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Total number of comments: 192 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:52)

Saf

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  • The Other Iraq Reality: Shiite Militias besieging Sunni Towns
    • The legend of Al-Maliki...Can't free Tikrit nor hold off the actual head chopping ISIL advance against them. So instead of making Iraqi Sunni allies with a little effort for a collective resistance against Sunni extremists, decide to lay siege to defenseless Sunni villages and uselessly kill their men by Shia death squads, which of course will not be detrimental at all....brilliant strategy.

  • Pretext for US Syria Bombings?: No sign that Dread "Khorasan" Group even Exists
    • Just sounds like they were targeting another bunch of experienced Al Qaeda guys, without calling them Al Qaeda, who were stationed as a group elsewhere (Khorasan) and now in Syria.

      Obama admin, deliberately misleading or just confused, bad either ways.

  • Why Obama underestimated ISIL in Syria and Iraq
    • Generally liberals and secularists are the first and easy targets mostly in history globally. US sponsorship of right-wing extremism continues.

      Agree with most of what the Professor says, like the job and political marginalization. However identity politics was always around, that there was friction, since the European imperialism of Britain and France. Which was reminded by ISIL. But, yes, not the reason for the Syrian protests when wealthy Syrian Sunnis were part of the corrupt system. Iraq's dictatorship was a whole other thing and also a horrific example of Western imperialism.

      Al Maliki didn't have to continue detrimental US policies, like union busting, the same way he didn't have continue the military pact with the US. But he was a piece of work.

      I honestly believe had the complication of Al Qaeda type bombings not played after the deliberate US strangling noose and then wrecking ball, there would have been less marginalization and more nationalist Iraqi Arab unity between Sunnis and Shias (despite being a magnet for non-Iraqi political/militant opportunists), regardless if they were pro or anti-US.

    • Not necessarily agreeing with the original commentator, but his argument doesn't deserve such sarcasm. Its not all Western imperialism, when the East has its own demons, and the fighters are not all Iraqis nor all 90's or 2000's children.

      There is clearly a component of mental trauma and politics, but the reply doesn't exactly explain the foreign and local middle class Sunni radicalized jihadists and the popularity of fundamentalist extremist violence, as compared to their non-Sunni counterparts globally, including oppressed populations in the same Eastern region or living far away in the West, who have just as many grievances if not worse.

  • Will Shiite Houthi grip on Yemen's capital Provoke al-Qaeda Response?*
    • This seems to have escaped the news cycle.

      Its not just the worry of an Al Qaeda response. There maybe a response from the Sunni states, particularly Saudi Arabia, which made it a priority to bomb the Houthis in Yemen with air strikes before.

      It maybe seen in a wider sectarian sense and extension of the conflicts elsewhere in the ME, since Iran has historically supported the Houthis, which may complicate things further.

  • Iraq: Are Sunni Arabs of Kirkuk Province Turning on ISIL?
    • Generally addressing everyone:
      Sunni radicals, fundamentalists, extremists, Islamist, militants, jihadists, descriptions do fit. Brainwashed sub-sect or not, they unfortunately do arise from certain Sunni groups. Most of ISIL identify as Salafists (some Sunni rebels who defected to them weren't originally Salafi). Even among Salafists there are different opposing views (Jihadist, non-Jihadist) condemning ISIL, not just pro-Saud Wahhabis. Aside the brutality, had ISIL not proclaimed caliphate, condemners would've been less, including some regular Sunni rebel supporters.

      ISIL aren't anti-Sunni. Only scorn against non-practising or 'bad' Sunnis according to their interpretation or takfir against other Sunni sub-sect groups like Sufis, accused as grave worshippers, etc (like anti-Shia views and other non-Sunni attacks). They identify with Sunnis there on sect background, no matter their hi-jack of Sunnism, which they come under.

      Most Salafi puritanical beliefs, with few exceptions, are shared by Wahhabis. The Wahhabis (or Saudis) promoted their ideology and militancy globally decades ago which had some Salafi influence. The Wahhabi label was common than Salafi then. Now some previously identified Wahhabis distance themselves from that label (even adopting Salafi), which became derogatory. It irks Salafists and even Sunnis (pro or anti Wahhabi) who're accused of extreme views.

      These movements' origins and history are complicated but quite alike despite some differences. Personally, I use them interchangeably (along with other local variations like in Pakistan, such as Deoband or Ahl-e-hadith, etc), despite their protests. There are enough ideological commonalities and it'd be like splitting hairs to describe the ideological militancies.

  • Changing US-Iran Relations: Kerry: Iran has a Role in Defeating ISIL Militants
    • The non-enemy, ally-type discussions between Iran and US is not very historic, considering past alliances such as on Bosnia and containing Afghanistan or Iraq, for only for the US to turn around and stab Iran after each help. Even the current situations, quoted correctly in the article, highlights the contradictions and describes how all of this alignment is temporary, nothing more.

  • Education, Health, and Global Warming: Top 5 Reasons 45% of Scots Wanted to Leave the Right Wing UK
    • It sounds like Quebec too, which leans left from the Harperites, though there was a right-wing political rise (on both English and French Quebec politics).

      Unfortunately Scotland has rejected independence. However, I don't necessarily see it as a bad thing and rather an opportunity for the progressives of the North to push for change eventually which may affect and catch on in the South. However, if we take Quebec as an example...it has not been very successful to pass on those traits...

  • Coalition Of One: Iran Leads Own Fight Against Islamic State
    • There seems to be a serious contradiction, sectarian disconnect, confusion and lack of understanding about the whole situation in Syria and Iraq by the US (and perhaps everyone else away and on the ground). The last few sentences sums it up perfectly.

      Supporting a Shia led govt in Iraq, asking them to be more inclusive and stop their sectarian marginalization to avoid a violent Sunni backlash, but then at the same time attempting to exclude Shia backers in Iran who have historic religious interests and are anti-US (and US anti-Iran), but now find themselves somewhat aligned against Sunni extremists in ISIL in Iraq, who were initially welcomed by some Sunni tribals, who are again being armed and encouraged to fight them, with no guarantee that they'd turn against the govt again.

      And then there's a Sunni coalition, who have their own sectarian marginalization history of Shias, and are trusted to deal with Sunni Islamists in Iraq, who earlier supported them (even Turkey, and mostly in Syria, but Iraq too) in the first place, to knock off Alawite Assad, which helps to send a blow to Iranian interests, which serves sectarian Saudis and Israel (South Lebanon and possibly Syria), but barely harmful to US interests who face a greater threat of Sunni radicals.

      Pretty much the gist of it, with few pieces that can be changed here and there.

  • Shiite Militias of Iraq Reject US Return, Threaten to Attack US Forces
    • There's a whole lot of things the crooked Al-Maliki didn't listen to and unfortunate that pretty much most Shia Iraqis didn't heed Ayatollah Sistani's call for a national unity through the Iraqi army, which however had an image problem due to their earlier cowardice and dysfunction.

      There's one thing not noted in the article about the Iranian backed Shia militias calculus and their distrust of the US, despite benefiting from much needed desperate help when the Turkmen faced a massacre....that one thing is Syria (where Iraqi men did fight in, mostly to protect their shrines). Their rhetoric or paranoia is not totally unfounded.

      Despite the current US help, the Iran/Iraq alliance is still uneasy and just an unsure alignment. The US is still turning towards the Sunni states (its not like the Shia militias didn't notice the likes of Saudi, Qatar, Bahrain, etc being in that alliance, who they believe support the Sunni Islamist extremists in every way) in Iraq, to arm Sunni tribals again (where there's still no guarantee that they won't turn against any Shia-led govt again) AND arming the Syrian rebels again when ISIL gained its success from there into Iraq (Even though AQI was earlier Iraqi based), and do not believe there are 'moderate' Sunni rebels.

      They see a double game of the US backstabbing them (who clearly excluded Iran, which was again noted), when its still on a course to knock off Alawite Assad, who is in Iran's interest, or overall regional Shia interests who may fear being crushed again, be it by a sectarian Sunni hegemony or Israel.

  • Should US policy toward ISIL be Containment?
    • ISIL might not give up Mosul so easily, considering the symbolic and historic announcement of the self-proclaimed caliph there. Their active cult recruitment of local young Sunni residents as time goes by, might subdue the motivation to drive out the militants, even those left behind but disgusted by them who've witnessed their brutality - they would need serious incentive or evidenced backing to even consider any resistance. A good number of Sunni residents also fled. Its unknown whether they'd be willing to return and fight back too.

      Would like where the different Sunni Arab armed groups stand. Below is a NY Times infographic article, and mentions different Sunni Iraqi groups as of July 12th and their relationship with ISIL. 8 groups named in all, half of whom were in conflict with ISIL, half of whom were in peace with ISIL.

      link to nytimes.com

  • Turkey's Caution on ISIL War: "It's far away for them but very close to us"
    • Exactly. Only now that weak argument comes to play after the Syrian involvement. Article would've been more convincing if it argued about Turkey's concern of the Turkish hostages rather than this claim.

      Seem to have forgotten when they allowed religious radical militants through and built up all the visible physical smuggling and terror networks. The Kurdish lip service is no good when they showed hesitation in helping out the besieged Syrian Kurds from the Islamist extremists, seeing them as more of a national interest threat. "Zero problems with neighbours"?

      AKP's Islamist or sectarian tendencies kicked in seeing the optics of the conflict in Syria, a govt they had great ties with earlier but easily turned against (truthfully were right to be outraged with Assad after attempting diplomacy early on) and looking more and more as happily part of a militant coalition backed by religious or regional Sunni states.

      Only after attacks/bombings at the border, which included the very same militants they let through (who were upset with the Turkish govt for not satisfying their wishes on whatever) was there a shift in priority in controlling the border and restriction of foreign militants. Even that was too slow and needed Western pandering on sincerely cracking down on Sunni jihadists. I guess the kidnappings changed the rationale but doesn't have the same zeal in confronting the powerful extremists they let through as they did against the Syrian regime.

      And...

      "Public opinion in Turkey holds that a Muslim cannot be a terrorist and any terrorist cannot be a Muslim. In other words, terrorism and Islam cannot be reconciled"

      I agree with the last point, but the earlier sentence generally highlights a narrative and thinking problem of not owning the fundamentalist crisis. It usually gets followed up with a denial or delusional conspiracy of 'foreign hands', but is a sincere (as difficult or frustrating it is to believe) sentiment against the terrorists....

  • Must Muslim Americans Condemn ISIL? Must Turkish Jews Condemn Gaza War?
    • The Muslim community, part of the civilized world, does do this, including protests and conferences, and individual or scholar voices on this ideological crisis.

      Unfortunately it seems to be deliberately ignored and lost by some who find it easy to accuse others of being 'silent cheerleaders', when there's nothing that suggests that in the original comment and unfounded.

    • Great statement by the Turkish Jews. This also extends to the annoying stereotype bias with the exaggerated and ignorant 'silence' claim, particularly against Western Muslims. Its like they expect to hear an ongoing on-demand condemnation or protest machine for every crime to ease their prejudices.

      Learn something new everyday...not on the American Muslims (learned earlier here) but on Albuqeurque. Looked up Wikipedia on it (I know, I know...), article considered it more of a Spanish origin thing...though mention the Arabic as another theory, which makes sense considering the regional history...

      A bit silly, but can't help think of it as a kind of a spiritual fate thing because the Professor was born there and what his concentration is on...

  • As Sunni MPs Plea for Precision US Strikes, Iraqi Gov't Kills 31 in School Shelter
    • Either they or the US hit a hospital early on in an airstrike near, or at, Mosul.

      They're failing to show restraint, like Syria or Israel or even US regimes, and just aggravating the situation, making it more difficult for even anti-ISIS Sunnis to trust the Shia led-govt. While relatively more restraint than those regimes (not saying much), but every punitive strike worsens it.

      Unfortunately the criticism of crimes will be overlooked due to ISIS.

  • Top 5 Contradictions in Obama's Emerging ISIL Strategy
    • Egypt's issue also extends to all other Islamist groups. Not sure how Saudi Arabia sees eye to eye with them on that. Need to call out the elephant in the room....

      Saudi Arabia , the other Sunni 'allies', the lacking Sunni 'moderates', the financing, the ideologies and global Sunni radicalism crisis in the populations. If there's poison politically, its been more here along with US imperialism, than any past or current type of anti-US Iran/Shia radicalism, fundamentalism who aren't anything close to their Islamist counterparts in the Salafists and Wahhabis, who unfortunately have gone mainstream in Sunni communities thanks to Saudi Arabian propagation and other aggressive foreign interests, including sectarian proxy attacks on Iran, apparently ok with other Sunni states, which has been absolutely detrimental, even to the US-but choose to not realize it or ignore despite blowback.

      Side-lining Iran won't go down well with the Iraqi Shia majority (Iraqi FM already made a statement saying excluding Iran was a mistake) and Shia populations in the region as well, looking like the US choosing sectarian sides itself (the very thing ironically the Obama admin claims to not try to do, a message delivered over and over appealing to Sunni allies). But its not unexpected considering the history.

      Its probably easier to politically marginalize them being a smaller population in the region despite the Iranian help militarily many times over, but then discarded soon after with the Israel, Sunni allies excuse or some other canard.

      There is US interest tie ups (Oil, troops still in Afghanistan, Iran kicking them out, Israel) but really its time to re-think policy towards the region (Israel, Gulf, etc) and Iran (and vice versa) like the Leverett's advocate for. While Iran has interests too, they certainly have not helped themselves in being understood with their deluded conspiracy paranoid views almost as bad as what Sunni Arabs spout (or even the US and Israel). Only now has Iran understood the threat of sectarianism or been open and honest about it, rather being just Israel centric.

      Unfortunately we're talking about dogmatic US officials, sitting in security or intelligence positions, even post-Iraq invasion who couldn't tell you the sectarian backgrounds of different militant or terrorist groups, like Al Qaeda.

  • Arab Allies will wage Financial war on ISIL: Is it Enough?
    • Apparently it was 'appropriate' to extend the invite to Saudi Arabia despite Riyadh's role in backing up apartheid island Bahrain, which also got an invite who Washington and the allies don't want to oust from power and cooperate with instead.

      Trusting KSA with 'moderate' Sunni militants, and excluding Iran on Shia majority Iraq....with such pragmatism, what could possibly go wrong? ISIL is already one type of blowback...

  • Duck Dynasty star to Hannity: Convert or kill ISIS (Chris Hayes)
    • Why is Faux propaganda even inviting this Christian fundamentalist as if he's an expert on the Middle East?

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Ice Bucket Challenge: Calls out Canadian PM Harper, Shell CEO on Tar Sands
    • Unfortunate this problem drags on. Doubt the Canadian leaders will accept. Probably will deny him a visa next time...

  • Israel's blockade on civilians of Gaza - no signs of loosening
    • Unless there's international pressure or action on Israel's regime, or intervention on behalf of the Palestinians, there'll be no positive change, just a continuation of bad faith, leading to worsened conditions for the Palestinians, continuation of land grabs, squeezing out and ethnic cleansing.

      Just because Israel's forces, after expending some effort and resources, failed to wipe out Hamas, and will still see a continuation of resistance, the status quo (which it isn't considering the traumatizing of the Palestinian people, diminishing numbers and flattening of their areas again, and further collective punishment and annexation) is still an Israeli win, regardless of the temporary economic and international image hit.

  • Can Iraqi forces take back Saddam's Birthplace from ISIL?
    • Cameron can't simply let the local Sunni Islamists or Salafists have it their way. Unless they plan to totally exit the foreign theatre on any issue, though there is no guarantee there wouldn't still be a Sunni radical movement.

      Even the Libyan operations had significant opposition from this quarter (though some Sunni Muslims did support it).

    • I wouldn't advocate locking away somebody on simply for 'slight sympathy', as advocated above by Amir.

      However, what is your suggestion then to dealing with the Sunni radical problem or those that might join ISIS which is a known terrorist group indulged in war crimes? Chances are highly likely that some of those jihadists will bring back skills to harm the UK public/govt violently, as evidenced in France, which becomes a serious security issue, and already made threats of putting up their flag over the city, which is quite honestly not entirely impossible.

      There are more Anjem Chowdry type individuals in the UK than the Pakistani/Sunni Muslim community is willing to admit, and they've already indulged in anti-Shia sectarian violence earlier, apart from other religo-political Sunni Islamist extremist crimes by different individuals, some linked to the Salafists.

  • Sean Hannity Pwned by Patricia Bynes when he tries to "Educate" Her
    • Why do sane guests even bother to go on their shows and give their propaganda network any relevance, believing that there'll be some fair journalistic voice that'll allow them to give their voice, views or side of a story?

      Just boycott them and let it be publicly known why they're being rejected, whenever they come asking for an 'interview'. There will be no 'fair' hearing.

  • Iran Hard Liners denounce US Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson, Mo.
  • ISIS to US: We'll drown you in Blood; beheads US Journalist, Holds Tikrit
    • With the new PM, there maybe more US strikes on behalf of the national Iraqi govt and cooperation with them. Al-Maliki's exit allows for a rebranding, pending the new PM's success with Iraqi Sunnis, that its not being done on Al Maliki's Shia agenda or sectarian grounds against Sunnis.

      The US is not the only global nation they threaten to drown in blood. The Malaysian government claimed to have cracked down on some ambitious Sunni radicals who took inspiration from IS and plotted to bomb and takeover parts of South East Asia to create a caliphate.

  • In Iraq, it isn't just about minorities: The "Infidels" attacked by the so-called "Islamic State" include the Sunnis, Too
    • 'Unbeliever' is also a term for 'kafir'. Shia Iranian media often uses 'takfiris' and other labels (US, Zionist), with no mention of sect to describe the Sunni militants, since Shias are declared kafirs to kill by extremists among them. Not sure if the term takfiri was used before Syria's conflict. Surprised article bypassed Syria when using ISIS(yria). Some Sunnis maybe attacked by Sunni extremist ideologues, or takfiris, but minorities still take the brunt.

      Some majority Sunni Pakistanis argue being attacked more by terrorists than non-Sunni Pakistani minorities. But Pak minorities are disproportionately targeted by Sunni extremists. There's greater motivation against minorities, kafir by default, and have it worse with less chances to 'comply' compared to their Sunni counterparts, from which there are a good number that do comply. Sunni Pakistanis who realized the decades long extremist crisis at some level (instead of outright denial or conspiracy nuttery) of Sunni Islamist (rare terms) extremism, sectarianism and terrorism, comes sadly only after they became the religiously justified targets, a few years after 9/11.

      I guess one could identify takfiris as a different sect, like some do of Wahhabis and Salafis (surprised these weren't mentioned too in the article) instead of being Sunni sub-sects. But there clearly is an ideological crisis where they pop out from the mainstream majority or minority Sunni Muslim population and households, with little barrier, be it from the West, Libya, Indonesia, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq, etc.

      At the end of the day, local Sunni Mosul residents welcomed them. Its a continuous theme of so nonchalantly striking a political alliance again with ideological 'burn the world' extremists who seem to be abundantly available off the shelf for every conflict where there's 'alienation', compared to other non-Sunni groups. who are less likely to find or resort to such groups and tactics for a solution to their 'alienation'.

  • Iranian Woman wins Math Genius Prize, Iranian officials Obsess about her Hair
    • Rouhani also spoke up on the ridiculous situation when 'happy' was arrested.

      Either post the picture or don't. The ethical implication of manipulating or censoring pictures to sell a lie seems to be lost on them...apart from celebrating the virtue of a high education or academic honour, at least amongst the hardliners. Iran needs to curb the nonsense in its actions if it wants to see an improvement in their image, which they can't simply photo-shop.

      Even on needed policy to increase the population, the way they went about it with dramatic rhetoric and a complete u-turn in their policy, taking drastic measures to attack birth control was retarded. Probably part of the earlier rationale to restrict women on going on towards higher education.

    • Unfortunately further crippling US sanctions threaten the progress of Iranian students and future scientists elsewhere.

      Kaplan has to block stem cell courses and programs to Iranian students in the UK
      link to theguardian.com

      Expulsions of Iranian post-grads from Norway
      link to bbc.com

      Some of them are female students with high-achievements. While female education is strong in Iran, they still face issues such as new policies in restricting their enrolment in some educational courses and programs. So the overseas alternative was needed.

  • Iraq: Al-Abadi garners Iranian, US, Saudi Support: But can He Unite Iraq?
    • Turkey has had a hot and cold relationship with Al-Maliki as well, who has ranted against Turkey for one issue or another, be it the oil deal with Kurdistan or when looking the other way on militants crossing the border. Other times there seemed to be great relations on different fronts, like trade. Overall, Turkey isn't too upset in seeing Al-Maliki go.

      Al Maliki continuously blamed Saudi Arabia (as well as Qatar, particularly when they welcomed the top Sunni politician that Al Maliki went after. Al Maliki blamed Turkey too for hosting the former VP) for supporting insurgents cross the border, especially after suicide bombings before ISIL or Syria's conflict. He implied their and the other Gulf Arab states' support of Iraqi Sunnis were support towards extremism or sectarianism against the govt or himself, while noting their non-diplomatic ties in the early ages of the post-2003 Iraqi govt.

      Despite KSA's pragmatic political concessions, 'necessary evil' meetings with Iran, like most other Sunni Arab Gulf states' sentiments in that exercise, and meeting Muqtada al-Sadr (he's not a hardliner on sectarianism and has been credited in trying to defuse it, going as so far as supporting Sunni protests against the Maliki govt and Assad), they still have practised anti-Shia sectarian prejudice in their foreign relations against a head of state like Pakistan's ex-president Zardari, who wasn't despised because he was NOT Nawaz Sharif, but because he had a Shia background, according to US correspondence in the last Wikileaks. As undiplomatic as Al-Maliki is, won't find too many non-Islamist Muslims, Sunnis and particularly Shias, disputing the harm the fundamentalist Wahhabi ideology has caused.

  • The Cruel Jest of American "Humanitarian Aid" to Iraq
    • Or maybe its just easier to avoid culpability and be in denial, hiding in right-wing Neo-con insincere excuses about being concerned for Shia/Kurd suffering that disingenuously bypasses the illegal invasion and war crime catastrophe in 2003 which wrecked the country and exacerbated everything.

      Its quite easy to blame the US for the instability, deservedly so, since they kicked it off with a depraved fabrication and part of the root cause of the violence in the region that created a new terrorism magnet. The US has had a hand in brutalities and violence before and after 1991, the time you conveniently choose as your 'proximate cause' for Iraqi suffering.

      Pre-1991, throughout the 80's, Saddam was a darling US ally and was supported wholeheartedly in initiating a regional war against Iran that cost over a million lives, including enabling local massacres of Kurds and Shias. The US would happily protect that brutal oppressive regime from any war crimes accusation at the UN.

      When the script flipped around 1991, the US asked those victimized populations, who they earlier couldn't care for, to rise with assurances of backing them, only to abandon them and see them crushed. Later there would be 'humanitarian' and 'developmental' sanctions on those populations that would end half a million Iraqi children and worsen conditions for the average Iraqi, which was clearly 'worth it' in the words of a notorious US official.

      Seems Iraqis were suffering not just the local brutal oppressive regime but a foreign brutal oppressive regime too, who'd later on delusionally proclaim themselves as 'liberators' in an invasion intended for self-serving purposes.

  • Iraq: Tribes and other Sunnis begin Splitting from so-Called "Islamic State"
    • 'Good IS', 'Bad IS' almost sounds like the useless differentiating narrative the Pak military used for the extremist Taliban militants, though this is slightly different.

      While these particular Sunni Iraqis who support the violent insurgency to regain power may joke about the situation, other Iraqi denominations are being wiped out thanks to their earlier/current condoning and allying with known terrorists in the local and global ideological ISIL Sunni Islamist radicals.

  • Arab-Americans take on hate
    • With recent events overseas, there's a rise in anti-Muslim/anti-Arab hate or against any other Easterner, besides the heated scuffles in opposing rallies and protests.

      One of the Islamic centres in Toronto I know was vandalized with large anti-Muslim/anti-Arab (even though they're not Arab) hate messages scrawled over.

      Unfortunately it was followed up 2 days later with a vandalism of a bus shelter with anti-Semitic messages. Both making mention and tying it to what's happening in Gaza.
      link to cbc.ca
      link to theglobeandmail.com

  • Hannity Unleashes Shouting Points On Palestinian Guest
    • What's worse is stooge Zuhdi Jasser sitting there and spouting his masters' Hannity's nonsensical points when prompted...the Muslim Uncle Tom...

  • If Israel Is In Mortal Danger, Why Did Bloomberg Fly There? (The Young Turks)
    • I noticed the same contradiction from a lot of interviewed El Al airlines passengers, besides PM Netanyahu, who kept saying it was safe, but at the same time Israel was 'under attack'.

      There really is a serious disconnect from reality and compassion in regards to what they're doing to the Gazans.

  • Mohammed Suliman's Twitter-Journal on Surviving Israel's War on Gaza
    • This is depressing.
      The cruelty and blatant evil as the world's pro-Israel/anti-Palestine govts cheer leads the massacre.

  • From Kerry to Selena Gomez & Rihanna, Israel's Claims of Precision, Compassion are Dissed
    • Also a CNN reporter was removed when she tweeted that she was threatened by a bunch of Israeli guys who were cheering missiles on Gaza and who said they would bomb her car if she said anything wrong. She ended off calling them scum.

      link to politico.com

    • Here's what's happened after the earlier gutsy NBC story.

      NBC inexplicably tried to remove the reporter who witnessed the Israeli shelling of the boys at the beach.

      Their initial excuse was it was 'unsafe', at the same time were sending in another unqualified reporter.

      They reversed the decision. Its unknown whether it was social media pressure or other political pressure for the earlier decision.

      This is the environment. At least it didn't totally end on a bad note.

      link to dailykos.com

      link to mondoweiss.net

  • Mosul w/out Christians for First time in 1,900 Years as Radical Fundamentalists Threaten Minorities
    • The Christian and other minority residents of Mosul are probably not going to wait to find out if ISIS is or is not in control, who have a strong presence regardless.

      Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups, like the Baathists or Sunni tribal heads, allied with the local and foreign Sunni fundamentalist radicals and a good deal of the disgruntled Sunni Muslim population in those areas had welcomed them, or at least were reluctant to resist them initially...what did they think was going to happen by accepting extremists as their own?

      Those claims by some Sunni residents "they're not so bad, we're better off and safer now, they won't treat any Iraqi, including Christians, differently", or claims Iraqi Sunni rebel militant or political leaders "We're in control, lead and run the show, ISIS are a small part of the resistance who are helping us, its not just a Sunni revolution, but an Iraqi one" have now probably gone mute.

      At least the Sunni tribes around Tikrit are putting up a fight, despite the Shia-led Iraqi army's pathetic failure. But they face being squeezed in as IS destroys routes around the area making movement and support difficult.

      Let's hope all the Iraqis do finally halt ISIS's Taliban like takeover and take back the territory lost.

  • Gaza meets the New Politics of the Middle East: "Islamic State," Egypt, Turkey
    • Jordan? Don't they still support the Syrian rebels against Assad?

      Egypt's Sisi's support for Iraq's govt also weirdly brings it on the same side of Iran.

      Saudi Arabia has got to be doing some behind the scenes stuff., even in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Actually would like to know what all the Gulf states are thinking and doing, particularly Qatar on Hamas and the new military deal with the US.

      Gaza is the least of Turkey's problems. Their border is porous for every sort of extremist militant to cross and now there's that uncomfortable choosing between besieged Syrian Kurds or marching ISIS in Syria, since they're going to come to a head and will have to decide how much they'll help the Syrian Kurds, if at all.

  • Quashing Jewish Dissent on Israel
    • Did not know about that Yale incident with the Professor. This on top of the government's intrusion from opposing the case for the Iraq invasion.

      Canada has gone further right wing too, steeped in religo-political ideology revolving around Israel with the Harperites. Stephen Harper in the past even considered critics and criticism as 'new age anti-Semitism', besides other controversies on that tax paid trip which included being flanked by mostly Evangelical Canadians, rather than Catholic Canadians who have greater representation in the population, and of course no Muslim representative.

      Not surprisingly all comments have been about 'unequivocal support of Israel' and silence on the Palestinian casualties. Text book examples of McCarthyism among the conservative Canadian politicians can be found in the link below.

      link to cbc.ca

    • Dwight Howard is small fry. Even controversial Rihanna, of all controversies, had to remove that specific tweet.

      Even Amare Stoudamire, who has been active in reaching out to his Jewish heritage that he believes he has by travelling to Israel, ironically had a 'pray for Palestine' tweet, which he had to remove.

  • ABC News' Diane Sawyer Mistakes Stricken Palestinians for Israelis
    • Even their Facebook apology is still skewed with 'attacks on both sides':

      ABC NEWS STATEMENT:
      On Tuesday night "World News" aired a report on the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis, including attacks from both sides.
      In the introduction to the story, we mistakenly identified a family depicted in a still photo.
      They are Palestinian, not Israeli.
      We regret the error and will correct it

  • Bush Trifecta lands on Obama: Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan Imploding
  • Syrian Opposition: Baghdadi "Caliphate" lame attempt to take Spotlight off his Crime Spree
    • Blair-Bush sought their own gains, but unleashed instability and created an extremist magnet, with excuse to overthrow one kind of tyrant, among many in the region. They should be tried for war crimes, but sadly won't. But, the East, and our global Muslim communities, should be accountable too. Despite active efforts to stop extremism, we still see radicals in global conflicts (sadly some Jihadists are from the Pakistani diaspora). Most other suffering religious/ethnic/political groups in some conflict or another today, don't produce the same widespread violent crisis like us. Canada of all places, lists its top foreign, domestic terrorist threat as religo-political Sunni Islamist extremism, particularly the Wahhabi and Salafi kind.

      The Pak state with the US willingly utilized the same religious extremists, with foreign Saudi ideology, funds and radicals, for interests in South Asia, in the 80's, if not earlier. It was detrimental to sectarian harmony way before 9/11. Even post-9/11 Pak played double games which was an open secret. At least there's now army ops against the Pak Taliban. We'll see if there's sincere action on the Afghan Taliban, though I hear the likes of Haqqani, despite an early tip off, are being driven out to Afghanistan. Fleeing militants among IDPs still a problem. Need to address South Punjab and Eastern border extremist militants roaming openly despite wanted by the int'l community.

  • The Debacle of the Caliphates: Why al-Baghdadi's Grandiosity doesn't Matter
    • There have been other psychopathic Sunni Islamist extremists (Zarqawi, Mehsuds, Godane, Shekau, etc) that have employed such tactics for serial massacres for their ideological or religious-political cause well before Al-Badri/Al-Baghdadi or even 9/11. He just happens to be the latest player that dared to challenge other militant establishments and came out a winner with his own territory that seems as remarkable than the Taliban control of Afghanistan. Either way the radical movement unfortunately has widespread support and admirers.

      To the Shia Twelvers, the Abbasid caliphate were still considered oppressive against them. While some Sunnis (and fewer Shia) may have romantic notions of a caliphate golden age, most Shias view the caliphate as a continuing injustice and oppose entertaining such notions (though Iran's Supreme Leader is almost along those lines). Its one of the reasons why Jinnah, in then British India, never liked the Khilafat movement, which was also joined by some Hindu leaders who viewed it as a way to oppose the British, and instead idolized the secular hardline Attaturk. The Ottomans also faced the ethnic resentment and opposition of different Arab groups.

      Wish such delusion was restricted to Al Sadr...unfortunately its not. He may sound a bit 'sane' now, but he destroyed a lot of lives on which his political career is built on. During the invasion the US thwarted a Shia cult who tried to assassinate Ayatollah Sistani, on the order of their self-proclaimed 'Mahdi' leader who was killed.

      I don't think even the hidden Quetta Shura, or Mullah Omar himself, believe he's caliph. Unfortunately he has his admirers which may include Pak's establishment. While there's no real widespread support of a 'caliphate', just talk, there is always the undefined 'Islamic state' yearning which has great sizeable sentiment, if not, support...until fundamentalists start imposing it on the dreamers, some wake up early and some too late to oppose it, while others are scarily living their dream....

  • Baghdad Strikes Back: Al-Maliki Launches Battle for Tikrit
    • There should be mention about the situation arising at Jordan's borders.

      After ISIS took over the Iraq-Jordan towns, it has been gaining strong local support from the residents for their Islamist fight against the Shiites and regimes in the regional conflict, as well as the Jordanian govt and monarchy. Raising greater concern for everyone, including the US and Israel.

      Even though it may seem like they're spread thin across Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, the winning and global and local support keeps them in control of territory and threatening further expansion and invasion. The nightmare from Syria's Arab Spring continues.

  • Sunni Radicals of ISIS seek showdown with Lebanon's Hizbullah
    • I read that the security were claiming that one of the hotel room bombers were of Saudi origin. The Daily Star paper kept referencing to the Saudi Arabian embassy nearby.

      Al Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra apparently didn't want us to forget about them still being an international player and goal to bomb Shia cities, which pretty much has been expected over the years from every sort of different local Lebanese, regional or foreign Sunni Islamist terrorist group.

      Hezbollah shouldn't have backed Assad. But the rationale of viewing a greater threat in the Syrian opposition, and hence unwillingness to cut a deal with 'moderate' FSA who were at the time still allied with the extremist jihadists in the opposition, becomes a bit clearer. Either ways, it doesn't look good.

    • Almost sounds like an echo from the 80's...before the 9/11 blow-back.

  • Top 5 Reasons US Aid to "Moderate" Syrian Fighters is Quixotic
    • ISIS rose to power because they had a great deal of financing and backing from regional and global Sunni donors and radicals who have affinity to their Islamist ideology. Despite wrecking the movement, they unfortunately have always been seen as much part of this movement as anyone else initially, including the FSA. They have even successfully out-competed other well organized Islamist groups such as Islamic Front or official Al Qaeda affiliate, Al-Nusra, who were there early on.

      Obama can't solve this popular ideological crisis alone by somehow believing that funding FSA alone, which had loose connections with different types of Syrian local groups, would magically prevent ISIS and other Islamist groups, when some of the ISIS members themselves took advantage of US help, such as training in Jordan. When we're not really going to stop any funding from ISIS's backers or shut their radicalization program and supporters, it'll make little difference and were always unlikely to out-compete.

    • Avoiding the sectarian nature of the conflict is hard to do even in Dearborn, who try to arrange Unity rallies and conferences.

      During the US invasion of Iraq, sectarian prejudice (besides the overall anti-Muslim prejudice faced by residents), particularly the anti-Shia sentiments - despite having a larger Shia Lebanese representation, was noticeable there.

      While most US Sunni Muslims, including in Dearborn, may support the more moderate Syrian opposition in the FSA, there has been some pro-ISIS condoning, if not support, which has seen some American Jihadists join ISIS - not necessarily from Dearborn.

  • Hardliners in Israel & Iran Resist US Pivot to Iran over ISIS
    • I'm glad you caught the show and had the similar observations and sentiments.

      Fareed had a decent opening take, some points I'd disagree with, but that's because its summarized to be understood, leaving out details. Admittedly, I haven't read his article piece for more on the topic. But then those guys came on and hope went downhill...

      Thank you for the link. I'm very impressed by the former official and her analysis. Some new things I never knew. I really wish her voice of reason was more prevalent and can only hope it has some presence or sway in the current admin's decision making.

    • Khamenei has reason to dislike US interference. After helping the US with operations in Afghanistan after 9/11, the Neocons turned around and casted them among the 'axis of evil'. There is also the continuing CIA ops, from computer hacking to supporting Kurd separatists, that grates on the Iranian hardliners -- apart from the whole nuclear and Israel issues.

      Let us not ignore the fact that the US too has its hardliners. The fact that the Obama admin can't openly cooperate with Iran is one indication. Watching the recent Fareed Zakaria news programme, with there top US security advisors, you got the impression that they were absolutely not in favour with any relations with Iran (one of whom was a retired general who saw no value in diplomacy and didn't understand how you can cooperate on one thing while being opposed on another issue - ignoring all history). Despite looking uneasy in suggesting it, at least one of the guys was in favour to have talks...behind closed doors, just so it doesn't irk anyone else.

      And by anyone else, they meant their allies in the ME...as in Sunni allies who they rather rely on. None of whom took the Gulf Kingdoms names, either on support or contributing to the crisis. This was of course not to be seen taking sides, particularly against the Sunni militants. This was the same case with the Obama administration avoiding naming any of the Gulf nations for any sort of support or cause.

  • Is Iraq Actually Falling Apart? What Social Science Surveys Show
    • Cooperation may not indicate mass conversion to religious extremism of local Sunnis supporting the insurgency, but it does indicate easy condoning of known extremist terrorist groups that want to create a sectarian religious state, due to an affinity to the same shared sect background and religious-political goal. I worry its not restricted to just a common sectarian hatred for the Shia govt, but against the population as a whole.

      The false equivalence of comparing the takeover of Sunni Islamist terrorists to Al Quds drawn presence as equal ruthless enemies to the US, is like claiming that Democrats and Republicans are polar opposites but equal extreme war-mongers detrimental to the US.

      'Weakening ties' is said like as if its the same reasonable applicable solution for ISIL, a terrorist group, and Iran, a religious state. It shouldn't be a weakening of ties between the Moderate Iraqi Sunnis left and local/foreign extremist ISIL terrorists, who've escaped the sectarian label, but a 'cutting' of ties. Weakening ties would be applicable for Iraqi Sunnis with sectarian religious Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, who don't get mention despite evidenced financing of ideological global and regional radicalism, and indeed more detrimental than 'sectarian' Iran in that regards. However, Iran does need to step back (after a solution for this crisis), and should be a promotion of Iraq's Najaf or secularism as an alternative, but of course there'll be ties by the very nature of the holy cities in Iraq and pilgrims.

  • Pakistan Needs Regional and Global Alliances to Fight the Extremists
    • The military plans to damage 'some' of the extremist groups in the area, mostly the foreign ones, like the Uzbeks. Hafiz Gul Bahadar and Haqqanis are not being targeted in that same area. Pakistan, civilian and military, don't have the best sincere interests, planning or tactics beyond this operation.

      Its not just perceptions or suspicions about double games. Its an open secret. A reality that Pak has created itself. Deliberately supporting the Afghan Taliban - like the Haqqanis which the US has time and time again asked Pak to stop but do not - and the Indian militants - like JeM's Azhar Masood who is under an international list for arrest but openly roams around while we lie 'we dunno where he is'. Those are 2 basic examples of a long list. I suppose asking the Afghan govt, which severely mistrusts Pak, with good reason, to seal the borders, which is difficult, was somewhat of a good start in cooperation.

      When our societies have difficulty in admitting, or moving against, or even identifying, local and foreign religo-political Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Ahl-e-hadith/Sunni Islamist extremist ideologies and militants (something which is difficult to name in Pakistani English dailies, avoided or self-censored by us elsewhere) prevalent in our mainstream society, how are other nations to help? I didn't even mention the surprising sympathy, patronizing and support, even by mainstream political parties and security agencies - so how is there to be any convincing when there's no action in actually severing ties with the Taliban, which it hasn't?

      Pak doesn't help itself in its isolation and self-sabotage is putting it mildly, when the army deliberately blockades the anti-Taliban Pak Turi tribe, who find more solace from Kabul, and force them into a peace deal with the various foreign Afghan Taliban extremist groups they were under siege from in the region, or fly around a notorious sectarian extremist leader, who can't get convicted as easily as Dr. Afridi, to broker a deal in negotiations with anti-Pak militants.

      Its been over a decade. If help hasn't been sought or arrived, then unlikely will change unless there's a major overhaul in Pak's policy. Even if Turkey/China/EU were to be front and center, it wouldn't stop the conspiracist theorists and sympathizers calling anything an Indian or Western plot amongst many denials, delusions and other mad men shenanigans.

      link to longwarjournal.org
      link to longwarjournal.org
      link to blogs.tribune.com.pk
      link to blogs.tribune.com.pk

  • Iraq is more like N. Ireland than Lebanon, Reconciliation is Possible
    • Lets also face the fact that Sunni Gulf States will ultimately have to be stakeholders if the US and the International Community will not hold them accountable for funding foreign and local Islamist extremists globally and in Iraq. Reconciliation is almost impossible to achieve with such suicidal actions when there are like even Canadian Sunni extremists in suicide missions in Iraq, way before ISIS even came onto the scene.
      link to thedailybeast.com

      And here's another link on how Al-Maliki has created the sectarian environment by employing brutal monsters. Despite his political cunning, given his track record and history, its difficult to see how he can be a miraculous unifier in such a crisis. Even if that somehow is achieved, should look for another leader for true reconciliation.
      link to thedailybeast.com

  • As US Pressures Maliki to Resign, will Iraqi Gov't Collapse?
    • I was thinking the same about the approach to the government turmoil in Ukraine and how the US and Europe supported an extra-constitutional coup.

      To his credit in the recent speech, Obama didn't touch on resignation and did mention a successful elections had happened with high participation and proper system process in Iraq. But on the whole talking about the Iraqi government did feel sanitized from accepting its legitimacy, with the 'people choose their leaders', sounding a bit like giving weight to the insurgency despite acknowledging an elections.

    • Obama in his recent speech seemed to neither back nor disown Al-Maliki or make that an issue. Overall he articulated well what he saw as the problems there, defending US stances and consequences of any actions and struck the right balance in his message urging for a political solution. He briefly mentioned Jordan's security, and at the end addressed and leaned on Iran mostly for a solution for Iraq, despite the Shia sectarian perception risk, rather than other regional Sunni states for help.

  • Cons of Going to War against Iraq (Cole, Jan. 2003)
    • There was a great deal of controversy and opposition, so those who were pro-war are clearly being dishonest about 'no one could have known', which is the least of it considering the deliberate fabrications to make the case. However, while a lot of folks called it, just not incredibly as well predicted and detailed as above.

      The Iraq invasion effect on Israel/Palestine unfolded slightly differently, but there certainly was an emboldening effect like the Israel attacks on South Lebanon and Gaza. The promotion of democratic elections being held in Palestinian areas, but hypocritically rejected by the international community with punitive action from Israel leading to a Palestine civil war. And the Iraqi govt, under the US, were somewhat surprisingly open to Israel relations.

      Despite the funding for extremist militants, is Kuwait still not relatively better than most states, government wise?

  • Who are Iraq's Sunni Arabs and What did we Do to them?
    • Not sure what analogy fits, but the disagreement doesn't begin nor necessarily revolve around the 12 Imams of Shia theology.

      It starts from successorship to the Prophet by companions (or in-laws/relatives). The rejection (discounting Shia demonization or Sunni glorification) of the first 3 Caliphs alone by Shias gets them accused as heretics by Sunni Islamists at least. The 'true Islam' and 'fake Islam' arguments and counter-arguments then flow from it (interpretations, sources, justifications, etc).

  • Opportunities Abound in Iraq to Reset US Middle East Policy
    • I certainly hope there is a shift from the 'Shia radical' and 'Saudi/Sunni ally' stereotype paradigm and a realization of the origins and sentiments behind the current popular Sunni Islamist radicalism besides its financial funding from the Gulf which seems to be totally overlooked, despite over a decade since 9/11. Like that US security analyst in the Fareed Zakaria piece on the Saudi tantrum at the UN, if there was a country whose funding for terrorism he could shut, it be Saudi Arabia.

      Just watched Rubin on BBC and the a rightwing pundit on CNN (I think)...Rubin seemed to totally downplay any cooperation with Iran and put in a sentence the US standing on one side with its Sunni allies against Iran. The latter was dead set against any cooperation with an 'evil' regime in Iran and considered relying help from its trusted Saudi Sunni allies (the irony).

      Its one thing to say Maliki's had sectarian policies, its another to make him out to be Saddam, an unelected tyrant (not surprisingly pro-Saddam loyalists are among insurgents), or being at the same level or intensity of anti-Shia sectarian hatred amongst Sunni populations, who are supporting (even as far away as Indonesia and Malaysia), as Jon Simpson rightly put, Islamists that want to wipe out and cleanse Shias.

      Even the Sadrists have conceded that they're better off with the country broken apart, to save themselves from a minority Sunni backlash. Despite having a Shia majority, Sadr city has suffered daily suicide bombings and attacks by Sunni extremists.

      These aren't two equal brutal sides. Its like comparing Democrats and Republicans. Both scum. But one more insane the other.

  • 7 Myths about the Radical Sunni Advance in Iraq
    • Professor, what do you know about Military Councils of Iraqi Revolutionaries (MCIR)? Its general claims it is in control with backing of Sunni tribal leaders and ISIS is assisting them as long as they 'behave'.

  • "If you take down the central gov't...you could... see... pieces of Iraq fly off"- Dick Cheney 1994
    • When is he and the gang going to be charged with war crimes? First world privilege....

  • Enter the Ayatollah: Sistani calls on Iraqis to enlist in Fight against "Terrorists"
    • They're certainly enjoying a lot of local Sunni Muslim support.

      Canada lays it out as religo-political Sunni Islamist extremist particularly of the Wahhabi/Salafi ideological kind being the top domestic and foreign threat.

      I can see how disowning them, in form of rejection and condemnation, might make us all feel better or stress some sort of unity in victimhood, but we need to recognize a reality of the branch they're offshoot from and the thin line between them and the mainstream, becoming the new black.

      In Pakistan, local and foreign Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni extremist militant groups do try to inflict as much civilian casualty as they can, which nets a great deal of Pakistani Sunni Muslims as victims, but they do make it a point in targeting minorities, particularly the largest one being Pakistani Shia Muslims who make up a higher disproportionate number of victims in a sectarian cleansing compared to others. A good example would be the Karachi airport attacks happening but following after the Baluchistan pilgrim Shia bus bombing.

    • Its said he doesn't visit Iran due to ideological differences and in principles with Khamenei and Iran.

      I'm glad more Shiites are looking towards Najaf rather than Qom. But the latter did have a great number of admirers after the '79 revolutions, and in a sense still do around areas of political flashpoints, and I fear will eventually win out and have greater influence.

    • Thanks for the clarification, Professor.

  • The Second Iran-Iraq War and the American Switch
    • link to bbc.com

      A deeper article about Kurdish aspirations from the situation and relations with the tribal and former military Iraqi Sunnis (MCIR) in the insurgency, and the partnerships of local Sunni militants and groups with ISIS, and differences and divisions within themselves (AMC) but on the whole on the same side and support the insurgency, with few tribal Sunnis and Sunni commanders opposed to ISIS, one of whom sounded desperate for US and British help or at least air strikes.

    • Great recap and interesting historical comparison on Catholics and Protestants. Wall Street Journal also claimed the Wahhabi Saudi Arabian regime were actively supporting ISIS, as revenge for losing Syria, to knock off Al-Maliki and Shiites, on that ideological hatred of theirs. They're probably squealing in delight that the shrines are about to be destroyed. If Iran steps up, the fear is that the Gulf Arabs will pump in support like they once did for Saddam. And it seems there is also some deal of strong Iraqi Sunni opposition against ISIS...they are caught in a tough situation...there are just some brutal executions and atrocities being committed by ISIS.

      Its infuriating the types of War Crimes the US has gotten away with and criminal hypocrisy where the first world war criminals can snub their nose in a cloak of self-righteousness. And the Gulf regimes need to be held accountable for how they've exported and wrecked different nations with their intolerant ideologies from 80's onward. Honestly feel like Shiites have more reason to hate the US, rather than Sunnis, but the latter have seem to proliferate the greater number of violent extremists against the US.

      The US and Iran have to let go of their animosities, the '53 CIA coup and the '79 hostage crisis, and rethink their Israel-Palestine policies. US particularly who rebuffed opportunities whenever reformists reached out to them, such as Rafsanjani or Khatami, (even nut Ahmedinejad - but damn Cheney and the gang), either due to foreign policy fear or due to new elections.

      The US is also on the wrong side of the apartheid in Israel-Palestine. Its unjust and hypocritical, if not religiously dogmatic, pandering to voters and groups. Cutting deals with with Egyptian military strongmen or radical Saudi Arabian alliances (Chomsky made a good point 'The US is not against political Islam, otherwise they'd oppose the radical fundamentalist Saudi allies') or denial of nukes and other ridiculous Israel-centric policies and cover-up in the ME, sabotaging the peace process, and this is true for other Western nations, and are just the tip of the iceberg.

      Still, Iran seems not to know its limitations of interests on Israel-Palestine, their sectarian shadow and views against them. Support the South Lebanese, but take a step back from the Palestinian cause. Most are Sunnis and whether they're religious Islamic Jihad/Hamas or perceived secular Fatah, they will often feel resentful and uneasy. Likewise Sunni Arab govts and populations. Rhetoric, support or participation of populist Israel armed opposition garners only brief respect. And of course stop theological delusional obsession over Jerusalem (and within Iran's state), likewise from some quarters of the US - not surprisingly US hostility towards Iran is also Israel-centric.

      Iran and the US have had shared interests for quite some time, particularly on tackling Sunni Islamist militants, especially since the Afghanistan occupation - and the US slowly realizing (even years into the Iraq invasion they were clueless on who or what linked groups and states hated them) the frenemy status with former allies from KSA to Pakistan, and not just their populations. But the 'radicals' and 'imperialists' rhetoric has had them stuck in aggression (literally attacking or killing one another or backing groups that do, or against their interests), and I'd say more so the US, quite literally war criminally supporting Saddam against Iran then wrecking Iraq, though Shiites don't necessarily help themselves by being anti-US instead of pro-actively softly appealing on some issues (like Bahrain) to some reasonable US or global audience, even if thick headed.

  • Iraq: Looming War of Shiite, Kurdish, Extremist-Sunni Militias
    • Some Iraqi Sunnis are vets too. The Shia-led army, who have/had Sunni recruits, patrolled the areas due to the likelihood local/foreign terrorists hiding there, who regularly bombed public areas, particularly Shia gatherings besides on Kurds, many Sunni, or aligned pro-govt Sunnis.

      Other marginalized groups elsewhere who suffer injustice, don't make reactionary self-justified 'burn the world' aggression and team up with religious extremists fashionable. ISIS stated the obvious on Maliki, authoritarian and corrupt. The govt and the army were clearly clueless on how to deal with perpetual resentment against them where the Sunnis could never reconcile with losing power and Iraq was now Shia-led. Unable to reason, the govt responded with sectarian heavy handedness (though chasing a Sunni politician and attacking a protest, seems more like a deliberate initiative than response).

      Its more revenge than an uprising with no Sunni moderate FSA in sight. If local Sunnis joined Sunni extremists, that would mean an entire belligerent population, rather than just a few. Even if soldiers were scared of the ferocity of Sunni Jihadists, 30,000 strong fleeing 1,000 ISIS fighters seems shameful, unless local support. At least the Kurds were brave. And we were earlier worried about elections boycott by Sunnis and no elections in Anbar's unrest.

      If a Sunni cleric supports Pak's Sunni dominated national army fighting local/foreign Sunni militants (done selectively and not urgently) is it termed as declaring Sunni Jihad? If Euro nations oppose ISIS, then is it a Christian Crusade? Is it a Sunni Kurd Jihad? Phrasing it as 'Shiite Jihad' gives false impression (there is perception, history and nature of the edict, but the religious term is hi-jacked by Al Qaeda types, and seen that way). Sistani has tried to quell sectarianism since US occupation and perpetually is drawn to help. The declaration supports the national army (not militias) and opposes ISIS, made up of Sunni Islamists or extremists, not against Sunnis, or all Sunnis, but since many are supporting a terrorist outfit its become an uncomfortable reality.

      The Syrian spillover has turned into a new Iraq turnover, which will draw in Iranians, and perhaps even Pakistanis showing up for both sides, though there might be more recruits for ISIS thanks to the Gulf and sheer size of Sunni radicals globally.

  • The Fall of Mosul and the False Promises of Modern History
    • Militants in Falluja and Ramadi, enjoyed local support. Saw a small BBC interview with some US ambassador, who was in denial of US crime in wrecking Iraq and creating a magnet.

      Shia militias, didn't win the civil war themselves. They resisted the US, until they figured out Sunni extremists, that included Al Qaeda, made them sectarian targets for destabilization. There were expulsions of Sunni residents and decline in violent attacks followed. Improvements were also credited to Sunni Iraqi nationalists (Awakening Councils) who first insurgents, then realized the insane tactics of foreign extremists. They targeted fellow Shia Iraqis, marginalized local Sunni fighters and killed Iraqi Sunnis too.

      Perhaps it was inevitable, seeing how Syria unfolded. Maliki could have been pragmatic, not so symbolic or resenting US army extension, who were already there, but I understand the principle of holding US troops accountable. Still could have helped. Many Iraqis were nervous with the drawback.

      Its barely a reverse in strategy, considering the history of Saddam's suppression, like Najaf which now challenges Qom's, stresses sectarian unity, and Sunni population still had their say, but refused the ballot box.

      A US official in a Fareed Zakaria piece on KSA's UN tantrum, wished he could cut off KSA's funding for extremists. The Sunni Gulf contributed to ideological global Sunni fundamentalism, despite challenged by the same elements, as the West looks on. But Syria and Iran never helped themselves, except some moments of illegal/legal cooperation with the US.

      Despite what Shia right-wingers wish, who are so self-sabotaging and rather cut a deal with Al Qaeda than to tolerate a leftist Shia intellectual, do not have absolute control, and it has been easier to reconcile with the Sunni Kurds as compared to Sunni Arabs, because the latter really are difficult. The Biden plan also looked like the same repeat of foreign power in allocating land, and the rest is well written history, like how the Brits relied on the old Sunni dominated Ottoman rule and crush the Shia south (and I think Churchill had a hand on killing Kurds), and how the French reversed a trend and found difficulty with the Sunni majority and instead put the minority Alawites easier to put, but may mean little now as it all gets obliterated.

    • Even though ISIL is an Islamist terrorist group, made up of mostly foreign Sunni radicals, it enjoys support from many in the local Sunni population, who have militants involved in an insurgency again, which has always in itself been sectarian motivated involved in attacking the majority Shia population (pilgrims, markets - which also nets Sunni bystanders - mosques or their holy places, etc), besides also targeting other minorities, such as Christians, ethnic Kurds (even though a good deal are Sunni), Yezidis, etc which happened before under US occupation, rather than just restricted against the govt or military/police installations or other Shia militias - who have indulged in killings, or like come claim as cleansing, but its no where close to the same level or scale.

      There were opposing nationalistic Sunni Awakening Council armed tribes that were aligned with the govt against ISIL, other foreign militants and local Sunni rebels, but their main leaders have been recently assassinated in bombings.

      Whiile Maliki failed to make inroads with the Sunni Arab minority with his policies, (which came way after the earlier constant onslaught of Sunni led insurgency and terrorist attacks, which continued even after the Shia militias halted their own attacks for stability - but eventually stopped by local Sunni Awakening Councils who came around against mostly Al Qaeda foreigner types) but nevertheless were marginalizing sectarian wise, the Iraqi Sunni population, if not the regional and global populations, never really reconciled with the fact that they lost power and always had sectarian charged opposition against a Shia head of state, an opinion not born out of a vacuum or from Maliki alone, but part of the religo-political Sunni Islamist extremist (identified as the top threat to national security...in Canada!) narrative and current which exists globally, be it MENA, Af-Pak, Europe, Indonesia, etc.

      Al-Maliki wasn't even fond of Iran, even Assad, and has been backed into a corner to have greater ties with them to fend off these violent groups.

  • Pakistan's War on Terror? Gov't bombs Taliban after Deadly Airport Attack
    • link to centralasiaonline.com

      Wanted to bring this news, in the link above, to attention, since it is buried and did not move the army security forces, though the civilian govt took note and ordered investigations. Before the first Airport attack, there was a massacre of Shia pilgrims, claiming 32 lives, in Taftan by Jaish-ul-Islam, which is either a TTP affiliate, offshoot or something related to LeJ or another local sectarian Sunni militant group.

      link to bbc.com
      There are now renewed militant attacks at the airport. The previous one had killed around 40 people, which took place a day or two ago. TTP is claiming both (lead by Fazlullah faction most likely, since the Mehsuds wanted to cut a peace deal with the Pak govt - but may now be dead).

      There are embedded links within that article which includes a good short-hand identification and summary of the current situation by M Ilyas Khan, within the militant ranks split besides Hafiz Gul Bahadur and LeI's Mangal Bagh mentioned above (Fazlullah vs Mehsuds, increasing Uzbek militants - who are also center stage in Syria besides other Pakistani militants there, etc).

      Hafiz Gul Bahadur at one time had a deal with Islamabad a few years back that would cease any attacks on the Pak state, while leaving him in the region to concentrate on attacks in Afghanistan, and hence considered 'Good Taliban'. That is about to change. Do not know where the Haqqanis stand.

      link to longwarjournal.org

      link to longwarjournal.org

  • That time when White Terrorists Ambushed Nevada Police after Fox Supported Bundy Gunmen Threatening Law Enforcement
    • These extremists (and I'll include the single mass shooters and their right wing gun supporters who want to emulate the murder rates of 3rd world nations flooded with guns rather than first world nations with strong gun control) seem to be getting emboldened in trying to launch one terrorist attack or another.

      Don't think the stupid 'if the police were only armed, they could have prevented it' argument is going to fly here.

      There needs to be a strong reset to undo the backward ideological Bush gun nut allowances, such as automatic guns and high capacity clips, and their defunding (starve the beast) of ATF and bring their funding back, at least to pre-2000 levels.

  • Iraq: 450,000 have fled al-Anbar as Gov't Deploys Militias against al-Qaeda
    • link to bbc.com

      The violence by insurgents is not restricted to Anbar.

      Dozens were killed earlier a day or two with a double bombing of the Kurd political offices in Tuz Khurmatu, which is in Salahuddin province.

      There were double bombings in Baquba - close by to Baghdad in the Diyala province.

      And ISIS, Al Qaeda and Sunni extremist insurgents have now taken control of Mosul in the Nineveh province.

      Ramadi and Fallujah, in the Anbar province, were already under partial control by Islamist militants and Sunni rebels.

      Al Maliki is asking for a State of Emergency.
      link to bbc.com

  • Egypt, Syria, Libya . . . . What is the Appeal of Phoney Elections in the Middle East?
    • To be honest, 'saved his kebab' isn't a common phrase or cliche used there. Not that no one can ever say bacon, just that no one does or will there, local or foreigner, due to the religo-culture as correctly pointed in the article, unless in some English medium school or something.

      88% only? Saddam in his day was clearly way more popular than Assad, winning 99% of the vote. Phoney votes for phoney legitimacy. Reasons maybe plain despot narcissism and tyranny. International appeasement show. Fake show of freedom to locals. Inability to beat other political groups head on and hence have an election to rig to gain power and crush the other guys. Hypocritical principles of over-confident local or foreign powers who expect their guys will win and view elections as an act of formality...sometimes backfires when the other disliked or extremist group wins instead which leads to a harsh undemocratic divisive or brutal reaction like the Algeria 90's or Palestine Hamas win.

      Kuwait is said to have a relatively decent monarch parliamentary system, though its been rocked recently with a series of dissolutions. Lebanon has an intact voting system but still denominational.

  • Iran's Rouhani pulls a Pope Francis: 'Let People choose own path to Heaven'
    • Wow. That takes a lot of courage and I'm really glad he openly said this, taking it head on, calling out the Iranian right wing, even calling them delusional, which is so true. Just twisted in their views on how they even take issue and believe that the 'path to heaven' relies on force or the lash.

      His vision really sounds like something out of Najaf, and that may not go down well with Qom and others in Tehran. I'm worried he may have stepped into it too deep and too fast with his reform comments and criticisms and may end up being clipped by the Supreme Leader Khamenei himself, who is the state's head and upholder of these ideological practices, besides being disliked from the Revolutionary Guard types who are invested as enforcers.

  • On D-Day: Remembering the Muslim Troops who Fought the Axis
    • Great reminder. There's always more to it. Don't know about Muslims or other non-European ethnicities elsewhere, but South Asians on a whole, be it Hindu/Muslim/Sikh or other, unfortunately do not realize, or even know, the large historic role their own older relatives played in the World War, as well as how it affected and impacted them.

      I think part of it is the belief that the war's source and origin was in Europe and hence a lack of ownership for what they saw as Colonialist wars, even though a lot of their wealth and citizens' lives, apart from killed and captured soldiers (who also fought Eastwards against Japan, having ambitions capturing Delhi), were invested in them and while battles were nearby in Asia (Burma, China) it still felt far from the rest of British India, even though Bengal suffered famine as result of British Colonialists diverting food for their troops.

      Still, unfortunate most of us don't know over a quarter of the Allies army were of Muslim background. I'm not immune either...I didn't know how far Muslims' impact in US history was, mentioned in a great previous article by Alison Kysia posted on the blog here.

      link to juancole.com

  • US Ally Bahrain's Courts are Corrupt, in service of Injustice
    • Bahrain is an 'Apartheid Island'.

      That is what the Euro and North American allies continue to support. Their relations with the minority Sunni regime for self interests (lets hope there's no further prejudiced ir-rationalizing stupidity of buying into what the regime says about 'barbaric natives' or interfering Iranian 'Shia radicals') is not different than their favouring of the Afrikaners and their abusive sectarian/racial systems and HR violations against the oppressed majority native population and peaceful protesters demanding equal rights. Unfortunately there's no Brian Mulroney in today's leaders to break rank and raise this.

      Don't think it'll improve any time soon for the Shia natives, even under the Riyadh-Tehran thaw either.

  • Did a Karzai No-Show Spoil Obama's announcement of end of Afghanistan War?
    • "There is likely to be renewed Indo-Pak competition for Afghanistan, now that the Hindu nationalist BJP is ensconced. Does the US want to be in the middle of that?"

      The US probably shouldn't be in the middle of that, but at the same time can't afford to not be involved at some capacity. Abandoning Afghanistan after the 80's proxy war, Afghanistan disintegrated, with regional countries taking sides, with the Taliban finally coming out on top and Al Qaeda finding sanctuary. Considering the poor US history of intervention and destabilization, it shouldn't be left up to them alone, and be more of a joint international effort.

      Karzai was in India, like other leaders including Pak PM Sharif, to attend Modi's swearing in. Karzai (to a newspaper I think) claimed Pak militant group, LeT, was behind the recent terrorist attempt on the Indian consulate in Afghanistan (says he got the intel from Western agencies), and expected a wish list of weapons from India to be fulfilled.

      Pak's civilian govt, led by Sharif currently, will need to play a pivotal role to help ease ties across the borders (and the Afghan and Indian govts need to help too, despite whatever hostility), have operations against ALL extremist militants and tame the Pak military, with no more undermining of democrat institutions or double games, keeping certain favoured militants for proxy attacks. Not easy.

  • Iran "Happy" Video Arrestees out on Bail but Pharrell Cover goes Viral
  • Sunnis Big Losers in Iraq Elections, PM al-Maliki has Largest Party
    • There were renewed (or still continuous) bombings in Baghdad, targeting Shia pilgrims.

      link to bbc.com

      Society is suffering serious trauma and psychosis due to the insane violence.

      What a political mess....best of luck to the people...

  • Sudan judge orders Christian woman to hang for apostasy
    • One of many major problems in Sudan. They outdid their previous insane cruelty of flogging a woman who wore jeans, with another judge declaring a death sentence on a pregnant doctor who was never a Muslim (not that it should matter). The useless state official statement at the end, 'every other theocratic nation does it'.

      The guys actively supporting the verdict saying 'its the law', justifying deliberate malice and injustice for their own ideological comfort, is common in the backward minds of conservative religious hardliners. They always have sway over institutions but I feel they've now grown in size and become mainstream in some places in the East.

      In Pakistan, blasphemy charges and attacks have spiked in the past week or so against all classes of society, but religious minorities are still the most vulnerable. While the Pak state avoids carrying out death sentences, judges and officers look on as vigilante fanatic mobs and assassins are spurred by any allegation or accusation, regardless of any trial or verdict. Here's some news within the month.

      Human Rights lawyer Rashid Rehman assassinated in his office amid death threats, defending an alleged blasphemer
      link to independent.co.uk

      History summary, Chief Justice recent comment on blasphemy applied to protect minority religions
      link to dailymail.co.uk

      68 lawyers charged with blasphemy in Jhang, South Punjab, heartland of sectarian Sunni extremists
      link to bbc.com

      65-year-old Ahmedi man accused of blasphemy shot dead by teenager in Pakistani police station
      link to theguardian.com

      GEO's Morning TV show hostess and her controversial guests, now probably considering fleeing (most recent, and lots of back story with wide religious and political implications and backlash)
      link to gulfnews.com

  • Activists in Bahrain denounce anti-Shia Policies
    • A few years back I was hopeful when Ban Ki Moon surprisingly took note and condemned a rise in sectarian massacres by Sunni extremist militants in Pakistan, who had just killed 18 Shia pilgrims. Later more atrocities, particularly against the Hazaras, would follow. He was a rare official voice in Pak itself - but little came from it. Both news of the massacre and Ban Ki Moon's statement got buried, even in the local Pakistani English dailies. A morning TV show that decided to do some moral policing and expose young couples to millions of viewers was the top outrage that day/week.

      Be it traditional minority/majority Sunni hegemonies, or rising Sunni Islamist extremism, anti-Shia discrimination, bigotry and hostility has increased and spread, whether remotely in Egypt, or as far as Indonesia, in forms of hate laws or hate mobs. There's little hope in appealing to the GCC. Even UAE, a Gulf nation that's quite 'liberal' for a police state, intervened, with Wahhabi state Saudi Arabia, to help the Bahrain regime in crushing the protests. It increased its monitoring and expulsions of old UAE expat Shia residents, denying new visas or extensions on security grounds.

      Bahrain's import of Sunni expat/immigrant mercenaries (no surprise a lot of Pakistanis) for security forces to oppress the Shia natives of Bahrain, pretty much makes it an Apartheid Island, but won't bother most Western allies much. And this may not necessarily be the worst anti-Shia sectarian cleansing or violent sectarianism as seen in target killings in Pak or bombings in Iraq.

      Iran's religious regional ambitions and own abuses maybe a factor, but to ridiculously say this inherent sect prejudice and reactions by these other states or societies is because of Iran or somehow understandable, is being disingenuous.

  • Donald Sterling's Illiberal Zionism Part of Racism Controversy with Magic Johnson
    • The other anti-Semitic bigotry and colonialist narrative against 'dirty, degenerate, barbaric, etc' natives, i.e. Palestinians, has been propagated for a long while by racial/religo-political ideologues.

      Was surprised that the bit on racism in Israel slid by the media too (also the overt continuous sexism). But he did still end up making it worse for the Jewish community with his ridiculous hypocritical charity claim to Anderson Cooper, where his contributions, considering his own huge wealth and compared to Johnson's contributions, are peanuts.

      And him making issue and degrading another's sexual exploits...he's certainly not being shy about sharing his own...even when not asked and no one wants to know...in a courtroom. Its classic despicable and delusional Sterling comedy.
      link to theclassical.org

  • Alabama’s chief justice: Muhammad didn’t create us so 1st Amendment only protects Christians
  • Fox censors ‘Scientific American’ editor on Climate Change because, Future
    • Even at some US-Canada border crossings of the US government buildings, Faux News is found running there on the TV also.

      So one can imagine that there's definitely a fair number of border agents steeped in the same prejudices against certain folks, despite the professed professional rules and regulations of the CBP.

  • Did the Supreme Court just Kill Dirty Coal Plants & Save the World?
  • Saudi Fatwa against "THE 99" Tolerant Muslim Superhero Comics as "Evil"
    • Really wish no one had to defend themselves, appeal or pander to these uninformed and unimpressive so called clerics, in this case the Wahhabi one, to have some common sense and apply some thinking, at least in regards to a decent comic series...they just end up being laughable, but unfortunately give religion and every practitioner a bad name.

      Though Obama was impressed with The 99, just don't think he'll have much inclination to raise it with Riyadh.

  • The Sterling Racism Scandal: What about Associating with Muslim People?
    • These idealistic values should be universal. Even Canada's not immune to bigotry including the Muslim-hating sentiments.

      In regards to the Sterling show, he's been finally banned and fined.

      An interesting take from Bomani Jones on the focus on Sterling's comments, rather than all the bigoted acts by him and society around.

      link to deadspin.com

  • John Kerry admits Israeli Apartheid; and 5 Ways he is Understating It
  • A Widening War: Iraq intervenes in Syria with Helicopter Gunships
    • Article is spot on and highlights the growing regional entanglement by this new state action example, though its past the point where the spillover has already been felt.

      I slightly disagree on how the religious identity statement is phrased. True there is no Shia religious belief or motivation behind Maliki's shift, but religious identity plays a part, due to Sunni extremist militants, who hold monopoly in the armed opposition, dictating the situation by pitting their religious ideology against others, who most non-Sunnis, particularly Shias, fear and see as a greater threat if they come to power.

      Unless there's a regional Sunni state that strongly opposes the similar sect background militants and empathizes with the fears or concerns of the newly Shia-dominated Iraq, which has experienced intense extremist and sectarian terrorist backlash for over a decade mostly from local and foreign Sunni radicals, then this very well is an issue of religious identity, just not of Maliki's own making or choice, who is reacting and forced to retreat to the political powers that he earlier had issues with, all due to a shared religious background and opposition to those who ideologically and violently hate what they are rather than just keeping it about deposing off the Baath regime.

  • Top 5 Signs Cliven Bundy is Wrong about African-Americans
    • He probably should pitch his educational thoughts to LA Clippers' slave plantation owner Donald Sterling.

      Low lifes...

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