Special to WorldTribune.com
By Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor, Global Information System / Defense & Foreign Affairs
Jihad is escalating into Europe. The mid-November 2015 jihadist strike at the heart of Paris, the late-March 2016 jihadist strike at the heart of Brussels, as well as the host of smaller “incidents” such as the mid-May 2016 stabbing attack in Munich or the September 2015 stabbing attack in Berlin, and other clashes with security forces throughout the EU, are all part of this mounting jihadist offensive at the heart of Europe.
The media arm of DI’ISH — the Islamic State or Caliphate — has been claiming responsibility for these attacks, and although the Western political elites and media have eagerly embraced these claims. But they have no merit.
For more than a decade now, and particularly in the aftermath of the early-January 2015 attack in Paris, the spate of Islamist terrorism in Europe has been, essentially, an indigenous insurrection — an intifada — waged by Europe’s own Muslims against the social and political order in which they live. The jihad in Europe will continue to expand and escalate because the leaders, commanders, and fighters are all convinced that they are on the verge of an historic triumph: the Islamicization of Europe.
The writing was on the wall, as I wrote in “The Paris Jihad, Ready or Not, Has Begun, and Will Widen” in early-January 2015:
Related: Special Report: Ready or not, the Paris jihad has begun, and will widen, Jan. 9, 2015
“The escalation of Islamist-jihadist violence — the current wave of which has been spreading and escalating since the French intifada of 2005 — is uniquely Western in theological terms and has little to do with the concurrent jihads in Muslim lands. … The radicalization, transformation, and organization of the Islamist communities in France have been indigenous. The key to the Islamists’ success is the intentionally self-inflicted building of mistrust and hostility in the name of establishing Islam and Islamic way of life. Consequently, although French citizens, younger-generation Muslims feel very alienated and are convinced they have no future in a modern Western France. In contrast, radical Islam gives their lives sense of meaning and belonging. … The Islamist no- go areas provide fertile grounds for both the recruitment and the sustenance of a myriad of jihadist networks. The jihadists in Western Europe are organized in their own web of networks which are neither Al Qaida nor Caliphate/ISIS/IS. These networks are built around the inspiration by charismatic Imams in the Muslim neighborhoods and are professionally run by veterans of overseas jihads.”
Until the political elites in the West recognize and confront the phenomenon of indigenous intifada, the jihad at the heart of Europe will continue to spread, escalate, and win.
The emergence and consolidation of the unique Islamist-jihadist milieu in Western Europe, and increasingly in the U.S.-Canada, can be traced back to the early-1990s when Hassan al-Turabi’s Sudan (the source of Sunni Islamist ideology-theology and outreach to the veterans of Afghanistan) and Iranian intelligence (the source of professional expertise, unique equipment and funds) jointly launched the building of long-term Islamist subversion of, and presence in, the heart of Western Europe.
Specially-trained experts, organizers and imams were dispatched to subvert Western Europe’s Muslim communities from within, while Iranian embassies became the purveyors of specialized equipment, weapons, funds and secured communications.
This undertaking received a huge boost from the U.S.-led Western intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s on the side of the Bosnian, and later Kosovo, Muslims. Consequently, both Muslim youth from Europe and highly experienced jihadist cadres from the Middle East and South Asia converged on the former Yugoslavia. With the benign endorsement of Western governments, the European Muslim youth were indoctrinated, trained and recruited by the jihadist cadres. These European youth would lay the foundations for today’s Islamist-jihadist milieu when they returned home from their stints at jihad in the Balkans.
The contemporary Islamist-jihadist posture in Western Europe was defined in 2004-05 when the Islamist-jihadist movement underwent the most profound evolution of its onslaught within the Muslim world as well as against the West. The transformation of 2004-05 focused on the launching of an uncompromising Islamist-jihadist surge against all the foes of Islamdom — internal and external alike — in the form of a global and irreversible offensive. It is a total war in which, as far as Islamdom is concerned, there can be no coexistence, or even compromise, with their hated foes.
Elaborating on this jihadist surge in August 2005, Zawahiri stressed that the center of the jihad had moved into the heart of the West. He envisaged a campaign of retaliation for all of the West’s transgressions against Islam. The ensuing deliberations about the implementation of the new Islamist-jihadist doctrine would prove crucial to the rise of European Islamism.
Significantly, the jihadist leadership throughout the transformation phase remained in close contact with the Islamist-jihadist milieu in Europe. Volunteers arriving from Western Europe to the lands of jihad — Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iraq, and Chechnya — were thoroughly consulted about their analysis of the situation of, and prospects for, the Islamist trend in the West. Moreover, several operational leaders and theological luminaries — mainly North Africans and Indians-Pakistanis — were dispatched to Western Europe (and subsequently the U.S. and Canada) in order to personally study and assess the situation. As well, they made contact with local Muslim leaders, preachers and community activists in order to get their input.
Several Islamist leaders in Western Europe were formally anointed “the eyes and ears” of both Al Qaida and bin Laden in their areas. The uppermost leaders of Al Qaida also maintained extensive correspondence with Islamist- jihadist notables in the West in order to ensure that the steps undertaken and recommended by the Al Qaida Shurah Kabirah were in line with the perceptions of the evolving Muslim communities in the West and that discernable segments of these communities will follow these steps. Consequently, the emerging vision of the rôles and objectives of the Islamist-jihadist milieu in Europe (and subsequently the U.S. and Canada) would prove very pragmatic, attainable, and sustainable.
At these crucial times, two theological leaders and commanders affiliated with the Al Qaida Shurah Kabirah influenced the jihadist doctrine regarding the Muslim communities in the West.
Significantly, their teachings are now implemented by the Islamic State/Caliphate even more than by the post-Osama bin Laden Al Qaida. They are Sheikh Abu Bakr Naji (real name Muhammad Khalil al-Hakaymah) and Abu-Musab al-Suri (real name Mustafa Setmariam Nasr).
Very little is known about Naji except that he is an Egyptian born around 1960-1, participated in the jihadist conspiracies against Anwar as-Sadat, and was apparently killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan, on Oc. 31, 2008.
In contrast, Abu- Musab al-Suri (b. 1958) has an illustrious biography which includes operational command in Syria, Iraq and Western Europe. He spent most of 2002-5 sheltered by Iranian Intelligence, mainly in Marivan, north-western Iran, where he wrote his seminal work.
Abu-Musab al-Suri was arrested in Spain in March 2006 as he was assuming command of regional networks, and sent by the CIA to Damascus as a special rendition. He was released in late 2011 at the demand of Iranian Intelligence and assumed, at the behest of Iran’s Qods Forces, a crucial position in the subversion from within of the jihadist trend in the Middle East which he is still holding.