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Time to Tell the Truth about Radical Islamic Terror

June 12 2017

In the wake of the recent bloody attacks on Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May announced the need for “difficult, often embarrassing conversations” about the ideological sources of terror. Jeffrey Herf agrees:

North African Muslim writers, scholars, and journalists . . . since the 1990s were drawing attention to the connections between interpretations of Islam and the practice of terror by Islamist organizations. They did so especially in what [one observer] called “the terror years” of the 1990s in Algeria, when between 100,000 and 200,000 people died in a civil war between Islamist organizations and the military regime. . . .

In their scholarship, journalism, poetry, essays, and satire, these writers disputed the idea that terror “had nothing to do with Islam.” They called [instead] for critical engagement with the sacred texts that terrorists cited to justify murder, and offered abundant and embarrassing evidence about the importance of [those] texts used to legitimate terror. They argued that a criticism of Islamism and its interpretation of the sacred texts of Islam were not synonymous with prejudice against Muslims. . . .

For many years, the [sois-disant] voices of realism in the democracies have told us that euphemism and avoidance regarding the truth about Islamism, Islam, and terror were essential to win the “war on terror.” Designed to avoid generating an anti-Muslim backlash in the democracies, the euphemisms and silences . . . have contributed to just that outcome. To refrain from stating the obvious has fostered cynicism and mistrust. . . .

It was never realistic, hard-headed, or prudent to deny in public what all Western political leaders knew—or should have known—about the ideological connection between interpretations of the religion of Islam and the practice of terror in recent decades. Realism in politics and policy demands an unflinching gaze at the facts, the evidence, and the truth. That unflinching gaze needs to be focused on the ideas and passions that have inflamed the hearts and minds of the murderers. [Portions] of the intellectual history of Islamist terror have already been written and are readily available as sources for the “difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations” that need to take place around the world.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Algeria, Islam, Politics & Current Affairs, Radical Islam, Theresa May, War on Terror

Toward an Iran Policy That Looks at the Big Picture

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech outlining a new U.S. approach to the Islamic Republic. Ray Takeyh and Mark Dubowitz explain why it constitutes an important and much-needed rejection of past errors:

For too long, a peculiar consensus has suggested that it is possible to isolate the nuclear issue from all other areas of contention and resolve it in a satisfactory manner. The subsidiary [assumption] embedded in this logic is that despite the bluster of Iran’s rulers, it is governed by cautious men, who if offered sufficient incentives and soothing language would respond with pragmatism. No one embraced this notion more ardently than the former secretary of state, John Kerry, who crafted an accord whose deficiencies are apparent to all but the most hardened partisans. . . .

A regime as dangerous as the Iranian one requires no less than a comprehensive strategy to counter it. This means exploiting all of its vulnerabilities, increasing the costs of its foreign adventures, draining its economy, and aiding our allies. Most importantly, the United States must find a way of connecting itself to domestic opposition that continuously haunts the mullahs.

Washington should no longer settle for an arms-control agreement that paves Iran’s path to a bomb but rather a restrictive accord that ends its nuclear aspirations. The United States should not implore its allies to share the Middle East with Iran, as Barack Obama did, but partner with them in defeating the clerical imperialists. And most importantly, the United States should never forget that its most indispensable ally is the Iranian people.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Mike Pompeo, U.S. Foreign policy