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

Blood from Stones

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Finally, An Attempt at Education Rather than Deprivation
Militant Islamists willing to pick up a gun to kill for the sake of Allah are a special breed whose legitimacy, both in their own eyes and the eyes of their peers, is largely dependent on their belief that they are theologically enlightened and blessed.

Radicalization, as we have learned in many books published, is almost never an overnight event, but rather a process of some duration in which time the individual, through a combination of personal experience and theological training, comes to believe that Allah requires him to use lethal force to defeat the infidel.

If that fundamental belief structure and narrative begins to unravel, so do the justifications for the violence, especially the violence against civilians.

A counter-narrative that is theologically sound is imperative in this effort and must be led by Muslims.

(That, to me, in a nutshell, is a major reason not to engage with the Muslim Brotherhood-their narrative of their faith is not significantly different from the _jihadist_ narrative that leads to violence. While not all directly to violence, the children of the Brotherhood now engaged in violent jihad bear testimony to the fact that the narrative does not go against that grain.)

We also know, from our own experience in this country, that incarceration often leads to radicalization in many different forms, whether Islamic, white supremacy groups or gangs. Breaking that cycle in prison is vital, and not often successful.

So it is interesting to note that U.S. military efforts to counter that training have had some success. The Washington Post reports on the efforts in Iraq, among detainees, particularly those who are younger than 15.

This is crucial, because those children in this war, as with most insurgent movements, view the insurgents as people to be admired and emulated. They begin by acting as look outs, couriers and messengers, finding a sense of belonging and purpose. If they continue, they often become the most hard core and proficient militants.

The military methodology is to bring in non-jihadi Muslim theologians to help them pick apart the radical theology that many have embraced, particularly focusing on the attacks on civilians. It also places a great deal of emphasis on sports and other activities aimed at young men.

It must be extremely difficult to measure the levels of success of these efforts, but perhaps the best measure is that the commander says that of the 2,000 people released so far, none has been re-arrested.

This type of effort, both in the U.S., to combat the Brotherhood groups, and abroad to counter the increasingly-popular narrative people on the violent edges of faith, are vital.

It should not surprise me (but still does) that the military, rather than the civilian side, seem to grasp this and take the lead. It would be nice to hear of this type of initiative from the office of Karen Hughes and others who are supposed to be focusing on just these issues.
The Sudden Rush of Al Qaeda Communications
How the Rule of Hamas (Muslim Brotherhood) in the West Bank
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