The Islamic State released the fifth edition of its English-language propaganda magazine, Dabiq, on November 21, 2014. In it, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks: in Australia by Numan Haider on September 23, in Canada by Martin Couture-Rouleau on October 20 and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on October 22, and in America by Zale Thompson on October 23. The Islamic State says these attacks were in response to the call on September 22 by the organization’s spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. The article is reproduced below with some minor editions for transliteration and some important sections highlighted in bold.
The article claiming “credit” for these attacks appeared on page 36 of Dabiq 5, entitled, “If I Were the U.S. President Today …”. The Islamic State claims that the article is written by John Cantlie. Cantlie is a British war photographer, who was kidnapped by the Islamic State in Syria on November 22, 2012, in the company of James Foley, an American journalist. Foley was beheaded on video by the Islamic State on August 19, the first in a series of videos where the Islamic State murdered Western hostages: Steven Sotloff, David Haines, Alan Henning, and Abdul-Rahman (previously Peter) Kassig.
If ever there were a shining, 24-carat example of good reasons not to reverse your own promises and declare another war in the Middle East, then we are witnessing it right now. $424 million dollars’ worth of airstrikes over Iraq and Syria have resulted in little more than the continued expansion and consolidation of the Islamic State in both countries, while the black flag of tawhid [monotheism] now flutters on the skylines of Libya, Yemen, Sinai, and elsewhere, as the growth of the Islamic State gathers pace abroad.
It is absolutely the last thing Team Obama and his allies would have wanted after drumming up their coalition and heading off to war to make their countries safer places, or, lost as they are in their own arrogance and inability to learn the lessons of the past, even have expected.
Much to the dread of western political leaders, the Islamic State is now truly moving with great momentum. As an entity enjoys success, it attracts more to its fold, thereby causing expansion and breeding more success until it achieves some sort of critical mass, the point at which it becomes self-perpetuating, self-sustaining. And for the moment, the talk about the Islamic State is not even of its continued expansion in the Arab nations of the Middle East, but its reach into the homelands and living rooms of ordinary people living thousands of miles away in western cities and suburbs. The Islamic State has now become a global player.
It was Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani’s call to action for Muslims wherever they were to rise up and fight the enemies of the Islamic State that brought almost instant reaction from around the world.
“Do not let this battle pass you by wherever you may be,” commanded the Shaykh.
“You must strike the soldiers, patrons, and troops of the tawaghit [impious tyrants]. Strike their police, security, and intelligence members. If you can kill a disbelieving American or European—especially the spiteful and filthy French—or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.”
And so it began. Just days later, chaos erupted around the world.
In Australia, Numan Haider stabbed two counterterrorism police officers. In Canada, a soldier was shot and killed in front of the war memorial in Ottawa by 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on October 22nd, who then entered Canada’s parliamentary building looking for other targets before himself being shot and killed by police. In the same week another two soldiers were run over in a hit-and-run in Quebec by Martin Couture-Rouleau and in New York, Zale Thompson attacked four policemen in Queens with a hatchet, the moment of his savage attack caught on CCTV cameras and beamed into people’s homes all across America.
All these attacks were the direct result of the Shaykh’s call to action, and they highlight what a deadly tinderbox is fizzing just beneath the surface of every western country, waiting to explode into violent action at any moment given the right conditions. Suddenly the mujahideen of the Islamic State weren’t some esoteric concept fighting in a land nobody knew or cared about, they were on the doorstep of millions of people living in some of the biggest, most modern cities in the western world. The attacks served as a damning indictment of America’s continued policy of foreign intervention. Everything the United States and its allies had been fighting for in the “war on terror,” the old “if we don’t fight them there we’ll have to fight them here” reasoning, was in one week shown to have completely failed.
“Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks,” warned Obama in his speech to the nation on 10th September. But what he hadn’t counted on was his own citizens picking up weapons and attacking his police officers without any training or battle experience whatsoever
Sections of the media were quick to single out the attackers as “disturbed loners,” individuals just looking for an excuse to commit violent crime in their hometowns.
But the truth runs far deeper than this
It is one thing for an individual to think about attacking or killing another man. It happens every day and such thoughts are neither uncommon nor even that alarming. But to actually step up and do it at the behest of a man they had never met, never seen, fighting in a country several thousand miles away who did not even speak their language, shows an undeniable strength in the power of jihad. Regardless of their social standing, regardless of who these men were that committed these acts or how long they had been Muslim, it demonstrates the immense power that jihad wields over those who chose to embark upon its path.
The significance of these attacks and others is enormous and cannot be underestimated. By calling on Muslims around the world to rise up in arms, the Shaykh launched attacks in Canada, America, and Australia (three of the countries mentioned in his speech) with nothing more than words and a shared belief in the act of worship that is jihad. A general in a conventional army couldn’t possibly hope to have such power over men he’d never met on the other side of the world, ordering them to attack and possibly be killed, even if he offered them money! The NYPD officers in New York were fortunate they were attacked with a hatchet and not a gun, otherwise the outcome could have been even more serious.
And the numbers of Muslims taking up arms in the name of jihad under the banner of the Islamic State are growing, and they’re growing fast. According to Western media, the Islamic State now boasts over 35,000 fighters. Its grasp has now spread across northern Africa into Libya and Algeria, across to Yemen and up to the Arabian Peninsula where the Shiites and regimes are now being attacked by mujahideen loyal to the Islamic State. If it’s such isolated numbers, why is Jordan shaking in its boots and why does Turkey shiver upon hearing mention of the Islamic State? And if the numbers are so insignificant, why are attacks now occurring on the mainland of continental North America by jihadi fighters who have never left their home countries, who don’t speak a word of Arabic?
I’ve quoted him far too often in the past but hope he will forgive me if I reach into the box of Michael Scheuer quotes once again. In a text published on the 2nd of September he commented, “We are far past facing terrorists. Rather, we are in the midst of fighting an international insurgency, and we are on the way to a world war that the United States will have to fight at home and abroad if the foreign-policy status quo is retained.”
Boom—there it is, just as Michael predicted. Spurred on by continual American intervention, the sphere of influence of the Islamic State has expanded to such a degree that they can now order attacks on US soil by complete strangers via word alone. An international insurgency. It’s the nightmare scenario for the governments, one they’ve spent trillions trying to avoid but, ironically, fuelled instead with their constant meddling in the affairs of the Muslim world.
From my own experience here, our governments are too aloof, prideful, and conventional in their way of thinking to have any idea how to proceed in the face of such a global threat. They will simply continue to do what they’ve been doing for the last two decades which has gradually been making the situation worse and worse. The intervention in Iraq today (such as it is) is little different to the one before except with more window-dressing and, at some point in the future, proxy boots on the ground instead of American ones because, to the people back in the USA, it doesn’t matter how many of their allies die. And until they get their act together the Peshmerga can bear the brunt of the dying with the odd resupply from the air and some Special Forces help on the ground.
The governments are like a robot that is stuck on a loop, continually performing the wrong sequence despite repeated instructions by its master to the contrary. Master to robot: You have to find a different way of addressing the danger the mujahideen pose to the west. “Cannot… compute…” Military action doesn’t work, what about negotiations? “Must… obey… programming…” Everything you’ve done since 9/11 has put us in more danger, not less. “Zzzzz… syntax… error…”
Of course, Robo-Obama doesn’t listen to voices of reason and thus programs himself with the same corrupted old data, making the same mistakes over and over again. James Comey described the Islamic State mujahideen as “savages” in September (a classic example of prideful and conventionalist thinking that will progress absolutely nothing) while Nick Paton-Walsh described their tactics in CNN as “eerily sophisticated,” which is a much more educated comment and closer to the truth, except Nick’s just a journalist while James Comey is director of the FBI.
If I were the president of the US today—and let it be said, I am very glad I am not—I’d be aghast at the mess that was blowing up in my face. Sucked into a war I claimed was over, making allies with the most vile tyrants in the Middle East, committing my country and presidency into a cauldron of conflict while my own people rise up against me in response to the Islamic State’s call, already halfway to the magic one billion dollars spent and the enemy appear to be leapfrogging from strength to strength. And not just that, they’re actually expanding their influence and territory into other countries I’d already built military bases in and committed billions of dollars into to stop them doing just that.
In the face of such a train wreck, I’d have to say that 18 holes around Martha’s Vineyard was a far more sensible alternative. And in light of current events, probably more constructive as well.