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  • Top 10 Reasons Governors are Wrong to Exclude Syrian Refugees
    • Funny that GOP / Fanatic governors never have complained about this:

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    • The French are taking in 30,000 refugees.

      Other European countries are likewise taking in numbers of a similar nature.

      The United States is, as I recall, taking in 18,000? Although we are vastly larger in both area and population? And that 18,000 would be a drop in the ocean in an American population of about 320,000,000?

      I also find it interesting that Jordan (with a population of about 8 million has "1.5 million Syrian (mainly, also includes a good number of Iraqi) refugees residing in the country. Jordan continues to demonstrate hospitality, despite the substantial strain the Syrian refugees are holding on national systems and infrastructure. It is also the only safe refuge available to thousands of Iraqi Christians fleeing the Islamic State."

      Likewise, Lebanon (with a population of around 5-6 million) has accepted and housed over 650,000 refugees (again mainly Syrian but to include a good number of Iraqis).

      A vast majority of their refugees don't want to immigrate anywhere (nor do they want to live in refugee camps forever as many Palestinians did). They want to return home to their native homes.

      Almost none of these refugees are from any significantly fundamentalist Muslim groups. Those elements are welcome if Shia in Shia-controlled Iraq and if Sunni are welcome in Sunni-controlled ISIS. In fact, ISIS needs that latter group for recruiting / drafting fighters as "foreign fighters" make up a very small fraction of their forces.

      In addition, many of the vast majority of Syrian refugees are from the pre ISIS civil war of the various Syrian rebel factions (hardline fundamentalist Sunnis to somewhat moderate Sunnis in several factions) against Assad (and his various supporters).

      As a result, a great many of those refugees were very moderate and secular Baathist Sunnis and also Syrian Christians (who were strongly allied for decades with the Assads and the Baathists). The ASSUMPTION that these refugees (or even most of them) are very fundamentalist fanatical Muslims just doesn't hold water. Most, by far, are Moderates. Many (from the Baathist camps) are secular. A good number of them are Christians (both from the allies of Assad in Syria and the Christian communities in Iraq).

      Western governments (as well as wealthy Arab and other Muslim countries) could have kept a lid on the refugee problem had nations like Lebanon and Jordan been aided significantly with helping set up modernized refugee camps - as well as modernized camps in other Coalition Arab countries.

      Yes, there would have still been a number of refugees (seeking political asylum, seeking protection from religious persecution, etcetera - but there would not have been a "flood" (a flood which pales in significance to the numbers in Jordan and Lebanon).

    • This is n excellent point. The failure of ISIS - even in its "homeland" - lands squarely on its inability to "swim like fish" amongst the sea of people. Even there it acts as a conquering horde and occupation by looters versus a government. That problem is magnified 1000-fold when operating in a primarily non fundamentalist Muslim area amongst local Muslims who despise you? That is why ISIS is being so readily caught in Belgium and France. How much of the involved "tracking down" involved phone tips by Muslims in the community?

    • I wonder if a poll would demonstrate whether or not non fundamentalist Christians (moderate Christians, liberal Christians, non Christians such as Spiritual But Not Religious, Agnostics, Atheists, Other Religions) would be more strongly in favor of accepting refugees than the Bible Belter fundamentalists?

    • State Governors Don’t Have Power To Refuse Syrian Refugees

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  • Is Daesh/ ISIL a modern Raiding Pirate state?
    • Let's see (just IMHO)...

      Per question.


      Yes (plus strips away the base of operations of its tentacle-like international terrorist cells - unlike good guerrillas, ISIS aren't "fish swimming in a 'friendly' sea")

      No, it's not a reasonable expectation (especially given emotions created by terrorism itself - spelled out fairly well, not completely accurate, but fairly well, in Chris Hedges' "War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning", simply human nature that POSSIBLY has bettered since the Cold War, but not so much as to alter that nature that much; given several very positive generations, who knows, maybe we'll see that type change to a large majority, but not now).


      And, BTW, I agree with your last statement absolutely. Me too.

    • Some very good points.

      Especially "We do have to eliminate the 'pirates.' But our own 'raiding parties' have to get out as soon as the job is done."

      And if I might add a couple.

      One, use the formula that was working so well in Afghanistan V1 (before we pulled way too many resources to run off and illegally invade and occupy Iraq thereby allowing the Taliban to resurrect even way, way stronger); that being Spec Ops teams working in conjunction with capable local ground forces (time to quit playing political footsies IMO and simply back the Kurds across the board) and surgical (as possible) airpower.

      Two. Don't try to change people. Make it clear that there's no problem with Sunnis (Nor Shiites nor secularists). Only with - in this case - fanatically radical Sunnis of the fringe fundamentalist variety. And with the quasi / pseudo Sunnis who really are there for the adventure aspect.

      Actually if a moderate Sunni state of adjoining segments of Iraq and Syria as well as a moderate, maybe even secular, Kurdish state of segments of adjoining Iraq, Syria, and Turkey would IMO be a good thing. A counterbalance to Shia Iraq and Shia Iran and likely allies of moderates in the area (such as Jordan). But I believe that complexities such as that need to be done - to truly work - through negotiations of involved parties once combat actions have been derailed. Help out with those negotiations? Sure. Hopefully with multiple allied partners. Show that we would economically aid and assist true modern states in the region? Absolutely. But remove the military presence (which should never become a large footprint) as soon as practical? Mandatory.

    • Very good point.

      And the same was true of the Barbary Coast States (eventually a part of the Ottoman Empire, but remote enough to have a lot of autonomy). In fact, they were a step up th he ladder as they were indeed "nation states" versus "pirate ports". In both cases, these centers of "raider activity" (whether Nassau / St. Mary's or Barbary Coast states) were not dens of inequity as one might think. In fact, the Barbary Coast states were considered quite "civilized" (for that era) and very peaceful. A good place to start in looking at that comparison is simply Wikipedia. (Barbary Coast, Barbary Pirates, Barbary Wars). All are well referenced and have good bibliographies and good suggestions for "further reading".

      I am not sure what it is, but I couldn't get into Black Sails. My nephew (great nephew?) and grandson who live with us love the show and tape it to watch when their schedules coincide. It may very well be due to not having seen it from the start (in fact missed the whole first season and first show was like the third episode of season two. I will have to check out season one from the library and see if there's a change in my thoughts. I know that it has very positive fan review as seasons 4 and 5 have already been approved.

    • Ahhh... a quite good analogy. But, as you stated, not exact.

      ISIS / ISIL really does (IMO) want to become a nation state. But do not have that capability currently. So indeed are right now closer to being a modern Raiding Pirate state. You gave examples from the Caribbean and Indian Ocean but maybe a more direct example would have been the Barbary Pirates of North Africa?

      They were small Muslim "countries" (sultanates, etcetera) along the southern shore of the Mediterranean that specifically targeted non Muslim shipping for the ships and their cargo, the ransom of any surviving crew, and extortion money from the non Muslim nations for their shipping to not be targeted (which the Barbary pirates would periodically ignore in order to "up the ante").

      Additionally, while their major strategy was piracy (and that centered in the western Mediterranean), "In addition to seizing ships, they engaged in Razzias, raids on European coastal towns and villages, mainly in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal, but also in the British Isles, the Netherlands and as far away as Iceland. The main purpose of their attacks was to capture Christian slaves for the Ottoman slave trade as well as the general Arabic market in North Africa and the Middle East." (*)

      And we're not talking minor activities here.

      "Corsairs captured thousands of ships and repeatedly raided coastal towns. As a result, residents abandoned their former villages of long stretches of coast in Spain and Italy. The raids were such a problem that coastal settlements were seldom undertaken until the 19th century. From the 16th to 19th century, corsairs captured an estimated 800,000 to 1.25 million people as slaves." (*)

      "The scope of corsair activity began to diminish in the latter part of the 17th century, as the more powerful European navies started to compel the Barbary States to make peace and cease attacking their shipping. However, the ships and coasts of Christian states without such effective protection continued to suffer until the early 19th century. Following the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna in 1814–15, European powers agreed upon the need to suppress the Barbary corsairs entirely and the threat was largely subdued. Occasional incidents occurred, including two short Barbary wars between the United States of America and the Barbary States, until finally terminated by the French conquest of Algiers in 1830." (*)

      IMO, to complete the analogy, it is pretty obvious that pirates, whether ships / small fleets under the command of those such as Kidd / Blackbeard / Etcetera or Pirate Raiding Nations such as Barbary States had a primary motive of WEALTH. Was some of their wealth used for logistics (supplies), new armaments, paying crews (who traditionally were paid by means of a share of "the loot"), paying off the local / regional authorities where they operated out of, etcetera, the vast majority of generated capital was to make people rich (even the Muslim pirate captains - and the sultan, whatever that they were used by).

      And that is where I see the main difference with ISIL. Unless someone has "followed the money" and discovered billions stashed away by ISIL leaders, it is apparent that ISIL, unlike pirate groups or Pirate Raiding Nations is dumping pretty much all of their extorted / stolen / looted funding BACK into the ISIL "war chest". Which is a logic that circles back around to tell me that in the short term (medium.term?) ISIL does want to establish eventually a type of nation state on the ground (as in a large swath of Iraq, most of Syria, and I'd also say a chunk of Lebanon... specifically the regions that have a vastly majority Sunni population as ISIL us basically not simply a fanatically radical Muslim organization, but specifically a fanatically radical Sunni Muslim organization - and their observations during the Iraqi War was that while they had areas - of Iraq, as well as Lebanon and especially Syria - where they were the majority, that the immediate area was of a high majority Shiite and very discriminatory; as the Sunnis had been as Baathists under fellow Sunni Saddam Hussein - who, like fellow Baathist Assad was / is a pretty secular dictator. That (Baathism) itself is an interesting subject. Interestingly, the Christian population of Syria sided solidly with the secular (Alawite) Shiite Baathists in control of Syria (as did the majority of the Christian population in Iraq sided with the secular Sunni Baathists under Saddam - as I recall).

      I believe that as one would compare ISIL with Al Qaeda, that an equally legitimate comparison should be made with ISIL and the Taliban, and with the PLO (and its sub units such as Fatah, PFLP, DFLP, PLF, etcetera), Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, and, say, the Kurdish Workers Party.

      Those are, like ISIS / ISIL and Al Qaeda, listed terrorist organizations (by the U.S. anyway - not everyone lists all of these as such). But, unlike Al Qaeda (or the international terrorist groups of the 1970s / 1980s), they are territorial oriented, either de facto nation States or striving to be so. They utilize military actions (from ambushes to raids to terrorism) in the local environment (and to a limited extent to their immediate surrounding area). They don't (as a rule) establish "terror cells" in distant countries for Paris type attacks (even if the target country is allied with their main opponent. A main agenda of that strategy is to generate support for their cause (Hamas, for example, and the PKK are in certain terrorist lists, but not that of all nations, even some Western countries, while the PLO is recognized by the UN and some countries as the representative government of the Palestinian "state"). I believe that they correctly surmise that being international terrorists (such as Al Qaeda) or the equivalent of "modern pirate raiding nations" would be very counterproductive to their progress. And I think that they are correct in that assumption and subsequent strategy.

      Meanwhile, it appears that ISIS / ISIL has no such strategy. In fact, they seem to be - by action if not intent - a hybrid of international terrorist cells, modern day pirate raiding nations, and a territorial oriented political / military / wannabe true nation state. Which I see as a very negative strategy. Al Qaeda's very strength lies in its lack of "home territory". Yet two of the three persona's exhibited by ISIL requires it to have that large territorial foundation / "home ports". Which creates quite a number of identifiable targets. Not a good overall strategy. Plus removing the territorial base and dispersing the military strength of ISIL as well as its organizational structure ends up dropping support to its foreign cells to very little, if any.

      Does ISIL "mature" over time? Do repeated losses and loss of any international support (even more and more to include Muslim countries - how many are already a part of the anti ISIL coalition) result in internal changes within ISIL to become territorial versus international, to become a Taliban rather than an Al Qaeda? After all, Fatah, the largest faction of the PLO (and once primarily its sole armed wing) was also a hybrid:

      "In the 1960s and the 1970s, Fatah provided training to a wide range of European, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African militant and insurgent groups, and carried out numerous attacks against Israeli targets in Western Europe and the Middle East during the 1970s. Some militant groups that affiliated themselves to Fatah, and some of the fedayeen within Fatah itself, carried out civilian-aircraft hijackings and terrorist attacks, attributing them to Black September, Abu Nidal's Fatah-Revolutionary Council, Abu Musa's group, the PFLP, and the PFLP-GC. Fatah received weapons, explosives and training from the Soviet Union/Russia and some Communist regimes of East European states. " (Fatah and the PLO in general are very leftwing secularists and thus openly supported by the Soviets and Warsaw Pact countries and the fall of communism in those areas likely had a large impact on the "maturing" of the PLO's splinter groups and Fatah away from international terrorism in the 1990s).

      But my gut reaction is that ISIL will not do that same type of "maturing". It seems that they simply don't have a conclusive strategy other than fight and kill the infidel locals (anyone over there, even fellow Sunnis if they aren't fanatically radical fundamentalist Sunnis) and "the Crusaders" (any non Muslims anywhere)... and have inoculated even that with an extreme dose of nihilism.


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