Monthly Archives: July 2014

HAMAS Is Responsible For The War In Gaza But Israel Has Blundered With This Invasion

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 28, 2014

Rocket damage doesn't only happen in Gaza: Home demolished in Eshkol Regional Council, southern Israel

Rocket damage doesn’t only happen in Gaza: Home demolished in Eshkol Regional Council, southern Israel

To clear a few things up. Whether or not HAMAS’ central command ordered the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teens is largely irrelevant: the real trigger for this round of fighting was the escalation in HAMAS’ rocket attacks—more than 450 since January and nearly 100 on the day before Operation PROTECTIVE EDGE began—and HAMAS’ construction of tunnels into Israel designed to enable further atrocities against her civilians.

All rhetoric about the cruel, arbitrary Israeli blockade that would not even allow in cement to the people of Gaza who needed it to create jobs and to reconstruct their schoolrooms and homes is now overthrown and we see the truth: what little cement did get into Gaza was siphoned off by a tyrannical and aggressive elite to build tunnels to murder civilians and bunkers to protect themselves and their weapons. More than that, they used child labour that killed 160 children to construct these tunnels. HAMAS might well have miscalculated, as some have said—it might have intended only for a minor set of Israeli strikes to rally the “resistance”—but that only underlines the recklessness and wickedness of the organization. HAMAS knows it cannot win this war so they intend to get as many Gazans as possible killed to mobilize global political pressure against Jerusalem for concessions on the blockade—that HAMAS can then use to reequip for another war in its never-ending quest to destroy the Jewish State.

The key aspect of this war that has gotten nothing like the attention it deserves is Clerical Iran. Continue reading

The Jihadists’ Information War in Syria and Iraq

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 22, 2014

In April, the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation produced a report, ‘Measuring Importance and Influence in Syrian Foreign Fighter Networks,’ which examined the use of social media in recruiting people to the jihadist groups, referring almost solely to Syria at that time, but which applies equally to Iraq. I have now gotten around to reading it and its findings are extremely interesting.  Continue reading

Syria’s Forty Months Of Carnage And The Lessons Of Bosnia

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 15, 2014

A picture I took of Stari Most (Old Bridge) in Mostar, Bosnia, August 2011

A picture I took of Stari Most (Old Bridge) in Mostar, Bosnia, August 2011

Since the Syrian uprising began on March 15, 2011, there have been persistent echoes of Bosnia. There are some critics of the liberal interventionism specifically on the grounds that their worldview is so heavily coloured by Bosnia—and they make some valid points—but the analogy has been inescapable in Syria.
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Al-Qaeda In Syria Declares War On The Rebellion

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 13, 2014

The only official picture of Jabhat an-Nusra’s Emir, Abu Muhammad al-Golani, given out by the Iraqi government

Syria’s rebellion was already fighting for its life, squeezed between the regime and the Islamic State (I.S.) in Aleppo, and on Friday night a new front appeared to open. Jabhat an-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, announced that it was forming an Islamic Emirate. According to a translation by Hassan Hassan, Nusra’s commander, Abu Muhammad al-Golani, said that they would now start implementing the shari’a “in the full sense of the word,” and “without compromise, leniency, ambiguity, or politeness.” Golani specifically says that Nusra will begin implementing the hudud, the harsh punishments like amputation for theft, which Nusra has very deliberately not done so far, saying war conditions suspended such punishments according to the Holy Law. At a more material level, it avoided garnering them bad press for savagery against the civilian population. Golani dismissed with contempt the secular rebels as “grovelling” to the West, and declared I.S.’s Caliphate “void” and its members ghulat (extremists).

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Syria’s Rebellion on the Ropes

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 9, 2014

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The devastated city of Aleppo

As we approach the forty month mark for the Syrian uprising the situation is grimmer than it has ever been. Not just the casualties: more than 200,000 people dead. Not just the physical devastation and mass-displacement of more than a third of the country. But now in military terms the rebellion is on the defensive in a way it has not been since it erupted at the end of 2011, after more than six months of peaceful protests.

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Democracy Is The Answer For The Palestinians—But It Might Be The End Of The Peace Process

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 5, 2014

Another grisly week in the Holy Land. On Monday, three Jewish teenagers—Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel, and Gilad Shaar—who had been kidnapped three weeks ago were found murdered on the West Bank. The studious attention to not releasing details suggests that something horrific was done. As they were being laid to rest on Wednesday, a Palestinian boy, Mohamed Abu Khudeir, either 16 or 17, was kidnapped in a revenge-attack, and burned alive. Continue reading

The Leader of the Islamic State Explains the Caliphate’s Vision

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 2, 2014

ramadan-2014

In an audio message released on 1 July 2014, two days after the Islamic State announced the restoration of the caliphate, the Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, laid out the Islamic State’s vision. The Islamic State put out an English version of the speech, which is reproduced below with some minor editions and some interesting sections highlighted in bold. Continue reading