Amir Taheri: What the London Terrorists Want
Amir Taheri is an Iranian exile who has written many books and articles on the resurgence of Islam and its implications for the modern world.
Taheri has written an excellent article for The Times, a British newspaper. It is available online in the July 8th edition of the Times or reprinted for Taheri's webpage at the Benador Associates website.
Being an expert on Islam and politics, Taheri was contacted for interviews again and again after the recent London bombings. Those requesting interviews posed one recurring question about the terrorists:
"What do they want?"
With ordinary terrorists -- and there's an expression that I never expected to use -- the aims are limited. Withdrawal of an occupying force. Autonomy for an ethnic province. Liberty to an oppressed nation. These are their usual strategic aims.
Taheri emphasizes that strategic aims such as these are not the goals of those who planned the London bombings, nor were they the aims of those who plotted the World Trade Center attacks. The Islamists behind these attacks do not have the strategic aims of ordinary terrorists.
They do have grievances, of course, and they will express these in ways that imply limited aims. Withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. Self-determination for the Palestinian people. Autonomy for the Uighurs. Freedom for the Chechens. Liberty for the Achehnese. Independence for the Kashmiris.
These Islamist aims, however, are merely tactical ones. Addressing their grievances and complying with their demands in response to bombings will alter nothing. Why not? Because the Islamists' strategic aims are all-encompassing. They want everything.
Here is how Taheri expresses our situation:
"[Y]ou are dealing with an enemy that does not want anything specific, and cannot be talked back into reason through anger management or round-table discussions. Or, rather, this enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock and, if you dare resist, he will feel it his divine duty to kill you."
Total control is the strategic aim of the Islamists. They will settle for nothing less than our dhimmi souls or our kufr deaths.