A game of smoke and mirrors

One of the most recurrent topics in the action movies, back in the ‘70s, was the fighting sequence in a hall of mirrors. Hero and villain chasing each other in a long series of hit-and-miss, until the dramatic end. It’s a good metaphor for what’s going on in the Middle East. A pity that there are a lot of players inside the mirrored maze and I can’t see any hero ready to save the day.

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The Czar, the Sultan and the Uncle Sam

As predicted, things are getting hairy all over again in Syria, a place where too many conflicts are going on. The casus belli this time is the little town of Manbij, in the northern part of the country. Actually is controlled by Kurds, with logistic support from the US. Russians and Americans found themselves together against the will of the Turkish government to seize the town, a move that greatly enraged the leadership of this regional power. Check here the story, from Stars and Stripes.

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War against ISIS – the role of Saudi Arabia

At the last G20 Summit, Vladimir Putin declares a s follows: “I provided examples related to our data on the financing of Islamic State units by natural persons in various countries. The financing comes from 40 countries, as we established, including some G20 members.” At the same table there were seated the envoys from Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Both countries have a difficult track record when it comes about terrorism, not to mention a number of high-profile representatives with direct ties with known terrorist and/or terrorist organizations. I was looking at a video about ISIS yesterday on YT and all of a sudden I remembered where I had seen similar black flags in the past. And the connection with the house of Saud became graphically clear.

Wahabi-ikhwan

See this people? They were bedouin raiders, the flags are from the Ikhwan organization.  What’s that? A creation of early days Wahhabi Ulama, back in 1913 (see here on Wikipedia) in order to convert potentially dangerous bedouin tribes into allies and muslims.

The parallel is quite tempting. Ikhwan militia was a real force back then, helping a lot the cause of the House Of Saud in its struggle to get control in the country that we now call Saudi Arabia. At the same time they were somewhat indisciplinate and scores of them became difficult to control, forcing the Saud ruler to crush’em in 1929.

The Ikhwan members were quite rigid in the application of the Wahhabi policies, including forced conversion of Shia muslims and enforce more control in the pilgrimage to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina. Since they want to be feared from their enemies, they applied a lot of gory practises like execution of male prisoners by cutting their throats. They opposed modernity like the introduction of gas, cars and telegraph – everything non-arab and not Wahhabi-like wasn’t welcome.

Nowadays, seeing similar flags in the Middle East and in other countries and listening to similar messages from ISIS makes me wonder. The House of Saud is actively looking for getting more and more influence all over the Persian Gulf area and the whole of the North Africa. The same for Middle East and the other islamic countries. That happened in decades of financing Wahhabi imam and radical movements all over, without even a single word of disapproval from the USA.

Back in the days Ikhwan turned against its creators and it took a while to get it under control (metaphor for “destroyed”) with the help of foreigners (mostly military advisors and personnel from UK). What will happen this time? Are the House of Saud rulers ready to discontinue their support for their black-clad allies?

Paris attacks – how to react to a strike

world map terrorism attacks

Yesterday’s post (here) last phrase was: “Are we defenseless?

My answer is no. But we have to consider a number of things before setting up a reaction and answer to a lot of questions that will concur to define what kind of answer we will give in the next days and in the years to come.

Now, please consider the image at the top of this post. As you may see, it shows the locations of the terrorist attacks in the years between 2000 and 2013, with a focus on the deadlier attacks (the biggest red dots) and the worst attacks of 2013. I think it’s appropriate to say that this is a global problem and that no place is really safe.

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Talking about Libya

Libya_Regions_map

Topic of the day is Libya; what to do, what not and some note about an evolving situation. Be warned, the politically correctness has been banned here. So, if you are living in a fairy tale world this is the right time to get lost.

Why all the fuss about this country? What does change in the last few days? Two magic words: media attention. The focus is about IS (*) activities in Libya and the Grand Guignol show they put up with mass execution of prisoners and the usual propaganda against the Western countries. They’re good with the media and they know how to play games in the ‘net, so finally the world discovers that Libya is a failed state. Well, thank you for coming my dear journalist but this party is already up and running since the fall of the late dictator, Colonel Muammar Gheddafi.

At the very beginning of this post you find the map of Libya. Now, please pay attention to a few factors. Firstly, all the towns are located near the Mediterranean Sea. So, it’s easy to say that if you control the shores of Libya then you control most of the country. Second, the national frontiers are with other problematic countries (Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria, Tunisia) who already got their hands full with internal problems and have little or none resources to spare to be used against Libya. Third, the vast desert lands in the south are a no-boundaries zone – perfect for any kind of smuggling operation you may imagine.

Now, take a look at this map.
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The Red Line

jihaidism

In the last few years we’re witnessing a new phase in the phenomenon of Jihaidism, the shift from terrorist organizations to the embryos of new states. There was a precedent, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan held by the Taliban between 1996 and 2001. A number of small and not-so-small group tried to stage up coup d’etat in various countries in Africa and Asia. In my opinion, there is a red line that connect the various “islamic” states, nowadays under the resonant label “caliphate”.

There’s a difference between the words “emirate” and “caliphate”. It’s not a simple semiotic matter. When we talk about an emirate we’re referring to a state ruled by a central authority, named emir, and that implies a dynasty, a succession of power based on a bloodline. Think about Saudi Arabia, it’s a good example. On the other hand a caliphate implies a leadership that is both political and religious, the caliph claims a direct descendent from the prophet Muhammad, imposing the full weight of religion on its population.

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