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The enemy's enemy: how Arab states have turned to al-Qa’eda

Fear of Isis is leading the Arab states to lend support to the lesser of two evils

18 July 2015

9:00 AM

18 July 2015

9:00 AM

After plunging Syria into five years of a bloody civil war that has killed 300,000 and displaced 10 million, Bashar al-Assad is preparing for the endgame. He has been digging a bunker for himself, creating an enclave in the mountains around the coastal city of Latakia where his community, the Alawites, are in a majority. The Iranians are helping him set up this new retreat, but his hope of hanging on to Syria is dying. The question being asked in the region is not whether he’ll survive, but who will run Damascus once he falls — and what will happen should the country be split along ethnic and sectarian lines.

When considering the future, Syrian moderate rebel groups don’t feature much in the equation. They have little standing in the pecking order because the US and the Arabs have failed to support them. Ash Carter, the US defence secretary, stunned the Senate last week when he admitted that the Pentagon had trained just 60 moderate Syrians to fight Isis — a far cry from the planned 5,400 announced last year. Meanwhile, in Iraq, the contingent of 3,500 American soldiers dispatched to train the Iraqi army have ended up training only 2,600 Iraqi soldiers. This is clearly no way to win a war — either against Isis, or the Assad regime.

The Arab world, which has been anxiously watching all of this for years now, is coming to some hard conclusions. Assad is finished — this much is clear. So who’s next? If the answer is not the five-dozen moderates trained by the Pentagon, it will be one of the two extremist militias who control the most territory in Syria: Isis and al-Qa’eda (called by its local name Jabhat al-Nusra). A horrible choice, you might argue, but for many it’s the only choice.

The Arab Gulf states and Turkey have already made up their mind. They are heavily arming, funding and talking to al-Qa’eda, regarding it as a safer bet than Isis. It might once have seemed unimaginable but Isis has surpassed even al-Qa’eda in the brutal horrors it inflicts on its victims.

So could al-Qa’eda, once considered the most deadly terrorist organisation in the world, end up with their own state; as masters of the caliphate, with the support of their neighbours? And if so, how on earth did we reach such a surreal and sorry state of affairs?

The first thing to note is that neither Washington nor London have any enthusiasm for backing al-Qa’eda. Its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, remains on the USA hit list and there’s a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture. Backing al-Qa’eda is too bitter a pill for the West, with the memories of 9/11 and 7/7 so vivid. So it’s easy to see why US diplomats are appalled by the turn of events in Syria. But if the Obama administration is not prepared to deploy troops on the ground to tackle Isis, it cannot criticise its own allies (such as Saudi Arabia) if they want to cosy up to al-Qa’eda.

The West offers no decent alternative plan. Its policy on the Middle East has been riven by contradictions, and characterised by a lack of commitment and a state of denial. So it’s the Middle Eastern states that have started calling the shots (as arguably they must do) and it’s they who have chosen al-Qa’eda as their new ally. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Gulf Emirates are supporting al-Qa’eda with arms, money and a strategic dialogue. While the Gulf states are following Saudi Arabia’s lead and are also petrified of Isis terrorist hits in their vulnerable city states, such as the recent beach attack in Tunisia and the several Isis bomb blasts in Saudi Arabia, the Turks are deeply concerned that Syrian Kurds will carve out a separate state for themselves and draw Turkey’s own Kurds in.

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But its not just al-Qa’eda in Syria; other al-Qa’eda offshoots are also being redefined as friends, not foes. In Yemen, Washington has long pursued a drone campaign against the group known as al-Qa’eda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has included the recent killing of Nasir al-Wuhayshi, its leader. Washington believes that AQAP is still trying to target the US mainland. Yet many of America’s Arab allies are now essentially siding with AQAP in a Saudi-led war against Iran. Why? Because, as so many countries learn in wartime, the enemy of one’s enemy can become one’s ally. No matter how ugly the enemy. These Arab states consider Iran as a larger national security threat than AQAP.

So, on the battlefields of Syria and Yemen, the Arab states are not only opposing American attacks on al-Qa’eda but actively offering support to its leader, al-Zawahiri. So two quite separate super-wars are now being fought. The first is the war waged by the US and its western allies in an attempt to defeat al-Qa’eda and Isis in Syria and Yemen. Significantly the Arab states are taking no part in this war and providing the Americans with no intelligence.

The second war is being fought by all the regional Arab states and Turkey — against Assad and other Iranian-backed forces in the region, as well as Isis. In this war, the Arab states openly avoid bombing or attacking al-Qa’eda in Syria and AQAP — and, indeed, provide both with logistical support. This is because both al-Qa’eda offshoots have now declared aims which are shared by the Arab states: they want to topple the Assad regime and oppose Iran.

Things have been moving so fast that any western policy forged more than a year ago is now hopelessly out of date. Not only has Isis come from nowhere to run a chunk of territory the size of Great Britain — in both Iraq and Syria — but it can claim to have terrorist hit squads in a dozen countries stretching from Tunisia to Pakistan. Isis now has affiliated militant groups in at least 11 countries, including Nigeria and Russia. As the newspapers document daily, Isis is also adept at grooming and recruiting young western Muslims — from Luton to Lagos — and persuading them to join the jihad. It is succeeding in its state-building project and rapidly adapting to change.

But while the world’s focus has been on Isis and its stunning transformation, the equally dramatic changes in al-Qa’eda have barely been scrutinised. Although depleted by years of drone strikes, it is still a major presence in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. It continues to inspire Afghan and Pakistani militants, who provide sanctuaries to keep its leadership alive. And unlike Isis, which demands absolute subjugation of the inhabitants of any territory it conquers (‘surrender or be executed’), it is cooperating with other anti-Assad groups. Al-Qa’eda recently joined the ‘Army of Conquest’, an Islamist alliance of rebel militias in northern Syria.

While Isis depends on foreign recruits, fighters for al-Nusra, al-Qa’eda’s Syrian arm, are almost wholly Syrian — making them more committed to Syria’s future. They have toned down their aims of implementing a brutal version of Islamic law. Most significantly, in recent interviews, al-Nusra leaders have vowed not to attack targets in the West. This is quite a departure from Osama bin Laden’s concept of ‘global jihad’, and a new leaning towards more ‘nationalist jihadism’.

Some reports suggest that al–Zawahiri has even called off attacks on the US. If true, this shows a very un-Isis-like ability to put vendetta and revenge to one side for the sake of a more enticing goal. It’s true that al-Zawahiri loathes America, all the more because his wife and two children were killed in a drone strike. Yet he is proving able to play the long game. Al-Nusra’s leader, Abu Mohammed al’Julani, recently told Al Jazeera that ‘the instructions that we have are not to use al-Sham [Syria] as a base to launch attacks on the West or Europe — so as not to muddy the current war’.

It’s not just talk. Al-Qa’eda most dramatically demonstrated its new soft line when AQAP seized the Yemeni province of Hadramut this spring. It inflicted little damage, executed nobody, declined to run the local government and instead installed a council of elders to govern.

How long would this new less violent attitude last? Nobody knows. Perhaps it is just tactics to win support on the ground. It might only become really clear when it’s too late. The Arabs may be right to conclude that there are at least some grounds for thinking that al-Qa’eda is evolving.

However the real test will be whether al-Qa’eda will truly tolerate minorities and let other sorts of Muslims exist, as and when they gain power? One indicator is Afghanistan, where al-Qa’eda and their Taleban allies have not attacked or massacred Afghan Shias since 11 September 2001. Before the US invasion they did so openly.

But it is too early to say what al-Qa’eda’s long-term attitude to minorities will be. Meanwhile, Arab states have shown little sympathy for non-Muslim minorities and Shias when they are being attacked by Isis.

Things are now moving fast. A relationship is evolving and formal talks between the Arab states and al-Qa’eda may soon take place without the West at the table. It’s a strategic decision: the Arabs regard an extremist victory in Syria as inevitable so they have decided to go with al-Qa’eda as the lesser of the two evils — especially if that evil is willing to resist Iran. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, since he came to the throne in January, has pursued a far more aggressive policy toward Iran and Syria. For the US and Europe it will be extremely difficult in terms of domestic politics and national security to strike a relationship with al-Qa’eda, but ultimately that may be the only choice, especially if the West’s Arab allies are going ahead.

Just a few years ago, the ‘war on terror’ was defined as extinguishing al-Qa’eda. Now, for many of our Arab allies, it means shoring up al-Qa’eda and praying that they’re not as bad as had once been believed. One thing in all this murky double-dealing is clear: the US and Britain are paying a bitter price for refusing to remove Assad when they genuinely had the chance four years ago. Acting has its risks, but failing to act has its consequences too — as we will all now find out.

Ahmed Rashid is the best selling author of numerous books on militant Islam. His latest book is Pakistan on the Brink - The Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Show comments
  • Terry101

    So the wonderful Muslim ””moderates”” end up supporting the ””militants”” and no surprise they don’t give the slightest stuff for the non-Muslims raped, murdered & enslaved in the process.

    • Patrick Roy

      Animals.

      • Zaba

        That is highly offensive….to animals

    • Zaba

      One playbook for all muzlims

  • Mark

    We in the west don’t have “Arab allies” except among the Christian communities some of whom served in British forces in the First and Second World Wars.

    The term “ex guerrilla militant” is an interesting one that conceals more than it reveals, presumably it means former Islamist terrorist.

    Sorry Ahmed, this article reads like taquiyya/ketman.

  • Kasperlos

    After reading the ‘former guerilla militant’s’ take on current events of the never ending convoluted mysteries of Middle Eastern foibles, follies, and foul-ups one has to ask this salient question: When will the peoples of HM realm see action by PM Cameron to match his recent words calling radical Islamic criminal organisations a ‘existential threat’ to Great Britain. For the rest of the guerilla’s MidEast rundown, he ought to truthfully acknowledge that the horrendous orgy of murder, rape, torture, savagery, butchery and imposition of religious tyranny is a product of the adherents of a barbarically sick Islamic death cult. Therefore, their world needs to deal with it, and his piece points this out. It is primarily and principally an affair of the Arab and Islamic world. But it is also the duty of Western Civilisation to repel any and all attempts by radical Islam to subjugate the West and its traditions of democracy, reason and enlightenment by outright force or creeping Islamification of Western media, financial, education, government, and cultural institutions. It is PM Cameron’s duty to defend sovereign UK territory and subjects first and foremost. That means dispatching HM Forces within and outside the UK as warranted to engage and decisively defeat the very real threat he himself spoke of. Thus was it so, in another age, nearly 1,300 years ago near Poitiers.

  • cartimandua

    There are odd assumptions in this article.
    It assumes Muslims are “naturally” unable to create a peaceful working civil state.
    It assumes the West should have sorted out Muslim conflicts.
    He may be right that Muslims cannot produce anything but conflict and failed states.
    Not our problem though is it.
    We don’t make people overpopulate themselves into conflict. They did it so they should fix it.
    They never will as long as they keep women as breeding livestock.

    • Teacher

      Is that true and what is your source for saying so? 80%? Really? That is truly shocking and explains a lot.

      • styants64

        I have read Quite a few times over the years that 50% of Muslim men do not work and 70 % of the Woman are unemployed.

        • bombaybadboy

          …as half a dozen people suddenly leave the meeting room…”..hey, where are you all going?? This is an emergency meeting!! All our servers are down, the company could go under!!” – to which the answer comes: “sorry brother, we’re off to point towards mecca and pray. Because the prophet said so 1100 years ago” – so now you see why work might be a problem.

          • styants64

            Hard to believe I know but once in London a Muslim bus driver stopped the bus he was supposed to be driving bent down on the pavement and started praying to the east, oh well at least he had a job that he did most of the time.

          • Zaba

            1400 years too long

        • Zaba

          why should they when they have kafirs to pay the way?

      • cartimandua

        The MCB. The Muslim council of Great Britain says it and ascribes it to racism and Islamophobia.
        It doesn’t occur to them that people encouraged to behave like illiterate peasants do not make themselves employable.
        Only a few years back 60% of British Pakistani men were importing brides. The level of female illiteracy in Pakistan (and Somalia etc) is amongst the lowest in the world.
        Then there is the high birth rate and restrictions on women keeping them out of any workplace.
        We expect people to dress and behave as modern Europeans.
        They really need to.
        Baroness Flather is still talking about how 3% of the population produces 30% of the birth defects. That’s going to keep women as carers.

        • Margot

          And a huge drain on NHS resources.

        • Rowland Nelken

          A pure Islamic education consists of little more than committing the Koran to memory. Not the most saleable of skills.

          • Jeffrey Vernon

            Very few people go through this form of education, in Britain or anywhere else. In fact the argument I have with most muslim radicals is about their complete ignorance of the koran; we’re not talking about interpretation here, but just what it says. Most christians can’t quote even one line from their holy book, and most muslims are the same. The problems of islam are not, at bottom, scriptural.

          • logdon

            So what are they?

          • Zaba

            and being beaten

          • Zaba

            no, but, they might stlll get a blaze of glory…..

            From Daniel Pipes, historian

            The overwhelming preponderance of terrorist acts are conducted by young Muslim men 15 to 30 years old. This age bracket covers about half of the male population of the Islamic world, leaving us with a potential jihad pool of 25% of all Muslims – approximately 300 million people.

        • Jeffrey Vernon

          The MCB claims – as you would know if you typed ‘MCB unemployment’ into your browser – that 7.2% of muslims are unemployed. http://www.mcb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/MCBCensusReport_2015.pdf

          You may console yourself with the idea that all those babies with birth defects are not going to grow up and join ISIS. Surely there’s a bright side?

          • cartimandua

            http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/02/12/british-muslims-facts_n_6670234.html

            “The findings revealed that despite an increased level of education over the 10 years, Muslims have a higher rate of unemployment than the average. Almost half of the British Muslim population resides in the bottom 10% local authority districts for deprivation.

            The report claims this high unemployment is partly because: “Muslims face a double penalty – racial and cultural discrimination – in entering the labour market, as is confirmed by numerous studies.”

            The high proportion of the Muslim prison population (13%) and the proportion of Muslims in social housing (28%) is also a “cause for concern”, the report’s author said.

            Dr Sundas Ali, from the University of Oxford, told The Huffington Post UK it was a “first of its kind”.

            “It is the most comprehensive and detailed study conducted on the British Muslim population. The findings have been derived from the best possible sample size, making it the most representative sample for British Muslims.

            She added: “The authoritative data from the census, provided by the Office for National Statistics, allows us to understand hard facts about the British Muslim population. This is a dispassionate analysis of the data, we present the data findings as they are.”

          • Jeffrey Vernon

            This is ONS data. So not the MCB? And not 80% unemployed?

        • Suzy61

          I had a rant about this on Breitbart yesterday,

          Given the unemployment statistics it’s a wonder how many groups of Pakistani men appear at property auctions buying swathes of cheap run down properties (it is not uncommon for one extended family to own whole streets in the Northern Mill Towns).

          Taking advantage of our benefit system is an industry for them.

          They marry then import a ‘village’ cousin from Pakistan. They claim a nice undeclared payment from the bride’s family as a bonus.They produce an average of 4-5 babies – of which 2-3 will be disabled. The mother is confined to the house, unable to speak English and caring for the children. Full benefits all round.

          They then repeat the process, another two times (average). As polygamy is illegal in the UK each subsequent wife brought back and bred from is treated as a single parent. The cheap property she will live in will be owned by his extended family and the Housing Benefit will go in the kitty for the next purchase …. ready for the next wife to arrive.

          One husband, three wives, 12-15 children and three houses. Free education, health and social services. A nice Mercedes and a property portfolio.

          And they still hate us….

      • JSC

        They do have the highest levels of unemployment but I don’t think it’s 80% overall. WikiLeaks reported 79% for women and 31% for males. As a demographic they have the highest levels of people with no qualifications, the lowest level of people with degrees and the highest levels of disability claims.

        Read all the leaked info here:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/london-wikileaks/8304838/UK-MUSLIM-DEMOGRAPHICS-C-RE8-02527.html

        Quote from the link: “According to a poll of 600 Muslim and 800 non-Muslim students at thirty universities throughout the UK conducted by the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) […] 32 percent of Muslims on UK campuses believe killing in the name of religion is justified, 54 percent wanted a Muslim Party to represent their world view in Parliament, and 40 percent want Muslims in the UK to be under Sharia law. […] six percent believed that people who leave Islam for another religion should be “punished according to Sharia law” (killed).”

        • cartimandua

          The MCB claim 80% but the numbers are too high and someone should say they should lose the customs which lead to poverty and unemployment.

        • Jeffrey Vernon

          This ‘leaked’ information comes from the 2001 census and is not in any sense secret. In the 2011 census, the economically inactive rate for jews, christians and muslims stood at 38%, 40% and 45% respectively. No huge differences here. It was lowest of all for atheists, at ~ 27%

        • Jeffrey Vernon

          4% in that 2007 survey (out of 632 students, of whom 390 are British) said that killing to promote or preserve the religion was justified. A further 28% said it was justified if the religion was under attack: which sounds alarming, but precisely when is a religion under attack? It is hard to know what the question means; it might extend to French cartoons and the Satanic Verses, but this need not have been in the minds of all the respondents.

        • Ernesto Meyer

          One can hardly say this is only a Muslim problem in the West. Have you been to Texas? I think the percentage of Texans believing in killing in the name of christianity is much higher,and they are already well represented in the government. After all Bush Jr. was Texan, and he called Hussein ‘satan.’

      • evad666
  • Infidelissima

    Nobody tortures, rapes, enslaves and kills more Muslims, than other Muslims.
    For a people who can’t seem to be able to live in peace with anybody on the planet (Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, every single minority represented in any of your 50+ pits), especially your own, in your now countries, under your own laws, you sure have galls always blaming others for all your warring and killing.

  • will91

    Hey Mr Hague, how’s that Arab Spring working out for ya?

    “We are only in the early stages of what is happening in North Africa and the Middle East. It is already set to overtake the 2008 financial crisis and 9/11 as the most important development of the early 21st century. Inspiring scenes of people taking the future of their countries into their own hands will ignite greater demands for good governance and political reform elsewhere in the world, including in Asia and in Africa ” – March 2011

    Can anyone say that and keep a straight face…

    • cartimandua

      The Arab Spring was putting lipstick on a pig. The youth bulge was and is a fact.

      • will91

        Remember watching the speech and marvelling at how naive everyone seemed. Everyone was desperate to have their own 1989 moment…

      • mrs 1234

        The youth bulge……something else to look forward to in the UK soon. Aren’t we lucky.

        • Guest 1

          It’s here. Only 25% of school children in London are ‘White British’. I know the other 75% includes a good slice of other Europeans, but it also includes a mass of young people from backgrounds that are frequently anti-British, anti-Western, anti-Europe. Great.

          • mrs 1234

            I know I see it ever day. Our capital city has been handed over.

          • Guest 1

            Yes. And there appears to be nothing that can be done by any reasonable person. What a bl**dy mess.

          • Sherlock

            Europeans are fools.They have wrongly taken the American historical experience with immigration as their model. Unlike Britain, France and Germany, the US, Canada and Australia are immigrant countires. Believing that mass immigration is going to work in Europe is as foolish as the notion that the “Arab Spring” was going to herald democracy in the ME.

        • cartimandua

          They are beginning to “get it” that funding endless children in a group with 80% unemployment is utterly stupid.

          • mrs 1234

            Yes, but in a half-hearted way and the move attacked by the ‘Left’.

          • Zaba

            Do you have evil ‘progressives’ as well?

          • Zaba

            We Yanks are counting on you Brits to take up the cudgel.

          • Dogsnob

            Don’t hold your breath.

          • Zaba

            somethings got to give.
            Which nation all be first to ban islam?

        • evad666
    • mrs 1234

      Yes. Hague a prize idiot.

    • Ahobz

      Seems to me it is correct up to the word “hands”. After that he goes off on one, because the hands he refers to were in fact islamist hands. OTOH if you allow that the “hands” consider sharia good governnce and the move to sharia, political reform, then the entire statement is spot on.

  • zanzamander

    Nearly all arguments/opinions in this article are ropey. But this one particularly needs closer examination:

    US and Britain are paying a bitter price for refusing to remove Assad when they genuinely had the chance four years ago.

    First of all, when did Assad become the bad boy? As far as we in the West are concerned, his was the only regime that had any semblance of stability and rights for minorities and women – in a region that is otherwise totally devoid of these, save Israel. In fact it was more like Jordan – which to me is just about as far as we can get in the Middle East.

    The only people who don’t like him are the Islamists and Saudi Arabia. So the author argues that if we had overthrown him, just about the only “decent” country in the region, and let the Islamists lose, everything would have been fine and dandy! Well, all the evidence shows that nearly all the popular uprisings in the Islamic countries (Arab Springs) are followed by chaos and more Islamism.

    We overthrew Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi, Mubarak (to name just three), and we got nothing but more pain in the backside.

    Perhaps we have been Saudi Arabia’s poodle for far too long, carrying out their foreign policies here there and everywhere. Maybe it is time to overthrow one regime that has been the root of so much troubles around the world – and that is not Assad.

    And btw, the default state of Islam has always been extremism, by that I mean that Islam’s only moderate option has been al-Qa’eda like Islam. Even at its most moderate, it sounds the death knell for democracy, freedom, liberty and justice for all – Assad or no Assad.

    • Tomahawk

      Its a good point. Trying to reshape the ME against the backdrop of an all-consuming belief in a medieval ideology which is actually mainstream, is a thankless task however noble the intentions. Assad looks like the western poster boy compared to IS and its ironic and an indication of the absence of clarity on the ME that we swing from wanting to topple him to wanting to support him within a couple of years.
      Intervention on the ground in Syria simply cannot turn out well and we would be hated by whichever side we didn’t assist and even by many on the side of those we did assist. Its the nature of the beast. Sad though it is we can only monitor this implosion and react to the eventual exhausted outcome. I call that a conscious decision to do nothing rather than a passive or apathetic position. If that is an IS dominated caliphate then the enemy will at least be clearer and better defined at that point.

      • Jakiri

        I think you will find the problem is that the religion, political ideology and culture are all intertwined, to the point where people have difficulty even distinguishing the topic at hand. If it was just a clear political ideology without the spiritual and identity attachments, it would be a much easier issue to confront. That is ISIS’ (and other national or individual Mohammedan supremacist’s) main shield.

    • Gilbert White

      Assad was Blair’s pet project whilst he was on a London student visa. Half of our vibrant enriching NHS. staff were up Assad’s ass and those who were not were fellating him!

    • sameerakhan

      Hear hear. As someone who grew up in a close-knit Muslim community in London, I have seen first hand the poisonous impact of fundmentalist and extremist Wahhabi ideology being spread by dirty money from Saudi Arabia and it’s many Gulf minions through imported imams, charities, etc.

      But the fact of the matter is that our ‘leaders’, big businesses and major PR firms are on their payroll in one form or another, hence their insistence on proclaiming a country that spent vast amounts of money to encourage extremism across the world as an ally and a friend. Disgraceful state of affairs.

    • Tellytubby

      Quite right. We must realise that the Saudi’s are not actually our friends and don’t have our best interests (other than our money for their oil) at heart.

      What harm had Assad done us? Stablility within the region should have been the goal – even if the person in charge was a bit of a nasty sort of chap who we wouldn’t really want to be governed by ourselves…

      • John Thomas

        Exactly. I’m all for fracking – if we had our own oil/gas, then we would no longer be subservient to Saudi Arabia (or Russia).

        • post_x_it

          The US is pretty much there now.
          Of course, in the UK we leave these decisions to er… local councils!

          • Zaba

            hussein o. is doing his best to tighten regulations on fracking
            in his plan to transform America.

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    • Patrick Roy

      All the House of Saud’s Christmases will come at once, soon enough.

      • Dogsnob

        I don’t think they celebrate the birth of Jesus.

        • post_x_it

          What would be the Islamic equivalent? Do they ever cheer up enough to give each other presents?

          • Zaba

            “An Islamic regime must be serious in every field,” explained Ayatollah Khomeini.
            “There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humour in Islam. There is no fun in Islam.”

          • rightrightright

            Birthday presents are forbidden in Islam.

        • Zaba

          they might, since Jesus and all were muzlim….

          • Dogsnob

            Jesus was a jew who lived hundreds of years prior to the founding of Islam.

          • Zaba

            But….
            in the islamic worldview, everyone is born muzlim.
            It is important to know how the enemy thinks.
            In the States, muzlims have been putting up billboards
            proclaiming Jesus, Moses, et al are muzlim.
            google for pics

          • Jakiri

            I couldn’t agree more. The European/Western policy makers (and often commentators) do not seem to have done the most basic objective research on the subject and seem to think that a few conversations with an imam or academic from some HE institution (no conflict of interests there) will suffice.

            For a bunch of people, supposedly clued up to the dynamics of politics (or funding), I have never seen a more irrational debate or process of forming strategy.

          • Zaba

            islam is so well protected by muzlims that
            the truth remains hidden.
            Good info here:
            politicalislam.com

          • Jakiri

            Thanks for that. Another couple of suggestions I have are:

            http://www.inquiryintoislam.com/2010/07/why-is-islam-so-successful.html
            or just the homepage: http://www.inquiryintoislam.com. check out the links from there.

            These articles are interesting too, but not for the reason the author meant. It is amazing the extent the author has to go to to argue that ‘the potential exists for the religion to become one of “tolerance” and “equality” ‘: https://selfscholar.wordpress.com/

          • Ursula

            You make Muslims blow their top if you tell them that Jesus was a Jew.

            According to their weird book:
            1) Jesus was a Muslim [yes, I know that doesn’t make sense]
            2) Jesus and his Muslim followers were persecuted by what evil people? Why the Jews of course. [yes, I know that doesn’t make any sense]

            3) The Jews demanded that Jesus be killed so Jesus, with God’s help magically disguised a boy to look like Jesus and that boy died in Jesus’ place [yes, I know that’s obscene]
            4) Jesus went directly to heaven without dying [yes, I know that’s obscene.]

          • Zaba

            Good points.
            I hope a few followers of mo are reading along…..
            A couple comments:
            1. islam sees everyone as having been born a muzlim.
            Since some do ‘stray’ from islam,
            those taking on islam are called reverts.
            Jesus, Abe et al are all muzlims in the islamic world view,
            the same world view that sees the earth as ….flat.

            2. Makes perfect sense.
            The Jews of Medina rejected mo’s offer to join islam.
            It was the impetus for his abrogating
            all the peaceful parts of the koran.
            In turn he beheaded or enslaved the Jews.
            KSA, the largest slave holding nation, has been
            Jew Free since 638 CE.

            themusimissue.wordpress.com

        • Patrick Roy

          That’s the point.

    • Ernesto Meyer

      Frankly, the whole Western attitude to the Middle East is predicated on the naive white-hat/black-hat cowboy movies of early Hollywood days. In reality, there are no good boys or bad boys. And the more I learn, as from this excellent article, the more it seems a return to a non-intervention military policy would really be better for the West, although it doesnt appear likely in our lifetimes, and nuclear war seems rather more inevitable.

      • Dogsnob

        How many people were not intervening when they went to work in the Twin Towers that morning?

        • takasar1

          sorry if this may sound difficult to hear. but only 3000 died on that day. those 3000 are not worth a) the trillions spent by tens of countries involved in the middle eastern wars and b) the tens of thousands of western and allied soldiers who gave their lives for nothing. has the west become a safer place after 2003? didn’t really bring revenge either, seeing as we lost so much…

          • amy roth

            Just like when Hitler annexed the Sudetenland. Or took over Czechoslovakia. Big deal. That’s no reason to enter into a war that can be expected to kill more than 100 million people worldwide! Let’s just make peace with him and go home and tend our gardens.

          • takasar1

            sad bit is you probably don’t realize how naive and off-the-mark this sounds. seems to be a problem with loonies, try and draw every parallel to the nazis/fascists as they possibly can…..

            a) 9/11 was nothing like the sudetenland. nothing. at. all. you’d have to be stupid to confuse a democratically-run state for a non-state organisation.

            b) the principle too is completely wrong. any sane person would realize to themselves that a plane, crashing into a building, in an alpha city is as much the fault of the civil authorities, the airport staff and the airliner, as it is anybody elses. terrorists, just so you know, have existed since the beginning of time. you dont/cant regulate crazy. you stop it. you stop it by closing avenues for atttack. terrorists didn’t exactly stop trying to attack the west after 9/11, the americans didn’t deter anybody! they ramped up airport security instead.

        • Ernesto Meyer

          Let me see, so far we have only spent $80 billion per person killed in the WTC attack, so obviously the reason there is terrorism is that we just don’t spend enough killing other people. We shoulkd spend at least $800 billion per person, preferably A trillion dollars per person, that would definitely solve it.

          • Dogsnob

            Is that all the camp you can manage?

          • Ernesto Meyer

            Its more than you deserve

          • Dogsnob

            Nope, there’s a bit more!

      • post_x_it

        This is a difficult one.
        One could certainly argue that a policy of non-intervention would have served the West rather well… BEFORE Saddam and Gaddafi were removed!
        Now that the ISIS genie is out of the bottle, there doesn’t seem to be anyone capable of keeping a lid on things any more. Assad by himself can’t do very much, except cling on to a bit of Syria for a while.
        Do we really want to outsource our security to Al Qaeda? AL F****** QAEDA?????

        • Zaba

          the problem is 14 centuries too many of islam

        • Ernesto Meyer

          Well, as we kn ow from history, the company that armsi itself up is the dangerous one to be surpressed, so obviously the solution is for the USA to spend more on the military. Currently we spend only $4.6 million per active soldier. If we cancel Obamacare, we could increase it to $4.62 million per soldier, and as thats the kind of direciton you are going, I feel common sense requires me to support your desire for more military intervention, obviously, just look at the numbers. Only $4.6 million per soldier? We need more military spending and less humanitarian aid! http://www.yofiel.com/writing/essays/is-4-6-million-per-soldier-enough

      • Zaba

        there are no good boys or bad boys.
        No.
        From Daniel Pipes, historian
        The overwhelming preponderance of terrorist acts are conducted by young Muslim men 15 to 30 years old. This age bracket covers about half of the male population of the Islamic world, leaving us with a potential jihad pool of 25% of all Muslims – approximately 300 million people.

        • Ed_Burroughs

          Which does not undermine his point at all.

          • Zaba

            The opposite Ed.
            I was reinforcing Ernesto’s points with hard data.
            Unless you were using sarcasm…….

          • Ed_Burroughs

            I guess it depends how one reads the original comment.

    • CRPC

      Very well put Zanzamander. When the US and Britain were
      deliberating whether to remove Assad, it was not at all clear who was going to
      replace this regime. There was only talk of “supporting the rebels” most of them were extreme fundamentalists. Had Assad been removed 4 years ago, the chances are IS would already have been in power today and the world would be in a much more dangerous place than it is now.

      • Jakiri

        I think you will find that they did act too, although tentatively- which I would say is for good reason.

    • Jakiri

      Let’s not overdo the accolades for Assad. Yes his political project has advanced past the 7th Century, but I think you will find that it stopped in the mid 20th Century at an Arab National Socialist (Baathist fascism) police state, replete with all the joys that come with it (secret police, industrial-scale torture, rape and humiliation etc).

      I think you will find was how this mess really got going in the first place. Don’t get me wrong. Places dominated by Mohammedan ideology are up against it in creating anything that passes for an environment of equality and human rights, conducive to unlocking human potential and long term-social cohesion between different groups. The state is typically dominance and (varying degrees of) suppression of “the other”, until it is erased from history. My point is, that the basic values, some would say ‘conceit’ of human rights has been challenged in all of these cases and making someone like Assad ‘our guy’ promotes the irrational ‘Islamist’ position more than any action they could take..

      I have to correct you, in that the examples you gave (Assad, Gaddafi etc)mare not the same. With Mubarak, we simply withdrew support from him, when his position became untenable and his reactions increasingly and openly oppressive. With Gaddafi ‘we’ intervened to prevent what promised to be a imminent bloodbath. Yes ‘we’ bombed his armed forces, but at that time, his forces were the ones committing the majority of the abuses, and besides in terms of command and control capability, a supposedly professional army practically must be held to a higher standard of accountability than a disparate association of rebels. The rebels there were at least sensible enough to restrain their most serious abuses until after the war. Gaddafi was not- a leopard can’t turn into a housecat. Still untimately, ‘we’ did not overthrow him. We simply gave enough support to allow the lightly armed Libyans to beat the guys in armour.

      These distinctions are very important, because before you know it, your texts are unwitting recruitment for salafist islamists or Russian international-imperial-cynical-revivalists.

      Overthrow Saudi? The power that currently controls Mecca and Medina and has grown hand in hand with Wahabi salafism since 1744. The Ottomans left us with this legacy and the ‘Muslim’ world is fertile ground. . How difficult do you think that would be to characterise as a pretext to renew the eternal legacy of jihad on unbelievers, left by Mohammed and for that to find favour in receptive Mohammed-inclined minds, polarising even the opinions of the most loosely affiliated ‘cultural’ Muslim.

      No. In the short term, I would hope that the nuclear deal with Iran is part of a ‘balance of power’ type strategy to weaken the religious establishments of both, risky as it would be.

      Long term though, serious efforts have to be invested in scientific efforts to analyse and compare religious texts/principles on sociological/ psychological grounds, and all (both non-believers and believers) need to be very aware of what all of these texts say (without the spin)so people can be made fully aware of what is at stake and help formulate appropriate policies.

      I don’t know how radical the solutions will have to be, but this current (human rights/democratic) order seems to be resting on the very shaky premise that all religions are equally in favour of peace, reciprocation, rationality and compromise, and anyway people will stop trying to enforce their views/principles, once they discover the joys of IPads (material wealth) and ‘liberty’.

    • zabada

      you must continue..and we would create new regime and rob Arab,s oil..we have too many machines….also too many killing machines..we can kill others and get what we don,t have..oil.Without oil we can,t breath easily.We don,t care if Assad going to kill all Arabs.Assad is our tool and killing Arabs for us.Let him win.

  • Gilbert White

    After the Maharishi this sexy sadie is the number one con artist since carry on up the khyber!

  • Bonkim

    A Right-Pickle!

  • Mark

    The Arab spring was when Syria was part of the coalition for Gulf war 1.

    The years after were a missed opportunity for the west to buttress and influence a secular Arab Republic.

    Instead the Iranians stepped in.

  • cartimandua

    There are 100 million in the youth bulge of the MENA region. Syria had the highest number of unemployed youth in an unemployed region. As Syria was running out of oil Assad tried to modernize things. They could no longer employ vast numbers of young people in government jobs.
    So it kicked off.
    The author of this sorry little article is so steeped in Muslim conspiracy theories he cannot get his head around facts and practical solutions to those facts.
    “which” male monster should bully the rest solves no problems whatsoever.
    And blaming the West ….. well we gave people clean water ,modern medicine ,and mechanized agriculture.
    Our bad.

  • johnb1945

    Why don’t the local Arab states and Turkey beef up the moderates? Why do we have to do it?

    It’s not as if they are short of the cash to do it. They built ISIS up from nothing, to the point where it became the beast they could no longer control.

    Oh, it’s because they don’t agree with them. And moderation apparently has little appeal among the wider ME population. Of course. They share ideological ground with al-qaeda.

  • JSC

    I think we should just contain them and let them blow themselves out. Perhaps after a decade or so of Muslim-on-Muslim genocide they’ll come to the conclusion that the West isn’t so bad after all. The danger of interfering in the ME is that, inevitably, the West is used as a scape-goat by all sides; we literally can do no good. We should give them no excuses, no reason to think that what they’ve brought upon themselves is anything other than the consequences of their own actions and beliefs put into practice.

  • odear

    Time to ditch the white man’s burden and separate from the muds, it’s destroying us.

  • jim

    “Moderate” Islam does not exist.

    • Zaba

      Sure it does.
      Just like moderate nazi

      • jim

        Western europe is not being taken over by nazis.

        • post_x_it

          Not currently, no.

          • jim

            You are stirring up notional fears concerning nazis to distract people from the real world threat posed by mass immigration especially by moslems. That is the crudest kind of anti western propaganda and it doesn’t work any more.

          • Zaba

            islam is fond of nazism and donated to battalions to herr h

          • post_x_it

            No I’m not. I didn’t say there was any threat of the Nazis coming back. You read that into my post yourself.

          • jim

            So WTF are you trying to say then?

          • Infidelissima

            nazis used to gas human beings, guess who gasses humans today?
            guess who can not live in peace anywhere, with anybody, including their own, in their own countries?

            Islam is going to destroy Europe, just like it has destroyed everything else. To compare it to Nazism makes a lot of sense.

          • jim

            I think the constant scaremongering about the far right nazism is coded anti white anti western boilerplate. Western europe is not being overrun by blue eyed blond haired pale faced aryans. More likely that breed will become extinct. Instead, the policy is to africanizearabizeislamicize western europe .So we are in agreement…I think.

          • Zaba

            We are ‘favorably’ comparing islam to nazism.

        • Zaba

          60 Million muzlims beg to differ

  • Fioler

    I’m not sure removing Assad four years ago, leaving a power vacuum, would have helped much. The groups fighting him would still be fighting eachother like they do today.

  • Sherlock

    With Obama’s brilliant Iranian deal, it seems the author has forgotten to mention the Iranian factor in all of this. I’m sure the Americans are now going to unofficially give the Iranians the green light to start kicking Arab ass.

  • http://www.lesinfluences.fr/_Philippe-Joseph-Salazar-644_ Philippe-Joseph Salazar

    An Arab saying, heard from a Moroccan friend, is that Americans know how to stab themselves in the back. Seems Arab states are discovering how to shot themselves in the foot.

  • http://www.lesinfluences.fr/_Philippe-Joseph-Salazar-644_ Philippe-Joseph Salazar

    An Arab saying, heard from a Moroccan friend, is that Americans know how to stab themselves in the back. Seems Arab states are discovering how to shoot themselves in the foot.

  • William_Brown

    Just why anyone would be either surprised, or horrified that ‘the Arabs’ are turning to Al-Qaeda, is something of a mystery to me; It broadly espouses their religion, their culture, their idea of justice – seems to me it’s a match made in paradise.

    I’m all in favour of a Caliphate in the M.E. – it’ll be somewhere for the ‘poor, disenfranchised’, (albeit university educated and nothing to do with Islam) Muslims to build and live their lives how they see fit, without unreasonable, Islamaphobic, or racist interference from their disrespectful and ungrateful host counties.

  • derSkeptiker

    The christian and the jewish minority in Syria wil pay the price for the so called Arab Spring. How many killed, raped and persecuted christians does the USA want?
    The USA and their friends in the region – Turkey, Qatar and the Saudis – are responsible for the death and suffering of millions.

    • cartimandua

      The Arab Spring is entirely to do with Muslims overpopulating themselves into joblessness and conflict.

      • Patrick Roy

        And mass retardation via Islam.

        • cartimandua

          harming women’s health is self defeating as is the concept of blasphemy which means no “new” thinking.

  • Rowland Nelken

    I am no fan of old time lefties, but did not Jeremy Corbyn simply refer to ‘our friends’ in Hamas in the same spirit as MPs address each other, via Mr. Speaker, as ‘the Honourable Member’? As to Al Qaedr’s new found respectability, it seems the world will never be rid of such obnoxious outfits until the Koran and Hadiths are viewed universally as old bits of writing of purely historical and literary interest.

    • David R

      I’d be willing to let Corbyn off with his ‘friends’ comment if it was a one-off but he has a long history of defending and supporting Islamists. I’d much rather Krishnan Guru-Murthy had pulled him up on his friendship with Raed Salah than Hamas.

  • Rowland Nelken

    Here is yet another reason for investing in research into non oil based energy. We will no longer have to suck up to, still less sell arms to, the world’s number one supplier of militant Muslim missionaries, the barbaric kingdom that is Saudi Arabia.

  • bombaybadboy

    Moderate, as in just the occasional airplane bomb and treating all womankind as chattel (or is it cattle?), as opposed to mass genocide and enslavement? Will they not been declared heretics for such a soft line, pandering to the west?

  • Ursula

    Look. What were the choices in Syria?

    Sending troops? The US spent 6 trillion dollars on Iraq (if you include the long term costs). That’s $19,000 per each and every American. We can’t afford any more of that. By the way, divided by the number of American deaths, we paid A BILLION dollars for every American killed. So the money is more significant.

    What about getting involved. In hindsight it seems we should have, but none of the world did. Why? Because it’s a sectarian and ethnic war. The Alawites and the Sunnis are each likely to commit genocide on the other in Syria.

    Do you want to be responsible for a genocide? That’s what the winning side is likely to do, if there is one. So get in there and win?

    • Mark

      Reinstate colonial power to prevent further genocides. Those locals who cooperate will prosper those who don’t, won’t.

      With the exception of Israel the Arab Middle East is ungovernable unless a local, Arab “strong man” is installed or external power imposed.

      The West does it or the newly empowered Iran does it.

      • cartimandua

        Its a genocidal quagmire. The only thing which worked was where we could establish a no fly zone.
        With endless militias on the ground there is nothing we can do.

  • Patrick Roy

    What a state of humanity.

  • AverageGuyInTheStreet

    Muslims are fucking idiots.

    • Man In Black

      I’m living in a pile of them …

      • Zaba

        sorry to hear
        Becoming a common problem
        One of the reasons that islam must go

    • Zaba

      14 centuries of inbreeding……

      • Infidelissima

        worshipping a pedophile might also have to do with their cerebral malaise

      • takasar1

        european royals must have been secret muslims then…

  • Man In Black

    moderate rebel groups

    LMAO

    Does this man have a copy editor ?

  • Dan O’Connor

    In a couple of years ISIS will become the moderate option.
    That’s the way we wake up one morning to find out we have become by incremental stages de-facto honourary Muslims. The West will ” tolerate ” itself to death
    Look up ” defining deviancy downwards ” , This is why Leftism / Liberalism / Progressivism contains the seeds within itself to its own destruction.
    You can have freedom or you can have historical, ancestral , ethnic, racial , cultral diversity , but you can’t haver both , because a multi-society needs an authoritarian police state and anti-speech and thought laws and Race Relations amendment Acts and neurolinguistic indoctrination through the media and schools and goverment which are selectively targetted against the host majority society to protect the political Establishment from being held to account for any failures of its social engineering project and the demographic vandalism they have waged against their own indigenous peoples

  • Dan O’Connor

    I knew there was another country in the Middle East quite nearby to all this and whose interests in developments in that region wasn’t mentioned . As usual they are most probably neutral and just watching passively from the sidelines. The Israelis must be sobbing and weeping at the problems their old pal Assad is having and regretting they have no influence whatsoever on American foreign policy.

    • Infidelissima

      Israelis don’t sob, neither do they cry. Israelis FIGHT.
      That’s why Israel has survived, despite all odds, in the most hostile environment on the planet, and that’s why Britain, despite its’ once greatness, despite being in a nice part of the world, despite having all of that history of achievement, will cease to exist the way you know it, soon.

      You are the ones who spinelessly cry on internet comment sections, you are the ones who gave for country and your daughters away, yet you do NOTHING. You’re not even brave enough to admit your mistakes, you prefer to blame the Joos (like your mussies always do).
      You did nothing about Rotherham, or any other mass-raped british town, not about decapitated kid Lee Rigby, not about mass school infiltrations, all you do is whine and cry on virtual forums – whatta hero!

      Scum like you only hates Israel, because Israel is strong, and you know you’re not.

    • cartimandua

      Because they have nothing to do with any of it.

  • https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/rice-for-president/info Supreme Allied Condista

    “So could al-Qa’eda, once considered the most deadly terrorist organisation in the world, end up with their own state; as masters of the caliphate, with the support of their neighbours?”

    Not al-Qa’eda’s, not ISIS’s but a Sunni-majority state, partitioned from Iraq and / or Syria, could indeed be an end-state, but modelled as per the secular, democratic state of Turkey, which would make for a stable solution, acceptable to world powers, rather than this author’s suggestion of an unacceptable base state for global jihadi operations.

    However, to get there, we must first defeat ISIS and al-Qaeda and put irresistible pressure on Arab states to support a peace solution for Iraq and Syria, perhaps with Arab regular armies invading Syria and Iraq to enforce a peace settlement along partition lines agreed at the United Nations with NATO acting as a military police force, directing Arab armies here and there.

    Such a peace would be workable and stable, rather than as now the Arab states’ proxy terrorists failing to enforce a non-agreed imposed terrorist state.

    So how do we fight the Islamic State? Militarily, obviously, but I’d also fight IS’s state-sponsors politically, economically and geo-strategically, with regime-change to prevent them sponsoring a replacement terror-army after we have shed our nations’ precious blood and spent our precious treasure crushing the so-called “Islamic State”.

    STRATEGY TO DEFEAT “Islamic State” / ISIL / ISIS / Daesh

    1) Overall strategy – the West needs to apply the Bush Doctrine to all state-sponsors of terrorism – Saudi Arabia & other Gulf monarchies, Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, Sudan, Iran and other dictator states – regime change them all.

    2) Use stand off techniques more robustly – such as seizing control over state-sponsor-of-terrorism satellite-TV broadcasting (often supplied to Arab and North African state broadcasters by European satellite TV companies) and turning that propaganda weapon around and using it to promote democratic revolution through-out the region.

    3) Impose the West as sole agents for all oil tanker export sales out of the Gulf. Seize all oil tankers exporting oil and sell the oil, depriving regimes of oil profits.

    4) Now once you have an overall strategy in place, then you can look at specific military actions. Bombing prestige regime targets or threatening to if Al Baghdadi’s head is not a spike within 48 hours.

    5) Partition Iraq. Looks like it has to go three ways – Shia, Sunni & Kurds. If the 3 new states all want to join up together in an Iraq confederacy or union of some kind of their own free will, that’s fine too.

    6) Establish Western military bases in Iraq for training up the local armies. Better if we can supply them by sea or air rather than by long land routes which can have supply routes attacked by road side bombs and ambushes.

    _______

    So that’s my plan but whom to trust to carry it through?

    Well I don’t trust anyone with my plan except myself, so I volunteer to be appointed NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (or Deputy SACEUR) to carry my plan through to victory in short order.

    For my political superior, I want to report to Condoleezza Rice. So please appoint Condi as NATO Secretary General (I don’t know if she will accept this office or similar but NATO governments could ask her).

    Anyway we need Condi, that’s clear. So long as I report through Condi to the NATO North Atlantic Council, no problem.

    Supreme Allied Condista
    http://s5.postimg.org/wvsk8uu1z/Supreme_Allied_Condista.jpg

    • Mark

      Not bad, but one glaring omission.

      Your 3 way split of Iraq has no provision for protecting the rights of Non Muslim minorities.

      The Nineveh Plain and Christian neighbourhoods of Mosul, must be returned to their rightful owners and their rights to live unmolested and not as Dhimmis aggressively defended.

      Same for Yazidis and other minorities.

      All minorities should receive reparations once the financial channels funding IS are identified.

      • https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/rice-for-president/info Supreme Allied Condista

        A secular democratic state implies constitutional protections for all minorities.

        What part of –

        “a Sunni-majority state, partitioned from Iraq and / or Syria, could indeed be an end-state, but modelled as per the secular, democratic state of Turkey,”

        – didn’t you understand.

        In practical terms, point 6 of my plan

        “6) Establish Western military bases in Iraq for training up the local armies.”
        is precisely a practical provision to support local armies trained to defend the constitution and to help good local commanders to weed out bad local army commanders.

        The financial channel funding IS seems to be via wealthy donors in the oil-rich Gulf kingdoms, tolerated by the kingdoms’ otherwise very-intolerant Sharia law authorities.

        Agreed, all of the profits from Gulf oil sales should be re-directed towards peaceful reconstruction and reparations instead of, as now, towards jihadi terror and royal families.

        • Mark

          Ah, I see, the model would be the secular, democratic state of Turkey, the one that denies the Armenian Genocide and failed to protect its Greek Orthodox Christian community in the 1950s, still refuses to allow full religious rights to the Patrichate of Constantinople and keeps the Halki seminary suspended in aspic.
          Furthermore, maintains a military occupation and settlement programme for Anatolians in Northern Cyprus.

          That’s the bit I didn’t understand. Sorry.

          • https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/rice-for-president/info Supreme Allied Condista

            No. I just meant a secular, democratic state with a Sunni-majority population, which Turkey approximates as close as any state I can think of. If you can think of a better model then use that model.
            Certainly, not modelled after Saudi Arabia.
            But I think you knew that’s what I meant and you are just being argumentative.

          • Zaba

            Ah, secular Turkey
            You are living in the past.

            Erdogan:

            “The mosques are our barracks, the domes are our helmets, the minarets are our swords, and the faithful are our army”

          • https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/rice-for-president/info Supreme Allied Condista

            Once again, I am not making an argument that today’s Turkey is more democratic and secular than the Turkey of the past.

            Whenever Turkey in the past was at its most democratic and most secular, that’s the time in the past where Turkey is the better model for a democratic secular state than Turkey at some other time.

            If people keep trying to pick an argument with me which I am not arguing in the first place they are wasting their own time and mine.

            The point is to have a democratic and secular state, not to copy Turkey warts and all.

          • Zaba

            Whenever Turkey in the past was at its most democratic and most secular,

            point is, this no longer exists.
            islam only offers terror as a role model

          • https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/rice-for-president/info Supreme Allied Condista

            History books about Turkey exist and the details of a past more democratic, secular state with a Sunni-majority as once existed in Turkey to use as a model for a new state for majority Sunnis and minority non-Sunnis to be partitioned from Iraq / Syria be read in the history books.

          • Hugh Jeego

            The problem is, how long can a secular, muslim-majority, state last in a muslim-dominated region? It’s going to need external, which means Western, sponsorship and protection. When did that last wok successfully?

          • https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/rice-for-president/info Supreme Allied Condista

            Well Turkey is an independent country and that has lasted successfully until now and note that Turkey is a NATO member for additional security.

            Part of my plan, point 6, recommends –

            “6) Establish Western military bases in Iraq for training up the local armies. Better if we can supply them by sea or air rather than by long land routes which can have supply routes attacked by road side bombs and ambushes.”

            (read the rest of the plan in my first comment above)

            which suggests that the West should sponsor and protect a secular, Muslim-majority state partitioned from Syria and / or Iraq by establishing a western military base there.

            Military bases have worked well to secure a country – in Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and many other circumstances.

            It was mainly after the US withdrew its military bases from Iraq that the biggest ISIS problems came along.

  • Infidelissima

    Clever Brits, bombing Assad’s soldiers in Syria today.
    Stupid never learns, and dies first.

    • cartimandua

      Who told you that? The coalition is after ISIS.

  • Suriani

    So Bashar al assad is responsible for the mess in Syria? Rubbish! During the early stirrings of the Syrian “revolution” he was conciliatory, his father was never so inclined, and offered olive branches to the disparate, and largely faux democracy opposition which were pathetically spurned The removal then as now of the current régime would simply open the region to further dysfunction. Without Bashar da3ish might well be in Damascus now ready for its next juicy targets Lebanon and Israel/Palestine. The West’s support for the megarich cultists of the House of Sa3ud and its Qatari allies is quite a different matter, however. Baqshish! baqshish! chant the pale faced supplicants in London, Washington, Paris….

  • Dan O’Connor

    The continued financial and political power of one particular American and European Jewish lobby is dependant upon that lobby using its power to pevent anybody mentioning it ( and that extends as we can witness below to even the comment threads on all of the major mainstream media blog sites . ) Their job is to act like a radar screen to scour the´blog forums for any issue that may portray their tribe in anything less than terms of glowing admiration and if not to make sure they are portrayed as the most virtuous, least politicallly influencial bystanders who have ever lived, and to shut up and cattle prod any uppity Eloi in the right direction with hysterical frothing at the mouth name calling .
    Although occasionally people like John Stewart on the Daily Show can get away with make a satirical sketch about it because he is Jewish by showing clips of how American politicians, just before every US election have to out do each other by bowing down and publicly declaring their unquestioning auto-subserviance to the Jewish lobby . It has become a rite of passage to the American preisdency , but like in some Orwellian world we are not supposed to notice .
    This is no suprise when the Democrats are dependant upon Jewish sources for 65 % of their funding and the Republicans 35 % . That means they provide 50% of the political funding.
    Now , I wouldn’t mind so much and it wouldn’t really bother me if the same Right wing Jewish organisations and their lobby who practice tribal particularism for Jews were not for the last 50 years major supporters of the exact opposite non-tribal universalism for Gentiles, in the form of third world mass immigration to the West and anti-free speech laws and all of the Left’s favourite causes . Invade the world , invite the world . Weaken two historical rival at the same time . I don’t believe that our enemy’s ( Islam ) enemy ( the International Jewish lobby ) is our friend when we take this into account .
    Any normal person should be offended at this form of massively organised and highly effective duplicity and moral double standards and anyone who can still think should be suspicious as to why they go to enourmous lengths to crush the slightest flicker of questioning, closer scrutiny or curiosity.

    • pedestrianblogger

      Blah, blah, blah.

      • Infidelissima

        he’s like an inbred mussie, ironic

  • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

    “Fear of Isis is leading the Arab states to lend support to the lesser of two evils”

    This is the strategy Marxists call the “scissors strategy”, which is appropriate since Islamic [sic] State and Al Qaeda are Marxist fronts.

    ‘Scissors Strategy’

    The dialectic often appears under other names. A December 30, 1961 report by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, entitled “The New Role of National Legislative Bodies in the Communist Conspiracy,” contained two crucial chapters from a book smuggled out of Czechoslovakia. Written by an official of that country’s Communist Party, the book described the dialectical method used to seize power in Czechoslovakia. Communists infiltrated key positions in the Czechoslovak government, while simultaneously organizing street demonstrations against that government. Those two arms of the dialectic, by pretending to fight each other, generated enough confusion among the general public that all genuine opposition was neutralized. The book used the terms coined by V.I. Lenin, first dictator of the Soviet Union, referring to thesis and antithesis as “pressure from above” and “pressure from below.”

    The Soviet KGB uses its own set of code words to refer to the dialectical strategy. According to former KGB staff officer Anatoliy Golitsyn, the official term for the dialectic is the “scissors strategy,” in which the blades represent the two falsely opposed sides that converge on the confused victims [neutralizing true opposition]. Golitsyn, who is probably the most important Soviet ever to defect to the West, escaped in 1961. After more than two decades of trying to warn uninterested American leaders, he wrote the 1984 book New Lies for Old as a warning to the general public, exposing the role of the scissors strategy in global events.

    Golitsyn revealed that the Communist bloc had adopted a coordinated long-term strategy beginning in the late 1950s, created in part by Golitsyn himself, the purpose being to convince the West that international Communism was disintegrating. Phony dissidents, factions, and power struggles within Communist parties, splits or wars between Communist nations, and temporary freedoms within each country have become dialectical tools of deception, allowing people in the West to take sides in these controlled struggles and thereby succumb to the strategy. Golitsyn argued that the dialectic has succeeded because imaginary factions or splits among Communist rulers are perceived as real by the West.’

    http://www.attacreport.com/ar_archives/art_na_china.htm

    Approximately 20% of the Marxist front group Islamic [sic] State are Ukraine Ground Forces (UGF) posing as Islamic [sic] State, the UGF mission in Iraq being to cut Iraq’s oil exports–once American ground forces return to Iraq–for the purpose of assisting Russia’s oil based economy, thereby allowing Russia to complete her military modernization program. The Marxist governments of the West and Marxist media* are spinning the reality of what’s taking place in the Ukraine and Iraq, where in the Ukraine the anti-Communist Ukrainian people are waging a war against the Marxist Kiev government and mis-named “Ukrainian separatists” who are really Russian Spetsnaz/Guards Airborne troops assisting the Marxist Kiev government suppress the anti-Communist revolution raging throughout the Ukraine. The revolution could only have occurred thanks to the weakened security apparatus within the Ukraine, where a critical number of Ukraine Ground Forces are currently in Iraq preparing to assist Russia’s oil based economy by destroying Iraq’s oil production.

    With the weakened Marxist security throughout the Ukraine, due to the UGF presence in Iraq, the Ukrainian population destroyed, to date, over 700 statues to the reviled Vladimir Lenin, and other Marxist “heroes”, statues that were supposed to have been destroyed in 1991 if the collapse of the USSR were real and not the strategic ruse it is. Currently approximately 1,400 statues to the butcher of Ukrainian nationalism/Orthodoxy remain standing throughout the Ukraine, rubbing salt into the wounds of every non-Marxist Ukrainian (95% of the population) that is forced to view such monuments to the infamous butcher.

    Russian regular forces are also in the eastern Ukraine (attired in UGF uniforms) fighting the Ukrainian freedom fighters, losing to combat operations approximately 25,000 soldiers, which is why on January 2 Vladimir Putin was ordered by his superiors in the Russian Communist Party to sign a four-year old piece of legislation that allows foreigners who speak Russian to join the Russian military…

    http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-foreigners-serving-in-military/26779601.html

    The following is a discovery I made last month regarding the fake collapse of the USSR…

    When Soviet citizens were liberated from 74 years of Marxist oppression on December 26, 1991 there were ZERO celebrations throughout the USSR, proving (1) the “collapse” of the USSR was a strategic ruse; and (2) the political parties of the West were already co-opted by Marxists, otherwise the USSR (and East Bloc nations) couldn’t have gotten away with the ruse.

    ZERO celebrations, as the The Atlantic article inadvertently informs us…

    http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/12/20-years-since-the-fall-of-the-soviet-union/100214/

    For more on this discovery see my blog…

    https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/

    Conclusion:

    The West will form new political parties where candidates are vetted for Marxist ideology, the use of the polygraph to be an important tool for such vetting. Then the West can finally liberate the globe of vanguard Communism.

    ————————-

    *The failed socialist inspired and controlled pan-European revolutions that swept the continent in 1848 thought Marxists and socialists a powerful lesson, that lesson being they couldn’t win overtly, so they adopted the tactic of infiltration of the West’s political parties/institutions. In the case of the United States…(continue reading at DNotice)…

    https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/now-you-see-me-now-you-don-t

    Now you know why not one political party in the West requested verification of the collapse of the USSR, and the media failed to alert your attention to this fact, including the “alternative” media. When determining whether the “former” USSR is complying with arms control treaties, what does the United States do to confirm compliance? Right, the United States sends into the “former” USSR investigative teams to VERIFY compliance, yet when it’s the fate of the West that’s at stake should the collapse of the USSR be a ruse, what does the United States do to confirm the collapse? Nothing!

    The fraudulent “collapse” of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Marxists, which explains why verification of the “collapse” was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

    It gets worse–the “freed” Soviets and West also never (1) de-Communized the Soviet Armed Forces of its Communist Party officer corps, which was 90% officered by Communist Party members; and (2) arrested/de-mobilized the 6-million vigilantes that assisted the Soviet Union’s Ministry of the Interior and police control the populations of the larger cities during the period of “Perestroika” (1986-1991)!

    There can be no collapse of the USSR (or East Bloc nations) without…

    Verification, De-Communization and De-mobilization.

    The West never verified the collapse of the USSR because no collapse occurred, since if a real collapse had occurred the West would have verified it, since the survival of the West depends on verification. Conversely, this proves that the political parties of the West were co-opted by Marxists long before the fraudulent collapse of the USSR, since the survival of the West depends on verification.

    The above means that the so-called “War on Terror” is an operation being carried out by the Marxist co-opted governments of the West in alliance with the USSR and other Communist nations, the purpose being to (1) destroy the prominence of the West in the eyes of the world, where the West is seen (i) invading nations without cause; (ii) causing chaos around the globe; and (iii) killing over one-million civilians and boasting of torture; (2) close off non-Russian supplies of oil for export, thereby increasing the price of oil, the higher price allowing oil exporting Russia to maintain economic stability while she modernizes and increases her military forces; (3) destroy the United States Armed Forces via the never-ending “War on Terror”; the ultimate purpose of the aforementioned to (4) bring about the demise of the United States in the world, opening up a political void to be filled by a new pan-national entity composed of Europe and Russia (replacing the European Union), a union “From the Atlantic to Vladivostok”; which will (5) see the end of NATO.

    Now you know how Bolshevik Russia survived in 1917; how the West “lost” China to the Communists in 1949; why the Eisenhower administration turned a deaf ear to the anti-Communist Hungarian uprising in 1956; why the Eisenhower administration in 1959 was indifferent to the Castro brothers’ Communist fidelity, actually used the CIA to overthrow the Batista government; why the Nixon administration abandoned Taiwan for Communist China, and signed treaties/provided economic aid to the USSR; why the Nixon administration refused to tell the American People that over 50% of North Vietnamese NVA regiments were actually Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers (attired in NVA uniforms, and proving that the Sino/Soviet Split was a ruse, as KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn told the West back in 1962), thereby (1) ensuring the Vietnam War would be lost; (2) destroying the prominence of the United States abroad and at home; (3) breeding distrust between the American people and their government; and (4) securing Communist victories in Southeast Asia. Working in the background within the political parties of the United States and Great Britain were Marxist agents doing their best to (1) ensure the survival of Communist nations when they popped up; and (2) sabotage any policies that would bring down a Communist nation. That’s why after the fake collapses of the East Bloc nations and USSR there was no mandatory Western verification process to ensure the Communists weren’t still in control.

  • WarriorPrincess111111

    Isis may take pride in its ragtag army, commanding what it calls a caliphate, but no Muslim scholar worth his salt has supported this entity. No Muslim government has recognised it. Ed Husain 3rd July 2014.

    “Nothing has been coming up roses for the US. Polls reflect a general American gloom, with 71% of the public claiming the country is “on the wrong track.”
    What Americans have needed is a little pick-me-up to make us feel better, to make us, in fact, feel distinctly good.”

    Enter Stage left – the newly appointed ISIS stars! – so brutal, so shocking – it made the US president look good to go after this terrorist group!

    However – “The Express Tribune, an affiliate of The New York Times, reported in late January, in an article titled, “Startling revelations: IS operative confesses to getting funds via U.S.,” American free press.

    So – ISIS are not recognised by the Muslims and are funded by the US?
    Assad was educated in the UK. He is a very popular leader among his people.

    General Wesley Kanne Clark, Sr., former Supreme Allied commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO )
    “This is not the first time Clark has revealed inside information about the wars in the Middle East. In a 2007 interview with “Democracy Now” radio talk show host Amy Goodman, Clark made big news by revealing that only days after the 9-11 attacks one of the top generals in the Pentagon had showed him a memo from then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld outlining long-term U.S. war plans even before the invasion of Afghanistan had commenced. According to Clark, the general had told him, “We’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran – ”
    American Free press.

    Then add to that “YouTube – BBC now admits al qaeda never existed. … that the Main Stream Media is nothing but a figment of the imagination of the right.”
    and decide for your selves who are the REAL terrorists!

    • Terry Field

      The Caliphate will galvanise the imagination and longing of many millions of Muslims

  • Cymrugel

    Personally I believe we should disengage with the ME and the entire muslim world as far as possible as fast as possible.
    This is a culture with delusions of grandeur that thinks itself entitled to rule the planet which is currently running low level warfare effectively against the rest of the world.
    Its just a matter of time before the other cultures lose patience and flatten them like bugs, but in the meantime we are encouraging their insanity.

    • WTF

      You’re right as that is the only solution that stands a chance of working. It was successful against the USSR and should work in the Islamic world. Let them starve, let them be a backward country after all its in their culture and they wont change.

  • WTF

    ‘the US and Britain are paying a bitter price for refusing to remove Assad’ ?

    Not really, we are paying a bitter price for not excluding the middle east from civilized society and letting them destroy themselves. The USSR built the iron curtain and that actually helped us in our clash of ideology and culture until they imploded. We need to build walls around our societies to protect us from Islam and its extremists. Make the west a no go area for Islam, make it an offence to belong to Islam and eject any who fail to comply. They do it to other faiths in their country so whats the issue. By the time Muslims states have a decade or more being ostracized from west they’ll implode and give up that religion of hate.

  • trace9

    When the perspective is everywhere, the answer is nowhere. Except with the tide of time. In the feminised West, exertion is consensually ‘out of the question’. Strange.

  • Jan Susan

    Remember “Peace in our time”? Neville Chamberlain in 1938? Negotiating with Hitler? Wake up!

  • jim

    Whatever we do it’s the white guys fault. If we depose a tyrant we unleash islam.If we back a strongman we are suppressing the wretched of the earth. Enough of this. No one believes any of that guff anymore. The condition of the thirdworld is a reflection of the dominant cultures .That and DNA…Not my problem….End of….

  • virgile

    The right question is: Will the Saudi regime survive the looming humiliation of Bashar al Assad staying in power and Yemen slipping out of its hands?

  • Bertie

    I’d suggest you give the Syrian Kurds – the YPG a state of their own as a
    counter balance to whatever extremist nut job Post Assad regime turns up …and screw the duplicitous Turks.

  • Lost in america

    You are so correct. The American policy was a debacle in Syria? We should emphasize the Obama policy. It goes against the previous fifty years of mostly nonpartisan American policy in the ME. The former American coalition of countries in the ME has to figure things out on their own. America has made too many errors and is an unreliable ally to them. iSIS does seem to have Iran’s number. I wonder why. Thanks for stating the disarray of the previous U.S. alignment in the ME. Most in the Western press have not reported on the significant diversion and failure of American foreign policy.

  • Pepe Turcon

    It’s all part of Obama’s plan.

  • Jakiri

    This article has some ridiculous omissions and misrepresentations. Al Nusra (Al
    Qaeda) is strong in the North, but the FSA Southern Front (reportedly) is
    mainly made up of a coalition of secular rebel groups, with several 10,000s of
    troops (reportedly). They are very active and on the offensive against Assad.
    they are also in negotiations with leaders of the Druze community in Suweida
    (also in the South) for some kind of non-aggression pact or governmental
    alternative (possibly guarantees for when Assad falls). They are supported by
    the coalition, through operations rooms in Jordan.

    The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), and their affiliate People’s Protection
    Units (YPG) militia, have been supported by US airstrikes. They have also
    formed an alliance with Arab tribal militias, Syriac Christian militias and FSA
    affiliates, which has consistently rolled ISIS back on several fronts. While the
    Turks have demonstrated a real fear and hatred of any Kurdish oriented
    political initiative, the PYD have only asked (so far) for non-interference, a
    chance to enact a democratic (socialist oriented) experiment and recognition of
    the Kurdish Syrian citizenship and language. As long as this continues, Turkey
    would be isolating itself by actin strongly against the Kurds.

    In addition, the US supported the the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (with
    branches in North and South Syria) and Harakat Hazm (Movement of
    Steadfastness), both of which were reportedly ‘moderate’ or ‘secular’ in
    political outlook, before they folded and surrendered (in the case of the SRF)
    or disbanded (in the case of Harakat Hazm) in the face of Nusra/Qaeda
    aggression. Pathetic really, considering the substantial stocks of TOW
    missiles, ammunition and heavy weapons (armour, artillery etc) in the
    possession of the SRF at the time of their defeat, which fell into the hands of
    Nusra/al Qaeda.

    To portray the US’s only contribution to secular rebels as ‘the training of 60’ is either bad journalism or disingenuous. For example, why did the US’s ambitious programmes get scaled back so far? They say it is because many of the rebels did not pass their checks, either in security or human rights record. Why no mention of that here? The above shows that the US has adapted it strategy and ‘spread its chips’, while blocking out an inordinate amount of white noise.

    The claim that the Taliban salafists have not attacked minorities in Afghan, as takes only a few seconds to debunk with a quick internet search. The Hazara for example are a distinctive ethnic group, but they are also associated with the Shia faith. They suffer discrimination, have been subject to intermittent attacks, and killings identified and separated because of their tell-tale features. A Taliban ‘governor’ of an important province issued a statement that “they (shia) are not Muslim and killing them is not a sin”. No word of refutation from the other Taliban leadership.

    “Other al-Qa’eda offshoots are also being redefined as friends, not foes.”
    Utter rubbish. This just highlights the extent to which the Hanabali, Salafist dominated ME states are antithetical to the principles of ‘human rights’ and democracy.

    “Both al-Qa’eda offshoots have now declared aims which are shared by the
    Arab states: they want to topple the Assad regime and oppose Iran.” May
    I add directive 3 (classified)- To expand the reach of Salafist, Islamism.

    Nusra have murdered hundreds in Syria for crimes as heinous as Apostasy (leaving the Mohammedan faith), Homosexuality, Adultery, Prostitution, Adultery. That is what you call moderate? They might be brutal, or they might use soft words, but to believe anything other than their intention is to create a sectarian,
    irrational, society, devoid of equality, material choice, freedom of conscience
    is to live in a dream world…. Or Taqiyya of the highest order.

    All this shows is the complexity of the situation and that containment (and slow
    roll-back) is probably the solution for now, until more palatable actors come
    to prominence (if ever). Anything else exploits the idealistic naivitie and
    compassion of ignorant non-believers.

    If there is one lesson we can learn from al Qaeda it is this and this alone. The
    enemy of my enemy is not my ally. The enemy of my (most powerful) enemy is a
    less immediate priority. All the best.

  • David

    This is quite a good article. It’s the first I’ve read for a while that actually recognises the real problem we have been facing in the Middle East. The war is between different Islamist (and/or jihadist) factions fighting for power. There is also so much transfer of personnel between the sides that loyalty counts for nothing.

    I wish our focus in the West was less concerned with choosing the ‘lesser of two evils’ and more concerned with the defence of liberal values – self determination, women’s rights, gay rights, freedom of expression and secularism. The leftists who would rather never intervene can be called many things but they cannot be called liberals as they have no intention of defending liberal principles. Our starting point should be to acknowledge the most important group in the region – the Kurds (the only group in the area that actually stands for similar values as ourselves). There has not been enough emphasis on this and the Kurds have given so much of their blood for us (and others) with such selfless etiquette. At this very moment, Peshmerga forces are giving their lives to protect Christians and their children in their churches from IS militants. Would the al-Nusra Front be so courageous?

    We mustn’t lose sight of the real war – the one between the Enlightenment and theocracy. At present, we seem to have more enemies at home than allies in the Middle East.

    • Jakiri

      Sorry. I have to disagree. The basic argument, that the West should ally with and ‘cosy up’ with al-Qaeda (Nusra Front), because ‘they’re not so bad as ISIS’ is badly conceived and politically incomprehensible.

      The author has almost completely ignored the significant efforts (and successes) made by secular forces in the country (FSA Southern Front, FSA- Euphrates Volcano, Kurdish YPG), in order to set-up this false and dangerous dichotomy… or maybe he is unaware.

      The PYD (and their militia the YPG) are the main Kurdish actors in Syria and the US has helped them with airstrikes. The Kurds seem pretty resourceful at getting enough weaponry, but I agree they should be supported more, only so-called allies Turkey and Iraq (as-well as Iran and Syria) would greatly object and seek to scupper any support if too brazen.

      As it is, I think a better deal for the Kurds in both Iraq and Syria are a foregone conclusion, as I cannot see them folding to the corrupt, tin-pot nationalist and sectarian governments of these countries & I think an attempt to crush Kurdish political ambitions by force would damage and possibly poison relationships with Western (secular-leaning) governments.

      • David

        Your points are correct and made well. Nothing I wrote should be taken as an endorsement of the Nusra Front. They don’t stand for liberal principles and they still adhere to notions of jihad. I’ll never support such a group.

        I certainly wouldn’t support an attempt to crush Kurdish political ambition. I am a fierce supporter of Kurdistan. It seems for the moment that Kurdish nationalism is waning but the subject can’t be off the table for too long.

  • evad666

    Perhaps the UK and US authorities should model the impact of a limited Shia Sunni nuclear exchange on the Global Climate as a matter of urgency and plan accordingly?
    While someone is doing that could someone else review News footage of refugees fleeing across the Med and then read https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/bare-branches, then formulate some policies?

    • Terry Field

      Policies?
      Policies?
      I didn’t get where I am today by having ‘Policies’!!!!
      (Apologies to CJ)

  • Terry Field

    The situation can be summed up in a sentence. America backs Persia. Arabia Magna unifies to reject it.

  • http://www.reutlingen-university.de Paul Worthington

    The US and Britain are perhaps paying a price for having toppled Sadam Husein and created the environment for anarchy in the region in which the jihadist fascists can murder, rape, maim and rob at will. Likewise for helping jihadists to topple Gadhafi. Asad managed to keep the islamists under control before the mess around him was created by the witless Blair and Bush. The author here seems to have an unhealthy affinity for the policies of Saudi Arabia.

  • Dr Corvus

    Here’s a suggestion, Ahmed: If Britain must be involved, why don’t we do what we should have been doing from the start? Namely, support Assad. He’s proved far more resilient than many of those who predicted his imminent fall. And he has achieved this in the teeth of Western overt (‘non-lethal’) and covert support for your friends the Islamic State and ‘moderate’ Islamist groups indistinguishable from that caliphate. What might he yet achieve with just a fraction of the backing our taxes have been abused to give to our enemies?

  • Adrian Wainer

    Twaddle.

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