European Islamophobic Networks influenced Roof to Kill in Charleston

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The Muslim-hatred of the Geert Wilders and Marine LePens in Europe, for which Daniel Pipes, and Pamela Geller, and the whole Islamophobic network are cheerleaders and enablers, was a key influence on Dylann Roof, according to his manifesto. These same hatemongers helped whip Norwegian white supremacist and terrorist Anders Brevik into a homocidal fever pitch in July of 2011, when he killed 77 Norwegians for allegedly being soft on Muslims.

Back in South Carolina, Roof wrote that he first became politically aware with the Trayvon Martin case, in which he strongly took the side of George Zimmerman. He continued:

From this point I researched deeper and found out what was happening in Europe. I saw that the same things were happening in England and France, and in all the other Western European countries. Again I found myself in disbelief. As an American we are taught to accept living in the melting pot, and black and other minorities have just as much right to be here as we do, since we are all immigrants. But Europe is the homeland of White people, and in many ways the situation is even worse there. From here I found out about the Jewish problem and other issues facing our race, and I can say today that I am completely racially aware.

Where would he have found allegations that white Europeans are being victimized by immigrants? Here is what I wrote about Anders Breivik:

“Breivik’s passions were whipped up, according to his diary, by reading anti-Muslim hatemongers such as Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and Daniel Pipes (whose “Campus Watch” is an Israeli settler-oriented attempt to deny tenure to American academics critical of Israel’s oppression of the stateless Palestinians, and to harass more senior professors with character assassination).”

It was apparently similar writings and web sites that made Roof “completely racially aware.”

Unhinged millionaires and bigoted gadflies have a network funded by tens of millions of dollars. It is aimed at disenfranchising Muslim Europeans and Muslim-Americans and putting them under social pressure.

Ironically, some groups connected to the Islamophic Network are, like Geller and Pipes, Jewish. But their anti-immigrant, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric backfired on them in Roof’s case, since he went on heartily to hate Jews, as well. Many American Jews, he held, are pro-African-American, and so he abhorred them, as well.

That far right wing Jews would be trying to teach white people to hate non-Christians boggles the mind, since nothing could be more injurious to the American and European Jewish communities.

But the biggest irony is that their agitation against European Muslims should have helped inspire Roof in South Carolina to kill 9 African-Americans.

Related video:

CNN: “Was racist manifesto written by Dylann Roof?”

How Lindsey Graham & GOP lost the Chance to be Presidential over Charleston

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in my view never had any chance of becoming president, though he has thrown his hat into the ring for the Republican nomination. So it would be an overstatement to say that he lost the opportunity because of his maladroit response to the horrific act of racial terrorism committed by Dylann Roof in Charleston.

Since the core of the Republican Party is now white southerners, however (and this was visible when the party took a bath in 2008 and was largely reduced to congressional delegations from the South), Graham’s response to the attack tells us something key about the state of that party.

Graham defended flying the Confederate flag on the grounds of the statehouse, saying that it is “an integral part of who we are.”

As I pointed out a couple of days ago, however:

Some 73 percent of whites there believe that the Confederate flag should fly not just on the grounds of the statehouse but above its dome, as used to be the case a decade ago. 61% of African-Americans disagreed.

When Graham said “a part of who we are,” he was referring to South Carolinians who consider themselves white — and even about a quarter of those don’t agree that the Confederate flag should fly at the statehouse. The vast majority of African-Americans is on the other side of that issue. At this crucial juncture in our nation’s history, Graham was unable to speak for all the people of his state, much less all the people of our nation. He could only speak for the two-thirds of South Carolina that is white– and not even for all of them.

He also joined in GOP strategist and Fox News chief Roger Ailes’ despicable attempt to whitewash the racism of Roof’s attack by suggesting that this assault had targeted “Christians.” He said, ““But it’s 2015. There are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.” Roof was himself a church member and could have found “Christians” closer at hand in his own congregation if those were his target. This meme was a contemptible attempt to hijack anti-Black violence for the ridiculous claim that Christians are discriminated against (e.g. when they aren’t allowed to themselves discriminate against gays) at the same time that it formed a sleight of hand designed to take attention off racial inequality. Roof said he wanted to start a race war because African-Americans had taken over his country.

Graham also suggested that Roof is mentally ill, despite there being no evidence for this assertion. He was eager to deny that the church shooting was a window into the soul of South Carolina (hell, it was window into the soul of the United States of America!) Graham raced ahead to #9 of my ways white terrorists are treated differently .

Graham also suggested intensive surveillance of people alleged to be mentally ill.

If Graham wants to be president, he has to be president of all Americans, not just of people from his state or of white people or Republicans. He hasn’t acted like a president of all the people in the USA. He acted like a caste leader attempting to preserve the prerogatives of his caste in India. And, what GOP candidate– Rick Perry? has been any better?

Related video:

RAW STORY: “Lindsey Graham reacts to church shooting on ABC’s The View

Sexism, Racism and Terrorism: Roof’s Misuse of Women to justify Lynching

By Lisa Wade | (The Conversation) | – –

Many important things will be said in the next few weeks about the murder of nine people holding a prayer meeting at a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina on the evening of June 17.

Here I want to focus on what the suspected killer, Dylann Roof, said right before he gunned down a room full of black worshippers. Reportedly, Roof proclaimed:

“I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

It is amazing all that can be said in three little sentences.

To a sociologist who studies gender and its intersection with other forms of inequality, this statement spoke volumes.

Roof’s alleged act was motivated by racism, first and foremost, but also sexism. In particular, a phenomenon called benevolent sexism.

Benevolent sexism

Sociologists use the term “benevolent sexism” to describe the attribution of positive traits to women that, nonetheless, justify their subordination to men.

For example, women may be described as good with people, but this is believed to make them perform poorly in competitive arenas like work, sports or politics. Better that they leave that to the men.

Women are wonderful with children, they say, but this is used to suggest that women should take primary responsibility for unpaid, undervalued domestic work. Better that they let men support them.

And the one that Roof used to rationalize his racist act was: women are beautiful, but their grace makes them fragile. Better that they stand back and let men defend them.

This argument is hundreds of years old, of course.

It’s most clearly articulated in the history of lynching, in which black men were violently murdered routinely by white mobs using the excuse that they had raped a white woman.

Roof is the modern equivalent of this white mob. He believes that he and other white men own me and women like me — “you rape our women,” he said possessively — and so he justified gunning down innocent black people on my behalf. You are vulnerable, he’s whispering to me, let me protect you.

That’s chilling enough, but he also makes claim to the nation itself. “You’re taking over our country” reflects a xenophobic white entitlement to land. We could call it ironic – given the presence of Native Americans centuries before the arrival of the white man – yet it is so routine as to be the common sense of this country.

Colonial attitudes

When European colonizers first arrived on the shores of America, the country was a “she”: they saw “her” as open to discovery and exploration. Today, we still call her the “motherland” and, when she is attacked, we refer to her as the domesticized “homefront.”

Europe supported…

In art, too, nations are often portrayed as women, such as in English painter William Blake’s engraving, “Europe supported by Africa and America” (1796) of three naked women – one black, one white, one brown – who stand in for their countries. These white male colonialists hardly differentiated between what could be extracted from the land and their right to extract whatever they wanted from native women.

Roof is that colonizer. White women are his land. His land is a she. His relationship to this country and the white women in it is the same: both belong to white men like him.

In his mind, apparently, black people are the interlopers, the rapists, the plunderers of his natural resources, female and otherwise. It’s a twisted but not an unusual way to think about the world; not then and not now.

As sociologist Michael Kimmel documents in Angry White Men, the rage felt by many rural, poor and working class whites is rooted in the belief that a country that is their birthright is being taken away from them.

A Texas pioneer

In the 1920s and ‘30s, Texan Jessie Daniel Ames was one of the first women to argue that lynching was sexist as well as racist.

She exposed the idea that white women needed protection from black men as a lie, gaining the support of thousands of women and hundreds of public officials for her anti-lynching campaign.

She and other women went into communities where lynchings occurred — where their lives really were at risk from angry white men — and protested the murder of black men with white women’s rape as a justification.

Historian Jacquelyn Dowd Hall describes Ames’s work as a “revolt against chivalry.”

Ames understood that all oppression is interconnected.

We know this now more than ever. We live not in isolated pockets of prejudice, but with a collection of privileges that depend on each other for their persistence and resonance.

Roof’s act was racist, yes, but his racism was built upon colonialism and sexism. Our hierarchies interconnect, interweaving, providing each other with support.

“We are none of us free,“ wrote the poet Emma Lazarus, “if we are not all free.”

I am a white woman. I am not yours to protect. No more murder in my name.

The Conversation

Lisa Wade is Assistant Professor, Sociology at Occidental College.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Lisa Wade is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Occidental College

Related video added by Juan Cole:

Wochit News: “What We Know About Dylann Roof, the Charleston Shooting Suspect”

Our reply to Dylann Roof’s Hate: Donate to “Mother Emanuel” AME Church

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

There are many essential responses to the racist terrorism that attacked Emanuel AME Church, which the state of South Carolina should take. It should stop flying the Confederate flag. It should undo the gerrymandering by the white Republican Establishment that keeps the one-third of the population that is African-American disenfranchised (hint: one third of its congressional seats are not held by African-Americans).

But those of us who don’t live in that state can also take action. The Emanuel AME Church Web Page has a donation button. I just gave to it, and hope all of you will, too. If many give small sums each, we can further build up this essential institution of American life. Dylann Roof’s act of terrorism left behind family members who need our support, including the family of the pastor, the Reverend Honorable Clementa C. Pinckney, a South Carolina state senator who was executed in cold blood.

PBS NewsHour: “Rev. Clementa Pinckney talks about black political participation”

This from his web page:

“Rev. Pinckney answered the call to preach at the age of thirteen and received his first appointment to pastor at the age of eighteen. . . He serves as the pastor of historic Mother Emanuel A.M.E. in Charleston, South Carolina.

Rev. Pinckney was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1996 at the age of twenty-three. In 2000, he was elected to the State Senate at the age of twenty-seven. He is one of the youngest persons and the youngest African-American in South Carolina to be elected to the State Legislature. He represents Jasper, Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, and Hampton Counties. His committee assignments include Senate Finance, Banking and Insurance, Transportation, Medical Affairs and Corrections and Penology. Washington Post columnist, David Broder, called Rev. Pinckney a “political spirit lifter for suprisingly not becoming cynical about politics.”

Rev. Pinckney has served in other capacities in the state to include a college trustee and corporate board member. In May 2010, he delivered the Commencement Address for the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.
He and his wife Jennifer have two children – Eliana and Malana.”

All our hearts go out to Mrs. Pinckney, to Eliana and Malana. America gives them a hug of love and support. And to the families of the other victims: Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49, member of the church choir; Ethel Lance, 70, who worked for three decades at the church; Susie Jackson, 87 years old; Cynthia Hurd, 54, St. Andrews Regional Library branch manager; Tywanza Sanders, 26, a 2014 Allen University graduate (so young!); Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, a church pastor and high school coach; Myra Thompson, 59; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74, a retired pastor from another Charleston church.

CNN: “A look into the history of Emanuel AME Church”

From the Church’s Web page on its history, including that time it was burned down on suspicion of being against slavery:

“The history of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church reflects the development of religious institutions for African Americans in Charleston. Dating back to the fall of 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Richard Allen founded the Free African Society, adhering to the Doctrines of Methodism established by John Wesley. In 1816, black members of Charleston’s Methodist Episcopal church withdrew over disputed burial ground, and under the leadership of Morris Brown. The Rev. Morris Brown organized a church of persons of color and sought to have it affiliated with Allen’s church. Three churches arose under the Free African Society and were named the “Bethel Circuit”. One of the Circuit churches was located in the suburbs of Ansonborough, Hampstead, and Cow Alley, now known as Philadelphia Alley in the French Quarters of Charleston. Emanuel’s congregation grew out of the Hampstead Church, located at Reid and Hanover Streets.

In 1822 the church was investigated for its involvement with a planned slave revolt. Denmark Vesey, one of the church’s founders, organized a major slave uprising in Charleston. Vesey was raised in slavery in the Virgin Islands among newly imported Africans. He was the personal servant of slavetrader Captain Joseph Vesey, who settled in Charleston in 1783. Beginning in December 1821, Vesey began to organize a slave rebellion, but authorities were informed of the plot before it could take place. The plot created mass hysteria throughout the Carolinas and the South. Brown, suspected but never convicted of knowledge of the plot, went north to Philadelphia where he eventually became the second bishop of the AME denomination.

During the Vesey controversy, the AME church was burned. Worship services continued after the church was rebuilt until 1834 when all black churches were outlawed. The congregation continued the tradition of the African church by worshipping underground until 1865 when it was formally reorganized, and the name Emanuel was adopted, meaning “God with us”. The wooden two-story church that was built on the present site in 1872 was destroyed by the devastating earthquake of August 31, 1886. The present edifice was completed in 1891 under the pastorate of the Rev. L. Ruffin Nichols. The magnificent brick structure with encircling marble panels was restored, redecorated and stuccoed during the years of 1949-51 under the leadership of the Rev. Frank R. Veal. The bodies of the Rev. Nichols and his wife were exhumed and entomed in the base of the steeple so that they may forever be with the Emanuel that they helped to nurture.”

(Sen. Bernie Sanders has also called on his supporters to donate, but obviously this is not and should not be a partisan issue. Sen. Lindsey Graham joined in the looney Fox Cable News line that Roof was seeking to kill “Christians”, i.e. that this was not an attack on African-Americans; but then at least surely he’ll want to contribute to the Christian church that was attacked– some journalist please ask him if he did.)

Another White non-Terrorist Kills 9, Makes Bomb Threats

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Update: Suspected shooter Dylann Roof has been apprehended. He had a gun with him at the time. It is being alleged that he wore Apartheid South Africa flag, complained of African-Americans raping, taking over US. So, then, it was political and indubitably terrorism.

Police in Charleston, S.C. have termed the shooting deaths of at least 9 people at a black church by a young 21-year-old white man Wednesday night a “hate crime.” The perpetrator also made a bomb threat against the downtown. The shootings took place at the historic Emanuel AME Church, which played a key role in the Civil Rights movement. Although the fact that the police knew the man’s age suggests they also knew his identity, it wasn’t revealed Wednesday night.

South Carolina Nikki Haley, herself of Indian origin, was criticized for her Facebook posting,

“Nikki Haley

Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight’s senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another. Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.”

Given that Gov. Haley has supported flying the Confederate flag from the statehouse, here incomprehension provoked a good deal of derision:

South Carolina has one of the biggest African-American populations, proportionally, of any state in the nation, at about a third of the roughly 4 million residents. Some 73 percent of whites there believe that the Confederate flag should fly not just on the grounds of the statehouse but above its dome, as used to be the case a decade ago. 61% of African-Americans disagreed. African-Americans see the flag as a defense of slavery and racism, while South Carolinian whites see it as a way of honoring the war dead on their side in the Civil War.

Another observer responded on Twitter:

In other kinds of terrorist attacks, you don’t typically hear such fatalistic pronouncements. Officials don’t say, well, we’ll just never understand why they do these things. They say we know why they attack, it is because they hate our values, and we now have to spend trillions of dollars to combat them. This guy in Charleston obviously hates American values. But the governor is just urging resignation. No one will call for a ‘war on hate crimes.’

CNN called the shooter a “gunman.” I complained about this wimpy diction in my “Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others”.

This was obviously an act of terrorism, which is what it would have been called if carried out by a non-white person. There was even a bomb threat! Terrorism can also be a hate crime if conducted on an ethnic basis. Middle Easterners had no difficulty seeing the resemblance between this racial violence and the religious/ethnic violence in their region:

Observers wondered why cable news did not go into its 24/7 *there is only one story* mode at this news, which broke around 9 pm. Fox Cable News aired a long interview with Donald Trump.

And, wait for it…

CBSN “Shooting reported in Charleston church”

Juan Cole & Jocylene Cesari: “Europe’s Muslims after Charlie Hebdo: Challenges and Misconceptions”

David Speedie, Juan Cole & Jocylene Cesari | Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs (Video) | – –

“Months after the “Charlie Hebdo” attacks, questions remain about Europe’s Islamic communities. How strong is the lure of groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS for Islamic youth in France or the UK? Why do so many Muslims, including those born and raised in affluent European states, feel disconnected from their societies? Georgetown’s Jocylene Cesari and University of Michigan’s Juan Cole take a nuanced look at these misunderstood communities.

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs: “Europe’s Muslims: Challenges and Misconceptions”

Can the GOP live down Donald Trump’s Middle East “Policy”?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Comedians, bloggers, and pundits are ecstatic about The Donald throwing his toupee in the ring for the Republican nomination. The stories write themselves. But the Republican Party establishment is appalled, because Trump will create an image for the party that will hurt it in the general election. Despite doing well in 2012 at the level of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Republicans lost the presidency and some seats because of the clownish things some of their prominent figures kept saying, about rape, abortion, and immigration. Statistically speaking, you pretty much have to get 44 percent of the Latino vote to be president. The Angry White Men running for congress make it hard for the Republican standard bearer to pull that off. And the Grand Old Party has a 10% gender gap with the Democrats, for whom many more women vote.

Trump’s maiden speech was a doozy, and will not have made the Latinos happy. As for the women, Trump’s past pronouncements on their issues still stick in the craw.

In his speech, Trump accused Mexico of stealing our jobs, along with China, which has also apparently stolen our money. (Trump doesn’t seem to understand the difference between China holding nearly $1 trillion of US debt– not very much, actually– and China robbing all our banks.)

He said, “You have a problem with ISIS, you have a bigger problem with China. And in my opinion, the new China, believe it or not, in terms of trade is Mexico.”

This is bizarre. Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) took 40% of Iraqi land, displaced millions, arbitrarily killed thousands.

China and Mexico aren’t anything like that. The US isn’t even running much of a trade deficit with Mexico any more.

Trump said, “That’s right – a lot of people up there can’t get jobs. They can’t get jobs because there are no jobs because China has our jobs and Mexico has our jobs. They all have our jobs.”

Mexico doesn’t actually, of course, have “our jobs.” Trump told anecdotes about US and foreign corporations siting factories in Mexico rather than in the US. He blamed this on Mexico, when the real problem is that US law doesn’t penalize US corporations for relocating abroad to evade taxes. President Obama and his secretary of the Treasury have been working on this. But Trump wasn’t offering a serious analysis. He was just riling up the angry white men.

Trump interspersed a few observations on foreign policy among his various tirades. He said of Obama, “Take a look at the deal he’s making with Iran. He makes that deal, Israel maybe won’t exist very long. It’s a disaster and we have to protect Israel.”

There isn’t an obvious way that Obama’s deal with Iran restricting its nuclear program to being solely for civilian purposes could cause Israel not to exist very long. But note that most of the Republican candidates say the same thing, as does Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu. That is, Trump’s stream of conscious serial falsehoods don’t actually end up differing much from GOP orthodoxy.

Trump is also unhappy with Saudi Arabia:

” I’ll give you another example: Saudi Arabia. They make a billion dollars a day, a billion dollars a day.

I love the Saudis, many are in this building. They make a billion dollars a day. Whenever they have problems, we send over the ships. We send, we’re going to protect – what are we doing? They got nothing but money.

If the right person asked them, they’d pay a fortune. They wouldn’t be there except for us.

And believe me, you look at the border with Yemen – you remember Obama a year ago, Yemen was a great victory. Two weeks later the place was blown up. Everybody.

And they kept our equipment. They always keep our equipment. We ought to send used equipment, right? They always keep our equipment, we ought to send some real junk because, frankly, it would be – we ought to send our surplus. We’re always losing this gorgeous, brand-new stuff.

But look at that border with Saudi Arabia. Do you really think that these people are interested in Yemen? Saudi Arabia without us is gone. They’re gone.

And I’m the one that made all of the right predictions about Iraq. You know, all of these politicians that I’m running against now, it’s so nice to say I’m running as opposed to if I run, if I run – I’m running.

But all of these politicians that I’m running against now, they’re trying to dissociate. I mean, you look at Bush – it took him five days to answer the question on Iraq. He couldn’t answer the question. He didn’t know.”

So Donald Trump wants to charge Saudi Arabia for the US security umbrella, the way George H W. Bush charged them for the Gulf War.

I couldn’t tell you what he meant about Saudi Arabia not actually being interested in Yemen . I don’t think it is true.

Trump wants to deal with Daesh / ISIL by finding the right general, finding a MacArthur. But Daesh is a guerrilla problem that can’t be dealt with by infantry of the sort that MacArthur commanded in Korea. It doesn’t make any sense that Martin Dempsey, who is an Iraq War vet, wouldn’t know best the terrain and strategy for Iraq.

So to sum up:

Start trade wars with China and Mexico;

Charge Saudi Arabia money for providing it with security;

Find a general for Iraq.

Stop Iran.

It is going to be a hilarious summer.


Related video added by Juan Cole:

PBS News hour: “Watch Donald Trump announce his candidacy for U.S. president ”

The Middle East Policy of President John Ellis “Jeb” Bush: Iraq, Iran Wars?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Jeb Bush announced his run for president on Monday. It is hard to know what his Middle East policy would be from his wibbly wobbly pronouncements, but that it would be imperial and aggressive can be deduced from his foreign policy advisory team, including Neoconservatives such as Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of the war of aggression on Iraq in 2003.

Jeb Bush regretted the lapse of the so-called USA PATRIOT Act and dislikes the Bill or Rights’ Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, questioning any restraint on government search and seizure of Americans’ mail and personal effects. In this he does not differ from Barack Obama.

Bush rejects President Obama’s diplomacy with Iran. He views Iran as “a nation that has waged a relentless campaign of terror and war-by-proxy against U.S. troops and American allies for more than three decades.” He damns the current Kerry-Zarif negotiations as leaving in place Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and potentially allowing it to brandish nukes and intimidate other countries in the Middle East. Apparently, as president Bush would cancel or renege on any deal reached with Iran and put the two countries on a war footing.

(Iran has not invaded another country in modern history. “Terrorists” it supports include the Shiite militias of Iraq with which the US is now allied to which it arms and to whom it gives close air support. So it is difficult to see how Bush can call Iran terrorist for supporting these groups but can exempt the US itself. Iran also supports Hizbullah in Lebanon, which grew up as a resistance movement against the two-decades long Israeli occupation of ten percent of Lebanese territory, which caused the 1.3 million Lebanese Shiites to mobilize to regain their homeland. International law does not see movements of resistance to occupation as “terrorist.”)

Bush pledges knee-jerk support to the far, far-right Israeli government of PM Binyamin Netanyahu. He referred to the Obama administration pressure on Tel Aviv to grant statehood to the stateless and rights-less Palestinians as “schoolyard antics.” He as much as said he would give up any pressure on Netanyahu for a two-state solution and surrender to the latter on all major policy issues. Bush made the mistake of associating himself with his father’s secretary of state James Baker, an old-time realist who has ties to the Gulf Arab monarchies and who has long been annoyed by Israeli aggression, expansionism and intransigence. As a result, Bush lost the support of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, widely accused of corruption in China, who put $100 million* into the 2012 presidential campaign and now seems to be supporting Mario Rubio. Bush is clearly hoping that by groveling to Netanyahu he can patch things up with Adelson.

Bush more or less supports his brother’s Iraq War of 2003 and the subsequent brutal military occupation. Rather than seeing Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) as a reaction to that occupation by displaced Sunni Arabs, he blames its rise on Obama’s withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in 2011, a withdrawal negotiated by . . . George W. Bush.

Bush wants to have more US troops on the ground in Iraq and to embed them in Iraqi military units. He appears not to know that there is virtually no extant Iraqi army in which to embed US troops. He seems also not to know that most of the troops are pro-Iran Shiites who would probably frag the Americans if Bush does to Iran what he says he is planning to do to it. The really effective fighting forces are Shiite militias who probably would not accept American embeds. In short, his plan for Iraq seems both aggressive and escalationist and also completely ignorant of the realities on the ground there. Where have we seen a Bush with that approach to Iraq before?

Bush doesn’t care anything about ordinary Middle Easterners or military dictators who oppress and disappear them: CNN reported, “Jeb Bush says he can’t understand why the White House has told Sisi “you’re not on our team” as jihadism spreads like wildfire through the Middle East.”

The Bushes are closely connected to the oil industry and likely Jeb would pursue policies intended to benefit it in the Middle East.

Bush has become more or less a climate change denier and calls scientists “arrogant” for concluding that man-made global warming is a virtual certainty. No doubt he has long thought them full of themselves over this gravity business and the earth being round, too. His Monday speech implicitly pledged to ramp up carbon emissions by drilling for more oil and gas.

I couldn’t find that he has said anything specific on what his Syria policy would be, but apparently he never met a Middle East intervention he didn’t like.

In the forecast if he wins: war with Iran, troop escalation in Iraq, fawning support of the Israeli Likud Party’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza. The trifecta of bad US policy in the Middle East.


*Typo in original


Related video added by Juan Cole:

Jeb Bush Presidential Campaign Announcement Full Speech (C-SPAN)

Flash Fiction: “The Office”

N.B. Fiction with mature themes.

            By Juan Cole |

            The Office

            Adib was winning at cards again.   Bashir was already out, sitting in a corner with his French novel. 

            Soliman hated losing, even though they didn’t play for much in the way of stakes.  They only had their share of the neighborhood protection money — greasy, taped-together old notes proffered by the housewives and pensioners.  They were the miserable souls who didn’t have enough in savings to get a ticket to a neighboring country and escape this hellhole.  The neighbors paid willingly to have the militia patrol, and keep out other militias. 

            Adib, Soliman, Bashir and a couple of other guys went out sometimes, wearing khaki and ski masks and hobnail boots they’d bought at the Thursday flea market for almost nothing, Kalashnikovs at the ready.  There was only so much  surveillance you could do.  It wasn’t like their neighborhood was worth looting, or had tall buildings.   Guerrillas prized tall buildings, like soldiers loved hills in the old days of conventional warfare.  Get a mortar emplacement up on one, you controlled a quarter of the city.

            Their office used to be someone’s luxury apartment, but those people lived in Paris now.  They had better, too.  Amber bulbs flickered on ornate lamps like flowers hanging off a bush.  Louis XIV chairs showed off ankles with sexy curves.   A militia, Bashir always said, had to have an office.

            Bashir looked up from his book, grey streaks in his mustache. He stared at beaming Adib, a cat that had gulped down a rat whole.

            "You smile too much, Adib.  A commando should have a straight face, a little menacing, a little bored.   Like you might put one right between the ribs, just at random." 

            Soliman was glad to see him upbraided for gloating.  Adib was just a teenager.  He should be playing video games.  Who would be afraid of him? Artillery howled in the distance and the lights blinked.

            Bashir pointed at Soliman.  "And you. You have no guile.  You’re no good at cards." 

            "I’m good at other things."

            Bashir shook his head.   Adib laughed.   A militia office was no place to laugh.  Adib had caught his drift.  They both had their eye on Leila.  They had gone to her apartment to collect a donation and were met by the mother.  The old lady had run out of money so she dumped a bracelet into their rucksack.  She kept sweeping her hand behind her, gesturing to her daughter to stay hidden, in the back room.  But the girl had peered out and they caught her eye. 

            Leila sneaked out and came by the office sometimes.  They sat around talking about what they would do when the war was over.  She stared hungrily at their khaki, like she wanted to make a meal of it.

             Adib raked in the bills he had won, then downed some milky arak, a licorice-tasting drink cut with water.  "You only dream of being good.  Me, I’ve been more practical."

            Soliman looked up sharply.  "What do you mean by that?"

            "You should hear the sounds she makes!   We did it under the overpass a couple of nights ago."

            "Somebody’s mouth is bigger than his other organs."

            Adib pursed his lips.  He unsnapped the front pocket of his shirt and pulled a pendant out.   It was Leila’s.  

            Bashir swiveled around, alarmed.  "She’s just a girl, Soliman.  They’re a lira a half dozen.  They like the sound of boots and the flash of gun barrel.  Lots more gazelles in that desert, boy."

            Soliman stood and swung his Kalashnikov around.  "Take it back!   You’ve insulted her honor!  Admit you’ve never been near her!"

            Adib was grinning again, swinging the pendant.  "Inside her, it’s like holiday sweets."

            Bashir shrugged and went back to his novel.  "If you boys want to off yourselves, be my guest.  But my advice is to change the subject.  She’s not worth it."

            Soliman put his finger on the trigger to show he meant business.  "Take it back!"

            "If you could get it up, you could have been there first."   Neon white teeth.

            Soliman took a step forward, but tripped over his own glass of arak and lost his balance.  He tried to brace himself and his finger pulled the trigger.

            Adib flipped back, flinging Leila’s pendant against the wall.   A red tulip was blooming in his chest.    His eyes, quizzical, flickered out.

            Soliman ran to his friend but his head was heavy and there was no breath on his lips, which smelled of licorice.  He looked at Bashir through watery eyes.

            The older man had not bothered to rise.  His black unibrow undulated like a cobra.  "You idiot!"

            "It was an accident!  What can we do?"

            "It was a moronic accident.  But all our efforts are for the party.  Go see Hani at the photocopy shop."

            The next day the city’s walls and light poles were plastered with pictures of Adib.  Underneath his smiling portrait, large cursive letters spelled out the word "Martyr."


Pres. Erdogan sees Syrian Kurds’ advance against ISIL as “danger” to Turkey

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The leftist Kurdish Protection Forces (YPG) and their Arab allies, the Euphrates Volcano, continued their assault on Sunday on Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) positions in northern Raqqa Province in Syria, taking the village of Salouk on the outskirts of Tel Abyad. Tel Abyad lies on the border of Syria and Turkey and has been a significant supply route for Daesh to receive weapons and money from smuggled petroleum. Without a border with Turkey, the so-called caliphate or theocracy of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (the nom de guerre of Ibrahim al-Samarra’i) could be cut off from such resupply.

The advance of the YPG alarmed Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who complained that an extension of Kurdish control over the Turkish-Syrian border could pose a threat to Turkey in the future.

Last week Erdogan complained that the West was supporting Kurdish “terrorists” over local Arabs and Turkmen, whom its air force coalition was bombing in northern Syria.

The idea that the US is bombing Syrian Arabs or Turkmen in order to promote the Marxisant YPG is a little odd, to say the least. The US and its allies are striking Daesh targets, which has the side effect of benefiting the enemies of Daesh such as the YPG.

We may conclude that Erdogan is less disturbed at the idea of having a border with Daesh/ ISIL, proven mass murderers, than he is with the YPG. Erdogan has been mysteriously unconcerned by the rise of Daesh, and hasn’t given the US much help in rolling it back.

The YPG is the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which the US lists as a terrorist organization, and which was responsible for war crimes during its insurgency against the Turkish state in the 1980s through about 2002. The YPG itself has been accused of using violent coercion against rivals.

The US says it is looking into the allegations against the Syrian YPG Kurds. At the same time, Washington and its allies are giving them and the Euphrates Volcano aerial support against Daesh, which has allowed the rebel advance.

In the past week some 15,000 refugees from Tel Abyad and its hinterland have fled into Turkey, and some Turkish officials have hinted darkly that this policy is a deliberate one on Washington’s part, aiming at the ethnic cleansing of Arabs and Turkmen in northern Syria in favor of Kurds.

Pres. Erdogan blamed the airstrikes of contributing to the Kurdish group’s capture of Arab and Turkmen lands.

He didn’t note that those lands had been usurped by Daesh!


Related video:

Wochit World: “Thousands Flee Into Turkey From Syria as Kurds Fight Islamic State”