Monday, December 14, 2015

Thoughts on the geostrategic challenge of Islamism

First, as to the notion that Islamist terrorism is a rare, stable, lightning strikes sort of thing: nope, it has been steadily rising since the 1970’s. Currently it is running at 3,000 victims/month, just under half fatal -- and of course the median victim is a fellow Muslim, doubtless deemed an "apostate" by the Jihadists over one dispute or another.

It has potential to explode, both in Europe and the Americas.

The rule of thumb estimate is you are looking at 10% of Muslims who are Islamists. Pew polls show about 20 – 80% support depending on where in the world. Taking the 1.5 bn estimate, that is on order of 50 millions backed by 500 millions, the largest global military threat in history.

Second, what is playing out is tied to Islamic eschatology.

There is a black flag army hadith (from the other "holy book" of Islam, a collection of sayings and traditions of Mohammed) which points to an army from the direction of Khorasan, implying Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan, and that Mahdi is among this invincible army. If one has to crawl over ice and snow, one is to join them. They are to be in the Syria-Iraq zone and Prophet Isa (an Islamic, eschatological version on Jesus not at all like the NT Jesus) will join. ME conquest is envisioned, with associated prediction of a mass slaughter of Jews (Gharqad tree hadith). From ME, domination of the world.

The strategic events of recent decades and years in the ME suddenly fit a pattern. 

And of course the Iranian Republic sees itself as vanguard of the Mahdi, and seeks nukes in that context.

I summarise and do not give details and versions on points, and note that the black flag army hadith is not viewed as as strong as say the Gharqad tree one on the massacre of Jews. But the problem — observing black flags in abundance — is to persuade the militants that things are otherwise.

We are looking at jihad by raiding bands in that context, with infusions of assassin cult suicide attacks. In some cases I would not be surprised to learn that hashish (source of the name, assassin) is involved.

Beyond jihad by bands is organised full bore war under an acknowledged Caliphate. Which is exactly what Al Baghdadi is claiming to be. So the pledging of loyalty by various groups and individuals is a crucial move in the ideology and theology of Jihadism.

From Caliph we move to final Caliph, the world conquering Mahdi. Hence the 100 year plan, the settlement jihad strategy and the sort of projections in the map I first saw on 9-11 in 2001:

The answer in outline is to realise this is a rimlands (perimeter of the Eurasian heartland), choke points and pivotal resource [oil] based continental strategy. 

Where, I do not think a traditional, European-dominated heartland strategy is in view.  This was the concept discussed by Mackinder and others, with E Europe being key to dominance of a zone that thanks to improved land transport, was opening up as land for a potential globally dominant superpower:

  A view of global choke-points for sea trade:

Most likely, the African heartland is the targetted soft continental base of material and population resources to build up the bases and inventory for global subjugation — the view since 1904 has been that given railways and technologies that allow mobilisation of a continent, a dominant continental power can then build up bases and inventory to take up a maritime assault of unprecedented scale, achieving global domination. 

Eastern Europe has usually been the envisioned focal area, but Africa and China have been seen as other possible bases. Doubtless, India too . . . the second main base of the British Empire. Yes, Mackinder et al saw that as a possibility, though in context India and China while being abstract possibilities; are much less likely. 

Africa is the soft zone and for the Americas, Latin America and the Caribbean.

BTW, this may explain the recent Islamist focus on attacking and denouncing France; as France has been most assertive in blocking Islamist expansion southwards in Africa.

And of course Israel sits in the SW corner of Asia on a choke-point on the land bridge between Africa and the ME. Close to the Nile valley arterial line that bypasses the Sahara.

A Continental geostrategic thrust is logically and historically best countered by a maritime one. I will give no details here other than say, look to the past 500 years of history and particularly to Britain and the Royal Navy.

But jihad by bands, by settlement of enclaves, by pen, tongue and agent of influence settling in key institutions backed by oil money has to be defeated if such is to be undertaken.

The key nations have to be willing to recognise, this is a slow burn global, 4th generation war where multiple battlespaces and theatres of operation are simultaneously engaged.

Target hardening through creating a civilian marshals force to be in businesses, institutions, churches etc so that there can be a 10 second response to an attack, not the 10 - 30+ minutes for a SWAT team, speaks to that, on the jihad by bands battlespace.

As does taking up serious policing of no-go zones backed by stronger forces if the police are stalemated or defeated. (In France alone there are over 750.)

The information and influence battlespace must be engaged, and the unwelcome truth brought out and grounded. The signal failure of media and pundits, speaks volumes. In this space it has to become clear that the Jihadis are deluded and will manifestly fail, as they are not the strong horse. 

Though I will say, an evaluation has been made that an economically and socio-culturally suicidal west invites aggression.

For the USA, lessons from the Barbary Coast naval wars may teach more soundly than anything since.

On the intel front, the pivotal issue is not a general surveillance state [that opens up things that we do not need]. Instead, go back to the small wars corpus from generations back: build networks, scout, patrol, bring the money to back partnership and frankly to buy information.

But the info and influence battle has to be won, and the West will have to make serious amends for its decades long habit of cutting and running before the job is done.

I know, none of this is palatable.

I don't like it either.

Welcome to World War IV (the Cold War was No. III; or we can call this the renewed 1400 year war), already in progress.

And, with Iran clearly at nuke threshold.

We face global challenges. END

Thursday, December 03, 2015

DEVELOPING: San Bernardino incident may be [lone wolf/ independent Razzia/ Assassin Cult] IslamIST terrorism

A Web based image said to be
the couple Syood and Tashfeen
It seems per a CBS Local report, that two implicated in the developing incident are Syood Farouk, an American citizen and Muslim, and his wife of two years, Tashfeen Malik. Both appear to be of Pakistani ethnicity, i.e. the Muslim bit of NW India of the Raj.

(These are the dead suspects, who leave behind a six month old daughter; she was left with a grand parent on a claim that her parents were going to the dentist. Syed's father reportedly: “ . . .  identified his son as “very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.”) 

A third suspect may be Farouk's brother.

U/D 7:37 pm, CNN indicates Farouk was in contact with international terrorism:
(CNN)Syed Rizwan Farook -- who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, carried out the San Bernardino shooting massacre -- apparently was radicalized and in touch with people being investigated by the FBI for international terrorism, law enforcement officials said Thursday.

Farook's apparent radicalization contributed to his role in the mass shooting of 14 people Wednesday during a holiday party for the San Bernardino County health department, where Farook worked, sources said.

Still, it wasn't necessarily the only driver behind the carnage, as workplace grievances might have also played a role.

The first hint of a possible specific weapon is the AK-74, a 5.45 x 39 mm round, post M16 revision of the AK-47 assault rifle that was standard in the Russian army from the mid 1970's. (History. Note, post Warsaw Pact, the rifle is also available in NATO 5.56 x 45 mm NATO.) Likely, a semi auto only version, though one report spoke of two BURSTS of firing. I found it annoying that there was no discussion of whether there were full auto bursts or rapid single shots. Ratatatatat . . . is quite distinctive and would tell us a lot. 

Sadly, maybe that is precisely why -- doubtless on excuses about guns being un-mentionable (but look at how many nauseating sexual pathologies etc are now openly brought up without batting an eye) -- we heard nothing on this vital point.

UPDATE, 7:05 am EC time: Police chief confirms, AR-15 family 0.223/ 5.56 mm x 45 mm rifles, suggests on the preparations, there was planning. He confirms explosive devices -- leaning is pipe bomb type designs, which implies a significantly higher level of knowledge and skill as well as preparation than just a shooter. It also makes terrorism, likely lone wolf, a highly likely explanation. Pipe bomb preparation is not a simple thing to do, especially fuzing . . . the assumption is, something like bullet reloading propellant is being used as primary detonating charge. If a different explosive is implicated, that will point to much deeper laid preparation, whether home brew or something like C4 or Semtex etc.

U/D Dec 4, 6:55 am: A note on the weapons by CBS

SW M&P15 rifle, US$509
All four guns used by the suspects in the deadly San Bernardino shooting have been traced and they were all purchased legally, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed Thursday. [--> NBC: "the two .223-caliber assault rifles were a DPMS model and a Smith & Wesson MMP 15 model, while the two semi-automatic hand guns were manufactured by llama and Smith & Wesson. "]

CBS News' Paula Reid reported that two of the guns were purchased by someone who is already known by investigators. 

A law enforcement source told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton the weapons were purchased legally in California. The long guns were legally transferred from a friend. [--> silence on the pistols, LAT says bought by "the man" and recovered ammunition suggests standard 9 mm parabellum]

Meredith Davis of the ATF said all four guns were bought four years ago. [--> when did the weapons come into the possession of the couple, and what about reports of other weapons, the consistent gappiness of these reports is troubling, as in we tell you what to think, what to think about and induce how to feel] Davis said California requires paperwork when guns change hands privately but many other states don't.

She also said the rifles involved were .223-caliber - powerful enough to pierce the standard protective vest worn by police officers, and some types of ammo can even plow through walls. [--> not said: such is normal for rifles (and in fact due to uncontrollability of full calibre rifle rounds on full auto save in a much heavier machine gun, Assault rifles use intermediate power rounds and in the M16 family, reduced calibre as in .22 inch not .30 inch the early-mid C20 standard full mil rifle round calibre), which due to being unwieldy and hard to conceal are seldom used in criminal activities.] . . . .
Burguan [Chief of SB Police] says the suspects were wearing "assault-style clothing" and were both armed with assault rifles [--> unless modified to full auto/burst and semi auto mode this cannot be; likely, semiauto AR15 based on a semiauto only version of the M16, i.e. one round per trigger pull not 3 round bursts or full auto at about 10 shots per second] and handguns [--> what types, what calibre, semiauto or modified to go full auto].

The suspects' clothing was "loaded with magazines for a gunfight," Davis said.

U/D 7:17 pm: Found in the Farouk townhouse:

It seems there was  a neighbour who, for fear of being deemed racist for profiling, did not report work in a garage at odd hours, multiple package deliveries and more. Had a report led to a raid, the incident likely could have been averted. This lends sinister colour to Islamist apologists seeking to desensitise onlookers who may notice suspicious behaviour.

We should be drawing lessons from the contrasting case of the attack on a Geller meeting in Texas, stopped by a brave security guard in the parking lot.

Unsurprisingly, ISIS supporters are celebrating this incident as a case of Jihad by bands carrying out a Razzia, a small unit operations raid that may be hit, loot and run or a suicidal attack meant to strike fear into the hearts of dar ul harb (the house of war) whilst perceived to be securing paradise for those fallen in jihad. This is the heritage of the infamous Assassins cult of Islam, resurrected in our day by the IslamISTS.

The direct lead-up to the incident as reported is: 
Farook, 28, was currently an inspector for the San Bernardino County Environmental Health department and was attending the meeting/luncheon at the center [which seems to have been a Christmas-themed training event]. At some point, he was apparently asked to leave. It was unclear why.
Video, from the same story:

So, it is reasonable to speculate that Farouk was radicalised, and prepared for something like this. Weapons, equipment and significant training are implicated -- it is not easy to achieve a death-wounded ratio of 14:17, military ratios tend to be much lower. 

Something happened and triggered the razzia.

And no, no direct connexions to ISIS etc are required.

Though, Farouk may have simply pledged loyalty to Al Baghdadi as Caliph, who has plainly called for global jihad by the simple expedient of declaring his conquered swath of land in Syria and Iraq, THE Islamic State. In radical eyes that is enough to delegitimise all other states and to re-ignite the global jihad of subjugation of the whole world, It is not for nothing that Islam means submission under Allah, Allah's prophet, Allah's law and Allah's warriors.  That is the sense in which "peace" is meant.

And, you will not hear that explanation from pundits, state leaders or Islamic spokesmen intent on strategic deception (taqiyya or the equivalent) as part of the jihad of the tongue.

It is to history and to the established 1400 year corpus of core Muslim teachings and precedents that we must look, look for ourselves.

That, is chillingly clear.

Mohammed, with his early raids against and looting of Meccan caravans from his then newly acquired base in Yathrib (renamed Medina) is more than enough precedent in the Islamic corpus for the radicalised.

Our whole civilisation is now a target zone, and in radicalised eyes all of us are legitimate targets once we have failed to submit to the demand to surrender.

If we are wise, we will follow Israel's example and will now look at any public situation, event or context tactically, and will seek to harden target zones.

No more soft targets:

If we are sensible, we have had enough warning from Israel, Nigeria, Mali, London, Paris and so many other cases.

U/D, 8:20 am: US President Obama calls for . . . stronger gun control laws. In short, more soft targets and more dependence on police who are minutes to dozens of minutes away when seconds count with lives on the line. That either makes no sense to the point of fatal policy blindness, or else it makes all too chilling sense.

But, that common good and prudent sense backed up by determined, unyielding courage and fortitude for the long haul is precisely what is in question. END

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Developing: San Bernardino shooting incident

Live feed:

LA Times summary:

  • Around 11 a.m., at least one shooter opened fire in San Bernardino at the Inland Regional Center, a facility that serves people with developmental disabilities.
  • Preliminary numbers: At least 14 people were killed and 17 wounded, San Bernardino police said.
  • Police said there were one to three assailants, who were heavily armed and possibly wearing body armor.
  • No one is in custody. Police are searching for a black Yukon SUV that drove away from the shooting.
  • Investigators are not sure whether the shooting was an act of terrorism, an FBI official said.
  • Police seek the public's help finding the attackers. Tipsters can call ( 866) 346-7632 ; to stay anonymous, call (800) 78CRIME.

AT THE ATTACK SITE 14 DEAD, 17 WOUNDED. Looks like the SUV has been stopped two miles away, a shootout with at least one suspect killed, there may be a fourth suspect in a house. END