Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ron Smith: Postscript on Paris

What follows are comments on some of the issues raised in my 15 November posting (‘There is a war on’), which dealt with the ISIS attack on Paris.

Last Tuesday (17 November), there was a soccer match in Istanbul between Turkey and Greece.  Just before the kick-off an official call was made for a moment of silence for the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris, on the previous Friday.  It was greeted by whistling and shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is great’).  They were celebrating!

Now this does not tell us that all Muslims support the aims of ISIS.  Still less does it tell us that all Muslims support their methods.  But it does tell us that a sufficient proportion of ordinary Turkish citizens feel confident enough about their sympathies to expose them in a public gathering.   I am taking it that this ‘sympathy’, however little it is indulged, applies to Muslim persons generally, whether they are in a Muslim state or not.  This is the genesis of the challenge to them that radical Islam presents and it cannot be dismissed by such mealy-mouthed platitudes as, ‘real’ Islam is a ‘religion of peace’ or by a refusal to call Islamic terrorism what it is.

My second point concerns the fraught matter of rules of engagement (ROEs). These are not usually published (for obvious reasons) but it has been reported in the last few days that the United States has modified its ROEs to permit the targeting in ISIS territory of fuel trucks.  Apparently this had been prohibited because the driver might have been a ‘civilian’ (i.e. a person protected under humanitarian law).  In fact, it is clear that this sort of legal nicety is the reason why so many sorties in the US air campaign against ISIS have resulted in the aircraft concerned returning to base with their weapons load unused.  It also the reason why the sorties have been almost totally ineffective.

The generally applicable principle here is that combatants are persons who are ‘participating in the hostilities’.  They are legitimate targets in virtue of what they are doing, whether or not they may claim non-combatant status on the basis of not being occupationally engaged in a formal military organisation.  As noted in the previous posting, persons may also be legitimately harmed in the course of an operation the military value of which may be said to override their presumed protection.

A recent episode concerning the supposed ‘mastermind’ of the Paris attack (Abdelhamid Abaaoud) may illustrate this principle.  Shortly before returning to Europe he had been in Syria.  He had gone there from his home in Brussels, taking with him his 13 year-old brother.  During this time, he became a potential target for a US drone, whilst driving between engagements.  Again the ‘minimal risk of civilian casualties’ rule seems to have applied and the strike was aborted because of the presence of the boy.  Abaaoud lived on to direct the murder of some 130 ‘civilian’, ‘non-combatant’, ‘innocent’ citizens in Paris. 

On the basis of what is known about the technology and intelligence capability behind US drone strikes, it is clear that those taking this decision would have known who their potential target was.  It is plausible to argue that killing him could have been justified under the principle of military necessity.

There is another aspect to this, about which I also hinted in the first posting.  What was the 13 year old boy doing in the car in the first place?  Is it possible that he was there to provide just the sort of protection that he did provide?   If so, then Abaaoud committed a war crime.  Using civilians or civilian artefacts as cover for military operations is specifically prohibited under the Geneva Conventions and the Statutes of the International Criminal Court.  Are we all laughing derisively at the thought that ISIS operatives might have any concern that what they do  may be contrary to humanitarian law?

The presence of the boy might have been significant in another respect.  Some accounts of the incident, suggest that Abaaoud’s vehicle may have become a target because of a cell-phone intercept.  This would have been a bit of a surprise because terrorist operatives like him are usually too careful to be caught like that.  On the other hand, it is possible that a thirteen year old, less sophisticated in the world of political mass-murder, might have just taken an opportunity to ring home to his dad to let him know how things were going?

As I said in the previous posting, we really need to take these things seriously (and not sentimentally) if we are going to protect ourselves against what is a growing threat!


Anonymous said...

Muslims committing terrorist acts are referred to as activists, insurgents, freedom fighters, terrorists, or radicals, but not as the Islamic jihadists that they are. Occasionally, it will be admitted that maybe five percent of Muslims are radical fundamentalists to minimise the reality of -- and connection to -- mainstream Islam. Islam is thus protected, and its true nature concealed. The percentage of cheerleaders and enablers is not mentioned.

According to, more than 50 percent of Muslims polled in Indonesia, and 75 percent of Muslims polled in Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan believe in the strict application of Sharia, or Islamic law. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents wanted to see the Islamic world united in a Muslim Caliphate.

An extensive July 2008 poll conducted in Britain by online research company YouGov and commissioned by the conservative Centre for Social Cohesion found that significant minorities of Muslim students at some of Britain's better colleges and universities embrace the most threatening aspects of Islam.

These include the conviction that killing in the name of religion can be justified (32 percent), belief that men and women shouldn't mix freely (40 percent), support for Sharia law in Britain (40 percent), and support for a global caliphate (33 percent), among other repressive tenets.

With numbers like these, portraying Jihadist war goals (Sharia, Caliphate) as belonging to a "tiny band of extremists" are far from accurate.

Islam is a religion that calls for the domination of all others, yet the majority of Christians, Jews, atheists and agnostics continue treating Muslims with the utmost respect and sensitivity. Persisting in this PC fantasy is nothing short of suicidal.

Anonymous said...

In the wake of the recent Paris terrorist outrage, social media is awash with a commonly misrepresented Koranic verse, one even quoted by Barack Obama in his infamous 2009 Cairo address to the Islamic Umma of 4 June 2009:

“The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.” (Koran 5:32)

President Obama is either misled, or his intention is to mislead non-Muslims, while placating his Muslim audience. As Winston Churchill reminds us, “A lie can go halfway around the world while the truth is still getting its pants on.”

Verse 5: 32 was plagiarised by Muhammad [Allah] from Mishnah Sanhedrin (Mishnah, IV Division 5), a Rabbinic commentary on the Torah, not from the Torah itself as Muhammad attempts to mislead: "Thus was created a single man, to teach us that every person who loses a single soul, it shall be written about him as if he has lost the entire world, and every person who sustains a single soul, it shall be written about him as if he has sustained the entire world."

Koran 5:32 as misquoted by Obama and other apologists for Islam, both Muslim and non-Muslim, is incomplete and lacks context. This is adds up to an unsustainable attempt to demonstrate that the Koran disapproved of violence and killing. The intended meaning of verse 5: 32 is soon revealed when quoted in full and in conjunction with verse 5: 33, which follows it.

I refer to the Yusuf Ali translation as below:

At Koran 5: 32: “On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel [the Jews] that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them [the Jews] Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.”

And at Koran 5: 33: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger [refuse to accept Islam], and strive with might and main for mischief [non-Islamic behaviour] through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.”

The first thing to note is that the commandment in verse 5:32 applies only to the “Children of Israel” (i.e. Jews). It does not apply to Muslims. Taking the two verses in full and contextualising the first verse with the second, we see that the apparently lofty sentiments of verse 5: 32 are eradicated by verse 5:33, a bloodthirsty threat by Muhammad to the Jews, and indeed to all those who refuse to accept Islam.

Far from abjuring violence, these verses aggressively insist that any who oppose the Muslim prophet are to be killed, or crucified, mutilated, banished, and punished in the afterlife.

Verse 5:32 offers no protection at all to non-Muslims, who are fair game for Muslims, as per verse 33, simply for being kafirs. So any Muslim who claims that killing non-Muslims in Jihad is not central to the practice of Islam either doesn’t know his own religion, or is a liar.

Anonymous said...

Muslim Jihadists who read nothing but the Koran and act out on verse 5: 33 can be safely assumed to know their stuff better than less observant Muslims and non-Muslims who don’t read the Koran.

Brian said...

Ron Smith Postscript on Paris- This might also be called a Postscript for an eventual defeat?
Our Peace at any Price followers cloth themselves in the respectability of humanity, unfortunately this is in reality, a future death shroud. For no country can abide by the now rather obsolete rules of the Geneva Convention, while that “enemy” completely ignores those very same rules.
The demand led by the Greens and the Humanitarians that we in the West must never demean ourselves to the level of warfare now implemented by Islamic terrorists. It sounds right and plausible, and is a typical heart warming media response of “We are better than thou strategy” ----or a modern “Charge of the Light Brigade”. To quote the French General Bosquet on that charge “C’est magnificent, mais ce n’est pas la guerre”!!! ###
No doubt this attitude is a historical left over convention from the so-called Age of Chivalry, So well documented as the Gothic world of Romance and Courtesy where Knights practiced perfection and fairness in War, and fair Ladies revelled in such books as “The Romance of Rose.”!
There will be no end to the Syrian conflict until President Obama’s “Rules of engagement” policy as applied to counter Islamic terrorist attacks is fundamentally changed. This means “Boots on the Ground” and also that all Western Countries pool their fair share of the operation. This also means New Zealand, to the extent of committing our SAS. For too long we have stood aside and left our allies to do the dirty work, mainly due to the political implications upon the next election.
Defence in the form of air strikes is no defence, surely after the strategic saturation bombing in World War 11, even with modern technology; it fails as solution in itself. But it stands merely as political ploy by Western politicians fearful of making the correct military decision.
A further instance of the “March of Folly”!
### Magnificent...but it is NOT War.

Notall whitepeoplearerasict said...

Some of the comments are limited in context,
Firstly regarding "misquoting "of the Koran, Ali is God, he is the Christian , Jewish and Muslim God, they are all one and the same, re the Old Testament .
secondly , regarding ROE these are I place to protect not just innocent people but for economic reasons. Eg ISIS didn't come into the public eye until. It was close to US owners oil wells in northern Iraq, even though a fellow NATO country had it on its terrorist watch list for 2 years. And where do we think most of that oil is heading , Saudi and to the Turks is where, that's why oil tankers had been allowed free reign.
Thirdly , it's it funny how when Muslim kill people it is a terrorist attack, but when a man walks into a church and shoots everyone killing a lot of people to start a race war, that isn't a terrorist act, or a man walks up to a serving elected government representative, and shoots her in the face then goes on a shooting spree , this isn't a terrorist attack.
During the civil war in Northern Ireland, why didn't the British government bomb parts of Belfast , the acts carried out in Paris are no worse that was carried out 30-40 years ago, by Christians, in the name of God.

RAYMONDO said...

The Ali (sic) referred to by "Notall..." is not the God of Israel or the Christian God. Let's all try to be factual. Christians and Jews do not recognise the Ali or Alah or any other God or god. That is their stated belief from the earliest times. The God of the Christians is not the Muslim deity, and never has been.
Where you start from determines where you end up so it's important to get the facts right.

Mike K said...

Oh dear Notall whitepeopleareracis, you are somewhat confused by the situation. No one has said that the killings in Church were not a terrorist attack, many specifically said they were. A deranged loner though is not part of an organised movement as the supporters of Daesh are. As for the British in NI, are you serious? The IRA was specifically labelled a terrorist organistaion. Belfast was not bombed by the British for the same reason Paris has not been bombed by the French and Brussels has not been bombed by the Belgians. You need to lose your prejudices mate.

Anonymous said...

Something you can convert to is not a race. There are black Muslims, brown Muslims, white Muslims, and yellow Muslims.

As for the moral equivalence arguments deployed by shills for Islam, the actions of members of any other group have no bearing whatsoever on the fact that Islam from the days of its founder institutionalises violence against all non-Muslims until they are convert or are killed, or in the case of Jews and Christians accept a third class status of semi-slavery called "dhimmitude" in an Islamic society.