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L'Ordre

L'Ordre

How to defeat or tame an ISIL

posted by Harry J. Bentham

O Liberté, que de crimes on commet en ton nom!

O Liberty, how many crimes are committed in thy name!

Madame Roland


What I am about to argue may seem crazy, but events in the Middle East have become so crazy that only the wildest solutions can be entertained at this point.

Flag of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan (1996-2001). The Taliban’s use of a white flag differs from ISIL and, in Islamic symbolism, is more moderate than the type of black war banners used by groups like al-Qaeda and ISIL

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Governments need to start negotiating with ISIL. Many people are still wondering why ISIL or the Islamic State (IS), also ISIS, is still here despite being bombed by the US and its allies in precision strikes. The terrorist group still fails to collapse or be “degraded”, as the US calls it in its military terminology.

The reason is, ironically, that the US and allies have too little respect for ISIL. At this point, the facts on the ground show that ISIL is a state rather than a terrorist group. By applying the weapons, tactics, ethics, and strategy employed against small terrorist groups against a whole state, the US is going after the lion with a fly-swatter. Trying to “degrade” a terrorist group makes sense because of terrorists’ limited numbers, reliance on effective coordination to pose any threat at all, and overall vulnerability to any form of disruption to their communications and recruitment. Trying to “degrade” a state or large hordes and armies who dominate territory sounds like tickling them with a feather.

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ISIL at this point is at least as strong as Syria or Iraq, if not both of them combined. The first step in successful war or peace is to respect the enemy and have a realistic understanding of who and what they really are.

Rather than bombing only ISIL command centers and camps and supporting small factions opposed to ISIL like the YPG and the FSA, the United Nations (not just the United States, which should learn to operate instead with UN approval) should recognize ISIL as a legitimate state and this state should be granted full diplomatic rights including a UN delegation. Even the Taliban regime in Afghanistan should have obtained this, and the lack of it is only causing the US to have to work via other states in order to speak to the Taliban today in its ongoing talks with them. It makes little sense to battle ISIL for decades only to eventually conclude that one must negotiate with them via a third party such as Qatar or Saudi Arabia.

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If ISIL was to be recognized as a state, it would make life much easier not just for ISIL but for ISIL’s enemies. One may then make war on this state or sign a peace treaty with it. In this sense, recognizing ISIL as a state would simultaneously give ISIL a way out other than being blown to bits (which just forces them to entrench themselves and fight harder for their very lives) and untie the hands of some of the most capable negotiators and military generals in the world. The only people who can really be trusted to handle a power as dangerous as ISIL.

If ISIL accepts a peace offer, hypothetically (even if they do so cynically at first, they would quickly realize that the benefits of peace will make breaking the pact not worth it) it will become a less aggressive, if unpopular power. It would be roughly equivalent to modern day Israel. If ISIL refuses, then the United Nations will be able to formally declare war upon ISIL and authorize the use of all weapons, including nuclear weapons and massive indiscriminate area-bombing of ISIL-controlled infrastructure and civilian cities, to destroy ISIL’s ability to function or survive as a state in the same way that the Axis was fought to unconditional surrender in World War 2.

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On the other hand, maintaining ambiguity about ISIL and avoiding damage to infrastructure and cities – treating the group like hostage-takers and nuisances rather than a foreign army – causes the forces opposing ISIL to avoid damage to the ostensibly still Syrian and Iraqi state infrastructure occupied by ISIL. This is what happens when we deal with a state as if it is still a terrorist group. Eliminating this ambiguity once and for all by recognizing ISIL as a state enemy will not just create the opportunity to negotiate but also unlock the full military arsenal of the world’s most powerful countries for use against ISIL.

Area-bombing and even nuclear attack against all state infrastructure under ISIL occupation may be the only option if ISIL insists on remaining an existential threat to the international community.  The alternative of a negotiated peace may be more attractive to ISIL’s leadership and a solution to the violence spreading across the world from Syria and Iraq. One can struggle against the inevitable, or begin applying tomorrow’s answers today. There were those who would never have countenanced negotiating with the Taliban who now see it as the only solution to the intractable War in Afghanistan. To some future President, the same might be said of ISIL.

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By Harry J. Bentham

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Islam is part of the West now, live with it

posted by Harry J. Bentham

Tous les arts ont produit des merveilles: l’art de gouverner n’a produit que des monstres.

Most arts have produced miracles, while the art of government has produced nothing but monsters.

Louis Antoine de Saint-Just


One type of misinformation that should be watched vigilantly is the way Islam is endlessly singled out as a violent religion. This is done by selective coverage of events and constant emphasis on any connection to Islam when talking about violence.

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The Daily Mail Online headline of the recent so-called “Muslim girl-gang” attack in France

As I have written before, it takes a very selective memory of history and even recent events to see Islam as a violent religion. Not only is Christianity’s own history marred by the Crusades and the Inquisition, both of which were carried out in Christ’s name, but there are warlords alive today who committed unspeakable atrocities in the name of Christ and even Gautama Buddha.

We are told stories such as the recent one in France, where a girl in a bikini was assaulted by apparent Muslim women attackers offended by her choice of dress. However, we are not told of the comparable stories of the Muslim women threatened and attacked by racists in France or Britain even though we know such attacks are equally real.

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Defenders of Muslims are often accused of being Muslims themselves or even extremists, just as anyone who stood up in defense of Jews in Germany in the 1920s or 30s was labelled a Jew and a communist. Just pointing out the facts is enough to offend some people, who believe their racist hostility towards a group of humanity is justified on the grounds that “Islam is not a race”. The people who make this foolish statement clearly know nothing about either anti-discrimination laws, or the history of tolerance and social theories behind those laws. They know nothing about why racism is wrong in the first place and are likely to justify segregation or even killing for the same reasons applied by racists in the Twentieth Century.

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It takes little intelligence to realize that Jews are also not a race and nor are homosexuals, yet both groups are protected by anti-discrimination laws and activism and are often championed as the groups supposedly at risk from less tolerant Muslim migrants.

Have we made it acceptable that a whole social group can be opposed and stripped of rights on the grounds that it is not a race? Such a characterization would no less than justify the Nazi holocaust, which was done not in the name of destroying a race but purifying one (the Nazis at no point recognized Jews or their other victims as races and described only themselves as a race and a nation). If we were to try to purify Europe of Muslims and Islamic culture, we will have committed the holocaust yet again.

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Islam is now an integral part of Europe, along with the Jewish people. One can either accept this and accept Muslims along with their sensibilities (including how they prefer women to dress and their sense of offense at the way many women dress) or one can leave Europe. They may be replaced by someone who came here with a more open heart and open mind, whatever their race or faith might be.


By Harry J. Bentham

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Citizens of the world, citizens of what?

posted by Harry J. Bentham

On n’enseigne pas l’intellectualisme en une école.

Intellectualism is not taught in school.

Jules de Gaultier


The idea that countries should welcome everyone and citizenship should be charitably extended to everyone also gives rise to the idea of “citizens of the world”. But is this idea noble, or even necessary?

The hardest part of humanity’s change to a more humane future, as I explain at TVP Magazine in this screen capture

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If applied correctly, this would be a doctrine stating that being a member of the human family is enough to give someone political rights. Not simply human rights, but an ability to participate in governance – perhaps governance of the whole world, as the term implies.

People may also call themselves citizens of the world simply because they have multiple nationalities or they do not feel attached to a single nation-state, but in their case it is only rhetoric. It is the idea of giving everyone the same global political rights that I want to address in this post.

To say national citizenship should be eschewed in favor of global citizenship, in an actual political sense, makes less sense than basically calling for the abolition of citizenship altogether. Similarly, if someone told you that everyone should be given the same amount of money, the best response would be that it makes more sense to abolish money.

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Perhaps it is simply more appealing for people to believe that nothing needs to be abolished, and it only needs to be made more inclusive, but in reality, making something inclusive or more equal usually just negates the reason for its existence in the first place. If everyone had the same political rights, if everyone was considered equally a member of each nation-state, or if everyone was considered equally a member of a single global state, hypothetically, then there would be no need to categorize anyone as a citizen. Everyone would fit into the category, making it meaningless.

Citizenship as a western political idea is inimical to equality and inimical to the idea of a common human heritage. The basis of citizenship, as it was first conceived even in Ancient Greece and in many regimes since, was composed of forms of racism, bigotry and the idea that one group is more deserving than another.

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It is a strange fate now that – while western governments universally preach human rights and the elimination of hate and killing – they perpetuate the institutions of the Westphalian nation-state that are responsible for all the violations of rights, all the hate, and all the killing of our time. They still speak the name of some nationality with pride, as if those who belong to it are somehow more deserving than those who don’t belong to it, and they still pledge to defend these people more than other human beings, using violence.


By Harry J. Bentham

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Turkey joins anti-ISIL coalition and bombs anti-ISIL fighters

posted by Harry J. Bentham

La pensée ne doit jamais se soumettre, ni à un dogme, ni à un parti, ni à une passion, ni à un intérêt, ni à une idée préconçue, ni à quoi que ce soit, si ce n’est aux faits eux-mêmes

Thought must never submit, neither to a dogma, nor to a party, nor to a passion, nor to an interest, nor to a preconceived idea, nor to whatever it may be, save to the facts themselves

Henri Poincaré


Turkey is a rogue state in the truest sense, and its behavior in Syria and Iraq proves this.

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Turkey chose to bomb Kurdish militias at the worst possible moment, when much of the world is relying on them to fight back against ISIL/the “Islamic State”

If the US was truly committed to its strategy to support Kurdish fighters against ISIL, it might have chosen to bomb Turkey. This is because Turkey is using its military power not to stop ISIL terrorists, but to kill off the Kurdish fighters doing much of the fighting against ISIL. Such fighters are the primary forces being relied on by the US and its allies to fight on the ground against ISIL.

About a day after Turkey supposedly joined the US-led anti-ISIL coalition backing up the Kurds, Turkey started blowing up Kurds instead of targeting ISIL. Prior to this, commentators had begun speculating that Turkey was adjusting its strategic priorities to become a full-fledged member of this international coalition against ISIL, and that perhaps Turkey might have decided to end its obsessions with eliminating Syrian President Assad and attacking Kurdish fighters. Some even speculated that Turkey was going to reach out to the Kurds and form an alliance with them. In reality, Turkey was only trying to deceive its allies and gain some political cover to start killing the very Kurdish fighters that the Americans have been training.

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Turkey has proven that it has no interest in the security or success of other countries or even the NATO alliance that it is a member of, and is driven by selfish nationalist interests that conflict with other NATO members and with the interests of the Syrian and Iraqi peoples including all the Kurds. Ironically, Turkey kept calling for a no-fly zone in Syria, which it believed would allow Turkey to have more cover to meddle inside Syria’s politics and security and give Turkey carte blanche to bomb Kurds in a large strip of territory in northern Syria.

The situation in Syria and Iraq now is absurd. The alliances between states and factions have become so complex and tangled that no party can coordinate any effort without undermining their own allies’ efforts. The US can’t defeat ISIL because its own NATO partners are more interested in defeating the Kurds whom the US was paying and training to defeat ISIL. And while the rest of the coalition focuses on giving the Kurds as much support as possible to battle ISIL, the Turks will be bombing the Kurds and nullifying the effectiveness of the entire American strategy. As soon as they receive their American weapons, they are just as likely to fall prey to Turkish bombs.

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In some ways, this type of situation proves that the NATO alliance is a sham and cannot be taken seriously. NATO simply has too many members in different regions of the world for the alliance to possibly act in a coordinated or rational way, and its obsession with gaining even more member states is only going to make this problem worse in the future. Once the situation gets violent, the individual states in the NATO alliance tend to simply fend for themselves and the alliance becomes nothing more than some political noise. Turkey repeatedly calls for NATO emergency meetings, and has done so again recently, as if to try to get some appearance of legitimacy for its attacks against Kurds. This puts the Obama administration in a very difficult situation, ostensibly allied to both the Kurds and the Turks and trying to satisfy both of them that it holds their security to be more important than the other’s.

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In any realistic assessment of the conflict, the US and other coalition members would need to consider Turkey an enemy and not a partner in global efforts against ISIL. NATO has proven to be nothing more than a long rope for its members to hang themselves with, as the biggest threats of aggression and wanton destruction in the NATO area come consistently from its own member states and the alliance inhibits possible cooperation against this aggression.


By Harry J. Bentham

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