Dying insurgencies are desperate to remind their enemies and potential supporters that they are still around and still to be feared.
Steven Metz – WPR Article | Strategic Horizons: Al-Qaida’s Resurgence, Like Its Demise, Is Greatly Exaggerated – 10/2/2013.
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Once a powerful voice for electoral reform, a vocal critic of palace corruption, and the leading opponent of economic normalization with Israel, lately the Jordanian Brotherhood has seen its local influence and standing erode. Other Islamists, too, are finding it hard to capture the public’s attention.
David Schenker | The Rise and Fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan | Foreign Affairs – 10/20/2013.
The center wins.
That “eventually” is a problem, for “eventually” may turn out a long stretch.
“Eventually”, also, we all die, and let it be acknowledged: states and their complex machinery do too.
A long spell of anarchy aided by the juggernaut of a fanatic narcissistic and sociopath insurgency may leave the political body of a space woefully impoverished and scattered.
Of course, when it comes to civilians in a war zone, whatever does not destroy them may make them stronger.
Rice writes that in an eighteen-month period in 2007 and 2008, the mounting violence at the hands of the Shabaab caused eight hundred thousand people, including Jama’s mother, to flee the city. But Jama has remained, resolute to grow his business despite the “the sound of gunfire … so regular that Jama came to think of it as a drumbeat—the soundtrack to his new life.”
Slide Show: Ahmed Jama Keeps Serving in Mogadishu, Somalia : The New Yorker – 9/23/2013.
The slideshow is great, and if you click on the above link, you will find among the set of ten one captioned, “In some places, the epic destruction in Mogadishu resembles Stalingrad at the end of the Second World War.”
I think chances good the simile will naturally reverse to Stalingrad resembling Mogadishu toward the end of its agonies with Islamists and warlords and so many associated gangs with guns.
PAST IS NOT PRELUDE
Even while Al Shabaab’s assault on shoppers at Westgate Mall in Nairobi was unfolding, this was up online on the flip-side of all of that:
Somalia’s capital and the surrounding areas are home to several hundred thousand internally displaced people (IDPs). Despite a still volatile security situation, reconstruction and development are moving ahead at a rapid pace in Mogadishu. As a result, the city’s IDP residents, who were displaced by famine and conflict, are being evicted from their camps and pushed to Mogadishu’s periphery.
Blog – Photo Reports | Mogadishu’s IDPs Are Citizens, Too | Refugees International – 9/9/2013.
Imagine, Syrians (the four million of you who have not to imagine anything for living along this same path today), being moved by violence from homes in the city to camps in the surrounds and back again to the city devastated — and being unwelcome!
For a wannabe writer, I always thought patience a virtue; while busy writing — now I just wannabe paid — I’ve come to believe patience a crock and feel about the same when it comes to confronting conflict-inducing movements worldwide and the suffering caused or about to be caused by them.
From perhaps the triad of anthropological, political, and psychological perspectives, one may today see these whirlwinds and storms developing and better the weight of the center move to head them off than to be found sleeping when the same come crashing through.
Granted, whether with Said Barre’s political demise in Somalia or the archaic tottering of the Assad’s through the post-Soviet period, fate would seem more choice than choice.
However, globally connected, communicating, reasoning, arguing, one must ask whether what happened yesterday has also to happen tomorrow.
Past is not prelude.
In the wake of Al Shabaab’s version of Mansonesque “helter skelter” in Nairobi comes this note, part of an appeal, from Mark Yarnell writing for Refugees International:
In an interview on Monday with the PBS NewsHour, Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed stated that the government would not use the attack as a justification to end its role as a refugee host, and she affirmed that Kenya has “taken on international commitments to open our doors whenever anyone faces fear of persecution.”
This is encouraging, but in the days and weeks ahead, it will important to watch how Kenya’s security forces respond.
Mark Yarnell – Blog | Somalis Fear Reprisals Following Westgate Tragedy | Refugees International – 9/26/2013.
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Regular readers here know the four virtues I promote: compassion, humility, inclusion, integrity.
“Islamists” and assorted others, including dictators, with other poisons in their mouth-ear-mind-heart systems will continue their rampages and ravages around the world, but perhaps we have started seeing them in ways not possible even five years ago, and that broadened perception may change how they’re addressed, confronted, and stopped some day.
Related Today: The Weekly Wonk | Homeland Delusions & BlackBuried » The Weekly Wonk (audio podcast) – 10/3/2013, with Peter Bergen.
Peter Berget – Opinion: Al Qaeda’s potent force in Syria – CNN.com – 8/30/2013
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