ISIS declares its captured territories in Iraq and Syria an Islamic caliphate called “The Islamic State”
With success in capturing and holding large portions of territory from Iraq and parts of Syria, the insurgent group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has formally declared itself as a caliphate, or an Islamic nation, and changed its name simply to “The Islamic State”. In a statement, ISIS said it had fulfilled the dream of establishing a worldwide center for Sunni Islam, with the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi a “leader for Muslims everywhere”. This put’s ISIS’s new self-defined nation right in the middle of an already ongoing struggle for Iraqi Kurdistan to separate itself from Iraq, with several world leaders saying they support an independent Kurdistan. So now you’ve got Syria well into civil war, Iraq having multiple states and quasi-states overlapping each other for control of the region, and despite the US making some diplomatic triumphs, things have gone from bad to worse to worser in a short period of time, and this is well beyond what one or two outside nations alone can handle.
Sometimes it’s hard not to see all the crap that’s going on in the world now, all the crap that’s been going on in the world for the past 30 years and wonder what the hell is going on in the Middle East/Arab/Persian diaspora that has made them so cranky for this long. Vox has put together a great collection of 40 maps, showing the history of the Middle East and the Islamic empire from the beginning of recorded time until now to put things in perspective.
One of Iran’s official press agencies published photos showing the public amputation of a thief’s fingers on Wednesday. These show a man getting his finger chopped off with a machine resembling a rotary saw. (tumblr is very against gore, so no graphic images)
A couple days ago, we showed you the Cone Crust Pizza, only available at Pizza Hut in the Middle East. And now… look at this shit. Kit Kat Pops, little Kit Kat bars wrapped in warm, sweet pizza dough. Did Pizza Hut look at this and say “No way Americans would buy candy wrapped in pizza dough. We’re too health conscious for that.” BULLSHIT.
Adding more saber-rattling to the Middle East and Central Asia, Pakistan said a couple days ago that if Israel decides to attack Iran, Pakistan will firmly be on the side of Iran and will attack Israel in retaliation.
Daily Discussion: To what extent was Bush’s invasion of Iraq responsible for the wave of Arab revolution, if at all?
I know that this discussion is bound to be inflammatory, but maybe we can be as adult and thoughtful as possible. With Gaddafi gone from Libya, with revolutions having toppled leaders or at least shaken up leaders across the Middle East and North Africa, will this eventually be a vindication of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam Hussein or is it unrelated?
Al Jazeera takes an interesting in-depth look at Anonymous’ support of democratic uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. I’m sure Anonymous wants to take more credit than they’re actually due, but the structure of Anonymous does have the potential to be a force for good across the globe.
Obama gave a big address to the nation today on the goings on in the Middle East, America’s role in the Middle East etc. It was a pretty good speech, and I just hope that in my lifetime shit gets cleaned up there— I was born in 1978 and my entire lifetime so far has been defined by hearing about unrest all over the Middle East and North Africa. That shit’s been going on for too long.
China’s been trying to suppress news of the revolutions in the Middle East, but North Korea is just as closed out as usual, so probably no one in Best Korea has any idea of the changes going in the world around them. But South Korea has been floating balloons across the northern border with printed news packets from the world with the message “A dictatorial regime is destined to collapse.”
Sadly, this probably won’t work at all, considering how completely and utterly brainwashed North Koreans are, and how I don’t think most people in NK see Kim Jong Il as a dictator, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
In Libya in the last couple of days, anti-government protests have been heating up, with the apex being when Ghaddafi ordered the military to fire on protestors from the air with fighter planes. Two pilots refused to carry out orders and defected, flying their planes to Malta.
Exciting times to be alive, is it not? The Middle East is aflame with the fires of democracy as one country after another erupts into pro-democracy demonstrations. Libya, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran. Can Libya topple the ever-fashionable Muammar al-Gaddafi? What will the Middle East and North Africa look like if it’s not filled with theocratic dictators and kings?
If you’re looking for some amazing hour by hour coverage, the Guardian has a great liveblog of the goings-on in Libya and Bahrain, which you can read here.