UK’s defence secretary Gavin Williamson said in an interview that ISIS fighters and other jihadists who take up arms against the Sovereign should be eliminated. He said that they are legitimate targets for the military and that nobody who voluntarily joins an organization or a state which is at war with the United Kingdom, should be allowed back into the country. He’s not alone. Number 10 supported him, stating that this has been the official position for a while. His colleague Rory Stewart MP said a few months back that there’s only one way to deal with all British jihadists who take up arms against the Crown, that is by hunting them down as military targets.
This is a remarkable acknowledgement of reality, and one might wonder why it took so long, for something this evident. The outrage against this is similarly predictable from our liberal media and commentariat class.
It is time to acknowledge what has been blindingly obvious for a while. The United Kingdom, much like the rest of Western Europe, now faces an armed revolt. Like any other revolt ( the BBC likes to call it by the weasel word ‘insurgency’,) it shares the characteristics of armed combatants, sleeper agents in communities and mosques that are fertile breeding grounds for jihadism, the internationalist poisonous ideology which fuels it, as well fellow travelers, apologists in the media and academia, as well as those families of jihadists who are complicit in these crimes. Thomas Hegghammer in his 2016 paper in describing the common fallacy that poverty instigates jihadism, proved that it is not due to poverty or a colonial legacy, but simply one specific religion whose extreme elements are uniquely responsible for this turmoil. Hindus, Sikhs, Gurkhas, Japanese, Koreans, even Russians, are not raping and murdering people or mowing down 12 year olds en masse in the name of religion. According to British estimates, there are around 35,000 jihadists present in UK, almost equal to the size of two WWII divisions.
As Dr Cheryl Benard wrote in her provocative essay last year, there is no way these people will ever feel loyal to the land beneath their feet, nor to any of its values, history, or culture. Some of the extreme elements in these groups consider themselves as the tip of the spear of conquest. Many of their families are no different. It’s logically incoherent and puerile to think that families which voluntarily left Britain to join the Islamic Caliphate, even after knowing what perversity and brutality takes place there, and extensively documented in the international media and on the internet, will someday come back and feel assimilated to this society. They will never do that, and it is time to accept it and get on. That is not to say everyone from one particular religion is an enemy of the state, of course not. But those who voluntarily declare war against their host society, are enemy combatants and should be treated as such, akin to any British fascist supporting the Nazis during second world war.
Insurgency is different from lone wolf terrorism, which as research has proven repeatedly is a myth in itself. There are no lone wolves. Insurgency, similarly needs counter insurgency methods, like those in Malaya or during The Troubles. That means, community monitoring, intelligence infiltration, surveillance, and preemptive strikes against potential perpetrators. Most importantly, it means punitive deterrence against those who dare to take up arms and harm their fellow citizens, not liberal rehabilitation, which is a failed strategy as last the quarter century has shown. The statements from Williamson and Stewart are belated voices of sanity, and are backed by research. Regardless of the inevitable liberal institutional backlash, they must be followed through and reflect a change of strategy.© Salisbury Review
Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham. He is also an essayist for several publications including Quillette Magazine, The Federalist, Claremont Review of Books, The National Interest and The National Review. You can reach him on Twitter @MrMaitra.