Islam and Terrorism


🔴 Background
🔴 Moderate Islam?
🔴 A Generational War?
🔴 History of ISIS (or IS, ISIL, the Islamic State etc) (updated Nov 2015)
🔴 A Clash of Civilizations? (updated Nov 2015)


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🌎 Background


NOTE. Not all terrorists are Muslim and few Muslims are terrorists, but current conflicts with the West are driven by religious, cultural and historical issues. These issues are discussed in the sources below. – Auriandra

 ⋙ My ISIS/Iraq/Syria Twitter List: 1200+ news, commentary; think tanks, academic and government sources ✛ including on-the-ground voices (some images may be graphic!) – Auriandra



Shia Islam (/ˈʃiːə/; Arabic: شيعة Shīʿah), or the Shiites (/ˈʃiːaɪts/), represent the second largest denomination of Islam. Adherents of Shia Islam are called Shias or the Shi’a as a collective or Shi’i individually.[1] Shi’a is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī (شيعة علي) meaning “followers”, “faction” or “party” of Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin Ali, whom the Shia believe to be Muhammad’s successor in the Caliphate. Twelver Shia (Ithnā’ashariyyah) is the largest branch of Shia Islam, and the term Shia Muslim is often taken to refer to Twelvers by default. As of 2009 Shia Muslims constituted 10-13% of the world’s Muslim population and 39% of the Middle East’s entire population. [Note: Most Shia live in Iran and other Shia-majority countries in the Middle East (including Iraq.) Iran is not an Arabic country: it is Persian. – Auriandra] – Wikipedia

Sunni Islam (/ˈsuːni/ or /ˈsʊni/) is the largest branch of Islam; its adherents are referred to in Arabic as ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʻah (Arabic: أهل السنة والجماعة), “people of the tradition of Muhammad and the consensus of the Ummah” or ahl as-sunnah (أهل السنة) for short. In English, its theological study or doctrine is called Sunnism, while adherents are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis, and Sunnites. Sunni Islam is the world’s second largest religious body (after Christianity)[2] and the largest religious denomination for any religion in the world. Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as the orthodox version of the religion. The word “Sunni” is believed to come from the term Sunnah (Arabic: سنة), which refers to the sayings and actions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad as recorded in hadiths. – Wikipedia

Wahhabism or Wahhabi mission: (prefer to be called Salafi or muwahhid.) eighteenth century preacher and scholar, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792); revivalist; puritanical. Greatly influenced bin Laden and al Baghdadi. entered on the principle of Tawhid,[20] or the “uniqueness” and “unity” of God. Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism has also been called “a particular orientation within Salafism”,[5] or an ultra-conservative, Saudi brand of Salafism.


Sunni and Shia in the Middle East. Less that 15% of the world's Muslims are Shia, but they account for 40% of the population of the Middle East. ISIS is a Sunni movement, tied to Wahhabism.

Sunni and Shia in the Middle East. Less that 15% of the world’s Muslims are Shia, but they account for 40% of the population of the Middle East. ISIS is a Sunni movement, tied to Wahhabism.

Some Islamic words and phrases. Most are Arabic.

acaba – astonishment, wonder
Al Bukhari – a collector of the Hadith
Allahou Akbar or Takbir (الله اكبر) – God is great
Alhamdulillah (الحمد لله) All praise and thanks to Allah
‘amr – authority
baya’a – allegiance
Daeesh or Daesh – ISIS, Caliphate (derogatory)
da’wah – teaching or proselytizing Islam
dua – supplication, prayer requesting something
dunya – this world and its earthly concerns
Eid al-Fitr – one of the most joyous days in the Islamic calendar; at the end of Ramadan
fajr – noon
Fajr Salat – noon prayer
Hadith – sayings of the Prophet
Hajj – pilgrimage to Mecca
halal – foods permissible to eat under Shari’ah
haram – forbidden
hijrah – migration
iman/imaan – belief
inshallah/Insha’Allah – Praise Allah
Isha – night prayer
jahil – ignorant
jalal – greatness
jalwa – handsome?
jihad – holy war
jinn – “ginni,” like demigods
Kafirs – those who reject Islam
khara – shit
Kuffar – non-Muslim (derogatory)
kufr – disbelief
Mahdi – person anointed by God
minbar – pulpit of the mosque
Quraysh – tribe of the Prophet, to which a Caliph must belong [David “Koresh” adopted this name]
Ramadan – a holy month of fasting observed by Muslims
Sahabah – the Companions of the Prophet
Salaf – great predecessor, early Muslim (first 400 years)
Shari’ah – Islamic Law
Shia – 10-13% Muslims but 40% in ME, in Iran and Iraq; followers in tradition oh Ali, Mohammed’s cousin and son-in-law; tradition of the 12 Caliphs
sihr – black magic
Subhanallah (سبحان الله) Glory be to Allah
Sunni – predominant form of Islam; >80% worldwide but only 60% in ME
sunnah – easy or direct way (“way of life prescribed as normative for Muslims on the basis of the teachings and practices of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and interpretations of the Quran”) ➔ Sunni
surah – a chaper of the Quran
takfir – excommunication (in Islam)
Takfiri – a Muslim who accuses another Muslim of apostasy
Tawheed/Tawhid – doctrine of Oneness of God; asserting Oneness
Wahhabism – subgroup within Sunni, mostly in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE; puritanical; influenced bin Laden and al Baghdadi
wallahi – ‘I swear to God’

Armed Forces in Iraq/Syria/ISIS Conflict

“The lesson the US should learn from its experience in north Iraq is that you can’t win a war in the air alone. Iraq showed that air strikes against Isis can work – but only when combined with efforts to arm and advise a reliable local force capable of following up to actually retake and hold territory on the ground. The YPG is that force in Syria, and any air strikes without the kind of support sent to the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga will be futile. US collaboration with the YPG will be tricky, as tensions between the PKK and Turkey, a US ally, have recently intensified. The PKK, angered by what it perceives to be Turkey’s efforts to back ISIS, threatened to end a fledgling peace process if Isis takes Kobani (also known as Ayn al-Arab). The existing peace process is not only Turkey’s best chance at peace, but also the Obama administration’s best cover for collaboration with the YPG. The US should urgently act to save both Kobani and the peace process, by offering extensive support to the YPG in Syria on the condition that the PKK reaffirms its commitment to the peace process with Turkey.” complicated or what?
— The Guardian (10/6/2014)

FSA :: Free Syrian Army (“moderates” – do they even exist?)
ISF :: Iraqi Security Forces (Iraqi Armed Forces)
ISIS (IS, #ISIL, Islamic State or Caliphate) / Al Nusra Front / Al Qaeda :: Radical Islamic, much in-fighting; (Jabhat Al-Nusra)
Peshmurga :: Kurdish fighters
PKK :: Kurdistan Workers Party – leftist, Kurdish area
SAA :: Syrian Arab Army (Assad)
YPG :: Popular/People’s Protection Units – leftist, Syria

⋙ [Comprehensive:] Council on Foreign Relations: Iraq Conflict: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) research links (comprehensive)
// 12/1/2014
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🌎 Moderate Islam?



Open Letter to Al-Baghdadi from Muslim Clerics, with signatories [pdf] [English]
// 9/19/2014


NPR: Prominent Muslim Sheik Issues Fatwa Against ISIS Violence #IslamicState #IS #ISIS
Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies

“We must declare war on war so the outcome will be peace upon peace.”
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the Giver of Mercy

– His Eminence Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah. (Click to Open //➔ ) image

His Eminence Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah: Response to #ISIS: This Is Not The Path to Paradise #IslamicState #IS [with the amazing “Saying of Abi bin Abi Talib”] //➔ Click to Open //➔ Click to Open //➔


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MuslimMatters: What Muslims Are Saying About The Paris Attacks
// 11/14/2015


ClarionProject (Dec): Top 12 Moderate Muslim Moments in 2013
// 12/29/2014, [Council on American-Islamic Relations?]


TheGuardian, Yassir Morsi (Aug): You didn’t fight for me: how ‘moderate’ Muslim leaders influence radicals #ISIS #IS
“Most jihadi rhetoric is intellectually immature, boyish, violent & all about masculine codes of honour & loyalty” #IS
// 8/8/2014, Yassir Morsi


NYT, Frederick Starr (Feb): Moderate Islam? Look to Central Asia Kazakh-, Kyrgyz-, Tajiki-, Turkmeni-, & Uzbek-istan: experimenting w secular govts & free markets
// 2/26/2014


MoroccanTimes (Jul): Imams Denouncing Extremism & Preaching Moderate Islam
// 7/12/2014, may lack training & sophistication


TheNationalUAE, Ed Husain (Mar): One cleric’s war on radicals is the hope for moderate Islam Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah #ISIS #IS
// 3/12/2014, conference


NewRepublic, Nathan Lean: Stop Saying “Moderate Muslims.” You’re Only Empowering Islamophobes #ISIS #Iraq #Syria #ISIL
// 6/25/2014
WSJ, Yousef Al Otaibi (UAE Ambassador to US): The Moderate Middle East Must Act #ISIS #Iraq #Syria #ISIL
// 9/9/2014AlMonitor: Moderate Muslims’ quandary about IS most see Al #Qaeda, #ISIS as a creation of the West #IS #Iraq #Syria #ISIL// 12/12/2014

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Islam worldwide. Source: Vox.

Islam worldwide. Source: Vox.

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🌎 A Generational War?

NYT Editorial: What Will Come After Paris
// 11/15/2015, ” The Islamic State must be crushed, but that requires patience, determination and the coordination of strategies and goals that has been sorely lacking among countries involved in the war on ISIS, especially the United States and Russia.”

● “France already has some of Europe’s most intensive antiterrorist policing; adopting draconian measures of the sort demanded by far-right nationalists like Marine Le Pen of the National Front can only further alienate France’s Muslim population of five million, without offering any assurance against more attacks.”

● “The attacks in Paris sent a major shockwave around the world, and the Beirut bombings and the downing of the Russian civilian jetliner were every bit as horrific. ISIS has demonstrated that there is no limit to its reach, and no nation is really safe until they all come together to defeat this scourge.”


NYT: Obama Calls Paris Massacre ‘an Attack on the Civilized World’
// 11/15/2015


NYT: Obama Promises Sustained Effort to Rout Militants
// 9/10/2014


NYT: Obama Outlines Expansion of #ISIS Fight [video, text]
// 9/10/2014


USAToday:  Obama: ‘It will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL
// 9/10/2014


Remarkable: From 39% ➔ 74%❗in FAVOR of military action against #ISIS in <3 mos #ISIS #Iraq #Syria
// Gallup 6/22/2014, WSJ 9/10/2014; plus support for Obama pulling out
⇈ ⇊
WSJ Poll:
Gallup poll: (6/22/2014): Iraq


⋙ This may be a war of civilizations whether we say it or not: Theocracy vs the Enlightenment & secularism. It need not be Islamic, just theocratic. Many Christians would also like to have a theocratic state. Commentators often say there is no war of civilizations but their very arguments are often couched in Enlightenment terms (democracy, human rights, etc).

“Beside all debatable points, be sure of one thng –
that ISIS is not related to Islam or Muslims at all.
That’s a monster created in disguise.”

– Adeel K Burney, Lahore, Pakistan, April 2015

WSJ/NBC Poll: Many Rand Paul Supporters Want US to Step Up Fight Against ISIS #ISIS #Iraq #Syria #ISIL
// 9/10/2014


WaPo, Ignatius: Stepping warily onto the battlefield
// 9/9/2014 “What the deaths of 200,000 Syrians couldn’t do, the beheadings of two Americans has…. “Obama kept his distance despite the deaths of 200,000 Syrians but apparently can’t do so any longer after the beheading of two Americans…. From everything the jihadists proclaim in their propaganda, we can sense that they have been dreaming of this showdown”


WaPo, Michael Gerson: America’s resumption of ‘the long war “We fight ’em there, so we don’t face ’em here” #ISIS #Iraq #Syria
// 9/8/2014, “Former Australian Army chief Peter Leahy recently called this “the early stages of a war which is likely to last for the rest of the century.’ …saw plane fly into Pentagon: ‘I remember heading toward D.C. in Virginia and seeing a plane flying low toward the Pentagon, so low I could see the windows. Driving to the White House before dawn on Sept. 12, my car windows open, smelling the Pentagon smoldering. The capital city empty, under cover of helicopters and jets.'”


TheGuardian, Kevin McDonald: #ISIS jihadis aren’t medieval – they are shaped by modern western philosophy #Iraq #Syria


WSJ/NBC Poll: Almost Two-Thirds Back Attacking Militants
// 9/10/2014, “Public in More Hawkish Mood Ahead of President Obama’s Speech to the Nation About Islamic State” subtitle


TheEconomist: How ISIS is faring since it declared a caliphate likely to be active for generations to come”
// 8/26/2014


Forbes, David Eldon: A World At War: The Threat Of Rising Extremism May Last For Decades
// 8/13/2014


♨ Commentary, [Neocon] Norman Podhoretz (2004): World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win
// 2004, his ❗

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🌎 History of ISIS (or IS, ISIL, the Islamic State, the Caliphate
♤ or Khalifah)

IS – Islamic State
ISIL – Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant
ISIS – Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham
Caliphate or Khalifah*
also Daesh (see below)

Daesh – “Whether referred to as ISIS, ISIL, or IS, all three names reflect aspirations that the United States and its allies unequivocally reject. … The term ‘Daesh’ is strategically a better choice because it is still accurate in that it spells out the acronym of the group’s full Arabic name, al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. Yet, at the same time, ‘Daesh’ can also be understood as a play on words — and an insult. Depending on how it is conjugated in Arabic, it can mean anything from “to trample down and crush” to “a bigot who imposes his view on others. … Already, the group has reportedly threatened to cut out the tongues of anyone who uses the term.”
– The Boston Globe (10/9/2014)
A caliphate (Arabic: خِلافة khilāfa) is a form of Islamic government led by a caliph (Arabic: خَليفة khalīfah pronunciation (help. · info))—a person considered a political and religious successor to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad (Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdullāh), and a leader of the entire Muslim community.”
– Wikipedia

⋙ 💙💙 Council on Foreign Relations: Iraq Conflict: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) research links (comprehensive)
// 12/1/2014



DerSpiegel: The Terror Strategist: Secret Files Reveal the Structure of Islamic State ties to Saddam #iraq #ISIS
// 4/18/2015


Brookings, Thomas Wright: Why Obama’s UN Speech is a Major Turning Point
// 12/28/2014


TheGuardian [UK], Martin Chulov: ISIS: the inside story ‘a senior ISIS commander reveals details of the terror group’s origins inside an Iraqi prison – right under the noses of their American jailers’
// 12/11/2014


NYT, Thomas Friedman: IS = Invasive Species extended metaphor — it works
// 10/11/2014


NewRepublic: The US Still Needs to Be “Team America World Police” cuz Freedom isn’t Free, baby
// 10/1/2014
❥ “critics of American expeditions abroad simply have no alternative”
❥ the UN dream of collective security is exactly that – a dream’
❥ Iranian & Russian objections “are so self-evidently disingenuous that they undermine their own claims”
❥ “easy to blame this collapse in confidence on the structural problems of the UNSC”
❥ “With RUS & CHI wielding vetoes, we can hardly expect the UNSC to adopt a principled stand on much of anything”
❥ “most liberal democracies have simply given up on military engagement abroad”
❥ “Over the past 10yrs, European defense spending has plummeted, both in absolute terms & as a % of their economies”
❥ “the US has been left carrying the tab for 3/4 the cost of NATO”
❥ “When trouble comes up anywhere… they don’t call Beijing. They don’t call Moscow.  They call us” —PBO
❥ “As long as threats like #ISIS persist, someone must do something about them”
❥ “The US, for all of its faults, foibles & failures, is still the only country w the will & the capability to intervene credibly”
❥ “Real multi-party, collective security remains a lawyer’s fantasy”
❥ “American interventions must continue. There is simply no alternative”


BBC [UK]: What is the Islamic State?
// 9/26/2014


Brookings: Around the Halls: What is ISIS’ Strategy?
// 9/24/2014


ForeignPolicy: Obama to UN: OK, America Will Be World’s Police *sigh*
// 9/24/2014


NYT, David Kirkpatrick: ISIS’ Harsh Brand of Islam Is Rooted in Austere Saudi Creed alliance w Wahhabism in 18C
different from lineage of Al #Qaeda
❥ “[The] Saud clan formed an alliance with the puritanical scholar Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab” //➔ Wahhabism
❥ “is at odds with the more mainstream Islamist and jihadist thinking that forms the genealogy of Al Qaeda”
❥ “‘For Al #Qaeda, violence is a means to an ends; for ISIS, it is an end'”
// 9/24/2014


NYT, David Motadel: The Ancestors of ISIS
// 9/23/2014
❥ a thoughtful argument for containment over “victory”
❥ “much in common w the Islamic revivalist movements of the 18th century, such as”
❥ “Wahhabis on the Arabian Peninsula and the great jihadist states of the 19th century”
❥ “Abd al-Qadir, who challenged the French imperial invasion of North Africa in the 1830s & 1840s”
❥ “Equally short lived was the Mahdist state in Sudan, lasting from the early 1880s to the late 1890s” “unable to provide stable institutions, & the economy collapsed”
❥ “The most sophisticated 19th-century Islamic rebel state was the Caucasian imamate”
❥ “In all of these cases, there were two distinct, though intertwined, conflicts, one against non-European empires and one against internal enemies”
❥ “The sociologist Charles Tilly once identified war as one of the most crucial forces in the formation of states: The foundation of a centralized government becomes necessary to organize and finance the armed forces”
❥ “Islam helped unite fractured tribal societies & served as a source of absolute, divine authority”
❥ “Today’s jihadist states [also] emerged at a time of crisis, and ruthlessly confront internal and external enemies”
❥ “differ from the 19th-century states in that they are more radical & sophisticated”
ISIS “is perhaps the most elaborate & militant jihad polity in modern history”
❥ “hierarchically organized bureaucracy, a judicial system, madrasas, a vast propaganda apparatus & a financial network”
❥ “unlike its antecedents, its leaders have global aspirations”
❥ “fantasizing about overrunning St. Peter’s in Rome”
❥ “Islamic rebel states are overall strikingly similar. They should be seen as one phenomenon; and this phenomenon has a history”
❥ “Created under wartime conditions, and operating in a constant atmosphere of internal and external pressure, these states have been unstable and never fully functional”
❥ “Forming a state makes Islamists vulnerable”
❥ “[T]he international community should continue to check the expansion of groups like the Islamic State, and intervene to prevent widespread human rights abuses”
● “Jihadist states are complex polities & must be understood in the context of Islamic history”


Ethnic diversity of Middle East. Source: Vox.

Ethnic diversity of Middle East. Source: Vox.


GlobalResearch [CAN], Michel Chossudovsky: Historical Origins of the Islamic State (ISIS): Who Was Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi?
// 9/8/2014


NewRepublic, Graeme Wood: What ISIS’s Leader Really Wants: The longer he lives, the more powerful he becomes,history of ISIS
// 9/1/2014


💙 Brookings, Wm McCants: Five Myths about the Islamic State see also:
// 8/26/2014
1. “was never [part of] al Qaeda” //➔ wrong
2. ‘arming Syrian rebels always a bad idea’ //➔ who knows? read:
3. “Qatar funds the Islamic State” //➔ “no foundation based on publicly-available knowledge”
4. “Caliphate was est.’d in June” //➔ can argue est.’d in 2006 (use of term “Dawla”)
5. There is an easy, obvious and quick solution to the Islamic State problem
// but read WaPo, Fishman: “Don’t BS…”
⇈ ⇊
💙💙 WarOnTheRocks, Brian Fishman: Don’t BS the American People About Iraq, Syria, & ISIS
// 8/20/2014
⇈ ⇊
❥”President Obama … is right that the paucity of our political debate is the greatest threat to our global standing”
❥’One thing is clear about Obama: right or wrong in his decisions, the guy doesn’t want to be fed a bunch of bullshit’ “‘rolling back’ ISIL is an unstable and untenable policy at this time” “The Islamic State is a threat to U.S. interests because of the safe haven it creates and the instability it fosters”
❥”Whatever Obama’s mistakes, it is hard to blame him for being gun-shy politically after watching the Benghazi shenanigans for two years.” “If Obama’s political opponents talk impeachment over an incident like Benghazi, what would they say if U.S. weapons provisioned to Syrian rebels wound up in the hands of ISIL”
❥”Partisan tussling [eg Benghazi] makes for bad national security policy & makes us less safe”
❥”Although ISIL has some characteristics of a state now, it still has the resilience of an ideologically motivated terrorist organization” “[W]ar makes the jihadist movement stronger, even in the face of major tactical and operational defeats”
❥”ISIL has more strength than al Qaeda in Iraq ever did and its enemies on the ground are weaker”
❥”Without war, ISIL is a fringe terrorist organization. With war, it is a state.”
❥”So long as it exists, the Islamic State’s borders will always be bloody.”
❥”This is where I am supposed to advocate a brilliant strategy to defeat ISIL by Christmas at some surprisingly reasonable cost. But it won’t happen.”
❥In a post-Benghazi world … the political consensus to incur the risks & costs of destroying ISIL is tremendously unlikely”
❥”It would therefore be irresponsible to support a policy that would require a level of commitment that our political institutions do not possess”
❥”Our discourse is too broken. Short of a major terrorist attack, our leaders do not have the ability to produce consensus” “without real national consensus to sustain a strategy, there is no viable mechanism to defeat ISIL”
❥”most important strategic lesson from Iraq: Don’t bullshit the American people into a war w shifting objectives” “The country must be ready to accept the sacrifices necessary to achieve grand political ends”


CNN: No more surprises? ISIS Achilles’ heel is defending what it has won
// 8/26/2014


NewYorker, Packer: James Foley’s Truth losing journalists in the field leaves us w too much punditry & too few facts
// 8/24/2014


XXCommittee: War and the (Islamic) State
// 8/24/2014


Middle East Oil Infrastrycture. Source: Vox.

Middle East Oil Infrastrycture. Source: Vox.


ForeignPolicy (8/21/2014): The Re-Baathification of #Iraq ¤ #ISIS
// 8/22/2014


KurdishQuestion: Şengal: Islamic State, Kurdish (In)dependence, Western hypocrisy, & the failure of the nation-state #ISIS
// 8/22/2014 approx, “Şengal (Sinjar)”; Kurdish parties, critique of Treaty of Lausanne, Western nation-state hypocrisy re: Kurds


An independent Kurdistan? Source: Vox.

An independent Kurdistan? Source: Vox.


AlJazeera, Stephan Richter: The five deadly sins of US foreign policy: Is the US starting to resemble the Middle East? #ISIS
// 8/22/2014


WSJ: Calculated Decision by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad To Go Easy on ISIS #Syria
// 8/22/2014


WaPo, Adam Taylor: How the Islamic State is turning the Middle East upside down
// 8/22/2014


TheNation, Patrick Cockburn: How the War on Terror Created the World’s Most Powerful Terror Group
// 8/21/2014


TheNationalInterest, Harrison & Ryan: The Master Plan: How to Stop ISIS “it’s about a shared Arab identity”
// 8/21/2014


BI, Kelley & Nudelman: Everyone Who Wants To Destroy ISIS Needs To Know One Hard Truth
// 8/20/2014, map


💙💙 DerSpiegel (GER): Caliphate of Fear: The Curse of the Islamic State #Iraq #ISIS #Syria
// 8/19/2014


VICE (UK), Patrick Cockburn: How the Islamic State Became the Juggernaut It Is Today #ISIS #Iraq
// 8/19/2014


AP: Pope supports multi-lateral action to stop ISIS threat unusual for Vatican to support military intervention #Iraq
// 8/18/2014


NYMag, Jesse Singal: Why ISIS Is So Terrifyingly Effective at Seducing New Recruits
// 8/18/2014


TheSpectator [UK]: Another Iraq war is coming – the only question is whether we want to win
// 8/16/2014


TheGuardian, Hassan Hassan: ISIS: a portrait of the menace that is sweeping my homeland //➔ authoritative
// 8/16/2014


AlAkhbarEnglish: Hezbollah: ISIS is a “real existential danger” to the whole region
// 8/15/2014
❥ “This danger does not recognize Shias, Sunnis, Muslims, Christians, Druze, Yazidis, Arabs or Kurds”
❥ “This monster is growing & getting bigger”
❥ “and it is not a joke”
❥ “massacres have primarily harmed Sunnis” – though #ISIS is Sunni
// “I call on every Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Syrian and any Gulf national to leave sectarian intolerance behind and think that this phenomenon is not a threat against Shias only. No one should regard this battle as a sectarian one, it is a takfiri* war against anyone who opposed it.” *Muslim who acuses other Muslims of apostasy
● AlAkhbar: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah calls on all Muslims to leave sectarian intolerance behind to oppose ISIS
// “The international community did not react when ISIS killed Christians in Mossul, or when the Kurds, Sunnis and Shias got killed in Kirkuk,” he said. “But when ISIS reached Erbil, where US has interests, the US stood up. It’s not that they care about the Kurds, it’s because of what Erbil means to them strategically.”


FinancialTimes: ISIS: Armed & dangerous
// 8/14/2014


NewRepublic, Elliot Ackerman: Islamic State’s Strategy Was Years in the Making
// 8/8/2014


💙💙 Dkos, LaFeminista: The Islamic State [IS] //➔ captures ISIS better than anything else I’ve read  //➔ fave
// 8/8/2014


TheNationalInterest, Robert Labil: The ISIS Chronicles: A History
// 7/17/2014


NYT David Kirkpatrick: Power Struggles in ME Exploit Islam’s Ancient Sectarian Rift Shiite Iran & vs Sunni Saudi Arabia
// 7/5/2014, regional map, centered on Iraq


NYT, Khalid Diab: The Caliphate Fantasy #ISIS #Iraq
// 7/2/2014
❥ the notion of a puritanical, jihadist Caliphate is ‘ahistorical’
❥ the Abbasid caliphate was dynamic, diverse & multi-cultural
❥ “the Abbasid caliphate produced notable advances in the sciences & mathematics”
❥ the new ISIS caliphate is anti-western, though the ME once admired the West
❥ “reality check came when Britain & France carved up the ME following World War I”
❥ “Disappointed by [Britain & France], Arab intellectuals still held out hope [for] the US”
❥ After WWII, the US “propped up a string of unpopular autocrats”
❥ “many Arabs [turned] against the traditional deferential model of Islam”
❥ In opposition to the West & the “oil-rich” autocracies “emerged a nihilistic fundamentalism”
❥ ‘jihad not only vs foreign ‘unbelievers,’ but also vs Arab society itself in order to create a pure Islamic state”
❥ a “pure Islamic state … has only ever existed in the imaginations of modern Islamic extremists”
❥ “wholesale destruction of Iraq’s political, social and economic infrastructure … created a power vacuum”
❥ “little support for the jihadists or appetite for their harsh strictures among the local populations”
❥ “Islamist dream of transnational theocratic rule appeals to a dwindling number of Arabs”
❥ “millions of Arabs strive simply for peace, stability, dignity, prosperity & democracy”
❥ “People still entertain the modest dream of … ‘bread, freedom, social justice,’ as the Tahrir Square slogan put it”


There are many visions of what the future of the Middle Eat may hold. Source: Vox

There are many visions of what the future of the Middle Eat may hold. Source: Vox


ForeignAffairs, Robin Simcox: ISIS’s Western Ambitions: Why Europe & the US Could be the Militant Group’s Next Target
// 6/30/2014


CNN, Aaron David Miller (Woodrow Wilson Center): How to keep #ISIS terror from US shores
// 6/30/2014
❥ Looking for the ‘least bad’ option …
❥ stop the recriminations about “who lost Iraq”
❥ we should get real to protect US interests in a region that’s melting down
❥ “Iraq was never the US’s to win”
❥ “get along w lowered expectations & focused goals”
❥ “The end of Saddam Hussein’s cruel rule … opened up a Pandora’s box of sectarian tensions & expectations”
❥ “the US overturned a brutal minority Sunni rule & enabled Shia majority rule”
❥ After Saddam, “Iraq never equitably distributed political & economic power”
❥ After Saddam,”Sunnis became disenfranchised, angry & vulnerable to jihadi persuasions”
❥ After Saddam, “Shia sought to get even, get ahead & maintain a privileged position”
❥ ‘Iraq’s neighbors, particularly Iran & Saudi Arabia, each have their own vision for the region’
❥ “Iraq has become a pawn in a regional competition between Sunnis & Shia & Arabs & Persians”
❥ “Iran wants a weak, stable Iraq not aligned w the West, under Shia influence”
❥ “The Saudis want al-Maliki out & are happy that ISIS may provide that opportunity, even as they fear the jihadists”
❥ “The Saudis … want Sunnis empowered & Iran disempowered”
❥ ‘Turkey has made its peace w the Iraqi Kurds & hopes they can moderate Syria’s radical tendencies’
❥ ‘Jordan is vulnerable to ISIS, but can’t exercise much influence in #Iraq’
❥ ‘Syria is aligned with both Iran & al-Maliki in Iraq & has begun to use military force against ISIS’
❥ ‘Iraq’s neighbors’ interests will continue to trump America’s’
❥ “Iraq can’t be stabilized w/o dealing w Syria”
❥ “The US is the only power that has the capacity to alter the course of the civil war in Syria’
❥ “The ISIS threat may prompt a review of the Obama admin’s Syria policy”
❥ “the US will be faced w some tough choices”
❥ ‘The US may support the moderate Sunni rebels in Syria while also striking ISIS (also Sunni)’
❥ ‘we may end up weakening al-Assad on one hand, while strengthening him on the other by attacking a common enemy’
❥ The US should not commit to trying to put Syria & Iraq back together again’
❥ “Bottom line is that the real challenge is ISIS, which is likely to remain ensconced in parts of Syria & Iraq”
❥ ‘The US needs to abandon any illusions it can transform or find an easy way out of the situation’
❥ The US “is stuck in a region that it can’t fix or leave” [“you broke it …”] //➔ no?
❥ “the US should accept the reality that it will be dealing with outcomes, not happy endings”
❥ “Iraq may never be a unified polity, but it need not necessarily be a failed one”
❥ “The question is, can we shape these outcomes to our advantage?”
❥ “Bush 43 tried to do too much; Obama too little. Is there a balance?”
1. Coordinate with regional partners
●  “may have to accept the reality that the evil al-Assad is a hedge against ISIS”
2. Think diplomacy first, then military force
●  “must try to produce a more acceptable political arrangement in Baghdad, w or w/o al-Maliki”
●  “w/o the Iraqi government regaining Sunni support, ISIS will continue to roll”
●   “forget democracy & making Iraq whole”
●  “we may have to not only concede influence to #Iran but also to some pretty bad Sunnis”
●   ‘we may have to concede influence to Saddam supporters & insurgents’
3. The US will need to do what it can to buck up the Iraqi military
●  may need to send additional advisers, but no use of combat forces
●  ‘airstrikes & drones against ISIS, at risk of stirring up jihadi sentiment’
●  must face the reality that #ISIS – with money, passports, and a base of operations – will    emerge as a threat to the region, Europe & us’
●  ‘ISIS’s own ideology will produce a counter-reaction to its harsh, unforgiving ideology’
4. ISIS is its own worst enemy
●  “The region is littered with the remains of failed jihadi efforts”
●  “In 2013, there were 17,800 global fatalities as a result of terrorist attacks. Only 16 of those were Americans”
●  “In 2013, there were 17,800 global fatalities as a result of terrorist attacks. Only 16 of those were Americans” //➔ 16?! Don’t tell Fox!
●  “Terror is not a strategic threat to the homeland right now”
●  But it may well require a coordinated counter-terror effort to prevent it from becoming one’


NYT/Reuters: After Iraq Gains, al Qaeda Offshoot Claims Islamic ‘Caliphate’
// 6/29/2014
❥ “called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance”
❥ “move poses a direct challenge to the central leadership of al Qaeda, which has disowned it”
❥ “threat…to conservative Gulf Arab rulers who already view the group as a security threat”
❥ “‘previously known as the ISIL & ISIS has renamed itself ‘Islamic State'” [Caliphate]
has “proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as ‘Caliph'”
❥ “seeks to re-create a medieval-style caliphate erasing borders from the Mediterranean to the Gulf”
❥ “deems Shi’ite Muslims to be heretics deserving death”
❥ “has alienated many…by imposing harsh rulings against dissent, even beheading & crucifying opponents”
❥ NYT: “‘Announcement that it has restored the Caliphate is likely the most significant development in international jihadism since 9/11′” – Brookings
❥ “‘The impact of this announcement will be global'”
❥ “al Qaeda affiliates & independent jihadist groups'” must choose for or against – Brookings


NYT/Reuters: ISIS Becomes Islamic State ‘some dismissed idea that this wld have a significant effect on the region”


The Middle East after Sykes-Picot Treaty in 1916. Source: Vox.

The Middle East after Sykes-Picot Treaty in 1916. Source: Vox.

💙 Dkos (Jun): 100 years ago: A wrong turn to dystopia the modern Middle East was born in aftermath of World War I…
// 6/21/2014

The Middle East in 1914. Source: Vox.

The Middle East in 1914. Source: Vox.


NYT: Rebels’ Fast Strike in Iraq Was Years in the Making #ISIS
// 6/14/2014
❥”has been far more ambitious & effective than US officials judged”
❥”unrelentingly violent & purist in pursuing its religious objectives”
❥”functioning as a military rather than as a terrorist network”
❥”Clinton … argued in favor of arming Syrian rebels”
// “I never thought it was just a Syrian problem. I thought it was a regional problem. I could not have predicted, however, the extent to which ISIS could be effective in seizing cities in Iraq and trying to erase boundaries to create an Islamic state”
❥”American prisons were fertile recruiting grounds for jihadist leaders”


WaPo: ISIS, with gains in Iraq, closes in on founder Zarqawi’s violent vision
// 6/14/2014
❥ Very detailed history; very disturbing
❥”vision for a #Sunni caliphate stretching from #Syria to the Persian Gulf”
❥”US & Middle East officials say the group’s achievements are both remarkable & alarming”
❥”ISIS’s social-media sites are also filled with graphic images” // of Islamists carrying out public executions and amputations on suspected lawbreakers and ­beheading and mutilating pro-govern­ment fighters”
❥”embrace of extreme violence has drawn condemnation from al-Qaeda”
❥”now controls a swath of land stretching from northern Syria to central Iraq”
❥ WaPo: #ISIS is “on cusp of…erasing the Western-imposed boundary lines that divide the Middle East into nation-states”
❥ WaPo: #ISIS gains in Iraq; “The jihadists are there now, whether we like it or not”
⇈ ⇊
WaPo: Interactive MAP: How ISIS is carving out a new country timeline w video segments, links to articles


NewYorker, John Cassidy: The Iraq Mess: Place Blame Where It Is Deserved
// 6/13/2014
❥ “we have reached the moment that skeptics of the 2003 US invasion warned about…: the implosion of [Iraq], &, possibly, the entire region”
❥ “The state of Iraq is in imminent collapse”– a former senior Iraqi diplomat
❥ “in Washington, the blame game has already begun”
❥ “In invading Iraq & toppling Saddam, the Bush Admin opened Pandora’s Box”
❥ “Today [Iraq] is faced w the prospect of a bloody dismemberment into three sectarian mini-states”
❥  ‘are still living with the consequences of the initial determinations made by Bush, Cheney, & their colleagues’
❥ “The Iraq invasion & occupation was ill-conceived, ill-executed, & ill-fated”


Nykr: ‘What OBL could never have achieved on his own: drew the US into an open-ended global battle w militant Islam’


NationalMemo, Joe Conason: As Iraq Implodes, Neocons Still Have No Plan Except ‘Blame Obama’ #ISIS
// 6/13/2014


Brookings: Can Iraq Survive? ISIS was “spawned by the rebellion against the US occupation” – got that?
// 6/12/2014
❥ “looks like a turning point, or even an end point, for post-Saddam Iraq”
❥ “the dissolution of the Iraqi state could come soon” // inset from NYT ⇊
❥ “The almost century-old border drawn by European imperialists between the countries has disappeared”
❥ “a vast ungoverned space yawns, starting from Falluja… & reaching hundreds of miles into the Syrian heartland”
❥ “new region…is a black hole of extremism that threatens states in every direction”
❥  ‘Avoiding the current mess would have required a different prime minister than Nouri al-Maliki’
❥ al-Maliki “has missed every opportunity to govern inclusively”
❥ “The radicalization among Syria’s Sunni Muslims … has nourished monsters”
❥ “al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra & the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or #ISIL”
❥ “…both groups were born in Iraq, spawned by the rebellion against the US occupation”
❥ “Whether Iraq survives as a state is an open question”
❥ “foolish to think that the churn in the region will all turn inward”
❥ ‘It will require real effort to contain the demons now proliferating in the eastern reaches of the Fertile Crescent’
↥ ↧
NYT, Robin Wright (Sep 2013): Imagining a Remapped Middle East prescient…
⇈ ⇊
NYT (Sep 2013): How 5 Countries Could Become 14


WaPo, Fareed Zakaria: Who lost Iraq? The Iraqis did, w an assist from George W Bush #ISIS
// 6/12/2014


Extent of the Ottoman Empire 1699-1914. Source:

Extent of the Ottoman Empire 1699-1914. Source:


WSJ: Islamist Militants Aim to Redraw Map of the Middle East
⇈ ⇊
❥ ISIS: Syria & Iraq “epicenter of a struggle betwn the region’s historic ethnic & religious empires”
❥ ISIS seeks “a single radical [Sunni] state stretching from the Mediterranean coast of Syria thru modern Iraq”
❥  ‘in Iraq, Kurds have carved out a homeland in the north of the country…w the help of Turkey’
❥ “Historic ethnic & religious empires: Persian-Shiite Iran, Arab-Sunni Saudi Arabia & Turkic-Sunni Muslim Turkey”
❥ “ISIS is a threat for both Turkey and Saudi Arabia”
❥ “many Sunnis are willing to endure ISIS if it provides the protection their own government won’t”


WaPo, Terrence McCoy: How ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became the world’s most powerful jihadist leader
// 6/11/2014
❥ “‘the world’s most dangerous man’ to Time magazine & ‘the new bin Laden’ to Le Monde”
“The US has a $10 million bounty on his head”
❥ He is “more violent, more virulent, more anti-American” than bin Laden
❥ “he claims to be a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad”
degrees in Islamic studies & history, possibly a doctorate
❥ “rise of ISIS…has been less about a cult of personality than…a ‘transnational ideology'”
❥ “al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri…tried to bring the rogue commander back into line”
❥ “signals that a new, more dangerous hybrid based on state development by wrecking everything in its path is emerging from the Syrian terrorist incubator” – Theodore Karasik of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis // also ⇊
❥ “Ultimately, #ISIS seeks to create an Islamic state from where they would launch a global holy war”
❥ “25% of ISIS fighters “are from Western countries” ➔


NewYorker, Dexter Filkins: In ISIS’ Iraq Rise, America’s Legacy
// 6/11/2014


AlJazeera: ISIL: Rising power in Iraq and Syria

// 6/11/2014, “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has outgrown even al-Qaeda as it seeks to establish a new caliphate”


💙 ThinkProgress: The Book That Really Explains ISIS (Hint: It’s Not The Qur’an) terrorism manual
// 6/10/2014
↥ ↧
💙💙 Harvard [for translation], Abu Bakr Naji (2006): The Management of Savagery [pdf] p 268, //➔ ISIS manual
// 5/22/2006 (2004), translated by William McCants, John M Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard, Umma, Caliphate


ForeignRelations (course 2012): The Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Map: Detritus of Empires


ForeignAffairs, Jerry Muller (2008): Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism


ForeignAffairs, James Dobbins: Who Lost Iraq? #longread
// Oct 2007
⬆ go to top

༺✦ ♤ ✦༻



🌎 A Clash of Civilizations?

I should acknowledge that I have a viewpoint here. I read the fatwa against ISIS by Sheik Abdullah bin Bayyah His perspective draws directly from Islamic scriptures. It reminded me of following the logic of medieval Christianity. It is hard not to see a lot of tugging against the text.

Seeing the struggle against ISIS as a “war of civilizations” (medieval vs the Enlightenment) is not difficult. Perhaps President Obama is correct that the best tactic is to not acknowledge any legitimacy to ISIS’ claim to being “true Islam,” but is there a cost here in terms of our understanding of what we are dealing with? Is the media becoming a propaganda tool for the Administration’s ideology? Should the media, rather, focus on simple explication (something quite out of fashion in journalism departments), as Graeme Wood is trying to do Regardless of my viewpoint, I have tried to present a balanced set of viewpoints in this backgrounder.


💙💙 TheAtlantic, Peter Beinart: ISIS Is Not Waging a War Against Western Civilization A primer for Marco Rubio [ and Jeb Bush ]
// 11/14/2015


Vox, Max Fisher: The perfect response to people who blame Islam for ISIS
// 9/24/2015


TheAtlantic, Matt Ford: The West Point Professor Who Contemplated a Coup
// 8/31/2015, “That doesn’t mean ISIS isn’t reprehensible or dangerous, especially to those under its control in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Its members have committed numerous crimes against humanity, including the attempted genocide of the Yazidi people. But does ISIS—today, at this moment, in 2015—pose an existential threat? Not even close.”


IslamicMonthly, Mohamed Ghilan: Is ISIS Islamic or Not? It Doesn’t Matter
// 3/15/2015


NewRepublic, Mehdi Hasam: How Islamic Is the Islamic State? Not at All. What The Atlantic got wrong about ISIS
// 3/12/2015


💙💙 TheAtlantic, Graeme Wood: What #ISIS Really Wants
// Mar 2015 (pub date), “The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.” (Subtitle)

● ISIS’ “religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and … it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.”

● “The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.”

● “Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.”

● “Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, ’embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion’ that neglects ‘what their religion has historically and legally required.’ Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an ‘interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.'”

● “The last caliphate was the Ottoman empire, which reached its peak in the 16th century and then experienced a long decline, until the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, euthanized it in 1924.”

● “Baghdadi spoke at length of the importance of the caliphate in his Mosul sermon. He said that to revive the institution of the caliphate—which had not functioned except in name for about 1,000 years—was a communal obligation.”

● “The Islamic State has attached great importance to the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo. It named its propaganda magazine after the town, and celebrated madly when (at great cost) it conquered Dabiq’s strategically unimportant plains. It is here, the Prophet reportedly said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Rome’s Waterloo or its Antietam.”

● “The ideological purity of the Islamic State has one compensating virtue: it allows us to predict some of the group’s actions.”

● “Our failure to appreciate the split between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and the essential differences between the two, has led to dangerous decisions.”

● “One way to un-cast the Islamic State’s spell over its adherents would be to overpower it militarily and occupy the parts of Syria and Iraq now under caliphate rule. Al‑Qaeda is ineradicable because it can survive, cockroach-like, by going underground. The Islamic State cannot. If it loses its grip on its territory in Syria and Iraq, it will cease to be a caliphate. Caliphates cannot exist as underground movements, because territorial authority is a requirement”

● “And yet the risks of escalation are enormous. The biggest proponent of an American invasion is the Islamic State itself.”

● “Properly contained, the Islamic State is likely to be its own undoing.”
“It would be facile, even exculpatory, to call the problem of the Islamic State ‘a problem with Islam.’ The religion allows many interpretations, and Islamic State supporters are morally on the hook for the one they choose. And yet simply denouncing the Islamic State as un-Islamic can be counterproductive, especially if those who hear the message have read the holy texts and seen the endorsement of many of the caliphate’s practices written plainly within them.”

● “That the Islamic State holds the imminent fulfillment of prophecy as a matter of dogma at least tells us the mettle of our opponent. It is ready to cheer its own near-obliteration, and to remain confident, even when surrounded, that it will receive divine succor if it stays true to the Prophetic model. Ideological tools may convince some potential converts that the group’s message is false, and military tools can limit its horrors. But for an organization as impervious to persuasion as the Islamic State, few measures short of these will matter, and the war may be a long one, even if it doesn’t last until the end of time.”

⋙ TheAtlantic, Caner K Dagli: The Phony Islam of #ISIS
// 2/27/2015, “The group’s interpretation of the religion is not literal. It is not serious. And saying otherwise puts Muslims in an impossible situation.” (Subtitle)
● “Wood’s entire essay implies that such a rejection of ISIS by other Muslims can only be hypocritical or naive, and that ISIS members and supporters follow the texts of Islam as faithfully and seriously as anyone.”
↥ ↧
⋙ TheAtlantic, Graeme Wood: ‘What ISIS Really Wants’: The Response


DailyBeast, Dean Obeidallah: Why Calling ISIS Islamic Only Plays Into Its Hands
// 2/20/2015, “ISIS wants us to believe its actions are based in Islam because it frames the conflict as a religious war between the West and Islam.”


VaticanInsider: Parolin at the UN: It is wrong to think in terms of a “clash of civilizations”
// 10/1/2014, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secy of State for the Vatican “spoke about a ‘new form of terrorism” which is a phenomenton of globalisation. ‘We are seeing a totally new phenomenon,’ Parolin said. This should not be seen so much as a disease that is common in certain human environments, but rather, in terms of its global dimension.

It is no longer countries or political groups that are using terrorism as an instrument, the Vatican Secretary of State said, referring implicitly to the Islamic State’s jihadists. For the first time ever, it is a terrorist organization that is ‘threatening all States, vowing to dissolve them and to replace them with a pseudo-religious world government.’ It uses global communication tools to recruit proselytes, ‘attracting from around the world young people who are often disillusioned by a widespread indifference and a dearth of values in wealthier societies.’

“After the September 11 attacks, Parolin told the UN, ‘some media and ‘think tanks’ oversimplified that tragic moment by interpreting all subsequent and problematic situations in terms of a clash of civilizations. This view ignored longstanding and profound experiences of good relations between cultures, ethnic groups and religions, and interpreted through this lens other complex situations such as the Middle Eastern question and those civil conflicts presently occurring elsewhere.’ ‘At times, unilateral solutions have been favoured over those grounded in international law.’

‘The methods adopted, likewise, have not always respected the established order or particular cultural circumstances of peoples.’ The clash of civilisations mindset ‘play[ed] on existing fears and prejudices,’ leading ‘to reactions of a xenophobic nature that, paradoxically, then serve to reinforce the very sentiments at the heart of terrorism itself.'”

“‘A financial system governed only by speculation and the maximization of profits, or one in which individual persons are regarded as disposable items in a culture of waste, could be tantamount, in certain circumstances, to an offence against human dignity. It follows, therefore, that the UN and its member states have an urgent and grave responsibility for the poor and excluded, mindful always that social and economic justice is an essential condition for peace.'”


Pres. Obama to United Nations: So we reject any suggestion of a clash of civilizations
// 9/24/2014 “We have reaffirmed again and again that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace. Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice. And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them, there is only us — because millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country.

“So we reject any suggestion of a clash of civilizations. Belief in permanent religious war is the misguided refuge of extremists who cannot build or create anything, and therefore peddle only fanaticism and hate. And it is no exaggeration to say that humanity’s future depends on us uniting against those who would divide us along the fault lines of tribe or sect, race or religion.”


MiddleEastMonitor, Lamis Andoni: ISIS and the ‘clash of the civilisations’
// 9/16/2014, “If we listen carefully to what the Islamic State (ISIS) and its supporters are saying, we see a vision of the world in a state of ongoing war between the West and Islam. The essence of this war is religion, not colonial policies, as if colonialism has never targeted any other non-Muslim nations and Christians as well. We find a distorted promotion of the saying ‘clash of the civilisations’, although it ultimately serves military intervention in the region.”

“The ‘clash of the civilisations’ is an orientalist theory that views the clash of the Arab and Islamic worlds with the Western civilisation as an inevitable result of the ‘civilisation’ gap between the two sides; the ‘civilised and high-class’ West and the ‘barbaric’ East. It uses this distorted logic to justify America’s colonial wars, including the war on terrorism, the bombing of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, and everything in between.”

“The orientalist historian Bernard Lewis first coined the term ‘clash of Civilisations’ to prove that there is no existence of an Arab world, but a group of sects or factions, while Israel has the features and characteristics of a state, and therefore, the Arab world can be dissolved. He was followed by Samuel Huntington, who used the term as the title to his book in which he states that there will be an ongoing clash between the West and Islam in the future.”

“The goal was to find a new enemy to replace communism in order to justify America’s domination and the arms industry and dealers after the fall of the Soviet Union. The ‘clash of civilisations’ has now become part of the official Western psychology, and a part of the American people and army’s incitement as a part of undermining the humanity of the nations targeted by American wars.”


HuffPo: Pope Francis Warns Against Third World War: ‘War Is Madness’
// 9/15/2014


ZeroHedge: “World War III May Have Already Begun“, Pope Francis Warns
// 9/14/2014, “‘Humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep,’ he said. ‘Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction,’ he said”


WorldPublicForum, Akeel Bilgrami: Identity and the Clash of Civilisations
// 9/10/2014, Wikipedia, on Said: “Edward Wadie Said (Arabic pronunciation: [wædiːʕ sæʕiːd]; Arabic: إدوارد وديع سعيد, Idwārd Wadīʿ Saʿīd; 1 November 1935 – 25 September 2003) was a Palestinian American literary theorist and public intellectual who helped found the critical-theory field of postcolonialism.”

“As a cultural critic, Said is best known for the 1978 book Orientalism. In it, he analyses the cultural representations that are the basis of Orientalism, a term he redefined to refer to the West’s patronizing perceptions and depictions of Middle Eastern, Asian and North African societies—’the East’.”

“Orientalism concluded that Western writing about the Orient depicts it as an irrational, weak, and feminised Other, an existential condition contrasted with the rational, strong, and masculine West.”

“[F]or much of the time throughout the period of the Crusades, there was indeed an exemplification of what Said’s first remark suggests: a dialog and exchange even as there is a clash.”

“All that changed with Napoleon’s campaigns in Egypt and the British conquest of India. Now, the health of hostility, which I just described, was eroded and a quite different tenor of relations developed with condescension and feelings of superiority bred on colonial attitudes on the one side and a feeling of defensiveness and resentment bred upon defeat and the loss of autonomy on the other. For this sort of relation the term ‘clash’ is a complete misnomer for that would mean a conquest is being passed off as a clash. And since these attitudes characterize the relations between the West and Islam to this day, it is a self-serving misdiagnosis of the present situation for Huntington, and those influenced by him, to describe the current situation as ‘a clash.'”

“…economic arrangements that are materially exploitative…” “And so it remains a conquest, passing itself off as a clash.” “Whatever it is that one has, one does not have a dialog with a master.”

“Identities are most obviously formed under conditions of demoralization…”

“Islam becomes a source of collective comfort, inspires a sense of autonomy and self-respect, and sometimes provides a source and site of mobilization with a declared ‘anti-imperialist’ thrust.”

“So, both triumphalism [Scotland, Israel] and feelings of defeat generate identities, no doubt for very different reasons.”

“…Amartya Sen has made much of in his recent book Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (2006).”

“…class is more fundamental than these other categories of gender, race, and caste”

“If such gains that have been made in the areas of race, gender, and caste politics had undermined capital and the corporate domination of the political economies in the societies in which the gains were made, then they would never have been allowed.” [emph mine]


💙  TheHill, James Jeffrey: Is Islamism compatible with democracy?
// 9/5/2014
“Islamism is not a form of the Muslim faith…; it is a political ideology”
Islamism “is a political ideology that strives to derive legitimacy from Islam”
“Islamist political parties are a subset of ideologically driven political movements”
“Democracy … is based on the integrity & free choice of the individual”
“democratic experience places the state at the service of the individual”
‘incompatible w the idea of the state serving a pluralistic & ever-changing populace’
“Under Islamism, the govt necessarily becomes a ‘tool’ for the ideological movement”
Under Islamism, “the role of the individual … is to serve the greater, transcendental cause”
// “Any ideological approach to governance, be it religious or philosophical, such as Marxism, is incompatible with the idea of the state working to serve a pluralistic and ever-changing populace. Under Islamism, the government necessarily becomes a “tool” for the ideological movement to enforce creed, manifest in Islam with the prohibition on renouncing religion in any form. In such a cause-based construct, the role of the individual, rather like that of a soldier in the military, is to serve the greater, transcendental cause.”


NYT, Ross Douthat: No One Expects the Caliphate
↥ ↧
Remarkable! ➔ 💙💙 NewRepublic, Mark Lilla: The Truth About Our Libertarian Age: Why the dogma of democracy doesn’t always make the world better
// 6/17/2014, sweeping, joycean : #highlyrec
⇈ ⇊
● “we have not thought nearly enough about the end of the Cold War”
● “we have not thought about the “intellectual vacuum that [the end of the Cold War] left behind”
● “Never since the end of World War II, & perhaps since the Russian Revolution, has political thinking in the West been so shallow & clueless”
●  “we lack adequate concepts or even a vocabulary for describing the world we find ourselves in”
●  “The connection between words & things has snapped”
●  “The end of ideology has not meant the lifting of clouds”
●  The end of ideology “has brought a fog so thick that we can no longer read what is right before us”
●  Two great ideologies – progressive & counter-revolutionary – have been eclipsed & left behind a libertarian shell
●  “An[y] ideology … holds us in its grasp with an enchanting picture of reality”
●  ‘Two grand narratives … a progressive one culminating in a liberating revolution v an apocalyptic one ending w natural order restored’
●  “The ideological narrative of the European left was a cross between Prometheus Bound & the life of Jesus” // Then there was Cambodia, and the music stopped. [totally agree, but no one talks about it.]
●  The story of the counter-revolutionary right “was a cross between the legend of the golem & the Book of Revelation”
●  “The forces of reaction … never could control the forces of revolution in the 19thC, which were scientific, economic, & technological as well”
●  “The forces of reaction … never could control the forces of revolution in the 19thC, which were scientific, economic, & technological as well” as political
●  “into [the fray] leapt nationalist redeemers” …but “we have now made our way into the mind of fascism”
●  “To speak about such matters is already, [just] two decades on, to conjure up a lost world …”
●  “Try to convey the grand drama of political and intellectual life from 1789 to 1989 to young students todayAmerican, European, even Chinese students—and you are left feeling like a blind poet singing of lost Atlantis” …. “Students simply do not feel the psychological pull of ideology today, and find it hard to imagine a captive mind.”
● Bell: We “did not imagine that the will to inquire would itself wither. But it has.”
●  the left “thinks that the age of ideology never ended & that a new “hegemonic worldview” has simply replaced fascism & communism’

● “Americans call it democratic capitalism and are delighted with it; Europeans call it neoliberalism and are unhappy with it.”

●  Current libertarianism: “It begins with basic liberal principles—the sanctity of the individual, the priority of freedom, distrust of public authority, tolerance—and advances no further

●  It is shocking to see how slow Europeans have been to recognize how seriously the EU jeopardizes … self-government’

● “until now modern constitutional democracies have developed only w/in the context of sovereign nation-states”
● a nation-state “is large enough [for] people to think beyond their local interests, but not so large that they feel they have no control” over their lives”
●  The nation-state “gives [citizens] the means of calling govts to account” Historically speaking, this is a very hard trick to pull off”
We are “unable or just unwilling to distinguish the varieties of non-democracy that exist today”, we instead speak of their ‘human rights records'” which tell us much less than we think they do”
● “No [other] peoples are as libertarian as Americans have become today”
●  Other cultures “prize goods that individualism destroys” [≃ intangibles that are “good”]

● “The truth is that billions of people will not be living in liberal democracies in our lifetimes”
●  “Without the rule of law and a respected constitution, without professional bureaucracies that treat citizens impartially, without the subordination of the military to civilian rule, without regulatory bodies to keep economic transactions transparent, without social norms that encourage civic engagement and law-abidingness—without all of this, modern liberal democracy is impossible.

●  The next Nobel Peace Prize “should go to the [person] who develops a model of constitutional theocracy [for] Muslim countries … ”
●  “Our hubris” is to think  “… all we have to do is stick to our ‘democratic values’ & econ models & faith in the individual & all will be well”
●  “The end of the Cold War destroyed whatever confidence in ideology still remained in the West”
 ‘But the end of the Cold War also seems to have destroyed our will to understand’
●  “Once we had a nostalgia for the future. Today we have an amnesia for the present”   //➔ Wow!

… … …
… … …
… … …

Dartmouth, Edward Said [ColumbiaU]: Essay: Reflections on Exile [pdf]
// 2002, quoting Hugh of St Victor, a 12th Century monk from Saxony: “The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a practiced beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the whole world is as a foreign land. The tender soul has fixed his love on one spot in the world; the strong man has extended his love to all places; but the perfect man has extinguished his.” p. 147

“Hugo [Auerbach] twice makes it clear that the ‘strong’ or ‘perfect’ man achieves independence or detachment by working through attachments; not by rejecting them…. What is true of all exile is not that home or love of home are lost but that loss is inherent in the very existence of both.

“Regard experiences as if they are about to disappear. What is it that anchors the in reality? What would you save of them? Only someone who has achieved independence and detachment, someone whose homeland is ‘sweet’ but whose circumstances make it impossible to recapture this sweetness can answer these questions. (Such a person would also find it impossible to derive satisfaction from substitutes furnished by illusion or dogma.)
“There is also a particular sense of achievement in acting as if one were at home wherever one happens to be.”


Edward W. Said: Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Convergences: Inventories of the Present) [book] including “Clash of Definitions”
// 2002


NYT, Martha Nussbaum: Review of Reflections on Exile and Other Literary and Cultural Essays: The End of Orthodoxy – For Edward Said, exile means a critical distance from all cultural identities
// 2/18/2001


TheGuardian, Maya Jaggi [UK]: Review: Reflections on Exile and Other Literary and Cultural Essays: The Edward Said Reader
// 12/1/2001, Edward Said: “arguably the most influential intellectual of our time”

“Palestinian-American, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, and the most persuasive voice in the west for Palestinian self-determination”

“His essay ‘The Clash of Definitions’ should be read by anyone interested in the intellectual history of the present ‘war on terrorism’ and its unstable elision into a war on Islam.”

“As Said points out: ‘What is described as ‘Islam’ [in Europe and the US] belongs to the discourse of Orientalism, a construction fabricated to whip up feelings of hostility and antipathy against a part of the world that happens to be of strategic importance.’ The simplistic ascription of ‘Muslim rage’ to those supposedly resentful of western modernity makes economic and political problems appear timeless and intractable.”

“‘Seeing the world as a foreign land makes possible originality of vision,’ writes Said, for whom the exile’s predicament is ‘as close as we come in the modern era to tragedy’.”

“While ‘the very idea of identity involves fantasy, manipulation, invention, construction’, seeing civilisations as clashing monoliths obscures their silent exchange and dialogue, hybridity and mingling. ‘There are no insulated cultures or civilisations,’ Said writes. ‘The more insistent we are on separation, the more inaccurate we are about ourselves and others.'”

“‘American intellectuals,’ he says, ‘owe it to our country to fight the coarse anti-intellectualism, bullying, injustice, and provincialism that disfigure its career as the last superpower.’ It is not least his work against separatism and artificial barriers, or the notion of ‘us versus them’, that makes Said a crucial and persuasive reader of the world.”


MEF/UMassAmherst, Edward Said (ColumbiaU): The Myth of ‘The Clash of Civilizations’ [transcript]
// 1998


Foreign Affairs, Samuel P Huntington: The Clash of Civilizations?
// Summer 1993


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