America withdrew from Afghanistan after NATO and the former Afghan Armed Forces for twenty years failed to defeat the Pakistan-sponsored Taliban Jihadists in Afghanistan. The Jihadist problem worldwide is worse than ever, particularly in the Sahel region. Jihadist Iran has expanded to most of Iraq and parts Yemen during those twenty years and have advanced the takeover of Lebanon and Syria. In Turkey has the Muslim Brotherhood regime entrenched its power and become even more authoritarian. In Indonesia’s Aceh in northern Sumatra was sharia law instituted after a peace deal with a Jihadist insurgency. Gaza was taken over by Jihadist Hamas two years after Israel withdrew entirely from the area. The Muslim Brotherhood led elected governments in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco but were in all cases unseated. The Muslim Brotherhood lost power in Sudan after a popular revolution.
The problem from the outset in 2001 was the lack of a comprehensive strategy and instead was there the myopic idea of limiting the global conflict to “fighting terrorism” (the so called “war on terror”) while essentially ignoring entirely its geostrategic and ideological dimensions. There was and is still no strategy of putting the Islamists and the Jihadists on the defensive through an offensive struggle of winning the hearts and minds of the Ummah, the Muslim community worldwide. Simply put, there was no strategy for worldwide victory against the terrorist doctrine of Jihadism and the political ideology that underlies it, Islamism. Imagine if the US had not had a strategy for worldwide victory in the Cold War with the Soviet Union? Would the outcome have been as successful as it ultimately turned out?
America’s withdrawal from Islamdom is a central strategic goal of Iran and the Jihadist movement and now America withdraws as if defeated. The White House needs to internalize that the global struggle with Jihadism and Islamism is far from over and will likely go on for some two more decades for as long as there is oil money to fund it. It is essential that America secures victory in this struggle which is essentially a global struggle for the hearts and minds of Muslims and a fight over the very essence of the religion of Islam.