Saturday, April 14, 2007

Finally, psy-ops against Islamist Jihadis...

Memri 'Psy-Ops' Report

A recent posting at Memri, "Special Dispatch: Jihad & Terrorism Studies Project" (April 12, 2007, No. 1538), summarizes the Islamist reaction to an 'Islamist' article against using weapons of mass destruction in jihad:
The Islamist website Al-Firdaws recently posted an article by a certain Abu Zabadi titled "Religious Grounds for [Launching] a Nuclear Attack."[1] The article, presented as a response to "recent rumors about Al-Qaeda's plan to attack the U.S. with WMDs such as a nuclear bomb," unequivocally opposes the use of WMDs by Muslims against the West, and attempts to counter the legal justifications for their use recently put forward by some prominent religious scholars affiliated with Al-Qaeda and other jihad movements. [2]
As noted by Memri, the "article sparked a fierce debate among participants on the forum, with some participants supporting the author's reasoning and conclusions, and others forcefully rejecting them." Memri notes the main points in Abu Zabadi's article, which you can easily read for yourself, so I'll just summarize Memri's summary:

Abu Zabadi argues that using WMDs as a first-strike attack is forbidden by Islam because such an attack indiscriminately kills the innocent along with the guilty. He dismisses the common jihadi claim that the U.S. has used WMDs against Muslims, for such things as cluster bombs or depleted uranium ammunition are conventional weapons that do not kill millions in one strike. Moreover, using WMDs against America would provoke a real WMD attack in return.

Against the Islamist argument that America must be destroyed because it is an immoral nation, Abu Zabadi notes that some Muslim countries are just as 'immoral' and that only Allah Himself, not the mujahideen, can decide to wipe such a country off the face of the earth -- and Allah doesn't need WMDs to accomplish this.

Finally, argues Abu Zabadi, a Qur'anic verse such as 2.194 -- "Whoever commits aggression against you, you should commit aggression against him like he has committed against you" -- does not sanction the killing of innocents, and he cites verse 2.190 as a prooftext: "Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors." This means, according to Abu Zabadi, that if Al-Qaeda wishes to respond in kind to U.S. attacks, then it should confront U.S. troops on the battlefield.
As Memri reports, some Islamists didn't take kindly to the arguments:
A participant calling himself Abdal Al-Sham began [by] saying: "This article was not written by a Muslim... but by an American, and more specifically, by [someone from] one of their strategic centers for countering the Islamic jihad...."
I think that Abdal Al-Sham is exactly right about who 'Abu Zabadi' is, but the interesting thing is that Abdal Al-Sham also goes to the trouble of trying to refute Abu Zabadi's arguments. I won't summarize Abdal Al-Sham's points -- which can be easily read at the linked site anyway -- for I merely wanted to note that Abdal Al-Sham couldn't simply ignore the arguments.

Even more interesting, Memri notes that "Another forum participant criticized Abdal Al-Sham's grasp of the religious sources and provided additional proof-texts in support of the position expressed in Abu Zabadi's article." Now, this other participant could well be yet another psy-ops plant from one of the "strategic centers for countering the Islamic jihad" -- to borrow Abdal Al-Sham's words -- but in the battle for the hearts and minds of Muslims, such arguments might help serve to dissuade those who are not yet jihadists from going down that violent path.

Or at least sow discord among jihadists...

Endnotes provided by Memri:


[2] For a summary of the arguments presented by some of these scholars, see Special Report No. 34, "Contemporary Islamist Ideology Authorizing Genocidal Murder," September 15, 2004. See also Reuven Paz, "Global Jihad and WMD: Between Martyrdom and Mass Destruction," Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, 2, (2005) pp. 74-86. For a May 2003 article by Islamist Saudi Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al-Fahd justifying the use of WMDs, see Nasser Al-Fahd, Risalah fi hukm istikhdam aslihat al-damar al-shamil dhid al-kuffar, (May 2003).

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