Tag Archives: ISIS

ISIS and Soup

bowlofsoup

Our problem in tackling ISIS is that it is not just a piece of land inhabited by enemies of the Western World but an ideology willing to die for its belief that the West must be annihilated.

Recently Avigdor Lieberman, (former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs) called for a full scale rooting out of ISIS…by NATO. Well, Turkey might not be so keen to help.

And as our military experts remind us, taking territory is so much easier than holding it. As Americans well know, it is very hard to know when it is “mission accomplished.” Is it ever? Lieberman’s Trumpian proposal has very real problems.

But how do we deal with a large scale ideological conflict? Didn’t we do that already when we defeated the Communist World? True it took a very long time to achieve and exacted a high price. In addition, although Communism started as an ideal it was quickly transformed into a “pretend” ideology. Its leaders stopped believing in it and used it principally to consolidate their power.

But Communism, though it stirred many people, did not generate the fervor that ISIS has achieved. Did anyone hear of any young communists blowing themselves up shouting “Marx is Great?”

ISIS, in contrast, is attracting and brainwashing young, ignorant, disaffected recruits with promises of a better life in Paradise where they will be greeted and wooed by 72 beautiful virgins. (Young women who become martyrs are not offered an equivalent benefit.)

It seems that we are dealing with a mutation to a new species of humanoids devoid of many of the traits of empathy, generosity and tolerance that mankind has slowly developed.

And so it is difficult not to be pessimistic about our ability to deal with this scourge. What can we offer in response? The imperfections of democratic rule? The greed of capitalism? Nobody has yet invented an anti-jihadist vaccine, and some of these addicts are too far gone for us to reach.

We can only start at the bottom with the very young. See to it that we give them the proper environment to thrive, a good basic education, role models to emulate, opportunities for jobs and social integration. We must make sure that they do not inhabit a parallel world, and live in enclaves where they nurse grievances that evolve into hatred.

We also need to keep stirring the melting pot of the world. It makes a pretty good soup.

Editor’s Note: Simone thrives on your comments. We encourage you to contribute your thoughts.



To Me, This Is Total Evil

Female Palestinian suicide bombers attend a news conference in Gaza

On our television screens we have recently seen ordinary looking individuals matter-of- factly informing us that they will behead persons they do not even know. Their faces are covered in black. Their eyes are vacant. But these are not deformed monsters or extraterrestrials. Such persons live among us. Most recently, these messengers of Allah plunged us several centuries down into the Middle Ages when heretics were burned at the stake.

This is not killing out of fear or necessity or for profit. To me this is total evil. Fanatics are ruthlessly enforcing religious doctrines like blasphemy and apostasy. This is behavior that intelligent human beings abandoned and left behind long ago. This heinous ideology is spreading and metastasizing like an epidemic, infecting more and more people and we do not seem to know how to counter it.

I believe we were wrong in not more widely publishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons for which journalists have died. We should have published these cartoons en masse to present a united front against this creeping ideology but we seem to have lost our moorings when it comes to what should be tolerated and what should not. In the name of tolerance we accept behavior that should be condemned.

We are retreating from asserting our beliefs and convictions just as Galileo was forced to retreat from his scientific observations because the Church ordered him to do so.

Some people like Sam Harris go even further in defending freedom of speech. He believes that Germany should not have enacted laws against holocaust denial because such statements should be answered by discourse not by legislation.

Some disenchanted Western recruits to Jihadism have started to preach a message of integration and are trying to dissuade young people who feel rejected and marginalized from falling prey to brainwashing and alluring promises of a noble martyrdom It is a good beginning. We should find more ways to persuade these young people that there are better goals to achieve. For an interesting example of this, take a look at Average Mohamed.

Your comments are encouraged and greatly appreciated.



Arab Winter & Islamic Terrorists

snowstorm in the steppe

Much has been written on the current Islamic/Jihadist menace but that does not mean that I cannot also reflect on it. How quickly the Arab Spring has been succeeded by an Arab Winter without ever going through Summer and Autumn!

In Egypt a 360 degree revolution has occurred which came to rest on Abdul Fatah al Sisi. So what was the point of overthrowing Hosni Mubarak? Even he only outlawed the Muslim Brothers and did not condemn them to death. Al Jazeera journalists who were reporting on events objectively have been jailed. Democracy never emerged. Destroying is easy but without rebuilding different edifices it is pointless.

The aftermath of the Libyan uprising created chaos and is destabilizing many parts of Africa which is now awash with arms and military equipment. Syria is being destroyed by civil war. Only in Tunisia where the turmoil started with a self-immolation is there a slight glimmer of hope. Tunisia’s Islamic Government has built alliances, forged consensus with other groups and drafted a constitution.

And now a new threat has appeared on the horizon and is marching steadily across Iraq. It calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL although also known as ISIS). It is partially an offshoot of Al Qaeda and its objective is to create a new Caliphate on the model of the original Islamic state of the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th Century. It consists
of disenfranchised and rebellious Sunnis who were marginalized by the Shia government of Nuri al Maliki. After Sadam Hussein’s fall, his Bath Party was banned from political participation and is now taking its revenge. According to Thomas Friedman, in the 21st Century, the Shia and Sunnis are still fighting over who is the rightful heir to Muhammad. This new movement was battle-tested in Syria and is now spilling over the entire Middle East. The Levant is the ancient name for the whole eastern Mediterranean world and includes Syria, Lebanon, Israel and part of Turkey.

ISIL/ISIS is a Western hating group and is dedicated to our destruction. We are facing a direct threat of epidemic proportions. This new virulent outbreak of Islam is like a virus which has become immune to simple antibiotics and needs to be countered by new methods.
What President Obama is doing with drones is killing a few mosquitoes at a time but leaving whole swarms intact.

In the short run we perhaps need to reexamine our opposition to Iran and Syria and forge temporary new alliances. Sometimes one is forced to sup with the devil. There are no good guys in this fight so which bad guys do we choose?

In the long run, what is needed is to uproot the teachings of the Madrassas to which ignorant and alienated youths are flocking. It is not for nothing that Boko Haram is calling itself “Western teaching is a Sin” . They know that it threatens them directly.

We must become missionaries again and provide people with other solutions to their misery.