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Comment on The Debacle of the Caliphates: Why al-Baghdadi’s Grandiosity doesn’t Matter by Mark Koroi

June 30th, 2014 Comments off

The same can be said for Israel and the rise of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.

Look at the backgrounds of many of the leaders of those organizations and you will see a pattern of radicalization and militancy that was a reaction from a perception of human rights abuses.

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U.S. sending 300 more troops to Iraq

June 30th, 2014 Comments off

US soldiers stand at attention during a handover ceremony of the "entry control points" of Baghdad's Green Zone, on June 1, 2010The U.S. is sending another 300 troops to Iraq to beef up security at the U.S. Embassy and elsewhere in the Baghdad area to protect U.S. citizens and property, officials said Monday.

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Abducted Israeli teens found dead

June 30th, 2014 Comments off

Three Israeli teenagers abducted this month in the West Bank have been found dead near Hebron, the Israeli military says.
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Comment on The Debacle of the Caliphates: Why al-Baghdadi’s Grandiosity doesn’t Matter by HMReader

June 30th, 2014 Comments off

It could be argued that al-Baghdadi is “our” Frankenstein monster. He was born in 1971, so he was only nine years old when the Iraq-Iran War began in 1980 (a war that the U.S. indirectly supported by giving Iraq financial aid and selling Iraq the components needed to make weapons, including chemical munitions).

After growing up with the hardship and deprivation of the Iraq-Iran war, he was 19 or 20 when we bombed Iraq during the First Gulf War in 1991. Then he experienced the deprivation of sanctions, followed by the horror of the U.S “Shock and Awe” attack in 2003, and the ensuing bloodbath that has run from that year until today.

One account says that he was a farmer living in the north of Baghdad when he was picked up during a mass sweep by U.S. forces in 2005 and held as a “civilian detainee”. Another account says that he was a hard-line Salafi Sunni imam and lecturer who was detained by U.S. forces on June 04, 2004. He spent four years in Camp Bucca prison, a U.S. facility that often came under heavy militant rocket fire, and he was released when the center was closed in 2009.

I’ve yet to find a clear explanation of why al Baghdadi was arrested and held. This vagueness indicates that our military prison record keeping is deeply flawed. Per the Washington Post, Camp Bucca was “viewed by many as an appalling miscarriage of justice where prisoners were not charged or permitted to see evidence against them.” (“In Iraq, Chaos Feared as U.S. Closes Prison” by Anthony Shadid, 03.22.2009)

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears to be a textbook example of how the strategy that we’re using in our War on Terror is actually a Factory for Terror. After experiencing so much carnage and possibly torture at the hands of outsiders, is it any wonder that al-Baghdadi has turned on his creator? Uncle Sam deserves a new name: Uncle Samenstein.

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Comment on The Debacle of the Caliphates: Why al-Baghdadi’s Grandiosity doesn’t Matter by Polat

June 30th, 2014 Comments off

Just as a footnote: It was Ottoman Sultan Selim I, father of Suleiman the Magnificent, who brought the title Caliph back as a souvenir of his conquest of Egypt. As you correctly noted, the use of the title was highly selective over the centuries. “Back in the day,” Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror added the title Qaisar-i-Rum to his list. To make the point clear, he had a coin minted with the title Emperor of Rome in Latin along with his name Mehmet II. That one too eventually ended up engraved along with all the other titles belonging to the Sultan. Mehmet sometimes claimed in front of Europeans that he actually had Byzantine blood due to the earlier marriages between Ottoman sultans and Byz brides. In reality, only one such marriage is known to have produced a child and he did not become sultan. Made a good story, though.

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Comment on The Debacle of the Caliphates: Why al-Baghdadi’s Grandiosity doesn’t Matter by Juan Cole

June 30th, 2014 Comments off
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Katie Couric on Islamic history

June 30th, 2014 Comments off
There are many funny aspects to Katie Couric report on the conflict between Sunnis and Shi`ites, but the best part is at the very beginning when she implies that the two groups existed before the death of the prophet but that they had a falling out only after the prophet’s death.  So why can’t Sunnis and Shi`ites get along they way they did before Muhammad was born?

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American government transparancy

June 30th, 2014 Comments off
“They also said the report left out important data, such as the number of U.S. persons whose phone calls or e-mails were collected accidentally or because they were in contact with foreign targets.

“The intelligence community is hiding the extent to which this surveillance conducted without a warrant is impacting people in the United States, who have constitutional rights,” said Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology.”

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Photos of Ottoman Troops in WWI

June 30th, 2014 Comments off

I’m working on Part 3 of my post about the surrender of Kut, but in the meantime let me note that last Friday, to mark the anniversary of Sarajevo, Hurriyet Daily News published a slideshow of photos from the Turkish General Staff Archives of Ottoman troops during World War I.

The general caption describes the troops as “defending Anatolia,” but a variety of locales seem to be included, including many in snow (the Caucasus front?), but also a number with Arab troops, Arab dignitaries, and camel transport.

I have previously noted that the modern narratives of both Turkish nationalists and Arab nationalists have tended to ignore the large number from the Arab province who served in the Ottoman Army, including the fact that two of the three regiments that served under Mustafa Kemal at Gallipoli had been recruited in Syria.

The total of photos in the slideshow is 45; those that look most like the Middle Eastern fronts are in the last 10 or so.
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Martin Indyk

June 30th, 2014 Comments off
In all those tributes to Indyk, none of them mention that he started his career (like Wolf Blitzer) working for the Israeli lobby.

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