Posts Tagged ‘radical Islam’

Indonesia hit by new terror attack after deadly suicide bombings — Part of long struggle with Islamist militancy

May 16, 2018

Four men who attacked an Indonesian police headquarters with samurai swords were shot dead Wednesday and one officer also died, authorities said, days after a wave of deadly suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State group rocked the country.

© AFP / by Wahyudi | Relatives and friends of Martha Djumani attend her funeral in Surabaya

The assault in the city of Pekanbaru on Sumatra island saw a group ram their minivan into a gate at the station and then attack officers with the swords, police said.

It was not clear if Wednesday’s incident was linked to other attacks this week, which saw two families — who all belonged to the same religious study group — stage suicide bombings at churches and a police station in Surabaya on Java island, Indonesia’s second biggest city.


The attacks have put Indonesia on edge — and sparked a string of travel advisories from foreign governments — as the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country starts the holy fasting month of Ramadan from Thursday.

Police said they shot dead four of the police station attackers and later arrested another who had fled.

One officer was killed by the speeding vehicle and two others were wounded in the incident, they added.

Local media said one attacker may have had a bomb strapped to his body but police have not confirmed the reports. No group has yet taken responsibility for the attack.

The bloody violence is putting pressure on lawmakers to pass a stalled security law that would give police more power to take pre-emptive action against terror suspects.

Indonesia — which is set to host the Asian Games in just three months and an IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali in October — has long struggled with Islamist militancy.

Its worst-ever attack was the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people — including locals and foreign tourists.

– ‘Better organised’ –

Security forces have arrested hundreds of militants during a sustained crackdown since the Bali bombing, and most attacks in recent years have been low-level and targeted domestic security forces.

But on Sunday, a family of six — including girls aged nine and 12 — staged suicide bombings at three churches during morning services in Surabaya, killing 13.

All six bombers died, including the mother who was Indonesia’s first known female suicide bomber. It was also the first time children had been used in such attacks.

A memorial service was held Wednesday for Vincencius Hudojo, 11, and Nathanael Hudojo, 8, two brothers who died after the blast at the Santa Maria Catholic Church on Sunday in Surabaya. Their mother was injured.

Services were also held for Martha Djumani, 54, who was killed in the bombing at a Pentecostal church, just a day after she had got engaged.

“My sister was always caring towards other people and taught her children to be compassionate,” Daud Samari, Djumani’s younger brother, told reporters.

On Monday members of another family blew themselves up at a police station in Surabaya, wounding 10.

The church bombing family were in the same religious study group as the Surabaya police station bombers and a third family believed to be linked to the wave of attacks, authorities said.

“They had the same teacher and they regularly met for Koran recital every week,” said East Java police chief Machfud Arifin.

The coordinated church attack was a sign local extremist groups were becoming more proficient, and stirs concerns about an uptick in extremism as hundreds of Indonesians who flocked to fight alongside Islamic State in the Middle East return home.

“They were better organised…and suggests a higher level of capacity than what we have seen in recent years,” said Sidney Jones, director of Jakarta-based Institute of Policy Analysis for Conflict.

The families have been linked to the local chapter of Indonesian extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which police said was behind the attacks.

The radical group supports Islamic State, whose ambitions have been curbed after losing most of the land it once occupied in Iraq and Syria.

Police have said the church and earlier police station attacks were likely motivated by the arrest of JAD leaders.

They followed a deadly prison riot staged by Islamist prisoners at a high-security jail near Jakarta last week.

by Wahyudi

Trump is putting the US back on top

May 6, 2018

Muslim radicalization in Britain: Countering the extremists’ rationale

May 1, 2018

In an interview with DW, London-based scholar Farid Panjwani talks about the reasons behind the growing radicalization of South Asian Muslim youths in the UK, and what needs to be done to counter extremist threat.

England Fahrzeug rast in Gruppe Muslime - mehrere Opfer (Reuters/N. Hall)

DW: Muslim radicalization poses a serious challenge to British society, with many Muslim youths getting attracted to extremist narratives. What’s pushing Muslim youngsters of South Asian background toward Islamism?

Farid Panjwani: It is difficult to quantify the extent of Muslim youth radicalization in Britain. Also, we have to be clear about the definition of radicalization. Are we talking about people who are joining extremist organizations or those who just have extremist views? But I agree that there is definitely a general sense that things are not going well here.

There is no single factor that is driving the youth toward extremism. The issues of identity, alienation, peer pressure, search for a cause, frustration with modernity and acceptance of certain mythological aspects of the Muslim history are all contributing factors.

Read more: Despite attack, Britain downplays threat of Islamist radicalization

Britain has a large immigrant community from South Asia, particularly from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. These people have been living in the country for decades, then why do some South Asians harbor resentment against Western culture?

Dr. Farid Panjwani - Leiter des Zentrums für Forschung und Bewertung in muslimischer Bildung in London (Privat)Panjwani: ‘There is no single factor driving the youth toward extremism’

Often, the resentment is not against Western culture but against specific elements within it. There is also a growing resentment against the Western establishment and its policies, particularly foreign policies.

The reasons for this anger range from a personal sense of exclusion and a failure to come out with a systematic critique of colonial and post-colonial histories. But the resentment against the West, particularly against the US, is not restricted to Muslims; it is widely shared in many parts of the world, from Latin America to Africa, and even in Europe. Charles Taylor, a Canadian philosopher, writes about the malaise of modernity — about a feeling that something is not right at the core even though we seem to be making material progress. I think this feeling becomes more intense when combined with ideologies such as political Islam.

Is social exclusion a reason behind the radicalization of some South Asian youths?

If you look at the profiles of people who are involved in extremist activities, social exclusion doesn’t come across as a ubiquitous reason behind radicalization. Some of those who were involved in July 7, 2005 terrorist attacks in Britain, for example, were very well adjusted in the country. On the other hand, there are extremists who had a difficult childhood, who commit petty crimes and end up in jail, where they get radicalized. So there are many reasons behind people’s attraction to Islamist narratives.

But social exclusion is definitely an issue that needs to be looked into. Many young Muslims are legal citizens of Britain yet they don’t share a cultural bond with society. They feel the society has failed them and that they can’t live up to their potential. These people are looking for some cause in life. Extremist groups and their recruiters are always looking for such people. But such feelings are widespread and can be found in white working class people also. This shows that we need to look into economic policies and political attitudes that have led to the erosion of social and welfare structures in society.

Read more:

UK urges online firms to remove terrorist content

‘Islamic State’ claims responsibility for London attack

Combating the Islamist threat

What role can community leaders play in making sure that Muslim youths stay away from radical elements?

We must not start with the community. When you emphasize too much on community, it creates stigmatization and can make the matters worse. We need to see extremism, or extremisms, as a bigger problem. There are all kinds of extremisms in the world — a rising Hindu extremism in India, Buddhist extremism in Myanmar and elsewhere, white supremacism which promotes extremist ethno-nationalist ideologies. I see extremism as an outcome of the coming together of ideologies and socio-political conditions that make these ideologies attractive. Communities can definitely make sure how their religion is taught and can assist the state in confronting radicalism.

It is primarily the responsibility of the state to tackle the issue of extremism among its citizens. The state must see extremists as individuals, as citizens, rather than representatives of a certain community. It needs to create capacities among its population to critique ideologies. It also needs to look at the economic and political conditions that make these ideologies attractive to individuals.

Read more: UK faces ‘right-wing terrorist threat,’ says counterterrorism police chief

Britain: Muslims face increasing abuse

It’s often said that the West’s foreign policies are responsible for the rise in Islamic extremism around the world. Do you agree with this viewpoint?

Many people in capitalist societies feel they are not being heard, that democracy is not working, that corporations have too much power. They feel excluded. It is happening all over the world. In some cases people rally behind a strongman or extremist political parties or vote in favor of things like Brexit. Therefore, we have to look at the discontent among people and reflect on the democratic and citizenship models to find ways for people to have a bigger stake in society.

It would not help if we insist on seeing Muslim extremists, or other extremist people, as crazy or mad who exist outside civilization. They have their own rationality, their own reasons for acting in a certain way. We can disagree with their reasons and condemn their acts but we must seek to understand and address what is motivating them. I have seen extremist material which weaves political narratives around conflicts in Palestine, Iraq and Kashmir with religious injunctions. It’s a narrative that attempts to make young Muslims believe that they have a moral responsibility to come to the aid of their fellow members of the “ummah” (the perceived single Muslim community). To challenge this narrative, we need to take steps to resolve some longstanding political problems, reconsider certain economic policies, and come up with counter-narratives.

Farid Panjwani is director of the Center for Research and Evaluation in Muslim Education (CREME) at the University College London.

The interview was conducted by Shamil Shams in London.

Pakistan: Four Christians Killed in Easter Monday Attack

April 3, 2018

Al Jazeera

Members of same family targeted outside relative’s home while visiting southwestern city to celebrate Easter holiday.


The shooting in Quetta was the latest to target Pakistan's Christian community [Arshad Butt/AP]
The shooting in Quetta was the latest to target Pakistan’s Christian community [Arshad Butt/AP]

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – At least four people have been killed in an attack targeting Christians in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, officials say, the latest violence to target members of the minority in the South Asian country.

The four men, all members of the same Christian family, were shot to death outside a relative’s home in the Shah Zaman neighbourhood of the city on Monday evening.

“One young girl has been wounded, and four people have been killed, they were all Christians,” Ali Mardan, a senior police official, told Al Jazeera by telephone.

“They were shot dead.”

The family had travelled to Quetta to celebrate Easter with relatives, a family member told Al Jazeera.

“They were guests of ours, they came from Punjab [province] to celebrate Easter. As they left the house to go to the bazaar after dinner […] they were fired upon,” said Tariq Masih, a relative to the victims.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

At least four people were killed in a separate, unrelated shooting incident in Quetta on Monday, officials said.

That incident was related to a personal enmity, police said.

Attacks on minorities

Pakistan has been battling armed groups including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its allies, who seek to impose a strict interpretation of Islamic law on the country, since 2007.

Violence has dropped in recent years, as a series of military operations have succeeded in displacing the TTP and allied groups from their strongholds in northwestern Pakistan, but sporadic large casualty attacks continue.

Attacks often target Pakistan’s minorities, including Shia Muslims as well as Christians, Hindus and members of the Ahmadiyya sect.

In December, a suicide bomb and gun attack targeting Sunday services at a church in Quetta killed at least eight people and left dozens of others wounded.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for that attack in a statement, but provided no proof of its involvement.

ISIL, also known as ISIS, has claimed responsibility for several attacks targeting civilians in Balochistan province, of which Quetta is the capital, in recent years, including an attack on a Sufi shrine and multiple attacks on Hazara Shias.

On Sunday, a Hazara Shia man was killed and another wounded in a targeted attack in a Quetta bazaar, local media reported.

In all, at least 242 people were killed in attacks in Balochistan province in 2017, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal research organisation.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s Web Correspondent in Pakistan. Additional reporting by Saadullah Akhtar in Quetta.


The Saudis Take On Radical Islam

March 20, 2018

The crown prince charts a course toward moderation, which prevailed before the 1979 attack on Mecca.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative Conference, Oct. 24.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative Conference, Oct. 24. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The year 1979 was a watershed for the Middle East. Iranian revolutionaries overthrew the shah, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and Sunni Islamic extremists tried to take over the Grand Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holiest shrine. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hadn’t been born, but he is fighting the ghosts of 1979 as he dramatically reforms the kingdom.

The attempted takeover of Mecca was a defining event in my country, mainly because of what happened next. Saudi rulers, fearing Iran’s revolutionary example, decided to give more space to the Salafi clerical establishment in hope of countering the radicals. Traditional Salafi preachers are neither violent nor political, but they hold a rigid view of Islam. Their legal rulings and attempts to police morals made the kingdom increasingly intolerant, setting back the gradual opening up that had occurred in the 1960s and ’70s.

In Saudi schools, education was largely in the hands of foreign nationals, many with Muslim Brotherhood backgrounds. In the 1960s and ’70s, Saudi Arabia was more concerned with Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Arab nationalism than with Islamist radicalism. Thus the Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t much of a worry. But the combination of the brotherhood’s political outlook and the rigid Salafi doctrine injected a virus into the Saudi education system. That virus allowed Osama bin Laden to recruit 15 Saudis to take part in that terrible deed on Sept. 11, 2001. We Saudis failed those young men, and that failure had global implications.

The Salafi clerics and Muslim Brotherhood imports also worked in concert as they were given unsupervised access to private donations to fund mosques and madrasas from Karachi to Cairo, where they generally favored the most conservative preachers.

The policy makers’ idea was simple: Give the political Islamists and their Salafi affiliates room to influence educational, judicial and religious affairs, and we will continue to control foreign policy, the economy, and defense. Saudi rulers were handling the hardware, while radicals rewrote the nation’s software. Saudi society, and the Muslim world, is still reeling from the effects.

Crown Prince Mohammed’s critics describe him as a young man in a hurry. They’re right—and he should be. As he told all of us in his cabinet constantly: “Time is our enemy. We cannot wait any longer to reform our country. The time is now.”

He is clear about the problem. “Political Islam, whether Sunni or Shiite, Muslim Brotherhood or jihadi Salafist, has damaged Muslim nations,” he once told me. “It also gives Islam a bad name. Therefore, it is the role of Muslim countries to face these evil ideologies and groups and to stand with our world allies in the West and East to confront them once and for all.”

King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed have already ushered in some head-spinning changes. The crown prince has led the effort to roll back the powerful religious police. These self-righteous moralizers no longer have the right to stop anyone on the street or take matters into their own hands. They have been effectively marginalized.

The king and crown prince have granted women their long-awaited rights to drive and attend sports. Women are no longer required to wear headscarves. I expect to see more women appointed to senior positions in government, even at the ministerial level. Once Saudi Arabia unleashes the potential of women, there is no telling how far we can go.

Building on the past decade’s education reforms, the crown prince has launched the MiSK Foundation to provide young Saudis with world-class skills training. He has also led the way in normalizing life in Saudi Arabia for young people, who are increasingly fed up by social restrictions. The new General Entertainment Authority is giving Saudis foreign concerts, theater and cinemas and soon a Royal Opera House.

He has done something more intangible but also vital: bridged the deep generational divide between ruler and ruled. Like some three-fourths of Saudis, he is under 35. He speaks their language. He uses their apps. He knows their frustrations, including with corruption.

The recent crackdown on corruption should be seen in this light. Business as usual was not working, and the crown prince was willing to pull up the carpet to clean the rot underneath.

At an October 2017 conference for international investors, Crown Prince Mohammed laid out his ideas for moderate Islam. “Saudi Arabia was not like this before 1979,” he said. “We want to go back to what we were, the moderate Islam that’s open to all religions. We want to live a normal life . . . coexist and contribute to the world. . . . We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with these destructive ideas.”

During my time in office, I came to realize that while Saudi Arabia will continue to face challenges, for the first time in four decades the ghosts haunting Saudi Arabia are in retreat. Mistakes are inevitable, and there is no universal guidebook on how to reform a country. But leaders like the late Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore show how far a country can go with the right policies.

Saudi Arabia has a long journey ahead. It will not be without bumps and bruises. Change never comes easy. But the crown prince has raised expectations dramatically. The genie is out of the bottle, and it can’t go back in.

Mr. Al-Toraifi was Saudi minister of culture and information, 2015-17.

Appeared in the March 20, 2018, print edition.

France clamps down on radical Islam in prisons, schools — France is experimenting with various ways of ending the drift towards extremism — Worry about young people

February 23, 2018


© AFP / by Clare BYRNE, Marc PRÉEL | “No one has a magic formula for ‘deradicalisation’ as if you might de-install dangerous software,” French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (C) said in the northern city of Lille where he presented his strategy, flanked by a dozen ministers

LILLE (FRANCE) (AFP) – The French government said Friday said it would seal off extremists within prisons and open new centres to reintegrate returning jihadists into society as part of a plan to halt the spread of radical Islam.France is experimenting with various ways of ending the drift towards extremism of young people growing up on the margins of society, in predominantly immigrant suburbs where organisations like the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda recruit.

The plan unveiled Friday is the third in four years and aims to draw lessons from past failures, after three years marked by a series of attacks that left over 240 people dead.

“No one has a magic formula for ‘deradicalisation’ as if you might de-install dangerous software,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in the northern city of Lille where he presented his strategy, flanked by a dozen ministers.

“But in France and elsewhere there are good approaches to prevention and disengagement.”

France is particularly keen to stop extremism flourishing in its prisons, where some of the jihadists behind attacks in recent years first came under the spell of hardliners.

A total of 512 people are currently serving time for terrorism offences in France and a further 1,139 prisoners have been flagged up as being radicalised.

To prevent extremism spreading further, Philippe said he would create 1,500 places in separate prison wings “especially for radicalised inmates”.

– Islamic schools under scrutiny –

He also announced plans for three new centres that will attempt to reintegrate radicals referred by French courts, including jihadists returning from fallen IS strongholds in the Middle East.

A first de-radicalisation trial ended in failure last July, with a centre in western France that operated on a voluntary basis shutting after less than a year with no improvements to show.

Other measures announced by Philippe include:

— Investments in psychological care for returning children of jihadists. So far 68 children have been repatriated, most of them under 13.

— Tighter controls on private Islamic schools which have grown rapidly in number in recent years.

— More training for teachers to help them detect early signs of radicalisation and to debunk conspiracy theories.

— More investment in teaching students to separate fact from rumour on the internet.

— Making it easier to reassign public servants that show signs of radicalisation to jobs that do not involve contact with the public.

by Clare BYRNE, Marc PRÉEL



Netanyahu: Israel not seeking war, but will do ‘everything’ to defend itself — “The Iranians are flooding the Middle East”

February 4, 2018

Amid tensions on northern front and Gaza border, PM says Israel the ‘main factor’ hindering radical Islam in Middle East

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on February 4, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / JIM HOLLANDER)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on February 4, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / JIM HOLLANDER)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that his government “does not seek war” but will do “everything” to defend the country, amid rising tensions on the Lebanon front and the Gaza border.

Speaking to ministers at the outset of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu introduced IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot ahead of a briefing by the army chief, and added that he had “full confidence” in Eisenkot and in the military.

“The IDF is the strongest army in the Middle East, and thankfully so, because we are facing many challenges,” the prime minister told reporters.

“As I made clear to [US] President [Donald] Trump and later to European leaders and to [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin — our presence here is the main factor hindering the expansion of radical Islam, led by Iran and Islamic State, in the Middle East,” he continued. “Those factions also threat all other entities in the world.

“We do not seek war, but we will do everything that’s needed to defend ourselves,” he said.

Last week, Netanyahu met with Putin in Moscow to discuss Iranian military entrenchment in the region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during an event marking International Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, January 29, 2018. (Vasily MAXIMOV/AFP)

“The question is: Does Iran entrench itself in Syria, or will this process be stopped. If it doesn’t stop by itself, we will stop it,” Netanyahu told Israeli reporters during a telephone briefing at the time.

“We also spoke about Lebanon, which is becoming a factory for precision-guided missiles that threaten Israel. These missiles pose a grave threat to Israel, and we will not accept this threat,” he added.

Netanyahu said that the weapons factories are currently “in the process of being built” by Iran. Israel is determined to do whatever is necessary to prevent those two developments, he said.

Housing Minister Yoav Galant, a former IDF major general and a member of the security cabinet, warned on Saturday that Israel would sent Lebanon “back to the stone age” should the Lebanese-based Hezbollah terror group take military action.

“The Iranians are flooding the Middle East,” Galant told Channel 10 news. “They took southern Lebanon using Hezbollah, and are trying to take over Syria under Russian wings. The process of turning Syria into a battlefront is dangerous and we will not stand by. We have clear lines.”

The Gaza border has also seen escalation over the past few days after several weeks of relative calm.

On Saturday, the IDF said its fighter jets struck Hamas targets in the southern Gaza Strip in response to a rocket fired toward Israel from the coastal enclave, after a similar strike on Friday in response to a rocket fired Thursday night.


Qatar slammed for funding ‘terrorist’ Muslim Brotherhood in UK

January 8, 2018

LONDON: Qatar has been strongly criticized for its alleged funding of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK by a senior British Army veteran and counter-insurgency expert, who also called the group a “terrorist organization.”

Col. Tim Collins, who served in Northern Ireland and the second Iraq War, was speaking in Westminster and said the Muslim Brotherhood was a problem in the UK and that the government needed to challenge it more.
He also hit out at Qatar for allegedly funding the organization, questioning why they would “hurt a friend.”
“(The Muslim Brotherhood) has been a problem and continues to be a problem in the United Kingdom and we need to challenge it — and indeed it is challenging our response to terrorism,” Collins told Arab News.
“In fairness to Turkey they are not actively promoting it in this country. I understand why they would have a close relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood given the nature of Turkish politics, but the Qataris are actively funding this, what do they think they are doing?”
“We are a close ally and we stood by them in tumultuous times. They’ve been isolated in the Gulf yet we’ve stood by them, we have to ask them to show their friendship and comradeship and stop doing this.
“It’s not using leverage, what you say to friends is ‘why are you hurting us, why are you doing this?’”
Four years ago the UK government ordered a review into the Muslim Brotherhood. The result, the Jenkins Commission, concluded that the organization — while outwardly purporting peaceful means to promote its agenda — was willing to use violence and terror in pursuit of its long-term goals and that aspects of its ideology and tactics “are contrary to the (UK’s) national interests and security.”
Collins however, said that he would go further and describe the Brotherhood as an out and out terror group.
“I believe they are a terrorist organization,” he said.
“They have tried to rubbish and make an issue out of the Contest (UK counter-terrorism) strategy – that which is there to confront radical Islam.
“We have to work with allies and friends to reduce (the Muslim Brotherhood’s) influence.
“We have to be careful we don’t want to sow disharmony in our attempts to reduce its influence. We need to challenge it and to do so in such a way we don’t offend, isolate or alienate our Muslim population so we have to be very careful in how we do that.”

Netanyahu: Abbas Again Proves Palestinians Are the Ones Who Don’t Want Peace

December 24, 2017

Palestinian president said Friday that he would not accept any American peace initiative due to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

By Noa Landau Dec 24, 2017 12:27 PM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting, December 24, 2017.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting, December 24, 2017. Amir Cohen/AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has again proved that Palestinians are the ones who do not want to find a solution to the Middle East conflict.


Abbas came out Friday against the American peace initiative and said the Palestinians would not accept any plan made by the Americans due to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move that was widely rejected by the world in a UN vote Thursday.

In a Christmas letter to Christians, Abbas wrote that the Palestinians will not “accept any plan from the U.S.” due to the White House’s “biased” support of Israel and its settlement policy. He also said the American plan “is not going to be based on the two-state solution on the 1967 border, nor is it going to be based on international law or UN resolutions.”

“Abbas declared he was abandoning the peace process and did not care which proposal the United States brings to the table,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting. “I think that once again, something clear and simple emerges: The Palestinians are the ones who do not want to solve the conflict.”

Netanyahu added that the “United States said another very important thing: The roots of the conflict are not in Israel, but in Iran and with radical Islam and the terror that it propagates.”


Noa Landau
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The Trump Doctrine: American Interests Come First

December 20, 2017

US President Donald Trump speaks about his administration’s National Security Strategy at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC, Dec.18, 2017. (AFP)

By ARTHUR HERMAN December 19, 2017 2:55 PM


The president recognizes important new realities in world affairs. Ever since Donald Trump took office, Americans have wondered if he has a coherent vision of America’s place in the world, or if he sees foreign affairs the way he sees Twitter: as a space where emotion and instinct roam free from the restraints of rational discourse. Now we have an answer.

The speech he gave Monday at the Reagan Center was the curtain-raiser for his new National Security Strategy, a 55-page document that gives us more insight into Trump’s view of the world than has any text since his speech to the U.N. in July — and a far more comprehensive insight than we’ve ever had before.

The Trump Doctrine can now be summed up as follows: America and American interests will always come first, globalist agendas second. But don’t think you can cross us, or our allies, with impunity. America’s not looking for trouble, but if you come after us or them, we will hurt you like hell.

Various commentators have remarked on the four vital national interests, or pillars of the National Security Strategy, that Trump listed: protect the homeland, the American people, and American way of life; promote American prosperity; preserve peace through strength; advance American influence in the world (Trump’s version of soft power). Also widely covered is that he named China and Russia as strategic competitors (China was mentioned 22 times), argued that economic security is part of national security, mentioned climate change as a security threat, and pushed American “energy dominance” as a tool for foreign-policy leverage.


Many have further highlighted the president’s concept of “principled realism” in foreign affairs: “realist” because it acknowledges the central role of power in international politics, and affirms that strong and sovereign states, including our own, are the best hope for a peaceful world; and “principled” because the Trump Doctrine is ultimately grounded in advancing American principles, which are the conduits for spreading peace and prosperity around the globe.

But it’s important not to miss the broader philosophical underpinning of the Trump Doctrine, which is that we live in a world where competition is natural, especially among the great powers. Nothing separates him and his foreign-policy team from his liberal critics, and many of his presidential predecessors, more than this assumption — which certainly reflects his experience in the business world, where battling rivals for dominance and market share is a way of life.

According to the Trump Doctrine, America can work with Russia and China on matters of common interest, such as the war with radical Islam. But friction and conflicting interests are inevitable; the purpose of diplomacy is to keep that friction from spilling over into armed conflict, but the job of a president — like that of a CEO of a Fortune 500 company — is to keep America on top.

Indeed, according to the National Security Strategy, “an America that successfully competes is the best way to prevent conflict.”

For the last 100 years, America has had to confront foes driven by ferocious and vicious ideologies — Fascism, Nazism, Communism, radical Islam.

We’ve responded by trying to give the world an ideological counter-scaffolding, whether it was Wilsonism or Progressivism or neoconservatism or compassionate conservatism.

For 100 years, America has found itself forced to think and act in global terms, seeking to create and sustain a world order based on democracy and free trade and collective security — and ending up doing most of the heavy lifting.

Now, Trump states, “we . . . understand that the American way of life cannot be imposed on others, nor is it the inevitable culmination of progress.” This not a formula for isolationism. Instead of either withdrawing from the world or taking on the role of “globocop,” under the Trump Doctrine the U.S. will pursue what we can call transactional engagement: focusing on what America can, and can’t, do to help itself as well as to help others, and moving away from trying to shape a global vision.

A new era of international anarchy is coming. Everywhere we look, the liberal international order that every president since Woodrow Wilson has tried to establish and prop up is coming to an end.

The Trump Doctrine recognizes this reality: that a new era of international anarchy is coming, where every nation-state, including the U.S., will have to rely on its own military and economic strength, diplomacy, and alliances for its security. It’s not a world that will make liberals or globalists or even many conservatives very happy. But paradoxically, it’s a world that will have more stability and predictability in international affairs than we’ve seen in a century.

The Trump Doctrine tries to see this world for what it really is, not what we think it should be — and that’s an important step forward.

— Arthur Herman is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and author of 1917: Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder, released by Harper Collins on November 28.

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