The crown prince of Bahrain argued in an op-ed for the Telegraph that bickering over ISIS’ name or religion (see the White House refusal to use “radical Islamists”) needs to be replaced across the board with the recognition that the world is fighting theocrats.
Bahrain is sending units from its Defense Forces to help Jordan and is also the base for the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, a 45-year-old educated in America and England, is viewed as the reformer among Bahrain’s royal family.
Writes the prince, in part:
Terrorism is not an ideology; we are not merely fighting terrorists, we are fighting theocrats.
…If we start to define ourselves as in a war with theocrats, however, then I believe we can begin the process of delivering the military, political, economic – and maybe even the social – policies to counter this threat together, as we have in the past. In the last century, the world faced a series of overwhelming threats: fascism, totalitarianism, cold-war communism. They were studied, however, as concepts, understood and clearly defined. We addressed them, clinically, as ideologies.
So what do we call this new form of ideology, how do we identify it and how do we define it? We must agree the specific terminology and identified characteristics to take us to the very root of the problem we face. For one group alone, we already struggle with an absurdity of titles including Isis, Isil, IS and Da’ish. We see the likes of al-Qaeda and its various offshoots. We have al-Shabab and Boko Haram and that’s before contemplating yet unformed groups of their type that may develop in the future. In each case, however, we continue to hop blindly and haphazardly from one tactical threat to the other, without strategically understanding or categorising our foe.
We can begin this process by more fully analysing their characteristics. We know these are people who attempt to govern us here on Earth as well as in the hereafter. They isolate themselves and place no value on the social contract established among ourselves as societies of human beings. They oppress women and slaughter those who do not condone, approve of or subscribe to their own twisted ideology. They also govern by religious edict, constraining the use of reason itself among would-be believers. Their methodology combines the tactics of religious ideology alongside lawless paramilitary rule. It is fuelled by the gains of criminal enterprise in order to establish the fiction of governance, through which continues the desperate fight for geographic territory to claim, protect and rule.
The prince adds that “while we grapple with the conceptual, practical and legal protections of media regulation and online freedom, they ruthlessly exploit these platforms to sow hatred and showcase evil.” A “new-world foe,” he argues, cannot be defeated “through old world solutions alone.”
“While in all probability we will sadly be fighting them for a long time to come, barbaric and primitive though they are, it is naming and understanding of the ideology itself that should next be our target,” Salman writes. “These individuals and groups will of course ebb and flow, but it is the ideology that must be combated and defeated. In the process, we can replace the term ‘war on terror’ and focus on the real threat, which is the rise of these evil fascist theocracies.”