Pentagon unsure whether to link Islam & Jihad

Staffers preparing National Military Strategy report can't agree on the inclusion of a passage on Salafi jihadism.

Hillel Fendel,

Pentagon
Pentagon
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Staffers in various departments in the Pentagon (the U.S. Defense Department) are busy preparing a document known as the National Military Strategy – but have not yet come to an agreement on at least one critical point regarding the worldwide terror threat.

The biennial document, intended for senior U.S. military commanders around the world, sets out big picture strategy guidance in light of the myriad threats they may face in the line of duty. This is the first one prepared under the guidance of Gen. Joseph Dunford, who took office as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff exactly a year ago.

The debate taking place at present concerns whether or not to clearly specify the strong connection between extremist Islam and terrorism.

Staffers of the Special Operations Command (SoCom) in the Pentagon believe that the report must note that Salafi jihadism is the branch of Sunni Islam that is responsible for most global terrorism in the world today. Salafi jihadism is the ideology shared by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

“Pretending there is no relationship between the violent jihadists and Islam isn’t going to win," a source knowledgeable about the National Military Strategy told The Washington Times. "We’re completely ignoring the war of ideas. We’re still in denial. We’re pretending the enemy doesn’t exist.”

The source said that the issue cannot be viewed only in terms of those who believe in active violence: "It’s a much bigger problem, because it’s not just the violent jihadists; it’s the non-violent jihadists who support them."

SoCom is the branch of the military charged with hunting down and killing terrorists. Countering its opinion, Gen. Dunford’s staff is reportedly not convinced that the term "Salafi jihadism" should be included in the report. So reports the Clarion Project.

The upcoming report will be classified, as opposed to the last National Military Strategy, which was published on the Joint Chiefs of Staff website.

Gen. Dunford’s staff declined to comment on the matter.

The Clarion Project quoted Quintan Wictorowicz, one of the architects of U.S. President Obama’s national counter-extremism policy, on the relationships between Salafi groups and other Islamic sects. Wictorowicz analyzed the topic in a 2005 academic paper entitled A Genealogy of Radical Islam.

“Al Qaeda and the radical fundamentalists that constitute the new ‘global jihadi movement’ are … part of a broader community of Islamists known as ‘Salafis’ (commonly called ‘Wahhabis’)," he wrote, acknowledging that not all Salafis are violent.

The violent Salafis, Wictorowicz wrote, brand the enemies of the jihadist movement as apostates deserving of death. Among them are contemporary Muslims who are "not really Muslim" because they follow man-made laws and not those of the Quran.




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