Bilad al-Sham: The Gunman’s Vacation Destination

SHAM

The civil war in Syria ain’t what it used to be. Even the designation, ‘civil war’, may be too polite these days, too optimistic a term for the black hole which much of the country has become. While government forces are still united under al-Assad in the south, the opposition in the north has fractured and been overshadowed by a calamity of different causes and rallying cries. Though still anti-Assad in many ways, a lull in the conflict to a certain state of stability, with only a few towns and suburbs changing hands here and there, has turned the rag-tag assembly of freedom and foreign fighters against themselves, seeking to fill a power vacuum that hardly exists. A common enemy seems no longer enough to unite the causes, and the once hopeful rebel of Homs or Aleppo, who sought some sense of fairness or representation in his/her government, has been sidelined by an influx of fighters from all corners of the world. They arrive, jihad-ready, from as far as Australia and the United Kingdom, seeking glory, martyrdom, money, or simply a place to call their own.  Continue reading

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Coming this Fall: Jihadi Cops

al-firqan

Thanks in large part to the medium through which I type this to you now, small local groups of angry men can have their feelings and agendas felt across vast distances like never before (well, besides that one time). These angry men are now free to share their 80’s training montages, exotic vacationing clips, and terrible music videos with the rest of an unwelcoming world. But while a little mujahideen’s big reach has usually been constrained to snippets of propaganda, one recent hurrah against global imperialism actually helped foil a massive smuggling operation on the other side of the world.

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