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Charles Lister & Daveed Gartenstein-Ross on the Blair Foundation report

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — opinions differ — with respect for informed disagreement ]

Charles Lister & Daveed Gartenstein-Ross both know a great deal more than I do about the factions within the Syrian opposition, so I’m putting their two tweets on the topic, posted only fifteen moniutes apart. up here as an invitation to eacxh of them to express the angle from which they find the report, respectively, to lack knowledge and have high value.


  • Tony Blair Faith Foundation, If the Castle Falls, Ideology and Objectives of the Syrian Rebellion
  • **

    I’m posting this on Boxing Day as we’d say back in the UK, hoping both parties will have an opportunity to discuss the report at some future point, but also aware that both are more than busy, and may not find the time to do so.

    Either way, I wish them both, and all Zenpundit readers, the very best this festive season.

    Target: innocence

    Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — the DoubleQuote as déjà vu, and as moral contrast and comparison ]

    The targeting of innocence seems particularly reprehensible —

    SPEC DQ format

    but in this instance, the Islamic State is only following in the footsteps of the Soviets in Afghanistan.


    Perhaps someone can help me understand whether training young boys to kill

    SPEC DQ killer or killed

    or killing children — is the more heinous crime.

    Or sin?



  • Armament Research Services, Islamic State employs improvised explosive devices
  • Christian Science Monitor, The Afghan child and the bright red plastic truck

  • Daily Mail, ISIS release shocking new video of child soldiers from Kazakhstan
  • We Write What We Like, Defying the media lies about Syria – finding truth
  • The “refugee” koan

    Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — considering both sides, while tilting one way or the other ]

    I call it a koan because you can flip it — there are two sides to it, and very possibly a serrated edge that it can balance on, foiling your best efforts to come up with a yes-no answer:

    On the one side, Tsarnaev:

    Not a Christian, BTW..


    Okay, before the second shoe drops…

    Consider this, from Benjamin Wittes, In Defense of Refugees today on Lawfare:

    It is worth reflecting at least briefly on the security risks of turning our backs on hundreds of thousands of helpless people fleeing some combination of ISIS and Assad. Imagine teeming refugee camps in which everyone knows that America has abandoned them. Imagine the conspiracy theories that will be rife in those camps. Imagine the terrorist groups that will recruit from them and the righteous case they will make about how, for all its talk, the United States left Syria to burn and Syrians to live in squalor in wretched camps in neighboring countries. I don’t know if this situation is more dangerous, less dangerous, or about as dangerous as the situation in which we admit a goodly number of refugees, help resettle others, and run some risk—which we endeavor to mitigate — that we might admit some bad guys. But this is not a situation in which all of the risk is stacked on the side of doing good, while turning away is the safe option. There is risk whatever we do or don’t do.

    Most profoundly, there is risk associated with saying loudly and unapologetically that we don’t care what happens to hundreds of thousands of innocent people — or that we care if they’re Christian but not if they’re Muslim, or that we care but we’ll keep them out anyway if there’s even a fraction of a percent chance they are not what they claim to be. They hear us when we say these things. And they will see what we do. And those things too have security consequences.

    And, from a very different area of the political spectrum, this:

    There’s a reason that hospitality is actually a religious virtue and not just a thing that nice people do: it is sacrificial. Real hospitality involves risk, an opening of the door to the unknown other. There is a reason it is so important in the Biblical narratives, which were an ancient people’s attempt to work out what they thought God required of them in order to be the people of God. Hospitality isn’t just vacuuming and putting out appetizers and a smile — it’s about saying, “Oh holy Lord, I hope these people don’t kill me or rape my daughters, but our human society relies on these acts of feeding and sheltering each other, so I must be brave and unlock the door.” Scary stuff. Big stuff. Ancient and timeless stuff. “You shall welcome the stranger.”

    Now: is that wisdom, or foolishness?


    Aha, the second shoe..

    Besides Tsarnaev, who else do we know who came here as a refugee?

    albert einstein non christian refugee

    Einstein, no less.

    And Einstein was not a Christian either, FWIW.

    It gives me great pleasure..

    Sunday, November 8th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — ]

    Christians released by IS

    It gives me great pleasure to repeat, as first announced by the Assyrian Human Rights Network and then reported by AP:

    Activists say IS group releases 37 Syrian Christian captives

    Islamic State militants on Saturday released 37 Syrian Christians, mostly women, who were among more than 200 people from the Assyrian minority group abducted in February, activists said. [ .. ]

    The Assyrian Human Rights Network posted pictures on its Facebook page of the newly freed Christians arriving in the predominantly ethnic Assyrian village of Tal Tamr, in the northeastern Hassakeh province.

    The photos show a woman kissing the hand of an elderly woman in tears, and a priest greeting the former captives in a church ceremony.

    Which best captures the fleeting present — past or future?

    Monday, October 26th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — architectural history as a question in philosophy — Palmyra ]




    I’ll admit my preference for “past” — but is it just “the patina of antiquity”I’m appreciating?

    What building from the first decades of this millennium might people think worth preserving — or destroying — a thousand years hence?

    And what if the present should arise and fade, unaided?

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