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This report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. The United States has been fighting a war against terror for over a decade, yet still lacks a clear understanding of its enemy. Various presidents and academics have labeled the foe as either terrorists or insurgents, with speculations about motivation ranging from economics and unemployment to tribal conflict or sectarian violence. Careful research reveals we are fighting an explicitly Islamic adversary, motivated almost exclusively by religion. However, these militant Muslims are not representative of mainstream Islam, instead they share a very unique and discernible religious interpretation with a long history. Understanding this history, and the violence it motivates, is essential to effectively prosecuting the war on terror.
Islam is a vast religion with a long history not always characterized by violence. At various times in its history, individual Muslims have advocated a particularly militant interpretation of Muslim doctrine, almost always rejected by broader Islam. In the 13th Century, Ahmad ibn 'Abd al-Halin Ibn Taymiyya advocated global jihad, only to have his views rejected but adopted 400 years later by Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. This eventually led to the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood, producing Osama bin Laden and others like him. Across the board, nearly every militant Muslim comes from one hyper-literal interpretation of Islam, from a single legal school, from one sect of over a billion Muslims. These militants, a small percentage of Islam, continue work for global jihad despite the consistent rejection of the doctrine throughout the centuries. To effectively combat this lethal and elusive enemy, the United States must abandon its realist, nation-state power politics tendencies, and instead embrace constructivism, in order to better understand the mindset and the worldview of the militants.
This compilation includes a reproduction of the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Islamic Jihad: Sectarian Factors in Combating Terrorism * 1. Introduction * 2. Islamic Terrorism in Religious Context * 3. The Sectarian Adversary: Sunni, Hanbali, Wahhabi Islam * 4. The Sectarian Adversary: Sunni, Hanbali, Wahhabi Islam * 5. Militant Jihadis Among the Muslims * 6. Islamic Jihad and Constructivism * 7. A Call to Constructivism * 8. Conclusion