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Total number of comments: 29 (since 2015-11-23 00:29:16)

Brian A

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  • UN Report: Muslim Youth going to fight in Syria mostly not Motivated by Islam
    • Much hay has been made on various sides about the supposed lack of religiosity of the various terror groups operating in Syria. But such an analysis is making over-determinative assumptions about what "religion" is. Religion is not defined strictly by beliefs or practices; it is a complex of beliefs, practices, and identities. A clear and significant cause for the flow of jihadists to Syria is Sunni chauvinism: "They are Sunni Muslims and felt that the Alawite-dominated regime of Bashar al-Assad is mistreating Sunni Muslims." This makes it quite evident that they were motivated by religion, even if not united in the practice of praying five times daily or a detailed knowledge of tafsir literature.

  • Do an Unstable President and a Reckless Prince threaten the World?
    • Good analysis. Just a side note: Both the Alevis (Kizilbash) and the Alawis - two distinct groups - are "Twelvers" in regards to their doctrines of Imamate.

  • Trump’s Escalations of War in Syria—Sleepwalking into a Global Confrontation
    • The war could be over in just a few months' time. The US will not allow it to end. Our foreign policy establishment has decided if it can't have absolute control, it will create absolute chaos.

  • Syria's al-Assad: Trump "a natural ally"
    • In that respect, Assad, Putin, and Trump would be quite correct. I would _love_ to know which rebel groups promote pluralism and secularism for the future of the country. Virtually every so-called rebel group has Sunni triumphalism and overt calls for genocide against Christians and Alawites at the minimum as their ideological platform. It is repugnant that the American left has cozied with these elements and portrayed them as freedom-fighters.

  • How can Progressives get through the Next 4 Years? Organize!
    • You forgot the most important thing of all -- to demolish every last vestige of the Clinton "new left" that was the true cause of this catastrophe. No more liberal interventionism, no more divisive identity politics, economic justice for all.

  • Mosul Is My Hometown, Here Is Why ISIL Was Able To Stay There
    • This is a sad but not-that-sad case of "you made your bed and now you have to lay in it." ISISs advances in Mosul and elsewhere were the result of years of Sunni rejectionism and the use of sectarianism and terror as political tools. With due respect to the author and his loved ones still in the city, there has to be a major cultural shift amongst the Sunni communities of Iraq, a renouncement of all attacks on civilians, a repudiation of the logic of takfir, and a return to civil society.

  • Save America from Trump to fix America, or, Did your Mother Drop you on Your Head?
    • There is no shame here whatsoever. Your error is equating non-support for Clinton with support for Trump, an increasingly common centrist liberal smear. There are basic principles that need to be upheld, regardless of who the opponent is. Hillary Clinton's record of destruction in the Middle East is deeply troubling, disqualifying in my mind, and I proudly refuse to validate her psychotic foreign policy. The left needs to quit with the hysteria, take a deep breath, vote for truly leftist candidates up and down the ballot, and put trust in the checks and balances of our system. Your and Dr. Cole's centrist-liberal compromises have only allowed the Clintons and their allies to take the party ever farther to the right.

    • You outline a pretty hefty compromise, Juan. Surely you can understand why some people are not willing to make that leap. The Clintons played a big role in killing off the Left in this country and putting the country in the ICU, to borrow your analogy. We don't need dynastic rule, either from the Bushes or the Clintons.

  • Hizbullah's Candidate becomes Lebanese President after Sunni Compromise
    • Very happy to see Aoun take the spot and the spirit of compromise even if under the duress of sagging Hariri family fortunes.

      Important to note however is that the problem in the Lebanese Sunni community and another factor in the demise of the House of Hariri is Sunni extremism and broad support for actual terrorist groups, notably ISIS and Nusrah, particularly in Tripoli. I doubt there is any support for the mythical FSA. Professor, please stop whitewashing Sunni grievances as some sort of earnest desire for parliamentary democracy and human rights and call it as it is.

  • Sectarian Tensions flare in Baghdad as some Sunni Arab families forced from Neighborhoods
    • I guess the Sunni strategy of suicide bombing mosques, schools, and marketplaces kinda backfired.

  • 10 Things Weiner did Worse than Storing H. Clinton Emails on his computer
    • Just want to point out, Juan, that this is the company Mrs Clinton kept, until he became toxic due to his Internet proclivities. Are her policies and attitudes towards the Palestinians any better? Her racist statements against the Palestinians during the NYC debate with Bernie Sanders were breathtaking.

  • Did Trump-Style Islamophobia break up the European Union?
    • It is a terrible shame that such a consequential decision, and one with implications far beyond Britain, was left to a trivial populist referendum. There should have been a higher bar set than 50%.

  • Al-Qaeda Speaks The Language Of Syrian Sectarianism
    • Good article, but it is important to recognize that anti-Alawite, even genocidal anti-Alawite rhetoric has been part of Syrian Islamism since well before the Assads took power. Some historical perspective on the treatment of the sect before the second half of the 20th century would help elucidate other contours of the conflict.

  • Abuses of Fallujah Sunnis Raise Question: Does Iraq Gov't Control of Shiite Militias
    • Given that Fallujah is almost exclusively Sunni Arab, and that the local populace has significant elements that supported the IS occupation, oveereaction and even abuses should be expected. They are nothing even remotely in the league of what Iraqi Shi'as and others have been subjected to, and quite systematically, over decades. Perhaps Dr. Cole could address the longer-term significance of Fallujah in its support of Saddam Hussein, the post-2003 insurgency which saw breathtaking acts of anti-Shia violence, as well as the incursion of IS in the country. However wrong and reprehensible these abuses, there is a context here that is being swept aside.

  • Modern Mongols: Sunni Arabs outraged at Iran role in Iraqi Gov't Fallujah Campaign
    • Terrible excesses happen in war, and it is highly likely that Hashd al-Shaabi have committed excesses. But to view them as systematically sectarian in nature, there is scant evidence of that. Of course Sunnis are being killed in greater numbers; Daesh is composed exclusively of Sunnis. The real "crime" the Hashd al-Shaabi (or Iran for that matter) have committed is being predominantly Shia.

  • US-Backed Kurds begin Campaign against ISIL in Northern Syria
    • Ms Oudeis' tweet actually says the "ummah," by which she likely means Sunni Arabs, are "secretly rooting for" Daesh against said forces. And therein lies the biggest problem and an unspoken one, that Sunni Arabs have fallen victim to a genocidal hatred for nearly every other single ethnic or religious group in the region, such that terror groups like Daesh that promise to eliminate these problematic populations enjoy more popular support than is recognized.

  • ISIL hits Syrian Regime in Shiite northwest, killing 150
    • Thanks, I perhaps mistakenly read that paragraph to say that you were lending some credence to that view, when you were reporting on others' views.

    • Dr. Cole, your take on the possibility of Ahrar al-Sham claiming responsibility in the name of Daesh is an interesting one. I had wondered about Daesh having reach so far towards the coast. What would be the reasons for that, to continue to give the US cover in not acquiescing to Russian calls to designate Ahrar as a terrorist group (which it most certainly is)?

  • British PM Cameron's tiff with Trump over Muslims: The Hypocrisy Factor
    • Trump’s daffiness is what makes him a spectacle. But we should not consider his monstrosity a great departure from our accustomed norm. This country will never, in all its future history, be able to adequately repent for its destruction of Iraq, which was a bipartisan monstrosity of epic proportions. On the Democratic side, let us remember, we have a candidate who, serving as Secretary of State, cackled loudly and made a rather psychotic joke when she heard that Qaddafi had been barbarically killed. She apparently thinks destabilizing Arab countries and handing them over to legions of extremists is a laugh! So let us not allow the spectacle to delude us into thinking we’ve somehow behaved in a civilized way up to this point. Trump is us.

  • Russia declines to ask Syria to halt Bombardment of East Aleppo
    • I strongly disagree with your views in Syria just as I disagreed with your now discredited views on Libya. But for the sake of open-mindedness and dialogue, I would like to ask you to write a post outlining which opposition groups operating in Syria are a) not Islamist extremist groups, b) not collaborating at least sporadically with Islamist terror groups, and c) could plausibly stabilize and democratize the country. My contention is that there are no such groups.

  • After Obama-Salman Summit, will Saudi finally rein in Wahhabi Radicalism?
    • The writer flatly denies that the Saudis export terror. "They don't," he concludes flatly. And then he goes on to describe a situation in which they actively export terrorism. And to suggest that the Saudis have been anything less than active in promoting the interests of the extremists in Syria, Iraq, and Libya is patently false. More attempts at excusing the inexcusable.

  • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left
    • No surprise here, as this blog has consistently and vociferously supported the Clintons' brand of interventionism, all the while pretending to be of the Left.

  • Prince's Islamophilia as a Problem: "It's fun to be in Islamic Countries"
    • Interesting piece. I didn't know that Prince held those views about Islam and Muslims. It is true that there is hidden diversity in the Persian Gulf, although truthfully there is typically only one normative religious expression that is permitted. In the UAE, churches are allowed to operate, but typically a conglomeration of churches assembled on the same plot of land and isolated from high-traffic areas. Shi'ism has been severely restricted in recent years even in the relatively liberal UAE. So it's easy to see why he would get the impression that there is one rule -- because there really is just one rule.

  • Despite Syria Cease Fire, Belligerents Plot military Victory
    • East Aleppo is not largely controlled by moderates as you claim. The majority is controlled by Islamists and even the most extreme Islamist factions. Do you think Russia should go block to block and canvas the militants for their views on women's rights and secularism?

  • In Cartoons: How Iranians, Saudis See Each Other
    • These kinds of "See? Both sides are doing it!" arguments are being deployed to obscure the simple fact that Saudi Arabia just executed a man for a thought crime, and for his sect. Nimr was no agent of Iran, he was a Saudi citizen, so it is not clear why media and commentators continue to play the Saudi-versus-Iran angle.

  • Top 5 Ways Saudi Arabia really could fight Terrorism, & not by a Vague Coalition
    • It wasn't necessary to read past your intro, Professor. To somehow suggest that the fatwas generated by Wahhabi scholars and their affiliates is not connected with Daesh efforts at cleansing the realm of heterodoxy is astonishing. Furthermore, Saudi support for movements that inexorably morphed into Al-Qaeda and Daesh from the late 70s onward is incontrovertible. Please join rational people in condemning what deserves to be condemned.

  • Trump's call for Spying on US Muslims recalls FBI bugging of MLK, Black Churches
    • The specific kind of surveillance he is talking about has been carried out by the NYPD for a number of years. It is just as odious without adding Trump's bombast to the equation.

  • Documents
    • Trump's daffiness is what makes him a spectacle. But we should not consider his monstrosity a great departure from our accustomed norm. This country will never, in all its future history, be able to adequately repent for its destruction of Iraq, which was a bipartisan monstrosity of epic proportions. On the Democratic side, let us remember, we have a candidate who, serving as Secretary of State, cackled loudly and made a rather psychotic joke when she heard that Qaddafi had been barbarically killed. She apparently thinks destabilizing Arab countries and handing them over to legions of extremists is a laugh! So let us not allow the spectacle to delude us into thinking we've somehow behaved in a civilized way up to this point. Trump is us.

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