Rewind the clock just a tad and recall how Russia made claims about how its military actions were counter-terrorism actions against, basically, Islamic turkmen. Fast forward to the Boston Marathon bombing by a couple of delusional youths, and the deal where Russia gave us vague warnings about those folks. It's a claim now being made by Russian ally Assad, in Syria, pretty much making the Republican hawk faction in this country look silly for wanting to arm the terrorists just so that Assad could be overthrown violently, all the while howling about red lines.
In retrospect, in view of the United Nations that Republicans had always wanted to go dark entirely, nothing looks more loony than the actions they were howling in favor of taking. We are now looking at a United Nations coming together not with the usual low-level ambassadors but with higher levels of leadership functioning in the manner envisioned by those that formed the League of Nations at the close of the Great War. The hope in this quarter is that it doesn't fail and repeats the history of being part of the reason why World War II was launched.
We're looking at a lot of differences, alright, but a lot of similarities from the Arab perspective. In the Great War, the Ottoman Empire was a British ally and a lot of people forget that. And it was neglected by the British, which is why it switched sides to being a German ally. The Ottomans, although Muslims, were Turks, and while Arabs embraced the Islam of the Turks, it did come to pass that when the Ottomans switched sides, the Arabs stopped being allied with them, too. Arabia made a difference in the Great War and it's making the same kind of difference in the current business before the United Nations.
But this puts Arabian royalty in a peculiar position of having to renounce its own state religion, too conveniently passed off as plain vanilla Islam...passed off as plain vanilla Sunni Islam if you're lucky. When the House of Saud took over Arabia via violent overthrow, it established Wahab Islam as Arabian state religion, and that's not plain vanilla Sunni Islam. Westerners commonly hear the crap about how the difference between Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam is a simple issue about succession, and nobody proves that to be the false crap that it is than Arabian Wahab Islam where succession is filial, which Sunnis will deny that any Sunni practices.
In order to rule Arabia, the House of Saud was brutal in its takeover and subsequently brutal in the establishment of its version of Sunni Islam while preserving filial (royal) succession. As is the case of every brutal regime, it persists because its allies prop it up. The Saud regime has become weak as the result of its dependencies and Wahab radicals have known this for a long, long time--even well before Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida, both of which are Wahab progeny. As are Salafists. As is ISIS.
Sure, we're working with a Sunni alliance NOW, but you can see why they also don't want to say what exactly they're contributing to the war effort. Sunnis tend to be Arabs and Turks; Shiites tend to be Persians and, well, Alawites. Detailing what Saudi Arabia does could very well be seen as blasphemy by the people the royals rule because in rendering assistance to the West, they will be violating what the House of Saud has been teaching as religion. This could very well prove to be the Saud family's Waterloo and all those previous years of unsustainabilty is going to add up to a wipe-out for them.
Whence Turkey, though? They've been suppressing a conservative trend, and the Turkish version of Sunni Islam doesn't jibe with Saudi Wahabism, or even the hybrid Salafism. Western evangelists who were whining about how Islam needs a Reformation don't realize that Wahabism WAS that reformation, and that Salafism is a reformation of Wahabism, and all these reformations into which you add Al Qaida and ISIS = religious cancer. Same could be said for today's evangelism as evidenced by megachurches, today's version of a religious Towers of Babel in worship of that golden calf of mamon $$$$$$$.
People die because of this stuff, because there's earthly power in it and the powers that be are heavily invested in maintaining it. As the House of Saud seeks desperately to preserve itself much like the Ottomans sought to do in the Great War, it'll inevitably hit a dead end. Such is what's inevitable for any other entity deluded into thinking there's glory in imperial rule. America has already run smack into its limits in that regard and rather than claiming imperial rule, it must needs seek co operation from co equals in government. ISIS continues to ignore the basic premise of the first Califate Empire, and that is for Sunnis and Shiites to embrace each other as they did after the Battle of the Camel, in a live/let live configuration where every tribe is ruled by its own Sharia and not the Sharia of other tribes--yes, to function as a Republic where locals are ruled by local law and the imperial government only sees to common defense and welfare--and in terms of religion, confined itself to only "pillars".
That's why the Roman Empire was so popular and grew quickly when it was a Republic. It fell when it became imperial. Imperial rule is not sustainable. Note ye well, China, as you deal with your Uyghur situation. If you learn Islamic history via what the West teaches, you're getting only a fraction of the story. Choose your sources wisely. ISIS didn't.
A few good points were made after I posted this--it's not like Arabia had much influence over the Ottomans in the first place because we're talking about the height of the colonial period and Arabia was essentially British. True, but the British weren't Islamic and had no influence over Muslims of any sort, while the Arabs and Turks were both Sunni Muslims, and let's remember that there was an Arab rebellion underway--here's a reminder that T. E. Lawrence was influential in that particular development. Yup--Lawrence of Arabia.
It's also true that although Arabian Arabs and Ottoman Turks were both Sunnis, the Turk version of Sunni Islam was still significantly different than Arab Sunni Islam, beginning with and not limited to the language difference in view of the fact that, at the time, the Quran was NOT translated from its original Arabic into any other language. It was translated in to Turkish in the 1920s and that was the first time the Quran was translated at all. Going back to the time when Mohammed had died, the Quran wasn't in writing AT ALL, since it's universally true of the spoken word that it transfers poorly into writing, lacking inflection and vocal tone. This is why, to this day, no Muslim of any denomination recognizes the written form of the Quran as being anything other than inferior to the prescribed recitation, a vocal prescription established since the beginning of Islam and conveyed through rigorous training to any appointed to recite it in mosques.
Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, is on record as saying that there's no belief in sectarianism and they don't condone such things. Well, that's the position of all Sunnis of all flavors, which is why they call Shiites heretics instead of a different sect. They don't believe in sectarianism because Sunnis believe that all Muslims should be Sunnis. A lot of westerners don't catch that nuance.
Late night UPDATE, BOOKTV Edition: I'd already shut down the computer, getting ready to turn in, flipped the tube to CSPAN-2 and there was a panel discussion in progress with 3 authors talking about today's jihadists. The Q & A session raised a few points pertinent to this post, addressed by the author of The Taliban Revival. I found the panel discussion on YouTube, and I'll post it here, but not before I point out the important part first.
A woman asked a lengthy 2-part question about a movement in Afghanistan and Pakistan whose purpose was to foster Sufi beliefs superimposed on both Shiite and Sunni tribes because Sufism has traditionally sought a non-sectarian resolution to traditional sectarian tenets. The reply was that even though this indeed is universally acknowledged to be the case by all Muslims regardless of sect, Sufism nonetheless poses a threat to the political theocratic power currently enjoyed by sectarian leaders, and that's why it hasn't taken hold as well as expected.
The video won't embed on this blog, so HERE is the link.
Saturday UPDATE, post-Zito Edition:
For the people who already read the Friday update, noting the references to mathematics which got passed over, I got a happier note for ya. It's mathematics getting cute.
Friday UPDATE, John Zito Edition:
John's a Deist, though, and we're tangling once again on the "cosmological argument" where he proclaims that an atheist can't disprove that there is a deity and some actually acknowledge that a deity is possible. I countered with the definition of "agnostic", where an atheist is convinced there's no deity and a person who admits to the possibility of a deity is actually an agnostic in his admission that he doesn't know for sure.
This was in a separate thread, a precursor to the one where he just posted a picture of a black rectangle, then added the comment thus...to which I added my comments, thus:
...and that's the score this inning, with discussion ongoing, of course.
What John's overlooking is that it's all relative, and there's no actual "high" or "low" to this, that mathematics does take into account "imaginary numbers" and "irrational numbers" but treats them as quantifiable (finite) unknowns. Science deals with what can be measured even if the quantity is unknown, so therefore it's required to be defined as a quantity, and all quantities are finite. Oh, John, John--you still fancy yourself to be the master logician, don't you. LOLz.
And so I wrote the following response:
I've said it before and I'll say it again--today's state of science is in dire need of a reinvention of the zero, an aspect of mathematics that was introduced into Europe during the Dark Ages by the Arabs, who were far more scientifically advanced than the Roman numeral-confined Christians, and without which the Christians would have never had a Renaissance nor an Age of Discovery. The concept of an absolute zero as being equal to absolutely nothing causes it to be mathematical and scientific fiction. The sum of that stuff (the summary, the summation, the sigma) is as relative as the R in TARDIS.
Zito Edition UPDATE 2: Sorry, folks, but the show's over already. John edited his numberline question slightly to include another participant, and the discussion wound up thus:
UPDATE 3: Nope, the banter continues, with a question about how do I know we actually sent somebody to the moon. Ahhhhh, consider the source. The rest goes seriously downhill from there. Things hit rock bottom when John tried to bring up why blacks were black and decried any mention of genetics. At that point I dropped him from the Friend list and he's currently blocked. I don't stand for bigots of any sort.
October post-script: According to recent blog stats, unknown person(s) have been hitting on this post as well as on my primer, Time And Relative Dimensions In Space Explained. I've re-read both posts, and as a result think that further clarification is in order for those not privy to the contexts those posts were originally the result of.
Time is a sequential progression, fractal (not linear) in nature, although in establishing a chart of a sequence of events, it can appear to be linear but only where the points in the sequence are construed. Events can be simultaneous, co-incidental, and subject to cause-effect, wherein lie the branch-offs of progression. The concept of time travel involves bypassing quantifiable segments of the progression(s)/regression(s), or taking of short-cuts without being confined to a specific sequence in the branching sequential progression/regression.
I'll say this again: the problem with John's number line analogy is that it is a linear progression to the exclusion of other dimensions, even though mathematics deals with such things. Mathematics recognizes imaginary numbers, irrational numbers, and the like, but they are nonetheless quantifiable even if they're unknown and can be dealt with when designated as a standard mathematical unknown variable. However, all quantities are necessarily finite.
The concept of infinity is represented by a symbol which depicts a Möbius Strip and the theory behind this thing is where one can illustrate the fallacy of infinity because one makes the error of presuming only one dimension. The Möbius Strip can also be used to illustrate the R in TARDIS as well (and expressed in terms of Dimensions In Space), as follows:
Take a strip of paper and make one. Make another one by using a strip of paper twice as long. With the two strips you can see that you have represented infinity, but you can also observe that one strip is larger than the other, so what is it that you have here, one infinity that's larger than the other? How can that be if they're both infinite, hm?
Think about that, and you'll get the picture.
Illustrating further the imaginary nature of an absolute zero resides in the question, "What's south of the South Pole?" Well, for one thing, the poles shift and the location is supposed to be an absolute, off of which you're moving north in every case. What it is, is an arbitrary reference point and not a mathematical entity, for it's also arbitrarily moveable, and besides, it necessitates an every-case statement because it asserts an absolute no-case that any other point is completely South. It's been a necessary arbitrary zero by which other points are gauged, but that's the aspect that makes it relative to other points and not an absolute.
June 2015 Mets Hat Guy UPDATE: I've mentioned this before, about the science behind theta sigma navigation of branching progressions (what time navigation is) while still observing the linear character of a sequence of events (and/or people) and how such navigation can be developed intuitively. You got it: the Mets Bucket Hat Man, who rattles off what sounds like a strictly linear sequence but actually retraces to branch-offs by "bringin' it back to..." whatever. He is, hands down, the unquestioned master of theta sigma navigation. Enjoy:
...and he always wraps it up with "How Ya Like Me Now?", which underscores the importance of Now in any temporal sequence--in computer parlance, it's the "floating zero". He begins with "I see where you're goin' with this" as if he can see the future from where he sits. A true master indeed.
Global Voices article
The following is a very very very old joke but still makes the rounds even this year. How to tell how old it is? It mentions a slide rule. Why yes--I still do have my own slide rule.
You don't believe me about my slide rule, do you. Well........behold:
October 2015 UPDATE: I ended this post with a much milder comparison of linear to non-linear problem solving while this difficulty of linearity even among prominent mathematicians cropped up yet again in the form of a 500+ page proof of The ABC Conjecture and so I devoted another post on this topic yet again, but wasn't as dainty about it as I was here, and so I now add a link here to that subsequent post over there. 500+ pages worth of linear mathematical footage was 500+ pages because it was linear. Just sayin'.