Mosul is falling to Iraqi insurgents


#421

It isn’t cyclical.

Early Sunni scholars used a process called ijtihad to answer questions not explicitly addressed by the Khoran. While it required a firm understanding of Islam and Islamic law it allowed the faithful a certain degree of flexibility - it allowed them to adapt to the realities of a changing world and answer questions that would never have occurred to earlier thinkers. The metaphorical gates of ijtihad closed after just four centuries though, eliminating that avenue of internal reform. In closing the gates, scholars declared that all questions had been answered and that Islam was (in effect) an unchanging faith. This explains why the devout continue to look back to the early periods for answers, they have been taught from an early age that this is the only acceptable means of religious scholarship and the only way of understanding the world around them.

Until the gates reopen, (Sunni) Islam will continue to look backwards for answers and it will remain rooted in that austere and often brutal past.


#422

So Obama today in his press conference says that he has no ISIS strategy. Uh, what? These guys are clearly not the “JV” anymore, have been on the US intelligence communities’ radar for 4 years, control more territory and have more income than Al Quaeda ever dreamed of and have very publicly executed an American citizen. How could he have no strategy?

How do you guys continue to defend this clown? He is so in over his head its a joke. Nero is making fun of him.


#423

Because unlike drooling dimwit right wing assholes, most people realize no military strategy is going to put an end to extremist jihadist ideology. That’s up to the Middle East to fix, not American cowboy diplomacy.s


#424

There is no military strategy that is going to defeat extremists jihadist strategy. ISIL will just get replaced with those next in line. This is not a time for more dimwit American cowboy military diplomacy. Defeating ISIS means removing an environment that breeds terrorists.

But maybe we should send an army of hair-on-fire Tea Party volunteers and rid the world of two evils in one fell swoop.


#425

There’s more to it.


#426

Yeah he’s totally worse than Nero.

Sorry we aren’t reinvading Iraq fast enough for you. Most of us don’t want to do it.


#427

Oh I’m sure Obama has some more “smart diplomacy” up his sleeve.


#428

When was the last time the US had a strategy for doing anything? The US is a nation of engineers. Bump into problem, solve problem, move forward until next problem is reached. Good thing you’re damn good at solving problems.


#429

…well physically destroying them at any rate! Iraq being a perfect case study.


#430

I actually share the frustration many feel with our apparent lack of policy (hell, our apparent lack of understanding, for that matter) vis a vis, well, most everything. But it’s not just Obama. Ever since the Cold War, we’ve been doing what Thesper says, sort of muddling through, and even during the Cold War we only had a pseudo-strategy, which was basically “oppose Commies,” even when doing so actually hurt our long term interests. Before WWII we sort of settled on keeping Europeans out of the Americas and developing more trade with Asia, but that was about it. You have to go back to the early days of the republic to find a real foreign policy, and that was split between the pro-French and the retro-British camps…


#431

Yeah, but Obama really does seem kind of lost when it comes to this stuff. I mean, hell, he actually said that we don’t have a strategy for dealing with ISIS. He said that in a press conference. Christ dude, even if that’s the case, dont’ SAY it on TV.


#432

I’ve seen the actual clip now, Obama was being asked if he needed Congress’s approval to go into Syria, and basically was saying that they haven’t finished planning yet, so he doesn’t know yet if he needs approval. Obviously it’s bad phrasing, but last I checked no one’s been saying that the major problem in US foreign policy towards the Middle East was spending too much time planning!


#433

This administration definitely has an image problem, and probably needs a much better public affairs team. Their IT stuff in the election was stellar, but their old-school spin doctors are crap.


#434

Yep. He also stated that the priority is to roll back ISIS’s gains in Iraq. The bit that’s up in the air is, ‘How do we deal with them in Syria.’ Kerry is heading to the region to explore this. Eventually, we probably need several of the regional players to be directly involved. We’re not going to send US ground troops into Syria to fight Assad’s civil war for him.

And none of this context would have been communicated on Fox. They just play the isolated soundbite, then talk about how a real (less muslimy, more [I]american[/I]) president would somehow project strength and win this thing via sheer force of awesome. So people like Olaf are left with “he doesn’t have a clue,” without any understanding of what the actual problem looks like.


#435

I can only agree.

Obama is also boxed in by his previous pronouncements. He’s in no position to reach out to Damascus or Tehran and both are essential to defeating IS. Nor is he willing to admit his mistakes, and acknowledge our role in creating this problem.

[I]
Defeating IS would require an honest appraisal of our democracy promotion efforts. The ideologues in Washington are in a poor position to do that. They would have to renounce their utopian universalism and adopt some very hard nosed positions.[/I]


#436

Essential? Let’s see.

Assad would take the “help” and use it against the FSA, and the refugees they shelter. And then go on to threaten Israel, while also making threatening noises at the IS to justify the “help”.
No, helping dictators who started civil wars is not the answer. (And that’s the good outcome…). If Assad and his Hezbollah friends see IS as a threat, let Russia supply them, as before.

Tehran is not interested, period. Why would they be? Not their fight, despite their support for Hezbollah - they’re currently engaged in making threats against Israel (over a drone which may or may not exist and may or may not be Israeli), and bragging that they’re sending arms to the Palestinians.

Israel, incidentally, has promised Jordan help against IS. And the Kurds are doing pretty well.


#437

I wonder how different the Middle East would be if we had sided with the Iranians way back when. Of course Iran and its shia groups (esp. Hezbollah and Hamas) create considerable problems, but its a drop in the ocean compared with Saudi’s and Gulf states. The brand of wahabbism they export and fund is absolutely batshit insane evil, the butchery in Iraq and Syria they commit is chilling.


#438

Syria is a shattered country, even if he regained significant territory he’s not going to aggravate Israel, he’s not that insane.

As for Tehran, if ISIS wins they can either go into Saudi or into Iran. It’s hard to know whether they hate the shia more than they want Mecca and Medina though.

Although strong Arab dictators seem bad for their populace in peace time, its clear today its infinetly preferable to failed states or civil wars and chaos breeding hardened jihadi’s.


#439

…He started the civil war in the first place, then used chemical weapons (and got away with it, Obama will be remembered for that, and rightly so!) and so on…so I’m afraid I can’t agree on his sanity at this point.
(Moreover, I said threaten Israel, not take action…but it would be “unfortunate” and “tie up” a lot of the weapons he got from America, I’d bet on it!)

And ISIS have been darn quiet about Iran.

Arab dictators have been causing failed states and civil wars, if you didn’t notice the last five years. Heck, Syria degenerated into the current mess because after we didn’t intervene, Saudi and Qatar took action - sending in their Islamists. And of course, you’re ignoring the fact that Hezbollah (and some smaller pro-Assad factions) are in themselves are Islamist. Shi’a Islamism is frankly, in the [B]long[/B] term, a far greater threat - allied to “legitimate” governments and with access to far greater funding, able to draw on i.e. state intelligence organisations for information…and if Iran gets nukes, one of their key backers will become essentially untouchable.


#440

I’d rather he admit it than start two wars without a strategy.