Saturday, March 19, 2005
The Management of Barbarism is one of the few works of jihadi literature devoted specifically to strategy. Jihadi literature is rich in works of doctrine and exhortation on the one hand, and specific pamphlets on military technology on the other. Tactical studies tend toward providing doctrinal clearance for particular issues such as the killing of prisoners, the problem of civilian Muslim casualties or dealing with the infidel. Strategy is less well represented. Other than the papers by Yusuf al-Ayyiri on the Jihad method, the closest work to this is the Tuhfat al-Muwahhideen fi Bayan Tariq al-Tamkeen (Gift of the Monotheists on the Way to Empowerment) by the same author as this treatise, which indeed may be considered an extension of it.Read the whole thing.
The importance of this work lies in the mapping, in the eyes of a mujahid, of the stages of a strategic program towards empowerment. This process is construed with a broad enough perspective as to make of individual reverses — such as Afghanistan — of secondary importance. While Naji illustrates how, for the mujahid, matters of doctrinal propriety carry great weight, he also introduces realism to the subject in his defense of pragmatism over legal literalism in matters relating to dealings with the enemy and its politics. But perhaps the most interesting emphasis is the role of the media. As an admission of the failure of the Islamist groups to build massive support, ample space is given to methods of combating government and western media control of information delivery. The number of attacks and threats of attacks by mujahideen on media offices and individuals in Iraq, demonstrates that the value of this arm of the strategy is well understood, and indeed appears to be following the textbook.