A Civilization Is at Stake Here

Perhaps the most predictable fall-out of Graeme Wood’s influential cover article for The Atlantic,  “What the Islamic State Really Wants,” is another round of debate over whether or not the atrocities committed by ISIS and other armed fundamentalist terrorist outfits are sanctioned by the Qur’an, Hadith, and other Islamic texts, and if not, whether these […]

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ISIS, the Mongols, and “The Return of Ancient Challenges”

Joe Posner’s “Isis Control in Iraq and Syria” Source: Max Fischer and Zack Beauchamp, “14 Maps that Explain ISIS,” Vox.com (25 September 2014) A few months ago Small Wars Journal published an essay by Gary Anderson titled “Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and the Theory and Practice of Jihad.“[1]  Al-Baghdadi, of course, is the leader of […]

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Akbar Ahmed on Terrorism and the Collapse of the Tribal Order

Car bomb in Peshawar. Source: Mohammad Sajjad/Associated Press. 29 September 2013.  Last week I penned a two–post series on the purpose of and underlying reasons for the savage terrorist attacks radical Islamic groups have launched across the world. I argued that these attacks were not “senseless” acts of violence, nor merely the results of fanatic […]

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Radical Islamic Terrorism in Context, pt II

How to make sense of radical Islamic terrorism? This violence is barbaric – but it is not senseless. When you understand the society from which savagery has sprung, the cold logic behind these attacks becomes all too apparent. Part II of a series; Part I is here.    How do you save a civilization from […]

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Radical Islamic Terrorism in Context, pt I

How to make sense of radical Islamic terrorism? This violence is barbaric – but it is not senseless. When you understand the society from which savagery has sprung, the cold logic behind these attacks becomes all too apparent.  Part I in a series; Part II is here.  Smoke rises from the Westgate MallSource: Jerome Delay/AP. […]

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Iran – Not as Persian as You Think

I usually label posts about Iran with the tag ‘Persia.’ This week it occurred to me that this label is a tad inaccurate. Iran is a lot less Persian than you may think.Here is the CIA World Factbook’s [1] break down of the Iranian population by ethnic identity: Persian 61%Azeri 16%Kurd 10%Lur 6%Baloch 2%Arab 2%Turkmen […]

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Notes From All Over (14/5/2013) – Historical Linguistics, Guanxi, and Scary Government Data Bases

A collection of articles, essays, and blog post of merit.This one is a bit smaller than normal; there are a few other posts or essays that deserve to go here, but I hope to devote entire posts to them at a later date. TOP BILLING:“An Introduction to Historical Linguistics’ – Terry Crowley and Claire Bowern. Part […]

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Turkey As Seen on September 12th

Consider: On May 31st a flotilla of ships organized by the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief tried to run the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip. As expected, the Israelis used military force to stop the flotilla from ever reaching the shore. Nine Turks died before the day was over.  […]

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The Many Sided Turk

Unless my readers have spent the greater part of the last five weeks inside a subterranean cavern they have doubtlessly heard and seen much concerning the ‘freedom flotilla’ that attempted to break through the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the (botched) Israeli commando raid dispatched to stop them. Proving our collective inability to place world […]

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