On Middle East context and media

 

Among the 21st century weaponry the American military is deploying against columnist Jim McNiven’s “eighth century caliphate” is the Tomahawk cruise missile. This one was launched Sept. 23 from an American warship on station in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo

Among the 21st century weaponry the American military is deploying against columnist Jim McNiven’s “eighth century caliphate” is the Tomahawk cruise missile. This one was launched Sept. 23 from an American warship on station in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo

Put events in the Middle East in context, Thoughtlines columnist Jim McNiven urges in a new column. “Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are working their way through a kind of 100-years of religious war, partially similar to that between Protestants and Catholics that devastated Germany in the 16th and 17th Centuries,” he writes. Excerpt of Islamic State threat a media creation:

The popular media, always looking for the next big thing, has fastened upon the swift victories and social media brutalities of the group calling itself Islamic State.1 The various media have portrayed the organization as a worldwide threat and a number of governments have organized themselves to deal with it, led by the United States. 

You have to read between the lines on this one. First, this terrible threatening force is actually weaker than the Taliban force that was over-running Afghanistan in 2002. That push ended when a few American spotters on the ground called in coordinates for bomber strikes. Deserts are unlike Vietnam: there is no jungle canopy to hide in. Very quickly, the Taliban were back in their mountains where they have mostly been ever since.

ISIS, or IS, is also in the desert and, to my knowledge, has no air capability. You may have noticed that the ISIS advance did not hold up any better than the Taliban against American drones and fighters, once they were deployed. In Iraq, the only mountains for an ISIS retreat are home to the Kurds, a Sunni nationality that has a very different agenda than the Arabs in ISIS. There, ISIS personnel will have to hide in the cities they have captured, but then a collapse from lack of munitions or money is but a matter of time. These guys are incapable of building or producing anything; they can only pillage and plunder. … click to read Islamic State threat a media creation.

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Elsewhere: France 24 obtained a video by a student in Raqqa, Syria, taken this week before Arab and American bombs began falling on the city. It’s a surreal YouTube glimpse of daily life under fundamentalist control: armed men stopping the female student and tell her to behave, by fully covering her face; there is also an overheard conversation in an Internet cafe. In it, a covered Muslim French woman and her family are overheard arguing, and they plead with her to return. “I’m not planning to come back, Mama … I’m happy here.” 

 

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