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Far Too Sanguine?

Reader comment on item: Caliph Ibrahim's Brutal Moment

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Aug 5, 2014 at 13:40

Dr Pipes provides excellent background to the concept of the Caliphate, but I'm quite amazed that he thinks only a Brutal "Moment" is involved.

'Caliph' Ibrahim may be eliminated tomorrow by a rival or a drone, but the idea he has ignited, which tens and hundreds of thousands have been yearning for and thinking about for most of the last century will not die with the death of a single individual.

It seems hard for Westerners, even those steeped in Islam's history, to realize that even though the goals are indeed "hideous" and can only be advanced with immense "carnage", that doesn't mean these results will disqualify those goals in the eyes of True Believers. Muslims already have ample evidence from numerous countries of immense carnage in several countries - Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, .....(a non-exhaustive list) - and there is no evidence that the motivating ideology has been discredited anywhere in the Musim world.

Sure, PARTICULAR expressions of the ideology have been rejected, in Egypt, a heroic attempt was made in Iran in 2009, mounting resistance may be occurring in Turkey. But nowhere is there any group, let alone a political party, that is doing anything like what occurred in Eastern Europe 25 years ago, when Communism itself was explicitly rejected.

Isis is already better-trained, better financed, more numerous, more successful, and more confident than bin Laden's el Queda ever was. So it seems frighteningly clear that even if this not well known 'Caliph' were eliminated tomorrow, other Pretenders will spring up to champion the mad dream of a worldwide Muslim State led by a Caliph who they believe will outshine any imaginable leader from the 'decadent' West. Certainly we have no leaders at present whose personal qualities offer any rebuttal to this prospect.

But the most startling element of Dr Pipes' article is ... the map in black. This is a vast contiguous landmass larger than Africa, most of which is already in Muslim hands of one kind or another. (I'm a little surprised Europe wasn't in grey). It seems all too easy to imagine numerous wannabes looking at that map and their hearts racing with ambition and anticipation, each one dreaming of being the leader of the world's newest and most dynamic Superpower, a dream far more plausible than that of Hitler and the Japanese generals 75 years ago with their far smaller numbers and land base.

Lastly, I'm not sure who Pipes is referring to in his last sentence with the word "those". Is he referring to Muslims or Westerners who will supposedly awaken to the "barbaric zealotry" of the "Islamist" agenda?

Unfortunately, my sad prediction is that if either or both awaken only to the "Islamist" agenda, rather than to what is inherent and ineradicably menacing in Islam itself, then we are in for a mounting worldwide threat and an increased likelihood that only a third Hot war (as opposed to another Cold war, like the one we actually won after 45 years) will prevent the ultimate death of the West.

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Look at my conclusion and you will see that I wrote almost the same as you did at

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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