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Today’s Post is brought to you by… The Consortium of the Crème de la Crème of the World’s Most Greedy Bastards: We proudly stand for everything that is wrong with the world, except for willful blindness and its consequences – that’s on you.
My America is under attack, and before that it was my Syria and my France, and before that it was my Iraq and my Lebanon… my world, my very being, is under attack. And the attacker is an alliance of extremist forces based on ignorance, ideological and unadulterated, power-lust and envy, and good old fashioned greed. Overreaction, oversimplification, prejudice and hate do not constitute a proper response, but are, in fact, part of the problem. Real defense calls for vigilance, building more bridges between the country’s, and the world’s different religious communities, robust peacemaking efforts, development and education. Tyranny, ignorance, ideology and corruption are the real enemy, and the battle against them is perennial.
"At this stage, we do not know why this terrible event occurred," President Barack Obama told reporters on Thursday morning. Two terrorism experts agree it is too soon to say for sure whether the attack that killed 14 people was an act of terrorism, workplace violence, or some hybrid of the two.
But of course! And that’s precisely why we should be careful to avoid simplifying the challenges facing us when it comes to fighting extremism and radicalization. The motivations of the Paris Attackers have clearly had a “domestic” and socio-psychological component related to the living conditions of the attackers, in addition to the ideological ones which seem to have come much later in their lives. In fact, these initial conditions related to society and personality play a far more critical role in preparing the individuals for eventual embrace of radical and extremist ideologies. Yet, we often neglect addressing these issues in our coverage of extremism and our responses to it. This needs to change. Be that as it may, kudos is due to most media outlets as well as the police forces involved and the Obama Administration in the way this particular development is being covered and handled, so far. Equally as important is the fact that this balanced stand doesn’t seem to have in any way undermined either the media’s ability to provide continuous coverage of the story, or the police’s ability to respond to what happened, stop the culprits, and pursue its investigations into the matter.
Organizations such as Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) have grown too big over the years to maintain any kind of ideological homogeneity. This makes current dismissive and accusatory stands adopted by some pundits and officials in their regard a bit difficult for most American and Canadian Muslims to accept. Because all practicing activist Muslims can probably point to a host of figures within these organizations at all levels of decision-making that are undoubtedly moderate if not reformist. So, it might be more accurate and advisable at this stage to avoid broad wholesale condemnation of these organizations, and to speak, instead, of different competing currents and narratives within them, pitting extremists against reformers and moderates. This means that decisions made by these organizations often reflect compromises between these currents rather than consensus. Or this reason, it’s important for our rhetoric to be calibrated in such manner as to empower the reformist elements and amplify their impact on the decision-making processes within these organizations and, by extension, on the diverse Muslim communities in North America in general. Anti-Muslim rhetoric and dismissive attitudes are bound to backfire.
Recent Manifestations of Global Delirium
Other than the mass shooting in San Bernardino
Al-Nusra engages in prisoner exchange with Lebanese authorities and ends up winning the release of Saja al-Dulaimi, a former member of the First Harem of Caliph Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
Mafia Don, Giovanni Gambino, offers, then downplays in an interview with Fox Channel, the readiness of his outfit to protect New Yorkers from IS/Daesh – an entertaining offer that nonetheless made little sense for it to be seriously entertained, not mention refused… or not refused.
Ted Cruz wants to keep Bashar Al-Assad in power, even though, as Mr. Cruz himself is willing to admit, Assad happens to a “bad man” who has “murdered hundreds of thousands of his own citizens.” Yet, somehow, toppling him would be “materially worse for U.S. national security interests,” because “Syria will be controlled by ISIS, and that is materially worse for U.S. national security interests.” Indeed, “If you topple a stable ruler, throw a Middle Eastern country into chaos and hand it over to radical Islamic terrorists, that hurts America.” What Mr. Cruz doesn’t seem to get is the following well-documented narrative: Assad is not “a stable ruler,” and, by his actions, he has already plunged Syria into chaos and actively aided the resurgence of IS/Daesh, with whom he is currently doing business, as both attack moderate rebels. Mr. Cruz is also ignoring the fact of that growing anti-IS international alliance of which the U.S. is part, so his narrative of a Syrian falling prey to IS should the Assad regime crumble is tired and unrealistic. Syrian society has always been a mix of the ultra-conservative and the seemingly modern, and that’s not likely to change, even as the country falls apart. Vestiges and trappings of the modern will survive in many places.
And this brings us to the UK’s recent involvement in bombing Syria. The “International Alliance For Airstrikes But No Boots On The Ground, At Least Not Too Many Of Them, For Now,” (in short, the No-Boots Alliance) is now busy fighting alongside the “International Alliance For Airstrikes With Many Boots On The Ground With More Soon To Come” (or the With-Boots Axis), against an enemy made up of mercenaries from all and sundry (The Haphazardly Booted Lot), yet, whose actual impact on the Syrian scene has been far less devastating that of the Assad regime (The Heavy Toe-Pinching Boot) who is being wholeheartedly supported by the With-Boots Axis, while anti-regime rebels (The Barely-Booted Bunch) remain unable to count on such generous and consistent support from their alleged partners in the No-Boots Alliance. And as the battle of all against all continues, Syria’s decimated civilian population caught betwixt of it all, can only hope that all these people, including those who sprang from their own ranks, could just up and disappear one day, soon, boots and all.
New terms have been added to the Holy Deliricon:
Drivelution: The utter stupidities that people who claim to be revolutionaries tend to utter.
Drivelutionaries: A common specimen of the human genus found uttering nonsense while speaking on behalf of revolutions from around the world in every forum around the world, except in the places where the actual revolutions are happening. For while it is true that some drivelutionaries can actually be found mouthing their favorite stupidities from the countries where revolutions are happening, they often do so from the relative safety of the cities and enclaves not directly affected by them, while bsking in the legitimacy afforded them by their presence “on the ground,” as it were. The “contributions” of the drivolutionaries to revolutions are often too marginal to be mentioned, unless, of course, one takes the negative connotation of the term “contribution” in which case, some drivelutionaries could indeed be credited with facilitating certain disastrous developments, or at least of stoking the fires of hate and mayhem, but most remain too insignificant to count even in this negative light. Not that this matters to any of them, since all are in it for benefit accrued to their egos and lifestyles.
The Mull & Huddle: 1) A delay tactic favored by many politicians in democratic and democratizing societies. The tactic is usually meant to give the electorates involved the impression that something serious is about to be done when, in fact, nothing will likely happen due to strong ideological stands by the parties involved, and their diverging interests, or because everyone just happen to be clueless, which is often a major contributing factor.
2) A well-known and historic American coffeehouse chain that has its start shortly after Washington D.C. was made the capital of the United States. The original branch still stands and is often frequented by members of the U.S. government, from all three branches, due to its convenient location, history, gourmet yet affordable coffee and snacks, and its excellent collection of comic books, pulp fiction and exotic condom dispensers. Today, the chain has branches in most major cities around the world, except in Russia, China and Iran, among other autocratic states, where huddling, mulling and reading comics and pulps are considered to be signs of weakness, indecisiveness and frivolity, qualities that can never be associated with the ruling elite. Moreover, the elite in these societies prefer to install their exotic condom stands in their second and third apartments where they keep their “side-interests.”
As for coffee, businessmen armed with the right connections in these countries, have long started their own national chains that sought to imitate the look and feel of the Mull & Huddle, but with emphasis on strength, purposefulness and other qualities deemed essential by the ruling elites, a fact often reflected in the names given to these establishments: The Czarmessiah (Russia), the Mahdi Hut (Iran) and 大無所不知無所不在然而，人之常情和最肯定的共產黨領導人，喜歡成功，所有的事情，讀讀經失敗和失敗, or The Great Omniscient Omnipresent Yet All Too Human and Most Definitely Communist Leader Who Likes Success In All Things And Frowns Upon Failure And The Failed (China).
Back to the Mull & Huddle, for close to a decade starting in the early 1990s, a rival chain called the Huddle & Mull appeared in the West Coast, but, despite its early allure, youthful appeal and numerous celebrity endorsements, grandiose expansion plans coupled with financial mismanagement led to bankruptcy and foreclosure, and eventually to a rediscovery of the old charms of the Mull & Huddle.
The Fisk & Cock: an international chain of British and British-style taverns reserved for the Lunatic Bunch from the Left, Right and Center in society. The chain was named chiefly in “honor” of well-known self-righteous pompous ideologues masquerading as journalists, Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn, and their favorite colleagues still high on some long forgotten and mostly hallucinated “accomplishments.” The Fisk & Cock is widely popular where the Huddle & Mull isn’t or is subject to a legal ban. In fact, in many liberty-challenged and justice-impaired states, including Russia, Iran and China, laws were introduced over the last decade obligating every town with a population totaling 5,000 and more to at least have one Fisk & Cock in operation near the town center, but preferably two. In practice, each such town now has 3-5 bustling F&Cs. The Fisk & Cock Inc. is currently administered by a special international shell NGO known as the Society of Fucking Lunatics & the Fucked-Up Lunatics Who Listen To Them, whose motto asks the cryptic yet important sounding question: are you fucking listening? Well, are you… punk?
Pundorons, Pundwits & Pundompoops: a growing assortment of usually quite intelligent pundits who can, nonetheless, come off as extremely dimwitted and downright driveling nincompoops in connection to certain issues where their ideological stands seem to serve as powerful filters through which the dictates of their otherwise sound minds tend to go through before reaching the fact-processing centers in their fact-riddled brains. Thomas Friedman and Farid Zakaria serve as “excellent” examples of this increasingly troubling phenomenon. The rumor that they might be launching their own business venture soon, a sweets shop that will be reportedly named the Zak & Fried, seem to point by itself to their waning prognostication skills. Some of their colleagues have reportedly advised them to acquire instead some shares in the Fisk & Cock.
Flexperts: A certain variety of experts known to be quite flexible when it comes to the definition of certain notions, such as facts… particularly facts. In the West, it is often easier to spot a rightwing flexpert than a leftwing one on account of the former’s shamelessness and the latter’s coyness and dexterity at subterfuge. Indeed, leftwing flexperts operating in Western societies have for long need to fall back on such an arcane practice as dissimulation, or taqiyyah as it is commonly known in Arabic, in order to survive and facilitate their penetration of the halls of academe. In autocratic societies, flexperts tend to be the only kind of “free” experts around.
The Daily Delirynth
EuroGroan: Yes, the rebels can defeat Isis - and the UK's increased involvement in Syria will help. Indeed, for close to three years, the British have been conducting many training and outreach programs targeting Syrian prodemocracy activists and moderate rebels, and that gives them some credibility and some room to maneuver in their relations with rebels. But any goodwill will quickly evaporate if not coupled with serious support in the fight both against Daesh and Assad, and if Assad’s departure is not secured through the Vienna process, said to soon move to New York.
Germany’s foreign intelligence service warned about Saudi Arabia adopting a destabilizing role in the region. And I guess Iran and Russia are doing their best to keep it “stable.” Yes, even intelligence services can be dumb and perhaps more often than we’d like to believe. This happens especially when they focus too much on the role of one particular country in a development that is far more complicated than any one country could conjure. Everybody is guilty of destabilizing the region these days. Luckily, the German government did not approve of the assessment of its own security service, and issued an immediate rebuke.
UmReeka: Putin’s Syrian Misadventure. The problem here of course is that Thomas Friedman makes the assumptions that Putin went into to combat Is/Daesh (please refer to the above definition of pundorons, pundwits and pundompoops).
When it comes to defeating Daesh, it is good to hear Kerry speaking of the possibility of defeating it “within months of Syrian transition,” but that means that we have to have a transition, which would require getting Iran and Russia to agree on Assad’s departure, something the administration is no closer to accomplishing today that it had been five years ago. It’s also heartening that Mr. Kerry realizes that “Air strikes alone won't defeat Islamic State,” and that Syrian and Arab ground forces will be needed to accomplish that. Still, it’s now obvious that the administration has resigned itself to committing more troops to the fight on the ground: U.S. Sees Elite Military Unit as Key to Bigger Push Against ISIS. Even if the Iraqi government (read Iran) is not happy with this development, and the Iraqi people believes that “the U.S. is in cahoots with the Islamic State.” The fact that their own government and its Iranian ally have done much more to facilitate this development matters little. Their own prejudices stoked by Iran’s propaganda machine and its Iraqi Shia allies are enough to keep them believing this new and dangerous myth. People fight all the time about lies and illusions driven by lies and illusions which they take for truths. It’s the way it’s been since the first intentional act of human aggression.
Meanwhile, Russia is building a second military airbase in Syria, and Thousands of Syrian Refugee Children Left in Legal Limbo in Iraq.
1,000 American rabbis sign letter welcoming Syrian refugees. A wonderful gesture, and as busy as they are with the current situation in San Bernardino, Muslim organizations such CAIR and ISNA should come out with a statement thanking these rabbis and inviting them to a sit-down to further discuss this issue in addition to the troubling trend of resurging fascist sentiments in the country, and the world as a whole. There is definitely a need and a room for cooperation and coordination here.
Quote of the Day
“We are here not to apologize for America, but to celebrate America. We are here to reflect upon the world as it might have been without America, a much, much lesser world.” --Rupert Murdoch (I may not like the man, but when it comes to this particular statement, count me among the “believers” on the basis of objective criteria.
Tweets of the Day