You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy…Obi-Wan Kenobi, speaking of Mos Isely spaceport
For the past two years I have been consuming a lot of output from Brookings Institute for the study of the middle east. It started when I became interested in the Arab Spring and the elections in Egypt in the context of being a recent muslim revert living in the West. Coming from the hard sciences I have never been much of a fan of political “science” or Anglo-American philosophy. Polysci seems equally composed of wishful thinking and cultural cheerleading to me. Its not rigorous, and observably it is teleologically incapable of predicting and/or countering global events. I’m more inclined to take John Von Neuman’s approach.
The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a certain kind of mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a mathematical construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work.
In the last year, since the rise of the Islamic State, I have noticed a definite trend, a kind of mass hysteria sweeping the collective institutes of middle eastern study. The plague of “jihadology”. Jihadology seems to be a kind of cottage industry that sprang up in the wake of 9/11, a branch of the American Fear Economy, aka the monetization of terror (see James Risen’s excellent book, Pay Any Price). With the normalization of the threat of al Qaeda and Obama’s drone campaign, it quietly churned along in the background until last year. But beginning with the Fall of Mosul (surely a classic Black Swan Event) jihadology morphed into fullblown hysteria.
Dozens of institutes and organizations got money thrown at them by the US government to study jihadi recruitment, jihadi social media use, jihadi ideology, jihadi economics, jihadi governance, jihadi warfighting. And every single “jihadologist” had a book or two to flog along the way. Not to mention the millions tossed away on the ThinkAgainTurnAway campaign, the most utterly clumsy and doomed propaganda effort since sexual abstinence campaigns.
It was only after reading Graeme Woods Atlantic article that it really dawned on me what is going on here– Brookings is a grift. Their industry is crafting cost-plus methods to defeat jihadi-salafism– but if they ever actually came up with a workable solution then they would be out of jobs. Jihadology is their bread and butter now. Brookings also functions as a gatekeeper– its imperative that the US be seen as fighting the mythic war of noble western freedoms against the bloodthirsty barbarian godbots and their evuul shariah agenda. So it is definitely not in Brookings best interest to reveal what IS actually wants.
Fortunately for those among us that can read for ourselves, (as opposed to mindlessly accepting Brooking’s pre-masticated cud), there is Abu Bakr Naji (courtesy the estimable Pieter Van Ostaeyen). It is a treatise dating from 2004 and it explains in exquisite detail not only WHAT Islamic State wants, but WHY Islamic State wants it and (most importantly imho) HOW Islamic State plans to get it as well. And from a systems dynamics perspective it is an excellent strategic design– a system designed to exploit and manage Chaos– a commodity that increases daily in the 21st century world.
I dont mean to suggest by my Obi Wan quote that Brookings is made up of space-pirates, murderers and thieves– but its apparent that Brookings consists largely of grifters and gatekeepers, busy selling the WH snake oil and patent medicine to “fix” the problem of jihadi-salafism. My mathematical opinion is that the best/only first step towards reining in the Islamic State is to take out Assad.
I doubt that will happen…so the grift goes on.