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Archive for the ‘Islamic terrorism’ Category

Je suis Charlie

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on January 7, 2015

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is a cartoon worth?
Here are some of the more controversial cartoons run by Charlie Hebdo:
Charlie Hebdo’s website can be found here.

Posted in Islamic extremists, Islamic terrorism, life, Paris | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Oh, for fuck’s sake

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 13, 2014

For the moment, ignore that we went to war in Iraq in 2003 on the excuse that Saddam Hussein had WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) fully expecting that US troops would be greeted as liberators, to be showered with flowers and candy. For the moment, forget that the Iraq we had invaded almost disintegrated into a Sunni/Shi’ite civil war, with the northern Kurds standing on the sidelines, until the US military surge in 2007 temporarily shored up the situation on the ground, leaving all the old ethnic/religious tensions firmly in place. For the moment, pretend that neo-conservative predictions that the US/Iraq war would produce liberty and democracy not just in that country but throughout the region weren’t entirely idiotic.

Let’s consider just one set of factors of this fucked-up mess that the US left when America officially ended military operations in Iraq in 2011 and withdrew US troops.

Here are several maps charting the ethnic/religious divisions in Iraq:

When the US declared “mission accomplished” for a second time in 2011, the majority Shi’ite government held power in Baghdad with the minority Sunni population bridling under this arrangement, and the Kurds enjoying relative autonomy in the north. Enter ISIS, the radical Sunni movement for an Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. This al-Qaeda affiliate is more popular, more determined, more uncompromising and more violent than al-Qaeda itself, intent upon establishing a sharia-governed Islamic Caliphate from Lebanon through Iraq. Here are maps charting the activity of ISIS through 2014:
_69928349_syria_control_20.09.13_624mapw-Iraq_ISIS_75481316_iraq_isis_control_624_v3ISIS Actual Sanctuary June 2014w-EthnoIRAQ_75514982_iraq_isis_976CitiesControlledByMilitants20140614_MAM914

Here are maps indicating the general territory currently controlled by the ISIS as of June 2014:

And here is a map representing the Islamic Caliphate that is the ultimate goal of ISIS:
ISIS-Wilayats-thumb-560x408-2998ISIS Caliphate

Let me restate matters. In 2011, when the US declared victory in Iraq, ceased military operations and withdrew its troops, the nation of Iraq was nominally a democracy under Shi’ite control and heavily influenced by Iran, with al-Qaeda decimated, on the run, and its leader Osama bin-Ladin dead. Now, in 2014, ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, is fully resurgent and militarily on the move while Iraq totters on the brink of complete collapse. Hell, the whole region remains profoundly unstable, teetering on the brink of total social chaos and bloody violence. Forget Left or Right. Anybody up for some serious war crimes trials?

Here’s the BBC’s ongoing coverage of the STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ.

[A WORD ON THE MAPS: Treat each series of multiple maps as a slide show, and try to build up a multi-layered, close to 3D image of the situation they separately are two-dimensionally attempting to portray. Merge the information the maps have in common, and accumulate the unique information each map provides.]

Posted in American Empire, American intervention, Baghdad, Democrats & Republicans, Federal Government, Iraq, Iraq War, Islamic extremists, Islamic militants, Islamic terrorism, life, maps, military intervention, neocon, neoconservative, neoliberalism, politics, US military | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The legacy of American involvement

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 3, 2013

It’s a clear enough chart:
Which belies any statement that “the US intervention in Iraq is over,” or that “the Iraq war is over,” or that “Iraq is at peace,” or that “there is now an inclusive and democratic Iraq in place.”

What we have, now that the United States has ended formal military intervention in the region, is an ongoing, full-scale civil war in Iraq. Sunnis versus Shi’ites, with massive civilian casualties on all sides, and minority religionists being wiped out or forced to immigrate.

This is the immediate legacy of American involvement in Iraq. There is blood on the hands of every individual in every US administration since George W. Bush first invaded Iraq. Too bad there aren’t going to be any war crimes trials.

Posted in American Empire, American intervention, Iraq, Iraq War, Islamic extremists, Islamic militants, Islamic terrorism, life, military intervention, United States of America, US military | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The privatization of war, part 3.9 (Blackwater aids terrorists)

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on September 22, 2007

In one of the more amazing stories to date, Blackwater is being investigated by Federal prosecutors for illegally smuggling weapons into Iraq that may have been sold on the black market and then wound up in the hands of terrorists. So, there’s a distinct possibility that, when Blackwater contractors are under attack in Iraq, they’re being fired upon with their own weapons. You can’t make this stuff up!

Posted in Baghdad, Blackwater, Blackwater aids terrorists, Blackwater back at work, Iraq, Iraq War, Islamic extremists, Islamic militants, Islamic terrorism, military contractors, military privatization, news, politics, private security contractors, Private Security Firms, privatization of war, PSFs, security privatization, terrorists, US military, weapons smuggling | Leave a Comment »

Latest British bombing attempts

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 30, 2007

Here’s a rather well-done, not to mention on-the-spot analysis of the latest attempted bombings in Britain, which can be found here on the Guardian UK website.


New face of the bomber

Jason Burke analyses eight key issues already emerging from the attacks
Sunday July 1, 2007

1. Islamic militants are almost certainly responsible.
This will become finally clear when the identity of the men arrested at Glasgow airport becomes known. The police are still working on gathering images of the London attacks, but will hope the Scottish strike will lead them to any fugitive bombers.

2. The attacks are linked.
They are probably the work of the same loose network. The strike on Glasgow is unlikely to be the result of the pure ‘copycat effect’ for the simple reason that it takes longer than 36 hours to assemble in secrecy a car, petrol and gas canisters.

3. The bombs are amateurish.

We are a long way from the technologically advanced devices and the painstaking preparation work of 9/11, the 1998 bombings of US embassies in east Africa, or even the 7 July attacks on London. This is good news, in that it means Islamic militants are short on expertise and find running sophisticated operations very difficult, not least due to public vigilance and the work of the security services. But it is bad news in that it means that the threat is coming from the people who are hardest to stop: ordinary citizens angry or disturbed enough to become radicalised. Terrorist organisations can have a highly trained, structured, disciplined body of very competent militants or a diffuse network of less skilled and less disciplined individuals, but not usually both. The former is more effective, the latter more resistant.

4. No suicide bombings.

The fact that the London attacks, at least, did not involve the death of the bomber points to a domestic source. Almost all strikes directly commissioned by the al-Qaeda ‘hard core’ of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri involve the death of the bombers. This change may be the result of a lack of long-term psychological preparation of the attackers.

5. Plots involve British citizens or immigrants who have spent some time in the UK.

However the cell behind the recent attacks could be heterogeneous: one emerging theme is a new mix of ethnicities and even languages within groups. The internet remains extremely important to the radicalisation process, with British security services desperately trying to track the moment when ‘the virtual goes real’. Following recent trends, the bombers are likely to be young (possibly in their late teens) and radicalised very rapidly.

6. Too much can be made of the ‘Iraq link’.

Yes, vehicle bombs with gas cans and petrol have been used extensively in Baghdad, but car bombs are hardly an innovation. There were massive vehicle-borne bombs in Pakistan in the Nineties, in Lebanon in the early Eighties – and of course in the UK.

7. Bands of brothers.

Though not yet identified – reports about a ‘clean image’ of one bomber were not correct – officials say there is a strong chance that anyone involved in last week’s events will be linked to other plots. Islamic militant terrorism works through personal associations, which means that everyone eventually has a connection to everyone if you follow enough links.

8. Message to the UK.

The attacks are something that say: what we are engaged in is far bigger than politics. This is about a battle between good and evil. The timescale is long, the cause is far greater than the arrival or departure of a Prime Minister or even a single war, even those in Iraq or Afghanistan. The threat will remain high for the foreseeable future.

Posted in bombings in Britain, Britain, car bomb, Guardian UK, Islamic militants, Islamic terrorism, Jason Burke, news, Observer, politics, Scotland, suicide bombing | Leave a Comment »