Thursday, August 04, 2011

Still, Islamic Extremists Are Greater Threats than Ultra Rightists

7-22 massacre in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik is too horrible. I agree with those who argue that policymakers are obsessed with Islamic extremists when it comes to counterterrorism but they need to pay more attention to Christian and Judaist far rights. However, in terms of national and global security, Islamic extremists are far more dangerous than ultra rightists such as Christian and Judaist extremists and white supremacists. Therefore, it is taken for granted that counterterrorism policy focuses primarily on Islamic radicals. Of course, we must not allow prejudices and segregations to Muslims.

Why is the threat of radical Muslim greater than that of ultra rightists? I would like to mention the following points. First, Islamic terrorists have larger and more global organizations. Islamic radicals such as Al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar e Taiba, and so forth have international connections, and they launch aggressive campaigns to expand huge basis of supporters. Notably, they recruit Muslim youngsters living in the West. Also, Islamic extremists have mutual interconnections. On the other hand, since the far right has a manifesto of radical chauvinism in view of “defending our nation”, it hardly has transnational connections. Ultra rightists, including KKK and WAR of the United States, the National Front of Britain, and Neo Nazi in Germany, hardly act together beyond national boundaries. Speaking of the scale of a terrorist organization, state sponsorship cannot be dismissed. It is well known that Iran supports Hezbollah in Lebanon. In addition, terrorists in southern Iraq and Afghanistan are sponsored by Iran. On the other hand, virtually none of far right terrorists are sponsored by the state.

Second, we should keep in mind ”With us, or against us” perspective, which Former President George W. Bush said in his speech just before the Iraq War. Islamic extremists do not hesitate to execute large scale destructions in big cities in developed countries. Those terrorists have no hesitation to pursue mass murder of ordinary citizens as long as they are enemy to those radicals, and the symbolic landmark that their enemy takes pride in will be a key target for destruction. 9-11 is the most notable case. On the other hand, as ultra rightists are jingoists, it is quite unlikely that they commit large scale destructions of big cities in their own country, including the symbolic landmark that their country takes pride in. Though the massacre by Breivik is horrible, none of Norwegian monuments were destroyed in this incident. He just killed people those who appeared to “vilify the tradition of his country” in his eyes. In other words, destructive behavior by jingoists to their own country is somewhat restrained.

Third, let me mention weapons of mass destruction, particularly the use of nuclear weapons. This is deeply interrelated to the first and the second points. Non-proliferation of nuclear weapon is one of vital issues of national and global security today. In the past, the Khan Network was supposed to have ties with Iran, North Korea, Libya, and Al Qaeda. Islamic extremists can easily find ties with such international network, but it is difficult for the far right to join the “Axis of Evil” because of its chauvinist nature. What will happen, should terrorists acquire nuclear weapons? There is nothing strange that Islamic radicals use acquired nuclear bombs to destroy the whole of the city itself. This is sufficiently possible, in view of the scale of 9-11 destruction. On the other hand, though rightwing acquisition of nuclear weapon is dangerous, it is quite unlikely that they destroy the whole of the city itself, considering their ideological standpoints.

I discussed which is more serious threat, whether Western far right or Islamic extremists. There is an analogy between the far right and the far left in Japan. Since ultra rightists uphold imperial divinity nationalism, it is unlikely that they destroy Tokyo along with the Imperial Place and the Yasukuni Shrine, but it is quite likely that ultra leftists destroy the whole of the city along with such symbolic landmarks once they acquire WMDs like nuclear weapons. Actually, ultra leftists helped abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea in the past. The above mentioned three points are helpful to judge which terrorists are more critical threat to us.

Now, let’s get back to Western far right and Islamic radicals. Based on the above three points, the former can be managed through the police. On the other hand, in the War on Terror with the latter, the world’s best armed forces and a Guinness Book class sniper fight against them. Apparently, Islamic extremists are far more dangerous threats than ultra rightists. The Breivik incident is too horrible, and we should wipe out prejudices against Muslims and other minorities. I strongly agree to this opinion. However, there is nothing wrong that policymakers focus much more on Islamic extremists than ultra rightists in counterterrorism policy.