The Third World War: Daesh, Iraq and the management of Barbarism {al-Harb al-'Almīah-at al- ṯ'aliṯ'ah-at: Da'š w al-Iraq w ʾdarah-at al-tawhš}

Book Review

Reviewer: Elaaf Hadi

Publisher: First edition, Beirut: The All Print Distributors and Publisher, 2015.  ISBN:
Author's page: Y. Abd al-Hussein

The Third World War: Daesh, Iraq and the management of Barbarism {al-Harb al-'Almīah-at al- ṯ'aliṯ'ah-at: Da'š w al-Iraq w ʾdarah-at al-tawhš}

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Based on documents published for the first time, this book reveals the life and surroundings of the Head of Da'š, also known as ISIS or ISIL in the western world, Abo Baker Albaghdadi. Moreover, the book reveals exclusive statements made by some terrorist leaders, detained in Iraqi jails.   

 Introduction

‘Never have it in mind, meeting one of those 'Brain-washed' jihadists. Between me and him, there was only metal bars of the jail. He was long-bearded, with a pale face. A fanatic look manifested in his eyes. The way he looked at me, you can touch that he has been emotionally motivated by religion. Except for Jihad and Caliphate, nothing goes around in his mind. The brainwashing he received at the hands of the Imam of the Mosque in his city, made him leave his wife, his two kids, in order to fight his Muslim brothers! Those whom he call; the unbelievers!’ (Abd al-Hussein, 2015). 

The author introduces the book with the impression he received during an interview with the terrorist. Their words (as mentioned above) express their fanatic ambition to restore the Caliphate glory as proclaimed. Beyond this, the author believes that terror occupies the primary means to demolish Iraq's infrastructure and derail its political process. Terror brought destruction into Iraq. Throughout history and in the worst conditions and historical juncture; Iraq has been relentless. However, in the absence of a strong Iraqi state and with the fragility of its military institution, Da'š managed to take control over Mosul. It has become imperative to put forth a comprehensive analysis of terrorism in its most current forms, represented by Da'š. The Author reveals exclusive statements made by some terrorist leaders detained in Iraqi jails. This book suggests that terrorism is not instantaneous or accidental; it is nurtured over time. Due to the legacies of tyranny, dictatorship and political repression in the region, terrorism has emerged. 

Dr. Yasser Abd al-Hussein was granted a doctorate degree in Political Philosophy by Baghdad University in 2014. His doctoral thesis was entitled ‘The principle of Leadership in United States' Foreign Policy’. In addition to his academic contributions, he has authored several books. The first was The Foreign Policy of Iran during Khatamy's Regime, and the second was about Da'š as the topic of this review. He is the vice dean of Foreign Service Institute in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq. Also worth mentioning in this context is that the author is well connected with political and intellectual elites in Iraq. This capacity of strong public relations has granted him access to numerous classified documents.

Thus, this book presents a large number of documents which have been published for the first time. Furthermore, the author supports his arguments about the doctrinal background of terrorists through interviewing 65 terrorists from different terrorist wings in Iraqi prisons. Via this methodology, the author was able to understand the similarities and differences among them as well as to get closer to their common doctrinal backgrounds. One has to refer also to the precedence of this book whereby the author submits to the reader a comprehensive bibliography of the leader of Da'š, Abu Baker Albaghdady, as well as copies of his personal documents and a list of his own library's books.

In terms of the structural form, the book consists of 515 pages covered in 19 chapters. Four main inquires have been raised in this book:

  1. How have the terrorist organisations originated?
  2. What is the relationship among the Baath regime, Al-Qaeda and Da'š before and after 2003?
  3. What is the relationship between terrorism and global jihadism and how has it affected global security?
  4. Why did they choose Iraq?

Main themes and arguments:

Three main themes are raised in this book: terrorism is a transnational phenomenon (globalized threat); terrorists are the products of their own socio-political context; and terrorism has been deployed politically by regional and international players.

The author throughout this book tries to analyze the cause roots of Da'š and other terrorist organizations.  He asserts that this phenomena is a result of combined roots of various causes. Some of them are locally founded in which they emerged to the fore of the societal context due to the political circumstances that oriented the political psychology of the Arabic individual, the Iraqi one in particular. He also finds out that some roots are due to the discrimination and bias in international politics that led to huge strategic mistakes in West-East interaction. In this regard Professor Idrees Hani, a Moroccan author and Islamic researcher, in the long introduction (96 pages) of this book, analyses the methodological relationship between Orientalism and Western strategy towards the Muslims and Arabs. Hani is keen on presenting a neutral argument that alienates from self-sympathy. His conclusion in the introduction is simple and demonstrates the reality of the dichotomy that tells us that 'Muslims' are the victims and the executioners at the same time. He asserts that extremism and terrorism is the product of the stereotyping process that creates negative images of the East in the Western public conscious. However, extremism is a local product of Eastern sanctuary to restore their pride and self-assertion in front of the Other. Thus, terrorism is a chapter in "The Game of Nations" that adopts the stereotype of the irrational and barbarian Middle East, which was deployed by the West itself to certain political ends. Hani adds that Daʿš is ‘a monster that created by the playing with genes in the Western laboratory’. This new creature has become uncontrollable due to excess power that gave it the opportunity to claim supremacy over the other terrorist organisations worldwide. This centrality in recruiting people is very dangerous for the whole strategic game in the region whereby Da'š diverged from the main goal of destroying the Assad regime in Syria. Hani's point is expressed plainly in this chapter (Terrorism in the Orientalism's perception: the paradigm of Huntington's theory (p 26). He means that Orientalism submits both the cure and the disease. Thus, the cure to Da'š according to Orientalism experts is a twofold process: first, through a military campaign and second, through creating waves of change in the local cultures of the Orientals. At the same time, he blames the United States for failure by not preventing the cross-fertilization between Baath cadres and terrorist leaders in Iraq. Through this alliance, the structure of IS in Iraq has been created. From this point of view, the author of the book realizes Da'š strategy to that distributed on three stages: subtract land, control and expansion.

      One of the most important themes of the book is the global threat of terrorism. This threat has been transformed from locality to a worldwide range due to political projects. For that reason, the author analyses the motives behind terrorists' behaviour and ambitions as follows:

  1. Individual motives that derived from psychological and economic problems;
  2. Societal backgrounds such as cultural formation;
  3. Doctrinal background;
  4. Sexual oestrus of the terrorists;
  5. Political motive to reach the authority. 

Thus, the author finds out that to counter Da'š and terrorism in general the whole world must initiate a ‘soft war’. He tries through much of the book to analyze the Salafi Jihad,  the reasons behind its emergence and its role in Iraq both pre and post 2003 (pp. 151-219). During this study the author touches four generations of Al-Qaeda.  The fourth is the 'electronic-generation'. This generation is characterized as decentralized, global and sophisticated by using the ultimate technologies.  These generations were deployed to implement a 20-year plan which was spread over seven stages. The year 2013 was to initiate the fifth stage, which was supposed to establish the Islamic State in Iraq. He attributes the failure of the al-Qaʿda' project in Iraq to the successful alliance between Da'š and Baʿth cadres that captured the power from al al-Qaʿda' leaders over the networks of terrorists in Iraq. The author in this part of the book asks whether the Iraqi society was familiar with radicalism and Salafiyah-at before the events of September 11. He provides answers with respect to detailed methodology by asserting that extremist ideologies were alien to the Iraqi society, although the Saddam Hussein regime created links with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaʿda during the nineties of the last century. These links continuously have worked post-2003 especially between Naqšabindiyah-at, led by I'zzat al Doury who died in 2015, and the Islamic State organisation that formed in 2006 which was led by abo Omar Albaghdadi. According to the author, the goal of establishing the Islamic State suffers from the disparity between two correlated trends: the Muslim Brotherhood trend that tries to avoid sectarian fighting, and the salafist (Wahabiyah-at) trend that asserts the need of doctrinal purging. This struggle between these trends was settled by Da'š strategic priorities whereby they have chosen to fight the closer enemies. The definition of enemy here is twofold: political regimes in the Middle East and Shiism, and setting a special plan to transfer the battle to the Western part of the world.

The author through his paradigm covers three pillars to figure out Da'š' strategy in Iraq: the first is a question of who Abo Baker Albaghdadi is. The author managed to access very classified and private documents related to Albaghdadi. These documents were made available for the first time to the public, and provide a glimpse into the character of Albaghdadi: his bibliography, family members, his academic degree, etc. These documents also ensure that Da'š is totally controlled by Baʿth regime cadres whereby they managed to restructure the organisation and reset its priorities to put the declaration of the state to the fore of its strategic ambition. The second pillar is why they chose Iraq to run their proclaimed state. In this regard, four essential conditions are available in Iraq:

  1. Sacred geographical specifications;
  2. Geo-strategic advantages;
  3. Great economic potential and oil resources;
  4. Doctrinal importance. 

Furthermore, Iraq is the weakest point in the regional security environment. The third pillar is what the strategy of {ʾdarah-at al-tawhš} Barbarism management is. In general, according to the author, it aims to affect the global balance of power by mobilizing small local groups of terrorists. The strategy of the management of barbarism consists of three stages:

  1. Create chaos in the regional security environment to destabilize the political regimes.
  2. Establish the Islamic State in the destroyed regimes' territory.
  3. Initiate a global war of attrition. 

The Islamic State will operate tactical missions to hit important strategic and economic targets. These targets will be distributed geographically in the West and East alike to shatter the international alliance's strategy. Thus, the strategy of the management of barbarism is the terrorists' method to transfer the battle from the local stage to globalism whereby all near enemies (al-šītah-at as theological target and Westphalia' state as political target) in the region and distant enemies (Western targets) will be approached by the Islamic State's fighters. 

Conclusion:

The author concludes the book with a theme tells that the so-called ISIS is to be terminated as a political project on the regional environment although the radical ideology and terrorism will still be a threat which takes various forms or names that differ from region or state to another. However, he insists that terrorism is a global threat taking into considerations specific factors:

  1. No region or country is immune from this threat. Thus, geographically it is a global phenomena.
  2. The aims and targets of terrorism are global and local alike.
  3. The outcomes of this phenomena have global scope, to change the world order.
  4. The strategy to fight terrorism must be based on global consensus. 

Finally, the author sets a cluster of principles which should be taken into consideration to build a competent confrontation strategy to the so-called ISIS in Iraq, as follows:

  1. Strong campaign against IS to cut off financial and oil resources.
  2. Inflict to Da'š heavy military losses to shatter its image towards Muslims.
  3. Fighting IS by soft power (societal, information technology and media).
  4. Create common intellectual campaign by Muslim clerics from all schools of Islamic interpretation Maahib.
  5. Reach a common social contract to ensure social justice and create reasonable political culture.
  6. Create solid regional security initiatives to fight the so-called ISIS and any terrorist organization.

Attachments:

 

 

Copy of Master Degree Certificate in Quranic Studies from Islamic University in Baghdad. Document N. 581 in 19/4/2005, page 298.

 

 

 

Civil Identity of Ibraheem Awad Ibraheem Al-badry – so-called Albaghdady, page 263.

 

 

 

Medical report of Albaghdady n. 1991 in 28/7/1996. The report shows that the patient suffers of weak eyesight, 6/12 degree. Must use medical glasses, page 290.

 

 

 

Entry Bage of Albaghdady during his Master Studies 1998–1999, pages 288–298.

 

 

2018 - Volume 12, Issue 4