The Superpower and the Caliphate

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Don’t believe the hype that the CIA is behind ISIS’s declaration of an Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. “The Caliphate threatens, not only its immediate adversaries, but the potentates of the Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and the Mother of All Monarchist Corruption in the Arab Sunni heartland, the Saudi royal family.” It also signals the collapse of U.S. strategy in the region.


The Superpower and the Caliphate

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The game plan that was hatched in 2011 for Libya, Syria, Iraq – for the whole region – is kaput.”

ISIS has proclaimed its caliphate, and the world will never be the same again. Although the territorial scope of the jihadist political entity will shift with the fortunes of battle, or maybe even vanish, the emergence of the “Islamic State” signals the final collapse of U.S. imperial strategy in the Muslim world – certainly, in the Arab regions of Islam.

“The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph’s authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas,” said Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, spokesman for the fighters formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. “Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day.”

Think of it as a Salafist declaration of independence – not just from al Qaida, whose marginality in the region was confirmed when its designated affiliate in Syria, Al-Nusra, swore allegiance to ISIS – but from the Arab monarchies and western intelligence agencies that have nurtured the international jihadist network for almost two generations. The Caliphate threatens, not only its immediate adversaries in the Shiite-dominated governments of Syria and Iraq, but the potentates of the Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and the Mother of All Monarchist Corruption in the Arab Sunni heartland, the Saudi royal family. The threat is not inferential, but literal, against “all emirates, groups, states and organizations” that do not recognize that ISIS in its new incarnation is the embodiment of Islam at war.

The jihadist die is cast, a point of no return for the U.S. strategy of projecting imperial power in the region through armed Islamic fundamentalist surrogates. The international jihadist network, which did not exist before the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan created it to undermine the leftist secular government of Afghanistan in mid-1979, has become a movement that can no longer be controlled. The physical contours of the ISIS caliphate, the movement’s dynamic new focal point, may prove indefensible, especially if the Americans decide they cannot avoid an all-out assault on their former asset. But, whatever the U.S. military response, the game plan that was hatched in 2011 for Libya, Syria, Iraq – for the whole region – is kaput, based as it is on the reliable deployment of jihadists as surrogates for NATO and Arab royals. Worse, the Arab oil potentates understand full well that their own regimes are now in grave danger from the indigenous monstrosity they have created. The Saudis, in particular, justify their family’s monopolizing of the Arabian peninsula’s great wealth as reward for safeguarding the holy sites of Islam. No doubt the “Islamic State,” with its movable borders and swiftly expanding pan-Arab and even pan-Muslim constituency, would be glad to assume these responsibilities – over the dead bodies of those Saudi princes who did not escape to London, Paris and New York. The same goes for all the royal lineages aligned with the West and, de facto, Israel.

U.S. policymakers have no idea how to reposition themselves in the region.”

It is true that the United States retains nearly limitless power to create chaos in the region. Chaos is useful in preventing conventional governments and civil societies from achieving national goals that are inimical to imperialism. But chaos is not empty; it is a cauldron in which contradictions can become explosively acute. The jihadists are, at root, anti-imperialists – inalterably opposed to domination by the “Crusaders” of the West and Zionists. As we have previously asserted, the fundamentalist jihad, although profoundly reactionary, inevitably behaves much like a kind of nationalism – for some, it fills a political void left by the demise of yesteryear’s secular pan-Arab nationalism. ISIS now claims to be the expression of that nationalist-like yearning, as the “Islamic State.”

If you think all this is the work of the CIA, then thank them profusely for accelerating the epic unraveling of U.S. imperial strategy in the Muslim world. As during the days when America’s Egyptian stooge Mubarak was pushed from power, threatening an “Arab Spring” that might
depose the oil monarchies, U.S. policymakers have no idea how to reposition themselves in the region. The Americans cannot replace the jihadists as foot soldiers of imperialism. Thus, a period of ad-libbing begins, which will surely involve ostentatious displays of U.S. military prowess, as the Americans remind themselves and everyone else that a superpower outranks a caliphate.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].


Best Analysis I've Seen

This is spot-on.  Thank you, Glen!  The dice, which have been tumbling since the days of the take-outs of Mossadegh, Qasim, and Nasser, have indeed come to rest here.  Snake eyes, as anybody sane could have predicted at the outset.  Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

Even so, the heightened blowback will still be great for corporate capitalism, via expanding Pentagon budget and more sales opportunities for imperial "patriotism."

Lukman responds to "The Superpower and the Caliphate"

“As we have previously asserted, the fundamentalist jihad, although profoundly reactionary, inevitably behaves much like a kind of nationalism – for some, it fills a political void left by the demise of yesteryear’s secular pan-Arab nationalism. ISIS now claims to be the expression of that nationalist-like yearning, as the ‘Islamic State’.” – Glen Ford

The statement above, excerpted from your “Black Agenda Report” article entitled “The Superpower and the Caliphate”, is indicative of one of two things. You are either still ignorant of the ideological underpinnings of Islam or you are deliberately engaging in sophistry. Which is it?

Let’s break down your statement:

“Fundamentalist jihad” - Affixing the qualifier “fundamentalist” to the term jihad is an unnecessary redundancy. In Islam, there is only jihad (a duty incumbent upon all Muslims). If you intend to be more specific, the qualification would be jihad of the heart, tongue or hand. “Jihad of the heart” means knowing an evil is an evil and being offended by it. “Jihad of the tongue” means raising your voice/pen against the evil. “Jihad of the hand” means physically addressing the evil. In all fairness to you, I, too, will sometimes engage in a redundancy in order to promote understanding. In an essay entitled ‘“Arab” Nationalism versus “Revolutionary” Islam’, an essay written in response to another one of your anti-Islam diatribes, I explain, in the opening paragraph: “I enclosed the adjective “Revolutionary” within quotes in the title of this essay because the Islam of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad can only be revolutionary. I only engaged in the redundancy to delineate between the Islam of the Holy Quran and the “islam” of the rulers of this world and their sycophants. Could the contrast between the Islam of Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (Saladin) and the “islam” of the current rulers of the Muslim world be starker?” This essay became a chapter in my second book “The Black Muslim Manifesto II: A Luta Continua”

However, if you insist upon the redundancy, please use the quotation marks appropriately. Let’s proceed.

“Profoundly reactionary” – Correct me if I’m wrong. I’m assuming that you are using the term “reactionary” to mean “counter revolutionary”. I will proceed from that assumption. I hope we can agree that “revolution”, minimally, is when one class seizes state power from another class. And, more profoundly, “revolution” means total change, then nothing could be more “profoundly revolutionary” than Islam.

Islam recognizes the fact that someone has to rule. Currently, the world is under the rule of white supremacy/capitalism/bourgeois democracy/secularism (i.e. the New World Order). Islam, uncompromisingly, challenges that arrangement. And the seemingly insurmountable material disparity between the antagonists (i.e. NWO vs. Islam), at present, is not the ultimately determining factor for the Muslim.  Qur'an 8:65 "O Prophet, rouse the believers to fight. If there are twenty among you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred; if there are a hundred then they will slaughter a thousand unbelievers, for the infidels are a people devoid of understanding." Ideologies which seek to compete with Islam represent varying degrees of Jahiliyya (i.e. ignorance). Though the aforesaid may not be PC, political correctness is not what we seek. Our ultimate goal is the conquest of truth over falsehood; as we are instructed. And time will ultimately reveal wherein the truth lies.

Most revolutionaries would agree that, even after state power is seized, the greater struggle begins; namely, to change that which is in the hearts and minds of men and women. The formula that Islam provides for that transformation of the individual is simply “you can’t be a Muslim unless you want for your brother or sister what you want for yourself”. It is not coincidental that this struggle within is referred to, in Islam, as the “Greater Jihad”.

“Inevitably behaves much like a kind of nationalism” – I’m not sure what you meant by this one; however, going back to my essay ‘‘“Arab” Nationalism versus “Revolutionary” Islam’: “History has shown both reactionary nationalism (i.e. chauvinism) and revolutionary nationalism to be potent forces. Reactionary nationalism has inspired millions of people, across the globe, to march to the beat of imperial drums. Conversely, it was revolutionary nationalism that inspired the global national liberation movements of the mid 1900’s that sprung up as a counter pose to imperialism. For that reason, Chairman Mao would often speak of “the nationalism of the oppressor and the nationalism of the oppressed”. However, regardless of its potency, nationalism, unlike Islam, is not a comprehensive ideology.”

Islam is neither national nor international. Islam is universal. The following excerpt from “Letter to AmeriKa” (full text can also be found in “A Luta Continua”) profoundly addresses this point: “You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator. You flee from the embarrassing question posed to you: How is it possible for Allah the Almighty to create His creation, grant them power over all the creatures and land, grant them all the amenities of life, and then deny them that which they are most in need of: knowledge of the laws which govern their lives?”

“For some, it fills a political void left by the demise of yesteryear’s secular pan-Arab nationalism” – Islam is comprehensive. Islam fills all “voids”. Once again, I refer you to “A Luta Continua”: “Islam offers to the world a codified body of knowledge that is both expansive and comprehensive. First and foremost, Islam draws on the wisdom contained within a book, The Holy Quran, which close to two billion people on the planet believe is the pure, undiluted Word of the Lord of Creation. I might add that Muslims are united in the belief in the purity of the Quranic text, irrespective of any other ideological differences. This book addresses issues of life and death, relations between man and God, man and man, man and woman. It deals with affairs of state, both during times of peace and times of war. It covers issues from the mundane to the sublime. If you’re wondering about the source of Islamic militancy; Muslims are instructed to fight on behalf of the oppressed by any means necessary. This is why Islam is anathema to tyrants and cowards.”

We now see Islam coming on the heels of “the demise of yesteryear’s secular pan-Arab nationalism” because, as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad stated “Islam comes after everything else has failed”.

In truth,


Not so sure...

Ultimately, I think that I must defer to Glen Ford's analysis, as I have not been "at it" as long as he has been.  But, I was part of the Muslim world, daily, 24/7, for 30 years. 

And, I woul be awfully surprised if any of the [hidden] leadership of "ISIS" has a single concern about forming a Khalifat (sometimes called, Khilafat).  There must be something else going on.  I even wonder of Abubakr al-Baghdadi actually exists, and, if so, whether he actually called for the setting up of a Khalifat.  It came too fast, and even sounded absolutely ridiculous to me. 

The invocation of Khalifat is not even a good trigger anymore to get Muslims excited, except for diillusioned young people.  It simply isn't. Millions of Muslims see Khalifat as a thing of the past.  And those that really believe in it are too ignorant to know what it takes to build a true Khalifat.  It's just a rally word, that's all, to get the young people excited.  It will fizzle out.  There is nothing whatsoever about Abubakr Al-Baghadadi that is attractive enough for him to command the allegiance of the Muslim world. 

First of all (and I'm NOT trying to be funny), he's ugly.  Prophet Muhammad explicitly stated one of the requirements of "Imammat" (leadership) in Islam: You can't be physically ugly.  Look, I'm serious.  Yes, there are other more important requirements (Knowledge of Qur'an; piety; care for the community, courage, etc).  But being handsome COUNTS.  And Baghadid utterly fails in that category.

The Qur'an, yes, says that "I will appoint for the believers Successors [Khalifas] in the earth."  So, there are Muslims who cite that verse as showing that Khalifat is required.  But that's not how most Muslims feel.  Most Muslims want to go shopping.  Sorry to say it, but the dream of Muslims being at the vanguard of anti-materialism/anti-capitalism is just that: a dream.

During NATO's assault on Libya, the CIA placed jihadis in Turkish hotels, according to a few sources that I had, where they supplied them with Playboy bunnies, liquor, and money.  Far fetched?  Recall what the CIA did in Afghanistan, and that was broadcast openly even in MSM.  They handed out samples of Viagra to certain tough Afghani tribal leaders that they wanted to win over against The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (otherwise known as "The Taliban").

It worked.  Once the tribal elders experienced how well Viagra worked, they fought there ASSES of for "Amrika" (America).  Period.  Sorry, but that's the powerful reality of HUMAN NATURE, and it's operating in the Muslim world.  There's tons of poverty, and someone can always be bought off.

I'd be surprised if Syria just sits and continues to allow ISIS to control its territory.  Maybe.  But I do not see that happening.  They've given up enough in allowing a measure of autonomy to the Kurds. 

It's claimed that ISIS's membership is 10,000.  That will dwindle.  They do not have a strong ideology at all. 

There is one global Islamic group that has had a Khalifat since 1908, and its membership is 250,000,000.  It is considered a "pawn of Britian," sometimes a "pawn of Israel," sometimes a "pawn of the U.S.," and even, sometimes, a "pawn of Russia," though that one baffles me: The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam.

It was founded in 1889.  Its founder died in 1908.  It has had 5 Khalifas since the founder passed, the current one being Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, "Khalifatul-Masih V," as his title goes.  The title, "Khalifatul-Masih" means, "Successor of the Messiah."  They believe that their founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was the long-awaited "Masih" predicted by Muhammad, as well as the "Mahdi."  They refer to their founder as, "The Promised Messiah & Mahdi."

They are very, very highly organized, and have a strong hierarchy, and are very highly "educated." 

But, they are not jihadists, and, in fact, have claimed that jihad, for now, has been suspended, "until such time as conditions change," as the founder stated.  I suppose that the statement, "until such time as conditions changes" signals that he didn't ban jihad, but only suspended until Muslims got stronger [???]

But, on a geo-political tip, Ahmadiyyat (as it's also called) has ZERO influence in the general Muslim world, and they are hated by many Muslims.  So, anyway, other than the Ahmadiyya Khalifat, I state that it is virtually impossible for the Muslim world to create a Khalifat. 

Ahmadiyyat stepped outside of certain sunni traditions (such as the doctrine that no prophets can come after Muhammad), and this gave Ahmadiyyat more leeway to CREATE a Khalifat.  Sunni Muslims virtually worship Prophet Muhammad, though they would not say it that way.  This worship of Muhammad factors in their inability to elect a new "Imam-ul-Zaman," that is, "Leader of the Age," or a new "Amir-ul-Mumineen," that is, "Leader of the Faithful."

They are also divided by ethnicity, language, etc.  Even Ahmadiyyat, in this regard, has limited itself by keeping the leadership of Ahmadiyyat top-heavy with Pakistanis.  Not only Pakistanis, but PUNJABI Pakistanis.  Although it's a multi-ethnic, multi-national, global Khalifat, there are always complaints, within the Movement, of Punjabi nepotism.  Four out of five of the Ahmadiyya Khalifas have been Punjabis, AND they have been members of the Ahmad family. 

This kind of problem is multiplied in the sunni Muslim world, which can't even get off the ground as regards the establishment of a Khalifat.  Sectarianism, schools of thought (Hanbali, Hanifi, Shafi, Maliki), interpretations of Qur'an and tafsir (commentary), differences in interpretation of Shariah law, differences in beliefs of hadith, differences in languages, and more, keep the sunni world divided.

I predict that if Hezbollah MAINTAINS its current structure, you will see many young sunnis, in the future, switch to Shia Islam.  Hezbollah has proved itself a formidable foe against the State of Israel.  Hezbollah is considered, by Israel, to have "won" its last two wars against Israel.  Hezbollah is VERY organized, VERY patient, and does not operate through REACTION.  It does not.

Check out the speeches of Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's President, on YouTube.  Also, if Hafez Assad manages to snatch the rest of his country back, OH, BOY!!  The center of political activity in the Muslim world will switch to Syria--in my humble opinion.

Iran and Hezbollah are more purists in their Islam.  The sunnis are not.  They're just fanatics, and I hate to paint with a broad brush like that, but it's true--in my opinion.

But, again: Ultimately, I defer to brother Glen Ford, because he is the elder, and my knowledge is very limited. 

Just to be thorough...

By the way, there is an outside chance--WAY outside--that Ahmadiyya Khalifat could become attractive to Muslims of the world one day.  It has a very solid foundation, and there is not a single signal, from any direction, that indicates its demise, or even any diminishing of its continuing growth and internal power.

If Ahmadiyyat could address the issue of Punjabi influence in its hiearchy, that would be a first step in expanding Ahmadiyyat popularity to other Muslims, I do believe.  As it's currently structured, I do not see that happening.

But, if it does ever happen, especially if it happens within the next 30 years, the U.S. would have to end all of its operations anywhere in the Muslim world, no doubt about it. Because, despite Ahmadiyyat's claim that jihad has been "suspended," there is no doubt whatsoever that it would be RE-VISITED [in a much more potent and militarily meaningful form] if the U.S. decided to continue meddling in the Muslim world.  But, with a Khalifa that headed the entire Muslim world, even the U.S. would not be so stupid and arrogant as to meddle in Muslim affairs. 

I do not wish to share how Ahmadiyyat would deal with helping the Muslim world structure itself, but it would be done rapidly--VERY rapidly, and the internal economic system of Ahmadiyyat would be expanded to include Muslim nations.  That economic system would included the "taxing" of 2 billion Muslims (those that wished to participate), and the use of that money, in part, to build Muslim militaries in Muslim countries--something I'm sure Ahmadiyyat would deny, but that denial is absolutely meaningless.  We're not children.

Ahmadiyyat DOES have the capacity to unite the Muslim world.  It doesn't have to start from scratch.  It's Khalifat has been in existence for 106 years, and the organization itself has been in existence for 125 years.  It doesn't have to GUESS at how to structure a Khalifat system. 

The system exists, and all that would have to happen is that Muslims fit themselves inside of it.  It's literature is already strongly developed.  It's particular understandings of Qur'an and Islam are well worked out.  It's ethic, in terms of educational achievement is VERY high (The only Muslim Nobel Laurette in Physics was an Ahmadi Muslim, Professor Abdus Salaam).

Historically, it actually fits well with the struggle of the Palestinians, as the only person that represented the Palestinian cause, at the United Nations, in 1948, was Chaudry Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, an Ahmnadi Muslim, who was one of the Founding Fathers of Pakistan.  He drafted the Pakistan Resolution.  He was also the first foreign minister of the state of Pakistan, and he is the only one who spoke for the PALESTINIAN cause at the UN at that time.

The big problem is DOCTRINE.  Their doctrine is anathema to the general orthodox Muslim world, as they believe that prophets can come after Muhammad, as long as they are Muslims.  Orthodox, mainstream Islam teaches otherwise.  But, as I said above, that's a problem with sunni Islam: worship of Muhammad; inability to think TODAY; an ongoing nostalgic self-indulgence about the wars of Prophet Muhammad; about the 800-year rule of Muslim Spain, etc.

Anyway, I cite Ahmadiyyat not as some suggestion.  I cite it to be complete, even though it is a wild card as it relates to Khalifat in the Muslim world.  Yet, again, with a following of 250,000,000, I would not count them out. 

ISIS's leaders first Khutbah (sermon), July 4th, 2014

Here is a full translation of Abubakr al-Baghdadi's, the leader of ISIS, first major khutbah (sermon), given yesterday at a Mosul masjid (mosque), just for your information.  Of course, the khutbah includes political comments.  Of course, the very fact that he delivered this feast early in this current fasting month of Ramadan is, in itself, highly political.

I still hold that this is an abberation.  But, Mr. Ford might be correct.  The Muslim world is very unpredictable.  Anyway, here's the speech:


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Super Power

History shows that the madness of come over to the world lashes out the several of the wars.Without proper educating the people about there rights, and why should they have to work for the peace nothing gonna change for the years. Even when looking to get a min fridge it's look like that everyone is best out there but selection goes for the best one.