Friday, November 20, 2015

The Barbarians on the Gate and Inside the Castle

Now who’s the terrorist again?

DDGD November 19, 2015

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Today’s Post is brought to you by… The International Yes-Men Association: We'll keep making you feel like a genius even as the whole world around you crumbles as a result of your own doings.

The Delirica  

What about Us?

We demand that people care about us, that you notice our suffering and help us end it, but how much do we care about others and their suffering, even if our ability to help is limited? Yes, the world may not have paid enough attention to the Beirut bombings, but how much attention did Lebanese and Arabs pay to the attack on Garissa University in Kenya? And how much attention is the world currently giving to the massacre of 2,000 civilians killed by Boko Haram over the last few days, and the suicide bombing that just took place? And what was the global reaction to the killing by the Egyptian army of unarmed Sudanese refugees near the border with Israel? And the current conflict in Burundi which no one is talking about? And… And…

We all pay far more attention to what happens to the rich and powerful and to their adventures and misadventures than we do to the poor and downtrodden. The Middle East is only important on account of the interests that the powerful nations of this world have there. In itself, it’s insignificant and forgettable, its diversity, human potential and rich history notwithstanding. This damn macabre fascination and obsession with power and the powerful, this collective lack of empathy, this lingering tribalistic tendency still buried deep in our conscientiousness, and perhaps in the very structure of our DNA, is all too human I’m afraid, for better or worse.
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Organized Crime vs. Organized Terrorism

We’re fascinated by organized crime, and its psychopathic bosses, and horrified by terrorism, but the former kills more people and destroys more lives than the latter. It’s all in the staging. Terrorists advertise their operations and their ethos, and revel in them. Therefore, in certain localities around the world, Jihadis can play the romantic role that mobsters do in American lore. Organized crime bosses, on the other hand, prefer to maintain low key profile. It’s better for business you see. There are exceptions of course, as Hollywood keeps reminding us, but there is nothing romantic about either activity, especially today as bonds and ties between them, and between and dictatorial regimes, grow more and more intimate. Terrorism is growth industry with billions of dollars poured into it every year. But it’s a unique industry where the returns expect by the direct entrepreneurs involved are not material or financial. How can the psychopathic lot running organized crimes resist the temptation of partnering with such investors, where they are only expected to provide certain “services?”
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ISISIs Not Waging a War against Western Civilization. Or is it? Now I understand and applaud Peter Beinart’s motives for writing this peace, and he makes many good arguments meant to school Marco Rubio. In this, he does a good job. But the title of the article dos give me pause, because, ultimately, and as hard it is to believe considering the balance of power involved, IS/Daesh is waging war against Western civilization. The fact that everybody uses the Daesh label for their own purposes sometimes, from the Assad regime, to the Iranian Mullahs, to Turkish security services, to their Saudi counterparts, does not meant that Daesh’s core leadership does not have its own mind, vision and plan. But, irrespective of all this, there could be no clash of civilizations for two reasons: one, Daesh is a fringe fascist group that could not even represent Muslims, not to mention a civilization; and, two, what other civilization are we talking about here? Can anyone really see in the here-and-now a civilization other than Western civilization? But to understand this point, we need to ask first, what is civilization, at least to me?

Civilization: A complex network of institutions, political, military, economic, financial, social, religious, cultural and educational, that seeks to influence and regulate the customs and manners of multiple peoples far beyond the borders of the geographic entities hosting these institutions. This definition, I believe, makes clear that Western civilization is the only civilization at this stage, its influence on customs and manners is global. Even rejectionist cultures are heavily influenced by it as they offer no real alternative to its institutions, and often replicated them as they are with minor changes in nomenclature. More dramatic differences are noticeable in the realm of cultural and religious practices, but even here, western influence can be seen in variety of ways: manner of dress, choice of music, calls for reforming or even abashing certain cultural and religious practices, with people often changing their habits and ways in manner that reflect western influence even if they are unconscious of the fact, or unwilling to acknowledge it.

The current global competition we witnessing today is more of an interest-based conflict, with ideology, often rejectionist in nature drawing heavily on nationalist, cultural and religious terminology, playing a mobilizing role. But the knowhow and institutions involved in this conflict, barring certain appearances and differences in nomenclature, are all Western-inspired. Rejectionism matters little. Ideology is merely a functional cover, even if the ideologue is not aware of this.

The reality is simple: we live in an almost thoroughly Westernized world, a fact that shouldn’t matter much for those who understand how this came about. In a series of small haphazard steps, the West became open to input from other civilizations, as its scholars examined them, and their own, as objectively as they could, over a long period of time, and repeated reassessments, finally allowing for input from members of those cultures we all. In time, however, Western knowhow and philosophy developed to the point where it was almost exclusively relying on input from Western scholars, as input from others became too dated. With this, Western civilization became the dominant civilization, then, with the collapse of the Ottoman, Persian, Chinese and Russian empires, it became the only civilization, a global civilization, the legitimate heir of all previous civilizations, and more. An alternative has to be elaborated from within. Only by embracing its values can we truly aspire to perfect it. Perfection is perfectibility.

The Daily Delirynth

EuroGroan: Charlie Hebdo’s cover spotlights Paris attacks: ‘F—k them. We have champagne!’ Indeed, there is a big problem with French seeing other French as “them,” then, wondering “why do they hate us!”? Yes, there is certain legitimacy on the argument that France’s Muslims’ attitude does not make integration easy. Muslim immigrants do indeed bring with them a host of attitudes and beliefs that are anti-modern and, therefore, quite problematic for societies that have long managed to settle certain arguments on women’s rights, free speech and homosexuality.

But the bigger problem still lies with the host community’s attitude towards immigrants whose otherness in itself remains quite jarring, at least for major segments within the population who, even after decades of mutual subsistence, are still unable to reach out with greater acceptance towards their fellow citizens. The idea that Muslim immigrants are lazy and live off social welfare reminds us of the old arguments used against black people in the United States. Indeed, the dynamics governing the relations between France and its immigrant communities, especially Muslim, are quite similar to those governing relations between Black and whites in America, with so many Muslims getting ensnared in the criminal justice system, where some of them get radicalized, just as happened with the Paris Attacks mastermind Abdelhamid Abaoud.

And in both countries, the current public debate ignores the real problem: paucity in opportunities that can allow upward mobility for the weaker communities. Provision of social welfare to some segments is not Band-Aid and not a solution. In all cases, exclusion is not the answer. Nor is the right wing, but, unfortunately, it’s the one political movement that is benefiting from the current situation, and not only in France: Far-right party skyrockets to top 3 in German polls amid refugee crisis.

Why France is so deeply entangled in Syria. Well, it’s obviously, isn’t it? Just like Russia, she wants to become a superpower again, form its own global alliances and present an alternative to the U.S. Really, I mean French cannot even do the Libya thing on their own, and they were the ones who took the lead in the push for intervention, only to take a backseat when it came time for implementation.

The Qalifate: The Attacks in Paris Reveal the Strategic Limits of ISIS. After scholarly reviewing the known and bravely advocating the obvious “striking a political agreement among regional actors, starting with Saudi Arabia and Iran,” without proposing any ideas as to how this bargain could be reached, Olivier Roy conclude by wisely stating that

“the road ahead is long, unless ISIS suddenly collapses under the vanity of its own expansionist aspirations or tensions between its foreign recruits and local Arab populations. In any event, ISIS is its own worst enemy.”

Yes, IS/Daesh is its own worst enemy, but, because the struggle will be long, along the road a thousand new Daesh will emerge. Alienation is omnipresent and perennial, and violent expressions of it will always be too tempting for enough people to transform it into a persistent phenomenon, or into a criminal behavior just like serial murder. If the Qalifate (Caliphate) cannot exist geographically it will linger on and for a long time virtually, and it will still attract a following, enough of it to hurt. The name might change, but the ethos will not: pathological alienation. Bombings may never become as commonplace as robberies, but, in time, they will be common enough for us to be desensitized. And that’s exactly how Daesh and similar groups will be defeated: by becoming common and mundane – just another nut-job group fighting for some fucking mercurial cause that no one can understand or explain, not even most of its adherents. Civilization will be bruised for sure, but it will continue to flourish.

The point I am trying to make is this: the fight in Syria is not about Daesh, and what happened in Paris is primarily a French issue, not a Syria one, and should be handled there. The problem in Syria has one name and one name only: The Assad regime (see photo at beginning of this post). Get Assad out of the picture, and rebels will take care of Daesh, without any country having to put its precious boots on the ground. We don’t need your fucking air strikes destroying more of our country, and we don’t want to live under a Russo-Persian mandate. Some young Muslims in Paris, Brussels, London and elsewhere are becoming radicalized on account of how they are treated there.

Just take a look at Hasna Ait Boulahcen, an abused child who grew up to be promiscuous and addicted to drugs, then, in a fit of despair and self-anger, she take the puritan route and becomes a self-righteous terrorist. What made her what she is what happened to her in France. That goes for the other terrorists as well involved in the attack as well. How could air strikes in Syria resolve this? There will always be Jihadi videos and propaganda out there and there will be enough Hasnas and Abdelhamids to fall for them, unless we do something where they are to reduce that likelihood. We cannot stop every case, but that not the challenge. The challenge is about committing ourselves wholly to a serious effort to reach out to these kids before it’s too late.  As for Syria, the numbers, those objective facts that we have and whose veracity has been checked and double-checked by a variety of international organizations and accepted by the UN, point clearly to the problem, and it’s not Daesh. It’s Assad. Considering the complexity of the issue of his removal at this stage, only strong leadership from the West and defiance in the face of Russian and Iranian impunity could resolve this issue. Once this is achieved, rebels could make mincemeat out of Daesh, and happily so.

No, this won’t end the problem with terrorism, and IS could still survive as a virtual Caliphate, as I noted earlier, proving no less deadly, in a case of “The Ringleader’s dead. Long live the Ringleader.” But at least its problematic foothold in Syria will be no more.

In short, each side has to resolve its real problem with help from the other side, when possible. For this, each side has to accurately identify its problem: in Europe, it’s the Chronic Migraint Syndrome, that is, it’s the proper place of migrant and refugee communities, and best practices that can facilitate their integration and participation. In Syria, it’s Assad. IN the U.S., it’s retrenchment. In Russia and Iran, it’s hubris and power-lust.

The tiny pill fueling Syria’s war and turning fighters into superhuman soldiers. Captagon – the pill that keeps you pillaging. As a friend of mine, Howie the Decent, noted when reading this article: “If these dudes are addicted and blitzed on meth, oh man does that explain a lot of their behavior: Paranoia, grandiosity, hyper-sexuality, delusions, sleep deprivation, physical strength, disinhibition, fearlessness… And you just want more and more.” The issue of Captagon use by all and sundry in Syria has been raised a few times over the last three years. As usual, the phenomenon started with the regime, then, it was popularized Al-Nusra Front and IS/Daesh, then, it caught on with mainstream opposition forces.
Another person who gets Daesh is wrong is its former hostage, Nicolas Henin, who thinks that Daesh “fears our unity more than our airstrikes.” He is wrong. Daesh wants the world to unite against it, this is why they just executed two new foreign hostages: a Norwegian and a Chinese. They want everyone to unite against them. For in addition of it being a wonderful recruitment tool, amplifying their romantic appeal and legitimacy in the eyes of the disgruntled alienated Muslim youths around the world, it helps them immensely with their planned transition into a virtual Caliphate, with geographical spot scattered around the world. For now, it will help them sell more people on the idea of an end-of-days confrontation in the Levant. The less publicized Shia Jihad taking place there is helping set this up of course. But, from Daesh’s leaders’ point of view, the more countries that are involved the better.

UmReeka: Republican Ben Carson compares Syrian refugees to 'rabid dogs'. According to Assad’s late brother-in-law, I’ve been woofwoofing long before I became a refugee in the U.S. So, it appears I’ve been rabid for a while, and it further appears that, while nominally opposed to Assad, some Republicans think just like him. What a morass! Well, the only thing I can say to Carson is the same thing I said to the in-law: Go fuck yourself. In expressing this I think I speak for millions, and not all of them Syrians. Now I do find it difficult to believe that this report in the New Yorker is actually a hoax: Carson Announces Detailed Plan to Google Syria. Then again, some of his colleagues weren’t better, with Mike Huckabee comparing us to E Coli, among other things. Apparently he hasn’t smelled the Falafel yet. Electioneering might explain stupidity, but it does not make us forgive it. When even a Muslim woman wrapping herself in the American flag and who happens to be a Republican can still be asked to justify her faith and herself, there is something definitely wrong here. 

Not to be outdone, Trump Says He 'Would Certainly Implement' Muslim Database. ​So, it’s not only about refugees, all Muslims are suspect, especially American Muslims who, should something like this ever be implemented, would feel isolated, threatened and oppressed. Oh yeah, that should prevent radicalization. Heaven such policies of exclusion worked miracles in France. What next? Internment camps? What does GOP stand for these days: The Great Old Peckerheads.

But the problem is not just a Republican one, seeing that the bill passed by the House to tighten flow of Syrian refugees over Obama’s objections have been approved by many democrats as well. Shame on all!

But not so much on Sanders who put Republicans to shame on this matter. Perhaps everybody has something to learn in this regard from the position taken by French President Francois Hollande on this issue: French President Francois Hollande Welcomes Refugees Despite Paris Attack.

Qomapolis: Iran starts dismantling nuclear equipment, U.N. report says. Qomapolis - The Musical, featuring such instant classics as "They did, they did, they really really did. I didn't think they would, but they really did." And "Mullahs in the night, dismantling their nukes, hoping in the night, that the world will be duped, pondering in the night, their next maniacal move. Mullahs in the night, reaching their gospel, of fear and lies and hate, seeking to dispel, any illusions of reform, a longed-for return to norm, the hope that freedom is at the door, just one forceful knock or more…" Shows start at 2 am, after the Revolutionary Guard goes to sleep. Meanwhile, the Mullahs dither and dance, and enjoy their strengthened position in Syria and the region. And 55 dead Iranians in Syria is small price for the Mullahs to ask their people to pay.   

Refugenics: Luckily, there are those who have better ideas when it comes to what we can do to help refugees, who are thinking on the long-term and outside the box, and who are really trying to help: New Ideas to Tackle Syria Refugee Crisis: Investing, Not Aid.

A Refugee Crisis in Lebanon Hides in Plain Sight. Everything about the Syrian Crisis happened in plain sight, yet neither preemption nor mitigation nor conflict management has so far worked. When everything is done reluctantly, haphazardly, and merely to create the illusion of action when no one really wants to get involved or tackle the real problem, the problem gets worse and worse.

North of Holy: Don't blame me for Isis, says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Out of the mouth of genocidal maniacs! Indeed, the Ass has spoken, and was right on actually one thing: “Daesh doesn’t have the natural incubator, social incubator, within Syria.” Too true, it took a lot of work on his part to ensure its emergence and then resurgence: he had to encourage Jihadis from home and abroad to go to Iraq to fight the Americans, then he had to imprison them on returning to Syria, then, he released them from jail and armed them at the beginning of the Revolution. This took a lot of effort on his part. The Result: regional and international media finally shifted its focus from his crimes to IS/Daesh’s, even though his are far worse and far larger in scale and scope. Mission accomplished.

Now everybody focuses on Daesh and Al-Nusra and those other “terrorists” that Lavrov likes to talk about. Because hey: “If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist, it's a terrorist, right?" Riiiight. But by all objective methods of analysis in this delirious world of ours, the Lavrov’s Standard applies more to Assad and its loyalist divisions and militias than to any other group in Syria (see image at the beginning of this post). This, in turn, makes Russia and Iran major sponsors of terrorism, and on a far larger-scale than of the countries that happened to be included on Putin’s List presented during the G20 Summit. They funded, supported and provided weapons and equipment to the biggest terrorist of them all. Because when you act like a terrorist, your title and position, is of no import. 

As for the Assman, you can count on him for never missing an opportunity to make things clear and dash all hopes that he could be part of the solution. Just listen to him pontificating like he’s something other than a total ass, a criminal ass, a terrorist ass:

“This timetable starts after starting defeating terrorism. You cannot achieve anything politically while you have the terrorists taking over many areas in Syria… If we talk after that, one year and a half to two years is enough for any transition.”

By saying this, the man could be writing his own obituary, and willingly imbibing his dose of polonium. But for now, he lives.

But how many Syrians will continue to live in the meantime is anyone’s guess: Fighting in Syria Impinges on Wheat Production. Syria 2015: no bread but many circuses.

The No-Fly Zone: Yes indeed this is sick. Moreover, it’s stupid as it showcases the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the people behind it.


Quote of the Day

"To ask me to have my FBI director or other members of the administration make personal guarantees would effectively grind the program to a halt." --Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaking in a press conference following the passing of the House Bill on Syrian Refugees

Tweets of the Day
Video(s) of the Day

This old video that has resurfaced again and is meant to debunk the myth of moderate Muslims actually shows how intimidation by extremist elements works. Furthermore, it underscores the need for finding ways to prevent extremists from becoming Imams and running mosques and religious centers. We have to deepen and broaden our legal interpretation of “incitement,” because this is the only way to prevent extremists from hiding behind the protections afforded to free speech. 

Cartoons


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