Prospects of Terror: An Inquiry into Jihadi Alternatives (2)

[Part 2 in a three—part series. Part 1 may be read here.] 


The ultimate in disposing one's forces is to be without discernable shape

                —Sun Tz


It appears likely that Europe will be the next major battleground in the Long War.


The Jihadis, following public humiliation on their own home ground, will need a means of proving that they're still in the game, and Europe is vulnerable. It abuts directly against ancient Muslim homelands at several points, has a substantial and unintegrated Muslim population, has offered active Jihadis sanctuary within its borders, has pursued reckless immigration and security policies, and has supped with the Devil through its open support of Saddam Hussein (paid for with Iraqi oil funds) and Muslim terror organizations such as Al Fatah and Hamas.


Many observers believe it's already too late, that Europe is one with Sumeria and Byzantium, that all that remains is the funeral procession. They point to the numbers of native births — below replacement level of 2.1 children per couple in almost every country —— compared to those of Muslim immigrants, which are two to three times higher, and echo Bernard Lewis's now—famous prediction, 'Europe will be Muslim by the end of the century.'


Europe in also unfortunate in that its overall government, the European Union, has established itself, in defiance of the experience of the past century, as the kind of managerial superstate proven unfeasible just about everywhere else on earth. EU bureaucrats have set out to demonstrate the obvious once again with considerable eagerness, meddling in international affairs while attempting to micromanage those of its own citizens, wasting immense amounts of resources on trivial aims, and generating completely avoidable crises to no rational purpose. The EU is about the last form of government capable of leading a fight for survival, but it's what the Europeans have.


Debellicized Europe


As if this wasn't enough, Europe has also been functionally debellicized, a word coined by British military historian Micheal Howard meaning 'a refusal to consider armed force as a means of settling disputes.' It's not quite the same thing as pacifism, which is based on an idealistic view of human relations. Anti—bellicism is held more as an unthought conviction, the clich that 'war never solves anything' raised to a rule of behavior.


Such a development may have been necessary to avoid further bloodlettings along the lines of the world wars, but never let it be said that it does not have drawbacks. It was anti—bellicism that lay behind Europe's shameful lack of response to the crimes of Bosnia—region> and Kosovo during the 90s. While debellicized Europeans talked, thousands were massacred and thriving towns turned into wastelands. Anti—bellicism also explains the Spanish reaction to the March 2004 Madrid train bombings, the most successful attack by any Jihadi organization. The 191 victims prompted the defeat of the country's center—right government in ensuing elections in favor of an appeasement—oriented social democratic administration, by far the most favorable result the Jihadis have yet gained, and one that undoubtedly encouraged later efforts elsewhere in Europe.


But all the same, it's difficult to see how Europe, massive, far—flung, and variegated as it is, could simply devolve into Eurabia. Many seem to picture such an event as a reflection of the last chapters of Jean Raispail's dystopian novel The Camp of the Saints, with the Europeans meekly wandering off into extinction while the third—world interlopers settle into their places.


Straightforward conquest of the Ottoman type is another possibility — Muslims taking over by main force, using their weight of numbers to smother all resistance, converting large masses of the native population while subjecting the rest to dhimmitude. 


The last possibility is the blazing civil war scenario, a return to the wars of religion, a replay of the Thirty Year's War fought out across the continent, with native Muslim youths, armed, trained, and led by a resurgent Islam, fighting a war to the death against an aroused European population.


None of these scenarios has the ring of plausibility. A major failing lies in the fact that they're all based on demography, a subtle field with many hidden variables, any one of which can overthrow the apparent results. It happens to be the case that every single long—term demographic prediction since Malthus introduced the concept two centuries ago has proven mistaken. At times, as in the catastrophic visions of 'Population Bomb' theorist Paul Ehrlich, ludicrously so.


A major problem with such calculations is that the basic variable, the population of European Muslims, is unknown. Estimates range from 15 to 25 million, depending on how much weight is given to illegal immigration. In some cases, such as France—region>, where the Muslim populace is stated as 5 —12%, the uncertainty exceeds 100%. Without a clear idea of how many Muslims are living in Europe, not to mention such subfactors as how many are females of childbearing age, the demography argument must be set aside. (There's also mounting evidence that such demographic swings are cyclical. Native births have increased in the UK, France, and Germany over the past few years, if only by fractions of a percent.) 


Also overlooked is the fact that the Muslim population of Europe is not a monolith, but divided into a number of factions, many of which have nothing at all in common beyond Islam. The older populations are often descendants of soldiers who fought beside Europeans in India—region>, Africa, and the Middle East, well—settled and unlikely to turn against what they consider to be their own countries. The majority of the Muslims in Germany—region> are Turks or Kurds, who would rather be flayed than follow the lead of any Arab. Finally there is the Sunni—Shi'ite gap, which is not often bridgeable.


So the idea that Europeans will be outbred, overwhelmed, or even challenged by a suitably numerous home—grown Islamist army can be set aside. But that does not let Europe completely off the hook. Recent events ranging from the London and Madrid bombings to last autumn's French car—burning festival to the Danish cartoon jihad make it clear that the Jihadis are active and have Europe in their sights. The more recent spate of savage anti—Semitic attacks serve only to highlight the danger. A large number of Muslim youths exist —— up to 40% of the Muslim populace in France—region> —— isolated, embittered, jobless, and ready to be led. Finally, the failure of Europe to mount any kind of meaningful cultural resistance, to 'up and play the game', in British parlance, has left the field open for Muslim radicals and their allies.


Targeted  Violence: A Jihadi Political Strategy in Europe


So if I were an ambitious imam — ambitious both for myself and the European Muslim umma, what would I do? What is required is a strategy that delivers a political solution as opposed to one generating pure terrorist violence, one taking advantage of proven European weaknesses: bureaucracy, debellicism, multiculturalism, and that obscure sense of estrangement that has gripped Europe since the end of the imperial era and is commonly expressed in such salon philosophies as existentialism and deconstruction.


The first step involves lowering the sights. Rather than the apocalyptic scenarios already covered — and which may well not be possible anyway — we set the goal as something more within reach. Say, the complete political autonomy of the Muslim community, the umma, throughout Europe. In many areas, in France—region> in particular, this situation is already half a reality. Something on the order of 800 'no—go' areas exist in Muslim suburbs where police and government officials are simply not allowed to enter and Sharia law is openly enforced. The French government has chosen to deal with this by ignoring it. These areas were the sources of the violence that broke out last autumn. They — and others across Europe like them —— would be the centers of a new Jihadi effort.


In a European campaign, the political element would be paramount. Whatever violence occurred would be organized violence, limited and situational, a kind of large—scale behavioral—modification procedure aimed at the majority population and its government. This violence would be terrorist in nature, not reaching the levels that prevail in Iraq—region> or Israel—region>, while constantly threatening to match — or exceed — those levels. Examples would include repetitions of the 2005 auto—burning spree, with other targets added to give the impression of escalation. This could be accompanied by vandalistic attacks on landmarks and public artworks. The occasional bomb would also play a part, though it would be wise to avoid suicide bomb techniques, since this locks you into a certain image of kamikaze—like irrationality that would convince many onlookers that you cannot be reasoned with.


The campaign might proceed to threaten or shut down public utilities and transport, such as the electrical net (still virtually open to attack across the West, five years after 9/11), or the subways. Since the French, with admirable Gallic foresight, intelligently placed their prestressed concrete Muslim ghettoes in rings around their major cities, access highways and ring roads are particularly vulnerable. Tourists would present a worthwhile target, both in violent attacks and kidnapings. A drop in tourist business would represent a serious economic blow to most areas of Europe.


All these actions would be carried out at a tempo fast enough to make it impossible for the authorities — slow—moving European governmental colossi in particular —— to properly react. (In modern tactical terminology this is called 'getting inside your opponent's decision cycle.') 


Violent actions would be scheduled for greatest effect and targets selected with precision. Center—right governments and officials would be particularly at risk, since they can, with the open assistance of the media and the left—wing opposition, be painted as irreconcilable enemies of ethnic peace. The European Left would be viewed as a resource —— many of them are already allied with terrorists among the Palestinians and almost all would be eager to show their solidarity with an oppressed minority. Note London Mayor Ken Livingstone's sponsorship of Yusuf al Qaradawi, the well—known imam and Muslim Brotherhood leader who signed the fatwa against the Danish cartoonists.


Making Muslims Seem the Victims


Carom incidents can be fabricated, with bogus evidence pointing to innocents, who can then be held up as martyrs. The reverse can be done with the police, too—effective government officials, and right—of—center or nativist organizations, which can be set up as responsible for atrocities against Muslims, the more blameless the better. (Recall the Palestinian child Mohammed al Dura who was shot by his own side during a confrontation with Israeli troops, or the destruction of Samarra's Golden Mosque.)


The goal would not be bloodshed for its own sake, but to create an utterly paranoid locked—down state in which even the simplest everyday activities would represent a challenge, maintaining the impression that it can always grow far worse, while holding up the possibility of shutting down the entire country.


But the terrorist aspect would be secondary, the anvil for the political hammer. Politics would be the dominant factor, with terror leveraged to gain political concessions. The first element of this would be to portray the terrorists as victims, neglected third—world types with legitimate grievances. (Not a difficult trick — consider how the Palestinians promoted their victim status over that of the Israelis.)


At the same time, the authorities must be painted as a brutal elite — never a problem in any contemporary European country — overreacting against sincere protest. While this won't convince everybody (it never has), it will provide plenty of grist for the media and Left—wing activists, who can be relied on to carry the word without instruction or encouragement. Taking advantage of the political and social fault lines that exist within European society, and which in no way have been ameliorated by the establishment of the EU, would be a key element of the campaign. 


The Muslim "Man of Peace"


Once the lines are firmly drawn and the country in near—panic, the spokesman would appear. The man representing the 'moderate' Muslim population, yearning for peace, wanting only the best for everyone involved. He would of course have a 'legend' consisting of good works, cooperation between ethnicities, and membership in various service organizations. (And no connection, needless to say, to any Jihadi group.) Using a variant of Dick Morris—style triangulation, he would establish himself as the sole voice of moderation, the alternative between the terrorist minority and the reactionary government. He would present the impression — without actually stating as much — that connections with the violent few make him only force capable of holding them back. A call would arise from the 'public' — the media and the Left —  for negotiations. The spokesman would find himself appointed the main negotiator, the only figure acceptable to both sides. 


Negotiations would proceed slowly and painfully over a lengthy period, punctuated by sudden bursts of violence. At last a crisis would break out, perhaps involving a number of assassinations, by shadowy figures, of individuals on both sides. The spokesman himself could nearly be victimized. He would threaten to break off his attempts to act as a go—between as pointless, only to be called back, if possible by representatives of the government eager for a settlement. 


A Nation within a Nation


This would involve not a complete takeover or any other apocalyptic daydream, but the establishment of a nation within a nation, a formalization of the status of already existing Muslim areas in which Shari'a would rule, with independent government, police, schools, and so on. Other services would be provided by the host government, on the 'reparations' principle. The host population would have nothing to say about it. 


The host government would reserve all rights of defense, foreign affairs and so forth — except for relations with the Muslim states, which would be handled by the new Muslim communities themselves. Of course, UN and EU representation would also be necessary, to protect the rights of the defenseless Muslim areas. The model would be something along the lines of Palestinian status.


The end result would be a kind of postmodern colonial regime, a reversal of the historic Western model in which the host country services, supports, and protects the Muslim colonies within. The Muslim homelands would thereafter act as bases for further operations, sanctuaries for Jihadis from outside Europe, and constant internal threats preventing Europeans from taking any further part in the war against terror.


This is a grossly oversimplified model, but it does plainly reveal how existing European failings, both social and political, can be exploited. It would require a shift in Jihadi attitudes, involving an abandonment of the eschatological expectations of bin Laden and Zarqawi in favor of an attainable political result.


This is clear break with previous Jihadi practice, possibly excepting the Madrid strike. (Which I strongly suspect surprised even the Jihadis themselves — there were, after all, no follow—up attacks on other vulnerable European targets, unless the London July bombings over a year later were intended as such.) But it's clear that established Jihadi tactics melded with a plausible political objective would represent the most formidable challenge to Europe since the rise of last century's police states. It should be taken for granted that no European Jihadi familiar with the works of the founders of modern political terrorism — Lenin, George Sorel, and Franz Fanon  — has not considered something of the sort.


Even as the above words were being typed, the British sociologist Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo revealed in the U.K. Telegraph that Muslim clerics interviewed by him all believe that Muslim areas in Britain—region> will be self—governing within a decade. (The Telegraph has since taken down the article, but it is reprinted here). Their entire experience with the British government, which has
 capitulated in all confrontations with Muslims, leaves them with no doubt of the outcome. 


The Danish Cartoon Crisis as a Model of Jihadist Victory


All the imams referred to the Danish cartoon jihad as a representative example. The incident's status as a wholly manufactured crisis is not as widely known as it should be, but is in no way in question. Although very likely intended to rally the international Muslim umma against democratic developments in the Middle East, it also served a useful purpose in Europe in driving a wedge between native Europeans and the Muslim population while seriously embarrassing the entire European establishment.


The cartoon jihad will serve as a model for future efforts at destabilizing the European community. (One overlooked aspect is the fact that Abu Laban, the Danish imam who engineered the crisis, attempted to present himself as a 'spokesman' figure, loudly lamenting the riots on Danish television while at the same time urging his followers — in Arabic — to go for Danish throats. Future jihadi leaders are unlikely to be so easily exposed.) 


Above all, the cartoon crisis has revealed Europe as a whole to be utterly defenseless against this kind of program. If viewed as a test of European governmental resolve, it has to be said that every single government in Europe, Denmark—region> excepted, failed miserably. In Norway—region>, government officials forced the editor of the Christian publication Magazinet to publicly apologize to a gathering of mullahs for reprinting the cartoons.


Two Swedish web sites featuring the drawings were shut down by police order. An Italian official who wore a t—shirt emblazoned with one of the drawings was forced to step down. In Britain—region>, demonstrators were in effect defended by police from exposure by the press, and a man wearing a mock suicide belt was allowed to parade unmolested in front of the Danish embassy (he was later discovered to be a felon on parole and sent back to prison).


In no case did any European nation rebuke the demonstrators or demand civil behavior from their Muslim minorities. In the ensuing weeks, critics of Islam across continental Europe have been forced to request police protection, and some have decided to curtail their activities completely. In this sense, Europe is already under siege. (Curiously, the only country that failed to experience disturbances was France—region>, which had been at a constant boil since late last summer. Whether this was due to exhaustion or the Jihadi element conserving its strength is impossible to say.) 


European Appeasers in Control


In the 1960s, CIA operatives had a saying: 'Whoever wins Africa loses the Cold War.' The same mixture of frustration and contempt is inescapable in contemplating the spectacle of 21st—century Europe. The European response to the Jihadis has been an open scandal, the worst possible combination of bellicose rhetoric and craven behavior.


Abu Hamza, the infamous 'Captain Hook' of the Finsbury Park mosque, receives a lengthy sentence for encouraging terrorism only for the British government to apologize for allowing him to run loose for seven years after discovering that he was directly involved in terrorist activities. 


A bold statement from the EU's chief executive Jose Manuel Barasso pledging that Europe would fight 'to protect democratic values' is followed the next day by a promise from the European Parliament to 'weed out textbooks offensive to Islam'. The same day, Italian judges rule that recruiting suicide
bombers to attack U.S.—region> troops is 'Not terrorism', freeing three Jihadis to return to their activities. 


Abu Laban, the P.T. Barnum of the cartoon intifada, is allowed to return to Denmark —region>unmolested. An overlooked item in his CV reveals that he is a long—term associate of Ayman al—Zawahiri, Al—Queda's chief of operations.


Hizb ut—Tahrir (Islamic party of Liberation), commonly known as HT, is the secretive organization responsible for most of the cartoon demonstrations around the EU. It shares goals similar to Al—Queda, and although banned throughout Asia and the Middle East, is allowed to act openly in Europe.


Even more telling is the fact, revealed in early February, even as the cartoon riots spread across Europe, that military budgets throughout the EU (and this includes the UK) have been allowed to drop following 9/11 until they now stand at 1.8% of GDP, less than half the total of U.S. spending. A greater sign of irresponsibility in the face of a global challenge would be hard to come by. 

A list of such actions could continue for page after page. Clearly, Europe's open appeasers are in effective control of overall policy, much the same as in the great British appeasement debate of the 1930s. Today's appeasers seem to believe that they can persuade the public to live in a state of siege, much as they did during the Baader—Meinhof and Red Brigades terror campaigns of the 70s and 80s (and in the UK for much longer while battling the IRA).


The hope seems to be to placate the Muslim populace and take whatever losses are necessary while the secret services hold back the Jihadi threat long enough for the U.S.—region> to roll them up overseas. (This is in no way meant as a criticism of European security and intelligence services, all of which have earned high praise from the U.S. Intelligence Community.)


Possible European Response


One useful result of the cartoon riots is that this fantasy has been swept off the table. It's no longer a matter of dealing with bombings widely scattered in time and space. If not an actual clash of civilizations, it's about as close as anybody will ever care to get. The response of the public at large promises to be much the same as that to the assassination of Theo van Gogh and the London bombings, only on a much vaster scale. Government will follow where the people lead. (It's curious to note that while many commentaries dwell on the decline of European religious belief as a fatal flaw, the steadiest resistance has come from two of the most secular European states, Denmark and the Netherlands. We may be witnessing a internal power shift, with leadership being transferred from the tired, moribund giants to the nimbler, more lively small states.)


The first challenge involves securing the public peace, accompanied by a quick and thorough housecleaning. The Dutch decision to broadly curtail immigration is a sensible and long overdue move, and will likely be duplicated across the continent.(A French law echoing Holland's was announced by French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy in February.)


But there are literally hundreds of hostile imams already in residence throughout Europe —— Abu Hamza and Abu Laban being only most well known —— preaching the downfall of their adopted homes every Friday. A nation—state has a right to demand three things of immigrants: that they obey the law, that they learn the language, and that they respect the natives. Many Islamists violate at least two of these provisions, some of them all three. Such renegades must be taken in hand. They require investigation, confrontation, and if necessary, expulsion. The fact that many are facing prison or worse in their home countries is not a European problem. There are few things more contemptible than a refugee undermining the nation that gives him shelter.


An effective method of dealing with provocations like the cartoon jihad must be  formulated and put into practice consistently across the EU. This was a deliberately conceived conspiracy, and should be treated as such. The people behind it must be arrested and expelled. The nations involved, which include Egypt—region>, Iran—region>, and Syria—region>, must be confronted over their involvement and sanctioned if necessary. Otherwise, Europeans can expect repetition upon repetition, each one more widespread and frenetic than the last. (And it won't require Danes or cartoonists as a trigger. The French car—burning marathon was kicked off by the deaths of two thugs — both forgotten now — hiding from the police in an electrical station. People died in Pakistan—region> because a Koran was found lying in a gutter. Anything will serve to set off these frenzies.)


Hizb ut—Tahrirm (HT), which organized most of the demonstrations, must be banned, its resources seized, its networks destroyed. HT is already proscribed throughout the Muslim world, no doubt for good reasons. Numerous lesser organizations across Europe should also be rolled up. It would be wise to curtail Europe's difficult to comprehend support for international terrorists such as Al Fatah and Hamas. There is a point where appeasement reaches the level of the repellent. It has long been passed in these cases.


These actions will cause unrest among the Muslim populace, who have been allowed to go their own way for too long. This must be faced. European governments must lose their fear of these people. The power of the Islamic mob, fully established after the cartoon jihad, must be broken. Attempting to govern in the face of a hostile minority, whether criminals, religious fanatics, terrorists, or any combination, is an absurdity. Nor can a society function if it is held hostage by such a group.


If illegal violence occurs, it must be met and overcome by legal force. No other single action will be more important in curtailing Islamist ambitions.


The governments and native populations of Europe will very likely be surprised how many Muslims choose to stand with the authorities under such circumstances. If others find it impossible to endure, they will perhaps be better off in the Muslim world, where they need never be bothered by the sight of an infidel if they so desire. However harsh this may be, it is nowhere near as harsh as the prospect of a continent in chaos. 


It's unlikely that any of these prescriptions will be followed voluntarily. No democratic government would willingly enter such a gauntlet if it could possibly be avoided. But welcome or not, something similar will inevitably come as events dictate. The current stock of appeasement—prone governments (among them, sadly, the otherwise estimable Tony Blair) are in their last days. The majority will be voted out in favor of figures such as the inflexible Nicolas Sarkozy.   A reaction from an aggressive and pampered minority can be anticipated. 


It would be best for the U.S. not to become too closely involved. Not merely in response to Europe's incessant playing of the anti—American card, though such a reaction would not be unjustified. The Europeans can meet this challenge on their own. American power needs to be preserved for use where it is absolutely necessary, where there is no other alternative, as in Iraq—region>. The U.S.—region> cannot throw away its assets, either military or financial, on powers easily capable of taking care of themselves. The EU cynically sat back and manipulated the U.S.—region> into taking responsibility in the Balkans, a situation that they had themselves triggered (through German recognition of Slovenia—region>) and which could not be viewed as anything other than a European problem. Let them save their cynicism for the Jihadis, where it will do some good. 


All military and security moves, no matter how far—reaching, will be at best short—term solutions to Europe's problem. A long—term approach must be social, and involve integrating the Muslim minority. This, as any American can tell you, is not an easy path, but it is the sole route out of  the current impasse.


One thing the U.S.—region> can do is teach Europe how to handle relations with minorities.


The Europeans, France in particular, have preened and posed while asserting that they had no racial problems. Today we know why — they deliberately isolated their Muslim minorities rather than confront the challenge in good time. (It's interesting to note that Muslim leadership fully concurred — in 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe deliberately chose to concentrate the Muslim population into areas easy to oversee and control. This is not only a European error.) What is this other than 'separate but equal', a concept dismissed from the American legal landscape a half—century ago?


The Europeans have gotten themselves into this predicament through living a racist lie. The U.S.—region>, as the sole major country that has actually worked itself out of such a situation — rationally, intelligently, and over all justly —— could play a role in educating both sides of the European divide.