Radical Islam’s War against the West

March 12 2018

The war between Islamism and the Western world (most often understood as the U.S. and Israel) has been going on since 1979, even if America only began fighting back in earnest in 2001. In an in-depth analysis, Max Singer evaluates the real threats posed by militant Islam but also the limits of its capabilities. He concludes that the movement in its various forms can cause untold harm to the West—especially if Islamist groups or countries obtain nuclear and biological weapons—but by its own standards can never win:

[T]he Islamist view of Islam implies that the ultimate survival of non-Muslim governments anywhere in the world would be a defeat for their cause—or a demonstration that their view of Allah’s requirements is wrong. Although many of the Islamist leaders have a great commitment to their cause, while much of the West, especially Western Europe, has lost its faith, Muslims have too little power—measured by economic strength, military capabilities, technological advancement, organization, population size, and competence—to take over the rest of the world. . . .

The understanding that militant Islam cannot win its war leads to a second fundamental perspective: in the long run the crucial struggle is within Islam, not between Islam and the rest of the world. The final defeat of Islamism will come only when sufficient elements of the Muslim world decide that they will no longer accept the problems and costs caused by the war and its interference with progress. In other words, the Islamist war has two components: physical actions and ideological conflict. Even when the physical actions are defeated, the internal ideological struggle can continue. . . .

An important feature of the long-term internal conflict within Islam is that Islamists suppress Muslim leaders and thinkers who oppose the war against the West. As a result, internal Muslim public debate, especially outside Asia, has been largely one-sided because most of the other side is afraid to speak. A key turning point will be when Muslim communities decide that it is no longer acceptable to suppress non-Islamist voices. There is reason to think suppression depends on unspoken acceptance by Muslim communities, and when that acceptance is withdrawn the suppression will gradually weaken and become less effective. . . .

To meet the Islamist ideological challenge, Western governments and leaderships need to stop giving legitimacy and help to local Muslim organizations dominated by Islamists like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

As far as Israel is concerned, Singer argues that the Arab-Israeli conflict predates the rise of Islamism and could well outlive it. But he cautions against trying to fight the ideological war with Israeli concessions, for a simple reason:

Israel and Judaism are part of the Western (non-Muslim) world, and Israel is living on land that had been Muslim land for many generations. No Western evenhandedness between Israel and the Palestinians, or even support for the Palestinian cause, can exculpate Western responsibility for Israel’s existence. This anti-Western Muslim grievance can only be assuaged by Israel’s transformation into a Muslim state.

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More about: CAIR, Islamism, Israel, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy, War on Terror

 

Syria’s Downing of a Russian Plane Put Israel in the Crosshairs

Sept. 21 2018

On Monday, Israeli jets fired missiles at an Iranian munitions storehouse in the northwestern Syrian city of Latakia. Shortly thereafter, Syrian personnel shot down a Russian surveillance plane with surface-to-air missiles, in what seems to be a botched and highly incompetent response to the Israeli attack. Moscow first responded by blaming Jerusalem for the incident, but President Putin then offered more conciliatory statements. Yesterday, Russian diplomats again stated that Israel was at fault. Yoav Limor comments:

What was unusual [about the Israeli] strike was the location: Latakia [is] close to Russian forces, in an area where the IDF hasn’t been active for some time. The strike itself was routine; the IDF notified the Russian military about it in advance, the missiles were fired remotely, the Israeli F-16s returned to base unharmed, and as usual, Syrian antiaircraft missiles were fired indiscriminately in every direction, long after the strike itself was over. . . .

Theoretically, this is a matter between Russia and Syria. Russia supplied Syria with the SA-5 [missile] batteries that wound up shooting down its plane, and now it must demand explanations from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. That won’t happen; Russia was quick to blame Israel for knocking over the first domino, and as usual, sent conflicting messages that make it hard to parse its future strategy. . . .

From now on, Russia will [almost certainly] demand a higher level of coordination with Israel and limits on the areas in which Israel can attack, and possibly a commitment to refrain from certain actions. Syria, Iran, and Hizballah will try to drag Russia into “handling” Israel and keeping it from continuing to carry out strikes in the region. Israel . . . will blame Iran, Hizballah, and Syria for the incident, and say they are responsible for the mess.

But Israel needs to take rapid action to minimize damage. It is in Israel’s strategic interest to keep up its offensive actions to the north, mainly in Syria. If that action is curtailed, Israel’s national security will be compromised. . . . No one in Israel, and certainly not in the IDF or the Israel Air Force, wants Russia—which until now hasn’t cared much about Israel’s actions—to turn hostile, and Israel needs to do everything to prevent that from happening. Even if that means limiting its actions for the time being. . . . Still, make no mistake: Russia is angry and has to explain its actions to its people. Israel will need to walk a thin line between protecting its own security interests and avoiding a very unwanted clash with Russia.

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More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war