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Mind-blowing first paragraph, academic paper

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — this motive for terror in Mumbai totally blindsided me ]
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Young Ajmal Kasab, from the village of Faridkot in the Punjab, in Mumbai, now deceased

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Consider this:

Strapped to a gurney and visibly shaken by the bloodied bodies of his fellow terrorists strewn about, Mohammed Jamal Amir Kasab, aged twenty-one, begged his police interrogators to turn off their cameras. They refused, and Kasab’s recorded confession provided the world with a glimpse into the individual motivations of the young men behind the four days of attacks in Mumbai, India. Kasab explained that he “joined the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba only for money.”1 His was not solely an individual decision, however, and the money he earned from participating in the attacks was not intended to be discretionary income. According to Kasab, his father had urged him to join so that Kasab and his siblings could afford to marry.2 Kasab recounted that his father had told him that his participation would mean that the family would no longer be poor and that they would be able to pay the costs required to finalize a marriage contract. One of the police officers, seemingly ignoring Kasab’s response, pressed, “So you came here for jihad? Is that right?” Crying, Kasab asked, “What jihad?” Lashkar-e-Taiba deposited the promised money in his father’s account after the successful attack; for his participation, Kasab was hanged in 2012 by the Indian government. Whether his siblings were subsequently able to contract marriages as a result of the funds provided by Lashkar-e-Taiba remains unknown.

The paper, by Valerie M. Hudson and Hilary Matfess, is published by MIT Press in International Security, Volume 42 Issue 1, Summer 2017, p.7-40 under the title, In Plain Sight: The Neglected Linkage between Brideprice and Violent Conflict.

How little we know, how little we suspect, how diverse the world is, how varied the motives at play, even in matters that we study and feel we’ve grasped.

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The paragraph above stands as a fitting anecdotal confirmation of Will McCants:

The disappoint stems from the desire to attribute the jihadist phenomenon to a single cause rather than to several causes that work in tandem to produce it. To my mind, the most salient are these: a religious heritage that lauds fighting abroad to establish states and to protect one’s fellow Muslims; ultraconservative religious ideas and networks exploited by militant recruiters; peer pressure (if you know someone involved, you’re more likely to get involved); fear of religious persecution; poor governance (not type of government); youth unemployment or underemployment in large cities; and civil war. All of these factors are more at play in the Arab world now than at any other time in recent memory, which is fueling a jihadist resurgence around the world.

If anyone elevates one of those factors above the others to diagnose the problem, you can be certain the resulting prescription will not work. It may even backfire, leading to more jihadist recruitment, not less.

The hunter hunted

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

[ by Charles CameronDoubleTweet — the self-reference and enantiodromia of the hunt ]
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This clever illustration of the hunter(s) hunted.. reminded me inevitably of the hunter Actaeon, who saw the goddess Artemis / Diana naked, bathing in a pool. She turned him into a stag, and his own hounds then tore him to pieces..

These two tweets, one following fairly closely on the other though from different sources, just about made my day!

Sunday surprise, Kaushiki Chakrabarty

Monday, July 31st, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — lend me 18 minutes, thank me later! ]
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I had no idea: a raga from the superb Kaushiki Chakrabarty. I have no idea why it took me seventy-plus years to know I shared the earth with such a voice — and such a beauty! — there is hope for us yet:

With profound thanks to 3 Quarks Daily for the pointer.

Anything self-defeating is an ouroboros

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — Tankel’s take on Trump’s CT ]
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Mostly the self-devouring snakes I track here are a little more subtle about the circular nature of their logic — the phrasing often hides the fact that man bites self, or dog chases own tail. This example, however, is just so blatant, presented in so large and darkna font, with its accompanying image just so dazzlingly colored, that I just has to bring it here.

Self-defeating, self-eating — it’s the self- part that signals trouble. Stephen Tankel is a fine researcher — his book Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba is recommended readng on the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

He is not a happy chap:

The emerging Trump counterterrorism strategy appears to be a dysfunctional combination of repurposed elements of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama approaches infused with some of Trump’s worst impulses

You may wish to read him.

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Meanwhile, as an ad to accompany CNN’s Iran’s Revolutionary Guards blame Saudis for Tehran attacks, I got this:

Okay ouroboroi!

Sunday surprise — cows, laws and enforcement

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — in India, cows are a vigilantism issue, in California it’s manure, flatulence, & methane ]
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Behold:

Tablet DQ 600 cow police

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In India:

Indian police have launched a “cow protection” force and a 24-hour hotline after a spate of attacks related to laws governing consumption of beef and the religious status of cattle.

The 300-strong team in Haryana will enforce some of the toughest laws in the country shielding cows. Haryana imposes jail terms of up to ten years for illegal slaughter and smuggling but Hindu officials in the northern state are concerned about a rise in cow-related crime and are determined to protect the animals.

In California:

First they came after the oil producers, then manufacturers, and now they’re coming for the cows. Having mandated emissions reductions from fossil fuels, California’s relentless progressives are seeking to curb the natural gas emanating from dairy farms. [ .. ]

“If dairy farms in California were to manage manure in a way to further reduce methane emissions,” the board explains, “a gallon of California milk might be the least GHG intensive in the world.” And the most expensive. Many California dairy farms have already been converted into nut farms, which are more economical amid the state’s high regulatory costs.

Around the globe:

Cows are still chewing the cud.

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Sources:

  • The Sunday Times, Holy cow! Police protect sacred cattle
  • The Wall Street Journal, California’s Cow Police

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