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Those demned Sunni Shiites

Friday, April 17th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — for those unused to the word, and potentially troubled by it, demned is a cussword much favored by The Scarlet Pimpernel ]

The Prophet said “War is deceit” according to Sahih al-Bukhari, the most highly respected collection of ahadith — as did Sun Tzu before him, writing “All warfare is based on deception” according to one translator. I shouldn’t have been surprised, therefore, by this reversal of understanding reported by journo Richard Engel, captured, then released, then very surprised himself by what he later discovered about his captors:

SPEC DQ the Sunni Shiites


  • Both quotes, which we can call “before” (upper panel) and “after” (lower panel) are drawn from Richard Engel’s New Details on 2012 Kidnapping of NBC News Team in Syria
  • DoubleQuote from the Wilds of Syria

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — it’s not only HM Government (FCO) that can wield a nifty DoubleQuote ]

    Consider this:


    DoubleQuote use n+3:

  • with satirical intent
  • Two new “must read” books

    Monday, March 2nd, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — Hamid & Farrall, Stern & Berger, full reviews coming up shortly ]

    Farrall & Berger


    I recently received a review copy of Mustafa Hamid & Leah Farrall‘s breakthrough book, The Arabs at War in Afghanistan, courtesy of the publisher, Michael Dwyer of Hurst, and will be writing it up once I’ve finished devouring it:

    A former senior mujahidin figure and an ex-counter-terrorism analyst cooperating to write a book on the history and legacy of Arab-Afghan fighters in Afghanistan is a remarkable and improbable undertaking. Yet this is what Mustafa Hamid, aka Abu Walid al-Masri, and Leah Farrall have achieved with the publication of their ground-breaking work.

    The result of thousands of hours of discussions over several years, The Arabs at War in Afghanistan offers significant new insights into the history of many of today’s militant Salafi groups and movements.


    An almost unbelievable and very welcome collaboration.




    Jessica Stern is terrific, while JM Berger is not only one of our ablest analysts, but also a good friend. This book will be an eye-opener.

    Are the friends of my enemy’s other enemies friends of mine?

    Thursday, February 26th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — a missile wrapped in a paradox inside a sandstorm — Syria ]

    So. tell me, which? This?

    or this?

    Or can you have it both ways?


    Six minutes separates those two tweets.

    the title of this post is very likely confused. As am I.

    Granny to ISIS: well said!

    Saturday, February 14th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — old enough to appreciate this beauty ]

    Granny to ISIS


    I don’t usually like comparing people to animals, it’s all too often a means of demonizing them so they can be killed without compunction — but hey, IMO this exception proves the rule!


  • Daily Mail: The granny who stood up to ISIS

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