Terror Will Continue until Muslims Reject the Idea of the Caliphate

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State’s Dar al-Harb [the “abode of war” to be invaded by the caliphate] and Dar al-Islam [the “abode of Islam”] are outdated.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

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy