Monday, July 23, 2018

Raymond Ibrahim: Studying the Islamic Way of War

http://raymondibrahim.com/about/

About


RAYMOND IBRAHIM is a widely published author, public speaker, and Middle East and Islam specialist.  His books include Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings, translations, and observations have appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, CNN, LA Times, Fox News, Financial Times, Jerusalem Post, New York Times Syndicate, United Press International, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, and Weekly Standard; scholarly journals, including the Almanac of Islamism, Chronicle of Higher Education, Hoover Institution’s Strategika, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, and Middle East Review of International Affairs; and popular websites, such as American Thinker, the Blaze, Bloomberg, Breitbart, Christian Post, Daily Caller, FrontPage Magazine, Gatestone Institute, the Inquisitr, Jihad Watch, NewsMax, National Review Online, PJ Media, the UK’s Commentator, WND, and World Magazine. He has contributed chapters to several anthologies and been translated into dozens of languages.
Ibrahim guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts. Among other media, he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, Blaze TV, CBN, and NPR; he has done hundreds of radio interviews and instructed two courses for Prager University.
Ibrahim’s dual-background—born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East—has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former. His interest in Islamic civilization was first piqued when he began visiting the Middle East as a child in the 1970s. Interacting and conversing with the locals throughout the decades has provided him with an intimate appreciation for that part of the world, complementing his academic training.
Raymond received his B.A. and M.A. (both in History, focusing on the ancient and medieval Near East, with dual-minors in Philosophy and Literature) from California State University, Fresno. There he studied closely with noted military-historian Victor Davis Hanson. He also took graduate courses at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies—including classes on the history, politics, and economics of the Arab world—and studied Medieval Islam and Semitic languages at Catholic University of America. His M.A. thesis examined an early military encounter between Islam and Byzantium based on arcane Arabic and Greek texts.
Ibrahim’s resume includes: serving as an Arabic language and regional specialist at the Near East Section of the Library of Congress, where he was often contacted by, and provided information to, defense and intelligence personnel involved in the fields of counterterrorism and area studies, as well as the Congressional Research Service; serving as associate director of the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia think tank; and serving as a CBN News analyst and contributor.
He resigned from all positions in order to focus exclusively on researching and writing, and is currently a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum, and a Hoover Institution Media Fellow (2013), among other titles and affiliations.
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/225611/studying-islamic-way-war-raymond-ibrahim

Studying the Islamic Way of War

by RAYMOND IBRAHIM September 11, 2008 4:00 AM 
To know an enemy, one must first acknowledge his existence.

At the inaugural conference for the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) back in April, presenter LTC Joseph Myers made an interesting point that deserves further elaboration. Though military studies have traditionally valued and absorbed the texts of classical war doctrine — such as Clausewitz’s On War, Sun Tsu’s The Art of War, even the exploits of Alexander the Great as recorded in Arrian and Plutarch — Islamic war doctrine, which is just as if not more textually grounded, is totally ignored. As recently as 2006, former top Pentagon official William Gawthrop lamented that “the senior Service colleges of the Department of Defense had not incorporated into their curriculum a systematic study of Muhammad as a military or political leader. As a consequence, we still do not have an in-depth understanding of the war-fighting doctrine laid down by Muhammad, how it might be applied today by an increasing number of Islamic groups, or how it might be countered [emphasis added].” Today, seven full years after September 11, our understanding of the Islamic way of war is little better.

This is more ironic when one considers that, while classical military theories (Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, et. al.) continue to be included on war-college syllabi, the argument can be made that they have little practical value for today’s far different landscape of warfare and diplomacy. Contrast this with Islam’s doctrines of war: their “theological” quality — grounded as they are in a religion whose “divine” precepts transcend time and space, and are believed to be immutable — make Islam’s war doctrines unlikely ever to go out of style. While one can argue that learning how Alexander maneuvered his cavalry at the Battle of Guagamela in 331 BC is both academic and anachronistic, the exploits and stratagems of the prophet Muhammad — his “war sunna” — still serve as an example to modern-day jihadists.

For instance, based on the words and deeds of Muhammad, most schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that the following are all legitimate during war against the infidel: the indiscriminate use of missile weaponry, even if women and children are present (catapults in Muhammad’s seventh century context; hijacked planes or WMD today); the need to always deceive the enemy and even break formal treaties whenever possible (see Sahih Muslim 15: 4057); and that the only function of the peace treaty, or “hudna,” is to give the Islamic armies time to regroup for a renewed offensive, and should, in theory, last no more than ten years.

Quranic verses 3:28 and 16:106, as well as Muhammad’s famous assertion, “War is deceit,” have all led to the formulation of a number of doctrines of dissimulation — the most notorious among them being the doctrine of “Taqiyya,” which permits Muslims to lie and dissemble whenever they are under the authority of the infidel. Deception has such a prominent role that renowned Muslim scholar Ibn al-Arabi declares: “[I]n the Hadith, practicing deceit in war is well demonstrated. Indeed, its need is more stressed than [the need for] courage.”

In addition to ignoring these well documented Islamist strategies, more troubling still is the Defense Department’s continuing failure to appreciate the pertinent “eternal” doctrines of Islam — such as the Abode of War versus the Abode of Islam dichotomy, which maintains that Islam must always be in a state of animosity vis-à-vis the infidel world and, whenever possible, must wage wars until all infidel territory has been brought under Islamic rule. In fact, this dichotomy of hostility is unambiguously codified under Islam’s worldview and is deemed a fard kifaya — that is, an obligation on the entire Muslim body that can only be fulfilled as long as some Muslims, say, “jihadists,” actively uphold it.

Despite these problematic — but revealing — doctrines, despite the fact that a quick perusal of Islamist websites and books demonstrate time and again that current and would-be jihadists constantly quote, and thus take seriously, these doctrinal aspects of war, senior U.S. government officials charged with defending America do not.

Why? Because the “Whisperers” — Walid Phares’s apt epithet for the majority of Middle East/Islamic scholars and their willing apologists in the press — have made anathema anyone who dares to point out a connection between Islamic doctrine and modern-day Islamist terrorism — as witness, the Steven Coughlin debacle. This is an all too familiar tale for those in the field (see Martin Kramer’s Ivory Towers on Sand: the Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America).

While there exists today many Middle East studies departments, one would be sorely pressed (especially in the more “prestigious” universities) to find any courses dealing with the most pivotal and relevant topics of today — such as Islamic jurisprudence and what it says about jihad or the concept of the Abode of Islam versus the Abode of War. These topics, we are assured, have troubling international implications and are best buried. Instead, the would-be student is inundated with courses dealing with the evils of “Orientalism” and colonialism, gender studies, and civil society.

The greater irony — when one talks about Islam and the West, ironies often abound — is that, on the very same day of the ASMEA conference, which also contained a forthright address by premiere Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis (“It seems to me a dangerous situation in which any kind of scholarly discussion of Islam is, to say the least, dangerous”), the State Department announced that it would not call al-Qaeda type radicals “jihadis,” “mujahadin,” nor incorporate any other Arabic word of Islamic connotation (“caliphate,” “Islamo-fascism,” “Salafi,” “Wahhabi,” and “Ummah” are also out).

Alas, far from taking the most basic and simple advice regarding warfare — Sun Tzu’s ancient dictum, “Know thy enemy” — the U.S. government is having difficulties even acknowledging its enemy.

Raymond Ibrahim is editor of The Al Qaeda Reader.