Scottish Daily Mail
THE MOST RUTHLESS DEATH CULT IN HISTORY
More than 100 people executed by black-clad suicide bombers. A plane full of holidaymakers blown to bits out of the sky. Sunbathing tourists killed by machine gun-wielding jihadis on a beach.
If we didn’t now know better, this sounds like a synopsis for an apocalyptic Hollywood movie that even the most sensationalist scriptwriter might think was too farfetched to be taken seriously.
But these atrocities were all carried out by the foot soldiers of Islamic State, a selfdeclared Muslim province straddling the northern parts of war-torn Syria and Iraq.
The area it controls is the size of Britain, has a population of six million and a fully functioning economy with a large income from oil fields, extortion and donations by fabulously wealthy but extremist individuals in the Persian Gulf states.
Governed by Sharia law based on a literal interpretation of the Koran, it is defended by a fanatical army that may be 200,000strong. They are fired up by a fantasy of returning the world to how they imagine it was during the lifetime of their Prophet more than 1,400 years ago.
Their motivation for unbridled violence is as simple as it is portentous: to eradicate, or enslave, all of the world’s population that does not subscribe to their extremist interpretation of Islam.
And that includes Muslims of other sects, who until now have borne the brunt of their notoriously savage acts of slaughter — recorded and broadcast by a slick media network for all the world to witness.
By attacking westerners on a Tunisian beach and in Paris, these Islamic State assassins have launched the opening salvo in a new and terrifying kind of war that is aimed at everything we value.
Most chillingly, it will likely last for years, if not decades.
For while Al-Qaeda had specific demands that called for the West to withdraw from the Middle east, even if every Western soldier and civilian left the region tomorrow, it would merely galvanise Islamic State jihadis into more hideous acts of barbarity.
Moreover, unlike spectacular attacks by Al-Qaeda on Western symbols of power (such as on 9/11 in the U.S.), their strategy of killing innocent citizens in beach resorts, at concert halls, restaurants and football matches costs very little money and requires only the most basic weapons.
But they realise that such strikes cause untold panic and immense loss of human life.
What’s more, such attacks can be made more frequently because they need less detailed planning. They can also be achieved using far less effort to avoid western intelligence services.
And so the lessons for us in the West are clear. Above all, just because a drone managed to ‘vaporise’ Jihadi John, doesn’t mean we have the upper hand. Countless thousands more are ready to replace him.
Shamefully, our politicians have been profoundly naive not to have taken this terror state seriously when it first emerged last year.
equally, they have been hopelessly unprepared to rise to the challenge it now poses.
Its threat to wreak havoc around the world is now being carried out with a vengeance.
For those of us who have studied Islamic State, we know that there is a ruthless method to the unfolding madness. No other terror organisation in history has managed to nurture such blood lust on this epic scale.
Small wonder that Islamic State jihadis are gloating, calling the Paris attacks a ‘miracle’ and threatening many more. We would be very foolish not to take them at their word. Today, the Islamists’ dream of ridding the Arab world of ‘infidels’ is starting to become a reality as terrified Westerners decide to avoid large parts of the Middle east.
Worse, they have made people terrified on their own doorstep. Many Britons are justifiably fretting about whether taking a weekend break to one of europe’s touristfriendly cities is worth the risk of getting caught up in the inevitable next round of this meticulously planned blood-letting.
Not since the outbreak of World War II have ordinary people in Britain and europe harboured such a deep sense of foreboding about the future — a dread exacerbated by the chaotic and seemingly unstoppable flow of millions of refugees and economic migrants, most of them Arab Muslims, into our Continent.
Though the French President Francois Hollande’s first instinct after Friday night’s attacks was to close all of his country’s borders, he only sprang into action after the horse had bolted.
This crisis also brings back memories of a frightful age that everyone hoped would never return; one when extreme Far right political parties suddenly gain popularity as trust in mainstream parties evaporates.
In the wake of the Paris attack, the Far right National Front could easily win the French presidential election next year.
Islamic State’s other masterstroke has been to infiltrate Western nations.
It means those who wish to do us and our loved ones harm, and who are determined to eradicate the culture of tolerance and pluralism we have lived and breathed and died defending for centuries, are already living among us.
The fact that some of the Paris suicide bombers were carrying foreign passports confirms Islamic State’s boast that the group had already flooded europe with at least 4,000 terrorists, cynically exploiting the refugee crisis. This is a form of psychological warfare against us, as the knowledge of their presence in our midst will continue to torment even as the memories of the most recent attacks fade.
Meanwhile, it is ridiculous to suggest, as those on the Far Left are doing, that european governments’ role in Syria and other Arab countries is exclusively responsible for this new terror phenomenon.
The more complex truth is that this strand of fanatical Islam has existed for as long as the religion itself.
At the same time, it would be naive to deny our ill-thought-out military adventurism in the Middle east and continuing bumbling effort at bringing about change there has helped nurture the chaotic environment in which extremism is flourishing.
In Iraq and Libya, we overthrew the countries’ ruthless but secular leaders — and now those areas have turned into the most lawless jihadist hotbeds.
AND OUR leaders continue to insist, against all reason and logic, on the removal of Syrian dictator Bashar alAssad, despite the fact that he is the last secular Arab leader left who, whether we like it or not, enjoys huge popularity in the onethird of the country still under regime control.
And then consider the breathtaking hypocrisy of our continued support for that atrocious human rights abuser Saudi Arabia, which continues to funnel money and arms to preposterously called ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria in the name of bringing about democracy.
Sadly, back in Britain and europe, there are no quick fixes for eradicating the jihadist plague. our intelligence services will have their work cut out for the foreseeable future as our politicians scramble to find ways to deal with the connected migrant nightmare.
In the meantime, we should form an international coalition to fight Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria — a suggestion proposed by russia’s Vladimir Putin. A refusal to do this would suggest a belief among Western governments that Putin poses a greater threat to europe’s stability than Islamic State.
That would be an utterly irresponsible and wrong-headed assessment that could risk countless more innocent people’s lives.
JOHN R. BRADLEY’S latest book is After The Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked The Middle East Revolts.