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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "ISIS Crisis": I'm a Poet and I Didn't Even Know It

In a prior New York Times op-ed entitled "ISIS and SISI," we learned from would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman that ISIS spelled backwards is Sisi (the name of Egypt's president). Today, the title of Friedman's New York Times op-ed, "ISIS Crisis," draws to our attention the ineluctable truth that ISIS rhymes with crisis. Wow!

But wait! There's yet another hilarious word game in the first paragraph of Tom's latest opinion piece:

"There is a tension at the heart of President Obama’s strategy to confront the Islamic State, and it explains a lot about why he has so much trouble articulating and implementing his strategy. Quite simply, it is the tension between two vital goals — promoting the 'soul-searching' that ISIS’s emergence has triggered in the Arab-Muslim world and 'searching and destroying' ISIS in its strongholds in Syria and Iraq."

Did you catch it? "Soul searching" and "searching and destroying." President Obama, are you paying attention to Friedman's erudition?

After quoting at length from three different Arab writers to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Arab world is engaged in serious "soul searching," Friedman asks why Turkey and the various Arab regimes are not providing the US with more support in its limited war from the air against ISIS:

"After all, this is a civil war for the future of both Sunni Islam and the Arab world. We can degrade ISIS from the air — I’m glad we have hit these ISIS psychopaths in Syria — but only Arabs and Turks can destroy ISIS on the ground. Right now, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stands for authoritarianism, press intimidation, crony capitalism and quiet support for Islamists, including ISIS. He won’t even let us use our base in Turkey to degrade ISIS from the air. What’s in his soul? What’s in the soul of the Arab regimes who are ready to join us in bombing ISIS in Syria, but rule out ground troops?"

What's in their souls? Let me answer that question for you, Tom. Many Sunni Muslims regard Shiite Muslims as heretics, and notwithstanding the beheadings and other brutish behavior, they are not altogether displeased that ISIS is currently at the forefront of this war of succession following the death of Mohammad 1,382 years ago.

Erdogan, one of Obama's five best international friends? With friends like Erdogan, who needs enemies? Maybe, by the time he leaves the Oval Office in another two years and four months (yes, I'm counting), Obama will have learned as much.

A ceasefire anytime soon to this millennium-long struggle between Sunnis and Shiites? Actually, little chance that anyone can interfere with this dance.


  1. Tonight, when Rosh Hashana begins, millions of Jews around the world will be praying to be inscribed in the book of life. At the same time, enemies of the Jews and the Free world conspire to kill and maim while their leaders proudly proclaim that they love death more than life. While the Jews will pray to be at the head (leaders) and not the tail (followers), ISIS will continue with it's campaign of terror and attract thousands of more haters who feel emboldened by the brutal beheadings of Westerners.
    Yo spelled backwards is Oy!

  2. L'Shana tova, Jeffrey.