Adults in charge now?

This is the Cathy Wilcox cartoon I referred to on Sunday.

Screenshot - 13_10_2015 , 7_59_24 AM

Spot on — not too fawning on Turnbull either. The point about the language Tony Abbott chose is very well made. His folly here really did have consequences.

If you Google death cult ISIS you will find that it seems Tony Abbott was the ONLY world leader to use this term. It may have gone down well with certain parts of the more elderly media, but it clearly didn’t work as part of “deradicalisation”. The trouble is that it infantalises. It precludes any kind of mature response to what ISIS actually is. See also Rachel Olding’s May 2015 Tony Abbott’s obsessive use of the phrase ‘death cult’ fails to resonate with half of Australians.

The obsessive use of the phrase “death cult” to describe Islamic State has failed to resonate with at least half of all Australians taking part in a series of national focus groups.

“Death cult” has emerged as Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s favoured term for the terror group that is usually referred to as ISIL, ISIS or Islamic State.

He has used the term 346 times since September in federal parliament and in press releases, interviews, transcripts and videos released by his office…

Nick O’Brien, the former head of International Counter Terrorism in Special Branch at New Scotland Yard and an academic at Charles Sturt University, said it was important to examine the terms being used for Islamic State because the messaging needed to be consistent.

He said Mr Abbott’s repetitive use of “death cult” added to the confusing labels that muddle the message about Islamic State.

“He seems to be the only world leader that uses this phrase. The Brits certainly don’t use it, the Americans adopted a policy of using ISIL,” he said. “A lot of people won’t know exactly what organisation he’s referring to. There is some amount of confusion.”…

Well, long may Tony Abbott languish on the back bench – or far away — and let the adults get on with running things.

Recently I bought for $5 at el cheapo books Wollongong The Islamist Phoenix: The Islamic State (ISIS) and the Redrawing of the Middle East by Loretta Napoleoni.

From its birth in the late 1990s as the jihadist dream of terrorist leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Islamic State (known by a variety of names, including ISIS, ISIL, and al Qaeda in Iraq) has grown into a massive enterprise, redrawing national borders across the Middle East and subjecting an area larger than the United Kingdom to its own vicious brand of Sharia law.

In The Islamist Phoenix, world-renowned terrorism expert Loretta Napoleoni takes us beyond the headlines, demonstrating that while Western media portrays the Islamic State as little more than a gang of thugs on a winning streak, the organization is proposing a new model for nation building. Waging a traditional war of conquest to carve out the 21st-century version of the original Caliphate, IS uses modern technology to recruit and fundraise while engaging the local population in the day-to-day running of the new state. Rising from the ashes of failing jihadist enterprises, the Islamic State has shown a deep understanding of Middle Eastern politics, fully exploiting proxy war and shell-state tactics. This is not another terrorist network but a formidable enemy in tune with the new modernity of the current world disorder.

As Napoleoni writes, “Ignoring these facts is more than misleading and superficial, it is dangerous. ‘Know your enemy’ remains the most important adage in the fight against terrorism.”

See her Lateline interview. Read the Introduction to the book. I have found the book very clear. It has also helped me bridge from what I learned ten years or so back (when my everyday work led me into the world of “radicalisation”) to what we confront today, including tragedies like that at Parramatta.

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