What started as a rumor was soon just about confirmed on February 17, 2015. “Jihadist militants from Islamic State (IS),” reported BBC News, “have burned to death 45 people in the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, the local police chief says.”
Exactly who these people were and why they were killed is not clear, but Col Qasim al-Obeidi said he believed some were members of the security forces.
IS fighters captured much of the town, near Ain al-Asad air base, last week.
Col Obeidi said a compound that houses the families of security personnel and local officials was now under attack.
None of the Muslim leaders and spokesmen quoted in this article address this story from Ibn Ishaq’s eighth-century account of Muhammad’s conquest of Khaybar, even to explain why the conduct of the man whom the Qur’an holds up as the supreme example to be emulated by Muslims (33:21) is not to be emulated in this case: “Kinana b. al-Rabi`, who had the custody of the treasure of B. al-Nadir, was brought to the apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came (T. was brought) to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, ‘Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?’ he said Yes. The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr b. al-Awwam, ‘Torture him until you extract what he has,’ so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.” (Ibn Ishaq 515).
There is also this hadith, in which Muhammad says: “Certainly I decided to order the Mu’adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses.” (Bukhari 1.11.626)
Yes, there is also a contradictory, as is so often the case, since most or all of the hadith literature was fabricated to support the positions of various factions vying for power in the eighth and ninth centuries: “Narrated ‘Ikrima: Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to ‘Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn ‘Abbas who said, ‘If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, “Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).” I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”’” … (Bukhari 9.84.57)
To listen to the neoconservative and the pseudo-conservative interventionists who mar American media, it’s all so simple with “dem terrorists,” so black and white. Let’s go in there, again, and knock their collective block off. For those of us who grasp the complexity and intransigence of the region and its players, it comes as no surprise to learn that the “tight inner group” of the Islamic State, numbering 12-15 members, consists of “former high officers from the Baath army which served Saddam Hussein up until the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Members of this group ranged in rank from lieutenant-colonel to general.”
Ex-Maj. Gen. Abu Ali al-Anbari, its outstanding figure, acts as Al Baghdadi senior lieutenant. He also appears to be the brain that has charted ISIS’s current military strategy which, our sources learn, focuses on three major thrusts: the activation of sleeper cells in Europe for coordinated terrorist operations: multiple, synchronized attacks in the Middle East along a line running from Tripoli, Libya, through Egyptian Suez Canal cities and encompassing the Sinai Peninsula; and the full-dress Iraqi-Syrian warfront, with the accent currently on the major offensive launched Thursday, March 29, to capture the big Iraq oil town of Kirkuk. Debkafile was first to report the arrival in Sinai during the first week of December of a group of ISIS officers from Iraq to take command of their latest convert, Ansar Beit Al-Miqdas.
Another former Iraqi army officer was entrusted with coordinating ISIS operations between the East Libyan Islamist contingent and the Sinai movement. Their mission is to topple the rule of President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi.
The imported Iraqi command made its presence felt in Libya Tuesday, Jan. 27 …
Long before Saddam’s ouster, Baathism had stopped being an ideology and had instead become a vessel for power. It’s not too much of a leap for yesterday’s Baathists to become today’s Islamists. Indeed, Saddam Hussein himself found religion after his 1991 military defeat. That’s when “God is Great” appeared in Arabic on the Iraqi flag, and in the years before Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Fedayeen Saddam roamed Baghdad acting as morality police as stringent as those of ISIS today. Dozens of women, for example, were beheaded for alleged morality crimes.
In an interview with the Japanese news service NHK, former vice president Tariq al-Hashemi, a staunch Sunni Islamist convicted of terrorism charges under Prime Minister Maliki (but in a court with many Sunni justices), reported that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a former Baathist.
When I met with a former Baathist general as well as a member of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence service this past summer after Mosul’s fall, they were quite open that they cooperated with ISIS, even if they did not fully subordinate themselves to them.
Were Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and is his successor Haider al-Abbadi paranoid about Baathists and many in the Sunni Arab community? You betcha. Is that paranoia without justification? Absolutely not. …
For the neoconservatives, ground zero in the creation of the Islamic State (ISIS) is the departure of the American occupying forces without a Status of Force Agreement (SOFA). At the behest of President Barack Obama, or so the allegation goes, the American military decamped, in December of 2011, without securing an SOFA. A residual American military force in Iraq was to be the thing that would have safeguarded the peace in Iraq. Broadcaster Mark Levin regularly rails about the SOFA amulet. Most Republicans lambaste Obama for failing to secure the elusive SOFA.
So high is Barack Obama’s cringe-factor that conservatives have been emboldened to dust-off an equally awful man and present him, his policies and his dynastic clan to the public for another round.
The man, President George W. Bush, did indeed sign a security pact with his satrap, Nuri al-Maliki, much to the dismay of very many Iraqis. Although the agreement was ratified behind the barricades of the Green Zone, journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi “spoke” on behalf of his battered Iraqi brothers and sister: He lobbed a loafer at Bush shouting, “This is a farewell… you dog! This is for the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!”
Saddam Hussein—both dictator and peace maker—had no Status of Force Agreement with the U.S. He did, however, use plenty of force to successfully control his fractious country. Highly attuned to the slightest Islamist rumbling, Saddam squashed these ruthlessly. When the shah of Iran was overthrown by the Khomeini Islamist revolutionaries, the secular Saddam feared the fever of fanaticism would infect Iraq. He thus extinguished any sympathetic Shiite “political activism” and “guerrilla activity” by imprisoning, executing and driving rebels across the border, into Iran. It wasn’t due process, but it wasn’t ISIS. This “principle” was articulated charmingly and ever-so politely to emissaries of another empire, in 1878: “My people will not listen unless they are killed,” explained Zulu King Cetshwayo to the British imperial meddlers, who disapproved of Zulu justice. They nevertheless went ahead and destroyed the mighty Zulu kingdom in the Anglo-Zulu War (1879), exiling its proud king. …
Adam Kokesh the soldier returned from Iraq and sobered up. Now, Kokesh is truly fighting for authentic American liberties. But does the Idiocracy even have an inkling what freedom is, any longer? Are Americans as stupid as the small and select sample interviewed by Kokesh for the YouTube clip “The Truth About American Sniper from An Iraq Combat Veteran”? Judging from the mantra mouthed throughout the exchange with viewers of American Sniper—“Navy SEAL Chris-Kyle-was-fighting-for-our-freedom”—the answer is, “Yes, they are.”
After writing for the North American market for almost 20 years—and certainly since I became persona non grata among Republicans for exposing their war propaganda—I suspect the courageous Adam Kokesh is fighting a losing battle.
But so am I.
UPDATE: Chris Kyle, Worse Than Just A Bad Ass.
Jack Kerwick does an exhaustive job of “sorting out truth from myth” about Chris Kyle. Wow. I didn’t know the half of it: “Once we are swept up in hero-worship—or maybe its idolatry—reason, facts, logic, evidence, and, most importantly, considerations of fundamental fairness and decency are all too easily swept away.”
Kerwick, moreover, cites one A.J. Delgado, who made short work of Kyle on no less a mainstream publication than National Review.
So why the hysteria over those who refuse to hero-worship this guy?
Who offered the following astute, if utilitarian, analysis, in mitigation of an invasion of Iraq, in 1994?
… if we had gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over and took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world. And if you take down the central government in Iraq, you could easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have, the west. Part of eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim. Fought over for eight years. In the north, you’ve got the Kurds. And if the Kurds spin loose and join with Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.
Bush’s Vice president Dick Cheney, one of the architects of the invasion of Iraq in 2002, had advised against it in 1994. His predictions as to the destabilization of Iraq—he doesn’t mention the bloodshed, because Cheney was never one to count bodies—have come to pass.
You’ll probably say this is a serious defect, but the CIA torture tempest has never been uppermost in my mind.
The Senate Select Intelligence Committee report on the C.I.A.’s interrogation-and-detention program during the Bush era, just like the torture furor that erupted at the time, is nothing more than a foil and a fig leaf; a cover for complicit journalists, jurists, politicians and pointy heads, who all skirted the real issue:
In invading Iraq and vanquishing an innocent people—Bush, Cheney, Clinton, Kerry and the gonzo journos who backed them absolutely, prosecuted an illegal, immoral and calamitous war. Torture is a subspecies of a larger crime. Fussing about it in this context is like harping on a murderer’s traffic violations.