Monday 26th of September 2022

of terror and potato heads...

bad smell

In Red Dwarf, Lister, the last human in the entire universe, teaches Kryten, the droid with a head shaped like a badly-peeled potato, to lie — as if lying was at the core of being human. 


As I have expressed before on this site, deceit, disguise, adaptation, as much as brutal strength, are all parts of nature — including human nature — in varied proportions.
There is a certain elegance in the droid's reluctant learning and eventually Kryten can say "smeg-head" to Rimmer, the hologram. Kryten can also say "orange" even if the fruit is an apple or a banana. But Kryten has to fight very hard against his truth chip. Lying in such small doses does not affect the droid's ability to iron the gussets of Lister's underpants, for a while. 
Kryten can even double-lie about Silicon Heaven — where all the vacuum cleaners, toasters and droid go after death or after official decommissioning — to another droid, this one a nasty shitty left-over garbage can from an old crashed spacecraft, accidentally encountered on a planet during some adventure, three million years from now. 
As the series develops, Kryten becomes more and more devious.

This has profound philosophical ramifications. 

The Truth Function and Logic In Western Philosophy:
Many of the relationships at play in semantics arise within formal logic. However, the treatment received in formal logic differs significantly from the treatment relationships receive in semantics. As well, by looking at the approach to analyzing these relationships within a small formal context, it is easier to see just how far strict formalism can go, and just how far assumptions are made about what we already understand or are prepared to accept as understood.

What we notice about this is that when the premises are true, the proper conclusion tend to follow, though not essentially. And there are cases where the premises are false and the conclusion isn't always true, there is still something about the final argument that can strike us as good. At times, the premises are not connected and yet the final statement is correct. Thus there is elasticity in the system of logic, related not so much as to what exists but to what we are prepared to accept.


Truth-functional logic tries to capture what it is about these arguments (and a host of others) which gives them a persuasive, productive character. Here, the value lies in the word productive. This should lead to understanding the value of atheism, in which we can rely on logical reality while accepting the relativity of arguments, true or false. On the other side, we have to understand that beliefs, especially religious beliefs, do not provide any verifiable truths and believed premises in this context only lead to palatable false conclusions. The philosophical acceptance of beliefs is thus impossible should we not be brainwashed — which we all are from a young age, to various degrees. It takes an enormous amount of courage, analysis of logic in truth and ability in greater understanding, to debrief oneself from all the religious lies in the world.


In Muslim philosophy, these tortuous convolutions are soon terminated by "Allah is Great" and don't you forget it otherwise we'll put you to death. This dogmatic deceit, disguised as truth, is brutal. Atheism in some Wahhabi ruled countries is often a death-punishable offence. 

No matter how one tries to attenuate this position with more accepting and accepted version of Islam, these premises standing at the core of Wahhabism drive ISIL. It used to be a similar case with some versions of Christianity, till the Enlightenment and the separation of Church and State.

Though it is too early to attribute the Paris massacres to ISIL, there is a format of disinformation and individual stings that follow once a hornets' nest is hit — like, as Bernie Sanders reminds the world once again, the US invaded Iraq 12 years ago. We are paying the piper.

Although ISIL is an Islamic movement, it is not mired in the far distant past, because its roots are in Wahhabism, a form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia that developed only in the 18th century. In July 2013, the European Parliament identified Wahhabism as the main source of global terrorism.

Yet the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, condemning IS in the strongest terms, insisting that “the ideas of extremism, radicalism and terrorism do not belong to Islam in any way”. 

Other members of the Saudi ruling class, however, look more kindly on the movement, applauding its staunch opposition to Shiaism and for its Salafi piety, its adherence to the original practices of Islam. 

This inconsistency, bordering on managing a lie at various levels, is a reminder of the impossibility of making generalisations about any religious tradition. In its short history, Wahhabism has developed at least two distinct forms, each of which has a wholly different take on violence.

More in the next instalment. It's going to be a long night.




The Deceit as a Good Trick — which in Truth-functional logic gives premises this persuasive, productive character by using wrongness — is made value-relevant by the end result — including successful violence. The choice of the end result thus is important in denaturing life and deconstructing Logic — and in producing brainwashing premises that could be abhorrent in some systems (most Western language and philosophical construct) but acceptable in others (Middle eastern), where unsavoury situations, habits, desperation and Formal Deceit are resultant/creator of violence through various factors such as self-oppression — as well as oppression from external forces (Western Forces). "Terrorists" can see themselves as truth defenders and will fight for survival using all weapons at their disposal, including attack that will result in their own death. Some of these terrorists, separated from the original movement, will commit acts of violence related to the original movement. 

In short, the random attacks and killing of innocent unarmed people becomes religiously heroic in one's pea brain.

The fodder perpetrating such terror defends a faith that is sustained through clever drip feeds, morally, dogmatically and financially, supplied by comfortable rulers who are manipulating the pawns on the chess board. The unimportance of self worth demand sacrifice through death to become subliminally heavenly elevated, and is more powerful, though delusional, than the misunderstood harsh reality from which escape demands a cleverly difficult peaceful solution, often unavailable due to dogmatic restriction. These dogmatic restrictions have been deliberately cultivated by the rulers of the Saudi kingdom for nearly 200 years.

More often than not, terrorists are not equipped with finding comfort by being clever. They are specifically cultivated not to be peaceful, nor psychologically clever, though not exclusively dumb. 

Even for us, it is difficult to avoid revolted anger, revenge and aggression in a reactionary move in our counter-terrorism, mostly because since we were a child, we were being lied to and we became deluded by accepting certain values that are not beneficial to cope with this crap or are contrary to our nature — including our own religious beliefs. We also had our doubts and our own little fights from which we learnt nothing more than punch back and get hurt some more. 

The simple way out of trouble for the uneducated and ill-equipped is sacrifice/terrorism as it provides a glorious vision of the future that is contrary to reality. The desperate and brainwashed will feel at ease in the falsely manipulated Truth Function and Logic reasoning of terrorism . Or of glorious suicide. Or both.

It is very difficult to dismantle this unsavoury set-up, apart from killing back and being preventative in our assumption of who could become a terrorist. Profiling is difficult but not impossible., though the question of language and indoctrination can mask the true nature of terrorism candidates. 

Two forms of Wahhabism were emerging in the 28th century: where Ibn Saud was happy to enforce Wahhabi Islam with the sword to enhance his political position, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab insisted that education, study and debate were the only legitimate means of spreading the one true faith.

Yet although scripture was so central to Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s ideology, by insisting that his version of Islam alone had validity, he had distorted the Quranic message. The Quran firmly stated that “There must be no coercion in matters of faith” (2:256), ruled that Muslims must believe in the revelations of all the great prophets (3:84) and that religious pluralism was God’s will.

The Q'ran had been written in the 7th century AD.


More to come.


the truth function...


Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was written by Ludwig Wittgenstein as a function of formalising philosophical logic.

The world is all that is the case.
What is the case—a fact—is the existence of states of affairs.
A logical picture of facts is a thought.
A thought is a proposition with a sense.
A proposition is a truth-function of elementary propositions. (An elementary proposition is a truth-function of itself.)
The general form of a truth-function is [p, E, N(E)]. This is the general form of a proposition.
What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.

Eventually later in life Ludwig Wittgenstein rounded a moderate critique of this quite sharp construct, possibly because no matter how well we construct our ideas, we can lie.

Ludwig Wittgenstein was one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, and regarded by some as the most important since Immanuel Kant. His early work was influenced by that of Arthur Schopenhauer, by his teacher Bertrand Russell and by Gottlob Frege. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was the only philosophy book that he published during his lifetime. The book claimed to solve all the major problems of philosophy and was held in high esteem by the anti-metaphysical logical positivists (most atheists). The Tractatus is based on the idea that philosophical problems arise from misunderstandings of the logic of language, and it tries to show what this logic is.

As mentioned, one major problem with such rigourous structuring is that we, as a species, can lie. And we can lie to ourselves, in order to promote our own worth. Worth, the value of who we are, is relative to whom we compare to. For humans, understanding comparison through lies often becomes a factor in survival and a source of sociopathy. 

"Survival of the fittest" is often attributed to Charles Darwin. It was Herbert Spencer who actually coined the phrase after having read Darwin's "Origin of the Species". But Spencer was an evolutionist before Darwin wrote his famous book. Spencer had developed an all-embracing conception of evolution. Spencer's views saw evolution as the development of the physical world, biological organisms, the human mind, culture and societies. Spencer wrote about evolution before Darwin ever did. 
Spencer was deemed to be "the most unending ass in Christendom" by a fellow called Thomas Carlyle, who to say the least was a miserable sod. He was lucky to marry an intelligent woman after failing — like our disesteemed Abbott — to become a priest. How come one never knows. He was friend with Stuart Mill. How come one never knows. 

Through his idea of history as a “Divine Scripture,” Carlyle saw the French Revolution as an inevitable judgment upon the folly and selfishness of the monarchy and nobility. Voltaire saw some of this as well, in a more palatable entertaining way. Carlyle's premises were backed with well-documented details and expressed in pretentious pompous prose that sounded like biblical writings: 

"... an august Assembly spread its pavilion; curtained by the dark infinite of discords; founded on the wavering bottomless of the Abyss; and keeps continual hubbub. Time is around it, and Eternity, and the Inane; and it does what it can, what is given it to do. (part 2, book 3, chapter 3)"

There are complications and complexed uncertainties in logic and truth. 
Once nature is denatured in the human mind by stylistic impressions and illusions, the "fittest" does not mean the righteous nor the physically strongest. At this level, the fittest also means the one who can lie the most for profit without being detected (nor chastised — thus admired if detected) or the non-thinkers who can breed most... 

This is why I wrote this annoying ditty: 

Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is completely wrong.

 There are far too many idiots in the human species 
For the process of natural selection to do good work. 
We have passed a critical mass of dumb crazies 
And god, of course, to be blamed for it, the heavenly dork. 

Due to the exponential progression of encouraging 
Passive blind idiocy by the business of consumering, 
We tend to elect idiots more and more as leaders 
Compounding democratic numbers of dumb breeders,
And assuring the defeat of improvements
By crappy unnatural selection of cheerleaders.

Like an unplanned shipment of bowel movements.
Not very good and quite selectively immature. Seriously though, the biggest human deception is the religious lie. It's so obvious, yet it keeps masses and masses of people in a state of dedicated idiocy. It can be use to create non-thinkers with cheap concept where survival is idealised in an after life. This is vicious deceit and all religions do it. Even the non-religion like Buddhism presently spreading amongst some higher elite in search of purpose: reincarnation is "after-life". 
While most modern western philosophers see this as a terrible grand deception, they can also admit the strength in this sewer-philosophical manipulation of people's mind. Some religious person may be afraid of dying because he/she still feels unworthy of the mercy of god — not having been good enough so far and/or having committed non-absolved petty sins — while others religious person might commit an atrocity against humanity that will be deemed righteous in the religious context. The purpose is defined by the brain-washing and valuing one's own worth in such context. 

Cortez conquered South America with Guns, God and Greed with a very small rogue army which at today's values would be considered a terrorist outfit. As a young kid Cortez was considered ruthless, haughty, mischievous, and quarrelsome, as well as being highly clever, bordering devilishly on understanding how to manipulate people. The sum of these characters of course is a sociopath mould. After a few clever "ruthless" adventures in Cuba, he showed his determination to deal with some budding disaffection amongst his small army by burning his ships on the coast of Mexico. With this, Cortez committed himself and his entire force to survival by conquest. The Conquistadors were launched.

Until we remove religion out of the equation, deceitful and hypocritical morality controls our actions. Removing the religious element removes the morally constructed excuses that could give us the right to be arseholes. 

We then can manage guns and greed with better laws and a better understanding of the planet's history, to minimise pain and provide a better view of the future. 

As a Muslim political party is formed in Australia, would it be time to banned all religions in politics?. We have a long way to go before The Truth Function of reality enters our brains...

Part one of chapter eleven of The Age of Deceit by Gus Leonisky. See chapter one and introduction (unrevised) here.


Chapter one: Age of deceit- chapter one part one


correction: in the comment above, one should read: Two forms of Wahhabism were emerging in the 18th century (not the 28th, god, the she, forbid):

on boulevard voltaire...


"A colleague went to buy something to make black ribbons" "How can one work today with such sorrow?" Wondered another employee of the Fnac, in shock, discretely accusing management of being too "quiet" at having lost a couple of employees in the attacks.

A number of people interviewed by AFP were expressing major confusion and extreme sadness in the resumption of ordinary work, while their feelings are shaken by the weight of the situation.

"We have to pick up the pace, but everything we do seems out of step", "everyone is stunned" testifies Elsa Morinet, assistant to the mayor of Paris, and who lives in a building on boulevard Voltaire where a suicide bomber blew himself up Friday night.

Wafa has "not discussed the events" with her colleagues of the Galeries Lafayette, perhaps by "fear." "Life goes on, it's unfortunate but we must go to work," she adds.

"Concern and silence" heavily hovered through this famous department store on Boulevard Haussmann, and according to her colleagues, lamenting this now "dead" suburb.

read more:


The same conversations and feelings have be recorded in Beirut, Damascus and other places such as Yemen. Different people, different places, same feelings of sorrow, more dead kids. 

Meanwhile, the princes — from Riyadh to Washington and Elysée, in their Golden palaces of 256 rooms and White Houses — push another piece on the old and tired chessboard. 

No-one can win because whoever started this stupid game has long been dead, including the prophets.


the saudi-israeli secret alliance to help ISIS?...

Are the Saudis, with their dreams of regional dominance (perhaps shared with Israel), committing slow-motion suicide? And why is the US government shipping another $1.3 billion in bombs so the Saudis can flatten the rest of Yemen? Is that what we call “spreading democracy”? More today on the Liberty Report:


see also:

apologies and condolences — adam and eve are forgiven...

the front shock troops...

War sells. Wars are profitable on many fronts, including history. Peace does not sell news. Though not really that peaceful, the 500 years of the Pax Romana are just this: a blimp in history that lasted 500 YEARS. Nothing to report. the official History often gleans over it. 

And there are big players who know the value of changing tactics. Trench warfare is useless. Open field warfare is a butchery. It worked for the Romans because they were better equipped and weapons had a limited range. But the Romans lost their empire to terrorists: those hordes of undisciplined ruthless Goths. The art of warfare had changed. But we forgot. In our lazy minds, it's easier to have big bombs to drop from 10,000 feet than to train the mind of young kids. So the young kids give us retort anyway. 

Young pubescent kids will always give us retort. We do not know how to manage this. Till they reach 25 years of age, young kids can do stupid things. They experiment. They can be brainwashed to new things or they can be trained some more in mono-belief with the promise of becoming heroes and ravish virgins at a banquet —as long as they break something. What can be better than that?.

In our West, we train our young pubescent kids in the art of freedom of thought and the convolution of philosophy so that they can understand "freedom" and logic. Most understand zilch. For too many of them "freedom" is to smash the place, get drunk and sow wild oats, while having a good time. They have energy to spend, not on wisdom, but on breaking things for fun.

They are not heroes, we point the finger at them, but they laugh and piss on us. 

We've all been there. All the philosophy in the world is useless. 

Come the other big players in the game of war: They are trainers for competing kings armies. They're going to help you destroy things in a much better way than you can dream of and become heroes. The game becomes more enticing. More real with real weapons and more psychologically rewarding. You can become your own boss in sowing real terror, and the rules are simpler than a philosophical salad. For young Muslims, the rules are: you pray to Allah, you kill to defend your faith, and should you forget this we cut your balls off. 

Welcome to the 21st century of front troop training. The kids...


See also:


Now you are allowed to understand the cartoon at top.


ps: People like old Gus, never really lost the annoying youth ability and desire to smash sumpthin'. But we have channelled this energy into smashing myths with cartoons and ramblings. Other smashers who never lost this youth annoying aspect are DEVELOPERS who can't see lovely old buildings without a desire to destroy and construct something else looking like a 50 storey phallus symbol for profit in the same place. And of course some youth also smash themselves into trees, by driving cars too fast. Careless is their sense of freedom...

Someone like Tony Abbott was the smasher by excellence and he is still smashing stuff carelessly... He never grew up.

the dogs of war and the chiens courageux...

The death of police dog Diesel in a police raid in the Paris suburbs on Wednesday has inspired its own hashtag. But the tag's creator says he started it "to be a little bit funny".

Police targeted the flat in Saint-Denis in a search for the alleged mastermind of Friday's gun and bomb attacks in Paris, when 129 people were killed. During the raid, a woman blew herself up and a suspect was shot dead. Seven arrests were made and five officers were injured.

The French National Police's announcement that police dog Diesel, a 7-year-old Belgian Shepherd, was killed "by terrorists," sparked a big reaction online - retweeted 13,000 times.

It inspired a hashtag, "Je Suis Chien," which borrows the language of the "Je Suis Charlie" solidarity hashtag. The "Je Suis Chien" tag has been used over 50,000 times, with many people sharing messages of grief for Diesel in French and later in English. "Forever thankful to these creatures," wrote one user.

read more:

Woof woof ... (meaning see toon at top).

we were too dumb...

'We Were Too Dumb'

Interview Conducted By  and 

Without the Iraq war, Islamic State wouldn't exist today, former US special forces chief Mike Flynn openly admits. In an interview, he explains IS' rise to become a professional force and how the Americans allowed its future leader to slip out of their hands.

Michael Flynn, 56, served in the United States Army for more than 30 years, most recently as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he was the nation's highest-ranking military intelligence officer. Previously, he served as assistant director of national intelligence inside the Obama administration. From 2004 to 2007, he was stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, where, as commander of the US special forces, he hunted top al-Qaida terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of the predecessors to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who today heads the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq. After Flynn's team located Zarqawi's whereabouts, the US killed the terrorist in an air strike in June 2006.

In an interview, Flynn explains the rise of the Islamic State and how the blinding emotions of 9/11 led the United States in the wrong direction strategically.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In recent weeks, Islamic State not only conducted the attacks in Paris, but also in Lebanon and against a Russian airplane over the Sinai Peninsula. What has caused the organization to shift its tactics and to now operate internationally?

Flynn: There were all kinds of strategic and tactical warnings and lots of reporting. And even the guys in the Islamic State said that they were going to attack overseas. I just don't think people took them seriously. When I first heard about the recent attacks in Paris, I was like, "Oh, my God, these guys are at it again, and we're not paying attention." The change that I think we need to be more aware of is that, in Europe, there is a leadership structure. And there's likely a leader or a leadership structure in each country in Europe. The same is probably similar for the United States, but just not obvious yet.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You mean something like an emir or regional leadership?

Flynn: Exactly. In Osama bin Laden's writings, he elaborated about being disperse, becoming more diffuse and operating in small elements, because it's harder to detect and it's easier to act. In Paris, there were eight guys. In Mali, there were 10. Next time, maybe one or two guys will be enough.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Can an attack of that scope even take place without being coordinated and authorized by the IS leadership in Syria?

Flynn: Absolutely. There's not some line-and-block chart and a guy at the top like we have in our own systems. That's the mirror imaging that we have to, in many ways, eliminate from our thinking. I can imagine a 30-year-old guy with some training and some discussion who receives the task from the top: "Go forth and do good on behalf of our ideology." And then he picks the targets by himself, organizes his attackers and executes his mission.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Islamic State's leader is the self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. What kind of leader is he?

Flynn: It's really important to differentiate between the way Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri represent themselves when they come out in public and how al-Baghdadi represented himself when he declared the caliphate. Bin Laden and Zawahiri sit in their videos, legs crossed, flag behind them, and they've got an AK-47 in their laps. They are presenting themselves as warriors. Baghdadi brought himself to a mosque in Mosul and spoke from the balcony, like the pope, dressed in appropriate black garb. He stood there as a holy cleric and proclaimed the Islamic caliphate. That was a very, very symbolic act. It elevated the fight from this sort of military, tactical and localized conflict to that of a religious and global war.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What would change if al-Baghdadi were killed?

Flynn: We used to say, "We'll just keep killing the leaders, and the next guy up is not going to be as good." That didn't work out that way because al-Baghdadi is better than Zarqawi, and Zarqawi was actually better than bin Laden.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So killing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi wouldn't change much?

Flynn: Not at all. He could be dead today, you haven't seen him lately. I would have much preferred to have captured bin Laden and Zarqawi because as soon as you kill them, you are actually doing them and their movement a favor by making them martyrs. Zarqawi was a vicious animal. I would have preferred to see him live in a cell for the rest of his life. Their logic is still hard to understand for us in the West.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What differentiates al-Baghdadi from Zarqawi, who led al-Qaida in Iraq between 2003 and 2006?

Flynn: Zarqawi tried to bring in foreign fighters, but not in the way that al-Baghdadi has been able to do. At the peak of Zarqawi's days, they may have been bringing in 150 a month from a dozen countries. Al-Baghdadi is bringing in 1,500 fighters a month, from more than 100 nations. He's using the modern weapons of the information age in fundamentally different ways to strengthen the attraction of their ideology. The other thing is how they target. Zarqawi was absolutely brutal -- he randomly killed guys lining up for jobs in downtown Baghdad. Al-Baghdadi is much smarter and more precise in his target selection, but still very vicious.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Who is running the military wing of the Islamic State?

Flynn: I think that al-Baghdadi or the current leader of the Islamic State is very hands-on when it comes to parts of the military, but it's a very flat, networked organization. Inside Syria and Iraq in the Levant area, my belief is that he has a couple of subordinates who are responsible for military operations, logistical, financial, etc.; they represent a combination of Egyptians, Saudis, Chechens or a Dagestanis, Americans and Europeans. We know from debriefings that they have actually broken Raqqa down into international zones because of language barriers. They have put interpreters in place in those international zones in order to communicate and get their messages around. For example, the Australians alone have about 200 people. There's even an Australian sector in Raqqa, and they're tied into the other English speakers because not everybody shows up speaking Arabic. This requires a military-like structure with military-like leadership.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How does IS treat people who volunteer?

Flynn: They document everything. These guys are terrific about it. In their recruiting and in interviews, they ask "What's your background? Are you good with media? With weapons?" It's this kind of well-structured capability they have that then evolves into a very, very unconventional force.


read more:

a dishonest unwilling coalition of opportunists...


Nearly everyone claims to want to do something about ISIS, but nothing ever happens. In reality, the only powers directly affected by ISIS that are willing to fight are Iran and Syria, with a little help from Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Pessimistic intelligence assessments prepared for the Pentagon warn that there are multiple agendas being pursued by almost everyone else claiming to be involved in what has been misnamed a multinational coalition. Iraq, a frontline player in the conflict, has been hampered by a dysfunctional and corrupt military that just cannot make headway against the more resolute ISIS fighters, even with U.S. air support. Indeed, ISIS reportedly benefits from more than a sprinkling of renegade Sunni former officers from Saddam Hussein’s disbanded army.

Elsewhere, the duplicity is more openly on display. The Saudis would prefer to see ISIS in Syria rather than Bashar al-Assad, whom they regard as an Iranian proxy. They support ISIS secretly, while they are pretending not to, and have focused their military effort on bombing Yemen. Ditto for the Gulf States, most particularly Qatar, home of the United States Central Command. Jordan, nervous about its own internal security, reacted when its pilot was publicly burned to death but has since largely dropped out of the fight except as a venue for the failed U.S. effort to train “moderate” militants.

But Turkey and Israel take the prize for countries playing on both sides. Turkey planned and staged its shootdown of a Russian warplane to disrupt development of a genuine coalition against ISIS, preferring instead to press ahead with its war against the Kurds and Assad. The Turks have been allowing militants to cross their border from Syria with relatively little impediment, a point raised by Obama in recent discussions. More to the point, they have been exchanging weapons and cash for oil, which ISIS is pumping out of the fields that it has occupied in Syria and Iraq. Turkish President Erdogan’s son Bilal is behind the syndicate that exports and sells the oil, transactions that might well amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. An attempt to investigate Bilal in 2013 was derailed when his father intervened to fire all the prosecutors and policemen involved. Turkey will not be joining the fray against ISIS at any time soon.

read more

See toon at top...


the long game...

Three factors clarify Saudi Arabia’s intrinsic and total war on Isis. 

read article:


Here Nawaf Obaid, the Saudi author of this article, tries to explain with religious "minuties", why Saudi Arabia should not be blamed for ISIS.

I disagree. There is a short game and a long game being played on the world stage. I could be wrong, of course, but I sense these things with great clarity. Events such as these also have historical precedents. 

The crucial moment is the timing at which the Saudis will bring ISIS back into line. This is a game of influence and territorial conquest:


The Saudis do not like the Shia.


The Saudis cannot, say, attack the Shia front-on, without creating an international uproar.


ISIS "terrorists" conquers Shia territories. 


ISIS is a sub-branch of whatever Muslim sect one wish to calls them. This is irrelevant.


ISIS is discreetly supported by the same Arabic states that denounce ISIS.


The Shia flee in great numbers as refugees to other countries.


The Sunni caliphate of ISIS is created.


The Saudis bring ISIS back into line. End of terrorism. Applause.


The Caliphate is under control of the Saudis


Peace. Game over.


The Shia of Syria and Iraq have lost the "war" that never happened.


The same is happening in Yemen. 


al jazira...

From The American Conservative:

Policymakers and media people—as well as anyone interested in the Middle East, Islam, terrorism, and related issues—need to be talking about al-Jazira. I am not talking here about the Qatar-based media operation that we usually call al-Jazeera. Rather, I am referring to those regions of Eastern Syria and Northern Iraq that have been in the news so much recently because they are the main stamping grounds of ISIL, and the core of the Islamic State, the Daesh.

This is not just a question of applying a handy geographical label. If we don’t understand the Jazira, and its deep historical implications, we are missing so much of the present story.

The area spans major portions of the old states of Iraq and Syria (can I now assume these states are defunct as actual units?), and has its main centers at Ar-Raqqah, Mosul and Deir ez-Zor. Those territories frequent very prominently on the military maps and targeting charts of most major Western air forces, not to mention Russian and Syrian militaries. When those cities feature in Western media, it is usually in the context of the slaughter of hostages or the expulsion of religious minorities.

Looking at a map of the Islamic State, Westerners find it hard to describe, except in terms of “fragments of old Syria and Iraq.” Actually, though, these regions belong to a specific and old-established unit with its own well defined, if turbulent history, that is very well known in Middle Eastern history. Ever since the early days of Islam, commentators have used the term al-Jazira (“the island”) for these parts, together with the southeastern corner of present Turkey. The term derives from the “island” between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. Originally, it referred to Northern Mesopotamia, that area which combined with the “black land” further down the rivers to invent the state of Iraq. By extension, though, it also included those other borderland countries that eventually found their way into Syria and Turkey.

To say this area has a substantial history is a gross understatement. That story would include, for instance, most of the early development of Near Eastern civilization, not to mention the whole of early Syriac Christianity. Once upon a time, the area was as densely packed with churches and monasteries as any region of Europe, and cities like Nisibis were vital intellectual and spiritual powerhouses. Ar-Raqqah itself was once the mighty early Christian city of Kallinikos, with its bishopric and monastery. Mosul itself was, until very recent years, one of the greatest Christian centers in the whole Middle East.

In Islamic times, of course, that history took a very different direction, but it has always served as a distinct region, with a natural unity and geographical logic. The more you read this history, from the seventh century through the 20th, the more this fundamental unity becomes apparent. Any Muslim ruler seeking to establish wider power had to control the Jazira, even if their natural base was much further afield, in Baghdad or Damascus. Meanwhile, Byzantine and Islamic Empires contended to secure dominance here.

Yet that task was far from easy. The rough and complex terrain made it difficult to suppress independent-minded dissidents, who found a natural home here. That meant ethnic minorities, but also religious sects. Over the centuries, this is where you found the strongholds of the apocalyptic Kharijite sect, the Yezidis, Assyrian Christians, and (more generally) the Kurdish people.

Of its nature, this is warrior country, from which hard-bitten fighters expanded to conquer what they viewed as the effete city dwellers to the south and west. To those city dwellers, al-Jazira always has been dangerous borderland or bandit country. Anyone familiar with the long history of the U.S.-Mexican border will have an excellent sense of the mutual prejudices and stereotypes that prevail here, not to mention the subcultures of endemic violence.

Modern policy-makers should take many significant lessons from this history, but two in particular stand out. One is that the limits of al-Jazira certainly do not end on the old Syria/Iraq borders, but extend deep into Turkey, and that this is the natural direction for any future expansion of the Islamic State. That fact must be central to the thinking of any Turkish policymakers. If the Islamic State is a continuing fact, then it is imperative to maintain good relations with its rulers, and to draw firm boundaries. That entity will still be in place long after the Americans, Russians, and French have lost interest and gone home.

The other great fact is that al-Jazira is now starkly divided between two competing forces, namely ISIS and the Kurds, both of whom operate freely across the three states that notionally control the area. Any projections of the future of this region must centrally emphasize that reality, rather than the role of the ghost states operating from Baghdad and Damascus.

If any Western regime is thinking of restoring old Syria and Iraq, it is operating in a world of delusion. The central issue in the Middle East is the unity of the Jazira, and just who will control this critical heartland.

Philip Jenkins is the author of The Many Faces of Christ: The Thousand Year Story of the Survival and Influence of the Lost Gospels. He is distinguished professor of history at Baylor University and serves as co-director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion in the Institute for Studies of Religion.

of terrorists and potato heads...

Mike Pompeo has decided that after 18 years, the violent East Turkistan Islamic Movement should no longer be considered a terrorist group – a move calculated to bring trouble to China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

Whilst the world is distracted by the ongoing drama of the US presidential election, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was at work on Thursday making a very subtle, yet significant move. 

He quietly announced to the United States Federal Register that the US had de-designated the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) as a terrorist organization.

ETIM is a Uyghur jihadist group which advocates independence for China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region. It was listed as a terrorist organization by the US for 18 years, as well as having been blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council for links to Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). 

And it has been linked with numerous terrorist attacks within Xinjiang itself, as well as providing members who participated alongside Islamists in the Syrian Civil War.

The move by Pompeo is subtle, but significant and inherently political. It follows a long-established pattern of US foreign policymakers defining what constitutes a ‘terrorist’ – and what does not – in accordance with geopolitical preferences. Now, as it looks like Pompeo might end up leaving office, he’s seeking to leave a legacy which makes life difficult for China. The long-term goal? To potentially transform Xinjiang into ‘China’s Afghanistan’ and purposefully incite unrest in the region.


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