These mainstream counterterror analysts are in agreement: we will never defeat the jihadis if we only “tackle the symptoms and not the underlying causes of jihadist insurgency.”
On that they are absolutely correct. They demonstrate here, however, that they haven’t the first foggiest clue as to what those underlying causes really are, and instead are determined to reapply the same old failed analysis that has already led U.S. foreign policy down innumerable blind alleys.
Katherine Zimmerman, who wrote a recent report for the American Enterprise Institute, says: “It’s easy to say, ‘We’re going to kill the person responsible for making the bomb.’ It is much more difficult to say that our partner government has disenfranchised this group and it’s one of the reasons why this person joins the terrorist group. And now he is the bomb maker.”
So the problem, you see, is that “our partner government has disenfranchised this group,” and these disenfranchised Muslims turn to jihad. If only we stopped disenfranchising Muslims, they wouldn’t turn to jihad. Zimmerman likely doesn’t know it, but in Islamic law the goal of jihad is to establish the rule of Sharia. So what she is recommending is that we give them their goal, the rule of Islamic law, so that they won’t have to fight for it.
Yes, it’s absurd, but it’s exactly what we did in both Afghanistan and Iraq: we fought wars to install Sharia Constitutions in both countries, ignoring the fact that Sharia directs Muslims to wage war against and subjugate non-Muslims. Did it lessen the jihad? Obviously not.
John Allen, who heads the Brookings Institution, said that the problem is “a development issue, much more than a counter-terrorism issue.”
“A development issue,” i.e., we have to help Muslim countries develop, that is, give them money, and that will end the jihad.
But jihad activity doesn’t actually arise from poverty. The New York Times reported that “not long after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001…Alan B. Krueger, the Princeton economist, tested the widespread assumption that poverty was a key factor in the making of a terrorist. Mr. Krueger’s analysis of economic figures, polls, and data on suicide bombers and hate groups found no link between economic distress and terrorism.” CNS News noted in September 2013 that “according to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, ‘Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.’”
By the way, the American Enterprise Institute has always been clueless, and the Brookings Institution is thoroughly compromised and Qatar-funded. Yet these are the voices that are heeded and studied at the highest levels, while I am derided and dismissed. The only thing is, I am right and they are wrong, but by the time anyone in any position of authority realizes that, it is likely to be far too late.
“War on jihadists won’t end unless West tackles root causes: experts,” AFP, December 15, 2018:
Western powers fighting Islamist groups around the globe are condemned to a never-ending battle if they only tackle the symptoms and not the underlying causes of jihadist insurgency, experts say.
“Beyond the tactical victories on the ground, the current strategy is failing,” said Katherine Zimmerman, who wrote a recent report for the American Enterprise Institute entitled “Terrorism, Tactics and Transformation: The West vs the Salafi-Jihadi Movement.”
“Every soldier and intelligence analyst that has worked on this problem understands what is happening,” Zimmerman told AFP.
That is just about the exact opposite of true.
“They understand that what they are doing is a temporary solution. It’s ending the immediate threat but not stabilizing or moving us forward. The problem comes down to policy and politics,” she noted.
“It’s easy to say, ‘We’re going to kill the person responsible for making the bomb.’ It is much more difficult to say that our partner government has disenfranchised this group and it’s one of the reasons why this person joins the terrorist group. And now he is the bomb maker.”…
“The West is on the road to winning all the battles and losing the war,” warned Zimmerman….
On that, Zimmerman is actually right.
In a report last month on the resurgence of IS as a clandestine guerrilla group, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said that “while the United States and allied governments have weakened some groups like the Islamic State, many of the underlying causes have not been adequately addressed.”
Those root causes include a “fragile state with weak or ineffective governing institutions” in areas affected by jihadist activity, where the Islamists can establish a sanctuary, the CSIS experts said….
At a conference this week in Washington, retired Marine general John Allen — who once commanded US forces in Afghanistan and now heads the prestigious Brookings Institution — said the West had to get ahead of the issue and ask, “Where should we be looking for the next problems?”
“We should spend a great deal more time looking at those areas that are in fragile or failing states,” said Allen, who also served as presidential envoy to the international coalition battling IS.
“We have to recognize the hotspots where the human condition prompts the radicalization of large sectors of the population,” he added.
“Often we join the conversation when the process of radicalization has been in place for quite a long time.”
Allen noted that the problem is “a development issue, much more than a counter-terrorism issue.”…
If those grievances were not taken into account, they warned, the jihadist groups were sure to be back.