The more things change, Middle East edition

One of my favorite Colbert Report clips of all time — all time — came when Stephen reported on Israel’s selection of the long-billed hoopoe as its national bird. He concluded the brief segment like so:

And to the hoopoe itself: Good luck. It is not easy being Israel’s national bird. I believe the national birds of your neighboring countries are all cats.

(For the record, the cat Stephen used to illustrate his point — you can see its visage above — looks remarkably like my family’s own.)

That clip came out in 2008 — I remember watching it live, from my randomly oversized dorm room in Manhattan — and a lot has changed in the Middle East since that time: The Arab Spring. The breakup of Syria. The rise of ISIS. Warming relations between Israel and its Sunni neighbors. You might think that Israel finally solved its stray cat problem. And yet — as Colbert noted on his new show Tuesday night — the Middle East is somehow still chock full of ’em:

colbert isis cats 1 640x360 colbert isis cats 2 640x360

In case you’d rather not click to embiggen, Colbert asserted that “cats have a lot in common with ISIS — they’re both ruthless killers who poop in the sand.”

While the cat Colbert chose with compare to ISIS certainly looks the part of coldblooded jihadist, I still feel the need to kibble with his selection: Arabian (sand) cats would have been slightly more geographically appropriate, and are the cutest cats of all time — all time — to boot. Even the adults look like kittens!

sand cats

Promise me 72 of those and I’m in Raqqa tomorrow.

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