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Taking on jihadists without taking on racism is a lost battle

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Since the Paris attack of 13 November 2015, which killed 130 people and injured hundreds of others, the headlines of the various news outlets and social media have been keeping analysts and experts busy examining this murderous act ─ and its future ramifications not only for France and Europe but also the entire world. The attack came days after another (suicide) attack was carried out that  targeted a southern suburb of Beirut, killing forty innocent civilians. A few days earlier, a Russian air plane had been downed, taking the lives of more than 200 people. All these attacks were carried out by ISIS which straightforwardly has claimed responsibility.

Ever since the atrocities, the focus has been on mainly, if not only, the Paris attacks and on aspects of minor relevance such as the portraits of the individual perpetrators, their past and upbringing, their affiliation with ISIS, and how they managed to plan and carry out the attacks. Even though the investigation of this security-related information is crucial, more important questions related to the larger context of the relationship between the West and the Middle East need to be tackled courageously and now.

Of course, 13 November 2015 will be added to 11 September 2001 in the calendar listing murderous attacks of Islamist zealots against American and European targets. The implication here is that the world is sailing into, even being steered towards an episode similar to the one that followed 11 September, which failed to produce security and stability– not for western capitals, nor for the Middle East. This new episode of the war on terror is equally unlikely to succeed as long as western powers persist in placing their domestic security above stability and security in the Middle East. Achieving durable security and stability in the western capitals such as Paris and London, adamantly necessitates achieving security and stability in Arab capitals such as Baghdad, Damascus, Sana’a, and Jerusalem.

Since 9/11 and the ensuing “war against al-Qaeda terror,” neither peace nor democracy was brought to the Middle East. Instead, al-Qaeda has been replaced by another, notoriously militant group called ISIS. Both al-Qaeda and ISIS are made up of heirs of the militant Islamists who were supported by western countries in the 1980s, during the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. Back then, they were called mujahedeen, and were offered funds and weapons to fight on behalf of the United States and its allies. In those days, these Jihadi groups, a name that carries negative connotations now, were perceived as “the good guys” since they served the western objective of fighting communism. As unveiled in the Washington Post, “In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation. The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum.” In sum, ISIS is an extension of the groups that the United States has perceived in the past as fighters against tyranny.

The instrumental role of these Islamist groups in the US strategy at the time was summed up by the former chief of the CIA, Robert Gates in his memoirs “From the Shadows”, when he admitted that  American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention, knowing that such aid will induce a Soviet military intervention. This approach was a continuation of the strategy adopted, at least since the 1950s, a strategy that perceived hard-core Islamists as allies because they were seen a fierce anti-communists and opposed to nationalist leaders such as Nasser in Egypt and Mohammed Mosaddak in Iran.

There is no question that the horrible attack against the French capital is a heinous act of terror which reveals moral and political darkness that should not be tolerated. In order for the French (and the West in general) to truly succeed in fighting terror domestically and abroad, a different and more profound approach must be developed towards the Middle East that acknowledges and considers the following issues:

First, the investigation of the reasons for the attacks against the French capital can be better served by linking them to recent developments, of the last century or so, than by linking them to Islam which is 1400 years old. The former allows for the explanation of the shortsightedness of the Western approach towards the Middle East and the identification of the root causes of the animosity between the peoples that live on the two banks of the Mediterranean, whereas the latter allows only for the perpetuation of a self-produced narrative about the different Other that produces neither mutual understanding or respect, nor security, a mutual sense and assurance of security.

Second, the Paris attacks should be understood as a byproduct of the collapse of the old order in the Middle East ,which was brought about by the colonial West (France and United Kingdom) in 1916 with the Sykes–Picot Agreement. The agreement effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian Peninsula into areas of future British and French control. In the context of colonial rivalry, the Arab world was divided by creating individual “states” in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, not to forget the Jewish state in Palestine. A hundred years later, that order has collapsed and the peoples of the area are engaged in internal strife and civil wars that have disintegrated and fragmented “their” states, allowing for Islamists such as ISIS to emerge as unbeatable domestic power brokers to fill the void by writing a new chapter in the region’s history

Third, in order for France – and the West in general – to succeed in combating terror, one unified yardstick must be employed that values and cherishes all human lives equally, regardless of religion and ethnic affiliation. This implies that terror is ugly not only when it reaches Paris, London, and New York but also when it takes the lives of ninety-seven people in the Turkish capital on 10 October 2015, and forty people in a southern suburb of Beirut on 12 November 2015, and over one hundred people in Palestine killed by the Israeli colonial settlers and their protective army over the month of October 2015. State-sponsored terror by the US and UK, under Bush and Blair in particular, that took lives, injured and displaced millions in Iraq and Afghanistan is as ugly and vicious as the Paris attacks.

Finally, in order to better serve the great principles of the French revolution Liberté, égalité, fraternité that stand for France and reflect its ideals, the plight of the Palestinians should be ended. To this end, the comment made by the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström regarding the Paris attacks is important and could be a sound beginning for a guiding strategy. In that comment she said “Obviously, we have reason to be worried … across the world — because there are so many that are being radicalized. Here, once again, we are brought back to situations like the one in the Middle East, where not least, the Palestinians see that there is not a future. [The Palestinians] must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”

Unless the above four issues are acknowledged, encountering Jihadists through racism is a lost battle.

About Basem Ezbidi

Basem Ezbidi holds a PhD in political theory from the University of Cincinnati in the United States. Currently, teaches at Qatar university. He has written on aspects related to Palestine, the West and the Moslem World, Hamas, state-building, democratization, political reform, corruption, and development.

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33 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    December 2, 2015, 4:22 pm

    RE: “Both al-Qaeda and ISIS are made up of heirs of the militant Islamists who were supported by western countries in the 1980s, during the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.” ~ Basem Ezbidi

    MY COMMENT: The U.S. and its allies (especially the U.K., Israel, Jordan and Saudia Arabia) have been playing footsie (footsie circa 1920) with the Islamists (whether militant or not) for considerably longer than that.

    Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (American Empire Project)
    Hardcover – October 13, 2005
    by Robert Dreyfuss (Author)

    The first complete account of America’s most dangerous foreign policy miscalculation: sixty years of support for Islamic fundamentalism.

    Devil’s Game is the gripping story of America’s misguided efforts, stretching across decades, to dominate the strategically vital Middle East by courting and cultivating Islamic fundamentalism. Among all the books about Islam, this is the first comprehensive inquiry into the touchiest issue: How and why did the United States encourage and finance the spread of radical political Islam?

    Backed by extensive archival research and interviews with dozens of policy makers and CIA, Pentagon, and foreign service officials, Robert Dreyfuss argues that this largely hidden relationship is greatly to blame for the global explosion of terrorism. He follows the trail of American collusion from support for the Muslim Brotherhood in 1950s Egypt to links with Khomeini and Afghani jihadists to cooperation with Hamas and Saudi Wahhabism. Dreyfuss also uncovers long-standing ties between radical Islamists and the leading banks of the West. The result is as tragic as it is paradoxical: originally deployed as pawns to foil nationalism and communism, extremist mullahs and ayatollahs now dominate the region, thundering against freedom of thought, science, women’s rights, secularism–and their former patron.

    Wide-ranging and deeply informed, Devil’s Game reveals a history of double-dealing, cynical exploitation, and humiliating embarrassment. What emerges is a pattern that, far from furthering democracy or security, ensures a future of blunders and blowback.

    LINK –

    • JLewisDickerson
      December 2, 2015, 4:39 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “The CIA and The Muslim Brotherhood: How the CIA Set The Stage for September 11” (Martin A. Lee – Razor Magazine 2004)

      [EXCERPTS] The CIA often works in mysterious ways – and so it was with this little-known cloak-and-dagger caper that set the stage for extensive collaboration between US intelligence and Islamic extremists. The genesis of this ill-starred alliance dates back to Egypt in the mid-1950s, when the CIA made discrete overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood, the influential Sunni fundamentalist movement that fostered Islamic militancy throughout the Middle East. What started as a quiet American flirtation with political Islam became a Cold War love affair on the sly – an affair that would turn out disastrously for the United States. Nearly all of today’s radical Islamic groups, including al-Qaeda, trace their lineage to the Brotherhood. . .
      . . . For many years, the American espionage establishment had operated on the assumption that Islam was inherently anti-communist and therefore could be harnessed to facilitate US objectives. American officials viewed the Muslim Brotherhood as “a secret weapon” in the shadow war against the Soviet Union and it’s Arab allies, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA case officer who was right in the thick of things in the Middle East and Central Asia during his 21 year career as a spy. In “Sleeping with the Devil”, a book he wrote after quitting the CIA Baer explains how the United States “made common cause with the Brothers” and used them “to do our dirty work in Yemen, Afghanistan and plenty of other places”.
      This covert relationship; unraveled when the Cold War ended, whereupon an Islamic Frankenstein named Osama bin Laden lurched into existence. . .

      SOURCE –

      • Eva Smagacz
        Eva Smagacz
        December 3, 2015, 12:14 am

        I must disagree with the premise of the book. Muslim brotherhood is socially and religiously conservative Sunni Islam movement, but it is neither violent not fundamentalist in its outlook.

        CIA supported Muslim Brotherhood because it needed it as a counterbalance to pro-Soviet and non-religious Egyptian government.

        CIA supported Afghanistan’s mujahideen but Muslim brotherhood did not have, and does not have to this day,an aggressive, fundamentalist streak that would provide an expensive motivation to fight non religious Soviet Union .

        On the other hand, Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabis were all in. They really and truly believe that they must recreate God’s order on this Earth. They are true Zealots, and they have enormous quantity of money to spread their peculiar take on the religion. They are scary, they are fanatical, and they take the word of God literally. They are responsible for rise of Taliban, al-Quida and ISIS.

        In order to destroy the reputation of Hezbollah and Hamas in the western world eyes, “the fact had been fitted around the policy” :Hamas and Hezbollah have to be painted as mindless fundamentalist religeous crazies – It is just to dangerous that some may notice that these are resistance movements.

        So OF COURSE they are painted as similar/ideologically related to Taliban and Al Qaeda and ISIS. (do you remember yellowcake and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? – it’s exactly the same propaganda technique )

        But the stubborn fact is that Hamas has grown out of the Muslim Brotherhood Ideals of how to create a pious society, while Hezbollah’s religious roots are Shia. Both are grassroots organisations with a very strong resistance to Israeli occupation identity.

      • talknic
        December 3, 2015, 12:31 am

        @ “Both are grassroots organisations with a very strong resistance to Israeli occupation identity”

        Both are grassroots organizations in response and with a very strong resistance to Israeli occupation!

      • Bandolero
        December 3, 2015, 3:48 am

        While I haven’t read the book and the article mentioned above, I disagree with your notion that the Muslim Brotherhood is simply “socially and religiously conservative Sunni Islam movement, but it is neither violent not fundamentalist in its outlook.”

        I think that’s too simplistic. The character of the Muslim Brotherhood takes quite different forms depending on location and time. In some places and some time, say Tunisia’s Ehnada, the Brotherhood is a peaceful conservative movement. But that’s not everywhere and everytime the same.

        In Syria, for example, the Brotherhood was and still is mostly a terrorist tool on the service of the Saudis, the West and Israel to foment chaos. Unforgetten is for example the infamous Brotherhood’s Aleppo Artillery School massacre 1979.

        And today the Brotherhood’s Ahrar Al Sham is also much more a terrorist organisation than a “socially and religiously conservative Sunni Islam movement.”

        Also, the distinction between the Brotherhood and Wahhabi extremists is not always as sharp as you suggest. In Yemen, for example, the Brotherhood and the wahhabi extremists are quite close to each other. For example, the infamous Wahhabi Al Qaeda terrorist school “Iman University” in Sanaa was run by the boss of the Brotherhood:

        With Hamas in Palestine, one may well say, that it is now a conservative movement, but that was not always so. At the time when it was built the Brotherhood in Palestine was extreme and supported by Shabak, to divide Palestinians and thereby weaken the lefty PLO, and the Brotherhood wilfully played that game with the Shabak.

        In Egypt the matter is not so simple neither. Besides, that the Egyptian Brotherhood broght up characters like Al Qaeda boss Zawahiri, who went to Afghanistan together with the Saudi Wahhabis, Morsi was also an extremist and terror sponsor when he supported calls for a sectarian jihad against Shia and Allawite in Syria.

        So, all in all, I would call the Muslim Brotherhood in total more a very mixed bag than anything else. There are elements of a conservative movement inside it, but there are also outright sectarian terrorist forces in it, and everything in between these extremes is also present. And, of course, the west – and Israel, through the decades, supported the most extreme elements of the Brotherhood.

      • JLewisDickerson
        December 3, 2015, 9:53 am

        RE: Eva – While I haven’t read the book and the article mentioned above, I disagree with your notion that the Muslim Brotherhood is simply “socially and religiously conservative Sunni Islam movement, but it is neither violent not fundamentalist in its outlook.” ~ Bandolero

        MY REPLY: I’m not quite through reading it yet, but Robert Dreyfuss’ Devil’s Game very much supports your “mixed bag” take on the Muslim Brotherhood.

    • JLewisDickerson
      December 2, 2015, 4:41 pm

      P.P.S. AND SEE: “Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam”, By Mark Curtis, Reviewed by Kim Sengupta, The Independent, 7/30/10

      [EXCERPTS] For years, violent Islamist groups were allowed to settle in Britain, using the country as a base to carry out attacks abroad. This was tolerated in the belief that they would not bomb the country where they lived and that, as long as they are here, the security service would be able to infiltrate them. At the same time mosque after mosque was taken over through intimidation by the fundamentalists. Police and others in authority refused pleas from moderate Muslims with the excuse that they did not want to interfere.
      There was even a name for this amoral accommodation: the “covenant of security”. We now know that jihadists will indeed blow up their home country and that the security agencies signally failed to infiltrate the terrorist cells while they had the chance.
      The part played by officials in the growth of terrorism in Britain is a relatively small-scale affair compared to what went on abroad. Successive UK governments had nurtured and promoted extremists for reasons of realpolitik often at a terrible cost to the population of those countries. Mark Curtis, in his book on “Britain’s collusion with radical Islam”, charts this liaison. He points out how reactionary and violent Muslim groups were used against secular nationalists at the time of empire and continued afterwards to back UK and Western interests.
      The price for this is now being paid at home and abroad. I am writing this review in Helmand, where a few days ago I went on an operation with British and Afghan troops against insurgents whose paymasters, across the border in Pakistan, have been the beneficiaries of US and British largesse.
      Curtis points out that two of the most active Islamist commanders carrying out attacks in Afghanistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalalludin Haqqani, had particularly close contacts with the UK in the past. Hekmatyar met Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street when he was a favourite of MI6 and the CIA in the war against the Russians. Haqqani, while not the “Taliban’s overall military commander fighting the British” as Curtis says (he runs his own network parallel to the Taliban), was viewed as a highly useful tool in that conflict.
      The Western use of the Mujaheddin as proxy fighters is well documented. It resulted in the spawning of al-Qa’ida, the spread of international terrorism, and the empowering of ISI, the Pakistani secret police, who became their sponsors. Curtis examines the lesser known by-products of this jihad: the dispatch of Afghan Islamist veterans, with the connivance of Britain and the US, to the wars in the Balkans and the former Soviet republics in central Asia, and ethnic Muslim areas of China. Vast sums of money from the West’s great ally, Saudi Arabia, helped fund the Reagan administration’s clandestine war in support of repressive military juntas in Latin America while, at the same time, buttressing the aggressive Wahabi faith embraced by many terrorist groups.
      The use of hardline Islam by the West was particularly prevalent at the time of the Cold War. In many instances, however, the targets for destabilisation were not Communist regimes but leaders who had adopted left-wing policies deemed to pose a threat to Western influence and interests.
      The UK attempted to combat “virus of Arab nationalism”, after Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power in Egypt and nationalised the Suez Canal, by forging links with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation involved in terrorism. The nationalisation of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company by the democratically elected Iranian government of Mohammed Mossadeq led to a British-American organised coup which was facilitated by Ayatollah Seyyed Kashani, one of whose followers was the young Ruhollah Khomeini. In Indonesia, the removal of Ahmed Sukarno in another military coup by the UK-US was carried out with the help of Darul Islam. Its followers went on to massacre socialists and trade unionists.
      In each of these cases the clandestine backing of Britain and the US strengthened Islamist groups at the expense of secular bodies and moderate Muslims. These groups then went to form terrorist groups whom the West would later have to confront in the “War on Terror”. . .


    • JLewisDickerson
      December 2, 2015, 7:22 pm

      FINALLY, SEE: “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas”, By Andrew Higgins, The Wall Street Journal, 01/24/09

      [EXCERPT] Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago.
      “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
      Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. . .
      . . . When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.
      “When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early ’90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.” . . .


  2. Kay24
    December 2, 2015, 4:51 pm

    Shooting in San Bernardino: Jake Tapper (who shows his zio colors now and then) jumps the gun and wants to know if the shooters can be Islamic terrorists. The answer was it is too early to tell either way. You can almost sense that hope it will turn out to be those Arabs/Muslims/Jihadists whatever. Anything to put those Muslims in a bad light.

    The last shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic, was by a White Christian terrorist.

    • tree
      December 2, 2015, 7:51 pm

      “… and wants to know if the shooters can be Islamic terrorists. ”

      …because of course, there have been absolutely no mass shootings in the US in the last 20 odd years that involved any one else but “Islamic terrorists.”

      Has Tapper been living under a rock or something? Mass shootings with mundane but violent domestic motives are appallingly routine in the US. No foreign interest needed.

      • Kay24
        December 2, 2015, 10:23 pm

        Statistically, it has been a White Christian who has been the criminal in these mass shootings.
        Tapper should not have asked that question so early, knowing very well that most of the time it is not. However, MSNBC just mentioned a Muslim name as one of the criminals. He is apparently an American citizens. Everything is still unclear.

        The endless killings by guns in this nation is appalling, and seems to be worst in the entire world.

    • JLewisDickerson
      December 2, 2015, 10:02 pm

      RE: “Shooting in San Bernardino: Jake Tapper jumps the gun and wants to know if the shooters can be Islamic terrorists.” ~ Kay24

      MY REPLY: We must fight our inner demons “over there” so that we do not have to fight them “over here”! ! !*

      *SEE: “The Age of the Demagogues” | Chris Hedges | | Nov 29, 2015

      [EXCERPTS] The increase in nihilistic violence such as school shootings and Friday’s lethal assault on a Planned Parenthood clinic, the frequent executions of poor people of color by police, and the rise of thuggish demagogues such as Donald Trump are symptoms of the collapse of our political and cultural institutions. . .

      . . . The country realizes it has been sold out. Most citizens are apathetic and do not vote consistently. Some, especially in the white underclass, are willing to follow anyone, no matter how buffoonish, who promises that the parasites and courtiers will be driven from power. This mixture of rage and apathy is a recipe for totalitarianism.

      The hypermasculine values of the military are embraced across the political spectrum as an antidote to paralysis and decay. Toughness and violence are venerated. The obsequious hero worship, the celebration of American power, the sanctification of the military and military values, inflect all political discourse. Hero worship of the military has unwittingly laid the ideological groundwork for demagogues who promise glory, strength, order and discipline. It justifies the emergence of an authoritarian police state.

      Half of all Americans live in poverty. They have watched helplessly as their communities have been plunged into distress by the flight of manufacturing jobs and as their infrastructure, both moral and physical, has been ripped out from under them. America resembles the developing world. A tiny, oligarchic elite amasses obscene amounts of wealth while most of the population lives amid boarded-up storefronts, dilapidated houses, pothole-riddled streets, abandoned factories and warehouses and crumbling schools. They see no future. They have abandoned hope. Their despair now infects a shrinking and desperate middle class. Americans feel isolated, vulnerable and frightened. They yearn for moral and economic renewal, revived greatness, and vengeance. And many are desperately hunting for a savior outside the established political order.

      The disgust directed at an ineffectual liberalism—as was true in late imperial Russia and the latter days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Weimar Republic and the former Yugoslavia—has given rise to a rejection of liberalism. Liberals and secularists, along with groups such as feminists, African-Americans and homosexuals that were supposedly championed in the quest for cultural diversity, are viewed not as political competitors but as contaminants. This is giving rise to a homegrown fascism—a subject I examined in “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America”—buttressed by the gun culture, a resurgence of racism and sexism and the fusion of the symbols of the Christian cross and the American flag. This American fascism will expand unless there is a radical restructuring to reintegrate dispossessed Americans into the economy. The failure to reverse the corporate assault, the continued expansion of poverty and despair, will accelerate the country’s breakdown. It will ensure the emergence of demagogues who, channeling this rage, will stoke white vigilante violence and call for the state repression of all groups including Black Lives Matter, abortion providers, environmentalists and anti-capitalists that are blamed for the country’s decline.

      The perfidious game of the Democrats and the Republicans has backfired. Playing the Democrats’ mantra of cultural diversity against the Republicans’ mantra of cultural diversity weakening the fabric of American society no longer works as a mechanism of control. We have entered a new and dangerous phase in American political life. The ruling political elites have been exposed as charlatans. The rage of the underclass, especially the white underclass, has broken its bonds. The age of the demagogues has arrived.

      SOURCE –

  3. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes
    December 2, 2015, 9:41 pm

    Gee, thanks for the view from Qatar. The analysis is not inconsistent with the narrative from a middle east news source that American leftists came to rely upon over the years — the Qatar-based AlJazeera. This paragraph is a good example:

    Second, the Paris attacks should be understood as a byproduct of the collapse of the old order in the Middle East ,which was brought about by the colonial West (France and United Kingdom) in 1916 with the Sykes–Picot Agreement. The agreement effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian Peninsula into areas of future British and French control. In the context of colonial rivalry, the Arab world was divided by creating individual “states” in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, not to forget the Jewish state in Palestine. A hundred years later, that order has collapsed and the peoples of the area are engaged in internal strife and civil wars that have disintegrated and fragmented “their” states, allowing for Islamists such as ISIS to emerge as unbeatable domestic power brokers to fill the void by writing a new chapter in the region’s history

    On the one hand, pro-Palestinian, while on the other hand totally ignoring the role of neocons and Israel’s Lobby in pushing to reshape the Middle East (to revisit Sykes Picot) — as though Middle Eastern states have been dissolving in recent years on their own. It’s like looking at the events of the Arab Spring without reading M&W’s “Israel Lobby” or Sy Hersh’s “Redirection” or noting the role of Qatar’s AlJazeera in shaping the pro-MB narrative of the “democracy movements” and the MSM’s demonizing of Arab leaders on the neocons’ hit list.

  4. Jackdaw
    December 3, 2015, 1:12 am

    ” In sum, ISIS is an extension of the groups that the United States has perceived in the past as fighters against tyranny. ”

    The nucleus of ISIS is made up of Iraq Baathist die hards, and the Baath Party is simply the Arab version of the Nazi Party.

    “..the Baath Party was founded, as a kind of clone of the Nazi and Fascist parties,..”–Bernard Lewis

    Awfully good try, though.

    • pabelmont
      December 3, 2015, 9:24 am

      I personally would never believe a word Bernard Lewis said — he is a dyed-in-the-wool Zionist and grinds the Zionist axe exceeding sharp.All his thinking and sxcholarship, said to be excellent as to historic Islam, is trashed as to modern Islam. Of course, “Baathist die-hards” (or any “die-hards”) are apt to use violence and may not represent the folks from whom they arose. readers might like to read the history of the Baath Party here:

      • Jackdaw
        December 3, 2015, 10:14 am

        “readers might like to read the history of the Baath Party..”

        Zaki Arsuzi, a co-founder of the Arab Ba’ath Party, claimed that historically Islam and Muhammad had reinforced the nobility and purity of Arabs, which degenerated in purity because of the adoption of Islam by other people. He had been associated with the League of Nationalist Action, a political party strongly influenced by fascism and Nazism with its paramilitary “Ironshirts”, that existed in Syria from 1932 to 1939.'athism

        Michel Aflaq, another co-founder of Ba’athism, espoused the twin ideologies of Nationalism and Socialism.
        Nationalism+Socialism=National Socialism.

      • Bandolero
        December 3, 2015, 1:32 pm


        Michel Aflaq, another co-founder of Ba’athism, espoused the twin ideologies of Nationalism and Socialism.
        Nationalism+Socialism=National Socialism.

        That part of your comments says all about your intentions.

        Can it be that you have never heard that the Nazis were not a socalists, but fascists who were bitterly opposed to socialism? I don’t think so. So I think your comment is nothing as an attempt to insert Nazi were it’s not inside, simply because you don’t like the Baath, a secular arab anti-colonalist movement, and your intend is to propagandize against it.

        And the same goes for Bernard Lewis, which you quoted above: as the US tanks were rolling into Iraq, a war he wanted because he thought his beloved racist Israel would benefit, he declared the ruling party of Iraq to be defacto Nazi and communist, a contradiction in itself, but a good slur to make US people to support the stupid war on Iraq.

      • diasp0ra
        December 3, 2015, 2:04 pm


        “Michel Aflaq, another co-founder of Ba’athism, espoused the twin ideologies of Nationalism and Socialism.
        Nationalism+Socialism=National Socialism”

        Congratulations, you win the prize for most ridiculous ignorant comment of the day.

        This tells me you know nothing about Aflaq and have ever read anything by him. I’m no fan of Baathist ideology and its corruptions among the years but your whole point is plain wrong.

        Aflaq espoused Nationalism as a means of identifying oneself and one’s state based on geography and shared history and culture, rather than on religious grounds as was the system under Ottoman rule. This form of nationalism has come to be accepted everywhere and is the basis for nation states and national borders. It’s not groundbreaking.

        He also supported Socialism in the sense of socialist ideals, of the state being a source of welfare for everyone and as a means of achieving a dignified equal life. It had an emphasis on community rather than individual.

        To demonstrate how utterly ridiculous your argument is here, Kibbutzim were nationalist in the sense that they supported Zionist Jewish nationalism, and also functioned in a way of a collective community with socialist ideals. Nationalism + Socialism = National socialism.

        You see how utterly ridiculous and ignorant that is?

      • gamal
        December 3, 2015, 2:17 pm

        without recommending that anyone actually read the mu’allafat al kamila, i offer a link to a pdf about the Alawite(?) Zaki al Arsuzi, it deals with the Alexandretta crisis.

        and this from global research, which quotes Darwishs’ how can ghosts bleed thing, that guy could really sum up the Arab experience:

        AMERICA’S “NEW IRAQ”: “Vengeance Beyond the Grave”. Killings, Kidnappings, Concentration Camps…

        Felicity Arbuthnot

        “The day before the Bacchalian extravaganza, on al Maliki’s instructions, an official was dispatched to Salahuddin Governorate, where Saddam Hussein was born in the village of al Awja and where he was taken for burial, after his US-backed lynching and the shocking subsequent treatment of his body. His two sons, summarily gunned down by US troops in Mosul, in July 2003, with his fifteen year old grandson, are also buried there.

        Maliki’s envoy delivered an order to the Chief of Saddam’s al-Bu Nasir clan, Hassan al Nada, that the tomb be closed and the remains of the former President transferred elsewhere.(i)

        Is it not dictators and despots who dictate, and order, while democratically elected Prime Ministers debate and decide by consensus?

        “To order the closure of the tomb is strange, especially since it houses bodies of Abdul Rahman Arif and Abdul Karim Kassem’, commented Nada.

        Arif, passionate pan-Arabist, was President from 1966-1968. As a then career soldier, he had supported the bloody overthrow of the British imposed monarchy in 1958, as President he sent Iraqi troops to fight against Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. He died in exile in Amman, Jordan, in 2007, having left Iraq after the invasion.

        Kassem led the 14th July 1958 revolution, became first post-revolution Prime Minister (1958-1963) speedily closing the open door policy which had facilitated monopolies in, as Iraqis put it: “plundering the country’s oil wealth and ties Iraq to imperialist alliances.” ……

        ” “They ordered the bodies dug up, the tombs destroyed and the dead men dragged out of their graves”, wrote Thomas Asbridge in his authoritative history of the Crusades.(ii) He was writing of 1098.Iraq has not been taken back a hundred years since the invasion, a repeated refrain from Iraqis, but nearly thousand it seems. “……

        “After Iraq fell, chillingly symbolized by the covering of the face of the statue of Saddam Hussein with a US flag, on 9th April 2003 and its toppling, al Maliki became deputy leader of the Supreme National Debaathification Commission – the purging of all former Baath party (ie pan-Arabism supporters) members from employment.

        The tomb of the co-founder of Pan Arabism, philosopher and sociologist, Michel Aflaq (1910-1989) was erased by US bulldozers.

        In 1991 after the Basra Road massacre, General Norman Schwarzkopf announced that there was : “No one left to kill.” As April 9th approaches, the ninth anniversary of the destruction of the statue and Iraq, it seems al Maliki has outdone Shwarzkopf. He has moved on to attacking the dead.”

        you may not have got the message, we did and understand its crude symbolism pretty completely but perhaps we flatter ourselves, we are after all unreformed, and long may it remain so.

      • oldgeezer
        December 3, 2015, 2:46 pm


        So are you one of those uber intelligentia guys who believes that the nazis were lefties because, see they got that there word socialist in their name?

        C’mon, you know you are. Too freaking funny.

      • Jackdaw
        December 3, 2015, 4:35 pm

        Sure they were Socialists.

        Nazi ideologist Gregor Strasser proclaimed: “We are socialists. We are enemies, deadly enemies, of today’s capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, its unfair wage system, its immoral way of judging the worth of human beings in terms of their wealth and their money, instead of their responsibility and their performance, and we are determined to destroy this system whatever happens!”

      • Bandolero
        December 3, 2015, 5:46 pm


        Are you a fascist?

        The reason why I ask is that for some time it was quite common for German neo-fascists and likeminded people to declare that Hitler and the NSDAP were not rightwing fascists, but leftwing socialists, so their closeness to all evil Hitler wasn’t all to obvious. I’m pretty much convinced the extreme rightwing ideologue Jonah Goldberg knows this and he copied his rethoric backed up with selctively misquoting Nazis to make them appear left from German neo-fascists.

        His 1927 quote from the elder Strasser brother, who together with his younger brother was leading a lefty NSDAP party wing in Berlin while Hitler ruled in Munich, Jonah Goldberg likely got from the German historian Kurt Gossweiler. Kurt Gossweiler, in the very same article and book, also quotes Hitler in secret background talks with capitalists 1926, explained such rhetoric as Nazis calling themselves socialists:

        In Geheimgesprächen mit seinen kapitalistischen Sponsoren erläuterte Hitler den Sinn solch radikaler Nazi-Sprüche am 28. Februar 1926 vor Hamburger Bankiers, Werftdirektoren und Großkaufleuten, deren Hamburger Nationalclub von 1919 ihn eingeladen hatte. Originalton Hitler: ”Diese breite, sture Masse, die vernarrt, verbohrt für den Marxismus kämpft, ist die einzige Waffe für die Bewegung, die den Marxismus brechen will….Wenn eine Bewegung aber an die breite Masse appellieren will, in der Erkenntnis, dass man nur mit ihr allein das machen kann, tritt das große Recht in Erscheinung, dass dann jedes Mittel zu verantworten ist, das zum Ziel führt.


        Your Strasser quote from 1927, which neither Goldberg nor you bothered to source, was likely taken from the same Gossweiler article.

        So what is it in English, what Hitler told the industrialists in secret background talks? Paraphrased translation. The stupid masses fight for marxism, but we are the movement to destroy marxism. Since the masses want marxism, we can only destroy it when we use marxist rethoric.

        Bother Strasser brothers got eventually seriously in conflict with Hitler, because Hitler hated socialism. The younger declared then: Socialists now leave the NSDAP. He founded the black front to resist Hitler, and his elder brother supported him. Hitler eventually managed to kill the elder Strasser brother in the night of the long knifes.

      • oldgeezer
        December 3, 2015, 8:26 pm


        thanks for confirming that Jack.

        You are proof positive that (too) little education is indeed quite dangerous.

      • Mooser
        December 4, 2015, 12:34 am

        “Nazi ideologist Gregor Strasser proclaimed: “We are socialists. We are enemies, deadly blah, blah…”

        Ever notice how much Zionists trust Nazis? Crazy isn’t it? Gregor Strasser said it, so Jackdaw believes it.

        Jackdaw, I got bad new for you. Nazis lie, just as much as Zionists. Yes, hard to believe, but true.

      • Jackdaw
        December 4, 2015, 1:24 am


        “The rise of National Socialism is the protest of a people against a State that denies the right to work. If the machinery for distribution in the present economic system of the world is incapable of properly distributing the productive wealth of nations, then that system is false and must be altered. The important part of the present development is the anti-capitalist sentiment that is permeating our people.

        At the Reichstag (May 1934). Quoted in “The Mind and Face of Nazi Germany” – Page 165 – by Nagendranath Gangulee – National socialism – 1942

        Regarding the Black Shirt/Brown Shirt, schism , Jonah Goldberg repeatedly pointed out. Stalin purged Trotsky, etal, but that didn’t make him any less of a Socialist. Same goes for Hitler and the Night of the Long Knives.

      • Bandolero
        December 4, 2015, 1:54 pm


        Whom you wanna fool here with your neo-fascist trolling and gross falsification of history?

        You may have noticed or not, but Hitler, not Strasser, was the leader of the Nazi movement in Germany. A month after Strasser hold his socialist-like speech, Hitler killed Strasser.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      December 3, 2015, 2:07 pm

      ” the Baath Party is simply the Arab version of the Nazi Party. ”

      Really? I thought that was the Phalange, whose founder, Pierre Gemayel, openly said he had been ‘inspired’ by the Nazi Youth Movement, which he witnessed first hand at the Berlin Olympics.

      But then, given that Israel supported Gemayel’s son Bachir as Lebanese president, only to fall out with him when he refused to be as servile a puppet as they needed, it’s not convenient for you to mention the avowedly Nazi origins of the Phalange.

    • lysias
      December 3, 2015, 5:00 pm

      Gregor Strasser was leader of the left wing of the Nazi party, until he fell out with Hitler at the end of 1932 and was killed by the Nazis during the Blood Purge of 1934.

      However, you can find similar statements all over the place in Goebbels’s diaries. Goebbels, of course, was originally a prominent member of the Nazi left wing.

      • Jackdaw
        December 5, 2015, 11:16 am

        Tell that to Bandolero, Old Geezer and Disap0ra.

  5. pabelmont
    December 3, 2015, 9:28 am

    An excellent article. I recommend an article the present author linked to, which begins this way:

    Since the Paris attacks, western politicians have been walking open-eyed into a trap set by the terrorists – just like they did after 9/11. They retaliate with bombs, even though bombs are one of the main reasons why we are facing terrorism in the first place: because bombs predominantly kill innocent people, and thus help to create fresh recruits for the terrorist cause.

    As I learned from spending time interviewing Islamic State members in Syria and northern Iraq, George W Bush’s “war on terror” turned out to be a classic terrorist recruitment programme of this kind. In 2001 there were roughly a couple of hundred terrorists in the mountains of the Hindu Kush who posed a threat to the international community. Now, after the war on terror has claimed what some estimate to be as many as one million Iraqi lives, we are facing some 100,000 terrorists. Isis was created six months after the start of the invasion: it is Bush’s baby.

    • Theo
      December 3, 2015, 12:52 pm

      You are correct, with our bombing terror we created a powerful movement that will not go away for many years. For every child killed by our bombs a new terrorist joins the ranks of the many anti-west groups, their names change, but not the intentions.

      The Nov. 13 massaker in Paris was a “return of favours” for the french bombing in Syria, prime minister Cameron can hardly wait to join the fun and as of today the Brits are bombing Al Raqqa, killing women and children. Our british friends should enjoy their lives, as a proper “thank you” will come to them sooner or later. The ISIS is not like the El Quida, made up from simple peoples, but their leaders are iraqi officers and very well educated persons. They succeeded to entice their old colonial masters to join the killing, they will find a way to hit the french and brits again and again. Both countries have a large moslem population, many are very much dissatisfied with their lives, so the ISIS will find a few to commit a terrorist attack, as they did in Paris. The planners and actors of Nov. 13 were born french and belgian citizens, not ISIS members, and we know that there are many more of them.

      How stupid must be a politician who keeps repeating the same acts again and again and expects each time a different result?

  6. Boo
    December 3, 2015, 10:53 am

    Expecting colonialists to put old behavior behind them is like asking John Wayne Gacy to bury his clown suit.

  7. lysias
    December 11, 2015, 2:57 pm

    Huffington Post: Servicemen Contradict Military’s Account Of Attack On MSF Hospital In Afghanistan: Two servicemen have told Congress that American special forces called in an air strike on a hospital in Afghanistan because they believed the Taliban were using it as a command center.

    This is the MSF hospital in Kunduz. I think the two servicemen, whom Rep. Duncan Hunter will not name because they fear retaliation, are very probably the crew of the AC-130, who are now the objects of an investigation.

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