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City of Brass

City of Brass

City of Brass Archives

Obvious: The Iraq War created ISIS

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is something that is so obvious, it is in danger of never being said, in which case those who led us into war will try to pretend it isn’t true as they argue the case for the next one. […]

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je ne suis pas Charlie #IamNotCharlie

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I fully support the right, and I also deeply appreciate the sentiment, of the cartoonist Luz, who is one of the survivors of the despicable attack on the office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that was attacked by Al Qaeda […]

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13 years after 9-11

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I honestly don’t have much left to say that I have not said already. But it is worth at least remarking on this, the anniversary of the attacks, that the global challenges facing the world today have almost nothing to […]

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the silver lining to the Iraq War

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here’s an article by a defense industry analyst that goes out of its way to avoid mentioning who and what political party was responsible for the Iraq War while assidously making the case that said war has paralyzed American military […]

Full transcript of President Obama’s speech on national security: drones, the war on terror, and Guantanamo

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(as prepared for delivery; while Obama gave the speech, he was repeatedly interrupted by a heckler, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink) It’s an honor to return to the National Defense University. Here, at Fort McNair, Americans have served in uniform […]

Obama still wants to close Guantanamo #Gitmo

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

From today’s press conference: 8:15 AM PT: Bill Plante of CBS asks about the Guantanamo hunger strike. Obama says he still wants to close it. “It’s not necessary to keep America safe. It’s expensive. It’s inefficient. It hurts us” with […]

open-source, lone wolf terrorism: different ideologies, shared methodologies

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

To summarize what is known at this time, the main suspects for the Boston marathon bombing are two brothers who immigrated from Chechnya to America years ago and have grown up here. How they became radicalied, and what their motive […]

Saudi national cleared of suspicion in #Boston marathon bombing

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yesterday I posted some facts about a young Saudi national, a student on scholarship, who was injured in the marathon bombings but was “tackled” by another bystander for appearing “suspicious”. Today comes word that he has been cleared of all […]

The Boston marathon bombing and the Saudi national

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE: the Saudi national has been cleared of all charges by police. For the American public, the horrific images out of Boston yesterday were far more explicit than images from warzones and conflicts around the world. This attack was not […]

Iraq War retrospective: not convinced by Colin Powell at the UN #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On Feb 5th 2003, Colin Powell gave a speech at the United Nations that supposedly laid out the case for WMD in Iraq and the argument for invasion. After the war began and WMDs were not found, this speech destroyed […]

Iraq War retrospective: How does attacking Iraq solve the problem of terrorism? #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following post was written in late October 2002, after my earlier post about the Bali bombings, where I was still trying to work out just how the Iraq War would be related to terrorism. As the post makes clear, […]

Iraq War retrospective: the liberal case for war #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The debate over the Iraq war was not polarized according to liberal/conservative fault lines, but stretched across them. In fact, many liberals found themselves reluctantly swayed by the arguments for war, especially after Kenneth Pollack’s book <a href="The Threatening Storm: […]

Iraq War retrospective: the Bali bombings #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following post was written shortly after the Bali resort bombings, which killed over 200 people, of which 88 were Australian tourists, 38 Indonesians, and 27 citizens of UK. At the time, the case for war against Iraq was in […]

the post-Osama world, Year One

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It’s the one-year anniversary of the successful killing of Osama bin Laden. Having gone through the requisite 5 stages of emotion over the act long ago, I find that looking back at it now, it feels as though little has […]

Calling a Spade a Spade

posted by ajamali

Note:  I will be filling in for Aziz Poonawalla on this site for the next couple of weeks, while he is off gallivanting around the world.  These are undoubtedly big shoes to fill (even though technically  I’m a size 13 […]

extrajudicial killing, Batman and the Joker

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Should Batman kill the Joker? There is actually an ethical debate about this, which is quite relevant to our own national security debate over the question of extrajudicial killing. I was in favor of the targeting of radical cleric Anwar […]

Anwar al Awlaki is dead (again)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the third time that radicalized Al Qaeda celebrity Anwar al Awlaki has been reported killed, but this is the first time it has been confirmed by the US as well as “tribal sources”. According to NYT: In a […]

Mission Accomplished: Obama got Osama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid […]

Obama should not fire McChrystal – here’s why

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Lt. General Stanley McChrystal is being summoned to Washington DC today because of a pending article in Rolling Stone magazine where he and his aides trashed the civilian leadership of the war, including Obama, Biden, and others. McChrystal has apologized, […]

profiling “Jihad Jane”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here in a nutshell is why ethnic profiling is so fundamentally flawed as a means of protecting against terrorism: A petite, blond-haired, blue-eyed high school dropout who allegedly used the nickname JihadJane was identified Tuesday as an alleged terrorist intent […]

Canadian and American Imams issue fatwa against terrorist attacks

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Last week, a group of twenty Imams from across the United States and Canada, all affiliated with the Islamic Supremem Council of Canada, issued a fatwa (religious edict) declaring that any attack on America or Canada is equivalent to an […]

Shariahland

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The problem with Afghanistan is that it isn’t like any war we’ve fought before, not even counter-insurgencies. It’s fundamentally an attempt to deny a haven for Islamic violent extremists (IVEs) to create a model society – “Sharialand”, for want of […]

Obama takes troop reduction in Afghanistan off the table

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

John McCain: “I think the great danger now is a half-measure, sort of a – you know, try to please all ends of the political spectrum,” McCain told CNN chief national correspondent John King. “And, again, I have great sympathy […]

convictions in the liquid bomb plot… finally

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

And so, the anniversary of 9-11 is upon us again. The most important question we can ask ourselves on this day is, what is the likelihood of this happening again? It seems that the answer to that question, at least […]

Losing Afghanistan: the McChrystal report

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One of the major problems with the Bush Administration and its conservative Republican stalwarts regarding the Iraq War was the “stay the course” dogma which seemed immune to any attempt at an honest evaluation of the war’s goals or purpose. […]

linking Afghanistan and Pakistan?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am engaged in some rethinking of our Afghanistan policy, and trying to look at Obama’s proposed strategy with a fresh outlook. This is more challenging because I am generally a fan of Obama’s policies rather than a critic. As […]

Are Somali pirates like terrorists?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Everyone is talking about pirates, and it’s not even September 19th yet! Last Sunday’s dramatic rescue of the captain of the Maersk Alabama was just the latest chapter in a saga that as far as the public attention span is concerned, […]

VIDEO: Taliban flogging 12-year old girl (explicit)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Barbarism has a name in Islam – hirabah. (WARNING – graphic violence) This is why we need a War on Terror (or better yet, a WOMBAT). It’s also why I favor intervention rather than isolationism. Pursuant to the debate here […]

The Taliban win: Shari’a for Swat

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s no other way to interpret this news, except simply as “the terrorists have won” in the full sense of the word: Pakistan’s government has agreed to restore sharia, or Islamic law, in the Swat valley and neighbouring areas of […]

Bush’s War on Terror, Obama’s WOMBAT

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Given that our President is a pretty sharp fellow, it’s not surprising that he’s also realized that the “War on Terror” branding needs to be retired: What’s being sought is a more precise phrase that can recast the U.S. government’s […]

replacing the War on Terror (WOT) with a WOMBAT

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In the context of my earlier thoughts about how the muslim community can help combat extremism, one more thing occurs to me; perhaps what is also needed is a rebranding of the War on Terror. You cannot wage war against […]

how can muslims combat extremism?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve often dismissed the idea that muslims in the West have any obligation to apologize for or routinely condemn on demand the actions of the extremist minorities who commit acts of terror in the name of the faith they claim […]

Previous Posts

Obvious: The Iraq War created ISIS
This is something that is so obvious, it is in danger of never being said, in which case those who led us into war will try to ...

posted 1:48:22am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Eid at the State Department
I am honored to be invited to celebrate Eid al Fitr at the State Department again this year. And I am relieved that this time, it's actually taking place after Ramadan, which means I can actually attend for the first time! :) I am looking ...

posted 11:01:00am Jul. 21, 2015 | read full post »

The Empire State goes green for Eid
As is tradition, the Empire State Building - the most beautiful skyscraper in the world - was illuminated in green to mark Eid al Fitr. Of course, in 2015, this is announced via the official twitter account ...

posted 1:21:00am Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls roundup
Here is a link to all the posts in the Ramadan Pearls series I did during Ramadan: Criterion Non-existence Mystery Angels Objective Expectant Reed Veils Lend Good I hope you enjoyed these nuggets of wisdom as much as ...

posted 3:01:31pm Jul. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Eid Mubarak!
By the Fatimid calendar, today is Eid al Fitr, 1436! I've explained my position on the calendar vs. moonsighting debate in detail - and this year there is a lot more divergence on the date than usual. Crescentwatch nicely ...

posted 7:53:00am Jul. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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