Like the Hydra of ancient Greek mythology, radical Islamic terrorism is a many-headed monster whose capacity for evil is more than matched by its savagery. Fifteen years ago today, on September 11, 2001, the Hydra of radical Islamic terrorism demonstrated just how evil and savage it could be by conducting multiple attacks against the United States, using civilian passenger aircraft as weapons of mass destruction that killed thousands of innocent people of multiple nationalities, races, and creeds.
Thirteen years later to the day, September 11 2014, we established the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement as a think tank with an online presence to honor, empower, and support the people who are engaged in fighting the Hydra of radical Islamic terrorism. Our goal on that day and in the days immediately following was to provide readers with breaking news and strategic idiosyncratic analysis on the attacks, operations, and messaging of radical Islamic terrorists and their supporting networks. In doing so we undertook to discuss possible new and unconventional responses and courses of action that the United States and its allies might take against the perpetrators and those who support them. We are guided and motivated in this effort by the belief that, ultimately, all man-made systems and networks can be penetrated, hijacked, injected with a virus, and finally caused to destroy themselves from within – but only if one understands their core ideology.
From that day to this NEC-SC has continued to the best of our ability to serve our readers as both an informational source and a forum for chronicling what we hold to be the central struggle of our times, the defeat of radical Islamic terrorists. We recognize that radical Islamic terrorism, like the Hydra of ancient Greek mythology, has many heads and that each is capable of striking anywhere in the world. Which means that, in order to destroy it, we must be willing to engage it anywhere in the world – anywhere it rears one or more of its many heads, any anywhere it may one day resurrect its ideology under different names, banners, and networks.
And therein lies the problem. In the Hydra mythos, any attempt to slay the monster by cutting off one of its heads always failed because it would instantly grow two heads in the place of the one that had been lost. Similarly with radical Islamic terrorism, the killing of individual terrorists and terrorist cells will not achieve its destruction. The defeat of radical Islamic terrorism can only be accomplished with a joint effort against every aspect – every “head” as it were – of its being, whenever and wherever it appears.
This is not just a military struggle: it is a war that must be waged in the ideological and economic spheres as well; and it must be waged not just in and by our generation, but by the generations that follow us. This is one of the many reasons why NEC-SE looks at the current struggle against this Hydra from an eighteen-year vision in the future and walks our operational efforts back to this day when we conduct our not yet established link- analysis of the network needed to destroy this enemy in the futures to come. This physical monster may be defeated in three to five years by a joint Russian and American effort in the Near East but mirror networks – some of which have not achieved global recognition status within the region – are the only means by which, radical Islamic terrorism can be defeated within the physical and ideological battlefield.
The Hydra of radical Islamic terrorism is a resilient foe, but it is not indestructible. It can be destroyed. It must be destroyed. The survival of civilization is at stake. The NEC-SC vows to continue to do its part to help ensure that survival, for however long it takes for civilized nations to achieve victory and a lasting functional peace in the present, future, and the future past.