Wednesday, October 29, 2014



A magical place where justice and peace rule - where ebberdobby is answerable to the law.

That's part of the appeal for a head chopping, Xian killing, girl hating Caliphate.

Al-Baghdadi's brutal regime does not, of course, remotely conform to the classical Muslim understanding of what a caliphate should be, but it does evoke an aspiration with a powerful and increasingly urgent resonance in the wider Muslim world.

The last caliphate - that of the Ottomans - was officially abolished 90 years ago this spring. Yet in a 2006 Gallup survey of Muslims living in Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia and Pakistan, two-thirds of respondents said they supported the goal of "unifying all Islamic countries" into a new caliphate.

Why do so many Muslims subscribe to this apparently unrealisable dream?

A significant source of the caliphate's appeal today is the memory it stirs of Muslim greatness. The era of the Rightly Guided Caliphs was followed by the imperial caliphates of the Umayyads and Abbasids.

The caliphate was finally extinguished by Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, in 1924. He believed the abolition of the institution was essential to his campaign to turn what was left of the empire into a 20th Century secular nation state. The last Ottoman caliph was expelled from Istanbul to live out a life of cultured exile in Paris and on the Cote d'Azur.

But the institution he represented had by then existed for nearly 1300 years, and the impact of its abolition on Muslim intellectual life was profound.

Muslim thinkers in the 1920s suddenly found they had to ask fundamental questions they had never confronted before: "Do Muslims need to live in an Islamic State? What should that state be like?"

everything changed in the Middle East with the foundation of the State of Little Satan, and Pan-Arabism was wrecked on the rock of Israeli military might. Pan Arabism drew its legitimacy from the fact that it was going to return the Arabs to their position of glory and liberate Palestine, with the abject defeat of 1967 (the Six Day War) it exposed a hollowness to the ideology of Pan Arabism.

In the early days of the Arab Spring, the revolutions in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were interpreted in Western capitals as evidence that the Muslim future lay with democracy. Then in Egypt came the overthrow of the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood government by the army under General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi - and then came the horrors of Islamic State amid the bloody chaos of civil strife in Syria and Iraq.

The success of IS does, in a grim way, reflect what a powerful and urgent aspiration the Caliphate has become. The IS project is certainly megalomaniac and atavistic, but it is building on an idea that is much more than a fantasy.

Pic - "Peak Power"