Meeting the Lion in its den to pacify and profit?

What is jihad: a double edged sword?dr. james kottoor

James kottoorWhat is the fountain head of war, violence, hate and jihad of all sorts? It is the inward looking, negative workings of human mind, set against the well being of fellow humans. So defenses for peace, fellowship and human camaraderie should be built with a positive tilt, first in the minds and hearts of all humans everywhere to put an end  to violence against one’s neighbor.

Jihadism is terrorist attack let loose on the basis of a distorted Mislim  religious belief  against followers of other religions or against conflicting belief groups among Muslims themselves. Originally Jihad  meant and should mean, war against one’s own evil and sinful tendencies, in order to conquer oneself.

Globally and geographically, which is the one country known as the epicenter, aiding and abetting this conflict with money and material? It is Saudi Arabia, the topmost oil-rich country in the middle-east and in the world. We are here just recording ground realities without being judgmental.

Trump’s first foreign travel

It is in this context that the first weeklong foreign travel of President Trump to this country assumes global importance and significance. Trump’s outstanding trademark is his anti-Muslim mindset and rhetoric bordering on hatred and exclusion of Muslims from his country. He started proclaiming it to the whole world, from the start of his presidential campaign. In spite of it he decided to mend fences(?) with this leading Muslim nation, as though in response to Pope Francis’ statement that a Christian has to be first and foremost a bridge builder, not a wall builder. Or was this only a business strategy of his?

If not,  it should be seen as  a giant step to becoming an outstanding Christian! That his goal was also,  clinching a profitable business deal is not to be ignored. What else could have been the  mindset of a business-man president, except focusing on profit? Yes money and profit speaks louder than anything else in international relations. Two birds at one shot: clinching  a  $400 billion business deal and checking the export of Wahhabism – the hyper-conservative strain of Islam and   modern Islamist terror at its very source.

In cozying up even with the enemy for profit, Trump is not alone.  Six weeks ago UK’s PM, Teresa May beat him to reach Saudi first. “If you can’t beat him/her, join them” has always been the business principle and practice of US. To shut down the entry of all Muslims into US, Trump shouted in US: “Islam hates us.” To reap giant profit from Saudi he declared in Riyad that Islam is: “one of the world’s great faiths” — double talk to make a quick buck even from a declared enemy? How fast does an arsonist turn into a fire-fighter? To gain lucrative contracts, may be following the logic: “end justifies the means,” is valid, as is said: “In war and love all is permitted!”

Arsonist & fire-fighter?

For example, who created the Islamic State(ISIS), if not the Bush administration, which destroyed Iraq on the trumped up allegation of hiding weapons of “mass destruction” against Sadam Hussein and provided safe heavens for Islamist terrorists to grow and flourish? That was the last big blunder committed by the world’s top terrorist country after Hiroshima-Nagasaki, Vietnam, Afganistan and so many others. Of course when US unleashes terror unilaterally bypassing even the UN on those who stand up to it, it is called “democratic intervention” by the Super cop, not terror, war or brutal extermination of human lives.

Shouldn’t one reap what one sows? What the top terrorist sowed came back to rule the roost on 9/11 and now in the form of ISIS sponsored attacks making people in US tremble, for making them target of its attacks all over the country. Will President Trump and party learn lessons from history, from its own mistakes galore? No, not likely at all! Neither those who live in Washington, capital of US, nor those in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia!

Speeches to Please!

Trump can and does change the idiom of his speech to please the audience as he shifts from place to place. In Riyadh he was presenting himself as the savior of Muslims who form the “majority” who fall dead due to terror from ISIS. If so how should he present himself as their savior? He would provide them with all  modern weapons they need to fight ISIS and wipe them out from the face of the earth? Yes ‘out’, ‘out’ ‘out”, he repeated it so many times in his speech in Riyadh.

And don’t forget, production of deadly military weapons is the top export item produced in US. By selling them who profits most? Who gains by providing job opportunities for many idling white workers in US? The colored take up any job for a living. That can’t be the case with those who will take up only white-colour jobs, not the ones that entail getting their hands dirty and at a comparatively low pay. It is forbidden for the white racists.

Fighting terror profitable!

That helps Trump  to make fighting terrorists of Jihad,  the most profitable business at home and abroad. But the fact is,  neither his opposition at home nor his hosts at Riyadh are being fooled. The Le Pen defeat in France and stunning victory of Emmanuel Macron 39, are to be seen as shining examples to learn lessons from, for leaders like Trump.

In a globalized world of instant communication and fast changing public opinion about ‘dictators amd democrats’ one has to be GLOCAL (both global and local), accommodating all one confronts —  foreigners and nationals, patriots and world citizens, wiping out divisions based on class, caste, colour, creed, country – and stop constructing wall of division.

May be this 9-day tour of countries ending with France should serve as a Damascus experience of being thrown off from his high horse, which changed a Saul into a Paul who became “all things to all to serve and save all” and earn the  title, “apostle per excellence”. Nothing is impossible for those who believe in a God, who alone can write straight with crooked lines. May the humanly impossible happen! james kottoor, editor, ccv.


Please read article in Times of India by Brahma Chellaney below

Why systematically discrediting the ideology behind jihadist terror holds the key to counterterrorism success

Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 8.10.14 pm Brahma Chellaney in Times of India, May 27, 2017

Want evidence that money speaks louder than the international imperative to counter a rapidly metastasizing global jihadist threat, as symbolised by the latest attack in Manchester? Look no further that US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to the world’s chief ideological sponsor of jihadism, Saudi Arabia.

The trip yielded business and investment deals for the US valued at up to almost $400 billion, including a contract to sell $109.7 billion worth of arms to a country that Trump previously accused of being complicit in 9/11.

By exporting Wahhabism – the hyper-conservative strain of Islam that has instilled the spirit of martyrdom and become the source of modern Islamist terror – Saudi Arabia has been snuffing out the more liberal Islamic traditions in many countries. Wahhabism is just a variant of Salafism, and the House of Saud is the main backer of Salafis across the globe.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia’s radicalism is the root from which Islamist terrorist organisations ranging from Islamic State (which claimed responsibility for the Manchester concert attack) to al-Qaida draw their ideological sustenance.

The Manchester attack, occurring close on the heels of Trump’s Saudi visit, cast an unflattering light on his choice of a decadent theocracy for his first presidential visit overseas. The previous four US presidents made their first trips to neighbouring Mexico or Canada.

But Trump is not alone. In thrall to Saudi money, British Prime Minister Theresa May travelled to Riyadh six weeks before Trump. As if to signal that a post-Brexit Britain would increasingly cosy up to rich despotic states, May flew to Saudi Arabia just after triggering Article 50 to exit the EU. She has also stepped up her courting of China.

Salvaging the global war on terror demands a sustained information campaign to discredit the ideology of radical Islam. But as long as Saudi Arabia continues to shield its insidious role in aiding and abetting extremism by periodically doling out multibillion-dollar contracts to key powers, it will be difficult to bring the war on terror back on track.

Trump has yet to articulate a clear anti-terror strategy. After earlier saying “Islam hates us” and calling for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US, Trump described Islam as “one of the world’s great faiths” and urged “tolerance and respect for each other” in a speech to leaders from across the Muslim world.

Despite his measured tone in the latter instance, it was odd that Trump spoke about the growing dangers of Islamic extremism from the stronghold of global jihadism, Saudi Arabia. The new Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology that he opened in Riyadh seems to symbolise hope that the arsonists will turn into firefighters.

Trump’s embrace of a country he excoriated for being “the world’s biggest funders of terrorism” reflects the fact that Saudi Arabia is a cash cow for American defence, energy and manufacturing companies. Hyping the threat from Iran, even if it fuels the deep-seated Sunni-Shia rivalry, helps to bolster US alliances with the various oil sheikhdoms and win lucrative contracts.

In Saudi Arabia, Trump spoke of building a stronger alliance with Sunni countries, with US officials saying the defence arrangements could evolve into an ‘Arab NATO’. However, the Sunni arc of nations is not only roiled by deep fissures, but also it is the incubator of transnational jihadists who have become a potent threat to secular, democratic states near and far. IS, al-Qaida, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammed, Boko Haram and al-Shabaab are all Wahhabi-Salafi groups that blend hostility towards non-Sunnis and anti-modern romanticism into nihilistic rage.

In this light, Trump’s Sunni-oriented approach could worsen the problems of jihadism and sectarianism, undermining the anti-terror fight.

The murky economic and geopolitical considerations presently at play foreshadow a long and difficult international battle against the forces of terrorism. The key to battling violent Islamism is stemming the spread of the ideology that has fostered “jihad factories.” There can be no success without closing the wellspring of terrorism – Wahhabi fanaticism. But who will have the courage to bell the cat?

(DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own. Brahma Chellaney  is a geostrategist.)

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