90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Understanding ISIS

The militant Islamist group ISIS now controls large parts of Syria and Iraq – as its leader declares a new caliphate. We’ll take a closer look at ISIS and its Islamic State vision.

This undated image posted by the Raqqa Media Center, a Syrian opposition group, on Monday, June 30, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during a parade in Raqqa, Syria. (AP)

This undated image posted by the Raqqa Media Center, a Syrian opposition group, on Monday, June 30, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during a parade in Raqqa, Syria. (AP)

Until they came bursting into Mosul last month with black flags and pick-up trucks, ISIS was – to most Americans – just part of a chaotic jumble of fighters in Syria.  The next thing we knew, they had taken over a huge swath of Iraq, declared themselves the Islamic State, and announced a new caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.  This weekend the self-proclaimed caliph of the caliphate – Abu Bakr al Baghdadi – purportedly stepped out of the shadows and spoke to the world.  They’re too brutal for al Qaeda.  They literally crucify.  And right now they rule.  This hour On Point:  ISIS and the Islamic State.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Rania Abouzeid, independent journalist covering the Middle East. (@Raniaab)

Thanassis Cambanis, fellow at the Century Foundation. Internationalist columnist for the Boston Globe. Author of “A Privilege To Die” and the upcoming book “Once Upon A Revolution.” (@tcambanis)

From Tom’s Reading List

Boston Globe: The surprising appeal of ISIS — “ISIS’s support comes from a direct appeal to Sunni Muslims as a religious and political constituency. It has made clear that it expects people under its power to take an active role in establishing a new Islamic state. And it has enlisted them in a project to assert the power of their religious community over the Shia, who currently dominate the territory from Iran to Lebanon.”

POLITICO Magazine: The Jihad Next Door – “The Syrian revolution—and the hesitant, confused international reaction to it—paved the way for the resurrection of a militant Islam that would turn vast regions of Iraq and Syria into borderless jihadi strongholds and inch closer to redrawing the map of the Middle East—in practical terms if not on paper.

New York Times: The Caliphate Fantasy — “Even in the more moderate model espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist dream of transnational theocratic rule appeals to a dwindling number of Arabs. Only last week, Moroccan women showed their contempt for the conservative prime minister, Abdelilah Benkirane, by converging on Parliament armed with frying pans after he’d argued that women should stay in the home.”

Watch A Purported Video Message From Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Geheran1958

    The media still doesn’t get it. All jihadism driven movements (including but not limited to AQ, MB, Al-Shabaab, Hamas, et al) share the same basic goals: world domination, rule under Shari’a law and a return to the caliphate. No need to waste newsprint trying to spin “motivation” but rather address the question “What prevents the West from unifying around a single strategy to deal with the real issue – Islam – a totalitarian ideology masquerading as a religion? Sir Winston must be turning over in his resting place.

    • Acnestes

      Your question seems to assume that there is a, “single strategy”, which you presumably think is workable. So,. let’s hear it.

      • Geheran1958

        The West needs to unite around a platform that, first and
        foremost, acknowledges jihadism as a threat to worldwide peace. Secondly, the West needs to formulate a long-term strategy to contain and eventually neutralize the sources that facilitate and enable jihadism. The model for such a strategy is the “Cold War” waged for 70 years that resulted in the collapse of the the evil totalitarian regime bent on world domination and the destruction of the democratic West.

        • Acnestes

          Sorry, meant to reply to you, not myself!

      • Acnestes

        It sounds good in principle, but during the Cold War (which does seem like a happier time in retrospect) we were dealing with nation-states who were for the most part rational (as the Western mind perceives it) actors. Much messier now, with states not always the primary actors.

    • Don_B1

      Your claims represent a strain of Islam, not its core. It is the frustration with the despots that have led their governments since the days of European colonialism, which did not develop democratic institutions within the countries.

      The people of the Middle East are leaping at the first “leaf” that appears to offer a better life, much as the Tea Party have leapt to religious or doctrinaire ideologies such as libertarianism.

      As the saying goes, “For every complex problem, there is a simple sounding solution which is almost certain to be wrong.”

      • Acnestes

        Hey! That’s my line! ;-)

  • Guest

    Al-Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist organizations have definitely been resurgent, as well as more powerful, ever since Obama took office.

    • northeaster17

      I guess you wont be happy until Obama is made king of the world with the power to stop all evil with just a flick of his wrist. I cant wait either.

      • Guest

        No, I’ll be content when Obama is impeached for having four American citizens assassinated (including a 16 year old boy), which was illegal, as well an egregious violation of the Eighth Amendment.

        How Team Obama Justifies the Killing of a 16-Year-Old American

        http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/how-team-obama-justifies-the-killing-of-a-16-year-old-american/264028/

        • hennorama

          “Guest”/X Y & Z/Jay/(Un)InformedAmerican/U.S.S.A. — What nonsense.

          Drone alone, dronebot.

          • Guest

            There you go again, mindlessly defending the egregious crimes of the Obama regime.

            It’s the only thing you’re good at, other than swallowing the lies and propaganda coming out of this criminal regime.

            Happy ‘swallowing’.

          • hennorama

            “Guest”/X Y & Z/Jay/(Un)InformedAmerican/U.S.S.A. — thank you for once again proving your lack of reasoning.

            Calling out your nonsense is just that, and not “defending” anything. Your narrow- and single-mindedness do not allow you to think or reason.

            The only positive thing I can take from the comment originally replied to is that you have accurately and doubly described yourself with the first six letters of the word “assassinated.”

            Well done.

          • Guest

            No, I don’t support the war crimes and Constitutional violations of the Obama regime, as you are only to happy to do.

    • Acnestes

      And he hasn’t cured male pattern baldness either!

      • Ed75

        That much he should have done.

        • Don_B1

          Then why haven’t you done it? It might be more useful than your comments here.

          • Ed75

            Give them some time. The Christians are already fleeing the Middle East, and are persecuted across North Africa. ‘The largest persecution of an identifiable group since the Holocaust’, one commentator said.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      NWR (Not worth a response)

  • Michiganjf

    Our media uses this idea of a “caliphate” to stir up controversy, fear, and political tension… it’s good for ratings.

    The Sunni (ISIS) who have asserted themselves in north-central Iraq are sandwiched in all all sides by well-established ideologies and populations which don’t like them.

    Their relatively pitiful idea of a caliphate born in Iraq will be under constant siege and will never spread much past the area they now VERY WEAKLY control, after their lightning surge into the region.
    ISIS has done very little to consolidate their newly claimed holdings, and their tenuous presence has a long way to go to prove it’s more than a quick, over-reaching stunt.

    The best thing we can do is stay out of the region and let this play out… let the region re-settle into a geography which makes more political, economic, and religious sense to the people who live there.

    All we accomplish through interference is an expensive delay of the inevitable.

    President Obama has just about the right idea- a balance between quelling political trouble-makers here in the U.S., and largely staying OUT of the conflict in Iraq.

  • Ed75

    ISIS – the name of an Egyptian deity, now IS, reminds me of ‘The beast who is, who was, and who is to come’ (Revelation). Please discuss where IS gets its support. And the cleric on the video wasn’t the IS leader for sure? The Christians are fleeing the region, these people kill them, one of their stated aims is to destroy Christianity. For the first time in 1900 or so years there was no Mass celebrated in Mosul.

    • Acnestes

      Ed, have you considered taking your delusions and self-deporting to the next life with them? It seems like you’d be a lot happier there. God knows, I suspect many of the rest of us would be happier, being spared your unending quasi-apocalyptic BS. At the very least, maybe you’ll exhibit some Christian mercy towards us and check in with the Benedictines, or some other order that prominently features a vow of silence.

      • Michiganjf

        Yep, we’ve got our own delusional religious fanatics right here in the U.S.

        … hopefully it’s nothing with which we’ll ever have to contend to the extent such zealots plague the middle east… but OUR fanatics are trying their best to become just as much a problem.

      • Ed75

        Apparently several people agree with you. Only to say that things are getting dangerous, as St. Faustyna was told ‘Those who won’t pass through the door of my mercy, will have to pass through the door of my justice’, in other words we each have to make our peace with God while we can, and extricate ourselves from serious sin while we can. This is good advice no matter how close we are to the end.

    • TFRX

    • TFRX

      (Okay, I was trying to post this once, and it showed up zero times, now twice. Sorry for the duplicate.)

      • Ed75

        Very funny, indeed.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Between the Iraqis, Iranians and Syrians bombing ISIS strongholds, why do we think that we need to be involved and further galvanize another generation in the Middle East against the West? Isn’t this kind if what we wanted: Islamic states policing their own back yards, albeit arguably evil suppressive regimes, but hey, under Bush, we launched over 50 air strikes on Residential areas in Bagdad just trying to kill Saddam who was effectively irrelevant at the time. Does anyone know what a 500 pound bomb does to an apartment complex full of women am children? It’s not like we were not without blood on our hands? It’s not like we were not evil under Dubya!

    So do we really need to fight the enemies of our enemies who are actively destroying each other? There is some wisdom to ‘Never interfere with the enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself.’

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Thanks for mentioning the effect of a 500 lb bomb on buildings full of women & children.

      I’d like to believe that if every-day Americans could see, touch, smell and hear the reality of “Shock ‘n awe” we’d be absolutely appalled and ashamed.

      “We filled our minds with fantasy, and our hearts have grown brutal with the fare”.

  • anon

    ‘The Caliphate Fantasy’ in Tom’s reading list is from the perspective of Arab intellectuals… it is irrelevant to the issue being discussed, which has to do with Islam, not Arab nationalism – an idea that’s pretty much been discarded. (Not all Arabs are Muslims, and at least 80% of Muslims are NOT Arab. Note that this ‘Islamic State’ has made a point of showing Muslims from various countries and had invited Muslims from all over the world.)

    Since we rarely hear from people who actually know about what’s going on on the ground, it’s hard to know what’s really happening. Much of what I read is based on ignorance and/or caricatures… Some reports from Mosul have indicated that people are fleeing only out of fear of attacks from the Iraqi army, and that they’re not complaining about the ‘Islamic State’. I hope someone on this program can give us some insight.

    These issues cannot be discussed intelligently without an understanding of the basic teachings of Islam, but most journalists lack that. In fact, Islamic sharia is not some extreme concept; being Muslim involves living by sharia (a comprehensive system of which physical punishment is a tiny part),and the idea of a caliphate is not some 7th century idea that only a few kooks, or only supporters of these jihadi groups, believe in. The Islamic state is much understood, though; for example, it actually protects Christians (unless they’re fighting against it), and there are many examples of that throughout history – so I’d like to know how this group is actually treating Christians.

    For someone to understand what’s happening, it would also help to understand what Muslims believe will happen in the last days, what Prophet Muhammad predicted about the types of rulers we would have, etc. The headlines about al-Baghdadi’s sermon were that he was trying to force Muslims to obey him. In fact, anyone who knows any Islamic history would recognize that his words echoed those of the first (‘Rightly-guided) caliphs when they assumed leadership, a point that seemed to have been completely missed. He said that this position was a duty on him that he didn’t seek, that Muslims should obey him only when he obeyed Allah, that they should advise him and keep him straight, etc. The idea of a caliph saying he should be obeyed is not news; the question is whether this caliphate is legitimate, and the average Muslim probably doesn’t think so.

  • Guest
    • Acnestes

      And we’re all sorry your mom didn’t pay enough attention to you. Now go over-compensate someplace else.

      • Guest

        You few remaining Obama supporters are really getting desperate, as well as pathetic.

        • AC

          from mere observation, i have to say your constant, relentless and obvious commentary, most of the time off-topic to begin with, makes you totally ineffectual. and i’m not the biggest Pres. Obama fan…..

          • Guest

            When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.

          • AC

            i wouldn’t dream of not listening either….

          • Guest

            That saves you from having to think independently, which is clearly a problem for you.

          • AC

            this from someone who is part of the United Suffolk Sheep Association?

          • Guest

            Lame humor for your lame-brain.

          • hennorama

            AC — I assumed it was the acronym for Uninformed Stupid Silly Asshat.

            Thanks for the correction.

          • AC

            i didn’t know what it stood for, so i looked it up…..it fit beautifully:
            http://www.u-s-s-a.org/

            tho i did find the sheep pics kind of cute…

          • hennorama

            AC — well, that’s only natural, as is this unofficial motto:

            http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll273/bunnyfeetboutique/ewe.gif

          • hennorama

            “Guest”/X Y & Z/Jay/(Un)InformedAmerican/U.S.S.A. — please, just pick one moniker already.

    • AC

      ah. all purpose for you….

      • TFRX

        You know who that looks like (and I’m going by appearances only, no utterances whatsoever): Ian Anderson, singer/songwriter/flautist from Jethro Tull.

      • Guest

        You were the one, ‘AC’, who was defending the jobs-killing Obamacare, in a previous blog, which shows how little you actually know.

        • AC

          shut up will you? i’m actually trying to learn something about ISIS. you are in the wrong place since you have no wish to take in info, just spew out hate and poop.

          • Guest

            This material is far too difficult for your feeble brain to comprehend. Go back to defending Obama’s many failures.

          • Matt MC

            Living in his aunt’s basement gives him time for deep reflection upon such issues as ObamaCare… so much time, that he has pierced the veil of the illusory world, and can see the truth behind this lie of a world… the truth is this: ISIS is ObamaCare. His pathetic life is ObamaCare. The condom he bought five years ago and has become a desiccate shell in his wallet is ObamaCare. ALL IS OBAMACARE. Don’t even try to understand it. Your feeble brains hath not the power!

          • Guest

            Congratulations Matt MC!

            You’re living proof that liberalism is a mental disorder.

            Aren’t you special.

          • jefe68

            Go away troll.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            It is interesting that none of the “named” “conservative” trolls are here this morning.

          • jefe68

            Wait, it’s early yet.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            We can only hope …

          • jefe68

            Guest tone is familiar. It seems like that XYZ character, who was one of the worst bottom feeding trolls on this forum.

          • Guest

            You’re like one of those cock-roaches that no matter how many times you step on them, they keep coming back.

            My apologies to cock-roaches everywhere for comparing you to jefe68.

          • jefe68

            You really do have the mental age of a 10 year old spoiled brat.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 — “Guest”/X Y & Z/Jay/(Un)InformedAmerican/U.S.S.A./57 States, et al — they are all the same dronebot.

          • Guest

            Go complain to your social worker.

      • jefe68

        How does anyone who dresses up like this expect to be taken seriously.

      • Guest

        Nice hat AC

        • AC

          i already told you, not a big fan.
          but – YOU’RE still delusional, it isn’t old news what’s happening:
          http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/15/technology-destroying-jobs/

          PS – i didn’t blame bush for job declines either
          good luck! your name should be ‘head in the sand’ or ‘part of the problem’, not USSA or ‘guest’ or the rest…

          • Guest

            Keep defending Obamacare like you have. You really deserve to have someone as completely incompetent like Obama, as your President. I mean that with all sincerity.

          • jefe68

            He’s using guest to avid being blocked.

          • AC

            guest keeps replying w/o understanding. it’s like some weird childish ploy. i’m starting to think s/he must get paid to come on here and spew nonsense w/o worrying whether it has any validity. i think s/he should still blocked. why can’t they block ‘guest’? isn’t it based on the ip address?
            best to let them have the last word and walk away, otherwise i will wind up ashamed of myself for falling victim to stupidity….

        • TFRX

          Ben Carson?

          Geez, you’re a fanboi with absolutely no sense.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The Obama administration has developed a bad habit of founding its Middle East strategies on wishful thinking. In the past year, it has supposed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would peacefully agree to cede power at a Geneva peace conference, that the Egyptian generals who carried out a military coup would lead the country back to democracy and that Israelis and Palestinians were ready and willing to reach a final peace settlement in a matter of months.

    Now the administration has a new hope: that the frighteningly extreme and war-hungry al-Qaeda state that has established itself in western Iraq and eastern Syria can be tackled through the creation of a new, “inclusive” government in Baghdad that will unite Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish forces against the terrorists.

    Jackson Diehl, in today’s Washington Post

    • MrBigStuff

      Barack Obama was never designed to be a foreign policy President. His circle of advisers were hamstrung on foreign policy as soon as they took office and they shaped most of their major decisions based off of what impact it would have on the evening news. The Administration has no comprehensive and overall foreign policy “theme” in the region and is reactionary instead of being proactive. Unfortunately, the USA cannot simply disengage from a region as crucial as the Middle East and pretend that it doesn’t exist while we “pivot” to Asia, the border, Ukraine etc. Problem is, with nearly 12 years of failed policy in the Middle East, I’m not sure how the US can even begin to address the problem.

  • Matt MC

    Just like all internet sites, On Point comments have been overtaken by trolls. Sigh. I wonder how many pennies they get per post?

    • Jasoturner

      Perhaps, but I have also noticed a handful of people who consistently post interesting or challenging comments here, which makes visiting the site worthwhile. The more juvenile commentary is simply background chatter that signifies nothing…

      • NrthOfTheBorder

        Agreed but it’s unfortunate that this forum is now littered by so many who are simply incapable of rational argument and civilized discussion.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    More numerous than the stars.. the little buds of sweetness, goodness, idealism, and hope that flourish in Washington, D.C. every spring and summer. Yet what a bitter, toxic fruit they yield.*

    * Sadly, almost always.

  • Jasoturner

    It is sobering to think that the governing examples available to Muslims are sufficiently awful that an organization like ISIS can gain traction as a viable option. The world squandered decades using the middle east as a geopolitical chess board, with no regard for the people there or the way their rulers treated them. Blowback, I believe, may be the term that applies. We are reaping what we sowed.

    • hennorama

      Jasoturner — yep, the whirlwind.

    • MrBigStuff

      It doesn’t help that the United States merely gave Iraq a big ball of cash to waste on projects like milk processing and chicken plants in a country with no basic infrastructure or utilities. The “democratic” elections we sponsored were a joke with local sheikhs holding most of the power and Maliki’s government torturing and imprisoning Sunnis in the weeks beforehand. We built our “new Iraq” on stilts and then yanked them out from underneath when we left.

  • Matt MC

    Extremism is inversely proportional to the opportunities given in a society.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    My backup plan is to airdrop HRH Hillary behind enemy lines. Who can resist her poignant, egoless, selfless arguments. Oh, and that big RESET button: that’s a real killer app. So.. bombs away!
    –Barack Hussein Obama, President*

    * And Visionary for All Time

  • Ed75

    He doesn’t look bad enough, doubt it’s him.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      The real one is his brother: Mortimer al Snerd. Hoober Doober

      • Ed75

        I knew it, his evil older brother. Isn’t it always the case.

  • TFRX

    The Ottoman Empire?

    Wow. Talk about a bad case of “Getting the Band Back Together”.

    I’m not a history scholar, but the idea of wiping off the books everything done by Ataturk is really going backwards.

    I’ve just finished reading a few books on the Hapsburg (Austro/Hungarian) Empire and the leadup to WWI. There’s a reason that nobody every talks about reuniting that.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Because they’re all dead?? HD

      • jefe68

        They were brutal. The Ottoman Empire ruled with an iron fist. One should also note that by the outbreak of WW1 the Ottoman Empire was already in decline.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    A caliphate (in Arabic: خلافة‎ khilāfa, meaning “enema”) — so, maybe it’s not something we want to step in. Someone tell Obama.

    • anon

      Khilāfah means succession. ‎

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Maybe Obama and Kerry can negotiate a free trade agreement with ISIS, once it’s obvious they’re taking over. Something on the order of:
    They give us oil. To run our economy.
    We give them NYC investment bankers. For sword practice.

    What’s not to like? Everybody WINS!

  • Guest

    Rand Paul: US created ‘jihadist wonderland’ in Syria, Libya and Iraq

    http://rt.com/usa/167892-rand-paul-qaeda-iraq/

    • hennorama

      SEN. RAND PAUL [on June 22, 2104]:

      I think the same questions could be asked of those who supported the Iraq War. You know, were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there? That’s what the war was sold on. Was democracy easily achievable? Was the war won in 2005, when many of these people said it was won? Um… they didn’t really, I think, understand the civil war that would break out. And what’s going on now, I don’t blame on President Obama. Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution. But I do blame the Iraq War on the chaos that is in the Middle East. I also blame those who are for the Iraq War for emboldening Iran. These are the same people now who are petrified of what Iran may become, and I understand some of their worry…

      Source:
      http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-transcript-june-22-2014-n137886

  • Michiganjf

    Tom,

    Just how many Islamic leaders have made claims to a caliphate in the last twenty years?

    Is this really any different?

    • anon

      How many have claimed a caliphate in the last 20 years?

  • AC

    i’m not sure i could be diplomatic with this group at all. anytime man chooses to speak for ‘God’, i quake in fear……Allah ORDERS you. oh my god.

    • J__o__h__n

      Don’t blaspheme!

      • AC

        i have to admit, this frightens me enough to be ok with actually ‘removing’ a group of humans. i’m not kidding, i’m totally ok with acting violently to do it….this is not like me.

  • skelly74

    Saber rattling clowns with cultivated urges to kill each other. This is the modus operandi of all the Middle East.

    The peasants have “cock fights” or “dog fights”, the elitists have the Middle East.

  • Ed75

    It’s not like Christendom, it would be one government over everyone.

    • J__o__h__n

      Thanks to a secular society that holds religion in check.

    • TFRX

      Holy Roman Empire, anybody?

      All the divine rights of kings fetishists, starting Gawd-knows-when, saying “I’m doing the work of Christianity here”?

    • jefe68

      No one expects the Spanish Inquisition….

      • Ed75

        The Spanish Inquisition is largely misunderstood … Rome threatened them three times because of their abuses … in some ways the Jewish people, who were slaughtered in the early 1400s before the Inquisition got there, at least gave people a trial, they kind of stood between the anti-Semitic nation and the Jewish people. See Benjamin Netanyahu’s father’s book The origins of the Inquisition in fifteenth century Spain, 1995. (bold unintended)

        • Guest

          You’re wasting your time with that individual Ed, his anti-Christian rhetoric is best ignored along with the rest of his pro-Obama propaganda.

          • jefe68

            You are one real piece of work.
            But that’s to be expected from a bottom feeder.

          • Guest

            Keep your eyes closed Dorothy,
            you’re almost in Kansas.

          • jefe68

            Ahh that’s so cute. The troll’s making an attempt at crass humor. You failed sparky.

          • Guest

            Congratulations!

            You’re living proof that liberalism is a mental disorder.

          • jefe68

            Bottom feeding at it’s worst.
            You’re logging on as guest. I take it you have been banned in the past or something to that effect. Most likely a result to the inane childish behavior.

          • Guest

            Aren’t you special! You put your IQ score next to your name.

          • jefe68

            Grow up little boy.

        • jefe68

          You need to read some history. The Jews of Spain were forced to leave Spain in 1492. My comment was more about how you seem to be woefully ignorant of all the violence that the Roman Catholic Church carried out for centuries throughout Europe and the Middle East.

          The other part of your comment, that somehow the Inquisition was preferable to the Islamic rule, which is a gross over simplification of the history by the way, shows not only your complete ignorance of the Jewish diaspora but the horrific treatment that Jews suffered under the Roman Catholic church.

          • Ed75

            Of course the Jewish people suffered, I suspect that the societies of Europe were highly anti-Semitic, and that the Church was probably a moderating influence. But I have to look into it more, and I know this view is not widely held.

          • jefe68

            The Church was the main reason for anti-Semitism in Europe. Why do you think
            Pope John Paul II apologized the Jewish people?

          • Ed75

            I agree about the criminality of the illegal immigrants- hard to measure, and many are children. We’ll see. There is a debate going on as to whether, or how much, antisemitism in Europe was caused by the Church. So John Paul, not wanting to waste time on figuring out how much, just apologized in whole for whatever harms the Jewish people had suffered at the hands of the sons of the Church. It was accepted by many Jewish leaders.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      I tried to make sense of what you’re saying Ed…but I failed.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Ed75 The only difference between a true-believer of any stripe is a matter of degree. But all would take us back to an idealized past that never was.

      • Don_B1

        And an “idealized” society that would not be ideal for most people, by a big margin over today’s imperfect world.

  • MrNutso

    ISIS is flourishing, because local governments are not interested in the general populace, but enriching their own power and the power of their allies. This situation is compounded, because when faced with a crisis like ISIS, the first reaction both locally and by world powers in formulating a response is “what’s in it for me?”

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      MrNutso your remarks describe US to a tee.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Maybe if the US didn’t feed the jihadist there wouldn’t be so damn many of them! They seem to thrive on US made and PAID for weaponry.

    Perhaps the US defense industry could make something else — in order to make its annual galaxy-sized profits. What about a robust, sound US economy? You know.. for a change we can all believe in.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Is there a BWD (Burka Wear Daily)?

    “And now Lubna is showing us something really stylish. Start with the conventional black muslin bed sheet and accent the..”

    In a pinch, Omar’s used canvas camel covers can be used in place of fabric a human might wear. Treat the urine stains and smells with a mixture of equal parts: vinegar, goat milk, oil of roses, and plastic explosive.

  • AC

    too extreme to last? i don’t know. look at Singapore. sometimes you can have a ‘stable’ police state…..i don’t think we should hope reasonable, enlightened people will be able to weaken them…

    • anon

      ‘Reasonable, enlightened people’ such as… who?

  • Guest

    Senator Graham: ‘Stubborn-Headed, Delusional, Detached President’

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/sen-graham-stubborn-headed-delusional-detached-president

    • MrNutso

      He should stop talking that way about Bush.

      • Guest

        Nope, he was describing President Obama.

        • Don_B1

          But that doesn’t mean the description doesn’t fit George W. Bush much more accurately than it does Barack Obama, particularly the “Delusional, Detached” part, where is doesn’t apply at all to President Obama..

    • TFRX

      Hey, the “shovel bullshit to make yourself relevant (sic)” thread was on at 10am Thursday.

      • Guest

        Senator Graham gave a very accurate description of the failed foreign policy of your inept and incompetent President who is completely clue-less when it comes to foreign policy, as well as domestic policy.

        • TFRX

          Senator Graham is just another right-wing wimp whose “strength” is directed to making sure nobody on the Tea Party right primaries him, ever.

          • J__o__h__n

            His warmongering goes back further than the emergence of the Teabaggers, He and McCain have never found a problem that can’t be solve with an invasion.

        • hennorama

          “Guest”/X Y & Z /Jay/(Un)InformedAmerican/U.S.S.A. — you are obviously not a U.S. citizen (“your …President”), so please leave the discussion.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Guest: Just because someone says something shouldn’t turn you into a true-believer. When you post, how about actually making an argument?

      You know a statement followed by reasoning that supports the point you’re trying to make (sorry a link to a news cast doesn’t cut it) . Then, even better, reply in considerate fashion to those who chose to respond in to your argument.

      If not, you spoil the commons and the more we can’t ever seem to talk to one another.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    KIND of NUTTY, Tom?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I have to respect the guy beheading my kin and friends.
    Tom Ashbrook guest today (please don’t ask me why)

    Yes, Words to Live By. Brought to you tonight by Royal Dutch Shell. “The friendly regional power.”

  • Ed75

    It seems to me they will only be defeated by power – whether of the U.S. or of Iran. (They are contained by force, but if the force is removed, they move ahead.)

  • Ed75

    They are also dedicated to the destruction of Christianity.

    • anon

      Not if they’re following Islamic teachings.

      • Ed75

        Apparently Islam is a spectrum, they seem to be at one end.

    • JS

      Maybe it’s just a phase a religion goes through when it is about 1,000 or so years old, like Christianity did.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    When men move to Washington, D.C. to become foreign policy “experts” (cough, hack).. do they remove the bump of knowledge AFTER they get there? Or is it just men who never had one to begin with? Thanks.

    * The bump is located at the back of the head, centered: where it meets the neck. Females don’t have one. Believers in God can blame him for its absence. The rest of us can nod knowingly towards natural selection.

  • Ed75

    If you don’t agree … they don’t ask, they will kill you.

    • tbphkm33

      Agreed, there are pockets of extremism within the United States that if you do not look like or do not agree with their religion or politics, they will literally kill you.

  • Scott B

    Until the people in the Middle East stop end centuries of bad practices, with centuries-long vendettas, and specifically stop seeing “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, and that merely ousting the last person, or group, causing problems, they will never get out from endless violence from extremists, be they religious zealots, warlords, or military juntas.
    Frankly, there’s not much difference between ISIS and the government in Egypt, save one is done in the name of religion and the other claims an off-brand of democracy that’s more fascism than the secular government it purports itself to be. What’s the difference if you can be jailed, or executed, for any dissent of the leadership, be it one person’s interpretation of improper worship, or “Incriminating evidence” of horse videos?

  • hennorama

    Doesn’t the self-declaration of a caliph and caliphate put an enormous burden on ISIS, in that other Muslim groups might well (at least temporarily) put aside their differences, in order to unite against the blasphemers?

  • MrNutso

    McCain actually said something that’s true. It’s a failure of U.S. policy …. that dates back to WWII.

    • J__o__h__n

      WWI set the borders. More Europe’s fault than the US.

      • MrNutso

        True. I was focusing on U.S. policy since they became the foremost world power after WW II.

      • JS

        Europe didn’t overthrow Iran’s rulers in the 50′s, USA did, as a favor to England.

        • J__o__h__n

          “as a favor to England” and the problem with Iran isn’t due to its borders.

          • JS

            Plenty of fault to go around. US meddling in the Middle East since WWII is a major part of the problem

    • jefe68

      After WW2 France and Great Britain were in control of the region. We also saw the rise of Pan Arabism (which had it’s origins in 1914 as an answer to getting rid of Turkish rule) which was the central ideology of Gamal Abdel Nasser. Add to that the Cold War, one should remember that the USSR was arming Egypt and Syria.
      The US was not a major player in the region until the Suez Canal crisis in 56. I think people forget that the Suez Canal was still under the control of the French and British in 1956.

      It’s petty complex and it all harkens back to colonialism which was a huge issue after WW2 across the world. India had gained it’s independence in 1947.

    • anon

      Is it true what he said? From what I read, the guy who claimed to remember that al-Baghdadi said, “See you in New York” was not even stationed at Camp Bucca until a couple years after al-Baghdadi had been released from there.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Gravity didn’t have to happen. We could have chosen a science with “g” much closer to 0 feet per second squared. It’s all OBAMA’s fault.
    –John McCain, Senior US Senator, Arizona*

    * and perpetual nutter

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    ISIS. It’s just the same old fascism. In bed sheets and goat skin bandoliers. Whooperdoo.

  • MrNutso

    ISIS and other extremist organisations get things done by terror tactics to cow the populace. Any minor infraction brings harsh punishment. Once enough people are summarily beheaded or belimbed, things start to quiet down.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    ISIS have a stealth bomber yet with transoceanic range? No? Then it’s someone else’s problem.

    • Don_B1

      Just like Afghanistan in 1999-2000 or even, and maybe most importantly in early 2001?

  • MrNutso

    Threats to the U.S. will come if this “caliphate” takes hold. I would expect to see either state sponsored, or state ignored terrorism to grow with in the borders with the U.S. as the prime target. It’s Afghanistan all over again.

  • John_Hamilton

    So much parsing for so little substance. And Tom Ashbrook hyped to his limit. This was inevitable. If religious fervor is the criterion for political organization, then no matter how intense the prevailing religious fervor, someone else will come along who is even more extreme.

    Experts are called in, where they can pontificate about the great truths they possess. It’s good for the ego to be treated like an expert.

    Still, some might feel a little twinge of discomfort at a radio show in the “U.S.” getting all worked up about events on the other side of the planet. Is there such hysteria in “Belize?” “Cost Rica?” “Lichtenstein?” The “Basque” region?” Likely not. But we are supposed to be all worked up.

    Of course, there is the legitimate fear that “ISIS” (the official public radio moniker) or “ISIL” (the official PBS name) will launch terrorist attacks here. But there has to be more than fear of terrorism. I suspect that the attitude behind this is that we are “Americans,” and we say what goes around this planet. If problems arise, we are the ones who determine what is true and proper, and what is to be done.

    It was easier in times past. We could stop or contain “Communism” around the world, and we had the triangle of power in the Mideast and Africa of the Shah in “Iran,” any government in “Israel,” and the apartheid government in “South Africa.”

    Times changed. Stopping “Communism” didn’t go so well in “Vietnam.” The Shah got ousted from power, as did the apartheid government in “South Africa.” “Israel,” of course, remains our client and bulwark in the Mideast, but can’t go on forever like it is trying to. If nothing else, we won’t be able to sponsor them forever. We can barely sponsor ourselves.

    Should Tom Ashbrook have a moment of calm he might want to consider that ultimately conflict between and among people is about practical matters, like who gets what, who controls what, and how people are treated. Religion adds an organizing dimension, and also connects perceived grievances to loftier ideas about alignment with the creator of the Universe.

    It is worth mentioning that the breakdown of our influence in the Mideast began with the overthrow of the elected prime minister of “Iran” in 1953 by the CIA and “British” MI6. It seemed like a good idea at the time, I’m sure, and irresistible. Imposing the Shah was guaranteed to generate growing resentment, eventually resulting in his ouster.

    What kicked it into high gear, though, were the two invasions of “Iraq.” Saddam Hussein was our guy, imposed in similar fashion to the Shah in “Iran.” When he started making noise about attacking “Israel” his days were numbered. According to the formula, we should have been able to replace him with a more obedient dictator. We did. Malaki.

    So here we are. Prattling on and on about a new threat in “our” sphere of influence, where “we” have “interests.” And our “interests” are what matter in this world. And nothing else. Meanwhile, as Bob Dylan once put it, life outside goes on all around you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHGrWTmXK6w

    • anon

      It is interesting that in the US, it’s considered perfectly normal to discuss who ‘we’ should put in as leader of Iraq and what kind of government ‘we’ should have them adopt…

  • Guest

    Sen. Graham: ‘13 Years after 9/11, There Are More Safe Havens’ for Terrorists

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/melanie-hunter/sen-graham-13-years-after-911-there-are-more-safe-havens-terrorists

    • brettearle

      Your feeling is that if we had ignored 9/11, there’d be less safe havens?

    • jimino

      Was it part of his apology for the terrible job he and his fellow members of Congress have done?

  • marygrav

    Colonialism is over. The US and the former colonizers now calling themselves the International Community does not want and will not understand this concept. The all, especially France, which has supplied all the Arab nations with neuclear reactors, want to arm the Natives and wonder why he/she is always plotting on our GOOD WORKS.

    ISIS like the rest of the Natives understand US better than we understand our greedy selves. The West is greedy for oil; while our #1 Ally is greedy for land. Both sides push to own what the Native knows to be his/hers. The ISIS of the world are willing to die for their belief, while the West only talks a good game and practices “DIVIDE AND CONQUOR.” That works in the short run as our Ally and found from practice, but it always creates a stroger boogie man.

    Even a Pew Report shows that the US with its Religionism back Supreme Court, and its “God on our Side” priciple is a perfect model of ISIS. The House That Eric Cantor Built: The T-Party/GOP Congress is so busy fighting its own Civil War with Obama until ISIS knows that the Caliphate is a geniune possiblity.

    Racism has so intrenched the T-Party/GOP membership until it has blinded it to the fact that there is only One America and if we let it fall to the fascism of destroying US as one nation, race will not matter because we will all fall under the knife. The question then becomes is the House of Representatives WITH US OR AGIN US?

    But sometimes I wonder is what we have as Americans of all races and sects worth saving or should we let the chips: White, Black, Yellow and Brown; Christians, Jews, Moslems, and Secularist, fall where they may and let history begin all over again.

    • Jacob Arnon

      Colonialism isn’t over, earlier ti was the West which colonized much of the world now it’s the east, China, etc. which wants to colonize the world.

      Before then the Arabs were pretty successful colonizers. That is how they got to Afghanistan, to Pakistan and to Black Africa.

      They also imported lots of slaves from Black Africa and from Southern Europe.

  • http://www.paraverse.org/ FlyingTofu

    Tom, I think we should not dignify the murderous group with the name Caliphate. Rather call them a CaliFAKE. The old caliphate became a large empire because the rulers learned to tolerate more difference than existed in, say, most of Europe of old. Again, call these guys caliFAKE.

  • tbphkm33

    How ironic the world is…
    - last week we saw Christians in the United States attempting to impose their religious beliefs on The People via the Supreme Court;
    - we saw random vigilante violence by Jews against a Palestinian teenager in the ongoing Israeli policy of collective punishment for the people imprisoned in the Occupied Territories;
    - and we saw the rise of the ISIS Caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria…

    Conclusion to be drawn – religious fundamentalism, extremism, and/or evangelicalism, no matter what the religious “flavor” is highly dangerous.

    As in the United States; in Israel, Syria and Iraq, the majority of the people are mildly religious or secular. It is a minority that favors the actions and tactics of the extremists.

    As intellectuals, and some good secularist amongst us, we should stand up against the overreach of religion. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the separation of Church and State, the right to believe what you want…

    … and more pertinent, the right of the State and The People from being subjected to your personal beliefs. That is the reality we should demand within the United States and extoll outside the United States.

    The concept of religion, no matter what flavor, is a personal choice. As long as the superstition is confined to the individuals home and house of worship. In no way shall they impose their beliefs upon The People or try to usurp the role of the State, in their aim to impose their personal superstitions on their neighbors.

    • jefe68

      You left out the part where 3 Jewish boys were killed by Palestinians, which sparked all of this recent violence.

      • tbphkm33

        No I did not, I said it was “vigilante violence,” the story behind the vigilantism was irrelevant to my larger point.

        • jefe68

          Sorry, but how can the death of three boys be irrelevant?

          • brettearle

            Jef, see my comment above.

            His bias is flagrant. It’s likely that he’s the kind of anti-Israeli who sees Apartheid synonymous with Israel.

          • anon

            Desmond Tutu talks about apartheid in Israel, and he ought to know what apartheid is. Even South Africa didn’t have roads like those in Israel that are only for Jews…

          • brettearle

            Listen, my friend, you do not know what you are talking about.

            Israel does NOT impose restrictions to keep people DOWN.

            They pose restrictions to PROTECT THEMSELVES, Mr. Biased.

            His Eminence, Desmond Tutu–for whom I have a great deal of respect–is widening the definition of Human Rights, to a extremely dogmatic and one-sided degree–without ANY sensitivity towards the brutality and injustice of History.

            Why don’t we ask him about how he feels about the United States?

            Why don’t we ASK HIM about how he feels about genocide and the United States–at least as it relates to the American Indian?

            Anyone who wishes to compare, for example, the genocide of the American Indian, to the West Bank and Gaza, may as well be hopelessly ensconced for their entire adult life in the remedial section of Kindergarten.

          • anon

            Not sure why you assume that I’m male, but anyway… this is a subject that there’s no point in discussing with a propagandist like yourself. I encourage people to research it if they’re interested. You can get some good information in Israeli newspapers, by Jewish Israeli writers like Gideon Levy; also from Jewish human rights organizations like B’Tselem and from ‘Breaking the Silence’, and organization of Israeli soldiers who speak about about what they do in the occupied territories. Hard to call them all anti-Semitic or ‘self-hating Jews’, although I have a feeling that brettearle will try.

          • brettearle

            No,

            Anon simply wishes to cherry pick perception, attitude, and idiosyncratic viewpoint.

            I’m not talking about the settlements.

            Israel’s settlement policy is deplorable.

            But the Israelis are NOT practicing Apartheid.

            Anon does not know what Anon is talking about.

            Anon cannot see finer shades of blame.

            Anon IS the radical.and is likely terribly biased.

            Most of us who see it MORE objectively can see that there is PLENTY of blame to go around, on all sides.

            Go play in your Gaza sand box with Gideon Levy…

          • jefe68

            There is a lot of anti-Israel sentiment on the left. Some of it is based on the reality and a lot of it is just convenient and based on BS. Israel is a complex situation that I doubt will ever be resolved. The settlements have to go, and by the way the people in those settlements are Jewish extremist on par with and Muslim extremist. Until this can be worked out Israelis and Palestinians will never have a workable agreement.

          • brettearle

            I agree completely with your vision of the settlements.

            But it is the historical animosity that will always stand, timelessly, as irrevocable.

    • HonestDebate1

      Nope, I don’t buy your conclusion at all. So Christians were attempting to impose their religious beliefs on the people?! First, they won so whatever they were doing went farther than the attempt. But they weren’t imposing squat. What a bizarre claim. Then you give it equal billing with the Islamic Caliphate?! That’s insane dude… with all due respect.

      • tbphkm33

        If the shoe fits…

        • HonestDebate1

          Not my size, I’m a heathen.

      • anon

        Read about the Spanish Inquisition. Read about what happened to Muslims and Jews.

      • jefe68

        You should read more. Or not. But don’t act so surprised when you find out that history backed by facts debunk your comment(s).

        • HonestDebate1

          It’s stupid. Hobby Lobby was not imposing squat on anyone. History does not dispute that fact. And if you have to go back to the crusades well then that’s stupid too.

    • Gato Pardo

      Well put. Those who study medieval history will agree with the similarities. Religious fanaticism has been used historically to gather support and to alienate the undesirable. Reason in this theater is a no show….

      As for the caliphates of the past, Christians, Jews and other peoples received a better treatment than Jews and Arabs did in the Christian world….

      • tbphkm33

        That is an important point – too often U.S. Christians think that Christians were somehow more humane, but reality was exactly the opposite.

      • Jacob Arnon

        That’s not true. German Jews in the 19c because they wanted to shame Christians argued this point, but the historical evidence doesn’t support it.

        For Jews as for other minorities it was bad all over. There were periods in the Arab world as in Christian Europe when Jews were treated more or less kindly, but these periods were short.

    • brettearle

      Now just why would you want to show your blatantly injudicious bias–by IGNORING the MURDER of 3 Israeli teens that spawned the outrageous vigilante violence by Israelis?

      YOU DON’T EVEN BOTHER TO MENTION IT.

      Not only that, but calling such Israeli Thugs, Jews, and not Israelis–only fuels the sense of Ethnic Conflagration. You make reference to Palestine, then refer to Israel. Not Jews. If you were to say Arabs and Christians, representing Palestine, then that would be different.

      There IS a difference–especially in the way that you are displaying your woeful–and I mean woeful–narrow-mindedness

      I am NOT parsing ANYTHING here–based on the way YOU are reporting this. This is NOT splitting hairs, my friend…

      YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE INEQUITY AND BIAS THAT TAKES PLACE, SO OFTEN, IN THIS FORUM.

      Congratulations….

    • TFRX

      My click up for your post is not for all of it.

      I’m staying out of adding my opinion to the Israeli / Palestine situation.

      • jefe68

        You just put yourself in it.

        • TFRX

          If the original post had been separated into its component parts, I’d have gladly just clicked up the bits I want.

          But the omnibus nature of it means I couldn’t just click without seeming to support all of it.

          • brettearle

            T–

            Why not opt for the strategy that Barry Scheck recmmended at the OJ Trial?:

            If there’s a cockroach in the spaghetti, then you’ve got to throw out the whole bowl.

    • Ed75

      I think you mischaracterise Hobby Lobby: they weren’t trying to keep women from contraception (just certain kinds), but they didn’t want to have to pay for it since it violated their conscience.
      I would frame it differently since I regard secularism as one kind of religious belief, which is trying to impress its beliefs (or non-beliefs) on other people. Constitutionally I have the right to worship in my home or house of worship (which was allowed theoretically in the USSR), but I also have the right to live according to my religious beliefs, to act on them in the public square, of course provided I don’t infringe the rights of others.

  • michelleobetts

    my classmate’s aunt makes $68 every hour on the
    computer . She has been fired for 7 months but last month her paycheck was
    $15495 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit the site R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

  • anon

    I was curious about that, too. Islam also predicts similar things, and much of it takes place in the area around Syria. (For one thing, Jesus is expected to return in Damascus.)

  • Andrew Page

    The Islamic State Formerly Known As ISIS

  • TELew

    My impression is that they do.

    They are constantly trying to correspond whatever exists at the moment with the various bogies in the Book of Revelation. During the era of the Soviet Union, they liked to equate the U.S.S.R., China, and communism with beasts, etc., in the Bible, with a nuclear war serving as the instrument of the destruction of Babylon.

    Deprived of the first of these bogies by the collapse of the Soviet Union they had to come up with a new menace. In steps Islamic extremism, and problem solved. The Biblical prophesies concerning Revelation are fulfilled, again!

    I have heard many times from fundamentalist Christians that we are in a third world war, with the conflict being Christianity against Islam this time. I am sure that the diehards are thrilled that Putin has been misbehaving, because they can resurrect all of the anti-Russian fears of the Cold War. And China (the People’s Republic) still is communist, so everything is wonderful.

  • brettearle

    Anyone who is not angry at ignorant bias that spreads destructive opinion and attitude–such as we see above–needs to have his Head examined.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 28, 2014
Photos surround the casket of Michael Brown before the start of his funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014.  (AP)

The message that will last out of Ferguson with New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb.

Aug 28, 2014
Some of the hundreds of earthquake damaged wine barrels cover and toppled a pair of forklifts at the Kieu Hoang Winery, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A powerful earthquake that struck the heart of California's wine country caught many people sound asleep, sending dressers, mirrors and pictures crashing down around them and toppling wine bottles in vineyards around the region. (AP)

Drought in California, earthquake in Napa. We look at broken bottles and the health of the American wine industry.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 27, 2014
The cast of the new ABC comedy, "Black-ish." (Courtesy ABC)

This week the Emmys celebrate the best in television. We’ll look at what’s ahead for the Fall TV season.

 
Aug 27, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, as Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, center, looks at them, prior to their talks after after posing for a photo in Minsk, Belarus, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP)

Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s leader meet. We’ll look at Russia and the high voltage chess game over Ukraine. Plus, we look at potential US military strikes in Syria and Iraq.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Comment
 
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment
 
Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

More »
1 Comment