*Disclaimer: The information provided for readers in this posting does not serve as either my personal or professional advocation for the work and/or the views expressed by the authors and/or participants in association with the work undertaken. It is provided objectively as a resource for exploring information and perspectives in order to arrive at the truth. Furthermore, those that mistake my concluding points as arguments against the Muslim community are wrong; I simply intend to focus my analysis on the threat of jihadi persons and groups within US communities and agencies, not the Muslim Ummah and their social, cultural, political, and religious beliefs, traditions, customs, and structures.
My colleague, JD, analyzed the use of "Counter Narratives" for the establishment of federal-level engagement teams under the direction of the Department of State. Given the need for coalition building between (a) federal law enforcement and policy agencies and (b) Arab and Muslim leaders and citizens, narratives can constructively undertake information warfare.
As I discussed last Friday, it is becoming ever more clear that Al Qaeda's Phase IV Strategy incorporates attacks on US economic and legal frameworks as well as emerging US-domestic operational environments. This is being witnessed internationally, too, as the Taliban, AQAP, and Al Shabaab step-up their transnational terrorism efforts in alignment with AQCL ideology. It is in our national security interest - and the interest of the world - to prevent AQ from establishing safe havens in poor socio-economic regions; as we must protect peoples from their false promises. (See more insight on Economics and Terrorism from Abu Muqawama at CNS)
Combating jihadi propaganda through counter-narratives promises to (a) drive down AQ popularity by (b) crystallizing ethnic differences and (c) promoting collaboration to further a unified message-scheme. It will, as David Bellavia writes in his post entitled, "The Backbone of Islam," "...unmask al Qaeda" for what it really is.
The question remains, however, whether information warfare can unravel what Bill Whittle argues to be "Islamic Infiltration" in his latest report. See Part Two here.
The FBI is no stranger to moles; just ask about Robert Hanssen who sold millions of dollars worth of intelligence to Soviet spies. His trecherous activies cost lives as well as billions of dollars. Then-FBI Director, Louis J. Freeh, stated in a 20 February 2001 Press Release, "This kind of criminal conduct represents the most traitorous action imaginable against a country governed by the Rule of Law."
The crossroads of US and Islamic Rule of Law and Shar'iah's interwoven elements (i.e. "Shar'iah-Compliment Finance" discussed in the link provided) is exactly what Whittle's report brings into question, and that which Frank Gaffney of the Center For Security Policy has been covering for years.
The former Department of Defense analyst quoted in Whittle's video states;
"...[O]ver a long period of time I ended up collecting a large body of Islamic law, an enormous amount of it available in English, and realized that if Islamic law is the criteria by which you measure legitimacy or illegitimacy you can’t show that the moderates have a doctrinal basis for the position they hold, and you can’t show that on the statement of the law the radicals are wrong."
As a result, the unidentified analyst argues, "...the whole [US] national security apparatus...moved from a factual, legal basis to one that supports the narratives." The juxtaposed narratives of righteous Muslims and jihadi extremists need to be understood and clarified to arrive at what is virtuous and true. This is exactly what I think JD attempted to analyze and provide a strategic framework for in order to secure US social, cultural, and political prosperity.
We ought to worry about the infiltration of jihadi ideology throughout US demographics as much as operatives within US federal agency ranks. It is the task of security professionals to divide and conquer moles; it is a separate but just as integral task of citizens to identify and report on questionable activity. This is precisely the reason why the Intelligence Community should find it in their best interest to integrate a realistic system for identifying the religious and social behaviors of radical jihadists. Civic engagament teams can help strike a balance between encouraging what is safe and identifying what is harmful, that which decays and that which prospers. Policy debates ought to surround the questions, "What is the balance of allowing and encouraging diversity of thought and practice while disrupting and dismantling jihadi propaganda?"
Increasing social and cultural awareness requires a thorough analysis of what we have been witnessing for some years now in England, France and Germany, who are experiencing emerging AQ threats as well as tensions between regional/national heritage and customs of the Muslim Ummah and Shar'iah Law. Analysts and professionals alike are bound to become more frustrated in differentiating between righteous customs and jihadi customs if we fail to deciphere between efforts of propaganda and democratic prosperity. Such work can, as I said, (a) crystallize ethnic differences and (b) promote collaboration.
In one of my upcoming posts, I will elaborate on the FBI's Community Outreach Program in order to assess how JD's engagement teams can strategically counter jihadi narratives (i.e. exposed in false sharia fatwas that are not legitimate) through civic coalitions. This will, I think, holistically strengthen the ability of CT professionals to track, monitor, and interrupt actual and/or potential moles in agency rank and file and radicals moving throughout regional areas of society.