Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, brutal head of ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham), is not only a terrorist leader, but a poet with a Ph.D. from Baghdad's Islamic University. We have just managed to obtain a transcript of his doctoral defense of his dissertation, "On Creating an International Caliphate," and are happy to share it with our readers. A "doctoral defense," for those unfamiliar with academic procedures, is a formal questioning held before two distinguished faculty members in the same field, after a candidate has completed his dissertation. It is the last step in obtaining the Ph.D.
Professor Aboudi: Please make yourself comfortable, Mr. al-Baghadi. No, you don't have to prostrate yourself on the floor. This is a university, not a mosque. But it would help us to hear you better if you removed that stocking mask from your face. Aha, now I can see from your features that you're a Sunni.
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi: Yes sir, a Sunni in the morning and a Shiite at night.
Aboudi: And you are named after our capital city.
Al-Baghdadi: No sir, our capital city is named after me.
Aboudi: Really? You look a lot younger than that. Explain.
Al-Baghdadi: It's all in the footnotes.
Aboudi: Which we'll get to later. But first, your thesis title, "On Creating an International Caliphate." How do you propose to realize that goal?
Al-Baghdadi: Through Civil War in Syria, followed by turmoil in Iraq, unrest in Iran, and confusion in the rest of the Middle East. After that, we'll get to our friends in New York.
Professor Mohammed Bakshir (joining in) : Explain how that will be achieved.
Al-Baghdadi: I argue that if sectarian conflict was stimulated by the Sunnis against the Shiites, and the Kurds were brought in as well, it could start a bonfire in the middle East that would ignite the entire world.
Bakshir: I assume you have documented this with the proper references?
Al-Baghdadi: Yes, they're all in the bibliography.
Aboudi: I'm glad you brought up your bibliography. It's one of the most exhaustive I have ever read. I'm impressed by the scholarly way in which you go beyond mere historical material, and include such technical studies as the shape of shovels used for digging graves, the way to temper sword blades for beheadings, and how to achieve the perfect quality of light for videotaping mass executions.
Al-Baghdadi: Thank you, sir. And don't forget my guide to slaughtering Shiite military forces with scud missiles.
Bakshir: That, too. Where do you intend to teach after receiving your degree?
Al-Baghdadi: Not in any single university, but rather in each of the areas we would visit on our academic procession to Baghdad: Mosul, Tal Afar, Tacrit, for example.
Bakshir: I notice you use the communal "we." Do you intend to use teaching assistants in this course?
Al-Baghdadi: Yes, about fifty thousand of them.
Aboudi: Hmm. That would be expensive.
Al-Baghdadi: I've already located a number of generous foundations in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. We have now raised about $200 million for the project. If we need more funds, we could rob a few banks along the way.
Aboudi: Well, I don't have any more questions. Do you?
Bakshir: No, I think I'm satisfied. (Shaking his hand) Congratulations. You have passed your orals with flying colors.
Aboudi: Your students will be lucky to have you as their leader. Baghdad University is proud to award you your degree with honors.
Al-Baghdadi: Thank you Professor Aboudi and thank you Professor Bakshir. I will try my best to be a credit to you, the University, and the entire academic profession.
(He puts his stocking mask back on and leaves.)