Tag: islam


blowback in our innercities

October 9th, 2012 — 9:55am

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

 From Anaheim to the Windy City, America’s urban centers are steadily and relentlessly beginning to rotate into the gyre of violence and retribution that all too often serves to foment revolution and unrest. And with poverty levels surging to the highest levels since the ’60s, the era of America’s last widespread innercity riots, avoiding more violent demonstrations and protests seems increasingly unlikely.

Over the weekend in Anaheim, California an officer involved shooting devolved into an intensely troubling scene which saw police officers firing rubber bullets and beanbag rounds into an already dispersed crowd of civilians and a police dog attacking a mother and child. And then over the next few hours the situation devolved into further chaos:

Throughout the night, police in multiple marked and unmarked squad cars attempted to control an unruly crowd gathered near the shooting scene. Some cordoned off the intersection at East La Palma Avenue and Anna Drive with the same yellow crime-scene tape used by police where the shooting happened.

Some moved a Dumpster into the intersection and set its trash on fire on at least three separate occasions only to be met with multiple officers who kept responding to move it out of the way of traffic.

About 9:30 p.m., an Anaheim helicopter hovered above the crowd while police on the ground brandished batons and other weapons at the crowd, attempting to keep order.

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Comment » | Chicago, current affairs, domestic terror, drug violence, islamist, legalize marijuana, militant islam, Muslim, organized crime, racial inequality, racial tension, racism, reform, revolution, terrorism, war on drugs

convert or die… or wait a few hundred years

June 30th, 2012 — 4:39pm

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

You probably missed the phenomenal article on China in the LA Times a while back, which came on the heels of more and more morose news of what’s looking less and less like a recovery of the American economy. Among other points, one of the more central themes the article focused on was that Chinese culture is not American culture:

The Chinese have a powerful sense of their identity and worth. They have never behaved toward the West in a supplicant manner, for reasons Westerners persistently fail to understand or grasp.

China is simply not like the West and never will be. There has been an underlying assumption that the process of modernization would inevitably lead to Westernization; yet modernization is not just shaped by markets, competition and technology but by history and culture. And Chinese history and culture are very different from that of any Western nation-state.

And so far as I can tell, no one protested this observation as bigoted or racist or even remotely controversial. It’s simply a cultural observation.

Chinese culture is not Western culture. It is, as they say, what it is.

Cultures instill different values, they have different norms, they lead to markedly different behaviors. As the article so aptly put it, our “failure to understand the Chinese has repeatedly undermined our ability to anticipate their behavior.” Western culture, it’s often said, is rooted in “Judeo-Christian” values. These values have become imbued in our legal systems and constitutional rights, over thousands of years religion has seeped into our sense of justice – of right and wrong.

This exact same argument of culture dissonance can be made when it comes to religion, between Christianity and Islam, although just about everyone seems terrified to bring up the obvious.

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Comment » | 9/11, al-Qaeda, Charlemagne, Christianity, Clovis, condoning violence, faith, islam, islamist, Muslim, news, Nicene Creed, organized religion, 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

love is all you need

June 10th, 2012 — 1:38pm

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

After the Black September Organization pulled off what’s classically considered the first act of modern terrorism – holding Israel’s Olympic team in Munich hostage while the entire world watched in their living rooms via satellite television repeaters and portable video cameras - the group’s parent organization, the PLO, was faced with a rather troublesome conundrum.

It’s the same problem that our government is now trying to address, as “the Pentagon recently gave a $4.5 million grant to a group of psychologists based at the University of Maryland to conduct a five-year study on not only how to deradicalize militants, but perhaps also find ways to intervene with potential recruits before they sign up.”

Options such as vocational training and financial incentives are being considered, but as usual the Pentagon is flushing money directly down the shitter: neither of those are going to be anywhere near as effective as the solution that was used to dissolve Black September.

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1 comment » | counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, current affairs, domestic terror, islam, news, Pentagon, politics, terrorism

it’s the circle of jihad

June 9th, 2012 — 5:18pm

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

Many of the groups that eventually coalesce into full-fledged terrorist organizations start off as cut-and-dry insurgences: FARC, the Shining Path, the PLO, and more recently al-Qaeda, which got its start fighting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan before metastasizing into an international terrorist organization and ideology.

But with all the press that it’s getting, it’s important to keep in mind that the ongoing uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria has nothing at all to do with al-Qaeda.  As the dead bodies of women and children begin to pile up underneath hand-wringing UN officials, Syria’s Lebanese neighbors are at least mobilizing to do something about it: dusting off their kalashnikovs and crossing the border to once again fight for their fellow Muslims.

Many of their parents fought against Israeli’s invasion of Lebanon, so it’s no surprise that this generation is ready and willing to put their lives on the line in the what’s just about the most classic justification for jihad you can possibly imagine.

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Comment » | current affairs, domestic terror, islam, news, politics, terrorism

back-handing the casbah

June 9th, 2012 — 10:15am

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

It would be nice to be able to be surprised about Egypt’s most recent attempt to redefine irony: a mob of hundreds of men attacking and subsequently sexually assaulting a group of women marching to protest the lack of women’s rights in Egypt:

From the ferocity of the assault, some of the victims said it appeared to have been an organized attempt to drive women out of demonstrations and trample on the pro-democracy protest movement. The attack follows smaller scale assaults on women this week in Tahrir, the epicentre of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down last year.

Earlier in the week, an Associated Press reporter witnessed around 200 men assault a woman who eventually fainted before men trying to help could reach her.

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Comment » | current affairs, islam, news, politics, terrorism

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

by whatever means necessary

September 2nd, 2011 — 8:18am

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

This September the UN will vote on whether or not Palestine should be officially recognized as a state, an aspiration that first gained international attention two generations ago.

Although statehood would largely just be a technical distinction, Israel is still bracing itself for unrest.  The IDF has reportedly begun arming settlers in the West Bank with tear gas and stun grenades and setting “red-lines” for each settlement.  The plan is that should any Palestine cross a red-line, IDF soldiers will open fire at their feet.  Given the visceral decades-old hatred between Israel and Palestine, violence in one form or another once again seems inevitable.

And should Palestine finally get recognized as a state by the UN, it would bring full-circle a series of events that first ushered the specter of international terrorism onto the world stage.  Events that would gather the world, rapt in horror, around the flickering macabre  spectacle playing itself out in their darkened living rooms.

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Comment » | current affairs, islam, terrorism

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