Books and Documents
Islam,Terrorism and Jihad

Middle East Time Bomb: The Real Aim of ISIS Is to Replace the Saud Family as the New Emirs of Arabia
Alastair Crooke

The Saudi Ikhwani history is plain: As Ibn Saud and Abd al-Wahhab made it such in the 18th century; and as the Saudi Ikhwan made it such in the 20th century. ISIS' real target must be the Hijaz -- the seizure of Mecca and Medina -- and the legitimacy that this will confer on ISIS as the new Emirs of Arabia…..

Feed the Worm of Paranoia in the Campaign to Destroy ISIS
David Ignatius

The worm of paranoia begins to eat into even the hardest adversary. An example is a Twitter post last week displaying an ISIS leaflet offering a $5,000 reward for information about “crusaders’ agents” in the ranks. Maybe Western spies are secretly burrowing into ISIS right now. But then, maybe the leaflet is a fake, intended to induce the fighters to doubt their comrades. The point is that the jihadis can’t know. Either way, the worm turns…..


Capture of Isis Leader's Wife Is another Murky Tale from the Pit of Marital Scandals
Robert Fisk

We love the wives of our favourite monsters. And the rumours which surround them. Fresh from spitting out our hatred of Madame Asma al-Assad and making fun of the late Osama’s many wives, we are now given the saga of Saja al-Dulaimi, wife of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the throat-cutter of Mosul and self-proclaimed “leader of the faithful” of the equally self-proclaimed “Islamic Caliphate”, or Isis. And this time the story comes from that pit of all Middle East marital scandals, Lebanon……


Blowback of the Foreign Jihadists?
Jonathan Power

Over 15,000 foreign jihadists from 80 countries are believed to be fighting alongside militants in Syria, the CIA says. The Syrian war is estimated to have mobilised more European Islamists than all the foreign wars of the last 20 years combined. What to do when the jihadists try to return home? Many of them might be trained to wage jihad against their home countries. “The returned fighter seasoned by battle acquires a new authority among his old friends and followers on social media – a street creed that allows him to recruit and radicalise others and send them into the fray.”….


Islam and Violence: Conservative Muslims Refute the Violence Of IS
Katajun Amirpur

In this context, the authors of the letter also examine the verses of the Quran that appear to legitimate violence: "Permission [to fight] is granted to those who fight because they have been wronged" (Al Hajj, 22:39). This and similar verses of the second Surah are the ones that are most often quoted – by critics of Islam in a negative way, and by jihadists in a positive way – to prove the propensity for violence that is supposedly inherent in Islam. The scholars, however, draw exclusively on a particular event, the "reasons and circumstances for revelation"......


The emir, known officially as Muhammad Sanusi II, last week said at the same mosque that northerners should take up arms against Boko Haram, which has been fighting for a hard-line Islamic state since 2009. He also cast doubt on Nigerian troops' ability to protect civilians and end the insurgency, in rare public comments by a cleric on political and military affairs…..


Foreign Fighters of Pakistan: Why Pashtuns and Punjabis?
D Suba Chandran

...what made them to cross the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan and fight in the Kashmir Valley in the late 1940s? What made the Afghans (primarily the Pashtuns) from West of the Durand Line to cross Pakistan and enter into J&K in the early 1990s? What enthused the Punjabi fighters of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Toiba to cross both the borders into India and Afghanistan? An equally interesting question should be why not the Sindhis and Balochis from Pakistan do not join the jihad elsewhere? What prevents the fighters from Sindh and Balochistan to remain territorial, and what enthuses the fighters from Punjab and KPK to fight someone else’s War?....


ISIS Sets a 'New Paradigm' for Child Soldiers: Ideology, Combat and Forced Marriage
Katarina Montgomery

As the Syrian conflict enters its fourth year, children are increasingly being used in armed combat roles, dragged into the conflict and exposed to extreme violence at an alarming rate. Over 5 million children have been impacted by the Syrian conflict, finding themselves extremely vulnerable and susceptible to exploitation by all parties in Syria's conflict. Children have been used as combatants, human shields, messengers, spies, guards and porters, and are sometimes tasked with manning checkpoints and maintain weapons….


The Islamic Caliphate is no longer virtual reality; it’s a tangible experience. Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL) has the basic essentials that make it a serious threat. It has territory, it has the military capability to hold on to its territory, and it has a system of governance, however demented it may be. Of course, its barely contested march has now been stalled by air strikes, the recapture of the Baiji refinery has been hailed by Iraqis as a changing of the tide, and the Peshmerga are gradually coming into their own at Kobani….


A Million Mutinies among the Believers
Aijaz Zaka Syed

In the words of Naipaul, it is a million mutinies among the believers. And with so many wars to fight within and settle scores with your own brethren, who needs the services of external foes? No wonder, Netanyahu cannot stop grinning from ear to ear proudly unveiling one settlement after another and setting his sights on Al-Aqsa, the prized catch.  To an external observer, especially a non-Arab Muslim, all this is truly bewildering….


The Myth of 'De-Radicalization' Of Islamic Radicals
Tarek Fatah

De-radicalization, I told the senators, was just an empty meaningless word. The real challenge was to prevent radicalization and this required confronting the rhetoric of political Islam rather than appeasing those who fanned religiosity and made Muslims believe their first loyalty was to Islam, not their community of fellow Canadians and Canada. “To ask ‘former radicals’ to de-radicalize radical Islamists is like asking Marxists to convert Communists into liberal democrats,”......

Do Nigeria's Female Suicide Attackers Point to Desperation or High Ambition for Boko Haram?
Elizabeth Pearson

In contrast, attacks by women distance Boko Haram from Al Qaeda ideology. Few Al Qaeda clerics advocate the use of women in violent jihad, either on front-lines or as suicide bombers. A campaign of female suicide bombers suggests Boko Haram is ready, when necessary, to subvert Al Qaeda ideology for tactical advantage. Security officials have been less likely to regard women as potential activists, and women are less likely to be searched. Boko Haram has already exploited this to use women to smuggle weapons, and suicide attacks….


Pakistan's Jihadis Rally around ISIS Banner
Declan Walsh

From urban slums to Taliban strongholds, the militant group's logo and name have appeared in graffiti, posters and pamphlets. Last month, a cluster of militant commanders declared their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State. Such is the influence of the Islamic State's steamroller success in Iraq and Syria that, even thousands of miles away, security officials and militant networks are having to reckon with the group……

World Media on Iraq, Syria and ISIS, 24 November, 2014

To claim today that ISIL and al-Qaeda have resolved their problems is to exaggerate. Since the beginning, there have been two standard dynamics required for unification that work. The first is to do with other groups, like Khorasan or Jabhat al-Nusra, that aim to reconcile al-Qaeda and ISIL. In fact, it was al-Nusra that first tried for reconciliation when the rift between al-Qaeda and ISIL opened. The second dynamic is the various fighters in both groups….

The Articles:

Early On, ISIS Targeted Sunni Tribal Leaders

By David Ignatius

Can Tech Companies Stop ISIL?

By Alastair Sloan

Al-Qaeda And ISIL: Is An Agreement Possible?

By Gökhan Bacik

ISIS: No Threat to Pakistan

By Mohammad Jamil

Boko Haram Is Acting Increasingly Like The Islamic State. Why Don’t We Treat It That Way?

By Jacob Zenn

Theological Explanations Are a Diversion When Looking At the Rise Of Islamic State

By Myriam Francois-Cerra


The Islamic State's Terrifying Strategy
David Ignatius

U.S. strategists want to create a “national guard” version of the tribal militia known as the Awakening, which in 2007 and 2008 crushed al-Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor of the Islamic State. But overlooked evidence shows that the jihadists have worked systematically to destroy the Awakening and assassinate tribal leaders who might challenge their rule.....

The Boko Haram ‘War’
The Editor, Nigerian Guardian

A fact remains that the bulk of the people in the northeast do not support Boko Haram. But they need to be liberated from the group’s clutches. Politicians should realise that unless and until the Boko Haram is effectively checked, there may be no country to govern by 2015. ….


“These places should be for prayer and not for giving extremist speeches, talks that incite people to violence and terrorism,” Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa told Reuters. But ultra-conservative Islamists complain the government crackdown impinges on their freedoms.“What we are living now is a repression of mosques,” said Abd Arrahem Kamoun, a conservative preacher who was dismissed in the government crackdown. “Today it is harder to control the younger Salafists after all the repression.”.....


Today the Saudis find themselves in an extremely uncomfortable position. Their air force has joined the US-led coalition in conducting numerous air strikes against IS positions in Syria, yet this is deeply unpopular with many Saudis. A prince who has flown sorties against IS in an F15 jet has reportedly received death threats More than 2,000 Saudi nationals are estimated to have joined the ranks of IS, bringing with them an extreme brand of "Takfiri" ideology that views large portions of the population with suspicion and intolerance…..


The incident of Al-Ahsa massacre did not happen accidentally, but it is a rude interpretation of a dangerous approach that is increasingly threatening the heart of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must admit that the problem, which the Kingdom has long been exporting, is now present inside its boundaries!....


Jihadism in Egypt: the General’s Law in Sinai
The Economist

Hardened fighters now face government tanks and helicopter gunships, with increasingly terrified civilians caught in-between. Casualties are rising. In October the insurgents, most of them from local Bedouin tribes, killed more than 30 Egyptian soldiers and police. Security forces claimed to have killed scores of rebels. News reports counted 14 civilian dead.....


Meanwhile, public display of dead and or broken bodies is not novel in our history. Since the counter insurgency operation against the movements to establish an Islamic state, the DI/TII (Darul Islam / Tentara Islam Indonesia) in the 1950s, this has been a common method of state terror against Indonesia’s own citizens accused of being enemies of the state.  The tactic was used extensively during the massacre of suspected communists in 1965. ….


Battleground North Waziristan, Epicentre of Terrorism
Zahid Hussain

As one officer lamented “It is painful to pick up every day the bodies of our fellow soldiers and young officers often blown into pieces by IEDs, but it is more agonising to hear some politicians sympathising with the killers.”….


Rampant Arrogance of Turkey’s Islamists
Abdullah Bozkurt

A lavish palace with 1,000 rooms, a private residence with 250 rooms, a luxury plane and a special edition, custom-made car, all new toys for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the expense of billions of dollars of taxpayer money, are the ultimate embodiment of the growing disconnect between Turks and the current band of the country's leaders -- most are political Islamists who are motivated by muscle and money at home and imperial arrogance and big brother mentality abroad…..

Who Are We?
Thomas L. Friedman

Who Are We?
Thomas L. Friedman

…ISIS, is home-grown; its aim is not to strike at enemies far away, but to spread and impose its vision of an Islamic society right here and right now; it’s attracting Muslim youths from all over, including the West; its ideology is a violent mutation of the puritanical, non-pluralistic, Wahhabi Islam, the dominant trend in Saudi Arabia,….


Fundamentalist Islam and the Roots of Terrorism
Janet Tavakoli

Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian, two more were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Egypt, and one from Lebanon. They were all from Arabic-speaking countries, and presumably the terrorists read Islamic scripture in the original Arabic. Muslim scholars did not unite to protest this act of terrorism. Instead, many celebrated a victory, because the Quran includes passages that permit violence to expand Islam. Most so-called Muslims are peace-loving, because they do not follow the rules. They practice Islam à la carte, a new religion…..

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