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Friday, November 27, 2015

John Eibner on the Future of Syria

John Eibner, director of Christian Solidarity International and anti-slavery activist, shares his wisdom on the future of Syria on The Tablet blogs, including reflections on the collective desire of the West, Turkey and Gulf States to establish a Sunni Salafist state in Syria as a bulwark against Iranian power. 

This failed policy let the Sunni jihadi genie out of its bottle in Syria to create the ‘opposition’, which led to the creation of the Islamic State and disintegration of Syria and Iraq. The only rational solution, Eibner argues, is a return to a policy of supporting a secular state.

However the more likely outcome is a long and cruel proxy war which only finishes when the fighting-age manpower of Syria is exhausted – i.e. when a generation of young men has been killed or fled the region.

Along the way there are serious risks that tensions will escalate between the external powers whose proxy war this is. e.g. Iran vs the Gulf States, or Russian vs. Turkey (as we have seen this past week with the downing of a Russian Jet by Turkey).

This is what the post-American Middle East looks like.

Paris attacks: Islamic State sees its attacks as sacred strategy

This was published in the Australian Inquirer. It is a more general version of a longer article posted a few days previously on Lapido Media ‘Paris attacks were not nihilism’.

As the expressions of shock and solidarity subside after the Paris killings, the challenge to understand will remain. Much commentary of the past week has situated these atrocities in opposition to values familiar to western people. Seen in this light the attacks appear senseless and even insane. US Secretary of State John Kerry called the killers ‘psychopathic monsters’. However the first step in understanding a cultural system alien to one’s own is to describe it in its own terms.

We can and must love our neighbour, as Walid Aly urged this week on The Project, but this need not prevent us from understanding our enemy, and to do this we need to grasp that this latest slaughter was shaped by religious beliefs.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Love alone is not enough

Waleed Aly is a well-known Australian media commentator.  This week on Channel Ten’s The Project he produced an impassioned and compelling speech about the Paris killings. This went viral, achieving 27 million views on social media within just a few days. That is more hits than there are people in Australia.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Paris attacks were not 'nihilism' but sacred strategy

LEADING commentator Janet Daley's article in Saturday's TelegraphThe West is at war with a death cult’ stands for everything that is woeful about European elites’ response to Islamic jihad.

It is a triumph of religious illiteracy.
Janet Daley has called ISIS a 'death cult'

The jihadist enemy, she asserts, is utterly unintelligible, so beyond encompassing in ‘coherent, systematic thought’ that no vocabulary can describe it: ‘This is just insanity’, she writes. Because the enemy is ‘hysterical’, lacking 'rational demands', 'negotiable limits,’ or ‘intelligible objectives’ Daley claims it is pointless to subject its actions to any form of historical, social or theological analysis, for no-one should attempt to ‘impose logic on behaviour that is pathological’.

Despite this, Daley then ventures to offer analysis of and explanations for ISIS’ actions, but in doing so she relies upon her own conceptual categories, not those of ISIS.

Her explanations therefore fall wide of the mark.