It’s been less than 24 hours since the inaugural Ass’ad Abu Khalil Tin-Foil-Hat Conspiracy award was awarded (to the very deserving Ass’ad Abu Khalil), and yet we already have a blog entry worthy of another award. If this keeps up, we won’t need to make it a weekly event.
The second Tin-foil hat award goes to Alexander Higgins (who ironically has a section on his blog entitled “Aluminum Foil”), for his blog entry entitled “Syria Rebels Are The Same Salafi Extremists Attacking US Embassies“. Higgins claims a giant Salafi conspiracy, stretching from Saudi Arabia to Northern Africa, of which the Syrian Revolution is just one aspect. Bashar Assad is described as a man in a “dilemma”. To make his point, Higgins (in typical Leftist hysterical fashion) has a giant black banner on the page, with the words “SYRIAN REBELS ARE THE SAME SALAFI blah blah blah etc etc”.
Higgins links an image from the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily, supposedly showing all the scary Salafi groups in Syria. Problem is, when the image Higgins uses as his main source is examined, it soon becomes comically apparent that, in true Leftist tradition, Higgins has not bothered to read or examine his sources. In fact, the same image Higgins links to is proof of the intellectual bankruptcy of his entire theory. It’s articles like these that give Leftists a reputation for being the equivalent of a Three Stooges episode; the idiot is claiming that Kurds and Turkmen are in on the Salafi conspiracy.
Conspiracy theories, the staple of many an angry blogger. Events in Syria have provided endless material for those inclined
towards paranoia and far fetched tales of collusion that would strain the imagination of the world’s best writers of spy thrillers. From the president of the Syrian junta who thinks that the United Nations, Organization of Islamic States and Arab League are all out to get him because of his “steadfast resistance” of Israel (said resistance consisting of him steadfastly refraining from firing a single bullet towards Israel), to the “anti-imperial” Left who have managed the remarkable mental feat of claiming that the man who killed 27,000 Syrians is a “victim”.
Discussions and debates on Syria are rife with numerous conspiracy theories, and so it is therefore fitting that we acknowledge and award the most fringe, lunatic and absurd conspiracies of the week, lest they and their ridiculous proponents be lost to mankind forever. And who better to name a conspiracy award after than the man to whom outlandish conspiracy theories are the bread and butter of his existence; the Marxist who wasn’t Marxist enough to prevent him from living in the USA since 1983, the man who pontificates at length on countries he’s never stepped foot in, the impotently and eternally angry, the Angry Arab, Ass’ad Abu Khalil.
Last week, the Turkish government gave the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad a much welcome birthday present, when they announced that henceforth, Syrians living in Turkey would either have to move away from the border provinces, move to inside the refugee camps, or move back to Syria. Syrians trying to flee the country’s mayhem into Turkey are being turned back, with the Turks no longer willing to take in any more refugees.
There are around 40,000 Syrians living in rented apartments in the Turkish areas near the Syrian border. The activists’ network in the area is vital to facilitating the flow of the wounded and defectors out from Syria, and in acting as a supply line for the medical supplies, fighters and whatever small amount of arms have been acquired for the FSA. Turkey’s decision will mean that this network will effectively be shut down, thus providing the embattled Syrian dictatorship with the breathing space it desperately needed in the north of the country.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Arabs living in the USA were quick to plead that the actions of a couple of dozen terrorists were not a true reflection of the beliefs of over a billion of the world’s Muslims. Racial profiling at airports was loudly condemned, and anyone who suggested that Muslims were inherently blood thirsty and savage was denounced as a racist. And yet, when it suits them, the intellectually bankrupt Left have no problem whatsoever, if it serves the purpose of “anti-imperialism”, in painting Muslims from Libya, to Egypt, Afghanistan and Syria with the same brush, as lunatic-extremist Jihadists who live to murder Americans.
Yesterday, September 12th, Apple announced the latest update to the iPhone line of smart phones, the iPhone 5. The event reminded me of a rumor that made the rounds late last year, that the importing and selling of iPhones in Syria had been banned by the regime. Nothing eventually came of the ban; iPhones and iPads can still be bought very easily in Syria where there are still mobile stores actually open.
But regardless, perhaps the regime shouldn’t have tried to ban the phones in the first place. Quite simply, the iPhone is the worst possible smart phone for a revolutionary to use.
Yesterday, a Pakistani court dismissed blasphemy charges against Rimsha Masih, a 14 year old Christian girl who was arrested after she was accused of burning the Quran (which in any normal society should frankly just carry a fine at the most, but in Pakistan and other Muslim countries, could earn one the death sentence). It transpired that the mentally challenged teen was framed by Khalid Chishti, a neighborhood imam.
In a country where “blasphemy” cases usually end tragically at the hands of vigilante mobs, and judges have been murdered for finding people innocent of such charges, the fact that Rimsha survived the three week ordeal to be vindicated, is in no small part thanks to the intensive international media scrutiny that the case attracted, and the widespread international outrage it provoked.
In an era where the very term “main stream media” is treated with cynicism, scorn, and outlandish claims of collusion with established political powers, a young Pakistani girl today owes her life to the fact that the international media took up her case and reported it around the world.
The USA, UK, France and Canada have all offered Rimsha and her family asylum. It would have been better had an Arab or Islamic country done so as well. All through history, religions have been exploited by power hungry demagogues looking to elevate their own personnel standing. Thankfully, we live in an age where any attempt to exploit religious and ethnic sensitivities runs a good chance of being exposed. Thankfully, we live in an age where any persecution of a vulnerable group, no matter how small the victims or remote the location, can be bought to the world’s attention and the perpetrators held to account. Thankfully, we live in an age where main stream media is very much a potent force.
It is highly unlikely whether Rimsha would have fared as well had her fate rested in the hands of run-of-the-mill “Screw Da Man! Occupy the universe!” tin foil hat blogs.
A few days ago, the Open Democracy website published an article by “Rita from Syria”, a Damascus based Syrian activist. Titled “The FSA: how to lose support and alienate people in no time“, the writer bemoaned the growing trend towards the militarization of the initially peaceful Syrian Revolution. Civilian activists now feel increasingly insignificant and sidelined, unable to shape events. Syrian towns and villages that shelter the Free Syrian Army suffer under increasingly bloody reprisals and punitive assaults by the Assad regime. The FSA is accused of “miscalculations”, and challenged to “win back its credibility”.
The most telling sentence in the entire article is a quote from “Raghda”, a woman who recently lost her job at a publishing firm; “I just want to continue my life. I don’t see an end to this armed conflict. I agree with the rightful demands of the opposition, but if this means bringing a halt to my life then I will stand against them”
Which is as close one can get to advocating capitulation, without actually using the word “surrender”