Islamic State of Mind.

:tank:Events of the past week or so have suggested that the “international community” has begun, belatedly, to recognize the danger posed, not just to regional, but to global stability by the emergence of the loony Jihadist, but well-organized “Islamic State”. Today, Secretary of State Kerry is presiding over a meeting (in balmy Paris) of ill-sorted Foreign Ministers in an attempt to tape together some sort of “coalition of the willing” to oppose the anal-retentive towel-headed hordes. Initial indications is that the effectiveness of the proposed coalition is likely to be somewhat limited. In Iraq, the “boots on the ground” bit will be left, apparently, to the discredited Iraqi army (which seriously needs to be rebuilt - again). There are vague indications that some other regional states may be willing to conduct air strikes on Caliphist targets in Iraq, "subject to the approval of the (new and untried) Iraqi government. There are also vague references to “other measures” (presumably in the areas of finance and trade). So far, there is little to cause the nutters to shake in their sandals. Perhaps they may be a little puzzled by the apparent willingness of fellow Wahhabi believers, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to conduct bombing raids on their Iraqi territory while still funding them … but that is hardly unusual in that part of the world.

Then there is the little matter of Syria. No official voice is talking about bombing Islamic State targets there. The Assad regime itself has indicated that it would regard such operations over its territory as an affront to Syrian sovereignty, and a matter for war. They would, in all probability, be willing to do some sort of “co-belligerency” deal with the “coalition” - but the latter is clearly repelled by the political (not to mention moral) compromise that this would involve; “shake hands with the Devil” comes to mind. And that is not to mention Iran. Iran has enough boots on the ground to wipe out a bag of Caliphates, but the moral and political compromise involved in sanctioning (let alone encouraging) direct Iranian involvement is clearly beyond Mr Kerry’s capacity, in any case.

Some things are clear enough. First, the so-called Caliphate is, at present, amply funded. Even (and, given the duplicitous parties involved) this is unlikely, the Saudis and Qataris cut off funds, the Islamic State is now generating enormous revenues from a combination of surreptitious oil sales, as well as its traditional sources of protection rackets, downright robbery, pseudo-taxation in their territories, and various forms of extortion. Presumably, they are less likely to be involved in drugs and prostitution - putting them on the same point of the moral compass as Don Vito Corleone, but more profitable.

Secondly, they are not exactly short of recruits. Even if one does not accept the propagandistically-motivated “Intellegence” extimates circulated in recent days of anything up to 50,000 IS fighters under arms, the total is obviously considerable - perhaps 15,000 to 20,000. This cannot be put down to the much-publicized, but actually pretty paltry, flow of “western” Jihadists to the Cause. The actuality is that the IS could not be holding its current territory unless it had recruited a substantial number of Syrians and Iraqis, of which many of the latter would have a degree (sometimes a substantial degree) of military education. Unless effective action is taken soon to deflate the IS balloon, this situation can only get worse.

Thirdly, air strikes (let alone France’s recon missions, just announced) and “other measures” will not do the business - especially if they exclude IS territory in Syria. Knocking out the IS - at least in the short term, in which it can certainly do damage - will take boots on the ground. Nobody can reasonably attach blame to the reluctance of the US and Britain to commit troops in view of their recent sacrifices (however ill-conceived) in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what does this leave ? Well, what it leaves, mainly, is the ramshackle Iraqi army, the non-IS Syrian rebels (including Al-Nusra, who have no love of the IS) and … Iran. What chance of any effective force crafted out of this ménage even being sanctioned by the “coalition” ? Not much, I suspect.

With the Caliphists, apparently, in the process of crafting a rudimentary state structure across a large part of Syria and Iraq, the problem of the IS really does require an urgent response from the “international community”. Regrettably, it is difficult to see one coming. Maybe they should hand the whole matter over to the World Intellectual Property Organization - it only takes them a decade or two to fail to agree a Treaty …

Yours from a nice restaurant in Geneva, eating sauerkraut, JR.:army:

ISIL is obviously a problem, and one which extends well beyond its self-proclaimed caliphate as recent events here show:

I’m all in favour of killing every one of them and everyone that looks like them, but unless the West is prepared for once in its pusillanimous post-WWII life to wage total war, that ain’t gonna happen.

So we let these bastards run wild, and make them wilder by half-hearted attempts at ineffective intervention, consistently undermined by the West’s mindless support for Israel, a tiny piece of land and people of no strategic or economic importance to the West.

Meanwhile the West supports Saudi Arabia, a duplicitous medieval oddity happily supplied with lots of oil while craftily sponsoring the likes of Al Qaeda, ISIL etc as their primitive Islam is closer to that which exists in Saudi Arabia than in other more moderate predominantly Islamic nations such as Turkey and Indonesia.

There are no solutions to these issues as long as the West fails to recognise that its choices are total war or gradual subordination to the will and actions of the likes of ISIL.

We are in the early stages of a conflict which will go down the centuries, unless it is nipped in the bud.

As for nipping it in the bud, the Middle East and related areas such as the various Stans are venomous shitholes of infinite depth and unfathomable intrigue informed by tribalism and primitive, ignorant sectarianism favouring various brands of Islam and violent interpretations of the Koran (although they could get the same from the Old Testament). Pretty much where Europe spent a few centuries in sectarian wars after Henry VIII couldn’t divorce and was too stupid just to take a mistress.

Meanwhile we now have academic geniuses researching and advising governments on how to stop this by engaging with these thugs. Clearly not academics who have ever spent a bit of time with seriously violent people who enjoy violence for its own sake, and who are beyond redemption. If these academics could change things, we could have parachuted a few of them into Germany and Japan in WWII so they could convert the Nazis and Banzai / Kamikaze types into gentle pacifists and brought the war to an early end with no bloodshed. What a bunch of ivory tower wankers!

There is no solution to the current problem, but exhaustion of blood over time.

Let the endless killing and misery proceed. :(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:frowning:

God, yes - this Australian affair. It would be easy, in a world dominated (at least in the West) by liberal media to dismiss this as some sort of antipodean panic but … I have to say that someone living in an area of Dublin with a substantial Muslim (Pakistani, Bengali) immigrant population, and two mosques within five minutes walk of me (the CIA has identified the one just around the corner as the most radical mosque in Ireland), and in spite of all my liberal conditioning, I find it hard to treat the matter so lightly. Not least because of the ample evidence that IS is perfectly willing to approve such actions …

Mentioning the Caliphate - I notice that we do not hear too much about this from IS at the moment. I suspect that declaring a Caliphate, and Al-Baghdadi as Caliph, was a serious tactical mistake. A tiny proportion of the Sunni Muslim population will approve; however, the vast majority will cry “blasphemy”. For myself, I have long been aware of this problem facing would-be Caliphs; strange that IS do not seem to have been sensitive to the drawbacks of any early proclamation of a “Caliph”. One vaguely hopeful aspect of this situation is that “Caliph” Al-Baghdadi seems to be the type of megalomanic psychopath more likely to lead IS in the direction of becoming a good, old-fashioned cult than an enduring revolutionary entity. He has form here. Even before his “elevation”, he alienated the important Syrian fundamentalist army, Al-Nusra (who are currently holding a number of Fijian UN soldiers as hostages on the Golan Heights) not so much by being too extreme (as has been suggested) but by declaring a takeover of Al-Nusra by IS without so much as a by-your-leave. This has, apparently, left Al-Nusra and its “spiritual” inspiration, Al-Quaeda, very unhappy with the “Caliph” and his followers. They may yet start to shoot each other … Yours from the Old Bazaar in Cairo, under a basketful of hot chilies, JR.

The current Australian allegations (allowing for the fact that our security agencies have form for being hopelessly incompetent in at least one previous grand capture - with much initial shameless and woefully wrong media propaganda from them - of a supposed terrorist) are, to me, less worrying than the eternal duplicity of significant elements of the local Muslim population. There has been far too much of the “I condemn them” public statements by Islamic leaders disproved by later contradictory statements to their own flock in their mosques and elsewhere.

Then again, perhaps it’s not much different from the hostility and idiotic rumours about Catholics which were routinely propagated by the Protestant majority in my childhood here in the 1950s and teens in the 1960s. There comes a time when moronic assertions about tunnels between the presbytery and convent, and sacrificing infants on the altar in the dead of night, become somewhat tiresome. For a start, the priests were too busy fu*king the altar boys to dig tunnels to the convent. Meanwhile, the priests weren’t slow to preach politics from the pulpit, and in private,

The difference is that many Muslims seem to work on the basis that they will align themselves with their sworn Muslim enemies (e.g. Sunni and Shia) against any perceived threat to any Muslim from outside. Which, of course, is entirely consistent with Islam.

What these fu*kwits fail to admit, or are incapable of recognising due to terminal stupidity clouded by unfounded paranoia, is that, in their tedious moaning about the West and infidels / kaffirs oppressing Muslims, the vast bulk of Muslims oppressed and killed are oppressed and killed by other Muslims. Such as ISIL carving a swathe of death and rape through the areas it takes. Not to mention other events like the Iran / Iraq War.

There is another interpretation of these movements, which is that Islam is peripheral to quests for power, much as communism was peripheral to quests for power in various, essentially nationalistic, movements in South East Asia and South America in the latter part of the 20th century, all resolutely and ignorantly opposed by the US and its allies to their cost.

Perhaps the real problem is the sense of oppression and exploitation by local and Western interests which energises the likes of ISIL, or at least some of their less rabid supporters. Perhaps if these issues were addressed and resolved it might be more productive, and more rapidly so, than just killing people.

Even if that is a partial solution, the biggest obstacle is the regimes which exist in Muslim nations. They are, without exception, oppressive and exploitative.

Which has nothing to do with the West, except to the extent that that West exploits those nations through those regimes for the West’s benefit.

But the fact remains that the problems are in Muslim nations.

And, alas, the Arab Spring seems generally only to have made them worse.

In spite of the “coalition’s” aerial bombardment, the real threat from the “Islamic State” seems as effective as ever. I recall noting, in the early stages of its major campaign in Iraq, that IS had outflanked the city of Baghdad - to the east but, more threatening, to the west, where they occupy a strong base in the city of Falluja. Simple military logic might have suggested that IS should have attacked the city immediately - but they did not, probably in part for logistical reasons, and also in part owing to a reluctance to entangle themselves in a Shi’ite city that could have become an Iraqi Stalingrad for them.

Now, the IS forces centred on Falluja are attacking towards Baghdad. Whether they intend to enter the city must be open to some question. Baghdad remains a substantially Shi’ite city and, for obvious reasons, the majority of the inhabitants would be likely to fight to the death to resist IS incursions. However, should the Iraqi army’s defence of the city break down (all too likely, on previous evidence), the result could easily be general panic in Baghdad, and substantial internecine conflict between Sunni and Shia citizens. This may be the real objective of the IS attack.

The hapless Iraqi army still appears incapable of standing up to the IS looneys - they are still in the field between Falluja and Baghdad only through the intervention of “coalition” air strikes, that limit IS movements during the day in particular. Yet the IS fighters show no signs of actually pulling back. The essential “boots on the ground” element is again proving ineffective. Meanwhile, the air campaign - being conducted against both IS and anti-IS groups - (al-Nusra, for example) -daily increases the possibility of “revenge” outrages by Islamaniacs in countries involved in the “coalition”; and even many who are not, but which are simply “western”. …

Can anybody suggest a sensible solution to this mess ? Yours from Saddam City, JR.

There is no sensible solution to a problem which is senseless, any more than there is or was a sensible solution to another rabid death cult which got its jollies from flying planes into the twin towers, to no real benefit to their cause and without any demands for anything to stop more attacks.

The only solution is to wipe the bastards out which, alas, merely energises more religiously inspired or deranged people to flock to the cause to defend it. So, wiping them out is a grand aim, but probably not achievable.

As for air strikes, they are puny and ineffective so far.

The West and its fragile Arab allies are just nibbling around the edges of IS, all being hamstrung by various domestic and wider political and other restraints.

That is not to say that there cannot be a useful and effective response to IS.

Gulf War I showed how to do that with great effect from the air, plus the wisdom of not becoming an occupying force.

Which wisdom was lost on Bush the Younger and later Western leaders who seem to regard Vietnam as the inspirational “must follow” manual on “How to damage your nation by foolishly repeating past avoidable military and political disasters, for Dummies”.

Alas, Gulf War I was fought at a time before the US and its allies had worn out their electorates with their ill-conceived invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, which now resonates with political determination not to have “boots on the ground”.

I don’t recall any significant war being won without boots on the ground.

If the Syrians with their supposedly excellent boots on the ground and air forces and the Iraqis with their forces brilliantly trained by the West after it destroyed and dismantled their former forces can’t fight IS on the ground, then why not just let the bastards fail?

Sooner or later IS will come up against Iran, which is a more formidable foe, and even sooner against Turkey, which is also more formidable.

Why get upset about a few beheadings? Western governments didn’t do anything to stop far worse conduct in various parts of the world even when they could, from Partition in India to Rawanda to Bosnia, despite grand posturing at times.

Anyway, it’s all Turkey’s fault. Had Turkey held on to the Ottoman Empire during WWI to now, none of this would have happened. Turkey deserves to deal with it. :wink:

Latest news is that the Turks do appear to be preparing to take a more active part. Unfortunately, they are caught between a number of restraints. First, they are ill-placed to cosy up to their obvious local allies - the Kurds - against whose insurgency they have been waging a savage war for decades. Secondly, they have understandable concern that taking positive action against IS would promote IS support in eastern Turkey. As against that - thirdly, the activities of the looneys has inflicted a refugee crisis (largely Kurdish) of monstrous proportions that threatens to become unmanageable. What to do ? Answers on a postcard to the Office of the President, Ankara, Turkey … Yours from the Walls of Byzantium, JR.

Which exemplifies the essential problem, being the absence of any common aim and the presence of conflicting aims and interests of the various nations, factions, brands of Islam, independence movements, rebel armies etc etc etc.

These long standing aspects of the cauldron which is the Middle East in general and the Arab / Muslim elements of it in particular, ably assisted by the festering contributions of Israel, ensure that no effective and enduring strategy will be developed or pursued by the locals, or by the Western idiots who can’t stop themselves interfering in a hopeless struggle which will always, in the end, be undermined by some or all of the locals whether by betrayal, incompetence, cowardice or clever strategy.

The only consistent post-WWII winners have been Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which foment problems in the region and the wider world at opposite ends of the scale, and both of which are enthusiastically supported by the idiotic major Western powers.

Answer on a postcard to the offices of the US President; British Prime Minister; and sundry associates in their coalition against whatever it is they are currently coalescing against: Wake up, d*ckheads! You’ve been played on a break for the past seven decades by a bunch of Semites (Arab and Jewish) and Muslims who are profoundly smarter than you in sucking you in to conflicts they have no intention of stopping until one of the contestants has vanquished the other. Or, in other and most cases, because the West is profoundly stupid in getting itself involved in conflicts which often arise from the long standing and justifiable local resentment towards the West generated by the arrogance of the West as colonial powers in previously carving up the Middle East for its own purposes and, subsequently, interfering intermittently in its affairs when it suited the West for its own interests but without any clear or noble aim or conduct which might encourage support for the West as an advocate for or defender of the legitimate aims and desires of the locals.

For a change, the West should stay out of fights that don’t concern it directly, and which waste its military resources, the lives of its service people, and its already poor reputation in those regions to no advantage to any in the West.

This is a case of the peacemaker being turned on by the contestants. Just stand back, cordon and blockade risks emanating from those regions, and let them slug it out and exhaust themselves.

Yeah, sure, it’s a major travesty of human rights, but so have been countless other instances since the UN was established on noble principles which it failed to enforce.



I forgot that some of these places have oil.

Notably IS in growing quantities. The last thing the West wants is to have these bastards dictate the price of oil if they continue their expansion.

Bring back the Ottoman Empire ? Well, no … but it is interesting to reflect that, while the Grand Turk controlled most of the Dar-al-Islam directly or indirectly, internal strife within that area was generally fairly minimal. One issue solved (at least to its own satisfaction) by the Sublime Porte was the question of the Caliphate; the Grand Turk was Caliph, and that was that. Modern-day Muslims of all stripes - including IS - are quite correct in pointing out that this appropriation of the Caliphate was completely lacking in credibility from the point of view of Muslim tradition. However, this seems to have caused little trouble at the time. Ottoman rule was, for the late-Middle Ages and early modern period, relatively mild both in Turkish areas, and in areas occupied by non-Turks, at least once it had become established. However, this did not extend to direct challenges to the Emperor or his government. Anybody daring to question something like the right of the Emperor to be Caliph was likely to end up with their head on a stake - that is, if they were lucky. One of the problems facing modern Caliphists is that the discontinuity in the succession of Caliphs and would-be Caliphs created by the Ottoman period is that, while the Caliphate issue remains central in Muslim thinking (responsible, as it is, for matters so important as the Sunni/Shia schism), the Ottoman interruption has left Islam with no credible “legitimate” claimant to the dignity. This, I think, is why IS has lately been playing down al-Baghdadi’s self-declaration to the Caliphate; it is repugnant to the vast, vast majority of Muslims, and now the looneys know it.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, journalists reporting from Turkey detect a distinct suspicion and hostility among Kurdish refugees towards the Turks. Many appear to be convinced that IS came into existence with Turkish help (probably true), and Turkey is quite happy to see Kurdish forces and IS at each other’s throats on the basis that this will result in a weakening of their long-time Kurdish enemies. I doubt whether this point of view is fairly reflective of the Turkish government’s views; IS in its present form is much too dangerous to Turkey for such a simplistic view to hold sway. However, its existence and currency is scarcely promising from the viewpoint of those who hope to see Turkey and proto-Kurdistan co-operating as “boots on the ground” in Syria and Iraq. Yours from the foxholes of Falluja, JR.

The Iraqi government, and much of Iraq, will shut down for next week for the religious festival of Eid.

Given how successful IS has been in its military and funding advances, Iraq taking a holiday now is about the equivalent of the US taking a week off for Christmas in Guadalcanal in 1942 and during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, thus allowing the Japanese and Germans respectively to attack and change the course of those campaigns.

If Iraq can shut down for a week, clearly it’s not facing a serious threat from IS. In which case it doesn’t need Western or any other military support.

Or, if Iraq is facing such a threat, it’s not worth other nations supporting a government, people and nation which can take a week off for a religious festival while they expect people from other nations to risk their lives to protect a bunch of holidaymakers (and military deserters who won’t fight for their own country, who presumably will also be on holiday).

All of which reinforces my view that the Middle East in general is a tribal and religious shithole of unfathomable depth and best quarantined to let the locals pursue their quaint destructive ways.


I forgot the oil thingy, again.

Without which the Middle East (excluding Israel) would be as irrelevant to the rest of the world as is, say, the ebola tragedy unfolding in West Africa and the long history of other post-WWII tragedies, oppression, and genocides in sub-Saharan, and North, Africa which the rest of the world, and the West in particular, observed without doing much or anything to help.

The IS looneys appear to be on the brink of capturing the northern Syrian city of Kobani. Kurdish soldiers are fighting bravely to defend what remains of the city, but they are impeded by deficiencies in equipment, as compared with their adversaries. A recent news report revealed that one of the Kurds’ problems is their lack of night vision equipment - IS has no shortage of night vision equipment; they have obtained this as captured US gear from US supplies to the Iriqi “army”. Also, there are reports of Abrams tanks among the IS armoured forces, again captured from the Iraqi excuse for an army. Meanwhile, the Turkish Army deploys within a kilometer of all this, with its tanks pointing in the direction of the conflict.

I fully understand the complexity of the situation facing Turkey. Also, I am not wholly convinced by the argument that the loss of Kobani to IS would be a “strategic” defeat for the anti-IS “coalition”. However, Turkey’s position at present time appears to be that weakening the Kurdish forces is a priority over eliminating IS. Do they really regard IS as a preferable immediate neighbor to a Kurdish automous area ? How many beheadings are they happy to witness before they get over their historical hostility to the Kurds ? Is there any way that supporting the Kurds in this conflict could be integrated in the current Turkish President’s “peace process” with the Kurds ? Answers on a postcard to the Office of the President, Ankara … JR

Hard to find much humour in the horror that is the Islamic State, but then again …

A BBC reporter recently interviewed a resident of Mosul who escaped (most of the population of this large city appear at this stage to have fled, one way or another). One of the things he told her was that the electricity and water supplies of the city had been damaged during the series of assaults by former Iraqi “Ba’athist” troops and the IS. Once the dust (and rolling heads) had settled, this gentleman and some fellow residents went to the new IS rulers, asking when the air conditioning and running water were going to come back on, life in a large modern city in a hot zone being rather difficult without them. The answer from the IS leaders was that the Prophet (Blessings and Peace be upon Him) did not have such conveniences in his day, so they would have to do without them. Presumably, nobody in the delegation was rash enough to ask whether this line of thinking should also apply in relation to modern firerams and pickup trucks, not to mention looted Humvees, tanks and the cash reserves of the Bank of Iraq in Mosul. More likely, it was at that moment that they began to focus on the road to Turkey.

Speaking of things looted - another refugee, this time an escapee from embattled Kobani, told the reporter that, among the usual old Russian tanks of the Iraqi Army taking part in the IS attack on the city was at least one US Abrams. He also told her that one of the difficulties faced by the Kurdish and Turkish defenders of the city was the lack of night vision equipment - an inconvenience not suffered by the IS attackers, who were plentifully supplied with such equipment, like the tanks, “liberated” by IS when the Iraqi Army ran away from places like Mosul. They didn’t stop at rifles and Humvees.

Hard to know whether to laugh or cry. Or, then again, maybe not. At the risk of offending the Sons of the Prophet (Blessings and Peace be upon Him), Jesus wept … Best regards, JR.:mad::tank:

The poor bloody Kurds are used to it.

Bush Snr encouraged them to rise up after GW1 and, when they did, let the poor bastards fight on their own against Saddam, as a result of which they were subjected to massacres. Disgraceful and disgusting conduct by America, and its allies in that conflict.

Current event is just another example of forces which could alter events standing by and watching because either their nation doesn’t care to get involved or because it suits their nation’s purpose to let the slaughter proceed. The latter in Turkey’s case.

If there is anything funny or, more accurately, distressingly ironic in the current IS matters, it is the wonder of the Muslims supposedly oppressed by the West sorting out the problem by slaughtering each other or standing by and watching other Muslims slaughter each other, which somehow is still the West’s fault, as strongly expressed by one of our Australian Muslim IS supporters last night:

This closet terrorist undid in a few televised minutes the great deal of good work done by numerous local Muslims who and Muslim organisations which have unequivocally condemned IS and its ilk recently.

The non-Muslim morons in Australia, who are plentiful, will of course view that closet terrorist as emblematic of the duplicity and hypocrisy of all Muslims in Australia rather than those Muslims who have been trying to distance themselves from IS.

Sometimes I wonder whether our free society would be better off being less free, starting with not giving closet terrorists and IS beheading videos etc any publicity.

Pity the citizens of Raqqa, Syria, claimed by ISIS as the “capital” of their “Caliphate”. Not only do the poor buggers have to live with ISIS, but now they are being bombed by both the US-led “coalition” and by Assad’s Syrian air force. If ever there was proof that Life isn’t Fair … Yours from a sandy basement somewhere, JR.

Latest from the BBC - it appears that the Iranians have stoked up the boilers in their old F-4 Phantoms and are now bombing ISIS targets in areas of eastern Iraqi airspace “under their control”. Of course, both the US and the Iranians deny that they have in any way co-ordinated in relation to aerial operations over Iraq - a case, perhaps, of “Ayatollah, don’t Khomeini closer …” - or at least not yet. Pity any poor bloody civilians remaining in ISIS controlled areas. Depending on their location, they could now be blasted by “allied”, Syrian government or Iranian aircraft or, in some cases, possibly by all three. Fair to say that ISIS no longer seem to be making much in the lines of territorial gains; no sign of them going away, however, and I am not sure that the intervention of the Mad Mullahs of Tehran promises much improvement … Yours from a bomb crater, somewhere near Mosul, JR.

McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom fighter bombers of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) in formation over the Persian Gulf (maritime patrol is an explicit function allocated to the IRIAF Phantom units). One analyst I heard yesterday opined that these aircraft - which are some 40 years old, having been supplied to the late and unlamented Shah by the US - no longer have supersonic capacity, and lack up-to-date “smart” weapons systems. I would still not care to be bombed by one … Yours from the Land of the Mullahs, JR.

Me neither.

Couldn’t do most of that now:

Oddly enough, can’t find the bit in the Geneva Conventions which outlaws beheadings by large scale criminal gangs, nor anything which protects civilian populations from the depredations of such criminal gangs, although the criminal gangs of ISIS are pretty much protected from being napalmed as the bastards do like to hide in civilian communities rather than go into the field on their own.

Wonder if ISIS thugs are sufficiently aware of history in their region to see the irony that the Egyptian goddess Isis was a goddess of goodness, a sort of BC (or BCE for modern PC pedants) overall mythical motherhood statement?

Regarding the Geneva Convention (and other relevant international agreements), I am pretty sure that the Islamic State has not adhered to any of them. Regarding the Goddess Isis - very well aware of her myself; Egyptology was one of my infantile enthusiasms, and still occupies a place in my bookcase. She is recognized as a “mother goddess” and a goddess of Life and Rebirth, who resurrected her husband, the God Osiris, who had been killed by his evil brother, Set, who had scattered his body parts to the winds. The Osiris/Isis/Horus cult became hugely popular in Egypt in the Late Period, and the cult of Isis specifically became very popular at Rome in time - I suppose that the prospect of Rebirth was more attractive than the empty formulae of traditional formal religion, or than the Stoic philosophical religion of the upper classes in the High Empire. ISIS appear to share only one thing with Isis - both deal with dismembered bodies … Yours from Philae, JR.

The Goddess Isis suckling the infant God Horus with protective Uraeus cobras (?representing Amun-Ra) and protective goddesses (?Nephtys and Mut), Egypt, late period. All the protection was needed to ward off the infant’s wicked uncle, Set, who was determined to destroy the son of Osiris. Louvre, Paris.

It would have to be a signatory, which I assume as a basic principle of international law would require that it be recognised by other states, which I doubt has happened to any, or at least sufficient, extent.