Alusi: “I Hope I am Wrong, but I believe Terror Age Has Just Begun

by Heather Robinson

In the wake of a series of coordinated terror bombings around Paris that reportedly killed at least 120 people today, I’m reminded the words of Mithal al Alusi, a brave Iraqi Parliamentarian, in the years just after September 11.

Alusi, who champions normalized relations between Iraq and Israel and who has endured the loss of his two grown sons to terrorism for his friendship with Israel, told me once, “I hope I am wrong, but I believe the terrorist age has just begun.”

This evening President Obama characterized these coordinated attacks in Paris as an “attack on all humanity.” Nope. Obama’s choice of words reflects his imprecise understanding of Islamist terrorism and his fuzzy, overly idealistic, academic (as opposed to realistic or shrewd) thinking. This, like most modern terrorism, was in all probability a radical Islamist attack on Western people and Western values. That doesn’t mean all or most Muslims endorse it and it doesn’t mean we blame all Muslims.

Over the years in my interviews with him, Alusi, a moderate Muslim who has been at the forefront of the battle against Islamist extremism for many years, has communicated his understanding of the terrorist mindset to me. One point this brave Iraqi – who has been elected to Parliament three times despite campaigns of intimidation against him by Islamist extremists in his country – has repeatedly made to me is this: there is no negotiation possible with hardened terrorists and the regimes – like Iran’s regime – that support them.

Alusi has also made the point that any “deal” with hardened terrorists is a terrible error of judgment, as is the idea that we can work with one group (say the Iranians) to fight another (like ISIS). While the idea of negotiating with enemies may sound pragmatic, it is in reality a huge error because the basic mindset of terrorist regimes and networks is zero respect for human life. Also, Islamist ideologues and terrorists are united in their hatred of – and view as their imperative to destroy – Israel, the United States, Europe, etc. Their absolute belief is that all must submit to becoming Muslim. This is true, according to Alusi, whether the Islamist extremists happen to be Shia or Sunni, or regardless of what country they hail from.

Despite their own internecine struggles and clashes, these forces — Iran’s regime, ISIS, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah – are united in terrorist mindset and will help one another to oppose the West and its ideals, according to Alusi. For instance, for many years before it was widely reported, Alusi was telling me that Iran, a Shia regime, was supplying weapons to fund both Shia and Sunni militants behind the Iraqi insurgency against U.S. troops – a claim that turned out to be accurate.

That is why, as he has repeatedly stressed in our interviews over the years, the only answer to defeating terrorism is a unified approach. For many years, Alusi has advocated counter-terrorism cooperation among democracies and moderate Arab states — including the U.S., the E.U., Iraq, Jordan, the UAE – and Israel.

More to come.

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