ISIS in the Caribbean
These recent Paris attacks have been a frightening reminder of the unusual brutality of ISIS. These crazy people also downed a Russian plane. Meanwhile, their affiliates in Nigeria have been killing even more people.
If the whole business of knowing your enemy has anything to it, the West has generally been doing a terrible job of it.
For instance, Obama has referred to ISIS as "not Islamic", which can't be right, since they faithfully and with astonishing rigour and attention to detail observe the way of the Prophet. Their whole programme is to return to the 7th century, when Muhammad led armies to subjugate neighbours.
The group's leader since 2010 is Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who is understood by his followers as the first caliph in generations, and No. 8 of the dozen caliphs expected before the apocalypse.
That's right! These are people fervently awaiting Judgement Day, and they believe they have a role in bringing it about. In particular, they believe that many other Muslims are essentially heretics, and their purification of the faith is a precursor to the next stage of events.
In fact, Muslims that fail to stream towards the caliphate and offer their fealty are in trouble. The many millions of Shia Muslims, for instance, are deviationists by the mere fact of being Shia, and deserve to be put to the sword. Millions of other Sunni Muslims who do things like vote, dress in Western clothes, or shave their beards also deserve to be smitten by the scimitar or crucified. They are on a mission to purify the world, and though they may hate the infidel, there's special hatred for those who claim to be Muslim but don't follow the correct teachings.
If you doubt their determination to return to 7th-century ways, study the opinion that came out of ISIS's 'intellectuals' when they gathered to determine what was to be done with the Yazidi tribespeople:
Yazidi women and children [are to be] divided according to the Shari'a among the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations [in northern Iraq] ... . Enslaving the families of the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shari'a that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Koran and the narrations of the Prophet ... and thereby apostatising from Islam.
You will note that if you deny their interpretation of the Qur'an that sanctions turning Yazidi women into sex slaves, like the Prophet did to his enemies, you deserve the sword as well, you ridiculous infidel!
It's important to understand that these guys believe they play a crucial part in the run-up to Judgement Day. So they believe that the Islamic Caliphate must expand until there is a massive confrontation with the West (they call it 'the armies of Rome'), which is the heralding event for the final days.
Why bother to get into this madness? Simple. Because the conclusion to draw from it is, as far as I can see, that there's no negotiating with these people. They're dealing from a different deck, and while doing so, they're causing intolerable geopolitical instability. They must be subdued, subjugated, killed.
Even bin Laden, for all his murderous malevolence, had specific political demands, such as the removal of infidels from Saudi Arabia. The ISIS folk, who consider al-Qaeda a bunch of softies, desire martyrdom as a prelude to the bigger things they see over the horizon.
Bringing it closer to home, it's becoming clear that we're not insulated from this global mess. Security experts are telling us, even here in Jamaica, to have a heightened awareness of these things.
I know we have our own terrorist-friendly imam here. Once you understand the basic ideology of ISIS, his pronouncements start to make sense (in that world of crazy). Why he's walking around freely is anyone's guess, but under my regime, the international human-rights groups would be complaining about him being locked up, and I would be offering them to please come and take him to wherever.
They've just caught five Syrians in Honduras trying to make their way to the US on fake passports. And down the road a little, Trinidad is making me worry.
I'm generally friendly towards regionalism. Just recently, I've used this column to argue, for instance, that the CCJ is an obvious positive. I hope I've thrown some bricks at the moronic arguments against establishing it as our final appellate court. But how embarrassing for me, therefore, to open up the newspaper and see the best argument yet for junking the whole project? Trinidad, it seems, is crawling with jihadis.
You can imagine the consternation when I saw a Gleaner headline saying 'Trinidad's Islamic leader wants country to welcome home nationals fighting with ISIS'. I was already in possession of the information that some 89 T&T citizens had made their way to the Middle East to wage war on the wrong side.
To be fair, the authorities in Trinidad & Tobago are saying some of the right things. The national security minister, retired Major General Edmund Dillon, said on Tuesday:
"This government wants to make it abundantly clear that it recognises the global terrorist threat posed by ISIS and the horrific atrocities recently committed on the French people by the ISIS phenomenon ... ."
But how successful can they be in stopping the fighters from returning? Are they even likely to know all who have gone across?
- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to email@example.com.