Why ISIS Is Winning

“In the 1980s, academics began to apply social movement theory to Islamist activism. The key concept was that violent jihadists are the product of oppression. Quintan Wiktorowicz, one of the principal proponents of this theory, eventually joined Obama’s National Security Staff as Senior Director for Global Engagement. His influence within the White House in shaping American counter-terrorism strategy had three fatal effects: the focus shifted away from ideology and to the belief that the ideology motivating Islamists is irrelevant; it treated Islamists as victims, saying they are forced by circumstances to resort to violence; and it drew a line between violence and nonviolent Islamists, saying that we only have to fight the former, while the latter– for example, the Muslim Brotherhood– can be our allies.”

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