October 27/07

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 12,54-59. He also said to the crowds, "When you see (a) cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain--and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot--and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny

Free Opinions & Special Reports
Jihad, Islamism, and the Challenge of Anti-Freedom Ideologies. By: Jeffrey Imm. October 26/07
Undeclared truce.Al-Ahram Weekly. October 26/07
With friends like America, Lebanon doesn't need any more enemies.The Daily Star. October 26/07
Civil law, religious law, and the right to change one's religion.
By Shaykh Abdallah Adhami. October 26/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for October 26/07
Presidential Elections Ball in Bkirki's Court-Naharnet
Abul Gheit: Hands Off Lebanon-Naharnet
Israel Shifts Maneuvers to Lebanon Front-Naharnet
Cedar Revolution Overseas Urges Mekari to Shepherd Presidential Elections-Naharnet
Olmert-Abbas Discuss Problems Facing Peace Talks-Naharnet
Syria 'air strike site' removed.ABC Online
Israel to halt large Golan manoeuvres.AFP
IDF Golan exercise cancelled to avoid tensions with Syria.Jerusalem Post
Crossfire War - Lebanon Army Fires on Israeli Warplanes Over Lebanon.NewsBlaze
Syria executes 5 men for murder.International Herald Tribune

Egypt urges no interference in Lebanon vote.AFP
Israel to comment on fuel tanks dropped during air strike in Syria
.Jerusalem Post

Think tank foresees dismal economic outlook for Lebanon
.Daily Star - Lebanon
Solana hopes for consistency in Iranian nuclear policy despite new negotiator-Daily Star
Ankara 'totally determined' to 'end' PKK threat-Daily Star

Olmert rules out early peace as Barak plans Gaza blackouts-Daily Star
Abu al-Gheit lauds 'great efforts' to end Beirut crisis-Daily Star
Youth loot Lebanese-owned shops in Sierra Leone. (AFP)
Raad touts 'positive mood' after talks with Sfeir-Daily Star
Lebanese Army fires on Israeli planes violating airspace over South-Daily Star
Journalist interrogated over criticism of Rizk-Daily Star
Norway to extend oil cooperation program-Daily Star
Lebanese man drowns in Nigerian pool  (AFP)
Deal on presidency likely to precede official vote-Daily Star

ISF chief meets German counterpart-Daily Star
New report targets poverty, regional disparities-Daily Star
'Citizenship should go beyond carrying a passport' - Qabbani-Daily Star
Gibran's 125th anniversary and Hesse's 130th anniversary: where German and Lebanese cultures meet.By Kamal Dib
Beirut teams up with NGO to fight corruption-Daily Star
Tourism Ministry goes online to lure visitors back to stagnating sector-Daily Star
Think tank foresees dismal economic outlook for Lebanon-Daily Star
Forest fires flare up again in North-Daily Star
Japan starts project to improve Tele Liban-Daily Star
Ford Foundation gives $1 million to AUB center-Daily Star
Spam finds a new way to intrude in Lebanese life-Daily Star
Cluster bombs pose grim reminder of 2006 war-Daily Star


Official Statement/Article: New Sanctions IRGC: Secretary of State-Treasury - Rice / Paulson
Written by State
Thursday, 25 October 2007
Secretary Condoleezza Rice - Ben Franklin Room
Washington, DC
October 25, 2007
SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. In May 2006, the United States offered the Iranian Government an historic opportunity to improve its relations with the international community and with us. We said that our nation deeply respects the Iranian people and that we are eager to build a better future together. We offered Iran new incentives to cooperate and negotiate with Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States. We offered to support a civil nuclear program in Iran under international supervision if it agreed to give up pursuit of the fuel cycle. But we also said that if the Government of Iran continued to violate its international obligations and continued its unwise campaign for nuclear weapons capability that they would face serious circumstances and sanctions.
We and our partners remain fully committed to a diplomatic solution with Iran. On our behalf, the EU's Javier Solana reaffirmed that offer to Iran this week. Unfortunately, the Iranian Government continues to spurn our offer of open negotiations, instead threatening peace and security by pursuing nuclear technologies that can lead to a nuclear weapon, building dangerous ballistic missiles, supporting Shia militants in Iraq and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories and denying the existence of a fellow member of the United Nations -- threatening to wipe Israel off the map.
Working with other concerned nations, the United States is pursuing a comprehensive policy to confront the threatening behavior of the Iranian Government. We have worked with our fellow members of the UN Security Council to impose two sets of Chapter 7 sanctions on the Iranian Government and we are now discussing a third Chapter 7 resolution. We're taking additional actions to defend our interests and our citizens and to help our friends to secure their countries.
Today Secretary Paulson and I are announcing several new steps to increase the costs to Iran of its irresponsible behavior. Many of the Iranian regimes' most destabilizing policies are carried out by two of its agencies: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or the IRGC, and the Quds Force, an arm of the IRGC. Because of the Revolutionary Guard's support for proliferation and because of the Quds Force support for terrorism, acting under U.S. law and consistent with our international obligations, the United States today is designating both of these groups. We are similarly designating three Iranian state-owned banks: Bank Melli and Mellat, for their involvement in proliferation activities, and Bank Saderat as a terrorist financier. We are also designating several additional Iranian individuals and organizations.
What this means is that no U.S. citizen or private organization will be allowed to engage in financial transactions with these persons and entities. In addition, any assets that these designees have under U.S. jurisdiction will be immediately frozen. These actions will help to protect the international financial system from the illicit activities of the Iranian Government and they will provide a powerful deterrent to every international bank and company that thinks of doing business with the Iranian Government.
I want to repeat, the United States and our partners are fully committed to a diplomatic solution with Iran. If the Iranian Government fulfills its international obligation to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, I will join my British, French, Russian, Chinese, and German colleagues and I will meet with my Iranian counterpart anytime, anywhere. We will be open to the discussion of any issue. But if Iran's rulers choose to continue down a path of confrontation, the United States will act with the international community to resist these threats of the Iranian regime.
Let me finish by saying a few words directly to the Iranian people. We in the United States have no conflict with you. We want you to have every opportunity to develop and prosper in dignity, including the peaceful use of nuclear power. So we hope that your government will embrace the path of cooperation that we and the international community continue to offer.
And now, I would like to invite Hank Paulson, Secretary Paulson to speak.
SECRETARY PAULSON: Condi, thank you and good morning. Iran exploits its global financial ties to pursue nuclear capabilities, to develop ballistic missiles and fund terrorism. Today we are taking additional steps to combat Iran's dangerous conduct and to engage financial institutions worldwide to make the most informed decisions about those with whom they choose to do business.
The Iranian regime's ability to pursue nuclear and ballistic missile programs in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions depends on its access to international commercial and financial systems. Iran also funnels hundreds of millions of dollars each year through the international financial system to terrorists. Iran's banks aid this conduct using a range of deceptive financial practices intended to evade even the most stringent risk management controls.
In dealing with Iran, it is nearly impossible to know one's customer and be assured that one is not unwittingly facilitating the regime's reckless behavior and conduct. The recent warning by the Financial Action Task Force, the world's premier standard setting body for countering terrorism finance and money laundering, confirms the extraordinary risks that accompany those who do business with Iran.
We have been working closely and intensely with our international partners to prevent one of the world's most dangerous regimes from developing the world's most dangerous weapons. Part of that strategy involves denying supporters of Iran's illicit conduct access to the international financial system. These actors should find no safe haven in the reputable world of finance and commerce. The UN Security Council has required member states to freeze the assets of, and prohibit persons from doing business with, a number of entities and individuals supporting Iran's nuclear or ballistic missile activities, including Iran's state-owned Bank Sepah.
Today, as Condi said, we are designating Iran's Bank Melli, Bank Mellat, and Bank Saderat. These are three of Iran's largest banks. They all have facilitated Iran's proliferation activities for its support of terrorism. We are also designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for proliferation activities and its Quds Force for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.
The IRGC is so deeply entrenched in Iran's economy and commercial enterprises, it is increasingly likely that if you are doing business with Iran, you are doing business with the IRGC. We call on responsible banks and companies around the world to terminate any business with Bank Melli, Bank Mellat, Bank Saderat, and all companies and entities of the IRGC.
As awareness of Iran's deceptive behavior has grown, many banks around the world have decided as a matter of prudence and integrity that Iran's business is simply not worth the risk. It is plain and simple: reputable institutions do not want to be bankers to this dangerous regime. We will continue to work with our international partners to prevent Iran from abusing the international financial system and to advance its illicit conduct.
Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.
Released on October 25, 2007

US Measures aim at the heart of the Iranian Regime
By Walid Phares
After Andy Cochran's posting, here is a quick comment on the Designation of Iranian Entities and Individuals for Proliferation Activities and Support for Terrorism Today's documents revealing the US financial measures taken against Iran's military power hits the heart of the regime. The US official document can only be described as a master strategic strike into the financial web of the major power centers of the Iranian regime. See the full document. Following are three points:
The first organization, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to the document is "considered the military vanguard of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is composed of five branches (Ground Forces, Air Force, Navy, Basij militia, and Qods Force special operations) in addition to a counterintelligence directorate and representatives of the Supreme Leader. It runs prisons, and has numerous economic interests involving defense production, construction, and the oil industry. Several of the IRGC's leaders have been sanctioned under UN Security Council Resolution 1747."
Point One: The Pasdaran is indeed the backbone of the regime. Compare it to a combined Communist Party, Militia and KGB during the peak of the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union.
The second organization, the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL): According to the report, "the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) controls the Defense Industries Organization, an Iranian entity identified in the Annex to UN Security Council Resolution 1737 and designated by the United States under E.O. 13382 on March 30, 2007. MODAFL also was sanctioned, pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act and the Export Administration Act, in November 2000 for its involvement in missile technology proliferation activities."
Point Two: This is Iran's Defense apparatus. Key positions are in the hands of hard core Khomeinists, but the majority of the military bodies are not necessarily part of the regime. The measures will have different effects on various sectors of the military. More analysis will be released in the near future on the projected impact.
Point Three: As important is the fact that, according to the report "MODAFL has ultimate authority over Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO), which was designated under E.O. 13382 on June 28, 2005. The AIO is the Iranian organization responsible for ballistic missile research, development and production activities and organizations, including the Shahid Hemmat Industries Group (SHIG) and the Shahid Bakeri Industries Group (SBIG), which were both listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1737 and designated under E.O. 13382."
Hence the measures are hitting the programs believed to be the home of the future Iranian ICBM systems. This report reveals important information about the entities involved in the build up. In a cross fire debate I was part of on al Jazeera a few weeks ago, I confronted an Iranian advisor on Iran National Security on the military nature of the nuclear program. He denied of course. But after I gave him few names of Admirals and Generals in charge of the program, (now on the long list issued by the US Government) he never responded on this point again.
I am expecting significant debates on the subject in the region but also important Iranian and Hezbollah reactions.
Dr. Walid Phares, Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
October 25, 2007

Tom Harb on "latest tactical dances"
CR Sec Gen Tom Harb
25th of October 2007
Washington, CRNews,
Thursday, 25 October 2007
Commenting on General Michel Aoun's statements on NBN TV station, the Secretary General for the International Lebanese Committee for UNSC 1559 Tom Harb said "former Prime Minister Michel Aoun must first denounce his agreement with Hezbollah to be able to move back under the umbrella of the Cedars Revolution. Anything below that, is just tactical dances going no where."
Harb said many claims made by the General on NBN need to be responded to. For example he said that no one paid the price he and Hezbollah paid for the sovereignty of Lebanon." Harb responded that "while the Lebanese people certainly value the sacrifices of the Lebanese soldiers and officers who died or were wounded in the battles against the Syrian occupation army, it doesn't consider an agreement with Hezbollah as a logical step in the same direction. For Hezbollah and the Syrian occupation have had and continue to have a joint war room.
Harb said Aoun claimed the United States was against him and that it was meddling in the way the Lebanese ought to elect their President. General Aoun perhaps doesn't understand what drives Washington in Lebanon and worldwide, it is the war on terror. America will not support any President, elected with two thirds or with 50% plus one if he or she has an agreement with an organization on the US Terror list. And if the Parliament elects a President committed to 1559 and the campaign against terror, he or she will be supported regardless of the constitutional process. Harb added that the General said he has the support of the people. "But that support was given based on a program that was negated by the General. So Michel Aoun after the agreement with Hezbollah doesn't have a mandate from the voters. Harb added responding to Aoun that any non democratic action against a President elected by simple majority will be considered as a coup, not the other way around. Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 October 2007 )

Cedar Revolution Overseas Urges Mekari to Shepherd Presidential Elections
The World Council for the Cedar Revolution on Friday pleaded with Deputy House Speaker Faird Mekari to convene a parliamentary session and elect a president, claiming that Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is not willing to shoulder his responsibility. The council, in a statement distributed by the state-run National News Agency, said Berri "does not wish to carry out his duty as speaker of the legally-elected parliament," noting that he has failed to convene the legislature for over a year.
It urged Mekari to "set the date for a session and proceed with electing a president, irrespective of whether Berri supported the move."The statement pleaded with "all free MPs to take part in the session and elect a president." The group, which represents Lebanese immigrants supporting the March 14 movement, pad tribute to ex-President Amin Gemayel and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea for refraining from entering the presidential race. Beirut, 26 Oct 07, 10:12

Presidential Elections Ball in Bkirki's Court
As army Commander Gen. Michel Sleiman outlined that he would not ask for a seat in the power system, Egypt stressed that electing a head of state is strictly a Lebanese issue and non-Christian opposition-majority leaders said naming a consensus presidential candidate is in Bkirki's hands.
In line with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit's "Hands off Lebanon" outcry and his announcement that Cairo does not support any presidential candidate, Gen. Sleiman was quoted as telling officers upon returning from a visit to Cairo and talks with President Husni Mubarak: "We will not ask for any political seat."
"We will not allow, at all, the political manipulation of the martyrs' blood and sacrifices" Sleiman was quoted by the daily an-Nahar as saying.
Meanwhile, the paper said the Egyptian initiative outlined during Abul Gheit's one-day visit to Lebanon Thursday, focused on four major points:
-The need to reach a broad understanding on all pending issues and not just on a consensus presidential candidate.
-Foreign and regional interests should refrain from exerting pressure on the Lebanese people under the slogan: Hands off Lebanon.
-The interest of the Lebanese people and its future should be the base for any discussion of a settlement.
-Electing a president for Lebanon is a strictly Lebanese interest and, therefore, is a strictly Lebanese choice and "no one can choose a head of state for Lebanon except the Lebanese People."
Meanwhile Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Majority leader Saad Hariri, who represent the opposition and majority in the ongoing talks for choosing a presidential candidate, said they are waiting for efforts by the Maronite Church to achieve consensus on a candidate.
Berri was quoted by an-Nahar as saying: "I've informed Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir that will support the white smoke that will billow from Bkirki's (chimney). I also make this declaration on behalf of Sheik Saad Hariri." An-Nahar said Berri and Hariri are keen on waiting for Bkirki to choose a candidate so they can avoid the charge that the Shiites, Sunnis and Druze have chosen a Maronite President without the approval of the Maronite Church.
A Hizbullah delegation informed Patriarch Sfeir Thursday that the Shiite party supports Consensus by the Christians on a presidential candidate conditional to nationwide consensus. A four-member committee representing Maronite factions of the opposition and majority has already set the specifications of a presidential candidate and set the assignments that the new head of state should shoulder. The committee, meeting in Bkirki, is to proceed with its efforts to choose a candidate or a list of candidates in line with the specifications and envisaged assignments. Abul Gheit on Thursday urged foreign states not to interfere in the Lebanese presidential vote, echoing an outcry by the late Anwar Sadat: "Hands off Lebanon.""It is up to the Lebanese people to decide themselves," Abul Gheit said after meeting pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, whose extended term in office expires by Nov. 24.
The late Egyptian President Sadat launched his famous "hands off Lebanon" outcry in the mid-1970s, during the early stages of the civil war that lasted until 1990 despite the intervention by 30.000 Syrian troops and a 10.000-strong intelligence apparatus. During his visit Abul Gheit also met leaders of the ruling majority and Hizbullah-led opposition as well as Prime Minister Fouad Saniora and Berri in addition to Lahoud, Sfeir and Sunni Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani.
After meeting the patriarch, Abul Gheit said: "We will not interfere with candidates and it should not be inferred that we prefer one candidate over another. We hope that all interference stops." He explained that a recent meeting between Gen. Michel Sleiman and Mubarak was in the framework of "supporting the Lebanese army", which fought a bloody 15-week battle with Fatah al-Islam terrorists in the northern refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared. Beirut, 26 Oct 07, 08:33

Abul Gheit: Hands Off Lebanon
Visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit on Thursday urged foreign states not to interfere in the Lebanese presidential vote, echoing an outcry by the late Anwar Sadat: "Hands off Lebanon." "It is up to the Lebanese people to decide themselves," Abul Gheit said after meeting pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, whose extended term in office expires by Nov. 24.
A source close to the parliament's western-backed and anti-Damascus majority told Agence France Presse that the remarks were particularly aimed at Syria, which long wielded great influence in Lebanese politics. "Mr. Abul Gheit's comments fall in line with pressures on Syria to stop interfering through its Lebanese allies to hamper the presidential vote," the source said. The late Egyptian President Sadat launched his famous "hands off Lebanon" outcry in the mid-1970s, during the early stages of the civil war that lasted until 1990 despite the intervention by 30.000 Syrian troops and a 10.000-strong intelligence apparatus.
The Lebanese parliament has been unable to pick a successor to Lahoud, raising fears that the country could plunge into its most serious crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.  The parliament's majority accuses the Hizbullah-led opposition of taking orders from Tehran and Damascus while it is accused by the rival camp of bowing to the United States. Abul Gheit said on arrival in Beirut that he was seeking to help resolve the crisis.
"We cannot say that we have brought viewpoints and instructions, but we will try to convey the Egyptian vision to the (Lebanese) leaders," he said.
During his one-day visit Abul Gheit met the western-backed ruling majority and Hizbullah-led opposition leaders as well as Prime Minister Fouad Saniora and parliament speaker Nabih Berri. "I don't think Lebanese leaders have discussed yet the names of the candidates," the minister said.
Shortly after arrival in Beirut he met Lahoud and Nasrallah Sfeir, patriarch of the Maronite church. Sfeir has launched an initiative to bring Maronite opposition and majority leaders closer in an attempt to break the deadlock. After meeting the patriarch, Abul Gheit said: "We will not interfere with candidates and it should not be inferred that we prefer one candidate over another. We hope that all interference stops."
He explained that a recent meeting between Army Commander Gen. Michel Sleiman, who has been cited as a presidential contender, and the Egyptian president was in the framework of "supporting the Lebanese army", which fought a bloody 15-week battle with Islamist militants in a refugee camp in northern Lebanon.
The Egyptian foreign minister also held talks with Grand Mufti Mohammed Rashid Qabbani and parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri.
Berri on Monday again postponed a special session of parliament to elect a president to give the feuding political factions time to try to agree on a consensus candidate.
Saniora's government has been paralyzed since last November when opposition forces, which include Iran- and Syria-backed factions, withdrew their six ministers from government. Many Lebanese are on edge fearing another MP from the ruling coalition could be assassinated, following the murder of lawmaker Antoine Ghanem and five others in a car bombing just days before the previous parliamentary session. Ghanem was the sixth lawmaker to be killed since 2005 in attacks blamed by many on former power broker Syria, which has denied involvement. There are fears that the standoff could lead to two rival governments emerging, a grim reminder of the end of the civil war when two competing administrations battled it out.(Naharnet-AFP) Beirut, 25 Oct 07, 16:11

Israel Shifts Maneuvers to Lebanon Front
Israel is shifting military exercises from the Golan Heights closer to the southern Lebanese border to avoid raising tension with Damascus.
A major exercise planned for next week on the strategic Ggolan Plateau occupied by Israel in 1967, as well as in Galilee in northern Israel, will now take place only in Galilee, opposite to the Lebanese southern border, Israeli military sources were quoted by media reports as saying.
"The maneuvers had been scheduled for both the Galilee and the Golan. They will not take place on the Golan in order not to cause tension with Syria," one source said. A top military source was quoted on the Internet site of the Israeli daily Haaretz as saying: "We want to move away from any doubt that the Syrians might have about hostile intentions on our side." Next week's exercises involving elements from across Israel's arsenal have been planned to put into practice lessons learned from the 34-day war in July-August 2006 with the Hizbullah Shiite group in Lebanon, when grave deficiencies were highlighted in military training.
Tension has also risen between Israel and Syria after a reported September 6 raid by Israeli warplanes on a target in northeast Syria.
A blackout was imposed on reports about the raid before the Israeli military confirmed on October 2, without elaborating, that it had attacked a "military target" in Syria. Syrian President Bashar Assad said the Israelis had attacked an unused military building, but the New York Times said the target had been a nuclear reactor being built with North Korean help. A charge denied by Damascus. Peace negotiations between Israel and Syria have been frozen since January 2000 with the Golan -- annexed by Israel in 1981 -- the main sticking point as Damascus demands its complete return.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 26 Oct 07, 09:15

Jihad, Islamism, and the Challenge of Anti-Freedom Ideologies
By Jeffrey Imm
As previously discussed, large segments of America and the West have a continuing dangerous denial on Jihad. But what of political Islamism itself? How does it factor into a blueprint strategy in addressing our national security issues?
In the documentary "Islam versus Islamism", anti-terrorist Muslim Dr. Zuhdi Jasser states: "a majority, I believe, look at the lens of politics through an Islamist lens... if we hand them the mantle of religion that they seek to exploit for their own geopolitical issues all over the globe, then we are going to really lose this war."
Any blueprint strategy for national security must define Jihad, must address it within the national security threat, and must also define a national policy on the ideology of political Islamism... a topic where there is a deafening silence from among American political leadership. Instead of referring to ambiguous terms such as "extremists", it is vital to refer to the specific political ideology of Islamism and examine its impact on Jihad, on national security, and on American foreign policy.
Islamism and its influence continue to grow in Iraq and in Afghanistan, where the United States has been laboring to develop democratic institutions. Islamism is vital to Pakistan's identity and its struggles with pluralism. Islamism is fundamental to such closed societies as Saudi Arabia and Iran. Islamism continues to grow through the Arab nations, Asia, Africa, and Europe. And as the recent Holy Land Foundation trial shows the influence of Islamist organizations continues to grow throughout the United States.
How is the West to fight a war against Jihadists without a policy on political Islamism itself?
Defining Islamism
Wikipedia defines "Islamism" as "a term usually used to denote a set of political ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system and its teachings should be preeminent in all facets of society. It holds that Muslims must return to the original teachings and the early models of Islam, particularly by making Islamic law (sharia) the basis for all statutory law of society and by uniting politically, eventually in one state; and that western military, economic, political, social, or cultural influence in the Muslim world is un-Islamic and should be replaced by purely Islamic influences."
The 9/11 Commission report mentions the term "Islamism" once in its 567 pages, buried in the footnotes on page 562 (Notes Chapter 12, Note 3), to define Islamism as follows: "an Islamic militant, anti-democratic movement, bearing a holistic vision of Islam whose final aim is the restoration of the caliphate." This same footnote refers to Islamism as "a political/religious phenomenon" where Islamists differentiate themselves from Muslims.
In summary, Islamism is a political ideology based on a theocratic version of Islam and Islamic law as the basis for all aspects of life, government, and society. It is an "anti-democratic" movement, and it is another of the anti-freedom ideologies that Western society has found itself facing in the past century. Rather than a "nationalist" movement, Islamism seeks the "restoration of the caliphate", and Islamism is an internationalist political ideology. Islamism has numerous branches, as Islam itself has numerous branches; in this case there are branches of Islamism political ideology including groups based on Wahhabism and Salafism (Sunni), Deobandism (Sunni), Muslim Brotherhood philosophies (Sunni), and Khumeinism (Shiite).
But while there has been significant discussion regarding the branches of Islamist political organizations, the strategic challenge remains in addressing the impact of political Islamism -- as an overall ideology -- on Jihad and on our national security.
Jihad as a Tactic of Islamists
Jihad, or Islamic "holy war", is a tactic employed by some Islamists. Not all Islamists use the tactic of Jihad, but use other non-violent tactics to further their anti-freedom ideology. But all Jihadists believe in the ideology of Islamism. If we are to be precise in our national security blueprint strategy, then the "violent Islamic extremists" (NSHS page 20) that we view as the enemy are, in fact, Islamists practicing Jihad. In a meaningful strategy, the use of meaningful terms is essential. Denying Jihad or denying Islamism only ensures that we cannot identify the enemy or the ideology driving the enemy.
A famous Islamist was quoted on October 22 as viewing his political Islamist vision as seeking: "The greater state of Islam from the ocean to the ocean, Allah permitting. This quest is extremely dear, and infidelity on all its levels - international, regional and local - is combing its efforts to prevent the establishment of the state of Islam."
That famous Islamist is Osama Bin Laden... who chooses Jihad as his primary tactic, but who also uses propaganda and other tactics. In Bin Laden's October 22 message, he also decries the efforts of those who "prevented the setting up of the state of the Muslims" in Afghanistan, Sudan, and calls for "the Mujahdeen in Iraq" to unify for the cause of this Islamist vision. Note that Bin Laden does not call for Jihadists to fight in the cause of "Jihad", but "to perform Jihad" for Islamism.
If Islamism is the cause of Jihadists, then how can the ideology of Islamism itself not be a factor to address in the "War on Terror"?
Islamism and the "War on Terror"
In Iraq, clearly Bin Laden's message was not only one of calling for unity of "Mujahdeen", but also one of calling for unity behind a common cause of Islamism, despite "mistakes" in tactics and infighting. Rather than merely a sign of weakness, the October 22 Bin Laden message provides further evidence of the belief among Sunni Jihadists in a shared Sunni Islamist ideology. Where this vision of united Islamism in Iraq fails is in the clashing of Islamist Sunni and Shiite branches, which is the basis behind the ongoing sectarian clashes. But does this mean that the Islamist ideology has no impact on the war effort in Iraq?
On October 16, Reuters published a news story about Shiite Islamism in Iraq entitled "Shi'ite tribal leaders in Iraq say Islamism on rise". In the report, four tribal leaders spoke on the basis that they would be kept anonymous due to fear of reprisals. One tribal leader said "fear rules the streets now... We cannot speak our minds, people are not allowed to oppose them. They would immediately disappear or get killed." The article goes on to address increasing Islamism in Iraq and reports that street committees intended to watch for Al Qaeda attacks are being used to spy on possible Islamist-deemed infractions and report them to militias. A tribal leader quoted in the news story says: "Some say the Shi'ites are lucky because they are now ruling Iraq, but that is wrong. It is the Islamist Shi'ites who are ruling Iraq." What will truly have been accomplished in Iraq if Islamists (Shiite or Sunni) continue to gain power in Iraq and within Iraq's government? What are the benchmarks in measuring such challenges in the war strategy in Iraq, if America fails to have a policy on Islamism in general?
In Afghanistan, America has seen what an Islamist government can and will do. We experienced it first hand with the Islamist Taliban government's support for Al Qaeda in the attacks on the United States in 9/11. Yet, as previously reported, the U.S. State Department supports the Karzai governments outreach to the Taliban and invitation to allow the Taliban to join the Afghanistan government. This is the same "democratic" Afghanistan government that made a man flee his country because he changed his religion. How will we achieve victory in Afghanistan when we have no policy on Islamism?
On October 15, the UK Guardian reports about Afghanistan that "British officials have concluded that the Taliban is too deep-rooted to be eradicated by military means", and that a British official states, and quotes a senior British official: "It is conceivable you could have chunks of the Taliban breaking off and giving up violence". While some in UK believe "Afghanistan is lost", UK diplomats agree with the U.S. State Department that a non-violent Islamist Taliban could be negotiated with to "stabilize" Afghanistan. These are the results of a failure to have a policy on Islamism. What is to prevent a "non-violent" Taliban from restoring Afghanistan into the Islamist nation that was the base camp for the 9/11 attacks on America?
These comments are merely a reflection on the tactical operations in these theaters of war, not in the ideological aspects of allowing an anti-freedom ideology to reclaim power in nations where we seek to establish "democratic institutions". As Dr. Walid Phares writes in his book "The War of Ideas": "Islamist electoral victories without reform in their ideological agendas, will ineluctably lead to the establishment of exclusionary Islamist states, unleashing jihadi war in the region."
Islamism and the U.S. Allies in the "War on Terror"
In Pakistan, the recent news stories about the attacks on Benazir Bhutto and the struggles of the Pakistani government against various Jihadist groups masks a more fundamental challenge. Political Islamism is part of the identity and the law in Pakistan. News reports have frequently described the beatings, torture, and killing of Christians due to Pakistan's Islamist "blasphemy" law. In Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden is more popular than President Musharraf. This is the same Pakistan that supported Afghanistan's Taliban prior to the 9/11 attacks. It is the same Pakistan where even Benazir Bhutto's 1980's and mid-1990's governments supported the Taliban. It is the same Pakistan where President Musharraf has called for the Taliban to reform into becoming a mainstream political organization. It is the same Pakistan where Taliban commanders are moving out of the hills and into the suburbs of Islamabad and Peshawar.
But America's concern is with Pakistan fighting "terrorists". How successful is such a tactic going to be when a meaningful portion of Pakistan supports political Islamism? How meaningful will the results of Pakistan's "war on terror" be when we have no policy on the growth of Islamism in that nation? If Pakistanis have to choose between Islamism and an alliance with the United States, what is their decision likely to be?
Similar issues could be raised with U.S. "ally" Saudi Arabia, where the majority of the 9/11 attackers came from, or various other Islamist nations with which the U.S. has friendly relations.
Moreover, our ally, the United Kingdom, has reported that over half of its mosques are run by Deobandi Islamists. As the London Times has reported, Deobandi "Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani argues that Muslims should live peacefully in countries such as Britain, where they have the freedom to practice Islam, only until they gain enough power to engage in battle." This is the same UK where its citizens have attempted three mass-casualty terrorist attacks on the United States homeland.
If America is to fight global Jihad, how can it not have a policy on Islamism itself, and how does that align our diplomatic, trade, and economic support for such nations? Certainly, American diplomats have no desire to offend such nations, especially those nations where the U.S. has significant trade and financial reliance. But the idea that fence-sitting on Islamism will allow us to "fight terrorists" and still retain such relationships will only continue to undermine our very national security concerns that were awakened by the 9/11 attacks themselves.
As Muslim Dr. Zuhdi Jasser suggests, if America does not stand up to Islamists, how will it win this war?
Facing Anti-Freedom Ideologies and Their Impact on American Security
In addressing an anti-freedom ideology, it is essential that a blueprint strategy be examined to address all aspects of the threat and solutions to addressing the threat. As seen on October 25, the United States is perfectly willing to use economic sanctions in pressuring the Islamist nation of Iran to stop Iran's efforts to seek nuclear weapons.
But even in the case of Islamist Iran, our approach is tactical, rather than strategic. America is reacting to a specific threat from Islamist Iran regarding Iran's nuclear proliferation goals. Despite Tony Blair's suggestions that Iran's ideology is similar to 1930's fascism, there is not a clearly defined policy on the position of Iran's Islamist ideology as an overarching threat to freedom. We are reacting to the actions of Iran in its nuclear proliferation and Iran's efforts to providing weapons to various terrorist groups. However, the facts are that the Islamist ideology of Iran has not significantly changed in nearly 30 years. Iran's threat to freedom is well-known and documented, just as the Taliban's threat to freedom was well-known and documented prior to 9/11.
America's historical isolationist views regarding anti-freedom ideologies demonstrate a reactive foreign policy. It took Pearl Harbor for the U.S. to truly confront the global threat of fascism. It took USSR's nukes for the U.S. to truly confront the global threat of communism. Despite being the pillar of freedom for the world, America's foreign policy towards anti-freedom ideologies has been reactive, an approach that America has been able to survive - thus far.
Even the American awakening on Jihad took the 9/11 attacks to get America to react. But unlike Pearl Harbor and unlike USSR's nukes, in this case, America has been unwilling to clearly define the ideology behind the threat... other than "terrorism"... or "violent Islamic terrorism". There remains a refusal for America to awaken to the ideology of Islamism and address it as an anti-freedom ideology, just as fascism and communism was recognized.
Facing anti-freedom ideologies has historically required sacrifice and effort from the American people. It has changed the way we viewed the world, and it has changed our lives. It has changed our economic and personal priorities. We did what was necessary to protect America from anti-freedom ideologies. But what was the alternative? Deny the threat of fascism? Deny the threat of communism? So then how can we deny the imperative to address the political ideology of Islamism?
Islamist Finance and American Business
In many parts of the United States and the West, facing the impact of addressing the ideology of Islamism is extremely unpopular. This is certainly the case in the financial marketplace. The Wall Street Journal and other financial organizations have participated in or sponsored conferences on "Islamic Finance". In an effort to promote "Sharia-compliant securities", "[t]he Wall Street Journal is delighted to be associated" with UAE's Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) week to promote Sharia-compliant finance, according to Michael Bergmeijer, managing director, Dow Jones consumer media group. This is for a conference in November in Dubai. The Wall Street Journal apparently thinks Sharia-compliant securities is good for business.
But who do such Wall Street professionals think that Sharia-compliant securities are really supporting? Alex Alexiev asks this question in his recent article "Islamic Finance or Financing Islamism?" Just as in the 1930s, there are American businesses that are blind to anti-freedom ideologies in their business strategies, even if such ideologies seek the destruction of the very freedoms that allow such capitalist environments to exist.
Certainly, this illustration of Wall Street's views on Sharia are but the tip of iceberg in the energy, petroleum, and military industries, which deal with Islamist nations on a routine basis. But without a policy on Islamism, how can the American public be surprised?
Efforts to Silence Debate on Islamism
There are numerous ongoing efforts to silence the debate on Islamism including some political scientists in academia, misguided press organizations, and apologists for Islamism. This effort at "mind control" regarding an anti-freedom ideology is one of the more disturbing developments of the 21st century.
One approach to blunting the debate on Islamism is "divide and conquer" - focusing on only fractions of the problem, so that the ideology itself cannot be seen as a whole. At the beginning of October, French political science scholar Dr. Olivier Roy told AKI that the war on terror was not a global problem, but merely a number of regional conflicts. Dr. Roy is well known as a scholar of Islamic movements, and is the author of "The Failure of Political Islam". In a previous speech Dr. Roy states that he believes that Islamism has moved to "Islamo-nationalism", and is focused on nationalistic issues. Moreover, Dr. Roy believes that Islamists are willing to negotiate. In this case, Dr. Roy "over analyzes" his subject with the focus on the detailed branches of individual Islamist groups, much like the tactical approach taken in addressing terrorism. But what Dr. Roy misses, ironically, is the "big picture" that Islamism represents an anti-freedom ideology that the West must come to terms with, not simply negotiate with in various regional conflicts. It is comparable to a potential 1930s viewpoint that fascism was unique to individual European countries, and therefore fascism as an ideology itself was no threat. Dr. Roy's arguments also deal employ the misdirection of Islamism as a nationalist ideology.
Arguing that Islamism is merely a tactic to pursue nationalism is a common approach in silencing debate on Islamism as an ideology. This is the argument made by those justifying support for the Jihadist group Hamas, for example, whose organization has been represented in both the Washington Post and the New York Times. Basically, both the Washington Post and the New York Times apparently view Hamas as a nationalist organization, rather than as the U.S. Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization that Hamas is. Therefore, since in their view, Hamas is a legitimate nationalist organization, such major media feel no compunction in providing Hamas propaganda as editorials. The free press should not serve as an apologist or as a platform for anti-freedom ideologies. However, since there is no agreed upon U.S. policy on either Jihad or Islamism, such media decide to treat Hamas as a legitimate nationalist organization, despite the well-documented anti-freedom Islamist ideology that Hamas represents.
The recent Holy Land Foundation mistrial also demonstrates this widespread acceptance of Islamist organizations such as Hamas as "nationalist" underdogs. As the Dallas Morning News reported, juror William Neal "had difficulty calling Hamas a terrorist group." He is quoted as saying: "Part of it does terrorist acts, but it's a political movement. It's an uprising...I believe they were benefiting the Palestinians and others who needed charity." When the ideology of Islamism is not debated, when Islamism is tolerated as a nationalist means to an end, and when there is no US policy on Islamism, this type of denial that defends such Islamist anti-freedom organizations as Hamas will be the result.
The nationalist argument to silence debate on Islamism is misleading. As Dr. Walid Phares points out in his book "The War of Ideas": "Islamists may well operate in the midst of a specific nationality (Arab, Turkish, Asian) and in the context of a particular country (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia), but their aim is for the whole umma, which theoretically would include all 52 Muslim states." Moreover, Dr. Phares states that "many in the West confused the jihadi movement and its overarching Islamist current with a reaction on behalf of 'underdogs' - victims of colonialism, neocolonialism, and underdevelopment. The same misguided application to jihadis of the rationale of economic factors was also committed with regard to national identities."
Addressing Islamism and Defending Muslims' Freedoms
America was founded on the principle of freedom of religion, which it continues to prize as one of its top freedoms. Addressing an anti-freedom political ideology like Islamism is only an issue regarding freedom of religion to the extent that America continues to defend the freedoms of non-Islamist Muslims to practice their religion as they choose without intimidation, threats, and violence from anti-freedom Islamist organizations.
Muslim Dr. Zuhdi Jasser has the right to freely practice his religion in the United States without threats and harassment by Islamist organizations... as do all other American Muslims. The idea that organizations that support Islamist ideologies represent all Muslims is no doubt an insult to Muslims like Dr. Jasser. The idea that America can not take a stand on anti-freedom political ideologies for fear of "offending Muslims" is indeed offensive to America as a free nation that defends such freedom of religion.
Still there are Islamist propagandists who try to leverage American's great respect for freedom of religion as a mean to silence criticism of their anti-freedom ideology. In the October 24 issue of Middle East Times, Ohio pro-Islamist Abukar Arman writes a propaganda editorial claiming that Steven Emerson and other anti-Jihadists are "Islamophobes", and calling Steven Emerson and others as "Grand Wizards". This type of propaganda claiming that those who challenge Jihad and Islamist organizations are "Islamophobes" are not restricted to such propagandists. The Washington Post published similar comments regarding The Investigative Project on September 29, as a result of IPT's investigation of Esam Omeish.
But the fact remains that those fighting Jihad and those challenging anti-freedom ideologies like Islamism are not anti-Muslim. They simply seek to defend the United States and to defend the freedoms that we hold dear, especially freedom of religion, that Islamism denies. It is vital that Americans not fall into the propaganda trap from Islamists and Islamist apologists that support an anti-freedom agenda. In a piece of irony in Abukar Arman's propaganda editorial, he quotes Aldous Huxley in a 1936 speech where Huxley complains of labeling individuals who support ideologies as "fascist" or "communist", which are merely "principles" in Huxley's speech. History would soon prove the fallacy of the world's delays in facing such anti-freedom ideologies, as it will again on the issue of Islamism today.
In a free world, principles matter. And in a free world, facing up to anti-freedom ideologies proves the courage of our convictions. The question remains, will Americans have the courage of their convictions to face up to the ideology of Islamism?
Failing to address the ideology of Islamism, its anti-democratic thrust, its rejection of freedom of religion, its rejection of pluralism, its rejection of democratic values will only lead to an ever spiraling vortex of conflict with Islamist organizations and nations, regardless of our tactical operations.

Sources and Related Stories:

October 15, 2007 - The Dangerous Denial of Jihad's Threat - Jeffrey Imm, Counterterrorism Blog
Documentary "Islam Versus Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center"
Wikipedia Topic: Islamism
9/11 Commission Report Footnote on "Islamism"
October 22, 2007 - "Bin Laden Sounds the Call of Defeat in Iraq (updated 10/23 with transcript)" - Andrew Cochran, Counterterrorism Blog
October 16, 2007 - Reuters: Shi'ite tribal leaders in Iraq say Islamism on rise
October 15, 2007 - Guardian: UK backs plan to split Taliban from within
October 12, 2007 - AFP: Taliban leader Mullah Omar boasts Kabul forced to bargain with insurgency
October 2, 2007 - AFP: US backs Karzai's offer to talk to Taliban
October 2, 2007 - Afghanistan's Taliban: US Tactics - Defeat or Negotiate? - Jeffrey Imm, Counterterrorism Blog
March 30, 2006 - Gulf News: Asylum-seeking convert must not escape: MPs
October 25, 2007 - Daily Telegraph: Afghanistan is lost, says UK's Lord Ashdown
Wikipedia: Blasphemy law in Pakistan
September 12, 2007 - CNN: Poll: Bin Laden tops Musharraf in Pakistan
Pakistan Poll Results
April 17, 2007 - Pakistan: Seven Christians arrested in false blasphemy cases and men tortured to extract false confessions
October 26, 2007 - The Asia Times: Pakistan's nut that won't crack
August 13, 2007 - Pakistan President Seeks Mainstream Taliban - Jeffrey Imm, Counterterrorism Blog
October 21, 2007 - Newsweek: Pakistan: Where the Jihad Lives Now
Status of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia
October 19, 2007 - The Gulf Times: Blair accuses Iran of backing terrorism
October 11, 2007 - Iran police warn 122,000 over unIslamic dress
September 14, 2007 - Report: Muslim Brotherhood U.S. Front Groups a Threat - Jeffrey Imm, Counterterrorism Blog
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, CR NO. 3:04-CR-240-G, Attachment A - List of Unindicted Co-conspirators and/or Joint Venturers
Evidence submitted in the Dallas federal courtroom shows that ISNA was established in 1980 by American members of the Muslim Brotherhood
July 18, 2007 -- Family Security Matters: Preventing the West from Understanding Jihad -- Walid Phares
The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy by Walid Phares, February 20, 2007, pages 18, 191
October 25, 2007 - AP: US levies harsh sanctions against Iran
September 8, 2007 - London Times: Our followers "must live in peace until strong enough to wage jihad"
October 24, 2007 - Middle East Times: Commentary: On propaganda and Islamophobia in the US -- Abukar Arman
September 29, 2007 - Washington Post - Va. Muslim Activist Denies Urging Violence
September 27, 2007 - AMEInfo: DIFC and The Wall Street Journal launch Islamic and Ethical Finance Conference
"Islamic Finance or Financing Islamism?" - The Center for Security Policy, October 2007, No. 29, by Alex Alexiev
October 2, 2007 - AKI: Terrorism: 'War on terror' not a global fight says expert
Olivier Roy: "The Failure of Political Islam"
October 30, 2006 - "Islamism's failure, Islamists' future" - Olivier Roy, openDemocracy
June 22, 2007 - Reuters: Hamas scores publicity coup in U.S.
June 20, 2007 - Washington Post: Engage With Hamas - We Earned Our Support - Ahmed Yousef
June 20, 2007 - New York Times: What Hamas Wants - Ahmed Yousef
April 30, 2007 - U.S. State Department Foreign Terrorist Organization Listing
September 4, 2007 - AP: Hamas bans public prayer in Gaza
October 23, 2007 - Dallas Morning News: 'There was not enough evidence'
September 17, 2007 - 9/11 and the Inconvenient Truths about Jihad and Islamism - Jeffrey Imm
August 13, 2007 - Australian ABC News: Indonesian group rallies for world Islamic rule
August 7, 2007 - Jyllands-Posten: Islamic group incites war on West
October 10, 2007 - U.S. National Strategy for Homeland Security
October 26, 2007 09:20 AM Print