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Once again I am presenting the research of one of my students. Given the current discussion break down with Iran over their nuclear program, I think you will find this paper interesting and relevant. In July 2013, RP presented me with his research, “The coming war between Israel and Iran.” His scholarly review is cause for pause. I have his permission to present his work on Dailyveritatis.







Purpose Statement:  This war will have significant impact on United States interests and further damage a precarious global economy.  So, answering the question of ‘when’ would help policymakers plan and prepare for the fallout from this coming conflict.

Background:  It is widely believed that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.  At the same time its leaders vow to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth (Weinblatt. 2012).  These facts create geopolitical tension in the region and could prompt Israel to conduct preemptive strikes to neutralize Iran’s emerging nuclear weapons capability.  The United States Government apparently believes it will have sufficient warning prior to Iran fielding a nuclear weapon.  Israeli leaders, who will be in the ‘cross-hairs’ of such a weapon, are not so sure they can afford to wait until there is unambiguous proof of an Iranian  nuclear weapon capability (Berman. 2013).

Israel is suspected of being behind covert operations, i.e. assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists (FNA. 2013) and cyber-attacks (Shariatipour. 2013); aimed at slowing down Iran’s progress.  Diplomatic pressure, mainly from the United States, is probably moderating Israel’s response.  But, it appears only a matter of time before Iran gets the ‘bomb’ and these two nations initiate conventional (or possibly nuclear) war.  The only question is when?

Analytical Differences

War is Illogical

Some believe Iran is merely spouting belligerent rhetoric to appease Islamic constituents and would never risk the consequences of a regional war by attacking Israel.  These analysts would answer the question of the timing of a potential war between Iran and Israel as it’s not likely for the foreseeable future.  These thinkers, discount the possibility of war, and would have our policymakers continue economic sanctions or new diplomatic initiatives to attempt to change Iran’s behavior.

The Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) published a report in 2004 entitled “Iran: Time for a new Approach” (Corsi. 2005, 240).  The report was produced by a task force headed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor under President Carter during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, and Robert Gates, deputy director of the CIA under President Regan during the Iran-Contra scandal (Corsi. 2005, 240).  It was interesting that the CFR, a ‘think tank’ and political mouth piece for U.S. Eastern banking establishment, chose two spokesmen with such dismal track records in dealing with Iran to draft policy advice.  They advocated new dialogue and engagement with Iran.

These political analysts may assume it is a logical path for Iran to pursue nuclear weapons to be on par with Israel, so as to provide a nuclear deterrent akin to the U.S.-U.S.S.R. mutual assured destruction (M.A.D.) standoff during the Cold War.  These analysts are attaching their own Western values and cognitive biases regarding state behavior.

According to Corsi, “thinking from a rational perspective, an Iran armed with nuclear weapons could announce that it would launch a nuclear strike on Israel should Iran ever come under military attack by the United States” (Corsi. 2005, 219).  “This would be Iran’s version of the “tripwire” theory the United States used to justify maintaining a small conventional army in Europe in the 1950s.  If the Soviets launched even a conventional attack against U.S. forces in West Germany…the United States would retaliate immediately with a massive nuclear strike” Corsi. 2005, 219).

This nuclear deterrent theory does not apply to Iran since its Islamic leaders do not have the same value regarding limiting loss of life.  Ayatollah Khomeini said “We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah.  For patriotism is another name for paganism.  I say let this land [Iran] burn.  I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world” (Evans. 2013, 91).  Some believe this statement indicates Iran plans to use nuclear weapons.

War is Inevitable

Those who have studied the ideological and religious beliefs of Iran’s leaders have a dramatically different assessment than those approaching this showdown from a balance-of-power or economic perspective.  These state actors (Iran and Israel) are not motivated by the same things that kept the U.S. and U.S.S.R from crossing the nuclear precipice during the Cold War.  The zealots who rule Iran believe they are destined to sow chaos as a precondition for their Islamic messiah to come back to Earth (Evans. 2006, Hitchcock. 2007).  At the same time, Israeli leaders believe the Iranians will attack once adequately armed, since it was prophesied in the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel (Rosenberg. 2006, Hitchcock. 2007).

Just as Hitler revealed his intention in Mein Kampf to commit genocide of the Jews in Germany, the religious leaders of Iran have clearly stated their intentions to exterminate the State of Israel (Corsi. 2005, 41-42).  Iran’s theocratic leaders believe they are destined to set the conditions for the return of the Islamic messiah (the Madji, aka the 12th Imam).  Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said “Our main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam” (Hitchcock. 2007, 34).  Official Iranian (Shiite) eschatology teaches that the Mahdi’s return is imminent and his appearance will be preceded by an apocalypse (Hitchcock. 2007).

Israeli religious leaders believe they will win this war.  The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel predicted a future war in which an alliance of nations that includes Persia (Iran) and Magog (Russia) would suffer a dramatic defeat when they come against Israel (Ezekiel 38).

Analysis of the religious and ideological motivations of both sides leads to only one conclusion – war is inevitable.  Israel will likely conduct a preemptive strike and initiate war when it perceives Iran is about to field a nuclear weapon.  So, the timing of this war is predicated upon how far along Iran is with its nuclear weapon program.

This group of thinkers would advocate U.S. policymakers to prepare for the fallout.


The second line of analytical thought is correct and war is inevitable.  It is just a matter of timing.  Israel will probably initiate war when it perceives Iran is nearly completed building a nuclear weapon (Berman. 2013).  So, the matter of answering the research question (When will Iran and Israel go to war?) hinges on answering a related question: Where is Iran on its timeline to field a nuclear weapon?


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the U. N. General Assembly in 2012 declaring Israel’s ‘Red Line’ on Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program

On September 27, 2012, Netanyahu “faced an unsympathetic audience as he took the podium at the UN General Assembly in New York City.  Holding up a simple drawing, the prime minister drew a red line near the top of the depiction of a nuclear bomb.  He admonished those present, “The red line must be drawn on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.  I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.”  He further warned, “Nothing could imperil the world more than a nuclear-armed Iran” (Evans. 2013, 209).

Review of the Literature

A Historical Overview of Sanctions on Iran and Iran’s Nuclear Program

Aghazadeh stated that U.S. unilateral sanctions were not “successful in changing Iran’s politics or behavior against the U.S. and the international community” (Aghazadeh. 2013, 142).   However, Aghazadeh asserted that the U.S. was able to successfully convince “other countries to impose multilateral sanctions due to Iran’s nuclear program” which resulted in Iran suffering from internal conflicts and economic problems (Aghazadeh. 2013, 142).

Iran responded to international sanctions by declaring 8 April a National Day of Nuclear Technology (Aghazadeh. 2013, 150) and vowed not to stop its nuclear program. On the first National Day of Nuclear Technology in 2007, during a ceremony at the Natanz nuclear site, President Ahmadinejad said “Several world powers are using their influence to stop Iranian progress.  They should know that the great Iranian nation will not allow them to do so” (Aghazadeh. 2013, 150).

This author provided some specifics regarding the sanctions and Iranian rhetoric regarding its nuclear program. However, the author provided no data about the current state of the Iranian nuclear program or any discussion regarding the likelihood of potential military intervention by Israel (or the U.S.).

Rumors of War

Allin asserted Israel is inclined to conduct preemptive strikes (Allin. 2012, 211).

This assessment is based on history.  In 1967, Israel launched a pre-emptive war against Egypt and Syria (Allin.2012).  In 1981, Israeli airstrikes destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor (Allin. 2012, 211).  Again, in 2007, the Israelis destroyed another nuclear facility in Syria (Allin. 2012, 211).

Allin also asserted that preemptive strikes could be counter-productive and initiate endless war (Allin. 2012, 212).   Although its nuclear program might be “set back by a couple of years, Iran could redouble its efforts and very likely succeed” in building the ‘bomb’ (Allin. 2012, 212).   Allin said it would be like ‘mowing the lawn.’ “Just as the grass will grow again, so will the nuclear program; Israel will just have to mow again. And as Iran’s reconstitution effort goes underground and its defenses are enhanced, Israel’s intelligence and military capabilities will have to keep pace” (Allin. 2012, 212).

Allin claimed Israel’s political leadership believes a “point of no return” in the Iranian nuclear weapons program will be “when sufficient enrichment centrifuges can be installed at a site near Qom and protected under a mountain” (Allin. 2012, 216).

Allin quoted Mark Fitzpatrick, a non-proliferation expert, who stated that “A pre-emptive strike at a time when Iran is not on the verge of crossing the threshold and might still be dissuaded from doing so would surely create an Iranian determination to build nuclear weapons, and this time in secret. This problem of counter-productivity would no longer prevail if Iran had already decided to cross the line” (Allin. 2012, 217).

Despite the potential risk of preemptive strikes, Allin asserted that the Netanyahu government “seems ideologically committed to the view” that “engagement cannot possibly work, because Arab hostility is implacable” (Allin. 2012, 219).

This article is ‘spot on’ regarding Israeli intentions (Allin. 2012, 211).  Allin provided a significant clue in assessing when this war may begin; “when sufficient enrichment centrifuges can be installed at a site near Qom, and protected under a mountain” (Allin. 2012, 216).  However, Allin’s subject matter expert, Mark Fitzpatrick, was off base when he implied that the Iranian nuclear program was currently being conducted in the open and they are not currently pursuing a nuclear weapon capability (Allin. 2012, 217).  However, he also said the potential counter-productivity of preemption would no longer be the paramount issue once Iran ‘crossed the line’ toward its pursuit of nuclear weapons (Allin. 2012, 217).

Obama’s Dilemma: Iran, Israel and the Rumors of War.

Allin and Simon asserted that Iran is continuing to progress towards a nuclear-weapons capability (Allin and Simon. 2011, 17).  They also argued that “This progress raised a palpable prospect of war” and there was “every reason to worry that, in the coming years, a fearful Israel will conclude that it is cornered, with no choice but to launch a preventive war aimed at crippling Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure and removing – or at least forestalling – what many Israelis consider a threat to the Jewish state’s very existence” (Allin and Simon. 2011, 17).

The authors asserted that “War, if it comes, will be a tragic consequence of Iran’s recklessness and Israel’s fears. But war would also be, under most scenarios we can envision, a tragic mistake” (Allin and Simon. 2011, 35).  They argue that the likely damage to U.S. and Israeli interests from “an Israeli attack, even if operationally successful, would probably outweigh the benefits” (Allin and Simon. 2011, 35).   The authors go on to provide foreign policy recommendations for the Obama Administration to attempt to contain Iran and Israel (Allin and Simon. 2011, 37).

Allin and Simon concluded by stating that “The compressed coil of disaster linking Iran, Israel and the United States is not the only problem facing the Obama administration, and it may not even be its worst problem. But Iran’s defiance and Israel’s panic are the fuses for a war that could destroy all of Obama’s other ambitions.” (Allin and Simon. 2011, 40).

While these authors provided some interesting assessments regarding the political, economic and national security consequences of using the military option in dealing with Iran, they did not discuss the specific timing of this potential conflict or any details about the current status of Iran’s nuclear program.

 The Path to War

 Calabresi, Crowley, and Newton-Small asserted that President Obama publicly committed to war to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon to persuade Israeli President Netanyahu not to conduct unilateral preemptive strikes (Calabresi, Crowley, and Newton-Small. 2013).  The authors cited a speech on March 4, 2012, delivered to members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in which Obama said “I will not hesitate to use force when necessary to defend United States and its interests” (Calabresi, Crowley, and Newton-Small. 2013).  The authors argue that Obama has worked to “slow or derail” the Iranian nuclear program “through a combination of diplomacy, sanctions and covert action (cyber attacks)” and assert that as of March 2013 he “succeeded in pushing the timeline for war back at least 12 months” (Calabresi, Crowley, and Newton-Small. 2013).

Despite setbacks, these authors reported that Iran continues to expand its nuclear program and enhance defenses its nuclear sites.  Iran erected new perimeter fences around its underground uranium enrichment plant at Qom (Calabresi, Crowley, and Newton-Small. 2013).  The authors cited a U.S. think tank, the Institute for Science and International Security, which said “the earliest Iran could get the Bomb is mid-2014” (Calabresi, Crowley, and Newton-Small. 2013).

If the assessment of these authors is correct, war with Iran will not occur until at least the spring of 2014.  The activity at Qom is of interest.  This is the same the site Allin indicated could trigger Israeli strikes “when sufficient enrichment centrifuges” are installed and “protected under a mountain” (Allin. 2012, 216).  Apparently Israeli munitions cannot penetrate this site.

Iran and Israel: The Avoidable War.

Parsi asserted that “even though Iran and Israel are currently entangled in a strategic rivalry”…”a climactic military confrontation between the two is far from inevitable” (PParsi. 2007, 79).   While the author devoted much of the article discussing Iran’s proxy war with Israel through Hezbollah in Lebanon, the looming possibility of a direct confrontation between these two nations was the main theme.  The author advocated continued efforts towards diplomatic negotiations with Iran to avoid war and suggested “a policy of regional integration” (PParsi. 2007, 85).  Mid-way through the article, the author cited Israel’s deputy defense minister, Ephraim Sneh, who said in 2006 that “War with Iran is inevitable,” it was not a question of if, but when (PParsi. 2007, 81).

This article provided no insights into the likely timing of war between Iran and Israel.  The author apparently is under the delusion it can be avoided.  Ephraim Sneh’s assessment is correct.

 War now? Or war later?

Petrou asserted that the prospect of war between Israel and Iran is very real (Petrou. 2012).  The author cited the October 2012 speech of Israeli President Netanyahu at the United Nations, in which Netanyahu said Iran was “on track to build an atomic bomb by the summer of 2013” (Petrou. 2012).  Petrou dismissed Netanyahu’s alarmist tone but did say “Whether Iran is six months or six years away from being able to produce a bomb, it is closer than it has even been.  Irrespective of (President) Obama’s reluctance to issue ultimatums, Israel’s “red line” on Iran is fast approaching” (Petrou, 2012).

According to Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Program at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London (also cited by Allin. 2012); “The debate in Israel is not between war and peace.  It’s between war now and war later, war unilaterally or war with the United States (support)” (Petrou, 2012).

Literature Review Summary          

Several important clues regarding the likely timing of the war between Israel and Iran were revealed during the review of these six literature sources.   Allin claimed Israel’s political leadership believes a “point of no return” in the Iranian nuclear weapons program will be “when sufficient enrichment centrifuges can be installed at a site near Qom, and protected under a mountain” (Allin. 2012, 216).  Calabresi, Crowley, and Newton-Small indicated that as of March 2013 the war was at least 12 months away; mid-2014 (Calabresi, Crowley, and Newton-Small. 2013).    Petrou reported that as of October 2012 Israeli President Netanyahu stated Iran was “on track to build an atomic bomb by the summer of 2013” (Petrou. 2012).  While these sources provided important clues, more research needed to be conducted to determine the criteria for Israeli assessment of how close Iran is to its “red line.”

Methodology and Research Strategy

 Sources were sought which could shed light on Israeli criteria for determining how close Iran was to producing a nuclear weapon.  Scientific evidence and the assessment of the Israeli government was deemed most important in determining how close Israel was to launching a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Analysis and Findings

Regarding Allin’s claimed “point of no return” “when sufficient enrichment centrifuges can be installed at a site near Qom, and protected under a mountain” (Allin. 2012, 216); members of the Federation of American Scientists reported the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant is built in a mountain near the holy city of Qom (Barzashka and Oelrich. 2010).  Fordow was designed to house 3000 centrifuges (Barzashka and Oelrich. 2010).  In 2010, these scientists estimated it would take over three years to enrich enough uranium at Fordow for an atomic bomb (Barzashka and Oelrich. 2010).  Note: Three years have passed.  And this is not Iran’s only enrichment plant.

According to Kerr, “obtaining fissile material is widely regarded as the most difficult task in building nuclear weapons” (Kerr. 2012).  He claimed that as of August 2012, Iran had produced an amount of low-enriched uranium (LEU) containing up to five percent uranium-235 which, if further enriched, could theoretically produce enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for “several nuclear weapons” (Kerr. 2012).  He added that Iran had also produced LEU containing up to 20 percent uranium-235, but, as of August 2012, “this amount was not sufficient to yield a sufficient amount of weapons-grade HEU for a weapon” (Kerr. 2012).

According to Kerr, “Iran began enriching uranium in the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant in December 2011” (Kerr. 2012) and as of August 12, 2012, Iran had “enriched approximately 65 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 20 percent uranium-235 in the facility” using 696 centrifuges (Kerr. 2012).  Kerr also reported that “as of mid-May 2012, Tehran had used the Natanz commercial facility and the Fordow facility to produce a total of 189.4 kilograms” of uranium enriched up to 20 percent uranium-235 (Kerr. 2012).  Some of this material was reportedly used for fuel in research reactors.  Kerr asserted Iran would need approximately 215 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride containing 20 percent uranium-235 in order to produce approximately 27.8 kilograms of uranium containing 90 percent uranium-235, which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) considers to be the minimum sufficient amount of weapons-grade HEU for a nuclear weapon (Kerr. 2012).

According to Evans, citing reports from the IAEA, nearly 3,000 centrifuges are housed at the Qom site, a holy city where the Islamic messiah (Madji) is supposed to reappear (Evans. 2013, 243).  Evans indicated the Iranians could have enough processed uranium for a nuclear weapon in 2013, at which time they will have reached Netanyahu’s “red line” (Evans, 2013, 243-244).   Evans also provided an IAEA report from November 2012 which stated Iran would have enough 20 percent enriched uranium to “rapidly produce fissile material” for two nuclear weapons by “late 2013 or early 2014” (Evans. 2013, 265).  The IAEA report also revealed Iran would begin operating a reactor in 2014 capable of producing enough weapons-grade plutonium for two warheads per year (Corsi. 2013, 265).

Netanyahu was quoted in a December 11, 2012 press report as saying “I made it clear that once Iran crosses that enrichment threshold, the chances of us effectively stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program would be reduced dramatically.  Iran is…closer to crossing this line and there is no doubt that this will be a major challenge that will have to be addressed next year (in 2013)” (Evans. 2013).

Recent press reporting indicates Netanyahu revised his earlier assessment (Petrou. 2013) and as of July 18, 2013, he believed Iran was 120-days away from nuclear weapons capability (i.e. from Summer 2013 to November 2013) (PRLog. 2013).  Netanyahu said Iran is just 60 kilograms short of crossing his “red line” (PRLog. 2013).  (notation from Dr. Brandt Smith) Netanyahu defined his “red line” as being in possession of 250 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium (PRLog. 2013).  This is enough material for a nuclear weapon (PRLog. 2013).  Iran reportedly currently has 9,300 centrifuges operational at the Natanz enrichment facility and 2,800 centrifuges at their Fordow enrichment facility (aka Qom) (PRLog. 2013).  Netanyahu said in June 2013 Iran possessed 190 kilograms and they now have 200 kilograms (PRLog. 2013).   At the current pace of approximately 11.5 kilograms per month, Iran is four months away for having enough enriched uranium to manufacture a nuclear weapon (PRLog. 2013).   If Israeli leadership believes this assessment is correct, a war with Iran could be initiated by November 2013 (PRLog. 2013).


When will Iran and Israel go to war?  Based on recent scientific assessments and statements of Israeli’s senior leadership, war could be initiated by November 2013.  This is when the Israelis apparently believe Iran will have sufficient fuel to build a nuclear weapon.  History strongly predicts Israel will conduct preemptive strike to attempt to neutralize Iran’s nuclear program.      If what has been in Israel’s history, then we should have no doubt a preemptive strike is imminent.

However, unlike the 1981 or 2007 strikes on Iraqi and Syrian nuclear facilities, targeting Iran’s nuclear program will be much more difficult.  Iran designed its nuclear program to avoid a similar fate as Iraq or Syria by dispersing its redundant sites.  Some are in hardened facilities (like Qom) and it is believed they have additional undiscovered facilities.  So, any Israeli strike would likely initiate an ongoing conflict to “mow the grass” as Iran reconstitutes (Allin. 2012).

The economic and geopolitical impact of a sustained war in the Middle East would be significant.  If the predictions of the prophet Ezekiel play out, Russia (Magog) and other nations will be drawn into this devastating conflict (Ezekiel 38) (Rosenberg, 2006, 162-170).  There is no indication from Ezekiel that the United States intervenes.  Israel will likely conduct unilateral action to defend itself.  However, U.S. policymakers should prepare now for the economic implications of the coming war in the Middle East.


Aghazadeh, Mahdieh (2013). A Historical Overview of Sanctions on Iran and Iran’s Nuclear Program, Journal of Academic Studies, Feb2013-Apr2013, Vol. 14 Issue 56, p137-159. 23p.

Allin, Dana H. (2012). Rumours of War, Survival, Apr/May2012, Vol. 54 Issue 2, p211-220. 10p.

Allin, Dana H. and Simon, Steven (2011). Obama’s Dilemma: Iran, Israel and the Rumours of War, Survival, Dec2010/Jan2011, Vol. 52 Issue 6, p15-44. 30p.

Barzashka, Ivanka and Oelrich, Ivan (2010).  Figuring Out Fordow, Inside Iran’s Enrichment Plans, Nuclear Engineering International Magazine, March 2010 (Both authors are with the Federation of American Scientists).

Berman, Lazar (2013). Netanyahu pledges to thwart Iran ‘before it’s too late’, Times of          Israel, July, 14, 2013 (       before-its-too-late/)(website accessed 17 July 2013)

Calabresi, Massimo, Crowley, Michael, Newton-Small, Jay (2013). The Path To War, Time, 3/11/2013, Vol. 181, Issue 9.

Corsi, Jerome R. (2005). Atomic Iran, How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians, WND Books, Cumberland House Publishing, Nashville, Tennessee, 2005.

Evans, Michael D., with Corsi, Jerome R. (2006). Showdown With Nuclear Iran, Radical  Islam’s Messianic Mission to Destroy Israel and Cripple the United States, Nelson Current, Nashville, Tennessee, 2006.

Evans, Mike (2013). Persia, The Final Jihad, Time Worthy Books, Phoenix, Arizona, 2013.

Ezekiel 38.  The Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 38 (The War of Magog), The Holy Bible, King James Version, World Publishers, Iowa Falls, Iowa.

FNA, 20 Arrested in Connection with Assassination of N. Scientists, Fars News Agency (FNA), July 9, 2013. ( (website accessed July 17, 2013).

Hitchcock, Mark (2007). The Apocalypse of Ahmadinejad, The Revelation of Iran’s Nuclear Prophet, Multnomah Books, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 2007.

Kerr, Paul K. (2012).  Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status, Analyst in Nonproliferation,   Congressional Research Service, October 17, 2012.

PParsi, Trita (2007). Iran and Israel: The Avoidable War. Middle East Policy, Fall 2007, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p79-85. 7p.

Petrou, Michael (2012). War now? Or war later?, Maclean’s, 10/15/2012, Vol. 125, Issue 40.

PRLog (2013).  Iran’s nuclear program will cross Netanyahu’s “red line” in 120 days, Press Release, July 18, 2013 ( (website accessed July 22, 2013)

Rosenberg, Joel C. (2006).  Epicenter, Why the Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Change Your Future, Tyndale Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois, 2006.

Shariatipour, Alireza (2013).  US and Israel created the Stuxnet computer virus to sabotage    Iran’s nuclear energy program, Tehran Chronicle, July 11, 2013.     ( (website accessed July 17, 2013).

Weinblatt, Charles (2012). Iran Vows to Eliminate Israel – Leader Denies Holocaust,   Examiner, September 27, 2012. ( (website accessed July 17, 2013).


Human Trafficking Poses a Threat to US National Security

In addition to outside and insider threats to our national security, one area discussed even less these days due to our debate on healthcare and Republican political goals to decrease the Federal Government’s reach and personal rights and responsibilities, human trafficking in the USA remains a problem.

The United States has many areas of concerns that need to be addressed to maintain our status as the world’s number one super power.  One area in particular is the human trafficking and illegal sex trade industry that creates billions in revenue for organized criminals.  According to the State Department approximately 17,000 individuals are trafficked into the U.S. to support the illegal sex industry (Hodge, 2008).  However, these high figures are just a snap shot or glimpse of the sex trafficking industry within the U.S., because this does not account of the domestic trafficking rates (Hodges, 2008).  This is catastrophic because these criminal violations go unreported and thus making it hard for law enforcement to apprehend the traffickers.  Many of the sex traffickers are importing their victims from around the world and utilizing the U.S. market to exploit these young woman and children ranging from ages 12-25 (Hodges, 2008).

How does human trafficking affect the U.S. and weakens U.S. National Security?

Human traffickers are professional at generating fraudulent documents and creating clandestine locations to house their victims while generating large sums of money.  Traffickers who have access to these types of resources use them to smuggle terrorist, criminals and other illegal goods into the U.S. such as weapons and drugs.  Due to the increasing threats by these organized criminal groups, the U.S. has to increase their law enforcement and intelligence personnel, which creates additional troubles for the U.S. economy.

Additionally, the cost of apprehending, prosecuting and eventual housing of these criminals will drain the federal, state and local economies already hurting from the economic crisis of 2008.  Other areas of concern that will need to be addressed by the U.S. Government are the treatment and aid that will be needed by the victims.  This creates additional cost on the U.S. economy that is working with limited resources. “For example, many of these women suffer from physical and mental breakdowns from engaging in unwanted sexual activity multiple times a day from strangers (Hodges, 2008).   In many instances the victims are mentally handicapped, unhealthy and addicted to drugs by their captors and victimizer (Hodges, 2008).

In conclusion, the U.S. has a serious threat currently and that will only get worse because of human trafficking and other connected criminal activity.  This type of crime can and has lead to countless numbers of illegal aliens being brought into America, and once they have arrived they can cause serious damage.  These damages include possible future terrorist attacks, supplying foreign governments with intelligence, and an increase in U.S. economic problems.  Furthermore, the U.S. needs to find better ways to address the human trafficking within its borders, and increase border security to prevent more illegal’s from entering the country.  Ultimately human trafficking and trafficking in general is a major threat to U.S. National Security.

Hodge, David R. 2008. Sexual trafficking in the united states: A domestic problem with transnational dimensions. Social Work 53, no. 2: 143-52,

If we are to survive as a nation, secure in our borders and homes, attention and action must be given to combat this growing problem.

God Bless America,

Brandt Smith

Qutbism: The Science of Islamist War

Good day to all readers of “Daily Veritatis.” Once again I have the privilege of presenting the research of one of my students. I will protect his identity by identifying him as M.T.

Please take the time to read the entire blog contribution and pass the link and research on to those in your network. I wholeheartedly support the findings in M.T.’s research. I will provide a brief comment at the conclusion of M.T.s contribution to “Daily Veritatis.” You will find my comment directly below the reference list.





The Science of Islamist War





A Research submitted to Dr. Brandt Smith

in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Master of Arts in Intelligence Studies

Academic Specialization: Homeland Security



           “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

                            — Edmund Burke


In the post September 11th, 2001 era, homeland security has been a vital field of national security. In fact, so vital that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was creates as a result of the 9/11 Commission Report in efforts to combat Islamist terrorism. However, in researching and studying Islamist terrorism, whether the focal is al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, al-Shabaab, or virtually any other Islamist terrorist organization, such radicals seem to have parallel ideologies with extremist Islamist thought (Dale 2007, 1). This one particular ideology has evidently been built as the basic foundation and political philosophy of virtually all Islamist terrorist groups, Qutbism. Thus, the thesis and purpose of this research herein seeks to answer, what is Qutbism, what is the role of Qutbism in Islamist extremist groups, and lastly, what is the domestic threat level of Qutbism?

It is hypothesized that Qutbism is an underestimated Islamist political ideology that plays a vital role in extremists groups. It is further hypothesized that the perceived lack of knowledge of Qutbism within USIC and federal law enforcement agencies is a fallacy and a security flaw that must be addressed. Thus, it is believed that the domestic threat level of Qutbism is more concerning than it may presently seem as there does not seem to be many government publications on Qutbism. As a result of the lack of knowledge on Qutbism as a science, the threat level is perceived to be high as the enemy is not known.

The significance of the research herein can only be best articulated by Sun Tzu, “So it is said that if you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one…” (Cleary 2003, 85). It is undoubtedly imperil and vital to national security to know the enemies of the United States. This certainly includes their political and philosophical ideologies, especially if the same ideology is shared by many extremists groups. Understanding how Islamists terrorists think, what their goals are, and how they plan on executing their ideologies can only be beneficial to the homeland security of the United States so as to better be prepared for the future. If one does not know the enemy, how can there be preemptive preparations or counterattacks? Thus, it is deemed crucial herein as a homeland security prerequisite that Qutbism will shed light on Islamist terrorism strategies, and will therefore appropriately prepare the U.S. to implement a counter domestic Islamist terrorism strategy.

Review of the Literature

             On seeking to build the basic foundations of this research, the quest for credible sources was crucial for the integrity of the findings and conclusion of the research question. The sources sought after herein include scholarly, peer-reviewed articles of credible journals, independent research by non-profit organizations, and one government publication that all have their references available. In addition, government publication was deemed a prerequisite variable as a determent to assess the acknowledged threat level. The U.S. Army War College defines Qutbism,

Qutbism refers to the writings of Sayyid Qutb and other Islamic theoreticians, e.g., Abul Ala Maududi and Hassan al Banna that provide the intellectual rationale underpinning Islamic-Fascism. Qutbism is not a structured body of thought from any single person (despite its name), source, time, or sect; rather it is a fusion of puritanical and intolerant Islamic orientations that include elements from both the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam that have been combined with broader Islamist goals and methodologies. Qutbism integrates the Islamist teachings of Maududi and al Banna with the arguments of Sayyid Qutb to justify armed jihad in the advance of Islam, and other violent methods utilized by twentieth century militants. Qutbism advocates violence and justifies terrorism against non-Muslims and apostates in an effort to bring about the reign of God. Others, i.e., Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Abdullah Azzam, and Osama bin Laden built terrorist organizations based on the principles of Qutbism and turned the ideology of Islamic-Fascism into a global action plan (Dale 2007, 2).

In the opinion of the author, this excerpt from the writings of Colonel Dale C. Eikmeier is perhaps the best definition and brief understanding of Qutbism. In fact, from conducting academic inquiries for the purpose of this research, this definition and study of Qutbism is found to be rare among the West, particularly the United States.

The reason Qutbism is named after Sayyid Qutb, although it is a combination of Islamist thought of several radical authors, Qutb is accredited to be the father for combining the works of the other authors along with his, thereby laying the foundations of the thoughts as a condensed science. In fact, “It was his disillusionment with the corrupt parliamentary democracy of pre-Revolution Egypt that led him to turn to Islam as the solution to all problems” (Soage 2009, 1). Turning to Islam, Qutb sought after his religion and in doing so studied the works of Abul Ala Maududi and Hassan al Banna (Dale 2007, 1). Coming across this information, it was crucial to study such basic foundations utilized by Qutb. Such include Jihad in Islam, by Abul Ala Maududi,

In reality Islam is a militant ideology and programme which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals…. Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it. It must be evident to you from this discussion that the objective of Islamic “Jihad” is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its stead an Islamic system of State rule. Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single State or a few countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution (Maududi 1930, 8-9).

Parallel, “al Banna… believed, like Maududi, that a revival of ‘pure Islam’ was the antidote to Western domination and a cure for the malady infecting the Muslim World” (Stanley 2005). At this point of the research, the basic foundation of Qutbism was defined, and thus, laid were the foundations of the first section of the research question.

Seeking to answer the second section, on the role of Qutbism in Islamist groups, Fawaz A. Gerges, a Christian Middle Eastern scholar on Islamist terrorism, after interviewing various Muslim terrorists, explained that Qutbism taught Jihad to Islamists and was the driving force of al-Qaeda as it was utilized by Abdullah Azzam and Ayman al-Zawahiri, who first introduced Qutbism to Osama bin Laden as they were disciples of Sayyid Qutb (Gerges 2005). This is crucial to understanding the role of Qutbism as a tool of both thought and practice. Qutbism utilizes the Quran and Muhammad’s Hadith as their sources to practice and implement its beliefs. But if Qutbism is utilized as a tool, what is its current threat level? To answer this part of the research question, it was crucial to understand to what extent is Qutbism a tool? In other words, what practical methodologies does Qutbism teach?

Evidently, Qutbism laid the foundations of the “far enemy first” after the “near enemy strategy” (Faraj 1979). Al Banna and Qutb’s Qutbism taught that local state governments should first be targeted. For example, local Islamists such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad would target the secular government of Sadat which ended with the death of the Egyptian president. Such similar incidents are paralleled across the Muslim and Arab world, the Greater Middle East. Local terrorist cells would target their own secular governments, although predominantly managed by Muslim administrators. Over the long term, however, the “near enemy strategy,” while having immediate operational successes, proved to be not as effective as “far enemy first” strategies. In fact, the “near enemy strategy” often ends in government crackdowns on the local terrorists’ cells. Realizing this was problematic, al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden built on Qutbism, thereby refining it, to implement the “far enemy first” strategy, which was thereby observed in the Afghan mujahedeen conflict that prevailed over the Soviets (Faraj 1979).

On the progression of answering the research question, to adequately assess the threat of Qutbism, if fully implemented, what would life be like under Qutb’s belief? In other words, what is life under Sharia law as quested by the purpose of Qutbism? Qutb taught that Islam is “… an ‘integral’ or ‘total’ system that controls all aspects of life and responds to all human needs. He believed that the Sharia is not limited to laws, but includes everything God has dictated to organize human life: creed, government, ethics, behavior, knowledge” (Soage 2009, 4). In other words, life for all under Sharia law would be strictly Islamist, those who steal will have their arms cut, those who kill, shall be killed, while those who read will be mandated to read only Islamist texts (Soage 2009, 4). Children can only be taught Islamism, there will not be freedom of speech, nor the right to appeal or protest, and all non-Muslims must convert or pay the jizya, infidel tax paid by non-Muslims to the Muslim state or community so as continue practicing the non-Muslim faith (Soage 2009, 4). Failure to pay as asked results in swift Sharia justice, death.

In understanding more on the threat of Qutbism, its offensive jihad must be diligently studied. Qutbism teaches that “…the entire world, including the Muslim, was in a state of jahiliyah, or ignorance where man’s way had replaced God’s way… since jahiliyah and Islam cannot co-exist, offensive jihad was necessary to destroy jahiliyah society and bring the entire world to Islam. Until jahiliyah is defeated, all true Muslims have a personal obligation to wage offensive Jihad” (Dale 2007, 5). Evidently, terrorism through jihad herein is not out of frustration, Western colonialism, or Western imperialism as perceived in West, but rather, as an Islamist duty to offensively wage war against all non-Muslims in efforts to expand the Umma, the Muslim world (Qutb 1964).

While many people are familiar with the concept of jihad, most are not familiar with a parallel Qutb concept, although it is often heard on jihadi execution videos, takfir. Takfir herein is the excommunication of apostates, Muslim government administrators and religious scholars who do not follow Qutbism (Dale 2007, 5). Such individuals, while they are Muslim by name, are not considered friends of Islam, and thus, their death is not only a duty, but often glorious as a sacrifice to Allah. As the U.S. Army War College explains, “The takfir concept along with ‘offensive jihad’ became a blank check for any Islamic extremist to justify killings against anyone” (Dale 2007, 5). Clearly, Qutbism is the language of extremists for not only radicals, but simply those who follow Islam as mandated by Muhammad. Radicals have not created Qutbism as a different Islamic thought, but rather, used the Quran as their source.

Methodology and Research Strategy

In seeking a methodology to appropriately conduct the present research to answer the focal of the present study, a systematic and qualitative approach was deemed crucial for implementation. First the research question was divided in three parts respectively, what is Qutbism, what is the role of Qutbism in Islamist extremist groups, and lastly, what is the domestic threat level of Qutbism. Each segment was a variable in question. The objective was to gather the appropriate sources that were perceived to answer all three segments appropriately. Thus, in finding the sources, the objective was not to simply seek out sources that solely elaborated on Qutbism, but rather, the different parts of the research question required different forms of sources. In addressing the first segment of the research as an independent variable, what is Qutbism, it was difficult to find the proper sources as many discussed Sayyid Qutb as the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, yet it was difficult finding credible sources that defined his thought process as the science of Qutbism. Some of the best sources utilized for this segment of the research question were books and articles written by the founders of Qutbism, Qutb, al Banna, and Maududi.

On addressing the second segment of the research question, the sources sought after needed to be practical and not simply theoretical. The role of Qutbism is surprisingly a dependent and not an independent one as it is contingent on in depth knowledge of the authors of the sought after sources. For instance, different authors may depict the role of Qutbism differently. It was therefore crucial to find published works of the founders of Qutbism, Qutb, al Banna, and Maududi. The role of Qutbism is a variable based on the understanding and is not only a school of thought, but also a way of implemented practice. Thus, as mentioned in the literature review, a brief case study was utilized on explaining how Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda employed Qutbism. This required sources that studied al-Qaeda under a Qutbist lens. Lastly, assessing the overall domestic threat level of Qutbism was the last segment of the research question because it required significant knowledge of the adversary’s ideology, from its basic definition and founding radicals, to its practical methods of terrorism and strategies.

Other variables herein were slightly difficult to identify as they were not measurable, but rather, perceived. Public federal sources were rare, and thus, the lack of public sources from federal civilian intelligence and law enforcement agencies questioned to what extent did the federal civilian government acknowledge the threat of Qutbism given its lack of geographic boundaries? Thankfully, the U.S. Army’s War College explained that Qutbism was under the Department of Defense’s microscope, at least to a certain point. While the understanding of Qutbism was not difficult from an academic lens, understanding the role of Qutbism required in depth research of not the “what” of Qutbism, but rather the “how.” The qualitative data discovered was truly eye opening although considerable knowledge of Qutbism and Sayyid Qutb was a prerequisite. Nevertheless, the knowledge proved significant to answering the research question, including perhaps the most important segment of the research question, what is the domestic threat level of Qutbism.

The limitations discovered herein through this research are undoubtedly the lack of government publications on Qutbism as a science. There were a lot of government sources that studied Sayyid Qutb, but only one accessible studied his ideology as a school of thought for terrorism implemented by virtually all domestic and international Islamist groups. This is a flaw, not only for this research, but as elaborated greater in the analysis and findings of this research. The lack of government sources is evident of the lack of acknowledgement of Qutbism as a threat to national security. The inevitable question at this point is to what extent can a research such as the present influence the U.S. government, and perhaps, generally the West, of the threat of Qutbism?

Analysis and Findings

The purpose of the analysis and findings of this research inevitably seeks to implement change, both in academic thought on Qutbism, as much as federal implementation and reform of intelligence and security hardening policies as a countermeasure. Understanding Qutbism from an academic lens is a matter of in depth research. However, from an empirical lens, seeking to grasp the totality of the circumstantial threat level is far more perceptive as an art than a science. Some Islamist organizations openly disclose and accredit their current ideologies as either completely based on Qutbism, or as its derivative, after refining certain tactics and strategies for contemporary usage. Nevertheless, the ideologies of Qutbism have been witnessed within all Islamist terrorist organizations, including by those who openly seek to spread it as much as those who conceal it (Dale 2007, 1). It may be slightly harder to understand the ideologies of various Islamist terrorist organizations, but indeed, their actions speak louder than words. Islamists terrorist organizations may not necessarily preach or implement Qutbism as a conscious science, but regardless, their ideologies have been based on Qutbism. It must be noted though, that most terrorist organizations do study Qutbism as their root foundation. The role of Qutbism in Islamist terrorist organizations has been well perceived and understood in this research, but the focal of understanding its role was to assess its threat level and this is truly the more concerning of the finding.

If Qutbism is a radical Islamist thought threatening all non-Muslims and secular Muslims under takfir as discussed earlier, to what extent is it a threat to the United States? A study of the more than twelve hundred mosques in the United States concluded that roughly eighty percent of them preach Qutbism (U.S. Mosques 2013). This is undoubtedly frightening. This raises many more questions, mostly questioning the lack of effective measures by the U.S. federal government on their lack of actions that permit such radicals to enter, regroup, and execute radical preaching. Is there a difference between freedom of speech and legal loopholes that Islamist terrorist organizations utilize to implement Qutbism? But there is more to Qutbism than radical preaching as described earlier. Since the horrendous attacks on September 11th, 2001, there have been thirty four terrorist attacks by Islamist terrorists on the contiguous United States (ITAOAS 2013).

At this point, one may ask, what is more concerning, the existence of a threat, or the lack of knowledge of the existence of that same threat? When searching for sources on the subject of Qutbism for the purpose of this research, the first sought after sources were government publications on Qutbism. Unfortunately, however, there were sources on Sayyid Qutb but only one on Qutbism as a science by a DOD branch, the U.S. Army War College. No such public parallel sources seem to exist in any federal civil law enforcement or intelligence agency. It is hoped that the U.S. federal government may have such knowledge but may be concealing. As expected, there are no such sources on Qutbism, or even Sayyid Qutb, by state, county, or local law enforcement or intelligence task forces. If local law enforcement is the first responders, should they not be aware of Qutbism? The findings of Qutbism are far more than just organized terrorists cells and extremists groups, it is often more dispersed. Sayyid Qutb taught that all Muslims are to attack the non-Muslims and secular Muslims under offensive jihad and takfir. This is not only an Islamic duty of organized Islamists terrorist organization and parties, but rather the struggle, jihad that every Muslim should personally pursue independently, thereby creating lone wolves to, “…rally ordinary Muslims to global jihad…” (Dale 2007, 7). Evidently, the more one researches on the role of Qutbism in contemporary Islamist terrorism, the more one can understand how contemporary Islamist terrorism has come to be what it presently is. What is more concerning though, what Islamist terrorism is, or the lack of knowledge of their existence as a threat which presently leads to failing to act appropriately?

This research has found that Qutbism is the basis of all Islamist terrorism and failure to study it diligently is predicted to be the key reason why the United States is on a road to demise from within since the threat has been proven to have entered the United States. The understanding of Qutbism through this research in collaboration with the findings that the U.S. federal government is not properly and fully informed of Qutbism is proving to be a key reason on the failure of preventative measures by federal and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Preemptive measures is the key to addressing any enemy, and the United States cannot do so if it does not know the mindset of the enemy, the tactics utilized, and the existence of the enemy in the United States, both organized and dispersed.

The objective of Qutbism is a way of life as explained earlier, seeking to implement a Sharia Umma where the following would immediately be reformed in the U.S., those who drink would be whipped, husbands are not only permitted to hit their wives, but rather they are encouraged to do so as commanded by Mohammed, an eye for an eye justice system ensures that all robbers must be crucified or mutilated, homosexuals must be executed, unmarried fornicators and adulterers are to be stoned to death, non-Muslims are to convert to Islam, pay the jizya, or be put to death, and last but not least, an offensive jihad is a religious duty (Qutb 1964). This is only a small fraction of the fullness and unethical laws of Sharia to be implemented through Qutbism.   While most Americans would certainly not wish such laws to be fulfilled, and since the government is a representation of the American people, is the U.S. government presently fulfilling its duties in protecting the American way life?


In retrospect, the purpose of this study herein sought to answer the following research question, what is Qutbism, what is the role of Qutbism in Islamist extremist groups, and lastly, what is the domestic threat level of Qutbism? It was hypothesized that Qutbism is an underestimated Islamist political ideology that plays a vital role in extremists groups. It is also rightfully hypothesized that the perceived lack of knowledge of Qutbism within USIC and federal law enforcement agencies is a fallacy and a security flaw that must be addressed. This was the focal of the research paper, keeping in mind the embedded words to Sun Tzu, “So it is said that if you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one…” (Cleary 2003, 85). Understanding how Islamists terrorists think, what their goals are, and how they plan on executing their ideologies can only be beneficial to the homeland security of the United States so as to better be prepared for the future. If one does not know the enemy, how can there be preemptive preparations or counterattacks?

Qutbism is the basis of all Islamist terrorism, a way of life to all. Failure to acknowledge it as a science utilized by Islamists is predicted to be the leading cause of the failure of the United States’ efforts in combating domestic and international terrorism. One cannot adequately fight an enemy whose tactics, ideologies, and weapons are unknown. All must be equally studied so as to grasp the empirical image of the adversary. This research sought to address different variables of Qutbism, sub variables within Qutbism, and hypothetical situations if Qutbism was to be successful, the implementation of Sharia law.

As a result of this research, many questions have been asked that would make exceptionally prudent studies to homeland security. A great future research would conduct a case study of the full implementation of Sharia law. Such a study would examine under a close lens of what life is like under Sharia law in the Greater Middle East. Such a study would further seek to predict the outcome of Sharia law if implemented in the United States. The significance of such a research would seek to better depict the life of the future threat in efforts to educate the general public in addition to federal and local law enforcement and intelligence professionals. Another future research may seek to question the influence of the media on Qutbism. The media is predicted to play a vital role in the spread of terrorism, and its success. For example, if the media did not broadcast terrorist attacks, would terrorists truly be successful if no fear was instilled in the lives of the living and survivors? This is certainly based on the general academic definition of the success of terrorism, seeking to instill fear in the living and not the dead. In the end, the research studied varying avenues of Qutbism, and it is planned that a future research will be built on the present study, utilizing the information obtained herein for supplementary findings. One is left to ponder, however, if Qutbism is the implementation of Islam, utilizing the Quran and teachings of Muhammad, are Islamist terrorists truly radicals or are they simply devout Muslims?    






2013. “Islamic Terror Attacks on American Soil.” The Religion of Peace (Accessed October 1, 2013).

2013. “U.S. Mosques.” The Clarion Project (Accessed October 1, 2013)

Abd al-Salam Faraj. 1979. The Neglected Duty. Egypt.

Cleary, Thomas, trans. 2003. The Art of War. Boston: Shambhala Publications.

Dale, Eikmeier. 2007. “Qutbism: An Ideology of Islamic-Fascism.” U.S. Army War College Quarterly. Accessed October 1, 2013.

Gerges, Fawaz. 2005. The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global. New York: Cambridge University Press

Maududi, Abul Ala. 1930. Jihad in Islam. Lahore, Pakistan: Islamic Publications

Qutb, Sayyid. 1964. “Milestones on the Road.” Accessed October 1, 2013.

Soage, Ana Belen. 2009. “Islamism and Modernity: The Political Thought of Sayyid Qutb.” Totalitarian Movements & Political Religions 10, no. 2: 189-203. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed October 1, 2013).

Stanley, Trevor. 2005. “Hassan al-Banna: Founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ikhwan al-Muslimun.” Accessed October 1, 2013.


Comments by Brandt: There is generally always backlash and criticism when new information is presented. I expect to receive some of these comments. However, criticism does not negate the information presented in this research. I hope you will circulate my blog to all your social media network friends as well as the link to anyone you want to read this information.

Our days are numbered if we refuse to engage and become active in the affairs of our nation.

Best wishes,

Brandt Smith


Today I am featuring the work of one of my students, Thomas De Veer Kruklis. His work is outstanding and needs a broader audience. Invite your contacts to read “DailyVeritatis” You will find the content interesting and informative. Enjoy!



 This multicultural approach, saying that we simply live side by side and live happily with each other has failed. Utterly failed.

-Angela Merkel (speaking out in reference of political correctness)

For centuries, Islamic ideology and the argument for and against progressive fundamentalism has caused many rifts and divisions in the Muslim world.  Nevertheless, many Muslim countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe have either adopted or attempted to implement secularism.  However, this is not without significant strife leading to conflict and division in the population.  Other nations have chosen to enforce Islam as its state religion instead.  This has led to controversy and significant argument in the Western countries between those that argue for political correctness and equality, and those arguing that Muslims are changing the cultural landscape.  Common questions in the minds of policymakers include “How far can fundamentalist Islam be practiced without interfering with the daily lives and cultures of our countries?” and “Is there a politically correct way to implement laws that address the radicalization of Islam?”

             “Radicalization is a process of adopting an extremist system of values combined with expressing approval, support for, or use of violence and intimidation as a method of achieving changes in society or encouraging others to such acts” (Szlachter, 2012).  The final stage or/of radicalization is the actual undertaking of a terrorist act.  Needless to say, significant research has been done and still needs to be done before we can attempt to address this problem.  Many published writers and clerics have argued for the radicalization of Islam, citing the Quran and some going as far as calling for a Jihad, or a holy war.  Still, many other published authors have taken the stance calling for an end to the bloodshed, and acceptance of a more secular society.  When addressing these issues, one needs to consider the problems that could result in allowing citizens to practice a more radical form of Islam.  Conversely, the same can be said about the repercussions of denying such persons their freedom of speech and right to practice said religion.  This research aims to address the hypothesis that a variety of individual and ideological factors as well as motivations lead a person to radicalism. Furthermore, this article will address what motivations and specific factors cause an individual to become interested in waging jihad and the implications our Military faces today when addressing these individuals.

The overall consensus is that there is not a single pathway or method in which an individual becomes radicalized, but multiple. “Several efforts have been made, however, to articulate a general sequence of stages, events, or issues that might apply across and within group types” (Borum, 2011). Several pieces of literature listed below reference the different methods a person obtains extremist points of view.

In “American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat”, Jerome Bjelopera explores and describes how difficult it is to tackle the problem of radicalization and extremism. He writes that “Intermediaries, social networks, the Internet, and prisons have been cited as playing key roles in the radicalization process”. Furthermore, “Intermediaries – charismatic individuals – often help persuade previously law-abiding citizens to radicalize or even become violent jihadists” (Bjelopera, 2011).  An example of a charismatic individual and a key Islamic charismatic influencer of the 20th century was Sayyid Qutb. Qutb was an Egyptian scholar and key leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.  While many argue that he advocated for a peaceful fundamentalist movement, “his explanation of such concepts as tawhid, Islamic society and the infidelity of Muslim rulers may have added a further impetus to the charge of extremism” (Ushama, 2007).  The Social Movement Theory supports the hypothesis that charismatic leaders can sway groups to a cause.  In this theory “Individuals would “join” a movement because they passively succumbed to these overwhelming forces” (Borum, 2011). While these charismatic authors, intermediaries, as well as social networks do persuade people to adopt a more fundamental and ultimately radical approach to Islam, they are certainly not the only factor.

Another important factor that must be considered is where the individual studied or grows up.  Individuals who study in groups at madrasas in say, Pakistan, Afghanistan or certain places in Indonesia, have a much greater exposure to radical ideas than do individuals at other nations where a large portion of their population is Muslim.  Furthermore, whenever these individuals are fully immersed into a group with these same beliefs, they feel less responsible for their actions.  “If an individual acts violently within the context –or in the name– of a group, the mere presence of the group may diminish his perceived agency and therefore lower the acceptable threshold for violent behavior” (McCauley and Segal, 1987).  The madrassas where these individuals study are oftentimes funded by wealthy individuals and NGO’s, and often provide their students who otherwise would live in poverty, meals and an allowance.  Conversely, someone who has their upbringing in a more westernized Islamic-majority nation such as Kosovo or Turkey has a much lesser exposure to these radical teachings.

The last key aspect that leads people to radicalism is ideology.  Ideology essentially means a set of ideas that forms a person’s core beliefs. The Conversion Theory focuses “less on the collective movement, and more on the individual process of transforming beliefs and ideologies” (Borum, 2011).  For example, the same way a Christian might believe in Jesus Christ as being the Savior, a Jew may adamantly oppose him ever being born.  Similarly, some Islamic fundamentalists believe that there is no greater honor and reward than becoming a martyr while waging jihad.  This may happen progressively through the life experiences of an individual or through teachings said individual receives.  The scholarly article “Muslim Education, Celebrating Islam and Having Fun as Counter-Radicalization Strategies in Indonesia” explains how ideology leads to terrorism.  For example, “Sunni Muslim extremists combine jihadi radicalism with Wahhabi teachings” and as a result, “Wahhabism and terrorism are now clearly linked” (Woodward, Rohmaniyah, Amin and Coleman, 2010).

As stated in the introduction, significant research has already been done to determine the cause of radicalization. These studies have taken the quantitative approach; using statistics to determine what individuals are more at risk, as well as qualitative approaches; involving large studies of the Quran by theologians as well as psychologists attempting to draw a link between the human psyche and terrorism.  While we have made several advances in understanding this elusive enemy, we cannot come to a decisive conclusion.  “In a series of hard-learned lessons, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency forces confronted the realization that, even as they were steadily removing bad guys from battlespace, the adversary forces were continuing to replenish and expand” (Borum, 2011).  While we should continue to further attempt to understand who we are dealing with, the famous saying of “know thine enemy” does not apply here as we will likely never fully know this enemy.  Wars have been fought because of religion since the beginning of humanity, and they are likely to continue.

This paper utilizes several theories involving psychology, ideology, and even the writings of the Quran itself to provide a basic framework of what causes radicalism. The dependent variable in this study is radicalism itself, while the independent variables are individual upbringing, ideology, and personal motivations.

After studying several scholarly writings and reviewing various cases of Islamists within the ranks of the US Military and government, it can be assessed that a radical government is the result of a distorted and biased view of the Quran.  To further expand on this, there are actually several passages in the Quran that argue for a secular government that voices its support for human rights, a representative government, and the rule of law. The 2008 book “Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Sharia” by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im provides several examples listed below:

  1. “Shura, the notion that leaders should consult with the general public” (An-Na’im, 2008).
  2. “Abolishing penalties against apostasy and heresy in the name of greater religious freedom” (An-Na’im, 2008).
  3. “Mu’awada, the principle of reciprocity and mutual respect” (An-Na’im, 2008).
  4. “A repudiation of the dhimma system to give equal citizenship rights to non-Muslims living in Muslim lands” (An-Na’im, 2008).

At the individual level, there are several theories that explain the human psychology and why/how an individual becomes radicalized and chooses to join an extremist group.  These psychological factors are explained in several theories: the Social Movement Theory, the Social Psychology theory, and the Conversion Theory.  Examples of each are given in the Literature Review Section in the contexts of the different articles and books reviewed.  “Moghaddam, drawing broadly from a variety of psychological constructs, developed the “Staircase to Terrorism” as a metaphor for the process of violent radicalization” (Borum, 2011). The model is displayed on the left.

Moghaddam’s model is intended to facilitate the viewer in understanding how individuals go through the stages (or steps in the staircase) and become radicalized. As you get higher up the steps, the number of individuals dwindles, hence the fact that in some countries people are motivated enough to burn American flags and speak out against the U.S. but unwilling to actually take action.

What is the right solution to address a growing trend of Jihadist sects from throughout the world and even within the United States?  This is a tough question with significant political intrigue behind it.  To properly explain the situation; the article entitled “Problems in the U.S. Military” explains that the political and military’s tolerance of extremist forms of Islam within the United States Military is immense.  For example, when Major Hasan showed various signs and rhetoric pointing to his intent to kill fellow service members, his ideological views were welcomed by his superiors, who celebrated his cultural diversity and claimed that there was much we could learn from him.  This all culminated with him communicating with Al-Qaeda affiliated personnel, stating that “Even when Hasan’s communication with al-Qaeda’s Anwar al-Awlaki put him on the radar of terrorism task forces, it had little effect on the rose-colored narrative” (Rusin, 2013). 

Such is the Army’s attempts to culturally accommodate these groups, that they have gone as far as denying the evangelist Franklin Graham to participate in a national prayer service, they have allowed JROTC students to wear Islamic garbs in their uniforms, issued handbooks to soldiers seemingly justifying Jihad simply as “defense of Islam”, and continued to allow radical Muslim groups to certify chaplains. While further research is needed to assess political correctness in the civilian level, there should be a more clearly defined role of how these religious challenges should be addressed in the military.  In order to fully understand how to address these challenges, the Military must first clearly realize that jihad is the enemy and extremists with a jihad mentality often result in terrorism.  Our sensitivities to Islam have caused our military leadership to not fully define radicalism as an enemy and thus fail to understand our enemy. “By bending to Islamists’ appeals for religious sensitivity, these leaders ignore the most crucial lesson of the Fort Hood massacre: Political correctness can kill” (Rusin, 2013).

Brandt’s comment: There is a battle being fought today unlike any we have known before. It is a battle for the “mind” and beliefs of the American people. Situational awareness is one step in the right direction. An unidentified war is not won.


An-Na’im, Abdullahi Ahmed. 2010 “Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari’a.” Harvard University Press, 336 pages

Bjelopera, Jerome P. 2013. “American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat.” Congressional Research Service: Report 1-137. International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed September 20, 2013).

 Borum, Randy. 2011. “Radicalization into Violent Extremism I: A Review of Social Science Theories.” Journal Of Strategic Security 4, no. 4: 7-36. International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed October 1, 2013).

 Borum, Randy. 2011. “Radicalization into Violent Extremism II: A Review of Conceptual Models and Empirical Research.” Journal Of Strategic Security 4, no. 4: 37-61. International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed September 30, 2013).

 Borum, Randy. 2011. “Rethinking Radicalization.” Journal Of Strategic Security 4, no. 4: 1-6. International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed October 4, 2013).

 Falkenburg, Luke. 2013. “On the brink: The resurgence of militant Islam in Central Asia.” Small Wars & Insurgencies 24, no. 3: 375-393. International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed September 6, 2013).

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Interview with G & F (Initials of first names will be used to protect the participant’s identity). Following an October 31st attack, I was able to bring two men down to COS Kalsu for a meeting and interview. At the time, no one knew the common history G and I shared.

This interview took place on December 2, 2010. The emotion of what happened in that church was still raw. It was one of the saddest interviews I conducted during my second deployment.

Topic: Christian Persecution and Migration


 Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): 

 Iraq’s Christian community is experiencing increased persecution

  • Fear among Christians has increased substantially in the last month
  • Many Christians question whether they can trust their own government to provide them the security they need to live peacefully in Iraq

Social Scientist Smith and Research Manager J of HTT10 recently coordinated an interview with two Iraqi Christians who head a local NGO in part of 3d ACR’s AO.  

The subjects drove down to COS Kalsu from Baghdad arriving at EPC 1 at 0800 on 2Dec2010.  This was their first visit to COS Kalsu and entry was time consuming, but processed through with no difficulty.  The memo prepared by the BDOC was expedited and approved in less than 3 hours.

The purpose of this interview was to gain insight into the current increased wave of violence against the Christian community in Iraq.  “G” was an eyewitness to the recent attack on the church, Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad 31Oct2010.

The following account was presented to HTTIZ10 and offered as information to be added to the current body of knowledge.

SS Smith:  G, in your own words, please give your account of what happened on the evening of 31Oct2010 while you were attending the services at your church.

G:  Our church has a group of security guards who stand at the doors to insure the safety of our members.  There were eight men on duty that night.  Next door at the financial securities office there were also 6-8 professional guards standing watch at that business.  At approximately 5:30 PM I heard some noise outside and went to investigate.  Within minutes our church was overwhelmed by eight terrorists who killed our security guards and entered the church.  One terrorist went up to the top of the church, he was the sniper.  He had the perfect vantage point to kill anyone coming to the church to help the people inside.  There were 4 terrorists with suicide vests on who came into the main worship center.  The other four had grenades and guns.  One was on the roof, seven were in the main area where the church members where gathered.  Soon after they entered the church they quickly killed the two youngest priests.  They shot the older priest, but he was only wounded.  Once the main doors were closed we were trapped and these men controlled the entire church.  This is when they started killing the members.  There were about 200 people inside during this time.  There was blood everywhere and many people were dead within minutes.  Some people just lay among the dead pretending to be dead while the gunmen continued to kill as many Christians as possible.  I remember a four month old child lying on the floor crying and these men just walked over and killed that innocent baby.  It was a slaughter.  The men were all killed first. Then they started killing the women. Often we heard the attackers shouting, “Allah akbar” as they were killing as many people as possible.

 SS Smith:  How long did this killing spree last?

 G:  The killing lasted for 4 hours.  The Iraqi Army had arrived outside as did several Iraqi police, but did not enter the church.  They were waiting for orders before they took control.  This is what we don’t understand.  Why did they not help the people on the inside?  What was the reason for not rushing on in and helping the members of the church?  

Forty to sixty people were hiding in the back room behind the altar at the front of the church where the priest changes into his robes.  After the terrorists realized there were people in the back room, they threw grenades in on them.  All the suicide bombers were successful.  The last suicide bomber was a 12 year old boy.  At the end of the ordeal this boy climbed up onto the altar and pulled the cross down and shouted like the other terrorists, “Allah akbar.” He then pushed his button and killed himself.

SS Smith: What is the feeling of the survivors now?

G:  Well, it was a dark night.  Al Qaida considers this their most successful attack on Christians to date.  Fifty-three people died inside our church including that 4 month old baby.  Sixty-one others were seriously injured and taken to the hospital for treatment.  One victim was an 85 year old woman. 

This was an organized and planned attack.  After a few days, attacks continued at the homes of many Christians.  One Christian widow told me how a bomb went off in front of her home and she rushed her four children up to the roof of her house and jumped to the rooftop of her neighbor’s house.  She narrowly escaped with her children.  They have not returned to their home leaving with only the clothes on their back. 

SS Smith:  What is happening now in the Christian community around Iraq?

G:  Christians are leaving Baghdad and surrounding areas.  They are traveling up to the north of Iraq or trying to get out.  These events are our history.  Many minorities have had this experience. 

F:  Years ago it was the Jews and then the Iranian-Iraqis. I remember hearing an old Jewish person say, “Sunday follows Saturday” a reference to the persecution to come for Christians.  We are now experiencing this more and more.

G:  Economically we are also being oppressed.  The value of our homes and businesses is dropping.  Realtors are telling non-Christians “do not buy the property of Christians now, wait.  Tomorrow when they are gone it will all be free.”  What can we do?  Even some religious leaders are telling the people not to buy from Christian businesses.  Eventually the goods and products will be abandoned and free for the taking.

SS Smith:  What is next for the Iraqi Christians, for you?

G:  My NGO is helping these fearful Christians flee to the north.  I am helping them with blankets and food.  We are also providing transportation to as many people as possible to travel out to Christian villages.  We currently have over 500 Christian families up north and 300 families moving into villages that are Christian.  One priest has signed over 600 baptism certificates for members of various churches so we can join other churches and prove our Christian faith.

The Christians who can leave Iraq are trying to get out to other countries.  However, we are being sold out by the Iraqi government who says we are not persecuted.  This is a setback for our refugee status.  We are like a ball being kicked around by our government and the governments of other countries since our status is not clear.

Conclusion:  SS Smith submits this interview as responsibly as possible.  Many people have suffered in Iraq.  Suffering is not new to the Iraqi people.  Stability and security is not equally experienced across many areas of Iraq.  Awareness of the problem and intervention by the Iraqi Police and Security Forces should be encouraged to protect all of Iraq’s people.

 What I present in this posting continues in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and other countries where Islam is on the move. Centuries of co-existence has ended.

As more emphasis is placed on Shari’a Law and Muslim domination, the greater persecution Christians will experience.

Awakened by what I have witnessed,

Dr. C. Brandt Smith, Jr.



Check out the Associated Press report on violence in Iraq (

I predicted continued violence in Iraq post US Forces departure. Here is what I wrote in 2011 in my book, “Iraq Cradle of Errors” (,

“On September 6, 2011 a plan was announced to cut U.S. Force presence in Iraq to 3,000 personnel by the end of the year. As stated, I invested over 5 years of my life in Iraq and loved most every day of my time in country. But, when it was time to go…I was more than ready. I suspect every Soldier deployed to Iraq felt elated to depart theater for home.
However, leaving 3,000 Soldiers to conduct training will be a strategic mistake. Concentrating our troops at what is known as the “VBC” or Victory Base Complex does not allow for adequate coverage to meet all the training needs throughout the country. I know that can’t possibly be the plan, but with the U.S. Embassy located in Baghdad, we will need many of our Soldiers nearby.
The opposite is also true, spreading our troops out countrywide does not allow for adequate force protection. Though combat operations ceased in 2010, no one informed the insurgents and al-Qaida leaving our Soldiers to operate with new ‘rules of engagement’ and constantly on the receiving end of hostilities. It is neither right nor fair to our Troops.
Make no mistake regarding the next series of events to take place in Iraq:

  • Sectarian violence will spin out of control
  •  The Iraqi Police and Iraq Army will default to their previous comfort level
  • Iraqi citizens will suffer extreme acts of terrorism
  • U.S. Forces will be pulled back into Iraq to continue providing national security which will mean more lost lives
  • Iran will offer military support, seizing the moment Regional neighbors will lose confidence in the Government of Iraq (GOI)

This is my personal opinion. I hope I am wrong. I doubt I am.

Associated Press, October 2, 2013 states, “UN: Nearly 1,000 Iraqis killed last month, up 22% from August.” Further stating, “Sectarian bloodshed has surged to levels not seen in Iraq since 2008. More than 5,000 people have been killed since April 2013.”

What is not being reported in most media rags is the persecution of Christians. Readers will often see reports of Sunni/Shi’a violence, but where is the outrage in reference to Iraq’s Christian Community?

I will be posting a follow up post today regarding an interview I conducted capturing the violence on Iraqi Christians from Muslim extremists. I think you will find it wrenching.









C. Brandt Smith, Jr., PhD


The Associated Press headline today, 12September2013 caught my attention: SYRIAN OPPOSITION FORCES FEELING LET DOWN BY OBAMA. Hey, welcome to the club Syria. Very few people with whom I speak do not feel let down by Obama. Letting people down is what he does best.

Granted, no one is perfect, but come on! Should not the president of the United States hit a home run once in awhile? I didn’t vote for Obama in either of his two presidential races. I simply don’t agree with the platform of the Democrat Party. I am a conservative Republican. Our values and beliefs are too far apart.

Think about the Democrat National Committee (DNC) platform:

The DNC claims to be Moving America Forward. Really? These are their words. I do not observe any moving forward. If anything, it is a backward move. If Obama wants people to feel better about America there are two things he should stop:

1) Talking. Every time he opens his mouth he spews more lies. I am sick of this behavior from our president and every other elected official trusted to lead our nation. Be honest and do what you say you will do.

2) Vacationing long enough to accomplish something substantial. So far, the president is all talk and no substance.

The DNC claims to be Rebuilding Middle Class Security. I consider myself a member of the middle class and I don’t feel more secure. In actuality, I think the Obama Administration has done damage to middle class security; promising government assistance at the expense of working class citizens and business owners will eventually place everyone closer to the poverty level and in the unemployment line.

The DNC claims to be Putting Americans Back to Work. Part time jobs at minimum wage or slightly higher than minimum wage is not the outcome I want to see initiated. Americans who still have the spunk to dream about a brighter future, go after an education and are creative, can figure out what to do. We are a people with a history of ingenuity.

The DNC talks about the Middle Class Bargain. I don’t want to bargain. I want legitimate change without government intrusion and interference. Less government is needed at this time, not more. Ronald Reagan stated, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”  I don’t appreciate the carrot stick approach from Washington D.C. Don’t tell me what you’ll do for me and then raise my taxes and reduce my personal options.

Even in my home state of Arkansas, we are being presented with a form of Obama-care known statewide as the “Private Option.” Listen up! If the government is involved, it is not private and it certainly is not an option. Most of us feel it is being rammed down our throats.

Perhaps the greatest lie yet is the DNC’s promise of Cutting Waste, Reducing the Deficit, Asking All to Pay Their Fair Share. Get this, we are Americans. We trust in an Almighty God. He blessed us and our dependence upon Him has worked just fine. I suspect He still is in control even though some people have forgotten Him. The vast majority of Americans are tired of this same old story. Just do your job. Produce a budget, live within your means and stop promising what you do not intend to deliver.

The DNC also promises an Economy Built to Last. Foul! Bailing out businesses and corporations “too big to fail” is ridiculous. Whatever happened to pure capitalism…the market determines survival.

This one is irksome. America Works When Everyone Plays by the Same Rules. Don’t you mean, America works when everyone, except the President and his insider buddies and those dependent on welfare play by the same rules? If anything, the President’s arrogance demonstrates his fundamental belief he is above the rules.

Perhaps the best case in point is Obama’s healthcare plan for the people of the United States of America. If members of Congress are opting out, including the President, why should I or anyone else be forced into this program of socialized medicine?

Mr. President, you said your administration would bring about a positive 21st Century Government: Transparent and Accountable. So far your administration is less transparent and unaccountable to the people of this nation. I don’t know why the rebels of Syria think you are accountable for your words in relation to their situation. You are self serving and out for whatever you can grab for yourself.

The American people are still holding you accountable for what happened in Benghazi. No American should die like that, abandoned.

The list could go on and on.

Check out for more fundamental Republican values I espouse.

 God bless America,

Brandt Smith