Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014



Grab your colored markers and head to the wall-map, readers!  We have a new nation to draw!  It's called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, but they are commonly referred to by their initials: ISIS.  Their independence day is June 29, 2014 and their capital is Mosul.  Their borders are still loosely defined, but they extend from Eastern Syria and most of Northern Iraq.  Finally, their leader is the Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

What is a Caliph you ask? The direct translation from Arabic is "Successor," as in from Mohammad the Prophet.  For centuries, Caliphates ruled over all Arab lands.  However, no international leader has called himself a 'Caliph' since the Ottoman Empire was officially abolished in 1924.  Why use such an antiquated term?  ISIS wants to re-create a medieval-style empire stretching from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.  It will adhere to a unique Sharia Islamic law. That means no music, Christians pay a maditory tax and executions are carried out in the main square of town.

So far, ISIS doesn't have any allies.  Fellow Sunni leaders Saudi Arabia and the Gulf refuse to recognize the rogue state.  Since ISIS has deemed Shi'ite Muslims heretics, both Iran and Iraq are dismissing Sunday's independence announcement as a farce.  ISIS also created enemies in Syria by beheading eight rebel leaders. Rival group The Army of Islam stated: "The gangs of ISIS are living in a fantasy world. They’re delusional. You cannot establish a state through looting, sabotage and bombing."  Even al-Qaeda has distanced themselves from ISIS!

Not surprisingly, war is raging on all of ISIS's borders.  The US-backed Iraqi troops have marching orders from PM al-Maliki. Battles have been raging in Mesopotamia for months. On the East, the Kurds have taken up arms to defend their borders.  Both Syrian rebels and government troops are engaged in armed conflict on the Western border. Nonetheless, ISIS leaders are demanding all Muslims around the world pledge allegiance to their leader, as he is the chosen one with direct orders from the Prophet Mohammad.

While ISIS will likely disappear by the end of the year, the movement does deserve further examination. Western nations will insist upon the sanctity of a nation's borders, but we here at the DUNER BLOG know better.  Iraq is about as old as your grandmother.  It was created in 1930 by the British, who were eager to slow the expansion of the Persian Empire.  In doing so, a huge group of Shiites were tossed in with Sunnis and Kurds.  We don't agree with ISIS' crazy laws, but we do agree that Iraq needs to become three separate nations before everyone dies!


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