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Another century, another long war

By Peter Leahy

Australia is involved in the early stages of a conflict that may last for the rest of the century and potentially beyond. Terrorism is but a symptom of a broader conflict in which the fundamental threat is from radical Islamists who are intent on establishing Islam as the foundation of a new world order.

While the violence, so far, is mostly confined to Islamic lands, some of the radicals are engaged in a direct war against Western secular nations. The home-grown threat from terror remains and is likely to worsen as radicals return from fighting overseas and the internet dumps unconstrained radical propaganda across the globe. If the caliphate in Iraq and Syria established by the Islamic State survives, it will be a worrying portent of worse to come.

The paper looks at the three fronts of this conflict: the oldest and largest front, within Islam, is where Sunni Muslims are fighting Shia Muslims; the second front, again within Islam, is a modern political battle in which radical Islamists are intent on overthrowing existing governments and replacing them with new ones based on sharia law; and the third is the more recent conflict between (usually) Western states and smaller groups of radical Islamists who are motivated by a hatred of the West.

It considers possible solutions, approaches that could be used, and more specifically what Australia should do.