Tag Archives: Syria

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:

Continue reading The more things change, Middle East edition

What’s the real takeaway from Bibi’s fearmongering on ISIS?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s extended campaign ad — filmed before the United States Congress — has been grabbing all the headlines, but on Last Week Tonight last night, John Oliver drew viewers’ attention to an earlier piece in support of his reelection:

Continue reading What’s the real takeaway from Bibi’s fearmongering on ISIS?

Why is ISIS threatening Twitter employees with *LIONS*, of all things?

Christian Science Monitor wants to know: Why is ISIS threatening Twitter employees with ‘lions’? Of course, CSM also has the answer:

Supporters of the extremist militant group called for the death of company employees in response to Twitter’s blocking of social media accounts associated with the Islamic State.

That much, I could have guessed. But I clicked on the headline not to find out why ISIS was threatening Twitter employees — after all, does ISIS really need a cause? — but because I was curious: Why lions? And since CSM appears to have been uninterested by that zoological choice, I decided to delve into the question for myself — and now, for you. You’re welcome.

Continue reading Why is ISIS threatening Twitter employees with *LIONS*, of all things?

Who’s wiping Israel off the map now?: New York Times edition

In a recent post, I detailed how some people described the acquisition of Seamless in Kuwait (how clever) as the largest Middle Eastern exit since 2009. They forgot, of course, that Israeli startups routinely eclipse Talabat’s $170 million purchase price — or maybe excluding Israel from “the Middle East” was a conscious decision. Either way, they’re redrawing maps.

But those offenders are small potatoes (which you may presumably order on Talabat). This time, I’d like to call your attention to the pages of the New York Times. In yesterday’s column, Islam and the West at War, Roger Cohen described the current conflict between, well, Islam and the west:

Continue reading Who’s wiping Israel off the map now?: New York Times edition

The President of Turkey just told a hilarious joke, Part II

Exactly four months ago, I published a post titled “The President of Turkey just told a hilarious joke“. Here’s how it began:

After VP Joe Biden accused Turkey of having supported many of the forces fighting Bashar al-Assad — including ISIS — that country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan angrily responded, “Turkey has never given even the smallest kind of support to any terror organization.”

That’s the punchline.

The rest of the post was dedicated to chronicling various instances in which Turkey has, in fact, support a terror organization (Hamas). I am now writing to admit that post was a major mistake: It was written under the assumption that, admittedly, Turkey does not support ISIS, but certainly does support “any terror organization”. But then I came across a Newsweek article from November (yes, Newsweek still exists) that suggests I was being silly. Here’s how it began:

A reluctant former communications technician working for Islamic State, now going by the pseudonym ‘Sherko Omer’, who managed to escape the group, told Newsweek that he travelled in a convoy of trucks as part of an ISIS unit from their stronghold in Raqqa, across Turkish border, through Turkey and then back across the border to attack Syrian Kurds in the city of Serekaniye in northern Syria in February.

“ISIS commanders told us to fear nothing at all because there was full cooperation with the Turks,” said Omer of crossing the border into Turkey, “and they reassured us that nothing will happen, especially when that is how they regularly travel from Raqqa and Aleppo to the Kurdish areas further northeast.”

It’s certainly worth taking “Omer”‘s allegations with a grain of salt. After all, he is Kurdish himself, and probably has no great love of Turkey. But still, his word against the guy who thinks Muslims Columbused America, and I’ll take the pseudonymous former member of ISIS every goddamn time.

Barack Obama has a secret weapon in his war against ISIS

That weapon: the Seattle Seahawks. Don’t believe me and/or have no clue what I’m talking about? As noted Seahawks fan Bill Nye* might say, Consider the following:

Continue reading Barack Obama has a secret weapon in his war against ISIS

Why I have a hard time condemning the Swedish MP pictured holding a ‘Palestine without borders’

The recently-collapsed Swedish government has drawn the ire of pro-Israel partisans in recent months, after it became the first in Europe to recognize a Palestinian state.

So those defenders of Zion were quick to pounce when Swedish MP Hillevi Larsson — a member of the Social Democratic-led government responsible for the vote — was recently pictured next to a Palestinian flag, while holding an award she received from the Palestinian Association of Malmö in gratitude for her support:

Continue reading Why I have a hard time condemning the Swedish MP pictured holding a ‘Palestine without borders’

Why the Muslim-Nobel Peace Prize argument won’t exactly convince its target audience

I want to briefly address another story that recently made the rounds, best expressed in this headline from Vox: “The perfect response to people who say all Muslims are violent, in one tweet“.

By ‘people who say all Muslims are violent’, the headline is responding to (inter alia) HBO comedian Bill Maher, who argued on his show that members of “the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are actually not extremist outliers but represent the inherent violence and intolerance of Islam itself, and by extension its 1.6 billion followers.”

Vox counters by citing this tweet and subsequent explanation:

Continue reading Why the Muslim-Nobel Peace Prize argument won’t exactly convince its target audience

The President of Turkey just told a hilarious joke

After VP Joe Biden accused Turkey of having supported many of the forces fighting Bashar al-Assad — including ISIS — that country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan angrily responded, “Turkey has never given even the smallest kind of support to any terror organization.”

That’s the punchline.

Continue reading The President of Turkey just told a hilarious joke

5 ways ISIS is actively reducing its carbon footprint

The ever-insightful Clickhole chimed in last week with a piece titled 5 Ways ISIS Can Reduce Its Carbon Footprint. All you need to know about the piece is right there in the headline, but — if you insist — here is a condensed list of the supplied suggestions:

  1. Purchase carbon offsets
  2. Reduce number of security checkpoints
  3. Avoid setting oil wells on fire
  4. Eat locally
  5. Take public transportation

The exercise was transparently ridiculous — as if anything with the word “Islamic” in the title needs any help going green. But if that doesn’t convince you, here are 5 things the Islamic State is already doing to help reduce the threat of climate change, in no particular order:

Continue reading 5 ways ISIS is actively reducing its carbon footprint