"Al Qaeda has successfully established a network for recruiting boys as young as 12 from across central Asia as it seeks new volunteers to enlarge its team of prospective suicide bombers and militants fighters, senior security officials from the Middle East have revealed to CBS News." -- from this news article
Toward the end of World War II, Adolf Hitler and his millions of willing collaborators put into service younger and younger members of the Hitler Youth. They sent them to man anti-aircraft stations and to be part of the last-ditch resistance. But no one should complacently assume that the similar use of such young boys -- sublunary "pearly boys" akin to those promised to shahids in the Muslim Paradise, with some of them no doubt having been put to other uses by their Al Qaeda or Talibanesque masters, as is so common a practice in that region, especially but not only in Afghanistan -- spells an end to Jihad.
Jihad has no end. The Nazis could be defeated. They could be so crushed that Nazism as a menace was ended. But there are still Nazis around, and endless vigilance must be taken, and is taken, quite rightly, in Germany to monitor them. Mussolini was crushed, but there are still Fascists. The Emperor-worship of Japanese militarists, the cult of Kodo, was crushed by American military victory in the Pacific, but there are still those in Japan, a very small group, who would if they could resurrect the dreams of the old militarists. Soviet Communism has lost its power, to be replaced not by democracy but by a parody of capitalism that exhibits all of that capitalism's worst features and none of its benefits (crony or state capitalism, whereby what had been owned by the state is un-nationalized, but essentially handed over, in the case of the largest businesses -- oil and other resources -- to a handful of the rulers and their well-connected courtiers). But Communism as an ideology is not dead.
And Islam has more than a billion Believers. Some are more dangerous than others, and that danger depends on the precise degree of belief in Islam. The greater that belief, the greater the willingness to participate in Jihad directly rather than merely indirectly, as part of the Umma, offering moral and perhaps financial support. And the greater the willingness to participate directly not in other (possibly more effective) forms of Jihad, but in violent Jihad. Islam is forever. It can be contained. It can be weakened. Appeals can be made to the 80% of the world's Muslims who are non-Arabs to recognize Islam as a carrier or vehicle of Arab supremacism. The ethnic, sectarian, and economic fissures within the Camp of Islam can be exploited. Even within the sub-camp of Arab Islam, the resentments can be exploited that sometimes appear between the "Arabs of the North" (i.e., Syria, Lebanon, Iraq) and the "Arabs of the South" (Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Kuwait, Qatar, etc.). The “Arabs of the North” consider themselves civilizationally superior to the infuriatingly much richer “Arabs of the South.” And the "Arabs of the South" resent those who, while looking down upon them, also are keenly aware of the riches that some Arabs in the North naturally believe should be shared to a much greater extent by the rich "Arabs of the South." Meanwhile, some of those "Arabs of the North," as in Syria, seem willing to support Iran in its own territorial claims in the Gulf (as with the Tunb Islands) and in other claims to better represent the pan-Islamic cause.
These are all fissures to be identified, studied, and intelligent plans made to exploit them, by at the very least doing nothing to try, as in Iraq, to make those fissures less wide -- to make Sunni and Shi'a, for example, compromise with each other, or to force the Kurds to give up their hopes for an independent Kurdistan, when such a chance, for them, may never come again.
But the use of child-martyrs means nothing to the Muslims. The PLO and its latest avatars -- Hamas among the Gazan Arabs, Islamic Jihad among the "West Bank" Arabs, and no doubt Hizballah too, have all been willing to sacrifice not only the willing True Believer, but also the unwilling or unaware, such as those who are mentally retarded, or children too young to know what is going on.
What do you think was the final disposition of Mohammad al-Dura? Do you think he was allowed to live, so that he might someday be identified? Don't be silly.