A successful soccer player near the peak of his career, 22-year Nidhal Selmi died last week a foreign fighter for the Islamic State, the jihadist group that controls a swath of Syria and Iraq.
We in the U.S. must give up our notions of exceptionalism; recognize the economic and societal misery our country caused in Iraq; recognize that we are a perpetually war-crazed nation; seek to make reparations; and find dramatic, clear ways to insist that Romero's words be heard: Stop the killing.
To hear these "experts" pontificating about Islam or Arab culture is more than annoying. It's downright dangerous. Instead of elevating the discourse, they dumb it down. And instead of making us aware of the enormous complexities involved in these conflict zones, they reduce them to simple and easy clichés.
The key to untangling this mess and creating a series of tactical and strategic responses is to understand one basic truth: There are spirals of violence here that come from below, from the street, and spirals that come from above, from the state. Responses by citizens must undercut the violent spiral and address separately the state and the street.
This week, as Baghdad is under siege from within and Kobani is poised to fall to ISIS fighters, the question of "Who Lost Iraq?" is taking center stage. Many, including some former insiders, are quick to blame President Obama for pulling American troops out "too soon" -- despite the fact that the Iraq war wearily tested the sacrifice and patience of Americans longer than World War I and II combined. Obama was elected in the first place to end it all. The primary fault, more likely, lies with the blunt trauma to the region caused by the U.S. invasion and occupation in 2003, the unwise dismantling of the Iraqi army and the exclusion of Sunnis from post-Saddam power arrangements. A decade later, the counter-revolution is underway. In this contest, the reticent use of 21st century air power appears to be no match for the 17th century fervor of the Islamic State's boots on the ground. The French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy calls for the expulsion of modern day Turkey from NATO because of Turkey's willful abandonment of the Kurds in Kobani. Writing from Beirut, legendary former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke traces the appeal of ISIS today to the yearning for Islamic authority after the early 20th century demise of the Ottoman Caliphate. (continued)
My recent communication with my Iraqi Christian friends over the past few months evolved from "we are worried," to "we are scared," to "we are threatened," to "we need help" to the following letter from a very dear young Iraqi man whom I had the privilege to work with in the past.
If oil prices stay below $90 per barrel for any length of time, we will witness massive fiscal squeezes and regime changes in one or more of the following countries: Iran, Bahrain, Ecuador, Venezuela, Algeria, Nigeria, Iraq, or Libya. It will be a movie we have seen before.
While it may not be popular with fellow thugs, the Islamic State has managed to take over much of Iraq and Syria. Predictably, Washington seems more interested in assigning blame for the situation than dealing with it. Sen. John McCain, for instance.
How do you convince the globe's Islamic radicals, and ISIL in particular, that life -- for its fighters, supporters, and its persecuted victims -- is in fact far better than death?
The greater we supported the corrupt government in Kabul and the more American troops we sent, the more the Taliban prospered. A similar dynamic is at play in Iraq. Consequently, without a change in American policy the cycle of violence in Iraq will continue its ghastly spiral.
Whether ISIS is now actually deploying the weapons still needs to be proven but there can be no question that they now control them -- and some can be traced back home to the United States.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlogChevron made waves in the business world when it announced its October 6 sale of 30-percent of its holdings in the Alberta...
The counter-revolutionary Gulf strategy has opened a window on potential differences not only between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain on the one hand and Qatar on the other but also within the conservative counter-revolutionary camp itself.
Republicans have made questions of how safe we are -- from disease, terrorism or something unspoken and perhaps more ominous -- central in their attacks against Democrats. But this is nothing new.
Relations between nations and cultures have some parallel dynamics. When we feel threatened, dishonored or wronged, our natural tendency is to escalate and worsen situations based on the simple logic of our self-preservationist biology.