as Sun Tzu, the Chinese philosopher said:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
With that in mind, there are several articles bouncing around these days on the origins of wahhabism and the origins of the terror army and why it is grown to the mass it has. Below is yet another which have some believable points.
Robert Fisk writing at IndependentUK:
Isis's skill in exploiting social media is no reason for US leaders to start talking about the apocalypse.
Power without responsibility has provided al-Baghdadi and his men with their most potent weapon
We keep banging on about British citizens turning into Jihadists – that tired old public relations man Dave Cameron does this all the time, with his worn-out political correctness – and it’s almost impolite to say “Muslim British citizens”. But isn’t it time we said “Muslim British citizens of Pakistani or Indian origin”? For – saving the occasional Arab-origin recruit - that, surely, is what we are talking about.
Whether James Foley’s killer comes from London or Newcastle (still my choice by accent), he seems to have been born into a British community of Muslims whose background – whether family or parents’ place of birth – lies within that vast, crushed jewel which we used to call the Raj.
Of course, it’s not difficult for these fighters to learn Arabic – Pushtu and Urdu, for a start, is written in Arabic script and they can thus read Arabic. From there it’s only a short step to understanding the language. But the political origin of Indian Muslims – and here I’ll use the frontiers of the old British India - surely provide a clue to the origins of the “Islamic State” which our modern-day Mahdi, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has created.
I suspect these roots lie in the Deobandis, one of several Sunni groups founded in the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny, a Muslim rebellion which we, of course, crushed with our usual ruthlessness.
The Deobandis’ House of Learning was to become the leading theological school in India, founded 10 years after the Mutiny by Mohamed Abed Husain in Uttar Pradesh. It was partly intended to counter the pro-western Muslim colleges whose curriculum included both Islam and western liberal sciences – not unlike the French “inculturation” of Egypt at about the same time.
As my esteemed colleague Ahmed Rashid has pointed out, while the Deobandis restricted women, opposed Muslim hierarchies and rejected the Shia, the Taliban “were to take these beliefs to an extreme which the original Deobandis would never have recognised.” But adopt their precepts, the Taliban did; after all, once Pakistan came into existence in 1947 – another uniquely British creation – the Deobandis became far more important in what was now the majority Muslim corner of what had been the Raj.
Even before partition, however, the Afghan government had sought help from the Deobandis to build state-controlled schools (madrassas) but half a century later, the Deobandi and Taliban distaste for tribal leadership coalesced. To quote Rashid again, the Taliban debased the Deobandi tradition of learning and reform, “excepting no concept of doubt except as sin and considering debate as little more than heresy.” By 1998 Taliban groups along the Afghan-Pakistan border were punishing sinners with stoning and amputation, killing Shia Muslims and forcing women to adopt Islamist dress. Sound familiar?
Even more so, perhaps, the next little tale. For in 2000, I visited a Taliban school at Akora Khattak in what was then the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. It was a Deoband production line of young men from Pakistan itself, from Afghanistan, from Tajikistan and, yes, from Chechnya. They laboured over the Koran...............