There is nothing funny about the declaration of the ‘Caliphate’

And I am not laughing.

Nervana

Members loyal to the ISIL wave ISIL flags as they drive around Raqqa

Photo via Reuters

Initially published in Turkish Hurriyet Daily

It may be amusing to some, but there is nothing funny about the declaration of the “Caliphate”  by the militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The rise of rejectionist groups is testimony to an older, deeper struggle that still haunts the region today. It would be folly to dismiss Islamist rejectionism as a fringe ideology. The new Caliphate may be “ahistorical,” but there is growing support for this much-indulging myth among some Muslim youth. After a century of poisonous politics in the Middle East, many prefer to escape to the past instead of facing the painful present.

Rejectionist radicals are not new in the Arab world. In 1970s Egypt, an agricultural engineer, Shukri Mustafa, who turned radical in prison in the 1960s, founded the first rejectionist group, Takfir-wal-Hijra (meaning “excommunication and exile”). In his book…

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ISIS chief orders Muslims to ‘obey’ him: video | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

{Self-delusion is very comforting to the one who deludes himself – but can be devastating to those who laugh or oppose the delusion}

“I am the wali (leader) who presides over you, though I am not the best of you, so if you see that I am right, assist me,” he said, wearing a black turban and robe.

“If you see that I am wrong, advise me and put me on the right track, and obey me as long as I obey God in you.”

AFP was not immediately able to confirm the authenticity of the video purportedly showing Baghdadi, of whom there were previously only two known photographs.

The video is the first ever official appearance by Baghdadi, according to Aymenn al-Tamimi, an expert on Islamist movements, though the jihadist leader may have appeared in a 2008 video under a different name.

“God gave your mujahedeen brothers victory after long years of jihad and patience… so they declared the caliphate and placed the caliph in charge,” he said.

“This is a duty on Muslims that has been lost for centuries,” he added, sporting a long and slightly greying beard, as he addressed the faithful from the mosque’s pulpit.

via ISIS chief orders Muslims to ‘obey’ him: video | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR.

Salvadoran Peasant Farmers Clash With U.S. of Monsanto Over Seeds | Inter Press Service

Seed quality is monitored and approved by the Salvadoran Ministry of Agriculture, which paid a total of 25.9 million dollars on seed purchases in 2013, most of them maize and beans which are staple foods in El Salvador.

Until the new model was implemented in 2011, 70 percent of the market was cornered by a subsidiary of U.S. biotech giant Monsanto, Semillas Cristiani Burkard. Since then, other producers have entered the field, like the cooperatives, with better quality certified seeds and more competitive prices.

Last year’s seed was purchased by an executive decree of December 2012, with the approval of Congress, and in practice U.S. companies were excluded. The U.S. embassy demanded a public and “transparent” tender process.

In January 2014, lawmakers approved a new decree allowing international companies to participate in the tendering process. However, the bidding in April was won by the same 18 producers.

Ambassador Aponte is now pressing for a different procurement process that will favour U.S. companies. This position is being criticised by social organisations and rural producers, who protested in front of the embassy in San Salvador in June.

“The embassy’s position serves to promote Monsanto’s seeds,” environmentalist Ricardo Navarro told IPS, referring to the world leader in transgenic seeds, against which many protests have been held in Latin American countries.

Aponte did not mention Monsanto in her comments, but according to Navarro “it is obvious she is referring to Monsanto, the largest company in the sector,” whose local branch “lost a market they thought belonged to them.”

via Salvadoran Peasant Farmers Clash With U.S. Over Seeds | Inter Press Service.