Tuesday, August 16, 2016

When in Rome, Do Kill the Romans

Libyan forces backed by Western special forces and American air power have largely taken Sirte. But specific territory isn't the only thing ISIL fights for.

This is good:

Libyan pro-government forces pressed an advance against the Islamic State group in the coastal city of Sirte on Sunday as they pushed to clear jihadist holdouts from residential areas.

But I think the reporter really misinterpreted this sentiment of the jihadis:

Outside the [Ouagadougou conference] centre a group of pro-government fighters flashed victory signs and pointed to a banner left behind by the jihadists that read: "We are fighting in Libya but our eyes are on Rome."

Libya's former colonial power Italy lies across the Mediterranean from Sirte and is the closest European country to Libya.

If I may be so bold to suggest, the jihadis aren't talking about Rome as the capital of Italy, but as the location of the Vatican, making Rome the symbol of the Western Christian world that is their enemy.

We are all Romans, now.

Denying ISIL and other jihadis territory that they can control and exploit to carry on the war against what their eyes are on is important.

But the jihadis are willing to revert to terrorist status until Allah wills their rebuilding of the caliphate:

Earlier in 2016 ISIL leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi gave senior subordinates detailed orders to abandon certain areas in Iraq because the locals had become too hostile to ISIL and to move heavy artillery and some other major weapons from Mosul to the Syrian border. Then there are orders to prepare for the possibility that ISIL headquarters may have to move to Libya or go mobile. By mid-July ISIL had suffered some major defeats in Libya and its main base there (the coastal city of Sirte) is largely lost. In Syria rebels and government forces are closing in on the current ISIL capital Raqqa, in western Syria. ISIL leaders are giving more media attention to claims that lone wolf terror attacks in the West are part of the new ISIL plan to remain relevant without an actual “Islamic State” that currently exists in eastern Syria (centered on Raqqa) and western Iraq (now centered on Mosul). Both of these cities are likely to be liberated from ISIL control by late 2016 or early 2017.

After that ISIL will fight on and even if it is destroyed the ideas behind it survive wherever there is a large Moslem population. This inherent intolerance and encouragement of violence against “unbelievers” has been a problem for over a thousand years.

So ultimately the jihadi ideology has to be discredited in the eyes of Moslems and the Westerners who make excuses for jihadi murder sprees.

Yes, this has been a repeated pattern for a thousand years. The West is fighting against one right now.

But just enduring the jihadi murder spress until the passions cool from exhaustion and death without really changing Islam to discredit the jihadi urge just means that once again--as it has before--the jihadi urge will rise up and threaten us again.

The problem is that one of these days, the technology of mass killings will become cheap enough and accessible enough to move down the ladder from wealthy states to well-financed groups or even individuals. Or even easier.

So if we simply endure the rage, do nothing to help Islam reform itself, and simply enjoy the lull between jihadi surges, one day we'll face a jihadi surge that can kill us with chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons and not just bombs, planes, trucks, knives, and guns.

The liberation of Mosul will just be the end of the beginning.