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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
  • Brief brief: from cost-benefit to apocalypse

    Friday, February 6th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — a bullet train of thought re Daesh from the New Yorker ]

    Kenji Goto, friend of Syrians

    Kenji Goto, friend of Syrians


    George Packer, in Why ISIS Murdered Kenji Goto a couple of days ago, connects a longer distance between ideas faster than the bullet train from Beijing to Guangzhou

    The Islamic State doesn’t behave according to recognizable cost-benefit analyses. It doesn’t cut its losses or scale down its ambitions. The very name of the self-proclaimed caliphate strikes most people, not least other Muslims, as ridiculous, if not delusional. But it’s the vaulting ambition of an actual Islamic State that inspires ISIS recruits. The group uses surprise and shock to achieve goals that are more readily grasped by the apocalyptic imagination than by military or political theory,

    That took us from cost-benefit analysis to the apocalyptic imagination in one short paragraph, an almost unimaginable feat.

    Which is precisely why bureaucratic “military or political” minds might overlook it.


    And may Kenji Goto rest in peace.

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