Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Ten Thousand Maniacs

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    Hard to get through all the analysis but so far it looks like the obvious military response would be exactly the wrong one. ISIS want a showdown.

    Instead of victory or death – it seems like many of them want to die in a holy war.

    Yes. Although it does seem that not everyone who joins them realises they're buying into that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    so far it looks like the obvious military response would be exactly the wrong one

    I can understand why people would want some kind of immediate military response but I tend to agree the current slow but steady strategy of assisting local groups to deal with ISIS seems to be working and disrupting that strategy seems unwise.

    The problem I have is the continued hypocrisy of selling arms that everyone knows will end up in the hands of those committing these atrocities. Compound that with the hypocrisy of buying oil from ISIS leaves me aghast. Let's make a quick buck while Syrians and Iraqis die and then wring our hands when Europeans die.

    The causes of the disaster are multiple, disbanding the Iraqi army, Russian support of Asaad and US support of anti-Asaad rebels, stupid borders drawn on post-WWII maps etc. All leading to an environment where nutjobs can step in.

    Every time I see pictures from Syria it jars with my memories of that open friendly country we visited a decade ago. Somehow I just hope that Syria can find some new balance in peace. Sadly to get that peace there will need to be some dramatic changes both in Syria and in the countries surrounding.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    post-WWII maps

    There weren't any border changes in the area after WW2. Did you mean WW1 (after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the partition of the region into British and French spheres of influence)? http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/cabinetpapers/documents/maps-in-time.pdf

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Did you mean WW1

    yeah doh!

    Also note that is not an exhaustive list of the fuck ups in that region, more an attempt to highlight the futility of saying
    "it's all because of this, if we just fix this then it will be all right"

    The solutions to the problems of that region are not going to be easy ones.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Kay,

    do you believe that we’re in a world war, even if not in the conventional sense?

    Not even close. We're always going to have a period of feeling shocked and scared after any such event, but in perspective it's not even in the same ball park as quite small conventional wars, much less a world war. Modern wars involve millions of deaths, most of them civilians. What most surprises me, to be honest, is how few casualties there are most of the time, how rapidly these situations get shut down and controlled.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    this cartoon, that my phone won't let me upload says a lot for me:

    http://i.imgur.com/O210dBz.jpg

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Moz,

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to David Hood,

    They tell a pretty compelling story there. Even when we think our reactions have gone OTT, they're often not in the same ballpark as OTT of the past.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    Sadly there is always disaffected youth, not so long ago it was the Angry Brigade, Baader-Meinhof Group/RAF, IRA, currently it's ISIS/Daesh. It seemingly only takes a few adherents to create panic but these people are not even a visible minority, they are but a few misguided individuals. We as a society do ourselves a grave disservice by magnifying their exploits into a credible threat, we are better served by ensuring that our governments/bureaucracies do not behave as they have done since 9/11. By overreacting, by following in such footsteps as the Australians with their unacceptable policies to refugees and residents, all we do is create more disaffected people rather than a more harmonious society.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to SteveH,

    but it seems incontrovertible that the genesis of the current situation in Syria was Assad’s brutal treatment of peaceful protesters.

    What is incrontrovertible is that from when the first protests began on February 5th there was a 5 week period leading up to March 18th where protesters weren’t being shot at. What should arouse suspicion in the inquiring mind is that unlike comparable events in other countries where protesters are shot at, these ‘protesters’ were not swayed by the guns and kept coming back for more day after day for months.

    As categorised in former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell’s memoir; “Arab Spring was really a spring for al-Qaeda”, summarised here:

    In the case of Syria, the security vacuum facilitated the rise of ISIL. Not only did these nefarious groups have goals, unlike the street protesters, they also had an agenda to achieve their goals. Terrorism stole the moment away from the legitimate protesters. What the world witnessed was the ultimate terrorist hijacking.

    When regime oppression against the protesters turned violent, only the fundamentalists were willing to fight, and even die, for their cause – not the middle-class teachers, doctors, or taxi drivers marching peacefully for change on the streets.

    The fundamentalists and terrorist groups saw an opportunity to oust secular autocrats in the region, not as a way to bring in pluralistic democracy, but as a way to implement their perverse interpretations of Islam, and in the case of ISIL, to establish an extremist caliphate.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    my french is a bit rusty

    Me too, and the papers as well, methinks ...
    today's Press had a photo of someone hanging up a banner emblazoned with Meme pas Peur

    The photo caption reads ;
    "A man attaches a banner, which translates as "Don't scare me", to a statue at Place de la Republique near sites of the deadly attacks in Paris"

    I think the translation to 'Don't scare me' is a tad too literal, during the Charlie Hebdo event the same phrase was used more idiomatically to say '"Not even scared" or 'not afraid' - ie; not as passive as 'Don't scare me -' more of a defiant attitude than a request. Even 'Doesn't scare me' would carry the feeling...

    small change I know but helps set the tone...
    and I don't really have the language to do it justice.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to chris,

    What is incrontrovertible is that from when the first protests began on February 5th there was a 5 week period leading up to March 18th where protesters weren’t being shot at. What should arouse suspicion in the inquiring mind is that unlike comparable events in other countries where protesters are shot at, these ‘protesters’ were not swayed by the guns and kept coming back for more day after day for months.

    Pilger also states that the fix was in.

    "Last year, the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that "two years before the Arab spring", he was told in London that a war on Syria was planned. "I am going to tell you something," he said in an interview with the French TV channel LPC, "I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria... Britain was organising an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer Minister for Foreign Affairs, if I would like to participate... This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned."

    http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/from-pol-pot-to-isis-anything-that-flies-on-everything-that-moves/

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Mainstream Muslims declare their outrage at the blasphemous, sacreligious travesty of "Islam" perpetrated by ISIS and declare their perversion of the Quran anathema to mainstream Muslim sensibilities:

    http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com/

    This is what it says:


    In response to the recent atrocities happening in Iraq and Syria, a large group of our esteemed scholars got together and wrote an open letter to the ‘Islamic State’ leader Dr. Ibrahim Awwad Al-Badri, alias ‘Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’, and his fighters. May Allah Most High make the efforts of our scholars successful and bring clarity in these unsettling times.

    Due to the far reaching negative effects brought about by such atrocities, we feel it is important to study this letter and the points it raises to refute ISIS/IS philosophies. It is important to be armed with knowledge and the deeper understanding of balanced Islamic principles that have been with the Ummah for fourteen hundred years.

    Our Beloved Prophet (may peace and blessings of God be upon him) was sent with a peaceful ideology and as a mercy to the world. We are not a people who hold enemy-centred ideologies. Below is a brief taste of what is in the letter as well as a link at the end to the whole document:

    [Don’t Oversimplify Islam]

    “It is not permissible to constantly speak of ‘simplifying matters’, or to cherry-pick an extract from the Qur’an without understanding it within its full context. It is also not permissible to say: ‘Islam is simple, and the Prophet (may peace be upon him) and his noble Companions were simple, why complicate Islam?’

    …And the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: ‘Whoever speaks about the Qur’an without knowledge should await his seat in the Fire.’

    [Respect the lives of Ambassadors and Emissaries]

    “It is known that all religions forbid the killing of emissaries. What is meant by emissaries here are people who are sent from one group of people to another to perform a noble task such as reconciliation or the delivery of a message. Emissaries have a special inviolability.

    Ibn Masoud said: ‘The Sunnah continues that emissaries are never killed.’ …Aid workers are also emissaries of mercy and kindness, yet you killed the aid worker David Haines. What you have done is unquestionably forbidden (haram).

    [Know the Ethical Conduct of War]

    “When Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (may God be pleased with him) prepared an army and sent it to the Levant, he said: ‘You will find people who have devoted themselves to monasteries, leave them to their devotions… do not kill the old and decrepit, women or children; do not destroy buildings; do not cut down trees or harm livestock without good cause; do not burn or drown palms; do not be treacherous; do not mutilate; do not be cowardly; and do not loot…’

    “As for killing prisoners, it is forbidden in Islamic Law. Yet you have killed many prisoners including the 1700 captives at Camp Speicher in Tikrit in June, 2014; the 200 captives at the Sha’er gas field in July, 2014; the 700 captives of the Sha’etat tribe in Deir el-Zor (600 of whom were unarmed civilians); the 250 captives at the Tabqah air base in Al-Raqqah in August, 2014; Kurdish and Lebanese soldiers, and many untold others whom God knows. These are heinous war crimes.

    [Don’t Declare People Non-Muslims]

    “Quintessentially in Islam, anyone who says: ‘There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God’ is a Muslim and cannot be declared a non-Muslim. God Most High says: ‘O you who believe, when you are going forth in the way of God, be discriminating and do not say to him who offers you peace: “You are not a believer”, – desiring the transient goods of the life of this world. With God are plenteous spoils. So were you formerly, but God has been gracious to you. So be discriminating. Surely God is ever Aware of what you do.’ (Al-Nisa’, 4: 94).

    The meaning of ‘be discriminating’ in the above verse is to ask them: ‘Are you Muslims?’ The answer is to be taken at face-value without questioning or testing their faith.

    [Respect People of Other Faiths]

    “People of the Scripture: Regarding Arab Christians, you gave them three choices: jizyah (poll tax), the sword, or conversion to Islam. You painted their homes red, destroyed their churches, and in some cases, looted their homes and property. You killed some of them and caused many others to flee their homes with nothing but their lives and the clothes on their backs.

    These Christians are not combatants against Islam or transgressors against it, indeed they are friends, neighbours and co-citizens. From the legal perspective of Shari’ah they all fall under ancient agreements that are around 1400 years old, and the rulings of jihad do not apply to them.

    [Don’t Destroy the Resting Places of Prophets and Companions]

    “Destruction of the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions: You have blown up and destroyed the graves of Prophets and Companions. Scholars disagree on the subject of graves. Nevertheless, it is not permissible to blow up the graves of Prophets and Companions and disinter their remains, just as it is not permissible to burn grapes under the pretext that some people use them to make wine.

    [The Rule Regarding Rebelling Against a Country Leader]

    “Rebelling against the leader: It is impermissible to rebel against the leader who is not guilty of declared and candid disbelief (al-kufr al-bawwah); i.e. disbelief that he himself admits to openly and where all Muslims are in consensus regarding such a person being a non-Muslim—or by his prohibiting the establishment of prayers. The evidence of this is in God Most High’s words: ‘O you who believe, obey God, and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you …’ (Al-Nisa’, 4:59)

    [Is Your ‘Caliphate’ Legitimate?]

    “In your speech you quoted the Companion Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (may God be pleased with him): ‘I have been given authority over you, and I am not the best of you.’ This begs the question: who gave you authority over the ummah? Was it your group? If this is the case, then a group of no more than several thousand has appointed itself the ruler of over a billion and a half Muslims.

    This attitude is based upon a corrupt circular logic that says: ‘Only we are Muslims, and we decide who the caliph is, we have chosen one and so whoever does not accept our caliph is not a Muslim.’ In this case, a caliph is nothing more than the leader of a certain group that declares more than 99% of Muslims non Muslim.

    On the other hand, if you recognise the billion and a half people who consider themselves Muslims, how can you not consult (shura) them regarding your so-called caliphate?

    Thus, you face one of two conclusions: either you concur that they are Muslims and they did not appoint you caliph over them—in which case you are not the caliph—or, the other conclusion is that you do not accept them as Muslims, in which case Muslims are a small group not in need of a caliph, so why use the word ‘caliph’ at all? In truth, the caliphate must emerge from a consensus of Muslim countries, organisations of Islamic scholars and Muslims across the globe.”

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    And this is a redacted version of the greater document:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/24/muslim-scholars-islamic-state_n_5878038.html

    1. It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. Even then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts. It is also forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an—or part of a verse—to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith teach related to that matter. In other words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherry-pick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.

    2. It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language.

    3. It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.

    4. It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.

    5. It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.

    6. It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent.

    7. It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.

    8. Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose and without the right rules of conduct.

    9. It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares disbelief.

    10. It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat—in any way—Christians or any ‘People of the Scripture’.

    11. It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Scripture.

    12. The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.

    13. It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.

    14. It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.

    15. It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights.

    16. It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud) without following the correct
    procedures that ensure justice and mercy.

    17. It is forbidden in Islam to torture people.

    18. It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.

    19. It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God.

    20. It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.

    21. Armed insurrection is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler and not allowing people to pray.

    22. It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.

    23. Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.

    24. After the death of the Prophet, Islam does not require anyone to emigrate anywhere.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    TL;DR (don't do bad shit, I guess is the summary)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    By overreacting, by following in such footsteps as the Australians with their unacceptable policies to refugees and residents, all we do is create more disaffected people rather than a more harmonious society.

    Civil rights autor James Baldwin put it best: "There is no bigger danger to society than a man with nothing left to lose."

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Attachment

    Tremain again (in the right thread)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Attachment

    And from today's ODT .... um ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    Thanks for that Peter, some very disturbing reading there

    Disgusted, Von Sponeck resigned as UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq. His predecessor, Denis Halliday, an equally distinguished senior UN official, had also resigned. “I was instructed,” Halliday said, “to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults.”

    A study by the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, found that between 1991 and 1998, the height of the blockade, there were 500,000 “excess” deaths of Iraqi infants under the age of five. An American TV reporter put this to Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the United Nations, asking her, “Is the price worth it?” Albright replied, “We think the price is worth it."

    What now is the price of living, drinking, singing to drown out the sound of the news?

    Only 6 had been confirmed dead when Obama’s vow “to bring these terrorists to justice” hit stuff.co.nz . With the imagery that conjures up; televised hangings; night vision raids; feature film cash ins; bullet strewn bodies dumped in the ocean; decade long wars, 103,160–113,728 Iraqi civilian deaths; POWs tethered to dog leashes and electrical wire; electric shocks; deprivation of food, water and oxygen; sexual abuse; sensory deprivation; waterboarding; irradiated landscape; the top brass congratulating themselves in the war room for another successful drone strike broadcast on the big screen, there was literally no time to mourn let alone even comprehend what had happened before the next round of chest thumping began.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    ICYMI, enormous good sense coming from a frontbench minister across the ditch:

    Commentators should stop issuing “pejorative demands” to Muslim leaders to condemn terrorism each time it occurs, the government frontbencher Christopher Pyne said during a Q&A program dominated by discussion of the Paris attacks.

    Pyne was responding to a question from a young Australian Muslim and former Iraqi refugee, Mohammad Al-Khafaji, who said that every time there was an attack he and his community were called upon to condemn it and explain themselves.

    The industry minister and leader of the house told the ABC program that Muslim communities condemned such acts but “they shouldn’t be called on to do so because it suggests that they didn’t want to do it”.

    “I’ve never known one of these things to happen where Muslim leaders in Australia didn’t come out and condemn them, but by the very act of demanding they come out you suggest that they didn’t want to, and that is something that we must stop happening in Australia.”

    “Whoever is doing that must stop it, because it is pejorative demand. I don’t know any Muslims in my community who would think that the acts in Paris or in Lebanon or anywhere else were reasonable, and their leadership should react exactly the same way as everyone else’s leadership, which is to be horrified and aghast by it.”

    There's plenty of stuff to give the Australian Government stick over, but at least on this I'm thankful Turnbull is setting the tone not Tony Abbott.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Grinding it through my own rusty cogs,
    même pas peur should most literally be:
    “Even so, no fear”.

    It could correspond to “You don’t scare me” or “It don’t scare me”
    (with a vernacular invariant verb stylistically appropriate to the original).
    Further informal reduction (also in keeping with the original’s lack of subject) gives the translation “Don’t scare me.”;
    it’s not intended to be the imperative.
    You’re right though: keeping the standard verb agreement
    (“Doesn’t scare me.”) removes the ambiguity.

    The bigger problem with this translation comes from shifting the focus from the original ("fear" -- which could be personal or general, but either way defiantly claims the lack of the act's intended effect) to the speaker (forced by converting the noun to a verb "scare [me]").

    It would be more accurate to keep the literal translation.

    Reducing it to “No fear”, of course, would be even more problematic:
    shades of “Bring it on!”

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    I was looking for some trade numbers in the region – preferably arms deals.

    Apparently Qatar, Kuwait & Saudi Arabia are big donors/ supporters of radical Islamists.

    Although Saudi Arabia has given $100m (£60m) to the UN anti-terror programme and the country’s grand mufti has denounced Isis as “enemy number one”, radical Salafists across the Middle East receive ideological and material backing from within the kingdom. According to Clinton’s leaked memo, Saudi donors constituted “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”.

    But again, don’t expect Britain to act. Our alliance with the regime dates back to 1915, and Saudi Arabia is the British arms industry’s biggest market, receiving £1.6bn of military exports. There are now more than 200 joint ventures between UK and Saudi companies worth $17.5bn.

    To really combat terror, end support for Saudi Arabia - Owen Jones

    Cutting the supply lines doesn’t look like a real option but it should be.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    To really combat terror, end support for Saudi Arabia - Owen Jones

    Cutting the supply lines doesn’t look like a real option but it should be.

    But this it, isn't it. The US and the West are allied with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states (maj Sunni), Russia is allied with Assad and Iran (maj Shia). It's still the grand adventure and the cold war continuing to play itself out...

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    Attachment

    Iyad El-Baghdadi tweeted about how the "cut off the funding" thing doesn't apply so much any more. Isis is largely self-funding – and two thirds of its money comes from extortion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    It's still the grand adventure and the cold war continuing to play itself out...

    After the shooting down of Korean Airlines flight 007 in 1983 Aeroflot was banned from flying into the US, with the situation to be reviewed after twelve months. Three months later, when the furore had faded, flights quietly resumed.

    While the scenario of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe was played up throughout the Reagan-Thatcher era, no-one ever refuted the claim that NATO held around an eight day stockpile of small arms ammunition, the manufacturer of which just happened to be Czechoslovakia. Business as usual was never quite what we were led to believe.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

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