Jan 10, 2010 4:38 pm


Obama's elections and the promise of an American retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan is in part responsible for the marked rise in Al Qaeda efforts to attack the American homeland. Why? because it removed the single negative consequence of 9/11 as far as Jihadists are concerned, the insertion of infidel armies into two additional Muslim territories. The rest of the consequences of 9/11 are considered positive. America and the West incurred significant economic losses while the visibility and marked deference to Islam has increased geometrically.

After each Muslim terrorist incident, Tom Friedman writes another column bemoaning the failure of moderate Muslims to create an inhospitable atmosphere for Jihadists:

I keep saying: It takes a village. The father, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, saw himself as part of a global community, based on shared values, and that is why he rang the alarm bell. Bless him for that. Unless more Muslim parents, spiritual leaders, political leaders — the village — are ready to publicly denounce suicide bombing against innocent civilians — theirs and ours — this behavior will not stop.

Just last Friday, for example, a suicide bomber set off an explosives-laden vehicle in the midst of a volleyball tournament in the Pakistani village of Shah Hassan Khel, killing more than 100 people. Most were youngsters. No surprise. When suicide bombing becomes legitimate to use against non-Muslim “infidels” abroad it becomes legitimate to use against Muslim opponents at home. And what becomes “legitimate” and “illegitimate” in a community is so much more important than any government regulation.

All too often, though, Arab and Muslim governments arrest their jihadis at home, denounce them privately to us, but say nothing in public. The global leadership of Islam — like the king of Saudi Arabia or the Organization of the Islamic Conference — rarely take on jihadist actions and ideology openly with the kind of passion, consistency and mass protests that we have seen them do, for example, against Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Friedman and his fellow liberal intellectuals fail to ask themselves the real pertinent question: What has the West done to incentivize Muslim moderates to act? How has it made the life of moderate Muslims more difficult? How has it shamed moderate Muslims into action? In other words, how did it create an international atmosphere which made Islamism illegitimate?

The simple answer is that not only has the rise of Jihadism not made Islam illegitimate but it made it more legitimate. There was no celebrations of Muslim religious holidays at the White House before 9/11, there are such celebrations after 9/11. From the very beginning the West led by the Bush administration has done its utmost to shelter moderate Muslims from the consequences of Jihadist actions. That was appeasement 101. The rantings of Jihadists were carefully studied and active efforts were made to address their supposed grievances, or as sophisticated Obama calls them,"recruitment tools."

The result is that any attempt by moderates to blame Jihadists for giving Islam a bad name is easy for Jihadists to dismiss. Just think of the consequences of the anti-Danish cartoon riots. Yale University press is afraid to print them in a book about the cartoons. America even elected Barack Obama president in the hope of appeasing Muslims. Andrew Sullivan puts it succinctly:

Part of the rationale for Obama's presidency from a foreign policy perspective was always his unique capacity to rebrand America in the eyes of the Muslim world.

I doubt there is a Jihadist or, indeed, even a moderate Muslim who does not view such a development as an amazing accomplishment on behalf of Islam. The ole remaining arrows in the moderate arsenal is the loss of Afghanistan and Iraq. Bin Laden successfully"evicted" the American forces from Saudi Arabia but he lost two Muslim territories in the process. Islam permits a delay in the conquest of new territories but does not permit giving up a territory that was once under Muslim rule to infidels. Hence, Bin Laden's constant reference to the need to reconquer Andaluse (Spain).

Jihadists were stunned by the American conquest of Afghanistan and even more by that of Iraq. One more 9/11 moderates could warn Jihadists and the entire Middle East will be lost. Jihadists quickly discovered that it is permissible to attack Americans outside America. But as long as George W. Bush remained in power, they thought it worth while to avoid attacking the homeland just in case he will be tempted to attack another Muslim country and they will be blamed.

The election of Barack Obama seemed to have changed these dynamics. But Jihadists could not be sure. His decision to couple the decision to send more troops to Afghanistan with a commitment to withdraw them a couple of years hence, settled the matter. Jihadists can again attack the American homeland and inflict major economic damage on the US without fear of losing another Muslim territory. Barack Obama will send drones. That's nothing. That only means that some people may die. It does not mean loss of territory.

Nothing secures defeat faster than underestimating and misunderstanding the enemy. Unfortunately, we are doing both. The intelligence services admitted that they have underestimated the operational capabilities of the Yemeni branch as well as the sophistication of the Afghani Taliban and The New York Time's summary of the conclusions of the research into The Terrorist Mind which asserts that"it's not just about religion" reveals a continued misunderstanding of the enemy.

In other words, the election of Barack Obama is not only not going to hurt Jihadists recruitment, it is going to increase it. As Bin Laden accurately remarked, people follow the strong horse and at this moment Jihadists are riding high. They can renew their plans to attack America with very little fear of serious consequences. After all, what are the chances of Obama doing what Bush dared do, invade a Muslim country?

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