'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
This blog is a source for intellectual exploration. It includes a list of alternative resources and a source of free books. The placement of an article does not imply that I agree with it, merely that I found it thought-provoking. There are also poems and book reviews. Texts written by me are labelled. Readers are free to re-post anything they like.
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Don’t underestimate Iraq’s historic victory against Isis – though the human cost was great. By Patrick Cockburn // Can the Liberation of Mosul begin to free the Mideast from Fundamentalism?
Northern Iraq is one of
the most fought over places on earth. Ancient and modern fortifications are
everywhere. Just outside Erbil is the site of the battle of Gaugamela where
Alexander the Great defeated the Persian army in 331 BC. Saddam Hussein’s
soldiers fought the Kurds here for decades. But the nine-month long struggle
for Mosul between Iraqi government forces and Isis, which just ended, is
probably the most important and decisive battle ever fought in this region.
It is ending with a
victory of historic proportions for the Iraqi government which will go far to
shape the political future of not just Iraq, but the region as a whole. Isis, which for three years
had an army, administration and territory making it more powerful than many
members of the UN, has been defeated. It will revert to guerrilla warfare, but
it will no longer be in control of a state machine through which it exercised
its monstrous rule.
The decisive nature of
what has just happened needs to be emphasised, because the likelihood of
continuing violence in Iraq may give the mistaken impression that nothing much
has radically changed. Iraq also has a long tradition of over-confident rulers
declaring victory, such as President George W Bush in 2003, only to see their
supposed gains evaporating within a few months or years.
There will be more fighting
and Isis still holds enclaves in Iraq at Tal Afar, west of Mosul, and Hawaija
near Kirkuk, but these are isolated and will be overrun; in Syria, Isis
fighters are holding out in the city of Raqqa and towns further south along the
Euphrates. Overall, Isis in future will hide in the deserts of western
Iraq and eastern Syria, capable of raids and terrorist attacks, but nothing
like the threat it posed to whole populations in 2014 -17… read more:
Daeshism (Daeshia or Daeshna in
Arabic) is derived from Daesh – the Arabic acronym for IS – but Iraqis use it
to refer to a general act of subjugating outsiders. It is the attempted
suppression of beliefs, ideas, behaviour, and appearances on religious grounds
– and it is not just IS doing this in Iraq. Like IS, Daeshim uses an internal
narrative of “us versus them”, going beyond sectarian differences to threaten
individual liberties viewed as unacceptable by some religious leaders. The
recent kidnap, torture, and murder of young artist Karar
Nushi by unknown armed groups in Baghdad, merely because of his
appearance, is just the latest in a series of heinous crimes that are an
unprecedented threat to civil liberties in Iraq.
repressions are nurtured by radical religious arguments, whether Shia or Sunni,
which target art, music, singing, and dance, as haram – things
that must be banned. Leaders of Islamic parties are deliberately distorting
concepts such as secularism and civil society, tarnishing them as atheism that
must be tackled. For example, a radical religious stance has
made its way to educational institutions, both in theory and in
practice, and to some Iraqi school textbooks. Daeshism reflects the
mindset of sections of Iraqi society and of Arabic Islamic societies in general…