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More Commandments in Combating Islamic Jihad

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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.

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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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