Category Archives: Yezidism

The Reactionary Catholic Church Hierarchy and a Link to Secretive Syncretic Religions of the Middle East

The Catholic Church hierarchy nearly everywhere has been reactionary.  The Catholic Church had been in with the ruling classes in Europe forever. This was one of the main reasons why the Bible was never translated into the vernacular and why masses were always held in Latin. The people could neither read not speak Latin, hence there was a huge disconnect between the Church hierarchy and the people.

This is similar to many other religions, especially eclectic religions of the Middle East such as Yezidism, Alawism and Druze. In all of these religions, the secrets of the religion are usually held in secret by a priestly caste of mostly men, though the Druze actually have female priests. For a long time, the secret book of the Yezidis was thought  to not even exist except perhaps only in oral form – this is how secret it was. This ended when an actual copy fell into Western hands around 1900.

In all of these religions, the “real true” religion is in the hands of the priestly caste and they make sure not to tell any outsiders what the religion is about. Hence it has been very hard to get good data on any of these religions. The people are fed some watered down version of the religion that doesn’t mean much of anything and  if you ask the average Alwai, Druze or Yezidi what their religion is about, you will only get some diluted harmless synopsis acceptable for outside ears. Usually what the people say the religion believes and what it really believes are two different things altogether.

The Catholic Church was in with the rich and in Europe especially in the Middle Ages it was very wealthy. It was this extreme wealth that enabled the Church to build those huge architectural masterpieces we see in the form of Medieval churches across the north of Europe, especially in France and England. They sold the peasants pie in the sky when you die like religions always do. It was this anti-people, pro-rich philosophy that made Marx so hostile to religion. He was not so much against it because he was a materialist and he thought it was superstition; he was also against it because he thought it was reactionary.

The hierarchy of the Church remained reactionary all through the  20th Century. Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador and the four Catholic priests assassinated in 1989 at the start of the great guerrilla offensive (a crime that was plotted in the US ambassador’s office of the US Embassy two days before) were the exceptions to this rule. The Church hierarchy in Venezuela and Nicaragua remain rightwing and hostile to the Sandinistas and Chavistas to this very day. Same with the church hierarchy in Spain to the best of my knowledge.

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Hinduism as a Rather Typical Ancient or Pagan Religion

I have long felt that Hinduism is simply a typical ancient religion or even moreso, a typical pagan religion. One reason I feel that way is because the oldest formal religions known to man such as Yezidism and Zoroastrianism both practice caste. Zoroastrianism is often thought to be the oldest living formal religion, and that may be the case. However, sometimes I feel that Yezidism is some whatever form may be older yet than Zoroastrianism. That Yezidism has been influenced by Zoroastrianism is clear from anyone who has extensively studied the religion.

The worshiping of the Devil seen in Hindusim once you pull back the curtain to see the wizard putting on the show is also typical of an ancient religion. Yezidis are said to be devil worshipers, and in a sense that is true but in another it is not, for in Yezidism, the Devil of Malak Taus is actually a good guy like Jesus or the kind and loving God of the New Testament (not the murderous brute of the OT). As in the Christian sense, Taus is also a fallen angel, but he is fallen for other reasons than the Christian belief that the Devil has fallen due to excess pride.

Older religions often worshiped the Devil in the sense that they feared him and sought to appease him. Those who saw or see a wrathful God as in the OT also in a sense are worshiping the Devil. The God of the OT is more nearly a Devil than a God of Mercy as in the NT. The ancients did not worship the Devil in the sense that modern Satanists claim to worship evil however defined; instead they made sacrifices and said prayers to the Devil or the in effect “Devil God” so this monster would not do bad things to them.

As this Devil or Wrathful God was thought to be behind all calamities, and the Ancient World was full of calamity as a nearly quotidian affair, it made sense to say prayers or make sacrifices to this cruel and evil force so as to appease his wrath and keep calamity at bay.

The Hindu practice of saying prayers and giving offerings not to ask a merciful God to make good things happen to them or to bring good to the world but instead as a purely mercenary device to “get more stuff” is also quite an ancient practice. Sort of a “make a wish upon a star” type of thing.

You may make a prayer or leave an offering to a Hindu God to ask them for just about anything. Often money or fortune is requested, but one may also make requests for either good or evil. Basically, whatever it is that you want, moral or immoral, you simply pray and make an offering to a particular God, and your wish may be granted. My study of ancient religions has shown me that such intercessionary amorality was a typical feature of ancient religions. The world was a savage place, and there was not much good around to be seen, so it made little sense to pray to some merciful god in a world seemingly devoid of mercy.

 

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Filed under Anthropology, Christianity, Comparitive Religion, Cultural, Hinduism, Religion, Yezidism, Zoroastrianism

Multi-Ethnic Fascism?

Hasbrudal writes: Isn’t fascism just a kind of ultra-nationalism, the most important thing is what defines the nation, if it’s a multi-ethnic nation, the fascism will reflect that. If the nation is defined in very narrow terms, e.g. how the Croatian fascists during WW2 viewed Serbs, despite having much more in common on the surface than a Tartar and a Slav from St Petersburg, then it can get very granular. I don’t think Mussolini or Franco gave too much thought to the “Jewish Question” without prompting from Berlin.

There is no such thing as multi-ethnic fascism as far as I can tell. There has never been one single case of multi-ethnic fascism recorded in history. This is probably because the phrase is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron. If it’s fascism, it’s not multi-ethnic. If it’s multi-ethnic, it’s not fascism. Period.

In a fascist state, when there are multiple ethnicities, religions or languages spoken, the fascists always, always, always, try to wipe out all of the ethnicities and turn them into a single ethnicity and wipe out all the religions and get everyone to speak one national language. For instance, Franco tried to turn everyone in Spain into a Spaniard who spoke Spanish. Hence he waged war on all of the other ethnicities and their languages. Mussolini waged war on all of the other languages in Italy (falsely called Italian dialects), not to mention the non-Italian languages in Italy. I think he went easy on the Germans in the north so as not to anger Hitler.

Fascism is a sort of nation-building run wild, or you can think like I do and say that all nation-building in the modern era is basically fascist, which it is. This is because all nation-building projects try to dissolve all of the ethnicities in the country and turn them all into one ethnicity and try to wipe out all of the languages in the country and make everyone speak one language.

In the case of religion, fascists would probably try to wipe out all of the other religions and force everyone to be a particular religion. The Croatian Ustashe actually ordered Serbs to convert to Catholicism or die in a similar way that Islam was converted by the sword (convert to Islam or die). ISIS is practicing this sort of convert or die Islam right now. This convert or die method of spreading Islam is very much in the Muslim historical tradition no matter how much Muslims lie and say it isn’t.

As you can probably tell, I do not think too much of nation-building projects. However, I have met people from the 3rd World who justified nation-building projects in strong terms. One man I know was an Iranian Azeri who spoke Azerbaijani but justified the Iranian government’s attempt to wipe out the Azeri language as a necessary step that Iran would have to go through in order to build a nation.

Nation-building projects are also often accompanied by mass killings. The emergence of the state of Israel, birthed in blood like so many new nations, is a good contemporary example of bloody nation-building.

Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Abkhazia, Kurdistan, Lithuania and Latvia are all modern examples of it. The first four were all quite bloody. One of the disgusting things about nationalism and nationalists is that when the nationalists are a minority in state dominated by another ethnic group, they are all about minority rights, decentralization, regionalism, federalism, autonomy, etc.

Then as soon as these nationalist punks get their independence, what’s the first thing they try to do? The first thing they do is persecute all of the new minorities in the land where they are now a majority. Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia, and Kurdistan are excellent examples of this. Kurdistan is a particularly awful example, as in Southern Kurdistan only Sunni Muslim Kurds have full rights. Non-Kurds? Of course not. Kurdish Yezidis? Nope. Kurdish Christians? No. Kurdish Shabakis? No. Kurdish Shia Muslims? Nope. Assyrian Christians? Are you kidding? They are not even Kurds. Sunni Muslim Arabs? Not at all. Shia Muslims Arabs? Even worse.

In the first elections in Southern Kurdistan, everyone except for Sunni Muslim Kurds was seriously disenfranchised. I mean in a lot of places they were actually denied the right to vote. Non-Kurdish Sunni Muslims were also driven out of many villages in order that they could be populated by Sunni Muslim Kurds.

With independence, Georgia immediately said that everyone in Georgia was a Georgian and revoked the ethnic and linguistic rights of everyone else. This was the cause of the Ossetian and Abkhazian rebellions. Russia had nothing to do with either of them, especially as they started back in 1991 when Gorbachev was President.

With the new fascist Nazi coup in the Ukraine, the rights of Russian speakers were revoked, and their supporters and politicians were murdered. Keep in mind that the CIA was up their knees in all of this. Everyone was a Ukrainian. No one else had any rights. Hence the declarations of independence in Crimea and the Donbass. Russia had nothing to do with those declarations of independence. Those are Russian speakers in those areas, and they despise Ukrainian nationalists who they call Nazis (because they are).

Keep in mind that Crimea never agreed to become a part of an independent Ukraine. As soon as Ukraine declared its independence, the Crimeans said they were not a part of this new country. Several referenda were held in Crimea early on, and the votes were 80-90% for independence.

The new Ukrainian state subsequently calmed them down, and for the next 20-some years the Ukraine was in a stalemate with maybe half the population supporting radical Ukrainian Nazi nationalists and the other half more pro-Russian or wanting a federal state, including all of the non-Russian minorities in Ukraine, of which there are quite a few. So Crimean independence has nothing at all do with Putin, as it started way back in 1991 under Gorbachev as with the Georgian separatist splits.

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New Islamic State Videos

This one is from just today, and it shows ISIS engaged in heavy fighting against the Syria Arab Army (SAA) in the east of Homs. Look at all the equipment they must have seized from the SAA.

Warning: There are a lot of dead bodies from the middle of the video on. There is also corpse desecration where two SAA fighters bodies’ are dragged behind a truck.

The next one is from ISIS Afghanistan and is called The Raid of Opening Goodness – Wilāyat Khurāsān. It just came out, but it was shot before mid-October because the mullah who is preaching throughout the video was killed at that time. Wilāyat Khurāsān is the name of the ISIS province that encompasses Afghanistan, part of Iran and Pakistan. This region is historically known as “Khorasan.”

Nangharhar is a far eastern province of the country where Jalalabad is located. At the far end is the Khyber Pass. This area has long been radical. The Taliban had a huge force here, and Yunus Khalis’ group was also headquarted here. Tora Bora is located in the far south of the province, and it is from here that Osama bin Laden made his escape after 9-11.

This area is all Pashtun, and Pashtuns are the backbone of the Taliban insurgency. In fact, you could almost say that the Taliban are an ethnic army of Pashtuns that pursues Pashtun ethnic interests. Although Pashtuns are the largest ethnic group in the country, there are also a number of other ethnic groups in Afghanistan, and ethnic tensions are long-lasting. The Karzai government was also Pashtun, so you can see that the Pashtuns are split between supporting the Taliban and the Afghan government.

The radical nature of the Taliban’s rule was based not so much on Islam as on the conservative norms of rural Pashtun villagers. This is why the girls were thrown out of school and whatnot. The extreme secreting away of women is also related to a part of Pashtun culture, a system of beliefs known as Pashtunwala. The hiding of women is a part of this legal code called purdah. Once a girl reaches 12 years old, she goes into purdah in which she hides herself away from the rest of the community. I believe women stay hidden for the most part even as adults.

Nangharhar is also reportedly the headquarters for ISIS in Afghanistan. In October, ISIS overrun a number of Afghan government bases and checkpoints in Nangharhar.

This video shows the overrunning of an Afghan army base in the desolate terrain of Nangharhar. The base was completely overrun, and all of the defenders were killed. Then all of the equipment was looted. Look at the classic attire of these fighters especially at the end when the mullah is giving his speech. They look exactly like the Taliban. The man with the long robe and scarf to the left wears an outfit remarkably like that worn by Mullah Omar, former head of the Taliban. There are a couple of very young males to the right who look like teenagers with their tousled curly hair. I felt that the Whiteness of some of these fighters was remarkable, and in fact, Afghans in this part of the country are quite White.

Warning: there are a number of dead bodies in this video from about the middle on.

Here is another one called Aspects of the Progress of the Battle in Sinjār Mountain – Wilāyat al-Jazīrah. This part of the far northwestern Iraq and far northeastern Syria near the Syria-Iraq border is also kn own historically as Jazirah, especially the Syrian part. I feel like this fighting probably took place a long time ago when ISIS was overrunning this area and the tragedy of the Yazidis occurred.

There is only one dead body seen in this video.

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Slavery in the Muslim World: The Tradition Is Not Yet Dead

From here.

Bottom line is, yes, slavery has been present in the Islamic World from Day One. In fact, one can make a case that slavery was an inherent and even emblematic aspect of Islam since its inception. It only left the Muslim World due to pressure from the West when the West emancipated its own slaves in the late 1800’s. Officially, most of the Muslim World dumped theirs. Yet the practice continued. Saudi Arabia only outlawed slavery in 1962. An advertisement for a castrated Black slave for sale recently appeared in a Saudi publication. Mauritania only outlawed slavery a few years ago, and the ban is hardly enforced.

As societies collapsed, the peculiar institution experienced a recrudescence. Libyan ports now export many slaves destined for Europe. Syrian teenage girls in Jordanian refugee camps are trafficked to brothels in Amman and sold to visiting Gulf men for $140-175 for a “temporary marriage.” In Northern Nigeria, even before Boko Haram kidnapped scores of teenage Christian girls, Muslim men had been importing concubine slave girls from the north to serve as “fifth wives.” The abuse and rape of female domestics in the Gulf who are little more than slaves of their owners has been documented for years.

Worst of all is the migrant labor scam that the Gulf states have been running for decades involving workers from South Asia, especially Pakistan and India,  and Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. For all intents and purposes, work which is tied to contracts with the employer is little more than slavery, let’s face it. Gulf employers of these men have referred to them as slaves. They are housed in the most miserable conditions in a very wealthy country and worked to exhaustion and sometimes to death in ferocious heat with little protection or rest. A number of deaths have occurred to poor working conditions. Some poor countries to the east have forbidden their workers from going to the Gulf to work. There has been a bit of a crackdown, but it was mostly fake. Kuwait gave its “slaves” rights recently, but the Emir has not yet signed the bill. Qatar is worried about its reputation as the Olympics are coming soon, but its response instead of cleaning up its act has been to cover the whole mess up and beat up and detain the protesters. Any progress elsewhere in the Gulf has been frozen in recent years. Instead we get the predictable fake backlash whereby the Gulf states say that critics of their Slave System are “Islamophobes.”

The progress for serious progressive change for alleviating remaining vestiges of slavery in the Arab World seem dim at the moment as the region undergoes a retrenchment, a backlash and a hardening of reaction.

The link between Islam and slavery goes back from the start, so ISIS is not doing anything new. The fact that the formal Muslim states of the world continue to refuse to clean up their mess is most discouraging, but it too may be blamed on tradition.

“Spoils of war,” snaps Dabiq, the English-language journal of Islamic State (IS). The reference is to thousands of Yazidi women the group forced into sex slavery after taking their mountain, Sinjar, in August last year. Far from being a perversion, it claims that forced concubinage is a religious practice sanctified by the Koran.

In a chapter called Women, the Koran sanctions the marriage of up to four wives, or “those that your right hands possess”. Literalists, like those behind the Dabiq article, have interpreted these words as meaning “captured in battle”.

Its purported female author, Umm Sumayyah, celebrated the revival of Islam’s slave-markets and even proffered the hope that Michelle Obama, the wife of America’s president, might soon be sold there. “I and those with me at home prostrated to Allah in gratitude on the day the first slave-girl entered our home,” she wrote. Sympathizers have done the same, most notably the allied Nigerian militant group, Boko Haram, which last year kidnapped an entire girls’ school in Chibok.

Religious preachers have responded with a chorus of protests. “The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus,” declared an open letter sent by 140 Muslim scholars to IS’s “caliph”, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, earlier this year. “You have taken women as concubines and thus revived…corruption and lewdness on the earth.”

But while IS’s embrace of outright slavery has been singled out for censure, religious and political leaders have been more circumspect about other “slave-like” conditions prevalent across the region. IS’s targeting of an entire sect for kidnapping, killing and sex trafficking, and its bragging, are exceptional; forced labor for sexual and other forms of exploitation is not.

From Morocco, where thousands of children work as petites bonnes, or maids, to the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan where girls are forced into prostitution, to the unsanctioned rape and abuse of domestics in the Gulf, aid workers say servitude is rife.

Scholars are sharply divided over how much cultural mores are to blame. Apologists say that, in a concession to the age, the Prophet Muhammad tolerated slavery, but—according to a prominent American theologian trained in Salafi seminaries, Yasir Qadhi—he did so grudgingly and advocated abolition.

Repeatedly in the Koran the Prophet calls for the manumission of slaves and release of captives, seeking to alleviate the slave systems run by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Jewish Himyarite kings of Yemen. He freed one slave, a chief’s daughter, by marrying her, and chose Bilal, another slave he had freed, to recite the first call to prayer after his conquest of Mecca. His message was liberation from worldly oppression, says Mr Qadhi  – enslavement to God, not man.

Other scholars insist, however, that IS’s treatment of Yazidis adheres to Islamic tradition. “They are in full compliance with Koranic understanding in its early stages,” says Professor Ehud Toledano, a leading authority on Islamic slavery at Tel Aviv University. Moreover, “what the Prophet has permitted, Muslims cannot forbid.”

The Prophet’s calls to release slaves only spurred a search for fresh stock as the new empire spread, driven by commerce, from sub-Saharan Africa to the Persian Gulf.

To quash a black revolt in the salt mines of southern Iraq, the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad conscripted Turkish slaves into their army. Within a few generations these formed a power base, and from 1250 to 1517 an entire slave caste, the Mamluks (Arabic for “chattel”), ruled Egypt.

A path to power

Their successors, the Ottoman Turks, perfected the system. After conquering south-eastern Europe in the late 14th century, they imposed the devshirme, or tribute, enslaving the children of the rural poor, on the basis that they were more pagan than Christian, and therefore not subject to the protections Islam gave to People of the Book. Far from resisting this, many parents were happy to deliver their offspring into the white slave elite that ran the empire.

Under this system, enslaved boys climbed the ranks of the army and civil service. Girls entered the harem as concubines to bear sultans. All anticipated, and often earned, power and wealth. Unlike the feudal system of Christian Europe, this one was meritocratic and generated a diverse gene pool. Mehmet II, perhaps the greatest of the Ottoman sultans, who ruled in the 15th century, had the fair skin of his mother, a slave girl from the empire’s north-western reaches.

All this ended because of abolition in the West. After severing the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 19th century, Western abolitionists turned on the Islamic world’s, and within decades had brought down a system that had administered not just the Ottoman empire but the Sherifian empire of Morocco, the Sultanate of Oman with its colonies on the Swahili-speaking coast and West Africa’s Sokoto Caliphate.

With Western encouragement, Serb and Greek rebels sloughed off devshirme. Fearful of French ambitions, the mufti of Tunis wooed the British by closing his slave-markets in 1846. A few years later, the sultan in Istanbul followed suit.

Some tried to resist, including Morocco’s sultan and the cotton merchants of Egypt, who had imported African slaves to make up the shortages left by the ravages of America’s civil war. But colonial pressure proved unstoppable. Under Britain’s consul-general, Evelyn Baring, Earl of Cromer, Egypt’s legislative assembly dutifully abolished slavery at the end of the 19th century. The Ottoman register for 1906 still lists 194 eunuchs and 500 women in the imperial harem, but two years later they were gone.

For almost a century the Middle East, on paper at least, was free of slaves. “Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them,” proclaimed the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam in 1990. Early jihadist groups followed the trend, characterizing themselves as liberation movements and, as such, rejecting slavery.

But though slavery per se may be condemned, observers point to the persistence of servitude. The Global Slavery Index (GSI), whose estimates are computed by an Australian NGO working with Hull University, claims that of 14 states with over 1% of the population enslaved, more than half are Muslim. Prime offenders range from the region’s poorest state, Mauritania, to its richest per head, Qatar.

The criteria and data used by GSI have been criticized, but evidence supports the thrust of its findings. Many Arab states took far longer to criminalize slavery than to ban it. Mauritania, the world’s leading enslaver, did not do so until 2007. Where bans exist, they are rarely enforced. The year after Qatar abolished slavery in 1952, the emir took his slaves to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Government inspections and prosecutions are rarities. “The security chiefs, the judges and the lawyers all belong to the class that historically owned slaves,” says Sarah Mathewson of London-based Anti-Slavery International. “They are part of the problem.”

No labor practice has drawn more international criticism than the kafala system, which ties migrant workers to their employers. This is not slavery as IS imposes it; migrants come voluntarily, drawn by the huge wealth gap between their own countries and the Gulf. But the system “facilitates slavery”, says Nicholas McGeehan, who reports for Human Rights Watch on conditions in the desert camps where most such workers live.

The Gulf’s 2.4m domestic servants are even more vulnerable. Most do not enjoy the least protection under labor laws. Housed and, in some cases, locked in under their employer’s roof, they are prey to sexual exploitation.

Irons and red-hot bars

Again, these workers have come voluntarily; but disquieting echoes persist. Many Gulf nationals can be heard referring to their domestics as malikat (slaves). Since several Asian governments have suspended or banned their female nationals from domestic work in the Gulf out of concern for their welfare, recruitment agencies are turning to parts of Africa, such as Uganda, which once exported female slaves. Some domestic servants are abused with irons and red-hot bars: resonant, says Mr McGeehan, of slave-branding in the past.

Elsewhere in the region, the collapse of law and order provides further cover for a comeback of old practices. Syrian refugee camps in Jordan provide a supply of girls for both the capital’s brothels and for Gulf men trawling websites, which offer short-term marriages for brokerage fees of $140-270 each. Trafficking has soared in Libya’s Mediterranean ports, which under the Ottomans exported sub-Saharan labor to Europe. Long before Boko Haram kidnapped girls, Anti-Slavery International had warned that Nigerian businessmen were buying “fifth wives”—concubines alongside the four wives permitted by Islam—from neighboring Niger.

Gulf states insist they are dealing with the problem. In June Kuwait’s parliament granted domestic servants labor rights, the first Gulf state to do so. It is also the only Gulf state to have opened a refuge for female migrants. Qatar, fearful that reported abuses might upset its hosting of the World Cup in 2022, has promised to improve migrant housing.

And earlier this year Mauritania’s government ordered preachers at Friday prayers to publicize a fatwa by the country’s leading clerics declaring: “Slavery has no legal foundation in sharia law.” Observers fear, though, that this is window-dressing. And Kuwait’s emir has yet to ratify the new labour-rights law.

Rather than stop the abuse, Gulf officials prefer to round on their critics, accusing them of Islamophobia just as their forebears did. Oman and Saudi Arabia have long been closed to Western human-rights groups investigating the treatment of migrants. Now the UAE and Qatar, under pressure after a wave of fatalities among workers building venues for the 2022 World Cup, are keeping them out, too.

Internal protests are even riskier. Over the past two years hundreds of migrant laborers building Abu Dhabi’s Guggenheim and Louvre Museums have been detained, roughed up and deported, says Human Rights Watch, after strikes over unpaid wages. Aminetou Mint Moctar, a rare Mauritanian Arab on the board of SOS Esclaves, a local association campaigning for the rights of haratin, or descendants of black slaves, has received death threats.

Is it too much to hope that the Islamic clerics denouncing slavery might also condemn other instances of forced and abusive labor? Activists and Gulf migrants are doubtful. Even migrants’ own embassies can be strangely mute, not wanting criticism to curb the vital flow of remittances. When Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, visited the UAE this week, his nationals there complained that migrant rights were last on his list. Western governments generally have other priorities. One is simply to defeat IS, whose extreme revival of slavery owes at least something to the region’s persistent and pervasive tolerance of servitude.

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Iraq Sitrep August 10, 2014

The US has 800 troops in Iraq right now. There are calls to “move them out” and up to the front lines in Irbil to fight with the peshmerga.

Mosul Dam does indeed appear to be captured by ISIS.

Many of the Yezidis trapped on Mt. Sinjar have made it off the mountain. 30,000 made it out via a passageway carved out of ISIS lines to the north and northeast. It was carved out by Yezidi militias and YPG Syrian Kurdish forces. It crosses the Syrian-Iraqi border at a little known town of Fishkhabour, Iraq, near where Syria, Iraq and Turkey all come together. It is not located on many maps. It is on the Tigris were Turkey, Syria and Iraq all come together. 30,000 Yezidis have made it through this border checkpoint.

Yezidis leave Sinjar Mountain, head into Syria at some point, and then wind back around and re-enter Iraq at Fishkhabour, a Chaldean Christian town. They then apparently move into the Kurdish area.
UK may get involved in humanitarian effort on Sinjar Mountain.
As many as 100,000 Yezidis remain in the area in their towns, armed. They say they will defend their towns against ISIS. Situation with them is grave.

The 400 Yezidi women taken captive may be being used as human shields. They are in various places scattered around Mosul. Other reports say 500 Yezidi families were captured and taken to Tel Afar where they are being stashed around town as human shields.

A top Hezbollah commander was killed in Mosul long after Mosul had fallen to ISIS. This indicates that he was deep behind enemy lines. Also, two high ranking Al Qods officers from Iran were killed in Iraq. Both were killed near Samarra.

Maliki accepted Iran’s offer of 200 Al Qods officers to help fight in Iraq. Quite possibly they are heading up to the Kurdish area. Iraqi Kurds have good relations with Iran.

An anti-ISIS militia has formed in Mosul. They even have a Facebook page. They are carrying out assassinations of ISIS cadre in the city and have caused significant casualties.

ISIS destroyed Saddam Hussein’s grave in Awja, near Tikrit. This will not endear them to the Baathists or even to millions of Iraqis, including many Sunnis.

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Yazidis Want to Leave Iraq

Yazidis want to leave Iraq. Whether they think that Kurdistan is an ok place for them to go, I am not sure. For now, Kurdistan is part of Iraq, and the Deep State seems determined to keep it that way for now anyway. Since Kurdistan is part of Iraq, I assume that the Yazidis do not want to stay there either. Both the Iraqi Christians and the Iraqi Yazidis want to go to Europe. That the Christian cultures of Europe are willing to take in not only like-minded Christians but also the very odd Yazidi sect while Muslims only want to genocide them is a profound indictment of Islam. Islam really doesn’t do the religious tolerance thing very well, does it?

The Yazidis have been genocided 72 times in their history. This is the 73rd. Guess who genocided them, every single time?

Muslims.

Islam. Great religion.

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Iraq Sitrep August 9, 2014

The situation regarding Mosul Dam is very confused. For days, there have been reports that it was in the hands of ISIS, however, there were also reports saying that the Peshmerga had taken it but that they were surrounded by ISIS and things looked grim. The latest report that I heard is that the ISIS flag is flying over the dam, whatever that means.

US jets bombed targets near the towns of Gwer and Mahmour which had just been taken by ISIS. These towns are between Mosul and Irbil. There are many Christian villages in this area. Things look very grim here too.

The US attitude here is unequivocal – they do not want to Irbil to fall, and Irbil could conceivably fall very soon.

There are 36 US advisors and diplomatic personnel in Irbil. The advisors are Special Forces types. They are assisting the Peshmerga with command and control and intelligence targeting. The situation is now very grim for these Americans.

There are 800 US troops in Iraq right now. Pentagon sources say that the time has come to “move them out.” What this means apparently is that these US forces are going to be moving to the peshmerga front lines to fight for Irbil.

Obama had said that he would attack ISIS is they get too close to Irbil via Mosul, and that is what he has done.

The US also dropped a lot of humanitarian supplies on Sinjar Mountain where 200,000 Yezidis may be trapped. Supplies were significant. US forces said, “We need to get them out of there,” so they may be planning to somehow airlift these Yezidis off the mountain to Irbil.

Yezidis fought hard in defense of their towns but were poorly armed. The Peshmerga were completely outgunned in defending all of these towns lately. Retreats were tactical, to retreat back to Irbil and get more supplies. The Iraqi government now helping Kurds with airstrikes.

The Peshmerga are really no better or an army than any other army in Iraq including Maliki’s. It should be little surprise that they are folding as fast as Maliki’s. Peshmerga are poorly armed, and ISIS has lots of looted US, Iraqi Army and Syrian Army weapons looted from depots. The US has not been aiding or supplying Kurds with arms since 2008 due to a policy change to support Maliki instead. Arms to Kurds were seen as strengthening them in favor of secession.

However, secession is probably a foregone conclusion anyway, and even Iran and Turkey are warm to an independent Kurdistan as long as Turkey and Iran are not included and it stays in Iraq. Reasons for the change are uncertain, but Turkey is doing a brisk trade in Kurdish oil these days, and Turkey is also buying a lot of oil from Iran with gold bars. So there are a lot of unusual alliances in that region.

The US has barred Kurdish oil exports from the US. A shipment of Kurdish oil is now held up in the US on these grounds. The reason given is that all Kurdish oil is officially Iraqi state oil; however, Maliki has screwed the Kurds about as bad as he screwed the Sunnis, completely shutting them out of Iraqi oil revenues he is supposed to divide up with them. The US is said to be rushing arms to the Kurds now. There is a new temporary marriage of convenience between Maliki, Kurds and anti-ISIS Sunnis. Let’s see how long it lasts.

1,500 Yezidi men were executed in front of their families in Sinjar on grounds of apostasy. Local Arabs cheered the entry of ISIS into Sinjar, and surrounding Arab villages helped pave the way and set up the groundwork for the ISIS attack, similar to what happened in Mosul earlier.

Many Yezidi women were sold into slavery and public slave auctions. Jihadis bought some as jihad brides, and others may have been purchased as slaves. Local Arabs cheered on the shootings, beheadings and crucifixions of Yezidis and possibly Christians in Sinjar and flocked en masse to the slave auctions where they cheered wildly. Local Arabs helped ISIS round up and persecute Yezidis whom they hate and regard as devil worshipers deserving of death or enslavement.

The Yezidis have extremely complex religion but do not worship the Devil of the Abrahamic religions. In fact there is no Evil God in Yezidism. There is in fact a Devil, or the Devil, but he is a figure of pure good perhaps akin to Jesus Christ to Christians. This Yezidi Devil only does good things and represents pure good. He fights evil like Godheads of many religions. Some Yezidis say they are Muslims, and perhaps a case can be made that they are an extremely schismatic Shia branch.

Bottom line is after what went down in Sinjar today and seeing how the Yezidis witnessed their Arab neighbors cheering their murders and enslavement, I do not think that these Yezidis will ever want to live with Arabs again.

The Yezidis may move to the Kurdistan region to stay. The Kurds have mixed feelings about Yezidis, however they are regarded as Kurdish brothers. Many Kurds feel that the Yezidis were the original Kurds, and their religion is the original Kurdish religion (compare to Zoroastrianism in Iran).

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Iraqi MP Breaks Down in Tears Pleading Parliament to Save Yazidis from Genocide

A true genocide is taking place near Sinjar, Iraq. ISIS conquered the town of Sinjar, home to many Yezidis. Most of them fled, but some were captured by ISIS. 1,500 men were executed in front of their families. The women and children were then sold into slavery. Many of the purchasers were ISIS fighters and presumably the women are to be some sort of sex slaves or possibly wives of the fighters. The problem is that in Yezidism, the penalty for marrying or even dating outside the religion is death by stoning (warning: very graphic video at the link). These poor women are truly stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The Yezidis say they are Muslims, and I do believe that Yezidism can be seen as a highly aberrant form of Shia Islam similar to Alevism, Alawism, and Druze, if Druze can be seen as Islam at all. Yezidism also incorporates from Judaism, Christianity (especially Nestorian Orthodox Christianity) and even Zoroastrianism. At base, it appears to be a split from the original Zoroastrianism or perhaps even a precursor to that religion. Ultimately, Yezidism is a tribal religion of Iran. It may be one of the oldest religions on Earth, with forms of it dating back possibly as long as 8-10,000 YBP.

Local Arab Muslims say that the Yezidis are devil worshippers and they are widely condemned for this. ISIS calls them apostates for leaving Islam, but they were never really a part of formal Islam anyway. Yezidis however did become part of the Islamic religion around the year 1200 following a Shia Sufi prophet-type figure. Perhaps you could argue that they are heretics, but apostasy does not seem to be a correct analogy.

A good overview of the Yezidi religion is here.

Whether or not the Yezidis worship the Devil is an open question. If you ask your average Yezidi, they will insist that they do not worship the Devil. In fact, they are not even allowed to say his name. However, the religion is extremely complex, and my analysis indicated that Yezidis do indeed worship the Devil, but in their theology, the Devil is the good guy, not the bad guy. He represents good and he does only good things, and he spends all his time fighting evil. So the Devil in Yezidi theology is akin to Jesus in Christianity. The  Yezidis certainly do not worship evil in any form. Instead they worship good and hate evil, like most formal religions.

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More On Hinduism, Race, Caste and the “Aryan Invasion”

The comment below is from an Indian poster on this popular post. I agree with most of what he says. First of all, I don’t think that the Aryans pushed the Dravidians to the South. There are Dravidian types and mixed types all over North India.

Points 2 and 3 are self-evident.

I have always felt that Hinduism was nothing more than the ancient religion of India, and there is good evidence for this. Clearly it predates the Aryans. It’s not necessarily as old as India, since India is as old as dirt, but clearly it goes back so far that we can hardly even say when it begins.

Ancient Iran also had a caste system, and so did their ancient religion. Yazidism, one of the oldest major religions known to man, possibly dating back 10,000 years, has caste and origins in Iran. The suggestion is that caste is a regional phenomenon across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Iran and Northern Iraq. Afghanistan lacks caste, but until the Communist revolution was a semi-feudal society.

The fact remains that Aryan languages displaced Dravidian languages to the South, and all of North India is Aryan-speaking in general, and the people of the North are lighter than the people of the South, and this needs to be explained somehow. Obviously, prior to the Aryan Invasion, Dravidian languages were spoken all over North India. Either their speakers dropped Dravidian in favor of Indo-Iranian or they moved south. Possibly both of these occurred.

1) Vedas are not everything in Hinduism, though they form some of the core. There are many books written in ancient mathematics and science in the post-Vedic period which are as relevant to the history of Hindus, if not more than the Vedas. Look at the books written by Bhaskara (there were two Bhaskaras recorded in history), Aryabhatta, Apastamba, Baudhayana, Varahmihira and several other authors.

Some of them have had their base south of the Vindhyas, which indicates the migration of the culture of the Vedic people southward. I am guessing the actual migration of Vedic people might also have taken place either before or after the completion of the writing of the Vedas (500-1000 BCE). Read about the myth of Agastya and his followers and the Vindhyas.

2) Skin color depends on the climate and gradually over generations (maynot be 3 but lets say about 30 generations) it is sure to change.

3) People speaking different languages derived from a root language (or speaking the root language itself) need not share genetic origins or race. For example, I am an Indian, and if I speak or write in English, a European-originated language, that does not make me European. I bet the same applies to speakers of Indo-European languages.

4) Based on several references in the Vedas against dark-skinned tribes, one cannot assume that all the scriptures of the Hindus (the Sruti and Smriti) were written by the highly-advanced fair-skinned race-preserving cohort known as Aryans who came down from central Asia and pushed the locals down south.

One severe contradiction to this simplistic theory is how come there are references of lower-caste tribals getting upgraded to the higher caste of Brahmins (like Valmiki, Vishwamitra) in the epics written by these same racially-finicky people (the Aryans) that was allowed to be published without censorship. The racial references in the Vedas are at best ambiguous. If the Aryans were the vanguards of Hinduism and they were the creators of the scriptures, how did dark-skinned gods like Vishnu and Shiva find their ways into the texts.

More likely they should have been shown as demons given the benchmarks by which they would have decided. Given all these, there surely exists a possibility of a fair-skinned race coming down from Afghanistan or central Asia and contributing to the creation of Hindu scriptures and merging with the locals, in fact there could be several races of this type migrating in at different points of time. But to say that they did this at the expense of a dark-skinned race or an indigenous race is pure baloney, given the facts.

In fact the genesis of Hindu scriptures could have come from different parts (including the non-Indo-European parts which may include Sanskrit speakers of Dravidian origin) of the Indian subcontinent. Likewise, tribes that had originally entered from the northern borders of India (one of them being the Aryans) must have migrated all over the country giving an inseparable and indistinguishable genetic mixture that we know as the people of India today.

Also the caste system in ancient India up to a period must have been rather fluid and based more on occupation than ancestry as is the popular notion. Hinduism (at least the history and references from Hinduism) seems to have a much greater tolerance for skin color and caste than is touted to be.

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