Tuesday Headlines

ISIS Speech Taunts West, Says Alliance Afraid Of “Final War”
In a new speech, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi claims that all Muslims are confronted by an alliance that includes much of the rest of the world. And he says the Islamic State is “the spearhead in the conflict between the camp of belief and the camp of non-belief,” meaning all Muslims should rally to its cause,

As Iraqis scored an important victory in retaking Ramadi (for the moment), Baghdadi says the West has “learned that it is the final war, and after it, Allah permitting, we will strike them, and they will not strike us” and after that, he says, “Islam will rule the world…until Judgment Day,” reports The Long War Journal.

Social Media: A Forum For Sectarian & Countersectarian Rhetoric
 An analysis of more than 7 million Twitter posts finds that social network structures play key roles in the transmission of both sectarian and counter-sectarian rhetoric on Twitter, according to the Carnegie Endowment for Peace’s Alexandra Siegel.

“While the use of sectarian language is hardly a new phenomenon, dehumanizing anti-Shia and anti-Sunni slurs are increasingly making their way into common discourse.1 Qualitative studies and journalistic accounts suggest that the escalation of the Syrian civil war, rising sectarian violence in Iraq, and more recently, the Saudi­-led intervention in Yemen have been marked by a proliferation of intolerant rhetoric, especially anti-Shia hate speech,” she notes.

Arab World Still Shaped By Events Of Hundred Years Ago
On May 19, 1916, representatives of Great Britain and France secretly reach an accord, known as the Sykes-Picot agreement, by which most of the Arab lands under the rule of the Ottoman Empire were divided into British and French spheres of influence with the conclusion of World War I. The pact would result in the formation of the modern statist Middle East and its impact is still being felt nearly 100 years later, says Eugene Rogan in the Cairo Review.

“The legitimacy of Middle Eastern frontiers has been called into question since they were first drafted. Arab nationalists in the 1940s and 1950s openly called for unity schemes between Arab states that would overthrow boundaries widely condemned as an imperialist legacy. Pan-Islamists have advocated a broader Islamic union with the same goal. In 2014, a militia calling itself the Islamic State tweeted to its followers that it was “smashing Sykes-Picot” when it declared a caliphate in territory spanning northern Syria and Iraq. One century after Sykes-Picot, the borders of the Middle East remain controversial—and volatile,” he writes.


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