Aftermath of strikes on Jabhat an-Nusra’s HQ in al-Muhandisin district of Aleppo City, Sept. 27, 2014
I admit to some initial ambivalence over the extension of the American-led air war against the Islamic State (I.S.) into Syria. After forty-two months of President Obama’s inaction in Syria, there was an irrepressible sense of “at last”. This quickly unravelled. Continue reading →
The Islamic State’s official spokesman, Abu Muhamad al-Adnani al-Shami, gave a speech, released by al-Furqan Media on 21 September 2014, entitled, “Indeed Your Lord Is Ever Watchful”.
The main message was in al-Adnani’s conclusion: a call for Muslims in the West to kill their non-Muslim neighbours—or to maim them or destroy their property or at the very least spit in their faces if Muslims are unable to acquire the weapons or courage for murder rampages. “Do not be contemptible,” al-Adnani implores. Al-Adnani’s incitement to “lone wolf” attacks was justified as a response to aggression by a coalition consisting of America, the Assad regime, and Iran. Continue reading →
Last month, Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic published an interview with Hillary Clinton. At 8,000 words it can be off-putting to plough through, but I have now finally got around to it, and it is rather interesting. The interview focusses on the three areas where President Obama’s foreign policy has so conspicuously failed—Syria, Iran, and Israel—and also includes sections on Egypt and Libya, where the administration’s failure has been somewhat less in the news. Continue reading →
In June, those of us who try to keep up with events in the Greater Middle East suffered a devastating blow when the Lebanese-American scholar Fouad Ajami passed away. Having broken with the orthodoxy of his generation of Arabs and his scholarly field, both represented in the person of Edward Said, Ajami provided insight into the Arab/Muslim world that restored the agency of that world. Continue reading →
On Wednesday night, President Obama gave a speech, the purport of which was to be a war plan to defeat the Islamic State (I.S.). Indeed in the speech the President committed to a “roll back” of the territory the I.S. had conquered, and to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Takfiri Caliphate. But as to how he was going to do that, the details were few. Continue reading →