Monday, November 10, 2014

Harper's War and the ISIS National Anthem

I see the leader of the ISIS Death Cult may have had a bruising encounter with the American Death Machine.

Iraqi officials said Sunday that the head of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was wounded in an airstrike in western Anbar province. Pentagon officials said they had no immediate information on such an attack or on the militant leader being injured.

And one can only hope it's fatal.

But sadly killing its deranged leader won't destroy that genocidal cult.

An injury or killing of al-Baghdadi would be a coup for the U.S., which has placed a $10 million bounty on his head. But previous experience with terrorist organizations has shown that groups tend to be resilient.

The war has to be won on the ground, and that won't be easy.

ISIS controls a large swath of land across Iraq and Syria, and has an estimated 30,000 fighters under centralized command—a number that has swelled through recruitment in foreign countries. ISIS earns significant revenue from oil sales and kidnapping and possesses large caches of weapons discarded or stolen from the Iraqi military. Neither the government in Baghdad nor the government in Damascus is powerful enough to rout them.

And as I have mentioned before, if we are going to have any chance of winning that war, we need to know the enemy. Understand from what hellish place it sprang from...

The place other bombing campaigns helped create.

And even more importantly understand its fatal attraction for many young people, including some in Canada.

Which unfortunately also includes having to listen to the ISIS national anthem. 

The first two minutes and 52 seconds of Dawlat al-Islam Qamat are undeniably beautiful. It is little more than an Arabic chant, sung by a man whose voice is so relaxed you expect him to drift off halfway through. It sounds timeless – as if it has been dug up from the eighth century.

But just as you are starting to enjoy it – perhaps thinking you might tell your yoga teacher to play it in class – some sound effects drop in. There’s a sword being unsheathed, the stomp-stomp-stomp of soldiers’ feet and some stuttering gunfire. And it is about that point you remember exactly what you are listening to.

So that we can understand the vital role of those songs or nasheeds.

They provide the soundtrack to all the Islamic State’s videos; they are played from cars in towns they control, rather like US gangs use rap songs to demarcate their territory; they are even played on the battlefield.

And also understand that while this is indeed the sound of fascism...

The message is a sophisticated one, different from other terrorist movements, and aimed squarely at the legions of disaffected youth in the world.

“Older nasheeds tend to have been produced by groups that are small, militant and clandestine, and they have a more defensive message – but there were many saying, ‘They can torture us, but we are holding to our beliefs.’ The Islamic State’s nasheeds are not defensive at all. They are about a hope to change the world for ever.”

Because if we don't understand that, and we can't counter that propaganda, or offer hope to those young people at risk of being radicalized, or come up with new and better programs to get them back on the right path. 

They will keep being attracted by that false message, like moths to a candle. And we will NEVER defeat ISIS.

But of course that means dealing with the root causes of this genocidal insurgency, and you know what Stephen Harper thinks about that...

From the safety of his armoured closet.

And all I can say is that when it comes to fighting a complex war like the one we're now in, Great Chickenhawk Chicken Leader is clearly in over his head.

He's making it up as he goes long. He's only interested in winning the next election.

And the rest of us won't be safe.

Until he too is defeated...

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with the person who said that if you want to stop terrorism from the middle east then stop invading the middle east. 30,000 people is not a terrorist group, it is a movement. Thousands of young men, unemployed and hopeless, who have seen their homelands destroyed by the invasion of soldiers from half way around the world. And have seen their oil wealth taken. What do we expect. Libya, a country with 99% literacy and free health care and education is now chaos.