Monday, November 16, 2015

Paris, Beirut and ISIS (ISIL)

The humorous blog post sketched out in my mind Friday night for Saturday morning was totally inappropriate against the news of the night's happenings in Paris.  French security knew something was coming but they didn't know what or when or who. So how do you defend against that?

Whether the EU's borderless Schengen system can survive terrorist attacks is a question.  Hollande said he was closing the French border but of course it is not that easy and would take months and millions to reinstate proper border controls.

They have identified several of the dead attackers, and some who are on the run.  Most of them appear to be of French or Belgian origin.  A Syrian passport was "found near the body" of one of the attackers that belonged to a man who came into Europe with refugees from Syria.  It has not been confirmed that the passport belongs to the body yet.  This has not stopped the haters from coming out from under their rocks.  These are folks who never met an immigrant or refugee they liked unless they were white males of European descent, so of course they are playing the no-refugee thing to the hilt. 

An item just hit my news feed that the passport was a fake as they have another person in custody with the same passport but a different picture.  Trying to make it look like some of the attackers were Syrian refugee-terrorists would help ISIS cause by hardening attitudes towards refugees fleeing from ISIS. (Backlash against refugees and Muslim communities in general also is a big plus for Russia as it will drive more Europeans into the ultra nationalist far right parties such as Marine lePen's and weaken the EU.)

The reality is, The Islamic State(IS) loathes that individuals are fleeing Syria for Europe. It undermines IS’ message that its self-styled Caliphate is a refuge, because if it was, individuals would actually go there in droves since it’s so close instead of 100,000s of people risking their lives through arduous journeys that could lead to death en route to Europe.

[One IS] video addresses the issue of those leaving the Islamic State for the lands of the infidel – i.e. refugees fleeing to Europe. An Islamic State speaker explains how it is correct for Muslims to leave the lands of the infidel for the lands of Islam, but not vice versa: Muslims should seek to live in a land where the shari’ah is enforced. Speakers warn that the ‘Jews and Christians’ do not have their interests at heart, and will force them to convert in order to remain in their countries. They cite issues such as the restrictions against hijab and niqab in European countries such as France. They assert that the Islamic State will remain strong despite those leaving. They will find happiness only in the land of the caliphate.

“…ISISwants to provoke a right-wing Islamophobic backlash against refugees and immigrant communities that come from Islamic countries, because that conflict gives credence to their world view that there is a war between the West and Islam. This backlash that we see happening is exactly what they want to drive Europeans towards the right-wing, and drive Islamic immigrant communities towards them. ISIS believes they've set up this Islamic utopia, but all these Muslims are fleeing that Islamic utopia -- so that's kind of embarrassing to them. So ISIS hopes that by provoking a backlash, it will lead people to sympathize with them more. Because then these people that are being welcomed in Europe will think, well, actually maybe we're not being welcomed in Europe. Maybe ISIS' world view is right, that there is this fundamental difference between our world and the West.

ISIS is a weapon in the Middle-East power play between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  In the Arab countries, Shia Muslims are the downtrodden under Sunni overlords.  Except in Syria, where Assad's mainly Alawite regime is an offshoot of Shia Islam but the country is mainly Sunni.  Iran is of course Shia and supports the Shia majority areas of the Arab Middle East.  Saudi Arabia is the champion of Sunni Muslims since it contains the two most holy places of Islam. Saudi Araba is using ISIS to keep the Shias under control while Iran is using the crisis to boost its own standing in the Middle East.

What is ISIS? First, it is a much more dangerous organization than al Qaeda.  It is highly religious, very fundamentalist and has a strategy for the here and now.  Al Qaeda saw the establishment of a Caliphate sometime in the future. ISIS has control of territory and has declared a Caliph who meets all qualifications including being a descendant of Mohammed. For a very clear explanation of what ISIS is and what it stands for, why it acts as it does, please read this article.  It is long but worth the time.

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

This is also good. 
The Paris attacks are the culmination of a 200-year-long battle over how Islam should respond to the rise of Western power.

And finally.

The day before the Paris attacks, two ISIS bomb blasts in Beirut killed more than 60 Shias and injured several hundred others.  It did not get the press or the sympathy that Paris generated.  If one is Lebanese or even if one simply cares about one's fellow human, it is hard to understand why one life is worth more than another.  The sad truth is that it simply wasn't news.  We are inured to stories of tragedies in that part of the  world as they happen on a daily basis. A plane crashes and kills 300 people.  That is news.  The fact that 3000 people are killed monthly on the roads of America is not news.  “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.” Joseph Stalin.  We live in a sad world

Not in my name


  1. Thanks Al. Good insight and perspective. Takes time and energy to do that, Reactive, hate-filled vindictive is, unfortunately, much easier

  2. Some days I don't even want to look at the news. In fact, make that 'most days'. In the first place, it's hard to find a balanced viewpoint... and in the second place, it turns my stomach.

    1. Diane, that is the truth. Even watching WHAT has happened is stomach churning, never mind trying to understand who and why and who benefits.


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