Foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius draws attention to a book published in 2004 that reads like a playbook of radical jihadists. The Management of Savagery by Abu Bakr Naji calls for a strategy of drawing America into paralyzing wars and using shocking violence as a way to expose the weakness of the West and to bring Muslims into the cause.
From David Ignatius, The manual that chillingly foreshadows the Islamic State – The Washington Post:
It may not be as revealing as “Mein Kampf” or “The Communist Manifesto.” But people looking for insight into the extremist strategy that inflames the fighters of the Islamic State might begin with a book chillingly titled “The Management of Savagery.”
Published in 2004 by a jihadist who called himself Abu Bakr Naji, the book posits a world in which the superpower halo of the United States has disappeared and the Muslim world within the colonial boundaries known as the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement has descended into chaos — “savagery,” as the author bluntly puts it.
Sound familiar? Read on. The book, translated in 2006 from Arabic by William McCants, is a frightening guide to the ultra-violent tactics today embraced by the Islamic State and its leader, who calls himself Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. . . .
The manifesto proposes that the jihadists draw an overstretched America into a war in which it will eventually become “exhausted” and give up. This strategy requires polarizing the Muslim world and convincing those moderates who had hoped for U.S. protection that it’s futile.Naji argues that if the United States overextends itself militarily, this will lead to its demise. “The overwhelming military power (weapons, technology, fighters) has no value without . . . the cohesion of (society’s) institutions and sectors.” Loss of America’s media reputation as an all-dominating superpower “removes the aura of invincibility which this power projects, [and reveals] that nothing at all stands in front of it.”. . .
The key to undermining American power is raw violence, the more shocking the better, he argues. It wasn’t just that this ultra-violence would expose the West’s feebleness but also that it would force Muslims to make a choice. In the disorder of formerly stable Arab lands, the jihadists would make their name through “management of savagery.” Naji even urged his readers to consult books on business administration.
Naji had special contempt for Muslim softness. “The ingredient of softness is one of the ingredients of failure for any jihadi action,” he wrote. “It is better for those who . . . are also soft to sit in their homes. If not, failure will be their lot. . . . If we are not violent in our jihad and if softness seizes us, that will be a major factor in the loss of the element of strength.”
To support his case for brutal tactics, Naji notes that two caliphs who followed the prophet Muhammad “burned (people) with fire, even though it is odious, because they knew the effect of rough violence in times of need.” In another passage, he notes that “we need to massacre” others as Muslims did after the death of Muhammad. Violence is beneficial, Naji argues: “Dragging the masses into the battle requires more actions which will inflame opposition and which will make people enter into the battle, willing or unwilling. . . . We must make this battle very violent, such that death is a heartbeat away.”