What’s Going On in Iran?

Have you been following the (mostly non-) news from Iran? Interesting isn’t it? China and Hong Kong, Iran and the Iranian people, plus the Iraqis and the Lebanese, it’s almost like people like being free. The best I’ve seen is Michael Ledeen in FrontPage Magazine.

The country is on fire. All classes, all tribes from the Persians to the Kurds are fighting the security forces and the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij, and an increasingly divided Hezbollah. The leaders of the regime are unrestrained in their crackdown. In order to keep their actions as far as possible from public view, the leaders have killed off the internet links with the outside world, and despite American boasts that Washington can turn on the internet at will, the regime has kept communications with Iranians at historic minima.

The proximate cause of these demonstrations was an overnight increase in the cost of gasoline. I say “proximate cause” because the anti-regime outbursts had been ongoing for months, if not years. The increased price for gasoline was significant, but not decisive. So far as I can determine, the crowds of demonstrators chanted political slogans, not economic ones. They wanted an end to the Islamic Republic, not lower prices for gas.

The Iranian eruption is only one of many in the region, as Lebanese and Iraqis also joined the protest against Tehran. Iraqis, led by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, called for an end to the Hezbollah domination of the country as part of a general demand for a thoroughgoing political transformation.

The most radical demand is the downfall of the whole sectarian, political Islamist system. This is the first and most important demand in Tahrir Square — they want a separation of religion and politics. This demand includes the government resigning, especially Adil Abdul-Mahdi, the prime minister.

Now mind, these guys aren’t asking for American boots, they want to be free, but on their terms, which are unlikely to be anything acceptable to Washington, let alone the heartland. But it’s their countries and their people. We can, perhaps, aid and abet a bit, but it’s up to them, to structure their lives as they see fit.

Because make no mistake, Iran under its present rulers is an implacable foe of the United States and keeps us from doing other things in the region that we should be doing. But this isn’t something, like Hong Kong, where one side is demanding democracy on the Anglo-American model.

Why that warning? Morris Ayek witing in en.qantara.de may have that answer.

Here, too, the distinctiveness of Arabic – although it has the same meaning in other languages – is useful in looking at Arab civil wars as wars between social entities. Non-Arab civil wars such as the Russian, the French, the Spanish, the Greek and so forth were between citizens. Groups that identify themselves through modern ideologies and institutions aim at the triumph of these ideologies. Indeed, they may be seen as a concomitant struggle in transition.

Arab civil wars, on the other hand, are wars between kinsfolk, however they may appear in their early stages. The social group becomes partisan, whether sectarian, tribal, party political or ethnic. The key difference between the two types of conflicts is that Arab civil wars have no end. In the non-Arab world, it is the ideology which is defeated, whilst with us Arabs, there can be no end. The Sunni, the Shia, the Alawite and the Christian will remain, like the Arab, the Kurd and the South Sudanese.

Social ties are the true driver

The only point of Arab civil wars is dominion, which is characterised by warlords who live by perpetuating war as a source of wealth, subjugating and plundering. They differ from other civil wars, in which each warring party has sought to build an economy with which to replenish resources and to guarantee victory. Ironically, this revenue-generating model is similar to the normal workings of an Arab economy.

Quite a lot more at the link, and I think it summarized pretty well why Anglo-American style democracy is not going to break out any time soon in the Middle East.


Hell in a Handcart: The European Report

The British continue their fall from being a free country. Tommy Robinson, their most famous political prisoner, is back in jail, with the establishment no doubt hoping their moslem allies kill him in prison, as has happened to other people railroaded by the government. Bruce Bawer in FrontPage Magazine tells us about it.

Trial by trial, imprisonment by imprisonment, dishonest news report by dishonest news report, the miserable bastards who make up the British establishment are steadily transforming Tommy Robinson, a working-class husband and father from Leeds, into an imperishable symbol of the quiet determination, indomitable courage, and love of liberty for which Britain used to be known but which that selfsame establishment has labored effortfully to stamp out during these opening chapters of the Islamization of that once-great nation.

Even those of us who have been closely following Tommy’s treatment by the British courts during the past couple of years – and who, perusing the charges against him, have recognized just how outrageously he has been treated by a judiciary committed not to justice but to the silencing, and if possible personal destruction, of this latter-day Jeremiah – were stunned by the verdict handed down on Friday after a two-day trial.

This was a rehearing of the same case that last year landed Tommy in prison (more specifically, in what amounted, in violation of the Geneva Convention, to solitary confinement), an ordeal from which he emerged, after two months, looking physically and psychologically all but broken. The charges themselves were absurd to begin with: he was taken into custody near the courthouse in Leeds, where he was doing a live report on Facebook video about an “Asian grooming-gang” (i.e. Muslim child-rape) prosecution that was underway inside. He didn’t do or say anything that any BBC or Guardian journalist in similar circumstances might do; but he was arrested anyway – on the grounds that his reporting from out on the street had somehow threatened to prejudice the trial going on inside the building – and was charged with contempt of court.

The speed with which he was tried, convicted, and incarcerated after his arrest in Leeds – the whole process took just a few hours – shocked observers who still thought of British justice as something serious and worthy of respect. His release from prison two months later came after the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, in an unusually blistering ruling, declared that the court proceedings against him had been illegitimate in a number of ways, and ordered his immediate release.

Keep reading at the link above. This travesty will probably stand long enough to kill a brave man, which is the judge’s intention.

In news from Scotland, a student has been expelled for stating that there are only two genders, which as anybody with any sense at all knows, is plain fact. Here is Sofia Carbone in Human Events to explain.

According to the 17-year-old student known only as Murray, the events unfolded after the teacher pulled up a website in front of the whole class that only gave two gender options.

“If I am [entitled to my own opinion], then why did you kick me out of class? It’s not very inclusive.” – Murray, 17

“[The teacher] basically started going off on a tangent about how bad that was, and how old fashioned it was,” Murray told a YouTube account known as ‘I, Hypocrite’.

This is when the student stated the scientific fact there are only two genders. In turn, he was removed from class, later given the reason his ‘opinion’ was ‘not inclusive’. However the teacher stated his own opinion, that there are more than two genders, is “acceptable” in contrast.

After sitting outside the classroom for thirty minutes, the teacher finally came out to speak with Murray, who recorded the entire encounter.

“You’re entitled to your opinion,” the teacher told Murray.

“If I am, then why did you kick me out of class? It’s not very inclusive,” Murray inquired.

Meanwhile, in the UK…. pic.twitter.com/9ATvHuUQ1P

— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) June 14, 2019

Within a day of the video being posted, it had gone viral.

The school came across the video and called Murray and his mother in for a meeting.

According to Murray, during the meeting the school officials made clear he was not getting in trouble for his comment. Rather because he recorded the teacher which is a direct violation of one of the school’s rules.

The lesson to take from that, I think is that do not ever, tell the British schools the truth, tell them what they want to hear. This is, of course, the country that indoctrinates 5-year-olds with LGBTQWERTY nonsense, after all. And above all, don’t tell the world what these twits are doing. Family? what’s that? The State will raise you so that you too can be a confused twit.

No place left in (formerly great) Britain for honest people.

Noted in passing that the British Ambassador to the United States has been doing a very good job of smearing the President to his government. I thought that was the BBC’s job, but I guess he wanted to help out.

And in Europe, the EU keeps digging. David Wojick writing in PAPundits International tells us about that.

A month ago I predicted political turmoil in EU HQ and here it is. The strong (American like) showings by both the left and right in the parliamentary elections have destabilized the old, comfortable, left wing center.

The issue is who gets the top political positions? It is sort of like who will now be president? Except under the EU’s Byzantine structure there are several presidents, or sort of, I think.

As I understand it there is the President of the EU Commission, the President of the European Parliament, the President of the European Council (whose members are the EU countries), plus some other bigwig posts.

Britain having its own internal turmoil, with May on her way out, has left Germany (with Merkel probably also on her way out) and Macron’s France to defend the liberal center and that defense is decidedly weak, to say the least. Amusingly, Spain is now being cited as a power.

What is happening is actually pretty simple, but the liberal media simply does not want to report it. Trump-like populism is advancing. The old rules gave these top posts to the parties with the most votes but these are not centrist liberal parties so the liberals do not want to give up power.

And so that’s the salient reports from Europe lately. Hell, Handcarts, some easy travel required. After all, it’s downhill from here.

Monday Videos

Has Britain already Brexited? According to some lawyers, yes. Here’s how they lay it out.

My opinion? According to the law, I think they are right. I also think that will make no difference to the case. Britain’s politicians have been hanging about in Brussels too much to understand that all are under the law. Washington could use a few demonstrations as well, Mr. President.

Bolton on Brexit, Brazil, Venezuela, and other stuff. From Sky News, because American networks have no time for news.

Remember when these were a staple for us all? Now we don’t see them nearly as often. A good thing, they were overused. But this is pretty good.

An agnostic Jew on the war on American Christianity. I just found this yesterday, and I’ll be watching with you. It’s outstanding

And this, from Katie Hopkins

The Ottoman Legacy


As Bookworm said the other day, the news, while there is a fair amount of it, just kind of feels stale. Maybe a bit of ennui has set in, we’ll cover most of it soon, but it’ll probably keep till the first of the week.

This is the second in the series of articles from 2013 that I promised you, giving some background on the Ottoman Empire mostly and why you should care. 

Once again, this was published by Jessica, but as she acknowledged it is the work of her co-author Chalcedon451, who is a professional historian. So enjoy, it’s not often we get this good an insight on much of anything.

Bosnia, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, the Gulf region and Saudi Arabia, the trouble spots of the last half century or so, and what do they have in common? They all used to be part of the Ottoman Empire which existed from the 1200s until its demise in the aftermath of what we call World War I, but which was, for the Turks, a war which began in 1911 and did not end until 1923. Oh, yes, and they are all, also, Muslim in religion.

The Ottomans ruled over one of the world’s great empires, and they did so by following a simple model: they conquered a place and then they identified a section of the former rulers who could be trusted to run the place for them at a price; if that tended to produce a policy of divide and rule, so much the better, after all if the head of one clan proved to be unreliable, you could transfer your support to his rival, and as long as, in the final analysis, your army was the best in the region, you won. It led to a lot of local graft, of course, but as long as the Ottomans collected enough money, like in most protection rackets, the locals were left alone once they paid up. Now and then a ruler would get greedy, but if he caused unrest locally, that often provided an excuse to cut him down to size.

The Ottomans lacked much of an interest in ruling. They were warriors and they liked the things warriors liked. They were Muslims, but they did not go overboard; Christians, Jews, and others were all tolerable provided they paid up and kept their noses clean; indeed many of the Grand Viziers of the Ottoman Empire were of Greek race who, once they had turned Muslim, were allowed a pretty free reign. Non-Turks were segregated according to ‘Millets’ – so there would be an Orthodox Christian one, a Maronite Christian one, a Catholic Christians one, and so on and so forth. Underneath the Muslim banner others were welcome to co-exist – as long as they knew their place. Such was the violence of the Ottoman reaction to disobedience, people seldom needed telling twice; indeed few of them lived long enough for that to be able to happen.

This method served the Ottomans well, but it left behind it much flammable material, and what we have tended to see in the aftermath of the Ottomans is the same pattern. Unrest followed by the imposition of a strong man. We saw it in the former Yugoslavia with Tito; we saw it in Syria with the Assads; we saw it in Iraq with the Hamehsemites and then Saddam; we saw it in Libya with Gaddafi, and we have seen it in Egypt with Nasser and Musbarak; we see it in Saudi Arabia with the House of Saud.  Remove the strong men – the successor of the Ottoman viceroy if you like – and the ethnic and religious hatreds break out and chaos ensues.

Our strange belief that in these parts of the world, with their type of history, we can somehow build democratic states is a product of such ignorance it is hard to credit it exists; but it does.

[This post is by my editor, Chalcedon 451, and originally appeared on All along the Watchtower.


Islam and the West


[This is one of those weeks, isn’t it? There’s a fair amount going on, the coup in Washington continues, as does the attempt in Westminster to throw off the people’s sovereignty. As we have said so often, it’s really the same battle across the west, from Poland to Australia.

But Islam is still out there, making trouble without and within, Not a good idea to take our eyes off that ball either.

Back on April 22, 2013, Jessica published here a cross-post from her blog, by her co-author Chalcedon451 (He’s now editor here, although inactive due to other duties). I think it remains good information, so here it is again.]

If we had to justify ourselves by pointing to the wonders of the Renaissance, then commentators would begin to suspect that our culture had done little of significance since then. The observant among you will have noticed that those wishing to say something obliging about Islam always refer to its ‘golden age’ and its influence upon our own civilisation; those using such a line fail to draw the obvious conclusion.

But let us stop a moment and ask where tribes out of the Arabian desert picked up the wonders of the learning of classical Greece? The answer is from their conquest of the Eastern Roman Empire; at best Islam gave back to us some of the things it inherited when its adherents conquered civilizations far more advanced than their own. This explains the thing which seems to puzzle some commentators, why Islam has had no more golden ages.

Those who look forward to Islam having its own Renaissance have missed several points, among them the fact that after the fifteenth century Islam conquered no more civilizations more advanced than its own. The gifts it is supposed to have given to the West were not home-produced, and Islam appears to be lacking in the capacity to produce its own scientific and artistic and literary inventions. What is was brilliant at, fighting, it has remained good at, but the Scientific and Industrial advances of the West finally allowed us to put the blocks on the Ottoman Empire and then to push it back.

The Sufi branch of Islam has produced both wonderful art and some mysticism which, influenced as it is by the civilizations conquered by Islam, has great merit. But it is hardly the dominant strain of Islam in our world, and indeed has trouble holding its own.

Recent history, that is the last three hundred years, has been hard for Islam as a religion. Until the late eighteenth century there was no doubt that the Ottoman Empire was one of the world’s greatest powers, the latest and greatest empire to take Islam even further than its predecessors; history was a success story for Islam. Since then it has not been. The West has grown richer, stronger, more powerful and more successful; Islamic countries have tended to head in the other direction. This has created much resentment.

My own view is that the West has been remarkably blind in its dealings with the Islamic world. We have repeatedly condemned the Russians for their treatment of the Chechens and other Muslim minorities; it is hard to see what else the Russians could do, unless they want Islamic extremist states on their borders. We have backed elements in the ‘Arab spring’ who bear us no goodwill at all; anyone know what did happen in Banghazi? At the time of 9/11 we ignored the fact that most of the terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, just as we have ignored Saudi links with other terrorists. We have failed to support the old Shah of Persia and General Musharraf of Pakistan, men who, whatever their failings, were a bulwark against radical Islam. Whether or not we should have invaded Afghanistan (and I wrote against it at the time), we should certainly not have removed Saddam Hussein from power at the same time, and before dealing with Iran.

It may be that our politicians know so little history, or are so blinded by the need for oil or the spectres of the Cold War that they simply cannot see clearly. The Russians are not our enemy; Mr. Assad is not our enemy; the Chinese are not our enemy. None of these regimes are very pleasant, but all of them have real problems with radical Islam. It is too much to hope that one of our own politicians will realise that we can make common cause with these regimes against a common enemy – radical Islam. If we’d look long enough at the Russians, we might even find that they are now Christians.

We used to hear a great deal about a coalition of the willing – we in the West are the ones unwilling to join such a coalition.

[ There is a second article in this series, and a response from me, events willing, they will be along soon. Neo]

The Peace Prize

The Norwegians finally got it right. So often, their picks for the Peace Prize have been head-scratchingly obtuse, perhaps unless one was a European Progressive. But this time, they have picked an actual hero. From FrontPage Magazine.

This year the Norwegians have finally done themselves proud. One of the two Nobel Peace Prize winners is Nadia Murad, a Yazidi girl who was captured by fanatical Muslims belonging to the Islamic State in northern Iraq. These Muslims in ISIS have killed thousands of defenseless Yazidis, whose only crime was that they were not Muslims. Murad was beaten and repeatedly raped. Six of her nine brothers were killed. Yet she escaped, and now perseveres, having been named by the United Nations as a “Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations,” in spreading her own tale and that of her people, a task which takes her around the world, telling the Yazidi story and listening to others tell of similar atrocities, about the trafficking of women prisoners who are war booty for the jihadis.

Listening to the radio, I heard with alarm several people on a talk show describe Nadia Murad as a “Yazidi Muslim.” She is not a Muslim. She must never be thought of as a Muslim. She is a Yazidi, a small religious sect with roots in Kurdistan and Armenia, that has always been the object of Muslim hatred. The killings of Yazidis by the Muslims, Arab and non-Arab, of the Islamic State have, during the last few years, been conducted “on an industrial scale,” as Amal Clooney, Murad’s lawyer, told the U.N.

Nadia Murad stands up not just for the Yazidis, but for all the other non-Muslim or non-Arab minorities who have been oppressed — harassed, persecuted, and often murdered — by their Muslim captors, and not just in Iraq. Over the centuries the Armenians, Maronites, Greek Orthodox, Jews, Samaritans, Zoroastrians, Alawites, and orthodox Shia, have all suffered from Sunni Muslims. Nadia Murad now has her bully pulpit, for her own mistreated people, and she obviously intends to use it.

This is first time that a victim of Jihad and Islamic terrorism has been recognized with a Nobel Peace Prize. If it leads to greater attention to what has happened to the Yazidis, and to other groups of non-Muslims similarly situated, and to a greater focus on the Muslims who are responsible for the attempted genocide of the Yazidis, that would be a salutary development. Meanwhile, be on the alert when the subject of Nadia Murad comes up on any show to which listeners can call in. Make sure that she is properly identified as a Yazidi, a non-Muslim victim of Muslim mass rapes, just as her six dead brothers were victims of Muslim mass murder. Call in, especially, to correct anyone identifying her as belonging, as I have heard someone say, to “a small Muslim sect.” You could, while correcting that error, also add that Yazidis in Iraq have made contact with Israelis, and Nadia Murad herself has visited Israel, and expressed great admiration and sympathy for the country and its people, seeing an obvious parallel: […]

If Nadia Murad keeps telling her own tale, what she endured in all its ghastliness, and does not leave anything out, if she describes how the members of the Islamic State would recite verses from the Qur’an both before and after raping Yazidi girls, if she goes still further and dares to discuss the Qur’anic passages and hadith stories on which the Islamic State bases its behavior, she will have performed a great service, as the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to tell unpleasant truths about Islam. Think of her Prize as a way of cancelling the embarrassment of Arafat’s award. And Muslim states would have a hard time explaining any attempts to criticize or silence such a formidable person. […]

Nadia Murad has so far in her travels addressed audiences in Ireland, in France, in the U.K., in Canada, in Germany, and in the United States, telling her tale, and the tale of her people:

Four years ago I was one of thousands of Yazidi women kidnapped by Islamic State and sold into slavery. I endured rape, torture and humiliation at the hands of these militants before I escaped.

I was relatively lucky. Many Yazidi girls and women went through worse and for much longer.

Over 2,000 are still missing. Many have been killed.

In early August 2014 Islamic State invaded the Sinjar region in northern Iraq with the mission of exterminating the Yazidis. They called us a ‘pagan minority’, and because we don’t have a holy book we have been described as ‘devil worshippers.’”

In Kocho, my village of 1,800 people, over 300 men were shot and their bodies buried in irrigation ditches. Six of them were my own brothers.

Since then the Yazidis have received sympathy and solidarity all over the world. Rightly, many countries and the United Nations have recognised the genocide committed against us by Islamic State. But we now need concrete action to get justice and allow us to rebuild our community and homes. We have been displaced and dispersed around the world. Many countries, including Germany, Canada, and the United States have given us refuge.

There’s little for me to add to such a story, except for my pleasure that one, Nadia Murad survived her ordeal, and two, that the Norwegian Parliament has made such a perspicacious pick after all the insipid (and worse) ones they have made over the years.

May she continue to tell her story, and may it serve her people well.


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