January 26, 2015

....It Gets Worse

A quick addendum to all the unbridled joy in this recent post. It appears that the new Saudi King may have a few additional ...issues

  King Salman, Saudi Arabia’s newly crowned monarch, has a controversial history of helping to fund radical terror groups and has maintained ties with several anti-Semitic Muslim clerics known for advocating radical positions,
 

Words are failing me at the moment, so I'll let this young lady provide commentary on the matter. 



Happy Monday.

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January 24, 2015

Arabian Entropy

As I type this, the news is abuzz with a story that has sufficiently severe ramifications that it has finally galvanized the nation into focusing on current events.


However, we here at Brickmuppet Blog have nothing to add to the high-stakes investigation into under-inflated footballs.

Instead, we find our attention drawn to events in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf, where the government of Yemen, until a US ally in the fight against Al-Quaeda has collapsed and the nations capital has been overrun by a group calling itself the Houthis. The State Department had this to say...
"The Houthis are a legitimate political constituency in Yemen and have a right to participate in affairs of the state. We urge them to be a part of a peaceful transition process," Psaki said.
 
This does not sound terrible on the face of it and reports indicate that the Houthis , being affiliated with a Shia sect, are violently opposed to AQIAP, the same Al-Quaeda affiliate that we've been fighting in Yemen.  This encouraging bit of information was somewhat tempered by actually doing a cursory web search to discover who they are and who these Houthis are affiliated with. To our considerable surprise and dismay, the list did not contain any Blowfish at all, but rather organizations such as Hezzbolah, Iran and Syria. The groups ideology consists of Anti-Americanism, Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism and just to clarify things their slogan (which has been loudly chanted of late ) is "Death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory to Islam".  This seems at first glance like a rather more sub-optimal development than the White House is letting on. With this group of raving crazies facing Al-Quaeda, the best option would seem to be to stand back and hope they both loose,. Unfortunately the situation is more complicated due to the long suffering nation's geography. 

Yemen borders Saudi Arabia, and borders or is close to the Gulf States who control vast amounts of the worlds oil. While that is not as important as it once was, these states, while being human rights hell holes that, amongst other things, practice slavery are opposed to both Al-Quaeda and Iran. The fall of Yemen puts these countries between Iran, Yemen, which has just become an Iranian client state,  and the expanding abattoir that is ISIS. Al-Quaeda continues to operate in the region sowing further discord. 

Now one will note that ISIS (and Al-Quaeda), being Sunni and Iran's coalition being Shia are unlikely to coordinate their efforts in any meaningful way as they hate each other with a passion, but they both crave control of the vast oil reserves of the Arabian peninsula and in particular the theological legitimacy that Mecca and Medina could bestow upon the group that controls the birthplaces of Islam. If Saudi Arabia...or just Mecca, Medina or both fall to one of these groups, then it will be a huge propaganda victory and recruitment tool and perhaps a deciding factor in the 1200+ year old war between these two islamic sects. Control of the region's oil will force states like China to legitimize them, and sale of the oil will give them the capital to fund much mischief. All three groups are dedicated to Israel's destruction  and expansion of the House of Islam into what they call The House of War via unconventional warfare. 

In other words, this is bad.

It gets worse...

The King of Saudi Arabia just died. This throws Saudi Arabia into a state of flux just as all this compost is hitting the fan. The late King had actually made baby steps toward reform, allowing women to have ID cards and conduct financial transactions, and was an opponent of Islamic terrorism, however many in the Saudi royal family are staunch supporters of Al-Quaeda. Fortunately, the succession seems to have gone smoothy for now...

But, it gets worse....

 There are reports that, due to its perilous situation and the near certainty of arch enemy Iran obtaining nukes, Saudi Arabia (which financed much of Pakistan's nuclear research) has called in their favor and has obtained or have on retainer a number of atomic weapons from Pakistan. These weapons are as much of a prize to the area's extremists as anything, and if the reports of their being in Saudi hands are not apocryphal, then, given the threats arrayed against the Saudis we could see nuclear weapons used in anger. 



It gets worse...

The large number of Saudi aristocrats with extremist tendencies is going to require considerable competence and vigilance to keep those weapons out of unwanted hands even if the nation is overrun.

However, you might be surprised to learn that...

It gets worse...



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January 10, 2015

So....

Focus on current events is understandably directed towards Europe and Jihadism at the moment, where MI-5 is reporting that...

Parker said British security authorities had "stopped three UK terrorist plots” in recent months but added that "we still face complex and ambitious plots” by extremists who want to "cause large scale loss of life” by targeting transport networks and iconic landmarks.
If that is worrisome, then this 2006 article in Der Spiegel is high octane nightmare fuel. It's a review of a book by a Jordanian journalist named Fouad Hussein who had considerable contact while in Prison with Al Zarquawi and was able to interview others associated with AlQuaeda.  He says AlQaeda has a 7 point plan for world conquest and even has tentative dates for the completion of each phase.

Since the article was written in 2006, surely we can laugh at the comically wrong predictions...right?
 

The First Phase Known as "the awakening" -- this has already been carried out and was supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby "awakening" Muslims. "The first phase was judged by the strategists and masterminds behind al-Qaida as very successful," writes Hussein. "The battle field was opened up and the Americans and their allies became a closer and easier target." The terrorist network is also reported as being satisfied that its message can now be heard "everywhere."


The Second Phase "Opening Eyes" is, according to Hussein's definition, the period we are now in and should last until 2006. Hussein says the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the "Islamic community." Hussein believes this is a phase in which al-Qaida wants an organization to develop into a movement. The network is banking on recruiting young men during this period. Iraq should become the center for all global operations, with an "army" set up there and bases established in other Arabic states.


The Third Phase This is described as "Arising and Standing Up" and should last from 2007 to 2010. "There will be a focus on Syria," prophesies Hussein, based on what his sources told him. The fighting cadres are supposedly already prepared and some are in Iraq. Attacks on Turkey and -- even more explosive -- in Israel are predicted. Al-Qaida's masterminds hope that attacks on Israel will help the terrorist group become a recognized organization. The author also believes that countries neighboring Iraq, such as Jordan, are also in danger.


The Fourth Phase Between 2010 and 2013, Hussein writes that al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments. The estimate is that "the creeping loss of the regimes' power will lead to a steady growth in strength within al-Qaida." At the same time attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism.


The Fifth Phase This will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaida hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.


The Sixth Phase Hussein believes that from 2016 onwards there will a period of "total confrontation." As soon as the caliphate has been declared the "Islamic army" it will instigate the "fight between the believers and the non-believers" which has so often been predicted by Osama bin Laden.


The Seventh Phase This final stage is described as "definitive victory." Hussein writes that in the terrorists' eyes, because the rest of the world will be so beaten down by the "one-and-a-half billion Muslims," the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn't last longer than

OK the rather large transition from step six to seven seems a tad dubious to be sure, but steps 3, 4 and 5...wow. It also lends credence to the notion that a big putsch may be coming on the jihadi front in the near future. 

Farther afield, Jihadists are even now having some spectacular successes. Boko Haram has sacked Baga City, overrun a military base and killed 2000 civilians. This was largely buried by coverage of the attacks in France, but this is probably a bigger story. Note that Boko Haram has also gained control of 20,000 square miles and declared itself a caliphate.

And closer to home, Molly Norris is still in hiding

Meanwhile:
Around one million people are now displaced in the Ukraine.
China faces fears of...deflation?
On a related note, James MacDonald has written a book because he does not want you to sleep soundly.
For some, the glass is always half empty.  (facepalm)

Finally, as if things were not crazy enough, this headline was in Thursday's New York Times: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Publish a Novel About Sherlock Holmes’s Brother Mycroft 


"That's it. We're doomed." 
 

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January 07, 2015

They Did Not Yield

  Cabu, Charb, Tignous, Georges Wolinski  and at least 8 more of the cartoonists and staff of Charlie Hedbo were murdered today for no more reason than that they published cartoons the murderers found offensive. 


Had I been aware of them before today I would have (likely as not) had a generally dim view of them as they put out a left wing atheist publication that presumably had nothing but contempt for people like myself. 

However, they did stridently stand by one of the bedrock principles upon which a free society is based, namely that no one has a right not to be offended. They published satire mocking those things that they did not believe in, as is the right of free people everywhere. They were threatened, and yet refused to cease because they understood that to yield to such threats would be a betrayal of their readers, a compromise of their principles and a submission to the bullies veto...which only emboldens and encourages the bullies. 

 This was especially gutsy in France, where a large unassimilated minority has become increasingly violent in recent years. 

Over the last decade the paper had been under threat of violence from muslim groups and under intense pressure from the government and various people of status in France to tone it down.


These journalists stood up for what they believed in in the face of considerable pressure.

Today they were executed for their art and their journalism. The highly organized group of Islamists who did this also killed the first police officers to arrive on the scene before they escaped. 
In broad daylight.
In downtown PARIS.

As I type this, the terrorists are still at large, which is an even more terrifying development as it indicates a truly remarkable degree of training and planning as well as the distinct possibility of a considerable support network. France is on its highest alert level for good reason.

The proprietors of this tiny boutique magazine are with us no more, but they carried on a proud French tradition going back to Voltaire. They continue to be an example, not only of individuals willing to stand on principle in a civilized way, but also of what is at stake with regards to freedom itself. In this all civilized peoples should all find common ground.

To that end...



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