Saturday, 21 November 2015

What do we do about ISIS?

What a difference three weeks make. It was only three weeks ago that charges against Marine Le Pen of the Front National were dropped for saying about Muslim areas in France
It is an occupation of sections of the territory, of neighbourhoods in which religious law applies. It is an occupation. There are no tanks, there are no soldiers, but it is an occupation anyhow and it weighs on people.
if it didn't weigh on the French before it certainly does now, after the ISIS attacks that killed 130 people.

The FN didn't benefit much from the Hebdo murders. Let's see what happens this time.

Everyone should read this very short article by Niall Ferguson. 
Let us be clear about what is happening. Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defences to crumble. As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time, it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith.
I am glad he is writing in this vein though I do not think things are quite so bad as that. There is no alternative to Western civilisation but would a civilisation not dominated by white Christians still be Western? I wish very much that I had worked at university and been a rival of Niall Ferguson. The thing the world most urgently needs at this moment is conservative historians.

What is interesting is that no-one not even experienced journalists know what is going on in Syria. Patrick Cockburn, a left-winger, knows more than most and confirms my suspicions. We are being fed lies by the US government about Russia, ISIS and about the obviously non-existent 'moderate rebels'.
In an article that you really should read (click here) he says Western leaders have claimed they believed six impossible things before breakfast.
These impossible things included the belief that it would be possible to contain and even destroy IS, while at the same time getting rid of President Bashar al-Assad and his regime in Damascus. The US, Britain, France and their allies have refused to admit that the fall of Assad would create a power vacuum that would be inevitably be filled by Islamic fundamentalists from IS or al Qaeda clones such as Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham.What this strategy has meant on the ground is that when IS attacked the Syrian army in Palmyra in May the US air force did not bomb its fighters because Washington did not want to be accused by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies of helping Assad.
The result was a victory for IS as it seized Palmyra, beheaded captured Syrian soldiers and advanced westwards close to the crucial north-south highway linking Damascus to the northern cities.
He also says
If the Russians had really only been launching air strikes against Syrian moderates and not against IS, it is unlikely that IS would have gone to such trouble to place a bomb on a Russian plane leaving Sharm el-Sheikh that killed 224 passengers.
That sounds very plausible, though ISIS may have punished Russia just for aiding Assad.

I have no doubt that Assad has helped ISIS, but I suspect not quite as much as the press keeps insisting. i am also clear that Turkey and Qatar helped found ISIS and ISIS flourished because of the USA's anxiety to help create a Sunni anti-Iranian government and thus block the Shia crescent that links Hezbollah, Assad and Tehran.

Why is ISIS attacking the French, the Russians and the Lebanese Shias at the same time? To invite retaliation, which will allow it to pose as fighting a Holy War against Christians (much as the Western leaders want to forget their Christian identity and replace it with multiculturalism). We must not fall into the trap of reacting in the wrong way as George W Bush did and we must not victimise or alienate European Muslims of whom there are now huge numbers.

On the other hand, the strange lack of anger about these atrocities and absence of almost any public hostility to Islam concerns me. It is the dog that did not bark in the night. 

Brendan O'Neill is a sort of Trotskyite, a sort of Communist, an atheist who believes in open borders. I find I agree with almost every word he ever says. And I agree with almost every word of this article- and all of them are important. 

Now, it is spiked’s view that the intensification of intervention in Syria is unlikely to solve the problem at hand. Nonetheless, we also feel that there’s little positive in the dearth of appetite for physically fighting ISIS. It, too, speaks to the subdued, passion-policing response to Paris. As John Stuart Mill put it, ‘War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth war is much worse.’ This is what we have post-Paris: a ruling and thinking class which thinks its own values are not worth fighting a war for, and in fact should not be loudly and proudly stated through song, argument, flag-waving or any talk of ‘America winning’ or ‘France winning’ lest we intensify the suspicion some among us feel for those values.


is the headline on an article by

Charles Glass that seems very wise although must is not a word to use to princes. No-one until now wanted to fight ISIS, which the US's allies, it is now clear, encouraged - in a desire to get rid of Assad that had nothing whatsoever to do with his regime's cruelty.

Nothing would turn Iraqis and Syrians to the jihadis more quickly than a Western invasion.Those of us who witnessed the Iraqi uprising of 1991, when Kurds and Shiites used the demoralisation of Saddam Hussein’s army in Kuwait to liberate 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, know that it had more potential to save the country than the American-led invasion of 2003 did. The U.S. pulled the plug on that rebellion in March 1991, and launched its own bid to control Iraq in 2003 that it is still paying for.One step would not involve any combat at all: Close the open supply line between ISIS and the outside world through Turkey. Turkey is an ally, but no friend.

This very good article in Taki's magazine called
Four ways to save Europe
is full of good points but though the first three suggestions are good the fourth is too extreme for me. 

Finally, here is a charming essay entitled

The Vicar of Baghdad: 'I've looked through the Quran trying to find forgiveness... there isn’t any.'

And a tweet I liked.



  1. Russia wants to maintain its military foothold in Syria more than it wants to eliminate ISIS.

    The Kurds want an autonomous state as much as they want to eliminate ISIS.

    The Sunnis want to get back at the Shia and secure their political security more than they want to fight ISIS.

    The Shia want a monopoly on power as much as they want to defeat ISIS.

    Turkey wants to wipe out Kurdish rebels and depose Assad as much as it wants to fight ISIS.

    The Gulf Arab states want to depose Assad more than they want to fight ISIS.

    The U.S. wants to defeat ISIS, depose Assad, counter Russia's influence, counter Iran's influence, maintain their own influence, AND wrestle a fair representative government out of the Iraqis to retain some evidence of success there. Supposing we could pick just one of those?

    Until most of the players move defeating ISIS to the top of the list, no amount of bombing is going to with. Our other objectives are all at cross purposes to one another.

  2. Excellent piece. Nadeem Khan

  3. This is a religious war brewing and the situation is more complex that WW1. No amount of ex-ante calculation will yield a solution. We should stay out and keep our powder dry. Because we'll need to intervene at some point. The later the better. Our allies, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are paying with fire. We need the US to keep them in line.

  4. "would a civilisation not dominated by white Christians still be Western"

    I was told once: "you are white, but not That white". A puzzling statement that life keeps expending nuance on, much to my amusement ...