News And Notes

If There Is A Just War, Why Not Just Terrorism?
Giles Fraser has a provocative column in The Guardian in which he poses the question: if there is a just war, can there be just terrorism?

“Indeed, so much of our modern political theory about the role and limits of the state was established by the political theology of the 16th and 17th centuries – and by those who would be branded terrorists under this country’s current terrorist legislation. Oliver Cromwell, for instance, would almost certainly be a terrorist. Come to think of it, so too would Moses and his famous (and very violent) run-in with the Egyptian state. And both of these were ‘religiously inspired’. If we can have just war, why not just terrorism?” he asks.

The Women Of ISIS
Kathy Gilsinan has an equally interesting piece in The Atlantic in which she examines the complicated role women hold in ISIS as the enforcers of moral codes.

“The institution of female enforcers for female morality makes a certain kind of sense if you take the prohibition against sexes mingling to its logical extreme. Still, ISIS in Raqqa may be the only jihadi group employing this kind of logic,” she notes.

However, she adds, “the brigade was designed to solve a specific problem: male anti-ISIS fighters disguising themselves in all-concealing feminine garb to pass through checkpoints. With male ISIS members reluctant to inspect under garments to verify the womanhood of the wearers, they got some women to do it.”

Christianity Is Disappearing From The Middle East
ISIS continued its attack on Christians in Iraq by bombing the Nabi Younus mosque, the Biblical site of the grave of Jonah, before a large crowd. This week, however, demonstrated that anti-Christian attacks are not confined to Iraq, nor only committed by ISIS.

“This did not start last month when Isis captured Mosul. Nor is it confined to Iraq. Across the Arab world, Christians, perhaps 15m among 300m Muslims, are endangered: threatened by Islamist radicals; forced by limited opportunities to seek new lives abroad; accused of complicity in the schemes of foreign predators; and menaced by the upheavals sweeping the region and laying bare the hard-wiring of sectarianism,” the editors at The Financial Times assert.

In Al-Ahram Weekly, Iraqi intellectual Walid Khadouri tells writer Dina Ezzat that Christianity is now facing an eclipse in its own cradle.

“What this boils down to is that after a decade of the emigration of Iraqi Christians, who like other Iraqis have felt unsettled by the instability that has hit the country and the escalation of military confrontation amongst the many militias, we are now seeing another very sad chapter in the story of the decline of Christianity in its own cradle — the Middle East,” he said.

Who is really to blame for the world’s problems?
Look no further than the cartographers, according to James Holmes in The Diplomat.

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