is the cause, or the threatening lethal situation that frightens and horrifies us so deeply?

And if there is a silent majority, Nonie Darwish is correct by putting the blame on their silent which in fact means aiding and abetting the culture of hate, terror and beheadings. Moreover, Western and public opinion leaders dismiss the role of the religion and its deep influence on the Muslims. This situation is much worse, since our leaders totally deny what the Islamic terrorist organization clearly utter: that we are in a third world war, and it is a religious war. The latest example among the huge pile of Western denial declarations was the State Department spokesman, John Kirby that the terrorist attack in Brussels in March 2016, “was not about a religion… we don’t believe that it is indicative in any way of the Muslim faith or the people who practice Islam as a religion.”

Although the Qur’an is written in parables and vague; in a language full of contradictions, so that different people can choose passages to justify anything they want, the Qur’anic religious, ideological and political passages are clear and its targets are laid down clearly, and it commands its believers to accomplish them by all means. The aim is to occupy the world and to make Islam the only legitimate religion. Still, Western and public opinion leaders are unintentionally assisting Islamic victory by failing to know how to fight the enemy; by the politics of denial and ignorance of postponing decisions and activity to eliminate the threat by the media and the legal system; and by using mental blindness and mirror image instead of courageous policy.

Republican Senator, Allen West, is correct by insisting that the U.S. must understand 21st-century combat.

Today’s paradigm of battle and combat operations is completely different and more complicated. The conventional wars we knew have completely disappeared for an asymmetrical battlefield with non-uniformed, non-state belligerents, using unconventional weapons and tactics. Every nation that wishes to succeed in protecting its citizens and interests must quickly understand and adapt to the new battlefield. For the sake of our nation, and of all nations who seek freedom for their citizens, we must clearly identify the 21st century battlefield and ensure we are victorious on it.

Therefore, it is a must to deny the enemy sanctuary. Because this enemy has no respect for borders or boundaries, we must be willing to take the fight directly to him. It means to cut off the enemy’s flow of men, material and resources, and cordon off the enemy to reduce his sphere of influence, by denying immigration, expelling the radical Imams, and demanding the Muslims’ assimilation and integration. Above all, it is a must to win the information war. Unfortunately, the enemy is far more adept at exploiting the power of the Internet, broadcast media and dissemination of powerful imagery. It is exacerbated by Western media, seeing itself as an ideological political wing or at best as a neutral body.

Until the Free World nations are able to correctly and openly identify the enemy, we will continue to stumble and fail, and Islam continues to prevail. Once we have identified the enemy and the specific strategic level objectives, we must effectively fight. We have to be mindful of the wise words compiled by Sun Tzu in his “The Art of War” more than 25 centuries ago: “to know your enemy and to know yourself and to know the environment and countless amounts of battles, you will always be victorious.” However, the Free World leaders’ ‘war on terrorism’ has been exactly the opposite, as one cannot fight the means, but must fight by all means the perpetrator. There are still those who declare “the only way to defeat terrorism is to ignore it; as if it will disappear by itself. However, it is so crazy, meaning exactly to dance with death.

With Obama’s administration the situation has even worsen, as it is impossible to formally utter ‘Islamic terrorism’ together. There is Islam which is a religion of peace and compassion, and terrorism, which is al-Qaeda. Even the Taliban, the richest terrorist organization, is not completely a terrorist. It is even forbidden to use terms like ‘fighting jihadists,’ because ‘Jihad’ means to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal.’ Those who do not agree with the administration show ‘inflammatory rhetoric, hyperbole, and intellectual narrowness.’

Continuing these lines, John Kasich said after the Brussels massacre: “We are not at war with Islam; we’re at war with radical Islam.” This is really a willful blindness that goes on after the Paris and Brussels Islamic terrorist attacks. Daniel Benjamin, former State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator, has essentially declared, what happened in Brussels is really just about Europe. It has nothing to do with the US; it can’t happen here. With all due respect any logical assessment must emphatically disagree. He is absolutely mistaken. Americans should fear exactly that.

Richard Perle said that the US administration “should keep eye on radical mosques,” and he two is wrong. All over the Free World’s governments should keep thousands of eyes on each and every mosque and directly monitor all Muslim Imams. It is a must. Everything begins with them, from radicalization to legitimization, and at the end of the continuum, the performance and execution of terrorist attacks.

There is also the case of Western media, its agenda is unfortunately different from the best interests of Western security. Perhaps it is the right time to demand the media just to tell the truth. After reporting the Brussels massacre, the media in the US was very busy with the probability of the “rise of the right wing in Europe.” The cover story was “terrorism;” not Islamic terrorism. The debates on the TV’s did not deal with the issues of Islam, they have given the audience an ample time to listen to Islamic and Western propagandists to exhibit a peaceful compassionate Islam. For the media, ‘the right wing’ is the problem and not Islamic atrocities.    

There are so many issues to consider: the coercive terrorism-Jihad, exhibited as homicide bombings, beheadings, lynching. Hatred Terrorism, exhibited by violent demonstrations, Western women rapes, and rioting. Demography terrorism, mass immigration of young and able Muslims representing the arrow-head and forefront of Muslims to occupy and inherit. Deceiving terrorism–Da’wah: exhibited by NGO’s and organization acting legally and politically as interest and pressure groups. They use the ignorance of Western world public opinion to market totally different kind of Islam, as if it is a peaceful, tolerant, and compassionate.

There are more: Judicial terrorism. Through the NGO’s and other organizations, Muslims excel in suing and bringing to court according to Western legal system and laws anyone they blame of insulting them or insulting Islam according to their own judgment. This is very articulate and beneficial strategy: on the one hand they use hideous terrorism, and on the other, anyone who calls the spade, a spade is harassed and summoned to court. “Legal Jihad” is exploiting every provision of the law in free societies to promote Islam and to silence its critics through expensive exhausting lawsuits. There is also cultural terrorism: Western peoples wish to appear liberals, and not to be called racists or fascists. This is the course mainly in Europe, especially after its colonial past and the horrors of the two World Wars of the 20th century. Therefore, by violently intimidating and accusing all those who say anything against Islam, Muslims define him a racist, an Islamophobe, and a liar. They highly succeed in silencing out of intimidation, even forcing Western politicians to apologize and to make concessions.

There is also the academic terrorism. The most important case belongs to Edward Said, and his so-called “research,” Orientalism. He deliberately used West’s guilt remorse of the colonialist-imperialist era to produce a full of twisted ideas book, which is promoted by the leftist’s ignorant in the academia to dance on Western sensibilities. Reality shows: accuse the Europeans with anything, just don’t call them racists or fascists. The Muslims have taken the advantage and yield concessions and appeasement from Westerners by using their historic cultural invention of victimology and misery. This has also a direct link to displacement-transference terrorism, accusing Israel with all Muslims’ evil, describing it as a danger to world peace.

However, Arab-Muslims commit all these atrocities. This is exactly Islamic history represented by two words: Ghazawat (raids) on the infidels’ lands and Ghana’em (taking booty) from them. But it is washed away from world public opinion and attention by ignorance, promoted by the media in association with the academia. Indeed, the Middle East is an unprecedented greenhouse of conspicuous vicious trends, exemplifying the epitome of evil: politically, dictatorship of Arab-Islamic authoritarian regimes and corrupt patrimonial leadership; socially, poverty, wretchedness, and coercion of the miserable population (being the main reason for the huge mass-immigration to the Western countries); morally-ethically, murderous regimes that brutalize its peoples, with politics of mass-murder, genocide; abuse of human and civil rights; oppression of women and honor killings; lynching and beheadings that still exists and pervasive.

It is highly recommended to change our perceptions of Islamic ideology and practice: that the Free World is already engaged in the Third World War declared by Islam more than twenty years ago, That it is an existential civilization threat, no less hazardous than the enemies of World War II, but Western leaders do not yet grasp this to fight back. That although this is not a declared war between states, its consequences are no less lethal to the Free World’s existence. That terrorism perpetrators are perhaps not the tyrants of the past, but the new tyranny World Jihad much more lethal. That not like the ideological wars of the past, World Jihad’s ideology is religiously fanatic being without compromise and appeasement. That we are witnessing raids of terrorism and slaughter by fanatics determined to destroy Western culture and intended to bring our civilization back to their 7th century.

Oriana Fallaci, the late Italian intellectual, one of the earlier prophets concerning Islam, has put the mired lethal situation of the Western World perhaps the best in context. Her words were a warning signpost, a wake-up call, Western leaders did not want to listen even to notice:

Wake up people, wake up. Paralyzed by the fear of appearing racist, you do not understand that the reverse crusade has commenced. Drugged by the stupidity or by shortsightedness of the adherents of political correctness, you do not internalize that a religious war is transpiring here. A war, whose objective is to conquer our souls and rob our freedoms. A war conducted with the goal of destroying our civilization and our way of life.

Stunned by the preponderance of false propaganda, you do not want to get it into your heads that if we do not defend ourselves, if we do not battle, jihad will win. It will win and destroy the world which we were able to build. It will make our culture and identity disappear.

Debating them is pointless; conducting a dialogue with them is useless; and demonstrating tolerance towards them is suicide. How is it that leftists never open their mouths against the Muslim world’s primitive, theocratic regimes, which have no democracy, no freedoms and no individual rights? Why were we killed and die in wars declared against the enemies of freedom and civilization? Are these principles invalid to the despotic Islamic regimes?

Enough of your double standards of morality; enough of your opacity; enough of your hypocrisy. Crickets of all countries and languages stop the confusion and start along the path to sobriety. The mountain of Islam has not moved for 1400 years; a mountain that consciously opts for primitiveness and ignorance and is ruled by fanatics. Europe is becoming a province of Islam.

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Terrorism

Who are the Real Terrorists in North East Syria?

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D

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Earlier this week President Trump abruptly changed course and green-lighted a Turkish incursion into north east Syria with disastrous results. The subsequent invasion has unleashed a hellish nightmare of carnage and chaos in what was a dangerous, but relatively peaceful, area governed by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who had just defeated ISIS territorially.

In recent days, over 30 civilians—including Kurds, Christians and minorities, and very young children—have been killed in indiscriminate Turkish bombings and mortar fire. Likewise, the UN reports that over 130,000 Syrians have suddenly become displaced, fleeing Turkish violence. In addition to these massive displacements, Turkey insists that it will forcibly repatriate 1 to 2 million of the 3 million Syrian refugees it is currently housing back into the SDF-held areas it is now overtaking. That 83% of these Arabs never lived in the areas they are to be forcibly resettled in, begs the question of whose homes and lands will they be overtaking? 

Turkey claims to be fighting a terrorist group and wanting to clean their border area of terrorists, but the pictures coming out of northeast Syria instead make Turkey look like the terrorist aggressor. Countless photos and videos, many of them validated, circulate of Syrian civilians lying bloodied and dead on the ground while their family members wail unconsolably. Hevrin Khalaf, a female, and the Secretary-General of the pro-Kurdish Future Syria Party, is reported to have been dragged from her car and assassinated by Turkish-hired thugs who said while filming her corpse, “this is the corpse of pigs.” Likewise, video footage of bearded mercenary soldiers backed by the Turks, shooting their Kurdish captives while calling them “kufar scum” (unbelievers) are said by U.S. forces to appear authentic. If so, these actions are war crimes.

These bearded assassins, backed by Turkey are likely the same unemployed ISIS, al Nusra, and other former jihadists still happy to kill in the name of Allah, who Turkey used to clear Afrin in 2018. Indeed, they have shown a brutality akin to their mother groups, some even shouting ISIS slogans as they kill, such as “Baqiya wa tatamadad!” meaning we (ISIS) will remain forever, and expand. 

That Turkey would use former ISIS cadres to fight the Kurds is no surprise, given they worked closely with ISIS to try to quell the Kurds early on in the Syrian conflicts and continue to see their interests in destroying Kurdish power to lie with militant jihadist and Islamist groups. An ISIS emir that ICSVE interviewed in 2019 went into great detail about his work on behalf of ISIS, about how he negotiated with the Turkish MIT and military regarding border entry for the 40,000+ foreign fighters that streamed across Turkey into ISIS-controlled areas of Syria, agreements for sending wounded ISIS fighters back into Turkey for medical treatment, supplying water for the Tabqa dam to provide electrical power for ISIS, and so on. According to this emir, even then, Turkey was insisting on a buffer security zone. Now it appears they will go to any lengths to get it.

Meanwhile, General Mazloum Kobani Abdi told U.S. Ambassador William Roebuck, the U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS “You have given up on us. You are leaving us to be slaughtered.” He also asked in confused despair how the U.S. could also insist that the Kurds not turn to others, like the Russians for support, effectively boxing them in for slaughter.

When ISIS foolishly attacked Kobani in 2014, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) rose up and fought valiantly and since 2015, they fought with U.S. military backing, to defeat ISIS.  They have been our “boots on the ground”, sustaining most of the casualties and doing all the heavy lifting in defeating a global foe. While U.S. forces lost less than 20 troops after they aligned with the Kurds to fight ISIS in Syria, our hardy allies lost 11,000 male and female brave fighters who faced down this global foe.

Indeed, while ISIS was an active force on the ground in Syria, it external emni (intelligence arm), threatened the globe, mounting and inciting attacks in many major cities from New York, to Brussels (where two Americans were killed), to Paris, Nice, Stockholm, London and Istanbul to name but a few.

In serving as our “boots on the ground” forces for the territorial defeat of ISIS, and continuing to battle the remnants of ISIS, the Kurds saved, and continue to save, countless Americans and Westerners from being slaughtered by a heinous force willing to attack, anywhere, at any time.  

Yet their current aggressor, Turkey, calls these Kurds terrorists. That picking up arms against ISIS gave them the sudden opportunity to rule a considerable swathe of Syrian land that they had liberated from ISIS is no one’s fault, except those who supported ISIS in the first place—Turkish government officials among them. No doubt, the Kurds once in power, made some mistakes, but it is notable how quickly they moved to incorporating minorities into their ranks and transitioning to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who have had a good record of building a grassroots democracy amidst the ashes of war. That their majority Kurdish leadership may have long-term aspirations to one day become a fully independent Kurdish state should be no surprise, but that they were acquiescing to all U.S. demands upon them to remain within Syria and negotiate some kind of governance agreement with Assad also needs to be noted. The trouble in that regard, is Assad wants to appoint top-down leaders in the area and thereby destroy the grass-roots nature of the Kurdish democracy building. From a position of strength and good governance, with U.S. backing behind them, the SDF had a chance of becoming a real island of democracy, perhaps even one day spreading such, within the Syrian state.

In the meantime, with ISIS defeated territorially, ISIS is still far from total defeat. In recent months ISIS has been attacking on a weekly basis in both Syria and Iraq, and the SDF were busy rounding up ISIS sleeper cells while also holding more than 70,000 ISIS prisoners and their family members, thousands of which are from European and Western countries who have refused to repatriate and bring them home to justice.

Now, amidst the chaos unleashed by Turkey, up to 800 ISIS cadres have escaped when their prison was shelled, with hundreds more ISIS women and children escaping from their bombed and burning camps. Where they will run to amidst the chaos is uncertain, but Turkey and beyond, is certainly a possibility given that when cornered in Hajin, and later Baghouz, SDF leaders told ICSVE that ISIS leaders were asking to be bussed out of Syria into Turkey—presumably believing they would be welcomed into a country that had helped them in the past. 

500 of the worse ISIS cadres are said to have been transferred by U.S. forces from Syria, into Iraq, and possibly more will befall the same fate. For those of us who still believe in human rights and rule of law, even when applied to ISIS cadres, it’s unfortunate that in Iraq these prisoners—many of them Westerners—can expect forced confessions, hurried court proceedings and almost certainly sentence of life imprisonment, or death, based on very little, if any, evidence presented against them. Whereas, in our ISIS interviews conducted in SDF territory, with 100 of the ISIS foreign terrorist fighters, the prisoners stated that they were not being subjected to torture and were fairly treated by the SDF. Likewise, the SDF was working patiently, including in efforts with ICSVE, to gather testimonies and data to prod Western countries into action that have been reluctant to take their ISIS citizens home for prosecution.

While the SDF could only do its important work with U.S. support, this support was not costing us much. Few troops were deployed on the ground and our air support was operating out of Iraq, where it is likely the U.S. forces will stay for some time. That we should not involve ourselves in endless wars or that the troops need to come home is something most agree with, but how and when is also of great importance.

Any U.S. withdrawal of support for the SDF should only occur because they are no longer serving our interests and must take place in a planful and secure manner without allowing for an all-out slaughter of civilians or of the allied forces who, by fighting ISIS, saved Americans countless lives.

Given that the Kurds sacrificed greatly to defeat ISIS territorially on the ground, and when in power, began at once to build one of the only democracies in the middle east that is respecting minority rights and following Western rule of law, while being surrounded by dictatorial and corrupt regimes, it seems we should have continued to give them our full support. Instead Trump has unleashed Turkish forces on a group that Turkey universally treats as terrorists and is willing to violently displace and kill. This sudden betrayal of our loyal allies is a matter that needs to be quickly resolved in Washington, D.C. 

Our American ideals, and our reputation as stalwart and reliable allies, are at stake right now, and this disastrous decision needs to be reversed immediately.  

From our partner ICSVE Brief Reports.

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Strategies for combating international terrorism in Central Asia

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After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Central Asia has been cast as the site of a new “great game”. Central Asia has been largely influenced by international developments and the emergence of persistent sources of instability and tension in other parts of the world, including the Middle East and North Africa. Some states in the region have succeeded in expanding their relationships with other actors. For example, Kazakhstan has tried to advance its goals by participating in important international issues and designing appropriate policies. Although Kazakhstan has succeeded in this path, most of the countries in the region face major challenges.

At the moment, Central Asian states are facing serious menaces to their security from various challenges like drug trafficking, water disputes, religious fundamentalism and expansion of terrorist and takfiri groups such as ISIS.

Given the increased risk of terrorist groups infiltrating the region, the key question is: “What strategies exist to counter international terrorism in the Central Asian region?” This study suggest that an integrated long-term strategy is an effective and comprehensive way to combat international terrorism.

Central Asia and international terrorism

The war in Syria and Iraq has significantly altered modern terrorism, with radical Islamic militants from Central Asia being no exception. Most importantly, for the first time travelling outside of the region to fight in the ranks of militant and terrorist organisations became a mass phenomenon. In Syria, the radical Islamic militants from Central Asia have established terrorist organisations of their own. These terrorists have Salafi-Wahhabi inclinations and are among the backers of al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front, and Daesh Takfiri groups. They have turned into a potential threat for countries in Central Asia as these international and organized terrorists may one day find their way to other regions and states after Syria. 

Activities of extremist networks which send their members and devotees to Syria have a determining role in the region. Many of the foreign rebels operating in Syria had links to these groups in their own countries. A portion of them are being encouraged by their relatives and friends in Syria to join the ranks of the Takfiri militants, especially older brothers motivate the younger ones to join the terrorists.

The terrorists’ method for recruiting forces is almost the same in most of the countries in the Central Asia. They usually do this through local sources and Islamist groups and organizations that have close ties with al-Qaeda, Salafists and Wahhabists. However, this is not done openly.

A number of terrorist groups are tasked with recruiting individuals to send them to fight in Syria. In fact, all terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda and the al-Tahrir Party are busy with the recruitment. The Takfiri groups of al-Nusra Front and the so-called Islamic Jihad Union are also employing nationals from Central Asia. In some countries, the process of employment is done through indigenous people. For instance, one-third of all Kyrgyz people who have traveled to Saudi Arabia in pursuance of religious education have turned into extremist Salafi-Wahhabi preachers in Kyrgyzstan. That is why today the Kyrgyz are employing their people to prevent this. 

The Challenges of Combating Terrorism in Central Asia

Fighting terrorist threats in Central Asia is a complex issue. To counter these threats, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian governments have been reevaluating their national counter-terrorism strategies. Counter-terrorism cooperation under the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has its limits because not all the Central Asian governments are members of the organizations. Also these strategies have been mainly established to counter-terrorism within the member states, not the ones stemming from other regions. 

On the other hand, some external actors play a destructive role in improving the security situation in the region. Indeed none of the great powers are not serious fight against terrorism. At present, the security conditions of the region can be made more complicated for several reasons:

First, the spread of terrorism and extremist groups;
Second, U.S. competition to increase penetration;
Third, ISIS’s willingness to be present in the region;
Fourth, the presence of people from the countries of Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the ranks of ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria;

Iran and Fighting Terrorism in Central Asia

The rising threats of extremism in Central Asia represent a strong menace for Iran interests. Due to the increasing presence of ISIS forces in Afghanistan, the security of Central Asia remains a top priority on the Iran security agenda. The Iran-Central Asia Strategy should include in its objectives the challenges of foreign fighters and radicalization, drug trafficking and organized crime, and conflicts that require cooperation between Central Asia and Iran.

No one and no country can deny the constructive and positive role of Iran in fighting the scourge of terrorism in the region and the world. Iran’s efforts and assistance to regional countries have helped reign in the violence and bloodshed of ISIS terrorist group in various parts of the world by bringing the self-proclaimed statehood of ISIS to an end in Iraq and Syria. The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to advocate dialogue, cooperation and trust among regional countries as the only viable way to end terrorism and devastating wars in the Middle East. In result no country would benefit from weakening Iran in the region.

In the past years, Iran has acted as a buffer zone and has prevented the entry of terrorist groups from Middle East to Central Asia. Iran has always tried to fight with terrorist and takfiri groups. Among foreign actors in the region Iran and Russia have a good cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Iran and Russia are winning the Fight against Terrorism in Syria. Undoubtedly Iran and Russia can offer their experience in combating terrorism to Central Asian countries.

Conclusion

No doubt, security, peace and respect for the sovereignty of countries, as well non-interference in their internal affairs, and an effective fight against terrorism without double standards will be in the interest of all countries in the world.

Fight against Terrorism Requires a holistic and coordinated approach. For the implementation of the international Counter Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia need a Regional Joint Action Plan. Integrating counter-terrorism strategy to political, economic and social development policies is an important part of the comprehensive approach.

In order to combat terrorism in Central Asia, there are a few issues to consider:

1. All States in region to combat terrorism must take coordinated action.

2. Fighting terrorism in Central Asia will not succeed without creating peace and stability in Afghanistan.

3. Combating terrorism requires the formation of a regional and international coalition with States that really have a concern for countering terrorism, not the countries that have been sponsors of terrorist groups.

4. The fight against terrorism requires the use of past experiences in this regard. Iran and Russia have considerable experience in combating terrorism.

From our partner Tehran Times

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Fighting Terrorism Online: EU Internet Forum committed to an EU-wide Crisis Protocol

MD Staff

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The participants of the 5th EU Internet Forum, hosted by Commissioners Avramopoulos and King, have committed to an EU Crisis Protocol – a rapid response to contain the viral spread of terrorist and violent extremist content online. The Commission, Member States and online service providers, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, JustPaste.it and Snap have committed to working together on a voluntary basis within the framework set out by the Crisis Protocol, while ensuring strong data protection and fundamental rights safeguards. The EU Internet Forum also discussed the overall progress made in ensuring the removal of terrorist content online since its last meeting in December 2018 as well as how to strengthen cooperation on other challenges, such as child sexual exploitation online.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Since I launched the EU Internet Forum 4 years ago, it has gone from strength to strength, offering Member States and online platforms an effective framework to work together to tackle terrorist content online. We have managed to build a strong relationship of trust and mutual understanding with the internet platforms. I am pleased with the progress we are making and the remarkable results we have achieved. Today, we are taking this cooperation another step further with an EU Crisis Protocol. With this, we will be ready to act quickly, effectively and in a more coordinated way to stop the spread of terrorist content.”   

Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King added: “The events in New Zealand earlier this year were a stark reminder that terrorist content spreads online at a tremendous speed. While our response might be quick, it isn’t quick enough. The Protocol is an EU response to contain the havoc created by such events – in a coordinated way.”

In the aftermath of the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, government leaders and online platforms agreed on the Christchurch Call for Action. On this occasion, President Juncker announced the development of an EU Crisis Protocol in the context of the EU Internet Forum. The EU Protocol will allow Member States and online platforms to respond rapidly and in a coordinated manner to the dissemination of terrorist content online in the event of a terrorist attack.

The EU Crisis Protocol endorsed by the EU Internet Forum today will:

    Provide a coordinated and rapid reaction: Member States’ authorities, together with Europol, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) and online service providers will be able to respond quickly, in a coordinated manner to ensure that the spread of terrorist or violent extremist content is swiftly contained.

    Facilitate public and private sector cooperation: In the event of a crisis, law enforcement authorities and online service providers will share relevant information on the online content (e.g., URLs, audio-visual media, and metadata) on a voluntary basis, in a secure way and in real time.

    Facilitate a voluntary arrangement: The Protocol does not replace national legal frameworks or existing national crisis management mechanisms. It should apply only to extraordinary situations where those national measures are no longer sufficient to coordinate a rapid and cross-border response.

The EU Internet Forum also discussed the overall progress made in ensuring the removal of terrorist content online since its last meeting in December 2018 and looked at the emerging challenges. This included, for the first time, a discussion on the global threat of online child sexual abuse and exploitation. Cooperation between public authorities and online platforms is key to fight against these horrible crimes effectively. Participants also took stock of the work to tackle the challenges presented by right wing extremism and the radicalising effect of violent political discourse.

Background

The EU Internet Forum was launched by Commissioner Avramopoulos in December 2015 to address internet misuse by terrorist groups. It brings together EU Home Affairs Ministers, the internet industry and other stakeholders who work together voluntarily to address this complex issue. Since its creation, the EU Internet Forum meets annually to take stock of the progress made in removing terrorist content online and to discuss emerging challenges. In 2015, an efficient referral mechanism to flag and remove terrorist content online was created at Europol.

In 2016, at the EU Internet Forum, the industry announced the creation of the “database of hashes” to make removals permanent and irreversible. The database is a critical tool in stemming the spread of terrorist content online. Since its launch, the database has gathered over 200,000 hashes (pictures, videos, etc.) and has helped both large and small platforms to remove such content quickly.

President Juncker announced the development of the EU Protocol in Paris earlier this year when he attended a meeting of government leaders and CEOs of major online platforms that was co-hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

A first exercise to operationalise the Protocol already took place at Europol on 11 September 2019.

The EU Crisis Protocol will contribute to efforts undertaken at global level in the context of the Christchurch call, in particular the Crisis Response Protocol as announced in September at the margins of 2019 UNGA.

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