Friday, February 29, 2008


Philippine military warns of terrorist attack during protests Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 6:32am

The Philippine military warned Thursday that a planned massive anti-government protest calling for the resignation of scandal-tainted President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo might be attacked by terrorists. Major General Fernando Mesa, chief of military forces in Manila, said they have information that al-Qaeda-linked Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels or communist guerrillas might launch attacks during the demonstrations scheduled on Friday. Full Story

Taleban 'run 10% of Afghanistan' Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:29am

Six years after being ousted in the US-led invasion, the Taleban have retaken about 10% of Afghanistan, US intelligence chief Mike McConnell says. The government controlled just 30% of the country, and the rest was under tribal control, the director of national intelligence told senators. Full Story

32 LTTE rebels killed, 44 surrender in Sri Lanka Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:49am

At least 32 LTTE rebels and four soldiers were killed in fierce clashes in Sri Lanka's embattled northern region as 44 suspected Tigers surrendered to the security forces, the army said on Wednesday. Full Story

Al-Zawahiri vows revenge in video Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:51am

Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's second-in-command, has vowed revenge for the killing of Abu Laith al-Libi, a top commander of the group in a suspected US attack in Pakistan. Full Story

Six held in Nordic 'terror raids' Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:55am

Swedish police say they have arrested three people in the capital, Stockholm, on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts and financing terror groups. Earlier on Thursday, Norwegian police said they had arrested three people in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on suspicion of financing terrorism. Full Story

Iran 'targeting' women activists posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:56am

Amnesty International has called on Iran to stop persecuting people who campaign for women's rights. The human rights group says activists involved in a big campaign to improve women's rights have been targeted. Full Story

Abbas rules out naturalization of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:58am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted Wednesday as rejecting the naturalization of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. "We would never accept any settlement that leads to naturalizing Palestinians in Lebanon," Abbas told pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat. Full Story
Turkey tells US its troops will stay in Iraq 'as long as necessary' Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:59am

Turkey said Thursday its offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq will continue "as long as necessary," rejecting pressure for a speedy end to the military incursion from US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

As Gates held talks in Ankara, Turkish warplanes bombed separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) positions in northern Iraq and intensive fighting was reported on the ground near a major rebel base in the Zap area, Iraqi security sources said. Full Story

UK: Plot to kill Saudi prince foiled Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 10:04am

British police seized hundreds of thousands of dollars allegedly meant to finance a plot to kill the Saudi crown prince in 2003, a top counterterrorism officer said Wednesday. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia during last autumn's visit to London. Full Story

Extremists cleared of Madrid courthouse bomb plot Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 10:05am

A Spanish court Wednesday convicted 20 men, mainly Algerians and Moroccans, of Islamic terrorist activity, but none was found guilty of the more serious charge of an alleged plot to destroy Madrid's anti-terrorism courthouse with a truck bomb, according to a copy of the sentence viewed by CNN.

Those convicted were part of a group of 30 defendants who went on trial last October. The three-judge panel hearing the case -- in the very courthouse that prosecutors alleged was the target of the truck bomb -- began their deliberations for a verdict after the trial concluded on Jan. 14. Full Story

UK store finds secret government disk Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 10:08am

A repairman discovered a confidential government computer disc hidden inside a laptop bought on eBay, a computer store in northern England said Thursday. A customer brought the laptop to Leapfrog Computers in Bolton on Monday to have it repaired, sales manager Jonathan Parry said. Full Story

China may scrap one-child policy, official says Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 1:58pm

China, worried about an ageing population, is studying scrapping its controversial one-child policy but will not do away with family-planning policies altogether, a senior official said on Thursday. With the world's biggest population straining scarce land, water and energy resources, China has enforced rules to restrict family size since the 1970s. Rules vary but usually limit families to one child, or two in the countryside. Full Story

Hill may return to Beijing for North Korea talks Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 1:59pm

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill could return to Beijing this weekend to meet his North Korean counterpart for talks on ending Pyongyang's nuclear program, a U.S. official said on Thursday. The official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the diplomacy, said the United States did not know whether the North Korean official, Kim Kye-gwan, would agree to go to Beijing for such talks. Full Story

One dead in French gas explosion Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 4:54pm

A gas explosion in the southern French city of Lyon has killed at a fireman and injured at least 26 people. The explosion ripped through Cours Lafayette, a busy shopping street in the city centre, around midday. Fire engulfed several nearby buildings after the blast, authorities said, and two of the injured remained in serious condition. Full Story

EU says 'No' to Kosovo partition Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 4:56pm

EU special envoy Pieter Feith has said Kosovo will not be split in two because of the divide between ethnic groups. "There will be no partition of the country, that is not foreseen," he told a news conference in Vienna. Meanwhile, in Bulgaria, delegations from Kosovo and Serbia met face to face for the first time since Kosovo declared independence. Full Story

Prince Harry in Taleban fighting Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 4:59pm

Prince Harry has been fighting the Taleban on the front line in Afghanistan, the MoD has confirmed. Harry, 23, who is third in line to the throne, has spent the last 10 weeks serving in Helmand Province. The prince joked about his nickname "the bullet magnet", but said: "I finally get the chance to do the soldiering that I want to do." Full Story

Dutch Islam film 'nearly ready'Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 5:05pmFar-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders has said that this week he will finish a film about Islam which has already triggered Muslim outrage. Mr Wilders said he was determined to release the film despite government warnings that this would damage Dutch political and economic interests. Full Story

Courtesy Terrorism Research Center, Inc.


Scholar: MAD doctrine does not apply to Iran

JERUSALEM — Iran could welcome a nuclear war with Israel or the United States. A leading U.S. scholar on the Middle East has asserted that Iran's leadership does not resemble the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Bernard Lewis, a professor at Princeton University, said the mullah regime in Teheran believes that the Shi'ite messiah would be ushered by a nuclear war, Middle East Newsline reported.

"It's not an Arab country, but rather a Muslim country, ruled now by a Muslim theocracy, which calculates its policies not by Iranian national interests, but by what is good for Islam," Lewis said.

"Iran's leadership comprises a group of extreme fanatical Muslims who believe that their messianic times have arrived," Lewis said. "This is quite dangerous.

Though Russia and the U.S. both had nuclear weapons, it was clear that they would never use them because of MAD — mutual assured destruction. Each side knew it would be destroyed if it would attack the other."

"But with these people in Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent factor, but rather an inducement," Lewis said. "They feel that they can hasten the final messianic process. This is an extremely dangerous situation of which it is important to be aware."

In an address to the Jerusalem Conference on Feb. 20, Lewis, a longtime consultant to the U.S. and other Western governments, said Iran was working to assemble a nuclear weapon. He said Teheran regards a nuclear weapon as in the interest of Islam.

"It is actively pursuing nuclear power. Even a non-nuclear Iran is dangerous for Israel, and it must be carefully watched."

Comment from a reader of the scholar's works.

It was a very disappointing experience - not that the books were poor by any means - but that it left one with the feeling that there is no possibility of reform in the Islamic world and that it’s just a matter of time before the train wreck happens.

It also brought to me the realization that borders and geopolitics are part of the western world - and have no meaning to a Muslim. Their alliance is with their God and that’s it. They are just incidentally residents/citizens of this subdivision or that.

Lewis has pointed out that Bin Laden and other Muslim fanatics have no appetite for politics or even administration - their goal is to achieve an Islamic world, not manage it.

Another Comment:

Let us NEVER lose sight of the fact that the reason that Iran:

is no longer a U.S. ally,

no longer a force for peace and stability in the Middle East,

no longer a relatively friendly neighbor of Israel,

is because Jimmy STP Carter

stabbed the Shah of Iran in the back,

called the Ayatollah Khomeini a ‘godly man’ and

helped to send Iran from the 20th all the way back to the 9th century, and

the blood of hundreds of thousands of people are on his hands.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


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Courtesy ThreatMatrix

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


by Stephen Schwartz

The involvement of Muslim physicians in the London and Glasgow airport terror conspiracy on June 29-30, 2007, forced both non-Muslims and moderate Muslims to question how those trained to heal could embrace terrorism. The doctors involved in the attempt to detonate car bombs in London and blow up a passenger terminal at the Glasgow airport did not represent an isolated phenomenon. Many Muslim doctors have adopted the extremist doctrines espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Wahhabis, and Pakistani jihadists. Groups such as Al-Muhajiroun, a group banned but still active in Britain and famous for celebrating the 9-11 terror attacks, recruit medical students. Tablighi Jamaat,[1] an Islamist movement prominent in Great Britain among Muslims of South Asian origin, also welcomes Muslim medical students. Medical professionals represent an elite in Muslim societies. They have moral and social standing that can influence others to stray from the observance of traditional, mainstream, and spiritual Islam toward radical ideologies.

Confluence of Mullahs and Medicine
In early Islam, there was little separation between religion and medicine. Traditional Islam promotes the concept of medical work as a service to humanity. Physical wellness and religious belief remain bound together in the popular consciousness of Muslims. It is not uncommon to use encased Qur'anic verses in amulets to cure ailments. Pocket handbooks for faith healing are printed and sold from Bosnia-Hercegovina to Indonesia. A typical such booklet, Kur'an Kao Lijek (Qur'an as healing), widely circulated in Turkey and Bosnia-Hercegovina, recommends that a sick person write the opening sura or book of the Qur'an, Al-Fatiha, on a piece of paper, dip it in water, and drink the water.[2] Also common are small booklets correlating the ninety-nine Arabic names of God with solutions to specific ailments. One example from India reads, "Al-Hayy (The everlasting): Anyone desiring sound health should recite this name 3,000 times daily. If a sick person writes this name in a bowl with musk and rose water and then washes such inscription with water and drinks the water, he will soon be cured from his illness, Insh'allah [God willing]."[3] The thirteenth-century Syrian theologian Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziya's At-Tibb an-Nabawi (The medicine of the Prophet), remains popular today and is available in many languages.

Among many Muslims, the concept of "the Prophet's medicine" has appeal because it avoids surgery and other expensive procedures. Clerics versed in folk medicine traditions can gain credibility with the rural and urban poor. Conversely, though, because religion and medicine are so intertwined in belief, some ordinary Muslims may consider Muslim medical doctors to be superior to mainstream clerics. The radical Islamist doctor may easily usurp religious authority from a traditional imam. Khaleel Mohammed, comparative religion professor at San Diego State University, has argued that in recent times, "Muslim leaders have not traditionally been chosen for their Islamic knowledge but for their stature in society—a medical doctor, a computer scientist."[4]

Islamists have seized upon this dynamic to manipulate the masses. In third world countries, many people consider the medical doctor to be the only person capable of delivering real assistance. This is not limited to Muslims. In the 1960s and 1970s, Latin American leftists sent students to the Soviet Union and Cuba to study medicine. Ernesto "Che" Guevara was a medical doctor. Fidel Castro's regime continues to produce and train doctors to serve poor communities for free. Castro even extended the U.S.-based Nation of Islam an invitation to send young African-American men to Cuba for free medical training.

Islamic Bioethics
There is no reason why the Muslim approach to medicine should be different from that of the West. Islamic bioethics do not differ profoundly from Western bioethics. Muslim scientists and doctors translated Greek medicine into Arabic. Muslim doctors inherited the Hippocratic Oath along with other elements of Greek medicine.[5] In 1981, though, the International Organization of Islamic Medicine, an institution set up in Kuwait with the aim of formalizing Islamic medical doctrine, issued an Islamic Code of Medical Ethics. This text includes an "Oath of the Doctor," which augmented the Hippocratic Oath with reference to the omnipotence of God, as well as the duty of the Muslim physician to observe Islamic standards of modesty in dealing with patients and to live as a Muslim publicly as well as privately.[6]

The Islamic Code of Medical Ethics addresses certain issues debated by Western bioethicists, often endorsing the sanctity of life. It bans euthanasia or mercy killing, for example, declaring, "A doctor shall not take life away even when motivated by mercy." However, it distinguishes between medical ethics and Islamic law when asserting, "Human life is sacred … and should not be willfully taken except upon the indications specified in Islamic jurisprudence, all of which are outside the domain of the medical profession."[7] Islamist clerics also forbid abortion except in cases where the mother's life is in danger. Influential Qatar-based cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi writes in The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, a popular Shari‘a guide, that "Muslim jurists agree unanimously that after the fetus is fully-formed and has been given a soul, aborting it is haram [prohibited] … However, there is one exceptional situation. If, say the jurists, after the baby is completely formed, it is reliably established that the continuation of the pregnancy would necessarily result in the death of the mother, then, in accordance with the general principle of the Shari‘a, that of choosing the lesser of two evils, the abortion must be performed."[8]

A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West, a Shi‘i manual reflecting the guidance of the Iraqi Ayatollah Ali Sistani, addresses bioethical issues in much greater detail. In a separate chapter titled "Medical Issues," the volume specifies that organ transplants, even from dogs and pigs, are permissible in that the human body will, through "rejuvenation" of the organ, purify it. The same text authorizes the use of insulin even if extracted from swine as well as "genetic engineering" to make human beings more physically attractive.[9]

There is a creeping Islamist revision of bioethics, at least in the Sunni community. Some Muslim medical students in Britain, for example, boycott classes and leave test questions unanswered if they involve alcohol-related diseases such as those concerning cirrhosis of the liver or sexually-transmitted diseases on the pretext that both deal with conduct forbidden in their faith.[10] Other British Islamists have refused to wash their hands when entering sterile areas in hospitals because antibacterial gel contains alcohol.[11] No such prohibition exists in traditional Islam against the medical use of alcohol for sterilization, nor does traditional Sunni scholarship prohibit the use of insulin even when it is extracted from a pig's pancreas.[12]

Doctors and Jihad
Few doctors involved in radical Islamist activity obtained their primary medical education from Western institutions. Part of this is the result of geography: Arab or South Asian doctors focus on maladies specific to their region. With immense rural populations and an absence of clinics with new equipment, doctors from such areas circulate among people far more easily than Western-trained medical personnel who may find the absence of proper pharmacies and laboratories a handicap. A doctor may not be indifferent to religious matters if his education is paid for by an Islamist organization.

Here, Islamist groups have been adept. While the Egyptian government has not been able to keep up with the demand for medical services, the Muslim Brotherhood and its splinter groups have filled the gap. The Muslim Brotherhood has penetrated and, at times, subsumed the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, Egypt's official medical professional association.[13] While some dismiss the radicalization of doctors as the result of their overproduction and underemployment, such an explanation fails to explain the concurrent radicalization of doctors in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of which have little trouble employing their doctors.

In a strategy masterminded by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who rose through the ranks of Egyptian Islamic Jihad to become Osama bin Laden's deputy, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Gamaa al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group) provide local health care in exchange for opportunities to recruit neighborhood youth in extremist ideology. Bin Laden replicated the strategy when, during his years of exile in the Sudan, he used his personal wealth to build schools and hospitals.

In his book Islamic Medicine,[14] which was turned into a collection of online essays, Shahid Athar, an endocrinologist and clinical associate professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, provides background on the environment in which the physician can become a radical Islamist. Citing from the Qur'an,[15] he demonstrates why the gulf between medical science and religion is not as vast for many Muslims as it may appear to many Westerners. The Islamic Code of Medical Ethics states, "The physician should be in possession of a threshold-knowledge of jurisprudence, worship, and essentials of Fiqh [Islamic legal argument], enabling him to give counsel to patients seeking his guidance about health and body conditions, with a bearing on the rites of worship."[16]

The Muslim Brotherhood, for its part, argues that repudiation of Western secularism does not automatically mean a rejection of science and of new discoveries. Sayyid Qutb (1906-66), the leading intellectual behind the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, encouraged Muslims to acquire knowledge and to study hard sciences such as chemistry, physics, and mathematics although he forbade the pursuit of some fields—such as economics and evolution—that he deemed outside the context of Qur'anic precepts.[17] Qutb and his intellectual successors have drawn from classical Islam to argue that rationality and critical reason have a prominent role in Qur'anic thought.[18]

Rather than simply bless the study of modern scientific fields developed in the West, many Islamists seek a broader reconciliation between Islam and science. Sa‘id Nursi (1877-1960), a Turkish Islamist inspired by Sufism, sought to reconcile science and religion in Risale-i Nur (Treatise on light) which, while never completed, is nevertheless widely published.[19] Sometimes, such trends contradict the findings of hard science. As Islamism has increased in Turkey, so too has creationism. Harun Yahya, a businessman and Islamist ideologue born Adnan Oktar in Ankara in 1956, widely produces and disseminates glossy and expensive volumes questioning Darwinism and intertwining it with anti-Freemasonry and other conspiratorial arguments popular in Islamist publications. In 2007, he sent free copies of a huge, multicolored, two-volume Atlas of Creation[20] to journals in every major country[21] in which he argued the creationist case.

The late Mahmoud Abu Saud, a leading Egyptian Islamist ideologue who resided for many years in the United States, contributed an essay on "The Role of a Muslim Doctor" to Athar's volume in which he argued that the "doctor has a big say and great weight in influencing his patients and in righteously guiding their orientation. Besides, he should be actively involved in propagating true Islam among Muslims and non-Muslims ... The best missionary service to be rendered by a medical doctor is to behave at the time in accordance with his Islamic teachings, to declare his conviction, and to feel proud of it."[22]

Extremist Commitment in Iran
The role of scientifically-trained elites in furthering extremist ideology is also visible in Iran. Both before and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the most influential Iranian political and student movements originated at the medical, technical, and engineering schools. While doctors are perhaps the most influential tier in society in the Arab world, in Iran, engineers share the stratum. Medical and engineering programs attract both the most gifted students and those with ambitions for broader roles in society. Iran has officially encouraged modern medical education beginning with the 1911 Medical Law, which required physicians to study and train in modern medicine. Initially, this did less to improve education and more to de-legitimize Islamic folk healers.[23]

In the absence of organized party politics, students segregated themselves into competing political factions. They soon transformed universities into a stage for confrontation between monarchists and religious radicals. After the shah's departure, Islamist factions embracing authoritarianism, populism, and or Marxism confronted each other although subsequent revolutionary purges limited religious discourse to trends supporting the Supreme Leader's personal role. Members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MKO) and other smaller groups that engaged in terrorism and armed combat were disproportionately drawn from medical and technical schools. Ervand Abrahamian's The Iranian Mojahedin tabulates MKO "martyrs" for the period 1981-85: Of a claimed total of 8,968, almost a third were identified as "modern middle class." In that category, 1,653 were college students while forty-seven fell into the combined group of doctors, veterinarians, and dentists. Three unnamed individuals classified as "prominent mojahedin" among the "martyrs" were doctors, veterinarians, or dentists.[24]

While the revolution curtailed the opportunity for most Iranian doctors and engineers to exchange opinions with their counterparts outside the country, they retained their predominant role in society. Several doctors assumed high positions in the Islamic Republic. ‘Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign minister between 1981 and 1997 and current foreign affairs advisor to the Supreme Leader, is a pediatrician by training and conducted post-doctoral training at Johns Hopkins University.[25] Abbas Sheibani, a hard-line Islamist currently on the Tehran city council and a former minister of agriculture, also segued from medicine[26] into Islamist politics. Similarly, Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the hard-line Iranian official daily Kayhan and an aide to Supreme Leader ‘Ali Khamenei, was a medical student before his arrest and imprisonment by the shah's regime.[27] Many others were engineers. The confluence of medical doctors or engineers and Islamism in Iran may reflect the weakness of liberal principles in society. The absence of liberalism, often conflated with Westernization, let alone hostility to both liberalism and the West,[28] has created a vacuum that other ideologies seek to fill. While the shah sought to promote Persian nationalism, his flight ceded the battle to Islamism and Marxism. Khomeini's Islamism won. Commitment to Islamism in Iran offers doctors and engineers an opportunity to achieve a fast political and social rise.

Are Doctors the Ultimate Jihadis?
Among jihadists, doctors can transcend rivalries. The doctor can move more freely with less security. Doctors may also augment Islamist jihad with their knowledge of chemistry and perhaps pharmacology. They may serve to purchase sensitive supplies, including volatile chemicals for use in explosives or drugs.

When confronting moderate Muslims or peoples of other faiths, Islamist doctors also have an advantage. In countries beset by Islamist violence, many citizens perceive those fighting jihad to be disfranchised illiterates responding to the appeal of craftier bigots. This was a major theme of the 1994 Egyptian satirical film, Al-Irhabi (The terrorist). For Islamist organizations seeking to overcome such stereotypes, what better way to penetrate a village than to send a much needed doctor?

The same strategy has replicated itself in disaster relief operations conducted by radical Islamist organizations. After a 7.6 Richter scale earthquake in Pakistani Kashmir on October 8, 2005, Pakistani Islamist organizations helped to provide homeless victims with hot food, clothes, and other supplies. At least seventeen Islamist organizations banned by President Pervez Musharraf's government undertook relief and reconstruction work in the aftermath of the earthquake.[29] The Daily Telegraph reported that "Islamic groups are widely regarded as having provided the most efficient aid operations in some areas after the Pakistan earthquake struck in Kashmir and the North West Frontier Province." [30] These Islamist and jihadist organizations also aided refugee camp management, running thirty-seven out of the seventy-three organized camps in and around the regional capital of Muzaffarabad, and Islamists had a presence in every other affected Pakistani district.[31]

Such medical outreach aids the Islamist cause in multiple ways. Not only can doctors proselytize, but they can also funnel or launder humanitarian donations to terrorists. Funds collected by the radical Sunni Lashkar-e-Taiba group for relief in the aftermath of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake were diverted to the use of the conspirators in the 2006 Heathrow airport terrorist plot.[32] The diversion of medical aid charities occurs in the United States as well. The U.S Treasury Department's Office of Terrorism and Financial Development has designated the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which often solicited funds for medical relief, to be a provider of "millions of dollars in financial and logistical support to Hamas."[33] The Treasury Department also designated the Global Relief Foundation, headquartered in Bridgeview, Illinois, as a terror supporter because of its role in raising money for Al-Qaeda.[34]

Jihadi Doctors in the West
The involvement of medical doctors in the British bomb plots has raised several questions about how the phenomenon of jihadi doctors spread to the West. British authorities asked both whether the Muslim doctors involved in the London-Glasgow conspiracy were the exception or the rule and, if unreflective of mainstream Muslim doctors, whether their radicalization occurred before or after they arrived in Great Britain.

The answers are discomforting. The London-Glasgow group does not appear exceptional. The radical Deobandi sect with roots in India and Pakistan, the equally extreme Wahhabi movement with its base in Saudi Arabia, and the Muslim Brotherhood, whose origins lie in Egypt, have each made inroads into British society. Each has targeted outreach efforts to doctors, engineers, and lawyers. Deobandism and its missionary offshoot, the Tablighi Jamaat, flourish in urban communities in Britain among the educated and affluent.[35] Radicalization of elite professionals is more a product of the ideological conflicts within Islam itself than of social conditions or political issues in Britain. Not all physicians join radical movements, but their presence in these movements, according to anecdotal reports in the Muslim community, exceeds what might be expected if their only motivation were foreign policy grievance. Such anecdotal evidence suggests that radical Islamists target them for recruitment. The West should expect many more examples of Islamist doctors to appear in the future.

The problem is compounded for immigrants studying in the West and their progeny by the manner in which U.S. and European universities teach medicine. Because they focus primarily on hard science, Muslims can go through the courses with very little exposure to the arts and humanities and, therefore, not have their sometimes simplistic views of religion challenged. In Britain, where medicine is an undergraduate field, the chance that Muslim doctors will receive any college-level training in humanities is slim.

Such an educational milieu allows radical Islam to present itself as a rational and modern expression of faith, suitable for a scientifically-trained professional. A radical interpretation of Islam is uncomplicated, requiring little real study or reflection, and can often, therefore, be more attractive to professionals who must dedicate their lives to hours of medical memorization.

In the United States, doctors with Islamist leanings are increasingly active in the promotion of radical interpretations. In 2003, the federal government charged Rafil Dhafir, an oncologist from Syracuse, New York, and three other persons with conspiring to violate sanctions by transferring funds to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Convicted two years later, he is now serving twenty-two years.[36]

In Toledo, Ohio, Islamist doctors spearheaded the takeover of a once-progressive mosque that had preached respect for other faiths. They began by promoting the writings of Qutb and Abu al-A'la Mawdudi, founder of the Islamist Jamaat-i Islami in India and Pakistan, and ended by organizing a vote to oust the mosque's moderate leadership.[37] A former congregant at the mosque said, "What surprised me was that this takeover scheme was masterminded by Muslim physicians."[38] He suggested that the majority of Muslim medical doctors in the region had embraced radical ideology.

When the doctors took over the mosque, they temporarily succeeded in removing an American flag from the premises although three converts to Islam demanded it be returned to a place of honor. Islamic religious instruction at the mosque became saturated with extremism; one religious teacher called for the beheading of U.S. military personnel in Iraq. Congregants who criticized such radicalism and the substitution of politics for theology were branded as "Zionist, neoconservative spies helping the U.S. authorities in the destruction of Islam."[39] In February 2006, the FBI arrested an alleged cell of three terrorists in Toledo.[40]

In a similar case in California, a prominent member of Masjid Abu Bakr, the largest Sunni mosque in San Diego, conducts religious courses imbued with radical interpretations and offers discounted dental services to his students, an attractive perk to immigrant Muslims who may not be wealthy.[41]

Perhaps the most famous Islamist doctors in California are the Egyptian-born brothers Maher and Hassan Hathout, who have been prominent in the Islamic Center of Southern California, as well as such organizations as the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a Saudi-funded Islamist front group. Maher is a retired cardiologist[42] while Hassan is an obstetrician and gynecologist.[43]

Too often, the conduct of extremist Muslim doctors is rationalized as a protest against deprivation and corruption in Muslim majority states or a reaction to the humiliation of Palestinians and Iraqis at the hands of Israel, Western Europe, or the United States. While popular, there is little evidence to support such analysis.

The radicalization of Muslim doctors is more systematic. They occupy a superior stratum of their society and, as such, are targeted by radical ideologues. How then can medical professionals and governments in the West respond to this challenge? Vetting of Muslim doctors for radicalism may prove ineffective and will doubtless raise civil liberty concerns. More possible would be closer monitoring of radical Islamist groups in order to counter incitement and preempt violence. Radicalization of Muslim doctors is only a symptom, however. Until the West pressures Muslim governments—especially Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan—to stop their financial support and that of their citizens for radical ideological groups, Islamists will erode not only medical ethics but other aspects of Western liberalism.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Ten more "official" executions last week bring the number to 50 or the same pace of one a day since January 1st, 2008.

Official charges are murder, armed assault, drug dealing and in the case of one journalist in South-Eastern Iran, for having contacts with Jondollah.

In reality, specially viewing the almost childlike age and physique of many of those executed, the executions are part of the continuing "strike fear into the populace" strategy of an increasingly despised Mullah regime.

Meantime, Parvine Ardalan, strong activist for women's rights has been ordered to appear at the "National Security Tribunal" without any reason stated on the subpoena.

Human Rights agencies have noted that since Ahmadi-Nejad became President of Islamic Iran, the trampling of human rights has increased enormously.

In reality this is diplo-speak for human rights being totally ignored and non-existant.

There is currently NOTHING in Islamic Iran that could be recognized as "human rights" or "freedoms".

Not even in sham elections, where candidates are chosen/approved by the Mullahs and anyone they do not favor, including sitting members of parliament whose votes they did not like, are allowed to participate.

Meanwhile three European nations have drafted another sanction text to present to the UN, since even Iran shill, El-Baradei of the IAEA has sated that Iran has not shown any evidence of NOT building nuclear weapons and has to the contrary increased the number of centrifuges.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


At least 27 dead in Pakistan blastPosted on Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 9:38am

Government officials say more than 20 people have been killed in a suicide car bombing in northwestern Pakistan. The bombing happened today outside an election office of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, formerly headed by Benazir Bhutto and comes two days before crucial parliamentary elections. Full Story

Attacks in Baghdad fall 80 percent-Iraq militaryPosted on Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 9:54am

Attacks by insurgents and rival sectarian militias have fallen up to 80 percent in Baghdad and concrete blast walls that divide the capital can soon be removed, a senior Iraqi military official said on Saturday. Full Story

Russia: U.S. may use satellite blast to test weaponPosted on Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 1:32pm

Russia's Defence Ministry said on Saturday a U.S. plan to shoot down an ailing spy satellite could be used as a cover to test a new space weapon. Full Story

Afghan blast kills 80: governorPosted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 8:00am

A suicide blast tore through a crowd of men watching dog fighting in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Sunday, killing 80 people and wounding dozens more, a provincial governor said. Full Story

Kosovo declares its secession from SerbiaPosted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 10:43am

February 17th Kosovo declared that it had become the seventh state to emerge from the wreckage of the former Yugoslavia. According to a plan worked out by Kosovo's leaders with foreign counterparts, recognition of the new country is likely to follow from Monday onwards, by America, many European Union countries and others. Full Story

4 Palestinian Militants Killed in Clashes in GazaPosted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 1:56pm

Four Palestinian militants were killed in clashes with the Israeli Army in southern Gaza on Sunday, and one Israeli soldier was seriously wounded in an exchange of fire. Full Story

Palestinian shot dead in Beirut clashPosted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 1:57pm

A Palestinian man was shot dead during clashes between anti-Syrian Lebanese government supporters and Palestinians close to Hezbollah in Beirut on Sunday, security sources said. Full Story

CCTV database to fight terrorPosted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 4:38pm

Police are stepping up the heat on potential terrorists by seeking access to "tens of thousands" of closed circuit television cameras. Police will store every NSW camera location in a central database so that terrorists and other criminal activity can be speedily tracked. Full Story

US admits it fired on anti-Qaeda fighters in IraqPosted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 4:39pm

The US military acknowledged on Sunday that it fired on a group of its anti-Qaeda allies in Iraq in an attack the leader of the group said killed three people and sparked angry protests. Full Story

Olmert: Israeli Army Has 'Free Hand' to Attack Militants in Gaza StripPosted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 at 5:46pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday gave his military a "free hand" to hit Gaza militants after a rocket slammed into a house in an Israeli town following a visit there by the new U.N. humanitarian chief, who called for an end to the daily salvos. Full Story

Serbia charges Kosovo leaders with treasonPosted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 7:40am

Serbia charged Kosovo's Albanian leadership with treason on Monday for proclaiming the province independent. Full Story

Ethnic Serbs in Balkans push for 'no' to Kosovo Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 7:52am

Ethnic Serbs in Bosnia and Montenegro reject Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia and will try to block its recognition by their own countries, officials said on Monday. Full Story

India's Army set to double combat helicopters by 2020 Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 7:54am

The Indian Army intends to double its fleet of attack and other types of helicopters to 500 by 2020, a spokesman for the country's Ground Forces said on Monday. Full Story

Germany Mulls Exit from Anti-Terror Mission Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 8:39am

The demands on Germany's Afghanistan mission are increasing. But the current parliamentary mandate does not allow for more troops to be sent. Berlin is considering creative solutions, including outsourcing parts of the mission or withdrawing from the anti-terror effort. Full Story

President of Cyprus eliminated from runoff election Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 8:47am

President Tassos Papadopoulos was eliminated Sunday from the presidential runoff in Cyprus, a major surprise after a cliffhanger campaign in which three candidates ran neck-and-neck until the last minute. The election, which will now be determined in a second round next Sunday, is seen as pivotal to the decades-old search for a deal to reunify the ethnically divided island - a division that has proved a major stumbling block to Turkey's efforts to join the European Union. Full Story

Arrests on 7th night of unrest across Denmark Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 8:56am

Angry youths who have been setting fires in immigrant neighborhoods across Denmark for seven consecutive nights should expect no sympathy from society, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Sunday. "I think it will be the opposite, that a lot of people will turn their backs on them," the prime minister said in interview with Denmark's TV2 news channel. Full Story

Bush recognizes Kosovo's independence Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 9:17amU.S. President George W. Bush on Monday recognized Kosovo's historic declaration of independence, saying "The Kosovars are now independent." Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership announced the province's independence from Serbia over the weekend, and its citizens on Monday awaited key backing from the United States and key European powers. Full Story

Abkhazia set to ask Russia to recognize its independence Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 9:27am

Abkhazia intends to ask Russia to recognize its sovereignty, the president of the de facto independent Georgian republic said on Monday. Full Story

Police to get portable metal detectors Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 9:35am

Police are to be equipped with portable metal detectors like those used in airports to help the fight against armed crime, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said Monday. Police will get 100 portable "knife arches" that can be placed at the entrances of pubs, nightclubs and schools and 400 search wands to conduct searches. Full Story

China kills two "terrorists" in Xinjiang raid Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 9:50am

Chinese police shot and killed two members of a "terrorist gang" and rounded up 15 others during a raid last month in the restive northwestern Muslim region of Xinjiang, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday. Full Story

Danish MPs refuse cartoon apology Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 10:58am

Danish MPs have canceled a trip to Iran after Tehran demanded they apologize for the republication of cartoons deemed offensive to Islam. Two days before the scheduled trip, Tehran demanded the MPs condemn the cartoon on their arrival in Iran. Full Story

UK tourist found dead in Venice Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 11:25am

A British tourist who went missing in Venice while on a Valentine's trip with his girlfriend has been found dead. The body of Richard John Raynor, 23, from Retford, Notts, was discovered under a bridge linking Venice lagoon to the mainland, the Foreign Office said. Full Story

Britain recognises Kosovo independence Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 11:51am

Britain will recognise the independence of Kosovo, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Monday. Full Story

Spain confirms won't recognise Kosovo Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 11:52am

Spain will not recognise Kosovo's declaration of independence, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos confirmed on Monday. Full Story

Thousands Protest US-Philippines Military Exercises Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 11:52am

Thousands of people protested against U.S. soldiers involved in humanitarian missions in Muslim areas of the southern Philippines on Monday, saying the troops' presence could be provocative. About 6,000 U.S. troops are taking part in annual training exercises with Philippine troops over two weeks but they will only hold humanitarian missions in the south of the archipelago, where Muslim communities are suspicious of their activities. Full Story

Thailand Reports Surge in Dengue Fever Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 11:52am

Dengue fever has sickened more than 2,800 people and killed four in Thailand this year, sparking worries about a possible wider outbreak despite efforts to control the disease, the health ministry said Sunday. A total of 2,824 cases of the mosquito-borne illness were detected in Thailand from Jan. 1-Feb. 9, compared to 1,702 cases with no fatalities reported during the same period in 2007, the ministry said in a statement. Full Story

Soldier kidnap plotter given life Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 12:48pm

A man who planned to kill a Muslim soldier serving in the British Army has been jailed for life. Parviz Khan, 37, from Birmingham, admitted the plot and to supplying equipment to the Taleban last month. Full Story

Germans arrest alleged al-Qaida suspect Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 1:22pm

German prosecutors said Friday they arrested a 45-year-old German-Pakistani suspected of providing financial and logistical support to members of al-Qaida in southern Afghanistan. Federal prosecutors gave the man's name only as Aleem N., an ethnic Pakistani with German citizenship. But he was identified as Aleem Nasir by a relative in a telephone interview from his home in the southwestern German town of Germersheim. Full Story

EU urges Chad government, rebels to negotiate peace Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 1:29pm

The European Union called on Chad's warring government and rebels to negotiate a peace deal, as relief agencies said on Monday a new refugee crisis was developing in the east where EU troops are being deployed. Some 500,000 people, including refugees from Sudan's western Darfur region and Chadians displaced by war and ethnic violence, are sheltering in camps in eastern Chad. Full Story

US, EU powers recognize Kosovo Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 1:47pm

Major European powers and the U.S. recognized Kosovo on Monday, a day after the province's ethnic Albanian leaders declared independence from Serbia. Giddy Kosovars danced in the streets when they heard of the endorsements. Kosovo's leaders sent letters to 192 countries seeking formal recognition and Britain, France, Germany and U.S. were among the countries that backed the request. But other European Union nations were opposed, including Spain which has battled a violent Basque separatist movement for decades. Full Story

Israel readies Patriot missiles in north Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 2:01pm

Israel has deployed U.S.-made Patriot air defense missiles near the northern city of Haifa in case of an attack by Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas in response to the killing of the group's top commander, security officials said Monday. Full Story

Cracks start showing in Pakistan election Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 2:43pm

Pakistani police arrested an election official on Monday after complaints from voters that hundreds of ballot papers were missing from their polling station, police said. The incident happened in Shikarpur town in southern Sindh province as voting began in the country's crucial parliamentary elections, local police official Ali Mohammad Shahani said. Full Story

Lebanon charges Abssi over bombs Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 8:38am

Lebanon's state prosecutor has filed charges against the fugitive leader of Fatah al-Islam in connection with a twin bus bombing near Beirut in 2007. Shaker al-Abssi and four Syrian members of his group are accused of planning and carrying out the attack in Ain Alaq in which three people died. Full Story

Castro resigns as president, state-run paper reports Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 8:38am

Fidel Castro announced his resignation as president of Cuba and commander-in-chief of Cuba's military Tuesday, according to a letter published in the state-run newspaper, Granma. Full Story

Anti-terror pact reached with NW tribesmen Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 8:39am

The Wazir and Daur tribes on Monday reached an agreement with the North Waziristan (NW) political administration against extremism and terrorism, according to governors office. Full Story

Belgrade pulls ambassadors as nations recognise Kosovo Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 8:40am

Serbia withdrew its ambassadors from Washington and other major capitals as the United States and several European powers led international moves to recognise Kosovo's independence. Full Story

Amtrak to step up security measures Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 8:41am

Amtrak will start randomly screening passengers' carry-on bags this week in a new security push that includes officers with automatic weapons and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling platforms and trains. Full Story

Turkey weighing land operation vs PKK in Iraq: TV Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 8:47am

Turkey is considering a ground operation against Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq, private broadcaster CNN Turk quoted Foreign Minister Ali Babacan as saying on Tuesday. Full Story

Iran reaches out to Arabs Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 8:48am

Iran has reiterated that its nuclear programme is not aimed at making nuclear weapons, and stressed that it seeks peaceful coexistence with other countries in the region. This came during talks here yesterday between His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Full Story

Report: Syria to present progress in Mughniyah killing probe within days Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 8:48am

Senior Syrian officials will hold a press conference in the coming days in order to present progress in the investigation into the assassination of Hezbollah's deputy leader Imad Mughniyah, who was killed last week in a Damascus blast, a Lebanese newspaper reported Tuesday. The Hezbollah-linked Al-Akhbar said Syria has decided not to make the details of the investigation public at this time, until the investigation progresses and is able to clarify who was responsible for the attack. Full Story

US, N Korea envoys meet in China Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 9:10am

The top US nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill has had a meeting in Beijing with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye-gwan. The meeting was the first since North Korea missed a year-end deadline to submit a detailed declaration of its nuclear facilities. Full Story

Philippines tiptoes around Kosovo recognition Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 9:24am

The Philippines shied away from recognising Kosovo's independence on Tuesday fearing it could complicate peace talks with Muslim separatists in the south of the archipelago. "While the Philippines does not oppose the idea of independence for Kosovo, it would prefer a settlement...taking into account the internationally accepted principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity," Alberto Romulo, the country's Secretary of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement. Full Story

Peruvian police arrest 15 suspected guerrillas Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 9:31am

Peru has captured 15 suspected rebels in a new push to weaken the Shining Path guerrilla group before a summit meeting of leaders from 21 countries later this year, police said on Monday. Full Story

Kosovo violence shows risk of partition Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 9:40am

Kosovo Serbs sacked two border posts in the north of the newly independent republic on Tuesday, chasing off Albanian and U.N. police and forcing NATO troops to intervene. Full Story

Mounting calls for Arroyos resignation may lead to another "people power" uprising Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 9:45am

In the Philippines, there's talk that mounting calls for President Gloria Arroyo to resign might lead to another people power revolution. Growing outrage among middle class Filipinos over a corruption scandal on a telecoms deal that broke out last year, as well as a call for communal action by the influential Catholic Church, were the main reasons behind the rallies against President Arroyo. Full Story

Reports: Algeria wants to return jets Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 9:54am

Algeria has demanded that Moscow take back several MiG fighter jets supplied under a major arms deal because of quality concerns, dealing a painful blow to Russian pride, news reports said Tuesday. Full Story

Protesters torch Kosovo border posts Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 12:41pm

Angry Serbs torched checkpoints between Serbia and Kosovo and triggered explosions Tuesday to protest Kosovo's independence declaration and international recognition of the breakaway state. Border crossings in northern Kosovo, staffed by U.N. and Kosovo's multiethnic police and customs service, were set on fire by Kosovo Serbs as a symbol of their desire to rejoin Serbia. Full Story

'Mafia boss' arrested in Italy Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 2:34pm

Italian police have arrested the leader of one of the country's most powerful mafia groups, officials have said. Pasquale Condello, 57, was held in a house in Reggio Calabria, on mainland Italy's southern tip, police said. Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said Mr Condello was the "number one boss of the 'Ndrangheta" crime syndicate. Full Story

London shares close higher Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 3:00pm

UK blue chips closed higher, with the FTSE 100 going through the 6,000 barrier briefly, helped by a bullish conference call at Barclays prompting a turnaround in the banking sector, and a strong start on Wall Street. The FTSE 100 index rose 20.3 points to close at 5,966.9, off a high of 6,033.7 and compared with a low of 5,884.8. The FTSE 250 index rose 124.6 points to close at 10,208.6. Full Story

Armenians vote in presidential election Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 3:03pm

Armenia's main opposition candidate alleged widespread violations in a presidential election Tuesday shadowed by tension with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.The two top contenders among nine candidates were powerful Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian and former President, Levon Ter-Petrosian, vying to lead this poor South Caucasus nation, where more than a quarter of the population lives in poverty despite some economic progress over the last decade. Full Story

Teachers, police among Moroccan jihadist suspects Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 6:36pm

Teachers, lecturers, a police officer and a journalist were among 32 people arrested by Morocco's security services in an operation to break up a suspected jihadist cell, the government said on Tuesday. Full Story

Philippine Military Finds Body Believed to Be Bali Bomber Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 8:09am

The Philippine military says it has found what it believes to be the body of Dulmatin, an Indonesian militant wanted for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people. Douglas
Bakshian reports from Manila. Full Story

Hamas arrests suspect in 'plot' to kill Haniya Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 8:35am

The Hamas-run interior ministry in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday said it had arrested a former Palestinian intelligence agent involved in a plot to assassinate dismissed prime minister Ismail Haniya. Full Story

Palestinians 'may declare state' Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 8:42am

A senior Palestinian official has said the Palestinians ought to unilaterally declare a state if peace talks with Israel do not succeed.Yasser Abed Rabbo is a top aide to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and a member of the team currently negotiating with Israeli officials. He said the Palestinians deserved independence more than Kosovo. Full Story

Al-Sadr threatens to end cease-fire Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 8:42am

Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr may let a six-month cease-fire expire as soon as Saturday, a move that could send his Shiite militia fighters back out on the streets and jeopardize recent security gains that have led to a sharp decline in violence. Full Story

Australia's job in southern Iraq completed, says military chief Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 8:43am

Australian troops in southern Iraq have completed their mission, clearing the way for them to return home mid-year, the country's military chief said Wednesday. Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said the pullout would likely have occurred even without a change in government late last year, when the centre-left Labor Party was elected partly on a platform of withdrawing Australian troops. Full Story

Ahmadinejad in new attack on 'savage animal' Israel Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 8:43am

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Wednesday called Israel a "dirty microbe" and "savage animal", as Iran stepped up its rhetoric against the Jewish state after the murder of a top Hezbollah commander. "World powers have created a black and dirty microbe named the Zionist regime and have unleashed it like a savage animal on the nations of the region," Ahmadinejad told a rally in the southern city of Bandar Abbas broadcast on state television. Full Story

EU Kosovo mission branded illegal Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 9:29am

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has declared the EU's police and justice mission to Kosovo illegal. He told reporters that Brussels' "unilateral decision... is in breach of the highest international law".A 2,000-strong civilian mission will take shape soon. EU special envoy Pieter Feith began work on Wednesday.Serbian protesters ransacked two border crossings on Tuesday, forcing UN officials to withdraw and prompting

Nato troops to seal the frontier. Full Story
Armenia PM wins presidency poll Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 9:37am

Armenian Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian has won fiercely-contested presidential polls in the former Soviet republic, official results show. Mr Sarkisian won 52.9% of the vote, with his nearest rival, ex-President Levon Ter-Petrosian, trailing on 21.5%. But Mr Ter-Petrosian said Tuesday's vote had been rigged, calling for a protest rally in the capital Yerevan. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said the poll broadly met democratic standards. Full Story

East: In Post-Soviet Breakaway Regions, Eyes Look Longingly To Kosovo Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 9:45am

The ink has hardly dried on Kosovo's independence declaration. The celebrations have barely abated in the streets of Pristina. And already, reactions are flowing from frozen conflict zones in the former Soviet Union as if on cue.

Eduard Kokoity, the leader of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, said he intended to petition the United Nations and the CIS for independence from Georgia, arguing that his separatist enclave had "a stronger case" for statehood than Kosovo.Sergei Bagapsh, president of a second Georgian breakaway region, Abkhazia, said he plans to make a similar appeal, adding "the situation with Kosovo is a precedent."Full Story

TURKMENISTAN: GAS RATIONING STIRS RARE PUBLIC OUTRAGE Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 9:49am

The honeymoon appears to be over for Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. After raising gasoline prices in a painful move toward liberalizing the economy, the 50-year-old leader faces an angry public at home, one year into his first term.The Turkmen people are known for being patient. Decades of dictatorship and isolation has a way of doing that. So reports that some Turkmen reacted to higher prices at the pump by torching gasoline stations came as something of a surprise, to say the least. Full Story

South Ossetia's leader says recognition may come "this year" Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 10:30am

The leader of the de facto independent breakaway Georgian republic of South Ossetia said on Wednesday that some countries may recognize the republic's sovereignty later this year.Eduard Kokoity also said that a number of countries would also recognize Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian republic, before the end of the year."Some countries will recognize our republics [South Ossetia and Abkhazia]. I cannot rule out that some of them may do so later this year. Russia, however, will not necessarily be the first to recognize our independence," Kokoity told the press after a meeting with Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the International Affairs Committee at the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament. Full Story

Floods Ravage Towns in Central Philippines Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 10:44am

Floods caused by continuous rains have caused widespread destruction in some 20 towns in the central Philippines, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) reported yesterday. At least were reported killed in landslides and drowning over the past days in flooded towns, officials said. Full Story

Australian urges East Timor rebels to surrender Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 10:46am

Australia's top military commander on Wednesday urged rebel East Timorese soldiers to surrender as Australian commandos continue hunting them following an attack last week on the country's leadership. Full Story

Three dead, 25 seriously wounded in Indonesia's quakePosted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 10:52amA strong 7.5-magnitude quake rocked Indonesia's Aceh province Wednesday, killing three people, seriously injuring 25 others and briefly sparking a tsunami alert, officials said. The US Geological Survey said the undersea quake struck at 3:08 pm (0808 GMT) some 312 kilometres (194 miles) west-southwest of the North Sumatra capital Medan, at a depth of 34 kilometres. Full Story

Pakistani refugees fleeing to eastern Afghanistan rises to about 10,000 Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 10:53am

The number of Pakistanis fleeing to eastern Afghanistan to avoid violence in their country has risen to about 10,000 in recent weeks, a U.S. military official said Tuesday. Commanders had reported last month that the number was only between 300 and 400 families. But Army Col. Jeffery Johnson, the U.S. command surgeon in eastern Afghanistan, said thousands more had crossed over the border and been taken into the health care systems in Khost and Paktika provinces. Full Story

Fuel convoy breaks blockade in Nepal Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 10:

convoy of oil tankers arrived in Kathmandu yesterday under armed police guard, the first major delivery of fuel to Nepal's capital since a blockade led to shortages of petrol and food, officials said. The strike and blockade, which began last week in Nepal's fertile southern plains bordering India, has been called by ethnically based protest groups to demand greater autonomy for the Terai region, home to half the country's population. Full Story

Three arrested for threatening candidates in E Sri Lanka Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 10:54am

At least three people have been arrested for issuing threats to candidates ahead of local elections in eastern Sri Lanka, police said Tuesday. A police spokesman in the Batticaloa district told Xinhua by phone that three people, all Muslims from the Kathankudy area were arrested alongside printed material which had been used to issue death threats on candidates. Full Story

LTTE attack on guard post kills three soldiers in Sri Lanka Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 10:54am

Suspected Tamil Tigers attacked an Army guard post at Dambekote in the Buttala area this morning and killed three soldiers who were guarding the post, the military said. The small guarding unit was along the Kataragama - Butthala main road. Full Story

Malaysia's opposition mounts campaign in cyberspace Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 10:57am

Malaysia goes to the polls next month and this time the campaign is going online, as opposition parties turn to blogs, SMS and YouTube to dodge a virtual blackout on mainstream media. Major newspapers and television stations -- many partly owned by parties in the ruling coalition -- are awash with flattering stories on the government and its achievements ahead of March 8 general elections. Full Story

Merkel to meet Liechtenstein PM over tax-fraud investigation Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 12:10pm

German Chancellor Angel Merkel is to meet with Otmar Hassler, the prime minister of Liechtenstein on Wednesday to discuss the growing tax-fraud investigation in Germany. German tax authorities are chasing as many as 1,000 wealthy Germans in one of the largest tax investigations in the country's history. Full Story

No added NATO security in Kosovo Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 12:13pm

The commander of NATO forces in Kosovo said Wednesday he does not plan to step up security in the tense north despite violent attacks by Kosovo Serb protesters on two boundary crossings between Kosovo and Serbia. Full Story

MI6 denies assassination of Princess Diana Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 12:35pm

The former head of MI6 denied Wednesday that the British intelligence agency was responsible for killing Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, in 1997. Sir Richard Dearlove, who was MI6's director of special operations at the time of Diana's Paris death, testified at the inquest into the pair's death that he also believed an operation by rogue agents would have been impossible. Full Story

Thousands protest Armenian vote result Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 12:37pm

Thousands of opposition supporters marched through Armenia's capital Wednesday after an election official said complete results showed that the prime minister had won the presidential election. Allegations of fraud and threats of mass protests have raised concerns about the stability of the volatile, strategic country, located at the juncture of the energy-rich Caspian Sea region and southern Europe and bordering Iran. Full Story

Spain opens new bullet train link Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 2:31pm

Spain's first high-speed rail link between Madrid and Barcelona has become operational, after years of delay. Hitting speeds of 300km/h (186mph), the first AVE train took 155 minutes to cover the 550km (342 miles) to Madrid. Full Story

Courtesy Terrorism Research Center, Inc.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Get your teeth out of our neck. The motoons have become the lightening rod for Islamic thuggery. But it's not about cartoons, it's about Islam's domination and the West's ability to stand. That's it.


Sunday, February 10, 2008


By Reuven Paz

Introduction In recent years, the term ‘Soft Power’ has been used in relation to the war of the minds within the global war against global [Jihadi] terrorism.

Soft Power is the ability to achieve goals by attracting and persuading others to adopt them. It differs from ‘hard power’ -- the ability to use economic and primarily military steps and power to impose one’s will. The success of soft power heavily depends on the actor’s reputation within the international community, as well as the flow of information between actors.

Thus, soft power is often associated with the rise of globalization and/or neo-liberal international relations theory. Popular culture and media is regularly identified as a source of soft power, as is the spread of a national language, or a particular set of normative structures; a nation with a large amount of soft power and the good will that engenders it inspire others to acculturate, avoiding the need for expensive hard power expenditures.[1]

Both hard and soft power are important in the war on terrorism, but attraction is much cheaper than coercion, and an asset that needs to be nourished. Attraction, by both sides, depends on credibility. However, contrary to the use of soft power in the context of the war against Jihadi global terrorism, few scholars deal with the other side – the goals and credibility of the soft power of the Jihadi militants. Most security services, intelligence communities, and most other experts, tend to occupy themselves with the Jihadi hard power in the form of terrorism.

The credibility of information obtained from open sources has always been a problematic issue for intelligence and security communities. Intelligence communities—some of which had served totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany or Stalinist Soviet Union—were often known also as ‘masters of disinformation.’

Therefore, they suspected that open sources of their rivals were disinformation too. Western intelligence communities and security services have not always granted much more credibility to open sources than the KGB and its former Eastern block sister services. Not only were Western agencies well aware of the complicated relations between intelligence and the media, but they frequently utilized the media for psychological warfare.

Hence they too were suspicious towards the credibility of open sources, as well as the tricky process of distinguishing between information and disinformation. Jihadi Soft Power The culture of militant Global Jihad is a young phenomenon in the Islamic world, which thus far, is advocated only by a small minority of Muslim groups, movements, scholars, and sympathizers.

Various factors however, have widened the rank and file of supporters and sympathizers of this culture. These include the extensive use of terrorism, primarily by suicide/martyrdom operations; the insurgency in Iraq; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; growing anti-American and anti-Western sentiments; social and economic frustrations among Muslims; and growing multinational integration among Muslim communities in the West or in regions of conflict in the Muslim world.

Global Jihad is deeply rooted in the interpretations of the earliest sources of Islam and Islamic history, and adheres to the strictest doctrines of Salafist scholars; it is primarily a doctrinal development that requires legitimacy on the part of clerics and scholars, in the form of interpretations, rulings, and preaching.

It embodies the Islamists’ struggle to revive the Islamic civilization through global united solidarity and brotherhood on one hand, and the demonization of the eternal enemy, on the other. Most importantly, however, this process takes place in public. Since we deal with movements and groups that are persecuted everywhere, and since they have no forms of formal media, the Internet is their only alternative, and they use it in the most efficient way they can.

In the past decade the global war on terrorism and the exceedingly access to Islamic and Islamist media through the Internet, have produced a synergy that has affected the attitude towards open sources of information.

The highly intensive and efficient use of the Internet by Islamic movements and groups in general, and the wide scope of Islamist terrorist groups in particular, provide us with an extremely wide range of information, that also affects intelligence communities. In addition there is some “competition” with the Western media, which is relying on information from Jihadi web sites as well, and thus provides them with an enormous exposure.

Yet, it seems that Western intelligence and security services have still a long way to go before they will fully rely upon the information available on Jihadi web sites.

Two main obstacles stand in their way of exploiting the information available on these web sites: First, the global Jihadi phenomenon is still new and unfamiliar to many Western analysts. The number of Western analysts who can fully understand this phenomenon is quite small, even though there are many “so-called experts” for terrorism.

Furthermore, it is a very dynamic phenomenon and controversial even among the various Jihadi groups and trends themselves. It is admittedly difficult to understand the differences, argumentations, disputes, and mindset of the Jihadis in all its complexities.

The modern global Jihad movement, including Al-Qaeda, is more akin to an “ideological umbrella” than to a homogeneous movement, which makes swimming in this deep ocean a challenging task.

The dynamic nature of the Jihadi phenomenon is also a function of the Jihadists’ “relationship” with the “enemy”—whose definition is flexible—and a response to its “aggressive nature,” especially since 2001. In the eyes of most of the militant Jihadis, their Jihad is a struggle within an asymmetric war of self-defense. Secondly, despite its global nature and aspirations, the Jihadi phenomenon developed from within the Arab world and is subsequently exported to the larger Muslim world.

The Jihadi militancy is therefore, almost entirely directed in Arabic and its content is intimately tied to the socio-political context of the Arab world. The American and Western occupation in Iraq and the Jihadi insurgency that followed, increased the importance of the Arab element in this phenomenon.

Likewise, the majority of the supporters of global Jihad involved in forms of terrorism among Muslim communities in the West are Arabs or from Arab origins too.

Most of the Western intelligence and security analysts are still unable to read the information in the original Arabic language, and lack the knowledge, insights, and tools, required to analyze Islamist radical groups and their mindset.

The Open University for Jihad Studies There are several main reasons why Jihadi movements, groups, clerics, and scholars, turned the Internet into their main, and sometimes only, vehicle for propaganda, indoctrination, publicity, and teaching of their messages. Their “soft power” is the Internet. Besides the known advantages of this medium of communication, several factors should be noted:

• Most Arab and Muslim countries face oppositions that are oppressed and groups that are persecuted, rendering the Internet their only alternative to spread their messages. Citizens and groups are prevented from freely publishing books and newspapers, or from giving open lectures. Moreover, in most Arab and Muslim countries they have no access to the traditional means of Islamic religious indoctrination, such as mosques, Friday sermons, religious universities and colleges, or religious ceremonies.

• The nature of the Jihadist ideology and doctrines, as well as the core of Jihadi mission is to create a transnational global solidarity and brotherhood, within the entire Muslim nation (Ummah). To that end the Internet is nowadays the best means to promote this goal cheaply and rapidly, while reaching the broadest possible audience.

• The Internet is the best means available today to create and consolidate a spectrum of doctrines, new interpretations, and a multitude of new groups, but also to create an image of a larger volume of activity.

• The Internet is intensively surfed and read by the global media. Every Jihadi event or message is instantly exposed to the world, circulated by news agencies, and cited in Muslim countries, whose populations do not read Arabic.

• The past decade, has witnessed a heightened significance and weight of this medium in the eyes of Jihadis, due to a number of highly important events. These include the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent global war on terrorism; the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq; Jihadi terrorist operations all over the globe; the image of a global clash of religions and civilizations; the sense among large segments of Muslim publics that they face “a war against Islam” in the cover of fighting global terrorism; and the rise of Jihadi terrorism as a global strategic factor in the West. There is a growing dynamic in the mutual relationship between the Jihadi groups that use the Internet, and the global media.

• The first priority of the strategy of the global Jihadi doctrines is to target the Arab and Muslim youth—the largest, most educated—and in terms of the Internet—most connected segment of Muslim societies. Besides, the use of the Internet for various goals, and the access to it in many Arab and Muslim countries is growing rapidly, alongside the growing development of education in many of these publics, including of females.

Most importantly, these groups are above all targeting their own societies and not Western regimes and their citizens, in order to fight what they perceive as “Western cultural on-going colonialism.”

The Internet may be used occasionally to intimidate Western publics, knowing the audiences’ wide exposure to the global media and the huge effect that exposure has upon the sense of security in the West. Jihadis know that the widely circulated video clips of beheaded and executed foreigners and Muslims in Iraq or Afghanistan, and numerous suicide or martyrdom operations, terrorize Western publics.

Even so, the main reason why Jihadis circulate these clips, photos, audio material, books, articles, or military manuals, is to indoctrinate their own Arab and Muslim audiences; plant feelings of pride, a sense of belonging, and a new identity in their minds; and recruit their support.

The Internet provides by far the best means to achieve the desired goal of virtual nation-building of the Muslim nation—Ummah—an aspiration anchored in the doctrines of the Jihadi-Salafi currents. In other words, the Internet is the global Open University for Jihad Studies. One of the documents of indoctrination published in 2003, and recently re-circulated by the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF)[2] is talking about the nature of the university of global Jihad.[3]

The author, nicknamed Ahmad al-Wathiq bi-Allah, “deputy director” of GIMF, presents Al-Qaeda as an “organization, state, and university”:

“Since the operation of USS Cole [November 2000] and the glorious events of Manhattan [September 2001] until the present events of this blessed month, [Ramadan 2005] hundreds of Muslims from all over the world join this global Jihadi university, in which they study all the branches of the Jihad, its rules and kinds…

This is a non-central university, with no geographic borders, which has its presence everywhere and each person zealous for his religion and nation can join it… This university has its own presidency, whose role is to incite, guide, indoctrinate, and encourage the awareness of the Mujahidin. Its presidency is the leadership of the Mujahidin headed by Osama bin Laden… The university includes several faculties, among them for electronic Jihad, martyrdom, and the technology of side bombs and car bombs.”

The article bears propagandist overtones, but it clearly summarizes the indoctrinative nature of global Jihad, and thus, the center of gravity of this phenomenon, i.e. the Muslim audience. If this is the main audience then there is almost no room for disinformation.

An intensive reading of these web sites, and especially of the most radical 15-25 Jihadi forums[4] and dozens of blogs and message groups, reveals the highly serious approach and attitude of their participants, i.e., those who are targeted by this global indoctrination.

In some Muslim communities in the West, but especially in the Arab world, we can trace a growing role of this indoctrination in the willingness to support, justify, and volunteer to join Jihadi terrorist groups. Since 2001, these Jihadi web sites have gradually replaced the old institution of the Madrassa as a tool for the recruitment of the first generation of Jihadis in the 1980-90s.

The Internet in fact, has become one global madrassa. Another example of a publication by GIMF—an analysis of the global strategy of Al-Qaeda—is even more lucid. Under the title “Al-Qaeda’s War is Economic not Military,”[5] the author, a Saudi scholar and supporter of global Jihad, analyzes the significant role that indoctrination plays in the global movement:

“We should direct some of these efforts to other targets that could serve another goal, namely to promote the glory of the Muslims, especially among the youth, who are swimming in the oceans of pleasures and lust. Those youth are in fact unused petrol, while many efforts are dedicated to confront those clerics who are selling their minds to the dictatorships, and who are useless too.

These moral attacks would have a tremendous impact on the souls of the defeated youth. Many idle youngsters were motivated to join the Jihad by a photo or a video such as of the USS Cole, or Badr al-Riyadh, or by watching the crash of the planes into the high buildings [of Manhattan].

Those youngsters, even though they were not fully aware of the impact of the attacks upon them, turned their minds and bodies towards the Jihad. Here comes the role of indoctrination and developing the thinking of these people.

It is a mistake to leave these youngsters with their superficial understanding of the nature of the war. Whoever listens to the calls of Osama bin Laden senses in his words his care for the indoctrination of the supporters of the Jihadi current, like for example in the Gulf States, in order to target the oil fields. The Sheikh, I think, could direct the Mujahidin through personal secret messages.

However, he wanted the indoctrination to be public, in order that the crowds of people, who wait for his speeches through the TV channels or the Internet, would internalize his targets and follow them. If these messages would be clandestine and then the oil fields would be attacked, the masses of sympathizers might not approve it and might even turn to the opposite side and withdraw their support.

Public statements by the Sheikh or the many videos of the Mujahidin can avoid such a negative impact of such an attack.

”The huge number of new interpretations, doctrines, debates with other Islamic Sunni currents or scholars—Salafis, Brotherhood, Tawhid, Wahhabi reformism, and others—and lot of innovations in the field of terrorist modus operandi, in addition to their widespread public presence on the Internet, brought about two contradicting developments.

The first was a tendency of Jihadis—scholars or laymen supporters—to view it as a current found under a process of consolidation, with the unifying goal, doctrines, and means of Tawhid.

The other was the emergence of growing number of debates, either from within on the background of the more intensive but controversial terrorist/Jihadi activity, or as a result of external pressures by Islamic establishments and institutions, governments, or parts of Muslim societies, such as Sunni tribes in Iraq.

Since September 11th, 2001, this contradiction has marked also the public opinion of many Muslim publics and even governments.

On one hand there was a growing anti-American sentiment, which emerged on the grounds of events in Iraq. It led into the support of many Islamic scholars, Arab officials, and majority of Muslim publics for the Jihad in Iraq, not to mention Israel and Palestine, which is a traditional axiom.

Nevertheless, on the other hand many Arab and Muslim publics suffered from the indiscriminating terrorism against innocent Muslims, which received legitimacy by most of the Jihadi-Salafi scholars.

The emergence of the Internet as “the open university for Jihad studies,” with dozens of thousands of students, inflamed two significant processes: • The emergence of militant Jihadi community with growing signs of solidarity and brotherhood. This community was intensively encouraged to take part in the debates, as the “virtual Jihad” became a legitimate branch of the “Jihadi war of the minds.”

• The emergence of a Jihadi “Internet scholars” whose main target is to indoctrinate the Jihadi-Salafis, direct them, and consolidate the Jihadi current.

Both groups of scholars and “students” developed a strong sense of the apocalypse, which hotwires the Jihadi-Salafi arena. There are permanent expectations to the defeat of the United States in Iraq; the fall of the U.S. as an empire according the model of the Afghan contribution to the fall of the Soviet Union; new spectacular terrorist attacks on American soil; terrorist attacks in Europe against countries that take part in the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, support Israel, or so-called “oppressing” the Muslim communities in Europe by imposing new laws (the veil, immigration, limiting civil rights in the name of the “war against terrorism,” outlawing Muslim charities), or by publishing anti-Muslim propaganda, films, or cartoons; the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD); the collapse of Arab and Muslim apostate governments; the establishment of Shari’ah-ruled Islamic states, and so on and so forth.

By hotwiring the sense of the apocalypse within an asymmetric war, and the growing number of Jihadi groups, scholars, supporters and sympathizers, self-radicalized youth, and laymen, whose knowledge in Islam is poor, the arena is broadened with further debates, competitions, and instinctive desires. In the past two years, the development of a growing number of topics under open and public debates within the Jihadi-Salafi current, has been prominent.

During 2007, one of the most significant controversial topics among Jihadi-Salafi scholars and groups has been over the existence of the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI).

Another on-going debate is over the killing of Muslims in general, and innocent ones in particular, or the attitude towards the Palestinian Jihad of Hamas. Nevertheless, these were in fact the most important topics, but the phenomenon of the debates over “sacred and untouchable topics,” has already started about two years ago, including by serious Jihadi-Salafi scholars.

The latter probably may have also exploited the fact that the killing of Abu Mus`ab al-Zarqawi in June 2006, created a new situation in Iraq, which is still the most significant model of Jihadi struggle.

Another issue to note here is the diversity of the origins of the Jihadi-Salafi current, the flexibility of its development, and the dynamics of an emergence from a very marginal Islamic trend to the frontline of the face of Islam, primarily in Western societies. The latter tend to view now Islam as a religion whose rational is supposed to be moderate and peaceful, but in fact is moving towards the most extremist and violent indicator, in an axis where the clash with it is inevitable.

The doctrinal sources of Jihadi-Salafism require a separate presentation. Nevertheless, their diversity is part of the issue at stake. They include three different branches, whose connection to classical, pure, political, or reformist Salafism can be questioned:

• Egypt through the radical parts of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood—mainly Sayyid Qutb and Abd al-Qader Odeh, and Egyptian exiles in Saudi Arabia—and the self radicalized fathers of the Egyptian Jihad and Gama`at Islamiyyah—the Palestinian Saleh Sariyyah, the Egyptian engineers Muhammad Abd al-Salam Faraj and Shukri Ibrahim, and in a later period the physician Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri.

• Saudi Arabia, through its Neo-Wahhabism led by the prominent Sheykh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz and a huge class of his disciples, which created among other issues, the “Movement of Awakening” (Harakat al-Sahwah), led by the two Sheykhs Salman al-Awdah and Safar al-Hawali. During the 1990s, they were legitimized by two other classes of Neo-Wahhabi scholars. Older clerics, such as Muhammad bin `Uthaymin, Abd al-Aziz bin Jarbou`, or Saleh al-Fawzan; and younger clerics, who in part participated in the Jihad in Afghanistan, such as Ahmad al-Khaledi, Naser al-Fahd, Yousef al-Uyeri, Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin, Abu Jandal al-Azdi, and many others.

• The “Palestinian Trio” of Abdallah Azzam, Omar Abu Omar Abu Qutadah, and above all Issam al-Burqawi Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. The later is the spiritual father of the fusion between the Wahhabi Tawhid and the violent Takfiri Jihad. They used an inspiration to a new generation of Jihadi clerics who graduated Saudi Islamic universities, primarily Jordanian-Palestinians, such as Abu Omar Seyf or Abu Anas al-Shami, whose role has been significant in both Chechnya and Iraq.

The most important element of this Jihadi “texture” of principles and doctrines is that they lost any sign or remains of the original reformist Salafism. They turned the Jihad into a dynamics that purifies the Muslim society through a small elitist fighting group and by following the exact steps of the Prophet and his companions—the “Pious Generation” (Al-Salaf al-Saleh).

Being a Jihadi-Salafi means above all creating an as much as possible exact copy of the first ideal generation of Muslims, but primarily in the militant dimension. However, this target created another greenhouse of Jihadi doctrines – the principle of Takfir (ex-communication) of every infidel what so ever, but also every Muslim who does not follow the Jihadi-Salafi doctrines. There is a kind of a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary touch with the signs of the destruction of the “old society” in favor of building the new type of Muslims and Muslim society.

Such a society is found and will be found for a long time in a permanent war with a variety of enemies. The enemies are a growing list of “others,” all of whom do not approve the present-day Jihadi doctrines. This element comes primarily from the teachings of Abdallah Azzam, but also from the original Wahhabi zealotry, which dominates the Saudi part of the sources of Jihadi-Salafism and many of the Jihadi scholars and terrorists.

The apostasy of the rest of the Muslim society in Jihadi eyes created a process in which in a very short time of only one decade—1995-2005—the definition of the “enemy” of Islam and the “true believers” has been widened, to include now even the vast majority of the Muslim society. Doctrines that have been used to develop some of the ideas of Jihadi-Salafism, such as the social justice of Sayyid Qutb, were neglected in favor of the “magic touch” of violent Jihad.

The Takfiri element of the Jihadi-Salafis is the main one in creating the diversity and controversy between the search for unity/Tawhid and the purification of society from apostate elements, even by killing innocent Muslims, not to mention Shi’is, Sufis, Yazidis, or Sunni Muslims, whose sole sin is for example, employment in companies that provide services to the Americans in Iraq or the Iraqi and Afghan governments.

During 2005-2006, there have been several cases of harsh criticism over Zarqawi himself, his anti-Shi`ah policy, and his violent and extremist Takfir. Some of this criticism came from leading scholars of Al-Qaeda and global Jihad, such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Basir al-Tartousi in London, and Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdesi, Zarqawi’s mentor in Jordan. In the case of the latter, who is imprisoned, the criticism was made in public through interviews in the media.

However, Zarqawi and his followers in Iraq enjoyed high prestige and popularity to receive full support in Jihadi forums, based on the principle that “the Mujahidin in the field know best how they should behave and act.”

It was almost like the Islamic principle of “Allahu A`lam”—Allah knows best—and in this case – “the Mujahidin know best.” The so-called but respected “Saloon scholars,” were asked politely to keep silent and respect the wish and strategy of the fighters in the field.

The killing of Zarqawi in June 2006, did not change much the strategy of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, primarily in the field of anti-Shi`ah, the terrible violence against civilians, and the principle of Takfir. However, despite the success of his violent anti-Shi`ah policy and operations and its on-going application by his successors, there seems to be a decline in the religious position, prestige, and legitimacy of this policy.

The shift from “Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers” to the “Islamic State in Iraq” in October 2006, increased the anonymity of the present leadership of the Iraqi Al-Qaeda on one hand, and the independence of other Jihadi insurgent groups, on the other. Zarqawi’s successor “Abu Hamza al-Muhajir” is in fact totally anonymous. The same with the “Imam” of the ISI, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.

His only prestige, if at all, comes from his so-called Qurayshi origin. The other prominent “Amir al-Mu’minin”—Mulla Omar in Afghanistan—is not regarded a serious religious cleric or scholar, despite his or his commanders’ success since early 2006, in leading the Taliban and supporters of Al-Qaeda into a growing insurgency in Afghanistan, using the same modus operandi of Iraqi Al-Qaeda.

For the vast majority of supporters of global Jihad on the net, he is more a symbolic model of the sense of the Jihadi apocalypse, the same as Osama bin Laden, who still pays his loyalty to him. In the absence of dominant personalities such as Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi in Iraq, and the anonymity of his successors, some of the other Jihadi or Islamic groups of the Sunni insurgency allowed themselves to either criticize Al-Qaeda or even enter into clashes with its members, which were followed by some violent attacks by Al-Qaeda.

The position of Al-Qaeda as the leading force of the Jihadi insurgency has been challenged and the attempt to impose the ISI upon all Iraqi Sunni Jihadis, has so far failed. The absence of dominant scholars such as the Saudi Yousef al-Uyeri, the Jordanian Abu Omar Seyf, or the Saudi Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin, who are all dead, and the Saudi Abu Jandal al-Azdi, the Jordanian/Palestinian Abu Qutada, and the Jordanian/Palestinian Abu Muhammad al-Maqdesi, who are imprisoned, created a big vacuum.

This vacuum leaves the door open to more public criticism and debates within the Jihadi-Salafists on one hand, and makes them more vulnerable to outside criticism and attacks by Saudi anti-Takfiri Salafists and affiliated scholars, on the other. The whole process of criticism and debates is done in public on the Internet. Towards Jihadi-Salafi Pluralism?

These debates and criticism find a fertile ground in the E-Jihad, and it should be noted that supervisors of the various sectors of Jihadi forums do nothing to block or hide them.

By doing so, they allow the development of more pluralism among the community of the E-Jihad and kind of “virtual democracy” within this growing community. It also enables the emergence of “semi-parties” of pro- and anti- positions on very significant issues, crucial for the Jihadi global arena – the ISI, Sunni-Shi`ah conflict, Iran, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, Suicide bombings outside of Iraq or against civilian Muslims, Saudi Arabia, extremist Takfir, other trends of Salafism, and the authority of Islamist scholars, including Jihadi-Salafi ones.

It is hard to say if there is a directing hand of this “virtual pluralism,” is it a result of the growing use of the Internet, or the “competition” between different Jihadi forums, which want to serve as greenhouses of the widest platforms for Jihadi ideas. In some cases it might also be a result of confusion and lack of clear position of the supervisors themselves.

From few cases of such Jihadi supervisors and webmasters who were arrested and tried—such as the Moroccan Younis al-Tsouli in London (“Irhabi 007”), or the Tunisian Mohamed Ben El Hadi Messahel (“Tunisian Admirer of the two Shaykhs” – Muhibb al-Shaykhayn al-Tunisi), who was sentenced in March 2007 in Morocco to 12 years in prison for a terrorist plot—we can learn that their religious knowledge was poor.

They were mainly devoted to the cause, self-radicalized, and proud to be Jihadis, but with poor understanding of Jihadi doctrines. However, Saudi webmasters such as the late Yousef al-Uyeri or the one nicknamed “Al-Muhtasib,” who was recently released from a two-years arrest in Saudi Arabia, were serious Islamic scholars, even though with no formal Islamic education.

It is also difficult to say if this phenomenon is harmful for the Mujahidin in the long-run, or not. Publicity can be a source for both weakness and strength. In fact, it seems that the Jihadis and their leadership do nothing to hide the debates or criticism nor to ignore them, what means that in their eyes this is power not inferiority.

Furthermore, from reading between the lines of some posts in Jihadi forums, we can come to the conclusion that many of these supervisors know each other, if not in person at least through email links. Hence, it seems to be there a directing hand behind the policy of this pluralism.

It is obvious that at least in the field of publishing statements, declarations, video and audiotapes, and other material of propaganda nature, there is in the past year, a well-organized order, no competition or rivalry but respect for each other, and a good cooperation under the leadership of the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF).

This order might also be a result of the fact that there has been a growing awareness of the importance of this mission in the Jihadi “war of the minds” and its legitimacy as integral part of Jihad. It seems that the effective and easy use of the E-Jihad helps in creating a kind of a “Jihadi virtual state” that allows itself a growing openness to pluralism of views and positions, within the joint Jihadi mission of Tawhid. Internet Jihadi Scholars.

On the above mentioned background, the openness for variety of positions and debates created another developing phenomenon of “Internet Jihadi scholars” who appear by real names or nicknames, but gain a growing respect from their audience.

This is also a new phenomenon, which seems to be more influential upon the “laymen” supporters of global Jihad. Some of the “Internet scholars” are known to their public, such as the Kuwaiti Jihadi-Salafi Hamed al-Ali, the Saudi Hussein bin Mahmoud, the Libyans Hasan al-Qaed “Abu Yahya al-Libi” and “Abu Layth al-Libi,” the Moroccan Sheykh Atiyyat Allah, and others.

However, they are accompanied in recent time by a growing group of scholars who post their positions by nicknames, and have a growing respect by the Jihadi members of the E-Jihad.

Among these anonymous scholars are several females. The latter take part in this activity with no sense of inferiority, and their positions target the entire community of Jihadis, not the female part of them. Some of them appear to have Islamic high education and might be graduates of Islamic universities.

Some of these “Internet scholars” have significant contributions to the analysis and understanding of the strategy of global Jihad, especially following audio and video tapes of known Jihadis, such as Bin Laden, Zawahiri, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, or various declarations by GIMF. These scholars follow the “legendary” Al-Qaeda Saudi scholar Lewis Atiyyat Allah, who in the period 2002-2003 used to publish long analysises of the organization’s strategy.

A good example from the last six months or so, is a new such “Internet scholar” by the nickname of Abd al-Rahman al-Faqir. Al-Faqir is trying to outline a scientific methodology for the Jihadi strategy in variety of fields, including the field of propaganda and indoctrination through the media. In an article he posted in 31 July 2007, in Al-Hesbah forum, titled “Scientific Methodology in Analyzing the Jihadi Campaign,”[6] he wrote:

The enemy has huge institutions for propaganda. In order to fight them we need to study these institutions, their points of weakness, and how to infiltrate into their ranks or attack them from outside.

As I see it, this issue is bigger than what I can handle for now. So, I move to the next element to see that I can influence some of the operatives in those American institutions by personal contacts, by providing them with true information about Islam, and by interpreting our points of view, which they are not familiar with.

Hence, we can find a chance to affect their propaganda by affecting the people who work for them. It could have been through getting rid of them [killing them - RP] or threatening them. Nevertheless, this is beyond my power as an individual, because it derives a group of people or I need to be a member of a group, what will make me do much more individual work…
Everybody can determine any problem and follow this series of steps in minimizing the problem and setting the targets and then the solution. He might not need to reduce the problem much if he is highly skilled. Let us take for example Al-Qaeda, which did not need to reduce much of the problem when it defined its target as fighting the Jewish-Crusader alliance.

However, it has set a group of long-term and short-term targets. The long-term target was defeating the enemy. The short-term ones were for example, to draw him to the region [the occupation of Iraq – RP] then fight him on our soil while reviving the duty of Jihad among the Muslims; then to expand the battleground in accordance with the growth of the basis of the Mujahidin, so the Jihad will be an existing duty. Hence, the general problem of the organization was the fight against the Jews and the Crusaders, and the specific problem were drawing the enemy to our lands, expanding the basis of Jihad, making him drown in the swamp, and encircle him.

All these are gradual problems and targets that should be solved through the theoretical framework that guarantees their success. If the methods the organization takes would defeat the enemy it means that the theoretical framework or the steps taken by him are successful and can be implemented in other regions or times. If they fail, it means that he should build a new theoretical framework and plan other steps to reach the target.

As said above, the E-Jihad or the so widespread use of the Internet by Jihadis and sympathizers, seem to create a process of pluralism, which results in growing number of topics under debate, even those of the nature of a “sacred cow,” within a framework that is seeking a maximum of doctrinal unity.

However, this pluralism remains so far, within the “family,” even though in public. It does not cause major splits or gaps in the ideological umbrella of the Jihadi-Salafi current, as long as the fight looks promising and successful, especially with the sense of the apocalypse that characterizes it.

Conclusion In the final analysis, global Jihad must use open indoctrination in order to sustain and broaden its audience in general, and its younger generations in particular. Open indoctrination is incompatible with disinformation.

Therefore, even though we should be selective and careful in our selection of which information on Jihadi web sites we follow, once we have established the authenticity of a Jihadi web site, we can be reasonably certain that the words we read from their lips are credible.

The Jihadist instigators cannot allow themselves to mislead the “Solid Base”—Al-Qaeda al-Sulbah—the base of the future pioneering Jihadi generations. Furthermore, we should understand the role of Jihad played by the present ideological umbrella of global Jihad.

This role is not merely one of terrorism but, and perhaps more importantly so, a crucial pillar in building the current solidarity among Arabs and Muslims, as well as the nation-building process of the future Muslim Caliphate. In April 1988, Dr. Abdallah Azzam, the spiritual father of modern global Jihad, wrote so very clearly in the article in which he established the idea of Al-Qaeda (Al-Qa’idah al-Sulbah):[7]

“The Islamic society cannot be established without an Islamic movement that undergoes the fire of tests. Its members need to mature in the fire of trials. This movement will represent the spark that ignites the potential of the nation. It will carry out a long Jihad in which the Islamic movement will provide the leadership, and the spiritual guidance. The long Jihad will bring people’s qualities to the fore and highlight their potentials. It will define their positions and have their leaders assume their roles, to direct the march and channel it…

Holding of arms by the group of believers before having undergone this long educating training and indoctrination—Tarbiyyah—is forbidden, because those carrying arms could turn into bandits that might threaten people’s security and do not let them live in peace.”In the eyes of some Jihadi leaders and senior scholars of the first generation of Al-Qaeda and Tawhid, the Iraqi insurgency might become an “arena of bandits,” as predicted by Azzam.

Terrorism in Muslim lands and against Muslims is one of the “Achilles heels” of Al-Qaeda and global Jihad and a good reason for public criticism and debates.

Therefore, the indoctrination through the Internet is more important. Beside the fact that the Internet is a sole alternative for the Jihadis, it also has its own advantages in spreading the messages to a wide range of public. Hence, as much as the use of the Internet was a compromise with reality, the Jihadis learned how to effectively use it despite its public nature.

However, it should be noted that for those who try to understand the mindset of the Jihadi scholars through their indoctrination over the Internet, the latter make it an easier task than the ambivalent and double-language writings of their counter-part scholars from Islamic establishments, especially the Saudis.

The role of the “Internet scholars,” either the well-known among them who appear by their real names, or those who hide in Jihadi forums behind nicknames, is to back and legitimize the extreme positions, which their audience want to hear.

Such writings are integral part of what has recently become a legitimate branch of the militant Jihad—the Jihadi propaganda (Al-Jihad bil-Lisan or bil-Kalimah). It provides lot of satisfaction and a sense of identity and belonging to a growing number of “students” in the Open University for Jihad Studies. Zealot scholars or numerous videotapes from Iraq or elsewhere, are part of a system that hotwires the imagination of radicalized youth, who can join Jihad starting from home.

They are no longer regarded as dodgers from Jihad or Mutaqa`idin, the term first coined by Sayyid Qutb for those who do not join the military Jihad.

The “total Jihad,” including in Muslim countries and against Muslim “apostates,” enables them to channel many emotions of frustration, personal or social stress, hatred, and fears, into a legitimate Jihad, religiously approved by real or false scholars.

The long Jihad, which the West—and indeed much of the world—is currently facing uses the Internet to provide both Jihadists and us, a wide spectrum of diversified information. Western analysts can learn more about modern Jihad by reading the lips of Jihadi clerics, scholars, operatives, commanders, leaders, as well as the response of their growing audience. Improving their ability to do so, and above all in the original language, must be a priority.

The war against global Jihadi terrorism is becoming also a war of “soft powers,” in which the Jihadis are doing quite well.

Hat Tip Beowulf