Category: Arab Spring


what jihadists want

July 11th, 2012 — 9:14am

(read the book free online - get a copy for your Kindle - read the Reddit AMA)

Nidal Malik Hassan may not be alone. At least, not for long. In late June, NPR reported that the FBI has over 100 open investigations into members of the U.S. military who may have ties to Islamic extremists, roughly a dozen of them are considered serious:

The FBI and Department of Defense call these cases “insider threats.” They include not just active and reserve military personnel but also individuals who have access to military facilities such as contractors and close family members with dependent ID cards.

Officials would not provide details about the cases and the FBI would not confirm the numbers, but they did say that cases seen as serious could include, among others things, suspects who seem to be planning an attack or were in touch with “dangerous individuals” who were goading them to attack.

Whether any of these cases will amount to anything remains to be seen, but recruiting people with access to military materiel seems like a logical and potent approach, especially given the predilection of Afghan nationals working with our military overseas to stage attacks against American troops:

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2 comments » | 9/11, After the Arab Spring, al-Qaeda, Arab Spring, counterterrorism, current affairs, domestic terror, Egypt, faith, islam, islamist, John Bradley, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, Middle East, militant islam, Muslim, news, politics, revolution, terrorism

getcha pita-bread ready

June 14th, 2012 — 5:58pm

(read the book free online - read the Reddit AMA)

Unrest and instability plague a predominately Muslim nation after an economic recession creates growing swells of social upheaval, street demonstrations, and violence.  Islamists are poised to fill a growing power vacuum, but right as their scraggly grasping fingers are closing in on control of the state, the military steps in to prevent them from gaining control.

Sound familiar?

But what’s going down in Egypt isn’t by any means unique, the description at the top of this article was cribbed from the Wikipedia entry on the 1971 Turkey coup d’etat, the second coup in what ended up being a half-century of repeated military interventions that were each enacted to preserve a democratic Turkish state.

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Comment » | After the Arab Spring, Arab Spring, Attaturk, civil rights, Egypt, islam, islamist, John Bradley, news, politics, reform, revolution, shariah, terrorism, Turkey, you can't make an omelette

probably because there’s airconditioning

June 8th, 2012 — 4:28pm

(read the book free online - get a copy for your Kindle - read the Reddit AMA)

Marching in the streets of Riyadh probably isn’t all that appealing when the thermometer makes it’s way up towards 110 degrees Fahrenheit most days this time of year, so it makes more than a little sense to stage your political protest where it’s nice and cool: the local mall.

Upset about the political detention of their relatives, family members of some Saudi dissidents took to the aptly-named Sahara Mall to carry out a little old school civil disobedience.

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Comment » | Arab Spring, current affairs, islam, news, politics, Saudi Arabia, terrorism

when Iran wants to assasinate someone

October 12th, 2011 — 5:36pm

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

They simply find a way to make sure the guy gets shot.  In a sense the Iranians are the hipsters of assassinations on American soil, because although they’ve done it here at least once before -  you’ve probably never heard of it.

But in light of the recent “plot” that was foiled, it’s important to bring up that historical precedent.  As Salon‘s Glen Greenwald among many others have noted, this particular scheme seems about as far-fetched and shadily-orchestrated as international terrorist plots of sinister assassination come:

The Terrorist Mastermind at the center of the plot is a failed used car salesman in Texas with a history of pedestrian money problems. Dive under your bed. “For the entire operation, the government’s confidential sources were monitored and guided by federal law enforcement agents,” explained U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and “no explosives were actually ever placed anywhere and no one was actually ever in any danger.’”

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3 comments » | Arab Spring, counterinsurgency, islam, news, politics, Saudi Arabia, terrorism

the jinn in the machine

October 5th, 2011 — 9:29am

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

A kettle which has been just on the edge of simmering for a good long time now finally began to boil over earlier this week, as violent protests erupted in Qatif, a city in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia that like almost every city in that region of the nation is majority Shia.  And like almost every other city in the Shia-dominated eastern edges of Saudi Arabia – it sits directly on top of the world’s largest remaining easily-accessible oil reserves.

Instability has been built into the region since the founding of the Saudi Kingdom, a geopolitical reality that bodes disaster for American geopolitical goals in the region.  Namely, securing access to the lifeblood of Western civilization:

The Shia of Saudi Arabia, mostly concentrated in the Eastern Province, have long complained of discrimination against them by the fundamentalist Sunni Saudi monarchy. The Wahhabi variant of Islam, the dominant faith in Saudi Arabia, holds Shia to be heretics who are not real Muslims.

The US, as the main ally of Saudi Arabia, is likely to be alarmed by the spread of pro-democracy protests to the Kingdom and particularly to that part of it which contains the largest oil reserves in the world. The Saudi Shia have been angered at the crushing of the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain since March, with many protesters jailed, tortured or killed, according Western human rights organisations.

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Comment » | Arab Spring, counterinsurgency, economics, islam, news, politics, Saudi Arabia, terrorism

an American nightmare

August 1st, 2011 — 10:27pm

(read the book free online - get a copy for your Kindle - read the Reddit AMA)

Things had been looking up for black families, back in 1963 as MLK gave his “I Have A Dream” speech about 70% of black families were headed by a married couple. But that percentage steadily began to drop, between 1970 and 2001 it declined by 34%, double the white decline, and by 2002 it had bottomed out at just 48%.

But if the War on Drugs didn’t directly precipitate the destruction of the African-American family, why did the decline in married black women triple during the first decade of the War?

In fact, the impact of the War on Drugs has been so racially biased that although only 14% of all illicit drug users are black, blacks make up about half of those in prison for drug offenses.  (When you adjust for the fact that the Department of Justice simply throws prisoners who identify as mixed race half-black and half-white out of their data, the proportion is well over half.)  A black man is eight-times as likely as a white man to be locked up at some point in his life. And by 2006 America had, proportionally, almost six-times as many blacks locked up as South Africa did at the height of Apartheid.

Our penal system has grown so massive that the U.S. criminal justice system now employs more people than America’s two largest private employers, Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, combined.

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5 comments » | Arab Spring, current affairs, domestic terror, innercity violence, islam, news, politics, prison system, racial inequality, racial tension, racism, reform, revolution, terrorism, war on drugs

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