Arab Spring

The Cathedral, believing itself to be the holiest of them all, unleashed a power struggle in the middle east to be the holiest of them all.

arab spring

At present, their religion is worse than ours, but the appointment of a Caliph, elected for life, may stabilize them, while we continue to drift to ever greater heights of holiness.

13 Responses to “Arab Spring”

  1. Jake says:

    It’s not that simple. Yes, we were insane to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and invading Iraq was probably a mistake, but ISIS has been heavily subsidized by Assad to tar the moderate rebels. Assad had previously transported al Qaeda suicide bombers into Iraq by the hundreds to kill US troops, and intentionally released known terrorists including current ISIS leaders from Sednaya prison to inflame the rebellion against his regime. As documented by numerous regime and ISIS defectors, Assad armed and trained ISIS from its infancy, while Syrian intelligence has infiltrated ISIS and used it to attack other rebels. This has resulted in a tacit alliance in which ISIS keeps its territory but does not extend deeper into Syria, while most of its funding comes from oil sales back to Assad. How did ISIS acquire James Foley, when all the reports from when he was kidnapped in 2013 say he was captured by forces loyal to Assad, and even spotted in elite Syrian military bases? While those reports may have been mistaken, and Steven Sotlof’s family claims the rebels sold Sotlof out (denied by the White House), Assad has long used terrorism to shakedown the West by posing as the only force capable of restraining the very “extremists” he helped unleash.

    • jim says:

      Assad is hated because he protected Christians and other religious minorities. What people mean when they say Assad operated a police state is that if you burned down a church or raped a Christian woman, you got punished.

      Everyone that the state department subsidized and armed during the arab spring persecuted and murdered Christians, though not always as dramatically as Islamic State. The State Department, not Assad, has been arming and sponsoring murderous extremists, from the very beginning of the Arab Spring in Tunisia.

      • Jake says:

        You seem like the mirror image of the Chomskyites when you try to force events in countries all over the world to conform to your predetermined theories about the Cathedral based on extremely limited evidence or even no evidence until proven otherwise. Everything I said is well known by people familiar with the situation in Syria.

        Intelligence gathered by Western secret services suggested the regime began collaborating actively with these groups again in the spring of 2013. When Jabhat al-Nusra seized control of Syria’s most lucrative oil fields in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, it began funding its operations in Syria by selling crude oil, with sums raised in the millions of dollars.

        Aron Lund, editor of a website, Syria in Crisis, used by the Carnegie Endowment to monitor the war, said: “The regime has done a good job in trying to turn the revolution Islamist. The releases from Sednaya prison are a good example of this. The regime claims that it released the prisoners because Assad had shortened their sentences as part of a general amnesty. But it seems to have gone beyond that. There are no random acts of kindness from this regime.”

        Rebels both inside and outside ISIS also say they believe the regime targeted its attacks on non-militant groups, leaving ISIS alone. “We were confident that the regime would not bomb us,” an ISIS defector, who called himself Murad, said. “We always slept soundly in our bases.”

        Indeed, presumably realizing (or being told by “brotherly” Iran) after the fall of Iraq’s Mosul last week that ISIS had been allowed to grow stronger than intended, on Sunday Assad’s air force began bombing the group’s strongholds across northeastern Syria.

        But that, if anything, only underlines the point that the regime knew the locations of those strongholds all this time.

        Nawaf Fares, a former regime hardliner and security chief who was Syria’s ambassador to Iraq, spoke out in an exclusive interview with The Sunday Telegraph yesterday…Mr Fares’s most damaging allegation is that the Syrian government itself has a hand in the nationwide wave of suicide bombings on government buildings, which have killed hundreds of people and maimed thousands more. By way of example, he cited the twin blasts outside a military intelligence building in the al-Qazzaz suburb of Damascus in May, which killed 55 people and injured another 370.
        “I know for certain that not a single serving intelligence official was harmed during that explosion, as the whole office had been evacuated 15 minutes beforehand,” he said. “All the victims were passers by instead. All these major explosions have been have been perpetrated by al-Qaeda through cooperation with the security forces.”

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        Obama in the Cabinet Room in September 2013. Of Arms and MANPADS…
        April 4, 2014
        Hook, line, and sinker
        Blame Assad first for ISIS’ rise

        Published: 23/01/2014 03:58 PM | Updated: 25/01/2014 05:00 PM
        print article
        Assad’s hypocrisy – and America’s
        Both Assad and Obama’s claims about Al-Qaeda in Syria do not match up with their actions

        Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
        Watching the opening ceremonies of the so-called Geneva II conference in Montreux this week – a conference that has been all but declared dead before arrival – one can’t help but experience a profound depression at how a regime such as Bashar al-Assad’s has managed to outwit and outmaneuver even the languid efforts of the United States. This is quite clearly a Manson family cult masquerading as a national government, and its continued existence is extraordinary considering what it’s been up to in the past 40 years and how pathetically it’s evaded justice for the last gruesome three.

        Yet an explanation for its longevity has begun to emerge. The White House claims that its Iran policy is safely compartmentalized from its Syria policy. But its actions betray its press releases, as do the president’s own thought-experiments in unguarded moments.

        Here he is in dialogue with the New Yorker’s David Remnick: “[A]lthough it would not solve the entire problem, if we were able to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion – not funding terrorist organizations, not trying to stir up sectarian discontent in other countries, and not developing a nuclear weapon – you could see an equilibrium developing between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran in which there’s competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare.”

        Thus do grand visions articulate themselves, and thus did the Obama administration recently suffer a decision-making crisis about whether or not to invite a would-be responsible country, which has subsidized and supplanted much of Assad’s atrocity-making abilities, to a conference all about “peace.” Would Iran accede to a two-year-old program for “transitional” government in Damascus? Nope. Would the Syrian National Coalition, a body that had to be cajoled and threatened into attending Geneva II in the first place, accept mullah representation without this necessary precondition? Come on. Yet an invitation to Tehran nevertheless was extended by the United Nations, an institution which hardly needs more bad press and which, in the space of 24 hours, had to embarrassingly rescind its own courtesy. How this happened remains controversial, with the kindest interpretation being a “multifaceted, multilayered miscommunication,” as former US diplomat Fred Hof diplomatically described it. However, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirsky must now be added to the long list of aggrieved parties who believe the United States these days is completely full of shit. “I know for a fact that this could not have been a surprise to the US authorities,” Nesirsky told Foreign Policy about this pre-Geneva SNAFU, as those selfsame US authorities played at innocence and crossed wires with Turtle Bay. What it must take to piss off Ban Ki-moon’s office.

        Syrians by now are much wiser. In a week that has seen the most persuasive and tribunal-ready evidence emerge of the systematic torture and murder of some 11,000 prisoners of Assad’s dungeons – many of whom had been starved to death or beaten with rods or strangulated with serrated cords – this is what the US government has managed to contrive in response: “The regime has the ability to improve the atmosphere for negotiations in Geneva by making progress in several areas. However, this latest report of horrific and inhumane prison conditions/actions further underscores that if anything, it is tarnishing the environment for the talks.”

        “Improve the atmosphere for negotiations.” “Tarnishing the environment for the talks”– this,even as the barrel bombs continue to fall on Hama and the artillery on Homs, and the prisoners continue to be tortured by the very “state institutions” Washington has said it wants to remain in charge after Assad leaves. Would now be a bad time to mention that Assad’s Minister of Information paraded around Montreux on Wednesday shouting, “Assad will not leave, Assad will not leave”?

        The current Alpine pantomime is made even more Prozac-worthy when one weighs exactly what the United States is up against: not very much.

        Walid Moallem looks like someone who has just passed out on a toilet at McDonald’s. That he is foreign minister of an important Arab country and has been for some time is tragedy and farce rolled into one. Instead of having handcuffs slapped on him, as would be a sensible response to his appearance in Europe, Moallem has just been granted the opportunity to expiate at endless length, and to accuse the West of “claim[ing] to fight terrorism, but…secretly feed[ing] terrorism.” Leaving aside how this doesn’t bode very well for conciliation by Swiss moonlight, it is also what Freudians would call a serious case of “projection.”

        Bizarrely, Moallem’s logic is one that has been taken up by a raft of foreign governments, which really do seem to think that he may be onto something. Western intelligence officials have lately been dispatching Damascus seeking urgent help about nationals who have gone to Syria to practice jihad and may one day return to practice it at home. The problem lies in believing that Assad shares an enmity for transnational terrorism, or is genuinely interested in helping the West to combat it.

        The Telegraph’s Ruth Sherlock and Richard Spencer have done us all a great service by reporting that the regime has “funded and co-operated with al-Qaeda in a complex double game even as the terrorists fight Damascus, according to new allegations by Western intelligence agencies, rebels, and al-Qaeda defectors.” This collusion began in the spring of 2013, although Syria’s facilitation of Al-Qaeda actually began more than a decade ago when Assad ran “rat-lines” of jihadists into US-occupied Iraq. The clearinghouse system got so unbearable that one Al-Qaeda operative, a man called “Abu Ghadiya,” had to be assassinated in a cross-border raid by US forces in Deir Ezzor in 2008.–and-americas

        Previous journalists have also documented how Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s only “official” franchise in Syria, had not only taken control of oil fields in eastern Syria, but had financed its own operations by selling millions of dollars worth of crude back to the regime it was putatively at war with. (This happened at a time when Damascus was importing tanker after tanker of virtually-free petrol from Iran.) But part of what was new in the Telegraph disclosure was that now the Zarqawist offshoot Al-Qaeda franchise in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), has also started horning in on the same oil-for-caliphate action.

        It was never a coincidence that Assad released many hardened Salafists and jihadists from Sednaya prison in 2011, men who have since gone on to occupy commanding positions in ISIS, Nusra, and the Islamic Front. Dr. Mohammed Habash, a Syrian cleric and former member of parliament who was sent to this prison between 2008 and 2009, told The National this week that Sednaya was a center for radicalization long before schoolchildren sprayed graffiti on the walls of Deraa. Who better, then, to send back into Syrian society during the days of a still-peaceful protest movement than the very terrorists Moallem now accuses the West of helping to destroy his country?

        I rang Ruth Sherlock after her story appeared and she kindly shared with me some of the reportage that didn’t make the final cut. Among the highlights: Assef Shawkat – Assad’s brother-in-law and the regime security chief who was first poisoned, then blown up by rebels two summers ago – was the one in charge of coordinating with Al-Qaeda jihadists imprisoned at Sednaya. Also, one defector from ISIS told Sherlock that his former group is indeed infiltrated and manipulated by the mukhabarat. “I know men who were officers in the police and Syrian intelligence branches who are now in ISIS,” he said. “They grew long beards and joined. When I asked my emir I was told they had defected from the regime. But this does not make sense, because ISIS doesn’t accept defectors; they killed a friend of mine because they discovered he had been in the military as a normal soldier.”

        So Langley, Riyadh, and Doha are now engaged in fighting the very Al-Qaeda crazies that Moallem pretends is the whole of the Syrian opposition rather than a contractor of the Syrian Oil Ministry and marionette of the secret police.

        Every Syrian revolutionary I’ve ever met or spoken with believes that, at some level, the Machiavellian who used to send “ratlines” of al-Qaeda fighters into Iraq and provide newly arrived jihadist recruits with safe houses in the Jazira, is still working with these erstwhile allies, even at the cost of seeing his own military and security installations blown up in suicide or car bombings. The purpose is to advance a perception that has in fact gained considerable traction in the international press in the last year or so; namely, that Assad is enjoined in the global war on terror and that his enemies are American and Western enemies who should not be aided or armed in any way. (The FSB, Russia’s successor agency to the KGB, has been credibly accused of staging false flag terrorist bombings in and outside of Moscow in 2000 order to rally domestic and international opinion for the Second Chechen War. Because Syria’s intelligence and military elite have all been trained in the former Soviet Union or in post-Soviet Russia, I’d wager that Moscow has been more than a curious bystander in helping Assad realize the propaganda value to be mined from such a perception.)

        “The regime did not just open the door to the prisons and let these extremists out, it facilitated them in their work, in their creation of armed brigades,” a former member of the Syrian Security Services told the Abu Dhabi newspaper, the National, on condition of anonymity in January this year.

        Early in my career as a Syrian diplomat, I learned to respect the strategic planning of the Assads…ISIS’s role in Syria fits into a plan that has worked for Assad on several occasions. When a crisis emerges, Assad pushes his opponents to spend as much time as possible in developing a response. While implementing such diplomatic stalls, he floods the crisis with distractions designed to divert attention away from Syrian government misdeeds. His favorite diversion is terrorism, because it establishes him as a necessary force to contain it. In the meantime, world events wash away international focus on the initial crisis… During this time, Assad released battle-hardened extremists from the infamous Sednaya prison; extremists with no association to the uprisings. These fighters would go on to lead militant groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra.

        In conjunction with the terrorist-release policy, Assad was sure to imprison diverse, non-violent, and pro-reform activists by the thousands, many of whom are still in government prisons.”

        How did ISIS abduct James Foley, who was widely considered to be in the custody of groups loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad?
        In the words of Mic politics editor Stefan Becket: “The prevailing assumption was that Foley was being held by pro-Assad forces, or by the regime itself. How did he get from there to ISIS?”

        In May 2013, GlobalPost President Philip Balboni released the following statement on behalf of himself and Foley’s parents: “We have obtained multiple independent reports from very credible confidential sources … that confirm our assessment that Jim is now being held by the Syrian government in a prison … under the control of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence service.

        Obviously this is just a conspiracy by the Cathedral-controlled media. Just as obviously, the Cathedral is guilty until proven innocent of arming any number of terrorist groups in the region, regardless of if the Cathedral-controlled media has published any evidence to support such a thesis. Just like how Europe had no history of welfare statism until the Cathedral imposed it.

        • jim says:

          To summarize

          The allegations by Western intelligence sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity,

          Syria is accused of not bombing Islamic State except when they do bomb them.

          Every Syrian revolutionary I’ve ever met or spoken with believes that, at some level, the Machiavellian who used to send “ratlines” of al-Qaeda fighters into Iraq and provide newly arrived jihadist recruits with safe houses in the Jazira, is still working with these erstwhile allies, even at the cost of seeing his own military and security installations blown up in suicide or car bombings. The purpose is to advance a perception that has in fact gained considerable traction in the international press in the last year or so; namely, that Assad is enjoined in the global war on terror and that his enemies are American and Western enemies who should not be aided or armed in any way.

          Assad bombs them. They bomb him.

          Notice, however, that the US is not bombing Islamic State in Syria.

          Who should we believe is supporting Islamic State in Syria? The man who is bombing them, or the man who is not bombing them?

          Further, why the hell did we attempt to overthrow Assad in the first place? Assad was and is by middle eastern standards a moderate. His opposition were Islamists. Many of them, perhaps most of them, were “Moderate” Islamists, but one of the major bitchs that the “moderate” Islamists had about Assad is that he took a dim view of them murdering members of the Christian minority.

          The “moderate” government that we support in Iraq has caused every Christian to flee.

          Similarly, Libya.

          The government we overthrew in Tunisia was in every way humane, tolerant, civilized, respectful of human rights, and allied with the west. You could buy a drink there. It was a nice place to visit. You would not get flogged for possession of a bible. The Code of Personal Status was one of the most progressive civil codes in the Middle East and the Muslim world. Complaining about civil rights in Tunisia was political, like complaining about civil rights in Australia.

          Today, opponents of the regime get murdered. Artistic expression deemed insufficiently Islamic (pretty much any artistic expression) gets you murdered. The government is led by human rights activists who, when their opponents mysteriously get murdered, conspicuously fail to investigate or prosecute.

          Wherever the State Department manufactured “arab spring” we got pretty much the same result as in Syria, varying only in degree, varying only in the extent to which Christians and other minorities are forced to flee. You cannot blame Assad for the way Arab Spring turned out in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, therefore, unlikely that Assad is to blame for the way US intervention turned out in Syria and Iraq.

          Islamic Spring has been state department intervention in throughout the middle east, and everywhere in the middle east produced similar results, varying only in degree. Did Assad cause the outcome in Libya?

  2. Brian says:

    Is there any defense against puritanism other than exit and/or death?

    • Handle says:

      Ask the original Puritans. Their form of religion was in decline throughout the late 17th century because of the Enlightenment. The Salem witch trials were a short-lived but eventually futile attempt to reverse the trend – and the true believers in the old church were the marginalized laughing stocks of high status people by the dawn of the 18th. See Calef’s “More Wonders of the Invisible World.”

      So high-status Puritans became Unitarians and/or Deists and moved on to adapt to newly evolved versions of an order built on a political-ideological-cultural complex. Nevertheless, there is always the need for some moral fashion over which to status signal and coordinate, which will always manifest itself in inevitably crazy and evil conflicts with reality at some point. The best hope is to develop system to keep the damage to an absolute minimal level.

  3. outsider says:

    Damn, 13 potential Democrat voters who will now never be able to enrich selected portions of flyover country.

    • jim says:

      No enrichment, but they will still be able to vote.

    • spandrell says:

      Don’t worry. You’ll get 500k Yazidi refugees to compensate.

      • J says:

        Dont worry. At the current rate of wastage, hardly 500 will arrive.

        • B says:

          Not funny, man. The Yezidis were the only decent humans I met in Iraq. They fucked up by trusting the US, which of course abandoned them to destruction by the same jihadists it trained and armed in Jordan (after careful vetting, of course! “Swear you’re not a radical.” “Walla.” “Alright, Jim, give this one a TOW launcher, he’s good!”)

  4. Andrei says:

    The man gives us a heads up on what to expect should we object.

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