State Department Adviser on Extremism Urges US to “Befriend” Al Qaeda

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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Officially there are no more terrorist attacks, just man-caused disasters brought about by offensive YouTube videos. Also there are no more terrorists. Just Violent Extremists. And there’s no more counter-terrorism, just experts on Countering Violent Extremism.

William McCants was a U.S. State Department senior adviser for countering violent extremism and is a director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings liberal think tank.

At the CFR’s Foreign Affairs, McCants joined together with two others to argue that Ahrar al-Sham is, and I quote, “an al Qaeda–Linked Group Worth Befriending.”

With the collapse of the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front is now the only game in town for the people who insist that we should counter Al Qaeda by supporting Al Qaeda.

The article begins by defending Obama’s stupid jayvee crack, denounces the “political rights” and argues that, “The al Qaeda of yesterday is gone. What is left is a collection of many different splinter organizations, some of which have their own — and profoundly local — agendas.”

That line is a bit misleading. The Al Qaeda of yesterday is not  gone, it’s overshadowed by local organizations, meaning that Al Qaeda has accomplished its goal of serving as a vanguard for a global movement of terrorist groups committed to its worldview.

The “jayvees” have overshadowed the Lakers because they have more people, more weapons and more territory. While the Lakers are content to sit and watch the expansion of new franchises around the world.

“Today, two different al Qaeda affiliates, the al-Nusra front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), are battling each other in Syria’s Raqqa province. Perhaps Oliver North might argue that it is incumbent on the United States to take out both groups. But a more nuanced take would lead the president to ask key questions before taking precipitate action.”

The article conveniently avoids answering the question while taking the time to sneer at Oliver North. But as the experts know full well, the old Al Qaeda had its share of violent conflicts.

The outcome of such a conflict is responsible for Zawahiri’s current position.

Then the article argues that Ahrar al-Sham and the rest of the Islamic Front are the best hope for defeating Al Qaeda in Iraq. That may or may not be so, but the article fails to qualify why we should care which flavor of Al Qaeda emerges victorious in the battle to lose to Assad.

“Second, designating Ahrar al-Sham as a terrorist group would destroy what little chance the United States has of building relationships with the other militias in the Islamic Front. Those relationships will be important for ensuring that the Front treats Syrian civilians well during the war and after, should Assad ever be toppled. Making a direct enemy of Ahrar al-Sham would also make it extremely difficult for U.S. nongovernmental organizations to move aid through territory controlled by it and the Islamic Front, because U.S. law prohibits working with terrorist organizations.”

Which would be a good thing, because we could finally stop providing aid to terrorists.

Are we supposed to collaborate with Al Qaeda in the hopes that it will treat civilians and NGOs well when it takes over? Does that sound like the behavior of any Al Qaeda linked group?

“Finally, Ahrar al-Sham’s leader, Hassan Abboud, has never endorsed bin Laden’s vision of a global jihad. His struggle is limited to Syria. Designating his group as a terrorist organization might backfire by pushing it completely into al Qaeda’s camp.”

And this is where it gets truly stupid.

The vision of a global Jihad wasn’t something that Bin Laden came up with, it was something that Islam came up with. A group that believes in the primacy of Islamic law and rule in Syria also believes that this state of affairs should exist worldwide.

Furthermore Al’Suri was Al Qaeda’s representative in Syria all along and was a co-founder of Ahrar al-Sham. That means a direct Al Qaeda involvement in setting up this flavor of Al Qaeda.

The article clings to the idea that we shouldn’t push an Al Qaeda linked group all the way into Al Qaeda’s camp by designating it as a terrorist group.

How exactly is this appeasement supposed to turn back time?

  • Sam

    There ” ain’t ” no justice in the world.

    “Furthermore Al’Suri was Al Qaeda’s representative in Syria all along and was a co-founder of Ahrar al-Sham. That means a direct Al Qaeda involvement in setting up this flavor of Al Qaeda.”

    How much is Brookings paying William McCants? His analysis is beyond useless. it is extremely harmful to the people of the U.S. or good people anywhere.

  • truebearing

    Where did moron McCants remotely establish that Ahrar al-Sham isn’t already firmly in Al-Queda’s camp? He is admitting that they are affliliated, so what sane reason would there be for assuming that these extremist Muslims would abandon their jihad and decide to be nice to us? Clearly, McCants can’t come up with one.
    Does he really believe his drivel or is this a set-up for another huge waste of money, trying to buy Muslim loyalty? Or is it just a false pretense for giving them money, without even pretending to buy loyalty?

    There certainly isn’t anything nuanced about McCants’ idiotic tail-chasing argument. It is concentrated stupidity.

  • nelly2004

    I cannot believe these people get paid for the most moronic advise ever. They don’t have a clue that the basic ideology of Muslims is diametrically opposed to any free society and they will not co exist. Their ignorance is pathetic.

    • glpage

      I think a lot of those people are areligious so they assume one religion is like another and will behave the same as others.

      • defcon 4

        I’ve personally heard ignorant, amoral leftists defend islam by telling me Christianity is just as bad. My response to them these days would be: “Then why don’t you move to an islamic state?”

        • glpage

          I like to suggest they prove their contention by finding a Muslim and asking said Muslim why Mohammed schtupped pigs.

  • wileyvet

    Hmm? Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda lite?

    • defcon 4

      Maybe McCants should go over there and pow-wow w/whatever brand of Al Qaida he finds most appealing, and he won’t need any security either — after all they’re his allies.

  • Drakken

    I really want the drugs these idiots are on, for their advice is less than useless and dangerous to us all.

  • jakespoon

    Let’s just become muslim and become jihadis,problem solved. Or we can really declare war on this perveted “religion of peace” and make the not want to mess with U.S. Thomas Jefferson handeled it,sadly we have no Jefferson.

    • john spielman

      we need a Churchill today that will stop the politically correct BS and call Islam out for what it is..A FASCIST QUASI RELIGIOUS DEMONIC THEOLOGY OF PERPETUAL WARFARE

      • jakespoon

        Instead we have a government full of Chamberlains.

        • BS77

          And the Darwin Award for total idiocy goes to……

      • Drakken

        We need a General William T Sherman.

        • defcon 4

          But it would be a much longer march through the islamic world than through the Confederate states of America.

        • jakespoon

          We need to do as Nathan Bedford Forrest did. When asked how his much smaller force was able to time and time again best the Union forces arrayed against him, he said ” I put the skeer in’em ,then I keep it up.”

    • defcon 4

      I wonder if William McCants wouldn’t agree with you. Of course, if the entire world became muslime, we would have nothing but peace, love, equality, social justice and harmony. Of course, then there’s the stickler of what type of islam should you embrace. I wonder if McCants is this stupid, or if he had to make the facts and argument fit an agenda.

  • http://islamsfatalflaw.blogspot.com/ BobSmith101

    These clowns would have had Jack the Ripper over for dinner.

  • USARetired

    Aiding, abetting, and cooperating with one’s enemy constitutes an act of treason!

    • glpage

      Lefties really don’t like the concept of treason being applied to their treasonous acts. Kinda causes their knickers to get in a twist.

  • glpage

    Perhaps, if Mr. McCants really believes his blather, he ought to volunteer to go talk with Ahrar al-Sham about how the US government wants to make nice.

  • Anukem Jihadi

    I don’t think Al Qaeda and their affiliates are unsophisticated enough to be “nuanced” by a bunch of amateurs. The tail has been wagging the dog for a while now.

  • LarrySingleton

    Maybe you have to be a certain age. I don’t know. Do you see ads like the
    one above; the stupid “I need a hero” game ad, located in the same
    places in newspapers and magazines? If they did it would
    automatically be denounced as rude. I see these and it’s as if they
    are spitting in my face. Yahoo Mail; the irritating, dispicable,
    EXTREMELY rude pop-up ads. Ads shouldn’t be anywhere NEAR the mail. There was a time that “mail” was something that was almost sacred. Once upon a time there were things you Just Didn’t Do.

    And messing with someones mail was one of them.

    Now we have those Audio Terrorists in their Boomer Cars destroying
    another aspect of American quality of life; Peace and Quiet. Here
    where I live in Riverside CA they are actually encouraged by the
    police and elected officials. In Rialto “I” was attacked by
    police for having the unmitigated gall to complain about it at a city
    council meeting.

    I just watched a video of some “overpass protesters” being
    arrested. When the guy asked what law was he breaking the cop justified it by not coming up with any law but saying “You see my uniform?”

    He might as well have been saying “I Got Mine”, which ought to be the new motto that replaces “To Protect and Serve”. With a footnote; I Got
    Mine: Thanks to your city council selling out to our Public Employees
    Union and paying us so much that the obscene pay and benifits is
    bankrupting the community.

    And who cares if every aspect of your life is either taxed, fined, levied
    or otherwise over-regulated? Who cares that your basic neccessities
    are now luxeries?

    It is not only “Us vs. Them” at the Federal level. They are
    just as out of touch at the Local level….and it gets worse every
    day. The Police are gearing up with hardware you used to see only in
    the military. “SWAT” raids using armored vehicles in now
    routine. We have a “Better Homes and Gardens Gestapo, (Code
    Enforcement) dictating what your private propertly will look like.

    We have a president who exemplifies this by his chronic lying and using
    his power in office to go after enemies in ways never seen in this
    country’s history! This isn’t just RUDE; It’s the most criminally corrupt administration that is the stuff of nightmares and we can’t even Impeach them!!!!

    (And is it me or is this “comment” box a dis-functional piece of crap that I have to “re-edit” after I’ve pasted a comment? And I can’t “add” anything without the paragraph going nuts.)

  • Hard Little Machine

    Maybe a nuclear strike on Washington DC isn’t the worst idea.

  • Michael Smith

    I will cut the Bastards’ throats and shove Hog Guts into their rectums – Any Questions?

  • Cliff Wilson

    Daniel Greenfield, A link to the article you’re citing would be helpful. Thanks …

  • hellboy99

    mccants really loves himself. what a loser