Getting tougher but smarter on Islamist terrorism
Europe and America have consistently got the threat of Islamic terrorism wrong. in over reacting and wrongly reacting, we keep playing into the Jihadis hands. We need to be tougher but cleverer. Here's the plan
The old war-time Music Hall comedian, Rob Wilton, would open his act with; ‘The day war broke out, my missus said to me: ‘What are you going to do about it?’’
Well, Dave Cameron, Mutti Merkel, Monsieur Hollande and the more junior members of the Europe gang, what ae you going to do about Islamists bombing you?
When ISIL first came on the scene, the establishment would have us believe (probably because they believed it themselves) that this was a bunch of religious fruitcakes who wanted nothing more than to turn the clock back to 830 AD, and create a ‘pure’ Islamic caliphate. Their atrocities were clear proof of this. They were not interested in ‘the West’ and were no danger to us.
Well. They got that ever so slightly up their bottoms.
The ISIL campaign is a continuation world-wide of what began as 9/11. Then, the Islamic terrorists won both tactically and strategically; tactically because they succeeded only too well in giving America a bloody nose, the most destructive blow the US had ever suffered at home from a foreign enemy; strategically because the objective was to lure America into over-retaliation and almost endless wars in Muslim countries at vast cost in treasure and lives.
Not only did US take the bait but as an added bonus to jihadism its enemy number one was the jihadis’ #1 enemy also, Saddam.
And the great ongoing success of the jihad has been to completely alter the western lifestyle -- the imposition of security restrictions which are merely symbolic, expensive and farcical.
So it’s time for you Masters of the Universe to make a plan
You begin with a clear description of the aim, followed by the objective before providing a count-down on the steps to be taken sequentially to get a result.
To define it is not difficult -- to exterminate every manifestation wherever it is found anywhere in the world.
‘Exterminate’ is the key word. ‘Victory’ or ‘triumph’ or other weasel words have no place in recognising that this existential threat must be wiped out as thoroughly as if it were some ‘ebola’ type disease. It demands the utmost ruthlessness and if this offends the ‘human rights’ faction, that will not cause too much loss of sleep.
The objective clearly is to wipe out ISIS ground forces operating in MENA and elsewhere, and to obliterate all terrorist cells operating in Europe and elsewhere, including what are clearly sophisticated and extensive logistical chains. These will include safe houses, weapon supplies, electronic equipment, false passports and all other support elements
Then comes the most difficult issue of how to achieve the objective.
First, the ‘Home Front’. We have been here before.
We in Britain had 30 years of IRA terrorism that killed and maimed thousands in bomb attacks on shopping malls, markets, pubs and office blocks. In Europe, there was the Red Army Faction and other murderous Marxists who specialised in the assassination of public figures.
Lord Carey summed it up succinctly in the Daily Telegraph:
"Let us take the example of terrorism. There is a risk that by overreacting we are conceding the very freedoms which we should be defending. Terrorists want to create fear and terror -- it is what they exist to do.
"They want to divide our societies and they want us to change our policies and jettison our freedoms. As societies, we are now in danger of subjecting our citizens to an unacceptable level of surveillance and intrusion for the sake of a safety we will never achieve.
"And we have forgotten that these acts of terror in Europe are mild in comparison with the violence people are experiencing elsewhere. The frequency of terror attacks is not even unusual in Europe’s recent history. In the Eighties and Nineties, Europe experienced many acts of terror attacks at the hands of the IRA and other groups. The death toll of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie was an early signal of the lengths to which later Islamist terrorists would go."
In the UK, the security services seem to be doing a pretty effective job in catching jihadis, but it is a ‘given’ that indoctrination in schools and mosques must be firmly stamped out by putting the hate preachers out of circulation.
A good starting point would be the abolition of ‘faith’ schools, which have no educational value or relevance but are obvious breeding grounds for extremists. Banning all religious instruction and the wearing of clothing or artifacts proclaiming a religious belief naturally follows.
Religion is excluded from education in France and the US by the constitution. It seems to have done them no harm; there are almost certainly more Church-goers in these countries than in the UK. And more widely, covering the face in public should be a criminal offence; after all, in English folk culture ‘mask’ means ‘criminal’ -- your burglar or highwayman.
Schools and mosques should be subject to closure indefinitely or permanently if radical Islamism is being peddled. Universities that tolerate the promotion of extreme Islam must be dealt with ruthlessly by dismissal of weak administration, withdrawal of funding and expulsion of radical students
There are some clues in the Defence of the Realm Act 1914 that served us well for many years. One provision was for internment. So that regardless as to whether there is evidence that would achieve a criminal conviction, those who wish us harm can be safely tucked away until the danger is no longer present.
There were some effective ‘catch-all’ criteria, such as ‘spreading alarm and despondency’ and ‘giving aid and comfort to the enemy’.
Public support for individuals or organizations like Hamas that advocate and support terrorism as a legitimate political weapon might well lead to an extended sea-side "holiday" as in WW2.
The nonsense of airport ‘security’ which signals triumph to jihadis must be abolished immediately and changed to an Israeli-style profiling approach so that security officials can concentrate their attention on dodgy looking young men with beards rather than white grannies with Zimmer frames. The Brussels slaughter proves that all security scanning should be done before entering the departures terminal; it works pretty well elsewhere.
And now to the ‘Eastern Front’. The present disaster is a direct consequence of Obama’s ‘no boots on the ground’ stance. Assad would have been gone within a month if the western alliance had given him a good shove.
The west must stop regarding the Syria situation as being ‘counter insurgency’. It is not. ISIL is clearly organized, well-led almost certainly by Sunnis trained by the US as a part of the Iraqi army reconstruction, well supplied, well financed. The beheadings and other atrocities appear to be carried out by adolescent cannon-fodder as part of a deliberate tactic to terrorise the local populations into easy submission.
The only realistic solution is crushing military intervention using all available resources and assets until the enemy has ceased to exist. Yes, we have been there before but we tend to remember the disasters of Dubya and forget that Gulf War 1 was a resounding and rapid victory at minimal cost in allied lives.
And, hopefully, our leaders will have learnt a few lessons since Gulf War 2 and Afghanistan. Meanwhile ISIS in Libya is only about 80 miles from a European landfall.
Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world
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