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As Far As The Eye Can See
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edited by S.B. Kelly
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Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
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The New Vichy Syndrome:
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Jihad and Genocide
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The Iconoclast

Monday, 22 September 2014
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From the Telegraph. HT Brian of London

For almost 200 years, it has been regarded as a well-respected medical journal. But according to senior British medical figures, the Lancet is being hijacked to campaign indefatigably against Israel, and used as a platform by alleged conspiracy theorists.

In August, it published a controversial “open letter for the people of Gaza” that condemned Israel in the strongest possible terms, but strikingly made no mention of Hamas’ atrocities.

The five principal authors of the letter made it clear that they had “no competing interests”. However, all of them have campaigned vociferously for the Palestinian cause over many years. In addition, a cache of emails openly available in Google groups show that two of the authors, Dr Paola Manduca and Dr Swee Ang, have sympathies with the views of David Duke, a white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard. 

Dr Swee Ang, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Dr Manduca, a professor of genetics at the University of Genoa in Italy. . .  both members of pro-Palestine NGOs  . . . In another email, Dr Manduca forwarded a message alleging that the Boston marathon bombings were in fact carried out by Jews. Elsewhere, she shared an article comparing the Jewish state to a “strangler fig”, which grows around other trees and takes their sunlight, often resulting in the death of the original trees. 

 Dr Ang said: “I didn’t know who David Duke was, or that he was connected to the Ku Klux Klan. I am concerned that if there is any truth in the video, that Jews control the media, politics and banking, what on earth is going on? I was worried.” 

Dr Mads Gilbert, a third author of the letter, gave an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet in 2001 in which he said that the 9/11 atrocities were as a result of Western foreign policy, and that he supported terror attacks in that “context”.

Israeli campaigners brought this information to the attention of the Lancet in a letter sent on 1 September. However, the journal has refused to issue a response and has not removed the open letter from its website – through which it collected 20,000 signatures in support of the letter.

“It's utterly irrelevant. It's a smear campaign,” the editor of the Lancet, Dr Richard Horton, told the Daily Telegraph. “I don’t honestly see what all this has to do with the Gaza letter. I have no plans to retract the letter, and I would not retract the letter even if it was found to be substantiated.” Dr Horton, who has in the past spoken at rallies organised by Stop The War Coalition, denied that the journal's reputation would be damaged by giving a platform to people who appear to hold such views, and said that the Lancet is not intending to investigate the allegations. 

“For many years, the Lancet has been consistently using its reputation to attack Israel,” says Professor David Katz, an expert in infection and immunity at University College London. “The Lancet is supposed to be a politically neutral medical journal. (So is the BBC - that has never stopped them) The fact that they have given proven anti-Semites a platform and not rescinded it, even when confronted with the evidence, is appalling. They have allowed their hatred of Israel to blind them to the norms of medical science and the pursuit of reason.” 

On 29 August, Professor Sir Mark Pepys, director of the Wolfson Drug Discovery Unit at UCL, wrote: “The failure of the Menduca et al authors to disclose their extraordinary conflicts of interest… are the most serious, unprofessional and unethical errors. The transparent effort to conceal this vicious and substantially mendacious partisan political diatribe as an innocent humanitarian appeal has no place in any serious publication, let alone a professional medical journal, and would disgrace even the lowest of the gutter press.”

He accuses Dr Horton, the Lancet editor, personally: “Horton’s behaviour in this case is consistent with his longstanding and wholly inappropriate use of The Lancet as a vehicle for his own extreme political views,” he says. “It has greatly detracted from the former high standing of the journal.”

In response, Dr Horton said: “How can you separate politics and health? The two go hand-in-hand.” 

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Posted on 09/22/2014 6:57 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 22 September 2014
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The best hope for the European Union would be for it to eventually evolve into an enormous Belgium. More likely, it will evolve into an enormous Yugoslavia circa 1990, which will not be quite so good.

Belgium, it seems to me, is a success and a failure. It is prosperous even as the conflict continues between Wallonia and Flanders, nearly two centuries after they were cobbled together—like harnessing hippos to a stagecoach—in a state that no one seriously expects ever to degenerate into violence. For myself, I have a sneaking respect for a country that can go 500 days without a central government; it must have been doing something right. Belgium is in a perpetual and insoluble political crisis, in which, however, politics are not in the least important.

The 19th century Russian poet, Tyutchev, said that you cannot understand Russia with your mind and I think the same is true of Belgium. You cannot understand Belgium with your mind (I don’t advise the attempt), though I take leave of Tyutchev when he adds with regard to Russia that you can only believe in it.

I don’t really want to live in a giant Belgium, let alone in a giant Yugoslavia, the more likely of the European dénouements. But the European political class and its intellectual cheerleaders appear determined to produce one or the other. Whenever I listen to the defenders of the European Union I am astonished at the thinness of their argumentation and the ruthlessness of their determination. This is not a good combination.

On the way back to England from Paris recently, I stopped at the bookstore to buy something to read. It is no doubt a sign of the times that what used to be an excellent bookstore is now reduced to a few shelves, the rest of the space being taken up by teddy bears, chocolates, glossy magazines and bottled water, but nonetheless I found a little book of sufficient interest that I could finish during my short flight. It was by the well-known French philosophical popularizer, Luc Ferry, and it was called L’Innovation destructrice  (“Destructive Innovation”). Ferry is a conservative among French intellectuals, conservative at least by comparison with most of the others.

In the modern world, says Ferry, innovation is constant, not only in material products, but in morals and ways of life. Nothing with us is ever settled or can be taken for granted, and it is a condition of our prosperity that we should be in perpetual motion. It is no good complaining of a deterioration in the manners and levels of social civility of children when we distract them with elaborate electronics that replace conversation as the main means of human communication.

Ferry is no Luddite. He does not believe that all is for the worst in this the worst of all possible worlds, or that we should seek stagnation in order to prevent further deterioration of what we cherish. Gain has always been accompanied by loss, and he thinks that, all in all, more people live better, healthier, happier lives than ever before. I am not quite as sanguine as he, perhaps, but where I differ from him most is in his last chapter which, rather oddly, is a plea for European federalism. It is argued with the characteristic looseness of European federalists.

The first reason he gives for his federalism is that European civilization is superior to all the others, for it is the only one that has ever accorded adult status to individuals. As an example, he quotes a United Nations report to the effect that from now until 2020, 130 million children in the world will enter forced marriages. Quite why this should lead to European federalism he does not say, except that “without the indispensable infrastructure that is the European Union,” Europe will be swept away by “the ill winds that blow from all directions nowadays”—which will presumably make forced marriage the general rule in Europe.

This is preposterous as well cowardly. European civilization predated the European Union by some years. The malign trend of which he speaks does not reach Europe from all directions—not from North or South America, for example, or Russia. His words are directed against Muslims, but he does not dare say so. There is no danger or prospect of forced marriage becoming general in Europe, nor is there any reason to suppose that a Europe-wide state would be better at preventing or prohibiting it among Muslim minorities than the present nation states are.

Although Ferry is a Germanophile, having studied in Germany, his next argument is profoundly anti-German. The only way of combatting the kind of nationalism that led to catastrophic European wars, he says, is European federalism, but this is again absurd. There is no reason to believe that, but for the European Union, Portugal would attack Estonia, Ireland Luxembourg, or Greece Denmark. The only plausible candidates for a serious military conflict on the continent are France and Germany. What Ferry is really saying is that the European Union is necessary to contain Germany. This is to subscribe to the view of the Germans as eternal militarists, the inevitable enemy of France. I do not believe, however, that but for the European Union, Germany would attack France.

The third of his reasons is that the countries of Europe must unite politically in order to compete in the world. Large countries such as China, India, and the United States have clout;  there is no place for small countries. In order to be of any account in the world, then, European nations must forgo their sovereignty and become part of a heftier entity.

Apart from ignoring altogether the political difficulties of union, the impossibility of making a functioning democracy of so many different nations, and the inevitable clashes of national interest that federalization would entail, Ferry ignores the evidence that many of the most successful countries in the world are small. There is no reason why countries cannot cooperate, including militarily, without pooling their sovereignty; such pooling as has already occurred in Europe has held its prosperity back rather than enhanced it. The currency union without any kind of fiscal union has already proved disastrous for several countries, and is economically deleterious for all. But the further step of fiscal union could only be imposed by an unelected, authoritarian bureaucracy upon countries unwilling to comply, and whose interests might not be served by compliance. Sooner or later, a federation would lead to war, or at least to revolution.

Feeble and sketchy as Ferry’s arguments are, no European federalist ever provides any better. They are trotted out with monotonous regularity, like the stories of someone with Alzheimer’s, and anyone who raises objections, however obvious and unanswerable, is immediately compared to a rabid nationalist, as if to be attached to a national identity were itself a symptom of hating everyone else. There are such rabid nationalists, to be sure. Forced federation is the best way of ensuring their increase in numbers and influence.

As the history of the world amply demonstrates, the mere badness of an idea does nothing to halt its progress. Europe is sleepwalking (yet again) to cataclysm.

First published in the Library of Law and Liberty.

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Posted on 09/22/2014 6:54 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Monday, 22 September 2014
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From NL News

In The Hague, a couple has been arrested after authorities discovered explosives in their home. According to the Ministry of Justice, these explosives were destined for plans to attack a European Commission building in Belgium, the AD writes on the basis of sources. The fear is now that they may have trained other potential terrorists to construct bombs. 

According to the AD, 33-year-old Adil U. and 28-year-old Zeyneb K. were arrested in August on the Zaventern airport in Brussels after returning, officially, from Turkey. The suspicion at the time was that they probably came from Syria.

Justice from Belgium and The Netherlands executed a collaborative action to investigate five homes in The Hague and Brussels. 

According to the AD, it has become even more clear after the arrest of these suspects that the network of jihadists in The Netherlands and Belgium has very close ties, and that country borders are largely ignored, making jihadists difficult to keep track of by intelligence services.

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Posted on 09/22/2014 4:48 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 22 September 2014
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From the Australian and the Daily Telegraph

PRISON officers in riot gear have used tear gas to control maximum security inmates who tore apart Goulburn Jail in a racially fuelled riot ­described as the biggest in 10 years. With shouts of “Allah Akbar”, prisoners armed with homemade weapons threatened guards and smashed through an internal fence at the state’s toughest jail, which was in lockdown yesterday.

The riot came as prison authorities cracked down on Muslim prayer meetings in the state’s jails, believed to be a key way Islamic extremists foment their hatred and plot their attacks. Police were called in and investigations are ongoing. Tensions have been running high in the prison system as federal and NSW police step up their surveillance of suspected terrorists and any of their associates inside and outside prisons after the country’s terror alert was raised to high.

A source has revealed how the violence began in the maximum wing of the Goulburn facility about 3pm on Saturday when a number of ringleaders refused to line up for afternoon muster. The source said the unrest had begun as a result of some privileges being requested — and denied — for a handful of inmates, but the situation quickly turned into a full-scale riot along religious lines.

Following Saturday’s riots, seven ringleaders were segregated and four were seen by medical staff for minor injuries. Corrective Services NSW confirmed it had used chemicals on Saturday against inmates who caused damage but denied reports that it was religiously motivated.

The riot did not involve convicted terrorists held in Goulburn’s Supermax, who remain under constant surveillance.

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Posted on 09/22/2014 4:28 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Here.

The Islamic State is what it calls itself. It refers, constantly, to the Qur'anic texts that justify its every move, and to the Hadith that act as a reinforcing gloss on the Qur'an. So why not call it what it calls itself -- the Islamic State -- and stop pretending to believe, or believing, that the Islamic State "has nothing to do with Islam" or is "the Enemy of Islam." It has harmed the image of Islam, but that's because that image of Islam was a false one, based on appeasement, apologetics, ignorance, misinformation. It's Islam straight up, not on the rocks.

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Posted on 09/21/2014 10:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Posted on 09/21/2014 9:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Your choice here.

And if the wrong, the suicidal, choice is made, and Muslims remain in large numbers, the next question will be:

In Europe, it's going to be the Muslims or the Christians and post-Christians  -- choose one.

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Posted on 09/21/2014 9:26 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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If you click on the name "genefou" you will find the posting to which "marlan" replies here.

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Posted on 09/21/2014 4:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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The story of the overrun army base, north of Fallujah, here.

The Americans trained more than half a million iraqis, outfitted them with the latest equipment, spent $25 billion dollars on them. The result is there for all to see.

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Posted on 09/21/2014 3:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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New York Times ‎- 20 minutes ago

The daily paper, where every call is clarion and only Man is vile:

Take One, by Jean Helion, here.

Take Two, by Marina Tsvetaeva, here.

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Posted on 09/21/2014 3:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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At Palestinian Media Watch, here.

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Posted on 09/21/2014 1:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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It's the same in Tikrit, where the Shi'ite forces of the government are battling the local Sunnis (and the Uber-Sunnis of the Islamic State, whose ranks are filled from all over the world) over the local university. You can imagine, can't you, what kind of study goes on at the "university" in Tikrit, or the "university" in Sana, or a few dozen other Arab universities. Politics, indoctrination, battles and, oh yes, perhaps the occasional course or two.

The latest from Yemen here.

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Posted on 09/21/2014 11:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Tony Blair, newly trim, just like the post-bypass Bill Clinton, appeared on CNN today. He was interviewed by Candy Crowley, who keeps trying to make people make sense about Islam, but she never goes in for the kill. Several tiimes Blair went out of his way to say that "no religious faith condones the kind of thing ISIS does" (words to that effect), when all it would have taken is a few quotes from the Qur'an, and mention of what Muhammad, the Perfect Man, did at the Battle of the Trench, to leave Blair either speechless or sputtering.

And when Candy Crowley asked him why it was that so many British citizens, just like others from around Europe, had gone off to join ISIS, when they had perfectly decent lives in those European countries, Blair responded -- the word "Muslim" was never used -- by saying that yes, in Great Britain they had free education, free health care, freedoms unavailable to them elsewhere (where, exactly, was that "elsewhere" to which he referred? Why couodn't he have simply said "in the Muslim lands, such as Pakistan or Arab countries, from which they came? Would that have been too much trouble? -- and so the reasons for their going off to join ISIS constituted a great riddle to be solved. And if, as he repeated, Islam did not in any way encourage such behavior as we have all seen, and not only in the videos proudly put out by ISIS, then why, as he then said, did this "radicalization" happen in all these mosques and madrasas? On what basis did this "radicalization" take place? What was the authority to which those spreading these so-very-foreign-to-Islam doctrines appealed? There had to be something, to make young Muslims so ready to go off to fight for ISIS, or Al-Nusra, or a dozen other groups or to conduct, or plan to conduct, such operations within the non-Muslim countries which they had no intention of leaving? And there had to something that made so many other Muslims so eager to protect and defend Islam, and to keep repeating, and to demand that non-Muslims keep repeating in unison, that Islam isa religion of peace and tolerance and so on?

Tony Blair did nothing to oppose, and so did everything to encourage, the steady immigration of Muslims into Great Britain, and when he was Prime Minister, told people that he carred around a Qur'an (this was just after 9/11) and found nothing wrong with it, indeed found it inspiring. He allowed his Administration to look the other way as Muslim atrocities, the daily atrocities to which many in Great Britain have been subjected -- and not just the underage girls who, by the tens of thousands, have had their lives ruined by Muslim predators in Rotherham, in Sheffield,and in dozens of other places, too, whose names will come out one by one -- werre committed. He did nothing to eduate himself, or the British public, about the texts and tenets of Islam. He did nothing to halt or reverse Muslim immigration. He had a duty to instruct, and he failed in that duty.

And now, even today, even though he probably knows a lot more than he did in the fall of 2001 (when he ought to have immediately set himself to school, and studied Islam and the history of Islamic conquests, its ways and its means), he still gets on television and misinforms the public. No good will come of this; only evil. He is criminally negligent, and cruel to those who need to be told the truth. And there are so many of our rulers and mind-molders who are just like him, on both sides of the Atlantic and the Channel.

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Posted on 09/21/2014 11:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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In the news:

edwy plenel
  1. AJIB.fr L'actualité de l'Islam et des musulmans en France ‎- il y a 3 jours
    Lundi matin, Edwy Plenel, journaliste et essayiste était invité sur BFMtv afin de répondre aux questions de Jean-Jacques Bourdin. L'essayiste ...
     

Here is a bit more biography..

Trotskyite, "anti-colonialist" son of an "anti-colonialist" father, viciously anti-Israel (even quoting the well-known forgery, that supposed letter that Mandela was said to have written to Tom Friedman, likening Israel's treatment of the "Palestinians" to apartheid in South Africa), Edwy Plenel  was raised in Martinique, where his father was a French official; after Muslim Arabs took over in Algeria, he decided to study there, and then became a scandal-plagued journalist involved in power struggles, scandals, misuse of his metier of journalist -- even his fellow left-wing journalists at Le Monde, fed up with him (the book by Pean and Cohen is full of examples of his malfeasance) finally revealed what he had done as the editor at Le Monde and the revelations were such that he was forced to leave his position.

Now he's written a book, "Pour les mussulmans," that celebrates the Muslim presence in France, a country which, he has just declared in a public interview, is lucky to have become the largest Muslim-populated country in Europe. Few French people, and none of those who are properly informed about Islam, would agree.

He also runs an on-line news site called Mediapart. Politically, a bend of emeritus professor Chomsky, U.N. Rapporteur Falk, and the superannuated Stephane Hessel --- all of them animated in the main, most recently, by a far-left view of the world that focusses, for reasons that need to be pondered, on the bottomless criminality of that mighty empire, Israel. In other words, Edwy Plenel is a plausible nearly-insane man, with a following among the far-left who have become the Defender of the Faith, Islam.

 

 

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Posted on 09/21/2014 9:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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A report on Qatari support, of all kinds, for Muslim terrorism, here.

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Posted on 09/21/2014 9:25 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Experts such as Israel’s Dr. Shlomo Avineri, who often appear on television and radio, in Israel and abroad, and who try to explain the war in Iraq to the general public, are usually political scientists, Arabists and Middle Eastern specialists, politicians and sometimes even journalists.

Almost all of them have studied the history of the modern near east at one or a number of the West’s (and Israel’s) great universities and specialized research institutes. Since understanding the modern world is high on the agenda of today’s governments, these men and women are often well funded and many of them, like the British Jewish historian of Islam, Bernard Lewis, have become world famous and almost household names.

I have yet to come across any news agency that has seriously turned to anthropologists, archaeologists, ancient historians, Bible scholars or odder still, natural historians, to try and better explain the civil war that is now raging in Iraq. And, it would create much mirth among the news agencies and the gatekeepers of the news, to suggest that this kind of academic expertise may hold  a “solution” to this apparently endless conflict, especially given the fact that ISIS is now running wild in central Iraq.

So, I will attempt in this short essay to show how a minor branch of anthropology called “cultural ecology,” can not only give us a better understanding of the war in Iraq today, but it may help us find a workable, if rough edged, political solution to it.

In order to better understand the dynamics of today’s Iraqi conflict we must first recognize its four different ecological niches. The first is upper Mesopotamia, which includes the northern and central parts of the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers and whose southern frontier is around the city of Baghdad on the river. Lower Mesopotamia goes from near Baghdad downstream until it reaches the Persian Gulf. The highlands are found in the mountainous north. The desert begins west of the two river valleys, and merges with the eastern deserts of what is now Syria and Jordan.

Each one of these regions has its own micro-climate, its own distinct vegetation, its own distinct forms and combinations of livestock and agriculture and its dominant, regional, ethnic identity. If you look at the map reproduced below(care of the American CIA), you will see the ethnic breakdown of contemporary Iraq and the areas where each of these major ethnic groups dominates their part of the country.

iraq_suni_shia

To the north and northeast in Iraq, is a mountainous area inhabited by different tribes of Kurds, coloured green on the map. The Kurds are a non-Semitic, Indo-European speaking group of clans who have developed a national identity. Although they are largely Sunni Muslims (some are Shia), they do not identify with the Arabic speaking Sunni Muslims to the south and southwest of them, nor with the Shia Arabs in the far south of Iraq. And, they have so far avoided the religious fanaticism of the Sunni and Shia Arabs, so when indigenous Christians and Yazidi have been driven out of their ancestral Iraqi homelands, they continue to give them refuge in the Kurdish dominated part of the country.

North and west of Baghdad you will see red on the map, representing the homeland of tribal Arabs (the Sunni tribes or clans, referred to so often in the press) and which dominate central Iraq along the Tigris and the Euphrates (upper Mesopotamia according to the geographers). Despite his avowed and very strange totalitarian secularism, this was the ethnic and linguistic heartland of the former dictator Saddam Hussein, and from where he drew his military and political support. ISIS is now dominant in this area but that may not last, as the traditional tribes who have let them run wild, may desert them under military pressure from the West.

To the south of Baghdad along the Tigris and Euphrates (lower Mesopotamia according to geographers) you will see beige, the heartland of the Arabic speaking Shia Muslims whose territory goes all the way to the mouth of those rivers that empty into the Persian Gulf south of Basra. Simply put, the ecology of contemporary Iraq consists of Kurds in the mountains, Sunni Arabs in the upper river valley, and Shia Arabs in the lower river valley. The nomadic Bedouin Sunni Arabs inhabit the Western deserts.

Anthropologists who practice cultural ecology often look at the long term social identities that correlate with distinct ecological niches. Very often they find that the names may change, but the people stay the same.

If they decided to look at Iraq according to the map below, they would immediately point out that the Turkish Ottomans Muslims, who ruled Iraq  for centuries until they lost the middle east to the British and the French during WWI, divided Iraq into three administrative districts; the Vilayet of Mosul for the mountainous north, the Vilayet of Baghdad for the Sunni center and the Vilayet of Basra for the Shia south. This corresponded to and still correlates with Iraq’s three major ethnic groups, Kurds in the North, Sunni Arabs in the centre and Shia Arabs in the south.

OttomanIraq

By taking a cultural ecological approach to the war in Iraq, we may then find the “root ecological cause” of the conflict, not just centuries earlier during Ottoman times, or even during the time of the Roman and Hellenistic Empires, but all the way back to the time of Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees, or even before; for it is the ancient historians, the Bible scholars and archaeologists who would be the first to point out the three ecological regions of contemporary Iraq correspond roughly to three ancient ethnic groups, who seemed to be in near constant conflict with each other. If that is indeed the case, then we may conclude that this is the natural historical condition for this part of the world, a rather sobering insight, but one worthy of consideration for contemporary policy makers and peacekeepers.

The Sumerians of southern Iraq (beginning around 4,000 BC) were the first civilization to develop writing, scribes, temples, and theology, bureaucracy, urban elites with dependent peasantries, trade, craftsmen, social hierarchies, empire, a polytheistic religion with ziggurats and all the things we mean when archaeologists talk about urban civilization (Their language was neither Semitic nor Indo European). Their ancient homeland is almost identical with the area that is now inhabited by Iraq’s Arabic speaking Shia Arabs.

The Sumerians flourished for centuries and were then conquered by Semitic speaking people from what is now central Iraq, about two thousand years later, the most famous of them being the empire builder Sargon of Akkad, who established his capital somewhere near modern Baghdad, and whose culture adopted much of what the Sumerians had to offer, but, who ruled with an iron fist and incorporated the south into his empire. Other subsequent Semitic empire builders include the Babylonians and Assyrians, familiar to readers of the Bible. This is the area of Iraq now inhabited by the Sunni Arabs. Occasionally, the Sumerians in the south revolted, but eventually the Semites, whether Babylonians or Assyrians dominated them.

In the north lived the Guti, mountain tribes, who may actually be the direct ancestors of today’s Kurds and who although sometimes were conquered, inevitably rebelled as is often the case with so many mountain dwellers.And so when one enters university libraries one reads ancient texts such as this one, written centuries after Sargon of Akkad conquered much of ancient Iraq, from the hand of a Babylonian scribe.

Sargon, king of Agade [Akkad], came to power during the reign of Ištar and he had neither rival nor equal…He crossed the sea in the east. In the eleventh year he conquered the western land to its farthest point. He brought it under one authority… and ferried the west’s booty [treasures] across on barges. He stationed his court officials at intervals of five double hours and ruled in unity the tribes of the lands. He marched to Kazallu and turned Kazallu into a ruin heap, so that there was not even a perch for a bird left. Afterwards, in his old age, all of the lands rebelled again and surrounded him in Agade. Sargon went out to fight and brought about their defeat. He overthrew them and overpowered their extensive army. Afterwards, Subartu attacked Sargon in full force and called him to arms. Sargon set an ambush and completely defeated them. He overpowered their extensive army and sent their possessions into Akkad.

This ancient quotation is not a bad evocation of the recent history of Iraq. For Sargon, you could substitute Saddam Hussein, who has now been succeeded by ISIS. In the south where the Sumerians once thrived, Al Maliki’s Shia are ready to fight the Sunnis and in the north, where they Guti used to rebel, the Kurds, under various branches of the Barazani clans in the mountains are willing and able to take on all comers.

Further research may suggest that the three major ethnic groups of Iraq also have an ancient, genetic continuity that goes back to the Sumerians. In the case of the Arabic speaking Shia Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq a recent genetic study concluded:

Overall our results indicate that the introduction of water buffalo breeding and rice farming, most likely from the Indian sub-continent, only marginally affected the gene pool of autochthonous people of the region. Furthermore, a prevalent Middle Eastern ancestry of the modern population of the marshes of southern Iraq implies that if the Marsh Arabs are descendants of the ancient Sumerians, also the Sumerians were most likely autochthonous and not of Indian or South Asian ancestry.

Perhaps it is time for the diplomats and politicians of America, Europe and the Middle East to recognize the cultural ecological imperative that shows that the three main ethnic groups of Iraq have been fighting it out since the time of Abraham, if not before.

At the start of the last Iraq war, I heard Israeli political scientist Shlomo Avineri being interviewed on an English-speaking radio station. He argued that Iraq is really three countries and should be treated as such. He explained that a unified Iraq was an invention of the British after WWI and had never really worked out. He said a solution to the conflict there would only occur when this is clearly recognized.

He did not mention that this has been the case for about four to five thousand years and will not change soon. Perhaps he needed to probe a bit deeper to strengthen his argument, for, oddly enough, it is still the “great powers” who created Iraq (with America) after WWI, who may still be able to influence its future, for the Arab world and the Arab League are clearly unable to do so.

Bearing all this in mind, the creation of three autonomous states in what was once modern Iraq can provide some balance among these eternally warring groups, and allow them to learn how to cooperate, instead of fight. In a region desperately short of viable solutions, this one may be worth trying.

The powers that be and that can influence the future of Iraq, including the Israel government, need to listen to experts like Dr. Avineri. I would argue that his initial insight now has the weight of cultural ecology behind it. I hope he will make use of it.


First published in the Times of Israel.

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Posted on 09/21/2014 7:37 AM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Well, first of all, it is an honour and a privilege to be asked by the EDL to come here and speak today. Thank you very much.

Secondly, I'm not going to talk about left wing and right wing here – I'm going to talk about good and evil, civilisation against barbarianism, right against wrong. And when I look at this sea of proud, British, brave patriots, and then I look across there and I see quislings, cowards and traitors … it's just a shame we're not a bit closer.

I [want to have a little chat] with David Cameron today, because David Cameron thinks that every single one of you here is 'sick', as he calls it. The Left is sick, Islam is sick, but most importantly David Cameron is not just a coward, he is sick and he is a traitor to this country.

David Cameron is on YouTube video saying there are too many Christian faces in the British government. David Cameron is on YouTube video saying he looks forward to the day there are more Muslims in our army, in our police force and in our government. Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat MP, looks forward to the day that there's a Muslim Prime Minister in this country. Well, we don't and I don't!

David Cameron is essentially a fully-fledged traitor to his country. He needs to be told this. And David Cameron – when Fusilier Lee Rigby was beheaded – Cameron said, this has nothing to do with Islam – as a Muslim stood over him with a bloody knife quoting the fucking koran.

When David Haines was beheaded by a British Muslim in Syria, David Cameron said, this has nothing to do with the religion of peace called Islam. Cameron, you're a liar and you're a traitor!

David Cameron needs to be asked the question: Who was Mohammed? Was Mohammed, Mr Cameron, a Muslim? Yes, he was – and if he was here today he would be in Syria, jihadding his way across the continent, beheading, raping and murdering as he went; and there is no way you can say that the religion that this man inspired has nothing to do with the behaviour of beheading, raping Muslims today. You're a coward and you're a fucking traitor, Mr Cameron.

When I came down here today I walked past the war memorial in my town, and I stood and I looked at all of those names on that war memorial that died to give us the freedom that all the Guardian readers and the BBC traitors take for granted. They died for our democracy, and these people are handing our democracy over on a plate to the most savage, backward, barbarian, vicious, violent, evil ideology known to mankind – and it IS called Islam, and it is NOT a religion of peace.

Now, I don't know how many people from the EDL we've got down here today and how many people are here who are not with the EDL – but I want to see the EDL grow into the biggest street movement in Europe. And then, in six months' time, I want to see you come back here with ten thousand people, I want to see us march from here down to the BBC headquarters where we can let those fellow traitors and quislings in the BBC know exactly what we think about them, in no pure, unadulterated terms at all.

Now, thank you again so much for asking me to speak here, it has been an absolute honour. You are the best, proudest people in this country. Thank you very much, very much. Thank you.

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Posted on 09/21/2014 5:22 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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From the Sunday Telegraph

Few outsiders have noticed, but radical Islamists now control Libya's capital. These militias stormed Tripoli last month, forcing the official government to flee and hastening the country's collapse into a failed state. Moreover, the new overlords of Tripoli are allies of Ansar al-Sharia, a brutal jihadist movement suspected of killing America's then ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and of trying to murder his British counterpart, Sir Dominic Asquith.

Barely three years after Britain helped to free Libya from Col Gaddafi's tyranny, anti-Western radicals hold sway. How could Britain's goal of a stable and friendly Libya have been thwarted so completely?

Step forward a fabulously wealthy Gulf state that owns an array of London landmarks and claims to be one of our best friends in the Middle East.

Qatar, the owner of Harrods, has dispatched cargo planes laden with weapons to the victorious Islamist coalition, styling itself "Libya Dawn". 

Western officials have tracked the Qatari arms flights as they land in the city of Misrata, about 100 miles east of Tripoli, where the Islamist militias have their stronghold. Even after the fall of the capital and the removal of Libya's government, Qatar is "still flying in weapons straight to Misrata airport", said a senior Western official.

So it is that Qatar buys London property while working against British interests in Libya and arming friends of the jihadists who tried to kill one of our ambassadors. A state that partly owns 1 Hyde Park, London's most expensive apartment block, and the Shard, the city's tallest building, is working with people who would gladly destroy Western society. I would love to take the trip (£25 + - much dearer than the London Eye) up the Shard to see London from above. I will not do so while the building generates Islamic finance on such a scale. 

The remarkable truth is that few in the Middle East would be shocked. From Hamas in the Gaza Strip to radical armed movements in Syria, Qatar's status as a prime sponsor of violent Islamists, including groups linked to al-Qaeda, is clear to diplomats and experts. 

Qatar's investment in Britain is so extensive, and the Foreign Office is so anxious to win its favour, that some question whether UK diplomats will have the resolve to ask robust questions. "If diplomats are focused on winning commercial contracts, there is a danger they will be reluctant to ask tough questions on the funding of unsavoury groups," said Mr Barclay.

A Foreign Office spokesman insisted there was no such risk, saying: "We encourage further progress to prevent terrorist financing from individuals in the [Gulf] region. We have honest and robust conversations with all our Gulf partners on these issues, including Qatar." 

Last month, Gerd Müller, the German international development minister, implicated Qatar in the rise of Isil. "You have to ask who is arming, who is financing Isil troops. The keyword there is Qatar," he said.

Yet a state endowed with large reserves of gas and oil and one of the world's biggest sovereign wealth funds can wield immense influence, even over Berlin. Qatar was duly able to secure a formal withdrawal of this charge from the German government. On Wednesday, the 34-year-old Emir of Qatar, who was educated at Harrow and Sandhurst, took pains to deny the accusation while standing alongside Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor. 

But Qatar's willingness to support extremists has caused private dismay. "It's a puzzle and, to be honest, it's a distasteful one," said a former Western official who has dealt with Qatar. "There are people around the Gulf who are supporting people who are grotesque in their values and seem incapable of translating it into their minds how grotesque it is." 

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Posted on 09/21/2014 1:12 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 21 September 2014
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Posted on 09/21/2014 12:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 20 September 2014
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It's the war of Islam not against just  the West, but against All The Rest.

Here.

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Posted on 09/20/2014 11:49 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 20 September 2014
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Here.

Why would they wish to think that? It's too painful to recognize that the Islamic State is a product of Muslims simply following the dictates of the Qur'an to the letter, by those who wish to follow as well the Sunnah and the example of Muhammad. That would be impossible to even allow oneself to consider. So the Islamic State must be seen as a creature of the CIA (or the Mossad). That is the only way to explain it, and still keep intact one's ability to avoid confronting the nature of Islam itself.

And conspiracy theories are most prevalent among those who have been encouraged since early childhood to submit, not to question, and have been discouraged from any display of free and skeptical inquiry, because the most obvious target of such free and skeptical inquiry would be Islam itself, and in Islam, the true object of worship is Islam itself.

 

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Posted on 09/20/2014 11:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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