by Robert Maynard
A lot of people who recognize the antagonism on the part of Islamists, to western civilization, often see this threat as coming from a unified enemy. The truth of the matter is that their are many divisions in their ranks and they are at each others’ throats more often than they are attacking us. This is important to keep in mind when devising strategies to defend ourselves against the threat they pose. The division among these Jihadis, along with the attraction to the ideals of democratic freedom among the Muslin rank and file, is the achilles heel of radical Islam. This division in the ranks of radical Islam is the subject of recent Washington Times article by Daniel Pipes. Here is an excerpt:
As recently as 2012, it appeared that Islamists could overcome their many internal dissimilarities — sectarian (Sunni, Shiite), political (monarchical, republican), tactical (political, violent) or attitudes toward modernity (Salafi, Muslim Brotherhood) — and cooperate. In Tunisia, for example, Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood types found common ground. Differences between all these groups were real but secondary, as I put it then, because “all Islamists pull in the same direction, toward the full and severe application of Islamic law (the Shariah).”
This sort of cooperation still persists in small ways, as shown by a recent meeting between a member of Turkey’s ruling party and the head of a Salafi organization in Germany. But Islamists have in recent months abruptly and overwhelmingly thrown themselves at each others’ throats. Islamists still constitute a single movement who share similar supremacist and utopian goals, but they also have different personnel, ethnic affiliations, methods and philosophies.
Islamist internecine hostilities have flared up in many other Muslim-majority countries. Sunni versus Shia tensions can be seen in Turkey versus Iran, also due to different approaches to Islamism; in Lebanon, where it’s Sunni versus Shiite Islamists and Sunni Islamists versus the army; Sunni versus Shiite Islamists in Syria; Sunni versus Shiite Islamists in Iraq; Sunni Islamists versus Shiites in Egypt; and Houthis versus Salafis in Yemen.
More often, however, members of the same sect fight each other: Ali Khamenei versus Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in Iran; the AKP versus the Gulenists in Turkey; Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq versus Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq; monarchy versus the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia; Islamic Liberation Front versus the Nusra Front in Syria; Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood versus Hamas regarding hostilities toward Israel; Muslim Brotherhood versus the Salafis in Egypt; and a clash of two leading ideologues and politicians, Omar al-Bashir versus Hassan al-Turabi, in Sudan. In Tunisia, the Salafis (called Ansar al-Sharia) are fighting a Muslim Brotherhood-style organization called Ennahda.