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Reuters + Daily Beast + Nasrallah = now I got it

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — piecing together an understanding – Shi’ite militia, Iraq ]

Reuters reported today:

Pentagon slams “unhelpful” Iraqi code name for Ramadi offensive

May 26 The Pentagon on Tuesday said it was “unhelpful” for Iraq’s Shi’ite militia to have chosen an openly sectarian code name for the operation to retake the city Ramadi and added that, in the U.S. view, the full-on offensive had yet to begin.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren also emphasized that problems leading to last week’s Iraqi military withdrawal from the city of Ramadi included “both low morale amongst the troops” as well as problems within the Iraqi military command structure.

“There are many factors that caused Iraqi security forces to withdraw from Ramadi,” Warren said, noting that Iraqi forces “vastly outnumbered their enemy yet they chose to withdraw.” (Reporting by Phillip Stewart; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

That doesn’t tell us what the “unhelpful name” in question is.


According to The Daily Beast, the “code name” is “Labaik Ya Hussein”:

The Iraqi government said it launched a campaign Tuesday to take back Anbar province from ISIS, two weeks after it captured the provincial capital of Ramadi. The campaign features a leading role for Iran-backed Shiite militias, raising fears that such an openly Shiite-led push threatens to exacerbate sectarian tensions in majority-Sunni Anbar. A spokesman for the Iran-backed militias even said the operation’s codename will be Labaik Ya Hussein —- a nod to the Shiite saint. “The Labaik Ya Hussein operation is led by the Hashid Shaabi in cooperation and coordination with the armed forces there,” he said. “We believe that liberating Ramadi will not take long.”

So that’s “a nod to the Shiite saint” eh?


Nasrallah expands on the meaning of that “nod” in a fiery clip from 2009.

Ooh. Oh. Ah.

Photographic enantiodromia at the Zaynab shrine?

Friday, September 20th, 2013

[ by Charles Cameron — in recognition that Photoshop is a weapon that can turn enemies into friends, at least within Photoshop! ]

How to describe this? It’s a DoubleQuote in Two Tweets from Phillip Smyth in which [Almost] the Same Photo of a Guy with an Israeli Rifle Poses on Both Sides of the Conflict around the Sayyida Zaynab Shrine in Southern Damascus:

So the guy in the original photo does a bit of an enantiondromia thanks to Photoshop…


For some in depth reading:

  • On the Shia side of things, see Phillip Smyth‘s Hizballah Cavalcade posts at Jihadology.
  • For the same on the Sunni side, see Aymenn Al-Tamimi‘s Musings of an Iraqi Brasenostril series, also on Jihadology.
  • And for both and all else, well, there’s always Aaron Zelin‘s Jihadology itself!
  • It’s been a while since anyone last used a nuclear bomb, right?

    Monday, September 9th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — keeping you in the “loopy” loop ]

    There’s more ridiculous sloshing around on the web than I can hope to monitor, but my personal collection hit a couple of high points recently that I thought I should share with you. Did you know, for instance, that Israel recently exploded a nuclear bomb in Syria? How could you consider yourself informed, and be unaware of such a thing? It was on YouTube…

    But pshaw, that’s secular nonsense, and as you know, my tastes run to the religious. So did you know the emeritus Pope Benedict had a demonic advisor by his side while he was making a major speech?

    That sure as hell beats out the namby-pamby 10 Weirdest Fundamentalist Christian Conspiracy Theories an Alternet writer came up with, eh?

    In any case, please watch both the above videos: I trust you will then realize that the world is in far worse shape than you thought it was before reading this post.

    After all, it’s on YouTube.


    How about this?

    Hang on a moment, Sayyida Zaynab is the shrine dear to Shiites that Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada is defending, as this graphic suggests:

    And last but not least, consider this, from a US Senator:

    Coincidence!?!? — or just a clumsy creative leap?


    NB: Updated to replace “Hezbollah” with “Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada” above — h/t Phillip Smyth.

    Hezbollah facing towards Mecca?

    Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — it is, when all is said and done, the qibla of their prayers ]

    Whether this is an individual or group obligation, I don’t know. Since I have no access to SITE, I’ll just leave you with their tweet.



    CS Lewis, in his Allegory of Love, writes:

    It must always be remembered…that the various senses we take out of an ancient word by analysis existed in it as a unity.

    Something very similar applies to concepts cross-culturally. We in the secular west tend to differentiate religion from politics in a sort of conceptual separation of church and state — but such a separation may not always be appropriate in evaluating such things as the Hezbollah statement above.

    We have that saying about war as the continuation of politics — perhaps in this case (and many like it) war is the continuation of politics is the continuation of religion? Always remembering that these things are not as easily separated as the layers of a coaxial cable…

    I first ran across “doctrine” as a theological term, but the DOD defines it thus:

    Fundamental principles by which the military forces or elements thereof guide their actions in support of national objectives.

    The echoes and eddies in language get dizzying when religious, political and military considerations are all in play.


    I suppose I’m looking for a word that means distinct though inseparable, or even better, distinct though complexly and untidily interwoven.

    The Spaceball Jihad

    Thursday, August 15th, 2013

    [ by Charles Cameron — hidden humor in deep scholarship, ahoy! — with hat tips to JM Berger, Phillip Smyth, and Aaron Zelin ]

    I’ve noticed that JM Berger wrote an excellent book on American jihadis and has been keeping us seriously informed on a whole host of related topics including jihadist activity on the hidden gardens of the internet, but it’s only when he notices an AQ attempt to crowdsource suggestions for improving AQ’s social media presence, appropriates their hashtag and invites his buddies to add their own suggestions that his work at last catches the attention of a larger audience via Rachel Maddow:

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Okay, lesson learned — it’s the “tainment” in edutainment that makes the “edu” suddently attractive.


    So here, for your edutainment and general entercation is a serious piece of writing by Phillip Smyth in his Hizbollah Cavalcade series on Jihadology, which will no doubt be of interest to some ZP readers — Hizballah Cavalcade: Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq’s Liwa’a Kafeel Zaynab:

    Albeit, it was a rarity for groups like LAFA to make an official written statement over social media or on forums stating AAH was a supplier. Instead, the inference AAH was supplying fighters to the group could be made by looking at the AAH imagery for their dead, which was then reposted by LAFA.

    However, starting at the end of May, 2013 a number of videos (posted to YouTube) explicitly claimed Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq’s fighters were in Syria. This differed from the more typical rolling of AAH personnel into the ranks of LAFA or other militias. While these videos were sporadic, they were the first piece of a trend which would culminate in the announcement of a unique organizational name for AAH’s force deployment in Syria.

    Here’s a sampling of the wares displayed therein:

    and here’s the pop-cultural ref that I missed when I first saw Smyth’s article:


    Foolish me: Smyth even had a dead giveaway footnote:

    [5] See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UunQXXxAWY and “Have a nice day”.

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