A tweeticle from Baghdad

We shouldn’t forget that the primary victims of Islamist terrorism are other Muslims. And yesterday evening in Baghdad, a suicide car bomb exploded outside an ice cream parlor where people were breaking their Ramadan fast, killing at least 15 and wounding at least 47.  NBC News reports this:

The attack came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when many people stay up past midnight and eat out to prepare to fast.

Sunni Muslim extremist group ISIS released a statement about the attack through an affiliated news agency. However, it did not state that an ISIS member conducted the attack and the group did not produce any evidence it was involved.

A second bomb hit near a government office in Karkh district a few hours later. Reuters reported that seven people were killed and 38 others wounded in that attack.

CNN and several other sources, though, report that ISIS has now taken responsibility:

ISIS has claimed responsibility for both attacks, which killed 21 people, through its affiliate news agency Amaq.

Despite her arm being in a sling, Grania sent me a series of tweets by Hayder al-Khoei, a London-based “Middle East Watcher” and member of several think tanks.  Grania added this:

Really good thread on Baghdad suicide bomber. Writer makes no bones about saying this is due to crazy ideas of paradise through martyrdom. He also points out that nearly all bombings are the work of Wahhabi sect and that they have been doing stuff like this for 1400 years.

I’ve embedded the videos directly so you can see them:


We may mourn for the Brits and Parisians, but let us mourn equally for the Muslim families who, peacefully enjoying their ice cream, were blown to bits. Look at the videos! Is it really business as usual for us? Are we going to beat this through “love”?


  1. somer
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Cant bear to look at those clips. According to Maajid Naawaz jihad conducted during Ramadan gets extra religious brownie points and its the busy season for killings. After all many Muslims believe there are supposed to be 99 types of Islam and only one is right – and to Salafists/Wahabbis/extremists anyone not devout is an infidel, apostate or heretic.

    I read in many places its also the season of greatly reduced work productivity (not even water for up to 20 hours depending on the latitude and businesses close early – especially women who must cook ready for nightfall but can not eat until nightfall)

    Nothing like targetting the wicked eating of ice creams by children.

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Yes, those who attack ice cream parlors are deliberately targeting young children, and I wish there was a special hell for such bipeds!

  2. Posted May 30, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I wonder if this carnage can be fairly viewed as a consequence of the 100+ year history of deeply virulent antisemitic anti Zionism maintained by the Muslim world.

    They developed an inhuman tactic and strategy of unconscionable violence against Jews and justified it morally which normalized it. And now they are using it against themselves.

    • Posted May 30, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      I don’t doubt that that kind of deep-seated hatred influences them today but Mr el-Koei said it has been going on for 1400 years. Suggests to me that the past 100+ years of anti-Zionism is just another, latest, outgrowth of something deeply rooted.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 30, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Wahhabism began in the 18th century. A preacher named al-Wahhabi in Saudi Arabia started it. As so often with religious movements, it was about taking Islam back to its origins. It got nowhere until it made an agreement with the House of Saud that enabled both to have power in Saudi Arabia.

        Since they got rich on oil, they have spent a lot of that money exporting Wahhabism to the world, especially by the establishment of thousands of madrasses.

        Trump is giving weapons to the Saudis to fight an enemy they created. They will probably use most of those weapons not against Wahhabis, but against Shi’as in their proxy war with Iran in Yemen. Saudi Arabia already has one of the biggest militaries in the world.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted May 30, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          Yes, and for someone who wants to throw his own country under the bus for the benefit of the Saudis and Russia and any other dictator he comes across he is doing a bang up job. He just made America last in Europe and the damage has been done. Only took 200 years to get there and he made garbage out of it all in a week. The Sunni and Shea will be killing each other for the next 1400 years so my best advice is to get out of the middle. What he did going to Saudi is pathetic.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted May 30, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink


          • Rita
            Posted May 30, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink


          • somer
            Posted May 30, 2017 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

            Yes he loves sucking up to dictators and bagging Europe. Its nauseating

        • nicky
          Posted May 30, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          Yes Heather, Wahabism can indeed not be doing this for 1400 years, since Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahab lived from 1703 to 1792, it cannot be more than 300 years old. It is a movement in the Salafist, (also 18th century) return-to-the-roots, style. Truly a reformist movement.
          Fanaticism Wahabi style (eg. Al Ghazali) is admittedly much older, but we should not call it Wahabism, since a bit of an anachronism.

      • Posted May 31, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        I was refering to using terrorist bombs to injure innocent people. 🙂

  3. Posted May 30, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Love to these fiends must mean something like grind flesh and bone.

  4. Posted May 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Tragic. I wonder if the nutcase terrorist realizes that the good Islamic country of Iran is the origin (perhaps) of ice cream!

    • jeffery
      Posted May 30, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      The Iranians are primarily Shiite, which renders them as “heretics” to the Wahabbis- I wouldn’t be surprised if the “ice cream bombing” was in a predominately Shiite neighborhood….

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 30, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        It was a Shi’a neighbourhood.

      • Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I know … still.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Last night I watched “War Machine” (a well-casted and produced Netflix film). It is a parody/dark comedy about ISAF and America’s involvement in heading up the UN task force. Brad Pitt does an excellent job as a Spartan 4-star general. I thought it did well elucidating the problems with ISAF, and the West’s involvement in Afghanistan. (I know this post is about ISIS attacks in Baghdad, but the Afghanistan problem is similar.) Perhaps the biggest insight I gleaned was the folly of misplaced idealism of America’s “rightness” and an unshakeable belief that everyone wants freedom and democracy just like the West. Those in charge it seems just don’t understand why many (most?) in the Middle-East don’t want us there.

  6. BJ
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I….I just don’t know what to say. It’s so tragic.

  7. jeffery
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Wahabbism- let’s see…isn’t that the state religion of our good buddies, the Saudis? Read the book, “The Siege of Mecca” and you’ll find out just how it was that they came to fund jihadist madrassas all over the world….

  8. Kevin
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Love will play no role in supplying a solution to this problem.

    Steady, slow institutionalized of education and equality and infrastructure.

    Provide knowledge and resources to make a better world. Until jihadists are like a disease among civilization.

    In the end, if the top of our species finds a way to distribute energy efficiently the bottom of our species will find a way to take us all out. Best to work on bringing the low end up.

    • somer
      Posted May 30, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      You can’t just offer aid to educate super brainwashing imposed by hellfire terror and extraordinary clan norms for 1400 years. They’ll kill you. Thanks to the system they are accustomed to heavy handed strongman rule or absolute sectarian bloodbath. You have to convince them to stop blaming you for their problems and stop dreaming of global subjugation – and accept that only reform of their religion will save them from self annihilation.

      To quote Patricia Crone “Tribal states have bloody borders” The states that were in the Islamic world formed in response to the Islamic jihadist mores. The prescriptiveness, intolerance and extreme clannishness of the religion necessitated authoritarian rule. It also necessitated constant war with infidels to divert internal rivals, build military resources and provide tribute, slaves and booty. Most slaves were domestics/sex slaves, some craftspeople working for a master, some in heavy manual labour, and there were some elite slaves serving the ruler. The system also mandated second class and high tax paying status for free non-muslims (dhimmi) in the Muslim state. The most highly educated dhimmi and the sultan’s own trained slave administrators or palace guard cadre could also be used in key positions as safeguards against tribal, clan and sectarian Muslim rivals, since these lacked the authority to rule in their own right. There was a mamluk dynasty but these were an elite amongst slaves, and had for most generations been entirely under the control of their arab rulers

      These rulers still frequently entertained the court/themselves by killing and torturing people casually (not for heresy/or any criminal reason just for fun entirely on their own authority). Can you imagine Henry VIII killing a few dancing girls for the amusement of visiting diplomats? Or commanding a woman to be brought for him to sleep with every night and then killed in the morning? Or having masses of infidels tortured and executed every day in front of his palace as Arangurzeb did, or having hundreds of concubines but killing or cutting off the limbs of any of their offspring that displeased him as a Moroccan ruler of 17hC did (also when any of his thousands of slaves died or were killed he periodically their blood as part of the mortar of buildings in the works)

      The harem system produced horrific violence too – one of the Ottoman caliphs killed 200 of his brothers to attain the throne (thanks to the huge proliferation of lesser status half brothers from the concubines)

      • Posted May 30, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        To quote Patricia Crone “Tribal states have bloody borders” The states that were in the Islamic world formed in response to the Islamic jihadist mores.

        This is patently wrong.

        1) All borders are drawn with blood. European nations are no exception. The bloodiest wars in all history and then the incredibly costly cold war following was over drawing the European borders for the most part!

        2) Borders in the Middle East were mostly drawn by the British and the French (and the Russians). Jihad had nothing to do with it. The only nation which was able to throw a small wrench in the British plan was Turkey and the Turks were led by the ultra-secular Ataturk back then.

        • Tim Harris
          Posted May 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          Thank you for this. I think it is important not to indulge in the dubious satisfaction of moral outrage and splendid rants all the time. Since Patrick Cockburn was patted on the head the other day for being both of the Left and saying the right things about Islam, it is worth looking at his latest piece (you can find it at the website Counterpunch)in which he remarks on the extraordinary obliviousness of rather too many in Europe and the States to what the ‘West’ has caused in the Middle East & in North Africa. Britain was actually encouraging, it seems, young Libyans to go to Libya and join the ‘jihad’ against Gaddafi Here’s a quotation from the London Review of Books that calls for rather less vociferous outrage and for trying to take a sober look at things:

          “What are we to make of the fact that Salman Abedi, who has been named as the Manchester bomber, was of Libyan descent (though a UK national) and had just returned from Libya? ‘Libya has become a failed state,’ the BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner declared on the Today programme after the bombing, as if this were an inexplicable and mysterious process, with no reference to the West’s disastrous intervention in the country.
          What are we to make of the fact that the BBC’s leading news programmes dedicated only 63 seconds, out of nearly 13 hours of broadcasting following the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015, to the ‘blowback’ thesis, the idea that there is a connection between Western intervention and the growth of groups such as Islamic State? The thesis is hardly the invention of left-wing conspirators; its adherents include the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee and Eliza Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5.
          None of this is to argue that journalists should avoid reporting on terror attacks. But knee-jerk responses that intensify public fear do nothing to contribute to our ability to combat terrorism and, indeed, satisfy the objectives of those who detonate the bombs.
          We would all benefit from a slower journalism that didn’t resort to tired stereotypes and sought to expand, not to contaminate, our understanding of a violent world. The trouble is that there is neither the business model nor the political will to foster such an approach.”

          • somer
            Posted May 30, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            Its just simply wrong to say we are uniquely imperialistic – whilst we need to always be reminded of our excesses and try and help where wherever we can, we also need to be realistic that all cultures have aggressive histories – jockey for power if they have the opportunity right now as we speak (I’m talking many powers here and not really to do with Islam) and we need to be able to defend ourselves from multiple sources of weakening (of which military is merely one aspect). we don’t have endless resources to give in a globalised world.

            I was not suggesting intervention in the ME — rather the opposite because it only causes more suffering and instability. And this is largely, as I pointed out because of the nature of islamic civilisation. Libya was one of the more tribal Muslim states and stable whilst ruled by a complete dictator – though not exactly happy. Many argued a “duty” to invade it. Likewise I argued intervention in Syria – even if the russians had not got involved – could only have been very limited (e.g. no fly zone, limited strikes to weaken assad) As I’ve explained many times – even if Assad could have been swiftly removed he’d already set up a situation where extremist sunni groups had superseded democrats, and also his alouite minority might have been massacred if they were cut off from the border with lebanon.

            It seems repulsive that the west arms the saudis. Its simply not true though that wahabism is the only or even largest source of extremism in the ME and indeed islamic world – its just saudi money has funded fundamentalist mosques – wahab and salafists.
            Although there are liberals trapped in Saudi most ex muslim sites and many analysts agree that the majority Saudi population is if anything even more conservative than the Saud royal family. Most Saudis align with Wahhabism and Wahabbism naturally views any interaction with non muslims other than as the conquered as objectionable. Other muslims are to be encouraged to join the pure version of the faith. But most Saudis donot like their rulers on account of Wahabi attitude to infidels, from whom the regime must have support. Because otherwise the tribal population would splinter like Libya which was known to be very tribal – the extreme sectarianism is actually part of the identity especially of bedouin. Other parts of the middle east and magreb are less obviously tribal. This link between tribal identity and sectarianism has been the case since the 7th Century Kharjarites fought all those who didn’t share their very narrow interpretation of Islam as heretics to be expelled or fought. Later some minority shias adopted this attitude as a means of defence. Plus the saudis could face insurrection from some shias in Saudi Arabia and now shia military involvement in Yemen. The saudis are afraid of insurrection within plus Iranian subversion and support for both shia and sunni extremists as happened in Shia backed Syria. Its likely without military support the saudis would fall. This would in the interim cause more chaos not only in Saudi but further disruption of the whole region – whether it would eventually lead to something better in the long term who knows but in the meantime it would generate more Isis type groups. Wahabbism teaches takfir and jihadism – this is taught in saudi schools – and the regime imprisons and reeducates those who oppose the regime, or sends them away to conduct jihad. Isis have salafist, not wahabbi origins – although the extreme psalmist have merged with wahabism in takfiri rejection of other muslims and jihad against infidels. Certainly in the interim we need an alternative to oil – though even with fuel replacement we need some for the vast range of products that the petrochemical industry produces from plastics to clothes and paints to pain killers.

            • Tim Harris
              Posted May 31, 2017 at 4:10 am | Permalink

              Where on earth have I asserted or even intimated that ‘we’ are ‘uniquely imperialistic’? Please have the simple courtesy to read and address what people actually say rather than what you, for your own purposes, would like to think they have said.

              Yes, all cultures have aggressive histories (thanks for the platitude), as a reading of, say, the Yale historian Timothy Snyder’s ‘Bloodlands’ or his ‘Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning’, among reams and reams of histories about just every culture in the world, show.

              And, yes, it is repulsive that the US and Britain, in particular, are arming the Saudis to the teeth, and that Britain, under Mistress May and its wholly cynical Brexit government, is relying on the arms trade together with what sound like increasingly dodgy financial ‘services’ to keep the British economy afloat in the future. I should not be surprised, assuming Trump manages to stay in power for a while, if a greater war is fomented in the Middle East, the target, of course, being Iran, despite its just having elected a moderate to power. And the more mayhem there is around the Mediterranean, the more destructive it will be for Europe, too.

              • somer
                Posted May 31, 2017 at 4:44 am | Permalink

                Im apologise = It was stupid of me – I should have read you more carefully. – I agree we still get into conflicts in the middle east too easily (or even start them. Libya and Iraq were a disaster and Trump has some stupid idea he can just go in and militarily clean up Isis /bomb out the area after some understanding with the Russians. I just despair though when ISIS publish a manifesto putting obligation to fight those who don’t believe in Islam as their prime motivation, and the prime offence of the West or internecine violence against other muslims like this bombing.

              • Tim Harris
                Posted May 31, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

                Thank you, Somer. Apology accepted. But I do want to say, also, (and this is not necessarily directed at you), that I do object to easy platitudes about the dreadful nature of the Ottoman Empire – I really think that people should actually read a work of history that deals fairly with what the Ottoman Empire was. It was after all in balance considerably better in the kind of lives it offered to its subjects than, say, the empire of the Belgians (look at what happened in the Congo), and considerably better, too, to what was offered to many of the subjects of the pre-Civil War United States and rather better than what was offered to many US subjects after the Civil War and up until well into the twentieth century (Jim Crow).

                Another book of history I recommend (in addition to those of Snyder’s I recommended above) is Robert Gerwarth’s ‘The Vanquished: Why the First World War Failed to End,1917-1923’, which is about the collapse of the German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires after World War I,as well as the Irish war of independence and civil war (which most English people know nothing about), and the attendant blood-letting and ‘ethnic cleansing’ that took place as a result of the Allied desire to break up these empires and as a result of the Woodrow Wilson doctrine of each ‘people’ taking charge of its own destiny, as of course they did, with each massacring the others, and of course in particular the Jews, who didn’t fit in to anyone’s idea of what a people might be. As Joseph Roth, the great Austrian Jewish novelist wrote in his novel ‘The Radetzky March’, putting the words into the mouth of one of the characters, ‘As soon as the emperor says goodnight, we’ll break up into a hundred pieces… All the peoples will set up their own dirty little statelets… Nationalism is the new religion.’

                There are around 40 languages spoken between the Atlantic and the Black Sea (not that I have counted them)… There is a reason why the EU is founded on an agreement that the present borders between European nations are inviolable.

                Alex Rosenberg, the positivist philosopher and advocate of scientism, has declared (with Henry Ford) that history is bunk, since it can’t be made into a science, but I would say that the ignorance of history that is fostered by national myths (of which one of the most pernicious, I have come to feel, is the American national myth, with its extraordinary a-historicism), is extraordinarily dangerous, since it gives us the illusion that somehow we are not implicated, that we stand happily outside history, whereas nations we don’t like don’t. I think we should all realise that we – the human species – are necessarily and deeply implicated and start from there.

          • Posted May 30, 2017 at 9:39 pm | Permalink


            I was trying to show how establishing links between today’s modern states and middle age empires can be misleading.

            To draw a parallel, I would never contend that the unbelievable savagery in first and second world wars “define” the West. And remember, these happened less than 100 years ago, not 4 or 5 centuries.

            • somer
              Posted May 30, 2017 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

              Fair enough but before the West drew the current ME states in their unpleasant colonial opportunism at the end of WW1 (North Africa before then) the regions were ruled by The ottoman empire or various sultans – often ruthlessly and with the open practise of slavery. It seems all terrible options in the area for pretty much everyone.

            • Posted May 30, 2017 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

              Again, historical analysis is fine as long as it is used to draw lessons and help us not repeat the past’s mistakes (at least not the big ones!)

              But it is far from a tool that we can use to establish causal relationships or we may fall victim to the old fallacy of Essentialism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essentialism)

              We can talk as much as we want about the central European tribes roaming around in the lands called Germany today thousands of years ago. But it will not give us a deep or even meaningful insight into the average German’s psyche living in Berlin in 2017. The same is true about any other people including Middle Eastern people.

  9. Posted May 30, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Seems like Grania wrote, “He also points out that nearly all bombings are the work of Wahhabi sect and that they have been doing stuff like this for 1400 years.” That’s not really accurate. First of all, as has been noted above, Wahhabism has only been around for a couple of hundred years or so. Also, the relevant tweet says “terrorism” has been going on there for 1400 years, not specifically “Wahhabi” terrorism. Grania seems to have (surely unintentionally) misrepresented al-Khoei by implying that he said the Wahhabi sect has been terrorizing the region for 1400 years. He didn’t say that; and, of course, it can’t be true.

  10. Posted May 30, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    I think a good strategy to combat Islamic extremism would be to direct more media and political attention to non-Western bombings.

    One of the strong brainwashing tools of the extremists is to claim that the West does not care at all about non-white, non-Western victims.

    This idea can induce a sense of injustice in the more susceptible minds and expose them to the next steps of going down the rabbit hole. Many (maybe most) criminals (terrorists included) “think” they are exacting some form of justice. That tool must be taken from them and I really think it is a low-hanging fruit.

    Remove or reduce the political grievances and suddenly Islam’s fake clothes will fall and people will see it for the ruse (religion) it is.

      • Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        I don’t fully agree with this article. But it does not contradict my comment here.

        I have used the word “criminal” on purpose. A society should not bend to the will of criminals no matter what their grievances are. And the injustices may be perceived, not real.

        Islamists recruits people not by holding long and boring Quran reading sessions for them. They brainwash the youth by lecturing them about the injustice of children being killed in Syria and Iraq and how their death should be avenged. This is the first line of battle which I think the media do not pay enough attention to.

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      I strongly disagree. The more the West tries to reach out, the more the anti-Westerners will be eager to blame it: “See? They admitted we are right in our grievances!” I agree with this blog post:

      “The West is weakening, of course, due to that cultural revolution known as the 1960s. Prior to that time, the West sent a message to the Muslim world: “Westernize! Become more Western like we are, and you’ll be much happier.” Today the message is: “We are guilty of sins against you. Therefore, you can do whatever you like to us.” The terrorism that is happening today would have been inconceivable in the 1950s… We in the West have become weaker, and terror happens when a ruling entity is weakening and not when it is strongest… The first step to ending the terrorism and stopping the rise of the Islamic right (at least stopping it here in the West) is for all to acknowledge that the grievance theory is wrong, to acknowledge that the Islamic right is rising, to acknowledge that Islam is turning in a direction that the vast majority of us find revolting, and to acknowledge that the Islamic right wants to impose that direction on all of us.”


      • Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        “The West is weakening”

        How the West is weakening when its wealth and might is constantly increasing? Only one country in the political West (the US) has military might and wealth equal to the rest of the world combined together.

        A criminal’s grievances do not constitute a defense. And sometimes the grievances are not even real. But it should not prevent a debate into the matters of foreign policy and the follies committed there.

        And I find the article you linked pure fantasy good for a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, but not for the real world analysis. Not even the Saudis govern their lands purely according to Shari’a.

        This brings me back to my first point. The late Brzezinski called the Afghan Mujahedin a few “Islamic hotheads”. Without Soviet invasion and without the US flooding arms into Afghanistan to bloody-nose the Russians, there would have been no Mujahedin, no Taliban, no ISIS.

        It is not about “reaching out”. It is about accepting the responsibility for big strategic decisions that have changed the fate of millions of people.

  11. Posted May 30, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    “Are we going to beat this through “love”?”

    Not just love. Don’t forget thoughts. And most especially prayers.

    It was very gratifying to hear British statements that did not contain the pathetic thoughts and prayers bromide.

  12. Posted May 30, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Islam as a whole has always been a violent religion. While there certainly are many peaceful individual Muslims, there are still far too many with violent tendencies for us to be comfortable. It is time they grew out of it, as Christianity and Judaism mostly have. In the meantime, the Western world needs to stop ‘fiddling while Rome burns’ and bomb ISIS into the ground.

    • somer
      Posted May 30, 2017 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      Isis can’t be “bombed to the ground” at least in Syria where there are too many other players supporting it or shielding it when it suits including (sometimes) turkey and even russia and iran to create a balance of power. Access is limited thanks to Russia etc. Assad is certainly leaving Isis more or less unscathed because his concern is those sunnis who want to overthrow his regime and Isis often attacks other sunnis. At least in syria. We can only support the kurds and the less extremist bits of the Free syrian army (Assad supported sunni takfir extremists in Iraq with training because he knew they’d ultimately fight other sunni and as soon as the arab spring started in Syria he released radicals from prison to drive out the democratically inclined elements of Free Syrian Army).
      We can attack ISIS in Iraq with kurdish and shia forces to keep it from growing and keep it on the run. But that has a terrible toll on the sunni population there.
      There has also been too much Western intervention (e.g. Libya, the sabotage of Mossadeq’s democratic government and replacement with Shah Pavlavi, arming of Saddam Hussein against Khomeini, the second Iraq war). In the case of Afghanistan though the actual government declared war on the West and started launching large scale attacks. Trump of course has added heavy bombing to targetted drone strikes of radicals which is wrong – but the drone strikes do disrupt the taliban and extremist leadership.

      Most of the radicalism in SA
      Wahabism tends to be fairly confined to Saudi but a significant part of Salafism has become wahabbi like in its violent jihadism and rejection of muslims who are not sufficiently literalist. Isis is extreme salafist and it has produced a model that exports the worst of that via internet to the west adding a rubric of reclaiming Islamic glory and empire from the oppressive, imperialist and hell bound kuffars of the west. Islamic identity is the only identity and kuffars are (a la takfir doctrine) are to be expelled, killed, enslaved or converted. But Isis are just like the Kharajites of the late 7th century and beyond or the Almohads of Morocco and Andalusia.
      Sadly we are going to get extremists from the region and we need to celebrate the value of our liberalism at home and point to the ultimate cause of this violence abroad instead of giving them ideological fuel. Moreover the saudis control the holy sites and head the Organisation of Islamic Conference which is very internationally influential, and however disliked they are still seen as leaders of the sunni world and sunnis see the west as having let them down – another sectarian blind spot. At the same time Iran really does want to build a nuclear bomb and missiles by which it may target Tel Aviv. Its an impossible region – the west is not innocent by any means but the extremism of the religion is the biggest factor in the strife.

    • Posted May 30, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      “bomb ISIS into the ground”. Along with lots of civilians since they hide among them. And if you bomb them you’ll get more jihadists. Far better to leave them alone to slaughter each other and not help.

      • Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        When the Allies fought Nazi Germany, they of course killed a lot of civilians. However, the bombing did not get more Hitlerists. Neither did the bombings of Japan produce more Japanese militarists. It is not anger but the hope to win that feeds violent supremacist movements.

        • Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

          All the Hitlerists were concentrated in Germany. The Hitlerists were not religiously motivated. Unless you could send the angel of death in to kill every single ISIS soldier at one throw with no civilian casualties, you’d still have the fnantics in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Pakistan and every other Muslim country that harbors this stuff not to mention all the home grown nuts you’d create by killing non-combatants. This is not a war between countries. There is no head of the snake leader to kill. There is no capital to occupy.

          I continue to hope that we can let them kill each other although that has plenty of difficulties associated with it.

          • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

            There is also no Soviet Union “willing” to absorb a *huge* number of causalities to help off set things, etc.

            (American money.
            Canadian food.
            Polish/British intelligence.
            Soviet bodies.)

  13. mikeyc
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    I believe you have misunderstood the Crone quote. She was not referring to modern political states. In fact she was explicit with “tribal states” – states that “were in the Islamic world”. She even referred specifically to the Mamluk dynasty – from the 13th century; long before the white devils came.

    • mikeyc
      Posted May 30, 2017 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      Darn it! Meant in reply to a comment by Foxer way up yonder. Rats.

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      I agree. I didn’t read it as carefully as I should have. I meant to criticize the general structure of the argument not specific claims.

      The “argument” is we can again profound knowledge and/or establish strong causal relationships from studying Islamic medieval or pre-modern history.

      I am saying that the crimes of the Ottoman empire while worth studying and analyzing do not tell us much about a bartender in Istanbul. We cannot establish such a link just as we cannot infer a causal relationship between the crimes of the Nazi Germany and an average German today.

      History is very messy and if one wants to be fair, one needs to focus more on the recent events. For example, the developments of the past 20 years are infinitely more important than what the stories of Harun-al-Rashid’s harem.

      To see how complicated this can be, just note that the original comment refers to Aurangzeb in a completely wrong light. Check Wikipedia to see that Aurangzib was a product of Moghul invasion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurangzeb) not a direct result of Islamic tradition of ruling. He is not even a good example to study Islamic politics in that era much less today!

      • somer
        Posted May 31, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

        Yes but to my mind the question is whether the islamic world better before the west -without modernity – which is western influenced and staying as it was into the future – because the modern world has enlightenment norms and research based science methodology (as opposed to simply technical practise of what already has been found out) and islam is not friendly to this. The yearning and the leaning is for the past

        • Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          Yes, I am sure that if Islam takes over the world, science and technology will stop progressing and then will regress.

      • somer
        Posted May 31, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        The Moghuls were islamic they actually followed earlier Islamic dynasties there -and Aurangzeb was well into the dynasty. The Turks and the Oslami clan of the Caliphs that ruled them were also of Mongol origin. Caliph Selim 1 used to go about in the streets with a mace and was known to on occasion personally kill those civilians he deemed had seriously broken Islamic law or to have been unruly.

        Tom Holland destribes the chaos and brutality of the first Ummayad caliphate. The Abbasids were less brutal but one caliph had 11,000 slaves. All conducted holy war.
        The famous medieval Islamic historian and religious scholar Ibn Kaldun (who died 1406) wrote

        When the [Abbasid] state was drowned in decadence and luxury. . . and overthrown by the heathen Tatars [also Mongols]. . . because the people of the faith had become deficient in energy and reluctant to rally in defense . . . then it was God’s benevolence that He rescued the faith by reviving its dying breath and restoring the unity of the Muslims in the Egyptian realms…. He did this by sending to the Muslims, from among this Turkish nation and its great and numerous tribes, rulers to defend them and utterly loyal helpers, who were brought . . . to the House of Islam under the rule of slavery, which hides in itself a divine blessing ”

        Ibn Kaldun also said

        “In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty because of the universalism of the mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense ….Only Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.”

        Kaldun also said
        – :”beyond [known peoples of black West Africa] to the south there is no civilization in the proper sense. There are only humans who are closer to dumb animals than to rational beings. They live in thickets and caves, and eat herbs and unprepared grain. They frequently eat each other. They cannot be considered human beings.” “Therefore, the Negro nations are, as a rule, submissive to slavery, because (Negroes) have little that is (essentially) human and possess attributes that are quite similar to those of dumb animals, as we have stated.”[98][99]

        The famous medieval scholar Ibn Taymiyah, ruled that verbally attacking or criticizing something can be considered a form of waging war, particularly with regard to religious matters. And the Salafists owe quite a bit to him

        There is no truth in the Scheherazade story but certainly Moulay Ismail of Morocco had hundreds of concubines – he had the girl offspring all strangled and the limbs cut off of any boys who displeased him. He had at least 25,000 slaves whom he treated with extreme cruelty. He was of the fundamentalist Alaouite Dynasty, ruled from 1645-1727 (re Moulay:
        Tore Kjeilen Encyclopedia of the Orient
        and BBC 1 September 2007, Morocco poll – choice or façade?)

  14. Diane G.
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    The right-wing media have a name for this–the Ramadan Bombathon. Doesn’t seem like they’re they’re too far off base, IMO.


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