Friday, December 9, 2016

I’m a former CIA officer and a Democrat. Here’s what Obama still doesn’t get about terrorism

President Obama on Tuesday delivered his final defense of the nation’s counter-terrorism strategy. He rightfully claimed progress on a number of fronts, including the death of Osama bin Laden, an end to waterboarding and the effective use of drones to kill terrorists. Just one week after the Islamic State-inspired attack in Columbus, Ohio, he also reiterated that there is no “war between the United States and Islam.” Islamic State and Al Qaeda, he said, do not speak for Muslims everywhere.
To me and many of my former colleagues at the Central Intelligence Agency, such pronouncements reflect Obama’s greatest blind spot in his fight against terrorism: he has been unwilling to acknowledge that Islamic ideology plays a role in what motivates terrorists to strike. Meanwhile, men like Imam Bujar Hysa, a jailed cleric in Albania, frame the war on terrorism quite succinctly: “Islam can coexist with other religions, but with democracy? No!”
Hysa isn’t an anomaly. He is a Salafist Muslim — a sect also called Wahhabi — who follows an ultraconservative set of beliefs propagated by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab nations. Wahhabis do not believe in a separation of church (mosque) and state. For them, government should be made up of religious clerics — and only clerics — that use the Koran to justify their decisions. 

No comments: