Connect with us

Terrorism

More Commandments in Combating Islamic Jihad

Published

on

Why it is so complicated to utter the issue clearly? Why do leaders prefer the politics of oblivion and permeability? Possible explanations are the following: There are 56 states defined as Arab and Muslim – a quarter of world’s countries, which constitute immense power in international relations.

In Fact, the OIC, the Organization of Islamic countries, is the second largest group, after the United Nations, and perhaps more important, it operates in the United Nation and moves it at will. That is the main reason why the United Nations has become unimportant and unreliable to handle the real issues of humanity. If Israel is the only cause to the problems of the world and humanity, than the United Nations turns to be ridiculous and pathetic.

However, not only there are 56 Arab-Muslim states, but they are located in important strategic-economic territories, and they yield an internationally influential force out of petrodollars and oil reserves. Moreover, the demography is stunning: in 1950, there were 250 million Muslims in the world. In 2005, there were 1.3 billion Muslims, and the forecast to 2030, there will be 2.4 billion Muslims in the world. These numbers have a deep political drive force to consider and to take into account.

On the other side, the global atmosphere, the intense era of Islamic terrorism and violence, has created a deep impact on Western Leaders and public opinion behavior. It must be admitted: we are afraid; we are frightened, intimidated and terrorized of Arab-Muslim violence, extremism and terrorism, which we cannot internalize culturally and cannot understand politically. As Arabs and Muslims are scattered all over the globe, and are found in almost all world states, and in some Western countries they comprise 7-15 percent of the overall population, this means a political electorate power that cannot be ignored. The Western answer to this situation is unfortunately a mixed policy of oblivion and appeasement. The ignorance of Arab-Islamic religious and political reality yields a policy of submissiveness and paying protection money.

But there are more. The disastrous politically correct approach inhibits the Western leaders to call a spade a spade, and to deal with the situation correctly. This situation is exacerbated by the sophisticated approach of the Arabs and Muslims. They really have identified the new moral code of the West, produced by the academia; disseminated by the media, and blindly endorsed by the political leaders: the slogans of “colonialism,” “racism,” and “Apartheid.” These are the most horrendous lethal words that are the essence of guilt remorse in Europe, and constitute a continuous reminder of the dark days of imperialist and colonialist history which nobody wishes to be connected with.

This “guilt complex,” mainly in Europe, and the contemporary social-economic gap between the first and the third worlds empowers Arabs and Muslims to externalize the guilt and to accuse others of their own problems. This situation becomes more complex as the Western media, the academia, and the cultural bohemia have turned criticism of Islamic terrorism into a taboo. Edward Said’s hideous ideas and heinous charges in Orientalism, continue to win over, and ‘Western guilt’ and ‘Zionist crimes’ are still the leading bon ton.

However, Western leaders must change their perceptions of Islamic terrorism and clearly identify their targets and the aims they use to achieve their objectives. That it an existential civilization threat, no less hazardous than World War II, but leaders do not yet grasp this to fight back. Moreover, although this is not a declared war between states, we are in the midst of third world war, 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 is no less existentially lethal. That not like the ideological wars of the past, World Jihad’s ideology is religiously fanatic and lack of the ability of compromise and appeasement. That the Western World is witnessing raids of terrorism and slaughter by Muslim fanatics determined to destroy Western culture and intended to bring our civilization back to their 7th century desert.

Islamic Jihad is winning just because the West does nothing meaningful to stop it. It means not only acting militarily to halt Jihad, but stopping every aspect of Jihad, Da’wah and Hijrah being waged against the Western civilization. Unless and until Western leaders are willing to fight this war the way it must be fought, it is pathetic to watch the self-indulgent behavior and the pointless crocodile tears. Really combating Jihad means acknowledging some hard truths. Islam is a political religion, more political than a religion, being an all-encompassing ideological aggressive system that dictates everything from its believers with the clear aim to conquer and to subjugate the infidels by all means.

That is, fighting the war means the same way the Free World fought Nazi Germany and Japan in World War II and Soviet communists during the Cold War: a strategic war operated comprehensively, with every military, political, economic, ideological, and other forms and means. Many Islamists were born and raised in Europe, and others are coming in with the new wave of “refugees.” But they are all part of the relentless Hijrah. Islamic “immigration” has now reached a critical mass. It was only a matter of time before the chaos has erupted, and still Europe is intent on committing continental suicide, a willful surrender to those who clearly declare they come to occupy Europe for the sake of Islam.

That is why Europe is likely already at the point of no return, as Islam cannot be contained and turned back. This is according to the almost prophecy of Bat Ye’or, in her Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, in which she described in 1985, the deliberate Islamization of the continent with the encouragement of European leaders. Clint Watts has put the situation correctly, after the Brussels massacre: Belgium, like most other European countries, suffers from a counterterrorism capacity problem. Failing to anticipate the growth of the Islamic Caliphate State in Europe ultimately speaks to incompetence. The situation appears as terrorists without borders and counter-terrorism with all borders.

Western leaders must put great efforts as to understanding the essence of the threat. Terrorism is most cowardly and despicable form of combat. But make no mistake. It is just a means to an end. Brutal, inhuman, sinister and horrific, it is still a means to an end. The global Islamic Jihad groups are the enemy of the Free World. It is a cultural system of religious, political and behavioral principles, which manifest the epitome of evil. Terrorism today is mainly an Arab-Muslim occupation of fanatical Jihadi groups fighting against the free world.

The real issue is that leaders wake up only after disasters are here. They have not learn the Biblical example: “Noah built the Ark before the deluge.” Before the deluge and nor after the deluge was here. This was the case in the 1930s, with the appeasement policy to Hitler, in distressing repulsive processes of yielding to his demands time and again that had only intensified his aggressiveness. The oblivion and the march of stupidity came to its climax, when in December 1938, the Times of London accused Churchill and his ‘war-mongering shadow government’ that lead the world to an unnecessary war, while there is a successful alternative, embodied with the Munich agreement.

Indeed, this is the fate of peoples along history. Leaders’ march of folly according to Barbara Tuchman is pervasive and consecutive. She quotes the biographer of Philip the Second, king of Spain, who was the most ‘narrow-minded empty-headed of all the kings of Europe, so that nothing could have changed his mind that his policy is not perfect.’ Tennessee Williams has noticed: ‘if people were to behave like their leaders and their governments, they would have been put to a lunatic garment.’ And Sigmund Freud has put it: ‘when it comes to stupidity human beings are geniuses.

However, the most acute problem facing the Free World today is the deep breach of basic norms and values. The Free World believes in democracy, the rule of law, civil rights and human freedoms. These do not exist among the World Jihad Groups. For them to achieve their targets everything is allowed and legitimate. They slit throats; they send homicide bombers; they blast and murder innocent people, and that is exactly the problem.

Throughout the history of war, the international community has managed to legislate on warfare laws. Moral norms were created, which determined what is permitted and what is prohibited. However, the problem is that the free world is still suffering from the delusions of the existence of the rules of law, as if these also suit the struggle against the Apocalyptic Global Jihad Groups.

The international community assesses and judges Islamic terrorism by the same standards of the laws of war, since it has not succeeded in creating a normative system appropriate to the new reality. There is not yet an international consensus regarding the definition of terrorism; It is totally impossible, even unforgivable, to confront terrorism with irrelevant laws and norms; It is not possible to deal with it, to prevent its substantive threat with the existing legal tools.

Seemingly, one cannot combat terrorism through legalistic means with the existing general and civil law. Terrorism is not a sin, or a crime, or a felony. Therefore it is imperative to establish special judicial procedures and to empanel special military tribunals in order to judge terrorists. The war on terrorists, the struggle must be total and uncompromising.

Professor Alan Dershowitz explains:

The rules of war enable terror: the Geneva conventions are so outdated, and are written so broadly that they have become a sword used by terrorists to kill civilians, rather than a shield to protect civilians from terrorists. International laws have become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution, and human rights are being used to promote human evils. The terrorists use suicide bombers, who believe that their reward awaits them in another world, without a “return address”. The terrorists deliberately hide among civilians. They don’t wear military uniforms; they use ambulances and women to execute terrorist acts, and children as carriers of lethal explosives. At the same time they accuse Israel and the United States of killing civilians and violation of international law. Time has come to revisit the laws of war and make them relevant to the new lethal realities.    

Ted Lapkin asks: “Does human rights law applies to terrorists?

Islamic zealots draw no distinction between combatants and non-combatants. Jihadists target women, children and the elderly, without the pretense of discrimination. These Jihadists neither wore uniforms nor respected the Geneva conventions. They are illegal hideous terrorists rather than prisoners of war. Academics and human rights activists insist that the Geneva Conventions must be universally applied. Yet, the third Convention explicitly states that parties need not apply it to all conflicts, especially when the foes are not parties and the enemies do not abide by its terms. By violating every tenet of international law, terrorist groups forfeit any entitlement to protection under the Geneva Conventions.    

Daniel Greenfield is correct stressing  

On the face of it, banning Islam is difficult in the United States because of the First Amendment. However, here is exactly the solution: the separation of church and state was meant to protect the integrity of both, and avoid power struggles between religious groups. There was to be no state religion and the government could not leverage religious authority, and this is exactly what Islam demand to impose, the Shari’ah as a state law. This is what domestic advocates, such as Noah Feldman, are pushing for. Judicially, Islam as an Established Religion in the US, is itself a violation of the First Amendment. Furthermore, Islam abridges the remaining portions of the First Amendment, which protect Freedom of Speech and the Press. Islam rejects both of these. Islam and the Constitution of the US are totally incompatible, like Communism and Nazism. There are numerous verses in the Qur’an which similarly call for Muslims to subjugate non-Muslims and to butcher them. Participation in any Muslim organization therefore becomes the equivalent of participating in a Communist organization, and can be banned. So, while we cannot ban an individual from personally believing in Islam, we can ban Islamic practices and organizations. Thus we can ban Islam from the public sphere, ban Muslim organizations as criminal organizations, criminalize Muslim practices and deport Muslims citizens.

If one accepts these premises, than the winning slogan has to be: fighting terrorism; not negotiating with it. This is perhaps the most important principle: never surrender to terrorism; never yield to its demands. Although they say ‘never say never,’ this is the right place to say ‘never.’ Even a weak state could overcome its own terrorist organizations, provided it is resolute and committed to the security of its citizens.

The terrorists are a collection of violent murderers without any trace of humanity and morality. They operate through dehumanization of citizens to employ indiscriminate terrorism to topple down states and government and to destroy institutions. At the same time, they are assisted by irresoluteness of Western society, supported by the media and the academia which disseminates the tidings of violence, and distort the realities of the issues.

Terrorism is thus magnified as victorious, compare to its true ability. Western public opinion must sober up to face reality, and the media must internalize that the bombastic publications it gives them is disastrous. The media is too important in democracy and it must take responsibility on what it publishes.

‘Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed, director-general of the al-Arabiya:

Most terrorist crimes are linked to the Internet. One terrorist group murders and a group of extremists justify it and recruit others. The Internet has become an effective tool for terrorists. The sources of intellectual danger today are the media that must take responsibility, and the Internet, that must be censored.

Mamoun Fandy, an Egyptian intellectual called upon the media to take responsibility:

It is regrettable that Western media channels, particularly CNN and the BBC, host Islamist activists who support terrorism and treat them as experts and analysts. Only two things can stop terrorism: issuing fatwas removing bin Laden and his supporters from the fold of Islam, and the West ceasing to be naïve about the existence of ‘moderate Islamists.”

What are the practical implications? Acquaintance with Arab-Islamic political culture leads to the conclusions that the results are just the opposite: more appeasement brings more aggression; more tolerance brings more violence; more peace declarations brings terrorist actions; more lowering the profile brings more audacity in demands; more disregard of closing the eyes brings more externalization and aggressive demands; more assumption of the guilt brings more intensification of the counter-accusations; more desire to understand and coming to terms with them brings more claims of “I deserve getting it all”; more financial aid and support brings more corruption and deepening of the masses’ poverty.

The Egyptian liberal intellectual ‘Amr Isma’il comments and criticizes Arab behavior and political culture:

Why can’t the Arabs see things as the rest of the world? Why do we always feel that someone is conspiring against us, and that he is the cause of our problems and our cultural and economic backwardness? Why are we not able to criticize ourselves and see anyone outside as an enemy of our interests? Why do we talk by means of bullets, car bombs, and violence of suicide bombing? Why do we kill and slit throats in the name of Allah, and at the same time protest angrily when others depict Muslims as terrorists? Why are we the only nation that still uses religion, Islam, and the name of Allah in everything? We kill in the name of Allah, we blow up people in the name of Allah, and we slit throats in the name of Islam. Why we do not ask ourselves why no other religious group perpetrates these acts of atrocity? Why we do not ask ourselves what the roots of our extremist thinking are, and who should be blame for? Why we always blame others of intervening in our internal affairs, and we do not look at our deeds?

That is, states must prepare a strategy of pre-emption, not retaliation. The only way to overcome terrorism is to combat and liquidate it with no vacillation. The war against terrorism must be an all-out war. It is the absolute obligation of governments to act resolutely to remove the threats of terrorism. The preferred method is a strategy of pre-emption and not a policy of retaliation.

The classic military strategy was based on deterrence. The basis of world struggle against terrorism is the assumption that they will act “rationally” and will “play fair”. However, we do not take into consideration the possibility of inhuman terrorism or a non-conventional bomb in terrorists’ hands. We must bear in mind that containment defense does not constitute a strategic answer under these circumstances. The advisable strategy requires directed at military initiatives accompanied by political commitment and operational determination to win this battle over.

The consequences: war on the terrorists is symbolized by the phrase: “if you want to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.” It is impossible to reach accommodation with terrorists as one must not negotiate with them, and that a policy of appeasement leads directly to hell. Indeed, “Let the military win” is the vital winning strategy. Any compromise with terrorism, any attempt to appease or to understand it, any negotiation with it is doomed to failure. It is impossible to bring terrorism to realpolitik understanding. Only with determination, perseverance and commitment to the total elimination of terrorism it will be possible for the free world to survive.

The apocalyptic global Jihad groups persist with their horrific activity due to their assessment that the free world is exhausted and divided, and that its weak leadership and hedonist public opinion will eventually surrender. Those who continue to reiterate the mantra that there is no military solution but political accommodations guarantee that the march of victory of terrorism continues. It was Winston Churchill remarkably on target, in reacting to Chamberlain’s defeatist policy: ‘You have chosen shame out of fear of war, and you have received both the shame and the war.’

The slogan that ‘we are doing its best’ is totally out of place. What the Free World does, primarily, is a retaliatory policy to put out fires and respond to immediate challenges. There are no initiatives and no strategic planning. The onslaught against terrorism is not according to a planned policy based on long-term thinking, but attempted by quickly moving on from one to another experiment. There is no insight regarding the defending of national interests. A nation that lacks the desire to kill and be killed will not exist. Leaders must change their working strategy concerning terrorism to ‘worst case-analysis.’

Critical attention should be put on the significance of world public opinion, and shaping of the communication media as a strategic policy to a more responsible policy. The proper strategy is the one adopted by Winston Churchill: on the one hand the realism of “blood, sweat and tears” and on the other, commitment and resoluteness in war until the enemy is vanquished. The free world must consider the struggle against the apocalyptic global Jihad groups according to principles of “zero-sum-game”, which means no compromise, no concession, and no accommodation. If these perceptions are internalized, the free world will prevail, as the main fight is cultural.

Waffa Sultan, the Syrian Arab-American psychiatrist puts it:

The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, and the violation of these rights. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What is happening is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness, and ignorance of the Muslims.

Muhammad Mahfouz (Saudi Gazette December 30, 2004) declares:

It is cultural and religious factors that motivate to murder and beheadings of innocent people, carried out by brain-washed groups. Any delay in fighting this ideological cultural battle will drag society to an abyss of instability. Elimination of terrorism and violence are associated with uprooting the culture of violence which promotes killing, justifies and legitimize terrorism. This is the battle of culture.

Continue Reading
Comments

Terrorism

Human rights must be ‘front and centre’ in the fight against terrorism

Published

on

afghanistan terrorism
A family runs across a dusty street in Herat, Afghanistan. (file photo) UNAMA/Fraidoon Poya

Responses to terrorism must be anchored in the rule of law, human rights, and gender equality to ensure their effectiveness, Secretary-General António Guterres told a UN-backed counter-terrorism meeting that opened in Málaga, Spain, on Tuesday. 

“As a moral duty, a legal obligation, and a strategic imperative – let’s put human rights where they belong: Front and centre in the fight against terror,” Mr. Guterres said in a video message to the High-Level International conference on Human Rights, Civil Society and Counter-Terrorism

The two-day event is taking place against the backdrop of the growing threat of terrorism across the globe, and the resulting increase in related legislation and policies. 

Assault on human rights 

During the conference, governments, international organizations, civil society and human rights defenders will examine how to formulate terrorism responses that comply with human rights and the rule of law, and ensure meaningful participation of civil society in counter-terrorism efforts. 

“This gathering reflects a central truth. Terrorism is not only an attack on innocent people. It represents an all-out assault on human rights,” said the Secretary-General. 

The threat is growing and global, he added, listing examples such as the continued expansion of Da’esh and Al-Qaeda in Africa, and resurgent terrorism in Afghanistan. 

The UN chief spoke of how extremist groups are targeting women and girls with gender-based violence, including sexual violence, while terrorists are also using technology to “spread and export lies, hatred and division at the touch of a button.” 

Meanwhile, xenophobia, racism and cultural and religious intolerance are accelerating. 

Reaffirm core values 

Mr. Guterres warned that at the same time, global responses to terrorism can make things worse. 

“In the name of security, humanitarian aid is often blocked – increasing human suffering. Civil society and human rights defenders are silenced – particularly women. And survivors of terrorism and violence are left without the support and access to justice they need to rebuild their lives,” he said. 

The Secretary-General called for reaffirming commitment to core values, including by investing in health, education, protection, gender equality, and justice systems that are accessible to all people. 

This must also include safeguarding humanitarian action, respecting international law and “opening the door to civil society – and especially women – to meaningfully engage with counter-terrorism efforts.” 

Ensuring long-term efforts 

The high-level conference is jointly organized by the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and Spain. 

In his opening remarks, Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, UN Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism, stressed that “countering terrorism helps protect human rights, but only if human rights are protected while countering terrorism.”  

Moreover, he added the violation or abuse of human rights only plays into terrorists’ hands, as they seek to provoke heavy-handed and indiscriminate responses from security forces. 

“Terrorists do this with the aim of undermining public confidence in the ability of governments to protect their own citizens.  That is why a human rights-based approach is not aimed at challenging or frustrating counterterrorism initiatives,” he said. 

“On the contrary, it’s essential to ensure effective, long-term, and sustainable counter-terrorism efforts.” 

Global strategy 

The conference follows a virtual dialogue held last year with human rights and civil society partners, also convened by the UNOCT and Spain.   

Several thematic sessions will focus on issues such as human rights, the rule of law and principled humanitarian action in the context of counter-terrorism efforts; and support for victims and survivors of terrorism. 

Prior to the opening, a workshop and six side events were held to accelerate momentum and commitment towards implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in a balanced manner. 

The strategy, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2006, includes measures that range from strengthening State capacity to counter terrorist threats to and better coordinating the UN’s System’s counter-terrorism activities. 

The Foreign Minister of Spain, José Manuel Albares Bueno, who also addressed the opening ceremony, expressed high hopes for the conference.  

“The diversity of the themes is a true reflection of the comprehensive nature of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in its seventh review, which was co-facilitated by Spain and adopted by consensus by the General Assembly in June last year,” he said. 

Continue Reading

Terrorism

The UK’s “Separation Centres”: Re-visiting counter-terror measures

Published

on

afghanistan terrorism

Prisons are breeding grounds for radicalisation within their walls and recruitment for terrorism acts carried out post the inmates’ release. The leaders’ personality and ability to cultivate a cult-like following among the potential recruits mould the fruition or failure of these security threats worldwide. While this is not a novel security challenge, as the following portion about the rise of the Islamic State attests, the Boris Johnson-led administration appears to now bolster its efforts to confront the complex reality.

For example, the emergence of the Islamic State traces its roots to Camp Bucca in Iraq, where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, its earliest leader, received absolute leeway in conducting his virulent sermons and fomented the surge in radical recruits. His followers eventually assumed leadership positions in one of the deadliest terrorist outfits of the modern era. However, the prison officials had essentially allowed him to run amuck due to his ability to contain in-fighting and resolve tensions between his fellow jihadist prisoners, despite his record of violence displayed during the Sunni insurgency after the United States-led invasion in 2003. Having found themselves in a foreign land and inadept at recognising the socio-cultural and sectarian sensitivities, the American officials presumably refrained from challenging the status quo that had emerged within the camp to minimise tensions and violent episodes engulfing the Iraqi state. However, this meant that the radical Islamist narrative spun by him and disseminated by his followers played a central role in laying the foundations of the carnage and the now dismantled “caliphate” that would follow suit.

The United Kingdom’s (UK) counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation strategy is now being revamped. Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary, has announced the strengthening of a team, to the tune of £1.2 million, to assist the British government in devising a framework to segregate radically influential and “charismatic” Islamist terrorists from at-risk inmates serving their sentence. This would primarily happen by isolating them in specialised centres to house such high-risk prisoners. Nevertheless, there is a catch. The challenge that this administration will face is in determining who poses a substantial threat and will find a place in the centres. Although three of them are currently operational, until April 2022, only 15 individuals in one prison have made it to the list.

Mr. Raab asserted that the current dispensation is “going to take a more decisive approach in [our] prisons, not allowing cultural and religious sensitivities to deter [us] from nipping in the bud early signs of terrorist risk.” He argued his case by underlining how the right to socialise in prisons traditionally accorded as per the Human Rights Act would remain suspended. In addition, inmates making their arguments against their referrals to such centres would find it a mounting challenge to plead their claims successfully. Furthermore, the empowered Prison Governors will notably have considerable authority to strike down any attempts by radical inmates to undermine national security and instigate chaos spurred by radicalisation.

Driving the policy change

On the surface, this comes on the heels of the recommendations made by Jonathan Hall QC, an independent reviewer of terrorist activities in Welsh and English prisons. Nevertheless, it is improbable to disassociate this policy decision from the debates concerning the viability of Prevent, which is a core tenet of the UK’s counter-radicalisation strategy. It was initially introduced in 2003 by former Prime Minister Mr. Tony Blair. Understandably, the brutal assassination of former parliamentarian Sir David Amess in October 2021 and the subsequent conviction of Ali Harbi Ali for life, the perpetrator in April 2022, have triggered the incumbent administration to counter the catapulting national security crisis decisively.

On the other hand, violent incidents within jails in the recent past are the root of why Mr. Raab appears driven to confront this dilemma head-on. In May 2020, HMP Belmarsh’s-High Security Unit, one of the most secure prisons countrywide, witnessed a horrifying attack on Paul Edwards, a prison officer. He nearly lost his life due to a near-fatal assault by a trio of inmates. He was punched, thrashed, and struck with a chair after Hashem Abedi (the “emir” and brother to Salman Abedi; the Manchester Arena bomber), Muhammed Saeed, and Ahmed Hassan (Parsons Green Bomber) stormed his office. Led by Abedi, Saeed and Hassan were radicalised to retaliate against perceived unfair treatment by prison authorities.

Reportedly, these individuals were housed along with other violent criminals, sowing seeds for intensifying attacks, where discussions about their upcoming trials and information about jihad and terrorism were frequently exchanged. 

What is worrisome is that this prison has served as the scene for a spill-over to its other corners. Mohiussunath Chowdhury, who was imprisoned in HMP Belmarsh on terrorism charges after his sword attack on police officers stationed outside the Buckingham Palace in 2017, had a close affiliation with fellow jihadis, including Hassan, Abedi, and Mohammed Emwazi, the Islamic State terrorist infamously known as “Jihadi John.” He was re-convicted in 2020 for planning terrorist attacks after being cleared of prior charges in 2018. Additionally, Sudesh Amman, who stabbed two people and was subsequently shot dead in February 2020, also had a prior conviction.  He was jailed for possession and dissemination of terrorist propaganda, before securing an early release days before his knife attack. He and Chowdhary were imprisoned around the same time.

It is equally problematic to discover that Anjem Choudhary, a militant and radical Islamist preacher who, until recently, was banned from making public speeches, and Usman Khan, the London Bridge attacker, are the by-products of a militant Islamist climate cultivated within the same prison as terrorists mentioned above. Khan and Choudhury also spoke alongside each other at a conference in 2009 about Sharia. Individuals like Khan were also mandated to undergo a de-radicalisation initiative termed “Desistance and Disengagement Programme” alongside his fellow detainees.

The Do’s of counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation success & the need for overhaul

These are only a few of several examples within one prison to delineate why the British government is attempting to revamp its counter-terrorism strategy. Under a common roof, the amalgamation and collusion of violent extremist beliefs, followed by constant reinforcement undermines the stable ecosystem within and outside prisons. Moreover, despite their resources an well-trained personnel, the security agencies – MI5 and MI6 require adequate preparation and time to re-engage and subdue such terrorists between their release and their subsequent targeted attacks. During that time frame, these radicalised individuals persons have the potential for these radicalised persons to inflict more violence than before.

Therefore, the government’s rationale is evident and well-understood.

Overall, the presumption is that if such “separation centres” are set up and all high-risk terrorists isolated, the violence within and outside jails will become manageable, if not completely eradicated. This would provide the government, law enforcement, and security agencies sufficient room to re-allocate their resources and personnel towards nipping in the bud any potential radicalised recruits in the public domain before they join violent extremist organisations or carry out terrorist acts. It will also prevent the radicalisation of violent criminals and pre-trial prisoners as they remain disassociated from radical elements.

However, to ensure the centres’ success, challenges such as overcrowding, shortage of specially trained armed and civilian personnel (including de-radicalisation experts), and insufficient funds to procure advanced surveillance for monitoring the detainees’ daily activities need to be overcome. The government must also ensure that it sets up a core committee, comprising a therapists, a prison official, and a social welfare worker, and a law-enforcement and security officer (each), for each of these centres. In addition, 4 to 5 members to evaluate the successes and challenges after every months and accordingly underscore the scope of improvement and loopholes the centres face is also required. Only through a state of heightened monitoring, and constant re-evaluation can the administration hope to weed out terrorism and radicalisation from mainstream society and its fringes. Additionally, the political will of subsequent leaders and perseverance of MI5 and MI6 will also have a significant contribution to determining whether this initiative succeeds or whether is doomed to fail.

On the other hand, in conjunction with the government, the prison officials must also ensure prisoners being housed in such centres should not come into contact, particularly through illicit means, lest they develop a jihadist solidarity, strengthen their beliefs, and harm those safeguarding these places. Moreover, parameters, including the number of people these high-risk individuals have radicalised within and outside prisons, and those who have committed terrorist attacks post their release, the rigidity of their ideological indoctrination, record of violence, cyber activities, conduct as inmates, and the severity of crimes for which they have been convicted, should collectively feature into the framework laid down to decide who will be referred to the separation centres.

Continue Reading

Terrorism

U.S. Hunts Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi Groups

Published

on

KTJ Uzbek jihadists

The US Department of the Treasury and the State Department successfully and effectively conduct counter-terrorism operations against ISIS and al-Qaeda-affiliated Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups, putting constant and systematic pressure on them. The war on terrorism is fought on many fronts: diplomatic, intelligence, covert, sanctions, law enforcement, and military. Over the past two decades, the US designated the most vocal and violent Islamist extremist groups from Central Asia as the “Specially Designated Terrorist” (SDT) и “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” (FTO). Under the provision of the Act “Farrakhan Amendment,” US law enforcement freezes any assets and finances of global terrorist groups, designated SDT and FTO. The US has recently added the Uzbek jihadi group of Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad to global terrorist organizations.

US designated Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad

On March 7, 2022, the US Department of State added Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi group Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ) to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorist organizations. In addition to this designation, KTJ has been added to the UN Security Council’s ISIS and al-Qaeda sanctions list, which requires all UN member states to implement an asset freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo against Uzbek jihadist of KTJ.

The US designation noted that “al Qaeda-affiliated KTJ operates in Syria’s Idlib Province alongside Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and cooperates with other designated terrorist groups such as Katibat al-Imam al-Bukhari (KIB) and Islamic Jihad Group (IJG)” from the post-Soviet Central Asia.

The US Department of State’s statement also noted that “in addition to engaging in terrorist activities in Syria, KTJ has also been responsible for conducting external attacks, such as the St. Petersburg metro attack in Russia in April 2017 which killed 14 passengers and injured 50 others, as well as a suicide car bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan’s capital of Bishkek in August 2016 which wounded three people.”

The State Department further stated that as a result of the designation, all property and interests in property of KTJ are blocked, and foreign financial institutions that conduct any transaction on behalf of KTJ could also be subject to US sanctions.

Uzbek Jihadists in Syria denounce US designation of KTJ

On March 13, a week after the State Department designated KTJ as a global terrorist organization, the Shura Council of KTJ released a statement denouncing the US move. In its own statement, which was released on its Telegram channel, the major Uzbek jihadi faction questions the greatness of the US, as their decision was unfair. The KTJ states that “no matter how powerful a government or society might be, it will not be great in the eyes of people if it does not rule with justice and eliminate oppression.”

Uzbek Jihadi group in Syria denounces its designation by the US and claims that “KTJ consists of people who responded to the cries of the oppressed in Syria, because protecting the oppressed people is the duty of all humanity.”

KTJ leader Abdul Aziz al Uzbeki

The major Central Asian militant group further asserted that “it is not the policy of KTJ to launch attacks outside Syria” and its members have nothing to do with the suicide attacks on Russia’s St. Petersburg metro and the Chinese embassy in Bishkek in 20016-2017. At the end of their statement, KTJ ideologists claim that “our group does not belong to al-Qaeda or ISIS.” However, this claim is absolutely false.

It is noteworthy that al-Qaeda became the ideological mentor and inspirer of Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik radical Islamists from the Fergana Valley, opening the door to global jihad. KTJ was created by Sirojiddin Mukhtarov (alias Abu Saloh), an influential ethnic Uzbek jihadi Salafist from Kyrgyzstan’s Osh region, in northern Syria in 2013. Under his leadership, KTJ pledged allegiance (Bayat) to al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri and joined the Al Nusrah Front in September 2015. Al Nusrah was an official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria at the time which described itself as al-Qaeda in the Levant.

During the preparation of this material, a group of experts on political Islam listened to KTJ’s bayat once again, in which Abu Saloh clearly pronounced the name Ayman al-Zawahiri and swore allegiance to al-Qaeda. Despite the fact that al-Qaeda and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the successor of al-Nusra, parted ways ‘peacefully’ in 2016, the Uzbek battalion remains loyal to al-Qaeda. KTJ has never disavowed its bayat to Ayman al-Zawahiri. Moreover, during this time, KTJ demonstrated its deft ability to spread the al-Qaeda ideology into the Fergana Valley and among Central Asian migrants in Russia.

To date, KTJ is the most combat-ready, well-equipped and largest foreign battalion in Idlib province, on a par with the Uyghur Salafi-Jihadi group of Turkestan Islamic Party from Chinese Xinjiang. Both are waging jihad under HTS’s auspices against Bashar al-Assad regime. The approximate number of Uzbek militants is about 500 people. It is known that long a hotbed of armed resistance and a center of al-Qaeda-related operations, northwest Syria has become a safe haven for Uyghur, Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz militants and their families.

The KTJ current leader Ilmurad Khikmatov (alias Abdul Aziz al-Uzbeki) is also one of al-Qaeda’s devoted followers. In April 2019, Abdul Aziz, an ethnic Uzbek of the Fergana Valley and former deputy emir of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) in Afghanistan, was elected the new leader of KTJ. According to a UN Security Council’s report dated 3 February, 2022, “KTJ’s capability is undermined by conflict between the current group leader Abdul Aziz and the former group emir Abu Saloh.” But this is a superficial assessment of the situation taking place among the Uzbek jihadists in Syria.

Noteworthy, Abu Saloh was removed from the leadership of KTJ under pressure of HTS for openly supporting its strongest jihadi opponent, al-Qaeda-affiliated Hurras al-Din (HD), which directly challenged the leader of HTS Abu Mohammad al-Jolani. It is also known that KTJ new leader Abdul Aziz swore bayat to al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the Afg-Pak border zone as member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in 2008. Indeed, at that time, IMU became one of the strongest non-Arab al-Qaeda-linked groups in Central and South Asia. Abdul Aziz trained at the Haqqani Network’s military hub of Mir Ali in North Waziristan, which also hosted an al-Qaeda camp.

So, militant Salafism is the fundamental basis of KTJ’s jihadi ideology. In accordance with its ideological doctrine, the group aims to overthrow the five “tahut” (godless) regimes of post-Soviet Central Asia and build a single Caliphate with Sharia rule in the Fergana Valley. During the Jummah Khutbah, the new imam of KTJ and its major ideologist, Ahluddin Navqotiy, constantly glorifies Jihadi-Salafi scholars from the medieval to the present, such as Ibn Taymiyyah, Muḥammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, Sayyid Qutb, al-Qaeda’s senior figures such as Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, Abu Yahya al Libi, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and prominent modern jihadi thinkers Abu Qatada al-Falastini and Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi.

Thus, KTJ’s claim of no ties to al-Qaeda is a complete lie. Today, Uzbek jihadists of KTJ continue to benefit from close and trusted ties to al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the HTS, who act as an ideological mentor and militant umbrella for many foreign fighter groups from Central Asia and the Caucasus.

US continues pressure on Central Asian jihadi groups

This is not the first time that the US government has designated Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups as a global terrorist organization and imposed sanctions against them. It is known, the US State Department has designated the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list on September 25, 2000. The IMU was the veteran of the Central Asian jihad, first paving the hijrat to Afghanistan and establishing close relations with the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network and al Qaeda in 1998. The IMU leader Tahir Yuldash (2009) and its military emir Juma Namangoni (2001) were killed as a result of US missile airstrike.

On June 17, 2005, the US State Department designated the Islamic Jihad Union to the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. The IJU is a splinter faction of the IMU, and a substantial number of its members are from Central Asia. The IJU has been waging jihad in the Afghan-Pakistan region for more than a decade. It maintains close ties with al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. The US missile airstrike has killed several top IJU leaders, including its emir, Najmuddin Jalolov, in drone strikes in North Waziristan 2009.

According to the recent UN Security Council report, “IJU actively participated in fighting alongside the Taliban in the capture of Kabul and therefore its fighters now experiencing greater freedom of movement in the country. IJU, led by Ilimbek Mamatov, a Kyrgyz national, and his deputy, Amsattor Atabaev, of Tajikistan, is assessed to be the most combat-ready Central Asian group in Afghanistan. It operates primarily in Badakhshan, Baghlan and Kunduz Provinces.” Further, the UN report notes that “Central Asian embassies based in Afghanistan have observed with concern that several leaders of IJU have travelled freely to Kabul. In September 2021, Mamatov and Dekhanov separately visited Kabul.”

On December 29, 2004, the US State Department designated Uyghur Salafi-Jihadi group the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement to the Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL). The group leaders Hassan Mahsum (2003) and Abdul Shakur al-Turkistani (2012) were killed in US drone strike. However, on November 5, 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo removed ETIM from the Terrorist Exclusion List in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

On March 22, 2018, the US State Department designated Uzbek jihadi group Katibat Imam al Bukhari to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorist organizations. Currently KIB wages jihad in Syria under the HTS umbrella against the Bashar al-Asad regime. KIB is now led by ethnic Uzbek from Tajikistan, Abu Yusuf al-Muhajir, who has a close and trusting relations with Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Minister of the Interior of the Taliban government and leader of the powerful al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network. The group also operates in northern Afghanistan, specifically Faryab, or other ethnically Uzbek areas. KIB, like the IJU and KTJ, is also a splinter of the IMU and pledged loyalty to the Taliban.

In conclusion, the US government’s designation of Central Asian and Caucasian Salafi-Jihadi groups as a global terrorist organization provides a positive impetus to global counterterrorism efforts. Such a move will certainly help the governments of Central Asia and the Middle East in cutting off the channels of financial, material and military assistance to extremist groups associated with al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Economy2 hours ago

Anglo-American Axis Needs Common Market, not Common Alliance

With the eruption of the war in Ukraine, and considering the post-war situation, the alliance system in the West and...

Environment3 hours ago

China will aim to plant and conserve 70 billion trees by 2030

Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Envoy for Climate Change announced the country’s active response to the World Economic Forum’s 1t.org initiative,...

Russia4 hours ago

Why We Need to Acknowledge Russia’s Security Concerns

At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the United States was able to avoid nuclear war over...

Tech News5 hours ago

Global CEOs Commit to Collective Action on Cyber Resilience

For the first time, leading oil and gas stakeholders are calling for industry to come together to stop harmful cyberattacks....

Finance8 hours ago

New Initiative to Strengthen Cross-Border Investment in the Digital Economy

A pioneering effort to facilitate cross-border investment in the digital economy was launched this week at the World Economic Forum...

Finance10 hours ago

Post-COVID, Latin American Leaders Say their Countries Are Open for Business

Rising food and energy prices and a migration crisis are posing significant economic and social challenges in Latin America, according...

Americas12 hours ago

The WW III that Biden and All Other Neocons Are Leading U.S. Toward

The intensely neoconservative U.S. President Joe Biden is leading the world into a World War III against both Russia and...

Trending