The Daily Digest of Global Delirium: Prologue

It has been almost 10,000 years since we built our first cities and called them states and kingdoms; 10,000 years since the beginning of civilization and the invention of organized politics and religion, yet, and for all the time that has elapsed, and all the progress made, the gods and men seem more angry than they have ever been over primordial longings that remain unfulfilled and seemingly unfulfillable. We have now moved into the thick of a new century, the first in a new millennium in our haphazard existence, and the venomous rancor of the most powerful of our gods and men is threatening to plunge the world into a new era of darkness and delirium, as unnecessary and unfathomable as such development has always been. These are the chronicles of these mad and maddening times, recorded as they unfold for the benefit of a posterity that may not come to be, yet should it come may need to understand from whence it did and how it managed to survive in the face of all odds, mayhap its children would learn from the mistakes that are now being made.

IDG: Holding steady at 9.7 on the 3rd anniversary of Ghoutah Chemical Attack #Syria

The IDG or the Index of Global Delirium reflects the state of delirium in a particular country using a 1 to 10 count, with 10 denoting the highest level of delirium. Levels of delirium change on the basis of current development in said country, such as instability, terrorism, elections, sports events and the like, as well as relevant global developments such financial meltdowns, certain leaks, and stock market indices. Countries shown above are among those where fluctuation in the national and local indices have a greater global impact than is the case with other countries. Note: levels of violence and delirium do not always coincide. Indeed, a country can have a high delirium level even though it is relatively stable.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Daily Delirynth, August 28, 2016: Legacy In Tatters

A daily rundown of delirium-inducing developments from around our labyrinthine world.

Brought to you by…

The Mess-Embellishers Inc.: Mess is the only legacy one can really have. You can trust us to make it look good.  

The Exotic Observations & Propositions of Delirian Mundi
Known to those of his followers seeking his canonization and entry into the Valtheon of Deliriology, as Agnus Mundi, and to his detractors as Ranae Dei and even Capra Satanae, Delirian Mundi’s writings, mixing satire and philosophical reflections, continue to be polarizing, inspiring both adulation and ridicule. Bearing this in mind, we, the editors at DDGD, continue to publish these previously unknown series of “exotic observations and propositions,” as Delirian himself referred to them, as part of our continuing commitment to instigate debate over sensitive issues.

* Choosing not to oppose the inevitable might seem like wisdom to some, except that, when it comes to the human condition, nothing is ever inevitable, that is, not until it’s there staring back at you and you can reach out and touch it.

* In the longer run, there is more risk to surrendering to what seems inevitable than in opposing it.

* In life, it’s the lack of intellectual not emotional empathy that troubles me the most. Our inability to feel interconnectedness is not as dangerous as our inability to see it and reason out its implications.

* Fate is blind. Seeing is our job.

* The challenge confronting serious academics is to explain how we continue to stumble upward and forward without the guidance of a hidden hand, be it God’s or some secret cabal’s.  


The Assad’s regime napalm attack on Al-Waer, Homs



An Assad Got Her Tongue  

Wrestling With Our Demons

FSA rebels supported by Turkey parade their Kurdish SDF prisoners supported by Pentagon. Both sides claim to be fighting IS/Daesh, and are. But, on this occasion, they are also fighting each other. SDF is dominated by members of YPGs, Kurdish units seeking an autonomy and federation, but who are accused of paving the way for establishing their own Kurdish-majority state by both the FSA and Turkey. Again, everything about this new conflict was avoidable had the Obama administration been more involved. But as a result of its aloofness and ideological blindness, proxies supported by the Pentagon are now fighting against those supported by the CIA, as America keep wrestling with her demons.

The Trumping Down of America 

The dumbed Down Democracy. “We know that at least 30 million American adults cannot read. But the current presidential election may yet prove that an even bigger part of the citizenry is politically illiterate — and functional. Which is to say, they will vote despite being unable to accept basic facts needed to process this American life.” This has always been one of those inherent risks with democracy, and this is why universal education, compulsory to a certain level, and free up to obtaining a primary college degree, should be a basic right.

But even with this caveat, and seeing how many educated people have advocated wrong policies on a variety of issues, due to the unavoidable involvement of ideology, prejudice and self-interest in the decision-making process, there will always be plenty of “dumb” people voting, and we just have to cope with that.

Yes, we have to cope with the misery of having so many mini-Trumps living and misbehaving in our midst:

“Without doubt, Trump has exposed fissures in — and the fragility of — the Republican base. He has tapped into a potent, pervasive anger among American voters, and some of the ositions that he’s staked out are much, much more popular than was previously understood.” 


Raw Deal, But Something Is Still Cooking  

Obama was willing to backtrack on enforcing his red line in order to satisfy Iran’s demands in this regard and make sure to get it to sign the (in)famous deal on its nuclear program. So how is that going? This is how: Iran deploys long-range missiles to Fordo nuclear site. But why protect a site that’s supposed to have stopped enriching uranium?

Iran will have its nuke eventually. Syria was left to devastate in order to gain few more years before that happens. Iran’s deal is reversible and was meant to be. What’s happening to Syria and in Syria is not, nor is it meant to be.


The leave behind a wasteland and call it diplomatic success

One Last Look: A rebel from Daraya examines the devastation wrought by Russian airstrikes and the Assad regime’s barrel bombs just before he and his colleagues were forced to leave town

Obama’s legacy on Syria dealt another blow. “Critics say a new report finding Assad has continued to use chemical weapons undercuts Obama's landmark 2013 deal with Syria.

“President Obama’s administration can pick and choose whatever they think is successful, and they have been picking and choosing, clearly. But for the doctors in Syria who have been facing the consequences of chemical weapons in Syria,” Sahloul continued, “these so-called successes do not mean anything.”

Sahoul co-wrote a report pegging the number of chemical weapons attacks at 161, with three-quarters happening after the 2013 agreement.

“A no-bombing zone or no-fly zone is long overdue,” Sahloul added. “President Obama has the moral responsibility to enforce that. Especially since he has red lines that were not crossed just one time or two times but … 161 times.”


We’re doomed, I tell ya. Doooomed!

Forget ideology, liberal democracy’s newest threats come from technology and bioscience. “A groundbreaking book by historian Yuval Harari claims that artificial intelligence and genetic enhancements will usher in a world of inequality and powerful elites. How real is the threat?

Attack of the Killer Robots. “Forget about drones, forget about dystopian sci-fi — a terrifying new generation of autonomous weapons is already here. Meet the small band of dedicated optimists battling nefarious governments and bureaucratic tedium to stop the proliferation of killer robots and, just maybe, save humanity from itself.


Treating napalm burns with mud due to lack of medication following a regime strike on Al-Waer neighborhood, a besieged rebel civilian enclave, in Homs.
Eventually, though, the child was taken to a hospital…


Three possible explanations for the defections can be pointed out. Members could be truly disgruntled at the Syrianisation of an Al Qaeda affiliate and wanted out. Another possibility is that they were fearful of the new direction and wanted to establish a front group similar to Black September, to absorb defections and to attract jihadists with groups such as Jund Al Aqsa while Jabhat Fateh Al Sham attracts Syrians with a national agenda. A third possibility is that the members intend to establish a group, also similar to Black September, to revive the so-called Khorassan group. Regardless of which scenario will play out, one thing is clear: a new organisation is in the making in Syria, and it will be more hardline than the original one.


Oh the lies Putin tells!

Tracing individual strands of disinformation is difficult, but in Sweden and elsewhere, experts have detected a characteristic pattern that they tie to Kremlin-generated disinformation campaigns.

“The dynamic is always the same: It originates somewhere in Russia, on Russia state media sites, or different websites or somewhere in that kind of context,” said Anders Lindberg, a Swedish journalist and lawyer.
“Then the fake document becomes the source of a news story distributed on far-left or far-right-wing websites,” he said. “Those who rely on those sites for news link to the story, and it spreads. Nobody can say where they come from, but they end up as key issues in a security policy decision.”


“The Russians are very good at courting everyone who has a grudge with liberal democracy, and that goes from extreme right to extreme left,” said Patrik Oksanen, an editorial writer for the Swedish newspaper group MittMedia. The central idea, he said, is that “liberal democracy is corrupt, inefficient, chaotic and, ultimately, not democratic.”

Another message, largely unstated, is that European governments lack the competence to deal with the crises they face, particularly immigration and terrorism, and that their officials are all American puppets.
In Germany, concerns over immigrant violence grew after a 13-year-old Russian-German girl said she had been raped by migrants. A report on Russian state television furthered the story. Even after the police debunked the claim, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, continued to chastise Germany.


Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution. “Ashley Smith explains what's at stake in a critical test for the international left.” An important takedown of the international left’s position on Syria from a leftist perspective.


The Berm


© Ammar Abdulhamid | All rights reserved. No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. For modes of sharing, please contact the author.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Daily Delirynth, August 27, 2016: With a song in their hearts

A daily rundown of delirium-inducing developments from around our labyrinthine world.

Brought to you by…

The Brotherhood of Smug Mess-Makers: We kick the can down the road and up your ass, while smiling.


Now This: Iran’s Parliament Speaker Says Russia Continues To Use Iranian Base. Speaking at a session of the parliament on August 23, Larijani suggested Russian bombers were still using the military base in Hamadan. “It hasn’t stopped,” he said, adding that Tehran and Moscow were united in their “fight against terrorism.”


The world of Islam is being shaped in part by the competition between various extremist interpretations, some supported by Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi Establishment, others by Iran’s Mullah Establishment. We should never lose sight of either side’s contributions to radicalism.


And this diagram doesn't even show the hidden network of support that IS/Daesh and some Jihadi groups have.


This democracy’s for sale!


Staying Positive


Obama’s New Mess in Syria

Washington who had objected last year to Turkey plan for intervention in Syria, had to approve of them this time around, even though the move is basically targeting Washington’s Kurdish allies, the YPGs, more than IS/Daesh, and even though the move is bound to undermine the fight against IS/Daesh, considering that YPGs form the backbone of the SDF, the on-the-ground rebel coalition conducting that fight. Why? Hassan Hassan explains:

In addition to the tension between the United States and Turkey over Fethullah Gulen, the cleric accused by Erdogan of staging the coup last month, Ankara’s talks with Moscow and Tehran strengthened Turkey’s standing.

As a result,

[d]uring Vice-President Joe Biden’s visit to Ankara on the day of Turkey’s intervention, the U.S. not only approved of the military campaign inside Syria, but it also finally acted on its promise to ask the YPG to leave the areas west of the Euphrates River, a move that would have prevented much tension between the two countries and possibly even the need to intervene militarily.
Still, the current Turkish operations, which include use of Turkish air force, have primarily been targeting YPGs’ positions around Jarablus and Manbij, than IS/Daesh units located further south and east.



No Complicated Challenges, Please!

Turkish soldiers drive a tank towards the Syrian border from the Turkish city of Karkamis in the southern region of Gaziantep, on August 27, 2016 (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)

"That is still off the table because of the implied military commitment that it would require in order to effectively enforce it," White House spokesman Josh Earnest replied when asked if President Obama has reconsidered his opposition in light of Syrian fighter jet aggression against U.S. troops.

"The concern is that while it sounds simple to maintain that kind of area, ultimately you're responsible for protecting the borders of that safe zone and then policing that safe zone once it's been created," he explained. "That would be work-intensive to say the least. It would be dangerous."

Doing so also "would likely require a greater U.S. military commitment. And all of that would come at the expense of our ongoing efforts to focus on degrading, ultimately destroying, ISIL," Earnest said.

The level of stupidity, arrogance, willful blindness and irresponsibility involved in maintaining this position is staggering. By refusing to tackle certain challenges due to their complex nature, and because they’d require continuous commitment over the long haul, the Obama Administration has made all but certain that the Syrian conflict will become more bloody and complicated than it would have been, and that its resolution would ultimately require much more commitment on part of the United States and its NATO and regional allies. But so long as such commitment did not happen on the Administration’s watch, Mr. Obama and his top advisers can claim success.

In the real world though, the one abandoned by the administration, this act of wantonness has created a major humanitarian disaster and a multifaceted security challenge that need to be handled by future administrations – a task that will require embarking on exactly the kind of commitment that the Obama administration chose to avoid. Through the surge, George W. Bush has tried to own his debacle in Iraq and take responsibility for it in order to avoid passing it to the future president of the United States. President Obama, on the other hand, refuses even to acknowledge that a mistake was made. By pointing to the increased amount of white hairs in his head and tying it to the Syrian conflict, it seems as though he seems himself as the ultimate victim. Perhaps he even expects an apology from the Syrian people for mistiming their revolution.  


In Brief


Turkish army tanks make their way towards the Syrian border town of Jarablus, Syria August 24, 2016. © Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office / Reuters

Why Turkey Went to War in Syria. “It’s fear of a Kurdish state — even more than the Islamic State. But things could get complicated with Washington supporting Kurdish rebels.

The quick pullout by IS from Jarablus indicates that its particular units there were only meant as place-holders for the Turks for when the time came for their direct entry into the Syrian theater. Now these units can go elsewhere to carry on their primary fight against YPGs. Indeed, it seems that Turkish army units that have already entered Jarablus are now engaged in shelling Kurdish units that are still gathered in the vicinity of the town. YPGs units also withdrew from Manbij, following Biden’s warnings to them during his recent visit to Turkey. Would Turkish units now move in to secure this won as well? Perhaps. But since the tow is no now under the control of local councils and FSA units close to Turkey this may not be necessary at this stage. Still, by entering into Jarablus Turkey seems bent on establishing its now zone of influence in northern Syria, one that splits Kurdish enclaves in the northwestern and northeastern parts of the country undermining the Kurdish Party’s PYD’s attempt at establishing a Kurdish-controlled federal entity in the northern parts of Syria, which seems to be the goal. 


Note 3: Obama’s behavior in Syria is reminiscent of Hafiz Al-Assad’s behavior in Lebanon: at one point or another in the conflict every combatant side was an enemy or an ally, depending on a variety of conditions. But here is where the similarities end. In Lebanon, Assad’s tactics made him loathed but feared and in some quarters even respected. Obama’s tactics, on the other hand, earned him neither fear nor respect, be it in Syria, Lebanon, or the entire region. Moreover, Assad’s tactics helped him emerge as the primary power in charge in Lebanon. The same cannot be said of Obama’s tactics, as the U.S. is hardly in control of anything taking place in Syria. In fact, it seems clear to most that Iran and Russia have more leverage there than the United States.


Note 2: Within the context of the Syrian civil war, the preponderance of war crimes, including summary mass executions and even head chopping are perpetrated by the Assad regime and its death squads, not ISIS, Al-Nusra, or any rebel group. The fact that all sides are committing crimes at this stage should not distract from this fact and from the issue of proportionality in general, lest we end up confusing cause for effect.  Without a major shakeup within the Assad regime, one that includes a change on the very top, there could be no resolution to this conflict, and no end to the war crimes. No amount of lipstick can ever make the pig that is Syria’s genocidaire become acceptable. Although some scenarios for ending the conflict might require us to forgo the issue of holding him accountable for his heinous crimes in exchange for his relinquish of power, this should be the only concession that could ever be provided to him. The Obama administration might have chosen to pivot away from this proposition as well as from the conflict in Syria as a whole at this stage, but the next president of the United States should not.

Note 1: When examining the growing list of war crimes in Syria, we should bear in mind that the same human rights activists and organizations are responsible for documenting all abuses irrespective of the party committing them, be it the Assad regime, the Russians, Hezbollah and other Iran-funded Shia militias, the Islamic State (Daesh), Al-Nusra and other extremist organizations, Islamist groups, rebels units (FSA), Kurdish militias (YPGs) or the NATO members taking part in the anti-ISIS Western alliance. Despite their pro-revolution sympathies, these groups and individuals have been doing a stellar and professional job at tremendous risk to their lives, as they have often been targeted by all and sundry, but especially the Assad regime, IS/Daesh and Al-Nusra.


For those enthralled by “iconic moments,” few more from… where else? Syria.

This step is bound to strengthen the Assad regime’s resolve, supported by Iran, to keep fighting for control of Damascus, and would make any negotiations over transition an exercise in futility, unless, as Fabrice Balanche argues, Assad’s control, of Damascus is threatened. But threatening Damascus risks transforming it into another Aleppo. A forced removal of Assad from the scene through an internal coup or assassination might be the only alternative left to save Damascus and the rest of Syria, and end the conflict. 

Boys mourning their brother who died in a barrel bomb attack

Another Traumatized Child

12:54 pm

She wears a not so itsy tiny weeny yellow polka dot burqini… and why the hell not?

The personal politics of wearing a burkini. “The burkini is not a political project, but will become one if it is banned. As for enslavement, the last time I checked, feminism was about empowering women to make choices for themselves – free of coercion from the state. Burkini-clad women aren’t enslaved or political projects – they’re just women who are retaining their modesty while having fun by the pool or at the beach.

Burkini ban comes as part of an anti-radicalization move in France. But the Burkini is actually rejected by radical Islamists who think it’s un-Islamic, since it is meant to allow for Muslim women to go to public beaches where they can intermingle with non-Muslims men and women. The ban, therefore, in effect, discriminates against practicing conservative Muslims, that is, the very segment of the Muslim population that is actively being courted by radicals and that is trying to resist by finding ways to integrate into the larger society without comprising its values. The decision by the French highest administrative court to suspend the ban is a welcome measure, but does not mark the end of the phenomenon as other town council might end up adopting bans even at the risk of seeing them suspended by the courts. The battle continues.

12:33 pm

In Brief

Remembering Mika and Syria's tragedy. “Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto one of more than 100 journalists killed while trying to report on Syria's civil war.Almost all foreign journalists killed covering Syria were killed by Assad regime, by being targeted or caught under bombardment from its planes and cannons.

Iran Vessels Harassed U.S. Destroyer Near Persian Gulf, Navy Says. Fifth Fleet spokesman calls interaction ‘unsafe and unprofessional.’ Considering the price that the Obama Administration was willing to pay for it, namely allowing for the genocide in Syria to proceed, the increased belligerency shown by Iran’s leaders should come as no surprise. 

© Ammar Abdulhamid | All rights reserved. No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. For modes of sharing, please contact the author.