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U.S. Foreign Policy and the Modern Middle East A Summer Institute for Teachers Sponsored by The American Institute for History Education and FPRI’s Wachman Center June 25-27, 2009. Teaching the Long War and Jihadism. Mary Habeck. Global Jihadist Ideology. Islam

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teaching the long war and jihadism

U.S. Foreign Policy and the Modern Middle East

A Summer Institute for Teachers

Sponsored by

The American Institute for History Education


FPRI’s Wachman Center

June 25-27, 2009

Teaching the Long War and Jihadism

Mary Habeck

global jihadist ideology
Global Jihadist Ideology
  • Islam
    • Ancient religion of 1.5 billion people
    • Diversity of beliefs, practices, and politics
    • Modernists, traditionalists and orthodox (80-85%?)
  • Islamism (salafi Islam, fundamentalism) (15-20%?)
    • Islam must have political power and a state
    • Response to European colonialism
    • No unanimity about democracy
global jihadist ideology cont
Global Jihadist Ideology (cont.)
  • Jihadism (jihadiyya) (<1%?)
    • Extremist version of Islamism
    • No gradual implementation or political process
    • Only violence can recreate an Islamic state called the “Caliphate”
  • Global jihadism (salafi jihadiyya)
    • al-Qa’ida and affiliated groups
    • The main enemy is the United States, not our local rulers
basic ideology of jihadism
Basic ideology of jihadism

Aberrant definitions of jihad and tawhid;

Believe that only they are the true believers (the saved sect); all others are “so-called” Muslims;

Hostile unbelievers control the world and desire the destruction of Islam;

Therefore war against them and their puppets is justified;

An Islamic state is necessary not only to implement Islamic law correctly, it will also wage eternal war with the unbelievers.

contrasting definitions of tawhid
Contrasting definitions of tawhid


  • There is only one God
  • He has no partners: this means that only he has the right to be worshiped
  • Anyone who worships another god is sinning and after death, he will be judged by God.

Global jihadism

  • There is only one God
  • He has no partners: this means that only he has the right to be worshiped and to make laws, that is, only God has sovereignty
  • Anyone who claims to have sovereignty or who makes laws is making himself into a god and must be killed.
contrasting definitions of jihad
Contrasting definitions of jihad

Islam (evolution over time)

  • Struggle and war
  • Muhammad’s life
  • The internal and external jihad
  • Jihad as an “individual duty” and “communal duty”
  • Today: jihad is an internal struggle and defensive (just) war
  • Jihad is a matter of state

Global jihadism

(1 meaning)

  • Jihad is fighting
  • Muhammad’s life
  • The internal jihad is a Sufi fraud
  • Jihad has become an “individual duty” for all Muslims
  • Today: jihad is individual duty; tomorrow: jihad will be a communal duty
  • Jihad is a matter for each individual
global jihadism s war with muslims
Global jihadism’s war with Muslims
  • Ideological: preaching aimed at converting other Muslims to jihadism or to supporting their struggles
    • Jihadism is the only authentic Islam
    • Participation in our jihad is necessary for salvation
    • Our jihad is defensive (an individual duty)
  • Political: creating a Caliphate
    • Controlling territory and implementing Islamic law (promoting virtue and preventing vice)
    • No Muslim state has any legitimacy and therefore can be fought
  • Military: fighting Muslims who actively oppose jihadism or who actively support the unbelievers
    • Liberal and secular Muslims
    • “Apostates” such as Sufis, Shi‘a, Ahmadis or political leaders
global jihadism s founders
Global jihadism's founders

Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab

Hasan al-Banna

Sayyid Qutb

global jihadism s appeal to other muslims
Global jihadism’s appeal to other Muslims

Authentic Islam

Sacrificing lives for the community

Avoiding Hell

Evil societies both at home and abroad

Jihad as participation in liberation and salvation

Revenge and retribution (qisas)

A conspiratorial vision of history

global jihadism in action jama ah islamiyah
Global jihadism in action: Jama‘ah Islamiyah

Tourists as occupiers and polluters

global jihadism in action gama a al islamiyya
Global jihadism in action:Gama‘a al-Islamiyya

From tourists as occupiers and polluters to attacking the “greater unbelief”

global jihadism in action al qa ida global jihadist
Global Jihadism in action:al-Qa‘ida (global jihadist)

From attacking occupiers to the US as “greater unbelief”

global jihadism s war with the us
Global jihadism’s war with the US
  • Why attack the US?
    • The US as the “greater unbelief” (the eternal enemy)
    • Strike a stunning blow to the US to:
      • Convince US to leave all Islamic lands (see Beirut, Somalia)
      • Convince other Muslims to join al-Qa‘ida’s war with the US and the apostate puppets
    • Without the support of the US, its apostate puppets would fall to the energized jihadist movement
global jihadism s war with the us cont
Global jihadism’s war with the US (cont.)
  • Objectives post-9/11
    • Uniting the jihad
    • Inciting the diaspora to jihad
    • Training the next generation of jihadis
    • Getting the US out of Islamic lands
    • Creating the Caliphate
  • Strategies post 9/11
    • IO strategy: the importance of the media
    • Economic strategy: the oil weapon and attrition
    • Military strategy: attrition, guerrilla warfare, and multiple battlefields (“Management of Savagery”)
    • The continuing need for a base
america and the long war models
A crime was committed on 9/11

i. Pinpoints al-Qa’ida as main problem, doesn’t blame entire Islamic world

ii. Refuses to recognize deeper roots and global nature of the conflict

A “clash of civilizations”

i. Emphasizes cultural/religious roots of the conflict

ii. Conflates most Muslims with the radicals

A global insurgency

i. Global vision that gives us strategies for fighting the war

ii. Downplays role of nations

The Islamic Reformation

i. It’s not about us; emphasizes role of religion, culture and history

ii. Downplays economic/social issues; leaves us without model for the war

The Long War or World War IV

Emphasizes nation-states, lengthy nature of global conflict, gives us a model for the war

America and the Long War: Models
america and the long war when did the war start
America and the Long War: When did the war start?




18th century OR 1928


america and the long war naming the enemy
America and the Long War:Naming the enemy

Bin Laden et al

The Arab/Muslim world

Al-Qa’ida and affiliated groups

Islamists and/or jihadis

Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, et al.

america and the long war pinpointing the objective
America and the Long War:Pinpointing the objective

Arrest or kill Bin Laden et al.

Transformation of the Islamic world (modernization/democratization)

Suppress or kill al-Qa’ida while preventing other Muslims from joining the fight

The reformation of Islam

Regime change

america and the long war operationalizing
America and the Long War:Operationalizing

Arresting [a law enforcement problem]

Diplomatic pressure and international institutions [includes nation states as both cause and cure]

COIN [counterinsurgency - a military problem but includes society, culture, and economy]

Work by imams, muftis, shaykhs, ayatollahs [a religious problem]

Invasion and state-building [a military, diplomatic and “state-building” problem]