From the category archives:

Terrorist bastards

Banksy: peace for paris

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for the TV show “The Wire”. And also some colourful language, such as you might expect when talking about terrorist bastards.

This week has been a bad one for the world. Unless, of course, you happen to be a giant terrorist asshole. Terror attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, and the deadliest attack in Paris since World War 2 have sent the world reeling. The group known by many acronyms — ISIS, ISIL, or what I’ll refer to in this post as Daesh, has claimed ‘responsibility’ (if such a word could even be used) for all three attacks.

All this has happened against a backdrop of unprecedented humanitarian crisis, as hundreds of thousands of refugees continue to flee Syria’s deadly civil war. Western governments are debating how they can cope with what they’ve dubbed a “migrant crisis”, as though the problem only started when desperate refugees started showing up in Europe. It happened on the eve of the G20 summit in Antayla, Turkey, and in the lead-up to a huge global summit on climate change taking place in Paris.

The responses to the attack, in typical format, have followed the Rorschach Test pattern; people see in tragedy what they want to see. More foreign aid. Less foreign aid. More military intervention. Less military intervention. More solidarity with refugees. Close our borders to refugees. It’s about Islam. It’s not about Islam. And so on, and so forth. French president Francois Hollande has taken a hard line, promising military strikes against Daesh, closing of borders, and crackdowns all around.

Everyone has an opinion on how to fight this so-called “war on terror”. But is this really a “war”?

It strikes me that this so-called “war on terror” bears a lot of resemblance to another misnomer: the so-called “war on drugs”.

Sure, this isn’t exactly an original observation. Plenty of people have pointed this out in analysis after analysis. But, other than depressingly similar tactics, sources of funding and consequences, these two so-called wars parallel each other in other ways. Here are just a few:

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Three coordinated attacks near Eilat and the Egyptian border have killed 7 people and injured 30:

In the first incident, Egged bus number 392, traveling from Beersheba to the southern resort city of Eilat, was ambushed by a three-man terror cell. Over a dozen people were wounded in the attack, which took place on Highway 12, about 30km north of Eilat, near the Ein Netafim junction.

Soon after that a second incident was reported, involving multiple roadside bombs and rocket fire at IDF forces patrolling the Israel Egypt border fence.

A third incident was reported at around 1pm, involving yet another shooting on a bus and a private vehicle traveling south. Five people reportedly suffered mortal wounds in the attack.

There’s no official word yet on whether lax security along the Egyptian border was responsible for the attacks, but carefully-worded statements seem to suggest as much:

“This was a grave terror attack at multiple scenes. It reflects Egypt’s failing hold on Sinai and the rise of terror elements,” Barak said. “This terror attack originated from Gaza. We will exhaust all measures against the terrorists.”

Israel has mostly been dancing on the head of a pin with respect to Egypt’s situation since Mubarak was outsted. On the one hand, nobody in Israel is going to come out publicly in support of an oppressive, dictatorial regime that the people clearly are glad to be rid of. On the other hand, there are legitimate concerns about what the next government will look like, and if terrorist elements hostile to Israel will gain control. Unfortunately, today’s attacks could only be a preview.

Update 8/20: Things go from bad to worse after what was apparently a suicide bombing that killed several Egyptian security forces members near the border. Egypt, of course, was quick to blame Israel, not terrorists, for the deaths, and now Egypt is withdrawing its ambassador to Israel and is accusing Israel of violating the ’79 peace treaty. The situation in Gaza is heating up, the UN – with Lebanon sitting on the Security Council – won’t condemn the terrorist attacks (who’s surprised?), and Hamas is threatening more attacks. With the 30+ years of cold peace with Egypt a hair’s breath from shattered — and without even mentioning what’s going on in Syria — there’s no word to describe the matzav right now other than “clusterfuck”.

Update #2: Meryl is, of course, all over the stories as they (d)evolve.


Bin Laden is dead


Ten years later. Dozens of terrorist attacks, including Istanbul, Madrid, London, and last week in Marrakech, later. 2,340 coalition casualties in Afghanistan, including 155 Canadians, later. Thousands of Afghan civilian casualties – too many for any body or organization to properly count – later. Osama bin Laden is dead, says the President. It’s been almost [...]

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Palestinian unity government


I give this a week. Ten days, tops. Rival Palestinian groups said they reached an agreement Wednesday on reuniting their governments in the West Bank and Gaza after years of bitter infighting that weakened them politically and caused the deaths of hundreds in violent clashes and crackdowns since. Even as the tentative agreement revived hopes [...]

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Would-be terrorist… or aspiring pop singer?


One of the three suspects arrested this week in Ottawa by the RCMP on terrorism-related charges apparently auditioned for Canadian Idol. You can watch the video clip of arrested suspect Khurram Sher butchering an Avril Lavigne tune on YouTube. It already has over 58,000 views. Terrorism as a fame vehicle? Somewhere, William Hung is wishing he [...]

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Israeli rocket shield


Some good news, for a change: Gaza’s Hamas rulers have suffered back-to-back setbacks with Israel’s successful test of a rocket shield and Egypt’s push to block smuggling tunnels. The Iron Dome rocket defence system, reportedly to be deployed near Gaza in May, would deprive Hamas of its main leverage against Israel – the threat of [...]

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Negotiating with terrorists


A deal for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was said to be “imminent”, but now seems to have stalled. The stumbling block? Hamas wants the release of some of its most heinous murderers in exchange: Hamas officials refused to say which names were holding up the deal. But the -based Arabic daily al-Hayat said [...]

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Weekend update


The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall was commemorated with free outdoor concerts and celebrations this weekend. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Obama healthcare reform bill in a narrow vote – a crucial first step towards a complete overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system. But, as the New York [...]

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Another truce for Hamas to blatantly violate


Reports out of Egypt that Hamas is going to agree to a long-term truce with Israel for Gaza. Read between the lines. We have: The truce being contingent on the re-opening of border crossings. Translation: Hamas is low on weapons supplies, and wants a time-out with easy access to re-arm. An expiry date on the [...]

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The Friendship Train


By now, most everyone knows about the terrorist bombing on the Samjhauta Express train between India and Pakistan, which killed at least 66 people: Two bombs exploded aboard a train bound from India to Pakistan, sparking a fire that killed at least 66 passengers on Monday, an apparent attempt to sabotage a peace process between [...]

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