The Cure for Radical Islam Is Nationalism

 

The Cure for Radical Islam Is Nationalism

By Lawrence Sellin, Colonel, U.S. Army (ret.)

For too long, many presumed experts have attempted to solve the problem of radical Islam by dissecting religious texts or recommending the support of so-called “moderate” Islamic factions.

It is a fool’s errand.

The problem with radical Islam, like other forms of political extremism, is that it is hegemonistic and totalitarian. In a world where democratic institutions remain fragile, national security options are often imperfect and contesting monolithic threats short of war may be best executed by navigating or leveraging inherent geopolitical strata and fractures.

The single, most relevant impediment to radical Islam is ethnic and cultural nationalism.

Tribal, ethnic, cultural and linguistic characteristics are primordial, traditionally hereditary and often the default forms of social identification that predate organized religion. It is only when religious practices were incorporated into those forms of identity that religion became a significant factor or sometimes a substitute for traditional identity.

That is, when religion goes beyond individual or group spiritual beliefs and begins to have not just social, but also political influence, it reaches, or is promoted as, a form of hereditary identification.

Nevertheless, tribal, ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity remain fault lines even in societies where Islam is the dominant religion. Kurdish nationalism in regions where radical Islam is an ever-present menace is an example most familiar to Americans.

Nowhere, however, are fault lines more consequential for U.S. policy than in Pakistan, the Yugoslavia of South Asia.

Yugoslavia was established in the aftermath of World War I as a pan-Slavic solution to the political volatility many blamed for the outbreak of the war. It was cobbled together as a federation of six republics with borders drawn along ethnic and historical lines, most of which were remnants of the defeated Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Ethnic separatism eventually overcame the presumed unifying concept of pan-Slavism and Yugoslavia did not survive the century in which it was created.

Likewise, Pakistan is an artificial state created by the British during the partition of India, based on the ideology of Islam and composed of ethnic groups that never interacted in any significant way. Pakistan’s Sunni “Islamization” program, begun by President Zia-ul-Haq (1977-1988), which involved the proliferation of Islamic schools “madrasas” and the promotion of Islamic law “Sharia,” was specifically designed to create national unity by suppressing ethnic separatism and religious diversity. As a result, radical Islamic groups, including the Taliban, have proliferated in Pakistan, becoming increasingly more extreme.

Traditionally secular and tolerant, Pakistan’s southwest province of Balochistan has been the home of a festering ethnic insurgency since 1948, when it was deprived of independence and forcibly incorporated into Pakistan. Despite its mineral wealth, the Baloch have been intentionally kept underdeveloped by the Pakistan government, and have been subjected to extensive Islamization, oppression and alleged extrajudicial killings by the Pakistani military.

As a result of both official neglect and intent, the Pakistani province of Balochistan now possesses all the elements of instability, including political corruption, criminal gangs, drug trafficking, a plethora of Islamic extremist groups and an extensive Taliban infrastructure along its common border with Afghanistan.

A secular and independent Balochistan would drive a stake into the heart of radical Islam and change the strategic dynamics in a region, where U.S. influence is rapidly shrinking.

The Pashtun Tahafuz (Protection) Movement (PTM) is a campaign for Pashtun human rights based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Balochistan provinces of Pakistan. The Pakistani government views the PTM as an ethnic separatist movement and has made efforts to suppress it. Those efforts include alleged government-inspired attacks conducted by the Taliban on the PTM and the incorporation of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The latter was ostensibly designed to dilute the influence of the PTM as a substrate for ethnic self-determination and the potential for the PTM to loosen the Taliban’s grip on the Pashtuns, both of which might interfere with Pakistan’s plans for Afghanistan, and, indirectly, China’s regional ambitions.

How does ethnic and cultural nationalism translate into strategic options for the United States?

Other than a “presence,” the U.S. has little negotiating leverage in Afghanistan, even for a graceful exit.

There are simple explanations for why the U.S. has not succeeded in Afghanistan after 17 years. Afghanistan is a landlocked country and Pakistan does not share the same aspirations for Afghanistan as the United States. Pakistan has stymied U.S. efforts in Afghanistan by controlling the operational tempo through its support of the Taliban and Haqqani network and by maintaining a stranglehold on the supply of our troops.

Blackmail largely restrains the United States from attacking insurgent safe havens in Pakistan because, by doing so, there is a risk that further destabilization of Pakistan would allow terrorists to obtain nuclear weapons. So the stalemate continues and the Pentagon’s fallback strategy — more counterinsurgency and nation building — remains the status quo.

Changing the geopolitical dynamics of the Afghanistan conflict by exploiting ethnic nationalism could provide both short-term leverage in peace negotiations and long-term strategic influence.

It doesn’t take a strategic genius to conclude that Balochistan is a regional center of gravity.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the majority of which runs through Balochistan, is the linchpin of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a collection of infrastructure projects and a transportation route that connects China to the Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Karachi on the Arabian Sea. Without the CPEC, the Belt and Road Initiative — China’s blueprint for global domination — is dead in the water.

You get to the Taliban through Pakistan and you get to Pakistan through China. Ethnic separatism is Pakistan’s pressure point, but it is China that will ultimately feel the pain.

Article

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel, an IT command and control subject matter expert, trained in Arabic and Kurdish, and a veteran of Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa.

The Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups.

 

Press Release

Subject: Announcing the Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups.

July 1, 2018

On June 30, 2018 Iranians from across the world, free from the yoke of the mullahs, joined in Paris, in an annual event “Free Iran; The Alternative” hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran. A bomb threat occurred at the event seemingly planned by a regime diplomat from Austria. US Representatives were Rudi Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and John Bolton who spoke in support of the Iranian Opposition Movement.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran is an Iranian political organization based in France and chaired by Maryam Rajavi, the widow of Masoud Rajavi, the founder of the NCRI. The organization has appearance of a broad-based coalition, however many analysts consider NCRI and Islamic Marxist People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) to be synonymous and an umbrella organization for Iranian opposition groups. The NCRI represents a very small group/percentage of Iranian dissidents and appears to lack very little support inside Iran. NCRI presents itself is an umbrella organization of Iranian dissident groups that shared a common opposition to the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was founded in Paris in 1981 by Masoud Rajavi, the leader of the MEK/PMOI/MKO, and Abol-Hassan Banisadr. Since 1983, it has been exclusively controlled by the MEK… The NCRI’s United States operation was listed previously as a foreign terrorist organization but was removed from that list by the State Department four years ago.

The purpose of this press release is to redirect the focus and attention of the US Representatives and the State Department to the new broader Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups that conducted their first meeting on June 9th that convened at George Washington University. The Coalition represented the many and varied cultural groups that comprise the Iranian population such as representatives of Iranian Kurds, Azeris, Baluchies and Arabs. The conference attracted a significant number of highly regarded former US officials and former senior military personnel. Dr Alireza Nourizadeh, the director of Centre for Iran and Arab Studies and Executive Director of Iran Farda TV opened the conference stating the primary goal of this first meeting of Iran’s opposition group would be to unite all opposition parties against the Islamic Republic under the overarching framework of One Flag, One Nation, One Iran. “The conference in its essence was the first stepping stone to demonstrate the unity and solidarity of different Iranian opposition groups against the Islamic Republic. All participants stressed the shared values of unity and equality and joining forces to protect Iran’s territorial as well as national integrity and dignity”, emphasized Dr Nourizadeh. Dr Shahrokh Mireskandari, a co-organizer of the conference, also addressed the gathering by stressing that the conference would be a focal point in realizing the fragile situation that the Islamic Republic is gripped with and pointed out the importance of improving human rights in Iran, mending bridges between Iranian people and the US as well as furthering efforts aimed at positive role of Iran in the region. For many decades, the quest for democracy in Iran has been overshadowed by the perceived notion of Iran’s potential disintegration should all citizens’ fully exercise their socio-political and cultural rights.

The other main message of the conference was to ensure that all ethnic Iranian opposition groups agreed to pursue the common goal of removing the current discriminatory constitution and replace it with a free and fair national constitution guaranteeing every Iranian citizens’ right regardless of their ethnicity, religion or orientation under one umbrella. President Trump’s pulling out from Iran’s nuclear deal dubbed as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA), along with Iran’s increasing regional interferences and support of terrorist groups, has brought the US administration to a realization that the Islamic Republic in its current form and shape has two options, only: Either to fundamentally change behavior on a verifiable basis or be removed from power so an inclusive and national transitional government could be introduced by all Iranians ending the tyranny of the Islamic Republic. The conference also recognized the legitimacy of working with powerful international partners to build up a global consensus against the Islamic Republic while safeguarding that such collaboration would ensure Iran’s national integrity and dignity. It is recommended that President Trump and Secretary Pompeo focus its support for the new Coalition as it represents a very broad support of the multiple Iranian Opposition groups and not just the NCRI.

 

Contact: Paul E Vallely MG, US Army (Ret) Chairman, Stand Up America US Foundation Chairman – Legacy National Security Advisory Group Co – Trustee , Soldiers Memorial Fund Foundation

E-Mail: standupamericausa1@gmail.com

Web/Blog: www.standupamericaus.org

Phone (c): 406 890-4201

Skype: paulvallely

 

 

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The Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups Press Release

 

All right triangles are congruent.

The Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups Press Release

Monday, July 02, 2018

The first meeting of the Coalition of Iranian Opposition Groups for the first time convened in George Washington University on June 9.

In addition to Iranian opposition groups, the conference also attracted a significant number of highly regarded former US politicians and former senior military personnel some of whom advising the White House. In the conference and for the first time, representatives of Iranian Kurds, Azeris, Baluchies and Arabs took part.

Dr Alireza Nourizadeh, the director of Centre for Iran and Arab Studies and Executive Director of Iran Farda TV opened the conference stating the primary goal of this first meeting of Iran’s opposition group would be to unite all opposition parties against the Islamic Republic under the overarching framework of One Flag, One Nation, One Iran.

“The conference in its essence, was the first stepping stone to demonstrate the unity and solidarity of different Iranian opposition groups against the Islamic Republic. All participants stressed on the shared values of unity and equality and joining forces to protect Iran’s territorial as well as national integrity and dignity”, emphasized Dr Nourizadeh.

Dr Shahrokh Mireskandari, a co-organizer of the conference, also addressed the gathering by stressing that the conference would be a focal point in realizing the fragile situation that the Islamic Republic is gripped with and pointed out the importance of improving human rights in Iran, mending bridges between Iranian people and the US as well as furthering efforts aimed at positive role of Iran in the region.

For many decades, the quest for democracy in Iran has been overshadowed by the perceived notion of Iran’s potential disintegration should all citizens’ fully exercise their socio-political and cultural rights. The other main message of the conference was, to ensure that all ethnic Iranian opposition groups agreed to pursue the common goal of removing the current discriminatory constitution and replace it with a free and fair national constitution guarantying every Iranian citizens’ right regardless of their ethnicity, religion or orientation under one umbrella.

President Trump’s pulling out from Iran’s nuclear deal dubbed as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA), along with Iran’s increasing regional interferences and support of terrorist groups has brought the the US administration to a realisation that the Islamic Republic in its current form and shape has two options, only:
Either to fundamentally change behaviour on a verifiable basis or be removed from power so an inclusive and national transitional government could be introduced by all Iranians ending the tyranny of the Islamic Republic.

The conference also, recognized the legitimacy of working with powerful international partners to build up a global consensus against the Islamic Republic while safeguarding that such collaboration would ensure Iran’s national integrity and dignity.

Below is the list of speakers at the conference:

1. Rt. Major General Richard Secord
2. Rt. Major General Paul Vallely
3. Colonel Mike Stevens, Senior Middle East Analyst
4. Dr Alireza Nourizadeh, Centre for Iran and Arab
5. Dr Shahrokh Mireskandari, Lawyer and Political Activist
6. Mr George Cave, Former State Department Advisor
7. Mr Abdullah Mohtadi, Secretary General of Iran’ Komoleh Party of Kurdistan
8. Ms. Katayoun Yazdani, Philanthropist
9. Dr Shahria Ahy, Senior Political Adviser
10. Joe Kauffman, Republican nominee for Congress from Florida
11. Ms Sherry Raz, Institute for Open Middle East
12. Dr Zia Sadr, Distinguished Azeri writer
13. Mr Houshang Kordestani, Iran National Front
14. Dr Reza Hosseinbor, United Baluchistan Front
15. Dr Karim Abdian, Politcal Adviser, Ahvaz SDemocratic Party
16. Mr Fariborz Bakhtiary, Iran Tribes Council
17. Naser Boladai, Baluch People Party

 

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Paul Vallely: A Step Toward Denuclearization of Korean Peninsula…and…

Next:

 

Paul Vallely: Summit Step Toward Denuclearization of Korean Peninsula

By Bill Hoffman

Wednesday June 13, 2018

The historic deal President Donald Trump has hammered out with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un is an excellent first step toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, retired U.S. Army Major Gen. Paul E. Vallely told Newsmax TV on Wednesday.

“This is not shooting from the hip; this is well thought out,” Vallely told Wednesday’s “America Talks Live.”

“This is what President Trump does: He thinks things out. Diplomacy is ‘The Art of the Deal.’ Now we’ll have any opportunity to move forward.”

The Trump-Kim summit in Singapore provided no details on when Pyongyang will give up nuclear arms or how that might be verified, but Vallely, who served in the Vietnam War and retired in 1993 as deputy commanding general of the Pacific Command, said that is “the next step” for the two nations.

“[They have] to lay down what the requirements would – be but again this is going to be a give and take situation,” he told hosts Miranda Khan, John Cardillo, and Gina Loudon.

Vallely added he was also comfortable with Trump’s announcement the United States will halt military exercises with South Korea and Japan because they can easily be restarted if necessary.

“We still have the assets over there, so, while the exercises may stop, they can be renewed or reinvigorated at another time,” Vallely said.

“Keep in mind, we still have our forces in South Korea, we still have forces in Japan, a Marine division in Okinawa and the Seventh Fleet, so there are plenty of assets.

“So that’s why the cessation of joint exercises right now – [exercises] which I’ve been a part of at least four different times – is not going to make a difference.”

Additionally, Vallely said he was impressed with the Hollywood-style video Trump showed Kim extolling the possible development of the North Korean coastline. The four-minute presentation showed part of the heavily developed Miami Beach skyline, which Trump told reporters could potentially happen along the beaches of North Korea.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Vallely said. “Just one minute of that video can influence people dramatically. So, I think it was a good move.”

Interview

 

Reporters were shown a video ahead of Donald Trump’s press conference in Singapore, which the US president said he had played it to Kim Jong-un and his aides toward the end of their talks. It was made by Destiny Productions and was presented in Korean and English in the style of an action movie trailer.

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MG Paul Vallely: Chemical attack likely Syrian rebel internecine

MG Paul Vallely: Chemical attack likely Syrian rebel internecine

From SUA’s Legacy National Security Advisory Group:

Al-Nusra Front was gathering chlorine gas cylinders in February for undetermined attacks. They and Jaish al-Islam have been fighting on and off at least for a year for dominance in a number of areas. Al-Nusra had Jaish al-Islam hostages recently

Also – WMD is all over Syria and thanks to the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton’s treasonous activities…the world is on the cusp of Armegeddon…

40 tons of chemical weapons left by militants found in Syria – Russian MoD

Article

 

NEWSMAX:
Paul Vallely: Trump, Putin Should Meet to Discuss Syria

Article