Terror Will Continue until Muslims Reject the Idea of the Caliphate

Aug. 22 2017

Responding to the recent terrorist attacks in Spain, Ed Husain—a former radical Islamist—assails the Western tendency toward self-flagellation and points to the true motives behind the violence. (Free registration required.)

Consider the facts on Spain: on March 11, 2004, al-Qaeda terrorists killed 192 and injured 2,000 on trains in Madrid. Spain had 1,300 troops in Iraq at the time (America had 135,000 and Britain 8,700). Three days after the bombing, Prime Minister José Maria Aznar lost the general election to a left-wing party committed to ending Spain’s involvement in Iraq. On April 18, 2004, the new prime minister ordered the withdrawal of Spain’s troops. Scarred by the Madrid bombing, fearful of reprisals after the terrorist attacks in France, in November 2015 the Spanish government refused to join a global coalition against Islamic State. So what did Spain do wrong?

We are asking the wrong questions. Spain’s foreign policy shows that we cannot stop terrorism by changing our behavior. In the mind of the Muslim extremists, Spain is not Spain, but al-Andalus, part of a Muslim empire that lasted in Spain for 700 years. Today’s Spain is considered to be “occupied land” that must be liberated. . . .

We have to be honest. Across the West we now have 30-million Muslims who are Westerners. There is no war against Islam. The freedom of Muslims to worship and live proves that the old, imperialist paradigms of Islamic State’s Dar al-Harb [the “abode of war” to be invaded by the caliphate] and Dar al-Islam [the “abode of Islam”] are outdated. Most Muslims are quietly thriving in business, politics, media, sports, and more. In Britain, Mishal Husain’s voice wakes us up on the Today program. Nadiya Hussain of The Great British Bake Off prepares cake for the queen. [The distance runner] Mo Farah reinstates British sporting pride. The list goes on. But there is a dark, sinister movement growing, too. . . .

Enough of blaming the West. . . . Muslims must reject the idea that we need a caliphate. Unless we discard the drive for a Muslim super-state, many more will be killed in pursuit of it.

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Read more at Telegraph

More about: European Islam, Islam, Jihad, Politics & Current Affairs, Spain, Terrorism

No, Israelis and Palestinians Can’t Simply Sit Down and Solve the “Israel-Palestinian Conflict”

Jan. 17 2019

By “zooming out” from the blinkered perspective with which most Westerners see the affairs of the Jewish state, argues Matti Friedman, one can begin to see things the way Israelis do:

Many [in Israel] believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won’t end the conflict, because it will wind up creating not a state but a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos, or Iranian proxies, or some combination of both. That’s exactly what has happened . . . in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. One of Israel’s nightmares is that the fragile monarchy in Jordan could follow its neighbors . . . into dissolution and into Iran’s orbit, which would mean that if Israel doesn’t hold the West Bank, an Iranian tank will be able to drive directly from Tehran to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. . . .

In the “Israeli-Palestinian” framing, with all other regional components obscured, an Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank seems like a good idea—“like a real-estate deal,” in President Trump’s formulation—if not a moral imperative. And if the regional context were peace, as it was in Northern Ireland, for example, a power vacuum could indeed be filled by calm.

But anyone using a wider lens sees that the actual context here is a complex, multifaceted war, or a set of linked wars, devastating this part of the world. The scope of this conflict is hard to grasp in fragmented news reports but easy to see if you pull out a map and look at Israel’s surroundings, from Libya through Syria and Iraq to Yemen.

The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunnis and Shiites; between majority populations and minorities. If [Israel’s] small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.

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Read more at New York Times

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East