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Pentagon Refuses to Recognize Salafi Jihad as US Enemy

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Staff officers of US Marine Corps, including General Joseph F. Dunford, do not want to include Salafi Jihad to the list of US enemies.

Pentagon Refuses to Recognize Salafi Jihad as US Enemy

Photo: AP

The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) demands of staff officers of US Marine Corps and General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to include Salafi Jihad to the list of US enemies. However, the officers oppose the demand.

The Washington Times information website reported:

“US Special Operations Command has privately pressed the staff of the nation’s highest-ranking military officer to include in his upcoming National Military Strategy [NMS] a discussion of the Sunni Muslim ideology underpinning the brutality of the Islamic State group and al Qaeda…  The 2015 public version does not mention Islamic ideology. It lists terrorists under the ambiguous category of ‘violent extremist organizations’ and singles out al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

…Special Operations Command wants the National Military Strategy to specifically name Salafi jihadism as the doctrine that inspires violent Muslim extremists. Salafi jihadism is a branch within Sunni Islam. It is embraced by the Islamic State and used to justify its mass killings of nonbelievers, including Shiite Muslims, Sunnis and Kurds, as well as Christians. People knowledgeable about the discussion told The Washington Times that SOCOM has not been able to persuade Gen. Dunford’s staff to include Salafi jihadism in any strategy draft.”

The NMS will be a classified document, in which nation’s strategic goals and means of achieving of these goals will be listed, and will occupy a middle position in a cycle of obtaining the right means to the nation’s strategic ends. The military strategy follows the production of the National Security Strategy (NSS), issued by the US President. The NSS is more general and is also used by both as guidance for combatant commanders, such as the commander of USSOCOM, and also by Congress to identify military budget priorities. The NSS sets limits on what the NMS can say. Combatant commands like USSOCOM are deeply interested in the content of the document because the NMS will set similar limits on what they are allowed to direct subordinate units to say and do.

SOCOM faces resistance of the Pentagon because they are asking the NMS to push out into territory that the author of the NSS does not want to enter. The Pentagon’s orders on this issue come from the highest levels, including from the US President himself. For that reason it is no surprise that SOCOM’s pushback has not yet created any effect on the forthcoming strategy.

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