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The Mystery of Ceylan Ozalp

Ceylan-Ozalp

“We’re not scared of anything. We’ll fight to the last. We’d rather blow ourselves up than be captured by ISIS.”

– Ceylan Ozalp

Updating from our original post: In Memory: Ceylan Ozalp, Kurdish YPG Fighter. There’s a lot of interest in this story, so I’m reposting it, and adding new information as it becomes available. Unfortunately, so far, the sources for these reports are social media posts, often from political rivals, propagandists, and sympathizers, parties that aren’t disinterested observers.  It’s unclear if this is accurate, but here’s what we have so far.

The first is from Free Kurdistan, Tumblr site, and it offers no link or outside verification.

Ceylan Ozalp (19), known from the BBC report about Kurdish YPG Women fighters led today with several comrades in the northern Syrian Kurdish city Kobani resistance against the ISIS terrorists.

In Kurdish areas of northern Syria, fighters have been battling Islamic State – or ISIS – for two years – and unlike Iraq’s kurdish forces, they get no help from the west. Gabriel Gatehouse has been northern Syria to meet some of those taking on the jihadists.

Surrounded on all sides and set under attack, she lost all her friends. She fought alone against the supernumerary terrorists. When she had no more ammunition and recognized the hopeless situation, she said goodbye over her radio and killed herself with the last bullet so that she don’t to fall into the hands of the rapists.

“We’re not scared of anything,” she said. “We’ll fight to the last. We’d rather blow ourselves up than be captured by ISIS.”

Rest in Peace Heroine

via Free Kurdistan

[Also see our item from Sept 12, 2014 - Women Fightin’ Islamic Gangstas]

Reports of Ceylan’s alleged battlefield suicide have been circulating in social media, picking up momentum over the last few days, including traffic that comes here, from others seeking confirmation.

This morning I sent a message to Gabriel Gatehouse, the BBC reporter who may be the only western journalist to have met Ceylan Ozalp, in hopes he can help clarify. I’ll add more here as information develops. Here’s Gatehouse‘s BBC video report.

In Kurdish areas of northern Syria, fighters have been battling Islamic State – or ISIS – for two years – and unlike Iraq’s kurdish forces, they get no help from the west. Gabriel Gatehouse has been northern Syria to meet some of those taking on the jihadists.

This morning I noticed the beginning of #CeylanOzalp

The largest 2nd largest source of traffic to our Sept 28 post comes via a LIVE LEAK’s post. It includes an unsupported claim that claim that Kurdish defensive positions were bombed by the U.S., resulting in up to 15 Kurdish casualties in Yarubiya (misspelled, of course) and smears Ceylan Ozalp’s credibility in what appears to be little more than a snarky celebration of Ceylan Ozalp’s alleged suicide.

While we await independent confirmation of Ceylan Ozalp’s reported battlefield suicide, there are also no independent reports to back up any of claims by the author of the LIVE LEAK post. The comments section offers little that could substantiate the original story, aside from sentimental glorification of Ceylan Ozalp, but at least one commenter calls out the poster of the anti-Kurdish rant as either an ISIS member, or an obvious ISIS sympathizer.

Other searches turn up links and sources that aren’t in English.

UPDATE: imgur.com linked the photo of Ceylan Ozalp

UPDATE: This morning another addition to Twitter’s emerging #CeylanOzalp thread

Developing…

Read the rest of this entry »

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In Memory: Ceylan Ozalp, Kurdish YPG Fighter

Ceylan-Ozalp

UPDATED: See – The Mystery of Ceylan Ozalp

Ceylan Ozalp (19), known from the BBC report about Kurdish YPG Women fighters led today with several comrades in the northern Syrian Kurdish city Kobani resistance against the ISIS terrorists.

In Kurdish areas of northern Syria, fighters have been battling Islamic State – or ISIS – for two years – and unlike Iraq’s kurdish forces, they get no help from the west. Gabriel Gatehouse has been northern Syria to meet some of those taking on the jihadists.

“We’re not scared of anything,” she said. “We’ll fight to the last. We’d rather blow ourselves up than be captured by ISIS.”

– Ceylan Ozalp

Surrounded on all sides and set under attack, she lost all her friends. She fought alone against the supernumerary terrorists. When she had no more ammunition and recognized the hopeless situation, she said goodbye over her radio and killed herself with the last bullet so that she don’t to fall into the hands of the rapists. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama’s Own JV Team: After the bin Laden Raid, the Deluge

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Max Boot writes: Last week brought a reminder of what the United States has lost since Bob Gates and Leon Panetta left the Obama cabinet. Both are straight shooters with a centrist, hardheaded sensibility.

“What happened? How did the centrist Obama of his early years in office give way to the dovish Obama of more recent times? “

Panetta has been making headlines with his criticism of Obama on 60 Minutes for pulling out of Iraq too soon (“I really thought that it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq”) and not doing more early on to aid the Syrian opposition (“we pay the price for not doing that in what we see happening with ISIS”).

“Obama suffers from the not uncommon defect of the intellectually able: He imagines that he is always the smartest guy in the room and thus has trouble taking advice that does not accord with his own predilections.”

Meanwhile, Gates has been critical of Obama for prohibiting U.S. “boots on the ground” to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: “The reality imax-boots, they’re not gonna be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air, or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces, or the Peshmerga, or the Sunni tribes acting on their own,” he told CBS This Morning. “So there will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy. And I think that by continuing to repeat that [the United States won’t put boots on the ground], the president, in effect, traps himself.”

[Check out Max Boot's "Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present" at Amazon.com]

In retrospect, it is clear, the first Obama term—when Gates was at Defense (followed by Panetta), Panetta at CIA (followed by General David Petraeus), Hillary Clinton at State, Admiral Mike Mullen at the Joint Chiefs, and retired General Jim Jones at the National Security Council—was a golden age (by Obama standards) when there were grown-ups more or less in charge of U.S. foreign policy. Obama at first tended to accede to the advice of his more seasoned foreign policy hands because as a first-term senator he was acutely aware of his own lack of experience or credibility in the field. Read the rest of this entry »


Hark, I Hear the Cannons Roar: RAF Planes Poised as MPs Approve Military Action in Iraq

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MPs back air strikes against Islamic State by 524 to 43, with a majority of 481 votes

It comes after more than six hours of debate in an emergency recall of Parliament today to plan for a third war in Iraq.

Earlier today David Cameron called for military action to stop a “terrorist caliphate” being set up near the Mediterranean.

“The brutality is staggering — beheadings, crucifixions, the gouging out of eyes, the use of rape as a weapon, the slaughter of children. All these things belong to the Dark Ages.”

– Prime Minister David Cameron

Six RAF Tornados were poised to bomb Islamic State assets tonight, just hours after all three main parties were expected to endorse a tightly worded motion restricting action to air strikes in Iraq.

In a historic Commons debate, Labour leader Ed Miliband — who has disowned the 2003 invasion of Iraq — said he understood the “qualms” and “deep unease” among MPs and the public about another war.

He urged: “I believe, although this is difficult, this is the right thing to do.”

David-Cameron

However, Diane Abbott was among backbench MPs who said they would not vote for another Middle East war. Fears of “mission creep” among critics were fuelled when Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond left open the possibility military action might later have to be carried out in Syria as well as Iraq.

“In the space of a few months, Isil has taken control of territory greater than the size of Britain and is making millions selling oil to Syria’s Assad regime.”

The debate was led by the Prime Minister, who laid out the case for war by stressing that IS — also Isis or Isil — is a growing threat to the British people.

“The first Isil-inspired terrorist acts in Europe have already taken place, with the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels,” he said. “Security services have disrupted six other known plots in Europe as well as foiling a terrorist attack in Australia aimed at civilians, including UK and US tourists.”

“This is not a threat on the far side of the world…This is not the stuff of fantasy. It is happening in front of us and we need to face up to it.”

– Prime Minister David Cameron

Mr Cameron described the “staggering brutality” of IS fanatics. “Isil is a terrorist organisation unlike those we have dealt with before,” he said. “The brutality is staggering — beheadings, crucifixions, the gouging out of eyes, the use of rape as a weapon, the slaughter of children. All these things belong to the Dark Ages.”

But he warned that the organisation was growing in power, territory and wealth, saying: “It is backed by billions of dollars and has captured an arsenal of the most modern weapons. Read the rest of this entry »


Beyond the Faculty Lounge: ‘Maybe I Shouldn’t Have Withdrawn Those Troops and Blamed My Predecessor for Everything’

economist-mission-relaunched-obama

For more than three years, Barack Obama has been trying to avoid getting into a fight in Syria. But this week, with great tracts of the Middle East under the jihadist’s knife, he at last faced up to the inevitable. On September 23rd America led air strikes in Syria against both the warriors of Islamic State (IS) and a little-known al-Qaeda cell, called the Khorasan group, which it claimed was about to attack the West. A president who has always seen his main mission as nation-building at home is now using military force in six countries—Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

” When Syrians rose up against the regime of Bashar Assad, the president stood back in the hope that things would sort themselves out—leaving Mr Assad free to commit atrocities against his own people.”

The Syrian operation is an essential counterpart to America’s attacks against IS in Iraq. Preventing the group from carving out a caliphate means, at the very least, ensuring that neither of these two countries affords it a haven (see article). But more than the future of IS is at stake in the streets of Raqqa and Mosul. Mr Obama’s attempt to deal with the jihadists is also a test of America’s commitment to global security. It is a test that he has been failing until now.

“About 200,000 Syrians have died and 10m have been driven from their homes. Denied early American support, the moderate Syrian opposition has fragmented, leaving the field to the ruthless and well-organised IS.”

Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: FBI Closing in on ‘Jihadi John’, ISIS Murderer Who Beheaded James Foley

foley-beheading-jihadi-john

Earlier this week it was revealed that US spy planes are flying above Britain monitoring telephone and computer signals in a bid to track down Jihadi John

Jill Reilly reports: FBI Director James Comey has said the bureau has identified the Islamic State militant known as Jihadi John.

But Mr Comey told reporters at the agency’s headquarters he would not reveal the man’s name or his nationality.Jihadi-John

Comey did not address whether the U.S. believes the man actually carried out the killings himself.

“Electronic footprints might help us pinpoint the location of the British IS executioner because we believe there are associates of his in the UK who are directly communicating with him.”

– FBI source

The beheadings are not shown in the videos.

In the three videos, the man speaks British-accented English.

He holds a long knife and appears to begin cutting the three men, American journalists James Foley, 40, and Steven Sotloff, 31, as well as British aid worker, David Haines, 44.

The executioner, who has a British accent, is one of four British jihadis known as the ‘Beatles’ holding hostages in Syria.

Today British officials would not say if the identity had been shared with the authorities on London, and would not be drawn on whether any arrests are imminent.

foley-lrg

A Home Office spokeswoman said: ‘We won’t be commenting on matters of security at this stage.’

“A source revealed Jihadi John, comes from a South London suburb about 10 miles from Central London.”

Yesterday British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond revealed intelligence agencies were closing the net on the masked man. Read the rest of this entry »


ISIS Militants in Syria Bitch-Slapped Back to the Stone Age by UAE’s First Female Bomber

mariam-al-mansouri

Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri is believed to be the first woman from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to become an Emirates Air Force pilot

Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, 35, joined the United Arab Emirates’ air force once the military branch accepted women. 

The first female pilot in the United Arab Emirates’ air force is reportedly taking part in the coalition air strikes against ISIS militants hiding in Syria.

“A woman’s passion about something will lead her to achieving what she aspires and that’s why she should pursue her interests.”

– Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri

Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, 35, is a squadron commander piloting an F-16 Block 60 fighter jet likely among those dropping munitions this week in coordinated attacks against Islamic State strongholds near Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib.

Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar also provided support, logistics and aircraft in the strikes against the terrorists.

She graduated the academy in 2008 and now pilots an F-16 Block 60 fighter jet, likely among those taking part in the air strikes against Islamic State terrorists in Syria.

Al Mansouri, an Abu Dhabi native who holds an undergraduate degree in English literature, was among the first women to join the UAE Air Force academy when it finally allowed female members and she graduated in 2008, The National of UAE reported. Read the rest of this entry »


Syria Strikes: U.S. Reports Significant Damage [VIDEO] Krauthammer: Air Strikes in Syria ‘Not Militarily Significant’

A U.S. fighter jet flies over an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. Associated Press

U.S. officials didn’t provide estimates of casualties, though local residents said many were killed, including civilians.

WASHINGTON—WSJ reports: The first U.S.-led airstrikes on extremist groups in Syria hit militant leaders, training camps and control centers, U.S. officials said, promising this was only the start of a long campaign.

The attacks were conducted with the aid of Arab allies, but the U.S. carried out the bulk of the raids. After the first wave of strikes, the U.S. said it conducted follow-on attacks during the day Tuesday that hit two Islamic State armored vehicles in Syria.

The U.S. and its allies unleashed more than 160 missiles and bombs on targets inside Syria, disrupting infrastructure used by the extremist groups Islamic State and al Qaeda-linked Khorasan, Pentagon officials said in the first assessments of the impact of the strikes…

Krauthammer: Air Strikes in Syria Are Not Militarily Significant

“…militarily this is not significant. This is a diplomatic stroke of sorts. It’s still a very narrow coalition. The fact is that on the ground they don’t have a strategy for defeating ISIS.” 

On Tuesday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer responded to news that both Syria and Iran knew in advance about the American air strikes in Syria. Informing Iran was a poor choice, Krauthammer said, but telling Syria made sense because the U.S. needed to know its planes would not be shot down during the bombing. He said the U.S. is unintentionally acting as Syrian President Bashar Assad’s air force, and are allowing Assad the capability to attack moderates in Syria with greater ease…(read more) NRO

…The U.S. and its allies unleashed more than 160 missiles and bombs on targets inside Syria, disrupting infrastructure used by the extremist groups Islamic State and al Qaeda-linked Khorasan, Pentagon officials said in the first assessments of the impact of the strikes.

[Also see - Syria Government, Opposition Given Prior Notification of Attacks on Islamic State]

While it will be days before a definitive conclusion can be drawn, U.S. officials said they believe some leaders of both Islamic State and Khorasan were likely killed in the strikes on training camps and headquarters buildings.

 This photo shows what the Edlib News Network says is Syrian citizens checking a damaged house that was targeted by the coalition airstrikes in the village of Kfar Derian on Tuesday. This image, also from the Syrian antigovernment group, was similarly authenticated by the AP. Associated Press

This photo shows what the Edlib News Network says is Syrian citizens checking a damaged house that was targeted by the coalition airstrikes in the village of Kfar Derian on Tuesday. This image, also from the Syrian antigovernment group, was similarly authenticated by the AP. Associated Press

The expansion of the military campaign against Islamic State from Iraq to Syria carries significant risks for President Barack Obama’s administration.

Mr. Obama has spent his presidency extricating the U.S. from two long and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now there is the prospect of getting mired again in a protracted Middle East war. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND: Biden Attacks Ryan by Asking if He Wants to Bomb Syria

“Now, every time the governor is asked about this, he doesn’t say any, he say, he goes up with a whole lot of verbiage, but when he gets pressed, he says, no, he would not do anything different then we are doing now. Are they proposing putting American troops on the ground, putting American aircraft in their airspace? Is that what they’re proposing? If they do, they should speak up and say so. But that’s not what they’re saying” 

Brietbart.com


Israeli Military Shoots Down Syrian Aircraft

A Syrian fighter jet is seen in flames after it was hit by the Israeli military over the Golan Heights on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

A Syrian fighter jet is seen in flames after it was hit by the Israeli military over the Golan Heights on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

TEL AVIV—Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet that entered its airspace over the Golan Heights, the first such strike in nearly 29 years amid heightened fighting between the regime and rebels for control along the sensitive border.

“The Syrian plane, identified by the Israeli military as a Sukhoi Su-24 Russian-made aircraft, penetrated about a half-mile into Israeli airspace and had turned to return to Syrian-controlled territory when it was shot down.”

The intercept is the latest sign of instability along the Golan Heights frontier due to the Syrian war, though former Israeli air force officers said they believed that the Syrian jet crossed into Israeli controlled airspace by accident. The aircraft downing came just hours after the U.S. and Arab allies launched an expansive air offensive against Islamic State fighters and strongholds in Syria, though Israeli experts said there appeared to be no connection. Read the rest of this entry »


Syria Government, Opposition Given Prior Notification of Attacks on Islamic State

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U.S. Expands Campaign Into Country That Has Been a Haven for Islamic State Militants

The Syrian government and opposition said Tuesday they were told by the U.S. of its plan to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State targets on Syrian territory, as the Obama administration opened up a new front in an expanding Middle East war.

“This is a joint coalition effort of which the Syrian opposition is a full-fledged member.”

– Oubai Shahbander, an adviser to the opposition coalition

The disclosure that both the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels fighting to oust it were given prior notification of the attacks came hours after the U.S. and five Middle Eastern allies carried out airstrikes on extremist fighters in the country, where a civil war has been raging for more than three years.

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Syrian citizens check a damaged house that they say was targeted by the coalition airstrikes, in the village of Kfar Derian, a base for the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, Tuesday. Associated Press

The Syrian government said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter Monday to the Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, informing him of the impending strikes against Islamic State bases on Syrian soil.

“But Islamic State prepared for the airstrikes, too, moving their top leadership and most sophisticated weapons from Raqqa, according to residents of the city, the de facto capital of Islamic State.”

The letter was relayed to Damascus by Iraq’s foreign minister, a statement issued by Syria’s foreign ministry said. Syria’s envoy to the United Nations was also notified about the airstrikes “hours before their start,” it said. Read the rest of this entry »


Jonah Goldberg: Do-It-Yourself Jihadism

Mohammad-Ali-Baryalei

The fact that ISIS focuses on beheadings rather than elaborate plots makes them that much harder to foil

Jonah Goldberg writes: On Thursday, Australian authorities claimed they thwarted a plot by supporters of the Islamic State to grab random people off the street and then behead the captured citizens on videotape. Australia’s attorney general said that the massive raid, the largest counterterrorism operation in the nation’s history, involving more than 800 police officers and raids of at least twelve properties, was necessary because, “If the . . . police had not acted today, there is a likelihood that this would have happened.”

Al-Qaeda always had an odd obsession with destroying aircraft and committing dramatic acts of murder. This fixation had an advantage: Such elaborate plots were easier to be foiled by law enforcement and intelligence agencies…

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott confirmed that the raids were prompted by intercepted phone calls, from an Australian of Afghan descent believed to be Mohammad Ali Baryalei. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that he is suspected to be the “most senior Australian member of the terrorist group Islamic State, having traveled to Syria in April last year.” A proselytizer for the “Street Dawah Movement,” Barylei “was outspoken and wouldn’t shy from speaking the truth regardless,” a former fellow Dawah member told Fairfax Media. “He wasn’t pleased with living in Australian society and wanted to live in an Islamic society away from open alcoholism, homosexuality, fornication, drugs, and capitalism.”

“The Islamic State has discovered that beheadings — which are cheap and relatively easy to conduct — have a huge impact in the West…It takes homework to build an IED. Beheadings require very little instruction.”

Baryalei is credited with recruiting at least two fellow Australians to the cause. One, Khaled Sharrouf, infamously tweeted pictures of himself executing prisoners in Iraq and images of his seven-year-old son holding a severed head in Syria. Another fellow Australian, Mohamed Elomar, has also released images of himself holding the decapitated heads of his “enemies.”  Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Goldberg: ‘Muddled Nature’ of ISIS Strategy Driving Down Confidence in Obama

John_Cantlie-HOSTAGE

Meanwhile…there’s this:

ABCNews.com reports: A British citizen captured in Syria two years ago has resurfaced today in a new ISIS propaganda video released on YouTube. But unlike the previous gruesome beheading videos of three westerners, journalist  Cantlie is seen alive, seated alone at a desk in a darkened room, delivering what he says is the first of a series of “messages” about ISIS.

Cantlie was abducted in November 2012 along with slain American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by his ISIS captors, according to a former law enforcement official and others familiar with the journalists’ kidnapping. Read the rest of this entry »


ISIL bans math, social studies for children

Originally posted on Q13 FOX News:

In swaths of Syria now controlled by ISIS/ISIL , children can no longer study math or social studies. Sports are out of the question. And students will be banned from learning about elections and democracy.

Instead, they’ll be subjected to the teachings of the radical Islamist group. And any teacher who dares to break the rules “will be punished.”

ISIS/ISIL revealed its new educational demands in fliers posted on billboards and on street poles. The Sunni militant group has captured a slew of Syrian and Iraqi cities in recent months as it tries to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, spanning Sunni parts of both countries.

In the letter, ISIS/ISIL said alternative courses will be added.

It also said teachers must erase the phrase Syrian Arab Republic — the official name of Syria — and replace it with Islamic State, which is what ISIS calls itself.

Educators cannot teach nationalistic…

View original 170 more words


[VIDEO] Ron Johnson: Obama’s ISIS Strategy Like Becoming a Bee Farmer, or Something

 “If the objective is to destroy ISIS, I don’t think we have a strategy in place that will accomplish that goal…I’m just concerned about poking that hornet’s nest with a stick for three years.”

Republican Senator Ron Johnson is concerned about blowback from America’s limited air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — if the U.S. fails to destroy the group entirely, President Obama’s plan to intervene will be just like poking a hornet’s nest with a stick, he says. Read the rest of this entry »


Secretary General of NATO on the Dual Threats

Pro-Russia rebels in Krasnodon in eastern Ukraine, Aug. 17. Associated Press

The Islamic State and Vladimir Putin’s Russia are enemies of liberty, democracy and the rule of law

Anders Fogh Rasmussen writes: The abhorrent beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker shocked the world. So did the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. The deaths of these innocents show the global consequences of two major crises on Europe’s doorstep: the advance of the so-called Islamic State terrorist group across Iraq and Syria, and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The peace and security we enjoy in Europe and North America are under threat like never before.

These challenges will last for years, and we need to face that reality.

Anders-quote

With Russia, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has tried long and hard to build a partnership that respects Russia’s security concerns and is based on international rules and norms. Regrettably, Russia has rejected our efforts to engage. Russia has trampled on all the rules and commitments that have kept peace in Europe and beyond since the end of the Cold War. It is now clear that Russia regards the West as an adversary, not a partner.

The terrorist threat is now growing in Syria and Iraq. The Islamic State terrorists are fueling the fire of sectarianism already burning across the Middle East and North Africa, with the risk rising that terror will be exported back to our shores. Read the rest of this entry »


Anti-ISISism on the Left

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PRIMAI’ve been trying to read as much as time allows of the left’s reaction to the President’s recent speech in which he unleashed at least a couple of the dogs of war. Here’s something from this morning’s sampling:

As for the the Hof article linked above, one of the things it shares with most discussion of the issues in leftish sources is a focus on state politics and an almost complete lack of discussion of the religious and other cultural elements of the ISIS phenomenon. This particular article lays the blame on the structural problem of “state failure”. I would reply that we’ve had chronically failed states in, for example, Latin America for 150 years, yet none of them have become the seedbed for global terrorism. The same could be said for Southeast Asia and, until recently, central and west Africa. I think the unwillingness of analysts on the left to see the uniquely Islamic elements of the ISIS phenomenon hobbles their ability to fully come to terms with it. Whoda thunk that I’d be on the same side of things as Bill Maher? What a world we live in, huh?

ISIS Video Claims Third Beheading

 David-Haines

David Haines Murdered by Islamic Death Cult

BAGHDAD —The Islamic State militant group released a video late Saturday that it said showed the beheading of David Haines, a British aid worker.

“The United States vows to avenge strongly condemns the act of pure evil barbaric murder of U.K. citizen David Haines by Islamic Muslim the terrorist group ISIL.”

– U.S. President Barack Obama

Islamic State militants had previously released videos showing the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

“This is a despicable and appalling murder of an innocent aid worker. It is an act of pure evil.”

– U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron

The video released Saturday showed what a masked person said was Mr. Haines’s beheading before proposing that Alan Henning, another Briton, might face the same fate if British forces didn’t stop their aggression against the militant group. Read the rest of this entry »


The Genocide of Mideastern Christians

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Americans haven’t suddenly turned interventionist. They’re moved by the Islamic State’s particular evil.

Peggy Noonan writes: President Obama would have been rocked the past few months by five things. One is the building criticism from left and right about his high need for relaxation—playing golf while the world burns. Another is that he misread the significance and public power of the beheadings of American journalists. Third, he has been way out of sync with American public opinion on Islamic State, which must be all the more galling because he thought he knew where Americans stood on the use of military force. Fourth, with his poll numbers declining (32% approval for his handling of foreign policy, according to The Wall Street Journal and NBC), it has probably occurred to him that he is damaging not only his own but his party’s brand in foreign affairs. (Yes, George W. Bush did the same to his party, but Mr. Obama was supposed to reverse, not follow, that trend.) Fifth, he surely expects he is about to take a pounding from the antiwar left.

“Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics who would normally back strong military action were relatively silent in 2013. Why? I think because they were becoming broadly aware, for the first time, of what was happening to Christians in the Middle East.”

Most immediately interesting to me is the apparent change of mind by Americans toward military action in the Mideast. The president’s long-reigning assumption is that a war-weary public has grown more isolationist. But, again according to the WSJ/NBC poll, more than 6 in 10 back moving militarily against Islamic State. Politicians and pundits believe that this is due to the gruesome, public and taunting murders of the U.S. journalists—that Americans saw the pictures and freaked out, that their backing of force is merely emotional.

I think they’re missing a big aspect of this story. Read the rest of this entry »


Rare Photos of 1900s Beijing Discovered

From Austrian Archive: Shaman Dancers, Tea Houses, Arms Traders, Urban Dwellers, Coolies and Suffragettes

When a relative of a long dead Austro-Hungarian navy soldier approached Gerd Kaminski, a China scholar in Vienna, in 2007, she pointed him towards a treasure trove of thousands of photos of Beijing, many of which were a century old.

Women demand the right to vote in this protest at the city's gates. Undated photo by Von Rostock

Women demand the right to vote in this protest at the city’s gates. Undated photo by Von Rostock

Kaminski, director of the Austrian Institute for China and Southeast Asia Studies in Vienna, worked his way through the photos and published a selection along with other photos he was given by descendants of Austrian diplomats and traders in imperial China.

A Tibetan Buddhist ritual dance, likely photographed at the Yellow Temple near the since demolished Anding Gate in northern Beijing, photographed by Von Perckhammer

A Tibetan Buddhist ritual dance, likely photographed at the Yellow Temple near the since demolished Anding Gate in northern Beijing, photographed by Von Perckhammer

“These photos give precious insights into daily urban life in Beijing a century ago,” he said. “Many of the buildings don’t exist anymore and traditions seen in the photos have been lost in time.”

china-foot-binding

A woman’s feet disfigured by foot-binding, an ancient practice in which women’s feet were tied together to reduce their size. Undated photo by Von Perckhammer

[click here to view them as a slideshow]

Austrian arms trader Bruno Mueller seen with Chinese business partners in a photo taken in 1924 by his wife Lucy.

Austrian arms trader Bruno Mueller seen with Chinese business partners in a photo taken in 1924 by his wife Lucy. Mueller secretly sold Austrian arms to Chinese warlord Zhang Zuolin in the early 1920s at a time when Austria was banned from exporting arms under its peace treaty obligations.

Read the rest of this entry »


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