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ISIS Attack Kills More Than 140 In Baghdad

Baghdad Bombing

A bombing attack in Baghdad for which ISIS has already claimed responsibility has left more than 140 people dead and hundreds more injured:

BAGHDAD — As Iraqis gathered late on Saturday night in central Baghdad to eat, shop and just be together to celebrate one of the last evenings of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a huge bomb exploded and killed at least 143 people, the third mass slaughter of civilians in three countries carried out by the Islamic State in recent days.

The attack, which occurred shortly after midnight in the middle-class neighborhood of Karrada, a busy area of cafes, shops and hotels, was the deadliest single attack in Baghdad this year and was the first major assault in the capital since Iraqi forces retook Falluja from the Islamic State late last month. Falluja had been in the hands of the Islamic State for two-and-a-half years, longer than any other in Iraq or Syria, and many Iraqis had feared that after its liberation the Islamic State would strike back with more terror attacks in Baghdad.

The Sunni extremists of the Islamic State almost immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying it had killed a gathering of Shiite Muslims. But Karrada is a mixed area where Iraqis of all identities gather to do ordinary things: mainly to shop and eat.

The bombing came just after the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, took responsibility for an attack on a restaurant in Bangladesh that left 20 people dead, some of them hacked apart by swords and knives. And it followed by a few days the coordinated suicide attack on Istanbul’s main airport that killed more than 40 people, for which Turkish authorities blamed the Islamic State, although the terrorist group itself did not claim responsibility.

By daybreak on Sunday in Baghdad, fires were still burning at the bombing site, while hospitals tended to the wounded, and mourners prepared for funerals. Some bodies were believed to be still buried in the rubble of a shopping mall. Along with the deaths, at least 195 people were injured, officials said Sunday afternoon. Baghdad Operations Command, which is in charge of security in the capital, was quick to announce that it had arrested a terrorist “cell” in the city that was linked to the bombing.

Many of the victims were children — the explosion struck near a three-story complex of cafes and shops where families were celebrating a successful end of the school year, residents said — and on Sunday dozens of people were still unaccounted for. One man named Omar Adil said that his two brothers, Ghaith and Mustafa, were missing. Five people from a single family in Sadr City, a large, poor Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, were also missing.

The scenes were another brutal illustration of the paradox Iraq faces as its security forces, backed by American airstrikes, make gains against the Islamic State: As more territory is won back, the group is reverting to its roots as a guerrilla insurgency, turning Baghdad once again into an urban killing field.

The bombing was an abrupt ending to the brief victory lap that Iraq’s beleaguered prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, was enjoying following the recapture of Falluja.

When he visited the bombing site on Sunday morning, people threw rocks and shoes — a particular insult in the Arab world — at his convoy and yelled “thief,” an epithet directed as much at Iraq’s dysfunctional and corrupt political class as it was to Mr. Abadi personally.

Ali Ahmed, 25, who owns a shop close to where the attack happened, said he had carried the bodies of children out of the rubble. He voiced anger at the security forces for failing to stop the bomber, and questioned why the street, which had been closed off earlier in the evening, was reopened around midnight.

“Thank God I managed to hit Abadi with stones to take revenge for the kids,” he said.

The anger swelling on Sunday perhaps presaged a resumption of street unrest in Baghdad that had calmed amid Ramadan and the military operations in Falluja.

In addition to possibly marking the resumption of the unrest and bombing attacks in Baghdad that had subsided somewhat in recent months, the attack marked the the third major ISIS-inspired or planned attack in less than a week in an area that stretches from Istanbul, Turkey to Dhaka, Bangladesh, leaving nearly 200 people dead and more than 200 injured. Add in the casualties from the ISIS-inspired Orlando attack just a few weeks ago and that bumps the death toll to well over 200 inside of just about three weeks. As I noted in connection with the Dhaka attack, ISIS had called for increased attacks around the world during the final weeks of Ramadan, and it appears that ISIS supporters have taken up the call.

If nothing else, the sheer geographic reach of these attacks shows just how difficult this war against ISIS has become, and it calls into question the strategy that the U.S. has adopted against the group. If ISIS has reached the point where it can inspire attacks in places as as diverse as Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, Istanbul, Dhaka, and Baghdad, then one has to wonder exactly how much is going to be accomplished by attacking ISIS on the ground in Iraq and Syria and how doing so is going to combat terror attacks in Europe and elsewhere around the world. Additionally, the fact that an increasing number of these attacks seem to be “lone wolf” attacks rather than something planned and supported by ISIS directly makes one wonder just how successful the current strategy is going to be.

The argument that the Obama Administration seems to make is that is that it is the existence of the Islamic State and its quasi-state nature serve as some sort of inspiration to these lone wolves and that if it were defeated that inspiration would go away. While the first point is likely true to some extent, I’m not at all sure that the conclusion about the consequences of an ISIS defeat in Iraq and Syria are accurate at all. First of all, there’s the fact that ISIS appears to be preparing for territorial losses in Iraq and Syria, including the possible loss of its putative, capital, by establishing beachheads in other parts of the world as backup sites from which in can continue to operate. These sites have been reported to be in locations as diverse as Libya, where post-Gaddafi chaos continues to make it easy for them to establish control among much weaker forces, many of which have already pledged loyalty to ISIS in any case, Yemen, which gives them access to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East, and Afghanistan. Even if we defeat ISIS decisively in Iraq and Syria, which is a project that will take years in all likelihood, we may wake up to find that the organization has metastasized to be something that is a problem in multiple places at once. In that event, the perception that the organization has survived even a “defeat” at the hands of the West is unfortunately likely to inspire lone wolves as much as the status quo does. Additionally, a defeat could easily be turned by propaganda from whatever survives an ISIS defeat to inspire home-grown terrorist attacks as a form of revenge.

Meanwhile, the geographic reach of ISIS continues to grow. This latest attack in Bangladesh raises the question of where they might spread next, and the two most likely options would be either India, where long-standing Muslim-Hindu conflict could be ripe for exploitation, or Indonesia, the world’s most populous majority Muslim county. Attacks in either one would raise serious concerns, obviously, and the current trend seems to suggest they could pull something off almost anywhere they wish at this point. Perhaps this fact will lead the nation’s of the world into some kind of alliance against ISIS, which seems to be exactly what they want even though it seems like that would a conflict they couldn’t possibly win. Whatever the answer is, we’re likely to see more attacks like those we’ve seen in the past month in other parts of the world, as well as continued efforts to pull of similar operations in the United States.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    If nothing else, the sheer geographic reach of these attacks shows just how difficult this war against ISIS has become, and it calls into question the strategy that the U.S. has adopted against the group. If ISIS has reached the point…. blah blah blah… makes one wonder just how successful the current strategy is going to be.

    OK, so what’s the alternative? If you are going to make blanket denunciations of what the present Admin is doing, you should put forth an alternative strategy. Say what you want about the Donald, he does offer an alternative. Of course, “building a yoooooge wall all the way around our GREAT country”/”torture anyone with a funny sounding name”/ “killing all the muslims” is not likely to be very effective, but it is an alternative.

    But then, I suspect you already know that there is no strategy that is likely to succeed against the tactic that is terrorism, don’t you? It’s a one size fits all smart bomb/drone attack.

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  2. michael reynolds says:

    ISIS is not metastasizing, it has always had two functions: nation building in the Levant, and terror attacks. The first part of their formula is in serious trouble.

    In terms of terror they’re just Al Qaeda 2.0. For the foreseeable future we will see terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic extremists whether they call themselves ISIS or AQ or Teletubbies. Unless we are willing to dramatically escalate this into a real war – and survey says: no – this will continue. For a while.

    This is a disease that incubated in Saudi Arabia, where the absolute power of the decrepit monarchy rests on Wahhabi interpretations of the Koran, and has now spread throughout the Muslim world. Are we willing to force Saudi Arabia to close down their extremist religious schools and arrest their terror-spouting clerics? Apparently not.

    So now we face this long war of attrition. Basically we’re waiting until it slowly. . . slowly. . . dawns on these folks that they aren’t getting anywhere with these tactics. It’s like waiting for the slow class to do a math problem. They blow something up, we blow something up. Might as well settle in and get used to it.

    1) We can invade and occupy basically the entire middle east, uproot the existing extremist religious culture and shove western ideology down their throats at the point of a gun. Hands up if you like this idea. No? Me neither.

    2) We can dramatically escalate and widen our retaliation in hopes that the slow class will figure the equation out with a few extra hints. But I’m told we aren’t really up for WW2 style, large scale attacks. So, no.

    3) We can do what we’re doing. Democrats whine about civilians killed in drone strikes, Republicans whine because Obama is black, and neither side offers anything other than, “Um. . . let’s. . . Uh. . .”

    4) We can close the borders, withdraw from the MENA and figure, “Hey, let them murder each other, not our problem.”

    1 and 2 are off the table. 3 is probably working, but slowly, and we have the attention span of toddlers. 4 would of course set off an explosion of liberal rage, leave our allies in the lurch, and probably have something like the effect our pre-WW2 peacenikery had of encouraging the growth of evil in the world – an evil we’ll eventually have to confront under much worse circumstances.

    So there you go. A bunch of bad options.

    Nevertheless, we should get a grip, because in geostrategic terms these things barely qualify as pinpricks. They aren’t doing us any serious economic harm, they aren’t weakening us militarily, and terrorists are killing far fewer Americans than Americans with guns are doing, and we’re told by the NRA that’s all shrug-worthy.

    Unless anyone has a suggestion, I guess this is the new normal. I’m still heading to London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and other potential terrorist targets this summer, and I’m still going to sit in outdoor cafés drinking wine.

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  3. Gustopher says:

    Where’s the ISIS Glee Club? are Jack, bill and Gaurino (or whatever he calls himself) just out enjoying the sunshine? Is Jenos unconcerned because it is merely brown people killing brown people?

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  4. Stormy Dragon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    5) We can reconsider our self-contradictory strategy in the middle east, which is based on being tightly coupled with sunni governments that are the primary source and funders of Islamic extremism. Iran, while it has its own issues funding militias, has not been funding the “randomly blow stuff up” terrorism that’s our biggest problem right now.

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  5. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: Option 1 has never worked.

    Option 2 is just the Israeli “mow the lawn” strategy,many that hasn’t done much for long term stability.

    I don’t strongly object to Option 3, as our drone war has mostly kept a lid on things, and has a lot less collateral damage than Option 2. On the surface, it seems less obviously self-reinforcing than Option 2.

    Option 4 is a disaster waiting to happen.

    I think we need a modified Option 3 — limited drone war and small scale military action to keep terrorists from getting too effective, while at the same time attempting quiet nation building to reduce the attractiveness of ISIS.

    Just partition Iraq and get it over with — obviously not our call, but we’ve been holding it together, so we can just release our grip a little. Turkey will be bothered that we are tacitly supporting a Kurdistan, the far right here will be bothered that the Shia region will likely fall into Iran’s sphere of influence. The Sunni region is going to need a lot of support with ISIS nearby. All the regions will need a lot of support, and there will be refugees who want to resettle where they are a majority — humanitarian aid out the wazoo.

    The Saudis need to learn that we will not be tolerating their continued support of Wahabbists. We would be happy moving military bases in the region to Kurdistan, or not selling the Saudis weapons. The House of Saud relies on our support, but it’s becoming a suicide pact.

    Jordan is our big ally in the region — part of the Sunni majority, but with fairly secular institutions. Any support they need, we need to give.

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  6. Slugger says:

    Do these murders in far away countries pose any real threat to American interests? Turkey is sort of an ally, but the attacks in Bengladesh and Iraq were not attacks on American assets nor allies. We have not been able to do much about the narco wars in Mexico and other Latin American nations. Maybe these guys are also beyond our reach. This is the nature of asymmetrical war; we have drones, nuclear bombs, and lots of military experts, but the bad guys just need five nuts with semi automatic rifles and a few grenades to do their evils. The downside for them is that they can’t generate any meaningful hits, but perhaps they can get us to panic and hurt ourselves.
    Regular police type of public safety work is drudgery without the instant gratification of blowing up some bad guys and is not emotionally satisfying, but it may be the only possible thing. No final victory, just daily wariness.
    Can an American political leader tell us that the bad guys are going to land a punch now and then and we just have to suck it up and hang together? Or do we run around screaming looking for some demagogue with easy answers to complex questions?

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  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    If nothing else, the sheer geographic reach of these attacks shows just how difficult this war against ISIS has become, and it calls into question the strategy that the U.S. has adopted against the group. If ISIS has reached the point where it can inspire attacks in places as as diverse as Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, Istanbul, Dhaka, and Baghdad, then one has to wonder exactly how much is going to be accomplished by attacking ISIS on the ground in Iraq and Syria and how doing so is going to combat terror attacks in Europe and elsewhere around the world. Additionally, the fact that an increasing number of these attacks seem to be “lone wolf” attacks rather than something planned and supported by ISIS directly makes one wonder just how successful the current strategy is going to be.

    Since no one has mentioned it, carpet bombing them won’t work either.

    This is a problem for the Saudis and the Turks. Oh and by the way Erdogan, a state for the Kurds is something the US could get behind.

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  8. michael reynolds says:

    @Slugger:

    Very well put. I wonder if we should trust the American people to do the right thing, the stiff upper lip thing? I may be too much of a misanthrope, but I tend not to. But I don’t know that I could make a compelling case one way or the other. I don’t know that I have a good picture of the American soul right now. Koyaanisqatsi.

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  9. humanoid.panda says:

    If ISIS has reached the point where it can inspire attacks in places as as diverse as Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, Istanbul, Dhaka, and Baghdad, then one has to wonder exactly how much is going to be accomplished by attacking ISIS on the ground in Iraq and Syria and how doing so is going to combat terror attacks in Europe and elsewhere around the world.

    Well, that’s a bit complicated. Attacks in Bangladesh and America are inspired by ISIS. Attacks in Europe and Turkey are perpetrated by well-trained and equipped cells radiating from Syria-Iraq. Not letting ISIS to stabilize in Syria-Iraq depletes the supply of these cells, and thus makes the problem of terrorism much more manageable. (Put simply: to perpetrate the attacks in Brussels and Paris, ISIS required the services of multiple militants, weapon smugglers, scouts, etc. etc. Omar Mateen didn’t need anything but the ability to pass a background checks- but it seems that , at least for now, ISIS doesn’t have the capacity to install terror cells here. What kind of a carnage could a terror cell with free access to American weapon shops cause?)

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  10. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: I disagree with your fatalism that this is just “the new normal”. We helped create this mess, with the disastrous invasion of Iraq, so we definitely can have an effect. And I refuse to believe we can only have a negative effect.

    Bush-style nation building was a failure — we cannot create institutions for the people in the region, and then expect them to step into these institutions and run them as we see fit. Banning the professional class made that more of a fiasco, but it wouldn’t have worked even without de-Ba’ath-ification. We weren’t able to do it in Iraq or Afghanistan or Somalia. I’m willing to call it a noble experiment that failed.

    But that still leaves us with an endless supply of options, from reassessing our current relationships in the region from the standpoint of long-term stability, to purchasing the goods produced in the region to jump start the creation of a middle class.

    We don’t need westward leaning democracies in the region, we need them to stop trying to kill us, we would like them to stop trying to kill each other, and we would prefer to not have too many human rights abuses.

    The Saudis are a problem. They have to balance the Wahaddists against the US, and navigate a path between being too pro-American and too pro-Wahabbist to keep their heads. I think we need to move our bases to Kurdistan or Kuwait, and make it look like a retreat to bolster their anti-US cred while we push them to crack down on the madras. But I don’t pretend to be an expert in the region.

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  11. Gustopher says:

    @humanoid.panda: part of ISIS’s ability to inspire is their manipulation of traditional and social media. And part of combatting them has to be disrupting that.

    I think the most effective thing we could do to reduce their impact here is to make them look like fools. Report on failed operations, whether they actually happened or not. Replace their videos with episodes of My Little Pony. Make them a laughingstock.

    It’s a propaganda war. We aren’t even fighting it.

    ISIS was able to make a greater impression on a loser in Florida who was terrified that he wanted to suck cock than we were. We need ISIS-themed gay porn.

    What drives individuals to amazingly destructive behavior? A lack of control over their lives, and a strong voice telling them how to take control. Disrupt that voice.

    There’s an excellent book on the beginnings of ISIS, “Black Flags”. It reports on Zarqawi’s interest in young boys — whether this is true or not, this is the shit we should be pushing out there to disrupt their message.

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  12. Gustopher says:

    Apparently I am trusted enough to say shit, cock and porn, all in one posting. Or the spam filters aren’t working.

    I’ll take it as a compliment.

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  13. Guarneri says:

    @michael reynolds:

    What happened to vaporizing them?

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  14. Guarneri says:

    @Gustopher:

    Guarneri. A lute maker, like Stradavari was a violin maker. But you would need education to know that. So back to your kazoo and kazoo-like commentary.

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  15. Guarneri says:

    @Slugger:

    There certainly is a case for letting them play in their bloody sandbox while suffering intermittent casualties here. I doubt your assumption of rare and minimal here is correct, however. Evil detects weakness, and exploits it until stopped. Your strategy is designed for an enemy, and that enemy’s strategy, which exists only in your head.

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  16. Gustopher says:

    @Guarneri: Sure, whatever Lute Boy. It’s guano, with an r or two tossed in.

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  17. Slugger says:

    @Guarneri: Thank you. I am striving to achieve views and thoughts outside of the common paradigm. The conventional view seems to be that ISIS is a centralized and highly structured organization that can be knocked out with low risk military undertakings such as a few drones if only our leaders had the will to do so. This idea does not seem to be yielding the desired results, and hence I think we should look at alternatives. My alternatives may well be wrong; I welcome other ideas.
    I think we need to be very careful about taking any actions in the Levant. While I certainly don’t condone the wrongs committed by al-Assad, the decision to back a Sunni military action to remove him made the US the de facto ally of al-Qaeda in the form of the Nusra front which provided the soil for a Sunni splinter group like ISIS to flourish.

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  18. Andrew says:

    This following message is brought you by Water. It’s wet!

    The United States spends more money on War™ than any other country in the history of man. To debate how we stop, or contain, or deal with these radicals is just a red herring. It is, period.

    The armed forces are the driver of our economy. The planes, trains, automobiles all associated with the industry are the only real “Made in the USA!” productions we have left to show the world.

    Here we all are debating how to deal with ISIS or AQ, when the real plan is already in place. You can not spend trillions of dollars every. single. year. on bombs, guns, and other ushers of death, without having a boogeyman to fight.

    I get that most of us need to sit around discussing these problems of our world, to better understand it and make it less frightening. At the end of he day, without an apocalyptic event nothing will change. Just the figureheads, the spokesmen, the messengers selling us on television on who we need to fear. And fear is the mind killer.

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  19. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Gustopher: Where’s the ISIS Glee Club? are Jack, bill and Gaurino (or whatever he calls himself) just out enjoying the sunshine? Is Jenos unconcerned because it is merely brown people killing brown people?

    FU, asswipe. One of those killed was an American. Another victim — Faraz Hossain — was a Bangladeshi who had attended school in the US. The terrorists offered to let him go, as he was a Muslim. They were keeping two of his friends — one of whom was the American — to kill, and Hossain refused to leave them. So he was killed, too.

    Faraz Hossain is the kind of Muslim the world needs more of. Instead, he was murdered by other Muslims.

    President Bush was once asked about a Mandela-type figure for the Iraqis. He said that Sadam Hussein had killed all the Mandelas. In the Palestinian Territories, those who dare speak up for peace and settlement with Israel are also killed as “collaborators.”

    The courage Mr. Hossain demonstrated is in way, way too short supply in the Muslim world.

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  20. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “The courage Mr. Hossain demonstrated is in way, way too short supply in the Muslim world. ”

    In all likelyhood because the Muslim world equivalents of Jenos go on the Muslim world equivalent of OTB to cheer their deaths as the just outcome of their error.

    FU asswipe, indeed!

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  21. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian: You’ve spent much of the past two years that the only good Muslims are fictions of the imaginations of deluded leftists and Obama in his goal of converting America to Sharia law (or, in the alternative, dead Muslims) the sight of you pontificating about Mr. Hossein–a genuinely good human being as opposed to the cypher of fake name doing the pontificating–is genuinely repulsive.

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  22. anjin-san says:

    According to Alkhouri, the jihadist supporters’ desire to see Trump become president is two prong. One one hand, they think he will weaken the United States — politically, economically and internationally — and thus is a figure to be mocked. On the other, Trump has also made promises to be more aggressive with the Islamic State — such as “I would hit ISIS so hard you wouldn’t believe it” — that they believe will drive home their us-against-the-West messaging.

    “They believe that while Trump is running for the highest office in the world potentially, he is somebody that they can mock, they can joke about, and in some manner they believe that this guy who, if anything, if anything, is advancing their agenda, instead of going against their agenda,” Alkhouri said. “That is pretty disconcerting. People talk about ISIS not releasing anything about Trump, well clearly ISIS followers, or at least many of them, believe that Trump is the guy they would want to see in the White House.”

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/trump-extremist-web-forums

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  23. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    FU, asswipe.

    One gets the sense that Jenos would never, ever – ever say something like this to another guys face.

    Little Jenos – the perfect Trumpkin…

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  24. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.

    Elie Wiesel

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  25. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Your exclusive concern for Americans, and those with strong ties to America is noted.

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  26. Gustopher says:

    @anjin-san: I think Elie Wiesel is wrong. Some religious faiths are better than others.

    The religious faith that caused the followers of Jim Jones to kill themselves is inferior to the religious faith that caused the families of Dylann Roof’s victims to forgive him.

    Both can be described as Christianity, but there’s obviously a difference in how it was incorporated into their lives. Different parts of the tradition were stressed, to teach different values, with very different results.

    It’s like the difference between garden variety Sunni Islam and Wahhabism. If Jenos and his ilk were ranting about Wahhabism rather than Radical Islam, it wouldn’t be as offensive or as wrong.

    But, even that would be missing something. We aren’t having a problem with Wahhabis as much as we are having a problem with the conditions that cause people to embrace the radical and violent sects.

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  27. anjin-san says:

    @Gustopher:

    This is interesting, though it sounds like you may already be familiar with it:

    Inequality caused rise of ISIS, Piketty says

    http://money.cnn.com/2015/12/03/news/economy/isis-money-thomas-piketty/index.html

    I don’t consider groups such as Jim Jones/People’s Temple type groups to be a “religious faith”, rather a cult with the trappings of faith…

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  28. Gustopher says:

    @anjin-san: I think Piketty tends to over-simplify, as do a lot of his critics. From the rather critical article:

    For example, among Palestinians, almost 60% of the suicide bombers had more than a high school education, compared with less than 15% of the general population, a researcher discovered.

    I’m not surprised that the people who were in a position where they thought they had more opportunities in life and then had them pulled out from under them are more likely to fall into self-destructive radicalism. When people have privilege taken away, they are more likely to form the resentments and hatreds that can be exploited.

    Iraq and Syria both had stable, functioning societies (with brutal dictators, sure). When those collapsed, the young kids who no longer had the future they expected were looking for some new meaning in their life.

    The fact that they are living in a war zone helps shape that as well — in the US, disaffected college kids who realize that their degree means little more than a hundred thousand dollars of debt become vegan or turn to God or something.

    Piketty is right to consider economics, but shattered hopes have more of an effect than simply poverty.

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  29. Gustopher says:

    @anjin-san: I’m not going to attempt to figure out the difference between a religion and a cult. Don’t all religions start out as cults? As a non-militant atheist, it’s just outside my realm.

    I’ve seen people on a path of self-destruction turn their life around by finding God — I might find the entire thing silly, but I cannot deny the impact. Is it just finding a community that welcomes them that gives them the strength to stop destroying themselves? Or am I glossing over a miracle?

    I’ve also seen people find God and discover that it’s a great tool for blaming others for the problems in their life. “It’s the gays getting married, society is falling apart, and that’s why I cannot find a job…”

    Well, either way, the god that I don’t believe in is a kind and merciful god, who will forgive me for my lack of faith.

    And I still question the difference between a cult and a religion. Is it a generational thing? A cult lasts less than 25 years? Because the KKK believe they are Christian, they were active for many generations, and they would lynch people. Maybe they are a better example.

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  30. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I doubt you’ll answer this, but just what is your plan to deal with terrorists?

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  31. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The courage Mr. Hossain demonstrated is in way, way too short supply in the Muslim world.

    One has to wonder what Jenos would do in a hostage situation. Would he shield a mother and child with his body? Would he say “kill me, let him go”?

    Guys like Jenos are whet keep me at home on the 4th – puny chest thumpers who drink too much and then congratulate themselves for things their grandparents did.

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  32. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Gustopher: “What happens to a dream deferred?”

    Regarding the God question: your observation is accurate and interesting. The truth of the dichotomy you present is unavoidable and has been problematical for all sorts of people regardless of the religions they practice. The conclusion that I have come to for explaining it is that while some people find both God and their true humanity, others only find themselves and call that finding God.

    It’s not much as explanations go, but there it is.

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  33. Steve V says:

    @anjin-san: 1,Republicans like to make statements about the “Muslim world.” They should just be ignored when they do this, since their notions about Muslims tend to have been cooked up by geniuses like Pam Geller, Frank Gaffney and Andy McCarthy.

    2, Jenos is no worse a human being than any of us, and I bristle at attempts to cast him as some kind of sub-human nut. I think he’s actually pretty bright. The problem is that he’s so blinded by partisanship that he seems to think that anyone who would dare to vote for a democrat is sub-human. He’s so driven by partisanship that (just like McCarthy and Muslims, for example) he should just be disregarded on most subjects. I mean, if someone here posted something about Donald Trump committing a crime, for example, his only response would be “yeah but William Jefferson!” I mean, it is what it is. His party is out of power; they can go around saying we’d all have unicorns if only a republican was president, and Jenos apparently would believe it. His only job it seems is to point out what base, sub-human life forms democrats are.

    Anyway, a lot of threads on this site lately have read like daily installments of a “someone on the internet is wrong!” cartoon. People arguing for the sake of arguing and because they think the people who disagree with them are dicks. Anyway.

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  34. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: You’ve spent much of the past two years that the only good Muslims are fictions of the imaginations of deluded leftists and Obama in his goal of converting America to Sharia law (or, in the alternative, dead Muslims)

    I hope you live in a state that’s legalized pot, because otherwise you’re obviously in severe legal jeopardy if you’re that delusional.

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  35. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Gustopher: Your exclusive concern for Americans, and those with strong ties to America is noted.

    And your rejection of patriotism — of putting one’s own country and countrymen — ahead of other nations — is also noted.

    But your description of my concerns as “exclusive” is rejected.

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  36. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: I doubt you’ll answer this, but just what is your plan to deal with terrorists?

    One does not necessarily need to know the answer to know what is not the answer. For example, I am fairly comfortable that a cure for cancer involves decapitation, that the square root of 1,156 is not lavender, and that the ideal height for a basketball player is not 4’11”.

    In other words, knowing what doesn’t work doesn’t mean I know what does.

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  37. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: One gets the sense that Jenos would never, ever – ever say something like this to another guys face.

    Why would I fear saying it? Are you saying that fine, upstanding, liberal folks like yourself could be driven to physical violence by mere words? From someone like me?

    Oh, yeah, you’re not saying that. You go to great lengths to avoid actually saying anything of substance.

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  38. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Exactly what I expected from you. Nothing.

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