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From September 11 to Orlando: ICS and the Continuation of Western Denial

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The Islamic Caliphate State (now on: ICS) is an Islamic Salafī-Takfīrī organization that takes its ideology from Islam and acts exactly according to Muhammad and the Four Righteous Caliphs’ example (al-Khulafā’ al-Rāshidûn). It employs Jihad, Da’wah and Hijrah at the same time acts to bring back the Islamic seventh century as the ideal socio-political system. It is characterized by an un-selective Jihad terrorist strategy of killing the infidels (Takfīr – Kuffār), including killing Muslims who do not follow the strict commandments of Islam. By this, ICS has a world Islamic mission to accomplish.

However, there is the problem of terminology. From June 29th 2014, there is no longer “ISIS” or “ISIL” or “DAESH,” but the “Islamic Caliphate State” or the “Islamic State” or “the Caliphate. Period. To continue calling this phenomenon with its ancient names means to misunderstanding the situation. It was Albert Einstein from whom we may take an analogy: “if I was given one hour to solve a problem, I would have spent 55 minutes to define and understand the problem and only five minutes to solve it.” Indeed, here is the issue: if we do not define it properly, how can we contend with it let alone solve it? Those who continue to define ICS according to its past names prove inability, misunderstanding, and even unwillingness to really fight it.

Why do we stick to the ancient names? Perhaps it is our stupidity, or ignorance, or maybe lack of information. However, as an organization, ICS is the fourth stage in the development of an Islamic Jihadi terrorist group. Historically, there was Jamā’at al-Tawhīd wal-Jihād, established by Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian citizen with a Palestinian identity. His declared aims were to fight the US, in order to remove its presence from the entire Middle East; to fight the Shi’ites, as the apocalyptic eternal enemies of Sunni Islam, and at the same time to withhold the Iranian march to hegemony in the Middle East.

Al-Zarqawi promised once he achieve these goals, he would establish an “Islamic Emirate” in the region with the aim to fight all the infidels in the Muslim lands (Dār al-Islām). In October 2005 al-Zarqawi was personally nominated by Osama Bin Laden as al-Qaeda’s Emir of Iraq, but in June 2006 he was killed by an American drone. Abu Ayub al-Masri (Abu Hamzah al-Muhājir), an Egyptian citizen, took his place and established the Dawlat al-Islam fil-Iraq (the Islamic State in Iraq=ISI). This was the second stage in the development of the Islamic Jihadi terrorist group. Its military leader was Abu ‘Umar al-Baghdadi. In April 2010, both al-Masri and al-Baghdadi were killed by the US, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took the leadership of Dawlat al-Islam fil-Iraq, and began to take control of territories in Iraq.

In April 2013 al-Baghdadi decided to withdraw from al-Qaeda and to expand his territorial ambitions to Syria. He has changed his organization’s name from the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) to the Islamic State in Iraq and greater Syria (al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fil-Irāq wal-Shām=ISIS). From here comes the name Da’esh we use to describe the organization. This was the third stage in the development of the Islamic Jihadi terrorist group. However, due to his territorial and political successes, on June 29th 2014, al-Baghdadi has coroneted himself as “Khalīfah Ibrāhīm,” being a descendent of Prophet Muhammad, and at the same time Amīr al-Mu’minīn.

ICS in another stage, more lethal and vicious than al-Qaeda, but with the same line of Islamic Sunni Jihadi ideology that practices Salafīyah. It has radicalized the Islamic surroundings and brought to the core a new version of fanaticism and unhuman activity. What is perhaps more important concerning ICS is that the Free World is facing a new generation of Muslim terrorists: more educated and sophisticated; more intelligent and devoted to the Islamic cause and ideals; and more self-content about their ability to subdue the Free World.

This new kind of terrorists look in contempt at the September 11 Islamic generation, as an old ineffective and impotent. They exactly know all Western technological sophisticated means, and use them to destroy the West. Above all, now Islam has the Caliphate at the center and that embodies the future of the Islamic coming victory.

Though ICS constitutes a new and more violent stage than al-Qaeda, it represents a Jihadi evolution based on the same Islamic Sunni religious ideology with the same Islamic political infrastructure. ICS was born by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from al-Qaeda’s Abdallah Azzam, Bin Laden, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, and radicalized. al-Qaeda was born from the ideological conceptions of Sayyid Qutb and Abu A’ala al-Mawdudi, and radicalized. Qutb and al-Mawdudi were the students of Hasan al-Banna’s Muslim Brotherhood ideology, and radicalized. Hence, ICS is the only last stage of this Islamic Jihadi continuous evolutionary doctrine.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the source of the Salafi Sunni ideology that motivates ICS. Each and every radicalized stage is based on Islamic Sharī’ah. In ideological terms there are traditional fundamentalism (Salafīyah Taqlīdīyah); Jihadi fundamentalism (Salafiyah Jihādīyah); and infidelity fundamentalism (Salafiyah Takfīrīyah). But all are based on the same roots of Islamic Sunni political ideology. By that, the message is gloomy: by no means ICS is the last stage in the evolution of the Islamic Jihadi terrorism. Whatever its cruelty is, there are no less radical groups, and in future there will be much more extreme and vicious groups with the aim to bring the Islamic tidings to the entire world.

ICS’s emergence and success are due to the collapse of the Middle East order and the disappearance of authoritarian regimes to the point of failed states. This is not and never has been an “Arab Spring,” but from the first day it was the “Tribal Anarchic Islamic Winter.” To the vacuum that was created by Obama Administration by toppling the Arab military regimes (US code: “step down”), the Islamic jihadi groups have entered with full power. On the other hand, the lake of leadership and vision of Western leaders and the continuing denial of the Islamic lethal reality have forcefully pushed the Islamic Jihadi groups to lead the Islamic revolution in the region. The chaotic situation in Libya, Syria, and Yemen is 100 percent the responsibility of Obama.

ICS has become the most important and influential non-state player in the entire international relations. It serves as a model of pure success, and proves again there is no more successful like success. Its political influence is much more lethal than its operational, its educational activity among the youth is stunning, and its social media operation is so sophisticated and effective for the establishment of the Caliphate.

Western denial

The contemporary foreign policy of the Free World in the Middle East, the Islamic world and Islam in general has proven to be disastrous, because its policymakers and analysts are unable or unwilling to opt to articulate them through familiar Western paradigms. That is, instead of trying to understand Arab-Islamic political culture, they use the mirror image approach and act according to the mental blindness principle. Every time there is a terrorist Jihad attack, they respond in the same routine cowardice way, declaring: Islam is the religion of peace; Muslims that operate Jihad are extremists and not real Muslims; and a policy of concessions and appeasement will reduce Jihad and extremism among Muslims.

The best ‘advice’ was lastly given by the Attorney General of the US, Loretta Lynch. For her, “Most effective response to terror is compassion, unity, and love.” Now, this is really a new innovative strategy, so simple and apparently so effective. You see, if a Muslim terrorist rampages through one’s home or at public place, butchering and massacring while shouting “Allāhu akbar,” all one should do is to greet him with love and compassion and showing sympathy and empathy to him.

Why it is a brilliant strategy? Because there is no doubt the terrorist immediately will stop his murderous activity and becomes a peace loving person. Showing him love, which he was neglected of, he surly would answer with love. Most important, he would immediately abandon the so many verses of the Qur’an that preach for hatred and violence, to kill the infidels whenever and wherever they are, to slaughter and smite their neck, and to terrorize them. He will abandon all these and preach liove.

From September 11 2001 on, the Free World’s peoples and their public opinion are being systematically told about the fiction that Islamic most murderous groups such as al-Qaeda and ICS are not Islamic but in fact anti-Islamic, and there is no doubt about Islam being a religion of peace and compassion. During the presidency of Obama we are facing a huge monstrous disinformation campaign directed from the White House and reflected by the governmental branches that Islam and terrorism are incompatible, and to relate to Islam such atrocities contradicts human logic even the nature laws.

Therefore, if ICS and al-Qaeda cite Islamic Scriptures to justify their atrocities, they are “hijacking” and “perverting” Islam. Moreover, when an attack committed by Muslims is too obviously terrorism to deny, it is called “ISIS-inspired,” or “al-Qaeda-inspired,” yet these groups are temporal and localized problem: defeat them, and the terrorism problem vanishes. Kill Bin Laden and al-Qaeda vanishes; execute al-Baghdadi and ICS vanishes. These terrorist groups are bad and deserve to be eliminated, but they are not Muslims. The same wrong approach and ignorance applies to what is called “loners” or “wolf loners.” Therefore, all one really needs is to see the beauty of Islam and the ugliness of those who pretend to be Muslims.

Western leaders restrain and censor their governmental branches, and the media and decision-makers alike refuse to connect the dots and insist on treating Islam as it deserves. The fact is there is “al-Qaeda,” “Taliban,” “Boko Haram,” “Shabab,” “ICS,” and other hundreds of Islamic terrorist organizations, all of them are Muslim in origin and all of them are struggling to bring the Islamic tidings to the entire world. They use Muslim hymn and symbols and its vocabulary. They practice the Islamic traditions and commandments. They preach for the Islamic objectives to achieve, and they use the Islamic tactics. And still, Western denial continues.

One must be fed up with this. Each and every person who just uses common sense even basic logic knows the answer. ICS is Islamic. It is 100 percent Islamic. ICS stems from Islam, it represents Islam, and it proves the Islamic political ideology and embodies what Islam really is. It is crystal clear and obvious like day and night. To say that ICS does not represent Islam is like to say that Earth is flat. If ICS is not Islam, than the Sun surrounds Earth. This is the greatest denial ever in history. This is the scourge of our generation; the greatest big lie ever has fallen upon humanity and worst of all, it directly leads to national disasters in an apocalyptic scale.

There is more. Part of our leaders, the media and the academia denial has to do with definitions. There is the mistaken narrative whether ICS is Islamic or Islamist. This differentiation between “Islamic” being good and moderate and “Islamist” being bad and radical, is totally artificial and absolutely Western oriented without any connection or corroboration to Islam itself. It is another stepping stone of Western ignorant debate; a version of Western apologetic appeasing discourse to analyzing and defining Islam; and perhaps it is another example to prove how Western leaders are intimidated concerning the Islamic threats.

And still we continue to argue and debate this matter. Why? Are we so stupid about the Islamic phenomenon? No, we are not. We know exactly everything about Islam. Or perhaps are we so ignorant understanding Islam? No, we are not. We know what is written in the Qur’an and the Sharī’ah, and we have all the knowledge about Islamic notorious history. Or perhaps do the so many Islamic groups hide their fanatic barbaric Islamic origins and ideologies? No, they are not. They declare their means and aims loud and clear, using all the Islamic terms and ideology and exactly acting according to Islamic commandments to subdue the world.    

So what’s going on here? How that is our leaders called a spade a spade concerning Nazism and Communism and labeled them as enemies but refuse to do the same concerning Islam? Soon the day will come when we all have to admit that Islam is the uppermost lethal enemy of humanity. We will recognize with admiration that Bernard Lewis in 1990 and Samuel Huntington in 1993 were right declaring the “clash of civilizations syndrome.” We also have to admit that from that time on there is a long line of academic members and others who proved this reality and preached to cut out the vicious circle of silencing by Western politicians. Unfortunately, time runs and the price humanity will pay for this negligence perhaps conspiracy of silence will be unbearable, probably the modern embodiment of the Pyrrhic victory.

Why our leaders stubbornly refuse to utter the word “Islam” when it comes to terrorism and violence? There are perhaps many reasons, none of them is because Islam and terrorism are not deeply connected and interrelated. It is also not ignorance and not stupidity they perform. The fact is our leaders appease and pay protection money. The reason for that behavior is fear. Deep atavist fear of the ruffian murderer, the primitive vandal, the savage thug. They are intimidated as of how to deal with 1.6 billion Muslims if they declare the problem is the Islamic religion and its political ideology.

Our leaders are under deep mental and physical violence and fear of terrorism, so they have made the decision not to insult and not to hurt Muslims’ sensibilities. They believe that letting the Muslims to practice their religion and culture it will ease their aggressiveness. They are really in disarray concerning Muslims and Islam and they want to come back to normality, to their common sense and sanity. They wish wholeheartedly to run away from the madness they don’t understand – by closing their eyes and by paralysis of their actions.

This situation is observed by the euphemisms “radical Islam,” “fundamental Islam” and the like. Many complain that President Obama systematically forbids his governmental branches to put together the words “Islamic” and “terrorism,” even not to use the phrase “radical Islam.” Later on he excelled by forbidding his Administration to use the words “Sharī’ah” and “Jihad” as related to Islam. Indeed, this is a shame.

If there were any doubts whether leaders are abdicating their responsibility to stand up for the Free World’s existence, the Orlando Massacre was the last example. President Obama and Hillary Clinton deflected attention from the obvious Islamic terrorism to debate about the gun control issue. Obama and other delusional leaders have rushed to defend Islam and to assure us Islam is one of the world’s great peaceful religions: “ISIL is not Islamic… and the terrorists trying to pervert a noble religion.”

At the beginning, Obama mocked at ICS nicknamed it as a “JV team,” and at the same continue his slogans of peaceful compassionate Islam. At the UN Obama praised Islam: “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.” Part of his continuing detached delusional declarations are: “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.” “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.” “We know Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.” “Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism, it is an important part of promoting peace.” And perhaps the most important: “I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam.”

The Orlando massacre was an act of a pure Islamic terrorism representing a doctrine of hatred towards the infidels and what it stands for. Omar Mateen has given his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Arabic, while declaring “In the name of Allah the Merciful, the beneficent” (Bismillāh), and adding “may Allah protect him [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] on behalf of the Islamic State.” The nonsense response of the US Administration was that the massacre was “more to hate and not just terrorism,” with the unfortunate slogan: “one cannot fight homophobia with Islamphobia.”

However, those who complain about Obama Administration’s refusal to call it “radical Islam” are no less mistaken. There is no “radical Islam” and as much as there is no “moderate Islam.” There is only “Islam.” Period. Just remember the declaration of Recep Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister: “the term ‘Moderate Islam’ is ugly and offensive. There is no moderate Islam. Islam is Islam.” There are radical Muslims as against moderate Muslims, but this has nothing to do with the doctrine of Islam and its political ideology. “Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri’s al-Qaeda and Baghdadi’s ICS are not “radical Muslims,” but loyal (Mukhlis) Muslim believers. They strictly follow the Islamic Sharī’ah. They act according to Islamic commandments. It is as such simple and clear as it is the truth when it comes to Islam. It is just the use of language that makes the difference: what for Western pronouncing is “radical,” for Islam it is “moderate” and “faithful,” and vice versa. Only the perspective approach and the language matters.

After the Tunisia massacre, on June 26, 2015, in which many British tourists were murdered. Immediately there came the Pavlovian reaction of PM David Cameron, that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the massacre was performed by “extremists.” Interesting. However, he even broke the record, since he overtook President Obama in his fast reaction. How this malaise is so pervasive one can deduct from the situation in the British schools that have been infiltrated by Muslims.

On March 23, 2015, Home Secretary, Theresa May said that “Islam is entirely compatible with British values and our national way of life, while Islamist extremism is not.” This is not a joke. From 2011 the British government has claimed that extremism is a “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.” Now, all that one can do is to compare these with Islam.

This is also the case with the French and Belgian reaction after the Islamic massacres there. The Free World denial of Islamic situation continues even strongly when it comes to the horrific acts of the ICS. When asked about the mutual relationships and the religious background of ICS and Islam, the answer given by Western politicians is denial and refutation. However, there is an outlet: it is suggested to consult with the Qur’an and learn the Sharī’ah. If not, something is really deeply odd, let alone confusing and embarrassing relating to this issue when it comes to treating Islam.

But there is more. The Free World’s leaders are afraid because there is also the “Intimidation-Money Syndrome.” They are afraid of the brutal ruffian, but much more by the probability that the oil-states money flaw, mainly by Saudi-Arabia and Qatar, will be cut off and prevented. In times of money shortage, the industry, the stock markets, the media, and the universities are badly in need of this money. The result: our leaders have found out the “solution” by denying the connection between Islam and terrorism and violence, by appeasing and by apologizing. Yet, there is more. One of the outlets is blaming the Jews. This is exactly what is going on in Europe today against Israel. Whatever the situation is, Israel is the answer to all the problems not Islam.

That is exactly why the reasons to the victory of Islam and the collapse of Western civilization do not come from the ethnocentric Islamic political ideology, but from the Free World’s leaders, the media, the academia, and the cultural elite submissive appeasement. Let me put it straight: Islam and Muslims would not even raised their heads in so-high burst of hatred and animosity and even would not try to work so incessantly with Jihad, Da’wah and Hijrah to conquer the world, without Western weaknesses and submissiveness; without the vacuum the West has willingly created.

However, just as in the 1930’s the European leaders appeased and gave up and gave in to Hitler’s aggression, yet not paradoxically, it was the aggressor who opened the war. Exactly the same occurs today. Western civilization appeases and pays protection money, and still Islam has declared a religious war against it. This is the deep unfortunate reality that our leaders do not learn even from their own lessons, and do not act in proactive strategy to defend our civilization.

If the Free World’s leadership will not wake up and sober up, the destruction of Western civilization and the ushering in of the Islamic New World Order is sure. We have a clear historical proofs: in 732 Charles, “The Hammer” Martel defeated the Muslim invaders advancing toward Paris, at the Battle of Tours. In 1683, the Polish King Sobieski beat back the invading Muslim army at the Battle of Vienna. Christianity was twice saved in Europe solely because Europe fought back by the sword. If Europe had not possessed the will to resist, it would be Islamic, and Christianity would be exterminated. But above all, Europe would be the reflection of the Middle East: poor and miserable socially; retarded and undeveloped technologically, and savage and not advanced politically.

The history of the Middle East proves this reality crystal clear. Wherever Islam has had complete sway, Christianity ultimately disappeared and wretchedness emerged. Indeed, the civilization of Europe, America and Australia exists today only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization. The question at stake is clear: whether the Judeo-Christian culture persists or primitiveness exists. The Free World has the ability to win over but has lost the will, the spirit to fight evil.

Our leaders have all the reasons not only to wake up and sober up, but to fight for their societies’ existence. The statistics is clear: over 95 percent of world terrorism and 70 percent of world violence are Islamic. All the intelligence agencies’ reports clearly indicate that at least 20 percent of the Muslims and 40 percent of the youngsters till 26 have clear Jihadi inclinations. A research published by the Czech Republic’s intelligence in May 2016 indicates that 44 percent of the Muslims in Europe match the European definition of fundamentalism.

The U.S. State Department’s annual, counts 11,774 terrorist attacks in 92 countries around the world. All of them were Islamic. More than 55 percent of all attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria), and 74 percent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria). The number of terrorist kidnappings and hostage-takings increased in 2015 to more than 12,100. Moreover, in the last 70 years, almost 14 million Muslims were butchered by other Muslims.  

Nevertheless, Western leaders are determined never to connect the dots. If one observes the behavior, reactions, and the activity of ICS, he needs nothing more as to clearly and absolutely be sure it is Islamic and it acts exactly according to the Islamic commandments and teachings. Indeed, when tolerance becomes a one way street, it leads to cultural suicide, and it ushers in religious genocide. It was Albert Einstein to declare: The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything. That is why this war that the Western world must employ is the pure just war. Never in history there has been more just than this war against the enemy of civilization. Sam Harris has put it succinctly:

We are now mired in a religious war in Iraq, and elsewhere… The truth that we must finally confront is that Islam contains specific doctrines about martyrdom and jihad that directly inspire Muslim terrorism… It is time we admitted that we are not at war with “terrorism.” We are at war with Islam. This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims, but we are absolutely at war with the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran. The only reason Muslim fundamentalism is a threat to us is because the fundamentals of Islam are a threat to us. Every American should read the Koran and discover the relentlessness with which non-Muslims are vilified in its pages. The idea that Islam is a “peaceful religion hijacked by extremists” is a dangerous fantasy… deluding ourselves with euphemisms is not the answer. Our press should report on the terrifying state of discourse in the Arab press, exposing the degree to which it is a tissue of lies, conspiracy theories and exhortations to recapture the glories of the 7th century. All civilized nations must unite in condemnation of a theology that now threatens to destabilize much of the Earth.

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Can the Taliban tame ETIM?

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Uighur jihadists of Turkestan Islamic Party

The Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) is also known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is a Uyghur Islamic extremist organization founded in the Xinjiang province of China. TIP is the new name, although China still calls it by the name ETIM and refuses to acknowledge it as TIP. The ETIM was founded in 1997 by Hasan Mahsum before being killed by a Pakistani army in 2003. Its stated aim is to establish an independent state called ‘East Turkestan’ replacing Xinjiang. The United States removed it from its list of terrorist Organizations in 2020. The group and its ties to Muslim fundamentalism have compounded Chinese concerns about the rising threat of terrorism within the country.

In Tianjin, the Taliban’s political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar again pledged to “never allow any force” to engage in acts detrimental to China. Suhail Shaheen, the Afghan Taliban’s spokesperson, said in an exclusive interview with the Global Times that many ETIM members had left Afghanistan because Taliban had categorically told them that Afghanistan can’t be used to launch attacks against other countries. The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had also asked the Taliban to crack down on the ETIM, which is based out of the Xinjiang province. In view of the Taliban’s pro-China stance on the ETIM, the article will assess the feasibility of the Taliban’s promises of not providing sanctuaries to the groups which are direct threat to the national security of China.

First, this statement surprises the experts in view of the Taliban’s historic relationship with the ETIM.  According to a recent United Nations Security Council report, ETIM has approximately 500 fighters in northern Afghanistan, mostly located in Badakhshan province, which adjoins Xinjiang in China via the narrow Wakhan Corridor. Most of Badakhshan is now under Taliban control, but according to some reports, Tajik, Uzbek, Uighur and Chechen fighters comprise the bulk of the local Taliban rank and file, rather than Pashtun fighters. This scenario appears very challenging for the top leadership of the Taliban to deny sanctuaries to such loyalists.

Second, ETIM is operating in Afghanistan since 1990. It has strong links with the local Taliban commanders. The local Taliban commanders may put pressure on the top leadership or hinder the extradition of ETIM members from Afghanistan. Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at Lanzhou University, thinks that ETIM members in Afghanistan still have some influence. It may not be easy for the Taliban to fully cut ties with all ETIM members in Afghanistan as it may hurt other military militants that used to support it.

Third, the Taliban’s capacity to tame the ETIM is limited because its all members and leadership have scattered across Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey. Zhang Jiadong, a professor with the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times, “In recent years, the ETIM also changed its living areas overseas. The exact number of ETIM members is hard to know but “its core members are living in countries including Pakistan, Syria, and Turkey. More of them stay in Syria than in Afghanistan and have been keeping a low profile in recent years”.

Fourth, the ETIM has developed close ties with international militant organizations, including Al Qaeda. Moreover, Al Qaeda has significant influence over the Taliban. Al Qaeda has ability and resources to sabotage the extradition of ETIM members from Afghanistan. Some militant organizations including IS-K have developed the ideological differences with the Afghan Taliban. IS-K recently used a Uyghur fighter for suicide campaign in Afghanistan just to show fissure between the Taliban and ETIM. So, this trend can be a challenge for the Afghan Taliban.

The Taliban’s new stance of not providing sanctuaries to the ETIM contradicts with some of its founding principles. The Taliban’s new version on ETIM is not easy to follow. Time will be the true judge of the feasibility of Taliban’s new stance.

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The heartwarming story of Uighur jihadists

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In the wake of 9/11, the US government scooped up all the terrorist networks and made an assessment of which ones were a threat to America. The prisoners held in Guantanamo were of the jihadist Islamic militant type. It’s not like the US government, in order to help other governments, filled Guantanamo with random, latent secessionist movements from around the world – Quebec, Catalonia, the IRA in Ireland, or the Tigray in Ethiopia. You wouldn’t find any of them in Guantanamo. The Guantanamo profile was clearly that of the Islamic militant jihadist that poses a threat to America.

Guantanamo was not a charity project where governments from around the world could dump and keep their separatists. There was a shared counter-terrorism interest between the United States and China, specifically in the area of combating Uighur jihadists, and that’s not a story that can be erased.

There were 22 Uighur jihadists held in Guantanamo, in total. Uighur jihadists were and still are the China-oriented spinoff of Al-Qaeda. Their organization, the East Turkestan Independence Movement (ETIM) was formally listed as a terrorist organization by the US Treasury Department and the US State Department during the war on terror. ETIM is still on the UN Security Council’s list of sanctioned for terrorism entities. The Uighur jihadists stayed on the Security Council’s list after a recent review of their status was completed in November, 2020. ETIM is also a part of the UN report on the status of Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Very recently, in July 2021, the UN said that the Uighur jihadists group ETIM has several hundred fighters in Afghanistan on the border with China, and that they are affiliated with Al-Qaeda, even though the US government de-listed them from its terrorist organizations list in 2020 and has argued that they no longer exist. This was a purely political move by the US government that does not reflect the reality on the ground, and signifies a shift that the American public is expected to follow.

Just after 9/11, in 2002, Uighur jihadists plotted a terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. At the time, the Washington Post said: “The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said today there is evidence that an obscure Muslim organization fighting Chinese rule in the western province of Xinjiang has been planning a terrorist strike against the U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan”. That marked the first time China and the US shared a common terrorist enemy. That same year, the same terrorist group (ETIM) shot dead a Chinese diplomat in the same city. 

The Uighur jihadists threatened the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing; they are responsible for political assassinations, bombings and wide-spread, clear-cut terrorism of substantial scale. Uighur jihadists perpetrated a terrorist attack in Thailand in 2015, killing 20 people in a tourist resort. The same group of Uighur jihadists successfully carried out a suicide car-bomb attack on the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan in 2016, 14 years after the US Embassy there shared the same risk. You didn’t hear about more plots against America by the Uighur jihadists because the US government went after them right away: some went to Guantanamo; others were scattered.

The US State Department reported in 2002 that ETIM was a terrorist organization with over 200 acts of terrorism committed in the 1990s. China did not start making things up only after 9/11, just to fit in the US counter-terrorism narratives and priorities in order to get rid of uncomfortable critics of the regime. China was already experiencing a big, very real terrorism threat of the same kind the US faced in the 2000s. It was the same enemy.

Something as big as a terrorism plot against a US Embassy would have definitely counted in a time when even borrowing the Quran from a library was followed. If put through the ordinary legal system, a foiled plot on a US embassy could give you 15-20 years in jail or less, and then you’d be out, or maybe you would just walk if the judge didn’t like the source of the evidence. If you were “only” training with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden without an actual plot, that would also give you only several years in jail, or no jail time at all, if the judge didn’t like the source of the evidence. That’s the kind of things Guantanamo was created to prevent: a place to keep “the worst of the worst” where the US government didn’t have to think about the regular legal system. Current Attorney General, Merrick Garland, in fact, was one of those judges back in the days of the Guantanamo court wars, who ruled to release Uighur jihadists on the basis of over-reliance on evidence from the Chinese government. If the Chinese are saying it, they can’t be terrorists, was the argument there, so they had to be released. With the parents-as-terrorists DOJ memo by Garland and the recent confirmation that the FBI’s counter-terrorism unit indeed puts red flags on parents as potential terrorists in 2021, one has to be reminded that Garland rarely gets it right in the area of terrorism. More often than not, it’s exactly the other way around. Jihadists can leave, parents can come in.

There is an attempt right now to reverse the narrative of the Uighur jihadists, and the audience is the American public. That push is relatively new and emerged in the US mainstream media only over the past 1-2 years, in parallel with the narrative of the Uighur genocide committed by China. The reason is simple: you can’t have it both ways. Americans can’t feel compassion for the Uighurs and hate China, if they are constantly reminded the uncomfortable facts that the Uighur jihadists were actually together with Bin Laden in Tora Bora, they lived in a village provided by Al Qaeda and trained in weapons and terrorism tactics for Bin Laden. It’s just that their direction was different: mostly against China. They ran away together from the American bombardments of Al Qaeda in Tora Bora. They were sought after by the Americans, the same way the Americans searched for Bin Laden for 10 years. There was bounty on their heads. 22 Uighurs were held in Guantanamo for many years and were released only after a decade. In Guantanamo, Uighurs confessed right away to their activities and their links to Al Qaeda. The ETIM was listed as a terrorist organization by the US government in 2002, after the US government reviewed several organizations proposed for terrorism listing by the Chinese government, and concluded there was evidence only for them, dismissing the other organizations proposed by the Chinese. The US government wasn’t indiscriminately accepting requests by countries to help them with their problematic groups. Just after 9/11, in 2002 the group organized the plot against the US Embassy. The plot was foiled.

When the facts are so damning, the US mainstream media certainly has a problem. These facts show that China was not just making it up, looking for ways to exploit the US counter-terrorism mania of the 2000s when everything was about the war on terror and, in the haste, the US government could have been easily misled. The Uighurs as jihadists presents a very clear challenge to the spin factory of the liberal media right now. The attempt to reverse the narrative of the Uighurs as jihadists over the past 1-2 years takes the nuanced analysis angle to the level of parody. I’ll walk you through some of it.

A recent CNN investigation claims that the Uighurs jihadists held in Guantanamo were mostly economic migrants who left China in a search of a better life and they had nowhere else to go but Bin Laden’s Tora Bora. They have no idea how they found themselves in the Al Qaeda village, they were in the wrong place, at the wrong time. They were not aware of what Bin Laden was doing. Now, years after leaving Guantanamo, they are just men looking for love and family. The CNN story is that the Uighur jihadists were never really terrorists, just “dreamers” with guns. They used weapons only because that was the cultural tradition in the mountains – not as terrorists or something. The terrorist training camps in Tora Bora under the umbrella of Al Qaeda and bin Laden was not actually terrorism training, they were using weapons only casually, not in a determined way. The Uighur jihadists didn’t join Bin Laden as terrorists; it’s just that there was nowhere else to go. When the American bombardments of Tora Bora started, it was very scary for them. They ran around the caves looking for food like refugees. When they were captured by the Americans in Pakistan, they felt “cheated” and tricked. How could they do this to them? That wasn’t nice of the Pakistanis at all. Their dreams were shattered after all the suffering experienced in running away from the Americans bombardments. Actually, going to America and Guantanamo was better than going back to China for them. They were impressed with the level of cultural awareness demonstrated by the Americans in Guantanamo that surprised the Chinese that visited Guantanamo. To you and me, from the point of view of our standards, it could look like the American government was torturing in Guantanamo, but the Uighur jihadists really preferred the American prisons to ordinary life in China, despite “some mistakes” on the part of the Guantanamo management. The narrative is mind-boggling and you wonder how the American public can stomach that at all.

It gets better. At Atlantic story of the same kind claims that the fact that the Uighur jihadists told the US government right away what they were doing, stated their affiliation with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden, and explained their terrorism training activities, meant that they can’t really be terrorists, if they weren’t trying to hide it. If what they themselves confessed was so damning, then they couldn’t have been terrorists, and that had to be excluded from the evidence. It was sad that they were “incriminating” themselves by being so forthcoming. If they confessed to it, that was just a sign that they were honest people and they can’t be terrorists. The Guardian, recently in 2020, also joined The Atlantic line and claimed that if the men incriminated themselves, the interrogations had to be discredited. And anyways, right now it all has to be about the Chinese detainment camps in Xinjiang anyways, so you can’t have actual Uighur jihadists uncomfortably messing up the narrative. The Guardian presses that ETIM is an organization designated as a terrorist organization only by China, skipping that the designation was virtually uniform – the US government, the UN Security Council, the UN report on the status of Al Qaeda and ISIS, the Canadian government, and more. You can really tell that these facts are quite annoying to the liberal media, and it is really messing up their stories.

The CNN rather gullible narrative ends with a criticism of Canada, which is also repeated by The Guardian: Canada won’t let in three Uighur jihadists, former Guantanamo detainees. The liberal media narrative wants you to see them simply as men looking to be reunited with their families, but the Canadian government hypocritically stands in the way of love. Hypocritically – because, as CNN states, Canada is against the Chinese crackdown and detainment of people in Xinjiang but won’t let in Uighur jihadists, former Guantanamo detainees. That, in fact, is the most rational approach to the issue a government can have.

The Guardian pushed the same story with the title “It breaks my heart”, also blaming Canada for not letting them in, after their families moved to Canada.

The Atlantic article pushed the same narrative, claiming that the Chinese government somehow tricked and deceived the American government that these Al-Qaeda affiliated, Tora Bora residing, Guantanamo-held terrorists were terrorists. This was only Chinese propaganda by an authoritarian regime. The article admits that the Chinese experienced over 200 terrorist attacks by that group, but here the nuanced analysis kicks in. These events were separate and isolated, instead of arising from one place of coordination, so this wide-spread terrorism wave can’t be terrorism. That pattern is exactly what terrorism of this kind looks like, in fact: loose, ideologically-driven networks without a direct chain of command. You don’t need one place of coordination to prove that terrorists are terrorists. The article also submits that a lot of terrorist attacks that China experienced were actually falsely branded as terrorism, citing small-scale incidents and attacks that would right away fall under the mainstream terrorism narrative, if the same happened in Western Europe. The Atlantic narrative also pushes the argument that terrorism is used only as an excuse by the Chinese, that’s not the real reason why they are after these networks, as if it could get more serious than that. And most importantly for the American audience, the Atlantic analysis claims that the Uighur jihadists were never anti-American “enemy combatants”, even though the author cites an article by the Council on Foreign Relations that mentions the foiled terrorist plot on the American Embassy in 2002, which was a central event for the US government. But that doesn’t count because it didn’t happen, the plot was foiled. The group was rather local, The Atlantic argues now, and was not a part of the international jihad. They were, however. ETIM’s objective was the creation of a fundamentalist Muslim state called “East Turkistan”, which was supposed to cover many countries in the region – something like ISIS’s idea for a caliphate, but for the Turk ethnicity across the region. In terms of operations, Uighur operations definitely had an international reach – whether across countries in the region, by threatening the international Olympic Games, and even as a terrorist attack on a tourist resort going as far as Thailand.

So, these are the narratives that various liberal corners are trying to push: the version of the warm, fuzzy, innocent terrorists who were just misunderstood. If there is one area where US mainstream media can’t sell their narratives about “demonizing”, “scapegoating” and “dog whistling” to the American public, that’s with Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. But they will still try. Reading these articles, you have to wonder: what’s the agenda there.

After their release from Guantanamo, Uighur jihadists were dispatched to Albania, Switzerland and Slovakia and some Latin American countries. The question is whether the American government has leverage over these former Guantanamo detainees, and whether they will join the terrorist networks operating against China. We don’t know what the terms of release of these jihadists were and whether they are not sleeping cells that could be unleashed upon China at some point. The radicalization of Xinjiang by the US government with the aim to create trouble for the Chinese government is one of the reasons the US government invaded Afghanistan, as I argued previously.

You have to love the way the US government interprets US support for terrorism around the world: we are not funding and supporting terrorism, we are just creating strategic groups to fight authoritarian regimes. In the 1980s, the US government created and funded the mujahidin, right there, in the same region. Then they pushed ISIS on the world as the good terrorists in Syria, only to have to fight them later, and God knows how many more terrorist groups that we have no idea about.

The fact that over the last 1-2 years the big US mainstream media spends resources on stories to basically white-wash clear-cut terrorists should signal something. These stories appear only now, almost 10 years after most of the Uighur jihadists were released from Guantanamo. These stories about the innocence of Guantanamo detainees scapegoated by the bad Chinese government didn’t appear right away. You’d think that the time for these stories would have been around the time when the Uighur jihadists got released from Guantanamo, not now.  

The white-washing efforts by the US mainstream media who have to somehow explain the inconvenient past, show a sad fact about American public discourse right now: you can be vilified as a monster for saying things to women, while US mainstream media will break their backs to explain why actual terrorists are not that bad after all, and are really the victims here. They were not really terrorists, they just became victims of their terrorist activities. Watch this white-washing space. It will become even more pronounced, as we move forward into more hardened narratives of the Cold War against China.

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Terrorism

Islamic State Khorasan’s Threat and the Taliban

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As the Islamic State loses territory, it has increasingly turned to Afghanistan as a base for its global caliphate. Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) is the Islamic State’s Central Asian province and remains active in the region since 2015. Khorasan region historically encompasses parts of modern-day Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. IS-K mainly consists of some members of TTP, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud- Dawa, Lashkar-e-Islam, Haqqani Network, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Afghan Taliban.

IS-K has received support from the Islamic State’s core leadership in Iraq and Syria. Like the Islamic State’s core leadership in Iraq and Syria, IS-K seeks to establish a caliphate beginning in South and Central Asia, governed by sharia law. IS-K disregards international borders and envisions its territory transcending nation-states like Pakistan and Afghanistan. IS-K aims at delegitimizing existing states, degrading trust in democracy, exploiting sectarianism.

IS-K’s relations with the Afghan Taliban are tense due to sectarian and some policy differences. The Taliban follows the Hanfi school of Sunni Islam. While IS-K has derived its teachings from Wahabi or Salfi school of Islam. IS-K propounds the agenda of borderless jihad to establish one political power. IS-K directs the fighters to “have no mercy or compassion” against the Taliban for refusing to “join the caliphate”. The Taliban agenda has been limited to Afghanistan. In 2015, a video by IS-K had denounced the Taliban for having an amir. Both emerged from the same madrassas. Five of the six IS-K leaders were Pakistani. Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadem, a Taliban defector, also pledged allegiance to the ISIL in 2015. Shahab al Muhajir as IS-K new emir following the capture of his predecessor Aslam Farooqi. He was once a mid-level commander in the Haqqani Network. 

IS-K condemned the Taliban’s peace negotiations with the United States in its March 2020 newsletter Al Naba, stating that the Taliban and the crusaders are allies. In 2021, IS-K vowed to retaliate against the Taliban for their peace deal with the United States. IS-K blames Taliban as nationalists with parochial interests in Afghanistan.

In an open letter to IS leader Abu Bakar al Baghdadi the Taliban warned they would be compelled to “defend our achievements”. IS-K has been exploiting the internal power struggle within the Taliban.  In 2015, then Taliban leader Akhtar Mansour urged IS-K fighters to coalesce “under one banner”, alongside the Taliban. Leaders in the Taliban’s Quetta Shura authorized additional offensives and deployed elite Red Unit to fight IS-K. In Jowzjan province, IS-K surrendered to the Taliban.

The IS-K has launched multiple attacks since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan particularly at Kabul airport. According to the report, the group has strengthened its position in and around Kabul, where it conducts most of its attacks, targeting minorities, activists, government employees and personnel of Afghan security forces. Taliban has taken districts from IS-K in the past and reportedly killed Omar Khorasani, Farooq Bengalzai and Abu Obaidullah Mutawakil—the former leaders of ISKP. The Taliban had also closed more than three dozen Salafist mosques across 16 different provinces.

Zabiullah Mujahid said, “IS-K has no physical presence here, but it is possible some people who may be our own Afghan have adopted Daesh ideology, which is a phenomenon that is neither popular nor is supported by Afghan”.

Taliban has also international support in dealing with IS-K. The Iranian military has also collaborated with the Taliban to secure Iran’s land border with Afghanistan and deny IS-K fighters’ freedom of movement. The Taliban leaders have already opened dialogue with several regional countries, assuming that they would not allow IS-K to gain a foothold in Afghanistan and threaten their stability. States such as Iran, China, and Russia are reviewing their engagement with the Taliban. The chief of US Central Command Gen. Frank Mckenzie also admitted that the US is also providing very limited support to the Taliban to counter the IS-K.

IS-K is an external and weak terrorist outfit, which cannot manage massive inclusion. The IS-K is a potential terrorist threat, but not beyond being controlled. In the present day, however, there is little incentives for groups like the TTP to align with severely weakened IS-K at the expense of the Taliban. The TTP in fact put out a detailed statement saying that they are against ISKP in July 2020. The TTP and the Afghan Taliban both have deep connections with Al Qaeda, which has a deep rivalry with IS. There are few chances that the TTP will join hands with IS-K as it is an ally of Al Qaeda with allegiance to Mullah Haibatulllah, the Taliban supreme leader. There are more chances that East Turkistan Movement ETIM, a long-standing battlefield ally of the Taliban, will manage the Uyghur jihadist network in Afghanistan.

International pressure is also mounting on Taliban to take action against IS-K. According to the Morgan, if Taliban is not able to gain the international recognition it needs to be able to run the country. It will also hinder Taliban access to the global financial institutions, rendering the Taliban incapable of paying for the imports that feed the country. In peace deal, it was with the assurance that the Taliban would severe ties with other armed groups. However, Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen refused to become the part of US-led efforts to counter IS-k.

UN report estimates that there are 1500 to 2200 personnel of IS-K in Afghanistan. Moreover, IS-K has less influence in the militant ecosystem of Afghanistan. So, it is likely less chances that IS-K becomes the threat to the regional stability. Taliban has muscle to effectively eliminate the IS-K threat from Afghanistan.

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