The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority - Nassim Nicholas Taleb -> https://medium.com/@nntaleb/the-most-in ... 1f83ce4e15
How Europe will eat Halal — Why you don’t have to smoke in the smoking section — Your food choices on the fall of the Saudi king –How to prevent a friend from working too hard –Omar Sharif ‘s conversion — How to make a market collapse
<snip>The One-Way Street of Religions
In the same manner, the spread of Islam in the Near East where Christianity was heavily entrenched (it was born there) can be attributed to two simple asymmetries. The original Islamic rulers weren’t particularly interested in converting Christians as these provided them with tax revenues –the proselytism of Islam did not address those called “people of the book”, i.e. individuals of Abrahamic faith. In fact, my ancestors who survived thirteen centuries under Muslim rule saw advantages in not being Muslim: mostly in the avoidance of military conscription.there is more
The Security Council meets in secret after the arrest of NATO officers in Aleppo - -> http://www.voltairenet.org/article194590.html
BREAKING: At Least 14 US Coalition Military Officers Captured by Syrian Forces in East Aleppo Bunker - -> http://www.globalresearch.ca/breaking-a ... er/5563177
Fares Shehabi MP, a prominent Syrian Parliamentarian and head of Aleppo’s Chamber of Commerce published the names of the Coalition officers on his Facebook page on the 15th December (emphasis added):
Mutaz Kanoğlu – Turkey
David Scott Winer – USA
David Shlomo Aram – Israel
Muhamad Tamimi – Qatar
Muhamad Ahmad Assabian – Saudi
Abd-el-Menham Fahd al Harij – Saudi
Islam Salam Ezzahran Al Hajlan – Saudi
Ahmed Ben Naoufel Al Darij – Saudi
Muhamad Hassan Al Sabihi – Saudi
Hamad Fahad Al Dousri – Saudi
Amjad Qassem Al Tiraoui – Jordan
Qassem Saad Al Shamry – Saudi
Ayman Qassem Al Thahalbi – Saudi
Mohamed Ech-Chafihi El Idrissi – Moroccan
Turkey’s use of Syrian rebels ‘helped weaken’ Aleppo rebellion - -> http://www.france24.com/en/20161207-syr ... s-analysis
Two factors have been decisive this past year. Firstly, Turkey’s military intervention [known as Operation Euphrates Shield], which was carried out with the approval of Moscow, with the official aim of fighting the Islamic State (IS) group. The operation saw Turkish military officials requesting the support of Syrian rebels. In reality, the purpose of Ankara's intervention was to prevent the Kurds from joining their two enclaves, Afrin and Kobane, into a contiguous zone. [Turkey has long maintained that it would not allow Kurdish YPG peshmergas from seizing territory west of the River Euphrates in northern Syria.]
But Turkey’s mobilising of Syrian rebels who originally fought in Aleppo -- moderates and Islamists such as the Noureddine al-Zinki Brigade -- helped weaken the rebellion in Aleppo and thus facilitated the advance of the Syrian army.
The other factor that marked a turning point was the fall of the famous Castello Road to regime forces in July 2016. [Nicknamed “Death Road,” the Castello Road is considered the only route into the rebel bastions of eastern Aleppo and the only means of getting arms and aid into Aleppo’s besieged neighbourhoods]. With fewer rebel factions and no refueling possible, the rebellion found itself on the back foot.there is more
Turkey continues to press on Al-Bab, ignores Aleppo - -> https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161 ... es-aleppo/
December 9, 2016
Turkish warplanes destroyed 10 Daesh targets in northern Syria while rebels backed by Turkey seized control of a highway between the key regional towns of Al-Bab and Manbij, the Turkish army said today.
The military moves are part of Turkey’s almost four-month-old “Euphrates Shield” operation to support the Syrian opposition to secure areas of the Turkish-Syrian border that are deemed to be a national security imperative for Ankara.
The Turkish operation seeks to push back both Daesh militants and Kurdish separatists from the PYD, both accused of being connected to terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of Turkish citizens over the past two years.
Today’s statement from the Turkish military said Turkish jets had destroyed seven buildings and three control points used by Daesh in four different parts of the region.
The onslaught followed a Turkish state media report yesterday that Ankara had sent 300 commandos to northern Syria to reinforce the operation.there is more
Understanding this Weekend’s Kurdish Terror Attacks in Turkey and the Wave of New McCarthyism - -> https://willyloman.wordpress.com/2016/1 ... carthyism/
Erdogan engaged in Syria on behalf of what he saw as Turkey’s best interests. His attacks focused on KurdISIS in an effort to keep them from taking a large part of Syrian territory.
This serves his interests in that were the Kurds to carve themselves a piece of Syria that ran along the Turkish border as they had planned, then, Russia could simply cut one deal with the Kurds and run their pipeline from Iran straight to the Mediterranean Sea and Erdogan would be concerned that part of that deal would involve getting Russia to help them steal a part of southern and eastern Turkey for “Northern Kurdistan”
By fighting the Kurds in order to prevent this project creep, Erdogan has made himself and his country a target of the folks who are backing the Greater Kurdistan project and that includes the United States, Israel and their “interests”
This is why there have been 17 terrorist attacks inside Turkey in 2016 alone making them the most targeted nation this year by far.there is more
Arab Cold War - -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Cold_War
The Arab Cold War (Arabic: الحرب العربية الباردة al-Harb al-`Arabbiyah al-bārdah ) was a series of conflicts in the Arab world between the new republics led by Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and espousing Arab nationalism, Arab socialism, and Pan-Arabism and the more traditionalist kingdoms, led by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. The period of conflict began following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 and the rise to power of Nasser, and lasted until 1970, when he died, although some think it lasted until the collapse of the Soviet Bloc.
Despite its beginnings during the global Cold War and era of European decolonization, and its links and interactions to that wider Cold War, the Arab Cold War was not a clash between capitalist and Marxist–Leninist regimes. The two sides were Arab nationalist republics, usually quasi-socialist and Pan-Arabist in orientation, and the traditional monarchies, usually with quasi-feudal or rentierist economic structures.
The leading Arab nationalist state during this period was Egypt, closely followed by and in competition with Syria (with which Egypt briefly united to form the United Arab Republic from 1958 to 1961). The leading conservative monarchy was Saudi Arabia, with Jordan (and initially Iraq) reluctantly falling in the same but competing camp.
Although in theory, almost all of the Arab states were non-aligned during this period, in practice, the nationalist republics, with the notable exception of Lebanon, were allied to the Soviet Union even as most of them ruthlessly suppressed the communist parties within their countries while the conservative monarchies generally received military help from the United States.
The expression 'Arab Cold War' was coined by American political scientist and Middle East scholar Malcolm H. Kerr, in his 1965 book of that title, and subsequent editionsthere is more
Moscow to Host Crucial Meeting With China, Pakistan to Discuss Afghanistan - -> http://www.voanews.com/a/moscow-to-host ... 40094.html
ISLAMABAD — Russia, Pakistan and China will hold the next round of three-way counterterrorism talks in Moscow December 27, primarily focusing on turmoil-hit Afghanistan.
Russian Ambassador to Islamabad Alexey Dedov disclosed the details in an interview to state-run Pakistani radio.
This will be the third meeting of the “trilateral working group on Afghanistan,” he said, following meetings in Beijing and Islamabad.
“What we see in Afghanistan, unfortunately, is worrisome because it does not bring us optimism. There is a lack of three crucial elements; that is a stable self-sufficient economy, good governance and strong army,” observed Dedov.there is more
Neocon Panic and Agony - -> http://www.unz.com/tsaker/neocon-panic-and-agony/
On the external front, the big development is the liberation of Aleppo by Syrian forces. In that case again, the Neocons tried to double-down: they made all sorts of totally unsubstantiated claims about executions and atrocities while the BBC, always willing to pick up the correct line, published an article about how much the situation in Aleppo is similar to what took place in Srebrenica
. Of course, there is one way in which the events in Aleppo and Srebrenica are similar: in both cases the US-backed Takfiris lost and were defeated by government forces and in both cases the West unleashed a vicious propaganda war to try to turn the military defeat of its proxies into a political victory for itself. In any case, the last-ditch propaganda effort failed and preventing the inevitable and Aleppo was completely liberated.
The Empire did score one success: using the fact that most of the foreign forces allied to the Syrians (Hezbollah, Iranian Pasdaran, Russian Spetsnaz, etc.) were concentrated around Aleppo, the US-backed Takfiris succeeded in breaking the will of the Syrians, many of whom apparently fled in panic, and first surrounded and then eventually reoccupied Palmyra. This will be short lived success as I completely agree with my friend Alexander Mercouris who says that Putin will soon liberate Palmyra once again, but until this happens the reoccupation of Palmyra is rather embarrassing for the Syrians, Iranians and Russians.
It seems exceedingly unlikely to me that the Daesh movement towards Palmyra was undetected by the various Syrian, Iranian and Russian intelligence agencies (at least once source reports that Russian satellites did detect it) and I therefore conclude that a deliberate decision was made to temporarily sacrifice Palmyra in order to finally liberate Aleppo. Was that the correct call?there is more
The American Leader in the Islamic State - -> https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ar ... te/510872/
John Georgelas was a military brat, a drug enthusiast, a precocious underachiever born in Texas. Now he is a prominent figure within the Islamic State. Here’s the never-before-reported story of his long and troubling journey.there is more
A Pill for ISIS Supersoldiers? Not So Fast - -> http://www.livescience.com/52904-captag ... ainer.html
November 24, 2015
However, as for the use of Captagon by ISIS, it's also possible that what the fighters are actually taking is not Captagon.
"As far as I know, no one's actually [tested] the stuff that's being sold or manufactured," Rawson said. "My suspicion is that it could likely be meth
[amphetamine] that's sold under the name Captagon," he added.there is more
'We can't kill our way out of this': Experts say a military response is not enough to defeat ISIS - -> http://uk.businessinsider.com/afp-armed ... ay-2016-12
Like several other terror experts, Hayden, who also once headed the National Security Agency, insisted that until the underlying causes that prompt young Sunni Muslims to join jihadist movements are addressed, the attraction of radical Islam will endure and the ranks of its fighters and leaders will continually be replenished.
Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and counterterrorism expert now with the prestigious Brookings Institution, stressed the limits of what he called a "decapitation strategy" aimed mainly at the leadership of groups like ISIS or Al Qaeda.
"It's not a strategy to address the underlying problems that created Al Qaeda, or the Islamic State, or Boko Haram," he said. there is more