zenpundit.com

On peculiarly gifted people

September 25th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- a DQ contribution to the broader Zenpundit discussions of creativity ]
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SPEC emerson li po

Emerson and Li Po, East and West.

I once again ran across this pairing, which has long been a favorite of mine, while working on a poem by Emily Dickinson for “MoPo” — a terrific Coursera course which is introducing me, by the skin of my teeth, to “modernism” in American poetry.

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Comparisons: ISIS and WBC, KKK

September 23rd, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- humor, comparison, elucidation, analytic necessity, apocalyptic, and the matter of the Mardin fatwa ]
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SPEC ISIS WBC KKK

For many Muslims, these two comparisons explain simply and effectively just how divergent from their understanding of Islam the jihadists are.

This in no way takes away from the idea that if we are to understand IS and AQ, we need to consider their nature as specifically “end times” driven religious movements.

For the point of divergence, I recommend Sh. Hamza Yusuf‘s comments on the “Mardin Fatwa” of Ibn Taymiyya, in this clip from his address in Oxford’s Sheldonian:

I’d be interested in further details / discussion on the Mardin fatwa topic.

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Sources:

  • Yasira Jaan, tweet
  • Clay Jones, Claytoon
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    Three Books New and Three Books Used

    September 23rd, 2014

    [by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"]

               

    Diary of the Dark Years by Jean Guéhenno 

    Augustus by Adrian Goldsworthy 

    The Nixon Tapes edited by Douglas Brinkley & Luke Nichter 

    Japanese Swordsmanship: Technique and Practice by Gordon Warner & Donn F. Draeger 

    The French Secret Services by Douglas Porch

    Russia, the Atom and the West by George F. Kennan 

    I have numerous reviews to write on books already read, but I keep buying more, skimming them, and tossing them on the bookpile.

    Diary of the Dark Years is a much quoted primary source about Paris under Nazi occupation.  It is the French equivalent to the diaries of Victor Klemperer and shows the agony of citizens of a once mighty great power, humbled by a conqueror and deeply divided in defeat. The Germans governed occupied France more leniently than nearly any other state except Denmark, until the end of the war when the urgent German need for manpower and the irritation of the French Resistance provoked draconian measures by the Gestapo and SS to provide slave labor and deport Jews to “the East”. Much of the dirty work was done by Vichy officials or the extreme Fascist French ultra-collaborators who were even further to the Right.

    The Kennan book, a very slim volume of 116 pages, is derived from Kennan’s Reith Lectures, given past the apex of his diplomatic career when Kennan’s policy influence was waning but his fame and reputation were still rising with the general public. I’ve read several chapter already. Classic Kennan in the certitude of his assumptions, which included deep skepticism about the capacity for effective response, much less a forceful “rollback” of Soviet power, on the part of the West.

    One of the authors of Japanese Swordsmanship, an early pioneer of American judo and Western study of Eastern martial arts, Donn Draeger, was most likely murdered by poison while visiting the restive tribes of Aceh in Indonesia during the early years of the insurgency.

    What are you reading or buying?

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    Respective results of Jihad vs Democracy in a “wild” DoubleQuote

    September 22nd, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- not sure of the original provenance, but the content speaks for itself ]
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    The French text reads:

    A jihadist infographic suggesting the Muslim Brotherhood ws wrong to believe in democracy while rejecting jihad

    Perhaps David Thomson, if he sees this post, could comment on where he found this double image.

    By “DoubleQuote in the Wild” I’m referring to the practice of discourse by juxtaposition of similars or opposites — in this case, the juxtaposition of opposing images.

    TIA..

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    Infinity Journal on the Strategy of Operation Protective Edge

    September 18th, 2014

    [by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"]

    Infinity Journal has an exclusive review up of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge campaign against HAMAS by LTC Ron Tira. Colonel Tira is the author of The Nature of War: Conflicting Paradigms and Israeli Military Effectiveness.

    Operation Protective Edge: Ends, Ways, Means and the Distinctive Context  (Free registration required)

    ….Much of Hamas’ history has been spent under Iranian foster parenthood, even though Iranians are Shiites and Hamas is a member of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood. But, in 2011, the outbreak of the civil war in Syria presented the relations with an impossible test: Iran backed the Alawite (non-Sunni) Syrian regime in its bloody war against the rebels – many of whom are theological and ethnic brothers of Hamas. Hamas had to break ties with the Shiites.

    Luckily for Hamas, in November 2011 the Muslim Brotherhood won Egypt’s parliamentary elections and, subsequently, Egypt elected a Muslim Brotherhood president. An improved replacement for Iran was found. But on July 2013, the Egyptian army ousted the Muslim Brotherhood government. The new military rulers of Egypt regard the Muslim Brotherhood as their archenemy – Hamas included.

    Running out of options, Hamas looked to its nemesis Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a last financial and political resort. After years of disengagement – following the brutal killing of Fatah personnel in Gaza in 2007-8, the Hamas take-over of Gaza and divorce from the PA-run West Bank – Hamas eventually approached the PA and in April 2014 signed the Palestinian Unity Agreement. “Show me the money” demanded Hamas as the ink dried; yet the PA declined to finance Hamas-run Gaza.

    With almost no allies and a financial inability to run Gaza or pay salaries, Hamas was at the brink of collapse. From its perspective, it experienced a near-existential threat. From Hamas’ side of the hill, it had no alternative but to fight its way out of the corner. This hardly resembled the context of the earlier Operation Pillar of Defense.

    Israel’s lack of clarity regarding this unique context was followed by a lack of clarity in defining the enemy. Was it Hamas’ military wing, its exiled political leadership, the organization as a whole, or the Gaza Strip as a de facto state? And in this distinct context, what were the relevant centers of gravity? Hamas’ offensive capabilities, its center of combatant mass and leadership in the inner neighborhoods of Gaza City, the nod between Gaza’s military leadership and Hamas’ political leadership in Qatar, or the popular support of Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants? 

    Read the rest here.

    Tira has an astute appreciation for the disadvantages HAMAS labors under as a 4GW/Hybrid/Irregular/Whatever entity also trying to assume the panoply of prerogatives and obligations of a legitimate state.

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