Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rebels with every cause

The revelations keep coming from Belgium on the investigations into Islamist terrorist groups and there's a strand now linking the groups to a biker gang called the Kamikaze Riders (via the Belgian news outlet La Derniere Heure). This would be very much consistent with the Olivier Roy analysis of European-based Islamist extremism and -- yet again!  -- suggests that focusing too much on the "Islamic" angle is a mistake. The extremism is constructed around political and religious grievances, but drawing heavily also on other non-Islamic attributes of alienation.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Woman in Saudi mosque non-outrage

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine on a tour of the Prophet Mohammed's Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. It is very rare to see female spouses in the especially segregated sphere of the holy sites, and the mere positioning of a scarf can normally be enough to set off media paroxysms. So one has to assume that the Turks insisted the first lady would be joining the tour. One more reason, albeit small, why creating an overly large class of "Radical Islam" that includes political Islam along the lines of the AKP is not very helpful.

Photo: Saudi Press Agency.

You won't believe how long this listicle is

RTE's coverage of 1985 Cabinet papers released under the 30 year rule, headlined 30 things we have learned. Is there anything in the source material not included?

UPDATE: The original (December 30) article has since been split into two 15 item lists.

Pond Synergy

The Christmas Eve Wall Street Journal brings some across the water local colour essential for Anglophile credibility to its readers --

When it comes to sports, Christmas time in Britain means two things: a lot of soccer, and a lot of darts ... “It’s the working man’s golf,” said Barry Hearn, the sports impresario who bought control of the Professional Darts Corp. in 2002 and turned it into what it is today—a pro tour with $15 million in prize money. “There is something special about Christmas because Christmas is all about the darts,” Hearn said. 

That would be Sun (prop. R Murdoch) columnist Barry Hearn giving quotes to a Wall Street Journal (prop. R Murdoch) article about what a great job he's done promoting darts, with the same article also having a later reference to darts coverage on Sky (prop. R Murdoch). As they say at Private Eye, trebles all round!

ISIS Job Creators

Today the US Department of Defense announced that 10 ISIS leaders had been killed recently by targeted airstrikes, including two linked to the 13 November Paris attacks. Among those killed --

Syria-based Bangladeshi Siful Haque Sujan was killed Dec. 10 near Raqqah, Syria. Sujan was an external operations planner and a United Kingdom-educated computer systems engineer, Warren said, adding Sujan supported ISIL hacking efforts, anti-surveillance technology and weapons development. “Now that he's dead, ISIL has lost a key link between networks,” he said.

This appears to be the same person as Mohammed Siful Haque Sujan, given the almost identical bio. He lost a UK immigration tribunal appeal in 2013 to remain in the UK on an entrepreneur visa, which would have followed his previous stints on student visas. Lest there be scoffing at the notion that he was an entrepreneur, here's what the Tribunal found (while rejecting his appeal) --

This case involves an individual of considerable ability who has pioneered an on-line ordering system which may be of considerable benefit to business within the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

The question remains as to whether the government was unwilling to grant him an exception under this visa because they had intelligence that he was already radicalized, or if the radicalization followed his failed appeal.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Ozzy Osborne's See You On The Other Side which as he said an interview this evening, he wanted played at Lemmy's funeral, not least in view of the fact that Lemmy wrote most of the lyrics.

Northern Pumphouse

Uk Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne launching his National Infrastructure Commission on October 30, 2015. Lots of talk of rail and power investments and lots of razzle dazzle financing from combining county council investment budgets into wealth funds and raising money by asset sales, but not a word about flood defence.

Note: the launch event was in the National Railway Museum in, er, York.

Photo via York Press.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The wedding bell curve

Tyler Cowen's Sunday New York Times article about income inequality arising from (ostensibly) meritocratic marriages is getting a lot of attention. This is the phenomenon of positive assortative mating, which was written about extensively by Gary Becker.

But leave aside the fact that it's difficult to pin down specific evidence on the effect, or indeed to come up with ideas that address it, as opposed to general action to mitigate inequality (such as taxation).

Note for example that the what might seem the most obvious solution -- creating more entry points to the meritocracy via testing -- tends to be resisted when East Asian families are seen as the beneficiaries.

But to be less contentious, there's another issue. The obsession with meritocratic-based marriages is itself a preoccupation of the type of people who aspire to be in such marriages, and indeed to read about them in the New York Times! David Brooks (the sociological, funny, Bobo-era one) got this spot on nearly 20 years ago, writing in the City Journal. The occupations might have changed slightly since his analysis (somewhat less lawyering and more consulting). And the class in question found a book -- the Piketty one -- to explain that the real concentration of wealth is happening due to those other r exceeding g people!

UPDATE: The apparent empirical evidence that positive assortative mating contributes to inequality is only apparent (via Matt O'Brien). 

Recaptured for whom?

The celebrations among foreign policy elites at the Iraqi army conquest of Ramadi at the expense of ISIS might want to consider what's left behind for anyone to live in. Above, a scene from the centre of the city, via the Iraqi newspaper Al Mada.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Unjust war and consequences

Robert P. George, Mary Ann Glendon And Katrina Lantos Swett in the Philadelphia Inquirer, demanding that the US State Department declare that a genocide is under way against Iraqi Christians --

More than a decade ago, more than one million Christians lived in Iraq alone. Thanks in part to ISIS, fewer than 300,000 remain. If ISIS's goal is eradicating their presence, it is well on its way to success.

There's a lot buried in that "thanks in part to ISIS." Because the real calamity for Iraq's Christians was the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Here's the same Robert George writing in 2002 (Wall Street Journal)  in support of that war under Catholic "just war" doctrine --

There is no absolute moral principle forbidding the use of force to dismantle a tyrannical regime. The question requires prudential judgment. If a regime's aggression cannot be prevented without removing the regime, then force may licitly be used to remove it.

The prudential judgment at the time would have and should have included the impact of the war on Iraq's religious minorities, not least given Saddam's favourable disposition towards Iraq's Christian population. It's a bit late now to be calling for a bureaucratic declaration to mitigate the damage of a reckless piece of statecraft.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Vlad cleans up Bashar's bad bet

Critical element of the biography of Zahran Alloush, leader of the Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Islam, killed by a Russian airstrike on his (non-ISIS) headquarters in the same Damascus suburb which was gassed by Bashar al-Assad (Reuters) --

Alloush, who was released by the Syrian authorities at the start of the conflict in 2011 when it let scores of Islamist detainees go free, had been criticized for a crackdown on dissidents in the areas he controlled.

Note: a future Islamist militant was put back on the street by Bashar al-Assad in 2011. It's almost as if he wanted an Islamist insurgency, or at least one that, as in Iraq, he could control!

You'll never beat the Irish

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in New Hampshire, yelling at prospective Republican primary voters about what a straight talker he is. But back home in New Jersey, his lawyers (and note, Christie is a lawyer) are giving his former aide Bridget Kelly, one of the people he blamed for the Fort Lee "Bridgegate" shutdown, the runaround (Philadelphia Inquirer) --

[Kelly's lawyer] also criticized Christie's office for sending PDF files, some totaling 10,000 to 20,000 pages each, that he said were unsearchable and made up of documents from different sources that were "arbitrarily interspersed." An 800-page index that contains more than 24,000 separate entries "is useless," Critchley wrote. 

If a terrorism suspect needs a lawyer who can bog things down indefinitely, they know where to look!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Film note

One of several similarities between Casino Royale and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation concerns the female lead. In each case she's an English character portrayed by an actress who in terms of residence and upbringing is not English: Vesper Lynd as played by Eva Green (French) and Ilsa Faust as played by Rebecca Ferguson (Swedish). And if you ask why we even bothered to look this up, it's that for both films, besides the plot resemblances, those characters have English accents that one tends not to hear in England. Is this what Hollywood has set as the new standard for such things? 

Because Russia has such a great record reading the situation in Afghanistan

Reuters --

Russia's interests in Afghanistan "objectively coincide" with those of the Taliban movement in the fight against Islamic State, Interfax news agency on Wednesday quoted a senior Russian diplomat as saying. Russia has established communication channels to exchange information with the Taliban, Zamir Kabulov, a department chief at Russia's Foreign Ministry and President Vladimir Putin's special envoy on Afghanistan, told Interfax.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Found in translation

Kremlin statement on Netanyahu-Putin phone call --

Agreement was reached to maintain active dialogue at various levels, in particular to further coordinate anti-terrorist actions.

To further coordinate, implying some coordination is already going on? There is the question as to whether the brazen attack which killed Samir Kantar was OK'd with the Russians beforehand.

Photo: Reuters Jamal Saidi.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

It sounds so genteel

Assad regime mouthpiece Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) --

Jaramana, Damascus Countryside- Samir Kuntar, the Dean of liberated detainees from Israeli prisons, has been killed last night in the city of Jaramana, Damascus countryside.

Only in the current Syrian context would a reference to the "Zionist-Takfiri project" have some logic, as is being currently referenced on SANA's Arabic site. For a more dispassionate account, here the Reuters story on the Dean's demise. The US Treasury won't have to worry about his financial dealings anymore. 


Niall Ferguson in the (UK) Sunday Times (subs. req'd) --

As even the Queen knows, the "new Keynesian" macroeconomic models that are the foundation of modern monetary policy failed to predict the crisis and failed to foresee its duration. The reason for their failure is now clear: to achieve mathematical elegance, their creators had left out things hat turned out to be crucial -- some of them financial (such as the size and structure of bank balance sheets), some of them social (such as changing dependency ratios) and some of them political (the unexpected end of the Cold War; the delusion of European Monetary Union).

Missing from his list is fiscal policy, on which he and Paul Krugman (unmentioned in the article) have feuded repeatedly

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Russian Blackwater

Excellent Wall Street Journal story about what looks like a hand-in-glove Russian government link to security contractors operating in Ukraine and Syria. Reading it one is reminded that Sam Huntington's famous quote about Islam having bloody borders needs an accompanying observation about the proximity of Russia to those borders.

Virtual and real ambiguities

The botched New York Times story about San Bernadino shooter Tashfeen Malik's "social media" postings seems to be obscuring what should be a more troubling lack of certainty about when and for how long she was in Saudi Arabia during her life. The NYT covers some new information coming from Republican House member Robert Goodlatte --

She entered Saudi Arabia on “approximately” June 4, 2013, according to a Judiciary Committee news release, and he entered on Oct. 1, 2013, and left on “approximately” Oct. 20, 2013. But Ms. Malik’s passport does not have any legible stamp showing when she left Saudi Arabia, the committee said. The only other evidence in the file, Mr. Goodlatte said, was a statement by the couple that they had been together in Saudi Arabia.

Your pseudonymous blogger has direct experience of the Saudi Arabia visa and travel procedures, and there's no such thing as "approximately." Everyone who's not from the Gulf needs a visa and there are physical stamps and photo/biometrics on the way in and out. And the uncertainty about her time in Saudi Arabia extends not just to that visit, but a large proportion of her life. Something doesn't add up. One possibility is that she was entering and leaving on a second passport, perhaps as a dependent of her father and/or linked to whoever (the kafeel) was sponsoring his presence in Saudi Arabia.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cash doesn't flow up the Tigris

Writing in Commentary, Michael Rubin provides a tour through a self-serving and somewhat selective op-ed in the New York Times by Kurdish politician Kemal Kirkuki, But on one issue, the NYT piece is correct. Here's what Rubin says --

Kirkuki writes: “While Baghdad has been happy to take the money from selling our oil, it has been less enthusiastic about passing it on to us.” He ignores the fact that the Kurds received 17 percent of Iraq’s oil revenue. He also ignores that Iraq continues to pay the pipeline fees for Kurdistan’s exports to Ceyhan, Turkey, to the tune of $270 million over the past year. As for Kurdistan’s inability to pay salaries, Kirkuki might ask why Baghdad has been able to pay salaries to its employees, but Kurdistan hasn’t chosen to use the billions of dollars it has received from Baghdad to pay Kurdish workers.

In fact, while Kurdistan has a constitutional entitlement to 17 percent of oil revenues, the actual share was always smaller, and from early 2014, the share was around ... zero. Reuters explains the cash crisis and how the government coped with it.

Putin didn't just praise Trump

One part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's extended diatribe against Turkey --

However, today, the Turkish authorities are taking quite a lot of heat – not directly, though – for islamising their country. I am not saying if it is bad or good, but I admit that the current Turkish leaders have decided to let the Americans and Europeans know – yes, we are islamising our country, but we are modern and civilised Islamists. Remember, what President Reagan said about Somoza in his time: “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch.” Just keep it in mind, we are Islamists, but we are on your side, we are your Islamists.

Although he somewhat misattributes the slippery "Our SOB" quote (it was more likely from a previous generation of US Presidents and Somoza), his scepticism that there's any benign form of Islamism and the associated risk of being taken in by what could be called radical Islam is entirely aligned with mainstream US conservative perspectives on Islamic political movements.

Cause and effect

Wall Street Journal --

Niger’s president said Thursday that his government had foiled a coup attempt, three months before elections in his country, a U.S. ally against terrorism in the Sahara.

Why do the phrases "coup attempt" and "ally against terrorism" seem to go together?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Never moved on

From Tuesday's Republican Presidential debate on CNN --

Chris Christie: But I will tell you this, when I stand across from King Hussein of Jordan and I say to him, "You have a friend again sir, who will stand with you to fight this fight," he'll change his mind.

Christie is thus the 2nd prominent Republican recently to refer to King Abdullah of Jordan by his father's name, Hussein. It's as if the Reagan fixation comes with a quantum lock regarding the entire cohort of Middle East leaders from that era.

Christie was also not challenged on who paid for one of his trips to Jordan; the very King whose name he can't remember!

Photo: Reagan and King Hussein in 1981,

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fearing history's verdict

Interesting Financial Times analysis of the implications of the Paris climate agreement (subs. maybe req'd) --

Brian Ricketts, secretary-general of Euracoal, a trade body representing the EU coal industry, says: “That 1.5C might be a target, but it means NGOs will be striving for the complete phase-out of fossil fuels very quickly, which means we will be hated and vilified in the same way slave traders were.”

There is a bit of a historical irony there since the forerunner of the EU (the ECSC) was founded to consolidate the coal and steel industries, so an orderly shrinking of coal is in the DNA of the EU. But anyway, it's probably climate change "sceptics" who should worry most about what their statements will look like 10 years from now. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

It affects everyone

There's rightly lots of scrutiny of the various key words and phrases in the Paris climate change agreement. One interesting clause in the preamble to the legally binding part of the agreement (page 21) --

Also recognizing that sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption and production, with developed country Parties taking the lead, play an important role in addressing climate change,

Directing attention to rich country lifestyles in the agreement is a major achievement, albeit of course getting it into areas which will pose the most domestic political difficulties. Especially in the USA, where Republicans, to the extent they engage with the agreement at all, will see yet another line of attack on it.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Where it's at

Yesterday many of the Syrian rebel factions held an attempted unity meeting in Riyadh, although bringing so many groups together against a solid Damascus-Tehran-Moscow axis was never going to be easy. King Salman met the delegations afterwards and among his remarks, via Saudi Press Agency --

The King said that we wish that the Arabs will close ranks, in all their countries, and that may Allah accept our prayers. I repeated, the King stated, that this country is yours and its people are your brethren. Praise to Allah, the King indicated, that we don't stand, in need, for anything, but to close the Arab ranks, to have a sole Arab nation stance. I reiterate and repeat, that we pay respect to all faith, the King said, pointing out that the Noble Quran has been revealed here, in an Arab country to an Arab Prophet, in Arabic, which is a grace from Allah, the Al-Mighty, but from the time of the Prophet and the Caliphs up to the time being, all religions are respected and every one's faith is between him and his lord, however serving our religion, our Pan-Arabism and the Arab Peninsula, are inalienable, a fact that I repeat to stress, in addition I say, too, that we expect, God grace, goodness and success to best serve our Syrian brethren and thank you, the King concluded.

There's an understandable tendency to talk about Wahabbism as the distinctive contribution of Saudi Arabia, as a political entity, to Islam. But the King's remarks also show the intrinsic link between Islam, the Arabic language, and the Arabian peninsula (of course Mecca and Medina in particular). Which implies that any discussion of the challenges associated with Islamist terrorism is going to have to operate in that rhetorical space as well. Simply proclaiming that the debate can be conducted in abstractions and assertions that ISIS is a deviation from Islam is not going to work.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hopefully goal celebrations are Shariah compliant

From the Doha News --

“Therefore it is prohibited on all nurseries to celebrate with non-Islamic rituals as it violates the constitution of Qatar and violates the rules of the …law no. 1 of the year 2014.”

That's the conclusion of a letter from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to nurseries in the country providing guidance on the holding of children's Christmas parties.

This again illustrates a point that was also evident in our Kuwait post the other day. The overlap of the state with Islamic law in some Muslim countries means that the comfortable Tom Friedman-enabled narrative that is widely held among Very Serious People -- that the issues are only with a small number of extremists or with one country -- is just not true. The frame of reference is different, and that impedes conversation.

Galway cray-cray

Go with Weather Channel style naming of winter storms, get Weather Channel style yelling into a storm. Teresa Mannion of RTE. Further developments via the Irish Times.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Al Qaeda was better in its grunge phase

There are somewhat odd convolutions and contortions going on over whether the San Bernandino spree killing represents a new strand of ISIS in its illustration of how it can outsource terrorism as opposed to carrying it out itself.

Leave aside numerous examples over the years -- several listed by President Obama in his speech on Sunday night -- of apparent self-radicalization and other examples from Canada and Australia.

Is there anything actually new within the sphere of violent Islamist groups about looking to inspire attacks overseas? To the left, the summer 2010 edition of the magazine of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is entitled, er, Inspire.

These groups are a package of issues, grievances, and methods. To pull one thing out and focus on its alleged novelty is a recipe for confusion.

UPDATE 18 DECEMBER: The San Bernadino killers read Inspire!

Image via Wikipedia

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Writing to live

The Guardian is reporting on an interesting stash of papers which is portrayed as the ISIS governing strategy for their caliphate. Certainly the functional and administration orientation of the papers points to plausible authorship from within the group, consistent with the Egyptian nom-de-plume that is used. But a possibility not apparently considered by the Guardian is that sections of the papers are written by hostages. The documents translate quite well into English, which might be a sign that they were written in English in the first place. As a result, overly literal interpretations of what's in the documents might not be warranted. 

Sunday, December 06, 2015

It depends what you mean by dialogue

From the official transcript of Bashar al-Assad's interview with the Sunday Times -- right after he denied the existence of barrel bombs --

Since the very beginning, we built our policy around two pillars, engaging in dialogue with everyone, and fighting terrorism everywhere in Syria.

Beware stray Shakespeare analogies

New York Times reporting on how the US was apparently embarrassed and surprised when China was able to enlist the UK to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) --

For China, British membership in the bank was a defining moment. Back in Beijing, Mr. Jin [AIIB sponsor] reached for his copy of Shakespeare’s drama “Cymbeline.” The play takes place in Roman-occupied Britain and part of the action revolves around the British refusal to pay tribute. Mr. Jin read two lines by the character Cloten, who tells the Roman ambassador: “Britain’s a world by itself. We will nothing pay for wearing our own noses.” Mr. Jin realized that just as ancient Britain had refused to pay Rome in an earlier age, contemporary Britain had defied the United States and joined the Chinese bank.

If George Osborne is then Cloten, that may be apt, but not in the way Mr Jin intends. Cloten is a duplicitous but incompetent and ultimately dead character in Cymbeline, and the play ends as follows:

CYMBELINE Well My peace we will begin. And, Caius Lucius, Although the victor, we submit to Caesar, And to the Roman empire; promising To pay our wonted tribute, from the which We were dissuaded by our wicked queen; Whom heavens, in justice, both on her and hers, Have laid most heavy hand.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

At least the visa bureaucracy was streamlined

From statement 3 months ago after UN summit, championed by the White House, on countering violent extremism --

[Participants] reaffirmed the importance of initiatives to develop good practices such as the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the Foreign Terrorist Fighter Phenomenon. Participants also noted the announcement of the GCTF Cross-Working Group Initiative to Address the Full Life-Cycle of Radicalization to Violence, which will reinforce many of the key elements of Coalition efforts and the CVE Summit Action Agenda that emerged from February’s White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism and was adopted in Rome ... Participants underscored that the February 2015 White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism catalyzed a global movement to embrace a proactive, positive approach to the urgent challenge of violent extremism in all of its forms and manifestations, that involves contributions from national and local governments, civil society, local communities, the private sector, and multilateral bodies.

Thoughts and prayers may not be much help against assault weapons. Neither is national securocrat sherpa jargon.

Photo: Sir Humphrey Appleby.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Steve Emerson was right!

Wall Street Journal --

Western officials believe the terror network behind last month’s massacre in Paris has links to people in the U.K., fueling concerns about the threat faced in Europe. Several people suspected of having connections to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Islamic State operative and alleged ringleader of the Nov. 13 attacks, are based in the U.K., according to two Western officials. The officials said those people, including some of Moroccan heritage, are based in the Birmingham area, about 120 miles northeast of London.

[title explanation]

This one sentence about Islamist terrorism will blow your mind

Couldn't resist the Vox-style clickbait; anyway --

It is not the radicalization of Islam, but the Islamization of radicalism. 

That's Olivier Roy writing in Le Monde with an explanation of where the current wave of European terrorism is coming from.

$500 million here and $500 million there

And pretty soon you're talking about real money. Bloomberg News --

MTN Group Ltd. had its record fine in Nigeria increased $500 million to $3.9 billion after the country’s telecommunications regulator said it wrote the incorrect penalty in an earlier letter to Africa’s largest phone company. “There was a typo,” Nigerian Communication Commission spokesman Tony Ojobo said by phone on Friday, referring to a letter dated Dec. 2 that reduced the original $5.2 billion penalty to $3.4 billion. “The reduction should have been 25 percent. We saw the mistake and had to fix it.”

Cultural Gulf

This picture from the Kuwait Times shows what one might think is an Islamic-compliant fashion show which took place at Kuwait Basic Education College. However an ultra conservative MP is claiming it violated education law because the attendance is mixed. This imbroglio has nothing to do with terrorism, but it's worth bearing in mind the different starting points of socially acceptable behaviour among different groups before making blithe assertions about Islamic extremists being a tiny minority of all Muslims.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Crossed wires

Reuters yesterday --

The Iraqi government is fully briefed on U.S. plans to deploy American special forces to Iraq and the two governments will consult closely on where they will go and what they will do, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

Iraq Prime Minister today [Google translate/ alt. English version] --

Prime Minister and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Dr. Haider Abadi renewed emphasis on the lack of need for Iraq to foreign ground troops, and that the Iraqi government is committed not to allow the presence of any ground force on the land of Iraq, and did not ask any party, whether regional or international coalition to send ground troops to Iraq  ...the American side, that are not taken to do any activity without the approval of the Iraqi government and under full Iraqi sovereignty.

Someone is not presenting the full picture on what has been agreed.

As long as it makes them sound more evil

Apparently Ben Carson hurt his presidential prospects by mispronouncing Hamas as hummus. Then there's the person who said:

And there's suspicions that the instability created by the Hezbollian attacks will cause some in Lebanon to invite Syria back in,

That would be President George W. Bush in July 2006.

al Dawla Al Islamiya fil Iraq wal Sham

Given the importance of the underlying issues, an oddly large amount of last night's House of Commons debate to authorize UK air strikes in Syria was taken up with a posed fury that the BBC will not refer to ISIS/ISL as Daesh. As this blog has argued before, the use of Daesh by non-Arabic speakers is a ridiculous affectation akin to the cricket bat in Spinal Tap, and a logic if applied retrospectively which would require a lot of reworking to references to the IRA.

But anyway, here's an actual Arab journalist, Roula Khalaf, who writes for a non-state media outlet, the Financial Times, explaining why the preferred term should be ISIS

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Transnational elites

Rupert Murdoch in his Hudson Institute Global Leadership Award lecture, partially reprinted by the Wall Street Journal (prop. R. Murdoch) --

I was born in Australia, and am proud of my Australian provenance, but I am now an American. Like so many naturalized citizens, I felt that I was an American before I formally became one.

Fact: Rupert Murdoch became a US citizen in 1985 so that he could buy US TV stations, a move which would form the basis of his Fox empire. But it's certainly interesting that even before he formally became a US citizen, his feeling of being American didn't prevent the brazen and rabid support of his UK operations for Maggie Thatcher in the early 1980s. Of course the anomaly of an apparently committed US citizen having inordinate influence on British politics continues to this day.