David Cameron said on Sunday that the growing threat of Islamist militants in the Sahel region of Africa required “a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months”. He compared the situation with that in Afghanistan, saying: “What we face is an extremist, Islamist, violent al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group, just as we had to deal with in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
it really a good idea to embark on an open-ended - permanent, to all
intents and purposes - war of attrition against militant Islam from
Africa to Afghanistan? Militancy is implicit in the original texts of
Islam - the Koran and Hadith, and it has a been a thread running through
history since the time of Mahomet. It can not be stamped out by
military means and it is more likely that military intervention will
encourage militancy. Why is this not understood? A further complication
is the presence of large Islamic minorities in many European countries,
with the potential for militancy to develop within those communities.
The military option - a kind of latter-day crusade, is bound to fail.
Alternative strategies must be considered, possibly involving the
setting up of some kind of cordon sanitaire. Left to itself for a few
decades but with access to information from the outside world, it is
just possible that Islam could start to crumble under the weight of its
own internal contradictions. A twenty-first century crusade can only
delay that desirable process by driving people into the hands of the militants.
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