Jamal Khashoggi was not the first journalist whose murder was directed by the current Saudi leadership, there have been a number of them.
Donald Trump is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States of America, that is a statement of fact. And, as such he is in charge of the war in Afghanistan, and Iraq, and Syria as well as counter insurgency efforts to thwart the murderous activities of non-state groups, such as, al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, and a host of other equally dangerous and destabilising associations and groupings.
If anyone believes that the American or allied response to the conflicts these insurgency groups have spawned, in any way, has finished off the Islam State, those same people probably nurture the notion that North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, no longer pose a threat to world security.
As news of the Khashoggi killing began to make the Saudis uncomfortable, their first reaction was to threaten the world community with $200 a barrel oil, if other nations had the unmitigated gall to interfere in what is a wholly internal Saudi affair. Khashoggi, was after all, in fact and in law, killed and dismembered on Saudi soil. Albeit, within the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
The war in Afghanistan remains intractable, what little attention Trump pays to that lingering threat is lost amid a host of self-induced crises Trump continues to foster to hide the fact that he has no plan for Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, much less for al Qaeda, ISIS or Boko Haram or any other such insurgency group.
The idea that America can be at war with ISIS and al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria and support their murderous activities in the Yemen, at the behest of Saudi Arabia is irresponsible frankly, and would seem farcical if it did not involve the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, and a few Shia fighters.
There are a lot of factors at play in these events, and one can but wonder what is the rhyme and reason, that is, what cements these disparate facts, and events together?
The answer to these questions is the very purpose of the book, The Hour of Maximum Danger, by Eric LaMont Gregory.
Gregory, in a style that is both penetrating and approachable, guides the reader effortlessly into the very chambers in which those, who perpetrate and counter terror, devise and execute their plans. Gregory leaves very little to the imagination. He shows us how the money that flowed into Saudi Arabia after the 1973 oil embargo, was used to spread the strict form of Saudi Sunni Islamic practice, Wahhabi, far and wide.
It can be shown that al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, and many of the groups that have grown in Central and South Asia, are all Saudi inventions. These groups have toppled governments and destabilized whole regions. The US was finessed into a war in Afghanistan by Saudi meddling in the former Southern Republics of the Soviet Union. A war that made Bin Laden a surrogate for a CIA secret war against the Soviets. The Soviets, by the way, entered Afghanistan to quell the cross border incursions into its southern republics by Islamic insurgents, who killed Soviet officials and bombed Soviet offices, especially those buildings that had been mosques before the Bolshevik revolution and the outlawing of religious practice in the USSR.
When those at the top are not thinking, it is the responsibility of the people to wake them up and insist that they do their jobs, and deal with the situations at hand.
Burying their heads in the sand, is not the line in the sand that results from purposeful action, not even in Trump, McConnell and Ryan world.
The Hour of Maximum Danger, makes an important contribution to national as well as world security, and is the most important book on radical Islam ever written.
The first edition of The Hour of Maximum Danger was an executive summary on the containment of radical Islamic violence written for the Bush Administration at the beginning of GW's second term of office in 2005.
The Hour of Maximum Danger has proved to be nothing less than prophetic.
The executive summary began with this dire warning:
"It is perhaps evident since the events of 11 September 2001, that there are few more pressing problems facing the American people and our allies than the war being waged against us by individuals and groups under the banner of Islam. Unless this problem is addressed properly it will be a constant menace to our society well into the foreseeable future."
Although The Hour of Maximum Danger was written inapologetically for the occupants of the upper chambers of the executive branch intelligence and security apparatus, the author has not lost sight of the enduring wisdom that a well informed citizenry is our best defense against terror, ultimately.
Naturally, this author continued to communicate with the Obama Administration, in particular emphasizing that US and allied forces would have to remain in situ, that is, our forces would have to be stationed for an indeterminate time period in some of the most troublesome areas of advancing Islamic militancy to quell its forward progress.
Today, the Trump Administration is suggesting that the war in Afghanistan (16 years makes it the longest in US history) is not over and more and more troops are needed to contain the range of factions vying for control of that beleaguered state (a collection of tribes actually, as described by Charles de Gaulle), the truth of the logic of getting in early when the problem is rather small and manageable, begs recognition.
Unfortunately, that reasoning was ignored largely. And Interestingly, the assessment of that intelligence was undertaken by the very intelligence and security experts that now head those services.
The ultimate goal of releasing the updated executive summary, at this juncture, is to inform the new Trump Administration. The history of the intervening years since its first publication stands as testament that the core essential approach to contain, counter and inevitably defeat radical Islamic terrorism still applies, fundamentally.
This author can but hope that the recent raid on the headquarters of Al Qaeda in the Yemen, in which one US soldier died, is not indicative of how President Trump intends to achieve his stated goal -- to eradicate completely radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the Earth, and to do it quickly.
Or, that the use of overwhelming force (the mother of all bombs) only to be followed by the death of two more US soldiers in the same area that the big bomb was dropped is indicative of what the re-introduction of more and more troops into Afghanistan, portends.
The war against the cartels in Columbia, only led to the spread of their influence throughout the region and a Vietnam like drug war in Mexico. The reality that success could only be measured on a regional basis, seems to have escaped those conducting the war. Trump should not make the same mistake in Central Asia. If you intend yo go in, go in to the region and do some good, if you intend to do otherwise, the loss of life in the conflict will prove unsustainable.
The principal feature of the communications with the Obama Administration concerned the unavoidable fact that in order to contain radical Islamic terrorism, our forces will be required be in place for an indeterminate period of time, just as this author had put forward a case for the Bush Administration to come to appreciate that they should be prepared to have troops in place for decades, in several key locations.
Whereas, the national security and intelligence apparatus at that time, both in the US and the UK, appreciated this author's suggestion. Notwithstanding, at the same time, they jointly and severally concluded that having troops in place for decades, given the inordinate amount of human and material resources that were being brought to bear against radical Islam, terrorism from that source could not, in their considered opinion, continue to be a threat for another decade, no less for multiple decades into the future.
And, therefore it was their conclusion that a multiple decades-long strategy albeit compelling, was simply not warranted.
That was twelve years ago.
The second Bush Administration employed, almost without exception, a tactical strike approach to counter Islamic violence. Two terms of the Obama presidency, witnessed the use of drones where possible to replace troops on the ground, in essence was a continuation of the tactical strike approach.
And now, President Trump begins his war on terror with a tactical strike against Al Qaeda in the Yemen, and ISIS-K in Afghanistan.
When will they ever learn?
The Hour of Maximum Danger is undeniably informative, and a must read for anyone who has the authority to place Americans in harms way in the fight to contain radical Islam.
And, it is also necessary reading for anyone who values those serving in our armed forces, for in final analysis part of the brilliance of our system of government involves the wisdom that placed our military forces, our army, under civilian control.
And, we can actually call upon our military leaders to tell us what successes they have had in this fight, and where their strategies and tactics have not helped to achieve the stated aim.
We the people can call upon our leaders to justify the morbidity and the mortality that has been part and parcel of the trillions of dollars effort to contain radical Islam expended so far.
And now, another president, another commander in chief tells us that he are going to do, what five administrations, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush and Obama, over a period of thirty-six years could not accomplish.
President Trump has already shown a willingness to fight on multiple fronts, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan and in other places which due to the nature of the operations, do not grace the headlines of transitory tabloids.
The question is, are we battling several disparate groups, or one group with worldwide capabilities, because the answer to that question is the basis of being able to weigh the wisdom of our present course.
The Hour of Maximum Danger, 2nd edition, is a right riveting read, and in a style that is as unique as it is insightful, reveals how different the Middle East, Central, South and South East Asia, North Africa, Europe as well as the Americas would be today, had it not been for some rather monumental errors emanating not only from Washington, London, Paris, Brussels and other European capitals, but also from Moscow, Beijing as well as Tokyo and New Delhi.
The Hour of Maximum Danger, 2nd edition, is a must read book for anyone who wants to understand current world events, and the onset and the assiduous ascent of radical Islamic terrorism and insurgency on a global scale.
The Hour of Maximum Danger is a rare piece of literature, it is also a timely contribution to world security.
While, it is generally understood that radical Islam draws upon rather medievalist interpretations of Islamic scripture, few in the non-Muslim world possess more than a superficial knowledge of the Islamic scholarship which supports that view within the Muslim world.
The main goal of radical Islam is the fulfillment of the determination to have everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, to live under the rule of Islamic law, known as Shariah. They seek a world dominated by one religion, and as such radical Islam is by definition a supremacist ideology. The leaders of the radical Islamist movement and their adherents, as it is with their use of terrorism, do not possess a monopoly on the desire to establish a regime of supremacy, whether it be the desire for one race, one religion or both to rule over humankind as a whole.
As reluctant as our intelligence, security and police services have been to countenance the fact that there is a sameness between the supremacist ideology of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State and that espoused by our own domestic right-wing supremacists groups.
It should be acknowledged that the Islamic State and our homegrown supremacist groups are more alike than they are different. In both cases the individual that grows into a suicide bomber, does so because they are bred to do so. No one is born hating another individual or group, hatred as practiced on the scale of Al Qaeda or the Islamic State is carefully nurtured, by family, friends, teachers and schools, community and religious leaders.
Those circumstances are no different from the circumstances of the Quebec Mosque or the Charleston AME Church shooters. Both shooters grew to hate their victims by internalizing the words and deeds of family, friends, teachers and schools and community and religious leaders to which they were exposed over a considerable period of time. The one came from a community in which he was taught to hate immigrants, especially Muslims, the other grew steeped in a tradition of hatred towards Americans of African origin.
In a phrase, it takes a community to raise a suicide bomber and to instill the hatred of those who practice another religion, and it takes a community to instill the hatred of another race and to trigger that individual to commit racially motivated mass murder. It takes a community. And therefore, the concept of the lone wolf is, at best, oxymoronic.
The popularized notion embraced so thoroughly by our intelligence, security and police forces of the self-radicalized lone wolf does not fit the facts. At the same time, the lone wolf theory obviously, and rather conveniently provides a reason for the failure of our intelligence, security and police forces to interdict those programmed to mass murder before they inflict their sanguinarily excessive lethal carnage on an unsuspecting public.
It must be appreciated that radical Islam does not possess an exclusive right to the use of terror to achieve its aims. Terrorism is a tactically deployed strategy, that is, it is a weapon employed by the leaders and adherents of radical Islamist movement to achieve their aims. How different the world might be today had the British realized that they did not need to propel the ultra-fundamentalist Sunni Islam sect, the Wahhabi, to power, in order to establish the Saudi kingdom. Or, when Eisenhower was inform of the first international Jihad conference in Cairo in 1957, and of that assembly's declaration of war against the United States, the activities of Sayyid Qutb, and the Muslim Brotherhood, he had not dismissed it as the ramblings of a few fanatics.
Perhaps, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, might reconsider his 1998 remarks when he was asked … do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brzezinski's answer is revealing:
What is most important to the history of the world? TheTalibanand some stirred-up Muslims or the collapse of the Soviet empire? (Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 1998).
Unfortunately, as the author makes one painfully aware, to this day all too many world leaders still harbor the opinion that we are dealing with no more than some stirred-up Muslims. However, as this book attempts to make evident, the advent of the Taliban and radical Islam is at least as important to world history as the collapse of the Soviet Union. And, the challenge to world security that indiscriminate attacks on civilians present is no less formidable.
Gregory's book is an important contribution to an understanding of current world events. Kobobooks.com has made the first chapter of the book available to read for free. The reader will be compelled to read further.
The Ultimate Vanishing Act does not just provide one of the most probing insights into the shortcomings of past policies towards the Arab and Muslim world, but it also lays out a rational plan to counter radical Islamic terrorism.
A plan structured so brilliantly that its adoption is inevitable as soon as those on the receiving end of terror come out of the darkness of tit-for-tat reactions, and needless curtailments of the rights of their own citizens in the name of security, and realize that we will not conquer radical Islamic terrorism by exerting the same measure of force alone as does the adherents and proponents of global Islamic terrorism.
That is one of those sentences, without apology, that requires some thought.
We, the United States, must fight the scourge of global terrorism according to the values and ethics that define us uniquely as a nation created on the basis of the rule of law.
Acts of terrorism, systematic planned indiscriminate attacks on civilians constitute crimes against humanity. That is, violations of the few rules which although not universally acknowledged, the vast majority of nations have adopted to provide a modicum of protection for civilians from the ravages of war and other conflicts.
The basic understanding is that combatants, those actively participating in armed conflict, may not attack civilians (non-combatants) nor hide among civilians to carry out their military campaigns.
Not every government and society has miscalculated the breadth and depth of the challenge that Islamic terrorism poses, and as this book points out, those who have approached this problem with the knowledge required are achieving success, but those governments are too few and too far between.
China, although there are still some rather outwardly intractable problems with their approach, stands perspicaciously alone as one of the major powers in having adopted a working strategy to coexist with Islamic culture. And, with the election of Trudeau in Canada, there are now two nations that are having success that has the wherewithal to stand the test of time.
Eric LaMont Gregory is one of the most influential commentators of the 21st century, and his books are undeniably informative and most timely contributions to national and world security.
It is difficult, without hyperbole, to state just how important a contribution The Hour of Maximum Danger makes to our security.
That judgment the reader ultimately will have to make for themselves.
Release Date, October 2018 when book is released, click on banner above to order