The West’s Fetishisation of the Kurds

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In every Western mainstream media article on ‘what must be done’ about Daesh, one of the usual answers is to give as much support to ‘the Kurds’ as possible, essentially so they will fight our battles for us (I write ‘the Kurds’ in quotation marks as this the media refers to them as a unified people, rather than consisting of various factions). This is also a frequent sentiment in the comments sections of said articles. The implication of this being that Kurds are superior to Arabs and are more reliable partners. An example of this would be The Telegraph’s article ‘Britain must give the Kurds the tools to lead Iraq out of this mess’. Author John McTernan states:

A few years ago, in a dusty backstreet in Irbil – capital of the Kurdish region of Iraq – I had the privilege to visit an Assyrian church. There have been few more sombre moments in my life than hearing first-hand about the persecution of Iraq’s Christian minority. And even fewer more moving and uplifting than being told that the Kurdish government gave a welcome and a haven to Christians because they believed it was the right thing to do – that such values of tolerance and plurality were part of the reason they had fought hard themselves for autonomy and democracy.

Britain must give the Kurds the tools to lead Iraq out of this mess

While Iraqi Kurdistan is recognised as more tolerant of religious minorities than elsewhere in the country, it is propaganda to claim that all Iraqi Arabs are prejudiced towards Christians and those of other religions. There are plenty of examples of inter-faith bonding and mutual respect in both Iraq and Syria (excluding ISIS and other takfiri groups of course). Obviously what the MSM aren’t saying is that ISIS is completely a construct of foreign powers, and that in this great game to remap the Middle East, the Kurds are being promoted as the ‘good guys’, while Shia Iraqis are demonised – mainly due to the relationship between Shia Islam and our favourite bogeyman Iran. The Western invasion of Iraq led to a mass-exodus of Christians, mainly to Syria, and now they are being driven out of that country as well. However while McTernan says: ‘What is it about the Kurds? Why can they bring wisdom and maturity to political decision-making?’, they still, culturally, have much more in common with their Arab counterparts than what would be considered ‘British values’.

Arab Shia militia member Abu Azrael attending a church service
Arab Shia militia member Abu Azrael attending a church service
In 2007 a Yazidi teenager – Dua Khalil – was stoned to death by a crowd of young men due to suspicions she was having a romantic relationship with a Sunni Muslim boy. Security officers standing by filmed the brutal murder on their phones, and the ‘action’ was available to watch on international news channels such as CNN. It was evident that this footage was captured not due to the horror of the bystanders, but as a method of commemoration; to share it with others.  I make reference to this because ‘we’ in the West tend to associate honour killings with Arabs, Muslims and Sharia law – many Kurds are Muslims (Khalil was Yazidi) – however the practice is more cultural than religious . Dua Khalil was murdered in 2007, but these so-called ‘honor killings’ are still rife in Kurdistan. Johanna Higgs writes:

In Kurdistan, the UN estimates that the number of honor killings might be as high as 50 each month, and that most of the deaths go unreported. One reason that they continue to be a leading cause of death for women may be the increasingly oppressed position of women in Iraqi society. An Iraqi Kurdish writer, Berivan Dosky, wrote in The Guardian that conditions for women in post-war Iraq are a disaster, including in Kurdistan. Dreams of equality and peace that emerged among women after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime (and complicated by the United States’ invasion) have diminished, as many women still bear the burden of their families’ honor.

In Kurdistan and Beyond, Honor Killings Remind Women they are Worthless

This contrasts wildly with the image we are given in the West, of a Kurdish egalitarian oasis, surrounded by savage Arabs (similar to the depiction we are presented with of Israel). It is important to note however that the Kurds are not one homogeneous group – Iraqi Kurds are not the same as Syrian, Iranian and Turkish Kurds, and within each country there are multiple factions that don’t all get along with one another. Therefore while Kurdish women in Syria may be more equal to their male counterparts, there is huge gender inequality in Iraq.

Gender rights for all Iraqi women regressed by decades as a result of the US-led invasion. To read a first-hand account of a young (Arab) woman living through the occupation, visit Baghdad Burning (start from the bottom of the page and read upwards). The author’s story of no longer being able to leave the house without a male relative and her head uncovered, plus losing her job due to her gender, is heartbreaking.

To return to the Kurds: female genital mutilation is also widespread. Wikipedia states:

Human Rights Watch reported that female genital cutting is practiced mainly by Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan, reportedly 60% percent of Kurdish women population have undergone this procedure, although the KRG claimed that the figures are exaggerated. Girls and women receive conflicting and inaccurate messages from public officials on its consequences. The Kurdistan parliament in 2008 passed a draft law outlawing the practice, but the ministerial decree necessary to implement it, expected in February 2009, was cancelled. As reported to the Centre for Islamic Pluralism by the non-governmental organization Stop FGM in Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, on 25 November, officially admitted the wide prevalence in the territory of female genital mutilation (FGM). Recognition by the KRG of the frequency of this custom among Kurds came during a conference program commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. On 27 November 2010, the Kurdish government officially admitted to violence against women in Kurdistan and began taking serious measures. 21 June 2011 The Family Violence Bill was approved by the Kurdistan Parliament, it includes several provisions criminalizing the practice.

Human rights in Iraqi Kurdistan

Additionally, it is not just females that suffer oppression from cruel laws and practices. In a current ongoing case, a young man – Yousef Muhammad Ali – is on trial for criticising Islam. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) write:

BACKGROUND

Yousef Muhammad Ali who spent many years studying Islam and Sharia law made a presentation in school on the Big Bang Theory. Islamists in his class instigated a fatwa against him. Also he faced threats when he criticised Islam on Facebook. Upon receiving a number of death threats, he contacted the police and filed a grievance against a perpetrator. His case was sent to a public tribunal in Darbandikhan, which rather than address the threats to Yousef Muhammad Ali’s life, had him arrested. He was then transferred to Sulaymaniyah jail. On 15th December 2014, his sentence was renewed until the 22nd December 2014. After campaigning by rights activists and journalists in Kurdistan and abroad he was released on bail on 17 December 2014. His hearing date is on 13 July 2015.

CEMB are asking the public to support Yousef by writing to the Kurdish authorities; addresses can be found here: Yousef Muhammad Ali faces trial on 13 July for criticising Islam.

* His trial date has since been moved to the 14th of September. To read a letter from Yousef discussing his situation, please visit: Yousef Muhammad Ali trial date set for 14 September.

Yousef’s case is the kind of story we would expect to hear in relation to Saudi Arabia, but in reality the Western public know little about the Kurds that we profess so much support for. The above examples are by no means an attempt to bash the Kurds, but only serve to highlight that they are hardly the Westernised partners they’re made out to be.

It seems like every time you hear a British or American politician on TV giving their opinion on defeating ISIS, their answer is sending more weapons to the Kurds. In reality, to the US, both the YPG and the Peshmerga are nothing more than their proxy force on the ground enabling the carving up of Syria and Iraq. It is evident that serious airstrikes against Daesh only take place to aid Kurdish forces, such as in Kobani, Tal Abyad and Erbil. No doubt the Americans will create a Kurdistan homeland for their allies against ISIS, but only because doing so is a step towards remaking the Middle East into a number of ethnically and religiously homogeneous statelets in the service of America and Israeli imperialism and for easier control of oil reserves, rather than a genuine desire to help their long-oppressed pawns.

A 'hypothetical future' Iraq and Syria, as conjured up by the State Dept. funded Radio Free Europe
A ‘hypothetical future’ Iraq and Syria, as conjured up by the State Dept. funded Radio Free Europe
The Kurds must also be warned that accepting aid from America/NATO comes at a price, therefore they will likely have to give up some form of their sovereignty in return for independence. Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, is essentially an American outpost in Iraq. An oil town, it is home to an American consulate, and is filled with thousands of American workers and five star hotels, while the 

Iraqi AF drop leaflets on Mosul; US coalition stalls

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The Iraqi Air Force has dropped flyers over the city of Mosul that was taken by Daesh just over one year ago. Dropping leaflets was the most advantageous way for the Iraqi government and military to get its message to citizens living under occupation.

The above flyer was acquired by Baghdad Invest, which has also provided a translation for non-Arabic speakers:

In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful,

To the people of Nainawa, the patient and the ones standing alone so far,

Every step the government is taking towards Mosul, your great city, is putting into account your future, your sacrifices and your holy and utmost precious freedom in its calculation to free you from ISIL, which profane your city a year ago. Your relief now has come to light, and we are in a position where liberation is so close to reality. Your Military forces are getting close, cooperate with them and stay away from ISIL militants with whatever you see fit, to put down in your records that you are the liberators and you are the ones who will role the city and plan its destiny, and you are capable of it.

And all victory is by Allah

P.s. – We advise every citizen of the city to carry a radio on you constantly. Soon Al Mosul FM will start broadcasting to fill you up with important instructions necessary to your safety and to contribute towards your liberation.

ISF – Province of Nainawa
Iraqi Department of Defence

However it is unknown when the Iraqi army and supporting Hashd volunteers will begin their attempt to retake Mosul, as they still haven’t conquered Baiji. They have also suffered a number of setbacks due to constant stalling by the US, who decides to send a new batch of trainers every few months, thus impeding their progress. Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki revealed in an interview yesterday that the Iraqi government had been asking for US assistance for a year prior to the airstrikes that commenced in August 2014.

Al Maliki: The West ‘remained bystanders’ against Al Qaeda

Of course, due to the recently acquired DIA documents by US lobby group Judicial Watch, it is now known that the current catastrophe in Iraq was predicted by the Americans right from the start of the war in Syria. These stated:

“IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN). THE DETERIORATION OF THE SITUATION HAS DIRE CONSEQUENCES ON THE IRAQI SITUATION…… THIS CREATES THE IDEAL ATMOSPHERE FOR AQI TO RETURN TO ITS OLD POCKETS IN MOSUL AND RAMADI, AND WILL PROVIDE A RENEWED MOMENTUM UNDER THE PRESUMPTION OF UNIFYING THE JIHAD AMONG SUNNI IRAQ AND SYRIA AND THE REST OF THE SUNNIS IN THE ARAB WORLD AGAINST WHAT IT CONSIDERS ONE ENEMY, THE DISSENTERS. ISI COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, WHICH WILL CREATE GRAVE DANGER IN REGARDS TO UNIFYING IRAQ AND THE PROTECTION OF ITS TERRITORY.”

Therefore it is impossible to view this intervention by America and its ’60 state anti-ISIS coalition’ as anything other than a cynical attempt to look like it’s fighting ISIS, whilst in reality it appears to be partitioning both Iraq and Syria into separate states along ethnic and religious lines – Sunni, Shia and Kurdish – thus breaking the so-called Shia crescent.

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‘Future’ map floated by State Dept propaganda tool ‘Radio Free Europe’

How utterly sickening it is to watch this from afar, it is impossible to imagine what life is like for Iraqis, having suffered war and sanctions for decades.

Mosul in a State of Panic after Iraqi Air Force drops Leaflets
http://www.baghdadinvest.com/mosul-panic-iraqi-drops-leaflets/

Judicial Watch: Defense, State Department Documents Reveal Obama Administration Knew that al Qaeda Terrorists Had Planned Benghazi Attack 10 Days in Advance
http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-defense-state-department-documents-reveal-obama-administration-knew-that-al-qaeda-terrorists-had-planned-benghazi-attack-10-days-in-advance/

Iraq And Syria: Past, Present, And (Hypothetical) Future Maps
http://www.rferl.org/content/iraq-syria-religious-ethnic-divides-history-future-maps/25232404.html

Russell Brand Summarises the Dishonesty of David Cameron’s Tunisia Response

Tunisia Minute Of Silence – Total Bullshit: Russell Brand The Trews (E350)

I don’t usually pay much attention to Russel Brand, but it is good to see someone in the public eye speaking out about power structures in society and challenging the status quo; something the British press is loathe to do.

He really nails David Cameron’s response to the Tunisia attack; asking why, if the various incidents from London 7/7 to Mumbai to Charlie Hebdo are all connected to one another, then why are our invasions and drone attacks etc not part of the picture?

According to Cameron, there is no relationship between Britain waging aggressive wars against countries that haven’t done anything to us and the animosity that is felt towards the UK. Since 9/11 Britain has taken part in three wars of choice – Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – as well as covertly waging a devastating war against Syria, resulting in the deaths of millions of innocent people. The government has also given its full support to Israel and Saudi Arabia to destroy Gaza and Yemen, and provided them with the weapons to do so. No one has been held accountable for any of this, and the public doesn’t seem to care.

Now, as part of the new Anti-Terrorism Act, the Home Office is legislating against the very ‘extremist’ language that the government itself is guilty of:

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In his speech following the Tunisia attack, the PM predictably declared that “they” had declared war on Britain. As Brand points out, who is this “they” Cameron refers to? How is this different to the message he says ‘Islamic extremism’ conveys? Brand notes that the ‘war on terror’ is a self-perpetuating business and until there is recognition that wars and arms deals are part of the problem not the solution then nothing will change.

What exactly is the point of the Chilcot report when Cameron’s government has continued to wage illegal wars and lie about them to the public?

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Benghazi 2015 – who will rebuild Libya?

The British government continue to deny responsibility for chaos in the Middle East

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The murder of up to 30 British tourists on a Tunisian beach last week is yet another consequence of David Cameron’s disastrous ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Libya. This follows the rape and assault of several UK citizens by ‘former revolutionaries’ in Cambridgeshire last year, who were visiting the country as part of a Ministry of Defence programme to train Libyan forces. While it has not yet been verified whether or not the Tunisian shooter had spent time at a training camp in the neighbouring country, it would take a huge amount of cognitive dissonance to view the two events as unrelated. Daesh took responsibility for the attack; there would be no Daesh without the war on Libya then Syria.

Another consequence is the current refugee crisis, which has so far led to over 2000 deaths in the Mediterranean this year. In 2010 the number of refugees/migrants departing from Libya was 5000. In April Ed Miliband caused an uproar by ‘controversially’ stating that Cameron shared responsibility for the deaths at sea; typically this opinion was rubbished by the media and political establishment. The Tories have flat-out refused to take in any refugees, and are currently leading a military campaign to destroy boats used to make the journey.

David Cameron Responds to Ed Miliband’s Libyan Comments

The government and most of the British public may tell themselves that our foreign policy is not at fault for the current violence engulfing the Middle East and the north of Africa, but history will not judge us as kindly. A Guardian commenter noted on a related article that the Treaty of Versailles is largely accepted as the predominant factor that led to the rise of Nazi Germany; the connection between Western foreign policy (and their GCC cronies) and ISIS is a far simpler one to make. It is possible that the PM is increasingly coming to realise this, judging by his recent ill-conceived and irresponsible speech where he accused British Muslims of ‘quietly condoning’ Daesh, without offering any evidence to support this. These kind of statements are only likely to result in more hate crimes being committed against minorities, and further isolation of those who already feel sidelined by British society. For example, a number of Muslim graves were vandalised in a Nottingham cemetery over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the government’s answer to this latest tragedy is more of the same – more training and weapons for supposedly moderate murderers in Syria, more divisive McCarthyism-style ‘counter-extremism’ policies here.

UK Program to Train Libyan Soldiers Ends in ‘Disarray and Scandal’

The White Helmets: not so ‘unarmed and neutral’

The White Helmets, or ‘Syrian Civil Defence’, claim to be a private non-profit company registered in the UK.

They call themselves:

A global advocacy group standing in solidarity with non-violent Syrians and their struggle for a peaceful and dignified future.

They began their campaign 3 years into the Syrian insurgency…just when the Syrian army’s luck seemed to be on the upside…

We started on the 3rd anniversary of the uprising at a time when Syria was slipping off the media and political agendas of countries around the world. The violence has never been as fierce as it is now or the humanitarian needs as great. Now more than ever the world needs to engage on Syria.

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helmets-yet-again unarmed-neutral

They only seem to operate in areas controlled by the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda) such as Idlib…

and can be seen here cleaning up after a Nusra execution in Aleppo…

They were standing right off-camera with a body-bag at the ready.

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…notice the logo?

Watch the video for yourself… (graphic)

https://vid.me/e/uHCh

Here’s the post-execution statement they released:

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However the images below highlight the complicity between the so-called ‘NGO’ and Nusra.

They have huge media access and are behind most claims of ‘Assad’s chlorine barrel bombs’…

From the Guardian:

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Assad regime accused of 35 chlorine attacks since mid-March

Here they can be seen jubilantly waving the Nusra black flag…

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and here (minus a White Helmet uniform) holding a weapon:
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This time in uniform and armed:

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Who are they?

The Syria Campaign’s four listed ‘campaigners’ have worked for companies such as the BBC and Avaaz – both known for their rabid anti-Syria propaganda. The BBC disgraced itself with its ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ episode of Panorama (see Fabrication in BBC Panorama’s ‘Saving Syria’s Children for more details), as well as numerous other outright lies on the conflict,

This image was actually taken by photographer Marco di Lauro in Iraq, 2003.
This image was actually taken by photographer Marco di Lauro in Iraq, 2003.

and Avaaz for its countless petitions calling for a no-fly zone.

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Basically they are what is now par for the course in these imperialistic proxy interventions: a shadowy non-governmental organisation funded by governments and their corporate cronies, and passing themselves off as being motivated solely by altruism. It was a letter signed by dozens of NGOs such as Human Rights Watch that resulted in the UN Security Council voting to implement a no-fly zone over Libya in 2011, based on wild claims which all turned out to be false. We know how that turned out; unleashing a similar hell on the whole of Syria would be far worse.

https://thesyriacampaign.org/about/

 http://voiceproject.org/

More Brilliant Daesh Satire:

Christiane Gruber – associate professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Michigan – on why Arabs call ISIS ‘Daesh’:

Over the past year, cartoonists across the Middle East have critiqued ISIS with equal amounts of ferocity and fearlessness. From Jordan to Iran, they frequently lambast ISIS—referring to it through its acronym Daesh, which is related to the pejorative Arabic term meaning “to tread under foot”—as destructive of Islam and the world’s cultural heritage, as the growling lapdog of various superpowers, as the ultimate devil and grim reaper of Iraq and as an Oscar-winning sensation obsessed with bloody forms of self-promotion.

Ignored and Unreported, Muslim Cartoonists Are Poking Fun at ISIS http://www.newsweek.com/ignored-and-unreported-muslim-cartoonists-are-poking-fun-isis-332040

Exposing Human Rights Watchs (HRW) pretension of impartiality

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Friends of Syria

There is valid reason to reject the notion of HRWs impartiality.

Take for instance HRWs repeated allegations against the Syrian government. While it is wrong to ignore human rights violations of ANY war party the real question is why HRW chooses to attack and denounce the Syrian army in a time when the latter is fighting the “Islamic State” and Al Qaeda (like Syrias Al Nusra Front).
Also, If HRW seriously claims to be concerned regarding Syrian lives it should encourage ANY peace talks that would help ending bloodshed. Instead HRW one-sidedly emphasized on the barrel bombs used by the Syrian army even using a picture of Kobanes destruction by the US airforce to highlight the devastation of rebel-held Aleppo by the Syrian airforce:
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/02/human-rights-watch-accuses-syria-of-barrel-bomb-damage-created-by-us-attacks.html

In general, HRW trivializes too much:
The Syrian army is – despite being portrayed otherwise by the international mainstream media – not the only party…

View original post 319 more words

Arabs Can Do Satire Too

In the wake of the attack on France’s Charlie Hebdo publication this week, I thought it would be a good time to revisit some Arab media productions satirising ISIS. It seems that many in the West think that all Arabs/Muslims are of one mind, and are unable to mock themselves or their religion. It’s worth pointing out that states such as Iraq, Palestine and Syria suffer at the hands of extremists on a daily basis – no one in this part of the world cares about that, but we demand their condemnation when the rare attack does occur here. The following Onion-style article is from a Lebanese publication; it’s much more nuanced than the crude cartoons of Charlie Hebdo (the original can be viewed here).

ISIS: Coup delayed for ‘Communal Coexistence’

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The invasion of Beirut, Lebanon, has been delayed again, according to sources close to Idiot Sycophants of Islamist Saboteurs (ISIS), a self-described “anti-Botox, pro-C4 explosives militia successor to al-Qaeda in Iraq.” Last week, after seizing eastern lands in war-torn Syria and launching lightening attacks across Iraq, ISIS cancelled its initial invasion of Lebanon on account of “crazy traffic, bro.”

ISIS spokesman Saaden Ibn-Jahshein has sought to “reassure the Lebanese public—and all of its communities—that [they] are not far from our thoughts.” In a press conference held on a rugged hill on the outskirts of a Syrian village purportedly under the Assad regime’s control, Ibn-Jahshein promised the Lebanese that their “especially tenuous period of eerie calm” would not persist.
Proclaiming his group’s “enduring desire to invade and occupy Beirut,” he emphasized, however, that ISIS “will invade once the conditions are acceptable. First, we must be assured that Lebanese state institutions and traditional communal leadership positions are restored, fully functional, and running efficiently. Second, we need somebody to help us figure out how to oust non-existent state institutions from power while securing the support of all of your patriarchs, sheikhs, beiks, and khalilyeh yeiks.”

“Our religio-political experts have advised us that we must respect ‘communal coexistence’ for our coup to be legitimate,” explained Ibn-Jahshein. “Apparently, we must overthrow all three of Lebanon’s presidents—Maronite, Sunni, and Shiite; remove all Grade One civil servants; treat Muslim and Christian parliamentarians with equal scorn and disrespect; and somehow locate, apprehend, and neutralize the half-dozen neo-feudal leaders—and their biological and ideological scions—whose influence extends throughout and beyond the formal institutions that we’d just bomb to bits.”

“We do not yet understand the Logic of Lebanon. Your president must be a Maronite; but you can’t seem to find one that knows how to put his pants on properly! Your prime minister must be a Sunni, so long as he answers to a political boss thousands of miles away—one who doesn’t seem to be able to put his pants on properly either. And, then, not that we care about them, you have the Shiites controlling the Speakership of Parliament. Some closet pro-Western lawyer kow-towing to a Party of God that has already claimed all the goddamn virgins in the next life.”

“I mean,” Ibn-Jahshein hissed, scanning an organizational chart of the Lebanese state, prominent political parties, feudal families, local bosses, religious leaders, garden-variety thugs, ambassadors, other foreign participants, and pop-up nongovernmental organizations and consultancies. “Who the fuck do we overthrow around here?”

ISIS security czar Ibn al-Fashal then interjected, reassuring NOW’s Chief Caliphate Correspondent that ISIS was “playing for keeps.”

“You’ll have to excuse Ibn-Jahshein, he’s young and impressionable. ISIS understands that it must purport to preserve and protect Lebanon’s freedom, independence, and sovereignty—so long as those ideals unfold within the context of a pan-Islamic Caliphate stretching from Morocco to the Moon and Mars. ISIS, I should also emphasize, will continue to respect communal coexistence in Lebanon—so long as moderate Sunnis, Christians, Druze, Shiites, atheists, agnostics, and the two or three Jews you’ve trotted out to populate your reconstructed synagogue understand who runs the show.”

“We want to understand Beirut and Lebanon first and, to be frank, our focus groups have yielded some troubling results… Fine, we said, set up a Caliphate. How do we get the business up and running?”

“Well, as you can imagine, views were varied. Out of nowhere, the Greek Orthodox insisted on the financial portfolio. They claimed to care for the Caliphate’s ties with the West and non-Arab Islamic world and reminded us of the ‘old, grand’ Sunni-Orthodox convergence in major Arab metropolises. But closer examination revealed that they are hoping to leverage the Caliphate to recapture influence lost after the establishment of the Maronite-centric Lebanese Republic.”

“The Maronites—not that anybody asked them about a damned thing!—rejected dhimmitude and called for the restoration of their ancient, pre-Islamic, Phoenicianomardaite Empire of Jounieh and Jbeil. They then had the audacity to ask that we, in the alternative, empower a man from the Khazen, Sfeir, or Gemayel families as Co-Caliph of Christians!”

(Hands trembling, Ibn al-Fashal then poured himself a whiskey. “It’s OK,” he whispered. “Taqiyya.”)

“Then Walid Jumblatt waltzed in, jeans and all, handed us copies of the Bible and his old interview in Playboy, and suggested we ‘reconsider our approach to this place.’ Inno, What The Fasouliyah? Who asked you? Seriously. Anyway, after his dog pissed on us, he demanded two vizier positions for the Druze and one vizier position for a ‘friendly Christian’; in turn, he offered us ‘a carefully orchestrated fake submission to your Caliph, who [the Druze] will allow into the Chouf twice a year without sending him back in a wooden box.”

“As soon as we’d negotiated an arrangement with the Druze, the Shiites showed up—Hezbollah, Amal, and the two or three feudal families that have somehow convinced Western powers of their relevance as alternatives—asking for their own courts, tax regimes, inheritance rules, and local chiefs. Fine, we said, manage your own affairs… just leave the Sunnis to us.”

“When the Maronites heard about this, they revoked their previous offer, demanded that the Caliph recognize ‘Little Lebanon’ once again, and promptly trotted out thousands of mountaineers somehow equipped with the latest, shiniest American surplus weaponry. One of their Western-educated attorneys made a particularly sophisticated argument that the prospective enclave could allow Caliphate Citizens to ‘do their business just across the border’ and therefore avoid running afoul of the Quran and Hadith.”

“But then,” continued the ISIS czar, shaking his head, “this proposal caused great consternation among Lebanese Sunnis, who have sought to reprise their role as commercial stewards and protectors of the faith, within reasonable limits. They also have some thoughts on how to redevelop and reconstruct eastern Syria and Western Iraq—something having to do with a special-purpose company empowered with a private sector equivalent of eminent domain. So we said, khallas—”

“Pardon me,” interjected an ISIS apparatchik, poking his head inside the tent.

“The Turkoman communal chief is here to see you about his promised post.”

“Bookrah, el-thawra,” al-Fashal sighed. “Bookrah!”

Anthony Elghossain believes that, if Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires, Lebanon is the graveyard of ideas. Tweet him @aelghossain


Promo for Iraqi TV series ‘The Superstitious State’

 

Clip from Palestinian comedy series ‘Watan ala Watar’

Lebanese show mocks suicide bombers

ISIS parody by Iraqi Kurds

Oh yeah…it might also be worth engaging in some self-reflection, in order to ask ourselves why our official foreign policy for the last 15 years has been to destroy all the secular governments of the Middle East.

Is China Starting to Flex its Military Might?

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China has announced it will deploy 700 troops to South Sudan, as part of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the fledgling nation.  This is the first time Chinese infantry troops have participated in a UN mission; previously the country has contributed engineers, transportation and medical workers. RT reports:

The battalion will be equipped with drones, armored infantry carriers, antitank missiles, mortars, light self-defense weapons, bulletproof uniforms and helmets, among other weapons “completely for self-defense purpose,” commander Wang Zhen said, Xinhua reported.

The deployment comes as CNPC has signed an agreement with oil-rich South Sudan to “stabilize and increase crude output” in the three blocks in the northeastern African country, officials said Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“CNPC will … work with the operators of three blocks to increase crude production in South Sudan, and provide relevant training to the technicians from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining,” the company said in a statement.

Oil production has fallen by one-third since a civil war broke out in the country last December, after President Salva Kiir accused the then-Prime Minister Riek Machar of plotting to overthrow him.

Oil for peace? China to send 700 peacekeepers to S. Sudan, signs energy deal

South Sudan is the world’s youngest state, having gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. China has invested heavily in South Sudan’s oil fields, and the civil war that has ravaged the country for the past twelve months is largely viewed as a proxy war being waged on China by the US. Wikileaks documents have shown that both sides of the conflict are on the CIA’s pay roll, and America is easily circumventing the UN’s arms embargo by going through neighbouring Ethiopia.

The US’s only objective in South Sudan is to deprive China of Africa’s natural resources, therefore China’s decision to now send its own forces to guard the oil fields is an interesting turn of events. China’s long-term foreign policy is one of non-interference in other countries affairs, however it looks like the emerging superpower – having now overtaken the US as the world’s largest economy – is finally going to start defending its interests abroad. It is highly unlikely that China will be involving itself in various conflicts, but this new move shows that it is not going to allow America to continue sabotaging its investments.

This new assertiveness has also been made evident through the recent news that China offered military assistance to Iraq, at the UN general assembly in September. As the world’s largest net importer of crude oil and with several state-owned energy companies working in the war-torn country, China has a particular interest in Iraq’s stability. This is also true of Syria, as China has already pledged to invest heavily in post-war reconstruction efforts.

Therefore, while Xi’s government is likely to maintain its peaceful foreign policy strategy, China – like everyone else – can see the havoc being waged all over the world by the US in order to maintain its global hegemony. However with the imperial dollar in decline, coercive diplomacy is no longer viable, and a multipolar world is now all but inevitable.