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30 June 2014


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Yellow Dog

Thank you, Colonel. This is why I stop by here nearly every day - for the historical and cultural background not available from other sources.


"Major Dundee" as well.


i don't think the Shia Ali objected to the first four "rightly guided" caliphs. And the Fatimids were a quasi Shiite caliphate.

The Lebanese Druze were a Fatimid offshoot embracing aspects of neoplatonic philosophy and mysticism. the late Casey Kasem was an American Druze. George Clooney's fiance is a British Druze. Wonder how Walid Jumblatt who blows hot and cold against the secular government of Syria would fare with ISIS?

FB Ali

We in the West see the "brutality and extremism of these lunatics". I doubt if this is how it appears to the many in Muslim countries who are oppressed and in poverty due (they believe) to the rule of their 'godless' rulers. To them ISIS is fighting to establish an Islamic polity, and its efforts in this behalf are all laudable.

Also not realised here is the depth of animosity (dare I say, hatred) against the West (and especially America) felt by large numbers of Muslims whose societies have been attacked and often destroyed by US and Israeli military action. For them ISIS is fighting against their enemies and oppressors (and their local stooges) and its ferocity is a virtue, not a vice.

Babak Makkinejad

A German official was in Tehran a few months ago, warning Iranians about a repeat of the 30-year war.

Iranians shrugged it off; probably because they felt the war had been going on for 1300 years.


the German official should have flown to Washington, Istambul, Riad and Qatar. Odds are that the Americans would have shrugged him off all the same.

For shame. It has not been Iran or the Shia who have fuelled this.


All, I came across this today and wonder how useful it might be as a lengthy background to some of what is animating events in various parts of the world: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/06/29/understanding-islamic-fundamentalism/. I have a great deal of respect for Polk.

FB Ali


The Western media portrays ISIS as a mob of bloodthirsty fanatics, succeeding because of their cruelty and ferocity. Even on this blog they have been referred to as nuts and lunatics.

The reality is somewhat different. It is arguable that they are better bookkeepers than the Pentagon, and look after the families of fallen veterans better than the VA! See:


I am only half-joking. The point I'd like to make is that it's not a good idea to underestimate your adversary.

Farooq Hafeez

FB Ali - In my humble opinion, a lot of this fascination with extremists comes out of romantic notions conjured up in head at distance from reality ,by people you mentioned in your reply. Based on the examples i have seen, this fascination does not survive the first contact. Case in point is Pakistan's swat valley. People's thirst for a responsive justice system was the main reason behind the initial support of TSNM and Mullah Fazllulah FM. Women sold their jewelry to donate him the money. Once he took over and instituted his version of Sharia, it didn't take too long for people to change their minds about this whole sharia business. No matter how disenfranchised, i think people still want to have barbers in neighborhood, listen to music, watch TV at home, send their kids (and girls too) to school. I don't think anyone in swat today wants to see khoni chowk re instituted for public executions no matter how convinced the disenfranchised poor masses maybe in swat about the efficacy of sharia as means of getting justice. I am seeing pictures of similar "khoni chowks" appear in Syria and now Iraq, which makes me wonder how many of the people seen surrounding tortured bloody bodies in pictures actually support these extremists and how many are silent spectators terrified for their lives.


The media in the West often portrays jihadism as a perversion of Islam. A logical corollary of this would be to portray a caliphate as a perversion as well. Obviously Muslims might have other opinions on the subject, particularly clerics and madrassa teachers. For them the question must be more pertinent than it was a short time ago, now that there is a (temporary?)caliphate. That is to say, what is the relation between Islam and the caliphate. Anther shock between Islam and modernity. I wonder if Saudi Arabia could do an end run and declare itself as The Caliphate, under control of existing forces?

In any case Tony Blair advocated before the Security Council a few weeks ago to treat education as a security issue because of these things.

Babak Makkinejad

When Mossadeq was nationalizing Anglo-Iranian Oil Company there were caricatures of him and other "mad Iranians" driving a fuel tanker while holding a lighter.

Nothing new under the sun...

FB Ali

I quite agree that the reality of living under sharia rule makes many people rethink their earlier desire for it. Especially when the rulers are crude mullahs like Fazlullah and TSNM. The trouble is that many young persons are carried away by romantic notions of jihad and join these outfits.

ISIS seems to be more sophisticated than the Pakistani Taliban, especially after learning their lesson from the Iraqi Sahwa. Certainly in the short term they appear to be treading more carefully.


Behold! A map of the caliphate!

"Home » World » Middle East » ISIS reveals five-year plan for global domination
ISIS reveals five-year plan for global domination"


This will upset a number of people.

Babak Makkinejad

You are suggesting an experiment in which people have a chance to change their minds.

In Afghanistan - specially with Taliban - they never had a chance and those fools became a disaster for that poor unfortunate country.

alba etie

Brig General Ali
Its a point well to be considered not to under estimate ISIS . There have been several fairly sophisticated & well educated second generation Arab Americans that have joined the fight against Assad from Central Texas . One native born American in fact was recently arrested here in Central Texas. This native of Texas was about to go to fight in Syria for ISIS . Apparently the narrative -much of which is arguably true from the jihadi world view , that America & the Israelis are seeking to subjugate Muslims rings true with these ISIS recruits here in Central Texas and elsewhere in the West . Also of interest is that one of my Nigeran friends here says that Boko Harum is sending its members to the ISIS caliphate.

alba etie

Mr Makkinejad
IIRC - Iran nearly went to war with the Afghanistan Taliban in 2001 ? And is it also true that Iran helped the West with intelligence and target sets when NATO first went to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks ? It seems I read in open source somewhere that the the Iranian military was working directly with the Turkish military two days after the Twins Towers came down to target the Taliban - especially Mullah Omar in Khandahar.

Babak Makkinejad


But the help was based on the hope of reaching a strategic understanding with the United States.

US pocketed those gain, so to speak, as she did in case of Syria whose government's help actually did prevent certain deaths and attacks on the United States.

I do not think there is any opportunity for that any longer.

alba etie

Mr Makkinejad
What strategic understanding did the USA miss with Iran ? And what if anything might the BHO administration do to perhaps get a strategic understanding discourse back on track with Iran ? And do you have any thoughts regarding Rouhani's recent visit to Turkey to promote trade ? Would a third party be helpful to USA reproachment with Iran ?

alba etie

"The Sand Pebbles " - even though it was fictionalized story I always enjoy Steve McQueen .

write me a paper

Interesting article about Islamic world. I have a task to write an essay on topic "Islamic culture". I am busy, so I am thinking about ordering essay online. Though, I will order essay online.

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