Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

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Why Jihahdis Are Feeling Good
Several developments towards the year's end show what a good few months it has been for the worldwide _jihadi_ movement. These are not marginal shifts in the success of the Salafist military project, but significant gains that demonstrate some of the contours of the growing, armed movement that would like to eliminate us.

Among them:

Significant advances in Somalia, creating a geographic base and state absent since being driven from Afghanistan;

The succeessful establishment of a virually independent Taliban state in northern Pakistan, allowing for a constantly-growing ability to challenge NATO militarily and the coordination of training and fighting with foreign fighters;

The dominance of the political discourse by violent Islamists and by their allies in the debate over Islamism in Europe and the United States;

The successful creation of an information and education sharing network that allow successful tactics in one region to be exported in short order to other groups-i.e. from Iraq to Afghanistan;

The weakening of the central governments in both Afghanistan and Iraq, enhancing the law-and-order appeal of the Islamist groups;

The continued penetration of sub-Saharan Africa through NGOs, the building of mosques and the export of radical imams in the hopes of radicalizing potential recruits;

And the survival of key leaders such as bin Laden and Zawahiri.

That is just on the Salafist/Sunni side. On the Shi'ite side there is the emergence of Hizbollah again as a significant military force, Iran's unhindered nuclear ambitions and understanding that the international community will remain hardpressed to actually take any action to deter these ambitions, and the growing alliance between Iran and Venezuela, to oil-rich states.

On the terrorism side, this is extremely dangerous because Hezbollah has both people and a financial network in Latin America, and getting a state backer for its enterprises there, through the Iranian alliance with Chavez, would be most useful. Chavez has already shown his support for violent groups by his friendship with the FARC in neighboring Colombia. Not much of a stretch to make Hezbollah feel at home at the request of his primary international ally.

There have been some military victories against these advances. But what comes across from the U.S. and European side is the ongoing dithering over words and definitions-global war on terrorism, Islamofascism, radicalism etc. For example, is the Muslim Brotherhood a radical enough movement to be included in the global war on terror?

While definitions are useful, five years of dithering over them is dangerous. There has yet to be a clearly defined strategy to take on radical Islam in its different guises. There is no coherent message except the overly simplistic, almost meaningless phrase that these people hate freedom, therefore they hate us. Almost nothing further has been articulated, pushed into the public arena for debate, for to help shape the debate or establish a credible alternative to the Islamist narratives about what is happening. And that makes it a bad few months for those of us who do not wish to convert to Islam or live under the new caliphate.
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