ISIS, IS, Da’ash


weapons

For an animated video of the weapons used by all sides in Syria, click here.

by Ben Watson, Defense One, July 19, 2016

From chlorine gas to Kalashnikovs, barrel bombs to cruise missiles, the Syrian conflict shows what 21st-century militaries and armed groups can bring to bear.

The Assad regime’s bloody reaction to the 2011 Arab Spring ignited one of the most lethal rebellions in modern history, placing it in the crosshairs of more than 1,000 armed groups: rebels, Kurds, defectors, extremists and countless others, including foreign military experts. Taken together, the opposition is better equipped than any the world has seen in generations, according to Charles Lister, Middle East analyst and resident fellow at the Middle East Institute.

“Syria represents the Afghanistan of the 21st century, but on steroids. The scale of jihadist militancy in Syria is one thing; the capability that they have acquired,” Lister said, “is at least in my opinion unprecedented in modern history.”

The weapons on display in the Syrian war include some of the world’s most advanced and deadly, thanks to the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State and Russia’s own arrival in 2015.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died in the war; the UN stopped counting at 191,000 three years ago, but estimates range from a quarter million to at least 470,000. The conflict has uprooted half of Syria’s pre-war population, scattering five million people beyond its borders.

isiswalt
Stephen Walt has an astute analysis of the state of ISIS in Foreign Affairs.

Clamping down with law and order will not be enough

by Thomas Piketty, Le blog de Thomas Piketty, Le Monde online, November 24, 2015

Confronted with terrorism, the response must involve security measures. We must hit Daech and arrest those who are members. But we must also consider the political conditions of this violence, the humiliation and the injustices which result in this movement receiving considerable support in the Middle East and today gives rise to murderous vocations in Europe. In the long run, the real issue is the establishment of an equitable model for social development both there and here.

One thing is obvious: terrorism thrives on the inequality in the Middle-East which is a powder keg we have largely contributed to creating. Daech – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) –is a direct consequence of the break-up of the Iraqi regime and more generally, of the collapse of the system of frontiers set up in the region in 1920. After the annexation of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990-1991, the coalition powers sent their troops to restore the oil to the emirs – and to the Western companies.

In passing, we started a new cycle of technological and assymetrical wars (a few hundred dead in the coalition forces in the ‘liberation’ of Kuwait, as against several thousand on the Iraqi side). This approach was pursued to the limit during the second war with Iraq, from 2003 to 2010: roughly 500,000 Iraqi dead as compared with 4,000 American soldiers killed; all this as revenge for the 3,000 who died on 11 September despite the fact that they had nothing to do with Iraq. This reality, compounded by the extreme asymmetry of loss of lives and the absence of any political way out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is used today to justify all the abuses perpetrated by the Jihadists. Let us hope that France and Russia, who have taken over after the American fiasco, will do less damage and generate fewer vocations. (more…)


A member of ISIS poses in a fighter jet similar to those used in the Prophet’s time.

By Haroon Moghul, Religion Dispatches, August 24, 2015

Last week, The New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi published “A Theology of Rape,” a report as important as it is horrifying. Unfortunately, like several recent exposés on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including Graeme Wood’s website-busting What ISIS Really Wants, Callimachi’s reporting is unusually receptive to the movement’s claims. Namely, that plausible Islamic arguments can be made for slavery, rape, and other crimes.

In support of his own argument that ISIS isn’t just “Islamic,” but “very Islamic,” Wood cited Princeton academic Bernard Haykel who insists that anyone who denies ISIS’ Islamic authenticity is being disingenuous (who says this is never elaborated on). Wood then proceeded to analyze ISIS’ “Islamicity” based almost entirely on Haykel, several fringe Muslim scholars, ISIS sympathizers, and no mainstream voices.

This is a problem. Journalist Murtaza Hussain explains that, “We invariably view conflicts involving Muslim groups as being driven primarily by atavistic religious beliefs.” Which is why, he adds, we jump to “texts and ideology to explain contemporary events. We don’t do this with the recent Israeli war on Gaza, even though that conflict also contains clear religious connotations and justifications.”

Only weeks ago Jewish radicals lit a house on fire and burned a Palestinian child to death. Last year another Palestinian child was burned alive. Yet I don’t recall articles in the Times, the Atlantic or any other popular media assessing the act’s conformity with Judaism, or arguing that “price tag” attacks are not just “Jewish,” but “very Jewish.” There are, in fact, radical Jewish sects who preach indiscriminate violence citing G-d and the Torah, but these claims are not entertained as serious.

“ISIS,” laments Hussain, “has been granted full civilizational power to speak for and represent Islam.”

For the rest of this article, click here.

by Rachid Ghannouchi © Qantara.de 2015

Translated from the German by Nina Coon

A battle for freedom and dignity

In the wake of the attacks on Sousse and the Bardo Museum, Tunisia has to stand up to those who oppose the nation’s democratic development. The best way to counter the feelings that draw young people to extremism, writes Rachid Ghannouchi, chairman of the Ennahda Party, is to ensure participation, fair economic growth, and security without restricting the country’s hard-won freedoms

On 4 July, the United States celebrated the attainment of freedom and independence as it does every year. In Tunisia, 4 July also marked a turning point on the path to freedom and democracy – but not in the positive sense. On this day, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi felt compelled, in response to the growing threat of terrorism, to declare a national state of emergency and curtail important personal freedoms.

The latest attack in Sousse has again made it clear just how stony Tunisia’s path to a secure democracy remains. After all, the bloodiest terrorist attack in the history of our nation seeks to destroy what we have built up in the few years since Ben Ali was ousted, namely an open society with a pluralist governmental system and a democratic constitution enshrining fundamental rights and freedoms.

Battle for the young generation

We were all horrified by the gruesome images of tourists murdered on the beach. But those images have also galvanised Tunisian citizens and their political representatives in their opposition to those who oppose our path to democracy. This battle is a battle for freedom and dignity, but first and foremost, it is a battle for the next generation, for the young people in Tunisia, but also in Libya, Syria and the entire Arab world. (more…)

We moderns devour news as if it were a staple food. Gone are the days when one sat down for coffee in the morning with a daily newspaper. There are still newspapers of every flavor, but news is now the product of digital media. And the news cycle grows shorter all the time. During the American Civil War it might take weeks for reports of battles to be reported in the papers. The telegraph and telephone made the news flow a bit faster, but until digital formats news was always at least a day old, if not more. Now many events are instantaneous. Mobile videos of police brutality go viral in minutes. And the sheer number of news and social media sites could easily fill up surfing all 24 hours of the day.

In the old days newspapers were selective in publishing letters to the editor. Really nasty retorts and profanity rarely made it into print. But most sites today leave space for comments from anyone. The results are pathetic. Rational discussion of issues raised is almost non-existent. Curses and lunatic projections are common. I was reading an Al Jazeera article entitled “How is ISIL expanding?” Al Jazeera disclaims all liability for anything posted as comments and well they should.

Below are some of the comments posted (apart from the spam that have nothing to do with the article). The mentality of some of the individuals matches their inability to write in English. Prejudice über alles in cyberspace:

Start cooking the popcorn as sunni and Shia showdown  looms on the horizon. ……All muslime countries  need to be destabilised and turned  into flea infested wastelands. CIA, MOSSAD  and RAW collaboration achieving excellent results.  (more…)

Check out the blog post by Eric Davis of Rutgers University on the need to take out Da’ash now.

Newsweek has an interesting article by Christiane Gruber, an associate professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Michigan, about Muslim cartoons against ISIS. Check it out here.

Next Page »