Experts Warn of Global Jihad at Herzliya Conference
17:49 Jan 22, '07 / 3 Shevat 5767
by Ezra Halevi
Two Islam experts warned participants at the Herzliya Conference on Monday that global jihad is on the rise -- and should be taken seriously.
Islamic expert and historian Bernard Lewis spoke back-to-back with former CIA director James Woolsey at the Herzliya Conference Monday, sounding the alarm on the global Jihad and dismissing the concept of a Palestinian state.
“In the self-perception of the Muslim world, their primary identity is to deliver Islam to the world – to not keep it selflessly to themselves but to give it to mankind,” explained Lewis, adding that the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 signified the first major victory in the global Islamic push toward that goal.
“There are competing leaders to take this fight ahead,” he said. “The Sunni Wahabi cause is represented by bin Laden. Another is the Shi’ite version, which began with the first Iranian revolution, and the second Iranian revolution, taking place at this moment. The whole Arab and Muslim world is experiencing the second stage of the Islamic revolution in Iran.
“I have been told by Iranian friends that Ahmadinejad is indeed crazy, but not stupid,” Lewis warned. “He really believes in the end of days that he is heralding. There is a widespread belief among Shi’ites that that time has come. Mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent to Ahmadinejad, but an inducement.”
James Woolsey, former director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, addressed the conference next. Unlike many of the speakers, Woolsey, a guest of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs had arrived the previous day and attended nearly all of the conference’s sessions.
Woolsey summarized several opinions that were expressed, lauding UN sanctions, negotiations and the state of the world. “I do not represent a majority view – but on all of these points I beg to differ,” he said.
Woolsey proceeded to lament the fate of Europe, which he sees as already having been compromised in what he calls World War IV – the third having been the Cold War. “I wish we had a partnership with Europe, but I am afraid it is deteriorating,” he explained. “Europe is accommodating Sharia (Islamic law) and becoming increasingly affected by the Muslim demographics in their countries.”
Woolsey said he sees no distinction between the Islamic onslaught in Israel, Iraq or elsewhere. He compared the war against Islamism with that against Nazism and Communism.
As a former director of the world’s largest intelligence agency, Woolsey dismissed claims by Iran and its apologists that the Islamic Republic seeks nuclear capability for peaceful means.
“With its huge oil and natural gas reserves, Iran is not the least bit interested in nuclear power,” he said. “And negotiation with a movement that defines itself by its goal of the destruction of Israel and the United States is like trying to persuade Hitler to give up anti-Semitism.”
Woolsey displayed in-depth knowledge of the various theological movements and streams vying for the soul of the Islamic world. “The Ujutiya – end of time – movement represents a major part of Iranian politics today,” he warned. “If we look at it like a chess game, the nuclear bomb is the queen.”
Woolsey, like Lewis, warned that the Iranian Shi’ite sect is not the only threat posed by Islam.
“In 1979, with the seizure of the great mosque in Mecca and the rise to power of a Shi’ite theocracy in Iran, a rise in Wahabi-ism took place as well. This was funded largely by the increase in the price of oil. Today, little boys are taught to want to be suicide bombers both in Pakistani madrassas and in the West Bank with Wahabi oil money.”
Woolsey said that those warning against Islam’s push to establish Islamic law across the globe are accused of being Islamophobic. “We are not Islamaphobes,” he said, “but we are theocraphobic.
“We, Jews, Christian and others are inheritors of the rule of law,” he said. “Democracy without the rule of law is a mob and capitalism without democracy is theft. Jefferson said, and it is printed on his memorial: ‘I have sworn on the altar of Almighty G-d eternal hostility toward every form of tyranny over the mind of man.’ ”
Asked what role he saw the media playing in the current global plight, Woolsey had harsh criticism for most journalists’ inability to classify religious believers as anything but crazy.
“The media on the whole and certainly in the US is not interested in ideology and does not take it seriously. They tend to think anybody who is religiously motivated about his views is crazy – whether religious Christians, Muslims or Jews. And that is a problem, because you can be absolutely crazy about your objectives and extremely shrewd about your implementation. I think our media on the whole is very ostrich-like on this issue.”
Woolsey outlined scenarios in which Iranians, who have changed their government through general strike thrice in the 20th century, could preclude an attack by replacing their regime – but said that it should not be counted upon.
“We should be prepared for the fact that if an attack is necessary, it must take place when we are as certain as we can be that they do not yet have a nuclear weapon. The problem is that North Korea’s primary exports today are counterfeit American money, heroin and ballistic missile technology. I see no reason why Kim Jong won’t ship off a couple kilograms of nuclear material. So we are living with the daily threat that Iran could go nuclear.”
Woolsey again entered the conversation enthusiastically after a questioner addressed former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon, berating him for dismissing a two-state solution and the creation of a Palestinian state as jeopardizing Israel’s relationship with the U.S.
“If I could just respond here,” Woolsey commented, “Insofar as the U.S. government is pressuring Israel to negotiate with a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority – the United States is simply wrong.”
Following applause, Woolsey went even further, suggesting that a PA state should not be on the table until the generation of youth raised on Wahabi-funded suicide-bomber ideology has been taught otherwise and the PA can be held to the same standards as an Israel with one million Arab citizens.
“If Palestinians were held to the same standards as the Israelis, then there could be not only 250,000, but 500,000 Jews living freely wherever they want in the West Bank – in Hevron and elsewhere. Once that is the case – when Palestinians are held by the same standards – then there might be some progress toward working toward permanent borders.”
Following the morning session which questioned the prudence of further withdrawals and the creation of a PA state, Defense Minister Amir Peretz outlined his willingness to negotiate with Hamas and carry out further unilateral destruction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Peretz had not been present during the morning sessions and declined to take questions following his address.
Lunch was presided over by Shimon Peres, who assured participants that the “prophets of doom” have sounded alarms before and said that Israel has survived much harder times. “Israel will not fall,” he declared, following several jokes.
“Ahmadinejad will fall.”