Category Archives: jihad

Pyrrhic Defeat: Seven Days which shattered the Great Game of Smashing Afghanistan

Jolly Somasundaram

            “Truth is like the Sun, one can shut it off for sometime, but it will not go away.” …. Elvis Presley                  

Afghanistan has done it again! A country, where her geography was her destiny, made her push towards repeated trysts with history- Alexander’s Greeks, Mongols, Mughals, the Brits, Russians, Americans. She, redoubtable to foreign invaders, specialised in making her country, micro- Kanattestans for these invading hordes. These done-in foreign forces now out-done, were not small fry but superpowers.

Troops from Britain- the Rotweiller in her time slot of Empire building- were decimated three times, bleaching this arid landscape. Undaunted, Sysyphean Britain ventured on the fourth, though now a metamorphosed American poodle: same wipe-out. Russia, in her own time slot of imperial hope, was similarly sent scurrying home. Smaller European countries- Australia, Germany, France Italy, Canada, wishing to taste Petite Gloire but lacking oomph, hitch hiked on the NATO bandwagon: the same degrading exit.

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The Taliban Campaign. The West in Deep Shit in Afghanistan

David Kilcullen, in The Australian, 31 July 2021,.  [and  The Inquirer, 31 July ]where the title reads  Making sense of the Afghan fiasco, and how to fix it” … 2021 and with this byline : “there are four moves that could stabilise the situation long enough to get talks back on track.”

If a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth, US President Joe Biden committed one a few weeks ago, answering a question about Afghanistan, when he said “the mission hasn’t failed, yet”. That “yet” contains multitudes: a tangle of military and humanitarian factors refracted through political spin and a hyper-partisan US media.

 Afghan militia gather with their weapons to support Afghanistan security forces against the Taliban, in Afghan warlord and former Mujahideen Ismail Khan’s house in Herat on July 9. Picture: AFP

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Scott Atran on Unconditional Commitment draws Reflections from Thuppahi Roberts

  ONE: Scott Atran: “The Devoted Actor Unconditional Commitment and Intractable Conflict across Cultures,” ... as introduced to Thuppahi by The Library of Social Science,in New York,with this abstract at journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.1086/685495

Uncompromising wars, revolution, rights movements, and today’s global terrorism are in part driven by “devoted actors” who adhere to sacred, transcendent values that generate actions dissociated from rationally expected risks and rewards. Studies in real-world conflicts show ways that devoted actors, who are unconditionally committed to sacred causes and whose personal identities are fused within a unique collective identity, willingly make costly sacrifices. This enables low-power groups to endure and often prevail against materially stronger foes. Explaining how devoted actors come to sacrifice for cause and comrades not only is a scientific goal but a practical imperative to address intergroup disputes that can spiral out of control in a rapidly interconnecting world of collapsing and conflicting cultural traditions. From the recent massive media-driven global political awakening, horizontal peer-to-peer transcultural niches, geographically disconnected, are emerging to replace vertical generation-to-generation territorial traditions. Devoted actors of the global jihadi archipelago militate within such a novel transcultural niche, which is socially tight, ideationally narrow, and globe spanning. Nevertheless, its evolutionary maintenance depends on costly commitments to transcendental values, rituals and sacrifices, and parochial altruism, which may have deep roots even in the earliest and most traditional human societies. Fieldwork results from the Kurdish battlefront with the Islamic State are highlighted.

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Ameer Ali’s Academic Works and Career

Recent Essays of Some Significance 

LIST OF PUBLICATIONS as set out in Wikipedia, …. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ameer_Ali_(academic)  …. clearly not updated

Ali, A. (2016) From Islamophobia to Westophobia: The long road to radical Islamism. Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 3 (1). pp. 1-19.

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The Making of Wahhabi Zealots in Sri Lanka, 1980s-2019

Michael Roberts

All those addressing the fervour that promoted the killing work of the Zahran Hashim jihadist network in Sri Lanka in April 2019 must come to grips with the modern currents of Wahhabi political thinking that go back to the outpourings of the Egyptian intellectuals Sayyid Qutb[1] and Al-Zawahiri[2] in the latter half of the 20th century. This step will then take investigators to the Al-Qaida movement[3] and thence to the more recent brand of Wahhabism embodied within ISIS.

Sayyid Qutb  al-Zawahiri

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Remembrance: Marking 21/4 Jihadist Zealotry in Sri Lanka

Pictures by Raymond Aponsu and Sulochana Gamage

Churches observed Black Sunday yesterday in protest over the terror attacks on 2019 Easter Sunday, calling on the government to deliver justice by prosecuting those responsible for the attacks. Protestors led by the two Colombo Auxiliary Bishops Rt.Rev. Anthony Jayakody and Rt.Rev.Maxwell Silva held placards pleading for justice in Negombo in front of the Katuwapitiya Church which was bombed on April 20, 2019 while others led by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith gathered in front of the Kochchikade St. Anthony’s Church yesterday.

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Sangakkara at Cricket: Pictorials

Michael Roberts

In moving from a pictorial depiction of the parental and local urban background where Kumar Sangakkara has been nurtured, to a photographic ‘sketch’ of his cricketing endeavours, it will be easy for readers to forget the dangerous Sri Lankan circumstances hanging over the cricketing scenario within Sri Lanka in the period when Kumar strode on to the field in Sri Lankan colours – from the mid-1990s. These were the sporadically continuous dangers hanging over the urban and rural byways around Colombo and Kandy as a result of the Eelam Wars and the capacity displayed by the Tamil Tigers in mounting suicide assassinations as well as massive blasts directed at high-profile urban targets.

Tiger Bombing of the Central Bank in the Fort, Colombo, 31 January 1996

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Kamikaze, Mujahid, Tamil Tiger: Sacrificial Devotion in Comparative Lens

Michael Roberts, reprinting an essay drafted in 2007 and since presented in Fire & Storm in 2010 (chapter 19: 131-38)

  • Gandhi tried for years to reduce himself to zero” (Dennis Hudson 2002: 132).
  • Hitler: “You are nothing, your nation is everything” (quoted in Koenigsberg 2009: 13).
  • LTTE: “the martyr sacrifices himself for the whole by destroying the I…” (Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam’s interpretation of a Tamil Tiger supporter’s poem; 2005: 134).
  • Spokesman for Al Qaida after the Madrid bombing: “You love life and we love death”
  • Col. Karuna, ex-LTTE: “Death means nothing to me….”
  • The Hagakure is “a living philosophy that holds that life and death [are] the two sides of the same shield” (Yoshio Mishima in his The Way of the Samurai, quoted in Moeren 1986: 109-10).
  • Bushido means to die” (Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney 2002: 117).
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVpbl0azdFM …. Kamikaze strike

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Allahu Akbar! Missing Dimensions in Contemporary Reportage

Michael Roberts

I recently watched a good part of Stephen Sackur’s dialogue with a French lady politician [whose name I have forgotten]. Sackur pursued his usual hard-line aggressive and bullying mode of questioning – posing vigorous criticisms of the French government’s position on secularism and its hostility to the carving out of sacred domains by French Muslim peoples.  The implicit suggestion[1] was that the British system’s tolerance of religious sensibilities was a better line of policy.[2]

Muslim protests … and the selfie proudly posted by the Islamic terrorist who was responsible for the killings in Nice in October 2020

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The Muslim Commitment to Allah: Desultory Thoughts

An Invitation. Your Thoughts from Michael Roberts  …. sent to SELECT PALS on 31 October 2020

I just caught parts of  THE HARD TALK grilling of a French lady politician [by Stephen Sackur]. One problem with journalism is its wholly presentist focus//limits. In my view the recent jihadist attacks in France cannot be comprehended without looking at the motivations and goals of, say

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