The War On Radicalism - Bridges To Common Ground

The War On Radicalism

A Blueprint To Undermine Ideology & Recruitment

The Problem began after 9/11 by declaring a War on Terror, which is a tactic, not an enemy. Trillions spent, and countless lives lost, yet the threat of terrorism still advances. Then DHS Secretary John Kelly stated in April 2017 that, “..the greatest threat to the U.S. is homegrown terror.” Policy makers generally agree that we cannot “kill our way out of it” and “do not know really what to do about radicalization.” It seems clear that governments are lacking viable and comprehensive solutions to one of our greatest security challenges. The real enemy is radicalization, namely the weaponizing of individuals susceptible to obey and implement Salafi Jihadism. To achieve a long-term victory, a proactive strategy is required to undermine the root ideology and source of the problem.

The Root of this radical ideology, Salafi Jihadism, is a disturbing quasi-religious paradigm that justifies acts of violence. For several reasons, American and European policymakers avoid, or are perhaps ill-equipped to address matters of religion when addressing the current conflict. If we do not address the cause, we will not produce a long-term victory.

One Answer can be found and is built on over 20 years of successful real world results, including applications in dangerous areas of conflict. The TRAC5 blueprint has quantifiably contributed to the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Darfur, helped to end conflicts in 6 countries, prompted the Gaddafi regime to denounce WMDs and turn over the Lockerbie terror suspects, and contributed to the release of over 50 Christian prisoners and hostages in countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, and Sudan. This proven blueprint is scalable and can be applied effectively to defeat Muslim radical ideology; by disrupting, undermining, and reversing the ideological appeal of radicalization, and its ability to generate the flow of new recruits.

The Strategy complements all traditional tracks in place to guide peaceful human affairs; diplomatic, political, economic, and military efforts. TRAC5 incorporates the necessary elements of culture, theology, religion, and faith which are core and essential to developing a counter-narrative; one capable of undermining the root cause of radicalism. This was confirmed in the 2012 finding by the Committee on Homeland Security that there is “a need to confront the islamist ideology driving radicalization.”President Trump is receptive to, and understands the necessity of such an approach. In May President Trump celebrated the opening of the “Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology” in Saudi Arabia. Serious consideration should be given to incorporating a proactive anti-radicalization blueprint into the framework of this new center, as well as making it available to policymakers worldwide.

Specialized Application of Science, Scholarship and Faith forms the core of the TRAC5 approach:

  • Profiling: The psychological, political and ideological factors that cause radicalization have been well researched. Any effective, strategic response must systematically address each of these factors in order to undermine the motivations of those who join.
  • Neuroplasticity: Research has demonstrated that the human brain can develop renewed neural pathways, replacing existing, dysfunctional systems. Constructive thinking and healthy habits replace destructive life patterns. The blueprint has a remarkable track record in this regard, incorporating a paradigm-altering process in conjunction with a field-tested model.
  • Psychology: Drawing on decades of real world field-testing, a “behavioral algorithm” has been developed that incorporates a straightforward 14-step process. When followed by trained teams, this person-to-person engagement impacts conflict situations with consistent and favorable outcomes.
  • Linguistics: A 20-year careful and extensive study of Arabic and the Semitic languages, reflected in the Abrahamic holy books has shown that classical points of hatred and enmity are fueled by errant translations. These are famously misapplied as Qur’anic truths that lead to radicalization and justifications of terror, such as “kill the infidels wherever you find them.” This linguistic aspect of the blueprint has already proven to successfully undermine faulty radical ideology and enlist constructive behavior, such as releasing hostages and ending conflict.
  • Technology: can be deployed to disrupt and undermine internet use as a means to recruit. These include:
  1. Offshore “peace-hackers” to disable social media recruitment sites and tech-based efforts.
  2. Peer-to-peer intervention offers the growing number of deserters and disillusioned radicals,an option other than prison or execution. Use their negative experience as a testimony to prevent and dissuade those on the path toward radicalization.
  3. “Peace counter-narrators” to implement a persistent counter-narrative campaign that targets key psychological and religious factors of the radical profile. Allied forces within Islam are needed to lead a counter to radicalization within their own culture.

The Faith Factor: Greatly expand existent trained Crisis Deployment Teams that apply a faith-based engagement strategy, to defuse areas of religious-based conflict. Studies suggest the primary factors that contribute to the “the terror from within” our borders include alienation and isolation. The Faith Factor develops an array of high-impact initiatives, such as the “Community Action Program,” that recruits and equips Muslims and Christians to work together. This process undermines the factors that contribute to hate and homegrown terror. Resources would include a newly developed educational “Toolkit” used to solidify accurate and healthy paradigms, a new English Qur’an, which includes 3,000+ comparative Bible verses used to introduce the mutual common ground that exists between the two holy books. These will facilitate a more robust integration of Muslims into American society and inspire more vigorous cooperation of the Muslim community to combat the #1 threat, homegrown terror.

Awakenings. For long-term mitigation of radicalism, the blueprint must include how the West can empower three current awakenings that are transforming the Muslim world. The first, a political awakening, evidenced by the Arab Spring. But political revolution is failing to deliver real change. The horrifically evil acts committed by Muslim extremists are fueling millions to a second, Awakening that seeks a new interpretation of Islam in harmony with the contemporary world. Finally, Muslims are experiencing a third awakening sparked by ubiquitous spiritual visions and dreams of Jesus. All three of these worldwide movements help demolish remnants that contribute to radicalization.

Cost. The apparent absence of policy to adequately address the factors fueling radicalization makes the blueprint’s application in an exceptional 20-year track-record compelling for policy makers to include as part of their overall policy. Field-testing would cost no more fraction paid to launch a few Tomahawk missiles.Moving Forward. TRAC5 is ready to team with partners to demonstrate the viability of the blueprint’s capacity to produce long-term measurable results. There is an immediate and critical need to undermine radicalism and its ideology that threatens our homeland.

A key to reconciling the East and West is to clear up the historic misunderstandings that define the Muslim-Christian divide. His book offers a blueprint for breaking this logjam of dissention that contributes to so much conflict today.

James Baker III ,

61st Secretary of State (Endorsement of A Deadly Misunderstanding: Siljander - Harper One)

Mark Siljander, a former U.S. congressman & U.S./U.N. ambassador is author of the best-selling/award-winning book, A Deadly Misunderstanding; A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide (Harper One). It powerfully impacts the mind and heart, while demonstrating real-life resolution of war and complex crises, especially between the Abrahamic faiths. Mark’s successful peacemaking efforts serve as a foundation to his service as President of Bridges to Common Ground.