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20 February 2015

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will

is this the link?
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/shields-brooks-fighting-islamic-extremism-giuliani-obama/

DG

Brooks got it from this. Well worth the read.

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

MRW

The transcript and video: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/shields-brooks-fighting-islamic-extremism-giuliani-obama/

William R. Cumming

Agree that Brooks was dead on!

Swami Bhut Jolokia

It's clear Brooks got it from Wood's article in The Atlantic, but he didn't have the courtesy to mention the article on air. Later in the segment he gives credit to Kristol on something else.

I guess Wood < Kristol so Brooks didn't feel the need to acknowledge him. What a scumbag.

Lars

The KKK considered themselves to be Christians. Should we refer to their violence as "Christian terrorism"? I am sure ISIS consider themselves to be religious warriors, but that should not stop us from stopping them.

As Mr. Woods indicate, containing them and degrading their "state" will eventually make them implode. As soon as their expansion is curtailed, time will not be on their side.

History has eventually not been kind to similar outbreaks of terror, whether religious or political.

rjj

This is unusual for Brooks; not so for Shields.

Have been going to ask if people were certain [all/most of] the incendiary footage they were watching was authentic. I haven't seen any of it nor have I seen any of the Entertainment Industry commercial quasi-snuff product, but have read that it is very very realistic. Decided not to raise the question, then the murdochians come up with this ....

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/02/21/isis-army-7-footers-experts-say-video-copt-beheadings-manipulated

What to believe? Who to believe? rinse, repeat.

hans

Rarely do I agree w Brooks, but he nailed it. IS will not be stopped by U.S. A.I.D. projects.

turcopolier

lars

The first KKK had Jews in it (Dr. Solomon Baruch would be an example) and a lot of Catholics. The second KKK was primarily a white supremacy organization. The Christian symbology of the burning cross, etc, was an inheritance from Scottiah tradiion in the first KKK. IS is PRIMARILY AN iSLAMIC movement AND IT WILL NOT IMPLODE. PL

Margaret Steinfels

More on the Wood's essay from Brook's colleague at the Times, Ross Douthat. http://nyti.ms/1zvtEfV

SAC Brat

When I have seen the ISIS videos on the US evening news I've always wondered if the videos were filmed in Southern California or the Negev Desert. Who would make the videos and who would benefit from their distribution?

If ISIS is such a bad group why not give them a bunch of bad ammunition (hot cartridge loads, grenades and mortar rounds with short fuses) and arrange their actions to look like fratricide? There used to be groups in the US that were good at turning an enemy inward on itself. Are there elements in the US that need an enemy like this?

Tyler

People who think IS will just implode seem to be scooped from the same can that believes all that's needed to defeat ISIS is a good jobs program.

The secular humanism with its hand on the tiller in the West (and can't ever ignore the impulse to try and denigrate Christianity - witness Lars) has no idea what it means to BELIEVE in anything other than the State. They can't fathom ehat zeal is other than Something Scary.

Al Spafford

KKK Web site makes claims to "Christian" basis
https://www.kkk.com/

rjj

Something over the top about it and a tad too LOUD (figurative).

Have any other groups fighting for ANY cause in the ME or Central Asia displayed such mediagenically dramatic dress discipline as these guys in their black frocks and standarized footwear [not inexpensive if bought here]?

Don't know enough to know who would do it or why. I am just beta testing Haruspex® ver. 1.000001


Lars

Regardless of what ISIS believe, it will not be easy to transform a 7th C construct to 21st C conditions. Murder and thievery will only get you so far. I know there are those who think it will be different this time, but these cults develop internal problems as external pressures increase.

I am sure ISIS want to see themselves as holy warriors and that is why it is important to not accept that and at least publicly to call them what they really are: terrorists,murderers, thieves and deluded.

Margaret Steinfels

Sorry thought I had appended what seems to me a bit of nuance to the Wood's view and a bit of elaboration to what Brook's said:

Douthat: "As a longstanding believer in a “theology has consequences” approach to world history and current affairs, I agree with all of this … but I would append an important qualifier as well. Specifically, in taking Islamic-State theology seriously as a form of Islamic thought, we also need to take seriously the Islamic case against ISIS, and the reasons why the soi-disant caliphate’s interpretation of its faith, however internally coherent and textually-rooted, represents a stark departure from the way the faith has been traditionally interpreted and widely understood."

VietnamVet

Tyler,

Secular humanism can be disparaged but a working government that provides for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness plus religious freedom is all that prevents us from igniting Crusades against Orthodox Christianity and Islam; the New Dark Ages. As our government pursues policies that help only the wealthy to the determinant of the people, religious fundamentalism naturally rises to take its place.

The rational way to fight ISIS is to contain and starve the beast. Provide people hope, security and a better life. Stop the wars against Russia, Iran and Syria; arm minorities, and secure Turkey’s border. That is unless you want to draft our youngsters. Kill’em all and let Allah sort them out. The first series of Crusades didn’t succeed and won’t this time unless the goal is the end mankind’s reign on earth.

walrus

Thank you so much to Col. Lang and the Committee for the link to the Graeme Wood article!

HankP

DG -

Very interesting. But is there anyone who doesn't think that ISIS is an extreme fundamentalist utopian movement?

Fred

Considering that our left leaning leaders, media commentators and educators have abandoned religion and cheerlead the rest of society to conform to their anti-religious bias it should not be any surprise they can not understand religious motivations within ISIS. They don't understand (or respect) it in our own society. Here's an example:

http://jezebel.com/godless-parents-are-doing-a-better-job-1682844001

readerOfTeaLeaves

Tyler,

I grew up Out West, partly among people who created orchards, farms, and dairies in what had been desert; it took a great deal of faith and belief in something larger than themselves to sustain those achievements. If you look at the vast system of irrigation networks, dams, and acres of cropland, you realize that faith can -- literally -- move mountains, build dams, and 'make the desert bloom'. This is still true today.

I was fortunate to grow up among people who were tolerant of one another's spiritual beliefs. As the child of a 'mixed marriage' (Catholic/Protestant) I learned early to be publicly circumspect, but respectful, about religious beliefs. Partly for that reason, trying to grasp the murderous conflict between religious sects in the ME is quite difficult for me.

If your point is that many of us reading the news are sadly naive about ISIS and the thought-processes that fuel it, I have to agree. Unfortunately, our naiveté has become dangerous (to ourselves, as well as to others).

Our naiveté is a luxury we can no longer afford as a society. But those of us who attempt to get a little more insight, seek out sources of information (such as SST) that will help disabuse us of our follies. All things human take time.

mbrenner

On the related question of ISIL's genesis and the seeming failure of the IC to understand either its dimensions or implications:

I have seen a few things from marginal sources, suggesting the following:

1. The IC (CIA, Brennan in the White House)did have a greater awareness than generally believed.
2. "They' had formulated the thesis (circa 2012-2013)that the only way to get rid of Assad was to rely on al- Nusra (backed by Qatar) and/or later ISIL (backed by the KSA or (Saudi nationals). This judgment was linked to the belief that some other, new non-radical leadership would emerge once Assad was gone.
3. Therefore, they took an essentially laissez-faire attitude toward ISIL as it emerged
4. Brennan's close personal relationship with Obama allowed him to persuade the President to view the early ISIL development through this optic.
5. Perhaps that explains Obama's absurd interview comment last February that ISIL was just an al-Qaeda Junior Varsity.
6. Brennan may have sold Obama this bill of goods by fudging the intelligence on who and what ISIL was, and other assessments re. Syria - so that Obama would behave in accordance with the Brennan strategy without ever signing off on it.

I am not in a position to credit any of this. It comes in part from a long-term journalist acquaintance of Brennan's who claims to have heard it in person from Brennan in the White House.

In a way, we're back to the old question: incompetence or stupidity?

It would be appreciated if the Colonel or anyone else could give an appraisal.

turcopolier

mbrenner

As I have written I first knew Brennan whwn he was a first tour CIA analyst attached to Alan Fiers' station in SA. My judgment of him then has not changed. He is a hyper ambitious dullard. I have no doubt that he has had a very limiting effect on Obama's thinking. Like so many people in government, he is probably incapable of the kind of thinking we are discussing. CIA, in particular is particularly addicted to the materialist poly sci mentality. pl

turcopolier

ROTL (get the hint?)

"trying to grasp the murderous conflict between religious sects in the ME is quite difficult for me" You need to study some European history. Try the Thirty Years War. pl

turcopolier

HankP

It is pretty much universally believed in the proffessariat that religion is an illusion, the opiate of the masses. The professariat is invited to the WH and to State to "educate." Unfortunately the :masses" are biting us all on the ass. pl

HankP

Lars -

I tend to agree. I think the biggest problem for ISIS is that they appear to believe that somewhere between 30 and 50% of other Muslims deserve death for apostasy. I'm not sure how much further they can spread with that approach.

turcopolier

VV

"Provide people hope, security and a better life." Sound of violins, more COIN crap.... "The first series of Crusades didn’t succeed..." No? The Latin States in the East lasted almost two hundred years. They fortunes waxed and waned. They had effective governments, inter-married with the local populations, formed alliances with Muslim governments and were defeated in the end by the onslaught of the Mamluks and a European population too small to reinforce them enough. Two centuries later the population of Europe had grown enough to populate the conquest of the world. Bad timing... Be careful of the opinions of the professariat. Try "The Atlas of the Crusades." Jonathan Riley-Smith. pl

HankP

All -

Apparently Bernard Haykel wanted to revise some of his quotes in the Wood piece and the way his positions were portrayed -

http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/02/20/3625446/atlantic-left-isis-conversation-bernard-haykel/

turcopolier

Lars, HankP and Margaret

It does not matter if IS' theology or interpretation of scripture is "correct" whatever that means. What matters is the allegiance unto death (theirs and that of others) that they have. Will the jihadist wahhabi, Hanbali based, Ibn Taimmiya influenced movement last? No, but so what? The Egyptian Mamluks are gone. Various other revivalist Islamic movements have come and gone but in their time they were thought to be the scourge of mankind. Can you not see that they intend to bring what they see as true Islam to the fallen away masses by the sword? They don't care if most My\uslims wish to sign up. They don't care. pl

turcopolier

Margaret Steinfels

"represents a stark departure from the way the faith has been traditionally interpreted and widely understood."" The IS jihadis certainly hope that is true just as te Calvinist reformers hoped the same thing.

BTW, "Kalam" (theology) is not thought of as the most important religious science. Nor is "falsafa" (philosophy). both of those were invented to provide ways to argue with the unbeliever. The most important of the "roots of the law" are scriptural exegesis and derivation of "fiqh" (sharia law in Sunni Islam). pl

VietnamVet

Colonel,

HankP’s link below is the real professorial summation:

“Ultimately, Haykel appeared to argue that effectively combating ISIS will require more than discerning what “ISIS wants,” theologically speaking. Instead, it also requires a deep, abiding dedication to providing what most Muslims in the region want, and what Wood only briefly addresses in his article: stability, jobs, education, and, most of all, peace.”

Rather than sending Shiite militias on a quixotic campaign to conquer Mosul, ISIS has to be quarantined by a collation of minority self-defense forts, sealing borders, setting up transportation blockades, buying out any willing Sunni Tribes, and ending all extraneous conflicts. Time and enticements will strangle the Islamic State just like it did the USSR. This can’t happen unless the ideologues are thrown out of Washington DC and realists returned to power.

I do not think America has the will, money or the power to re-invade Northern Iraq and pacify it. That takes the draft, settlers and a centuries long Crusade.

Babak Makkinejad

Those are statements of the politically-correct or apologists...

Islam does not have much of a theology in comparison to Christianity; and whatever little of it is there is to be found buried in the works of later Shia Philosophers who wrote in Persian and Arabic.

If you want to appeal to Philosophy, you need to study Asfar of Mullah Sadra of Shiraz but that will not persuade ISIS, the Wahabis and other of their kind.

ISIS covers an area roughly outside of the Old Seljuk frontier and its recruits mostly originate from areas outside of that defunct empire. The ancestors of the European recruits to ISIS also largely come from areas outside of the old Seljuk empire.

Another corollary of the Makkinejad Thesis.

optimax

If God was a football, he could grasp it. Brilliant. Without your link, Fred, I would never have read that moron.

HankP

Col. Lang -

I don't disagree with anything you said, my point was that when ISIS tells pretty much all the peoples surrounding them that they'll be put to the sword, it tends to make the surrounding peoples more likely to do whatever it takes to end their reign ASAP. At least it would seem that way to me.

turcopolier

HankP

That may take a long time. pl

turcopolier

Babak

Amusing. There was also Sunni Kalam and Falsafa. Spare me the Shia boosterism. pl

turcopolier

Vietnam Vet

Who is Haykal? pl

Tyler

VV,

You will not starve the beast. The Crusades were a defensive war 700 years ago. Here we are again, with the same brutes causing the same problems, and our very own Fifth Column is busy wringing its hands that they might commot bad think.

Tyler

ROTL,

In response to your last line (as I agree with the rest): I don't know if we have the time. Look at the reflexive urge to engage in moral relativism with head chopping religious fanatics because, oh dear me, the CRUSADES.

The time of Fideli Militant inspired our greatest cultural works as a civilization and drove us to amazing feats. What's the brave new world of secular hedonism brought us? Abortion on demand, slutwalks, "white privilege" and "transgender rights".

No, f-ck that. I'll call myself a Crusader if it means an end to the suicidal, nihilistic culture the West wallows in.

Tyler

Optimax,

That's how they all think. That's their "lawgic".

Maybe now you understand why I lose my sh-t with some of the commenters around here trying to stick the camel's nose in the tent.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Haykel

rick

I think Dr. Silverman's input on this would be interesting. It goes to his work on Identity Groups, it seems to me.

IS identifies itself as Islamic. Duh. I am all for taking people at their word.

On the other hand, there are plenty of other violent groups engaging in terrorism that self-identify as religious where that religious identity is not a constant part of the description of the action. Eric Rudolph self-identified as Christian. Many who engage in anti-abortion clinic violence self-identify as Christian.

FFS, the persecution of the Moslem Rohingaya by the Buddhist majority in Myanmar, anyone ever hear that described as Buddhist terror?

I understand about the hobgoblin of small minds, but I do not really consider consistency in this area to be foolish.

turcopolier

Rick

That is simply not true. These groups are consistently identified in the media by religion when their violence is described. The jihadis are NOTHING ELSE but instruments of their vision of the 'umma, NOTHING and for that reason are very special and apart. YES, I always hear the Buddhist terror against Muslims in Burma describes as Buddhist. What is your point? Is is that the jihadis are only pretending to be Islamic fanatics? pl

turcopolier

VV

So what does Haykal say? I lack the patience to seek it out. pl

rick

No, it was more a comment on the media, and again, I am all for taking people at their word.

I don't think that the Jihadis are pretending, I take them at their word. I do not think Eric Rudolph or clinic bombers or Jewish settlers are pretending either. I do think that their religious identity should be part of every story about them, especially bad acts driven by that religious identity.

Perhaps I am a victim of my own confirmation bias. I guess I do know that it's Buddhist on Moslem in Myanmar somehow...how else but from the news...I will have to pay closer attention.

turcopolier

All

"The Crusades were a defensive war 700 years ago." Defensive wars would be more accurate, but nonetheless Tyler is correct. The Seljuk Turk victory over the Byzantine Army at Manzikert in 1071 AD opened Byzantine Anatolia to Islamification under the Turks. Anatolia had been Byzantine for a thousand years and its soldier farmers were the backbone of Byzantine defenses. The loss of that population was a fatal blow in the long run to Eastern Christianity. In the aftermath of this disaster the emperor appealed to the pope for help in defending what was left of The empire. The result was Urban's preaching of the crusade. Urban knew that the population of the West wold not rally to defense of the Byzantines and so he preached an armed pilgrimage to the east to recapture Jerusalem. Along the way the crusader army severely damaged the Seljuk Army thus accomplishing the emperor's goal and that of the pope. The next two hundred years of wars, periods of peace were part of trying to defend Latin holdings in the Levant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Manzikert pl

William R. Cumming

And when Western water runs out mid-century?

SteveG

Agree with VV that a George Keenan type
containment policy might be a solution to
IS. IMO opinion the thread that runs through
their ideology is not unlike the real estate
mantra "location location location" substituting
"apostasy ". Like any virus once a host is removed
or curtailed its spread is limited. Babak mentioned
Ali was murdered for apostasy. Would this group
eventually turn on itself as its strives for an ever
more purity?
What is being done to deny IS logistics to feed
itself and those under is control? Why aren't the
neighboring states doing more to isolate it.
Like the Balkan war of the nineties are years of
suppressed hatred for past grievances being
released.

turcopolier

SteveG

"Like any virus once a host is removed or curtailed its spread is limited" It does not have to spread through territorial expansion. Its potential as a fifth column in the Gulf is enormous, especially in SA. pl

Babak Makkinejad

one among many...

Babak Makkinejad

They were a minority of motekalemoon and falasafe...

Charles Cameron

Sadly, Brooks' very brief comments on IS / Daesh belief includes the words, "And they are driven by an end times ideology. They think there’s going to be some cataclysmic battle and Mohammed will come down." The first part is absolutely correct, but the second is wrong. IS' eschatology holds that Jesus (the prophet 'Isa, that is) will "come down" in Damascus in the last days, not Muhammad.

Dabiq, their magazine, issue 4 p 33:

Then when they are preparing for battle and filing their ranks, the prayer is called. So 'Isa Ibn Maryam (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) will descend and lead them. When the enemy of Allah sees him, he will melt as salt melts in water.

There's at least one hadith in which it is stated that 'Isa will descend in Damascus:

[I]t would at this very time that Allah would send Christ, son of Mary, and he will descend at the white minaret in the eastern side of Damascus wearing two garments lightly dyed with saffron and placing his hands on the wings of two Angels. When he would lower his head, there would fall beads of perspiration from his head, and when he would raise it up, beads like pearls would scatter from it.

-- Sahih Muslim, book 41, #7015

If, as he says, Brooks believes "you have to take the religion seriously", then confusing the return of 'Isa -- who in Islamic understanding was not crucified but lifted bodily to heaven -- with a return of Muhammad is not the way to go about it.

Charles I

You are obsessed with sex. Ask a women what its brought. Ask the economy what the Pill brought.If men got pregnant abortion would be free.

Babak Makkinejad

The account of the death of Jesus in the Quran does not necessarily contradict that of the crucifixion given in the 4 gospels.

Quran asserts that an "image" - the sense of neo-Platonic/Gnostic ideas - was crucified and not Jesus.

This is close to the ideas of gnostic Christianity as discovered in Egypt.

And reminds me of the arguments in early Christian history between those who claimed a man had been crucified and those who maintained a god had been crucified and those in between.

In Shia Tradition, when the Al Mahdi comes out of the Greater Occultation to restore Cosmic Order, he would be accompanied by Jesus.

It is hoped, among the Shia, that Jesus the Merciful, would thus stay the hand of the Twelfth Imam from shedding too much blood in restoring the Just Order.

mbrenner

Wood's article along with the ensuing discussion is creating quite a stir. Unfortunately, I do not see it shedding much light on either the ISIL phenomenon as a subject of analysis or the question of what to do about it.
That is due, in good part, to the piece being tendentiousness -. Wood's clearly started with a point of view to sell and pulled out all stops in doing so. That pertains to whom he spoke to, whom he quoted or misquoted, his unstated premises, and - perhaps most important - what his political/policy views are. What he has done is to declare "Islam" the problem and, by implication, sounds the call for a war against "Islam." How different is this from early Thomas Friedman? Indeed, to be unkind, I find Wood's writing little more than an intellectualized Charlie Hebdo cartoon.

Comparing religions is useful when the aim is to clarify general points about the interplay between politics and religion rather than to score points in a contest to establish virtue or villainry.

No religion has an identifiable core essence which validates or prescribes certain behaviors as opposed to others. Is the purest Judaism expressed in Deuteronomy wherein Yahweh instructs the Israelites to liquidate the Canaanites - including the massacre of babies? As for Christianity, its hallmark is the near total lack of correspondence between Scripture (the teachings of Christ) and the actions of Christian polities. Ask the Cathars about that.

What Wood has succeeded in doing is to set the terms of a debate(s) that cannot bear only bitter fruit - intellectual or political. At best, it is a distraction; at worst, a pernicious encouragement to the haters, the escapists, and those who thirst for a crusade of some sort or other like they lust for the Super Bowl showdown - the last being the pathetic flotsam of a disintegrating American polity.

Cee

All,

We have too many extremists to count. I'm just going to post some old articles that I read from time to time to remind myself who the cast of the characters are who wish the end the world as we've known it and how they plan to do it.

What a pity that I've never been to the Mall of America. They'll do to everyone else what they've done to people in France and Denmark recenlty.

Read chapter 7 of this link
Naeim GILADI
BEN-GURION'S SCANDALS
How the Hagannah and The Mossad
Eliminated Jew

http://www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres4/giladi.pdf

Talk about the apocalypse

Netanyahu's Greater Israel Based on Expulsion and Annexation - Max Blumenthal on Reality Asserts Itself pt3
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10939

Since I mentioned that Jeb is hiring the old criminals.

The people pushing for war against Iran are the same neocons who pushed for war against Iraq. See this and this. (They planned both wars at least 20 years ago.) For example, Shulsky was the director of the Office of Special Plans – the Pentagon unit responsible for selling false intelligence regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. He is now a member of the equivalent organization targeting Iran: the Iranian Directorate.

www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/02/evangelical-christians-wahttp://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/02/evangelical-christians-want-to-start-wwiii-to-speed-the-second-coming-and-atheist-neocons-are-using-religion-to-rile-them-up-to-justify-war-against-iran.html

Babak Makkinejad

I think Wood's article serves the purpose of clarifying what I had stated earlier: "We are in a religious war."

If we accept that we are in a religious war then we would know what can and cannot be done.

Babak Makkinejad

Mall of Americas was established by the 2 Iranian Jews; Ghermezian brothers.

Fred

Charles I

That's a rather simplistic take. Which woman should we ask? The wives of the well off or the single mothers?

DG

This is a serious misreading of Woods' article.

He is not declaring Islam the problem and is not, by implication or otherwise calling for a war against Islam. He is not saying that most Muslims believe what Isis believes.

To the contrary, he suggests that the solution to Isis is other variants of Islam (including other less violent Salafi fundamentalist variants) that can contest Isis theologically, and that Woods recognizes are predominant world wide. And militarily, he recognizes that the other Arab countries must defeat Isis, it cannot be a war of the U.S. vs. Isis/Islam.

So, in fact, Woods is saying the opposite of what you claim.

The point is that to combat Isis effectively, you have to understand them, and be honest about what they are and what motivates them. That starts by recognizing that Isis is motivated by and inspired by their version of Islam, and their views while extreme and monsterous--are rooted in Islamic texts.

Insisting they have nothing to do with Islam misses the boat in a big way. It is nonsense, and more importantly, it distorts our policy choices. This is what Brooks (and Woods) are saying.


Charles Cameron

Babak Makkinejad (to whom I still owe an email from years past, btw, my apologies) is correct in saying the Quranic telling of the earthly life of Christ ends in a way reminiscent of Gnostic texts -- specifially the Acts of John, which contain the beautiful Round Dance or Hymn of Jesus (Holst set it to music), followed (sect 97) by these words:

Thus, my beloved, having danced with us the Lord went forth. And we as men gone astray or dazed with sleep fled this way and that. I, then, when I saw him suffer, did not even abide by his suffering, but fled unto the Mount of Olives, weeping at that which had befallen. And when he was crucified on the Friday, at the sixth hour of the day, darkness came upon all the earth. And my Lord standing in the midst of the cave and enlightening it, said: John, unto the multitude below in Jerusalem I am being crucified and pierced with lances and reeds, and gall and vinegar is given me to drink. But unto thee I speak, and what I speak hear thou. I put it into thy mind to come up into this mountain, that thou mightest hear those things which it behoveth a disciple to learn from his teacher and a man from his God.

As for Shia tradition, the Mahdi comes out of occultation, and Jesus indeed joins him, but not by accompanying him from a state of occultation. Sachedina, in his _Islamic Messianism: The Idea of the Mahdi in Twelver Shi'ism_ p. 171 states:

The Imamite doctrine of the Mahdi at one point merges with the return of Jesus, another prominent figure of Islamic eschatology. The doctrine of the return of Jesus, as described in the Sunnite sources and cited by the Shiite traditionists is explained in a more or less uniform manner.

He will descend in the Holy Land at a place called Afiq with a spear in his hand; he will kill with it al-Dajjal (the Antichrist of Islamic eschatology) and go to Jerusalem at the time of the morning prayer. The Imam [Mahdi] will seek to yield his place to him, but Jesus will refuse and will worship behind him according to the Shari'a of Muhammad. Thereafter he will kill the swine, break the cross, and kill all the Christians who do not believe in him..

**

It is the first time that I have run across Babak's hope:

It is hoped, among the Shia, that Jesus the Merciful, would thus stay the hand of the Twelfth Imam from shedding too much blood in restoring the Just Order.

With your permission, sir, I will happily add that to my list of helpful quotations when discussing these matters. My grateful thanks.

Altoid

Whether IS is "Islamic extremism" is far less about _their_ nature than it is about the nature of our response, imho. I really do think most people are perfectly capable of understanding what Brooks is talking about in terms of motivation. (Some in the media may be an exception . . .)

It's the corollary that's the problem. So it's a religious thing as far as IS is concerned. Does that mean we all need to be Christianist crusaders? To allude to not-so-recent events in Colorado Springs, do we need to prove that our god is mightier than their god? I don't think so.

But that's the evident desire of so many who want us to use the "Islamic extremism" brand-- that we should get into a war over whose revelation is really right. If IS needs to be destroyed, they need to be destroyed, and not because Christianity is more right. IS and US are not mirror images, no matter how much certain elements here want us to be.

That strikes me as one reasonable basis for shying away from loose use of the phrase. What would really be welcome is a way to acknowledge IS's reality without looking like I'm lining up in a war of revelations that I hold no brief for.

Tyler

Charles,

I bring up our culture, obsessed with sex. Everything ties back to it. Don't ggive me that sh-t about men being pregnant, such and such.

HankP

Altoid -

Bingo. Just because they want a religious war doesn't mean we have to indulge them by structuring our response in religious terms.

SteveG

Babak
Also the mall in Edmonton. My thoughts.

readerOfTeaLeaves

One of the best reasons to be concerned about global warming/climate disruption.

We don't have enough snowpack in the Pacific Northwest this year; water will be a problem next summer unless we get more snow. (I'm sure to someone reading this on the east coast this week, that sentence might seem bizarre. However, the extremes in weather are more evidence of climate disruption. Some of the most ardent believers in global warming that I happen to know are farmers.)

readerOfTeaLeaves

Col, thanks. Duly noted.

rjj

Odd coincidence! Any explanations?

Patrick Bahzad

Pat, I had never heard his name before reading Woods' piece in The Atlantic ! Haykel is a professor of ME studies at Princeton, who certainly does'nt lack modesty, i.e. descsribed as "the foremost secular authority on the Islamic State’s ideology" ... I didn't know there was such a thing as secular authority on IS ideology. I would go as far as to call such a statement oxymorronic !
And to be perfectly honest, I think that if we get into this debate, the actual academic who's most qualified would be French professor Jean-Pierre Filiu who wrote a well documented book about this topic about 8 years ago.

Patrick Bahzad

Traditionnally, religious wars are fought with both parties having conflicting religious creeds. Therefore, I would agree to your statement being half correct only, as one party involved - IS - fights in the name of its religious beliefs (or so it says).
While some of IS ennemies (Shia, Alawis, Christian) also fight in reaction to IS agression of their own religion, this is hardly the case of the US and the West.
Therefore, we might want to replace religion by 'ideology', which is wider as a definition, as we're certainly witnessing an ideological war. In ideoligical wars, very much like religious wars, there is only one possible victory: total destruction of one opponent. Otherwise, these wars end when there's no fuel left in the tank, and the adversaries part on the status achieved at the end of hostilities.
However, the religious/ideological part of this war is only one layer of the onion, although an important one. But the power struggle and imperial nature has to be underlined as well, as it has given birth to a new player, ISIS, which is basically the creation of several "Dr. Frankenstein" who thought they could outsmart organisations with deep religious roots and use them to achieve their own purposes.
So basically, we had three colliding spheres of influence in the region (the Shia , represented in the Islamic Rep. of Iran, the 'traditionalist' Sunni, represented by the KSA and the groups it's funding, and the US as the self-described 'benevolent' global hegemon, with Israel as its representative in some regards). The emergence of a fourth non-state player, and non-state sponsored player (or not anymore), is a scenario that is new in this regard, as Al Qaeda never had as wide a territorial and power base, not even during its years in Afghanistan, which served more as a sanctuary than State-like entity.

SteveG

rjj
It might be a coincidence as they
are the largest malls in NA. The
mall in Africa was also very large.
Could be just a tactical decision.

Patrick Bahzad

Have gone through the various comments and think lots of readers of Woods' piece are potentially missing one important point: Woods' is very insistent on the whole Dabiq story and he refers to only one particular 'hadith' presenting Christ as the saviour of the last standing Muslims in their fight against the 'Antechrist' during this apocalyptic battle.
Now personally, I think this is a boring and uninteresting point of detail in the debate about IS ideoligical background. I think IS' ideology is rooted in a takfiri/salafi creed and cann't be broken down in individual quotes of the Quran or the Hadiths, especially not when there's only one occurrence supporting Woods' hypothesis.
Therefore I think one could certainly build a case on the assumption that Woods' has been coached (through his interviews with various 'experts') into insisting on the one and only 'hadith' that presents 'Christ' as the Saviour of the Muslims.
Words aren't innocent and the choice of words in the many articles that have been written over the last two weeks is quite astonishing: I haven't counted but have read lots of references to 'Christ' and 'Antechrist" in articles echoeing Woods' ... But the truth is, there's no such reference in the Hadith Woods has quoted. It all starts with his starting assumption about Dabiq which is flawed, to say the least !

In the Hadiths, Dabiq is only mentioned as one of possibly two places for this supposed battle at the end of time. Woods' is deliberately cherry picking when he says Dabiq is that placen. Why doesn't he mention that ISIS may have picked the name Dabiq in reference to the battle of Dābiq in 1516, when the new Ottoman Empire achieved a decisive victory over Egyptian Mamluks, giving them control over Greater Syria at that time ?? Isn't that what ISIS is trying to do, conquer Greater Syria and the whole of the ME ?
Furthermore, there's no reference to 'Christ' and the 'Antechrist' in the hadiths mentioned by Woods'. Hes' flat out lying about this: the reference is to "Jesus son of Mary" and "Ad-Dajjal" (= the "Lyer" or "Impostor", not the "Antechrist"). And even if you accept the assumption that Dajjal is actually the Antechrist, you should know that this Antechrist is recognizable by the letters KFR, meaning "Kafir" (i.e. "unbeliever"), which is the very same people IS considers it is fighting right now. They're not waiting for a supposed end of time to kill 'kuffars' !
Overall, I think one shouldn't dismiss the possibility that Woods' piece has been hijacked in part by scholars wanting to make an impression or by people who are trying to undermine IS from an ideological/religious point of view. Don't forget that one of the tactics often suggested to discredit ISIS is to attack their ideology. By implying that their belief is based upon Jesus Christ's return to fight the Antechrist, one might certainly try and confuse people into thinking that this can't be Islam, after all ...
But in any case, it won't affect ISIS recruits any bit as they don't read The Atlantic and don't care about it !

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

In the confrontation of the US & EU with the Russian Federation over Ukraine, we are witnessing what you are describing as imperial struggle over spheres of influence - as you say.

Neither ideology nor religion are involved in that struggle; Khsorow I would have no problems grasping the issue.

In the Middle East, we are now in a religious war of all against all - all protagonists are fired up by religious sentiment to varying degrees - Israel, US, Iran, EU, Turkey, Gulfie Arabs, and others.

The minority religious communities of the Arab countires: Yazidis, Alawite, Druze, Christians, Sabeans etc. are not engaged in an ideological warfare but in a religious one.

US & EU, to the extend that they aide and abet Israel in successfully carrying out her essentially religious aims, are supporting one religion against another.

Iran, the state that exists because of Shia religion, is not engaged in an ideological struggle with Arabs or Israelis - this is a nexus in which various religious aims and convictions are colliding.

That we are discussing Islam, Judaism, and Christainity on the forum itself attests that the various wars of the Middle East are no longer amenable to comprehension without acknowldgeing religion.

Yes, there is the usual struggle for land in places like Palestine, or for oil in Iraq. However, in my opinion, this is no longer about resource allocation.

You and I can argue about how much of the current wars and confrontations have to do with political as opposed to religious or ideological.

My belief is that we have been in a phase in which we are dealing with mutual religious antipathies. We entered there when Israel, immediately after Camp David Accords, invaded Lebanon which, in turn, gave birth to Hezbollah.

Charles I

ask any of 'em for all I care, it wont change my opinion that they don't wish to be under the Dominion of a dick, religious, temporal or otherwise,unless they are free to be.

Charles I

If everything ties back to it, good luck keeping it the Domain of religious men.

Charles I

I guess my basic question is, why should culture and sex be the Domanin of men? Why not of people?

turcopolier

Charles I

"If everything ties back to it, good luck keeping it the Domain of religious men." For IS all men are religious. there is nothing else i life for them. Sex is just part of life. pl

Patrick Bahzad

I agree with you about immediate actors in the ME being driven by religious motives. Based on that rationale however, the Mujaheedin fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, that was also a religious war, which would be only part of the equation as everybody knows.
Now regarding the ME, it is a mistake to think about the US fighting a religious war there, it is everything but religous, given that people in charge in D.C. are willing to get into alliances with whomever will do their bidding, regardless of religion or creed. That is the opposite of a war based on religion. The US was friends with the Shah and his regime, before turning to baathist Saddam Hussein when Iran became the ennemy. They sponsored Mubbarak in Egypt whose security forces were engaged in a vicious fight against the MB, before ackowledging the Ikhwans' electoral victory. I could go on. Religion is not at the root of the US' foreign policy it's a cold blooded struggle for what the people in charge consider "US national security interests", for right or wrong, even though religion maybe play a role for individuals involved.
Also, regarding Europe, I would say that presenting the EU as supporting Israel is: 1) seriously misguided (a look at the anti-EU sentiment in Israel should be prove enough), 2) factually overstating the EU's importance as a political entity 3) vastly overstimating the depth of religious feelings in a large number of European countries (who's still listening to what the Pope has to say, even among Catholic Europeans ?!).
Finally, insisting on this being nothing but a religious war is eluding the balance of power issues that are at the core of this war. Take away the religious ingredient, and there would still be a fundamental collision of interests between Saudi Arabia and Iran about who should have what piece of the cake !

Charles I

I was referring to my culture, my country, my religion.

And to Tyler I say, its not shit and such and I gave you, rather a specific intellectual invitation to imagine the shoe on the other foot, and THAT foot on YOUR neck. Pardon f***ing me.

mbrenner

DG

Certain things need to be clarified.

1. I did not write that ISIl has nothing to do with Islam - that is a misreading.

2. You write:

"To the contrary, he suggests that the solution to Isis is other variants of Islam (including other less violent Salafi fundamentalist variants) that can contest Isis theologically, and that Woods recognizes are predominant world wide. And militarily, he recognizes that the other Arab countries must defeat Isis, it cannot be a war of the U.S. vs. Isis/Islam"

I see no basis for accepting the premise that Salafism is the future - and, therefore, that there is no other alternative to ISIl than Quietist salafism. Scholars of Islam, and people with far greater knowledge of Muslim societies than Wood, find this a ridiculous claim. Moreover, Wood is not in a position to control the effects of what he writes and his message as it is being diffused. Whether or not he wants military intervention, the net effect will be to bolster support for those who do. This is not an academic exercise; this is a high stakes political contest - as I'm sure is understood by some of those who instigated the Wood project and now find his analysis convincing and sellable. We'd be fools to think otherwise - especially given the selective sources quoted and MISQUOTED by Wood.

3.Your assertion that Wood is not saying Islam is the problem is too clever by half. As a matter of logic, if ISIL is the truest expression of, and based on the one correct reading of Islam's texts, then resisting it amounts to a "war on Islam." The implied notion that instead we should advise Islamic leaders to accept Wood's basic argument and encourage Quietist Islam as the answer is - well, far-fetched. At that point, it's either civil war among Muslims or a civil war in which the US gets involved.
Of course, we should then stay out - but Wood's (and your) depiction of the circumstances and choices - does not match actual reality.

I find it disheartening that when faced with a complex challenge of this magnitude, public debate - even among knowledgeable and engaged people - is dominated by what a Wood or a Brooks says. Neither has a depth of understanding about either the region, religion (certainly not Islam) or American foreign policy. It makes me long for the days when amateurism was recognized as such = and when it was innocuous amateurs like Nancy Reagan's astrologer in San Francisco who distracted us rather than charlatans and veiled political operators.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

When you state "balance of power" whom do you have in mind?

Fred

Charles,
'
That's the spirit! They won't change their minds so just do what they tell you.

Charles I

ps Fred, every woman I knew in rehab and a long running mutual aftercare group had been sexually assaulted, most often by an immediate male heterosexual family member. Most of the assaults I heard about occurred pre-sexual revolution, the pill, abortion, etc. Lets ask them.

Patrick Bahzad

By balance of power I simply mean the legitimate place Iran is entitled to claim as an important regional power provided the security concerns of all countries potentially impacted are recognized.

Cee

Babak,

The mall in Kenya is owned by an Israeli businessman named Alex Trachtenberg, I think.

A good target Kill a few and scare thousands.

Fred

Charles,

I spoke with a rape survivor who chose to follow her religious beliefs and bring the baby to term. She was not assaulted by a heterosexual family member. This particular survivor was my mother. She is not the only rape survivor I know nor are they all women. Spare me the guilt trip.

FB Ali

I agree with Dr Brenner's and Patrick Behzad's views on the Wood article. It is an unnecessarily long and misleading (possibly deliberately so) discussion of a basically simple issue.

As I said in my recent post here ("Not just one abomination....."), the IS claims as its ideology and motivation a version of the Wahhabi creed of Islam. This is a variant of the mainstream religion of Islam that has a following in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, but is a minority strand in the Muslim world, notwithstanding Saudi attempts to propagate it and buy adherents.

It is also a mistake to read too much into the religious ideology of IS and other jihadi movements; they also have many other motivations guiding their actions. I dwelt on this in my comment (19 Feb at 7:16 PM) on Adam Silverman's Dabuq thread.

Babak Makkinejad

You cannot be serious.

Iran has 15 neighbors of which one is a nuclear-armed state an another one a member of a nuclear-armed military alliance of more than a billion people.

None of these states have any security concerns emanating from Iran; in my opinion.

You need to do better than that and state specifically what, in you r opinion, is the threat emanating from Iran against Turkmenistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Oman and the Gulfie Arabs.

May be I am missing something...

Tyler

Charles,

No, its poli sci 2 am dorm room shi-t.

The last 2K years of Western Civ have shown that the patriarchy does some pretty awesome stuff. Why not let it run its course instead of having social science witch doctors try to nanny us to death?

Tyler

ROTL,

Global warming is a cult dedicated to making sure 99% of the population lives like cavemen so a select few can live like technological gods.

Its the stalking horse for the neoliberal globalist elite that some of you proclaim to hate so much to get the camel's nose into the tent. These are the same people who can't predict whether or not a storm is going to hit NYC but can tell us that in 25 years it'll be Waterworld unless everyone stops driving cars (as they fly their private jets to Davos).

They've been predicting disaster without fail every five years and disaster never comes. Ho hum. I regard global warming shills in the same boat as the Hasbara that flit through here.

Patrick Bahzad

I think you should read more carefully what is written and not project your own thoughts into other people's minds:

1) I'm not part of the negotiations and not privy to any information regarding the ongoing talks, so let's avoid making it look like I'm in any way involved in any of this.

2) it's not up to me to say how neighbouring States might feel threatened, it's for these States to voice their concern and for Iran to show those concerns are unfounded. Same of course is valid for Iran with regard to other regional powers whose actions are perceived as hostile by the Iranians.

3) Your opinion - or mine for that matter - has no bearing on these issues and is irrelevant. You're entitled to your own view, but in the real world you gonna have to accept other people/countries do not share them. Dismissing their points will not make them go away, quite the opposite.

4) Any State who wants to be a respected member of the international community, while at the same time developing its civilian nuclear capabilities, needs to take into account not only its own security interests but the way it is going to be perceived by other countries in its vincinity, especially in a region like the ME.

5) Sticking to a "who's right/who's wrong" narrative will only lead to more bloodshed and will be detrimental to Iran's standing in the region and the world. sitting down at the negotiation table with all the parties involved (doesn't need to be 15 States + US, as you're stating) is the only way that the shifting power balance in the wider ME can be resolved peacefully, and I'm pretty sure the leaders of the Islamic Republic or Iran are well aware of this.

Last point finally, as far as I'm concerned, I count at least 2 nuclear powers among what you call neighbouring States, not just one.

Babak Makkinejad

You are quibbling and refusing to answer.

That is fine but next time when making assertions about the presumed Iranian threat, please do your homework first.

Tyler

Charles,

I don't know Charles. I'm not the one with legions of social scientists/poli sci majors behind me declaring the end of history and that liberal democracy is the crux of human existence.

A better question is why can't you just let what happens, happens without trying to tinker with things and getting wrapped up in semantics?

Charles I

or you?

Charles I

prolly for the same reason you are often so exercised: I'm alive and I have free will, and too uch time on my hands in the winter. You want just to let "shit" "happen", its a free country.

Here's my final word on this battle of the sexes.

Why Women make better Assassins

The CIA had an opening for an assassin. After all the background checks, interviews and testing were done, there were three finalists: two men and a woman. For the final
test, the CIA agents took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun. "We must know that you will follow your instructions no matter what the circumstances. Inside the room you will find your wife sitting in a chair.....kill her!"
The man said "You can't be serious. I could never shoot my wife". The agent said, "Then you are not the right man for this job. Take your wife and go home".

The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about five minutes. The man came out with tears in his eyes, "I
tried, but I can't kill my wife." The agent told him that he hadn’t made the cut and to take his wife and leave.

Finally, it was the woman's turn. She was given the same instructions, to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room. Multiples shots were heard followed by screaming, crashing, and banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman, wiping sweat from her brow. "This gun was loaded with blanks", she said. "So I had to kill him with the chair."

Charles I

I certainly agree religion and Christianity have shown magnificent, enduring cultural, economic and social organizing and transmission powers that seem to stand alone above any other human creation, including the state. Kudos to it.

IMHO attempts at suppression of human sexuality outside of its self-defined Domain conflict with the culture I was born into, history, warts and all. Not to mention the Church appears to be a Host of perverts, got the biggest collection of porno in the world, a lotta "do as I say, not..." going on. Running its course includes our experiments with democracy and free will.

I'm with Johhny Rotten who bemoaned that "Blind acceptance is a sign of stupid fools who stand in line."

Patrick Bahzad

I take it diplomacy is not your strong suit then. Sorry if you didn't catch my drift ... Thank god, the Iranian negotiators are more subtle than you are !

Charles I

You are the one who expressed urgent needs to go and fight what is happening. What is the question?

Tyler

Charles,

Muh_anecdotes.txt

Sorry if I don't put much stock in something that reads like a ridiculous novel.

Tyler

Charles,

What are you even on about on this point?

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