What Will Replace ISIS?

Originally published on Sultan Knish.

Before long the same administration that declared the fighting in Iraq over several times will claim victory over ISIS. The timetable for its push against the Islamic State appears to have less do with the victimized Christians and Yazidis who have been prevented from coming here as refugees in favor of Syrian Muslims than with the Clinton presidential campaign. Like Obama’s declarations that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were over, the announcement that ISIS has been defeated will be premature.

It is based on a profound misunderstanding and misreading of Islamic terrorism.

Long before its current string of defeats, ISIS had begun evolving into another Al Qaeda; a multinational alliance of Jihadists scattered around the world. Bombing Mosul isn’t hard, but try bombing Marseille, Brussels or London. There is no doubt that the ability of ISIS to temporarily establish a caliphate allowed it to build a network that could carry out terror attacks from New York to Miami to Nice to Munich. But it would be dangerous to assume that losing Iraq and Syria will stop ISIS.

ISIS doesn’t matter. The idea of ISIS does. And the idea of ISIS is Islamic supremacism.

The organization we think of ISIS has transformed and rebranded countless times. Even now our leaders vacillate between calling it ISIS, ISIL or, more childishly, Daesh, while it dubs itself the Islamic State. We have been fighting it in one form or another for over a decade. It would be unrealistically optimistic to assume that the war will end just as this old enemy has shown its ability to strike deep in our own cities.

The bigger error though is to think that we are fighting an organization. We are fighting an idea. That is not to contend, as Obama does, that we can debate it to death. It is not the sort of idea that argues with words, but with bullets, bombs and swords. But neither does it just go away if you seize a city.

Al Qaeda in Iraq not only survived the death of Zarqawi, but it became even more dangerous under Baghdadi. It would be risky to assume that ISIS will die with him. Instead it may very well grow into a new phase of Al Qaeda, one that ties together some of the world’s deadliest Islamic terror groups into a network that is decentralized enough that it will not suffer from Al Qaeda’s leadership fatigue.

The rise of Islamic terrorism has been an incremental process in which new groups learn from the mistakes of the old and supersede them. If ISIS does recede into a localized oblivion, reemerging only on occasion to suicide bomb something or someone in Baghdad, then a deadlier and even more effective group is likely to take its place. Each group will move one step closer to realizing the caliphate.

To break the cycle, we must confront the idea of the caliphate at the heart of Islamic terrorism.

ISIS is not un-Islamic. It is ruthlessly and uncompromisingly Islamic in that, unlike its predecessors in the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, it makes the fewest compromises to civilizational sensibilities. Its goals are the same as those of every Islamic political organization, including those dubbed moderate. It seeks to restore and enforce an Islamic system in every part of the Muslim world before moving on to conquer and subjugate the non-Muslim world. If this were merely some fringe belief held by a tiny minority of extremists, then it could be bombed to pieces in some Syrian or Iraqi backwater.

But it’s the driving force of Islam. That’s why it won’t go away. No amount of appeasement will banish it.

Taking in more Muslim settlers, pressuring Israel and letting the Muslim Brotherhood colonize our foreign policy won’t do it. We’ve tried it and it actually makes Islamic terrorism much worse.

When the announcement is made, the usual suspects will pat themselves on the back for having defeated ISIS by mobilizing a Muslim coalition. But it wasn’t Obama who mobilized a Muslim coalition. The coalition, such as it was, mobilized them. Obama provided useful support to Islamic state sponsors of terror, such as Iran and Turkey, assorted Islamic Jihadists on the ground, some blatantly associated with Sunni and Shiite terror groups in their internal Jihadist conflict with ISIS over who will fight us.

The “allies” we are aiding today will be the ones bombing us tomorrow.

And that is why claiming credit for beating ISIS accomplishes nothing. ISIS is an expression of an Islamic impulse encoded in the Koran. Islamic groups differ in the tactical expression of that impulse. ISIS was nastier and uglier than most of the Islamic terror groups we had dealt with before this. Though even it found its Boko Haram affiliate in Nigeria occasionally a little too much to stomach.

If ISIS vanishes from the world stage, Islamic terrorism will be easier to dismiss. Or so the thinking goes. The Islamic State was better at viral videos than the media that tried to whitewash Islamic terror. It was hard to ignore. But a scattering of Islamic terror groups around the world will be forgotten by the public.

History suggests that’s wishful thinking.

Islamic terrorism has shown no signs of receding. Growing Muslim populations, both at home and in Muslim settlements in the West, and the increase in travel and communications, the infrastructure of globalism, spread it from the most backward to the most advanced parts of the world. Wealthy and unstable Muslim countries, rich in oil but poor in power, finance its spread through mosques and guns.

These are the ingredients that give us ISIS or any other combination or letters that stands for Islamic terror. To do anything meaningful about it, we would have to reverse the decline of the West.

Islam originally spread into a vacuum created by civilizational decline. Civilizational decline is why it is rising once again. An obscure local terror group eventually turned into ISIS by filling a power vacuum. Even as Obama performs another touchdown dance, some other group will be making that same journey. Its mission will be the familiar one of replacing our civilization with its own.

Until we come to terms with this civilizational struggle, we will go on fighting endless wars in the sand and coping with endless terror attacks in our own cities because we have failed to recognize the nature of the enemy. We are not fighting an acronym, whether it’s ISIS or ISIL; we are fighting an Islamic State.

This is a war to determine whether the future will belong to the West or to Islam.



Terrorism By Other Means

(Originally Published on Israel Hayom)

While it may not always seem that way, in the cognitive wars being fought against Israel, most notably the hysterically high-pitched calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions by the BDS movement, Israel’s opponents are losing.

Naturally, the BDS movement claims it is winning. Omar Barghouti, its founder, asserts that his crusade “is working far better and spreading into the mainstream much faster than we had anticipated.” Obviously, a movement whose primary weapons involve all the mendaciousness it can possibly muster from its members will not be truthful about its results any more than it will be honest about its true goals.

While the BDS movement claims that it is about “peace and justice” and “encouraging international economic and political pressure against Israel,” the movement’s real and indisputable aim is to destroy Israel and replace it with “Palestine.” The founder of the BDS has said so himself: In Barghouti’s own words, “a Jewish state in Palestine in any shape or form cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically. … Most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

The chairman of the U.S. Congress House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, Ted Poe, has described the BDS movement as “a threat, which seeks [Israel’s] ultimate destruction.”

While this is clearly what BDS wants, it is failing impressively. Not only has the Israeli economy not been affected in the nearly 11 years since the BDS movement’s founding, foreign investment in Israeli assets has actually nearly tripled, the financial news network Bloomberg recently reported. In fact, according to Bloomberg, in 2015, foreign investments in Israel hit a record $285.12 billion.

What’s more, Israel’s economy is growing faster than those of the United States and European countries, with expectations of 2.8% growth this year compared to 1.8% growth in the U.S. and EU, according to Bloomberg. In addition, Israel’s unemployment reached a record low in April, when it fell to 4.9%.

In comparison, France, to name one country that is obsessed with Israel and meddles disproportionately in its affairs, has an unemployment rate over twice as high, at 10.2%, youth unemployment of almost 25% and a stagnating economy, which grew only 0.5% in the first quarter of 2016. One would assume that France has more pressing matters at home than the status of Judea and Samaria, but then again, obsessive-compulsive disorder is not an easy condition to cure.

While these hard and incontrovertible facts regarding Israel’s thriving economy are likely to leave BDS activists apoplectic — presuming, of course, that they ever acquaint themselves with actual facts — Israel should not draw the wrong conclusions. In other words, this is no time to lean back and relax.

On U.S. campuses, BDS campaigns are orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas, through associations such as the Muslim Students’ Association and Students for Justice in Palestine. The rallying cry of BDS activists, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is the rallying cry of Hamas. It is no secret that the Muslim Students’ Association is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood itself states so in its operational plan, which was recovered by the FBI when it raided Hamas charity Holy Land Foundation in 2001. According to Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the sponsor of SJP is an organization with seven key employees that used to work for, among others, the Holy Land Foundation. SJP is among the most active BDS organizations on U.S. campuses.

Given the fact that Hamas is designated a terror organization in the U.S., it is rather unfortunate that so many campuses allow the unhindered activities of these likely Hamas-linked organizations to continue on campus without even blinking an eye. The more logical course would be to thoroughly investigate these activities and possibly prosecute related actions as terrorism, instead of viewing their activities through the prism of diversity, justice and other cheap slogans that are too transparent to cover the real issues for anyone but the willfully blind. BDS is the continuation of terrorism by other means. For that reason, it must be defeated.