An Intellectual Reset On Terrorist Doctrines

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Michael J. Del Rosso VP & Senior Fellow, The American Strategy Group
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A major reason Donald Trump is in the oval office is because he dared to promise to investigate and defeat those aspects of Islam which threaten America. Even the president’s subdued language in Saudi Arabia described the need to confront “the crisis of Islamic extremism, and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.”

The president is 100% right, yet many Republican legislators and even many members of President Trump’s inner circle do not agree with the President’s common-sense statement.

This was evident last Friday when the House voted down Trent Franks’ (R-AZ-08) House Amendment 185 to the National Defense Authorization Act, 217 to 208, with 27 Republicans joining 190 Democrats.

The amendment, titled “Strategic Assessments of the Use of Violent or Unorthodox Islamic Religious Doctrine to Support Extremist or Terrorist Messaging and Justification,” was called “controversial” by Politico.

In fact, the only thing “controversial” is the Pentagon’s failure to perform such an assessment immediately after 9-11-2001.

Here is what such an assessment would have revealed.

The established U.S. military doctrine governing the Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) requires the factual identification of (1) the Enemy, (2) the Enemy Threat Doctrine that makes them go to war, and (3) their victory Objectives for waging war.

This never happened!

If, in 2001, the Pentagon had followed their own doctrinal standard, they would have quickly uncovered what bin Laden (with other jihadi groups) explained in their February 1998 Second Fatwa (a fatwa is a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority), “[i]n compliance with God’s order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims: The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it. … and ‘fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God.’”

Mapping al Qaeda’s own words with the Pentagon’s IPB doctrine reveals that (1) our enemy is a global Islamic movement, (2) authoritative Islamic law makes it obligatory for all Muslims to participate in this war, (3) whose objective is to violently force the world into submission to Islamic law.

If the Clinton Administration had done such an assessment in 1998, perhaps we could have avoided the bombing of the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in August 1998, the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, and the horrific attack of 9-11-2001.

It is beyond dispute that numerous other Islamic groups like the Hamas, ISIS, Boko Haram, al Shabab, and the Muslim Brotherhood share the same doctrinal justification for war.

But just as interesting is the question, is it true? Is there such a thing as authoritative Islamic law, and does it make such obligatory demands of Muslims?

On all counts, the answer is “yes.” There are four schools of Sunni jurisprudence, codified for a thousand years, published continually, and published today in authoritative English translations.

All four schools agree that the primary definition of jihad is violent, kinetic war by all stratagem to establish global submission to Islamic law, that such jihad is obligatory for all Muslims, that lying to advance jihad is obligatory, and that funding it is obligatory.

One such Islamic legal text, Reliance of the Traveller, A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, certified by the Muslim Brotherhood’s International Institute of Islamic Thought, uses the word “obligatory” over 600 times.

So, far from being “extreme” or “perverted” positions of Islam, published, authoritative Islamic law states it is obligatory for pious, observant Muslims, like Fort Hood assassin Major Nidal Malik Hasan, to execute acts to include terrorism, material support of terrorism, sedition, and numerous other felonies in the US Code.

One has to question Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-MN-05) motives for claiming Franks is “abridging the free exercise of that religion.”

This is not a religious exercise to know what Islam or even what Shariah is in some perfect or academic world. This is a necessary national security threat analysis that looks at what the enemy says its doctrine is. The fact that the enemy’s stated doctrine has such broad support across the theoretical doctrine of knowable Shariah simply makes it a far more effective recruiting tool among Muslims who make up the recruitment cohort, especially here in America.

It is inexcusable, after more than 15 years of continual war, that countless national security and political elites, and at least 217 members of congress, are still unable to identify America’s enemy, their doctrine, and their objective. It is at a minimum professional malpractice, if not dereliction of duty. Every American should have a problem with that.

Every American should demand that President Trump reorient our national security establishment back to the facts and purge the politically correct fictions embraced by elected and appointed officials. Every American should settle for nothing less.

Michael Del Rosso is Vice President and Senior Fellow at The American Strategy Group.