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The Jihadists’ Promise: Power over Death

by Louis René Beres

…This asymmetric view puts us all at a grievous disadvantage. While our Jihadist foes get ready for Paradise, by the slaughter of “infidels,” our own political leaders seem to remain blithely unaware of — or in denial about — their enemies’ fusion of sacredness with violence.

Among more “normal” conflict scenarios, America, Europe and Israel now need to consider mega-threats of both unconventional war and unconventional terrorism. Faced with determined adversaries — who are not only willing to die, but who actively seek their own “deaths” in order to live forever — Washington and Jerusalem should finally address the what needs to be done in addition to military remediation.

Sustained and selective armed force against IS and related Jihadist targets is certainly necessary and appropriate. However, it is also important to remind our leaders that force always needs to be combined with reinforcing efforts to convince these terrorists that their expected martyrdom is ultimately just an elaborate fiction.

Jihadists, in killing Americans, Israelis, and all other “unbelievers,” may not even intend to commit evil, so much as to do themselves and Allah good — and to do so with an absolute purity of heart. In their view, waging Holy War can never be shameful; it can only be heroic.

Going forward, our main task should be to systematically undermine these fantasies and doctrinal “underpinnings.” In conjunction with the recommended nuanced persuasions of military firepower, it can be done.

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