Tuesday, 26 August 2014

When does it qualify as a "world" war?

Just as I was musing to myself publicly about things spinning out of control planet-wide, we have these new developments:

Planes from the United Arab Emirates, using Egyptian air bases, bombed Libya where Islamist militias seized control of the country’s main airport. You don’t have to know where to locate all these countries on a map to grasp that the entire region seems on the verge of a massive war of everyone against everyone else. And we thought the Iraqi adventure was a debacle—what if that was merely chapter one?

An Israeli commentator, Naava Mashiah, featured on the always astute Informed Comment blog, had this to say about the atmosphere:

But I would like to point out that this time, it is different. This time there is a different sense in the air. A point of no return has been crossed. . . . I have been witness to many of my Israeli compatriots seeking to issue a second passport, a European passport. Some of their parents or grandparents originally hailed from Europe, and people are taking the time to go to the various embassies, prove their family roots, and wait for a second passport to arrive in the post—just in case. Perhaps they will need it if the ‘situation’ deteriorates and they must search for a safe haven in Europe.
Ironically, she adds, Jewish Europeans fleeing the sharp rise in anti-Semitic sentiments are heading out in the opposite direction.

As usual, Iraq leads the way with tales of relentless horror. Women in the newly minted Islamic State’s capital of Mosul are now being forced to wear the full-body niqab. A well-known obstetrician, Dr. Ghada Shafiq, who objected that female doctors could not work in the bulky costume, was kidnapped leaving her hospital and murdered.

Meanwhile, the unspeakable Assad regime in Syria has offered to join forces with the West against the Islamist Frankenstein that has sprung up where George Bush so conveniently prepared the ground for them. Given the utter cynicism of our leadership, such an alliance is not hard to imagine (though impossible to stomach). It’s hard to know which of the two sides most deserves our contempt: serial killer desert militias who slaughter prisoners based on their ethnicity or one of the world’s most truly execrable regimes run by the Assad family’s Gestapo.

That’s a lot of bad news to keep up with even as the Greenland glacier prepares to sheer off into the rapidly warming seas. It’s enough to make one yearn for one’s 90s—anything not to see how this movie ends.

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