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Thursday, March 27, 2014


The Syrian town of Yabrud was recently retaken by pro-Assad forces. But before their ouster, the Muslim extremist rebels -- the ones backed by Uncle Sam -- decided to "redecorate" St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church...

Here's some background:
Syria has, for the past four decades, been ruled by the authoritarian Ba’ath party. The Ba’ath came to power after a series of destabilizing coups in the post-French mandate period.
Syria as a Ba’ath ruled country represents the last secular state in the Middle East. The Syrian government promotes and enforces secularism in society. The government, represented in the authoritarian rule of Bashar Al-Assad (and his father Hafez before him), sees itself as the solution to the problem of Syria’s multi-religious and multi-ethnic make-up: it provides stability and order in a country that might otherwise go the way of post-Saddam Iraq.

Religious minorities such as the Christians and Alawites tend to be the biggest supporters of the Syrian government. The government keeps radical Islam at bay, and has historically actively persecuted it. The political “alternative” for Syria has always been represented in the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The Ba’athists and Muslim Brotherhood have fought each other since the 1970’s, and the current civil war that has overtaken Syria can be seen as the endgame to a decades-long struggle for the identity of Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood and associated groups desire an Islamic government under the authority of Sharia Law (Law of God or rule by the Koran).
See also here, which details the role of Saudi Arabia:
The armed opposition in Syria and Iraq is today dominated by Salafi jihadists, fundamentalist Islamic fighters committed to holy war.
The pretence that the Western-backed and supposedly secular Free Syrian Army was leading the fight to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad finally evaporated last December as jihadists overran their supply depots and killed their commanders.

In the past six months there have been signs of real anger in Washington at actions by Saudi Arabia and the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf in supplying and financing jihadi warlords in Syria who are now so powerful. US Secretary of State John Kerry privately criticised Prince Bandar bin Sultan, head of Saudi intelligence since 2012 and former Saudi ambassador in Washington, who had been masterminding the campaign to overthrow the Assad government.
Saudi Arabia took over from Qatar as the main funder of the Syrian rebels last summer. But Saudi involvement is much deeper and more long term than this, with more fighters coming from Saudi Arabia than from any other country.

Saudi preachers call vehemently for armed intervention against Assad, either by individual volunteers or by states. The beliefs of Wahhabism, the puritanical literalist Saudi version of Islam, are not much different from those of al-Qa’ida or other Salafi jihadist groups in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and Libya.
In Syria, the Saudis believed that the Syrian government would be swiftly overwhelmed like that of Muammar Gaddafi. They underestimated its staying power and the support it was getting from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Everyone knows that Al Qaida received massive backing from the Saudis. How could we end up siding with the people who attacked us? The Ba'ath regime in Iraq was indeed evil, as is the Ba'ath regime in Syria. But compared to Salafist/Al Qaida/Muslim Brotherhood forces, perhaps the Ba'ath dictators should be seen as the lesser evils.

Israel's perspective in all of this is perfectly rational and comprehensible. Why wouldn't they want to see enemy states reduced to warring factions? Why wouldn't they want to see enemy states exiled from the modern era and returned to the Middle Ages?

Similarly, the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia are simply continuing the old, old battle against the Shi'ites.

I can understand why Israel and the Saudis function in what we may consider an uneasy, unspoken, and very temporary alliance. But why must we be involved?

On another topic... Take a look at the fourth photo down. Just what is that icon? It looks like a winged Jesus (wearing a tunic of blue fire) carrying the head of John the Baptist in the Holy Grail. And the two mountains also seem to have symbolic significance.

I am not as wise as I ought to be in the ways of Greek Christianity. Can anyone explain this image to me?

Added note: Okay, I did a little more research. Both the head and the winged figure are John the Baptist. He has wings in Greek iconography.
Maybe the conservatives have just realized that there really are too many people on the planet and while they accept that climate change, peak oil, and overpopulation are in fact legitimate crises, maybe their planned way of dealing with those problems is another World War.

I can't really think of any other way to explain the current state of international politics; it's like everyone is itching for a fight, sides are being chosen, battle lines are being drawn, and sabers are being rattled.

Who fires the first shot? Will there be an Archduke Ferdinand-type character to act as the sacrificial lamb?

Only time will tell, but I have a feeling the next decade will see a major reduction in the world population.

While I believe there are far too many people on this planet, I'd much prefer attrition as a means of reducing our burden.
You know very well how we could end up supporting Saudi-AQ types. Russia supports Assad, Assad supports Hezbollah, both are in alliance with Iran.
Israel's leaders admit they consider this axis a more dangerous enemy than Sunni jihadists just now.
Israel own US foreign policy.
Problem solved.
Anon 11:13, I've started to think along those lines, too. For a long time I've suspected that the bipartisan consensus that 9/11 justified torture, occupation, murder, dungeons, and wiretapping reflected a decision by the Powers That Be that such powers might be necessary to preserve civil order when economic and social disruptions caused by Peak Oil, climate change, and unemployment took place.

Some of my friends believe that the food, water, cell phones, power lines, chemtrails, vaccines, and mercury tooth fillings are slow poisons that the rich are smart enough to avoid. I can't prove them wrong, but I don't share their beliefs.

I am starting to wonder, though, if the Powers That Be have recognized that most of our most serious concerns would evaporate if our population were drastically reduced, and the survivors would be left to enjoy the bounties and beauties of the earth and the infrastructure and the benefits of technology and long lifespans. Thus we have an apparent bipartisan culture favoring policies that make most of the young people too unhappy to reproduce.

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