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The other day the Chechen social media page vk.com/karfagen was banned.

This is not surprising, considering that it was genuinely extremist from head to toe, though it is perhaps telling of the Russian state’s priorities that it took longer for Roskomnadzor to catch onto them than it did for it to illegally block the moderate Russian nationalist website Sputnik i Pogrom.

The ban came a few hours after a Meduza article by Daniil Turovsky on the webside, which was translated into English by Kevin Rothrock. The website, allegedly run by a 19 year old Chechen student, was devoted to harassing young women who shared “immoral” photos on social media, including posting their addresses and relatives’ contact details. If that resulted in honor killings, that’s just too bad, one of the Carthage activists shouted in all caps: “IF I FIND OUT THAT SOME VAINAKH FAMILY HAS KILLED THEIR OWN DAUGHTER FOR SOME SERIOUS OFFENSE, THEN I WILL STAND UP AND APPLAUD, BECAUSE IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.” Women were forbidden from commenting.

Apart from doing their bit to make White Sharia real in Chechnya, the Carthage activists also embraced a sort of horseshoe theory Islamism (“You’re trying to distort our religion, publicly promoting the slogan ‘Islam is a religion of peace and good’”), as well as ultranationalist rhetoric. As with women, this extended to website administration; a tenth of the user base identified as Russians were kicked out in September. This is connected with Carthage billing itself as a “youth movement for the purification of the Vainakh people.” They did not mince words about their opinions of the Russian kuffar, who “pair off with anyone they want like animals” and “conceive children in the nightclub toilets.” Although they don’t promote Chechen independence, that is clearly driven by pragmatic reasons: “Chechnya is currently a subject of the Russian Federation, and it would be foolish of me to promote separatism among the masses.”

Now one might perhaps rejoinder that these are just some isolated nutjobs. One can mention the usual canard that there are Christian and non-Chechen extremists too.

But here’s the key difference: The 55,000 membership of Carthage on Vkontakte at the time of its closure represents 3.5% of all the Chechens in Russia.

For an online community where joining is entirely voluntary – i.e., the opposite of Kadyrov’s rallies – and not even entirely riskless, given the propensity of the most outspoken Islamists to be “disappeared” within Chechnya, these are astounding figures.

For comparison, the far right Ukrainian organization Right Sector on vk.com also has around 50,000 people while drawing from 30 times the population. Sputnik i Pogrom itself, perhaps the most popular Russian “extremist” resource, has around 110,000 supporters on that platform.

Even “normie” Ukrainian mass movements that dominated the headlines for months on end in 2013-2014 such as Euromaidan and Antimaidan still have 600,000 and 500,000 supporters, respectively, constituting about 1% of Ukraine’s population each, despite both movements also having a substantial international component.

Nor is this confined to Chechnya; earlier this year, Meduza had also reported on Chechen thot patrols harassing and threatening Chechen women who got too friendly with the kuffar, a story that got picked up in the Western alternate media. Carthage also had plans to expand to Ingushetia and Dagestan, at least before it was shut down. (There is also a Tatar “analogue” to Carthage called TTM, which remains accessible to date, though it only has 1,200 followers and my cursory examination of it suggests it’s more in the vein of /pol/-style trolling than hardcore Islamist nationalism).

All of this indicates that Carthage is the genuine voice of the Chechen people, as grassroots as the 1.8% interethnic marriage rates of Chechen women in Russia.

Once the Putin-Kadyrov “special relationship” breaks down due to political or actuarial factors, a new generation of skinny jeans wearing, organic food court-frequenting Russians will have to reenter political negotiations with a new generation of young, Internet-savvy Chechens who are more into stonings for adultery in the Caucasus Emirate.

 

grozny-protest-myanmar

Anti-Myanmar protest in a nominally Russian region. Source: Елена Афонина / ТАСС / Scanpix / LETA

Photogenic female face of resistance to the junta and Nobel Peace Prize winner comes to power as de facto leader of Myanmar.

Some of Aung San Suu Kyi’s comments about a certain Muslim minority in her country up to that point had been disconcerting for NYT readers, but still, that wasn’t a big deal. It’s not like a Myanmar is a European country and the Rohingya are Chechens in the 1990s (though in that situation, it was the Chechens doing all the ethnic cleansing).

Anyhow, her government proceeds to step up statutory discrimination against said Muslim minority ramps up to what now appears to be large-scale ethnic cleansing.

Now China is friends with Myanmar, good location for a port and an outlet into the Indian Ocean not dependent on the Malacca Straits, and regularly vetoes all UN resolutions against Myanmar. Russia is friends with China, and supports it on these vetoes, just as China does likewise for Russia in Europe. Some bellicose Muslim minority isn’t going to bother them, especially considering that both of them have their own Rohingyas in the form of the Uyghurs and the Chechens.

There’s more WEIRD os who care about such sentimental stuff in the West, of course, but what with Trump’s latest adventures and Best Korea throwing about missiles every other day, there’s plenty of far more interesting stuff to occupy their attention. Besides, there’s no oil in Myanmar, and coming out too stridently against a female resistance leader they had patronized for decades would be a bit awkward.

Fortunately, there was someone to take up the slack, /ourguy/ Ramzan “White Sharia” Kadyrov.

He was very triggered and cried on Intagram all about it.

Soon after, a thousand strong crowd of Muslims gathered around the Myanmar Embassy in Moscow with their usual Allah Snackbars and the less usual “Buddhists are terrorists.” While someone more cynically disposed might sarcastically remark about how the mob must have collectively worked up a few hundreds years’ worth of jailtime under Article 282, Russia’s hate speech statue, we as civilized multicultural Europeans must take a more generous and enlightened view of our Muslim countrymen. Surely they were just discussing this 2013 TIME magazine cover.

time-buddhist-terror

Apart from inciting an unsanctioned extremist protest in the capital, Ramzan Kadyrov also herded in hundreds of thousands of Chechens to the center of Grozny in solidarity with the people of Rohingya. One idly wonders how many of them could point to Myanmar on a world map. A hundred? A dozen?

And here is based Chechen man Ramzan Kadyrov himself, governor of a region where more than 80% of the local budget is financed from Moscow:

Why is the Russian media silent? … You think, I am happy with this. Not at all!

And if even Russia was to support these shaitans, who are carrying out these crimes, I will oppose Russia’s position!

“Russia’s” position, along with China’s, is to block UN resolution after UN resolution against what it considers Myanmar’s Anti-Terrorist Operation.

I have my own vision, my own position.

The spread of Islamic identity politics beyond Kadyrov’s fiefdom to Russia at large and even the outside world, all courtesy of the Russian taxpayer.

And why shouldn’t Kadyrov play around? Judging by the muted reaction of the Kremlin, he has nothing to risk.

The cautious and elderly men who rule Russia are constitutionally incapable of fitting Muslims chanting “Buddhists are terrorists” into the Soviet-Putinist worldview of a “friendship of peoples” united against Wahhabis and fascists. The Moscow mayoralty saw nothing untowards in the unsanctioned protests against the Embassy of a sovereign power, there being no arrests, even though an analogous action by any other political group would have been unceremoniously dispersed by the OMON.

The reaction of the Russian MSM has been as schizophrenic as it has been demented, probably the result of no common position having come down from an equally confused Kremlin. Vladimir Solovyev, Russia’s most famous political talkshow host and fawning, has developed a rather strange interest in the welfare of the Rohingya in the past couple of days. State news agency RIA published “Muslim Non-Brothers” criticizing the Moscow protests, and was deleted almost immediately (cached version); on the other hand, the conservative-patriotic tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda article by Alexander Kots that was clearly substantially “inspired” by the former is still up: “Why, Ramzan, Mix Politics and Islam“? RT triangulated, making the case for why it was Soros’ fault.

Meanwhile, Putin has joined Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in condemning “all violence” in Myanmar.

The logical conclusion is that political Islam works in Russia. It gets results. Minority nationalist and sectarian activists have observed it to work, and will draw the required lessons.

The only silver lining is that is about Myanmar and as per above nobody really cares about Myanmar apart from Myanmar and Ramzan Kadyrov. And I suppose Bangladesh, who are having to take in the refugees. Poor Bangladesh, when not flooded by water, flooded by people, as if it still has any room to spare.

Still, there’s no reason this experiment couldn’t be repeated in the future. A whole vista of fascinating scenarios open up.

How wonderful would it be if “Putin’s political son” (according to The Saker) and “Putin’s soldier” (according to Kadyrov himself) were to one day discover the plight of the Uyghurs and force Putin to condemn violence on all sides there? Maybe even send some fighters to help out in the struggle against the Chicom shaitans. At least Kadyrov acknowledged that sending troops to Myanmar is “unrealistic” on account of “the geography,” though he added that if it was up to him, he’d “drop a nuclear bomb there to destroy those people killing women, children, and the elderly.” Happily, no such problems with Xinjiang, which borders Russia.

Or why even bother with Xinjiang. Lots of other potential Islamic states within Russia’s borders. Any one or all of them might conceivable come to be oppressed in Kadyrov’s “vision” and “position.”

Ridiculous to imagine today, of course. But stranger things have happened before. The one sure thing is that the West will still figure out how to blame Russians for everything.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Chechnya, Islamism, Myanmar, Russia 

To be sure, supporting sharia law doesn’t necessarily make you a radical Islamist who hates modern civilization.

It is, after all, a cultural as well as a legal tradition. There are four distinct schools of sharia jurisprudence, with a long history of internal debate between them. Although some schools are hardline, some are surprisingly liberal. Nor has it even always been particularly illiberal, in relative terms. While giving women have the inheritance might not be all that great, it was an improvement over most other 7th century legal systems, which gave them none.

I do somewhat sympathize with those Muslims who instead of taking the easy road of aping the West are instead trying to modernize their own traditions.

Problem: It’s almost certainly a lost cause because there are so very few of the above. correlation-sharia-death-for-apostasy While there might be the occasional Muslim (or quasi-Muslim postmodernist) attempting to derive the legality of gay marriage from the hadiths, in practice there is a remarkably close association support for sharia law, and support for other highly regressive practices that are incompatible with high civilization.

For instance, the correlation between support for sharia law and the death penalty for apostasy is r=0.79 (as per PEW data). You are not going to get very far in an intellectual conversation about the finer points of the Hanafi school’s position on the question of whether brain emulations have a soul with a typical sharia law supporter in a society where support for sharia law is high.

Like it or not, when the statistically average Muslim expresses support for sharia law, he is affirming his Islamic identity and its various correlates, such as death for apostasy and stoning for adultery – and not so much things like equal dialogue of civilizations and solidarity in the international anti-imperialist struggle.

Just as Arthur Jensen argued that IQ can be considered as a central node amongst many other economic and socio-economic variables, the so-called “g nexus,” I suspect that one could also describe a sort of “sharia nexus” to quantify the relative backwardness of Muslim societies on different inter-correlated issues.

A couple of years ago, there was a chart floating about on the /pol/sphere that collated a bunch of PEW polls that queried Muslims on different questions that might be of interest to responsible immigration and anti-terrorist authorities. The sharia nexus is evident even to the naked eye, and is clearly stronger even than just IQ. sharia-nexus

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Islamism, Law 

I made this map based on Razib Khan’s calculated figures of the percentage of Muslims around the world who support the death penalty for apostasy, which he compiled using data from the 2013 PEW global survey of Muslim attitudes.

map-death-for-apostasy-in-islam-poll

Click to enlarge. Warning: Large map!

EDIT: Forgot to include figures for Russian Muslims – it is at ~6%, about same as Tajikistan. See comment.

These figures were derived on the basis of the percentage of Muslims who agreed that sharia should be the law of the land, and in turn on the percentage of sharia supporters who agree with capital punishment for apostates from Islam, as prescribed in tradition. As Razib Khan points out, these figures represent a minimum, because there might be a few Muslims who don’t support sharia law but support the death penalty for apostasy. Nonetheless, such cases will be few and far between, so the figures can probably be taken more or less at face value.

Commentary is largely superfluous, so I will limit myself to just a few remarks:

(1) A solid majority of Muslims in Egypt support the death penalty. Conservatively assuming 80% of the population is Sunni Muslim, that’s 51% of the population that are essentially Islamist extremists and potential Islamic State sympathizes. That also happens to be the exact percentage that voted for Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi in 2012. This probably makes liberal democracy in Egypt all but impossible: Its either the mustachioed soldiers or the bearded preachers. Choose one.

(2) The majority of Muslims in Malaysia and Jordan, both countries widely seen as “moderate,” support the dealth penalty for apostasy.

(3) The only country of the Arab Spring to transition to a more or less functioning democracy is Tunisia. Probably not coincidentally, it is also the most religiously “progressive” of all the Arab states. In those areas where the Islamic State has been taking power – northern Iraq, eastern Syria, the Sinai, the central Libyan coast, chunks of Afghanistan – it appears that the local population supports the death penalty for apostasy and other extremist interpretations of Islam, far more so than even in the rest of the world. Perhaps ~50% is a sort of “tipping point” for the most rabidly chiliastic Islamist cults to take root?

(4) There is very likely a connection between Islamic radicalism (and depressed IQs) with cousin marriage (see my post on the close correlation between the rate of cousin marriage and support for Islamic State in Syria).

(5) It seems almost banal to point it out, but then again, as Gregory Cochran points out, even very obvious things need to be repeated now and then.

Anyone who supports the death penalty for religious apostasy is, by definition, a fundamentalist. In many, perhaps most, Muslim countries, a majority or close to a majority qualifies as such.

There are very, very big and disturbing figures.

That famous "Moderate Muslim" infographic: Not the same thing as a moderate Christian or Buddhist.

That famous “Moderate Muslim” infographic: Not the same thing as a moderate Christian or Buddhist.

It is highly unlikely would find more than 1% of Christians in any country supporting the death penalty for apostasy, and even that 1% would as often as not be merely trolling the pollster. The only surveyed major Muslim countries with a comparable level of insanity are Kazakhstan and possibly Turkey. Regardless of 70 years of secular propaganda, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have three to five times the number of fundamentalists per capita, with 5-6% of their Muslim population supporting death for apostasy; though still an order of magnitude better than neighboring Afpak and the Middle East, these figures can already make themselves felt in events such as the defection of a senior Tajik policeman to the Islamic State.

It only gets worse from there on. Tunisia, with 16% of the population being fundamentalists, gets regularly wracked by terrorist strikes; Bangladesh, with 33%, sees atheist bloggers murdered with impunity. The percentage of Muslims who are fundamentalists in Western Europe is (based on other polls) probably generally around the 25% mark. That is a lot of fundamentalists. And it translates to a permanent, simmering terrorist threat. Which – rather conveniently? – requires an ever expanding security/surveillance state to keep suppressed. Once you go above the 50% mark, as in Jordan, Pakistan, or Egypt, only a dictator or a well-respected monarch prevents the people – the demos – from actualizing their back-to-the-roots fantasies.

This is why apples to apples comparisons of Islamic fundamentalism to extremism in other religions and feel good slogans like #NotAllMuslims are naive and facile at best.

***

Based on these figures from Razib Khan:

Sharia should be law of land Muslims who believe sharia should be law who accept death penalty for apostasy % of Muslims who accept death penalty for apostasy
Afghanistan 99% 79% 78%
Pakistan 84% 76% 64%
Egypt 74% 86% 64%
Palestinian territories 89% 66% “59%
Jordan 71% 82% 58%
Malaysia 86% 62% 53%
Iraq 91% 42% 38%
Bangladesh 82% 44% 36%
Tunisia 56% 29% 16%
Lebanon 29% 46% 13%
Indonesia 72% 18% 13%
Tajikstan 27% 22% 6%
Kyrgyzstan 35% 14% 5%
Bosnia 15% 15% 2%
Kosovo 20% 11% 2%
Turkey 12% 17% 2%
Albania 12% 8% 1%
Kazakhstan 10% 4% 0%
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Fundamentalists, Islam, Islamism, Map 

Here is one of the most popular feel-good #refugeeswelcome cartoons going round the Internets these past few days by the cartoonist John Cole:

john-cole-know-the-enemy

Of course, one not inconsiderable problem is that a disturbingly big percentage of Syrian refugees – some 13% of them, according to a November 2014 poll by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies – say they have a positive view of the Islamic State. Moreover, another 10% are negative towards them but only just to some extent.

So what we have is that almost precisely a quarter of Syrian refugees are either outright positive about ISIS, or have only moderate disagreements with them (they don’t want to get conscripted by them?).

doha-poll-2014-arab-support-for-islamic-state

So, informed by these demographic realities, and taking into account the tendency of second generation Muslim immigrations to radicalize, here is my modest suggestion for improving John Cole’s cartoon:

john-cole-know-the-enemy-fixed

 
• Category: Humor • Tags: Cartoon, Immigration, Islamism, Trolling 
france-attacks-fever

Summary of the Russian nationalist response to #ParisAttacks.

A Cruel French Lesson, by Egor Kholmogorov appeared in the November 14 issue of Komsomolskaya Pravda, one of the leading Russian dailies. It outlines what is pretty much the standard right-wing conservative Russian position on the #ParisAttacks.

Some context: After the terrorist strikes, many outspoken Russian liberals rushed to wrap their digital selves in the French flag; a status signalling action made easy by Facebook’s provision of a French flag avatar coloration app (one could cynically add: To mark the most significant event in the world since the US legalization of gay marrage). This is in stark contrast to the relative silence over the Russian victims of the terrorist downing of the aircraft over the Sinai – and for that matter, the silence in regards to Lebanon, and for that matter, for Syria pretty much nonstop since 2011. (The Egyptians at least were commendably consistent, bathring the Pyramids in the flags of all four of the aforementioned nations).

To be sure, many Russians who adopted the French flag did so on the fly, with no intentions of making any overtly political point. However, some of the more ideologically pro-Western Russians were more to the point in justifying increased attention for French versus Russian victims of jihadi terrorism. For instance, the Russian liberal “hipster” publication GQ was very explicit in defending its decision to feature the Paris Attacks over KGL9268 on the grounds that they idenfied with the City of Lights as a “permanent festival,” whereas for them their own homeland was a permanent “territory of woe” and thus unworthy of any particular attention (this binary characterization might seem rather optimistic to anyone actually familiar with the Parisian banlieues). An English language illustration of this phenomenon is this Foreign Policy piece by Julia Ioffe, which bizarrely justifies the discrepancy in terms of the better performance of French special forces at Bataclan relative to Nord-Ost (no mention being made of the fact that the Chechen terrorists in 2002 were ten times as numerous and far better equipped).

Bearing this in mind, the patriotic and conservative types – seeing such widespread attitudes in the Russian media as an implicit endorsement of the theme that Westerners are first-rate peoples and the center of civilization, as opposed to disposable Russians in peripheral Eurasia – have not been overly concerned with sensitivity right now, which is clearly expressed in Kholmogorov’s article. He is not writing for Westerners, but for Russians on his side of the domestic culture war.

To be sure, translation ≠ endorsement, and there are several points one can take issue with him on. There is too much butthurt over Charlie Hebdo, which – contrary to its high media profile – is in reality a very low circulation publication in France itself. Furthermore, the French state obviously has no obligation to apologize for it. Tying the emergence of ISIS to France’s Levantine policies between the wars is far too radical a causal stretch and besides the point in relations to current French policies anyway. Perhaps most critically of all, the Russian obsession with the West – most prominent amongst the Westernists, of course, but still making itself felt, if in an inverted form, amongst nationalists like Kholmogorov – is perhaps unseemly and even maladaptive, since ironically one could say that this merely reflects and confirms Russia’s status as a peripheral country.

Nonetheless, I believe the vast majority of the points Kholmogorov makes are fair and to the point, and moreover the fact that something so “politically incorrect” can be published in a major Russian daily – can one imagine anything similar in The New York Times? Or even The Daily Mail? – testifies to the fact that Putin’s Russia, ethnically blank slatist as it might formally be, is nonetheless as good ally as any to those Europeans who still support European civilization and self-determination.

***

A Cruel French Lesson

by Egor Kholmogorov

http://www.kp.ru/daily/26458.7/3328330/

The hideous acts of terrorism in France strongly resemble a fast-forward video of the decades long terrorist war that has been waged against Russia. The massacre at the Bataclan theater is basically a French version of Nord-Ost…

So we in Russia understand what is now happening with the French like few others.

But this tragedy occured at a rather inconvenient time in relations between the two countries. It came on the heels of a French magazine’s vulgar lampooning of the victims of the terrorist attack on our aircraft over the Sinai. I have not seen a single public apology from the French. Our officials are the only people who have tried reassuring us that real French people are ashamed about this… Thus, all expressions of sympathy, alas, have to begin with a caveat: “Regardless of your mockery of the terrorist attack against us, we do really feel for you.”

We feel for you because we ourselves have felt such tragedies on our shoulders. We sympathize, and we sympathize sincerely.

But approaching this with a cool head, one can’t deny that this case is also a matter of France paying the bills, and for multiple accounts at once.

The terrorists shouted, “This is for Syria!” And this is, at some level, “For Syria” – not in the sense that French aviation is bombing ISIS, but in that when France after the First World War received a mandate to govern Syria, it first divided that territory into five states along confessional lines: Christian, Alawite, Sunni, Druze, and Armenian. Then it took them and used them to glue together two states – Syria and Lebanon, thus laying the foundations for civil war in both countries. Had they either kept Syria unified, or properly divided, there would have been no ISIS.

Two years ago, President Hollande rattled his sabre harder than anyone else in pushing for an American intervention in Syria [against Assad], and was only narrowly stopped at the last moment by Vladimir Putin.

It was Hollande and his predecessor Sarkozy who supported the overthrow of Gaddafi, who welcomed the Islamic Revolution in Egypt, who seeded the flames of war in Syria and in so doing became directly responsible for the creation of ISIS, Al-Nusra, and similar demons, for the spread of their activities to France and all Europe, and for the overwhelming waves of refugees.

When in January murderers took care of the editorial staff of Charlie Hebdo, instead of a sane adjustment to security and migration policy, Hollande was only interested in preventing Marine Le Pen from getting any political kudos and kickstarted the hysterical tolerance campaign “Je suis Charlie.”

Moreover, the objects of sympathy should not have been a bunch of talentless hacks, but those French citizens who were in danger of becoming victims of terrorism in the future!

Migration policy should have been tightened, and border controls strengthened. A campaign should have begun to fight against terrorist organizations globally and against the Islamist underground in France itself.

Instead of this, the orgy of “tolerance” continued, as Hollande occupied himself with weightier matters, such as saving the Kievan junta and clamping down on Mistral sales. France became a best friend of Qatar – one of the main sponsors of radical terrorism, including ISIS.

And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you…

The most horrifying fact of this strategy is that the killers in the Bataclan spoke good French with no accent. This means that they are not recent immigrants, recently arrived from the Middle East. These are French high school graduates, perhaps – French citizens, to whom they tried to teach the lessons of tolerance.

There is a hard-hitting film from 2008 starring Isabelle Adjani called La Journée de la Jupe. A female teacher in an immigrant quadrant of Paris, despairing of the thuggery and unwillingness to learn of her students, and tired of their barbaric morals, finds a gun in the possession of one of them. She grabs the gun and proceeds to take the class hostage, and force the impudent rascals to study the biography of Molière and respect women at gunpoint. The police and bureaucrats dance about in the background, convinced that the “intolerant” teacher is the main threat. Special forces prepare to storm the classroom. But in the end, the gun ends up in the hands of one of the pupils, and there begins a bloody massacre. This is a very enlightenening film that everyone should watch today.

So it is impossible to say that the French themselves are unaware of what is happening with them. And it is no accident that the Front National of Marine Le Pen is France’s leading party. But the political system there has been specially arranged in such a way that even with a plurality of the votes, the National Front still get the smallest amount of seats in Parliament. This means that the situation will only change when the Front National starts getting more than 50% of the total votes.

Dictatorships can always be excused away by the fact that the incompetence of the man in power is paid for by the sufferings of people who never elected him. But France is a democratic country. It has political leaders who were ready to rearrange politics in a way that could avert tragedy. They could have voted for Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002 and 2007, and for Marine Le Pen in 2012. They not only could have, but should have, voted for Marine in 2012. But instead, the French elected Hollande and his party of tolerant hypocrites.

Today has revealed the frightful cost of that decision. The streets of Paris have been stained with blood, as mobs of fightened and bewildered people rampaged through the city.

But will even this shock change anything? If, regardless of the newly introduced State of Emergency, the regional elections of December 6th go ahead – will the French finally be ready to put a stop to all this, or will they continue to vote for freedom for terrorists, and equality and brotherhood with bandits?

I am afraid that the answer to this horror will be a continuation of the same old, same old. Western propaganda has already adapted an essentially totalitarian tenor: “We will rally all the more closely around the values of multiculturalism, we will not allow any expressions of extremism, this is all Assad’s fault, if only he had stepped down – none of this would have happened…”

Unfortunately, it has become clear that what we are seeing is a live translation of the fall of the Roman Empire under the onslaught of the barbarians. The same stubborn refusal to understand what is going on, the same unpreparedness to take serious decisions, the same vacillation and buffoonery in the moment of mortal danger. It would be great if wonderful France were to finally find its Jeanne D’Arc.

But that is hard to believe.

Therefore, Russia’s main task is to learn its lesson – and to defend itself. To defend its territory. Its people. Its aircraft.

To support its allies. To remove the contagion of terrorism from the Middle East and everywhere else. To be prepared to settle accounts not just with its perpetrators, but also its sponsors.

And to avoid hoping that either the French state or Europe will learn any lessons from this. That they will change their politics, join us in fighting our common enemy, or stop behaving like an elephant in a china shop in the East. To plan our moves on such hopes would be nothing more than self-deceit.

But with the French, we sympathize. Stay strong!

 

danish-jihadist-chickBlonde Danish teenager, 15, murdered her mother with a kitchen knife after watching ISIS videos of the beheading of British hostages online.

Afterwards she and her radical Muslim boyfriend Bakhtiar Mohammed Abdulla, 29, took a long-bladed kitchen knife and stabbed her mother Tina Römer Holtegaard at least 20 times at the home they shared in rural Kvissel.

A court which sentenced [Lisa] Borch to nine years in jail heard how she became obsessed with militant Islam after falling in love with an unnamed Muslim man.

But he jilted her when he moved back to Sweden to be with his wife and children.

Nevertheless she found a new soulmate in Iraq-born Abdulla, whom she befriended after meeting at a refugee centre near her home.

Following the brutal murder, in which both Borch and Abdulla participated, the teenager called police claiming: ‘I heard my mother scream and I looked out the window and saw a white man running away. Please come here, there is blood everywhere.’

On arrival police found Mrs Holtegaard, whose husband was away on a short business trip at the time of her murder, covered in her own blood in bed.

Often it is the extreme (nut)cases that best illustrate general social maladies. This story encapsulates most of the constituent elements of the decline and fall of European civilization.

(1) The wild age differentials. You don’t have to be one of those puritan freaks who would slam an eighteen year old’s life for having sex with someone like this at 14, but 29 and 15? That’s a bit too much, man. (Though admittedly just about legal in Denmark).

And the dude already has a wife and kids!

(2) The licentious, totally irresponsible sexual behavior of the lower half of the female bell curve under the banner of feminist empowerment.

Before, this was kept in check through familial, social, and legal strictures. Cavorting with a man double her age with that kind of name would have earned her a spanking, ostracism from the community, and maybe exile to a nunnery. But what is a single mother – she has a stepfather, but he appears to be otherwise absent from the story – to do to control a waywards 15 year old female teenager in a modern European state? Anything much beyond surly disapproval is child abuse, and will be treated as such by Scandinavia’s hyperactive social services. Trying to impart Christian values? Northern European Protestant clergymen make the Pope seem like a paragon of muscular Christianity.

As for society, suffice to say that to SJWs and even some self-styled conservatives, any man making these kinds of arguments is typically denigrated as a “weak” “loser” who is just bitter he “can’t get any,” while any woman who would nod her head to this is obviously under some kind of “false consciousness” foisted on her by the “patriarchy” since according to SJWs no woman who disagrees with them can possibly have any sort of independent agency.

As it is, her mother did try to check Lisa Borch’s self-destructive spiral and got murdered for her trouble.

(3) The avid documentation of all this degeneracy in Instagram, that social media platform most optimized for vapid attention whoring.

(4) All people seek some kind of truth, some absolute moral guidelines to live by. This impulse is much weaker amongst the intelligent, who tend to have the rational faculties and self-control to responsibly exercise freedom. But amongst the lower half of the bell curve, it is predominant.

The modern state has abdicated its responsibility to provide this truth, so people now reach out to all kinds of bizarre cults and ideologies to quench their anomie. This can take arguably positive and creative forms (e.g. transhumanism), or essentially harmless ones (e.g. the deerkin cult on Tumblr), or more malign forms such as the livid nihilism that best characterizes the social justice movement.

If there is one ideology that is most unaninimous and consistent in its insistence on having access to absolute truth, it is Islam.

Women specifically face even greater challenges to their sanity and good sense. That is because all women ultimately seek to submit to a strong man. (Higher IQ women are able to exercise more control over these impulses, while feminist women just have higher demands).

Osama bin Laden, whatever else you might think of him, was a redpilled, intelligent dude. And he said:

When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse.

Hailing from cultures propagandized by Hollywood as far more virile and vibrant than Europe, unrestricted by European mores that encourage restraint in human relations, and freed from the requirement to “check their privilege” on account of their minority status, Muslims and Islamist males in particular are enabled to act the role of the strong horse.

And thus the dregs of society, bereft of the benign paternalism that would have kept them on the right path in older days, are now clamoring to place their bets against their own nations, culture, and – yes – race (Isn’t “I heard my mother scream and I looked out the window and saw a white man running away” very telling in this respect?).

From hip-hop to jihad, how the Islamic State became a magnet for converts

She was a redheaded rebel, the singer in the family, a trash-talking, tattooed 21-year-old wrapped up in a hip-hop dream of becoming Holland’s Eminem. Then Betsy found Allah.

After her sudden conversion to Islam last summer, Betsy — a name given by her family to protect her identity — began dressing in full Muslim robes. By January, the once-agnostic Dutch woman, raised in a home where the only sign of religion was a dusty Bible on a shelf, began defending homegrown terrorists. A feud with her father over her apparent radicalization prompted her to leave home — turning up days later, her parents and Dutch authorities now say, in Syria, where she would become the bride of an Islamic State fighter. …

The profiles of converts joining the Islamic State often mirror that of Betsy. The child of divorced parents, she dropped out of school by age 14, was busted for shoplifting by 16 and was struggling with a drug problem at one point.

I really do think I understand her. I mean, at some level, it’s a choice between a broken home, chronic degeneracy, and a world of cucked faggots in empty suits always reaching new heights in combining self-importance with impotence… or the swarthy alpha male youths they imported, whose brothers are blowing shit up and cutting the throats of those very empty suits in the eastern deserts.

Here’s a Heartiste meme that aptly illustrates this.

islamic-alphas

 

Not a hard choice deciding who’s the stronger horse here! At least, not for 100,000 Brits, most of them younger women!

(5) The legal system isn’t going to cut Lisa Borch’s throat, or even imprison her at least until she’s past her reproductive age. She got 9 years, which means she will be out at 24 years at the latest. Still good for a good 20 years or so of service as a brood mare in the Islamic State.

(6) These problems are most terminal in Western Europe, but its worth mentioning that not even relatively based Eastern European countries are immune to the cancer. Varvara Karaulova is one Russian example (who admittedly doesn’t fit the usual profile for these types – she went to Moscow State University, an elite institution, where she studied Arabic and became a bit too acculturated for her own good). In Ukraine, we have the prominent case of Vita Zaverukha, who ended up committing murders for the European ISIS otherwise known as the Banderite batallions of Aidar, Azov, etc. As the commentator Glossy put it (and diagnosed correctly):

What kind of parents let their 18 year-old DAUGHTER sign up with a death squad during time of war? You’ve got to realize that the junta never had more than 70k people figthing for it. That’s in a country of 40 million. All the caring, functional parents in the Ukraine have already sent their draft-age sons abroad or bought medical papers declaring them schizofrenic paraplegics.

This is what’s left. I’m going to diagnose a broken home and romantic involvement with a Banderite football hooligan/gangster wannabe.

Eastern Europe might not be strongly infected by the suicidal zeitgeist that has overtaken the West, but it suffers from the same social afflictions – broken homes, abdicated social and familiar responsibilities, etc. – that cause so many morally loose and less intelligent, future time orientated Europeans to bet on the wrong (because it is not ours) horse.

I would probably end my ramblings around here, were it not for a pithy remark from a commentator I saw on another article here.

Coates is a good fit here at Unz.

Good observations and analyses of the decline and fall and no practical suggestions on what to do about it.

You want practical suggestions? Here you go, from an atheist:

faith-militant

Only don’t forget to replace the Seven Pointed Star with a Cross or you’ll just get another weird cult.

 

It has the world’s highest number of guns per unit of GDP, a population fast outgrowing the land’s carrying capacity, is riven by ethnic and religious divisions, and its cities look something like the Counter-Strike map de_dust.

Otherwise, I don’t know much about Yemen.

So I will not wax knowledgeable about it except insofar as the incipient intervention there allows me to make a couple wider points on the hypocrisy of international relations.

The first point was eloquently argued by my friend Alexander Mercouris at Sputnik earlier this morning. I will liberally paraphrase henceforth (I would otherwise quote outright, but I wish to add in some additional details as I go).

President Hadi was elected Yemen’s President in 2012 as the sole candidate with 99.8% of the vote, in what Hillary Clinton said was “another important step forward in their democratic transition process.” But early this year he was unseated and fled to the souther port city of Aden, declaring his overthrow illegal, and since then he has fled on to Saudi Arabia. He has called on the UN to “quickly support the legitimate authorities with any means at their disposal,” and his new hosts were quick on the uptake, assembling an Arab coalition of Sunni states and carrying out airstrikes against the Houthi rebels. They are doing this with logistical and intelligence support from the United States and the United Kingdom, both of which have also unequivocally made clear their views on the situation: The Obama administration refers to President Hadi’s regime as “the legitimate government,” and the UK’s Foreign Office calls him the “legitimate President.”

Now compare and contrast with what happened in Ukraine last year. In 2010, Yanukovych was elected President that was declared free and fair by the West. (How could they not? “Their” side had been ruling the country for the past five years). In March 2014, he was overthrown in a coup that was unconstitutional, went against public opinion, and was enabled by what even the Western MSM is admitting looks more and more like a false flag. He fled to Crimea, and then on to Rostov, from where he called himself the “legitimate” President – drawing smirks not only in Ukraine, but in Russia – and asked Russia to restore him to power. Russia didn’t overtly intervene, its influence being mostly circumscribed to the “military surplus store” that it maintains for the Novorossiya Armed Forces. Certainly nowhere near to the extent of using its air power, which could have depleted most Ukrainian military power in a matter of days. But instead of joining Russia in support of Ukraine’s “legitimate” President, there were sanctions and condemnations.

Why? Well, this goes back to my point about Westernism being a revealed truth, and deviation or opposition it being essentially a religious crime. As Alexander Mercouris puts it:

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov calls this a double standard. He is wrong. As Noam Chomsky (the US political activist who is also a prominent linguist) pointed out long ago what Lavrov calls a double standard is actually a single standard: the United States does not consider itself (or its allies) subject to rules of behaviour that apply to everyone else. The United States is always gravely offended when others say otherwise. The “exceptional country” is not subject to rules. It is lese-majeste when “lesser countries” say it is.

Or consider another precedent. In 2011, there was an exceedingly vicious crackdown on Shi’ite protesters against the Sunni Bahraini monarchy, up to and including the Bahraini security forces arresting and imprisoning medics for exercising the Hippocratic Oath and treating the wounded demonstrators. The Saudis ended up sending in their tanks. Did Obama fulfill his promise, made good in Libya that same year, that “we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.” Of course! The US and Britain sold them weapons throughout the turmoil, so in that sense, they indeed did not merely “stand by.”

One more point. The supposedly Iranian-backed Shi’ite Houthis, needless to say, are not exactly friendly with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, whom the US is purportedly at war with. Back when President Saleh was ruling the country before 2012 – the same guy to whom the Houthi rebels now pledge allegiance – a journalist who carried out interviews with Al Qaeda and was suspected of being a bit too friendly with them (human rights organizations disagreed), Abdulelah Haider Shaye, was imprisoned – at the explicit request of the Obama administration, funnily enough.

yemen-civil-war

According to the Wikipedia map, the Houthi insurgency now controls pretty much all of the western part of the country. But in the rest of the country, Al Qaeda and affiliated groups are disturbingly close to parity with the Hadi regime. While neither Hadi nor Saleh and the forces they represent are shining beacons of liberalism, gay rights, and non-nepotistic governance, pretty much every reasonable person will agree that they are “better” than the anti-civilizational fanatics of Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and sundry Islamist militants.

Which is why Saudi Arabia sees fit to concentrate its energies against the force there that has the most potential (by virtue of being strongest) of checking the spread of those Islamist militants. So okay, the Saudis like to play around with these groups, hoping that their boomerangs never end up rebounding on them; and at a basic geopolitical level, they must also be legitimately concerned about getting encircled both from the north (South Iraq) and south (West Yemen) by newfangled Shi’ite states that might ally with Iran.

But at a time when domestic oil production is booming and Saudi Arabia’s influence over OPEC has been diminishing, what dog does the US have in this fight?

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Islamism, Western Hypocrisy, Yemen 

A couple of Islamist terrorists, the brothers Kouachi, murdered a bunch of cartoonists. Another terrorist, Coulibaly, went on a rampage. All three ended up taking hostages. Counter-terrorists win! Within minutes, everyone had become an expert on Charlie Hebdo’s work, and the typical and inevitably dreary debate began.

Some said Charlie’s cartoons were clearly, stridently Islamophobic, and that although they “of course” condemned the murders, it was understandable why they happened: Cue your standard spiel about failed integration policies, racism, discrimination, the legacy of colonialism. The apologetics sometimes reached nauseating proportions. After all, people “know the consequences” (from Anjem Chodary, so over the top Islamist that he is probably an MI5 mole), and besides, the “sin of provocation” is no less dangerous than “the sin of those who are capable of succumbing to that provocation” (Russian Council of Muftis).

Others, especially journalists, focused on the sanctity of the right to free speech. Though many papers still made sure to cover their asses by pixelating out the offending Mohammed cartoons. It was also widely noted that Charlie Hebdo were, to their credit, at least equal opportunity provocateurs, involving everyone they disliked in their scrotular and scatological fantasies:

charlie-hebdo-cartoons

Do you still believe in the theory of historical progress?

Equal… but some groups were nonetheless plus égaux que d’autres, at least so far as Charlie Hebdo were concerned. In 2009, the cartoonist Siné, a longtime contributor to Charlie Hebdo, joked that Sarkozy’s son, Jean, would “go a long way, that little lad” on rumors that he was planning to convert to Judaism. For any basically normal, non-SJW inclined person, this would be nothing more than a harmless observation on the Jewish talent for economic success (something that is discussed at length by our own Steve Sailer, not to mention by Jews themselves). But for Charlie and the French Establishment, including the “philosopher” Bernard-Henry Lévy, the appropriate response was to fire him and then prosecute him for anti-Semitism (he was acquitted). On another occasion, Charlie started a signature collection campaign to get the Front National banned. Clearly, their own regard for free speech was very far from absolute.

That didn’t stop the masses from pinning #JeSuisCharlie to their Twitface avatars in their millions, and joining European leaders on their so-called unity march, from which Marine Le Pen – representing about a third of the French electorate – was excluded. On the plus side, it was probably the continent’s biggest collective circlejerk since the Nuremburg rallies. A few days later, a total of 54 cases and counting were opened in France related to pro-terrorism “hate speech,” including against the comedian Dieudonné. Politicians who insisted on going against the multiculturalist dogma, such as the elder Le Pen and Orbán, found themselves castigated for political haymaking (if so what was the unity march?) and using a free speech rally to exercise free speech:

Orban told Hungarian state TV in the margins of the rally, held in support of free speech and tolerance in Europe, that the Charlie Hebdo murders should make the EU restrict access to migrants with “different cultural characteristics”.

Referring to the flow of African and Arab migrants to the EU, he said: “Economic immigration is a bad thing in Europe, it should not be seen as having any benefits, because it only brings trouble and danger to the peoples of Europe”.

“Immigration and cultural questions related to that must be discussed in a much more open, honest and straightforward manner than until now. I hope that a composed, calm analysis of the recent events will guide European leaders and Brussels towards a tough policy restricting immigration”, he added.

“While I am PM, Hungary will definitely not become an immigration destination. We don’t want to see significantly sized minorities with different cultural characteristics and backgrounds among us. We want to keep Hungary as Hungary”.

Reasonable, no? No! It’s nothing but dangerous demagoguery, and statements like Orbán’s are outright harmful. You’re placing yourself onto the same platform as Marine Le Pen, and Golden Dawn. There are other triggers. It’s failed integration policies, especially France’s citizenship concept, that are to blame. Scandinavian countries do better. “We against them” will not solve the problem.

All paraphrased from a real Twitter conversation I had with a bona fide EU think-tank person (who is otherwise a genial and intelligent fellow, not an ideologue).

(The additional irony is that Orbán isn’t really a friend to European nationalists. When they and a bunch of their American friends decided to have an identitarian conference in Budapest, the event was banned and people who turned up anyway got arrested and deported. Naturally, neither the EU nor the US State Department had much, or anything really, to say on that particular expression of Orbán’s authoritarianism).

“We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends,” said Bernard Holtrop, who survived the massacre by dint of absenteeism. Beginning to nod your head in agreement? Don’t. You missed the previous part where he identified the True Enemy: “We have a lot of new friends, like the pope, Queen Elizabeth and Putin. Marine Le Pen is delighted when the Islamists start shooting all over the place.”

Monsieur Holtrop is presumably too self-absorbed to consider the possibility that her primary concern might not be so much his friendship, or even his freedom of speech, but securing the future of the French people and European civilization.

Given this litany of two-faced hypocrisy and concern trolling from virtually everyone, I do not feel ashamed to proclaim:

Je m’en fous de Charlie Hebdo!

Even debates about the relative weights to be assigned to artistic merit, freedom of speech, and upkeeping civility are of secondary importance.

My own partisan bias is that Charlie Hebdo’s crude scribblings would demean a bathroom stall, but many people would disagree with my opinion and that’s fair enough. I may happen to think it would be an example of social and cultural decadence, but that by itself survivable, at least so long as the nation walls itself off demographically from more virile peoples who are generally unable or unwilling to appreciate artistic masterpieces like Piss Christ, the Paris Buttplug, or, well, Charlie Hebdo. Japan is a byword for decadence, but it’s not like it’s in any danger of foreign cultural inundation.

Moreover, since Charlie Hebdo did not forcibly impose their views on the general public – you can always, like, not buy their stuff – they should be completely immune from any “hate speech” prosecution. But I acknowledge that opinions on this matter can legitimately differ: My friend Alexander Mercouris at Sputnik News makes a solid, legally-grounded argument for why it would be legally and morally defensible for any West European nation to prosecute Charlie Hebdo, and my own objections are normative in nature, and not a little self-interested, in the sense that if interpreted sufficiently widely, I too could be potentially prosecuted in Europe, not to mention half the contributors to The Unz Review.

So… let’s start building the case?

The terrorists were Islamists, and they did have a religion: Islam. Trying to insist otherwise strikes me as being rather pathetic, like the tweed-jacketed old Marxists insisting that the Soviet Union wasn’t really Communist. How credible would it be to deny that Breivik was a European nationalist, or that the Crusaders weren’t real Christians?

As Marine Le Pen just wrote in The New York Times, the threat must be named: “France Was Attacked by Islamic Fundamentalism.” They were Islamists, and – even she shies away from making it explicit – they were also Muslims, no more and no less than the brilliant philosopher Ibn Khaldun or ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi.

Progressive outlets like The Daily Beast and Think Progress claim that we are getting it all wrong, that Muslims only account for “less than 2%” of terrorist acts in Europe and 6% in the US. Just a quick scan through the FBI link they give reveals “terrorist incidents” such as the following:

Terrorist Incidents

March 2002 – November 2002

Vandalism and Arson
Erie, Harborcreek, and Warren, Pennsylvania

(Six acts of Domestic Terrorism)

Between March 2002 and November 2002, a series of animal rights and ecoterrorism incidents occurred in Erie, Harborcreek, and Warren, Pennsylvania. On March 18, 2002, Pennsylvania State Police discovered heavy equipment used to clear trees at a construction site in Erie, Pennsylvania, spray painted with the statements “ELF, in the protection of mother earth,” and “Stop Deforestation.” On March 24, 2002, police responded to the same construction site, where a large hydraulic crane had been set on fire, causing approximately $500,000 in damage.

History of terrorist attacks in Europe. Source: The Economist.

History of terrorist attacks in western Europe. Source: The Economist.

Yes, totally comparable to 9/11.

So this is either a case of astoundingly lackadaisical research and critical thinking, or deliberate disingenuousness. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, because there are other, more relevant measures – the body count (see the infographic to the right). Islamists are responsible for the overwhelming majority of terrorism-related deaths in Europe, despite Breivik’s single-handed archievements, and despite only constituting 5% of the West European population.

In her article, Marine Le Pen continues:

Yet this distinction can only be made if one is willing to identify the threat. It does our Muslim compatriots no favors to fuel suspicions and leave things unspoken. Islamist terrorism is a cancer on Islam, and Muslims themselves must fight it at our side.

This is an entirely legitimate point, as are her ensuing arguments that sorting out immigration policy is essential for victory in this struggle:

First, the dogma of the free movement of peoples and goods is so firmly entrenched among the leaders of the European Union that the very idea of border checks is deemed to be heretical. And yet, every year tons of weapons from the Balkans enter French territory unhindered and hundreds of jihadists move freely around Europe. …

Second, the massive waves of immigration, both legal and clandestine, our country has experienced for decades have prevented the implementation of a proper assimilation policy… Without a policy restricting immigration, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to fight against communalism and the rise of ways of life at odds with laïcité, France’s distinctive form of secularism, and other laws and values of the French Republic. An additional burden is mass unemployment, which is itself exacerbated by immigration.

What she wisely doesn’t mention are some of the politically incorrect but no less real factors that make Muslim integration so difficult, and as such the case for immigration control so compelling.

First and foremost must be the simple, inescapable fact that European Muslims are, on average, duller (in the IQ sense) than the native populations. Moreover, while the second generation almost always performs significantly better than the first – a natural consequence of the environmental improvements from moving from a developing country to a developed one, i.e. Flynn-on-steroids – it never converges with native scores.

Below is a table of 2009 PISA-derived IQs for 1st generation immigrants, 2nd generation immigrants, natives, and the national average. (Not all the immigrants will be Muslim, of course, but since many of the other of the other immigrants are from similarly high-IQ European nations, such as the Poles, that would if anything knock the Muslim figures down even lower). Immigration is also a hotly debated issue in the US, including in its cognitive impacts – remember the Richwine Affair? – so I give figures for the US too.

1st Gen IQ 2nd Gen IQ Native IQ National IQ
France 89.4 91.8 101.2 99.6
Germany 93.7 94.5 105.0 101.5
Italy 87.1 92.4 98.7 97.9
Netherlands 95.4 95.7 105.0 102.9
Spain 89.1 94.2 99.0 97.6
Sweden 87.6 92.1 100.8 99.3
UK 95.1 99.3 101.2 100.0
USA 97.2 96.1 100.3 99.4

Lower IQs are almost inevitably associated with higher delinquency, higher crime rates, higher unemployment, and poorer general life outcomes. It has next to nothing to do with discrimination or white privilege, and a lot to do with employers valuing competent workers over incompetent ones; next to nothing to do with cops looking for some brown person to bully, and a lot to do with brighter people being generally better at cost-benefit analyses, e.g. as to the advisability of dropping out of school, selling drugs, or stealing that shiny new iPhone.

Modern welfare states spend a lot of resources just helping the more socially (and, inevitably, biologically) disadvantaged members of their societies stand on their own two feet.

As the blogger at Those Who Can See has found out, all three of the Charlie Hebdo terrorists benefited a lot from those programs:

An old friend from their orphanage has revealed some choice bits, a near-caricature of petty Arab thugs:

‘Cherif was a loudmouth, a fighter, loved to bling out in Lacoste tracksuits and screw girls, hated the ‘Gauls’ (native French) [...] Saïd was different, non-violent, civil and well-liked, though he wasn’t crazy about ‘Gauls’ either…’

An ex-colleague of Saïd’s has also spilled to the press. He claims the elder brother worked under him for the City of Paris trash detail, but was ‘unmanageable’ (e.g. refusing to shake hands with female colleagues), was transfered five times, then let go.

It is in reading between the lines that one figures out that his job, ‘recycling ambassador,’ was an invented make-work post of the type created to occupy (and pay) otherwise unemployable immigrants. The City of Paris, according to the article, had many such ‘ambassadors’ who went door-to-door to explain the joys of recycling to the city’s residents. The snitch in the article says a large number were unmanageable Islamists, about which they alerted their bosses often but were rebiffed because ‘the subject was taboo.’

This anecdote may seem neither here nor there, but in the larger narrative, progressives rail endlessly that France isn’t doing enough to integrate its Arabs. Here we have the City creating cushy do-nothing jobs for them in order to buy social peace, and the unhappy Saïd still manages to get himself fired for incompetence. Integration failed–but who is at fault?

Peter Frost, who also writes here at The Review, assigns higher Muslim crime rates and terrorism to their more macho and “alpha” cultural upbringings, deriving as they do from regions that had not managed to suppress violence as did Europe.

Murder was increasingly punished not only by the ultimate penalty but also by exemplary forms of execution, e.g., burning at the stake, drawing and quartering, and breaking on the wheel (Carbasse, 2011, pp. 52-53). This “war on murder” reached a peak from the 16th to 18th centuries when, out of every two hundred men, one or two would end up being executed (Taccoen, 1982, p. 52). A comparable number of murderers would die either at the scene of the crime or in prison while awaiting trial (Ireland, 1987).

I am somewhat skeptical of this explanation. Civilization in the Maghreb, to say nothing of Egypt or Mesopotamia, is far older than anything in Europe north of the Mediterranean… Even if they were less effective at stamping out violence, they had a heck of a lot longer to do it. “Our empire was old before dragons stirred in Old Valyria…”

My thesis is that the roots of the deep ailments that affect most Muslim societies lie elsewhere: In their extensive rates of inbreeding, which goes all the way up to the double cousins. The latest research indicates that first cousin matings could lower offspring IQ by as much as 30 points. (It need hardly be said that this is astoundingly bad; basically, it’s a drop from normal to retardation). Now consider that 37% of Pakistani marriages in the UK are between first cousins. The rates are not dissimilar amongst most other European immigrant Muslim communities.

The institution of cousin marriage is not integral to Islam per se. To the contrary, it was likely an outshoot of Mohammed’s instructions that daughters should also get a share of the family inheritance, thus creating a perverse economic incentive to keep wealth within the family by cousin marriage. Andrey Korotayev wrote a brilliant paper on this, which I highly recommend checking out if you’re interested in the historic origins of the Muslim family type.

Extensive first cousin, including FBD, marriage can explain a lot.

It explains the emphasis on keeping women veiled and accompanied by male guardians. Since future partners are, in many cases, “prearranged,” there is absolutely no need for extracurricular dalliances. Men, too, can experience specific problems under this system… with a significant percentage of the female population “wardened off” so, where do they seek release? Not everyone has a guaranteed wife, or a high enough SMV to game non-Muslim girls. Porn satisfies many but not all. After this, only more and more unorthodox solutions are left.

It explains the “clannishness” that Peter Frost notices.

It explains the massively depressed IQs seen throughout the Muslim world, especially relative to their estimated genotypic potential. Average IQs in oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where first cousin marriage is particularly endemic, are not substantially higher than in dirt-poor sub-Saharan countries.

And because of the critical import of IQ to virtually all aspects of human behavior, it explains a whole host of other domains – crime, unemployment, etc. – in which Muslim immigrants continue to underperform.

The solution is obvious enough, right?

It might not work straight away, but if strictly enforced, it will work eventually. Cousin marriage rates will fall, as they did in southern Italy or Japan in the 20th century, though those two countries had the advantage of starting from far lower bases. IQs will rise. We will finally get some measure of integration. Multiculturalism might even stop being the byword for social dysfunction that it has become today.

Right?

Wrong. You’re forgetting IQ is a social construct. And HBD is just what the old school racists now call their racism. Cousin marriage is a venerable tradition, and you have no right to tell Muslims whom they can or cannot marry. It would insult their religious beliefs (even though they have nothing in common). Besides, gays marry, so why not first cousins? Einstein did it. And what about the Darwin-Wedgwood clan? That one example completely disproves everything!

So the second logical alternative to the HBD explanation is the cultural one: That Islam really is an innately sick culture, and all societies that follow its precepts are doomed to economic irrelevance and social retrogression. They hate us for our freedumbs!

And this is how you get neocons, Breiviks, and multi-trillion dollar foreign adventures in far off deserts.

Or maybe Muslims really are kept down by the Man. He refuses to hire them, wages war on their coreligionists, and props up oppressive dictators. Because he wants Muslim oil and answers to Jewish shitlords. Islam isn’t the problem; it’s the solution. Allahu akbar! Behead those who insult Islam!

And this is how you get Islamists, ISIS, and terrorist attack after terrorist attack.

"An act of exceptional barbarism..." "That's not what you said when you sent them to me."

Not a Charlie Hebdo cartoon, naturally. “An act of exceptional barbarism…” “That’s not what you said when you sent them to me.”

Marine Le Pen, again:

Third, French foreign policy has wandered between Scylla and Charybdis in the last few years. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s intervention in Libya, President François Hollande’s support for some Syrian fundamentalists, alliances formed with rentier states that finance jihadist fighters, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia — all are mistakes that have plunged France into serious geopolitical incoherence from which it is struggling to extricate itself.

And these guys, jihadists, are sent off with Western blessings (and money, and guns) to destabilize yet more Arab states…against those same dictators whom Islamists believe the West supports. Dictators who are usually the only power keeping those disparate, clannish states together and offering any hope of effecting lasting reform. But we better! We know from Fukuyama-via Marx-via Hegel that liberal democracy is universal, equally suited for an advanced high-IQ European or East Asian society, and a low-IQ ethnic medley where 75% of the populations wants the death penalty for apostasy.

And the resulting wars and anarchy displace more and more people, many of whom end up as immigrants on European shores.

And the cycle of invade/invite the world continues.

The way it sustains itself, one has to admit, is really quite elegant, if ultimately disastrous for everyone concerned.

Iraqis, Lybians, Syrians, and other victims of Western universalism get their countries wrecked by jihadists picked up from European banlieues and Arab street gutters, sometimes in conjunction with American bombs. The European peoples get to be enriched by more and more diversity in an offer they can’t refuse. The American taxpayer gets to pick up the tab.

But at least the American gets to walk away from the whole mess. La Raza Cósmica sure beats Eurabia.

 

What striking about Syria is how so many people insist on speaking about it in profoundly moralistic, Manichaean terms. This is complete nonsense, given that its civil war isn’t a showdown between democracy and dictatorship, but an ethnic and religious conflict. Here’s a more realistic guide:

The Assad regime

The rhetoric: He kills his own people! He is the Evil Overlord (TM)!

The reality: That’s kind of what happens in a civil war. Abraham Lincoln also “killed his own people,” you know. It is obvious why the “regime” fights on: That is what regimes do – as a general rule of thumb, they’re fond of surviving. The rather more interesting and telling question is: Why do key elements of the population continue to back them?

As far as the Alawites and Christians are concerned, it’s pretty clear: The Sunnis have never been particularly well disposed to them, and the past few years haven’t made them any fonder. The last time the Sunnis revolted in Hama in 1982, one of the slogans of the Muslim Brotherhood was “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the graveyard.”

In the game of Homs, you win or you die – and the “you” is in its plural form. No wonder Assad has a solid support base.

The rebels

The rhetoric: Democratic freedom fighters! or, Lung-eating demons!

The reality: They encompass the entire spectrum of “morality” (to the extent such a concept is even applicable). It is reasonable to posit that at the beginning, a substantial part of the opposition fighters were basically normal Sunnis who were disenchanted with the regime – or rather, with dearth (all the Arab revolts coincided with a peak in global grain prices) married with lingering resentment over the pro-Shi’ite favoritism that is said to predominate within Syrian state structures. This is not to say there were no genuine “idealists” and “democracy supporters” – democracy as in democracy, not particularistic ethnocracy – but we have to be realistic about their true influences. Considering that opinion polls in Arab countries indicate the vast majority of their denizens want the death penalty for adultery and apostasy, claiming that they ever constituted the majority is nothing short of willful blindness.

Furthermore, it seems that on balance, the pendulum is swinging away from the Big Mac eaters to the lung-eaters within the Free Syrian Army. For a start, many rebels have started defecting back, repulsed by the more hardcore Islamists’ brutality, demoralized by the revival of the Syrian Arab Army, and enticed by the regime’s offer of amnesty. The rebellion has also become more dominated by foreign elements as the original instigators were killed off and Saudi intelligence – with its links to global armed Islamist movements – began to take a more direct hand. “War makes monsters of us all,” as some might say.

Israel

The commonsense refrain: Why would the Israelis have any interest in Assad being replaced by jihadists?

The reality: They’re not.

What they are interested in, however, is crippling Syria’s military capabilities, and – best of all – its chemical warfare capacity. That means whichever side eventually takes over – potentially after many years of internecine warfare – won’t be able to pose even a minimal threat to Israel that a CW-eqipped Syrian Arab Army once posed. A weakened Syria will also mean that Israel will be able to strike at Hezbollah depots and supply routes with that much more ease and impunity.

Egging on the US to carry out airstrikes against Assad fully fits into that position. And, as Craig Murray recently pointed out, it is most curious that it was the Israelis who detected the “incriminating” phone calls that ostensibly pointed at Syrian state complicity in the recent gas attacks, while the Brits – possessing the most advanced EW facility in the Middle East – failed to pick up on it.

The Saudis/Qatar

The rhetoric: Admittedly, even well-tuned propaganda organs have difficulty coming up with a plausible reason for why highly repressive Arab monarchies would be interested in Syrian democracy.

The reality: This is all part of the Sunni vs. Shi’ite struggle – and their broader geopolitical standoff with Iran. Bahrain in particular brutally put down a Shi’ite uprising back in 2011, with Saudi military help and the cynical non-chalance of the US – which happens to base its 5th Fleet there. Syria is a close friend of Iran.

Russia

The rhetoric: Just the Mutual Support Group of Dictators in action. Plus broken-down Russia needs all the $$$ from weapons sales to Damascus.

The reality: Which is why Assad visited Paris more often than Moscow, and used to take dinners with John Kerry before he began calling him a “two-bit dictator” and comparing him with “Hitler.” And Russia’s yearly trade with Syria amounts to just about $2 billion. This is peanuts compared to its total trade of almost one trillion dollars.

The only reasonable explanation left is that given by Putin himself:

We aren’t defending the government. We are defending something completely different. We are defending the contemporary order of the world. We are defending the modern international order. We are defending the discussion of the possible use of force exclusively within the confines of international order and international rules and international law. That’s what we are defending. These values are absolute. When issues related to the use of force are solved outside the UN and the UN Security Council, the danger arises that such illegitimate decisions could be made against anyone under any pretext…..

Needless to say Putin doesn’t say this because he is a nice and fluffy rule of law type, but because the US is strong and Russia is weak. And since the default state of the world is for strong do what they can and the weak to suffer what they must, appeals to the proprieties of international law – a sphere in which Russia has a veto via the UN Security Council – are eminently logical.

The West (aka US, UK, France)

The rhetoric: Do I have to echo Dave’s and Barry’s talking points?

The reality: As a certain friend on Facebook put it, here is the crux of Obama’s dilemma: “He doesn’t want to repeat Iraq, but it ideologically committed to liberal internvetionism – the Democratic Party’s version of neoconservatism.”

That, or he really believes his own shit. On second thought, the two positions aren’t really mutually exclusive.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 

As far as I understand, Michael D. Weiss is one of those neocons who loves Guantanamo but has a special soft spot in his heart for those Muslims who happen to be fighting Russia or some other state that the US doesn’t like much. When he isn’t chumming it up with his jihadist pals in Syria (see below), he performs his role as the chief editor of The Interpreter – in theory, an “online journal dedicated primarily to translating media from the Russian press and blogosphere into English”; in practice, a publication that would be more aptly named The Interpreter of Novaya Gazeta, considered the open slant in its choice of which articles to translate and its consistently anti-Putin, pro-Western interventionist editorials.

michael-weiss-with-jihadists

Nonetheless, all translations are good. They are inherently neutral. This is why I wrote a letter to Weiss with a cooperation proposal, whose essence was to save both The Russian Spectrum and The Interpreter duplicating work while increasing the size of the content that we both offer. I did not think Weiss would accept and he failed to surprise to the upside. Which of course he was perfectly within his rights to decline. You’ll see no complaints whatsoever from me on that point.

But he wouldn’t let it go – and in fact later, started insisting that I was running around begging favors and threatening to publish my letter as he believed it would discredit me amongst my “Putinist chums” (which he eventually did). The conversations that resulted were not only illustrative of the neocon-Bolshevik like mentality of these people, but are also rather hilarious. It is for this reason that I’ve gathered them all together for the delectation of DR readers.

Note – There is nothing here that is not accessible to the public.

(1) It started when @CollenWinthrop posted the following episode:

1) On July 10th, while Edward Snowden was roving about the transit area of a Moscow Airport, Time Magazine’s Simon Shuster wrote an article that argued that Snowden “was taken soon after his arrival — if not immediately — to a secure location run by some arm of the Russian government.” On top of that, Shuster writes that Snowden was likely drugged by Russian officials so he can tell them what they want to know. Here is the article: http://world.time.com/2013/07/10/snowden-in-moscow-what-are-russian-authorities-doing-with-the-nsa-whistleblower/

2) Michael Weiss (the Russophobic psychopath of The Interpreter and Now Lebanon) promoted the article on his Twitter account:

{BTW, @shustry‘s report on what has likely happened to young Edward in Moscow is a must-read}

3) The article got bashed as propaganda and lies by many of the people on Time’s website and Shuster lambasted on his Twitter account, as a reply to Weiss’ acclaim:

{@michaeldweiss Thanks! the breadth of responses to this story has been amazing. From livid condemnation to your kind words. Both appreciated}

4) To which Weiss replied:

{@shustry Fuck ‘em. You know how the Cheka operates and you live there. Your stuff is consistently excellent.}

5) “Fuck ‘em”???????? Weiss is such an asshole. He cannot stand the truth, he prefers to fuck the truth instead.

(2) Conversation Number 1:

‏Anatoly Karlin @akarlin88
Account of how zhurnalizd @shustry neocon Bolshevik @michaeldweiss operate: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rlnqop via @ColleenWinthrop
5:01 PM – 3 Aug 13

{Okay, not polite on my part. But honestly – that is not how Russia discussions work there, including (especially) those involving Weiss.}

Russian Truth ‏@RussianTruth1 3 Aug
@akarlin88 @shustry @michaeldweiss @ColleenWinthrop Russian hate is a paycheck to Weiss. His baby is Israel.

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 3 Aug
@akarlin88 @shustry @colleenwinthrop Anatoly, you should relay the story of how you asked me for a publishing agreement.

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 3 Aug
@michaeldweiss @shustry @ColleenWinthrop It was a cooperation proposal, not a request for a publishing agreement. Please don’t lie. First.

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 3 Aug
@michaeldweiss @shustry @ColleenWinthrop Second, I don’t divulge personal correspondence in public.

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 3 Aug
@akarlin88 @shustry @colleenwinthrop You asked to share our material. I can produce the email publicly if you like.

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 3 Aug
@akarlin88 @shustry @colleenwinthrop Though I wouldn’t want to embarrass you in front of your friends who might find this very odd indeed.

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 3 Aug
@akarlin88 @shustry No, you insult people and then hypocritically ask them for professional favors. At least you’ve a comic instinct.

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 3 Aug
@michaeldweiss @shustry @ColleenWinthrop Go ahead LOL. There is nothing damning or even controversial there whatsoever.

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 3 Aug
@michaeldweiss I was not asking you for a favor. And you are just about the last person who should be whining about online insults (wah wah)

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 3 Aug
@akarlin88 Who’s whining? I enjoyed it thoroughly.

(3) Conversation Number 2:

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88
Just to clarify: My proposal to @Interpreter_Mag was a *sharing* agreement (so as to avoid duplicating effort). Nothing more, nothing less.
6:15 PM – 3 Aug 13

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 3 Aug
@akarlin88 “A mutual listing of each other as partners on a partners or links page”. Partners = slightly more, actually.

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 3 Aug
@michaeldweiss I view it as a glorified blogroll, personally – e.g. http://russianmind.com/content/partners …. Partners pages = more visitors, SEO for all.

4) Conversation Number 3:

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 3 Aug
.@michaeldweiss refused. More power to him. Will create more work for both @Interpreter_Mag & @RussianSpectrum, but ultimately irrelvant.

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss
@akarlin88 Strange that you’d seek to collaborate with neocon Bolsheviks, no? Thought Putinists were made of tougher stuff.
6:20 PM – 3 Aug 13

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 3 Aug
@michaeldweiss That is because you are a with-us-or-against-us Bolshevik. That is why it seems so strange to you.

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 3 Aug
@akarlin88 :) I like your last few defensive tweets. Don’t worry, your chums won’t hold it against you. They can’t afford to.

(5) Conversation Number #4 (a month later, in response to a satirical tweet by Mark Adomanis)

Mark Adomanis ‏@MarkAdomanis
“WE NEED TO INTERVENE IN SYRIA BECAUSE THE JIHADISTS ARE SAD” – actual foreign policy analysts
7:36 PM – 31 Aug 13

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 31 Aug
@MarkAdomanis Who is saying that?

Russian Truth ‏@RussianTruth1 31 Aug
@MarkAdomanis @hannahgarrard Add @michaeldweiss to that list. Jihadists, AIPAC, Likudites, Bilderbergers. Sad days pic.twitter.com/JWrIANajN0

Sol Robinson ‏@SolJewEgg 31 Aug
lolwut @RussianTruth1 @michaeldweiss @MarkAdomanis @hannahgarrard

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 31 Aug
@SolJewEgg Imbeciles of the world, unite!

Sol Robinson ‏@SolJewEgg 31 Aug
Is russia ever going to stop being just a soul sucking abomination? @michaeldweiss

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 31 Aug
@SolJewEgg What’s interesting to me is that Booz Allen keeps hiring accidents waiting to happen. Surely that is a conspiracy worth scrutiny.

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 31 Aug
@michaeldweiss The same Booz Allen employee who demanded Russia send Snowden packing? http://darussophile.com/2013/06/25/mark-adomanis-do-as-us-officials-say-or-else/ … @SolJewEgg

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 31 Aug
@akarlin88 Anatoly, privyet. Unfortunately, we are still not seeking a content-sharing agreement. Feel free to apply again next year. Xoxo.

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 31 Aug
@michaeldweiss Stop trolling or publish the email as you said you would. Go ahead – everyone is waiting with baited breath.

Nick Nipclose ‏@NickNipclose 31 Aug
@Karlsson111 @michaeldweiss @SolJewEgg There’s no excuse for Chechen jihadism, they chose to support Islamist filth no one forced them.

… {discussion by other participants on Chechnya}

Sol Robinson ‏@SolJewEgg 31 Aug
@NickNipclose @Karlsson111 @michaeldweiss Russia’s brutal repression didn’t help anyone

… {more Chechnya discussion… check the link to Twitter convo if you’re really interested}

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 31 Aug
Oh noes @michaeldweiss BLOCKED me. wah wah wah. Whatever shall I do now?!? cc @MarkAdomanis @RussianTruth1 @SolJewEgg @hannahgarrard

Sol Robinson ‏@SolJewEgg
Lol russian propagandist. @akarlin88 @michaeldweiss @MarkAdomanis @RussianTruth1 @hannahgarrard

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss 31 Aug
@SolJewEgg Karlin is my aspiring professional partner. Hell hath no fury like a Putinist scorned.

Hannah Garrard ‏@hannahgarrard 31 Aug
@akarlin88 Join the club. I got blocked by him for criticising Al-Qaida. @michaeldweiss @MarkAdomanis @RussianTruth1 @SolJewEgg

Russian Truth ‏@RussianTruth1 31 Aug
@hannahgarrard @akarlin88 @michaeldweiss @MarkAdomanis @SolJewEgg For criticizing Al Qaeda? Did he take it personally?!

(6) The publication of my email (1, 2, 3, 4)

Anatoly Karlin ‏@akarlin88 31 Aug
I see @michaeldweiss continues to twist the contents of my email to him in public. This leaves me with no option but to publish it myself.

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss
@akarlin88 Don’t worry, Anatoly. I shall publish it now.

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss
‏@michaeldweiss Anatoly Karlin’s request to partner with The Interpreter — evidently this meant more to him than it did to (cont) http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rm7dhg

michaeldweiss ‏@michaeldweiss
@akarlin88 Here you go, sweetpea. Happy blogging: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rm7dhg

(7) The damning email that will meant so much more to me than to him – in which case, why was Michael Weiss the one ranting on about it the entire time?

Anatoly Karlin’s request to partner with The Interpreter — evidently this meant more to him than it did to us:

Dear Michael Weiss/Interpreter Staff,

It is great to see you making translations of the Russian press available for a wider audience. Regardless of one’s political views, that is an unquestionably positive and effective means of fostering more informed views and dialog on Russian politics and society.

As it happens, I have a similar project at The Russian Spectrum (though it is more narrowly focused just on the translation activity). Also, to allay any concerns, it was not created to compete with The Interpreter (I had first publicly written of my intention to do such a project last September, that is, way before The Interpreter’s launch date).

Since we share a common interest in presenting “English Inosmi” services, I would like to propose a partnership or cooperation agreement to avoid needlessly duplicating work and expanding the range of translated pieces we both offer.

Here are two proposals for your consideration:

(1) A sharing agreement in which we agree to republish a number (e.g. 5?) of translations per week from each other’s site. The original translators will, of course, be credited on both sites.

(2) A mutual listing of each other as partners on a partners or links page.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forwards to hearing from you on what you think of this.

Best,
Anatoly Karlin.

Hope you’ve had fun reading through this and made it through without an aneurysm! ;)

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 

Make of this what you will.

(1) The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, never adjusted to life in the US. “I don’t have a single American friend,” he said. His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had an understanding of US teen hood / SWPL culture. He was a 9/11 “truther.” That’s from the Twitter account. That said, he wasn’t too down with America either.

(2) I’m not sure if beta male rage had anything to do with this. On the one hand, he does not seem to have been a social recluse. He wrestled. He is darkly handsome, and he has the self-assured gaze of a confident man on his photos. And most tellingly, and to his credit, he went down with guns blazing. On the other hand:

(3) Dzhokhar was a Chechen patriot, but not a raving/rabid one.

Tamerlan’s Amazon wish list included a Chechen phrasebook, “The Lone Wolf And the Bear: Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule,” and “Allah’s Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya, New Edition.”

Obviously, they did not like Russian domination of Chechnya and wanted it to be truly independent, but their lives do not seem to have been dominated by it.

(4) Dzhokhar says he knows English, Russia, and Chechen on his Vkontakte page. In reality, considering that even his older brother had a Chechen dictionary on his to-buy list, it’s unlikely that he knew it to any significant extent. His Russian was fluent in speech, but not in writing (he makes basic spelling errors):

(5) He has a sense of humor (mixed with bitterness). From his Vkontakte page:

In school they give us a puzzle. There is a car. In the car there is a Dagestani, a Chechen, and an Ingush. Question – who’s driving the car? Maga answers: A policeman.

(6) He was into Islam (he listed it as his “worldview” on Vkontakte), supported Palestine, etc., but it seems to have a fairly liberal variety. His last entry on Twitter was an RT of a kumbaya-type mufti who now lives in Zimbabwe:

But he definitely was religious, and visited the mosque.

His brother seems to have been a much more hardcore Islamist. His YouTube account was divided between “Islam” and “Terrorism,” and Russian rap songs.

(7) There’s a few references and hints at trouble sleeping. A sign of mild to moderate depression?

And when he did fall asleep, the dreams seem to be violent (see also the zombie apocalypse one above) and tortured.

(8) It also emerges that the FBI had interviewed the older brother at the bequest of an unspecific foreign government – almost certainly Russia. Tamerlan had visited it for 6 months in 2011. I wonder if he established links with some of the Caucasus Emirate Wahhabi types while there – and if so, whether US suspicions about Russia’s “assaults” on human rights in Chechnya made them drop their guard on a man who, it is now clear, was by then fast becoming an Islamist radical.

(9) Some tweets were funny, some were ironic in light of what was to come. There are even a few pearls of wisdom there:

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 

One of the books I’ve been reading lately is Steven Pinker’s massive door-stopper The Better Angels of Our Nature. Incidentally, I found it a very interesting read with tons of cool factoids, although it could have done with a third of its text and a tiny fraction of its liberal sanctimonious. But that’s for the forthcoming review; in this post, I will focus instead on a reference I found there to a very fascinating and revealing paper about Antisocial Punishment Across Cultures (Herrmann et al.) – and by extension, its implications for social cohesion.

Power summary: The shrinks got a bunch of university students, divided them into teams of four, and got them to play a “public goods game.” They were given 20 tokens at the start of each of ten rounds, and they were told they could invest any number of them into a pot, with a return of 0.4 tokens to each player – regardless of whether or not he participates – to each token invested in the pot. So if everyone was to contribute all 20 of their tokens, each player would walk away with 32 tokens; on the other hand, if only two players were to contribute all their tokens while the other two got a free ride, the altruists would walk away with only 16 tokens, whereas the free riders would get their 16 tokens plus their original 20 which they had kept back.

no-punishment-contributions

In this version of the game, there were no interesting patterns; across all cultures, contributions plummeted as free riders enjoying impunity undermined the morale of productive contributors. However, that’s not how the game works in real societies, which actively punish many forms of free riding: Tax evasion, benefit fraud, dodging fares on public transport, etc. The game was then modified to include a punishment option, in which any player could choose to spend one token to remove three tokens from any other player of his choosing. The results changed drastically.

punishment-contributions

With the added option of punishment, some societies become very successful and universally wealthy, while others don’t get their act together and remain very poor. In short, the Anglo-Saxons and Confucians start off cautious, but quickly come to trust each other and devote most of their tokens to the common pot; the students of Protestant Northern Europe trust each other from the very start. But the Orthodox Slavic nations remain cautious and suspicious throughout, on average investing only slightly more than half of their tokens; while the Arabs, the Greeks, and the Turks on average invest less than half their tokens per round and don’t come to trust each other either. Below is a graph of the two experiments side by side: The no-punishment version is on the left, the punishment version is on the right.

antisocial-punishment-by-country

Why these marked and clearly discernible cross-cultural differences? The paper’s authors make a convincing case that it is because the students from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Greece, Oman, and Saudi Arabia engage in widespread “antisocial punishment.” In a Western or Confucian country, the free riders are punished and shamed into forking out more; in stark contrast, the free riders from the Orthodox, Mediterranean, and Arab cultures are not so much shamed as enraged by being punished for their parasitism – and lash out in consequent rounds against their “do-gooder” tormentors! Remarkably, in Athens and Muscat, there was actually more punishment of good, socially-desirable behavior than of parasitic free riders!

antisocial-punishment

In a society where the saying “no good deed goes unpunished” is literally true, there is much less of an incentive to do good deeds in the first place. What is regarded as normal, socially-beneficial behavior in some places becomes the mark of a sucker or an idiot elsewhere. The results of this “do-gooder derogation” are lower cooperation levels and lower overall wealth generation.

antisocial-punishment-contributions-correlation

The article’s authors cite sociological explanations for these variations such as the greater prevalence of rule of law, shunning of revenge, and individualism (i.e. the social qualities that the HBDsphere associates with out-breeding fertility patterns).

The Arabs come off very badly. They really do have to drastically cut down on their rates of consanguineous marriage which would, a generation or two down the line, have very positive benefits on both their average IQ’s (currently very low) and their levels of social cohesion (also very low, as seen in these experiments). They would also then be able to stop grasping at radical Islamism as the only political/ideological force capable of transcending narrow familial and clan loyalties that drive so much of the corruption and nepotism in the Arab world.

That said the results do throw some spanners into purely HBD interpretations. For instance, hbd* chick tends to be extremely bearish on China, because of its clannish family structures that supposedly cripple social capital in China. There is plenty of support for this in both anecdotes and corruption stories/rumors, but on the other hand, (1) South Korea despite being heavily influenced historically by China has not only become a rich developed country but also one of the least corrupt in the world; and (2) QUITE SURPRISINGLY, the Chinese (and the Koreans too) learn to trust each other and cooperate among each other just like the Anglo-Saxons in this experiment. Of course even Greece has managed to become a rich country despite the chronic, mind-mindbogglingly high cynicism of its people. Basically, my thesis remains that when it comes to successful development, high IQ >> social capital. Digressions about corruption, nepotism, and the familial structures that give rise to them can be interesting and instructive, but they are quite simply not nearly as import as cross-national/cross-ethnic psychometrics.

The results for Russia and the Orthodox Slavic world in general are of course depressing but quite expected. Certainly in my experience Russians are far more suspicious than Westerners and getting any kind of cooperative venture going with them tends to be a fool’s errand. While free riders are occasionally punished, if not with any of the consistency you might expect in the West – when exactly is Luzhkov going to jail? Chubais? Serdyukov? – so are the “do gooders” and whistle-blowers Case in point: Tatyana Ivanovna, a teacher who was dismissed and successfully sued for libel for reporting (credible) allegations of election fraud in St.-Petersburg. It’s not authoritarianism; the story was covered in the Russian media, including the state media for that matter. And the libel case against her was later overturned. What drove the case was the desire for revenge on the part of those she accused of electoral fraud, and the selfish indifference of the fellow teachers who denounced instead of protecting her to advance their own careers. Berezovsky also has a typical Russian mentality (even though he is a Jew). Instead of enjoying his loot in peace, like any respectable thief in the West, he instead beggared himself by waging an irrational vendetta against Putin for his perceived betrayal. Things seem to be similar in Greece. One might think they would appreciate a journalist who gives them information about politicians with Swiss bank accounts; instead they arrest him for violating the privacy of people who are most likely thieves. Of course unlike with Russia, everyone agreed that Greece is at democracy; this is just to make the point that democracy or the lack of it is quite irrelevant to these issues.

But maybe not quite. After all, if the general mass of the population is useless at cooperating and self-organizing to maintain law and order and promote development (especially of the long-term variety that requires high future time orientation, something that is also conspicuously lacking among Russians and Meds) then somebody else has to do it for them. For example, Nordic or Germanic foreigners. With the unfortunate exception of Hitler, they have had quite a good record of keeping Russia in line – see Rurik, or Catherine the Great, or Peter the Great (who though Russian was highly influenced by the Germans and the Dutch). They should also be preferably technocrats. Putin spent many years in the GDR, and though he is not a technocrat, he is highly intelligent and many of his circle are. It could be a lot worse. And, of course, the state should be a strong state. Much stronger than its peers in places like Copenhagen or Boston where social civility is largely maintained by society itself, as opposed to its armed and deputized organs. This is why Russians are quite right to view attacks on their state, including Western attempts to destabilize it, as attacks on their own society and for that matter on themselves. With the exception of their liberal fifth column, Russians are at least far-sighted enough to realize that.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 

I am back to writing for the US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel, which since my hiatus has found an additional home at Voice of Russia. The latest topic was on whether Russia, China, and the West could find a common approach to the challenges of the Arab Spring. My response is pessimistic, as in my view Western actions are driven by a combination of ideological “democracy fetishism” and the imperative of improving their own geopolitical positions vis-à-vis Iran, Russia, and China. This makes it difficult to find any middle ground:

It is true that many Muslims in the Middle East want their aging strongman rulers out, and democracy in. Even Osama bin Laden, who purportedly “hates us for our freedom”, once mused that the reason Spain has a bigger economy than the entire Arab world combined was because “the ruler there is accountable.”

And this is also part of the reason why we should refrain from fetishizing “democracy” as the solution to all the region’s ills.

That is because liberal democracy as we know it in the West, with its separation of powers – in particular, that of the Church and state – isn’t at the top of most locals’ priority lists. It only really concerns the liberal youth who initially headed the revolt, while the other 95% of the population is concerned with more trivial things, like unemployment and food prices. As per the historical pattern with the French and Russian revolutions, the Arab Spring happened during a period of record high grain prices. And now as then, a revolution won’t magically create jobs or fill bellies.

In today’s Egypt, it is not foreign-residing technocrats like El Baradei, with his 2% approval ratings, who become President; nor is the cultural discourse set by young Cairo women who strip nude against patriarchy. Remove a secular, modernizing dictator from a country where 75% of the populations supports stoning for adultery, and sooner rather than later you get restrictive dress codes for women (de facto if not de jure), attacks against Christian minorities, and bearded Islamists worming their way into power.

As for Syria, the biggest practical difference is that the liberal minority in the opposition was sidelined even before the fall of the dictator, as it is the Islamists who are now taking the lead in the fighting against Assad.

Will the new regimes that emerge out of the Arab Spring be anywhere near as accommodating with the West as were the likes of Mubarak, or even Assad – who, as Putin reminded us, visited Paris more times that he did Moscow? Will religious fundamentalists be able, or even willing, to build up the (educational) human capital that is the most important component of sustained economic growth?wahh Will they even be able to regain control of their borders, or will they end up like Libya, an anarchic zone disgorging Wahhabi mujahedeen into neighboring countries that don’t really want them?

Western policy-makers do not seem all that eager to consider these questions. Maybe they think they can manipulate the Arab Spring to serve their own interests – after all, Assad’s Syria is an ally of Iran, supplies Hezbollah, and has security relations with Russia and China. They may be calculating that the geopolitical boon from removing the Alawites from power outweighs the costs of Islamists taking over in Damascus. Certainly there are grounds to doubt that genuine concern for democracy explains French, British, and American actions: After all, the two dictatorships friendliest to the West, Bahrain and Yemen, were actively supported in their crackdowns.

If the above interpretation is anywhere near true, there can be little hope for Russia and China finding common ground with the West. It would imply that the Middle East is a chessboard for Great Power games – and chess isn’t a game that you typically play to draw. The one thing everyone should bear in mind, though, is that no matter a man’s ideological leaning, he resents being a pawn. This is a life truism that was demonstrated in the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, that is being played out today in Mali, and that will continue to reverberate so long as the crusaders – for they are widely seen as such – remain in Dar Al-Islam.

(Republished from Da Russophile by permission of author or representative)
 

Western liberals, their puppets, and the Arab Spring in a nutshell (and I do mean nut).

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 

And the protestations of demented democratists be damned.

[tweet https://twitter.com/MiriamElder/status/245839025204785152]

And even apart from all the HBD stuff, here is the most succinct summary of why democracy is never going to flourish in the Arab world for the foreseeable future.

Libya isn’t among the countries above, but it is conservative even by Arab standards. Benghazi contributed the most jihadists per capita to Iraq.

Mubarak, Gaddafi, Assad are (were) paragons of enlightenment and progress, at least to the extent their own populations allowed them to be. They kept the most regressive elements of their population in check while adequately developing the national economy and maintaining friendly relations with other countries. What more could one want?

To paraphrase a wise sentence from the Vekhi, “Thank God for the prisons and bayonets, which protect us from the people’s fury!” In other words, unapologetic reaction is the only sane political course in countries where 80% favor stoning for adultery.

But Western democratist idiots insist otherwise (yes, idiots: While imperialism by Islamist proxies is a tantalizing theory, the old adage that one should not attribute to malevolence what can just as easily be explained by stupidity comes into play). They think that the entire world conforms to their bizarre ideologies and if it doesn’t then a few bombs, grants, and copies of From Dictatorship To Democracy will patch things up.

So how’s that Arab Spring working out now, eh?

Would this outrageous breach of all diplomatic norms and ethos have occurred under Gaddafi? (no of course not…)*

RT was right. I was right. Even the NYT grudging admits it. Even Julia friggin’ Ioffe (kind of).

* Alexander Mercouris on the matter:

The US has now confirmed that it was none other than the US ambassador who was killed in Libya.

On the subject of whether this could have happened under Gaddafi, the short answer is no and we have conclusive evidence that proves this.

In February 2011 when the uprising against Gaddafi began the US and other western powers evacuated their citizens from Tripoli. There was considerable unease in western capitals that Gaddafi would try to hold on to these people as hostages. He did nothing of the sort. On the contrary he made sure that the Libyan authorities assisted with the evacuation, which could not of course have happened without their cooperation. Nor at any point during the fighting were any western journalists or diplomats who visited the part of Libya that remained under Gaddafi’s control any time threatened and harmed. I can only remember one incident when a British television returning from the rebel town of Zuwiyah after it had been recaptured by Gaddafi’s forces claimed to have been detained and beaten by Gaddafi’s security forces. For various reasons I had strong doubts at the time that this was true.

I happen to know various people who visited Libya whilst Gaddafi was in power. One was a Greek woman who bizarrely ran an estate agency there. The opinions of Gaddafi held by these people vary widely but all described a country that was very safe and very relaxed. Now that is “free” it is no longer either.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 

The commentator fcomp writes:

If you think about it, there is a strong rationale self interest between feminism and the increase of female obesity. If feminism is to be defined as increasing the societal power of women, then it would serve them well for their to be more obese women. The desirability of a women to a man is far more objective then subjective. If women were to be, across the board, more attractive, if all women became, at minimum, 6s, men who ended up marrying 6s, the men who would be the lowest in male desirability in such a society, wouldn’t nearly be as unhappy as men who end up marrying 1s in our society. The logical result of that, is that in such a beautiful society, ironically, the value of female beauty would become far less valuable, and beauty would be far less desired.

That is exactly right. You see this in EE. Beauty is so common that it’s much less valued than in America. Basic market forces at work. Feminists go on about the importance of “inner beauty”, but ironically, the social trends that are in their own interests to encourage achieve the exact opposite – preoccupation with physical beauty (because it is rare).

If there isn’t a chance that one might end up with a landwhale, I suspect that most men would hardly bother with stuff like game and the like.

Of course. There are millions of things more valuable than game. It’s like gambling, or financial speculation: Good for those who are good at it, socially worthless.

I would imagine that such a society would experience little sexual discrimination, but at the same time, be very anti-female, in the sense that women who are competitive with men in economically productive fields would be quite successful, but at the same time, “feminine virtues”, a females capacity attracting men, the only area in which women surpass men, would be far less valued.

Yes, ironically, there is little sexual discrimination in such societies. Female salaries as a percentage of male salaries are higher in Russia than in the US or the UK. There are far more self-made female billionaires in China than in the Anglo world. It is true that the women there can’t “attract men” as well as in societies without gender feminism, but why on earth would you want them to? There is a name for women who are really good at this: Sluts.

There is a upper cap on female attractiveness, which are the feminine ideals hardwired into us by evolution, but there is no downward cap. This is in direct contrast to male attractiveness, because male attractiveness is strongly based with ability, and strong relativistic. ie: A man can always become more powerful, more wealthy, more physically capable. In this fashion, feminism is intrinsically a downward trend because the only thing a beautiful women can do to that makes herself more desired in a society, is to reduce the amount of beauty in that society.

This is why your typical Third Wave feminist or rape activist is fat, has a manjaw, or is otherwise unattractive.

If you are ugly, devaluing beauty is not bad evolutionary strategy.

The prevalence of female obesity in the middle east can also be explained in this fashion. If increasing the amount of non-obese women in a society is a form of sexual egalitarianism, because it increases the amount of sexual contentment across the board, then what society is less sexually egalitarian then Islam?

I have been meaning to write about the links between radical Islam and gender feminism for quite some time. Suffice to say for now that, contrary to what one may think, they make for excellent bedfellows.

Of course, none of this is to say that female obesity is a feminist conspiracy, that would be quite absurd. Like you said, dystopian societal trends.

Indeed.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 

The woman on the right is the Egyptian First Lady in 1930. The woman on the left is Mrs. Mursi, First Lady in 2012.

I do not know if there is any better illustration of the collapse in aesthetics, culture, etc. when Islamic radicals seize power thanks to their liberal, internationalist, and socialist enablers. Truly, it is a horror to behold.

PS. Sorry for the short nature of the posts of late. I’m very busy ATM.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 

Here’s a sampling of recent headlines from the country that loves to lecture others on freedom of speech and rule of law.

Racist Tube rant woman Jacqueline Woodhouse jailed: A London Underground passenger has been jailed for 21 weeks after she admitted hurling racist abuse at fellow passengers.BBC

Girl gang who kicked woman in the head while yelling ‘kill the white slag’ freed after judge hears ‘they weren’t used to drinking because they’re Muslims’.Daily Mail

Police misused powers during royal wedding, protesters claim. (AK: on preemptive arrests of republicans)The Independent

The hijab has liberated me from society’s expectations of women: Wearing the hijab doesn’t have to be about religious dedication. For me, it is political, feminist and empowering. (AK: What’s worse than a feminist, and a radical Islamist? A feminist Islamist)The Guardian

No 10 guide to changing nappies and baby talk: New parents will be given government advice on changing nappies, breastfeeding and “baby talk” under a multi-million pound initiative to support family life.The Telegraph

UK economy’s fall into recession deeper than expected: Contraction of 0.3%, coupled with more bad news from the eurozone, increases pressure on government to intervene to boost economic growth.The Guardian

Is there any reason, any reason whatsoever, for other countries to listen to Britain on absolutely anything? Flee as quickly as you can possibly can! :shock:

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 

With the recent election of the controversial (to put it mildly) Ahmadinejad to the Iranian Presidency, it is time to look at what this portends for the future of Iran and the Middle East region in general.

The first question we need to ask is whether Ahmadinejad’s victory was free and fair. Stratfor believes it may well have been, describing it as a “triumph of both democracy and repression“. According to this narrative, Western liberals misread sentiment in Iran, seeing it in Manichean terms of a struggle between iPod youth (anyone who blogs, tweets, etc) and corrupt Islamist crustaceans. Yet in reality, except for a few urbane Anglophone professionals, there is no Iranian audience for Western iCivilization. Ahmadinehad appeals to a solid bloc based on his platform stressing Islamic piety (a return to the glory days of the early Revolution), combating corruption (in which many of the “liberal” clerics, as typified by Rafsanjani – an ally of Mousavi, are believed to be implicated in), promoting rural development and curbing inequality, and a strident foreign policy aimed at establishing Iran as a regional and nuclear Great Power. US Iran expert Flynt Leverett in Spiegel argues that allegations of fraud are based on nothing more than an extraordinary amount of wishful thinking by the US.

That said, there’s some pretty damning evidence to the contrary. Juan Cole compiled six reasons in Stealing the Iranian Election, where there is now a heated ongoing discussion. For instance, his support in the Azeri provinces was inexplicably high, considering that Mousavi, an ethnic Azeri, was popular there; he also won over the cities, where he isn’t as popular (on the other hand, the regional election results do show that the race was much closer in the Azeri areas and Tehran; in the Persian provinces, Ahmadinejad’s margin of victory was as high as 3:1). Other irregularities from established form, such as a suspicious uniformity paving over traditional regional and ethnic fluctuations. (Muhammad Sahimi notes that the election data shows “a perfect linear relation between the votes received by the President and Mir Hossein Mousavi” over time, with the incumbent always leading by a 2:1 ratio, which he argues is highly unlikely due to the fragmented character of Iran’s ethnic composition; however, it should be noted that this approach is flawed since much the same argument could be made for Obama’s win). Khamenei immediately approved the alleged results, foregoing the customary 3-day waiting period. The counting happened very quickly and Ahmadinejad declared a 64% victory immediately after the polling closer, not far from his official 62.6%. Etc, etc… you get the idea.

But then again… researchers Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty from the Terror Free Tomorrow outfit conducted a poll three weeks before the elections. It showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2:1 ratio, even amongst Azeris. As such, Ahmadinejad actually did worse in the polls than the survey may have indicated. Furthermore, support was highest for Ahmadinejad amongst that most networked (and supposedly pro-West, but not) age group, the 18-24 year olds. The leading candidates were Ahmadinehad (34%) and Mousavi (14%), with Karroubi and Rezai polling insignificant support. 27% were in the “I Don’t Know” category, 15% didn’t answer and 8% said none, folks whom the pollsters expected to lean heavily towards Mousavi. As covered by Langer,

Rather it leaped in another direction, noting that “the race may actually be closer than a first look at the numbers would indicate,” because more than six in 10 respondents who expressed no opinion “reflect individuals who favor political reform and change in the current system.” It went on to predict “that none of the candidates will likely pass the 50 percent threshold.”

And though this question on whether the elections is fascinating in its own right, I suspect pursuing it further will just lead to ever more circles of claim, refutation and counter-claim, frequently colored by ideology (whether it be neocon, revolutionary-Islamist, conservative-”liberal”-Islamist, or Westernism). For the record, I believe the weight of the evidence indicates that Ahmadinejad would have probably won anyway, with around 50% of the vote and a small risk of a runoff against Mousavi. Electoral engineering and use of administrative resources ramped it up by 10-15% to provide Ahmadinehad with a safe win.

Now, I’ll turn to a second, and more interesting, question – what does it mean for Iran’s political development, and the geopolitics of the region?

But first, a quick guide. Unlike Russia or Venezuela, there is little doubt that Iran is an authoritarian state. Though there is an active electoral process for the Majlis and the Presidency, it is heavily circumscribed by the unelected Guardian Council of clerics, now headed by Khamenei (the system is a unique hybrid of Velayat-e Faqih (rule by Islamic jurists) and modern parliamentary democracy). He has the supreme executive power over matters of state. Khamenei is seen as the real power in the land and is an ally of Ahmadinejad. These hardliners draw support from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG), a paramilitary organization that controls lucrative shares in the national economy and encompasses the Basij reserves forces. According to the Guardian,

Superimposed on this picture has been the widely-held belief – now surely established as accurate – that Khamenei has had the backing of a hard core of radical mullahs, revolutionary guards and intelligence officers who may not have been in the vanguard of the Islamic revolution but cut their teeth in Iran’s bloody 1980-88 war with Iraq.

The group, which has coalesced around Ahmadinejad, harbours dreams of transforming Iran from an Islamic republic to an Islamic government, a distinction which would do away with elections and the need to observe the late Ayatollah Khomeini’s invocation to respect the “people’s will”. By this vision, Iran would forever take its guidance only from the divine, in the form of an all-powerful spiritual leader.

Opposed is a conservative-Islamist (not to be confused with “moderate”, never mind “liberal) faction centered around Rafsanjani, the second most powerful man in the Islamic Republic, who is allied with Mousavi and former President Khatami. They favor business interests and reconciliation with the West. They have a reputation for corruption and their power is declining relative to Khamenei and the IRGC.

Stratfor believes the Iranian political system is approaching an impasse. According to their analysis, the “the cohesiveness of the Iranian state has been deteriorating, with a rift between the president’s ultra-conservative camp and the pragmatic conservative camp led by Rafsanjani”. This struggle, already inflamed by Ahmadinejad’s radical Presidency, has been brought to the fore by Obama’s offer of rapprochement – opposed by the hardliners, welcomed by the pragmatic conservatives. Furthermore, the clerics as a class are under pressure from all sides, hardliners, reformers and (small and weak) outright pro-Western liberals alike:

Because he is the first Iranian president who is not also a cleric, Ahmadinejad sought to strengthen his position by claiming that his policies were guided by the highly revered and hidden 12th imam of the Shia, the Mahdi. This claim has unnerved the clerics: It undermines their privileged position, not only in the Iranian political system but also in religious terms. The implication of this is that if laypeople have access to the messiah, there is no need for them to rely on clerics — who historically have had tremendous influence among the masses.

Meanwhile, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is emerging as a powerful player in Iran, currently second only to the clerics. But as the clerical community becomes marred by internal disagreements and the aging ayatollahs who founded the republic anticipate the day when they will be succeeded by a second generation, the IRGC is very likely to emerge as the most powerful force within the state. The ayatollahs have used their religious position to control the ideological force; if they should become weaker, the non-clerical politicians and technocrats will have a tough time dealing with the IRGC.

It should also be pointed out that Ahmadinejad, far from being a driving force, is but a reflection of deeper dynamics at work. Ranj Alaaldin does not imagine President Mousavi would institute any real changes:

Even with Mousavi in power, Iran’s foreign policy would likely be no different than it has been under Ahmadinejad. A 20-year absence from the public eye, coupled with dazzling words of change that skillfully capitalize on the “Obama effect” gripping the world, does wonders to beguile a young generation of supporters who never knew or have forgotten the radicalism and bloodshed that marked Mousavi’s tenure as prime minister from 1981 to 1989 (the Iranian Revolution’s most significant years).

Indeed, anyone believing Mousavi would be the one to unclench the Iranian fist for a hand-in-hand partnership of peace with the United States is guilty of wishful thinking. It was Mousavi, after all, who was at the center of the Iran hostage crisis and remains complicit in an operation he commended as “the beginning of the second stage of our revolution.” And it was Mousavi who was the protégé of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (chief architect of the Iranian Revolution and founder of theocratic Iran), a former member of Hezbollah’s leadership council, sworn enemy of Israel, and a prime minister under whose watch thousands of political prisoners were massacred in 1988. And finally, it was Mousavi who initiated Iran’s nuclear program in the 1980s and likely would be intent on carrying through Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the foremost issue central to any improvement in relations with the West.

All of this discussion assumes that it is even worth debating whether Mousavi would bring change to Iranian foreign policy when he would have no authority to do so in the first place. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final say on matters of foreign policy, not the president. Given Khamenei’s clear approval of what he called a “glittering” Ahmadinejad victory, and because it is the theocracy that verifies the count in the absence of any outside monitors — meaning that any election rigging was done with the supreme leader’s backing — it is he who will need convincing if Iran is to divert from a path of nuclear capability, hostility toward the United States, and support for terrorism.

(It should be noted that Rafsanjani does not refrain from using extreme language either.)

However, he pins hope on the “tenacious middle-class, educated, and youthful Mousavi supporters who have cried foul and rallied and bled in the streets” to force the theocrats to bring about real change. Though overall he’s pessimistic…

More likely, however, the unelected mullahs who rule Iran behind the scenes will be concerned about a galvanized army of reformists who have undermined its authority in recent weeks by, for example, entering the squares and openly mixing and dancing in groups of males and females in direct contravention of clerical law. The leadership might therefore double down on its hard-line foreign and domestic policies, starting with a ruthless endeavor to keep Ahmadinejad in power through any means necessary, so long as the end remains a theocratic Iran.

Returning to the aforementioned poll from Terror Free Tomorrow, 77% of Iranians want all leaders, including the Supreme Leader, to be elected, and similar percentages welcome Western investment and humanitarian aid to Iran (who wouldn’t?). Some 83% strongly favor nuclear energy – that’s OK, nuclear power is a great idea, especially for Iran since it could then export more of its hydrocarbons. Besides, big majorities would acquiesce to inspections of nuclear facilities if accompanied by trade liberalization. Support for cooperation with the US, like stopping funding insurgents in Iraq and to Hizbullah and Hamas, is also very considerable.

These positive attitudes aren’t extended to Israel, however. Though 27% support recognizing Israel if a Palestinian state is established, another 62% would oppose any peace treaty with Israel and favor all Muslims fighting on until there is no State of Israel in the Middle East. And although Christians are almost as popular as Sunni Muslims, opinions on Jews are split in half, with 40% having a positive attitude and a stunning 32% having a negative one.

So now we move onto our last analysis – what’s going to happen in the region?

Iran is split into three social groups. The main one, which is further growing in power, is the hardline element that embraces pursuit of regional hegemony, nuclear weapons and confrontation with the West. It’s main protagonists are Ahmadinejad, the IRGC, and the hardline clerics. Khamenei is increasingly tilting in this direction, the latest evidence for which is his condemnation of Obama’s palm leaf extending Cairo speech.

The second one is that of the old-school clerics, fiery revolutionaries when younger, now willing to reach an accommodation with the US while enjoying the finer things in life. Though some parts of this grouping have become discredited, there is wide grassroots support for reformers who want to make the system more democratic.

The third group are the pro-Western liberals, who are and will almost certainly remain marginal – though they are sure to continue getting the best exposure in the Western media.

This election shows that Iran has purposefully chosen the path of confrontation. There will be a purge of the pragmatic conservative and reformist clerics and, buoyed by increasing oil prices, Iran will accelerate nuclear development, intensify its rhetoric and perhaps increase its funding of terrorist and insurgent groups. Cognizant of its current strength (a still unstable Iraq next door; an excellent demographic profile for war that will fade away as its current fertility rate of 1.7 makes itself felt on the size of future generations; a US Navy for now vulnerable to its asymmetrical developments in drones, torpedoes and anti-ship missiles), the hardliners are going to use the next few years to try to establish Iran as a regional hegemon.

This will not ultimately be acceptable to the US – though it can abandon Israel, it cannot abandon the Middle Eastern oilfields. Yet paradoxically, the election of Ahmadinejad has been a boon for Israel – a symbolic victory that underlines the rising existential threat it faces from Iran, which exists whether or not Ahmadinejad is actually in charge or not.

…Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said that there is not much to be expected from Mousavi. Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the Knesset that if Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious problem trying to make a case to the world about the threat from Iran, because the international community views Mousavi as a moderate.

It is estimated it will take Iran perhaps another four to five years to develop nuclear weapons. During this time, the chances of an Israeli strike will grow; in particular, the US is likely to come around to its way of thinking, particularly if the economic crisis further intensifies and Obama has to give freer rein to hawkish elements with his administration in order to retain his grip on domestic matters. Iran will grow increasingly emboldened and aggressive on once-again soaring oil prices.

Eventually, this might well end in a major aero-naval assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities (a few strikes won’t do given that the facilities are dispersed and hardened, unlike Osirak in Iraq in 1981) carried out by Israeli with passive or even active US support. The moderate Arab states will condemn this, but will secretly be very happy. Iran retaliates by again destabilizing the fragile foundations underlying the recent peace in Iraq, intensifies support to Hamas and Hizbullah and perhaps attacking US military bases and oil export terminals in the region; with the international situation spiraling out of control, Syria may even make another attempt for the Golan Heights, using the new asymmetrical war concepts displayed by Hizbullah in 2006 into action.

Or Iran’s new Islamist wave may pass by without major consequences. In any case in the long-term a US-Iranian rapprochement is likely. Conflict between Iran and the West prevents the effective exploitation of Iran’s natural gas reserves, which are the world’s joint-second largest (with Qatar) after Russia’s. Given current trends towards the concurrent resurgence of the Russian Empire, it is in the interests of Europe and in extension to US to reach an accomodation with at least one of them. Considering that the Persian Empire is much farther away, less powerful and hence less threatening, Iran is counter-intuitively likely to become the West’s friend within the decade, for the current radicalization now stirring up cannot be sustained in the long-term. Another sea change is that a weakening Israel may seek closer connections to Russia – there is already a visa-free regime between the two countries, and Israel has stopped supplying Georgia with weaponry in acquiescence to Russian wishes.

(Republished from Sublime Oblivion by permission of author or representative)
 
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.


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