Elections américaines: Une invraisemblable servilité à l’égard de l’islamisme (Doctrine Obama: Four more years of they’re jihadists but they’re our jihadists?)

C’est peut-être un salaud, mais c’est notre salaud. Roosevelt (ou Dulles?)
ll y a charia et charia. Et il faut, avant d’entonner le grand air de la régression et de la glaciation, savoir de quoi on parle. Charia, d’abord, n’est pas un gros mot. Comme “djihad” (qui signifie “effort spirituel” et que les islamistes ont fini par traduire en “guerre sainte”), comme “fatwa” (qui veut dire “avis religieux” et où le monde, à cause de l’affaire Rushdie, a pris l’habitude d’entendre “condamnation à mort”), le mot même de charia est l’enjeu d’une guerre sémantique sans merci mais continue de signifier, heureusement, pour la majorité des musulmans, quelque chose d’éminemment respectable. BHL
Dans le monde musulman d’aujourd’hui, peut-être certains s’interrogent sur l’attitude de la France à l’égard de l’islam, probablement à cause de l’attitude de certains de nos prédécesseurs immédiats. Eh bien je veux vous dire clairement que la page est tournée. Laurent Fabius (ministre des Affaires étrangères, devant les 57 ambassadeurs de l’OCI (organisation de la coopération islamique, 23.07.12)
Quand un occupant commence à frapper ses anciens alliés, la fin est proche. L’occupation ba’asiste du Liban dure depuis 30 ans et même la fin de l’ère soviétique n’a pas mis fin à l’Anschluss syrien. Relique de l’ère soviétique, le régime Assad a annihilé ses opposants chrétiens et a coincé les sunnites entre sa terreur et celle du Hezbollah. (…) La Syrie est perdue dans une fuite en avant apocalyptique qui risque de laisser le Liban en cendre. Walid Phares (2005)
En bref, l’administration Obama a malheureusement échoué à venir à la rescousse d’une population menacée par un allié de l’Iran. Certains font remarquer que cela pourrait être une politique, plutôt qu’une absence de politique, qui évoque en nous l’attitude envers les manifestants iraniens en juin 2009. Des observateurs suggèrent ainsi qu’une doctrine Obama non déclarée pour le Moyen-Orient souhaite laisser l’Afrique du Nord aux Frères musulmans et le Levant à l’influence iranienne. Walid Phares
Dans le monde arabo-islamique, l’Occident reste en fait la référence absolue : l’exemple même d’une société libre, pacifique, développée, puissante. Mais les Occidentaux ne s’en rendent pas compte, ou ne veulent pas s’en rendre compte. Une sorte de tropisme les conduit à soutenir systématiquement les régimes les plus archaïques, les moins démocratiques, les plus antioccidentaux, puis, quand ceux-ci s’effondrent, à se tourner vers les révolutionnaires les plus extrémistes. Un exemple accablant de ce comportement a été fourni par Barack Obama, qui est allé prononcer au Caire un discours d’une invraisemblable servilité à l’égard de l’islamisme en juin 2009, au mo­ment même où la société civile ira­nienne se révoltait contre la dictature des mollahs. Walid Pha­res

Quatre ans de plus de « c’est des jihadistes mais nos jihadistes »?

A l’heure où, à deux mois de l’élection de novembre, l’écart entre « l’Acheteur en chef des voix des uns avec l’argent des autres » (pour 15.000 milliards quand même de dette publique soit 7,6 % du PIB) et son adversaire républicain est entré dans la marge d’erreur …

Et où, à l’instar de l’imbroglio syrien et des suites catastrophiques de l’opération libyenne, le prétendu « printemps arabe » a largement commencé à montrer ses limites et ses vraies couleurs  …

Retour, avec le géopolitologue et conseiller du candidat Romney libano-américain Walid Phares, sur cette sorte de nouvelle doctrine Eisenhower non déclarée que menace de perpétuer une réélection Obama, consistant, tout en ayant maintenu l’essentiel du dispositif antiterroriste de son prédécesseur – Guantanamo compris – et même intensifié les éliminations ciblées, à  « laisser l’Afrique du Nord aux Frères musulmans et le Levant à l’influence iranienne ».

De même qu’une « ‘invraisemblable servilité », hélas partagée par une bonne part des pays occidentaux, à l’égard de l’islamisme, les « conduisant à soutenir systématiquement les régimes les plus archaïques, les moins démocratiques, les plus anti-occidentaux, puis, quand ceux-ci s’effondrent, à se tourner vers les révolutionnaires les plus extrémistes » …

L’échec syrien de l’administration Obama

 Walid Pharès (conseiller de Mitt Romney)

L’Orient le jour

28/08/2012

Conseiller auprès du Congrès américain pour le terrorisme et le Moyen-Orient ; conseiller en matière de politique étrangère et de sécurité nationale de Mitt Romney.

Conseiller auprès du Congrès américain pour le terrorisme et le Moyen-Orient ; conseiller en matière de politique étrangère et de sécurité nationale de Mitt Romney.

OPINION

L’effusion de sang en Syrie a presque atteint les proportions d’un génocide. Depuis le printemps 2011, les massacres perpétrés par le régime d’Assad ont emporté des dizaines de milliers de civils, dont des enfants, des femmes et des personnes âgées. S’il est un fait que des milices jihadistes ont émergé, et dans certains cas ont effectivement perpétré des abus, la grande majorité des Syriens qui manifestent contre le régime baassiste ne cherche pas à édifier un émirat du style taliban. Cette réalité politique, clairement comprise par les observateurs chevronnés et les experts compétents, continue d’échapper à une bonne partie de l’opinion publique internationale. Le conflit en Syrie est interne, régional et international, et il est maintenant sur le point de provoquer une catastrophe humaine, obligeant la communauté internationale à agir pour la défense d’une population en voie de disparition. Non seulement le droit international mais également la Charte de l’ONU exigent un plan de sauvetage pour des millions de civils innocents, pris au piège dans une guerre qui n’a cessé d’élargir son spectre.

Comme je l’avais prédit dans mon livre The Coming Revolution : Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East, publié quelques mois avant le printemps arabe et six mois avant la révolution syrienne, la société civile en Syrie a atteint un niveau critique de rejet du régime répressif et sécuritaire des Assad. Dans ma projection, j’avais soigneusement fait valoir que les Syriens finiraient par se soulever contre le régime baassiste, certains en raison de la répression passée, comme les sunnites, d’autres en raison du traitement à l’égard des minorités ethniques, comme les Kurdes… mais une majorité populaire finirait par imiter le soulèvement de la révolution du Cèdre au Liban en 2005 contre l’occupation syrienne, ainsi que la révolution Verte à Téhéran contre le régime khomeyniste, principal allié d’Assad dans la région. Les Syriens ont finalement brisé le mur de la peur et ont déferlé dans les rues à partir du printemps 2011. Les insurgés de Deraa, dans le Sud, et de Homs, au centre, ont suivi l’exemple des Égyptiens, qui venaient de renverser Moubarak, et des Tunisiens, qui avaient poussé Ben Ali à l’exil. Beaucoup pensaient à l’époque qu’il suffirait que des manifestations de masse prennent les rues d’assaut pour que la communauté internationale, emmenée par les États-Unis, force Assad à démissionner. Les Syriens et les Arabes avaient été témoins de l’escalade des pressions diplomatiques menée par le président Obama contre Le Caire et Tunis, et pensaient qu’il en serait de même avec Damas. Et lorsque Kadhafi a lancé ses chars sur Benghazi et les quartiers de Tripoli en 2011, Washington a mené, à partir d’une position d’arrière-garde il est vrai, la campagne aérienne et maritime de l’OTAN visant à épuiser l’armement stratégique du dictateur, donnant à l’opposition l’occasion de livrer sa bataille au sol, ce qui a ultimement conduit à la chute de l’homme fou, comme Sadate avait l’habitude de l’appeler.

Entre-temps, les manifestants syriens avaient été brutalisés, les enfants torturés et des centaines de citoyens tués par semaine. L’administration Obama n’a pas été à la mesure du niveau d’espoir et de la tragédie qui se déroulent dans toute la Syrie. Des mois se sont écoulés avant que les pressions diplomatiques américaines ne soient devenues suffisamment sérieuses et les sanctions économiques appliquées. Le temps que les pressions à l’égyptienne, et plus, aient été adoptées en Syrie, la situation était déjà devenue similaire à celle de la Libye. Washington était en retard, très en retard. Les troupes de Bachar el-Assad massacraient déjà des milliers de civils dans les villes et villages et une « Armée syrienne libre » avait déjà vu le jour et défié le régime.

Au moment où la révolution était devenue une quasi-guerre civile, les États-Unis saisirent le Conseil de sécurité pour une initiative sur la Syrie. Mais parce que les dirigeants russes ont prétendu avoir été dupés sur la Libye avec la résolution 1973, le veto de Moscou – soutenu par la Chine – bloqua toute référence à une résolution fondée sur le chapitre 7, condition sine qua non pour une action militaire contre le régime. Encore une fois, malheureusement, l’administration Obama était en retard pour obtenir un mandat en faveur de l’établissement d’une zone d’exclusion aérienne ou même de couloirs humanitaires pour aider les civils. Et pour cause : toute enclave de sauvetage doit être protégée par les forces de l’ONU, en vertu d’une décision autorisée sous l’égide du chapitre 7, désormais rendue impossible.

Au printemps dernier, l’équation sur le terrain s’est modifiée avec des conséquences dramatiques. Les rebelles ont remporté des victoires plus tactiques, pénétrant dans nombre de villes et de villages, saisissant des points de contrôle aux frontières et, comme nous l’avons vu dernièrement, portant des coups durs au directoire d’Assad. Ainsi, l’opposition progressa, grâce à sa propre force et avec un soutien minimal des acteurs régionaux. Mais sans une initiative internationale ou arabo-occidentale stratégique, l’opposition interne risque le massacre aux mains d’une armée puissante qui, en dépit des défections multiples, continue d’écraser les enclaves rebelles émergentes et d’élargir le spectre de la violence contre les civils.

Pourquoi l’administration Obama n’a-t-elle pas agi fermement et de façon stratégique sur la question syrienne, quand bien même elle aurait pu profiter d’un soutien européen – surtout français –, turc et arabe ? La raison principale qui a freiné une telle action – raison non déclarée, mais généralement admise – réside dans les craintes de la Maison-Blanche de ce qu’elle appelle une escalade régionale. En fait, Assad est un allié du régime iranien et du Hezbollah au Liban, et beaucoup au sein du gouvernement irakien soutiennent discrètement cet axe. Washington craint qu’une action militaire contre la Syrie, sous quelque forme que ce soit, provoque une contre-offensive non pas d’un seul, mais de quatre régimes. Dans le cadre d’une année électorale, comme il apparaît dans l’esprit des stratèges d’Obama, un président en exercice pourrait ne pas vouloir risquer une campagne militaire contre un pays dont le régime fait partie d’une alliance régionale menée par l’Iran. Et comme l’administration n’a aucun plan d’endiguement pour l’Iran, elle se trouve par conséquent incapable de commencer, en Syrie, une série d’actions qui pourraient déboucher sur une confrontation dans le Golfe, en Irak et au Liban, sans compter qu’elle pourrait impliquer Israël à une plus grande échelle.

Malheureusement, l’incapacité à déboulonner Assad est due à un manque de décision stratégique US concernant l’Iran et le Hezbollah, attitude qui a envoyé un message clair au dictateur syrien : il peut agir en toute impunité au moins jusqu’au 6 novembre, ce qu’il est en train de faire, sans pitié. L’un des résultats majeurs de cet échec est la croissance spectaculaire du nombre de victimes civiles à l’intérieur de la Syrie : l’on peut voir la mort et le chaos via Internet et YouTube au quotidien. Un autre effet de l’incapacité étatsunienne est l’inquiétante pénétration par des réseaux jihadistes armés de l’opposition en Syrie. Bien qu’à une échelle réduite, les partisans d’el-Qaëda ont revendiqué des victoires tactiques contre le régime, convainquant un plus grand nombre d’islamistes de rejoindre leurs rangs. À l’origine libéral et laïque, le directoire de l’opposition est désorienté entre l’absence de décision de l’Ouest et la brutalité du régime. Pendant ce temps, les pro-Iraniens se renforcent en Irak et les partisans du régime syrien passent à l’action contre la coalition pro-occidentale du 14 Mars au Liban.

En bref, l’administration Obama a malheureusement échoué à venir à la rescousse d’une population menacée par un allié de l’Iran. Certains font remarquer que cela pourrait être une politique, plutôt qu’une absence de politique, qui évoque en nous l’attitude envers les manifestants iraniens en juin 2009. Des observateurs suggèrent ainsi qu’une doctrine Obama non déclarée pour le Moyen-Orient souhaite laisser l’Afrique du Nord aux Frères musulmans et le Levant à l’influence iranienne.

On peut espérer que Washington change rapidement d’orientation dans sa politique au Moyen-Orient, en improvisant une stratégie qui produirait un affaiblissement d’Assad et un renforcement progressif de l’opposition, tout en s’assurant que le camp laïque et libéral dans les rangs des rebelles reçoive la plus grande partie du soutien. L’élaboration d’une telle stratégie est-elle aujourd’hui envisagée ? Les plans d’urgence existent toujours à Washington, mais la question qui se pose est celle de la décision politique. Existe-t-elle ? Si nous ne voulons pas voir les Syriens souffrir de manière irréversible jusqu’à ce que les élections soient terminées aux États-Unis, des pressions réelles doivent être exercées en Amérique et dans le monde entier sur l’administration afin d’initier au moins une campagne alternative pour la protection de la société civile en Syrie. En résumé, pour que la Syrie soit libérée, Washington doit changer d’orientation. Sinon, il faudra attendre un changement d’administration pour bénéficier de l’alternative Romney à la réticence d’Obama à défier l’Iran, principal soutien de Bachar el-Assad.

Voir aussi:

Proche-Orient

Printemps arabe. Rien n’est joué

Michel Gurfinkiel

Valeurs actuelles

28/06/2012

Régimes militaires ou théocraties ? Contrairement à ce que laissent penser les élections égyptiennes, l’avenir des pays arabes et islamiques ne se réduit pas à ce choix simpliste. Entretien avec le géopoliticien ­­­Walid Phares.

Né au Liban, Walid Pha­res a étudié en France, et vit aux États-Unis depuis 1990. Professeur à la National Defense University américaine, auteur de nombreux ouvrages en arabe et en anglais, il est expert officiel du Congrès sur les questions de terrorisme et conseiller spécial du candidat républicain Mitt Romney sur les questions liées à l’islamisme et au Proche-Orient.

Va-t-on en Égypte vers un “compromis historique” entre l’armée et les islamistes ? En fait, ce compromis est déjà en place depuis plus d’un an. Mais c’est un compromis instable, où chaque partenaire tente de l’emporter sur l’autre.

Sur quoi repose ce compromis ? Au début, il s’agissait de faire face à un ennemi commun : la jeunesse libérale, qui aspire à un mode de vie de type occidental, fondé sur les libertés individuelles. Les militaires, “propriétaires” du pays depuis Nasser, ont longtemps traité cette opposition par le mépris. Jusqu’au choc de janvier 2011 : les jeunes libéraux réussissent à mobiliser des foules de plus en plus grandes sur la place al-Tahrir, au Caire, en recourant à des techno­logies de communication difficiles à contrôler, comme les réseaux sociaux.

Le choc n’est pas moindre pour les islamistes : ils croyaient constituer la principale force d’opposition et voilà que des pans entiers de la société, les cadres, les intellectuels, les femmes, les coptes, les ouvriers et même la paysannerie, se rallient aux libéraux et les rejoignent sur la place al-Tahrir. Tant pour les militaires que les islamistes, il est alors impératif, vital, de marginaliser les libéraux. Une alliance tacite se noue, qui permet aux islamistes de gagner les législatives.

Mais ensuite les islamistes évoquent de plus en plus ouvertement leur but véritable : remplacer le régime militaire par une théocratie. Ce qui entraîne un ren­versement d’alliance pour l’élection présidentielle : le candidat des mili­taires, l’ancien général d’aviation Ahmad Chafik, tente de s’appuyer sur une partie au moins des libéraux. En définitive, c’est le candidat des Frères musulmans, Mohamed Morsi, qui l’emporte, quoi­que de justesse. Les militaires se sont prémunis par une série de décrets constitutionnels qui leur octroient des pou­voirs exceptionnels, surtout en matière de défense, de sécurité et de souve­raineté. Et par un arrêté du Tribunal constitutionnel qui dissout le Parlement à majorité islamiste. Un nouveau compromis s’instaure, bien différent du premier : une sorte d’équilibre de la terreur, où les uns menacent de recourir à une répression impitoyable et les autres de déclencher un “méga-Tahrir”.

Y a-t-il vraiment eu un “printemps arabe”, en Égypte et ailleurs ? As­surément, même s’il a été suivi par un “hiver islamique” glacial. Le schéma égyptien se retrouve un peu partout : ce sont les libéraux qui renversent la dictature, ou initient le renversement, mais ils sont rapidement évincés par les islamistes et les salafistes. Ou, pour reprendre l’observation d’un intellectuel égyptien : une démocratisation trop rapide donne toujours le pouvoir, dans un premier temps, aux forces antidémocratiques, parce que celles-ci disposent de réseaux militants mieux structurés. En terre d’islam, les islamistes contrôlent les mos­quées : le principal lieu public – sinon le seul, dans la mesure où tous les autres sont quadril­lés par la police et les services secrets. C’est un énorme avan­tage lors des premières élections libres. On l’a vu en Algérie dès 1992. On le voit aujour­d’hui en Égypte, en Tunisie…

Mais à terme, le printemps arabe – ou arabo-islamique – reviendra. D’ailleurs, sa véritable date de naissance n’est pas 2011, mais 2005 : quand le peuple libanais a contraint l’occupant syrien au départ. Il a rejailli en 2009, avec la révolte populaire iranienne contre le trucage des élections. Aujour­d’hui, les sociétés civiles arabes et islamiques s’organisent, apprennent à se structurer et reconstituent leurs réseaux afin de résister à la montée islamiste.

Quelles ressemblances et quelles dif­férences entre les divers “printemps” ? En Tunisie, les laïques du centre et les progressistes ont formé une opposition solide face au parti islamiste Ennahda et à ses alliés salafistes. Cet exemple aura une grande influence sur les autres pays arabes, de la même façon que la “révolution du jasmin”, en janvier 2011, a inspiré d’autres soulèvements.

Une victoire totale des islamistes en Égypte pourrait conduire à la création d’un espace islamiste géant de Gaza au Maroc, mais les libéraux égyptiens n’ont pas encore dit leur dernier mot.

En Libye, l’échec est total. Paradoxa­lement, le pays où les Occidentaux ont le plus investi en termes militaires et fi­nanciers est en passe de devenir le pays le plus antioccidental du “printemps arabe”. Les milices islamistes et les groupes djihadistes liés à Al-Qaïda qua­drillent le pays, les tribus importantes sont entrées en dissidence, les minorités africaines et amazighs se soulèvent. À terme, nous risquons de nous trouver devant une version nord-africaine de l’Afghanistan sous les talibans.

Bahreïn se situe sur une ligne de confrontation entre l’Iran et l’Arabie Saoudite. En raison de sa sociologie : population à majorité chiite, monarchie sunnite.

Le Yémen connaît des divisions en­core plus profondes : clivage Nord-Sud qui risque de scinder à nouveau le pays en deux, comme c’était le cas jusqu’en 1990 ; au Nord-Yémen, rébellion chiite appuyée par l’Iran, considérée comme un risque stratégique majeur par l’Ara­bie Saoudite ; dans le centre du pays, prolifération des cellules d’Al-Qaïda. Ce qui rend problématique une solution durable, en dépit des efforts de la classe politique de Sanaa pour trouver un successeur à Ali Abdallah Saleh.

Le cas le plus complexe, c’est évidemment la Syrie. À la différence de la Libye de Kadhafi, le régime d’Assad dispose du soutien de trois autres puissances régionales : l’Iran, une partie de l’Irak et le Hezbollah libanais. Mais l’opposition syrienne dispose elle aussi de soutiens extérieurs, si bien que le régime ne par­vient plus à la dompter. Une sorte de “statu quo violent” s’est donc installé, avec pour corollaire un nombre croissant de victimes civiles. Une intervention occidentale est impossible sans un soutien américain, ce qui la rend hau­tement improbable, sauf cataclysme, avant novembre : les États-Unis étant bridés, jusque-là, par l’élection présidentielle. Mais là encore, la question se répète : si Assad tombe, qui le remplacera ?

La crise peut-elle atteindre d’autres pays du Moyen-Orient ? La crise couve dans l’ensemble de la région. Nous assisterons vraisemblablement à de graves difficultés au Liban et en Irak, par porosité avec la Syrie. La Jordanie verra une montée des islamistes, l’Algérie sera confrontée à une nouvelle vague islamiste, mais aussi au séparatisme kabyle. Les salafistes se renforcent déjà au Mali ; leur influence va s’étendre en Mauri­tanie, au Niger et bien sûr au Nigeria. Le Soudan fait face à de nouveaux soulèvements non arabes, au Darfour, en Nubie ou dans les tribus bejas, à l’est du pays. L’opposition libérale peut se manifester à nouveau en Iran, et toucher les minorités ethniques.

Les pays occidentaux ont-ils encore un rôle à jouer dans cette région du monde ? Incontestablement. Dans le monde arabo-islamique, l’Occident reste en fait la référence absolue : l’exemple même d’une société libre, pacifique, développée, puissante.

Mais les Occidentaux ne s’en rendent pas compte, ou ne veulent pas s’en rendre compte. Une sorte de tropisme les conduit à soutenir systématiquement les régimes les plus archaïques, les moins démocratiques, les plus antioccidentaux, puis, quand ceux-ci s’effondrent, à se tourner vers les révolutionnaires les plus extrémistes. Un exemple accablant de ce comportement a été fourni par Barack Obama, qui est allé prononcer au Caire un discours d’une invraisemblable servilité à l’égard de l’islamisme en juin 2009, au mo­ment même où la société civile ira­nienne se révoltait contre la dictature des mollahs.

Propos recueillis par Michel Gurfinkiel

Voir également:

Mauvaise tournure au Liban »

Walid Phares

The Washington times

traduction Réseau Voltaire

21 février 2005

Quand l’explosion a frappé Beyrouth, massacrant l’ancien Premier ministre Rafic Hariri et ses compagnons, l’Histoire a pris une nouvelle tournure au Liban. Les sunnites se sont détournés de Bachar El Assad et une alliance sunnites-druzes-chrétiens s’est formée, se tournant vers les chiites.

Comment le pouvoir syrien, connu pour son habileté, a-t-il pu commettre une telle erreur, un tel suicide ? Toute ceux qui ont étudié le régime syrien ont conclu la même chose : plus personne n’est aux commandes de la Syrie. Quand un occupant commence à frapper ses anciens alliés, la fin est proche. L’occupation ba’asiste du Liban dure depuis 30 ans et même la fin de l’ère soviétique n’a pas mis fin à l’Anschluss syrien. Relique de l’ère soviétique, le régime Assad a annihilé ses opposants chrétiens et a coincé les sunnites entre sa terreur et celle du Hezbollah. En ne plaçant pas ce régime terroriste dans l’« Axe du mal » on lui a laissé une chance d’évoluer et de quitter le Liban, mais il ne l’a pas saisie.

Aujourd’hui, Saddam est tombé et Yasser Arafat est mort. La Syrie se retrouve seule. Après la résolution 1559, l’opposition libanaise a commencé à se rassembler et la Syrie a attaqué. Damas ne peut pas abandonner le Liban sous peine de voir le « Reich » s’effondrer à l’intérieur de ses frontières. La Syrie est perdue dans une fuite en avant apocalyptique qui risque de laisser le Liban en cendre.

 Voir encore:

Radical Islam

The Candidate Who Can See the Enemy, Can Defeat It

Walid Phares

2/1/2008

The post 9/11 era has changed the rules of engagement for national security experts and for those who can read the mind of the Jihadists, when it comes to US Presidential elections. While the principle was that the counter Terrorism community should let the voters choose their candidates and select their chief executive first, then offer the expert advice to the President later, unfortunately for that principle, things have changed.

Indeed, since the attacks against New York and Washington and the engagement of the nation in the war with Jihadism since 2001, the selection of the US President can fundamentally affect the survival of the American People. Who would occupy the White House in 2009 will have to make decisions for four to eight years with cataclysmic consequences on the physical security and the freedom of 300 million citizens in this country and eventually on the free world as a whole: For the leader of the most powerful democracy in the world has to be able to know who the enemy is so that all resources are put into action. Short of this ability to be very clear and precise on the nature of the danger and the processes to address it, a next US President could cause a major disaster to this nation. American voters cannot afford to install a man or a woman who can’t identify and define the enemy. If you can’t see that enemy, you simply cannot defeat it.

In the 2004 Presidential election, the real choice was not between Parties and socio economic platforms. It was between the option of resuming the war against what was called then “Terrorism,” and the option of retreating from the confrontation. Everything else was decoration. Americans were agonizing on the direction to adopt before their numerical majority resettled President Bush in the White House. Some argued that Americans do not change Presidents during a War. I think that the country was influenced by the two aforementioned directions and chose one over the other; but at the same time I do think though that an overwhelming majority of voters wasn’t fully informed as to the real stakes. Less than half of the country was told that the war in Iraq was wrong, and that there was no war on terror, and more than half of the country was not even told who the enemy was or what it really wanted.

The 2004 Presidential elections took place in quasi popular ignorance. The sitting — and fighting — President was reelected by basic instincts not by enlightened citizens, which if compared to the opposing agenda were a sophisticated choice.

In 2008, America is quite different and the outlook of the forthcoming confrontation is by far more dramatic. US forces are still deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Jihadists — of all types, regimes and organizations — are still committed to reverse democracy in these two countries. The war there is not over rather the greater challenges are yet to begin. Al Qaeda got beaten badly in the Sunni Triangle and in Somalia but a younger generation of Jihadists is being put into battle across the region. Not one single Sunni country will escape the rise of Salafi Terror in the next US Presidential term. Iran’s regime is speeding up its strategic armament, testing American resolve when possible; Syria is surviving its isolation and bleeding our allies in Iraq and Lebanon; Hezbollah is about to seize Lebanon; Hamas has seized Gaza; Turkey’s Islamists are reversing secularism; and Pakistan’s Jihadists are eying the nuclear missiles. But worse, three generations of Jihadists have penetrated the social and defense layers of Western Europe and the United States. In few years from now, the next President may have to witness European cities burned by urban warfare in his (or her) first term, and could be forced to arm the doom day devices for the first time in this century by the following presidential term. These images from a not so distant future may become the reality to face the leaders we will select in the primaries and the one who will be sitting in the oval office next January. The prospects are really serious. Thus the choice of the best candidate at Party and national levels is not a matter of routine or a regular exercise of US politics.

Never as before Americans must scrutinize the agendas of their candidates and find out which platform is the best suited for what is to come, who among them can face off with the lethal enemy, shield the economy, manages the daily lives while building the vital coalitions the world has ever needed? Who can withstand the pressure, understand the nature of the enemy and bring into the decision making posts the men and women who can win the conflict. And it is from a simple reading of these platforms — as posted and published — as well as from the public speeches of the candidates that anyone among us can shop around for the best suitable of the candidates. At this point of US and world history, Party, gender, race, and social class affiliations only can’t offer the right choice for the forthcoming Presidential election. At the end it is a personal selection act for each citizen. In democracies and certainly in the United States this year one can make many choices and select the appropriate candidates:

1. Decide to withdraw unilaterally from the war and let the next generation struggle with the consequences

2. Think that if we mind our business as a nation the world as it exists today will simply comply.

3. Commit to continue the confrontation by maintaining the status quo and awaiting for things to get better by themselves

4. Engage the enemy deeper, smarter and wider and end the war faster.

All depends on how we were educated about the conflict and what is it that we consider priorities in our lives. If we were misinformed about the events that have bled this country and will bring the world into dramatic times, before they recede, we would vote for the candidates who sees no threat to America and who practice politics as if Peace is secure. But if we know where we are in the world we’re living in, we’d look at survival first before we argue about everything else. I am among those who believe — and see — that this country (and other democracies) are marked for aggression and Terror. All our concerns about economy, social justice, cultural harmony, wealth, and technological advancement are dramatically pending on the ability of the rising menace to crumble this country’s national security and all what would collapse with that fall.

Probably I am among the few who see the clouds gathering around the globe and thus have been urging leaders to act fast, decisively and early on to avoid the future Jihad –that has began already. If what I see wasn’t there I would be fully excited — like any citizen — to argue forcefully about the crucial matters of our existence: health, environment, nutrition, scientific discoveries, animal protection, and why not space exploration. Had I not realized that all that debate was hinging on what Bin laden and Ahmedinijad were preparing, I would have been looking at a whole different roaster of Presidential candidates. But that is not the world I see ahead of us, in the immediate future.

Hence, I’ll leave the debate about the best economic and technological directions to their experts and I would postpone the social and philosophical dreams to better times. Right now and right here I am interested in who among the candidates can simply understand the tragic equation we’re in and may be able to use the resources of this nation to cross the bridge ahead of us. President Bush was elected before 9/11 neither on the grounds of avoiding the Jihadi wars nor winning them. Very few even knew that we were already at war. He was reelected on the ground of being a better choice than the defeatist political alternative. This year I suggest that Americans deserve a more daring choice. They need to see and certify that the next occupant of the White House lives on this Planet, at this age, knows that we are at war and above all knows which war we are fighting. The margin of error is too slim to allow hesitations.

By 2012 the Jihadists may recruit one million suicide bombers and could align two nuclear powers. By 2016 they would deploy 10 million suicide bombers and seize five regimes equipped with the final weapon. In the next eight years NATO’s European membership could be battling urban intifadas and US task forces lacking shelters worldwide. To avoid these prospects of apocalypse the offices on Pennsylvania Avenue must catch up with the lost opportunities as of next winter.

Thus, and unlike traditional commentators in classical US politics I am not looking at who said what and who flipped flopped when. Frankly, it doesn’t matter at this stage if it is a he or a she, of this or other race, of this or other church, and if the President is single, has a large family or has divorced twice. The stakes are much higher than the sweet but irrelevant American usual personality debate. I want to know if the candidates are strong willed, smart, educated about the world, informed about the threat, can define it, can identify it, can fight it, are not duped by their bureaucracy, cannot be influenced by foreign regimes, have the right advisors, can run an economy while commanding a war and still see the threats as they handle daily crisis and take drastic measures as the hard times are approaching. I want to know if the candidates are very specific when they inform their public about the menace. Yes, it is indeed a vital function of national security that we need to insure for the next few years, so that all other issues can be addressed thoroughly. In short I don’t want to see the fall of Constantinople being repeated on these shores in the next decade or two. Humanity will not recover from such a disaster.

And that potential hyper drama hinges on the mind and the nerves of the next President of this country. At this stage three men and a woman, all remarkable politicians, are the finalists (or so it seems) for the ultimate job. Their skills are rich, their past and present are colorful, their images are attractive to many and the dreams they inspire are equally powerful: A minority symbol, a successful woman, a war hero and a bright entrepreneur. If there was no Jihadi menace, meaning a different Planet, I would hardly be able to choose. Senator Obama would be an amazing choice to end the wounds of the past. Senator Clinton, as a woman, would break the gender taboo. Senator McCain, as a man who suffered for his country would epitomize the faithfulness of this nation. Governor Romney, the family man and the successful businessman can be the symbol of a hopeful America. As beautiful as these tales can be, my search for the best choice is not as dreamful as the descriptions the candidates inspire, unfortunately. I am looking at the scariest item on any Presidential agenda andrds and Kucinich (before they quit the race) acknowledge that a “war on terror” is on. Both have pledged to pursue al Qaeda relentlessly instead of blaming their country as their mates have stated. Also, Obama and Clinton, to the surprise of their critics have enlisted good counter terrorism experts as advisors. But from there on, the findings gets darker. The Senator from Illinois wants to end the campaign in Iraq abruptly, which would lead to the crumbling of the democratic experiment and a chain of disasters from Afghanistan to Lebanon opening the path for a Khomeinist Jihadi empire accessing the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean: Too many sufferings and devastating results. Obama’s campaign need to radically transform its agenda on world view so that the voices of the oppressed peoples in that part of the world, can be heard. Maybe a trip to Darfur and Beirut can help rethinking his agenda. Unfortunately the latest news from the campaign isn’t encouraging. The Senator wants to shake the hands of Dictator Assad, authoritarian Chavez, apocalyptic Ahmedinijad and perhaps even the Khartoum bullies of Sudan’s Africans. No need for further evidence: such an agenda in the next White House is anathema to the sense of human history.

Senator Clinton has a powerful political machine and happens to have enlisted top national security experts in her team. She will commit to stand by Israel and would not visit the oppressors of women in Tehran. But beyond these two red lines her foreign policy agenda (despite the knowledgeable expertise available to her) is (using ironically the words of Obama in other fields) “a bridge back to the twentieth century.” Indeed, the plan is to withdraw from Iraq without defeating the Jihadists, without containing the Iranians and without solidifying Democracy. It is an asphalted path to the Obama pull out, with some decorations and consolation prizes. A retreat from the Middle East will be paved with fabulous commitment not to let Israel down. A commitment which would lose its teeth, once the Pasdarans will be marching through Iraq and Syria and would install Armageddon’s Shahhab missiles in the hands of Hezbollah. On the Senator’s agenda there is no definition of the enemy or commitment to contain it, reverse it or defeat it. There are no policies of solidarity with oppressed peoples and there is no alliance with the democratic forces of the region. Mrs Clinton won’t befriend Ahmedinijad but she would let him — and other Islamists — crush her own gender across the continents.

But more important perhaps, from an American perspective would the crisis be expected in Homeland Security if one or the other agendas advanced by the two Senators would enter the White House. If no drastic reforms would take place within their projected policies of non confrontation of Jihadism, an army of experts, activists and lobbyists is expected to invade all levels of national security and reinstall the pre 9/11 attitudes. In short Jihadophilia would prevail, even without the knowledge or the consent of that future White House. It already happened in the 1990s and led to what we know. The reading of political genomes has no margin for error. The electoral platforms of the two senators are enemy-definition-free. Not identifying the enemy is equal to not defining the threat. Thus, and unless the good advisors rush to fill that gap before the national election, Democratic voters will lack their chance to bring in a solid defender of the nation.

On the other side of the spectrum, Republicans are struggling with a different choice, nonetheless as challenging and with long term consequences. Aside from Congressman’s Paul isolationist program which calls for striking deals with bloody dictatorships, disengaging from any containment of Jihadi threats, abandoning peoples in jeopardy, and giving free ride to penetration and infiltration within the US homeland (all clearly and unequivocally stated in the open); aside from this anomalistic agenda, all other platforms had a minimum baggage of resistance to Terror forces, each one with a different rhetoric.

McCain, Romney, Huckabee, as well as Giuliani and Thompson (before they pulled out) were all ready to engage battle with “the” enemy, pursue the so-called War on Terror and agreed on fighting al Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their agendas attempted to define the threat, leaping ahead of their competitors on the other side of the aisle. Their statements and posted documents are irrefutable evidence that if they gain the White House there would neither surrender the country to domestic infiltration nor they would disengage from the confrontation overseas. On this ground alone, and unless the Democratic contenders and their final nominee change their counter Terrorism approach (which is not that likely), the final choice American voters will have to make — on national security — will be dramatically different and irreversibly full of consequences.

But at this stage of the primaries the grand choices seems to have to be made by Republicans. Indeed, in what I consider the single most important ingredient in the War with Jihadism, the identification of the threat is at the heart of the success or the failure. All four leading Republican candidates were equal in fingering what they perceived as the enemy: They called it “radical Islam” and gave it different attributes, “Islamo-fascism,” “extremist Islamism,” “Islamic terrorism,” and other similar descriptions. In that regard they are at the opposite end of their Democratic contenders. But in my analysis, after more than 25 years of study and observations of the phenomenon, and seven years after 9/11, the term “radical Islam” is not enough when a US President (or other world leaders) wants to define the danger and build strategies against it: Without delving into the deeper layers of academic research (at least not in this article), the term used outside a doctrine is too general, doesn’t pin down the actual forces acting against democracies and can be easily overturned and manipulated by skilled operatives in the War of ideas. So, the slogan of “Radical Islam” could be a linguistic indicator to the direction from where the menace is coming from, but falls short of catching the actual threat doctrine: Jihadism. Hence in my judgment those candidates who take the ideological battle lightly are not equipped as those who have done their homework fully and offered the voters, and perhaps the public, a comprehensive doctrine on counter Jihadism.

We’re not dealing with semantics here, but with keys to unlock the stagnation in the current conflict. Short of having a future president who knows exactly who the enemy is, how it thinks, and how to defeat it, the conflict cannot be won. There can be no guesses, no broad drawings, no general directions, no colorful slogans, and no good intentions alone. This next president has to understand the Jihadist ideology by himself (herself as well) and not rely on advisors to place descriptions in the speeches, and change them at the wish of lobbyists. This nuance in understanding the threat and in articulating the rhetoric has gigantic consequences. All strategies related to fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan, in Iraq and within the West, and related to containing Khomeinist power in the region and beyond emanates from a US understanding of their ideologies, key elements of the foe’s global strategies. Hence when I examine the agendas of the Republican candidates and analyze their speeches I look at indicators showing the comprehension of the bigger picture. All four leaders, McCain, Romney, Giuliani and Huckabee have developed common instincts as to where it is coming from; but that is not enough. Americans need to see and know that their future president can man sophisticated rhetoric, is ready to go on the offensive, and move against the enemy before the latter jumps at American and allies targets. Being just tough and willing to strike back heavily is not anymore an acceptable threshold. We need the next president to be aware of what the other side is preparing, preempt it and do it faster than any predecessor. The next stage in this war is not about sitting in the trenches and increasing the level of troops wherever we currently are. It will be about moving swiftly and sometimes stealthily and reaching the production structure of the enemy. And to do this, our projected leaders need to identify and define the threat doctrine and design a counter doctrine, a matter the US Government has failed to achieve in the first seven years of the war.

The two leading contenders on the Republican side, McCain and Romney, both recognize that there is an enemy, are committed to defeat it, but identify it in different intensities. Senator McCain says it is “Radical Islam,” and pledges to increase the current level of involvement. On Iraq, the former Navy Pilot says he will continue to fight till there are no more enemies to fight. To me that is a trenches battlefield: We’ll pound them till they have no more trenches. Governor Romney says the enemy is Global Jihadism, and it has more than the one battlefield of Iraq. And because the Jihadists are in control of regimes, interests and omnipresent in the region and worldwide, the US counter strategies cannot and should not be limited to “entrenchment” but to counter attacks, preemptive moves and putting allies forces on the existing and new battlefields. Besides not all confrontations have to be militarily. The difference in wording between the general term “radical Islam” and the focused threat doctrine “Jihadism” says it all. One leads to concentrate one type of power in one place, regardless of what the enemy is and wants to do, and the other concept lead to pinch the foe from many places on multiple levels and decide over the ending process of the conflict.

I am sure Senator McCain can follow the same reasoning and catch up with the geopolitics of the enemy but so far Governor Romney has readied himself better in the realm of strategizing the defeat this enemy. The next stage of the war has to do with a mind battle with the Jihadists. The latter aren’t a just a bunch of Barbarians set to bloodshed. They have a very advanced strategy, projecting for decades, and they are ready to confront our next president and defeat the United States. This is why I have come to the conclusion that -based on what was provided to the public by the four leading candidates- Governor Romney has the capacity of managing the counter strategies against the Jihadists, only because he stated to the public that he sees the enemy as to who they are. And if a President can see them, he can defeat them. His Republican contender, now leading the polls, can sense them but haven’t shown them. The leading candidates on the other side are making progress in the opposite direction: One wants to end the War unilaterally and the other wants to make Peace with the oppressors. In short, if elected, Romney will try to destroy the mother ship, McCain will supply the trenches, Clinton will pull the troops back to the barracks and Obama will visit the foes’ bunkers.

Hence, as is, I have recommended Governor Romney for the Republican Primaries as first among equals while considering Senator McCain as a genuine leader. If Romney is selected I believe America may have a chance to try new strategies. If his contender is selected, we will have four or eight more years of the past seven years. On the other side, I have suggested to counter-Terrorism experts to help Democratic candidates restructure their agendas on national security in line with the reality of the enemy: For I would like to see both parties presenting a united vision of the threat while differing on how to confront it. That would be the ideal situation America can be in and a response to the deepest will of the American public.

(PS: This analysis represents my personal views and not the views or position of any of the NGOs I am affiliated with.)

 Voir enfin:

La Libye, la charia et nous

Bernard-Henri lévy

Le Point

03/11/2011

Que faut-il penser de cette affaire de charia ? Et se pourrait-il que l’on n’ait soutenu les insurgés de Benghazi que pour se retrouver avec, à l’arrivée, un État interdisant le divorce et réinstaurant la polygamie ? Précisions. Explications.

1. Tout est parti d’une phrase. Une seule phrase. Elle n’a certes pas été prononcée, cette phrase, par le premier venu puisqu’il s’agit de Mustafa Abdeljalil, président du Conseil national de transition et père de la victoire. Mais, président ou pas, Abdeljalil est membre d’un Conseil dont les décisions sont collégiales. Et ce Conseil est, comme son nom l’indique, un organe de transition qui n’a pas vocation à édicter les lois de la future Libye.

Abdeljalil a exprimé une opinion.

Peut-être un voeu.

Peut-être n’était-ce même pas un voeu mais un gage donné à la minorité de combattants islamistes qui ont payé le tribut le plus lourd à la libération.

Et, quand bien même il aurait exprimé le fond de sa pensée, quel poids cela aurait-il quand on sait qu’il s’est engagé, comme tout le CNT, à ne pas briguer de poste dans la Libye d’après la transition ?

Il faudra, pour savoir à quoi ressemblera cette Libye, attendre la Constituante dans huit mois. Puis les élections générales. Puis le type de gouvernement qui en sortira. Faire comme si une petite phrase prononcée, dans la chaleur d’un meeting, par un homme estimable mais en train de quitter la scène suffisait à « faire basculer » le pays relève de la malveillance, du parti pris.

2. Il y a charia et charia. Et il faut, avant d’entonner le grand air de la régression et de la glaciation, savoir de quoi on parle.

Charia, d’abord, n’est pas un gros mot.

Comme « djihad » (qui signifie « effort spirituel » et que les islamistes ont fini par traduire en « guerre sainte »), comme « fatwa » (qui veut dire « avis religieux » et où le monde, à cause de l’affaire Rushdie, a pris l’habitude d’entendre « condamnation à mort »), le mot même de charia est l’enjeu d’une guerre sémantique sans merci mais continue de signifier, heureusement, pour la majorité des musulmans, quelque chose d’éminemment respectable.

C’est un terme qui apparaît cinq fois dans le Coran et que les traductions françaises rendent par « voie ».

Ce n’est pas le nom d’un « code », encore moins d’un « carcan » exhaustif de règles, mais d’un ensemble de « valeurs » soumises à l’interprétation des docteurs.

C’est un terme générique, autrement dit dont il appartient aux législateurs de proposer une application plus ou moins évolutive, plus ou moins stricte.

Moyennant quoi la quasi-totalité des pays musulmans font référence à la charia.

La plupart, y compris la Libye de Kadhafi à partir de 1993, en font l’une des sources de la loi.

Quand, comme au Maroc, ils ne le font pas, c’est parce que l’islam y est déjà religion d’État.

Et tout le problème est de savoir, alors, ce que l’on met sous ce vocable : la lapidation de la femme adultère, comme en Iran ? l’amputation des voleurs, comme en Arabie saoudite ? ou bien une somme de préceptes moraux que l’on s’efforce de combiner, comme en Égypte, avec le Code Napoléon ?

3. Que la question se pose, à partir de là, de la « voie » que choisira la Libye, soit.

Qu’une nouvelle bataille s’annonce, idéologique celle-là, où il s’agira d’arbitrer entre la minorité de ceux qui entendent la charia au sens des fanatiques et ceux qui veulent la voir composer avec l’idéal démocratique, cela va de soi.

Que, dans cette seconde bataille, nous ayons un rôle à jouer, qu’il appartienne aux amis de la nouvelle Libye, aux alliés qui ont contribué à ce qu’elle se libère d’une des dictatures les plus sanglantes de l’époque, de l’aider à ne pas tomber sous le joug d’une autre tyrannie, évidemment.

Mais, de grâce, pas de mauvaise foi.

Ne refaisons pas aux Libyens le coup, version civile, de ce fameux « enlisement » qui, au bout de huit jours de frappes aériennes, faisait déjà trouver le temps long.

Et ne demandons pas à cette Libye cassée par quarante-deux ans de despotisme, ne demandons pas à ce pays sans État, sans tradition juridique, sans vraie société civile, de devenir, en trois mois, une patrie des droits de l’homme.

La démocratie polonaise, trente ans après Solidarnosc, se cherche toujours.

La Russie en est encore à Poutine.

Il a fallu à la France une Terreur, une Restauration, deux Empires et plusieurs bains de sang pour donner corps à l’idéal républicain de 1789 puis à l’idée de laïcité.

Et l’on voudrait que la Libye passe, elle, de la nuit à la lumière ?

La bataille sera rude.

Elle connaîtra des embardées, des retours en arrière, des moments d’égarement.

Mais je connais assez les hommes et femmes qui, à Benghazi ou Misrata, ont voulu cette révolution pour savoir qu’ils ne se laisseront pas confisquer leurs droits conquis de si haute lutte.

Du grand schisme qui traverse le monde musulman, de l’affrontement historique (et, désormais, démocratique) entre les deux islams, celui des Lumières et celui des ténèbres, celui des modérés et celui des extrémistes, celui de la main tendue à l’Europe et celui de la guerre des civilisations, la Libye postkadhafiste est devenue une scène majeure – et je forme le pari que, sur cette scène, la victoire reviendra aux amis de la liberté.

Radical Islam

The Candidate Who Can See the Enemy, Can Defeat It

The post 9/11 era has changed the rules of engagement for national security experts and for those who can read the mind of the Jihadists, when it comes to US Presidential elections. While the principle was that the counter Terrorism community should let the voters chose their candidates and select their chief executive first, then offer the expert advice to the President later, unfortunately for that principle, things have changed.

Indeed, since the attacks against New York and Washington and the engagement of the nation in the war with Jihadism since 2001, the selection of the US President can fundamentally affect the survival of the American People. Who would occupy the White House in 2009 will have to make decisions for four to eight years with cataclysmic consequences on the physical security and the freedom of 300 million citizens in this country and eventually on the free world as a whole: For the leader of the most powerful democracy in the world has to be able to know who the enemy is so that all resources are put into action. Short of this ability to be very clear and precise on the nature of the danger and the processes to address it, a next US President could cause a major disaster to this nation. American voters cannot afford to install a man or a woman who can’t identify and define the enemy. If you can’t see that enemy, you simply cannot defeat it.

In the 2004 Presidential election, the real choice was not between Parties and socio economic platforms. It was between the option of resuming the war against what was called then “Terrorism,” and the option of retreating from the confrontation. Everything else was decoration. Americans were agonizing on the direction to adopt before their numerical majority resettled President Bush in the White House. Some argued that Americans do not change Presidents during a War. I think that the country was influenced by the two afore mentioned directions and chose one over the other; but at the same time I do think though that an overwhelming majority of voters wasn’t fully informed as to the real stakes. Less than half of the country was told that the war in Iraq was wrong, and that there was no war on terror, and more than half of the country was not even told who the enemy was or what it really wanted.

The 2004 Presidential elections took place in quasi popular ignorance. The sitting — and fighting — President was reelected by basic instincts not by enlightened citizens, which if compared to the opposing agenda were a sophisticated choice.

In 2008, America is quite different and the outlook of the forthcoming confrontation is by far more dramatic. US forces are still deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Jihadists — of all types, regimes and organizations — are still committed to reverse democracy in these two countries. The war there is not over rather the greater challenges are yet to begin. Al Qaeda got beaten badly in the Sunni Triangle and in Somalia but a younger generation of Jihadists is being put into battle across the region. Not one single Sunni country will escape the rise of Salafi Terror in the next US Presidential term. Iran’s regime is speeding up its strategic armament, testing American resolve when possible; Syria is surviving its isolation and bleeding our allies in Iraq and Lebanon; Hezbollah is about to seize Lebanon; Hamas has seized Gaza; Turkey’s Islamists are reversing secularism; and Pakistan’s Jihadists are eying the nuclear missiles. But worse, three generations of Jihadists have penetrated the social and defense layers of Western Europe and the United States. In few years from now, the next President may have to witness European cities burned by urban warfare in his (or her) first term, and could be forced to arm the doom day devices for the first time in this century by the following Presidential term. These images from a not so distant future may become the reality to face the leaders we will select in the primaries and the one who will be sitting in the oval office next January. The prospects are really serious. Thus the choice of the best candidate at Party and national levels is not a matter of routine or a regular exercise of US politics.

Never as before Americans must scrutinize the agendas of their candidates and find out which platform is the best suited for what is to come, who among them can face off with the lethal enemy, shield the economy, manages the daily lives while building the vital coalitions the world has ever needed? Who can withstand the pressure, understand the nature of the enemy and bring into the decision making posts the men and women who can win the conflict. And it is from a simple reading of these platforms — as posted and published — as well as from the public speeches of the candidates that anyone among us can shop around for the best suitable of the candidates. At this point of US and world history, Party, gender, race, and social class affiliations only can’t offer the right choice for the forthcoming Presidential election. At the end it is a personal selection act for each citizen. In democracies and certainly in the United States this year one can make many choices and select the appropriate candidates:

1. Decide to withdraw unilaterally from the war and let the next generation struggle with the consequences
2. Think that if we mind our business as a nation the world as it exist today will simply comply.
3. Commit to continue the confrontation by maintaining the status quo and awaiting for things to get better by themselves
4. Engage the enemy deeper, smarter and wider and end the war faster.

All depends on how we were educated about the conflict and what is it that we consider priorities in our lives. If we were misinformed about the events that have bled this country and will bring the world into dramatic times, before they recede, we would vote for the candidates who sees no threat to America and who practice politics as if Peace is secure. But if we know where we are in the world we’re living in, we’d look at survival first before we argue about everything else. I am among those who believe — and see — that this country (and other democracies) are marked for aggression and Terror. All our concerns about economy, social justice, cultural harmony, wealth, and technological advancement are dramatically pending on the ability of the rising menace to crumble this country’s national security and all what would collapse with that fall.

Probably I am among the few who see the clouds gathering around the globe and thus have been urging leaders to act fast, decisively and early on to avoid the future Jihad –that has began already. Had what I see wasn’t there I would be fully excited — like any citizen — to argue forcefully about the crucial matters of our existence: health, environment, nutrition, scientific discoveries, animal protection, and why not space exploration. Had I not realized that all that debate was hinging on what Bin laden and Ahmedinijad were preparing, I would have been looking at a whole different roaster of Presidential candidates. But that is not the world I see ahead of us, in the immediate future.

Hence, I’ll leave the debate about the best economic and technological directions to their experts and I would postpone the social and philosophical dreams to better times. Right now and right here I am interested in who among the candidates can simply understand the tragic equation we’re in and may be able to use the resources of this nation to cross the bridge ahead of us. President Bush was elected before 9/11 neither on the grounds of avoiding the Jihadi wars nor winning them. Very few even knew that we were already at war. He was reelected on the ground of being a better choice than the defeatist political alternative. This year I suggest that Americans deserve a more daring choice. They need to see and certify that the next occupant of the White House lives on this Planet, at this age, knows that we are at war and above all knows which war we are fighting. The margin of error is too slim to allow hesitations.

By 2012 the Jihadists may recruit one million suicide bombers and could align two nuclear powers. By 2016 they would deploy 10 million suicide bombers and seize five regimes equipped with the final weapon. In the next eight years NATO’s European membership could be battling urban intifadas and US task forces lacking shelters worldwide. To avoid these prospects of apocalypse the offices on Pennsylvania Avenue must catch up with the lost opportunities as of next winter.

Thus, and unlike traditional commentators in classical US politics I am not looking at who said what and who flipped flopped when. Frankly, it doesn’t matter at this stage if it is a he or a she, of this or other race, of this or other church, and if the President is single, has a large family or has divorced twice. The stakes are much higher than the sweet but irrelevant American usual personality debate. I want to know if the candidates are strong willed, smart, educated about the world, informed about the threat, can define it, can identify it, can fight it, are not duped by their bureaucracy, cannot be influenced by foreign regimes, have the right advisors, can run an economy while commanding a war and still see the threats as they handle daily crisis and take drastic measures as the hard times are approaching. I want to know if the candidates are very specific when they inform their public about the menace. Yes, it is indeed a vital function of national security that we need to insure for the next few years, so that all other issues can be addressed thoroughly. In short I don’t want to see the fall of Constantinople being repeated on these shores in the next decade or two. Humanity will not recover from such a disaster.

And that potential hyper drama hinges on the mind and the nerves of the next President of this country. At this stage three men and a woman, all remarkable politicians, are the finalists (or so it seems) for the ultimate job. Their skills are rich, their past and present are colorful, their images are attractive to many and the dreams they inspire are equally powerful: A minority symbol, a successful woman, a war hero and a bright entrepreneur. If there was no Jihadi menace, meaning a different Planet, I would hardly be able to choose. Senator Obama would be an amazing choice to end the wounds of the past. Senator Clinton, as a woman, would break the gender taboo. Senator McCain, as a man who suffered for his country would epitomize the faithfulness of this nation. Governor Romney, the family man and the successful businessman can be the symbol of a hopeful America. As beautiful as these tales can be, my search for the best choice is not as dreamful as the descriptions the candidates inspire, unfortunately. I am looking at the scariest item on any Presidential agenda and check out if they are conscious about it: national security. Here is what I found so far.

Senators Obama and Clinton, unlike their colleagues Edwards and Kucinich (before they quit the race) acknowledge that a “war on terror” is on. Both have pledged to pursue al Qaeda relentlessly instead of blaming their country as their mates have stated. Also, Obama and Clinton, to the surprise of their critics have enlisted good counter terrorism experts as advisors. But from there on, the findings gets darker. The Senator from Illinois wants to end the campaign in Iraq abruptly, which would lead to the crumbling of the democratic experiment and a chain of disasters from Afghanistan to Lebanon opening the path for a Khomeinist Jihadi empire accessing the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean: Too many sufferings and devastating results. Obama’s campaign need to radically transform its agenda on world view so that the voices of the oppressed peoples in that part of the world, can be heard. Maybe a trip to Darfur and Beirut can help rethinking his agenda. Unfortunately the latest news from the campaign isn’t encouraging. The Senator wants to shake the hands of Dictator Assad, authoritarian Chavez, apocalyptic Ahmedinijad and perhaps even the Khartoum bullies of Sudan’s Africans. No need for further evidence: such an agenda in the next White House is anathema to the sense of human history.

Senator Clinton has a powerful political machine and happens to have enlisted top national security experts in her team. She will commit to stand by Israel and would not visit the oppressors of women in Tehran. But beyond these two red lines her foreign policy agenda (despite the knowledgeable expertise available to her) is (using ironically the words of Obama in other fields) “a bridge back to the twentieth century.” Indeed, the plan is to withdraw from Iraq without defeating the Jihadists, without containing the Iranians and without solidifying Democracy. It is an asphalted path to the Obama pull out, with some decorations and consolation prizes. A retreat from the Middle East will be paved with fabulous commitment not to let Israel down. A commitment which would lose its teeth, once the Pasdarans will be marching through Iraq and Syria and would install Armageddon’s Shahhab missiles in the hands of Hezbollah. On the Senator’s agenda there is no definition of the enemy or commitment to contain it, reverse it or defeat it. There are no policies of solidarity with oppressed peoples and there is no alliance with the democratic forces of the region. Mrs Clinton won’t befriend Ahmedinijad but it would let him — and other Islamists — crush her own gender across the continents.

But more important perhaps, from an American perspective would the crisis to expect in Homeland Security if one or the other agendas advanced by the two Senators would enter the White House. If no drastic reforms would take place within their projected policies of non confrontation of Jihadism, an army of experts, activists and lobbyists is expected to invade all levels of national security and reinstall the pre 9/11 attitudes. In short Jihadophilia would prevail, even without the knowledge or the consent of that future White House. It already happened in the 1990s and led to what we know. The reading of political genomes has no margin for error. The electoral platforms of the two Senators are enemy-definition-free. Not identifying the enemy is equal to not defining the threat. Thus, and unless the good advisors rush to fill that gap before the national election, Democratic voters will lack their chance to bring in a solid defender of the nation.

On the other side of the spectrum, Republicans are struggling with a different choice, nonetheless as challenging and with long term consequences. Aside from Congressman’s Paul isolationist program which calls for striking deals with bloody dictatorships, disengaging from any containment of Jihadi threats, abandoning peoples in jeopardy, and giving free ride to penetration and infiltration within the US homeland (all clearly and unequivocally stated in the open); aside from this anomalistic agenda, all other platforms had a minimum baggage of resistance to Terror forces, each one with a different rhetoric.

McCain, Romney, Huckabee, as well as Giuliani and Thompson (before they pulled out) were all ready to engage battle with “the” enemy, pursue the so-called War on Terror and agreed on fighting al Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their agendas attempted to define the threat, leaping ahead of their competitors on the other side of the aisle. Their statements and posted documents are irrefutable evidence that if they gain the White House there would neither surrender the country to domestic infiltration nor they would disengage from the confrontation overseas. On this ground alone, and unless the Democratic contenders and their final nominee change their counter Terrorism approach (which is not that likely), the final choice American voters will have to make — on national security — will be dramatically different and irreversibly full of consequences.

But at this stage of the primaries the grand choices seems to have to be made by Republicans. Indeed, in what I consider the single most important ingredient in the War with Jihadism, the identification of the threat is at the heart of the success or the failure. All four leading Republican candidates were equal in fingering what they perceived as the enemy: They called it “radical Islam” and gave it different attributes, “Islamo-fascism,” “extremist Islamism,” “Islamic terrorism,” and other similar descriptions. In that regard they are at the opposite end of their Democratic contenders. But in my analysis, after more than 25 years of study and observations of the phenomenon, and seven years after 9/11, the term “radical Islam” is not enough when a US President (or other world leaders) wants to define the danger and build strategies against it: Without delving into the deeper layers of academic research (at least not in this article), the term used outside a doctrine is too general, doesn’t pin down the actual forces acting against democracies and can be easily overturned and manipulated by skilled operatives in the War of ideas. So, the slogan of “Radical Islam” could be a linguistic indicator to the direction from where the menace is coming from, but falls short of catching the actual threat doctrine: Jihadism. Hence in my judgment those candidates who take the ideological battle lightly are not equipped as those who have done their homework fully and offered the voters, and perhaps the public, a comprehensive doctrine on counter Jihadism.

We’re not dealing with semantics here, but with keys to unlock the stagnation in the current conflict. Short of having a future President who knows exactly who the enemy is, how does it think, and how to defeat it, the conflict cannot be won. There can be no guesses, no broad drawings, no general directions, no colorful slogans, and no good intentions alone. This next President has to understand the Jihadist ideology by himself (herself as well) and not rely on advisors to place descriptions in the speeches, and change them at the wish of lobbyists. This nuance in understanding the threat and in articulating the rhetoric has gigantic consequences. All strategies related to fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan, in Iraq and within the West, and related to containing Khomeinist power in the region and beyond emanates from a US understanding of their ideologies, key elements of the foes global strategies. Hence when I examine the agendas of the Republican candidates and analyze their speeches I look at indicators showing the comprehension of the bigger picture. All four leaders, McCain, Romney, Giuliani and Huckabee have developed common instincts as to where it is coming from; but that is not enough. Americans need to see and know that their future President can man sophisticated rhetoric, is ready to go on the offensive, and move against the enemy before the latter jumps at American and allies targets. Being just tough and willing to strike back heavily is not anymore an acceptable threshold. We need the next President to be aware of what the other side is preparing, preempt it and do it faster than any predecessor. The next stage in this war is not about sitting in the trenches and increasing the level of troops wherever we currently are. It will be about moving swiftly and sometimes stealthily and reaching the production structure of the enemy. And to do this, our projected leaders need to identify and define the threat doctrine and design a counter doctrine, a matter the US Government has failed to achieve in the first seven years of the war.

The two leading contenders on the Republican side, McCain and Romney, both recognize that there is an enemy, are committed to defeat it, but identify it in different intensities. Senator McCain says it is “Radical Islam,” and pledges to increase the current level of involvement. On Iraq, the former Navy Pilot says he will continue to fight till there are no more enemies to fight. To me that is a trenches battlefield: We’ll pound them till they have no more trenches. Governor Romney says the enemy is Global Jihadism, and it has more than the one battlefield of Iraq. And because the Jihadists are in control of regimes, interests and omnipresent in the region and worldwide, the US counter strategies cannot and should not be limited to “entrenchment” but to counter attacks, preemptive moves and putting allies forces on the existing and new battlefields. Besides not all confrontations have to be militarily. The difference in wording between the general term “radical Islam” and the focused threat doctrine “Jihadism” says it all. One leads to concentrate one type of power in one place, regardless of what the enemy is and wants to do, and the other concept lead to pinch the foe from many places on multiple levels and decide over the ending process of the conflict.

I am sure Senator McCain can follow the same reasoning and catch up with the geopolitics of the enemy but so far Governor Romney has readied himself better in the realm of strategizing the defeat this enemy. The next stage of the war has to do with a mind battle with the Jihadists. The latter aren’t a just a bunch of Barbarians set to bloodshed. They have a very advanced strategy, projecting for decades, and they are ready to confront our next President and defeat the United States. This is why I have come to the conclusion that -based on what was provided to the public by the four leading candidates- Governor Romney has the capacity of managing the counter strategies against the Jihadists, only because he stated to the public that he sees the enemy as to who they are. And if a President can see them, he can defeat them. His Republican contender, now leading the polls, can sense them but haven’t shown them. The leading candidates on the other side are making progress in the opposite direction: One wants to end the War unilaterally and the other wants to make Peace with the oppressors. In short, if elected, Romney will try to destroy the mother ship, McCain will supply the trenches, Clinton will pull the troops back to the barracks and Obama will visit the foes’ bunkers.

Hence, as is, I have recommended Governor Romney for the Republican Primaries as first among equals while considering Senator McCain as a genuine leader. If Romney is selected I believe America may have a chance to try new strategies. If his contender is selected, we will have four or eight more years of the past seven years. On the other side, I have suggested to counter-Terrorism experts to help Democratic candidates restructure their agendas on national security in line with the reality of the enemy: For I would like to see both Parties presenting a united vision of the threat while differing on how to confront it. That would be the ideal situation America can be in and a response to the deepest will of the American public.

(PS: This analysis represents my personal views and not the views or position of any of the NGOs I am affiliated with.)

4 Responses to Elections américaines: Une invraisemblable servilité à l’égard de l’islamisme (Doctrine Obama: Four more years of they’re jihadists but they’re our jihadists?)

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