Despite the beheading in France last week of history teacher Samuel Paty many in the West remain too weak to name that enemy. The enemy is Islamist extremism. And, like Australians, the French must never accept this evil. Australian soldiers resting eternally on French soil did not sacrifice their lives to end one tyranny only to have another replace it. To recast a Winston Churchill phrase, the malice of the wicked must not be reinforced by the weakness of the woke.
The Islamist global insurgency has been turning our system against us for some time. Following defeats in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, a physical caliphate is no longer needed. And the weakness of the West is fertile ground. There have even been protests in Paris supporting those on trial for their connection to the slaughter of the Charlie Hebdo staff. They are also linked to an attack on a Jewish shop, killing four people. The 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre was a call to arms and set off a terrorist killing spree across Europe and Britain. Yet many of those who spoke against Islamist violence were labelled Islamophobic.
The clever al-Qa’ida strategist Abu Musab al-Suri (real name Mustafa Setmariam Nasar) who in 2005 was arrested in Quetta, Pakistan, wrote a 1600-page book, The Call for Global Islamic Resistance. Demonstrating his appreciation of the West’s weaknesses, al-Suri described a changed strategy that is now playing out playing out on our streets. Al-Suri may not know their names, but his disciples swim in the warm waters of the West until such a moment that they become activated. It is a decentralised network in which every participant’s centre of gravity is metaphysical. They are not given instructions, but they know them.
- Queensland ElectionDES HOUGHTON
We are the enemy. Their footsoldiers in this undeclared war are out to eliminate the “grey zone” within Western society where no one can remain neutral. Al-Qa’ida and ISIS understand that the moral asymmetric weakness of the West’s democratic principles allows them to drive Muslims and non-Muslims into polarising positions. And they identified and cultivated a sympathetic voice among Western institutions, media, academia and civil society. That’s what good insurgents do.
Now big-man global Muslim leaders such as Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan reinforce the idea that the teacher’s beheading is the will of Allah. Instead of distancing their faith from this heinous crime, they feed the minds of those who hate us by their vitriol against French President Emmanuel Macron. Erdogan insists Macron is deranged and calls for a boycott of French products. Macron’s crime was to defend France’s national motto, Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Incidentally, it strikes one as odd that if you hate a country and its principles so much, why live there? No refuge was offered by either Erdogan or Khan.
When the great 12th-century military commander Saladin threatened war against the Ismaili sect, the Assassins, their leader, Hassan-i-Sabbah, replied with one of the best rebuttals in military history. Sabbah explained: “We have read the gist and details of your letter and taken note of its threats against us with words and deeds, and by God it is astonishing to find a fly buzzing in an elephant’s ear and a gnat biting statues . . . you know the outward aspect of our affairs and the quality of our men, what they can accomplish in an instant and how they seek the intimacy of death. We suggest you prepare means for disaster and don a garment against catastrophe, for I will defeat you from within your own ranks and take vengeance against you at your own place and you will be as one who encompasses his own destruction.” Today’s Islamist strategy is the same. They know Hassan-i-Sabbah was on to something. Killing one individual by someone living among us, using nothing more than a knife, has deep psychological and mobilising effects on sympathisers and opponents. The tactic is so cheap to deploy, so simple to implement, and almost impossible to detect. And deadly attacks replicate through self-sacrifice. When one dies it inspires other like-minded extremists.
Our freedoms, laws and human rights are being exploited to attack us. Then those freedoms are used to defend the same terrorists. It is what US military strategist William Lind describes as fourth-generational warfare. If only we acquiesced to their nonviolent demands, the terrorism would stop. France, the epitome of freedom and liberty, is the antithesis of this psychopathic movement.
Today’s Islamists are applying lessons from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. As Sun advised, seize that which your adversary holds dear or values most highly, then they will conform to your desires. In the case of Islamic extremists, their nonviolent sympathisers can jump on board, further spreading the infiltrator’s narrative, shutting down dissension from within. Instead, Macron should be supported. Whether in Australia or France, there must never be a social contract with barbarians.
Andrew Hastie, as chairman of parliament’s intelligence and security committee, has explained that our terrorist threat level remains at “probable”. This means a significant number of individuals retain the intent and capability to attack us. This year 11 convicted terrorists will be released from prison into the Australian community. Think yourself lucky we are not in the UK where it is estimated 40,000 people are on MI5’s potential terrorist list, with 3000 identified as a direct threat. The task of monitoring them all requires being lucky always.
The Islamist extremist global insurgency has unfinished business. Given our military history and cultural ties, an attack on France is an attack on our own.