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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ajami: The Arab Predicament

Finished reading Fouad Ajami's Arab Predicament. What could the Arabs do when confronted with their abject defeat by Israel?

(1) To rapidly adopt Western technology and political organization, like Japan, like the Soviets forced industrialization. Or (2) To retreat to their mythical victories of the past, into religion, like Pakistan, like Afghanistan. Imagine the Chinese Empire retreating to Confusianism. The Arabs choose to reject the West and removed themselves to the world of Mohammed, Mecca AD 500.

How imagines a Caliphate fighter of Mosul 2014 the world? Like a primitive version of Saudi Arabia. Strict desert sexual mores. Education centred on the Quran, without math, history, biology, etc. No science and no research. Culture - literature, movies, etc. - forbidden, inexistent. Fighting in the glorious caravan raiding tradition.

Are the Caliphate armies a danger to us? All the caliphates of the past lasted nothing and collapsed. British Raj Indian soldiers (pic., Mosul) conquered and ruled for long the Middle East. As Gral. Peron observed, and he was a professional military historian, no irregular forces can resist a professional army. These ISIS irregulars exploited a vacuum in the ethnic borderlands of Turkey/Iraq but they are not an army. They are, maximum, a small guerrilla force. Pulling the Arab peoples back into ignorance, chaos and the raging anger of perceiving the nothingness they are.


  1. Anonymous5:27 PM

    Your analysis is 100% correct. Except in the modern interconnected world, such island of ignorance tend to spill over into the rest of the world. There is no professional army left willing to take up the white man's burden, so the guerillas have free reign. The best that can be hoped for is a sort of uneasy truce (not unlike Gaza) where as long as the fanatics keep to themselves we will let them run their own little insane enclaves but if they overstep their bounds the rockets fall upon their heads.

    I recently read the biography of Gerhard Neumann, a German Jew who became a big mucky muck at General Electric in the US - the head of their jet engine business. At the end of WWII (which he spent in China in the service of the American Army) he decided it would be fun for he and his young American wife to leave Asia overland in a Jeep, starting from Thailand and ending up in Tel Aviv. And he was able to make that drive (and live to tell about it).

    Neumann was one of those German Jews who liked to pretend that he wasn't really Jewish (though he never converted). He himself isn't a Jew - it's just that he parents were "Germans of Jewish descent". (BTW, it was recently revealed that the grandfather of the late Cardinal O'Connor of NY was a rabbi). At the beginning of his biography, he strangely maintains that the Nazis really weren't that bad and that he never noticed much anti-Semitism before he left Germany in the spring of '39 (he then quickly moves on to the rest of his glorious life adventures and never mentions again what happened to his parents, etc.) Humans have incredible defense mechanisms that allow them to deny even what they perceive with their own senses if it is necessary to maintain their illusions. Sometimes when you are sleeping and there is a siren or water dripping on your face or whatever, rather than cause you to wake up, your mind will quickly incorporate the disturbance into the plot of whatever dream you are having. It might take a wakeful playright hours to incorporate a plot point like that, but your mind has no problem doing it on the fly in real time if that is what it takes not to disturb your bliss.


  2. Those militant enclaves tend to be unable to keep quiet but they attack and harass their neighbors. Mosul is the heart of a large oil producing area. If the Caliphate fails to settle as a mini-state, it will be gobbled up by nearby armies - Russia, Turkey, Syria, even Iraq as soon as it gets it shit together. The Shia seem to have the upper hand in Iraq and the caliphs are Sunni...

    regarding German Jews, all of them were German patriots and many Nazis. It took Hitler and Himmler a large effort and ten years to convince them that they were not. Some of them never understood and bought their train tickets to Auschwitz as decreed by the German State's legitime representatives. Very smart people we are.

  3. Anonymous7:08 PM

    Imagine the Chinese Empire retreating to Confusianism....

    They went well beyond that. One of the responses to their contact with the West was the Boxer Rebellion, where the Chinese peasants thought that their magical amulets could make them bulletproof against Western Gatling guns. It didn't work.

    The Japanese are a very interesting case in that they (almost uniquely among the nations) were able to adopt and adapt to modernity without losing their fundamental identity as Japanese. They are a very intelligent race but not more than the Chinese - up until the 19th century they were sort of "little brothers" to the great Chinese civilization (as Serbs are to Russians)but then their paths diverged greatly and Japan became a great industrial and military power that was competitive with the West while China stagnated. I suppose you could say that the Japanese went a little nuts with militarism, leading to Pearl Harbor and ultimately destruction, but they quickly bounced back even from that (if Baghdad was nuked like Hiroshima, it would take them 1,000 years to rebuild, if ever). What makes one civilization (at one particular time) resilient and another (or even the same one at a different time) incapable of withstanding the shock of the new?


  4. Anonymous7:19 PM

    Japan was a isolated island archipelago, they have great racial purity that the Chinese who last 3 Dynasties have been foreign with the exception of the Ming.

  5. Anonymous8:43 PM

    Do you gonna make a post named "the failure of the Neocon intellectuals" or it hits too close to home?

  6. Anonymous10:33 PM

    Foreign rulers are not automatically bad. England was ruled by Norman kings after 1066 and even now the House of Windsor is pure German. Galicia under the Austrians (and Iraq under the British) was a hell of a lot better than it is under native rule (not to mention all of Africa).

    Racial purity doesn't mean much either. The Koreans are even more racially pure than the Japanese but they didn't really distinguish themselves until very recently.

  7. Anonymous11:16 PM

    Korea was repeteadly invaded by the mongols, mamchus, japaneses, Christians and communists.

    Japan was the only nation that didn't convert to any of the jewish religions of xtianity, iSlam and marxism-Trostkysm.

  8. The Boxer Rebellion was led by a guy whose spiel was that he was the reincarnation of Jesus, so it was hardly a retreat to Confucianism but rather a typical 19th century Protestant revival in the mold of the Mormons.

    Baghdad was, in fact, nuked like Hiroshima. When the Mongols showed up and demanded its surrender, the Caliph told them to kiss his ass. In typical Iraqi fashion, he then lost miserably. The Mongols, in typical Mongol fashion, killed everyone and destroyed everything, and ran off what they didn't kill or destroy. Then in a century or so Tamerlane did it all over again. Since anyone with talent and brains living within 500 km of Baghdad had moved there (or to Mosul, which had the same thing happen to it,) I suspect this is what made the Iraqis what they have been ever since.

  9. Anonymous1:29 AM

    And yet as recently as the '30s, Baghdad was a cosmopolitan city with 100,000+ Jews, a large Christian community, theaters, night clubs, etc. And this was before many billions of $ of oil wealth was pumped out of the ground. With that much $, Mosul should be sparkling like Tel Aviv or Tokyo by now instead of being a shit hole but they have zero to show for it. Less than zero because a lot of the money was spent on bombs to blow up their own countrymen.


  10. B

    The original population of Baghdad and Iraq in general was exterminated by the Mongols. The current population, especailly the swamp Arabs, are recently arrived Beduins. Much like the 150000 Beduins occupying our Negev.

  11. The dipshits living in the rest of Iraq were unhurt by the Mongols, who were overall a fairly civilized bunch and didn't hurt people who surrendered peacefully. The current population is a dog's breakfast of Arabs and Arabicized Persians, Kurds, Central Asians (the descendants of the shakiriyyah which was responsible for all of Muslim Mesopotamia's glories,) Indians, African slaves and who knows what else. It's really the worst place I've seen in the world, in every respect, with the worst people, again in every respect. Points for consistency.

    >And yet as recently as the '30s, Baghdad was a cosmopolitan city with 100,000+ Jews, a large Christian community, theaters, night clubs, etc.

    I recommend Kedourie's Chatham House Version for an insight of what happened. In short, the Jews were the Iraqi economy, but then the Brit Foreign Office and the US created and fostered Arab nationalism and let the Iraqis rob and kill their Jewish neighbors as part of the planned emergence of a viable nation. Well, the Jews left and the viable nation never emerged, quelle fucking surprise. There are still nightclubs and whorehouses, though.

  12. Anonymous7:29 PM

    Well, Kedourie was not exactly an objective observer and may have overestimated the value of the Jews. Realistically, one good sized oil field was worth more than all the rug merchants of Baghdad put together and just their oil alone (especially if the population had not been allowed to explode)should have made them rich, but all that wealth got pissed away.


  13. Only G-d is an objective observer. The Jews were the Iraqi economy (see: Sir Sassoon Ezkel) and without them, Iraq is a resource cow with some miserable agriculture stapled to its ass. Resources are not wealth-to capture and harness their value, you need an actual economy, meaning, a responsible and intelligent management class. If you have that, you can even dispense with the resources. If you don't, resources won't help.

  14. Anonymous1:35 AM

    If you don't, resources won't help.

    It couldn't hurt. If you have enough resources you can buy anything, including a management class. Ask the Saudis.


  15. No. You can RENT a management class. The second there is a glitch in the matrix, when you most need their brains (which you won't be getting full performance from at best of times,) they'll be gone. Or, conversely, they will take over and throw you back out in the desert.

    See: Machiavelli on why you should never rely on mercenaries.

  16. Kedourie seem to feel that the British had a responsability towards their subjects and they betrayed them by abandoning Iraq.

    It is becoming obvious that the Middle East (the Arabs) are unable to settle down peacefully and govern themselves. It is a political vacuum. As shown in Iran, religion cannot substitute for a political ideology. After the Islam has failed as a governing ideology in Iran, after nationalism has failed
    in Iraq, what can be unifying concept be?

    A few years ago we thought Turkey wants its Middle East empire back. Now it has the opportunity to occupy it, yet it does nothing. Why?

  17. B Were the Mongols a fairly civilized bunch and didn't hurt people who surrendered peacefully...? They were in fact genocydical killers, they produced large demographic and genetic changes.

  18. B,

    My Learned Friend, What do you mean by "shakiriyyah"?

    It normally designates Omanis, but there was - as far as my poor historical knowledge goes - no population movements from Oman to Iraq.

    And Shark means Eastern in Arabic, like in Shakira (the Colombian singer), or Djatt-Al-Sharkiyya (a shithole).

    Who those mysterious Eastern goatfuckers may be? Central Asian immigrants? Afghans? Turkomans? Bucharans?

  19. Anonymous11:26 AM

    B is in fact correct:

    The standard Mongol tactic was to offer those who they proposed to conquer the choice: surrender or die. If you surrendered they would not deal (very) harshly with you - this way future targets were more willing to surrender, knowing that offered a chance of survival. If OTOH you refused to surrender and chose to fight, when they captured your city, they would kill everyone, again as a lesson for others.

  20. The Mongols and other Central Asian empire-builders did not hurt those surrendering and made an example of those who stood and fought. It was the only way for a small group to build and maintain a large coalition and conquer vast settled lands.

    Kedourie explains that the Brits did a piss-poor job of running the parts of the Ottoman Empire which they'd stolen, due to their inane ideology (exemplified by Lawrence of Arabia, Gertrude Bell, etc.,) failed to maintain the proper governmental structures, encouraged all sorts of idiot goatfucker nationalists spewing ideas which had not been that bright in their original, European incarnation but were downright inane in their Arab one, and THEN left.

    The shaqiriyyah was the massive influx of Central Asian warriors, bound by bay'ah (which was an Arab implementation of the Eurasian comitatus concept) to their lord, the Caliph, in the 9th century and onwards. They are the reason that the Iraqi architecture of that time looks very similar to Buddhist stupas, etc.

    I think you would enjoy Christopher Beckwith's books:


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