Shirking Jihad

In a recent interview, CENTCOM Commanding General John Abizaid calls for action against the dangerous Wahhabi and Salafi ideologies espoused by Osama bin Laden and other Islamist terrorists. General John Abizaid notes that al Qaeda has suffered a string of military failures on the battlefield against American forces but still remains a threat as a political and ideological movement.

“Militarily, Al Qaeda is under pressure but it is still dangerous, he said, likening it to the Bolshevism of the 1890s or fascism in the 1920s. “They don’t seek to win any military battles. As a matter of fact, in three years of battle they haven’t won a single military engagement anywhere,” he said. “Yet they have created the impression that they have strength well beyond their numbers, that they are capable of striking and sowing panic in western economic markets, and western population at will.”

The impression of the powerful Islamist warrior capable of defeating American forces is diminished daily as Coalition forces continue to rout the Islamofascists in the Sunni Triangle. Terrorists may be able to drive suicide car bombs into convoys or police stations, or detonate IEDs, but they cannot stand up to the grim forces methodically hunting them down. National Review’s W. Thomas Smith Jr. reports on Coalition operations in the Triangle of Death, the dangerous region directly below Baghdad. Mr. Smith discusses the issue of how the operations since Fallujah have evolved with officers of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

 “This is not a Fallujah-like mass assault, marked by determined resistance and heavy fighting,” Capt. David Nevers, spokesman for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24th MEU), tells NRO. “The environment here south of Baghdad is very different, requiring a different approach. Our operations are surgical rather than sweeping in nature, more precision than mass.”

In the Triangle of Death, Coalition raids have been characterized by collecting and processing intelligence on a specific enemy stronghold, planning a raid, then attacking that stronghold with a modicum of surprise by units trained to fight both as shock-troops and room-clearing commandos. In nearly all cases, large numbers of insurgents have been killed or captured, weapons caches seized, and new intelligence gleaned which serves planners for the next raid on the next town.

It’s not an easy task. An estimated 6,000 insurgents – former members of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard, followers of Abu Masub Al Zarqawi who slipped through the Fallujah net, as well as unemployed locals or those coerced into fighting the Americans – are believed to be operating in the region.

Mr. Smith reports on the large amount of insurgents and terrorists rounded up in a short amount of time. While it is dangerous to play the “body count” game, it must be noted that the size of the insurgency is estimated to be below 10,000 fighters. With estimates of 1,200 killed and 2,000 captured in Fallujah and the ongoing operations in the Triangle of Death, Mosul and elsewhere, the amount of Islamofascists captured or killed is a significant percentage removed from the battlefield in a short period of time (remember that active operations in Fallujah began on November 8th.)

…Hillah SWAT [the Iraqi SWAT team is also known as Al Hillah SWAT because most of the team members are from the town of Al Hillah], and it went off flawlessly, netting us 43 detainees.”… elements of the 24th MEU, the 1st battalion of Britain’s Black Watch, and the Iraqi SWAT team attacked a number of targets near Yusufiyah, netting 81 guerrillas…the Iraqi SWAT team and the 2nd Ministry of Interior Commando Battalion (also an Iraqi special operations team), supported by U.S. Marines, descended on an insurgent stronghold near Lutafiyah. The raiders captured nine suspects and gathered fresh intelligence that led to a second raid on two houses later in the day. Eight suspects were detained in the second raid…

The increased involvement of Iraqi police and special forces teams working in conjunction with American and British forces is crucial to securing Iraq. Iraqi government units are continuing to learn how to operate as an effective anti-terror force, and are building up the skills and confidence to one day conduct independent operations and provide for their own security.

The cooperation of Iraqis in fighting the Islamofascists is not going unnoticed by the leaders of al Qaeda. These “collaborators” are despised by the terrorists, and it seems the Arab Street isn’t doing enough to fight them. The call to act as cannon fodder against Coalition force just isn’t as popular as it used to be. MEMRI reports that a Saudi sheikh is admonishing Muslims who are unwilling to commit to jihad. Note the good amount of “martyred leaders” reported by the sheikh.

 [P]raise be to Allah who gave me the honor of knowing the heroes of this Islamic nation and being in their company – people like the martyred leader Abd Al-Aziz Al-Muqrin, Sheikh Isa Al-Awshin and Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Rayyis, Faisal Al-Dakhil, Nasir Al-Rashid, Ibrahim Al-Durayhim, Turki Al-Mutayri, Abd Al-Ilah Al-‘Utaybi, and others of our brethren. These men taught us the meaning of courage and valor and of sacrificing everything precious and dear in order to come to the aid of ‘There is no God but Allah.’ .

“Today, you act without taking account of what you are doing, but tomorrow you will be called to account, and there will be nothing you can do. You who shirk Jihad, are you content with sitting with those who stayed behind?…”

“You who shirk Jihad, how can you enjoy sitting idly while your brethren in Iraq suffer greatly under the oppression of Allah’s enemies, while you are with your wives? How can you enjoy life and comfort while your noble sisters are being raped and their honor is defiled in the Abu Ghreib prison…”

“You who shirk Jihad: Don’t you know the story of the three laggards?…”

“You who shirk Jihad: We haven’t seen you coming to the aid of your brethren in the Arab peninsula, nor have we seen you fighting the Crusaders. Why do you shirk Jihad ? What is the matter with you?”

“You who shirk Jihad: The people of the Jahiliyya [i.e., the pagans in the pre-Islamic era] would not have tolerated the humiliation that the nation of Islamis experiencing these days.”

The harangue continues at length. At one point, the sheikh is reduced to chiding the shirkers’ manhood, “if you are not among the knights of war, then let your women grind the millstone of war and you go and makeup your eyes, you women with beards and turbans!”

Shirking Jihad seems to be a real problem for al Qaeda and their Islamofascist allies. There are manpower issues in Afghanistan and Iraq, and if the faithful are not willing to volunteer for jihad and replace the cannon fodder martyred in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the problems will only increase.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.


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    I’ve added a few new blogs to the left side of the screen. Check out Oyster’s Dan Rather Retirement countdown. If you like Belmont Club, give Bill Roggio a read. There’s a certain earthiness to Froggy’s prose I think you’ll…

  • Justin B says:

    Is it Jihad to ram a car filled with bombs into a bus or a market? I am trying to figure out what “Jihad” is. Committing murder of innocents under the banner of Islam is the only definition I can come up with.

    I think the Clerics have finally discovered a strategy that will eventually take care of the problem of unemployment among 18-40 year old Muslim men.


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