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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!

Gartenstein-Ross on ISIS and Iran

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — sometimes a flurry of tweets can be the thing itself — see also today Michael Kenney on al-Muhajiroun ]
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Here you go — Daveed as recommended by Phillip Smyth just now: today

Assuming that ISIS was behind the Tehran attack, as it has claimed, I have a few observations.

1) Attacking Iran differentiates ISIS from al-Qaeda. AQ has probably wouldn’t attack Iran due to the contours of the AQ/Iran relationship. Similarly, ISIS propagandized against the Taliban by arguing that they wouldn’t fight Pakistan, while ISIS was killing Pakistani soldiers. So there’s an obvious propaganda play ISIS can make here for a Sunni audience, parallel to its earlier Pakistan propaganda.

2) Iran is at the forefront of pushing ISIS’s caliphate back. So this is similar to other ISIS attacks against coalition countries. Nor is it clear that ISIS is concerned about provoking Iran: They already have provoked Iran. It’s fighting them on the ground now.

3) Wild card possibility: Unlikely, but could ISIS be making a play for Sunni state support, similar to what al-Qaeda gets? There are various reasons that I would bet against this, but I would put it on the table as a possibility, however remote.

Two sides of the Saudi coin?

Friday, May 19th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — sunni / salafi hope, shia fear, when the us weighs saudi oil against iranian nukes — what say the sufis? ]
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Context one:

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Context two:

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Having said that, returning to the Saudi visit:

Hayder al-Khoei is less than enthused:

The best of war games?

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — this may be the most expensive single chess set ever, but let’s wait for part two ]
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Chess:

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From the catalogue description:

Lavishly decorated and large in size, this extraordinary, elaborate chess set is the only one of its kind, and is perhaps the best ever made. Crafted by the hand of a master jeweler, the exquisite quality of its manufacture is showcased in each and every detail. Every 14k gold game piece is different, encrusted with semiprecious stones and brightly hued enamel, and each is endowed with mechanical movement. This ancient game of war truly comes to life on the breathtaking board, which is itself a spectacular sight to behold. This incredible chess set rests atop its custom-crafted mahogany and leather-topped table, and is accopanied by a pair of handsome 19th-century leather upholstered chairs.

The ancient Battle of Issus is the subject of this extraordinary set and an apt reference to the military-like strategy of the game. What was one of the most important battles of the ancient world is beautifully retold here through pieces representing gods and goddesses, ancient structures, and creatures of both Greek and Persian origin. Alexander the Great and King Darius III take their places on the board as kings. At Alexander’s side is Queen Athena, the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, while the winged Persian god of war stands as Darius’ queen piece. War ships sailing over waves and massive elephants covered in elaborate trappings take the place of bishops, while the castles have been transformed into the columned temples of ancient Greece and the impressive Persepolis. Horsemen and footmen face off as well, each with their own sword, javelin, or bow.

I don’t think there’s any doubt of the intricate quality of the workmanship, nor the costliness of the materials, in this chess set based on Alexander‘s victory at Issus..

30-4695_9

With any luck, the Go set I hope to describe in part two will be even more beautiful.

Sectarian geopolitics in two easy tweets just yesterday

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — you could start from this polarity and build out to cover the tensions of the world ]
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This:

is an instance of this:

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And if these two don’t suffice, there’s always Charles Mortimer:

And so it’s all explained at last,
There’s nothing more to know.
Chameleons are pink and fast
Because they’re green and slow.


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